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Muktaayakka (ಮುಕ್ತಾಯಕ್ಕ)

Full Name: Muktaayakka
Pen Name (Vachana Signature): Ajaganna Thande

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Do not speak bad words;
do not do bad deeds.
How does it matter whether you speak or you are silent?
If you can keep your vow
that is a great act of wisdom
I say, Ajaganna.
[Vachana No.1329] [1]

Muktaayakka occupies a very high position as a mystic. She was from Lakkundi and her husband was from Maslikallu. Ajaganna was her brother and guru. She was steeped in sorrow at the time ofAjaganna’s death and Ailamaprabhu consoled her by opening her eyes to reality as we know from Shoonya Sampaadane. 32 of her vachanas with the signature Ajaganna Thande are available. These appear to be elegies for her brother and also her spiritual outpourings.

Putting knowledge into the jaws
this mortal world is chewing it away.
Not knowing how to retain knowledge
The whole world is lost.
How can I live, brother?
For, I am a sceptic
who sees both darkness and light.
Your yoga showed me the mirror
blindfolding me, o Ajaganna.
[Vachana No.1324] [1]

Like fragrance hidden in the wind,
like fire hidden in the sun,
like the sixteen kinds of charm hidden in the moon,
like air hidden in sound,
like the dazzling radiance hidden in thunderbolt,
should be Yoga, like my father Ajaganna.
[Vachana No.1325] [1]

Muktayakka in her eminence as a great mystic Vachana writer comes next to Mahādeviyakka. Like Mahādeviyakka, she too possessed unparalleled intelligence as well as spiritual enlightenment which enabled her to cross swords with a mighty mystic personality like Allamaprabhu. She commands respect from the greatest of the great Sharanas. Basavanna, Chennabasavanna, Allamaprabhu and Siddharama and all others praise her wholeheartedly.

Muktayakka is Ajaganna's younger sister. Ajaganna was a great seeker who practiced Trataka (Shiva) yoga to such an extent that his life itself was a quintessence of Trataka Yoga. To Muktāyakka, he was not merely a big brother but also a great Guru. They hailed from Lakkundi in Gadag Taluka of Gadag district (former Dharwad district). Born in an agricultural family, both brother and sister rose to the pinnacle of spiritual attainment. Both wrote vachanas. Unfortunately, Ajaganna's vachanas are lost, but we hear of his greatness as a vachana writer from no less a person than Chennabasavanna. His praise shows that he was among the best few vachana writers, for he places Ajaganna's vachanas above Allamaprabhu's vachanas which are rated highest by saying that ten vachanas of Allamaprabhu are equal to the five of Ajagama's. Ajaganna lived a simple life – doing agriculture during day and practicing Trataka Yoga at night. He practiced Trataka Yoga in secret. Holding the Istalińga in his throat as he did, he was bound to silence. He took up the vow of silence because true knowledge lies beyond the reach of words. The Istalińga, for him, embodied the Divine knowledge, a precious gem, as effulgent as the gem hid in the hood of a snake. After the death of their parents Ajaganna looked after his sister as a father would look after his daughter. By his example Ajaganna groomed Muktayakka into a mystic, and thus became her spiritual mentor. After the marriage, Muktayakka went to Mosalekal, her husband's place. After his sister's departure, Ajaganna attained Mantrakaya (ಮಂತ್ರಕಾಯ).

Ajaganna's leaving the mortal body was a sheer accident. One day he knocked his head against the head-plank of the main door of his house, while entering it with a bundle of hay over his head. Since his head hit the plank hard, he sustained fatal injury. Out of pain he said, ‘O lord Shiva', and instantly he breathed his last, with his vow of silence being broken. Since Muktāyakka's inner self was in communion with her brother's, her heartfelt a sudden shock at the passing away of his brother. Then she rushed back to Lakkundi. Ajaganna's death was a double loss to her - the loss of a father-like brother and a brother-like Guru. She was amused at her brother's Trataka Yoga. She was at the cross-roads and did not know which way to turn. Leaning over the head of Ajaganna laid in her lap, Muktayakka lamented so loudly that her cry resounded in the oppressive silence. Her sorrow enough to melt a stone took the form of vachanas which are rated very high. Her weeping like a witless fool did not befit her al all. It brought forth severe criticism from her contemporaries, like Satyakka who disapproved of her weeping:
- “Why sing away the pain that could be wept away?" [svs, vol. v. v. 977]

Muktāyakka does not measure up to Satyakka's height but this does not diminish her achievements in any way. Considering the double loss she had suffered at one stroke of fate, her lamentation looks natural. She was awfully depressed caught up as she was in the polarity of light and darkness. At this juncture of mental derailment, she runs into Allamaprabhu, whose wanderings from place to place, brought him to her place. The meeting of Muktāyakka and Allamaprabhu is one of the rarest moments ever experienced by great mystics. She was caught up in a web of errors:

1) That physical form is real;
2) That without the physical presence of a Guru, the divine goal is unattainable;
3) That the silence-bound state of Ajaganna is the Supreme State;
4) That the highest knowledge is inexpressible.

A heated debate ensues and a fierce battle of wits takes place thereafter.

None but the mystics of Akkamahādevi and Muktayakka's caliber could argue with Allamaprabhu and win over his heart. None but Muktayakka's courage of conviction alone could charge Allamaprabhu vehemently and ask him bluntly at one stage of the debate:

You are not yet free from the need of words,
How then do you preach others what they should do?
You are not free from the body's needs
Why this mystic discourse with my brother?
Unless one becomes that,
How can one tell others about that?
If my Ajagana can manifest his knowledge
He does it without expressing it, mark.
[svs, vol. V, V.877]

Her language too is blunt, perhaps. She tells Allamaprabhu point blank: “A Sharana with no Karma speaks through silence. Since you speak about it, you lack personal experience". We witness at the meeting of Muktāyakka and Allamaprabhu the clash of two great mystic personalities out of which issues the quintessence of Advaita philosophy expressed in the choicest of words.

Unlike Akkamahādevi, Muktāyakkadoes not go to Kalyāna to seek the grace of and communion with great Sharanas. But Allamaprabhu the greatest of the great Sharanas himself goes to her, like the mountain going to Mohammad as it were, and tears off the film of illusion still bedimming her vision. Certainly, she belongs to the group of rare women mystics who blazed the trail.

References

[1] "VACHANA" English Version Translation by: O.L. Nagabhushana Swamy, ISBN: 978-93-81457-12-2, 2012, Pub: Basava Samithi, Basava Bhavana Benguluru 560001.

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