PHILOSOPHY FACULTY SEMINAR PAPER ON AKKA MAHADEVI
TOPIC: AKKA MAHADEVI – MYSTIC OR REBEL?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. Brief Life Sketch of Akka Mahadevi
3. Her Intense Longing for the Lord
4. Her Challenge to God
5. Concept of God according to Akka Mahadevi
6. Splendid Vision of God
7. Last Days of Her Life
8. The Concept of Thrivedhi Philosophy
9. Akka the Source Of Women Emancipation
10. Akka Mahadevi - A Mystic Saint
India has been called the land of saints and sages. Much more this remark is applicable to Karnataka, from which the different currents of philosophy have flowed and flooded the rest of India and the whole world. The great Sri Sankar of monistic fame had his principal Math of Sringeri in Karnataka and began his life’s mission there. Sri Madhvacarya, the campion of Dualisn and Devotion, was entirely the product of this holy soil. Sri Basaveswar was another saint belonging to this eminent group. He is called “Bhakti-Bhandhari”- the treasure devotion – in Kannada. It was he who infused fresh life into veera-shaivism and made it a living faith. His inspiring personality attracted thousands of disciples who spread his new Gospel throughout the length and breadth of Karnataka. In their attempt to interpret the new message of their master to the masses, the eminent disciples of Basava, successfully utilized His Vachanas- a new form of literature in Kannada. These Vachanas are pithy (brief) sayings, brilliant in their directness and simplicity occasionally rising to the sublime grandeur even of the Upanisadic literature. They have brought light and hope to the Kannada masses and made their lives worth – living in all possible ways. Akka Mahadevi is one of the inspired disciples of Basava’s band.
2. BRIEF LIFE SKETCH OF AKKA MAHADEVI
Akka Mahadevi was a prominent figure and Kannada poet of the Veerashaiva Bhakti movement of the 12th century Karnataka. Her Vachanas, a form of didactic poetry are considered her greatest contribution to Kannada Bhakti literature. In all she wrote about 430 Vachanas (another source says 350) which is relatively fewer than that compared to other saints of her time. The term 'Akka' (elder Sister) which is an honorific (title) given to her by great Veerashaiva saints like Basavanna, Chenna Basavanna, Kinnari Bommayya, Siddharama, and Allamaprabhu. Akka Mahadevi was born in a town called ‘Udutadi’ in the centre of Karnataka in a Veera-saiva family. Her parents were the staunch followers of Trividhi philosophy of Guru, Linga and Jangama. She had an inborn devotion for God Siva. At age 10, she was initiated as a devotee of Shiva. She worshiped Shiva, whom she called Chenna Mallikarjuna, (Lord White as jasmine). Right from her childhood unlike other young girls she chose the Beautiful Lord, Pure white as the Jasmine, Chennamallikarjuna, as her playmate. Akka-Mahadevi was very beautiful. Her marvelous charm attracted the then ruling king- Kaushika who happened to be a Jain. Mahadevi agreed to marry Kaushika on three conditions. They are 1.
She should be allowed according to her conveniences to practice the devotion of Lord Shiva, whom she calls Cenna Mallikarjuna. 2.
She should be given freedom to listen and to meditate the life stories and teachings of ‘Siva Sharanas’ – saints of Lord shiva – and the practices of Saivism. 3.
She should be allowed to practice the devotion of Trividhi philosophy –Guru, Linga, and Jangama. However, the male ego in Kaushika made him blind and he forced himself on her. Mahadevi outrightly renounced the marriage, with that she also renounced her parents, luxury, home and everything, considering them as impediments. She went bare to Kalyana where Allama was heading the Anubhavamantapa. Thus Mahadevi by renouncing the marriage with Kaushiaka emerged as the first protagonist of woman liberation. She discarded clothes and other worldly things as the last vestiges of a sansarin...
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