Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions
Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.
Today’s religious topic is as follows:
”Alvar”, any of a group of South Indian mystics who in the 6th to 9th centuries wandered from temple to temple singing ecstatic hymns in adoration of the god VISHNU. The tradition is that there were 12 Alvars. The songs of the Alvars rank among the world’s greatest devotional literature. Among the followers of SHIVA, the counterparts of the Alvars were the Nayanars.
The name Alvar means, in the Tail language in which they sang, “one who is immersed—drowned—in Vishnu.” Their BHAKTI (religious devotion) was intensely passionate. The Alvars are sometimes described as falling unconscious in rapture before images of Vishnu enshrined in local temples, and the locative elements in their poetry are notable.
The most famous of the Alvars is NAMMALVAR who lived from 880-930 CE and composed four works. The best known of these works and indeed one of the best-known works of bhakti in South India of any period or language, is the Tiruvaymoli, a 1,102 verse poem to Vishnu. The hymns of the Alvars were gathered in the 10th century by Nathamuni, a leader of the SRI VAISNAVA sect. The collection is called Nalayira Prabandham (“Collection of 4,000 Songs”).
Listen to the sounds of the Nalayira divya prabandham
(Comeback on 9/02/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Amalekite”.
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