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TELUGU

Biography of a mystic poet

SAROJINI PREMCHAND

AKKAMAHADEVI: Telugu translation by Rajeswari Diwakarla of G.S.Kapase's Kannada Monograph; Sahitya Akademi, 35, Rabindra Bhavan, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi-110001. Rs. 25.

A SPLENDIDLY written account of Akkamahadevi, a brilliant medieval Kannada poet, rebel and mystic by Kapase offers to the readers besides her life story, insight into her creative output. Vachana as a literary genre flourished and gained popular appeal in the hands of Basava and his contemporaries. Akka enriched it further. It is said that she was the first woman to write Vachanas in Kannada literature.

Apart from the 342 Vachanas and 17 songs, she wrote Yoganga Trividhi, which has 67 Thripadis. Thripadi is similar to Gayatri in metrical form. Srushti Vachanam is another work in which she explains the Saiva theory of creation from void. The spiritual path taken by her is clearly depicted in Yoganga. Though some of her Vachanas are mystical and beyond the grasp of a lay reader, her songs and most of the Vachanas are rich in beautiful imagery and poetic rhythm.

Born in Uduthadi, she was devoted to Siva and betrothed to Chennamallikarjuna, which is the signature of all her poems. In search of her divine lover she wandered alone struggling against nature's furies, wicked men and her own bodily needs.

Her Vachanas abound with metaphors from nature. Rajeswari's translation flows with ease and elegance.

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