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Sharana Sati, Linga Pati In a land that always worshipped Power - Shakti as Goddess and still does to date, ironically, women from time immemorial have always had to break, what were considered to be the ‘societal norms of womanhood’ in the struggle to uplift their surroundings or themselves. Women today are better able to fulfil their aspirations but the stars who shone before us and for whom it meant breaking all shackles to achieve excellence in their fields, have catalyzed inspiring paths for the generations next. Akka Mahadevi is one of those luminary stars who stands out as the extraordinary Veerashaiva saintess from the 12th century and reached the highest order of Shiva Sharanas. She is an epitome of ascetic spiritual enlightenment. Her’s is an image of mysticism, austerity, courage, faith and conviction. In her childhood itself she was propelled by strong internal desire to unite with Shiva or Lord Chennamallikarjuna as she addressed her God. She grew up renouncing all material fantasies and her course of emancipation only became more extreme upon a forced marriage to King Kaushika. Defying all bonds including marital, she refused even her clothing and set forth to seek Lord Chennamallikarjuna. Her journey was profound; it was characterized by a spiritual sojourn in Basava Kalyan’s Anubhava Mantap with Allama Prabhu and Basavanna, her poetic compositions of Vachanas that reveal sublime depth and lyrical beauty and, finally her merging with Lord Chennamallikarjuna in the forests of Kadali near Srishailam. In that orthodox era, one can only imagine what stir she must have caused everywhere she went with her passion for uniting with God and her appearance of just long tresses covering her body. Her intense desire and the means to realize God was put to test by Guru Allama Prabhu at the Anubhava Mantapa and she excelled by answering fearlessly and projecting her faith in the Absolute. To all exalted seekers of Anubhava Mantapa, they had experienced through Akka Mahadevi, the dictum ‘Sharana Sati Linga Pati’! Her fervor and devotion for achieving her God Chennamallikarjuna exemplified the divine relationship between a Sharana, considered to be the wife and Linga, her husband. The transcendental association she obtained with Guru Allama Prabhu, Basavanna, Channabasavanna, Siddarameshwara and other great Sharanas in Anubhava Mantapa helped her advance further in her quest for God. To the rest, Akka Mahadevi became a beacon of inspiration and showed how gender does not come in the way of realizing God. In her Vachanas, while the focus remained on uniting with the divine personality Chennamallikarjuna, she also elaborated the esoteric methods of Shivayoga sadhana and how to overcome the hurdles in devotion. Besides Vachanas, Akka Mahadevi wrote some works of which Yoganga Trividhi, Shrstiya Vachana, Akkagala Pithike are popular. Her spiritual progress is said to have followed the six phases 5

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Baandhavya March 2014  

Baandhavya March 2014  

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