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Prabhulingaleele – Kannada Poetical Composition On The Life Of Allama Prabhu

Prabhulingaleele is a Kannada poetical composition and the work deals with the life of Allama Prabhu, a Virashaiva mystic poet and spiritual leader. It has 25 chapters (gatis), comprising 1,111 stanzas set to bhamini satpadi meter (a six-lined metrical form) that was very popular in medieval Kannada literature. It was composed by Chamarasa (1430 CE), who lived in the kingdom of Vijayanagar.

The hero of Prabhulingaleele is Allama Prabhu. The work is simple, lucid and direct. It can be considered as a representative of suggestive poetry. The characters of this poetry are love, virtue and uprightness. Allama is considered an incarnation of Shiva, as he is devoid of maya or avidya. Infatuation with worldly pleasures is maya.

The story moves in three phases, namely, the unsuccessful attempt made by Maya, the princess of Bnavavasi, to get Allama Prabhu as her husband; the narration of Allama’s journey towards Kalyana, enlightening the devotees on the way through his teachings to attain salvation; and finally guiding Basava and other devotees.

Prabhulingaleele portrays Allama as an embodiment of selfless devotion, peace and perseverance in a fascinating manner, embellished with poetical sentiments. He rarely deals with dry philosophical teachings. The greatness of nobility of Allama’s disciples are very well brought out.

The work is anecdotal rather than descriptive, laced with the usual figures of speech. The language used by the poet is so simple that it is easy to comprehend. The work has been rendered into other languages, such as Telugu, Tamil, Sanskrit and Marathi. Its Tamil rendering by Turaimangalam Shivaprakasha swami (17th century CE) is famous.

There are some other works on Allama Prabhu. These include Prabhudevara Ragale of Harihara, Sunyasampadane, a collection of vacanas taken from different authors; and Prabhudevara Purana of Yelanduru Harisvara. Prabhudevara Ragale describes Allama as a spiritual leader whose aim in life was to reach the goal of self-reliance. This poem describes Allama not only as a seer who had emancipated himself from worldly desires, but also as a great spiritual preceptor.