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Amuge Raayamma (ಅಮುಗಿ ರಾಯಮ್ಮ)

Full Name: Amuge Raayamma
Alias Name: Varadaniyamma
Pen Name (Vachana Signature): Amugeshwaralinga, Amugeshwara
Kayaka (occuptation): Weaving

What if one is as bare as a donkey, can he relate to Ishtalinga?
What if one is holding an Ishtalinga in his hand, can he become eternal?
When I see the ferocious Aghoris, those fake ascetics burdened with the unreal,
I won’t show my face like the cuckoo in winter,
O Amugeshwara!
[vachana No. 1270] [1]

Amuge Ryamma is Amuge Devayya’s wife. She was also known as Varadaniyamma. Their Kayaka was weaving. Her vachanas are addressed to Amugesvaralinga She is a frank criticizer of hypocritical Jañgamas.

When Amuge Rayamma saw a man, without any sincere belief in the Ishtalinga, walking into the Anubhava Mantapa to receive the Istalinga, she loudly said:

Why hold a mirror to one who has no nose?
Why urge one who has no hands to ride a horse?
Why make one who has no legs to climb a ladder?
O Amugeshwaralinga,
Why Ishtalinga to one who knows no devotion, knowledge and dispassion?
[vachana No. 1286]

Just look at the logical progression of ideas! Just look at the basic truth in her assertions! How simple is her style! How elegant is her logic! How sublime are her thoughts!

Do you need a pole when you’re leaping to the sky?
Do you need the earth when you’re walking above the ground?
Do you need the nod of the vain when you know yourself?
Do you need woman when you are a recluse?
O sharana who knows Amugeshwaralinga,
Do you need to worry about lowly worldlings who flaunt safforn?
[vachana No. 1265] [1]

Amuge Rāyamma native place is Sonnalapura, the present Solāpur in Maharashtra. Being staunch Śhivabhaktas, they pursued the Kayaka of weaving cloth in utter humility. Nobody knew their piety, as their pursuit of Kāyaka and Dāsoha and the Istalińga worship was unostentatious. People thought that they were one among the many common weavers in Sonnalapur. One day siddharāma, who was a worshipper of the Sthavaralińga [Installed Linga], sent some paddy to the couple for pounding, as he did to others of his community, for he had to arrange a feast for the whole town on the occasion of the annual grand feast for Lord Kaplasiddha Mallinath, his family deity. But Amuge Deva, being a worshipper of the Istalińga, refused to do any work assigned to him and his wife, because Siddharāma was till then a Bhavi and did not wear the Istalinga. Siddharāma, who was very popular and powerful as a Saiva, bade Amuge Deva and his wife leave the town instantly. The helpless couple tied all their belongings into three bundles, and left the town carrying one bundle each, and asking Lord Śiva to carry for them the remaining bundle, which Lord Śiva did, disguising Himself as a servant. When Siddharāma came to know his mistake, he felt repentant and went to dissuade the couple from going away. But the couple, refusing to return to Sonnalapur, went to Kalyāna where they spent the rest of their life in the service of Guru, Linga and Jangama, carrying out their Kāyaka of weaving cloth. But after the revolution which resulted in the fall of Kalyāna, Amuge Deva and Rāyamma shifted over to a small village called Pulaje [near Kalyāna] where they breathed their last. Amuge Deva earned the reputation of being a staunch Maheśvara [Nistha Maheśvara]. Being the wife of such a Nistha Maheśvara, Rāyamma too was a staunch Maheśvari. 114 vachanas are attributed to Rāyamma. If to Akkamma, conduct is the life-breath, to Rāyamma consciousness is everything. According to her, consciousness is the ‘be all’ and the ‘end all’. The conscious ones need no Guru, no Linga, no Jangama, and no Prasāda, for consciousness itself is Guru, Linga and Jangama and Prasāda. Unlike Akkamma's, Rāyamma's speech is sword-sharp. She is dauntless. Her courage in challenging Pasupata is unparalleled as it unsettles any strong mind. Here is an independent mind which does not submit to any. She questions:

(i) Why the Istalinga for the one
Who has neither devotion nor knowledge nor non-attachment? [SVS, Vol. V., V. 601]

(ii) Can the young one of a crow ever become a cuckoo?
Can the young one of a goat ever become an elephant?
Can a dog ever become a cub? [SVS, Vol, V., V. 547]

Rāyamma does not endure the sight of the boors who, possessing neither conduct nor consciousness, wander about with the marks of their faith such as sacred ashes and Rudrakshi. She takes those sinners to task who carry the eternal in the form of the Istalinga round their necks. She does not want to show her face to such persons. Her attack on the hypocrites who mutter Mantra thoughtlessly is relentless:

What if they bleat like a horned sheep?
Can they ever become one with Linga?
What if they read crores of books?
Can they ever become virtuous?
What if they beg and eat their food,
Going from house to house?
Can they become great enlightened ones?
What if they read scriptures
Who do not know Amugēšgvara Linga?
They remain ash-smeared
Like a donkey that rolls in ashes. [svs, Vol. V., V. 556]

Rāyamma does not spare the ostentatious persons who make a show of their knowledge, and who in the guise of Lord Siva, go about earning their livelihood. She warns such persons as regard those, who wander from country to country like vagabonds, as Lord Śiva, against the danger of being condemned to hell. Those who disguise themselves as Lord Siva with their heads being clean shaven also go to hell on account of their sinful deeds.

Rayamma is different from other Vachana writers, as she combines in herself mystic vision with scientific outlook. She does not accept the view that Allamaprabhu descended from heaven. She condemns the doctrine of Māyā as baseless. Rāyamma, a mature mystic, has enriched the Kannada language with folk elements of speech. Her Vachanas, some of them, anticipate Sarvajna's triplets in tone, form as well as theme. For example:

If I see any with a shaven head
And a tattered blanket on the body,
I do not believe him,
Nor do I like him.
I blush at the sight of this disguise,
O Amugēśvara! [SVS, Vol. V, V, 592]


[1] "VACHANA" English Version Translation by: O.L. Nagabhushana Swamy, ISBN: 978-93-81457-12-2, 2012, Pub: Basava Samithi, Basava Bhavana Benguluru 560001.
[2] Shivasharaneyaru, by: Shri Somashekhar Munavalli and Shri Siddhayya Puranik, 1994, Pub: Shree Basaveshwara Peetha, Karnataka University Dharwad-580003.
[3] Heaven of Equality, Transalted by: Dr. C. R.Yaravintelimath and Dr. M. M. Kalburgi, 2003, Pub: Shree Basaveshwara Peetha, Karnataka University Dharwad-580003.

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