ALVAR'S ATTITUDE TO THEIR RELIGIOUS CONDITION




GENERAL RELIGIOUS CONDITION AND THE ATTITUDE OF ĀLVĀRS

Introduction

It is evident from the historical point of view that the Alvars added additional strength to Vaisnavism.  They utilized the principles, ideals and skills of Tamil literature in their struggle against other religions and sects. Vaisnavas considered them as divine descends and attributed supernatural qualities.  The works of the Alvars are treated on par with the Sanskrit scriptures.  The Ācāryas have taken efforts to popularize their works, which are the spontaneous outpouring of their spiritual experience.
As the present author focuses upon the response to religious pluralism in the bhakti tradition of Alvars, it is essential to analyze the general religious situation of the Alvars and their response to other faith traditions.  This is done with direct reference to the works of Alvars.  In other words, this is carried out from the point of textual study.  The works of the twelve Alvars can be analyzed independently in order to read their real motives.  Further, these may be the only available and reliable sources for the purpose of research without any bias.
The thrust of the Alvarswas the supremacy of Tirumāl.  In order to establish the supremacy, they had to confront other religions and sects, which were committed to similar claims. According to S. M. Srinivasa Chari “the main opposition to Vaisnavism as a religious cult, has come from Saivism, Buddhism and Jainism.”[1]  The response of Alvarsto these three faith traditions shall be our focal point of research. To realize this objective, it is essential to understand the religion, philosophy and the religious context of the Alvars.  Further, a study of the context of each Ālvār and his or her attitude to other faiths as reflected in their poems, may be of immense help to analyze the response to religious pluralism in the bhakti tradition of Alvars. 

5.1 Religion

Whether Nālāyiram reflects bhakti or prapatti is a controversial question.  According to J. S. M. Hooper “the Ālvārs in their hymns assume the position of the Gītā with regard to Visnu and Krsna, and in the type of devotion which they represent and stimulate they maintain bhakti as the great way of salvation.”[2]  The other view is that the emphasis was on prapatti.  It is said, “the doctrine of self–surrender though traceable to the Pāñcarātra Āgamas, became popular only through the compositions of the Ālvārs.”[3]  Irrespective of these differing opinions it is commonly accepted that the Alvars were the proponents of prapatti.  This shall be vivid in the discussion on the religiosity of the Alvars.
The religiosity of the Alvars looks quite convenient for any range of people.  One way of practicing religion is to praise God.  According to Poygai Ālvār, God will accept the devotees who utter the names of God and praise him according to the rules of Sāstra.[4]  Pūtattālvār writes, my body rejoices in dancing and praising about you (God).[5]  He also admonishes people to live by praising God.[6]  That is to praise the characters of the Lord.
There is an advice to chant the three divine mantras to worship God.  They are called Rahasya-Traya [the three secrets].  The first one is Tirumantra [the holy mantra] or Mūla-mantra.  That is, chanting ‘aum namo Nārāyanāya’ which means “Aum, reverence to Narayana.”[7]  It is also called the eight-lettered mantra.[8]
The second one is called ‘Divya mantra’ [the double mantra]: Śrīmān - Nārāyana – Caranau Śaranam prapadye, Śrīmate Nārāyanāya namahi.e., ‘I take refuge at the feet of Nārāyana with Śrī; reverence to Nārāyana with Śrī.[9]
The third one is called the ‘Carama Śloka’, which is ‘the last verse of the Bhagavad Gītā, [18:66].  Sarvān dharmān parityajya mām ekam śaranam vraja, aham tvā sarvapāpebhyah moksayīsyāmi mā śucahi.e., “giving up all dharmas take me alone as your refuge; I will free you from all your sins; do not grieve.”[10]  According to Trumalisai, those who did not learn carama śloka were enemies of God.[11]
Chanting the thousand names of the Lord is another way of devotion to God.[12]  Even the very name of the lord has so much of religious significance.[13]  It has to be meditated upon always.[14] It is also instructed that children be named after the names of the Lord.[15] 
One way of approaching the Lord is by offering flowers, garlands and incenses.[16]  Similarly, visiting the various holy places is another way of religious observance.  Every Ālvār prescribes certain holy places.  These are the places, where the deity had given darsan to the devotee or appeared at some point of time.
Service to the deity is another meritorious form of worship to the Lord.  It is done while living here and in the next world.[17]  It is advisable that one always involves in the service of the Lord.[18]  Even heaven (motcham) is considered as service at the pure presence of God.[19]
Another form of worship is the worship of the feet of the Lord.[20]  Those who worship the feet of the Lord would enjoy the heavenly bliss here itself.[21]  Worshipping the devotees, irrespective of the social status is another form of religiosity.[22]  Even applying the dust from the feet of the devotee is a form of worship.[23]  Tirumalisai writes a comprehensive verse about the form of religiosity:
thH@j@Jf tha@; fhz@f fz@; nfl@f brtp; kFlk@
jhH@j@jp tz'@Fkpd@fs@jz@ kyuhy@-NH@e@j
tHh tz if Tg@gp kjpj@J.[24]
Thus, it may be said that the religion of the Alvars was very simple and accessible to people of all walks of life.  It is different from the traditional mechanical, ritualistic and hierarchical religion.  There was no prescribed form.  People could choose whatever was convenient for them. The poems of the Alvars were composed in the common language of the people. Therefore, the Ālvār movement could have easily influenced the common people.

5.2 Philosophy

The works of the Alvarswere not primarily meant for philosophical discourses.  Surendranath Dasgupta writes, “as the hymns of the Ārvārs have only a literary and devotional form, it is difficult to utilize them for philosophical purposes.”[25]  It is further emphasized that, “the poetical compositions of the God–intoxicated Saints comprise mostly devotional songs in praise of the glory of God and do not as such discuss philosophical and theological doctrines in a sequential order.”[26]  It is true that the hymns of the Alvars were not intended for philosophical discourses.  They are exclusive devotional songs in praise of Lord Nārāyana.  At the same time, the Vedantic dictum that the truth is ultimately one, finds expression in the hymns.
The basic philosophical assumption of the hymns of the Alvarsis that the reality is one.[27]  The one reality Visnu has become Brahma, Visnu and Siva.[28]  He is the world, sea, air, ... lives and haughtiness.[29]  He is the water, earth, fire, air and sky.[30]  He has become gods, humans, animals and plants.[31]  He is the five senses and the five elements.[32]
He creates heaven, fire, sea, air, etc.[33] And he is the cause for the creation.[34]  He is the one behind all.[35]  He is the cause, means and the effect.[36]  He is the cause for Brahma, Siva and Indra.[37] Tirumalisai writes you are the soul of devas, humans, animals and plants.[38] According to Nammālvār He is the indweller of other gods.[39] And He is indweller of Brahman, Siva and Indra.[40]
He lives with people who think of him in their hearts.[41]  He is responsible for all actions.[42]  The Vedas could not clearly reveal the Lord and therefore, they call him “It”.[43]  The lord has for his possession, the acit [nonliving] and cit [living beings].[44]  He is in deva [Isvara], cit and acit.[45]
According to Nammālvār, soul [Atman] is the property of God i.e., it is eternal.[46]  In contrast to Sankara’s monism, it is said that there is possibility for jivatma and paramatma to become one, but can the two become one?[47]
The consideration of the Alvars that the one God is responsible for all beings, both living and nonliving, religions and gods finds substantial expression in their attitude towards other religions.  B. R. Purushothama Naidu suggested that the philosophical notion of the Alvarsviz. acit, cit, and Isvara might be traced back to the Tamil classic Kalithokai.[48]  This is an evidence for the strong affiliation of Alvarsto the Tamil tradition.

