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The biography of Azhvars

Published: 2nd May, 2022


The Azhwars, the Tamil poets were in discussion recently due to good reasons. It is believed that the Lord out of His Sankalpa revealed the Truth of His form and innumerable auspicious qualities to the Azhwars.

  • Their hymns are thus on a par with the scriptures when they sing of what they have intuitively grasped.



  • The Azhwars were Tamil poet saints of South India who lived between the sixth and ninth centuries A.D.
  • They espoused ‘emotional devotion’ or bhakti to Lord Narayana in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service.
  • Counting numbers: Sri Vaishnava orthodoxy posits the number of alvars as ten, though there are other references that include Andal and madhurakavi, making the number twelve.
  • 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.
  • 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 knowledge of Sanskrit.
  • As part of the legacy of the Alvars, five Vaishnava philosophical traditions (sampradayas) have developed at the later stages.

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