The Āḻvārs: An Overview

How to Cite

Greg Jay. (2022). The Āḻvārs: An Overview: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 22(2), 27–55. Retrieved from


śrī vaiṣṇavism is commonly known as Ubhaya Vēdānta (the Vēdānta of two kinds, viz. Sanskrit and Tamiḻ)—it is a mixture of the Sanskritic Viṣiṣṭādvaita Vēdānta expounded by Rāmānuja and the Tamiḻ devotional writings of the ālvārs. This latter literature is known as the Nālāyira Divya Prabandham or “four thousand holy hymns,” and is also commonly referred to in Tamiḻ as Aruḷicceyal or “utterances of divine grace.” Maturakaviyāḻvār explains this as follows: “To allow the Lord’s devotees, who praise and who are the recipients of the Lord’s grace, to know the real purport of the Vēdas, Nammāḻvār gave the meaning of the Vēdas in his four prabandhams.”

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