Account Options Sign in. Top charts. New releases. Add to Wishlist. Her extant Vachana poems a form of spontaneous mystical poems , and the two short writings called Mantrogopya and the Yogangatrividhi are considered her most notable contribution to Kannada literature. She composed relatively fewer poems than other saints of the movement.

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Her interests lie in the intersections of culture, religion and politics. The Bhakti movement that flourished across various literary cultures, gave rise to a distinct genre of expression in Kannada. This was the vachana , loosely understood as free verse poems or sayings, which arose within the Kannada literary tradition during the 12 th century sharana movement.

Although it did not develop with the exclusive intention of turning into a literary form, the language used by the sharanas, the content of their vachanas and the people they addressed through these vachanas, broke with the existing literary canon in Kannada and consequently, brought about a defining turn in Kannada language and literature. While the vachanas reflect various aspects of Bhakti, the vachana poets lay great emphasis on the unity of speech and action.

This unity, they stressed, is central to the worship of Shiva. Here, the unity between what one says and how one acts is central to aikya union with the Lord. It is under the Lingayat saint-poet Basavanna that the sharana movement grew expansively, turning the city of Kalyana into an important center of interaction and dialogue for the sharanas. At Kalyana, Basavanna set up the anubhava mantapa hall of experience with the intention of attracting the sharanas to hold important discussions around social, spiritual and political issues.

Thus, it is no surprise that this period witnessed the flourishing of vachanakaras vachana poets. Even though there existed a broad similarity amongst the sharanas, each had their own spiritual experience and way of communicating their devotion, love, angst, struggle and journey to be one with the ishtadevta. As we swim through the vachanas of Basavanna, Allama Prabhu, Akkamahadevi, Jedara Dasimayya, Molige Mahadevi, Chennabasavanna and the numerous other vachana poets, one is struck by the vast differences in their pathways and the absence of a rigid religious doctrine in many instances.

Each had their own language of intimation while reflecting on the social and spiritual realities. Such distinct expressions are visible among the or so vachanakaras whose vachanas are now available to us. It is important to note that although these vachanakaras came from all sections of society, the vast majority of members were those marginalised along the lines of caste, class and gender in 12 th century Karnataka.

Scholars have attempted to recognise patterns within these distinct voices and classify vachanas in many ways Tr. Chandrashekhar One such classification is based on the theme or content of the vachanas. These range from theological, mystical, devotional to socio-political. Similarly, vachanas are also categorised as sarala and bedagina. In terms of structure, the vachanas were distinct from other religious literature and literary forms. They did not adopt a metre form such as the champu or tripadi, which were the dominant forms then.

The vachanas also stand distinct from other religious scriptures as seen in their opposition to both the agamic and vedic traditions. The vachanakaras restrained themselves from purely otherworldly spiritual explorations and chose to expound a devotion grounded firmly in the philosophy of kayaka or labour. This had a lot to do with the large number of members who came from the labouring classes, such as Chowdiah, the ferryman; Madivala Macayya, the washerman; the barber Hadapada Appanna; Ketayya, the basket maker and so on.

It is not surprising then that a significant number of women were a part of this 12 th century shaiva movement, creating a fertile ground for the emergence of many women vachana poets. The anubhava mantapa was a space where women came forward in discussion and debate and in the process gave birth to vachanas that present an account of their own spiritual struggle.

There are around 35 sharanes term for women in the sharana movement whose vachanas are now available to us. Speaking about these shivasharanes in the vachana movement, Vijaya Guttal states:. They criticized personal and social hypocrisy, corrected even their own husbands and in a sharane like Akka Mahadevi, we come across an intellectual and spiritual peak of the movement… These vachanas are a proof of the ability of the women writers to think and to conceptualize.

The Shivasharanes argued that the path of the mystic is the same for both male and female. It is impossible to miss this message in the vachana of a sharane like Goggavve:.

