ALVARS' WORKS





WORKS OF ALVARS

Introduction

In order to put the works of Alvars into proper perspective, they may be analyzed under three sections.  One is general outline of Nālāyiram.  The second is the role of Ācāryas in popularizing the Nālāyiram.  And the third is a discussion on the work or works of every Alvar.


4.1 Nālāyiram
Nālāyiram or Nālāyira Divyaprabandham is the collection of the works of the twelve Alvars.  Nālāyira Prabandham means the book of four thousand verses. Divya Prabandham means the divine treatise. In the words of G. Damodaran “the verses of all the Alvars is named as Divya Prababdham and Arulicceyal which mean “Book of Divinity” and “Works of divine grace” respectively.”[1]
 In this collection “there are twenty-four Prabandhams of varying size, making a total collection of 4,000 hymns, known as Nālāyira Divaprabandham.”[2]    VedāntaDeśika and his followers combine together Tiruppallāndu with Periyālvār Tirumoli and say that the compositions of the twelve Ālvārs are twenty-three in number.[3]   It needs to be remembered that, apart from these Prabandhams, later, the Rāmānuja–Nūrrandādi, a Tamil Prabandham, comprising one hundred and eight hymns composed by Tiruvarangattamudanar in praise of Rāmānuja, was added with Nālāyira Divaprabandham.   These poems, in general, reflect the response of ALVRS to their specific historical context. 

4.1.1 Composition

The compilations of the collection of the works of the ALVARS and the reason for their recitation in the temples were attributed to Nāthamuni.[4]  This phase of development is considered as the renaissance of Nālāyiram.  M. Varadarajan writes, “for this renaissance the credit goes to the great and first Acharya Sriman Nathamunigal whose eloquent voice, pious life, great devotion and gigantic task of consolidating the hymns revived these 4000 hymns and laid foundation for Vaishnavism.”[5]  Because of his contribution, Nālāyiram had become the center of attraction for many.  It is also said that, Rāmānujācāriya was inspired and influenced by Nālāyiram.
In accordance with tradition it is suggested that the date of the composition of Nālāyiram must have taken place about 900 A.D.[6] A too general date assigned without any specificity is that “the work of the ALVRS falls into its place between the Gītā and Rāmānuja.”[7]  A more liberal view states that “the period A.D. 1,100 – 1150 is exactly the period in which the Prabandham 4000 must have been cast into the present form by Ramanuja…”[8] This goes against the traditional view that Nāthamuni composed these collections.  Ninth century may be the acceptable date of composition.

4.1.2 Interpretation
 The crucial way of interpreting the Nālāyiram is to consider that it teaches the three basic mantras of the Vaisnavites.  Alkondavilli Govindacharya says, “thus Prabandhas of the Ázhvârs teach sublime Spiritual Truths contained in the Three Rahasyas, or mystical Treatises called, the (1) Tirumantra, (2) Dvaya, and (3) Charama – Sloka.”[9]  In the words of S.M.S. Srenivasa Chari “the general belief is that the entire Divya prabandham is the exposition of the three Vaisnava Mantras – asdāksara, dvaya and carama – Sloka – containing the essence of the esoteric doctrine of Vaisnava Sampradāya.”[10]  This is obvious in the Nālāyiram.  And recitation of these mantras is treated as essential element in the Vaisnava religiosity.
The first mantra is Tirumantra [the holy mantra] or Mūla-mantra.  That is chanting ‘aum namo Nārāyanāya’ which means “Aum, reverence to Narayana.”[11]  It is also called the eight-lettered mantra.[12] The second one is called ‘Divya mantra’ [the double mantra]: Śrīmān - Nārāyana – Caranau Śaranam prapadye, Śrīmate Nārāyanāya namahi.e., ‘I take refuge at the feet of Nārāyana with Śrī; reverence to Nārāyana with Śrī;.[13] 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 moks,ayīs,yāmi mā śucahi.e., “giving up all dharmas take me alone as your refuge; I will free you from all your sins; do not grieve.”[14]  According to Trumalsai, those who did not learn carama śloka were enemies of God.[15]

4.1. 3 Commentaries
Although Nāthamuni composed these hymns they became popular only through the works of commentators.   The commentaries were written during the post – Ramanuja period. Most of them were written on Tiruvāymoli. S. M. Srinivasa Chari says, “while only two Ācāryas – Periyavāccān Pillai and Periya Parakālaswami commented on all Prabandhams in manipravala style, several others have written scholarly commentaries on Tiruvāymoli.”[16]  Krishnasuri, otherwise called Periyavāccān Pillai, acquired the title Vyakhyana Chakravarthi.[17]    His service to Vaisnavism was immense.  Hence, in the words of M. Varadarajan, “it may not be an exaggeration that but for his tireless contribution Sri Vaishnava Manipravala literature, particularly Alwar’s hymns would not have got prominence and fame among the people of India and abroad.”[18]
The commentaries were written in manipravala style i.e., mixture of Tamil and Sanskrit.  According to M. Varadarajan, “Manipravala means the combination of Sanskrit and Tamil words like a necklace studded with Mani – Pearl and Pravala–Coral.”[19]  That is, pearl is Tamil and coral is Sanskrit. This style was in practice from the eleventh century, first in Malayalam and then in Tamil literature. In the words of K. K. A. Venkata Chari the most prominent characteristic of manipravāla, is that it is a Situational Language.[20]  The manipravāla commentaries are measured by padī.  “The word padī or grantha is a unit of 32 letters.”[21]   
Another remarkable feature of the commentaries is that they are written in the form of a mixture of the Vedic and Upanishadic ideas.[22]  It is interesting to know the fact that the Hindus, irrespective of their sectarian claims, always remain faithful to Vedas and Upanisads.
The commentaries are treated as divine in the Vaisnavite tradition. They are read along with the main works.  The important one among the commentators is Krishnasuri, otherwise called Periyavāccān Pillai.  M. Varadarajan writes,  “even today along with Alwar’s hymns, his commentaries are being rendered during Adhyayana Utsavam by Areyar Swami in Srirangam.”[23]  Again  “it is to be noted that even today in Simhachalam Temple in Andhra Pradesh, Krishnasuri’s commentary for Andal’s Tiruppavai, called Muvairappadi is being read daily, apart from recitation of Tiruppavai during Margazhi month.”[24]
K. K. A. Venkata Chari vividly brought out the other skills applied in the commentaries.  According to him, “in conclusion we might say that the use of simile and metaphor, illustration, story, and elaboration gives much liveliness to this literature and is important [1] from the literary point of view as ornamentation [alańkāra], [2] from the religious point of view as a method of explanation and a demonstration of relevancy, and [3] from the philosophical stand point as a method to argue from the seen to the unseen.”[25]

4.1.4 Content of Nālāyiram

There are two views about the content of Nālāyiram.  One is that, it restates the teaching of the Hindu scriptures in a way easy for the common people.  The other view is that it is nothing but the mystical experiences of the Alvars.  About the first view it is said, “the entire matter that could be gathered from the sources down from the Vedas is retained in toto in these Tamil Prabandhams, as though testifying to their inheritance to the Vedic religion.”[26]  Little more extensively, “the themes of the hymns are drawn from Vedas, Upanishads, Epics etc.”[27]  Still further, “the teachings of the Alvars are not basically different from what is said in the Vedas, the Epics and the Agamas.  Their uniqueness, however, lies in the fact that they are presented for the first time to the common people in their spoken language (Tamil).”[28]
The second view is plainly stated as, “their mystical experiences are recorded in their compositions.”[29]  These experiences had much religious significance.  It is also pointed out that the ALVRS conveyed their mystical experiences through Nālāyiram.[30]  Of course, the two views are true and good for the Vaisnavites.  Without neglecting the importance of the first view, it will be appropriate to emphasis the second.