5.3 Religious Situation
            Before analyzing the religious attitude of each Ālvār it needs to be remembered that there was unfriendly relationship between religions.[49]  There was hostile attitude between the Vaisnavas and the Śaivas. It is said the Saivas were definitely more aggressive and outspokenly hostile towards their rival creeds.[50]  When it came to Buddhism and Jainism, both Vaisnavas and the Śaivas worked together. R. Champaka Lakshmi writes, “that the nature of the response to non–orthodox challenge was direct and the opposition unequivocal in both the Saiva and Vaisnava hymns is quite clear.”[51]  With this background the attitude of each Ālvār may be studied.

5.3.1 General Religious Condition during the First Three Alvars
The general view about the religious condition of the first three Alvars was that they lived in a time when religious tolerance was prevailing.  Moreover, it was the time of Pallavas, who respected tolerance among religions. To authenticate this situation it is stated that, “…the first three Alwars lived at a time when the rigid sectarian creeds had not developed.”[52]  It is also suggested that, “the first Alwars witnessed no jarring alien faiths in their time…”[53] K.A. Nilakanta Sastri says, “the devotion of these early saints is gentle, simple devotion, altogether free from an intolerant sectarian outlook.”[54]   In other words a spirit of tolerance is in evidence in the poems of these early Alvars.[55]
The first three Alvarsare praised for their tolerant attitude towards other faiths. At the same time their approach towards Śaivites was not static.  With regard to their relation to the Jains and the Buddhists it is said that ‘the first three Alwars make no mention of the Jaina or Buddhist creeds’. The reason given is that it is probable that they lived at a time when those creeds had not appeared in south India.[56]  Another possible reason may be that these two religions could have enjoyed unquestionable royal patronage. This is a significant fact because the antagonism towards Buddhism and Jainism is more in the works of the later Alvars.
The problem with these opinions is that each scholar has picked up the suitable attitude relevant to him or her, and ignored the other.  A textual study of the works of the first three Alvars will reveal that the attitude of the Alvars towards Saivites on the one hand and Buddhists and Jains on the other was in a flux. 

5.3.1.1 Poygai Ālvār

The attitude of Poyai Ālvār towards other Hindu sects, especially Śaivism is not the same always.  For him Tirumāl is superior to Śiva.  In his Mudal Tiruvandādi he maintained that Tirumāl created all gods.[57]  He also stated that besides all living beings, Tirumāl protects Brahma[58] and removes the curse of Śiva.[59]  And He is the cause for Śiva.[60]  After stating that Śiva could not understand Tirumāl[61] the superiority of Tirumāl is underlined by describing forcefully the differences between Tirumāl and Śiva in their names, vehicles, scriptures, functions, weapons and color:
mud@/ ehuhzd@-ehkk@; Md@tpilg[s@-Ch;jp;
ciu-E}y@/ kiw; ciwa[k@ nfhapy@ - tiuePh@;
fUkk;-mHpg;g[/ mHpg;g[; ifaJ-nty@/ nekp;
cUtk@-vhp fhh@; nkdp xd@W.[62]
Besides, there is also a mild response towards Śaivism that, Tirumāl is the indweller of Śiva.  This is expressed as: though Śiva is the body, Tirumāl is the Ātman of Śiva,[[ [nkdp xd@W].[63]  He protects Śiva from within, in the form of Atman.[64]  Here too, the superiority of Visnu is maintained as He is not just the indweller but prominent among the first three deities – Brahma, Visnu and Śiva.[65] 
The distance between Visnu and Śiva is further reduced by saying that, Śiva lives in a corner of Tirumāl’s body[66] and He is the body of Tirumāl.[67]  These expressions are often considered as marks of equality and symbolized in the form of Hari-Hara [Śiva-Visnu] worship.  R. Krishnaswami Aiyangar states, “the Mudal Ālvārs praised both Visnu and Śiva at same time and viewed the Almighty in Hari Hara form.”[68] It is evident that there is a constant shift from creator to indweller and indweller to equal.
The most positive way of considering Śaivism, according to Mudal Tiruvandādi is to place Śiva and Visnu as the manifestation of the one supreme reality [Tirumāl].  The poem reads that Brahma, Visnu and Śiva are first deities; Tirumāl is their indweller and he is the cause for them.[69]  A. Pandurangan says, “Poykai Alwar synthesizes the name of Visnu and Śiva.  For him Visnu and Siva are the manifestations of the one and the same Almighty.”[70] S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar is right in suggesting that the earliest Alvarseven go to the extent of describing Śiva and Visnu as one, although they do recognize the united form as Visnu.[71]
In spite of the superior claims of Poygāi, which is anybody’s religious obligation, his willingness to suggest that Śiva, Visnu and Brahma are the manifestations of the One Supreme Reality, Tirumāl, is significant in a multi religious context.
It is remarkable that there is no reference to Jainism and Buddhism in the one hundred verses of the Mudal Tiruvandādi.  It may be because there was paramount royal support to these religions.  Further the early rulers did not encourage intolerance among religions.

5.3.1.2 Pūtattālvār

            Pūtattālvār adds another dimension to the superiority of Tirumāl.  For him, Tirumāl is the God of Śiva[72] and Śiva, Brahma etc. worship Tirumāl.[73]  Like the confessional language of the Bible [I am the way] the Ālvār presents Tirumāl as the right means to the right place.  The destination is ‘Vaikuntam[74], the world of Visnu, which is greater than Moksha.  He writes, others can get knowledge of God[75] and ‘Moksha[76], but Vaisnavites alone can reach Parama patham[77], the supreme feet of the Lord.  His exclusive out look is expressed as, I do not consider as human beings, those who forget the name of Tirumāl.[78]   This, in fact, is an orthodox response to Śaivism, which can be found among good number of people in all faith-traditions.
            Like the previous Ālvār, Pūtattālvār did not mention about the Jains or the Buddhists in the hundred verses of Irandām Tiruvandādi.  As he was a contemporary of the previous Ālvār the political and social condition could have remained the same.

5.3.1.3 Peyālvār

            Peyālvār maintained the superiority of Tirumāl by saying that He is beyond the comprehension of Brahma, Śiva and Indra[79].  At the same time his description that Visnu counted the ten heads of Rāvanā from the lap of Brahman[80] was an eye-opener to the view that, the one reality takes different forms to carry out diverse missions.  Hence, it may not be appropriate to place one deity alone at the top.
            Like the other two Mudal Alvars, Pey Ālvār too did not make any reference to Jainism or Buddhism in the one hundred verses of his Mūnrām Tiruvandādi.  The reasons attributed to the first two Alvarsmay be relevant here as well.

5.3.2 Religious Condition During the Time of Tirumaliśai Ālvār

The religious condition prevailed during the time of Tirumalisai Ālvār was fairly different from the time of earlier Alvars. Nilakanta Sastri writes, “his poems show a more controversial tone than those of the first three Alvarsand this was quite natural to his age.”[81]  N. Subbu Reddiar pointed out that, from the general tenor of his poems it might be inferred that he should have lived at a period when the Jains, Buddhists and Śaivites were struggling for religious supremacy.[82]  It was not just struggle for supremacy alone.  “Perhaps the period when this Ālvār was living was marked by the aggressive preaching of the Jains, Buddhists and Śaivites when the adherents of these faiths chose to assert their individual worth by casting disparaging comments on one another.”[83]  This new situation can be further inferred from the works of the Ālvār.

