Arabic Bulgarian Chinese Croatian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Malagasy Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swedish Thai Turkish Vietnamese
Arabic Bulgarian Chinese Croatian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Malagasy Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swedish Thai Turkish Vietnamese

definition - Alvars

definition of Wikipedia

   Advertizing ▼




  A Temple having a separate shrine for the 12 Azhwars

The alwar or azhwars (Tamil: ஆழ்வார்கள், āzvārhaḷ [aːɻʋaːr], ‘those immersed in god’) were Tamil poet saints of south India who lived between the sixth and ninth centuries A.D. and espoused ‘emotional devotion’ or bhakti to Visnu-Krishna in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service.[1] Sri Vaishnava orthodoxy posits the number of alvars as ten, though there are other references that include Andal and madhurakavi, making the number twelve.[2] The devotional outpourings of Alvars, composed during the early medieval period of Tamil history, helped revive the bhakti movement, through their hymns of worship to Vishnu and his Avatars. They praised 108 of this deity's holy abodes in their hymns, known as the Divya Desams. Together with the contemporary sixty three Saiva Nayanars, they are accounted as South India's 75 Apostles of Bhakti because of their importance in the rise of the Hindu Bhakti movement. The collection of their hymns is known as Divya Prabandha.

The Bhakti literature that sprang from Alvars has contributed to the establishment and sustenance of a culture that broke away from the ritual-oriented Vedic religion and rooted itself in devotion as the only path for salvation. In addition they helped to make the Tamil religious life independent of a knowledge of Sanskrit. [3] As part of the legacy of the Alvars, five Vaishnava philosophical traditions (sampradayas) have developed at the later stages.[4]



Alvars or 'Azhwars' literally means 'people who are immersed'. They are so called because they were immersed in their devotion and love to their Lord, Vishnu. .[5] However recently S.Palaniappan has argued that what was originally Āļvār got changed through hyper correction and folk etymology to Āzhvār.[6] Palaniappan cites inscriptional evidence for a gradual sound change from āļvār to āzhvār over a period of two centuries from the 9th century to the 11th century involving references to religious leaders in Vaishnavism, Shaivism and even Jainism and to political personalities. He states: "āzhvār is but a corrupt form of āļvār which has been used interchangeably with nāyanār in secular and religious contexts in the Tamil land" and "... Notwithstanding the Vaishnava claim of unbroken teacher-student tradition, the fact that Nathamuni has used the form āļvār but Piļļān [A disciple and younger cousin of Rāmānuja] ended up using the form āzhvār suggests that there has been an error in transmission somewhere along the teacher-student chain between the two teachers. This error was obviously due to the influence of the sound variation that has occurred in the Srirangam area and elsewhere"


The twelve Alvars were all inspired and ardent devotees who transmitted their divine infatuation to millions. They have left behind an imperishable legacy of devotional Tamil poetry - naalaayira Divya Prabhandham (considered to be the essence of the Vedas, in Tamil, and all in praise of Lord Vishnu). These have been rarely equalled either in quantity or in quality ever after.

The one held in greatest esteem among the Alvars is Nammalvar. He lived during the ninth century CE.[7] His contribution to the four thousand prabandhams is as many as 1352. His hymns are considered by the Vaishnavites to contain the essence of the Vedas. His works - Thiruvasiriyam, Thiruviruttam, Periya Thiruvandhadhi correspond to the Yajur, Rig and Atharva Vedas respectively. His other work Thiruvaaimozhi (Divine words) is one of the key works of Vaishnavism.

Periyalvar delighted in worshipping Vishnu as mother, and composed 440 verses treating himself as Yashoda and Narayana as Krishna. He also talks about the beauty of the Lord Krishna right from his birth. Apart from these compositions, Sri Periyazhwar has also composed hymns on various divya desams. Andal, daughter of Periyalvar, has attributed the Tiruppaavai, a most beautiful collection of 30 verses giving expression to the purest love of God. It is considered to be equivalent to Vedas.

Thirumangai Alvar has done mangalasasanam (sung in praise) of maximum number of Divya Desams.