4.1.5 Purpose of Nālāyiram

            There are at least three purposes of Nālāyiram.  One is that, “these compositions of the Alvars are not merely intended to promote the bhakti cult, as is commonly believed but they aim at disseminating the knowledge of the Vedānta philosophy among the common people through the familiar medium of Tamil.”[31]  Especially it is true with Tiruvāymoli.  Any serious reading of the collections will reveal it.  But it is not all. There is also the mystical element.  “The mystical contents of NTP initiate the individual to enjoy and to merge with the Supreme spiritual pleasure of the divinity, through which the individual by realizing his self attains mukti.”[32] 

Whether it imbibes Vedāntic doctrine, or mysticism, it certainly helps the common man.  It is stated that, it becomes the common-man’s literature embodying the spiritual experience of persons from the most common run of society.[33] This is something very unique, which later Hinduism in India, failed to nurture.  Unless every religious teaching reaches the grassroots level, the religious dynamics cannot influence the common people.  If it cannot influence the basic humanity, it cannot have its impact upon the society.  In this connection the ALVRS had done valuable service.  
Further, the purpose of the Nālāyiram is more spiritualized as, “they sang songs in an inspired manner and often believed that they themselves had no hand in their composition, but that it was God who spoke through them.”[34]  It implies that God used the ALVARS to spread His teachings to the world. That is why it is maintained that the ALVARS were the spiritual descents of the various parts of the Lord.  It is also an indication of God’s grace to His people.  Besides, it’s religious significance, “it was Nāthamuni’s disciples who helped popularize the Nālāyira Divya Prabhandham which their Ācārya had collected and set to music.”[35]
The next stage of development was the chanting of Nālāyiram in the temples.  The argument is who first introduced this practice.  Tradition attributes this development to Nāthamuni.  At the same time there are people who hold that, it was Rāmānuja who introduced it first.  In support of the first view it is said, “though Nāthamuni and Ālavandār were instrumental in introducing the chanting of the Divya Prabandham in Vaisnava temples, it was Rāmānuja who systematized it and arranged for the chanting of hymns as an integral part of the temple ritual.”[36]  The refutation to those who hold the second view comes in the form as, “there is a clear evidence to show that the tradition of reciting Alwar’s hymns were in existence even before the time of Sri Ramanuja in Tirumala Temple.”[37]
This view is emphatically stated as “Sriman Nathamuni, the first pontiff of Sri Vaishnavism, … arranged to recite the hymns in Deva Gana in temples.”[38] It may be said that Nāthamuni was responsible for the spread of the Nālāyiram and its recitation obligatory both in the temples and houses.

4.1.6 Salient Features of Nālāyiram

Nālāyiram is the source for all the future developments in Vaisnavism.  Its impact on the philosophical sphere is stated as “the Nālāyiradivyaprabandham of the Ālvār – Saints of South India is hailed as an authoritative source–book in the Visistādvaita system of Vedānta.”[39]  It is generally held that it was the inspirational source for Rāmānuja who systematized Visistādvaita.  Even the division of Rāmānuja’s sect into northern and southern school had its origin here.  Those who supported the importance of the Tamil work Nālāyiram were called southerners.  On the contrary, the supporters of Sanskrit tradition were called northern school or vadakalai.
The stories revolving around the Nālāyiram were mostly related to Kannan (the southern name) or Krishnan (northern name).  This idea is pointed out as “the devotional songs of the Ālvārs show an intense familiarity with the various parts of the legendary life of Krsna.”[40]
One of the helpful aspects of Nālāyiram is that it can be easily understood.  “Many hymns of the Prabandham require but little explanation, in order to be intelligible.”[41]  It is because they are simple and easy to understand.  There is not so much of philosophical issues.  It was only after the time of Rāmānuja, the commentators had forced Visitādvaita into Nālāyiram.
In spite of its simple nature Nālāyiram is rich in its content.  Hence, “it is also considered as Tamil Veda or Dravida Veda.”[42]  Its popularity is due to Nāthamuni.  N. Subbu Reddiar writes, “it is thus noticed that after Nāthamuni, the Nālāyiräm became reputed as Tamil Vedas and the Tiruvāymoli as the Upanisad in Tamil.”[43]
As Nālāyiram is equal in status to the Sanskrit Vedas, it is called Dravida Veda.  But there is a caution.  The caution is that “they are not the Vedas themselves but are Vedas in Tamil in so far as they serve the purposes which the Vedas serve.”[44]  Whether it serves the purpose of the Vedas is under question. Even if it had served the purpose of the Vedas, many did not like it to be treated on par with the Vedas, particularly the Vadakalai.  Of course, the people of Tenkalai regarded Nālāyiram on par with the Sanskrit Vedas.
The plain nature of Nālāyiram is described as the works of the ALVRSare more expository of God–realization than being a critical inquiry into God’s existence.[45]  They were not the outcome of philosophical discussions, but spontaneous expression of people who had surrendered their lives to Visnu.
There is a partial explanation to Divya Prabandham. That is “those hymns include in praise of 108 Divyadesas (holy places) and those hymns are called Divya Prabhandham.”[46]  It is to remind that one of the aspects of these works is to eulogize the holy places, or temples of God.  Thus “in the divine poetical composition they praised the Lord who is dwelling in a place or town which is called Divya Desas.”[47]  Otherwise the work is filled with divinity.  “So Divya Suris, Divya Prabandham and Divya Desas are together akin to divinity.”[48]  The Vaishnavas consider one hundred and eight places as holy and praised those places in the Nālāyiram. In other words “Alwars considered 108 Divya Desas as sacred spots and sung in praise of each deity and its surroundings.”[49]

4.2 Ācāryas 
The hymns of the Ālvārs were later popularized by the Ācāryas.  The Ācāryas belonged to an altogether different historical setup and pattern of thinking.  It is, therefore, useful to mark the differences between them before analyzing the response to religious pluralism found in the bhakti tradition of Ālvārs.  The knowledge of the role of Ācāryas in popularizing Nālāyiram and extending the religion of the Ālvārs far and wide, shall be helpful to understand the significant contribution of the Ācāryas towards Ālvārs and Nālāyiram; and how Nālāyiram influenced them.
In contrast to the Ālvārs, the Ācāryas based their teachings on both the Samskrit and Tamil scriptures.[50] They interpreted the simple devotional songs of Ālvārs in accordance with Rāmānuja’s philosophy. In rendering philosophical interpretations to Nālāyiram the Ācāryas were careful to maintain its stand on par with the Vedas, Upanishads and Gītā.  This approach probably did not receive the acceptance of all.  That may be the reason that caused the division of Rāmānuja’s school into northern and southern. Another difference between the Ācāryas and ALVARS lies in their method.  The ALVARS never produced any argument, but the Ācāryas were keener in supporting their views with strong arguments. Subsequent to Nāthamuni the later developments in Vaishnavism are represented by four major Ācāryas.  They are Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Vallabhācārya and Caitanya Mahā- prabhu.

4.2.1 Nāthamuni
The Ācārya tradition of Vaishnavism began from Nāthamuni.                                          His full name was Rańganāthamuni.  His period might be around the end of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth centuries. He brought the Nālāyira Divya Prabandham to the status of Tamil Vedas; installed the images of ALVARS for worship along with other deities and arranged festivals for the birthdays of the Alvars.
In accordance with the rich religious experience of the Alvars, he founded a religious sect and a philosophy.  The sect founded by Nāthamuni was known as the Śrī Sampradāya.  The school of new thought in the field of devotional Vaishnavism, founded by Nāthamuni was known as Ubhaya– Vedānta, which was strictly followed by the Sri – Sampradāya.[51] Nāthamuni was succeeded by Uyyak–Kontār (826 – 931 A.D.) otherwise known as Pundarikāksa.  He was succeeded by Manakkāl Nampi (889 – 994 A.D.), who was also known as Srīrāma.  Yāmunā succeeded Manakkāl Nampi and Rāmānuja succeeded him.  It is said, “in fact Yāmuna has clearly laid down the lines on which Rāmānuja later on elaborated the system of Visistādvaita.”[52]

