Lingayats வீரசைவம், லிங்காயத்துகள்
"I must say a few words about Virasaivaism (வீரசைவம்), which is an off-shoot of South Indian Saivaism. The term means "Heroic faith in Siva".
Presumably, it was a sort of reform movement in the 12th century in the Mysore state, and the poetic works are all in Kannada, the language of the state.
From this mystic poetry we are able to gather that the founders and followers of thsi new cult were against the practice of building magnificent temples at tremendous cost and conducting liveless ceremonies and elaborate rituals.
Proclaiming the human body as the Temple of God, they wear about their necks Linga as the symbol of Lord Siva's constant presence. So, they are also known as 'Lingayats.'
The worship of the Siva in this amorphous and pillar-like image is considered an important religious practice. Because it burns evil and give soul the light of true wisdom, Lingam is called the 'pillar-of-fire.'
According to Arunachala Purana, Siva appeared as a tall pillar of fire to correct Brahma and Vishnu. Their attempts to find out the top and botoom of that pillar proved futile, and they surrendered at the feet of Siva.
According to the renowned Saiva Siddhanta scholar, Shivapadasundaram of Jaffna, "The word Linga literally means a graph, being derived from likh (to write). But Saiva philosophy splits it into 'layam' and 'gam', meaning that which causes involution and evolution of the universe.
Allama was the actual inspirer of Virasaivaism, and Basvadeva perfected it by establishing a centre at Kalyana, called 'Anubhava Mandapa' meaning 'mansion of experience.' From this title alone we can easily discern that both Allam and Basavadeva were critics of all privileges of birth, scholarship, and so forth, which formed the prominent feature at the time."
(This is an excerpt of the lectures of Mr. K.Ramachandra, on Hinduism, the Author of the book ‘Religious Digest’ who delivered his lecture at Colombo in 1971)