Akka Mahadevi (c. 1130–1160) left her parents’ home in South India at an early age on a quest for Lord Shiva. In her travels, she came upon the Anubhava Mantapa, an academy in Karnataka where mystics gathered to debate the nature of God. Here, she encountered some of the greatest spiritual teachers of the time. Recognizing this young mendicant’s elevated inner state, they bestowed on her the deferential title Akka, “elder sister,” which she was known by from then on.
During her short life, Akka Mahadevi wrote some four hundred vachanas, a classical poetic form in the Kannada language, expressing her profound love and devotion for Lord Shiva.
A Poem by Akka Mahadevi