4.2.2 Rāmānuja
Rāmānuja is placed between 1016 – 1137 AD.[53]  Of course, “the traditional date of Rāmānuja’s birth is A.D.1017, and he is said to have lived for 120 years.”[54]  Apart from his philosophical skills and Samskrit wisdom, Rāmānuja was greatly influenced by the life and works of Alvars.  Trivedi Krishnaji says, “the noble lives of the Alvars and their sacred utterances must have profoundly impressed and influenced the mind of Sri Ramanuja who in his devotion to God belongs to that illustrious band of the devotees of God, called Alvars.”[55]  He innovatively capitalized the influences of ALVRSand made several advancements from there.  According to J. S. M. Hooper, “the Alvars provided the soil out of which Rāmānuja’s teaching naturally sprang, and in which later it could bear fruit.”[56]  It is said, “the devotional songs of the Alvars molded the thought of Sri Ramanujacharya in formulating Visistadvaitic Philosophy.”[57]  Even the content of Visistādvaita was considered to be mostly from the works of Alvars, especially, the works of Nammālvār.  In the words of N. Subbu Reddiar, “much of the matter which has philosophical significance is contained mostly in the compositions of Nāmmālvār.”[58]
 Among the works of Rāmānuja the following are said to have direct bearing upon the Nālāyiram.  They are, “the Gitā – bhāsya and the Gadyantraya, the latter in particular, bear ample testimony to the influence of the Nālāyiram.”[59]
At the same time there are works, which do not present the influence of Nālāyiram.  They are “the Śrī – Bhāsya, the Vedānta – Sāra, and the Vedānta – dīpa which deal with materials which bear philosophical import do not appear to have been much influenced by the compositions of the Alvars.”[60]  The scope of these works was different from the earlier.  Therefore, they do not reflect the influences of Nālāyiram.
The crucial contribution of Rāmānuja, according to M. Varadarajan was, “as a thought reader and Saint Philosopher, Ramanuja intuited the inner thoughts of Alwars and gave critical expositions of Alwars’s experience.”[61]   According to D. S. Sarma, “Ramanuja’s chief object was to give a philosophic basis to Bhakti and to prove that Bhakti was the central teaching not only of the Tamil Prabandha, but also of the Prasthana–traya.”[62]  Rāmānuja’s contribution to Nālāyitam yearned him a place in the order of Alvars.    Not just yearning a place in the list, but his greatness is expressed by adding a composition, the Rāmānuja- nūrrantāti of Tiruvarańkattu Amutanār, in the Näläyiram. 
Although Nāthamuni laid the foundation, it was on account of Rāmānuja’s efforts that the Alvars were deified and special shrines were constructed.  The recitation of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham composed by the Alvars became a regular feature in the Vaisnava temples.

4.2.2.1 Religion and Philosophy
Each sect of Vaisnavism practices its religion in a different way.  Rāmānuja and his followers are called Śrī Vaisnavas because worship in this sect first starts with prayer to Srī or Laksmī.[63]  This sect is often known as Śrī sampradāya or Rāmānuja sampradya.  It is mostly followed by Iyengars (Aiyanar).
 This sampradāya believes that, God has manifested in five ways: “para (supreme soul), vyūha (manifestations), avatāra (incarnations), arcā (an idol intended to be worshipped) and antaryāmi (inner controller).”[64]   Reference to these forms may be traced back to the works of the Alvars.
Nilakanta Sastri indicates the influence of ALVARSon the philosophical standpoint of Rāmānuja as, “…Rāmānuja systematized the doctrine of Visishta–Advaita and sought to reconcile the Upanishadic doctrine of the absolute with the theistic predilections of the great Vaishnava ALVARS and Ācāryas who had preceded him.”[65]  He equated Brahman with Nārāyana.  For him Brahman is no other than Visnu who appears to his devotees in five forms: Parā, Vyūha, Vibhava, Antaryāmin and Arcā.[66] 
The formula of his philosophy, in nutshell is that, the individual soul and the insensate world are the attributes of the supreme soul[67]i.e.[Cit>Acit> Isvara  i.e., animal soul> insensate world > supreme soul].  After the time of Rāmānuja, his sect was divided into two.  The reason is “to Ramanuja the philosophy of Vedanta was the same as the philosophy of the Prabandha.  But some of his followers exalted the former and others the latter.  The Samskritists came to be known as the Northern school, and the Tamilians as the Southern School.”[68]
 About the division it is also said that, “the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries witnessed the rise of a schism among the followers of Rāmānuja due to a difference in their interpretation of Prapatti (surrender).”[69]  Those who subscribed to prapatti were called Tenkalai (Marjārakisoranyāya, cat-hold theory) and those opted for bhakti were called Vadakali, (Markatakisoranyāya, Monkey-hold theory).  The former (southern school) opted for Tamil Veda and the later (northern) for Sanskrit.  The chief argument is “the Vadakalai lays down that Prapatti is for those who cannot follow other ways, such as Karmayoga, Jñānayoga and Bhaktiyoga, while the Tenkalai holds that it is necessary for all whether able or not, to follow the other ways.”[70] The argument of the Tenkali, in an extended form is every person irrespective of his caste and creed, was entitled to practice Bhakti.[71]  This is an indication to hold that the reformatory efforts of ALVRS had to go through a radical change during the time of Ācāryas.
Later these new sects were ascribed to two Ācāryas, who have contributed enormously to the prominence of the works of Alvars. Vatakalai owes its allegiance to Vedānta Desika (1268 – 1369A.D.) and Tenkalai to Manavāla–Mämunikal (1370 – 1443 A.D.).[72]

4.2.2.2 Religious Attitude
The general remark about Rāmānuja’s attitude towards other religions may be understood from the statement that, “his vision of God is cosmic; he sees Him even in a Jain, Buddhist, etc., and as such is free from sectarian bias and bigotry.”[73]  But his hostile enemies were the Śaivites.  They persuaded Chola king Krimikānta / Kulottuñga who was a Śavite to force Rāmanuja to subscribe to the Śavite faith, i.e., accepting Śiva as the supreme Lord.  It is remarked that, “the Cholas were ardent Śaivas and evidently did not view the growing influence of Rāmānuja with favor.”[74]  It is reported that the Chola king blinded two of Rāmānuja’s disciples.  Thus Rāmānuja and his disciples underwent persecution.
To escape this situation, Rāmānuja left Chola country and went to Mysore, where Hoysala Yadava king ruled.[75]  It needs to be remembered that even in the collection of the works of ALVARS the struggle between the Śaivites and the Vaisnavites was more intense than the struggle with the Buddhists and Jains.  There are evidences to show that Ramanuja himself had indulged in serious disputation with the Saivites and reclaimed various shrines, then in possession of the Saivas, for the worshippers of Vishnu, particularly the celebrated temple of Tripeti.[76]

4.2.3 Mādhva and Other Exponents of Southern Vaishnavism
Next to Rāmānuja, Mādhva (1199 – 1278 A.D.) became the prominent Vaisnava Ācārya.   He advocated dualism and started a new sect.  “The name of his sect was Brahm sect. Later it was divided into two groups, i.e., Vyāsakūta and Dāsakūta.  The former conservative, the opposite is the latter.”[77]
Vallabha succeeded Mādhva.  His school is called Suddhādvaita or Pustimārga. Pustimārga is interpreted in two ways.  One is the way of eating, drinking and enjoying oneself, and the other is that it is the way of grace.[78] The second view is considerable one. The celebrated teacher Caitanya was the founder of Krsna bhakti in Bengal. “Nimbārka of the twelfth century was another great exponent of Southern Vaisnavism.”[79]  His system is called Bhedābheda or Dvaitādvaita and the sect is called Sanaka.  “In religion he accepted the doctrine of surrender (Prapatti) and translated it into a total devotion to Krishna and Rādha.”[80]  In his theology Krishna and Radha take the place of Nārāyana and Lakshmi, and claim the exclusive devotion of their followers.[81]
As bhakti movement underwent renaissance in the south, Rāmānanda, who was fifth in descent from the great southern teacher Rāmānuja, renovated it in north India. In his sect, Rāmā and Sita are given prominence.  The sect of Nāmadeva, a Sūdra by birth, flourished in Mārāthä country.  As it deviated from Vedic tradition, all other Vaisnava sects kept aloof from him.
Another sect deviated from Vedic tradition was the one established by Saint Tukārām.  He belonged to Mārātha caste, but was considered as Sudra.  Others in this line are Kabir (1398 – 1518) and Caitanya Deva (1485 – 1533). Caitanya was distinct in that he is a strict follower of the Vedic Varnāsrama Dharma.[82]  Probably this brought him little more acceptance among others.  Still, there were Tulsidäs, Mīrābāi etc.
Krishna bhakti has two distinctive types.  One is the worship of Krishna and Rukmini and the other is the worship of Krishna and Radha.  “The Saints of Maharashtra, viz., Jnaneshvar, Namdev, Eknath, and Tukaram represent the former, while the sects founded by Nimbarka, Vishnusvami, Vallabha and Chaitanya in other parts of the country represent the latter.”[83]  The former is Kānta–bhava and the latter is Mādhura–bhava.  Thus it is evident that the influence of the bhakti movement, which originated in the south India and strengthened in the Alvar movement penetrated to various parts of India, as practiced by the Alvars, with the blessing of the Ācāryas.

4.3 Works of Ālvārs

            Having introduced Näläyiram and its various aspects; and the role of Ācāryas in furthering and strengthening the message and mission of Alvars, now it is appropriate to attempt an outline of the work or works of each individual Alvar before endeavoring a textual study to asses the response of ALVARS towards religious pluralism as reflected in the Nālāyiram.