The last acharya of the Thenkalai Guruparampara, Sri Manavalamuni has composed " Upadesa Rathnamalai" a hymn of 72 verses where talks and praises the Azhwars about their birthstars, place of birth and also about their compositions.

For a detailed list of number of paasurams of all Alvars on each Divyadesam: Mangalasasanam by Divyadesam


The revered alvars came from all castes, a symbolic notion in Vaishnavism to show that devotion to God transcends above caste. Nammalvar, or Satakopan, belonged to the Vellala caste. Thirumangai Alvar belonged to the Kallara tribe. Thirumalisai Alvar was originally born to a Brahmin community but was raised by Peerambu vetiyan (one who makes use of bamboo for living) caste. Thiruppaan Alvar belonged to Panar caste, Kulashekhara was a King from Kerala. Vishnu Chittar, or Periyalvar, was a Brahmin.

  Alvars; their place, month and star of birth

The following tables shows the place, century and star of birth of each Alvar. The Traditional Datings of Alwars have been contested by the historians as in case of many Indian Works and the British trained historians place the dates as follows.Traditional datings take them to the age of Sukhaacharya(srimad Bhagvatam)who while delivering the work to parrekshit spake of Alvars as vaishnavaite saints and many are from dwapura yuga,while swami nammalwar belongs to the commencement of Kali yuga. Kalou Kalu Bhavishyanti narayana parayana. Kvachit Kvachin Mahabhago dramideshucha pureesha tamrabharani nadhi yatra kruta malaa payasvini kaavericha mahaabhago pradeeseecha mahaanadhi.(srimadh bhagvath purana). [8]

Sl no Alwar Saint Period and Place Composition Month Nakshatra Avatar of
1 Poigai Alvar 7th C. AD, Kanchipuram Mudhal Thiruvandhadhi, 100 verses. Aiypassee Thiruvonam (Sravana) Panchajanya (Lord Shri Krishna's Conch)
2 Bhoothathalvar 7th C. AD, Thirukadalmallai (Mahabhalipuram) Irandam Thiruvandhadhi, 100 verses. Aiypassee Avittam (Dhanishta) Kaumodakee (Lord Vishnu's Mace/Club)
3 Peyalvar 7th C. AD, Mylapore Moondram Thiruvandhadhi, 100 verses. Aiypassee Sadayam (Satabhishak) Nandaka (Lord Vishnu's Sword)
4 Thirumalisai Alvar 7th C. AD, Thirumazhisai Nanmugan Thiruvandhadhi, 96 verses; ThiruChanda Virutham, 120 verses. Thai Magam (Makha) Sudarshanam (Name of Lord Vishnu's weapon discus)
5 Nammalvar 9th C. AD, Azhwar Thirunagari (Kurugur) Thiruvaymozhi, 1102 verses; Thiruvasiriyam, 7 verses; Thiru Virutham, 100 verses; Periya Thiruvandhadhi, 87 verses. Vaigaasi Vishaakam (Vishaaka) Vishvaksena (Lord Vishnu's Commander)
6 Madhurakavi Alvar 9th C. AD, Thirukollur Kanninun Siruthambu, 11 verses. Chitthirai Chitthirai (Chithra) Vainatheya (Lord Vishnu's eagle, Garuda)
7 King Kulasekhara Alvar 9th century AD, Thiruvanchikkulam, Later Chera kingdom Perumal Thirumozhi, 105 verses. Maasee Punar Poosam (Punarvasu) Kaustubha (Lord Vishnu's necklace)
8 Periyalvar 9th C. AD, Sri Villiputhur Periyazhwar Thirumozhi, 473 verses. Aani Swathi (Swaathee) Garuda (Lord Vishnu's eagle)
9 Andal 9th C. AD, Sri Villiputhur Nachiyar Thirumozhi, 143 verses; Thiruppavai, 30 verses. Aadi Pooram (Poorva Phalguni) Bhoodevi (Lord Vishnu's wife, Lakshmi, in her form as Bhudevi)
10 Thondaradippodi Alvar 8th C. AD, Thirumandangudi Thirumaalai, 45 verses; Thirupalliezhuchi, 10 verses. Maargazhi Kettai (Jyeshta) Vanamaalai (Lord Vishnu's garland)
11 Thiruppaan Alvar 8th C. AD, Uraiyur Amalan Adi Piraan, 10 verses. Kaarthigai Rogini (Rohinee) Srivatsa (An auspicious mark on Lord Vishnu's chest)
12 Thirumangai Alvar 8th C. AD, thirukurayalur Periya Thirumozhi, 1084 verses; Thiru Vezhukootru irukkai, 1 verse; Thiru Kurun Thandagam, 20 verses; Thiru Nedun Thandagam, 30 verses. Kaarthigai KrithikaI (Kritthikaa) Saranga (Lord Rama's bow)

