Akka Mahadevi, Akka Mahadevi poetry, Yoga / Hindu, Yoga / Hindu poetry, Shaivite (Shiva) poetry,  poetry,  poetry Akka Mahadevi
India (12th Century) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Shaivite (Shiva)

Poems by Akka Mahadevi
Books - Links

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

Poems by Akka Mahadevi

Recommended Books: Akka Mahadevi

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Speaking of Siva The Shambhala Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry Women Writing in India: 600 BC to the Present: Volume 1 Sacred Voices: Essential Women's Voices Through the Ages

Related Links

Akka Mahadevi

Brief bio, bibliography, several poems on-line.

Who is Akka - Dr. R.G. Mathapati

An article exploring the life of Akka Mahadevi and the significance of her poetry.

Lives of Saints - AkkaMahadevi

An excerpt from a talk on the life of Akka Mahadevi.

Akka Mahadevi: The Genuine Mystic

A good biography and several poems.

Women in World History: Bhakti Poets: Mahadevi

A brief note about Akka Mahadevi within the context of women Bhakti poets, along with a couple of poems.

Mahadevi - Poet Seers

A very good biography along with poetry and a few links.
Akka Mahadevi