4.3.1 Mutal Alvars
Each of the first three ALVRS has written one hundred verses in praise of the deity, who gave them darsan.  These verses are compared to a garland of flowers.[84]  They are called, Mutal Tiruvantati (first centum), Irantām Tiruvantāti (second centum) and Mūnrām Tiruvantāti (third centum) by Poykaiyālvār, Pūtattālvār and Pēyālvār respectively.[85]
Their works are in the form of Antāti.  i.e., the ending word in a stanza is taken up at the beginning of the next verse.[86]  To explain further the words anta means end and ādi stands for beginning.  Thus “Andādi is a kind of poetry in Tamil in which the last word or syllable of the preceding verse becomes the opening word or syllable of the succeeding verse.”[87]  As these verses are in praise of God, they are called ‘Thiruvandadi’.  These hymns are composed in order to praise their god who had given them darsan and His glory.[88] In the words of Alkondavilli Govindacharya “all the three Hymns brim with Knowledge of God (Para – bhakti), Love of God (Para–Jñāna), and Sight of God (Parama–bhakti); but in each, one of these three elements notably predominates.”[89]  The ALVRS have strove hard to establish that the deity they worship is the supreme. The poems of these three are the expression of their supreme joy at the vision of god.

4.3.2 Works of Tirumaliśai Ālvār

Tirumaliśai has composed two poems.  They are the Nān–Mukham Tiruvandādi containing ninety-six stanzas, and the Tiru-Cchanda-Viruttam, containing one hundred and twenty stanzas.[90]  Of the two, the first one is in the same style as the Tiruvandādi of the three earlier Alvars.[91]  The main theme of the work is the supremacy of Nārāyana, the consort of ‘Srī (Laksmī)’.  It looks “the Ālvār was a monotheist as he himself admits and preached that the one and only God was Visnu while the other two of the triad – Brahmā and Siva – were created by him.”[92]  He also speaks about the ‘greatness of devotees’ to the extent that devotion to them is greater than devotion to God.  In other words the first work is the earliest Vaisnava treatise upholding the supremacy of Visnu or Nārāyana against the other deities.   This has greater impact on the theology of the latter Ācāryas. The second work is Tiruccanta–Viruttam. This second work is more philosophical in nature than the previous.  “It is more metaphysical in the sense that it enumerates the categories in such a way as to point out that everything is ultimately derived from the one.”[93] It declares the absolute nature of Narayana and the unfriendly attitude of the Älvars, (as against the first three Alvars) towards the people of other faiths. He became so intolerant may be because of his conversion to a new tradition.  This may be the psychology of ALVRS who accepted Vaisnavism at the cost of their own traditional faith. Like the previous one this poem too was set out to say that Narāyana was greater than Brahma and Śiva.  All through the work the tone is that Tirumal alone deserves adoration and none else, because he has created them, and they worship him and ask for his favors.
These two works clearly visualize the religious attitude of Tirumaliśai that Narayana is the only God who deserves worship. The people who worship and follow other gods and religions lack real knowledge. They can find fulfillment only in Visnu.

4.3.3 Works of Tondaradippodi Ālvār

There are two works to his credit.  They are, Tirumālai (the sacred garland) and Tiruppalli-elucci (the rousing of the Lord).[94]  The first has forty-five hymns and the second, ten verses.  S. M. Srinivasa Chari summarizes the characteristic of the works as, “the concept of Bhāgavata–Kaińkaryā or service to the devotees of Bhagavān (Visnu), which is developed into an important doctrine in later Vaisnava theology, finds its strong roots in hymns of Tondaradippodi.”[95] The limitation of the Alvar was considered to be that the saint knew only the sleeping Beauty at Sri Rańgam and he celebrated Him only and none else.[96]
Tirumālai is the first work of Tondaradippodi.  It is said, “he who does not know Tirumālai cannot apprehend Perumāl.”[97]  The meaning of Tirumālai is the sacred garland (mālai) of poems offered to Lord Rańganātha.[98]  Apart from the many allusions to puranic stories, the poem simply glorifies the greatness of Lord Rańganātha the presiding deity at Srirańgam.  Tiruppalli-elucci is the second work.  S. M. Srinivasa Chari puts the content of the work, as, as the title indicates, it is a celebrated song of the early morning meant to awaken Lord Rañganātha from His Yogic slumber.[99]   In brief, these two poems reflect the characteristics of a simple and orthodox devotee who is committed to his own religion and God. 

4.3.4 Works of Kulaśekara Alvar

Among the Alvars, Kulaśekara is considered to be a scholar in both Tamil and Samskrit.  His Samskrit work is called Mukundamālā, which is not a part of the collection of Alvars.  The greatness of Mukundamālā is described thus: “he invited learned men, wise men and sages and Bhaktas to his capital and read with them all the sacred Lore, and all the Purânas Eighteen, and sub-Purânas Eighteen and Itihâsas and Institutes, and taking the best gems out of that vast ocean, strung together into a garland of poems called the Mukundamâla, which to this day is extant.”[100]
The only work found its place in the Nālāyiram is   Perumāl Tirumoli.[101]  It has one hundred and three verses, which embodies the experience of the Alvar. [102] His longing for a pilgrimage to Srirangam may be gauged from the first ten verses of Perumal Thirumoli.[103] The other incidents alluded to in the work suggest that the Alvar expressed his religious experience in the form of vatsalya bhakti.  It is affection shown by a mother to the child.  According to S. M. Srinivasa Chari the two important doctrines reflected in the work are, the service to God (Bhagavat–Kainkarya) and service to the Lord’s devotees (Bhāgavata Kainkarya). [104]

4.3.5 Work of Tiruppān Alvar
Tiruppān Alvar has composed only one poem of ten verses, called Amalanātipirän.[105]  It means, the lord is free from all impurities.  In other words it is about the beauty of Rańganātha. According to S. M. Srinivasa Chari, “the word amalan (un-blemish) used at the outset and which is adopted as the title of the work, signifies one of the essential attributes laid down by Vedānta for determining the Ultimate Reality.”[106]  It is true that the ALVRSnever parted away from the Vedic and Vedantic ideals.    No less than any other Alvar, Tiruppān maintained the nature of Visnu as one beyond all gods.  But his poem does not contain any condemnatory words against other faiths.

4.3.6 Works of Tirumangai Alvar

Tirumangai Ālvār was credited with six poems.  They are Periya Tirumoli, (1,084 hymns), Tirukkuruntāndakam (20 verses), Tiruneduntāndakam (30 verses), Tiruvelukürrirukkai (as a single long poem in 47 lines), Siriya Tirumadal (155 lines), and Periya Tirumadal (297 lines).[107]  His six works are said to represent the Six Angas to the four Vedas of St. Nammāzhvaz’s four Prabandhas.[108]  This is done in accordance with the four Vedas and six Angas, of the Aryans.  The Ālvār’s versatile use of Tamil to describe the beauty of nature is quite admirable.

The main theme of Tirumangai’s poetry is the greatness of God’s name, Narayana. Vsisnavism considers the recitation of the names of God, as one of the best ways to worship Him.  Another crucial and accessible way to approach the deity, for him was, service at His feet. 
There are certain important aspects of Periya Tirumoli.  The first ten verses speak about how Tirumańgai was transformed after learning the meaning of Nārāyana mantra, which is acknowledged by the Śrī Vaisnava Ācāryas as the most important mantra containing the quintessence of Vedānta.[109]  Once he became a saint he visited various temples.  The descriptions of the greatness of those temples find adequate expression in the hymns.[110] Apart from his devotion to Nārāyana, he maintained the superiority of Nārāyana.  His attitude towards Buddhism and Jainism was not so cordial.
 The main theme of the Tirukkuruntāndakam is that the soul is wholly dependent on God and Nārāyana is superior to all deities.    The next work is the Tiruneduntāndakam.  It portrays Alvar’s mystic experience of God.  The crucial point of emphasize here is that, the supreme light is one.  It shows again the reflection of the Vedāntic influence in the teachings of the Ālvār.
Tiruvelukūrrirukkai is the fourth work. It deals with the concept of absolute surrender of the soul to God.  The other two works are his two Madals.  They reflect the impact of Akam poetry and bridal mysticism in the life of Ālvārs. The Madal is a horse-like structure made of the branches of palm-leaves.  It refers to a traditional custom in which the man or woman who has been in love with his or her lover takes a vow to secure the person loved, by openly demonstrating in public his or her love to the person concerned.[111] It is ‘a ride in a street on a palmyra stem using it as a horse.  The Alvar used this metaphor to convey the message that   “an Alwar is the lady-in-love and her lover is God.”[112] The Akam rules do not permit a lady to ride the horse; only the man can do it.  But the Ālvār broke the tradition and brought in innovations.  In short “the two Madals portray the mystic feelings of the saint towards God.”[113] 

4.3.7 Works of Periyālvār

Periyālvār contributed two important poetical works.  They are Tiruppallāndu, comprising twelve verses and Periyālvār Tirumoli, consisting of four hundred and sixty one hymns.[114]
M. Varadarajan says, “Tiruppallandu of Periylwar is a gem among the 4000 hymns of Alwars.”[115]  The uniqueness is that “the Ālvār who was overwhelmed with joy at the sight of Visnu burst out singing the famous hymn Pallāndu meaning ‘may you long live for many years.”[116]  It is expressed in the form of a prayer wishing an eternal existence for the Lord.[117]  “His verses describe the life-adventures of Krishna.”[118]  It may be said, “Periyālvār was much attracted to Krsna whose childhood is very well depicted by him.”[119]
The second work is Periyālvār Tirumoli. It is a beautiful poetic work in which Periyālvār enjoys the glory of God in His incarnation as Krsna.  He poses himself as mother Yasodā and conveys his love to God, in terms of intense motherly affection for the child. Of course he also sang the glory of Rāmāvatāra.
The general tone of the hymns is that Nārāyana is Lord of all gods.  He creates them and protects them. Periyālvār’s attitude towards other religions, as reflected in these works is exclusive, but not aggressive.

