This is a set of well-rendered translations from medieval Kannada devotional poetry (vacanas); at another level it is a tour-de-force presenting the Virashaiva reform movement; it is many of these "little" reform movements that constitute the religious practice of most Hindus today, rather than the Sanskrit texts.
The ‘vacanas’ or free-verse lyrics written by four major saints of the great ‘bhakti’ protestant movement. They mirror the urge to bypass tradition and ritual, to concentrate on the subject rather than the object of worship, and to express kinship with all living things in moving terms. Passionate, personal, fiercely monotheistic, these free verses possess an appeal, which is timeless and universal.
The Virashaiva was an 11th c. bhakti cult from Karnataka inspired by movements in Tamil regions such as Ramanuja's saranagati (surrender) and the vaisnavism of the sudra saint Nammalvar.
- Ramanujan, A. K.
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