Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Sivavakkiyar 159-160

Vedic priests never ate fish, neither then nor now,
isn’t fish inhabited water what they drink and bathe in?
Vedic priests never ate deer meat, neither then nor now,
isn’t sacred thread worn over deer skin*?

Vedic priests never ate goat meat, neither then nor now,
isn’t goat meat offered in your worship though?
Vedic priests never ate cow meat, neither then nor now,
isn’t cow meat the manure in which vegetables grow.**?

மீனிறைச்சி தின்றதில்லை அன்றுமின்றும் வேதியர்
மீனிருக்கும் நீரலோ மூழ்வதுங் குடிப்பதும்
மானிறைச்சி தின்றதில்லை அன்றுமின்றும் வேதியர்
மானுரித்த தோலலோ மார்புநூல் அணிவதும்.    
ஆட்டிறைச்சி தின்றதில்லை அன்றுமின்றும் வேதியர்
ஆட்டிறைச்சி அல்லவோ யாகம்நீங்கள் ஆற்றலே
மாட்டிறைச்சி தின்றதில்லை அன்றுமின்றும் வேதியர்
மாட்டிறைச்சி அல்லவோ மரக்கறிக் கிடுவது.

Siddhar Sivavakkiyar, dated to around 10th Century CE was one of the leading rebel poets in Tamil literature. Siddhars were iconoclastic rebels whose thoughts were against the organized Vedic religion. In these two verses he mocks the Vedic priests who abhor meat. He says they abhor meat and flesh, but isn’t it part of their daily lives.

Siddhar songs are written in simple words but no commentary is available. So it is up to individuals to interpret it. The words themselves aren’t difficult and are still in use even now.  But interpretation might vary.

*Krishnajina –  deer skin over which sacred thread is worn.
**My interpretation – Dead cows were buried in the farms in which they were raised. Hence they became manure for vegetables that vegetarians eat.

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4 thoughts on “Sivavakkiyar 159-160

  1. Lord Siva is expressly not mentioned here. His name ‘krittivaasan’ means one who wears animal skins is a reference to his wearing elephant skin. That he wears tiger skin is a later and popular modification. Lord Siva wears elephant skin because he killed ‘gajaasuran’.


    • தமிழ் ல நிறைய இடங்கள்ல மானுரி அணிந்தவன்னு இருக்கே. உதாரணமா முதல் திருமுறை 54

      “இடையீர் போகா விளமுலை யாளையோர்
      புடையீ ரேபுள்ளி மானுரி
      உடையீ ரேயும்மை யேத்துது மோத்தூர்ச்
      சடையீ ரேயும தாளே.”


  2. or even that he wears deer skin. He holds a deer ion his hand, he doesn’t skin it.


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