Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Āḻvār

  • Suganya Anandakichenin
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_115-1

Synonyms

Azhwar

Definition

The Āḻvārs are Vaiṣṇava saint-poets (ca. 6th to 10th c.), who, along with their Śaiva counterparts, the Nāyaṉmārs, spearheaded the bhakti movement in South India and beyond, through their work, now known as Nālāyirativiyappirapantam (also known as the Nālāyira Divya Prabandham, “the 4000 divine compositions”) [1]. They are 12 in number (Poykaiyāḻvār, Pūtattāḻvār, Pēyāḻvār, Tirumaḻicai, Kulaśekhara, Periyāḻvār, Āṇṭāḷ, Toṇṭaraṭippoṭi, Tiruppāṇ, Nammāḻvār, Madhurakavi, and Tirumaṅkai), and they composed deeply emotional poetry in Tamil on the god whose Sanskrit names are Viṣṇu and Nārāyaṇa.

Tamil Vaiṣṇava bhakti

Viṣṇu and His incarnations like Kṛṣṇa and Rāma were known to pre-bhakti texts in Tamil, both to the secular classical poetry (1st c.–7th c. CE), known as Caṅkam poetry, and to the Paripāṭal(5th–6th c. CE), a poem that contains some of the oldest hymns in Tamil, with six extant songs dedicated to Tirumāl (Viṣṇu/Kṛṣṇa). Nevertheless, it was the poets who...

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References

  1. 1.
    (2005) Nālāyirattivviyappirapantam. In: Srivatsan (ed) Nalayira Divya Prabandham, vol 2. The Little Flower Company (LIFCO), ChennaiGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Palaniappan S (2004) Āḻvār or Nāyaṉār. The role of sound variation, hypercorrection and folk etymology in interpreting the nature of Vaiṣṇava saint-poets. South-Indian Horizons. Felicitation Volume for François Gros. Ed. Jean-Luc Chevillard, Wilden, Eva and Murugayan, A. Publications du Département d’Indologie 94. IFP-EFEO, PondichéryGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hardy F (2001[1983]) Viraha-bhakti: the early history of Kṛṣṇa devotion in South India. Oxford University Press, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
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    Sastri KAN (2006[1955]) A history of South India – from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Narayanan V (1994) The vernacular Veda: revelation, recitation, and ritual. The University of South Carolina Press, ColumbiaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netamil ProjectÉcole française d’Extrême-OrientPondicherryIndia