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Mahadevi or Akka Mahadevi, sometimes called simply Akka, was born in Udutadi in the Karnataka region of India. At age 10, she was initiated as a devotee of Shiva, the pale-skinned god of destruction and rebirth, lord of yogis and ascetics. She worshiped Shiva in the form of Chennamallikarjuna, which means literally "Mallika's beautiful Arjuna."

It is said that Mahadevi was married by arrangement to Kausika, a local king. There were immediate tensions, however, as Kausika was a Jain, a group that tended to be wealthy and was, as a result, much resented by the rest of the population. Much of Akka's poetry explores the themes of rejecting mortal love in favor of the everlasting, "illicit" love of God, and this seems to be the path she chose as well.

She ran away from her life of luxury to live as a wandering poet-saint, traveling throughout the region and singing praises to her Lord Shiva. A true ascetic, Mahadevi is said to have refused to even wear clothing -- a common practice among male ascetics, but shocking for a woman.

In Kalyana, she met the famous Shaivite saints Basava and Allama Prabhu.

Akka spent the last of her days in the Srisailam area. Tradition says she left the world in her twenties, entering mahasamadhi (final divine union) with a flash of light.

Poems by Akka Mahadevi
Breath for fragrance
He bartered my heart
It was like a stream
Like a silkworm weaving
People, male and female,
Sunlight made visible
Through Thee have I forgotten Thee!
Treasure in the Ground
When I didn't know myself
You are the forest
You can confiscate


Poetry Chaikhana | Akka Mahadevi - Yoga/Hindu/Shaivite(Shiva) - Poetry, Biography, Books

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
o_laila
Oct. 1st, 2015 11:41 pm (UTC)
Never heard of her. I love Poetry Chaikhana.

I love Bhakti.
bobby1933
Oct. 2nd, 2015 02:08 am (UTC)
I had to look up Bhakti :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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