5.3.2.1 Religious Attitude of Tirumaliśai Ālvār

The religious attitude of Tirumaliśai Ālvār is significant because he was a Śaiva saint who became an Ālvār.  After becoming a Vaisnavite “he eulogized the supremacy of God Vishnu.”[84]  His conversion incident is a testimony to the supremacy of Visnu.  About the conversion of the Ālvār it is said that Śiva could not answer and meet the challenges and needs of the Ālvār.[85]
 Further, “from his own writings what is evident is that he was well-conversant with other schools of thought including ‘Śaivism, Jainism and Buddhism, that he practiced yoga over a long period and acquired tremendous yogic power and that he established conclusively that Nārāyana is the supreme deity (paratattva).”[86]  He maintained that Tirumāl is creator[87] and protector of other gods, particularly, Śiva and Brahma.[88]  He removed the faults of Śiva and Brahma.[89]  Śiva, Brahma and other deities worshiped Tirumāl [90] because He is God for them.[91]
The greatness of Tirumāl over against Śiva is stressed in the works of Tirumaliśai.  He says Śiva cannot be equated with Tirumāl.[92]  He is not worthy to greet Tirumāl.[93]  Śiva cannot see him.[94]  Tirumāl is different from Śiva and Brahma because the later two were born of the womb[95] while the former has no birth at all.  Tirumāl determines the end of Śiva and Brahma.[96]  He defeated Siva.[97] N. Subbu Reddiar remarks that, “in particular, the several incidents are enumerated to prove that Śiva is definitely inferior to Visnu.”[98]  It is confirmed in the works of Tirumaliśai.
Tirumaliśai vehemently denounced people, who worshiped other gods.  In his words, those who do not praise Tirumāl are base-people.[99]  He appealed that even if you do not worship Tirumāl never worship other gods.[100]  No doubt, Tirumaliśai Ālvār has elevated Tirumāl above all other deities. 
 Apart from these superiority claims, the conviction of Tirumāliśai, that the reality is one is as deep as his conviction that the supreme reality is Tirumāl.  He writes, God is one; whatever means people adopt, the reward comes by the grace of Tirumāl.[101]  He is Visnu, Brahma, Rudra and all gods.[102]  He has become the numerous deities.[103]  The idea that the reality is one and the one itself has manifested in manifold forms in order to save life, is an indication for the openness of the Ālvār.
The earlier Alvarsmade reference to Śaivism but Tirumaliśai adds Jainism and Buddhism in his works. According to J. S. M. Hooper, “they contain an interesting and superior reference to Jains, Buddhists, and Siva Bhaktas.”[104]  The nature of these references may be analyzed here below.
There is no hostile or otherwise reference to Jainism and Buddhism in the one hundred and twenty verses of Tiruccanda Viruttam.  At the same time there are two direct references to Buddhism and Jainism among the ninety-six verses of Nānmukan Tiruvandādi.  One verse states, Tirumāl entraps the ignorant people into the other six religions.[105]  The six religions include Jainism and Buddhism.  The six religions are: [1] Charvaka [2] Jaina [3] Buddha [4] Niyaya and Vaisesika [5] Sankya and Yoga and [6] Pasupathas.[106]     It appears that the response of Thirumāliśai towards Buddhism and Jainism was not as aggressive as it was towards Śaivism.
Nevertheless, tradition says that he proclaimed; we have learnt the religion of the Sakhya (Buddhism), we have learnt the religion of the Sramana (Jainism), we have examined the Agama of Sankaranar (Saiva Agama); but by fortunate good luck we have come to rest our faith in the Black One with red-eyes and got rid of all that is evil.[107]  His orthodox mind-set prompted him to be belligerent and exclusive in his attitude.      M. S. Purnalingam Pillai said, “in his Anthathi, he spits his venom against the Saivas, Jains and Buddhists….”[108] The stand taken by Thirumāliśai is certainly different from the previous Alvars.

5.3.3 Religious Attitude of Tondaradippodi Ālvār

The Tondaradippodi’s deep commitment to his own religion prompted him to be antagonistic towards other religions.  It is said that his faith in Visnu was so deep that he became intolerant of other sects.[109]
His response towards Śaivism was not so friendly.  Although there is no specific reference in Tiruppalli-elucci, the one found in the Tirumālai is sufficient to understand his mind.  He says, it is Narayana who created several lower gods everywhere.[110]  This is another example for exclusive attitude towards Śaivism and other sects within Hinduism.  He maintained that there is no god except Tirumāl.[111]  S. Ramani remarked that, “though he is pious poet the elements of anti-Saivite bigotry have entered his poetry making him a prejudiced Vaisnavite.”[112]
Similarly, there is no direct reference to Jainism and Buddhism in the ten verses of Tiruppalli-elucci.  In contrast, there are two references among the forty-five verses of Tirumālai.  One reference puts forth two questions.  Can people well educated in sastras see Buddhism and Jainism, which are lower dharmas? Or hear with ear?[113]
A more aggressive and antagonistic tone is found in another verse, which says, I cannot hear the denouncement of the ungodly Buddhists and Jains about you (Tirumal); if happened to hear such abuse, it shall be better die of such sickness; if opportunity is given to offend, it shall be better cut the head of the abuser:
bghWg@g[ mhpadfs@ ngrpy@/ nghtnj nehaJ Mfp;
Fwpg@g[ vdf@F mila[k@ Mfpy@/ TLnky@/ jiyia M'@nf
mWg@gnj fUkk@ fz@lha@/ mu'@f khefUshnd![114]
This is the most impolite account found about Buddhists and Jains in the entire works of Alvars.  Because of his animosity Nilakanta Sastri suggested that his intolerance of Buddhism and Jainism was nearly as great as that of Tirumangai.[115]  He was totally hostile towards Buddhists and Jains.  In other words his poems condemned the Buddhists and Jains.[116]  This goes against the positive responses of the other Alvars.  It is indeed a fanatic and crude way of responding to people of other faiths.  There is a possibility of considering these texts as metaphorical usages.

5.3.4 Attitude of Kulaśekhara Ālvār

Kulaśekhara Ālvār’s response to Śaivism was akin to that of the other Alvarsmentioned earlier.  He emphasizes that Śiva, other gods and sages worship Tirumāl.[117]  Tirumāl is the giver of the fruits of sacrifices offered by Śiva, Brahma and Indra.[118]  The Ālvār clearly affirms that Tirumāl is the supreme deity. 
Simultaneously he maintains a kind of linkage between Tirumāl and other gods.  This is a unique character pertained to Hinduism.  Each sect maintains that the deity of that particular sect is superior to the others.  It also suggests the prevalent influence of purānic stories in the devotional life of Hindus.
It is not easy to analyze Kulaśekhara Ālvār’s response to Buddhism and Jainism.  The one hundred and five verses of Perumāl Tirumoli do not bear any direct reference to these two religions.  The birth account of the Ālvār suggests his fervent devotion to Rama.  Bimanbehari Majumdar says, “among the incarnations of Visnu he offers homage to Rāma and Krsna.”[119]  It is significant that he was devoted to his God without relegating and denouncing other religions.

