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Akka Mahadevi

The great Poetess

Among the well-known  Veerashaiva mystics , Akkamahadevi holds the high place. Mahadevi was her name.  ‘Akka’ in Kannada means elder sister. Her life proves that every women has a right and has all the wherewithal to pursue the life in the exploration of the divine. 

Drawing By Vyomika M

Mahadevi was born in the year 1130 AD in an ordinary lower middle class family at a place called Udutadi , Shivamogga district , Karnataka. Her parents were great devotee of lord Shiva. From her childhood she chose Chennamallikarjuna (the beautiful lord pure white as Jasmine) of Sri Sailam at her playmate and became a staunch devotee of his. She wanted to renounce the world and dedicate her life at the feet of Shiva. 

Mahadevi had long tresses and she looked very beautiful. Koushika, the chief of town decided to marry her. But she not only brushed aside his proposal but also at once renounced the world. She became an ardent disciple of Basaveshwara, the founder of Lingayat cult. The limitations placed on women in the pursuit of spirituality and otherwise were not acceptable to her. 

Akkamahadevi realised very early in her life that outward rituals are not what pleases the lord the most. The framework of Veerashaivism , a reformist movement where rituals are reduced to a minimum made it natural for her to come to this conclusion. She held individual refinement itself was the greatest way to do worship. 

From this time onwards Akkamahadevi started    giving out many of her sayings which have become practically Aphorisms. These are of great practical merit characterised by simplicity of expression and are full of references to the daily cares, turmoil’s and tribulations that beset our lives. Every one of them ends with the word Chennamallikarjuna, the god of her devotion. She is an eminent scholar in Sanskrit and Kannada and her hymns in Kannada on Mallikarjuna Shiva are known as ‘Akkamahadevi Vachanams’. She was also the author of religious works like ‘Yoganga Trividhi’ , ‘Shrishtiya Vachana’ and ‘Akkagala pithikie’. 

It is said that towards the close of her life she leaved in cave in the vicinity of the temple of Chennamallikarjuna in Sri Sailam, her favourite deity and eventually died there in the year 1166 AD

About the Author

Vyomika M

Vyomika is a 7th grader with Acharya Vidya Kula, Mysore. She is an avid reader and her favourite hobby/pass time is writing short stories, singing and sketching

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