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Kaalavve (ಕಾಳವ್ವೆ)

Full Name: Urilingapeddigala Punyastree Kaalavve
Pen Name (Vachana Signature): Urilingapeddigalarsa


Kalavve was wife of Urilingapeddi who hailed from shudraa community. She was truly dedicated to her kāyaka. She has said:

Those who are without kāyaka are not devotees.
That which is not truthful and pure is not kāyaka.
Desire is the seed of this world,
Lack of desire is liberation
Look avva,
It’s not easy with Urilingapeddigalarasa.

The Sharanas believed that without financial self dependence the fabric of the society would be torn asunder and collapse. Hence, they paid paramount importance to the principle of ‘kāyakave Kailasa’ and hence, they devised the concept of kāyaka to afford everyone an opportunity to contribute to the health of the society according to his/her best ability. This is certainly depicted in the Vachana of Urilinga Kalavve. Her succinct statement, that the prasäd prepared by borrowing from friends and relatives becomes unfit for offering to GOD, clearly suggests her spiritual attainment

To her, a religious vow is not just a vow. It was a sacred, binding covenant. One has to fulfil it at all costs, otherwise no meaning to it. Twelve of her vachanas are currently available. She has made her conviction abundantly clear in her own words: ‘Urilingapeddigaarasa' does not appreciate those who break their vows.” She considers it an unholy act to offer things obtained through false pretense and means. She condemns those who speak ill of other devotees, a virtue we all need to practice in this day and age. She has stated that a person is not a devotee if her/his kāyaka is performed without devotion and purity of heart.

Her main concern, like other women saints, was strict adherence to vow. She slashed boldly at the high caste Brahmins. The Basava movement had reached the lowest of the low. Ka1avve’s defiant attitude is a result of the involvement of the low caste people in the movement which encouraged women and low caste people to join the band of liberators. Her vachana also contain a criticism against caste-hierarchy.

Kālavve is an example of a Sudra woman becoming an enlightened devotee in the company of the cohorts of Sharanas. Kālavve was a Vratasthe, a vow-bound woman. Her Vachanas are very few. But in the context of the socio-religious revolution at Kalyana, they gained immense significance. In one of her Vachanas, she satirizes the hypocrisy of the rich. In another of her Vachanas she uses the metaphor of a faggot and asks: “Is he a Bhakta who burns like the torch of Tubura faggot?” To Kālavve, vow-keeping is obligatory. She regards all the vow-breakers as Bhavis:

When a vow is broken
The Istalinga becomes lack-lustre.
They are worldlings, despite possessing the Linga.
If you ask how:
They are like a body without breath.
Urilingapeddigalarasa knows it
And therefore does not approve it. [svs, Vol. V, V. 659]

Kālavve maintains that conduct is as much important as Linga worship. None can equal Kālavve in staunchness, knowledge, conduct and vow-keeping. The fact that a woman of Kālavve's social order, which was the lowest of the low, was so much conscious of her knowledge, conduct and ultimate realization, is a positive proof that a radical change had come over the low class women as a whole. Kālavve criticizes the unrighteous behavior of the high caste Vipras (Brahmins) and condemns them to arch hell. Above all, Kälavve's belief in vow [Vrata] is unparalleled.

A vow is a crest jewel.
A vow is a previous pearl.
A vow is a life-animating thing.
A vow is all attention.
Urilingapeddigalarasa does not like breach of vow. [SVS. Vol. V. V. 658]

Kālavve's Vachanas exhibit enlightenment, courage, strength of will, indignation coupled with deep devotion these are un-thought of in a woman.


[1] Vachana No.1303 in "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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