5.3.5 Approach of Tirupān Ālvār

Tirupānālvār was an out caste.  His devotion to Tirumāl was so profound that he sang praises to Him from afar although he was not allowed to enter the temple.  He has maintained the pre-eminence of Tirumāl by asserting that Tirumāl removed the sorrow of Śiva.[120]
He has made no reference to Jainism and Buddhism in the ten verses of his Amalanādipirān.  It may be because, as the title of the work indicates, he was committed to establish the unblemished character of Tirumāl.

5.3.6 Religious Condition at the Time of Tirumańgai Ālvār 

About Tirumańgai’s relation with Śaivism it is generally held that he evinced a more friendly attitude and there are many resemblances in literary form and religious sentiments between Ñānasambandar, one of the Saiva saint, and Tirumangai.  Although he was not fully hostile to Śaivas, he never failed to maintain the primacy of Visnu.  S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar remarks, “it is possible to detect occasional reference to the inferiority of Siva in his grace–bestowing quality to Vishnu, but of pronounced hostility to the Saivas there is perhaps not very much.”[121]  On the other hand, there are scholars who have held that “in religion, he was an obdurate Vaishnava and always rose superior to the Saivites in theological contentions.”[122]  This may be evidence to his skill in refutation.  Still further, “he plundered the refractory Saivas and lived a free and easy life with his ill–gotten wealth.”[123]  These views can be clarified from his works.
            Tirumańgai’s response to Śaivism is the combination of different modes.  In the first place he maintains that Tirumāl created Brahma and Brahma created Śiva.[124]  Secondly, Tirumāl removed the curse of Śiva.[125] In the third place, Śiva and Brahma worship Tirumāl.[126]  Further Tirumāl is greater than Śiva because Śiva could not understand him.[127]  Even the six other religions could not comprehend him.[128]  He is the cause for Śiva and Brahma.[129]  He is the foremost of Śiva, Brahma and Indra and has no comparison.[130]
            Another mode of response is a kind of attempt to maintain the equality of gods.  It is said Tirumāl has Brahma, Śiva and Indra as his body.[131]  This can also be used to interpret that Tirumāl is sheltering the other deities.  Another way of positively looking at this verse is that there is close relation between deities.  Even Tirumāl cannot function without his body [other gods].
            A more optimistic response to Śaivism is seen in the texts where Tirumāl is depicted as taking different forms.  That is, the one God takes different forms.  It is said Tirumāl has become Śiva, Brahma and Visnu and lives in them, and appoints them.[132]  He has become three in order to continue creation.[133]
            The Ālvār advises people to meditate upon Tirumāl, the supreme object as three forms – Brahma, Visnu and Siva.[134]  He pervades the whole world in the form of three gods – Brahma, Visnu and Siva, and in the two forms of joy and sorrow:
\h@j@jp \d@W Ma@/ ,U tifg@ gad@ Ma@/
It is very important because the central expression of Hinduism is that the one God takes various forms and the one is worshipped in various ways.  The Vaisnavites call the one as Tirumal, a southern name, and Narayana, a philosophical name, and Visnu, a northern name.

5.3.6.1 Buddhism and Jainism

With regard to Jains and Buddhists Tirumańgai was the most intolerant among the Alvars.  His main opponents were Jains and Buddhists.  He had used his skills to extol his own God and to offend other religions.  It is said, “his hymns, and they are many, are equally full of good poetry and attacks on Jainism and Buddhism.”[136] For Nilakanta Sastri his attitude towards Jains and Buddhists was negative.[137]  His hatred towards Buddhism in particular is very obvious.  He had stolen a solid golden image of Buddha from a monastery in Nagapatam to meet the expenses for renovating the temple of Srīrangam.
Among all the Alvars, Tirumańgai has six works to his credit.  Of the six, four works - Tirukkuruntāndakam, Tirunedimtāndakam, Śiriya Tirumadal and Periya Tirumadal have no direct reference to Buddhism and Jainism.  The other two works – Periya Tirumoli and Tiruvelukūrrirukkai contain references to them.  Periya Tirumoli contains nine direct references out of the one thousand and eighty four verses.  Tiruvelukūrrirukkai has one reference.  The way Tirumangai confronts the Buddhists and Jains looks like the way Jesus was accusing the Pharisees and Sadducees of their orthodoxy. 
Tirumańgai maintained that Tirumāl could not be known by the six religions,[138] which include Jainism and Buddhism.  The greatness of Tirumāl is again stated as Tirumāl enjoys even the opportunistic talk of the ignorant Jains and Buddhists.[139]
The Ālvār tries to accuse that the Jains and Buddhists practice things for namesake.  He writes, do not respect the speech of the Jains who observe fast and roam on the street, who love rice and porridge and go away from the people who know the Vedas.[140]  Tirumańgai again accused the Jains and Buddhists as people lacking morality.  He says saffron clothed and bald headed Jains compete among themselves, eat with relatives and make their body heavy.[141]  He attacks them more vehemently as, the Jains make useless arguments and establish their religion; it is pitiable to see their eyes blinking as they thrust curd-rice in the throat.[142]
Another category of accusation was that the Jains and Buddhists do not respect Vedas, and they do not believe in God.  As they do not believe the Vedas they are out of the purview of the Vedas.  It is said the Jains loiter fearless and shameless; hate them for they do not have respect for Vedas and do not have worship of God:
gpr@rr@ rpW gPyp gpoj@J/ cyfpy@
gpzk@ jpd@ klthh@ mth@ nghy@/ m'@'nd
mr@rk@ ,yh@ ehz@ ,yh@ Mjd@ikahy@/
mth@ bra@if btWj@J/ ....[143]
Although they do not believe in the Vedic God, they assert that there is a head [leader] for all the wonders.[144]  He condemns them, as God will not be merciful to the saffron dressed Buddhists and the unclean Jains because they are out of the compass of the Vedas.[145]  The Buddhists and the Jains are further accused.  The Ālvār writes I will not agree with the dirty Jains and the Buddhists who worship lower deities.[146]
The Ālvār is delighted for not being involved in the religiosity of the Jains and Buddhists.[147]  He appeals to his heart that my heart (you) do not accept them (Jains and Buddhists)[148] and ignore the cunning works of the Jains and Buddhists from which they chant.[149]
Besides these textual evidences, his life story also conveys that he was a fanatic Vaisnava.  He stole an idol from Buddhist monastery to renovate the Vaisnava Temple and drowned the employees who asked for the wages.  His answer to these crude acts was that he did all those for the service of the Lord.
Tirumańgai is the most aggressive of all the Alvarsin their response to Jainsm and Buddhism.  It may be because he was a ruler, convert to Vaisnavism and infatuated towards his wife.

