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Life Story Of Akkamahadevi

Akkamahadevi is a woman mystic of Karnataka of the Veerashaiva tradition. She lived around 1160 CE and was rebel in many ways. Her life was marked by a continuous struggle for the rights of women. Here is the life story of Akkamahadevi.

Akkamahadevi Family

Akkamahadevi was born in Udutadi near Balligave of Shimoga district to Sumathi and Nirmala.

Akkamahadevi Marriage

When she came of age, she was so beautiful that the ruler of the area, Kaushika, wanted to marry her. But Akkamahadevi was not inclined to worldly pleasures. Though she initially resisted, her parents prevailed upon her to yield to the wishes of the king. She agreed but on the condition that she would leave him the moment he became an obstacle to her on her way to god realization. Soon after her marriage, she got disenchanted with the life in the palace. She left it and went to Kalyana in search of Chenna Mallikarjuna (Shiva), her spiritual husband. She participated in the seminars held at Anubhava Mantapa, a religious center, organized by Basava and other Virashaivas. She is said to have merged with Chenna Mallikarjuna at Srisailam.

Akkamamahadevi’s 355 vachanas (composition) give an insight into her spiritual aspirations. The vachanas are imaginative and studded with similes and metaphors. She says that those who are after worldly pleasures cannot have a spiritual goal. They should come out of the bondage of maya (a mere construct or illusion). Akkamhadevi’s message to women is that they should sanctify their lives through spiritual pursuits.

A popular vachana composed by her says – having built his house on the mountain, what sort of man is he who is afraid of wild beasts and trees? Since we are born in this world, we must not be afraid of its praise or blame but abstain from passion and rest unperturbed.

Akkamahadevi has enriched Kannada literature with her contributions such as Yogangartividhi, Mantragopya, Srishtivacanas and so on. The Vacanas composed by her have greatly influenced later composers.

Mahadsviyakkanaragale (Harihara), Panditaradhyacaritre (Palkurike Somanatha), Prabhulingalile (Chamarasa), Prabhudsvara Purana (Yelandur Harisvara), Chennabasava-Purana (Virupaksha Pandita) and Mahadevi-yakkana Sangitya (Rachakavi) are some of the literary works in which the divine personality and life of Akkamahadevi have been portrayed vividly. Akkamahadevi’s role as a Virashaiva mystic, composer of Vacanas and above all her influence on later women mystics are part of the cultural history of the 12th century Karnataka.