Mystics of the Mystics – Tamil Siddhars Poetry

«Education teaches you the clever way to cover the truth and wealth makes you to win until it gets dissolved.»

There is an indisputable value in the poetic contribution by accomplished Masters of Yoga called Siddhars – saintly renounciates who were able to grasp the existence and stayed unaffected by its influence on the mind.

In public they may appear in fierce forms and display antisocial behavior to discourage people from worshipping them. Their main goal in such practices is to curb their egos, avoid public adulation, and cultivate dispassion and humility.

According to various canons there were 18, 64 or 84 Siddhars (Sittar in Tamil language).

Siddha tradition is also common to Jainism and Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism has a Siddha tradition. Some of the Siddhas revered by the tradition bear the same names as the 84 original Siddhas. In Jainism Siddhas are a special class of beings who have attained liberation by freeing themselves totally from Karma and corporeality. They are souls in their purest enlightened form, who live in the highest region of the universe known as the region of the Siddhas (Siddha-sila). From these descriptions it becomes clear that the adept immortal masters of Himalayas (Shambhala) are none other than the Siddha Gurus. They guide the spiritual progress of the world from their secret cove in the mountains and help those who work for their liberation from the cycle of the births and deaths.

Bellow are some of the selected verses from the most prominent Siddhars of Tamil literature.


Not praising the Lord who dances in the hall of Sengadu

He who enticed me with the earth, with gold, with darkness called maya,

I was trapped in the net of those whores who blight with their bewitching eyes

and wandered like a bazaar dog; Oh! My heart!


My mother who bore me had despised me as a “corpse”.

Women who accepted gifts of gold have wailed me to “Go!”.

Sons who acquired everything Followed me behind, circumambulated and broke the funereal pot.

There is no hold to destroy my hold for you.

PATTINATHAR Verse/4 [General]

While the hand does one thing, the eyes seek something else

The mind thinks a thought, the vile tongue tells a lie,

The flesh smelling body leans on something,

the ears listen another sound,

How will you accept my offerings? Oh Lord! Destroyer of Fate.

PATTINATHAR verse/6 [General]

God dwells in the word, at the periphery of the word,

in the shruti of the Vedas, In the gloom, in the immaculate sky, In the house of the wise,

and in the heart of the faithful.

Will He be present in the stone and copper, Our Frontal-eyed* God?

*Reference to Lord Siva’s Third eye.


How many places?

How many houses?

How many mothers? How many Parents?

Called my name to which I responded.

Perpetually teach me the arts Oh! Lord Yegamba*.

Kamba, is it sport for you?

*Lord Siva at Kancheepuram is called as Yegamban.

Pattinathar Verse/20

You tell tongue-splitting lies, quest for the nine kinds of wealth

Enter into union with vile women

Like the winged ants emerging from the ground

You will bear children …

Do not know the way to nurse them. Wont give up.

Like the monkey that put its leg in the split up trunk and loosened the peg You are caught.

You travail. You are caught.


Pursuit for food. The only pursuit.

If it ceases There is pursuit for gold, an endless pursuit.

Pursuit for peacock-like women. Pursuits of all sorts.

What pursuit have you reserved for me, For this forsaken heart?

Oh Lord of Kachchi!


Verbal blemishes, falterings of thought, The damnations born of wicknedness,

the evils of listening to the utterances of unholy tracts–

Forgive all those faults! Lord of Kachchi!

PATTINATHAR Verse/1[General]

When Shiva and his sacred dancing hall were closer

We have searched for the barren hall.

My ignoble heart perpetually searches for the pit of birth.

And my eyes seek the place I suckled.


Slew several creatures.

After slaying, I ate them all. Besides this I committed crimes.

To absolve all this I stood in your sanctum. S

OH! bear with me for my misdeeds since I trust you. Oh! Lord of Kachchi.


