Sharanas: Allama Prabhu

Allama Prabhu was a native of Balligave, Shikaripura Thaluk, in Shivamogga District. He played drums in the Madhukeshwara temple. He was given the title Mayakolahala, for winning over Maya (illusions).

Allama Prabhu’s Guru was Animisha. He met his Guru in an unusual way. While walking, Allama saw a shining object on top of a mound. Being curious, he went near to examine the object. During his examination, he began to dig the mound with his fingers. It led to a hole which he peeked into, and saw Animisha in a trance with his Istalinga on his palm. Animisha’s eyes were unflinchingly staring at the Istalinga. Allama picked the Istalinga from the hands of Animisha upon which he was immediately transformed into an Anubhaavi, a person with experience and knowledge.

Allama’s vachanas end with “Guheshwara”. This is his way of giving respect to his Guru, whom he found in a cave. Only 1643 of his vachanas have been found, some of which are in the form of riddles. Among the many books written on Allama, Prabhudevara Ragale, Prabhulinga Leele, and Prabhudevara Purana are the important ones.

Aside from spending much time in Kalyana, Allama traveled all over India demonstrating the path to salvation to many sharanas. Among them were Goggaiah, Siddarama of Sonnalige, Mukthayakka, and Gorakshaka:

Goggaiah, a farmer, was very much involved in gardening but forgot the path to salvation. Allama cleverly instructed him in the path of salvation, and to follow Shivayoga.

  • Made body a garden, mind a spade
  • Removed by digging the roots of illusion
  • Broke the heap of mud named samsara
  • And sowed the seed
  • The world is a well, and the sky a pulley
  • Brought water and made it flow
  • Five Basavas made it fertile
  • With equality and tolerance built a fence
  • Watched every minute that garden
  • Guarded the plant
  • Guheshwara.

In this vachana, Allama likens his body to a garden for which he has controlled his wandering mind and made it a spade to dig the proverbial garden. He broke away from all desires to guard his plants. The plant is the recognition of the Lord on the premise that it is easy to grow outside. He has accomplished the growth of devotional seed inside his body in the middle of illusions and bodily desires. This message for Goggaiah turned his attention towards God.

Allama, on his way to Kalyana, stoped at Sonnalige. Siddarama, a Karmayogi, was involved in constructing lakes, temples and other public works for the benefit of the people. Siddarama was so much involved in public works he had developed a kind of pride. To change Siddarama to a Shivayogi, Allama instructed Siddarama to accompany him to Kalyana to witness the works of Basava and the other sharanas. When sharanas objected the entrance of Siddarama to Anubhavamantapa without Istalinga, they debated the need for an Istalinga. Siddarama accepted his Istalinga from Chennabasavanna. This was the first step in making Siddarama to a Shivayogi.

On the way to Kalyana, Allama and Siddarama made a stop at Mukthayakka’s house. Mukthayakka was in grief over the death of her Guru, Ajaganna, who was also her brother. Allama not only consoled Mukthayakka, he also showed her the path for her continued practice of Shivayoga.

Gorakshaka was an accomplished person. Through his accomplishments, he had made his body as strong as steel. When Gorakshaka met Allama, he gave a sword and asked to strike him. When Allama struck the body of Gorakshaka, the sword sounded but failed to pierce his body. Then, Allama asked Gorakshaka to strike his body with the sword. Gorakshaka swung the sword towards Allama, and to his surprise, the sword went through Allamas body, as though he was swinging in thin air without any visible harm to Allama. Gorakshaka was amazed of Allamas accomplishments, and sought instructions for performing Shivayoga.

In one instance, Allama said that people perform mountains of work to seek a minute of pleasures. His message is: Instead of seeking God after death, it is better to be with Him while living. This can be accomplished by walking through the steps laid down by the sharanas.

Cited from: Divine Guides by Guru S. Bale, 2003, Sid-Asha publishing Company