The Vachanas of Akkamahadevi

in Module
Published on: 25 October 2018

Varsha Nair

Varsha is a student of Political Science, having completed her Master’s from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her interests lie in the intersections of culture, religion and politics.

Akkamahadevi, the 12th century saint poet, was part of the Shaiva bhakti sharana movement that marked a significant shift both in terms of the literary transformations it unfolded as well as the socio-political upheavals it caused within the Kannada region. Vachanas, a genre of free verse poems or sayings, singularly reflect the peculiarity of the sharana’s bhakti. It is here that we locate Akkamahadevi and attempt to interpret her poetic philosophy, bursting with metaphors and intensely dialogic, expressing her commitment to union with the divine, which continues to inspire seekers even today.