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Sivavakkiyar – Short Biography – Important Teachings – Against Temple Worship

Sivavakkiyar was a siddhar (perfect being) in the Saiva Siddhanta tradition. Sivavakkiar probably belonged to a period to the 10th century CE.

A careful study of 500-odd verses attributed to Sivavakkiyar clearly shows that he condemned idol worship and repudiated the authority of Vedas and Agamas. He was a staunch devotee of Shiva and was equally devoted to Rama.

Like other ‘perfect’ saints, ‘Sivavakkiyar emphasized that Shiva, though all-pervasive, lays hidden in everyone; and one must practice sense-control, mental discipline and Yoga to attain Ishwara.

One of his oft-quoted verses was why should a person go round a piece of installed stone, offer flowers as though it were God with the murmur of a mantra – Can the installed stone speak when the prime Lord is within? Can a vessel containing cooked vegetables know their taste?

Sivavakkiyar expresses his aversion to temple worship at many places and shows his anger over caste distinctions, as God dwells in every individual equally and impartially. He explicitly points out the negative impact of sex on one’s spiritual life. Sublimation of sex is a pre-condition for God-realization.

On the whole, Sivavakkiyar’s pronouncements are direct, lucid, forcible and brilliant, and embellished with analogies.