Veerashaiva religion founded by the Saint poet Basavanna and his great contemporaries in the twelfth century has developed a number rituals and practices over a period of time. Many of them have risen to the level of folk arts and practiced by large communities all over Karnataka. These rituals are often rooted in mythology and are related to the history of this religion also. Some of them are militant and they reflect the tensions that prevailed among different communities in medieval Karnataka. Veerabhadra kunita also has evolved over a period of time and it has developed regional variants as well. Veerabhadra Kunita, (vIraBadra kuNita) (ವೀರಭದ್ರ ಕುಣಿತ) Veeragase, (vIragAse) (ವೀರಗಾಸೆ) Puravantike (puravantike) (ಪುರವಂತಿಕೆ) and Kasekunita (kAse kuNita) (ಕಾಸೆ ಕುಣಿತ) are the variants that could be studied as parts of a continuum.
All these practices have their origin in the story of
Veerabhadra who was created by Shiva in order to kill Dakshabrahma who in turn
was responsible for the death of ‘sati’, his daughter and Shiva’s wife.
Veerabhadra sets out to destroy the ‘Yajna’ and kill Daksha if he does not
repent his behaviour and asks for pardon. This story as well as the valour and rage
of Veerabhadra are enacted in a militant manner by artists who are trained in
these performances. Actually these artistic skills are handed over from
generation to generation. Interestingly, this dance is held in
Veerabhadra Kunita is perhaps the earliest form of this
religious art. This is known as ‘lingaveera’ or ‘lingabeera kunita’ in