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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Thom Brooks

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

Author(s) from Durham


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