Vachanas of Akkamahadevi

Posted on ಮೇ 8, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Courtesy: Jenny Bhatt

In ‘Vachana’ literature of 12th century in Karnataka ,India ,the saint-poets of Veerashiva tradition ,composed ‘vachanas’ ( speech/ utterence), idiomatic short poems .Devotion in metaphysical way ,social criticism denying discrimination of caste ,profession and gender ,metaphorising  personal experiences ,socializing ecumenicalism -such were some paradigms we find in vachana literature.

Akkamahadevi represents the women community among the vachana poets,both in its content and style.Some of her vachanas translated from Kannada to English are here:

Source Book: ‘The Sign’-Vachanas of 12th Century.

Editor:O.L. Nagabhushana Swamy

Translators:O.L.Nagabhushana Swamy ; Lakmi Chandrashekhar and Vijaya Guttal

Publication: Centre for Translations

Classical Kannada Texts in Translation Series

Kannada University ,Hampi,Karnataka,India

Series Coordinator: Tarakeshwar V.B.

Publisher:Prasaranga,Kannada University ,Hampi, Karnataka,India,2007

Vachanas of Akkamahadevi , quoted  here are  translations  by Laxmi Chandrashekar and Vijaya Guttal.


Listen  sister dear sister

I had a dream

and saw rice

betel nuts

ear studs and coconut

saw a gorava with pearly teeth and matted-red hair

come to the house for alms

went after him when he moved beyond reach

caught him by the hand

seeing Channamallikarjuna  I opened my eyes.


What  if a snake nods in response to the sound of flute

unless it gives up the venom inside

What if a person sings and listens to prayers

unless he gives up the evil inside

Show me Chennamallikarjuna

those who look inward ignoring the outside.


Having built a house on mountain top

can you be scared of wild beasts ?

Having built a house on seashore

can you dread the waves and froth?

Having built a house in th market place

can you fight shy of noice?


being born in this world

when praise and blame follow

shunning anger

one must keep one’s calm

lord Channamallikarjuna.


As the sun is the seed

for the bustle of the world

mind is the seed

for the bustle of the senses.

I’ve only one mind

that caught in you


is there worldly life for me?


Unless in contact

fire is not born

Unless in contact

seed does not sprout

Unless in contact

flower does not bloom.

Unless in contact

happiness does not come.

Lord Channamallikarjuna

being in the contact of your great sharanas

I became supremely happy.


If woman is a woman

there is the  pollution of man

If man is a man

there is the  pollution of woman

Once pollution of mind cured

is there place for

pollution of body?


the world is infatuated by

baseless pollution.


to my supreme lord Channamallikarjuna

the whole world is a woman.



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