4.3.8 Works of Āndāl

Āndāl, the only female Alvar had captured the attention of all by her poetical compositions.  Her two compositions are Tiruppāvai and Nācciyār-Tirumoli.[120]  The meaning of the word Tiruppāvai indicates its nature.  “‘Tiruppāvai’ means a sacred girl, a divine girl, and therefore, is likely to indicate Āntāl Herself.”[121]  It reveals her deep love for God.  This poem is attributed with sacred quality.  It is said, it is a lyrical piece of thirty lyrics and it is treated as sacred lore.[122]  This poem expresses Āndāl’s love for god in the pattern of Bhagavata.  So it may be assumed that, probably Bhagavatam inspired her.   This poem gives us a picture of sublime bridal mysticism.[123]  “As the title (pāvai) indicates, it speaks of a religious rite (Vrta) observed by a bride during the month of Mārgasïrsa in the autumn season to secure a person of one’s choice as husband.”[124]  Further “the thirty poems portray beautifully the ritual ceremony (nōnpu) observed in the early morning of the winter month, the awakening of companions from deep sleep, the waking of the persons in the Lord’s Mansion including His consort and finally imploring the Lord Himself to grant them the boon.”[125]  Generally it is recited for prayer or worship in the morning.  During the month Sagittarius, or Margali in Tamil and Margasira in Sanskrit (from mid-December to mid-January), it dominates the morning devotion.[126]  During the whole month, in the evening, there are learned and popular discourses on Tiruppāvai.
In the assessment of many, Tiruppāvai is considered as the quintessence of the Upanisads.[127] In the same line, it is held that, “of course, the general purport of the thirty stanzas of the Tiruppāvai incorporates, in a way, the arthapañcakajñāna (the knowledge of the nature and significance of five truths- Souls, God, means to the goal, the summum bonum, and the impediments which entangle the soul on its path of perfection)”.[128]  In addition to the Upanisadic nature, traces of the elements of Bhagavad Gītā also are indicated.  It is said, “Tiruppavai is universally regarded as containing the essence of the Upanisads and the Bhagavadgita, with clarity, simplicity and directness.”[129]  There is a much higher view that,  “in particular, Tiruppavai is an exposition of the Sri Vaisnava Philosophy as revealed by the twelve Alwars (saints), including Goda herself and her foster father, Periyalwar.”[130]   It may be because she was the incarnation of Mahalakshmi.  In a nutshell, the real nature of Tiruppāvai is said that, “…it springs from the deep devotion and passionate longing of Goda Devi to find fulfillment in union with her Lord.”[131]  In other words “the heart of the matter is the yearning of the individual soul to reach and be united with the Supreme Soul.”[132]
The poem is mostly about inviting Krisna to grant joy.  There is always a strong tendency to go for allegorical interpretation of the hymns.  There is also constant attempt to attribute esoteric meaning to everything described in this classical poetic piece.  This is a poem set to emphasize the view that Tirumāl is the God of gods.
Nācciyar Tirumoli is her second poem, with one hundred and forty-three stanzas.  The central theme of the poem is love for Krisna.  In the words of S. M. Srinivasa Chari, “the second composition of Āndāl known as Nācciyär Tirumoli contains the mystic outpourings of Āndāl’s intense love for Lord Krsna seeking a union with the beloved Lord.”[133]  In this connection, it is in parlance with the previous work.   The key emphasis is on the concept of absolute surrender of the soul to God.  This is important because, prapatti finds its strong expression in the Ālvārs.  As Āndāl’s main thrust was about the union with God, her works do not reflect her attitude towards other sects and religions.

4.3.9 Works of NammAlvar

Among the poetical collection of the Alvars, the poems of Nammālvār deserve special appreciation, for reasons that are spiritual, academic and poetical excellence.  According to K. A. Nilakanta Sastri “his hymns the largest in number after those of Tirumangai, are rightly regarded as embodying the deepest religious experience and philosophic thought of one of the greatest seers of the world.”[134]  As to the number of works, “he has composed four Prabandhams i.e., Tiruviruttam, Tiruvachiriyam, Periy Thiruvandadhi and Tiruvoymozhi.”[135]  These four works are treated with a lot of respect in the Vaisnava tradition.  “According to some, these represent the four Vedas – Rg, Yajur, Sāma and Atharva.”[136]  In other words “the works of Nammālvār as a whole are held to contain the essence of the four Vedas.”[137]  Like the works of the other leading Alvars, his works too reflect the influence of Upanisads.  Nilakanta Sastri writes, “Nammālvār’s work is held in the highest respect as it is believed to embody the deepest philosophical truths taught by the Upanishads.”[138]
The greatness of his works, literary merits and language exploits place the Alvar at height. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri opines, “the elegance and sophistication of his compositions and the inclusion in them of a significant number of Sanskrit words suggest that Satakōpan was a well-educated person.”[139] 

4.3.9.1 Tiruviruttam, Tiruvāciriyam and Periya Tiruvandādi 

Tiruviruttam is a beautiful expression of Nammālvār’s intense relation with God, in the form of Akam principles.  It consists of one hundred verses. The Alvar takes the role of a lovelorn mistress suffering separation from her Lord.[140]  It is not a mere mortal human love.  It is said, “Tiruviruttam, as the title itself suggests, is devoted primarily to narrate the ardent longing of the Soul for communion with God.”[141]  Using Akam concept “Nammālvār has shown that one who sees God becomes a woman.”[142]  In this way, “Nammālvār poses himself as a consort (nāyaki), who is separated from her Beloved Lord (Nāyaka) and expresses his yearning for a reunion with God.”[143]  The Alvar’s soul is called Parāñkuśa Nāyaki, and God is called Nāyaka. 
Tiruvāciriyam describes briefly the God’s personality, His glory, the ways and means of attaining Him and the nature of the supreme goal.[144] 
 Periya Tiruvandādi is a poem written in the andādi style and is called great (Periya), because it manifests the deep love of Ālvār for God.”[145]  It is also called as the sacred utterances.  It contains eighty-seven verses. “The purpose of the whole poem is to instruct the mind to worship the greatness of God.”[146]  The work did not fail to reinstate the importance of serving the deity.  Accordingly, “service is sacrifice and once this is made, God becomes nearer and uses us for His divine purposes and thus we become dear to Him.”[147]  More emphasis is given to the gracious nature of the deity.  
In short, the first three works are the reflections of the Ālvār’s intense relation with God.  There was no reference to religious antagonism or intolerance.  But the exclusive strand of the Ālvārs in general, i.e., the supremacy of Visnu over other gods is maintained without any compromise.

4.3.9.2 Tiruvāymoli

As Tiruvāymoli is the central focus for any study on the bhakti tradition of Ālvārs, it is necessary to outline its nature, structure, theme, characteristics, interpretations and commentaries.

Tiruvāymoli has ten sections, pattu (centum) of about hundred verses.  Each centum again is subdivided into ten decades.  Each decade comprising eleven verses is called Pāśurams.  “The word Tiruvāymoli literally means sacred (tiru) words (moli) emanating from the mouth (vāy) of the saint.”[148]  A more orthodox definition is that “in truth the name Tiruvaymoli means the Veda.”[149]  It is the view held by many Vaisnavites.