Not killing, not eating that is killed,

Not learning deception, backbiting, thievery,

Not befriending the imposters, Not telling lies even in dreams,

Not listening to them,

Not going after the delusion of peacock-like women, Give me wealth.

Oh! Chidambara Desika!


Let the earth be cooled of its glowing embers;

Let the sky cool itself from the smoke;

Let my rare mother repose_ Let Mayan, the architect of the Asuras, rest his hands;

Let my soles cool. Oh! Lord of Thiruvaiyar. A


Aside from nurturing this body,

this nest of worms,

You didn’t praise the Lord, the Immaculate Teacher.

Like the fish that suffered when the flood spread in the woods

You became care-worn. Oh! My Heart!

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Pampatti Siddhar Padalgal song on YouTube

PATTINATHAR Temple song-1

Remember heart! Remember!

Remember Lord Shiva of the hall of reddish gold.

Remember heart! Remember!

Cherish not the false chariot and the whirl wind that is false life on this earth.

Cherish not the body. Those that are born will die, the dead will be born again;

What appeared will disappear, and that which disappeared will reappear;

That which enlarged will shrink, and the shrunk will enlarge;

That which is felt will be forgotten, and the ones that forgotten will be perceived

That which mated will separate, and the separated will mate again.

What is eaten turns to shit, what is worn turns dirty;

What delighted turns disgusting, and the disgusting turns delightful;

All these you realised;

Yet You were born birth after birth: Killed all, and all that were slain slew you.

You ate all, and all that ate you; You bore all and all that bore you;

Cherished everything, and everything cherished you;

Exulted during prosperity, wept in poverty;

Rejoiced pleasure and pain on this vast land;

Experienced not leaving out a single thing;

Despite that You considered the water bubble as a bird’s nest;

This mean retreat as stronger than stone.


This foul smelling body, stuffed food for the fox:

I filled this vessell customarily with rice and curry.

Oh! Lord of Kachcchi!

Grant me mercy to jump over The peacock-like women’s pit of blood and shit.


There is no sampradhaya sans the seed, either above or below.

In what way can the palace sans the architect take shape?

You ignorant! You sell your mother and turn her a slave!

When there is no emancipation there is no life.

Never, never, never.


As mother she nursed me with milk.

She came as the wife and gave pleasure. She turned into an affectionate sister.

Transfigured into a desirable sister-in-law, besides becoming mother-in-law too.

THIRUMOOLAR [Verses from Pattham Thirumurai ] Verse/606

The sounds of the roaring sea, bell, trumpeting of the elephant, flute

The sounds of the cloud, the droning of the beetle, the dragon-fly, the conch,

The sounds of the kettle-drum and the lute All these ten can’t be felt except by the humble.


The Brahmins who wished to listen to Vedanta Didn’t give up their desire even after listening to it.

Vedanta is the place where desire ends.

Those who listen to Vedanta are desire-less.


The young maidens resemble female elephants.

And are like newly sprouted green grass glistening in the rain

Their suitable life settled well, When god-like men arrive,

Gesture to the man who had already made love

To quit.


He ate the perfectly cooked food.

He enjoyed the creeper-like tender woman.

Said: “The chest hurts on the left side”. He stretched his limbs and lay dead.


One Race.One God.

Think of good and there is no death.

There is only one faith you can reach without shame.

Think of this to make your thought of God to survive.


He who is ignorant of sequels hand-pounds the seeds to eat.

The other one, who fries the seeds to eat is not any better.

Among the seed-eaters, there is a different one. He does not pound but sows the seeds to reap the result.


Women become prisons for those who seek them.

The learned are in prisons by their learning.

Those penancing are in prisons because of their penance.

The self-aware who strain to reach Him are in prisons.

All these do not know the nature of the Lord.

All poems are translated by A.Rajaram Brammarajan

You might enjoy reading “The Poets of the Powers: Freedom, Magic, and Renewal” by Kamil V. Zvelebil with selected Tamil Siddha poetry and a beautiful insights on the “twilight” language spoken by the mystics.