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Veerashaiva Pontiff Urilinga Peddi

by Dr. Jyotsna Kamat

First Online: November 9, 2008 in Amma's Column
Page Last Updated: January 11, 2018

Urilinga Peddi: Dalit Sharana and Pontiff

Urilinga Peddi (C-1150-1200) occupies a unique place in  the Virashaiva mvement of India. He belonged to the low caste and was a robber. Once Peddi had gone to steal at the residence of Surayya, a rich man and devotee of Urilingadeva, a great Shaiva Saint. Peddi heard the exposition of scriptures and the way to pious life. Peddi was a changed person onwards and for twelve years he brought firewood to Urilingadeva's hermitage without being noticed.

Once Urilingadeva caught him and was impressed by his piety. Peddi, who was worshiping that Saint as Guru, insisted that he may be initiated under the guidance of the Saint; Peddi became well versed in Sanskrit and Kannada religious lore. He attained proficiency in all  the Shastras and Shaiva rituals that Urilingadeva nominated him as his successor of the Matha he was heading, displaying thereby a rare spirit of castelesssness and communal harmony in the medieval times. Peddi's wife Kalavve was also educated and spiritually inclined. The couple were widely respected for their learning. Later Veerashaiva classics and their Vachanas or sayings are profusely quoted. Both have several Vachanas to their credit. Kalavve is much respected Sharane because of her Sanskrit learning.

K.L. Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Illustration Showing Peddamna
Illustration Showing Peddamna
Also known as Urilinga Peddi, Peddanna was the first Dalit Sharana saint

Casteism prevailed in spite of all revolutionary teachings of Basava and his contemporaries like Urilingadeva. There are smaller Mathas in Gulbarga-Bhalki region which owe allegiance to Urilinga Peddi and whose followers are  only Dalits. But the Swamijis are not. Urilinga Peddi enjoys the sole credit of being the first Dalit preceptor and pontiff in dark medieval times.

A Vachana of Peddanna

Shiva is God. Non-Killing is religion
Abstaing from unlawful things is righteousness
Non-greed is penance; non-anger is japa (prayer)
Non-deceipt is devotion. Avoiding faults
(Consciously) is discipline. He knows,
He who is fond of Urilinga Peddi Knows!

See Also:


The Veerashaivas

Lingayat Pictures
A Lingayat SwamijiWorship of LingaPicture of AkkanagammaAllama Prabhu of Virakta Sampradaya (an ascetic tradition)
Cover of Basava Purana Palm-leaf ManuscriptHardekar Manjappa (1886-1947)Basaveshwara, the Revolutionary SaintA Lingayat Temple
Veerashaiva (Lingayat) temples of UluviIllustrated Veerashiva Text

Kamat's Potpourri Timeless Theater People of India Virashaivas

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