Alwars and Acharyas
Frequently Asked Questions
There are also inner meanings and secret meanings of the various mantras and slokas.
So, all these things can be properly understood, only by learning under a Guru or Acharya. So, the Acharya is most important, for properly understanding our religion and philosophy.
Poigai Alwar was born in the month of Aippasi in the Star Sravanam. Bhutattalwar was born in the month of Aippasi in the star Avittam and the Peyalwar in the same month, in the Star Sathaya on three successive days!
Then came Nammalwar or Satakopa. He was born at Alwartirunagari in the month of Vaikasi and star Visakha. Nammalwar is considered the chief of the Alwars. He expounded the system of Visishtadvaita Philosophy in clear terms in his works. Hence he is given the greatest importance among all the Alwars.
Next came Kulasekhara Alwar. He was born in the month of Masi and star Punarvasu. His birth place is Vanjikkalam. It is not clearly known as to where exactly this place is. Some people say that it is Karur and some others say that it is in Kerala.
The last among the Alwars was Thirumangai Alwar, who was born in the month of Karthikai and star Karthikai in Kuraiyalur or Thirunagari near Sirkazhi.
- Thiruvaimozhi (1102 verses)
- Thiruviruttam (100 verses)
- Thiruvasiriam (7 verses)
- Peria Thiruvandhadhi (87 verses)
The four works are equated to the four Vedas. Thiruvaimozhi, in particular, is called the essence of the Sama Veda.
- Poigai Alwar
- Mudal Thiruvandadi (100 verses)
- Boothalwar Alwar
- Irendam Thiruvandadi (100 verses)
- Moondram Thiruvandadi (100 verses)
- Thirumazhisai alwar
- Thiruchanda Viruttam (120 verses)
- Nanmugan Thiruvandadhi (96 verses)
- Madhurakavi alwar
- Kanninun Siruthaambu (11 verses)
- Kulasekhara Alwar
- Perumal Thirumozhi (105 verses)
- Mukunda Mala in Sanskrit (This is not a divya prabandam. His authorship of Mukundamala is disputed by some people.)
- Thiruppallandu (12 verses)
- Periyalwar Thirumozhi (461 verses)
- Thiruppavai (30 verses)
- Nachiar Thirumozhi (143 verses)
- Thondaradipodi Alwar
- Thirumaalai (45 verses)
- Thiruppalli Ezhuchchi (10 verses)
- Amalanadipiran (10 verses)
- Thirumangai alwar. [The last in the list of Alwars is Thirumangai Alwar who wrote six Prabandhas and these are equated to the six angas of the four Vedas of Nammalwar.]
- Peria Thirumozhi (1084 verses)
- Thirukurunthandakam (20 verses)
- Thirunedunthandakam (30 verses)
- Thiruvezhukutrirukkai (1 verse)
- Siriya Thirumadal (1 verse)
- Peria Thirumadal (1 verse)
His disciple was Uyyakkondar who was born in the month of Chittirai and star Karthikai, in Thiruvellari.
His disciple was Manakkal Nambi who was born in the village Manakal, near Lalgudi in the month of Masi and star Makham.
The next in the line of Acharyas is the great Alavandar of Yamunacharya. He was the grandson of Nathamuni and was the disciple of Manakkal Nambi. Alavandar was born in the month of Adi and star Uttaradam in Kattumannarkoil.
Then comes the great Ramanuja.
Afterwards, there are two lines. There is one line of Acharyas of whom Vedanta Desika was the most prominent. There is another line of Acharyas which goes on to Manavala Mamunigal.
Ramanuja (1017 A.D. - 1137 A.D.) was born in Sriperumpudur in the month of Chitrai and star Thiruvadirai.
Vedanta Desika (1268 A.D. - 1369 A.D) was born in Thoopul near Kanchipuram in the month of Purattasi and star Sravanam.
Manavala Mamunigal (1370 A.D. - 1443 A.D.) was born at Sikkil Kidaram, in the month of Aippasi and star Mulam. It is also said that he was born in Alwartirunagari.
- Nathamuni gave us two works.
- Yoga Rahasya
- Alavandar gave to this world 8 works.
- Agama Pramanya, Purusha Nirnaya.
- Three Siddhis called Siddhi Trayam, namely, Atma Siddhi, Iswara Siddhi and Samvit siddhi.
- Then Gitartha Sangraha, Stotra Ratna and Chathus Sloki.
- The next great Acharya Ramanuja gave us nine works or nine gems.
- Sri Bhashya
- Vedanta Dipa
- Vedanta Sara
- Vedartha Sangraha
- Gita Bhashya
- The Three Gadyas, namely Saranagati Gadya, Sriranga Gadya and Vaikunta Gadya
- Nitya grantham
The works of Vedanta Desika are more than 100 in number. They cover different fields like devotional stotras, kavya, drama, works on philosophy, and commentaries on great works.
It is a wonder how a person could write so many works within a life span. It is difficult for us even to read and understand all his works in a lifetime.
We have Sankalpa Suryodaya. This is an allegorical drama, again explaining the Visishtadvaita philosophy.
We have the work Sata Dushani. This contains arguments against Advaita philosophy. As the name indicates, perhaps, it was intended to have 100 arguments. However, we now have only 66 arguments left, all against Advaita Philosophy.
We then have the devotional verses or stotras. Some of these are : Hayagriva stotra, Dasavatara stotra, Bhagavad Dhyana Sopana, Gopala Vimsati. Daya Sataka on Sri Venkateswara of Thirupati, Sri Stuti and Garuda Panchasat.
Nyayaparisuddhi, Nyaya Siddhanjana, Adhikarana Saravali and Tattvamuktakalapa are works on our philosophy.
- Kurattalwan wrote Panchastavas: Sri Vaikunta Stava, Atimanusha Stava, Sundarabahu Stava, Varadaraja Stava, Sri Stava
- Thirukkurukaippiran pillan wrote commentary (6000 padi) on Thiruvaimozhi.
- Kidambi Achan
- Engalazhvan wrote commentary on Vishnu Purana.
- Parasara Bhattar wrote commentary on Vishnu Sahasra Nama (Bhagavadgunadarpanam), Sri Rangaraja Stava and Srigunaratna Kosa, besides others.
- Nanjiyar wrote commentary on Thiruvaimozhi (9000 padi); and Sri Sukta Bhashya. (This is disputed by some people.)
- Vatsya Varadacharya (Nadathur Ammal) wrote Tattva Sara, Prapanna Parijata among others.
- Sudarsana Bhattar wrote Sruta Prakasika and Sruta Pradipika, bothe commentaries on Sri Bhashya.
- Appullar wrote Nyayakulisa.
- Periavachan Pillai* wrote beautiful commentaries on Divya Prabandha, besides many other works.
- Vadakku Thiruveethi Pillai wrote Edu Commentary on Thiruvaimozhi (36000 padi).
- Pillai Lokacharya wrote 18 Rahasyas - the more important being Mamukshuppadi, Tattvatraya and Sri Vachana Bhushana.
- Alagiamanavalapperumal Nayanar wrote Acharya Hridayam, besides commentary on Thiruppavai and other works.
(Pillai* is a term of respect, and not to be confused with the present day use of this word.)
Other frequently asked questions
- Vadakalai and Tenkalai
- The Three Secrets
- The Departure of the Soul
- Jivatma and Paramatma
- Karma, Janana and Bhakti Yogas
- Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita
- Iswara – The Lord and Master
- Matter and Creation
- The Eternal Jivatma
- The “Doctrine Special” of Visishtadvaita
- Alwars and Acharyas
- Vedas and Sastras