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Speaking of Siva is a selection of vacanas or free-verse sayings from the Virasaiva religious movement, dedicated to Siva as the supreme god. Written by four major saints, the greatest exponents of this poetic form, between the tenth and twelfth centuries, they are passionate lyrical expressions of the search for an unpredictable and spontaneous spiritual vision of 'now'. Here, yogic and tantric symbols, riddles and enigmas subvert the language of ordinary experience, as references to night and day, sex and family relationships take on new mystical meanings. These intense poems of personal devotion to a single deity also question traditional belief systems, customs, superstitions, image worship and even moral strictures, in verse that speaks to all men and women regardless of class and caste.
Speaking of SivaTranslator's Note
Further Readings in English
Appendix I. The Six-Phase System
Appendix II. On Lingayat Culture
by William McCormack
Notes to the Poems