4.3.9.2.1 Nature of Tiruvāymoli

Tiruvāymoli is surely one of the very great religious texts, and it needs yield pride of place to none at all.[150]  It is patterned after a personal relationship that can be characterized as that of lord and servant, mother and child, lover and beloved.[151]  Apart from this diverse expression of personal relationship with God, there are other elements also. According to Nilakanta Sastri, Tiruvāymōli is replete with a convincing narration of Nammālvār’s mystical experiences.[152]  It needs to be remembered that, scholars have identified at least two types of mysticism viz bridal and theistic.  A plain view is that “the hymns are basically devotional songs inspired by the experience of God.”[153] In short Tiruvāymoli, by nature, has scope for diverse forms of religiosity.  Hence, looking for a single stream of idea in Tiruvāymoli might ignore the open nature of the author.

4.3.9.2.2 Structure of Tiruvāymoli

Although the style followed is antāti, as to the structure of Tiruvāymoli, modern scholars are of the opinion that, there is no fixed structure of themes. In the words of Francis X. Clooney, “though the antāti does firmly fix the songs in the particular order in which we find them, one is not compelled to invest this de facto sequence with any thematic significance.”[154]  This unspecific structure provides scope for diverse perception of Tiruvāymoli.  It is said, “however orthodox Tiruvāymoli is by Vaisnava standards, it unsettles the very orthodoxy it upholds, for it always remains open to a variety of readings according to the expectations, mastery and sensitivity of its readers.”[155]   It is mostly accepted that, Tiruvāymoli represents various thought patterns.  There is no homogenous and perfect self-expression of the author lying beneath or behind the complexities of Tiruvāymoli.[156]
Often this diversity is seen positively. The unorthodox structure of Tiruvāymoli provides opportunity for creativity.  “It is one of the more powerful and attractive features of Tiruvāymoli that it allows readers to compose it in various ways; for there is no insurmountable obstacle to various favored creative responses.”[157]  This ‘unspecific structure’ has greater significance to the study: the response of Alvars to religious pluralism. The very acceptance of plurality of strands keeps the door open for any challenging approach.  Confining to a single strand leads to orthodoxy and exclusivism. 

4.3.9.2.3 Theme of Tiruvāymoli

It was earlier maintained that Tiruvāmoli does not fall under any single structural pattern.  It is the conglomeration of various themes.  In matters of religion too “it is striking that one level Tiruvāymoli’s message is very clear – surrender at the Lord’s feet, see the Lord, renounce the world – while on another it leaves uncertain what kind of person one ought to be, and where one is to find God, and through what relation to the tradition.”[158]  Amidst all the differences in structure and uncertainty, the hymns of Tiruvāymoli “speak about the glory of God in all its aspects.”[159] 
Hence, it may be argued that the main purpose of Tiruvāymoli is to eulogize Tirumal.  This has been done in various forms.  Often it is done at the expense of other gods, religions and philosophies.

4.3.9.2.4 Salient Features of Tiruvāymoli

One of the chief characteristics of Tiruvāymoli is that “the philosophical and theological doctrines of the Ālvār are well-pronounced in the Tiruvāymoli, while the same are only implicit in the hymns of other Ālvārs.”[160]  This can be taken as an indication of the wider scope of the work.  Another factor is that Tiruvāymoli provides a concrete launching pad for Vaisnava theology.  “In fact, the Tiruvāymoli along with its commentaries formed the advanced subject of theological studies in Vaishnava circles, known as the Bhagavadvisayam.”[161]  This has been emphatically stated as “from times immemorial, Tiruvoymozhi of Nammalwar and its commentaries only are reputed to be Bhagavat Vishnayam.”[162]  Tiruvāymoli’s prominence in the southern school of Vaishnavismis remarkable.  It is said,  “the Tiruvāymoli constitutes the Summum bonum of Srī Vaisnavite literature and implies and involves the most intimate acquaintance with the details of Srī Vaisnavite traditions and Philosophy.”[163]
The Akam principles are in action in Tiruvāymoli. It was also held that the culmination of the application of Akam principal in Tamil poetry reached its zenith in Nammālvār.  In the words of Francis X. Clooney, “among the most striking distinctive of the songs in Tiruvāymoli are the approximately 27 songs in which the classical genre of a girl in love with a (generally absent) lover is used to speak of the paradigmatic devotee and her divine Lord.”[164]
The creative use of Tamil skills and the northern puranic stories are vivid in Tiruvāymoli. It is said “the creative contribution of Sataköpan lies rather in his (re) use of these traditional resources, their resignification in the new context of Tiruvāymoli, near one another, capable of urging listeners toward a grasp of new possibilities.”[165]  Even a cursory reading of Tiruvāymoli reveals that the problem of repetition of stories is acute.
 In general, Tiruvāymoli amply convinces the importance of spiritual and moral life.  The concept of God’s grace is emphatic.  It is said, God came first to the ALVRSand then they never wanted to depart from Him.  This God’s favor is considered as a mere gift i.e. grace of God.  Tirumāl, Kannan, Māyon, Nārāyana are the names repeatedly used for God.
Apart from a very few passing exclusive statements, Tiruvāymoli does not contain provocative words about other religions. There is less, if not no, reference to the wider community-change, reform etc. The descriptions about nature are excellent and they are peculiar to the Tamil poetics.

4.3.9.2.5 Commentaries
Rarely commentaries are written on the works of other Alvars.  Most of the commentaries are written on Tiruvāymoli, because it is the bedrock of theological foundation for the Vaisnavites.  These commentaries are written in manipravala style.  “Within sixty years of Rāmānuja’s death, two commentaries on the Tiruvāymöli were written which used the ideas of Visistādvaita Vedānta to interpret Nammālvār’s Tamil hymns; the Ārāyirappati or 6000 of Tirukkurukai Pirān Pillān (c. 1060 – 1161) and the Ōn- patināyirappati or 9000 of Nañjīyar (c. 1113 – 1208) so called for the number of granthas or lines of characters they contain.”[166]  These are the early materials to study about the life and contributions of Alvars. Later, many commentaries were written.
Tirukkurukaipirān Pillān the author of Ārāyirappadi was a direct disciple of Rāmānuja.[167]  The commentary is brief and precise.  But it is assumed that it was written as per the instruction of his preceptor.[168]  It was called Ārāyirappati i.e., six thousand patis, - a pati consists of thirty-two letters i.e. it is a six thousand unit commentary.
Nañjïyar, the author of onpadināyirappadi or granthas was a disciple of Parā Sara Bhattar, son of Kurattālvār who was a disciple of Ramanuja.[169]  The indirect influence of Rāmānuja on the commentary is pointed out as, “this was written by Nañjyar who learned Tiruvāymoli from his ācārya, Parāsara Bhattar.”[170]  It is more elaborate than the previous.
Nampillai was a student of Nañjiyar.  He may be placed around the beginning of thirteenth century.   It is said Nampillai did not write a commentary but inspired the following three ācāryas to do so[171] i.e. Pannīr Ayirappati by Vātikesari Alakiya Manavāla Jīyar (1242 – 1350)), Irupattinālāyirappati by Periyavācānpillai (b.1228) and Muppattiārāyirappati by Vatakkutiruvītippillai (1217 – 1312).
Pannīr Ayirappati is the expanded version of the previous two commentaries.  Irupattinālāyirappati is a refined version of the Muppattiārāyirappati.[172]  Muppattiārāyirappati, the thirty-six thousand-unit commentary is also called Idu.  This is considered to be the most exhaustive of all the commentaries.[173]  These explanatory notes belong to a later period.  “Most of the theological details included in the Idu for interpreting the hymns are of later origin.”[174]  “This work is accepted as a scripture by all Tenkalai Srī Vaisnavas and the followers of Ahobila Mutt of the Vatakalai tradition.”[175] 
It is exciting to note that Āttāncïyar, has written Arumpatam, a form of commentary on Idu.[176]  The commentaries from 6000 to 36,000 pati are now found in the form of Bhagavad–Vishyam a Hermeneutic Literature.[177]  It provides a concrete theological background to the Vaisnavites.

4.3.9.2.5.1 Characteristics of Commentaries
A close look at the style of these commentaries reveals their purpose and background.  The remarkable aspect is that “for the most part these commentaries do not proceed by position and counter position and by argument – either real or as a pedagogical device – in the way that is common in the Mīmāmsā and Vedānta commentaries.”[178]  This has reduced the chance for controversies between the commentators.  Therefore it is maintained that, “unlike Vedānta, Tiruvāymoli did not generate multiple schools of commentary.”[179]  Still further “it is useful therefore to entertain the idea that there is really just one “Srīvaisnava Commentary”, composed in a modulated fashion…”[180] 
As these commentaries are in the Manipravāla style, the difficulty is that those who are conversant in both Tamil and Sanskrit alone could follow.  Hence, it did not gain so much popularity among the common people.  Another draw back is that “even if one finds original elements in each of the commentaries, the repetition is enormous.”[181]  The reason was that the commentators did not explain the texts on their own.  They were committed to their teachers.  Hence they did not move away from their premises. Again they were very careful about the form like a formula and not about the content.

