|About the Book|
This is an English translation of some Kannada bhakti poems composed by four saints of the Virasaiva bhakti movement in the 12th century CE. The samplings are from Basavanna, Allama prabhu, Mahadevi akka and Dasimayya.The Bhakti movement is a monotheistic socio-religious movement that promoted personal faith and devotion. They were opposed to Vedic rituals and caste hierarchy. They emphasised equality of everyone, as opposed to the Vedic religion where women, shudras and outcastes were treated as impure. Virasaiva saints acknowledge Siva as the Supreme Being.The translation is excellent. Ramanujan does his best to retain the meaning and style. The poems themselves are beautiful and filled with passion and devotion. The wit of Basavanna, the allusions and paradoxes of Allama Prabhu and the love and ardour of Mahadevi akka.There are two interesting appendices at the end. One a short one on the Virasaivik theology and philosophy and the other an anthropological article on the contemporary position of the Virasaiva movement as the Lingayat caste. That was written in 1960’s and so is a bit outdated.