Hailed as an early feminist literary voice, Akka Mahadevi was born in twelfth-century Karnataka. As a child she was initiated into the worship of Channamallikarjuna, her village's version of Siva. She was forced to marry her region's ruler, but because she had become so ardently devoted to the god, Akka abandoned her husband and all her possessions and wandered alone - a naked poet-saint covered only by her long hair. Her vacanas, a new populist literary form meaning literally 'to give one's word' - demonstrate both her radical devotion to Siva and the commitment to equality her Virasaiva poetry embodied.
Songs for Siva by Vinaya Chaitanya
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