4.3.9.2.6 Prapatti
In the religious view of Nammālvār, Prapatti has a specific role to play.  “While the Vedānta prescribes the path of devotion to the twice–born and that of self surrender to those who have no other path to pursue, Nammālvār declares the path of self – surrender as the means for all.”[182]  The dynamic of prapatti is stated thus: “the drama is in a sense all about the possibility and necessity – and free reversibility of the transition from doing what one can (bhakti) to leaving everything for God to do.”[183]  In support of this view, Francis X.Clooney writes “the songs chronicle the Ālvār’s personal discovery that no path but total surrender can bring him to God, and they also give a refined and adequate theology of the virtues of bhakti and prapatti, and the superiority of the latter.”[184] There is no doubt that Nammālvār upheld prapatti like other Ālvārs in matters of religion.

4.3.10 Madhurakavi Alvar
Madhurakavi Ālvār has only one work called Kanninun ciruttāmpu, consisting of eleven verses.  It means ‘the knotted, slender cord’.  It is in praise of his preceptor Nammālvār.[185]   These verses are not about God but about his Guru.  “This poetical work of Madhurakavi has provided the doctrine of ācārya –bhakti which constitutes the corner – stone of the Vaisnava theology.”[186]  The Vaisnavites are proud of their Ācāryas.  As Madhurakavi’s concentration was wholly on his guru, his own reflections about and his attitude towards other religions is not apparent.

Summary
Nāthamuni brought Nālāyiram to the present form. The works of ALVRSwere not philosophical treaties.  They are simple devotional hymns.  Their main emphasis was on Prapatti.
The Ācāryas popularized the Nālāyiram.  They collected the works of ALVRSand wrote commentaries on them.  In this process, the simple expressions of the ALVRS are loaded with so much of philosophical inputs.  This process began from the time of Rāmānuja. 
The ALVRS always advocated prapatti.  That was not always the case with the Ācāryas.  The preference for prapatti was seen only when Rāmānuja’s disciples were divided into two major sects and one of them, the Tenkalai, preferred it.
During the time of Alvars, there was hostility between Vaisnavas and Śaivas.  But their chief enemies were Jains and Buddhists.  This attitude changed during the time of Ācāryas.  Their main rival was Śaivas.  This is evident in the life story of Rāmānuja.
Caste was ignored in the bhakti tradition of Alvars.  Whether the Ācāryas continued it in the same tempo is doubtful.  The fact that has to be maintained is that, in some form, the Ācāryas worked for the popularity of the ALVARSand their Nālāyiram.
The independent works of ALVARS are the outpouring of their unique relation with God.  They had taken all possible efforts to present their deity as the supreme one.  Although it is held that the main enemies of the ALVARS were Jains and Buddhists, their hymns highlight great amount of tension also with the Śaivites.


[1]G. Damodaran, Ācārya Hrdayam: A Critical Study, Tirupati, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, 1976, p.34.
[2]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs, New Delhi, Motilal Banarsidess Publishers Private Limited, 1997, p.32.
[3]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Sri Venkateswara University, 1977, p.215.
[4] Guruparamparā Prabhāvam [Ārāyirappadi], pp. 114-126.
[5]M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas, Tirupati, Sri Ananth Publications, 1997, p.2.
[6]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.194.
[7]J. S. M. Hooper, Hymns of the ĀLVĀRS, Op. Cit., p.6.
[8]S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, Early History of Vaishnavism in South India, Madras, The Oxford University Press, 1920, p.28.
[9]Alkondavilli Govindacharya, ‘Introduction’ in The Holy Lives of the Azhvars, or the Dravida Saints, Bombay, Anantha Charya Indological Publishers & Books
Sellers, 1975, pp. XXI – XXII.
[10]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
 Op. Cit., p.33.
[11]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.
[12]Poygai Ālvār, Mudal Tiruvandādi, Verse 2138, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram, Volume II, 
p. 20.
[13]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts : Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India. Op. Cit., p.181.
[14]Ibid.
[15]Tirumaliśai Ālvār, Nānmukan Tiruvandādi, Verse 2452, [Iyarpā], Nālāyiram,
Volume II, p.26.
[16]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.33.
[17]M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas, Op. Cit., p.50.
[18] Ibid., p.69.
[19] Ibid., p.66.
[20]K. K. A. Venkata Chari, The Manipravāla Literature of the Srivaisnava Ācāryas, 12th to 15th Century A.D., Bombay, Ananthacharya Research Institute, 1978, p.40.
[21]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.33.
[22]T. Gnanasundaram, Vainava Uraivalam, Chennai, Thayammi
Pathepagam, 1989, p.131.
[23] M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas Op. Cit., p.68.
[24] Ibid., p.68.
[25]K. K.  A. Venkata Chari, The Manipracäla Literature of the Srivaisnadra Ācāryas,
Op. Cit., p. 60.
[26]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.869.
[27]M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas, Op. Cit., p.1.
[28]S.M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs, Op. Cit.,
p.1.
[29]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.16.