5.3.7 Religious Condition During the Time of Periyālvār

The religious condition during the time of Periyālvār may be understood from the following account.  It is said, the Ālvār won a religious disputation in the court of the Pāndya king Srimāra Srīvallabha (815-62).[150]  Thus he earned the title of Pattarpirān the Brahman chief.[151]  The disputation was to prove that, who was the real or supreme God.  In the assembly, he recited the relevant scriptural texts and established conclusively Nārāyana is the Paratattva.[152]  Such atmosphere is an indication to show that there were religious disputations as well.
Periyālvār’s response to Śaivism and other strands of Hinduism reveals his intention to speak for the greatness of Tirumāl.  He writes Tirumāl is beyond the comprehension of Śiva and Brahma.[153]  He alone knows the medicine for the disease of births.[154]  He removes the calamities of Brahma, Siva and Indra.[155]
It is difficult to judge the response of Periyālvār towards Buddhism and Jainism because there is no direct reference to them in the four hundred and sixty one verses of Periyālvār Tirumoli and the twelve verses of Tiruppallāndu.
Periyālvār’s response to people of other faiths, in general is quite negative in nature.  He writes why did Tirumāl create the sinners who do not think of him?[156]  Those who do not worship Tirumāl are disease and dishonor to their mothers.[157]  Even their dress and the water they drink are prone to be sinners.[158]  They are burden to the earth; grab the rice they eat and thrust grass.[159] This form of response is very exclusive in nature.  It needs to be realized that, such exclusive claims and languages go against the genuine spirituality of any faith-tradition.

5.3.8 Āndāl’s Religious Attitude
Āndāl’s attitude to Hindus other than the Vaisnavites is neither positive nor negative.  She solemnly upholds the highness of her God.  According to her, Tirumāl created gods like Brahma to create the world.[160]  He saves the thirty-three crore of gods from their calamities[161] and he deserves worship.[162]
There is no direct reference to Buddhists and Jains in the thirty verses of Tiruppāvai and one hundred and forty-three verses of Nācciyār Tirumoli. It may be because her poems are concentrated on ‘bridal mysticism’.  

5.3.9 Religious Condition at the Time of Nammālvār
About his own religious preference, Trivedi Krishnaji writes “Nammalvar exhibited intense longing and ardent devotion for Krishna.”[163]  He always emphasized that serving the deity is the easiest way one can reach the spiritual height.  Privilege to serve at the feet of the Lord is superior to liberation from this world or moksha.
K. K. A. Venkatachari puts forward that “he himself has spoken of service of God as the greatest gift of God, exceeding even the matter of liberation from the cycle of births.”[164]  Surendranath Dasgupta expands the same view as “he describes God’s noble qualities, and shows that the realization of the proximity of God is much more desirable than the attainment of emancipation.  He says that the true definition of moksa is to attain the position of God’s servant.”[165]
Nammālvār’s attitude towards other religions is important to judge the general attitude of Alvars towards other religions.  Because, most studies on Vaisnavism revolve around Nammālvār.  His collection, particularly Tiruvaymozhi is the corner stone for the later developments in Vaishnavism, including the philosophy of Rāmānuja.  The general notion is “…Nammalvar lived at a time when the land was almost free from alien religious influences and when the Vaishnavas and Saivas were at peace.”[166]  Many are of the same view.  Again it is stressed that, “his pathikams bear no marks of the persecution of the Jains and Buddhists nor do they contain any bitter invectives against them.”[167] Yet, the real attitude of Nammālvār may be decided only on the basis of his works. 

5.3.9.1 Attitude Towards Śaivism
In spite of his tolerant outlook, Nammālvār’s relation with Śaivas was not so different from the orthodox ones. S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar remarked that, “he is a little more of a Vaishnava and continues to regard these Saivas with sympathy no doubt, but does not generally give Siva the same pedestal that the earlier Alvars do.”[168]  At least to this extent no Ālvār was an exception.  Even the mildest of the Alvarsmaintained the superiority of Tirumāl over all other deities, particularly Śiva.
Nammālvār writes, Tirumāl created many gods, including Brahma, Śiva and Indra.[169]  Further he says that Tirumāl saved Śiva from his suffering.[170] He protects Brahma and other deities.[171] Śiva and Brahma take refuge in him.[172]  Śiva, Brahma, Indra and others worship Tirumāl.[173]
The superiority of Tirumāl is further strengthened.  The Ālvār says Tirumāl is the head [leader] of Śiva and Brahma, Indra and other gods.[174]  The idea that Tirumāl is the indweller of Siva and other gods is vivid in the works of Nammālvār.[175]For example:
mtuth@ jkjkJ mwpt[ mwp tiftif
mtuth@ ,iwath@ vdmo milth@fs@;
mtuth@ ,iwath@ Fiwt[,yh@; ,iwath@
mtuth@ tpjptHp mila epd@wdnu.[176]
Apart from the verses, which indicate superior position to Tirumāl, there are a few verses, which maintain equality between Tirumāl and other gods.  They are in the form of suggesting that Śiva and Brahma are living in the body of Tirumāl.[177]
The salient aspect of Nammālvār’s response to Śaivism and other Hindu religious orders was his profound reference to the idea that the one reality, Tirumāl, has taken different forms.  Or the many gods are the different forms of Tirumāl.  Tirumāl has sheltered Śiva and Brahma in his body and he himself is both Śiva and Brahma.[178]  He has become Brahma, Visnu and Śiva.[179]  And Tirumāl dwells within Śiva and Brahma; he functions them and he himself appears in those forms.[180] The ‘one-many’ approach shall be considered further in order to explicate its relevance for a contemporary Christian theology of religions.

5.3.9.2 Attitude towards Jainism and Buddhism
Nammālvār’s attitude to Jainism and Buddhism was the mildest of all the responses.  There are two direct references to Jainism and Buddhism in the eleven hundred and two verses of Tiruvāymoli and one verse among the hundred verses of Tiruviruttam.
The Ālvār says that others, including the Jains and Buddhists cannot measure the auspicious characters of Tirumāl by arguments.[181]  A more inclusive verse says that Nārāyana is the indweller of the gods worshipped by Jains, Buddhists etc.
,yp'@fj@J ,l@l g[uhzj@jPUk@
rkzUk@ rhf@fpaUk@
kype;J bre;bey; fthp tPRk;
jpUf;FUTh; mjD}s;
bghype;J epd;w gpuhd; fz;Oh; xd;Wk;
bgha; ,y;iy. nghw;Wkpnd.[182]
Nammālvār’s milder and more positive attitude to Buddhism and Jainism is very significant, while other Alvarshave not made such attempts.
In Tiruviruttam, it is upheld that Tirumāl has created all the religions and gods.[183]  This is another effort of Nammālvār to reduce the distance between his own faith and other faith-traditions.  In general the beauty is that Jainism and Buddhism are considered on par with other faith-traditions.  It is also made obvious that the same God is worshipped in all faith-traditions.  And Tirumāl is responsible for the emergence of all religions and gods.