Undoubtedly, the luminous figure of Akkamahadevi stands out from amongst all the sharanas and captivates us today as much as she captivated her contemporaries in the 12 th century. Despite the numerous myths and legends surrounding Akkamahadevi, it is through her vachanas that we gain insights into her journey from her birthplace Uduthadi, to Kalyana and finally to the forests of Kadali in the Srisailam hills.

This poet, saint, wanderer, mystic and seeker impresses both, in terms of the sheer volume of vachanas she gave us close to as well as the intensity of the experience contained in them. She writes:. Hence it is, important to attempt to grasp the capacity of her vachanas to pull us in; the absolute freedom and joy we experience while wandering along in her footsteps, despite the fact that she evades every rigid category we place to fathom her devotion, in pursuit of aikya union with her Lord Chennamallikarjuna.

Hence, many myths and legends have accumulated over the years surrounding various episodes in her life. Although her journey is well traced by many of her hagiographers and anthologists who compiled her vachanas, these happened from the 13 th century with a very definite political purpose to develop the Virashaiva faith Tyagi Her earliest biographer was Harihara who penned the poetic, Mahadeviyakkana Ragale.

Akkamahadevi was born as Mahadevi in Uduthadi to parents who seem to have already been ardent devotees of Shiva. Akka or sister was later added to depict the respect and sense of endearment with which the sharanas held her. Accounts suggest that a Guru, who blessed her with the Istalinga, introduced her to the worship of Shiva at a very young age. Thus, shunning the material world and its worldly men, she adopted her chosen god, Chennamallikarjuna, as her husband.

Regarding her marriage, there are disagreements among her numerous hagiographers. Some scholars, including Harihara, hold the opinion that she caught the attention of the local King Kaushika and was forced into a marriage with him but on the condition that he would not disrupt her religious practice. Other scholars insist that she never married anyone except her divine lord Chennamallikarjuna. As per popular legend, the marriage did take place but as A.

Ramanujan put it, the rivalry between the divine lover and the human love seems to have come in the way Ramanujan Many oral retellings and legends suggest that she walked out naked, renouncing all worldly desires, including her clothes, while others suggest that her hair grew out suddenly to protect her from the advances of Kaushika.

Thus began her journey as an ascetic-wanderer in pursuit of her divine lover Chennamallikarjuna. The interactions that took place here are compiled in the 15 th century anthology of vachanas called Sunya Sampadane.

Her exchange with Allama Prabhu is deeply insightful, not merely regarding her spiritual status, but also regarding her absolute surrender to her beloved, Chennamallikarjuna. Her entry into the anubhava mantapa is preceded by a series of questions by Allama Prabhu Tyagi :. Further, Allama questions her state of consciousness and attachment to the sense world:. If this is a signifier, on the one hand, of the supreme surrender to the divine will, on the other hand, it stands as a signifier of the utmost defiance of all social conventions as well.

Hearing the humbling response of Akkamahadevi must have brought about a change of heart in the sharanas who then allowed her entry into the anubhava mantapa. Basavanna, Allama Prabhu and Chennabasavanna also go on to honour the heights of her spiritual attainment and the brilliance of her words in their own vachanas. Even with this acceptance and respect she eventually received amongst the sharanas, Akkamahadevi pushed forth in her journey.

Emerging out of Kalyana, Akkamahadevi continued her journey in search of the divine and is finally said to have found union with her Lord Chennamallikarjuna in the dense forests of Kadali in the Srisaila mountains of Andhra Pradesh.

Often, there is an attempt to explain this element of bhakti through the expression sharane sati linga pati Sharna as the wife and Linga, the husband , highlighting the madhurya bhava. But this remains true of most poets within the sharana tradition, both male and female. Akkamahadevi envisions her relationship with her lord beyond the terms of such an expression.

Absolute surrender to the divine, spontaneity of her love, pain of separation, urgency of its expression, angst of being stuck in this profane world, and the joy of self-abandonment are all beyond the limits of what can be captured within the madhurya bhava. For instance:. In another instance, she makes it clear to the world that there is only one man for her, both in this world and in the other:.

