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Satyakka (ಸತ್ಯಕ್ಕ)

Full Name: SATYAKKA, (Sathyakka)
Pen Name (Vachana Signature): Shambhujakkeshwra
Kāyaka (Occupation): Sweeper, Sweeping the floors/streets of the Sharana’s house/colony

Sharane Satyakka

She is from Hirejamburu near Shiralakoppa of Shivamogga district in Karnataka. Her kāyaka was sweeping the floors of the Sharana’s houses. She used to say, “One should not touch any thing that one has not earned through kāyaka”. She said what she meant; she meant what she said. There was no ambiguity with her. She was regarded as the embodiment of truth. Look at the way she admonished an accomplished Shárane like Muktayakka, who could not control her grief resulting from the loss of her brother-mentor, Ajaganna. Satyakka, Muktayakka’s contemporary Sharane, disapproving of Muktayakka’s attitude says:

“Why does the Bhakta need all this pain and pine?
Why weep away what can be sung away?
Sambhujakkvara’s devotees frown upon
Sister Muktäyakka’s sorrow without an end.”

Since death, according to the Viraaiva philosophy, is a festive occasion to be celebrated in the knowledge that the departed had achieved aikya with Shiva, her contention is that it does not behove a Sharana to mourn death. Satyakka’s contention certainly suggests her spiritual status and accomplishment.

Satyakka was a very versatile vacana-writer. Her simple life style reflected her decency, honesty and integrity. She proudly professed,
“Lord, I swear by your name that
I won’t touch even if a golden-cloth piece tumbles into my lap”

Satyakka of Jambur, who is a sweeper, comes from the lowest of low ranks in society, but both as a devotee and as a vachana writer, she is ranked among the greatest. Her native place is Hirejambur, a village near Sirālakoppa of Shimoga district. Her daily duty was sweeping and keeping clean the courtyards and streets of the Sharanas in Kalyana. She shows her unflinching devotion to Siva, the only god she worships. She swears to worship none but Siva, and to hear no other word but praise of Siva. There goes a popular story which throws light on her adherence to the vow of hearing no other word than Siva. In order to test her strict observance of the vrata, one day Lord Siva, disguising Himself as a beggar, goes to Satyakka and begs of her some alms. When Satyakka puts a handful of rice into the beggar's bag which had a hole deliberately made at the bottom, all the rice falls to the ground. Then the imposter beggar pretends sorrow and says-[Harida hariyind kalu haridu hoytu.]. Satyakka's anger, on hearing the word Hari repeated thrice by the beggar, knows no bounds, and she soon thrashes the beggar with the wooden spoon in her hand. Pleased with her firm faith in her vrata, Lord manifests Himself to Satyakka.

Satyakka was a versatile writer. Her simple style reflected her honesty and integrity. She proudly professed “Lord, I swear by your name that I won't touch even if a piece of golden-cloth falls into my lap "She practiced what she preached.

27 Vachanas are attributed to Satyakka all of which exhibit her single-minded devotion to Lord Siva. The glory of gentle devotees, the thought of husband and wife being one integrated couple, the censure of the hypocritical Guru, Disciple and Jangama’s, the concept of equality between man and woman-are a few important aspects of Satyakka's Vachanas. Satyakka's Vacanankita is Šambhu Jakkēšvara.

Muktäyakka, Ajagama's sister, is held high among the Vachana writers. It requires integrity of character and courage of conviction to criticize the conduct of such an illustrious mystic. But Satyakka had that strength of mind to admonish Muktāyakka when she bemoaned the death of her Guru-like brother as ‘a witless fool’:

Are devotees heirs to afflictions?
Why sing away what could be wept away?
The devotees of Sambhu Jakkesvara
Will not approve this infatuation of Muktāyakka.
[svs, vol. v. v. 977]

Muktāyakka was certainly a mystic of great height; but Satyakka was a cut higher than Muktāyakka.


[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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