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Urilingapeddi Vachana Poet – Life Story – Miracles – Compositions

Urilingapeddi (1180 CE) was a vachana poet of the 12th century CE in Kannada literature. He was a disciple of Urilingadeva, a well known sarana and vachana poet. Probably, he originally belonged to Andhra Pradesh, because the suffix in his name, ‘peddi’, means an elder or respectable person in Telugu. The village of Nandavadagi in Bijapur district in Karnataka has the Samadhi places of Urilinga Peddi and Urilingadeva, and there is also a tank with huge boulders in it. The ruler of the place is said to have got the tank constructed with the help of Urilingapeddi.

Legend states that his earlier name was Peddanna or Peddayya, and he was a thief. One day, he entered the Urilinga Deva Matha when the guru was initiating his disciple, Surayya, in the Lingayat tradition. And, as Peddanna watched the ceremony through a window from an angle, he forgot the purpose for which he had come – to cut and steal. He repented his past and wanted to get initiated himself. To win over the guru, he started bringing firewood to the matha without accepting any price. One day he prostrated before the guru and requested Shiva Deeksha. After learning about the antecedents of Peddi, Urilinga Deva, the guru, flatly refused to initiate him. Peddi persisted with his request. At one stage, Urilingadeva got annoyed and threw a stone at him, yelling ‘ja dagdica’ (in Marathi meaning ‘get lost, you dirty stone’). Peddanna took his guru’s words as a blessing and kept the stone as a sacred linga to be worshiped. Later, the guru appreciated his disciple’s devotion and accepted him.

According to another legend, King Nanda of Kandhar wanted to construct a big tank, but a stone was obstructing the laborers in their work. Astrologers suggested that the impediment could be got over only by Urilingadeva or his disciple Peddi. Urilingapeddi removed the big stone by merely chanting the name of his guru, and the tank was discovered full. About 294 vachana compositions of Urlingapeddi are available. These have echoes of the Vedas, Upanishads and Agamas.

The compositions of Urlingapeddi put emphasis on the principles and practice of Veerashaiva dharma. He expresses this total devotion to Bhagavan Shiva and his guru. According to him, Shiva governs this universe. It is his guru who enlightens and shows the right path to God-realization. The poet also gives importance to Guru Linga Jangama, the moving Virashaiva mendicants, and stresses that they should be fed properly. He admonishes that the unfit should not be given shivadiksha (initiation). He maintains that it is only the pure and stainless heart that could practice bhakti. In his Vachanas, which go with the signature (ankita) ‘urlingi peddipriya visvesvara’, one sees his scholarship. It is significant that Urilingapeddi was the successor to the seat of his guru, Urilingadeva; at the matha he was probably the first dalit to get an honor of that kind during the 12th century CE.