Author Topic: Friday Message -- Akka Mahadevi, Karnataka  (Read 3933 times)

ksksat27

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Friday Message -- Akka Mahadevi, Karnataka
« on: June 15, 2012, 10:33:41 AM »
After my body became
Thyself, whom could I serve?
After my mind became
Thyself, whom could I invoke?
After my consciousness was lost in Thee,
Whom could I know?
Being Thyself in Thee,
O Cenna Mallikarjuna Lord,
Through Thee have I forgotten Thee!


Get back, I hate you!
Don't hold my sari, you fool!
A she-buffalo is worried of its life,
And the butcher, of its killing!
The pious think of virtues,
And the wicked, of vices;
I am worried of my soul,
And you, of lust....

Fie on this body!
Why do you damn yourself
In love of it--this pot of excrement,
The vessel of urine, the frame of bones,
This stench of purulence!
Think of Lord



Brief Life sketch:



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. She left the world in her twenties, entering mahasamadhi (final divine union) with a flash of light.




« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 10:39:44 AM by ksksat27 »

Subramanian.R

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Re: Friday Message -- Akka Mahadevi, Karnataka
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 10:53:19 AM »
Dear Krishnan,

Akka Maha Devi or Maha Devi Akka is one of the four pillars of Veera Saiva movement in Karnataka. The movement was started
by Basvanna or Basvarajanna, a brahmin, as a protest against brahmin supremacy. His philosophy is that Siva is the only God
and anyone can pray to Siva with or without body purity, caste or creed. He is Compassion Itself. He formed a small group in
what is called Kudligi in Karnataka where Tungabhadra and Krishna meet and this place was originally called Kudala Sangama.
The Lord there is called Kudala Sangama Deva, the Lord of the meeting rivers. The meditation hall and the temple is called
Basava Kalyan.

Here devotees used to throng and pray to Siva and meditate. The first three to join were Akka Mahadevi, Desi Ramaiah and
Ramanatha.  Today this group has spread to cover almost 25% of Karnataka people. They were not against brahmins but brahminism.
They used to have a small Linga (both men and women) on their chest through a sacred thread and they will do puja for that
Lingam by holding it on the right hand and placing flowers, sandal paste etc., by left hand. These people are pure vegetarians.
They give importance to sat sangh, Sangama they call it. Non injury to animals and birds is also most dear to them.

All the four have written free blank verses, called Vachana Sahitya. They are quite popular. One beautiful English translation
of select verses, has been done by A.K. Ramanujan, late Prof. of comparative religions in University of Chicago. Prof. Hiremath of Karnataka University has done the entire work into English.

Arunachala Siva.
   
       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Friday Message -- Akka Mahadevi, Karnataka
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 11:23:05 AM »
Dear Krishnan,

Maha Devi Akka actually hails from Sri Sailam and came to Basavakalyan to meet her Guru, Basvanna. She always mentions
the Lord of Jasmine Creeper, Channa Mallikarjuna, the Siva of Srisailam in her poems. She is a spinster but mentions in her
poems that she is married just to make fun of mortal men.

Here is a beauty of Akka Mahadevi. (Tr. Prof. A.K. Ramanujan):

I have Maya for mother in law,
   the world for father in law,
   three brothers-in-law, like tigers*    (three gunas)

and the husband's thoughts
  are full of laughing women;
  no god, this man.

And I cannot cross the sister-in-law,

But I will
give this wench the slip
and go cuckold my husband with Hara, my Lord

My mind is my maid;
 by her kindness, I join
 my Lord,

my utterly beautiful Lord
  from the mountain peaks,
  my Lord white as jasmine,
and I will make Him
  my good husband!

Another gem from Mahadevi Akka: (Tr. A.K. RAMANUJAN):

I love the Handsome One;
 he has no death,
 decay nor form
 no place or side
 no end nor birthmarks.
 I love Him O mother listen:

I love the Beautiful One
  with no bond nor fear
   no clan no land
   no landmarks
   for His beauty.

So my Lord, white as Jasmine, is my husband

Take these husbands who die,
 decay, and feed them
 to your kitchen fires!

Arunachala Siva.               

ksksat27

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Re: Friday Message -- Akka Mahadevi, Karnataka
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 11:35:09 AM »
Dear Subramanian sir,

Thats all very interesting information.

Can you kindly search and give me some recommended books on her biography?


Regards,
Krishna

Subramanian.R

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Re: Friday Message -- Akka Mahadevi, Karnataka
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 01:09:53 PM »
Dear Krishnan,

To my knowldege, there are only Kannada biographies on Akka Mahadevi and other Veera Saiva Saints. Only two collections
of poems as I mentioned, have been rendered in English free verses.

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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Re: Friday Message -- Akka Mahadevi, Karnataka
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 01:28:48 PM »
Dear Krishnan,

I tried our.karnataka.com and trueknowledge.com.  The first web tells that there is one biography in English by one
Mahapathi.  Where is it available - I do not know. wikepedia may give some brief details.

Arunachala Siva. 

Jyoti

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Re: Friday Message -- Akka Mahadevi, Karnataka
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 10:01:24 PM »
She worshiped Shiva in the form of Chennamallikarjuna, which means literally "Mallika's beautiful Arjuna."
Doesn't the name rather translate as Lord as white as jasmine?

Subramanian.R

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Re: Friday Message -- Akka Mahadevi, Karnataka
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2012, 11:06:13 AM »
Dear Jyoti,

Yes. It read as - the Lord white as Jasmine. arjuna means a creeper. chenna malli means yellowish white.
Siva is called Chenna Mallikarajuna in Sri Sailam, near which Akka Mahadevi was born and she grew up. She
came to Kudligi, in Karnataka seeking her Guru - Basavanna.   

Arunachala Siva.