Akka Mahadevi (ಅಕ್ಕ ಮಹಾದೇವಿ) (c.1130–1160) was one of the early female poets of the Kannada literature and a prominent person in the Lingayatism sect of Hinduism in the 12th century. Her 430 extant Vachana poems (a form of spontaneous mystical poems), and the two short writings called Mantrogopya and the Yogangatrividhi are considered her most notable contribution to Kannada literature. She composed fewer poems than other saints of the movement. The term Akka ("elder Sister") is an honorific given to her by great Lingayat saints such as Basavanna, Siddharama and Allamaprabhu and an indication of her high place in the spiritual discussions held at the "Anubhava Mantapa". She is seen as an inspirational woman in Kannada literature and in the history of Karnataka. She considered the god Shiva ('Chenna Mallikarjuna') as her husband, (traditionally understood as the 'madhura bhava' or 'madhurya' form of devotion).
Akka Mahadevi's works, like many other Bhakti movement poets, can be traced through the use of her ankita, or the signature name by which she addressed the figure of her devotion. In Akka Mahadevi's case, she uses the name Chennamallikarjuna to refer to the god Shiva. The name Chennamallikarjuna can be variously translated, but the most well-known translation is by the scholar and linguist A.K. Ramanujan, who interprets it as 'Lord, white as jasmine'. A more literal translationn would be 'Mallika's beautiful Arjuna', according to Tharu and Lalita.
Based on the use of her ankita, about 350 lyric poems or vachanas are attributed to Akka Mahadevi.Her works frequently use the metaphor of an illicit, or adulterous love to describe her devotion to Chennamallikarjuna (Shiva). The lyrics show Akka Mahadevi actively seeking a relationship with Chennamallikarjuna (Shiva), and touches on themes of abandonment, carnal love and separation.