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Aavudai Akkaal

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இந்தப் பக்கத்தை தமிழில் வாசிக்க: ஆவுடை அக்காள்

Aavudai Akkaal (Shenkottai Aavudai Akkaal) was a Tamil poet who belonged to the 17th or 18th century. The complete collection of Aavudai Akkaal's poems was compiled into a volume called Shenkottai Sri Aavudai Akkaal (Bhakti, Yoga, Jnana Vedanta Samarasa) Paadal Thirattu, brought out by Sri Ananda Niketan, Sri Jnanananda Tapovanam in 2002. Her poems are part of her journey towards an Advaitic, Vedantic realization. In the dedication section of this volume, Nithyananda Giri Swami of Sri Jnanananda Nikatanam says that Aavudai Akkaal is one of the most revered female mystics of Tamil Nadu, and that she was born 350 years ago in a Brahmin family in Shenkottai taluk, Tirunelveli district.

Personal Life

Aavudai Akkaal was born into a prosperous family in Shengottai. Akkaal's marriage was performed when she was very young. She became a widow even before she came of age. Subsequently, she received mantra initiation from Thiruvisainallur Sri Venkatesa Ayya, as well as initiation into Vedantic knowledge. Many accounts of Aavudai Akkaal's life are extant. Writer Nanjil Naadan who studied the many available accounts of her life says that she was considered to be enlightened, with unitive understanding, lost in the bliss of her knowledge, and celebrated by the scholars and laypeople alike.

She was born into a Brahmin family, and after widowhood, received a spiritual education and became a mystic. As a result she was ostracized by the people of her caste.


It is not possible to accurate decipher Aavudai Akkaal's time period. Different sources provide different accounts of her birth and death years, spanning a range from the 17th century to the 19th century.

A small book of Aavudai Akkaal's poems called 'Brahma Megam' published in 1910, sets Aavudai Akkaal's birth a hundred years prior its publication.

In the dedication section of a collection of Aavudai Akkaal's poems, Shenkottai Sri Aavudai Akkaal Paadal Thirattu, Nithyananda Giri Swami of Sri Jnanananda Nikatanam writes that she was born 350 years ago. According to Aykudi Venkatarama Sastri, Aavudai Akkaal was born 460 years before our time.

Literary Life

Aavudai Akkaal's poems were initially published as small collections, published from time to time. It was Aykudi Venkatarama Sastrigal who collected all those poems and published them in a single collection.

Mrs. Gomathi Rajangam, a writer on spirituality, lived at the Sringeri Matam in Kasi for many years. She has done extensive research on Akkaal's songs and their background. "For widows of those days, Akkaal's songs were a great source of succour," she writes. "After the mid-day meal, about ten widows would get together and recite Aavudai Akkaal's poems. It comforted them through their hardships"

Further, she writes, "Subramania Bharathi was very fond of Akkaal's poems. It appears that he tried to gather some information about Aavudai Akkaal and chart her life. Many of Bharati's Vedantic poems are influenced by Akkaal's works. Bharati was my mother's sister's husband, so in my youth, I had the good fortune of getting some of these details from her," said Gomathi Rajangam.

Aavudai Akkaal's poems were sung by Brahmin women of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts during festivals, weddings and other auspicious occasions.


Shenkottai Sri Aavudai Akkaal Paadal Thirattu - (Sri Ananda Niketan, Sri Jnanananda Tapovanam - 2002)

Literary Contributions

Sri Sivanada Swami of Rishikesh writes about Aavudai Akkaal in his book Mahatmakkalin Charithiram thus: "The spiritual truths expressed in the Upanishads are the constant undercurrent of her poems"

Aavudai Akkaal is considered a predecessor of Subramania Bharati. Many of Bharati's Vedantic poems have the same template as Avudai Akkal's poems.


On an Aadi Amavasai day, Aavudai Akkaal went to bathe in the waterfall at Kutralam. She bathed under its waters, singing verses from Thirikooda Rasappa Kavirayar's Kutrala Kuravanji that extolls the beauty of the mountains of Kutralam.

She then emerged from her bath and climbed up the hill into the Podhigai hills, never to be seen again.


Nanjil Naadan's essay in Solvanam about Aavudai Akkaal [Tamil]

Kumaran Krishnan's essay about 'Sri Aavudai Akkaal Paadal Thirattu' [Tamil]

Other Links

Tamil Archives - Senkottai Sri Aavudai Akkaal Paadal Thirattu [e-book [Tamil]] ‎

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