Hailed as an early feminist literary voice. Akka Mahadevi was born in the twelfth century in the southwest Indian province of Karnatka. As a child she was initiated into the worship of Channamallikarjuna (translated here as "jasmine-tender"), her village's version of Siva. She was forced to marry her region's rule, but, because she had become so ardently devoted to the god, she let 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 radical commitment to equality her Virasaiva poetry embodied.