5.3.10 Madhurakavi’s Attitude
As Madhurakavi is committed to gurubhakti, he has not made any reference to other strands of Hinduism or Buddhism and Jainism in the eleven verses of Kanninūn-Śiruttāmbu.  These verses are not about God, but about his guru, Nammālvār. S. M. Srinivasa Chari maintains, “this poetical work of Madhurakavi has provided the doctrine of ācārya–bhakti which constitutes the corner–stone of the Vaisnava theology.”[184]  The Vaisnavites are proud of their Ācāryas.  As Madhurakavi’s concentration was wholly on his guru his own reflections about his attitude towards other religions is not clear in his work.
Summary
The general notion about the attitude of the first three Alvarstowards other religions was passive. It is passive because the hymns do not represent any sense of intolerance.  The reason could be that, the rival sects were not developed then.  There is no reference to Jains and Buddhists.  Their relation with Śaivism was double edged.  Sometime there was a tendency to bring together Śiva and Visnu in the form of Hari Hara.  At other times, the Alvarsused exclusive language to maintain the absoluteness of Visnu.  It does not mean that the language was aggressive, antagonistic or intolerant.
It is said Poygai synthesized Śiva and Visnu.  They are also stated to be the manifestation of the same God.  But his work places Śiva as the body and Narayana as the spirit.  Here is the ‘oneness’ of the two, with a preponderance of Visnu.  Pūtattālvār extols the all sufficiency of Tirumāl.  His exclusive claim goes to the extent of suggesting that worshipping other gods is a mistake.  Peyālvār emphasized the greatness of Nārāyana by saying that, He is the one who is spoken about in the Vedas and hence, He is above all gods.  Of course, all religions use exclusive language.  It is their right.  It looks none of these three Alvarswere concerned with the other struggles around them.  Nor they did anything that might affect or motivate the society.
The struggle and aggressive preaching among Jains, Buddhists and Śaivas marked the time of Tirumaliśai.  The Ālvār used condemnatory language about other religions.  Other religious people were disregarded.  Often it is stressed that Śiva was inferior to Visnu.  The antagonistic attitude of the Ālvār reflects the psychology of converts.  But there was no effort to create one nation, one religion, one culture and one people, as often seen in the contemporary India.
Another Ālvār who vehemently raised his voice against other gods and people was Tondaradippodi.  The intensity of his orthodoxy can be compared to that of Tirumańgai.  Tondaradippodi was intolerant towards other religions.  His hostility towards Buddhists, Jains and Śaivas was stark.  His language was very crude.  He went to the extent of writing, that it will be better to chop the head of one who blasphemies against Tirumāl.
Kulaśekara Ālvār was considered to be well educated. He gave up his throne for the sake of serving god and his devotees.  His work is milder and there is no scope of derogatory remarks about other gods, people and religions.  Tiruppān Ālvār was the apt example to declare that a devotee of fifth varna could reach the position of Ālvārhood.  Like Kulaśekhara, he too, never used condemnatory remarks about other people, religions and gods.
The most intolerant of the Alvarswas Tirumańgai a ruler who became a Vaisnavite in order to marry a Vaisnava girl of his choice.  It is feared that, his aggressive nature may be the outcome of convert-psychology.  He used abusive language against Śaivas, Buddhists, and Jains.  For him people who do not worship Visnu are not humans.  The incident of plundering a Buddha statue for the construction of wall in a Vaisnava temple illustrates his caliber.  There was orthodoxy and fanaticism in him.  But there was no advocacy of brutality.
Periyālvār was said to have proved in the court of Pandya king that Visnu is the only supreme deity.  His adopted daughter Āndāl also extensively magnified her loving devotion to God.  Without attacking other religions she convincingly displayed that Visnu is the one ultimate.
The popular notion about the attitude of Nammālvār was that he lived in a time, when there were no sectarian clashes.  On the contrary, he maintained the all-pervading nature of Tirumal by arguing that He is the creator of the world and gods.  He is the abode of other deities.  And He is the indweller of these deities.  It was remarkable that he suggested all the religions worship only Tirumāl.  Hence, they can give up their way of worship and worship Tirumāl.  The Ālvār hints at the significance of morality but has not stressed very much.  Although it is held that there are humanistic tinges in the Alvars, the general outlook is different.  There is a predilection for escaping from the world to enjoy the presence of God.  Madhurakavi, the last in the list was settled with his Guru Nammālvār and was less concerned with others. 



[1]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Vaisnavism, its Philosophy, Theology and Religious Discipline, New Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1994, p.23. 
[2]J. S. M. Hooper, Hymns of the ĀLVĀRS, Op. Cit., pp.6 – 7.
[3]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.692.
[4]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2094, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.
6.
[5]Pūtattālvār, Irandām Tiruvandādi, Verse 2213, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 46.
[6]Ibid., Verse 2838, p.54.
[7]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India. New Delhi, Sri Satguru Publicatins, A Division of Indian Books Centre, First Indian Edition, 1997, p.181.
[8]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2138, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.
  20.
[9]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India. Op. Cit., p. 181.
[10]Ibid.
[11]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nānmukan Tiruvandādi, Verse 2452, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p. 26.
[12]Periyālvār, Tiruppallāndu, Verse 5, [Mudalāyiram], Nālāyiram, Volume I, p. 16. &   Tirumańgai Ālvār, Periya Tirumoli, Verse 2006, [Periya Tirumoli], Volume I, p.  394.
[13]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Periya Tirumoli, Verse 957,[Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram,
Volume I, p. 8.
[14]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2132, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.
 18.
[15]Periyālvār, Periyālvār Tirumoli, Verse 381, [Mudalāyiram], Nālāyiram,
Volume I, p. 154.
[16]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2139, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 20. & Ibid., Verse 2101, Volume II, p.8.  &  Pūtattālvār, Irandām Tiruvandādi, Verse 2215, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 46. &  Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 2954, [Tiruvāymoli],
Volume II, p. 22.
[17]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Tiruccanda Viruttam, Verse 849, [Mudalāyiram], Nālāyiram, Volume I, p. 328.
[18]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 2955, [Tiruvāymoli], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 22.
[19]Ibid., Verse 3240, p. 118.
[20]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Tiruneduntāndakam, Verse 2056, [Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram,
Volume I,  p. 412.
[21]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2127, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 16.
[22]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nanmukan Tiruvandādi, Verse 2470, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p.130.
[23]Kulaśekhara Ālvār, Perumāl Tirumoli, Verse 660, [Mudalāyiram], Nālāyiram,
Volume I, p.266.
[24]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nanmukan Tiruvandādi, Verse 2392, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Vol. II, p.108.
             My ancient lord has a tall crown and a wreath of Tulasi over it. 
              Contemplate on him firmly, fold your hands in obeisance and
              strew fresh flowers, Lower your head at his feet, let your
              tongue praise him, let your eyes see him, let your ears hear him.
[Translation from Srirama Bharati, The sacred Book of Four Thousand, Jaladampet, (Chennai), Sri Sadagopan Tirunarayanaswami Divya Prabandha Pathasala, 2000, p.669.]



