Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thom Brooks on "In Search of Shiva: Mahadeviyakka's Virasaivism"

Thom Brooks, "In Search of Shiva: Mahadeviyakka's Virasaivism," Asian Philosophy 12(1) (2002): 21-34. (subscription-only)


Mahadeviyakka was a radical 12th century Karnataka saint of whom surprisingly little has been written. Considered the most poetic of the Virásaivas, her vacanas are characterized by their desperate searching for Shiva. I attempt to convey Mahadevi's epistemology and its struggle to 'know' Shiva, necessitating a lifetime of searching for him; offer an interpretation of the innate presence of Shiva in the world and its consequences for epistemology; and explore the sense of tragic love inherent in devotional searching for Shiva. My primary goal is to offer a powerful and positive, yet critical, interpretation of Mahadevi's beautiful prose on her relationship with Shiva.

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