Siddhar – Sivavakkiyar – 521
Worshiping a put up stone as God, showering it with flowers
and intoning mantras under your breath – what’s the use?
Will the put up stone speak when He is within you?
Will a cooking pot know the taste of food?
நட்டகல்லை தெய்வமென்று நாலுபுட்பஞ் சாத்தியே
சுற்றிவந்து மொணமொணென்று சொல்லும் மந்திரமேதடா
நட்டகல்லும் பேசுமோ நாதனுள் இருக்கையில்
சுட்டசட்டி சட்டுவங் கறிச்சுவை அறியுமோ.
Siddhars were the iconoclasts of Tamil society. They were rebels against organised religion. Siva Vakkiyar of 10th Century is a well known Siddhar amongst them all. In this poems he mocks those who worship idols. “God is inside each one of us. What’s the point in worshipping a stone and going round it intoning mantras?” The last line is what stands out in the poem. “Though tasty food is cooked in a cooking pot, it does not know the taste of that food. So are the idols we worship. They are but stones which we have made into God. The God whom you worship is inside us”
Rightly, the Siddhars were considered heretical by the society. However they are an important strand of Tamil society that accommodated differing view points.