[25]Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume III, Op. Cit., p.69.
[26]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, ‘Preface’ in Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs, Op. Cit., p. XIII.
[27]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nanmukan Tiruvandādi, Verse 2383, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p.106.
[28]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 3176, [Tiruvāymoli], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 96.
[29]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2177, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.
30.
[30]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 3539, [Tiruvāymoli], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.
224.
[31]Ibid., Verse 3180, p. 98.
[32]Pūtattālvār, Irandām Tiruvandādi, Verse 2205, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 44.
[33]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2173, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.30.
[34]Ibid., Verse 2142, p. 20.
[35]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nanmukan Tiruvandādi, Verse 2435, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p.120.
[36]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 3076, [Tiruvāymoli], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 62.
[37]Ibid., Verse 3177, p. 96.
[38]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nanmukan Tiruvandādi, Verse 2386, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p.106.
[39]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 3334, [Tiruvāymoli], Nālāyiram, Volume II,p.150.
[40]Ibid., Verse 3804, p. 326.
[41]Pūtattālvār, Irandām Tiruvandādi, Verse 2321, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II,
p. 82.
[42]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 2904, [Tiruvāymoli], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 4.
[43]Pūtattālvār, Irandām Tiruvandādi, Verse 2264, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 60.
[44]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 2901, [Tiruvāymoli], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 4.
[45]Ibid., Verse 3104, p. 70.
[46]Ibid., Verse 2916, p. 8.
[47]Ibid., Verse 3756, p. 306.
[48]B. R. Purushothama Naidu, Tiruvāymoli, ĪTTIN TAMILĀKKAM, Fourth Edition,Volume 1,(Hymns 1-110) Madras, University of Madras,1980,pp. cv & cU..
[49]T. Gnanasundaram, Vainava Uraivalam, Op.Cit., p.263.
[50]R. Meera, “A Note on the Bhakti Movement in Tamil Nadu.” N. N. Bhattachatyya, ed., Medieval Bhakti Movements in India, [Srī Caitanya Quincentenary Commemoration Volume], New Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers
 Pvt. Ltd., 1999, p.189.
[51]R. Champaka Lakshmi, “Religion and Social Change in Tamil Nadu (C.AD 600 – 1300)”, N. N. Bhattacharyya, ed., Medieval Bhakti Movements in India,
Op. Cit., p.167.
[52]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas: Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers, Tiruchi, Shivaji News Printers, 1971, p.65.
[53]M. S. Purnalingam Pillai, Tamil Literature, Revised and Enlarged., New Delhi / Madras, Asian Educational Services, 1994, p.183.
[54]K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar, Second Edition, Madras, Oxford University Press, 1958, p.415.
[55]Ibid., p.216.
[56]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas : Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers,
Op. Cit., p.64.
[57]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2088, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 6.
[58]Ibid., Verse 2126, p.16 & Verse 2141, p.20.
[59]Ibid., Verse 2127, p.16.
[60]Ibid., Verse 2179, p.32.
[61]Ibid., Verse 2085, p.4.
[62]Ibid., Verse 2086, p.4.
His names are Hara and Narayana; his mounts the bull and the bird;
             his texts, the Agamas and Vedas; his abodes the mount kailasa
             and the Ocean of Milk, his works dissolution and protection;
             his weapons the spear and the discus; his hue, the fire.
 [Translation from Srirama Bharati, Op. Cit., p.621.]               
[63]Ibid.,
[64]Ibid., Verse 2155, p.24.
[65]Ibid., Verse 2096, p.8.
[66]Ibid., Verse 2109, p.12 & Verse 2114, p.12.
[67]Ibid., Verse 2179, p.32.
[68]R. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, Early History of Vaishnavism in South India, Madras, The Oxford University Press, 1920, pp. 77-78.
[69]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2096, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.8.
[70]A. Pandurangan “Bhakti Literature and Human values”.  Journal of Tamil
Studies, 43 & 44, June & December 1993, p.178.
[71]S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, Early History of Vaishnavism in South India, Madras, The Oxford University Press, 1920, pp. 77-78.
[72]Pūtattālvār, Irandām Tiruvandādi, Verse 2277, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II,p. 64.
[73]Ibid., Verse 2279, p.66, Verse 2193, p.40, Verse 2198, p.42.
[74]Ibid., Verse 2269, p.62.
[75]Ibid., Verse 2184, p.38.
[76]Ibid., Verse 2198, p.42.
[77]Ibid., Verse 2184, p.38.
[78]Ibid., Verse 2225, p.50.
[79]Pey Ālvār, Mūnrām Tiruvandādi, Verse 2306, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 78 & Verse 2378, p.98.
[80]Ibid., Verse 2358, p.94.
[81]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Fourth Edition, Madras, Oxford University Press, 1975, p.426.
[82]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.179.
[83]Ibid., pp.626 – 627.
[84]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas : Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers,
Op. Cit., p.66.
[85]S. Jahathurachagan, Guruparamparipravagam, Chennai, Ālvārgal Aivu
Miyam, 1994, p.17. 
[86]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.17.
[87]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nānmukan  Tiruvandādi, Verse 2382, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p. 106.
[88]Ibid., Verse 2468, p.130.
[89]Ibid., Verse 2390, p.108.
[90]Tirumaliśai Ālvār,  Tiruccanda Viruttam, Volume I, Verse 760,p.302 &
Verse 838,p.324.
[91]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nānmukan  Tiruvandādi, Verse 2477, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p.132.
[92]Ibid., Verse 2385, p.106.
[93]Ibid., Verse 2391, p.108.
[94]Ibid., Verse 2408, p.112.
[95]Ibid., Verse 2443, p.122.
96Tirumaliśai Ālvār,   Tiruccanda Viruttam, Verse 759, [Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram,
Volume I,  p.302.
97Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nānmukan  Tiruvandādi, Verse 2437, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p.122, & Tirumaliśai Ālvār,   Tiruccanda Viruttam, Verse 822, [Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram, Volume I,  p.320.
[98]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.627.
[99]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nānmukan  Tiruvandādi, Verse 2387, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
 Volume II, p.106.
[100]Ibid., Verse 2449, p.124. 
[101]Ibid., Verse 2385, p.106.
[102]Tirumaliśai Ālvār,   Tiruccanda Viruttam, Verse 758, [Periya Tirumoli], NālāyiramVolume I,  p.302.
[103]Ibid., Verse 768, p.304.
[104]J. S. M. Hooper, Hymns of the ĀLVĀRS, Oxford University Press, 1929, p.12.
[105]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nānmukan  Tiruvandādi, Verse 2419, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p.116.
[106]Bhagavat Visayam, ed.by Krishnaswami Ayangar, Sri Sudarsanar Trust, Tiruchirapalli, Vol. II, 1985, p.497.
[107]S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, Early History of Vaishnavism in South India, Op. Cit., pp.78 – 79.
[108]M. S. Purnalingam Pillai, Tamil Literature, Op. Cit., p.186.
[109]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.222.
[110]Tondaradippodi Ālvār, Tirumālai, , Verse 881, [Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram,
Volume I,  p.336.
[111] A. Ethirajan, Ālvārgal Varalaru, Karaikudi, (Tamil Nadu), Sri Vainava Cithantha Noorpathipu Kalagam, 1998, p.185.
[112]S. Ramani, “Some Important Characteristics of the Saiva and the Vaisnava Bhakti Movements of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka – A Comparative Estimate”. Journal of Tamil Studies,  (No Number), June 1985, p.95.
[113]Tondaradippodi Ālvār, Tirumālai, Verse 878, [Mudalāyiram],  Nālāyiram,
Volume I,  p.336.
[114]Ibid., Verse 879, p.336.
O Lord in Arangama-nagar! The hate-filled heretics,
Mundas, and the godless Sakhyas speak irresponsibly
about you, that itself will be their doom.  If the opportunity
arises, chopping off their heads right there is the roHá  Karma for me.
[Translation from Srirama Bharati, Op. Cit., p.176.]
[115]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Op. Cit., p.427.
[116]M. S. Purnalingam Pillai, Tamil Literature, Op. Cit., p.192.
[117]Kulaśekhara Ālvār, Perumāl Tirumoli, Verse 649, [Mudalāyiram],  Nālāyiram, Volume I,  p.260. & Verse 651, p.262. & Verse 652, p.262.
[118]Ibid., Verse 684, p.274.
[119]Bimanbehari Majumdar, “Religion of Love: The early Medieval Phase
(C.AD 700 – 1486)”, N. N. Bhattacharyya, ed., Medieval Bhakti Movement in India, [Śrī Caitanya Quincentenary Commemoration Volume], New Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1999, p.12.
[120]Pānālvār, Amalanādipirān, Verse 932, [Mudalāyiram],  Nālāyiram, Volume I,
     p.354.
[121]S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, Early History of Vaishnavism in South India,
Op. Cit., p.81.
[122]M. S. Purnalingam Pillai, Tamil Literature, Op. Cit., p.193.
[123]Ibid.
[124]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Periya Tirumoli, Verse 1266, [Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram, Volume I, p. 130. & Tiruvelukūrrirukkai, Verse 2672,  [Iyarpā], Volume II, p. 220. 
125Tirumańgai Ālvār, Periya Tirumoli, Verse 985, [Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram, Volume I, p. 20. & Verse 1516, p. 222.
[126]Ibid., Verse 979, p. 18. & Verse 1409, p. 182. & Verse 1536, p. 228.
[127]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Tiruvelukūrrirukkai, Verse 2672,  [Iyarpā],  Volume II, p.
220.
[128]Ibid., Verse 2672, p. 222.
[129]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Tiruneduntāndakam, Verse 2055, [Periya Tirumoli],
Volume I, p. 412.
[130]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Tirukkuruntāndakam, Verse 2037, [Periya Tirumoli],
Volume I, p. 406. 
[131]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Periya Tirumoli, Verse 1456, [Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram,
 Volume I, p. 202.
[132]Ibid., Verse 1128, p. 76. & Verse 1157, p. 88. & Verse 1249, p. 124.
[133]Ibid., Verse 1065, p. 50.
[134]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Tiruneduntāndakam, Verse 2053, [Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram,
 Volume I, p. 410.
[135]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Tiruvelukūkurrirukkai Verse 2672, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p. 222.
            …Tri-murti, O Pair of opposites, O Manifold one!”
[Translation from Srirama Bharati, Op. Cit., p.719.]
[136]K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar, Op. Cit., p.415.
[137]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Op. Cit., p.371.