[30]J. Rangaswami, “Mysticism of Srivaisnavism – An Out Look”. Journal of Tamil Studies, 47 & 48, June & December 1995, p.215.
[31]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs, Op. Cit.,
p.2.
[32]J. Rangaswami, “Mysticism of Srivaisnavism – An Out Look”. Journal of Tamil Studies, Op. Cit., p.215.
[33]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.198.
[34]Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume III, First Indian Edition, New Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Indological Publishers & Book
 Sellers, 1975, p.80.
[35]Patricia Y. Mumme, The Srīvaisnava Theological Dispute: Manavālamamuni and Vedānta Desika, Madras, New Era Publications, 1988, p.7.
[36]K. K. A. Venkatachari, ‘Introduction’ in  S. Satyamuthi Ayyangar, Tiruvāymoli, English Glossary, Volume II, Bombay, Ananthacharya Indological Research
Institute, 1981, p. XIII.
[37]M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas, Op. Cit., p.7.
[38]Ibid., p.49.
[39]V. K. N. Ragahavan, The Tiruppāvai of Sri Andal and the Amalanādipirān of Sri Tiruppanalvar, Madras, Srï Visistādvaita Pracārini Sabhā, 1986, p.9.
[40]Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume III, Op. Cit., p.83.
[41]J. S. M. Hooper, Hymns of the ĀLVĀRS, Oxford University Press, 1929, p.20.
[42]M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas, Op. Cit., p.1.
[43]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.683.
[44]Ibid., p.692.
 [45]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.16.
[46]M. Varadatajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas, Op. Cit., p.1.
[47]Ibid., p.49.
[48]Ibid., p.49.
[49]Ibid., p.85.
[50]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.699.
[51]Rabindra Kumar Siddhantashastree, Vaīsnavism Through the Ages, Op. Cit., 
p.135.
 [52]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.135.
[53]N. N. Bhattacharyya ed. , ‘Introduction’ in Medieval Bhakti Movements in India, Op. Cit.,  p. XVI.
[54]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.719.
[55]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas: Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers, Tiruchi, Shivaji News Printers, 1971, p.73.
[56]J. S. M. Hooper, Hymns of the ĀLVĀRS, Op. Cit., p.6.
[57]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas : Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers,
Op. Cit., p.89.
[58]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.733.
[59]Ibid., p.733.
[60]Ibid.
[61]M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas, Op. Cit., p.50.
[62]D. S. Sarma, Hinduism Through the Ages, Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1967, p.42.
[63]Haripriya Rangarajan, Rāmānuja Sampradāya in Gujarat, A Historical Perspective,
 Op. Cit., p.6.
[64]Ibid., p.6.
[65]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Fourth Edition, Madras, Oxford University Press, 1975, p.8.
[66]N. N. Bhattacharyya ed. , ‘Introduction’ in Medieval Bhakti Movements in India,
Op. Cit., p. XVI.
[67]Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, Vaisnavism, Saivism and Minor Religious Systems, Madras, Asia Educational Services, 1995, p.73.
[68]D. S. Sarma, Hinduism Through the Ages, Op. Cit., p.44.
[69]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Op. Cit., p.431.
[70]Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, Vaisnavism, Saivism and Minor Religious Systems,
Op. Cit., p.79.
[71]Rabindra Kumar Siddhantashastree, Vaïsnavism Through the Ages, Op. Cit., 
p.140.
[72]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.778.
73 Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas: Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages,
Seers, Op. Cit., p.73.
[74]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Op. Cit., p.419.
[75]Rabindra Kumar Siddhantashastree, Vaïsnavism Through the Ages, Op. Cit., 
p.137.
[76] H. H. Wilson, Religious Sects of the Hindus, Calcutta, Susil Gupta (India) Private Limited, 1954, p.17.
77 N. N. Bhattacharyya ed., Medieval Bhakti Movements in India, ‘Introduction’, Op. Cit., p. XVII.
[78] Govindlal Hargovind Bhatt, “The School of Vallabha”, The Cultural Heritage of India, Vol. iii, p.354.
[79]N. N. Bhattacharyya ed., Medieval Bhakti Movements in India, ‘Introduction’,
Op. Cit., p. XVII.
[80]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Op. Cit., p.419.
[81]Ibid.,p.8.
[82]Rabindra Kumar Siddhantashastree, Vaïsnavism Through the Ages, Op. Cit., p.174.
[83]D. S. Sarma, Hinduism Through the Ages, Op. Cit., p.54.
[84]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Sri Venkatesware University, 1977, p.2
[85] Cf. Guruparamparā Prabhāvam [Ārāyirappadi], p.12.
[86]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas : Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers,
Op. Cit., p.63.
[87]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs, New Delhi, Motilal Banarsidoss Publishers Private Limited, 1997, p.17.
[88] Cf. Guruparamparā Prabhāvam [Ārāyirappadi], p.12.
[89]Alkondavilli Govindacharya, The Holy Lives of the Azhvars, or The Dravida Saints, Bombay, Anantha Charya Indological Reseach Institute, 1982, p.85.
[90]Guruparamparā Prabhāvam [Ārāyirappadi], p.31. & J.S.M. Hooper, Hymns of the ĀLVĀRS, Oxford University Press, 1929, p.12.
[91]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Älvärs,
Op. Cit., p.18.
[92]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.218.
[93]Ibid., p.219.
[94]Guruparamparā Prabhāvam [Ārāyirappadi], p. 62.
[95]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.28.
[96]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammālvār, Op. Cit., p.635.
[97]Ibid.
[98]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.27.
[99]Ibid.
[100]Alkondavilli Govindacharya, The Holy Lives of the Azhvars, or The Dravida Saints, Op. Cit., p.123.
[101] Guruparamparā Prabhāvam [Ārāyirappadi],p.37.
[102]J. S. M. Hooper, Hymns of the ĀLVĀRS, Op. Cit., p.14.
[103]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas : Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers,
Op. Cit., p.85.
[104]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.26.
[105] Guruparamparā Prabhāvam [Ārāyirappadi],p.68.
[106]S.M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.29.
[107]Ibid., p.30.
[108]Alkondavilli Govindacharya, The Holy Lives of the Azhvars, or The Dravida Saints, Op. Cit., p.166.
[109]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.30.
[110]Ibid.
[111]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.31.
[112]V. N. Ramaswami Aiyangar, Where do North and South Meet-An Exploration of Vaishnavism and Indian Culture, Op. Cit., p.73.
[113]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs, Op. Cit., pp.31 – 32.
[114] Guruparamparā Prabhāvam [Ārāyirappadi], pp. 44-45.
[115]M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas, Tirupati, Sri Ananth Publications, 1997, p.36.
[116]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.23.
[117]Ibid., p.24.
[118]M. S. Purnalingam Pillai, Tamil Literature, Op. Cit., p.190.
[119]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Namma!var, Op. Cit., p.657.
[120] Guruparamparā Prabhāvam [Ārāyirappadi], p.48.
[121]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.240.
[122]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas : Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers,
Op. Cit., p.81.
[123]Ibid., p.82.
[124]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.25.
[125]Ibid., p.25.
[126]S. L .N. Simha, Tiruppāvai of Godā, Bombay, Ananthacharya Indological Research Institute, 1982, p.2.
[127]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.25.
[128]V. K. S. N. Raghavan, The Tiruppāvai of Sri Andal and the Amalanādipirān of Sri Tiruppanalvar, Madras, Śrī Visistīdvaita Pracārini Sabhā, 1986, pp. 9 – 10.
[129]S. L. N. Simha, Tiruppāvai of Godā, Op. Cit., p.44.
[130]Ibid.
[131]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas: Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages,
Seers, Op. Cit., p.83.
[132]S. L. N. Simha, Tiruppāvai of Godā, Op. Cit., p.8.
[133]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the
Ālvārs, Op. Cit., p.25.   
[134]K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar, Op. Cit., p.416.
[135]M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Charyas, Op. Cit., 21.
[136]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.21.
[137]J. S. M. Hooper, Hymns of the ĀLVĀRS, Op. Cit., p.13.
[138]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Op. Cit., p.372.

[139]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India, New Delhi, Sri Satguru Publications, A Division of Indian Books Centre, First Indian Edition, 1997, p.14.
[140]Trivedi Krishnaji, Mahatmas: Acharyas, Mystics, Saints, Sages, Seers, Op. Cit., pp.70 – 71.
[141]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.20.
[142]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.254.
[143]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.20.
[144]Ibid.
[145]Ibid.
[146]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.256.
[147]Ibid., p.257.
[148]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.19.
[149]S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, Early History of Vaishnavism in South India,
Op. Cit., p.84.
[150]Francis X. Clooney, The Art & the Theology of Srivaisnava Thinkers, Madras, T.R. Publications for Satya Nilayam Publications, 1994, p.2.
[151]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India, Op. Cit., p.102.
[152]Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, Op. Cit., p.372.
[153]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.21.
[154]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India, Op. Cit., p.101.
[155]Ibid., p.103.
[156]Francis X. Clooney, The Art & the Theology of Srivaisnava Thinkers, Op. Cit., 
p.9.
[157]Ibid., p.45.
[158]Ibid.., p.56.
[159]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.21.
[160]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, ‘Preface’ in Ibid., p. XIII.
[161]Friedhelm Hardy, Viraha-Bhakti, The Early History of Krsna Devotion in South India, Op. Cit., p.248.
[162]M. Varadarajan, The Voice of Alwars and Acharyas, Op. Cit., 26.
[163]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.817
[164]Francis X. Clooney, The Art & the Theology of Srivaisnava Thinkers, Op. Cit., 
p.21.
[165]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India, Op. Cit., p.78.
[166]Patricia Y. Mumme, The Srīvaisnava Theological Dispute: Manavālamāmuni and Vedānta Desika, Madras, New Era Publications, 1988, p.4.
[167]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs, Op. Cit., pp.33 – 34.
[168]K. K. A. Venkatachari, ‘Introduction’ in S. Satyamurthi Ayyangar, Tiruvāymoli, English Glossary, Volume 2, Op. Cit., p. XVII.
[169]Francis X. Clooney, The Art & the Theology of Srivaisnava Thinkers, Op. Cit., 
p.72.
[170]K. K. A. Venkatachari, ‘Introduction’ in S. Satyamurthi Ayyangar, Tiruvāymoli, English Glossary, Volume 2, Op. Cit., p. XVII.
[171]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India, Op. Cit., p.26.
[172]Ibid.
[173]K. K. A. Venkatachari, ‘Introduction’ in S. Satyamurthi Ayyangar, Tiruvāymoli, English Glossary, Volume 2, Op. Cit., p. XVIII.
[174]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.35.
[175]Ibid., p. XVIII.
[176]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India, Op. Cit., p.26.
[177]Alkondavilli Govindacharya, ‘Introduction’ in The Divine Wisdom of the Dravida Saints, ed. by. T. D. Muralidharan, Mumbai, Archist Publications, 1998, p. II.
[178]Francis X. Clooney, The Art & the Theology of Srivaisnava Thinkers, Op. Cit., 
p.73.
[179]Ibid., p.74.
[180]Ibid., p.76.
[181]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India, Op. Cit., p.34.
[182]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.832.
[183]Francis X. Clooney, The Art & the Theology of Srivaisnava Thinkers,
 Op. Cit., p.103.
[184]Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology Among the Srīvaisnavas of South India, Op. Cit., p.126.
[185]N. Subbu Reddiar, Religion and Philosophy of Nālāyira Divya Prabandham with Special Reference to Nammalvar, Op. Cit., p.670.
[186]S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Ālvārs,
Op. Cit., p.22.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Religio-theo-dialogical Approach

TAMILS, TAMIL AND ĀLVĀRS

Brahma Samaj