As Alvars (Tamil: ஆழ்வார் Alvar [a ː ɻʋa ː r] " the [ in God ] Sunken " ) are a group of Hindu hymn poet, between the 7th and 9th century in Tamil Nadu, in southern India, lived. Their religious poems of Vishnu are regarded as first witness of Hindu piety movements, Bhakti. The number of Alvar said to be infinite at that time, but traditionally we speak of twelve, including a woman.

The twelve Alvar

  • Bhudattalvar ( 7th century ), he is little known.
  • Pey Alvar ( 7th century ), he was found by the Legenda in a pond.
  • Tirumalishai (early 8th century ) was a pariah.
  • Nammalvar ( around 800) was a farmer and is considered the largest Alvar.
  • Madhurakavi was a student of Nammalvar.
  • Kulashekara was a king of Travancore in Kerala, who had opted not to seek God on the throne.
  • Periyalvar (also Vishnucitta ) was a Brahmin and was able to convert the king of the Pandya with his songs.
  • Andal was the only woman Alvar and the adoptive daughter of Periyalvar.
  • Tondaradippodi was a sinner who achieved by Vishnu's grace salvation.
  • Tiruppan Alvar was an untouchable. At the behest of the highest priest of Vishnu carried him into the temple.
  • Tirumangai Alvar was a robber, who was by his wife to religion and erected a temple of the stolen goods.

Work of Alvar

The Alvars lived in a time of religious upheaval. In the period of classical Hinduism, the idea had emerged that the karma of man was not dependent only on victims, but could be influenced rather by meditative equanimity and duty. In extreme cases, this way the gods were displaced or meaningless, since they themselves had karma and subject to the wheel of rebirth.

The emerging ideas in the 8th century, however, said that they could not be saved merely by his own efforts, but by the grace of the divine in the form of Vishnu or Shiva. God can not be achieved by a mellow, but on the contrary, through intense emotional devotion. This emotional devotion ( bhakti ) to Vishnu, including his avatar, is the subject of the poems of the Alvars.

Overall, the Alvars wrote about 4000 verses in Tamil in honor of Vishnu and spread them as traveling poet of the people. Her poems have contributed to the extinction of Buddhism in India and recognized in the subsequent period in connection with the usual image-worship in Hinduism which gradually invading Islam own intuition contrary.

In the 9th or 10th century, the philosopher Nathamuni summarized the hymns in the anthology Prabandham Divya (Divine collection ) together, set to music a lot and made ​​sure that the hymns were recited in temple ceremonies.