[138]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Tiruvelukūkurrirukkai Verse 2672, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II,  p. 222.
[139]Tirumańgai Ālvār, Periya Tirumoli, Verse 1826, [Periya Tirumoli], Nālāyiram,
Volume I,  p. 330.
[140]Ibid., Verse 1629, p. 260.
[141]Ibid., Verse 1053, p. 46.
[142]Ibid., Verse 1054, p. 46.
[143]Ibid., Verse 1085, p. 58.
            “There are those who roam the Earth without shame of fear,
            like the peacock-feather-whisking corpse-eating gorgons.
            Despising their ways….”
[Translation from Srirama Bharati, Op. Cit., p.222.]
[144]Ibid., Verse 1102, p. 64.
[145]Ibid., Verse 1405, p. 180.
[146]Ibid., Verse 1582, p. 244.
[147]Ibid., Verse 1052, p. 46.
[148]Ibid., Verse 1053, p. 46.
[149]Ibid., Verse 1816, p. 326.
[150]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Op. Cit., p.427.
[151]J. S. M. Hooper, Hymns of the ĀLVĀRS, Op. Cit., p.14.
[152]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
 Op. Cit., p.23.
[153]Periyālvār, Periyālvār Tirumoli, Verse 360, [Mudalāyiram]   Nālāyiram,
Volume I, p. 144.
[154]Ibid., Verse 458, p. 186.
[155]Ibid., Verse 360, p. 144.
[156]Ibid., Verse 360, p. 144.
[157]Ibid., Verse 361, p. 146.
[158]Ibid., Verse 363, p. 146.
[159]Ibid., Verse 364, p. 146.
[160]Āndāl, Nācciyār Tirumoli, Verse 645, [Mudalāyiram]   Nālāyiram, Volume I,
p. 258.
[161]Āndāl, Tiruppāvai, Verse 493, [Mudalāyiram]   Nālāyiram, Volume I, p. 204.
[162]Āndāl, Nācciyār Tirumoli, Verse 536, [Mudalāyiram]   Nālāyiram, Volume I,
p. 222.
[163]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas : Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers,
 Op. Cit., p.70.
[164]K. K. A. Venkatachari, ‘Introduction’ in S. Satyamurthi Ayyangar, Tiruvāymoli, English Glossary, Volume 2, Bombay, Ananthacharya Indological Research
Institute, 1981, p. XV.
[165]Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 3, First Indian Edition, New Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Indological Publishers & Book Sellers, 1975, p.71.
[166]M. S. Purnalingam Pillai, Tamil Literature, Op. Cit., p.183.
[167]Ibid., p.188.
[168]S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, Early History of Vaishnavism in South India,
Op. Cit., p.78.
[169]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 2945,  [Tiruvāymoli],  Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.18. & Verse 2946, p.18. & Verse 3023, p.44. & Verse 3023, p.44. & Verse 3124, p.78. & Verse 3127, p.78. & Tiruviruttam, Verse 2573,  [Iyarpā], p.176. & Tiruvāciriyam, Verse 2581, [Iyarpā], p.184. &  Periya Tiruvandādi, Verse 2656, [Iyarpā], p.210.
[170]Nammālvār, Tiruviruttam, Verse 2565, [Iyarpā],  Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.172.
[171]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 3798,  [Tiruvāymoli],  Nālāyiram, Volume II,
p.322.
[172]Ibid., Verse 3893, p.356.
[173]Ibid., Verse 3029, p.46. & Verse 3086, p. 66. & Verse 3130, p. 78. &
Verse 3315, p. 144. & Verse 3617, p. 254.
[174]Ibid., Verse 2948, p. 20. & Verse 3177, p. 96. & Verse 3333, p. 150.
[175]Ibid., Verse 2906, p. 6. & Verse 2923, p. 10. & Verse 3337, p. 152. & Verse 3539, p. 224. & Verse 3622, p. 256. & Verse 3804, p. 326.
[176]Ibid., Verse 2903, p. 4.
Let each one offer worship as he deems fit, and each one
 shall attain his god’s feet.  For, our lord, who stands above
 these gods accepts the offerings made to them and bids
 them deliver the fruit.
[Translation from Srirama Bharati, Op. Cit., p.438.]
[177]Ibid., Verse 2929, p. 14. & Verse 3022, p. 44. & Verse 3054, p. 54. & Periya Tiruvandādi, Verse 2655, [Iyarpā],  Nālāyiram, Volume II, p. 210.
[178]Nammālvār, Tiruvāymoli, Verse 3090,  [Tiruvāymoli],  Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.
66.
[179]Ibid., Verse 3176, p. 96. & Verse 3650, p. 264. & Verse 3712, p. 290.
[180]Ibid., Verse 3713, p. 290. & Verse 4000, p. 390.
[181]Ibid., Verse 3338, p. 152.
[182]Ibid., Verse 3334, p. 150.
            Look ye, all those who quote the Linga-purana, Ye Jainas and
               Bauddhas! Instead of arguing endlessly, offer praise to the lord
            who stands in Kurugur, where tall ears of paddy sway gently
            in the wind like whisks; he is you and all your gods, this is no lie.
[Translation from Srirama Bharati, Op. Cit., p.504 -505.]
[183]Nammālvār, Tiruviruttam, Verse 2573, [Iyarpā],  Nālāyiram, Volume II, p.176.
[184]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
 Op. Cit., p.22.


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