The urgency of her journey, this pursuit of aikya with the Lord is brilliantly captured in the vachana below.

It also expounds on her journey through the profane world and all the weaknesses that creep up as a consequence of worldly needs:. Bhakti that is an important part of attaining spiritual transcendence cannot be achieved merely in the sweet joy of love. It requires a surrendering of the self to the divine, a love that bleeds out from the self that seeks to merge with the divine:. Akkamahadevi does not merely wait for the desired union, but calls on Chennamallikarjuna to test her love.

The urgency of her vachanas not only captures the pain of her longing, but also communicates the desperation inherent in this longing. Unmistakably, she not only pursues aikya, but many of her vachanas suggest she had already experienced the love of the divine and become one with the Lord. This attainment of mystic love is seen in many of her vachanas such as:. Significantly, Akkamahadevi, unlike many sharanas, sees men as posing a hindrance to the path of enlightenment and a challenge that she must overcome.

This is important as many sharanas see only women as maya, an illusion to be distanced from in the path to spiritual transcendence. Akka presents a different picture without singling out either of them:. It is also a visual delight in equal measure. Her keen sensitiveness to sights and sounds of nature make her one of the most magnificent nature-poets in the language… Her vachanas are her dialogues on all these planes with her beloved lord, men, women, animals, plants and objects Shivaprakash Peacocks playing on hills and in caves, have you seen, have you seen?

It is impossible to be amidst the vachanas of Akkamahadevi and not experience the physicality of her words. The impact is almost tangible.

It is no surprise then, that even today, writers in Kannada and beyond, especially women including those who do not write, attempt to draw her journey into their own lives in order to make sense of the incommunicable. Selected Vachanas of Saranas. Edited by H. Shivaprakash and O. Nagabhushanana Swamy. Bangalore: Basava Samithi,. Dabbe, Vijaya and Robert Zydenbos.

January-June Manushi Delhi Guttal, Vijaya. Winter Sharana Patha 14 1 : Ramanujan, A. Introduction to Speaking Of Siva. England: Penguin Books. Shivaprakash, H.

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The Vachanas of Akkamahadevi

November RSS Feed. Akka mahAdeviyavara vachana. Collections of Akka Mahadevi Vachanagalu in Kannada Not internet required, one time download and use. Within the Kannada literary tradition during the 12th century sharana movement. Each had their own language of intimation while reflecting on the social.

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Akkamahadevi Vachanas In Kannada Pdf

Her extant poems a form of spontaneous mystical poems , and the two short writings called Mantrogopya and the Yogangatrividhi are considered her most notable contribution to. She composed relatively fewer poems than other saints of the movement. Yet the term Akka "elder Sister" , which is an honorific given to her by great Veerashaiva saints such as A big at all, Siddharama and Allamaprabhu is an indication of her contribution to the spiritual discussions held at the "Anubhava Mantapa". She is in hindsight seen as an inspirational woman for and the history of Karnataka.


Akka Mahadevi

The term Akka "elder Sister" is an honorific given to her by great Lingayat saints such as Basavanna , Siddharama and Allamaprabhu and an indication of her high place in the spiritual discussions held at the "Anubhava Mantapa" [ citation needed ]. She is seen as an inspirational woman in Kannada literature and in the history of Karnataka. She considered the god Shiva 'Chenna Mallikarjuna' as her husband, traditionally understood as the 'madhura bhava' or 'madhurya' form of devotion. Akka Mahadevi was born in Udutadi , near Shivamogga in the Indian state of Karnataka [4] around One of her lyrics, for instance, appears to record her experiences of leaving her place of her birth and family in order to pursue Para Shiva. Tharu and Lalita also document a popular claim that a local Jain king named Kaushika sought to marry her, but that she rejected him, choosing instead to fulfil the claims of devotion to the deity Para Shiva.



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