  See also


  1. ^ Andrea Nippard (2009). "The Alvars". http://www.mahavidya.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Nippard-Andrea-The-Alvars-Yes.pdf. 
  2. ^ Flood 1996, p. 131
  3. ^ "About Alvars". divyadesamonline.com. Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20070621230057/http://www.divyadesamonline.com/alwars.asp. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  4. ^ Mittal, S. G. R. Thursby (2006). Religions of South Asia: An Introduction. Routledge.  Page 27."As part of the legacy of the Alvars, five Vaisnava (devotion to Visnu) philosophical traditions (sampradaya) emerged that were based on the teachings of ..."
  5. ^ "Meaning of Alvar". www.ramanuja.org. http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/alvars/. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  6. ^ "Alvar or Nayanar : The Role of Sound Variation, Hypercorrection and Folk Etymology in Interpreting the Nature of Vaisnava Saint-Poets", South-Indian Horizons, Institut Francais de Pondichéry (French Institute of Pondicherry), 2005. The actual article is at http://www.linguist.univ-paris-diderot.fr/~chevilla/FestSchrift/supa_9d.pdf
  7. ^ Based on A.K. Ramanujan's Hymns for the Drowning (1993), which in turn is based on Zvelebil's Tamil Literature (1975). Though Ramanujan also mentioned preference for the 7th or the early 8th century by Friedhelm Hardy.
  8. ^ "Birth place and stars of Alvars". srirangapankajam.com. http://srirangapankajam.com/Thirunakshtram.aspx. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 


  • Flood, G.D. (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. 

  External links


   Advertizing ▼


All translations of Alvars

sensagent's content

  • definitions
  • synonyms
  • antonyms
  • encyclopedia

Dictionary and translator for handheld

⇨ New : sensagent is now available on your handheld

   Advertising ▼

sensagent's office

Shortkey or widget. Free.

Windows Shortkey: sensagent. Free.

Vista Widget : sensagent. Free.

Webmaster Solution


A windows (pop-into) of information (full-content of Sensagent) triggered by double-clicking any word on your webpage. Give contextual explanation and translation from your sites !

Try here  or   get the code


With a SensagentBox, visitors to your site can access reliable information on over 5 million pages provided by Sensagent.com. Choose the design that fits your site.

Business solution

Improve your site content

Add new content to your site from Sensagent by XML.

Crawl products or adds

Get XML access to reach the best products.

Index images and define metadata

Get XML access to fix the meaning of your metadata.

Please, email us to describe your idea.


The English word games are:
○   Anagrams
○   Wildcard, crossword
○   Lettris
○   Boggle.


Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.


Boggle gives you 3 minutes to find as many words (3 letters or more) as you can in a grid of 16 letters. You can also try the grid of 16 letters. Letters must be adjacent and longer words score better. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame !

English dictionary
Main references

Most English definitions are provided by WordNet .
English thesaurus is mainly derived from The Integral Dictionary (TID).
English Encyclopedia is licensed by Wikipedia (GNU).


The wordgames anagrams, crossword, Lettris and Boggle are provided by Memodata.
The web service Alexandria is granted from Memodata for the Ebay search.
The SensagentBox are offered by sensAgent.


Change the target language to find translations.
Tips: browse the semantic fields (see From ideas to words) in two languages to learn more.

last searches on the dictionary :

2525 online visitors

computed in 0.094s

I would like to report:
section :
a spelling or a grammatical mistake
an offensive content(racist, pornographic, injurious, etc.)
a copyright violation
an error
a missing statement
please precise:



Company informations

My account



   Advertising ▼