About the Book: Songs for Siva: Vacanas of Akka Mahadevi
' Vinaya Chaitanya shows an acute awareness of textual issues that never bothered earlier translators. —From the foreword by H.S. Shivaprakash 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 villages version of Siva. She was forced to marry her regions 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 ones word demonstrate both her radical devotion to Siva and the radical commitment to equality her Virasaiva poetry embodied.
About the Author: Vinaya Chaitanya
Vinaya Chaitanya was born in Muvattupuzha the place of the three rivers in the foothills of the Western Ghats, before the invasion of rubber plantations, in 1952. He met and was accepted as a disciple by Dr Nataraja Guru (18951973), disciple and successor of Narayana Guru, the philosopher-poet of Kerala.He studied under Nataraja Guru in the gurukula, a worldwide contemplative community open to all. While serving his guru as head of the Narayana Gurukula Institute of Aesthetic Values in rural Bangalore for forty years, Vinaya was fortunate to learn Kannada from minstrels who introduced him to the vacana, kirtanas and tatva forms of mystical poetry.
Vinaya has published books in Malayalam, Kannada and English. He now continues the wisdom-sharing tradition of the gurukula without institutional affiliation, treating the whole world as his gurukula (family of the guru).