Saturday, November 1, 2008

Divya Prabandham - Introduction

For the past few months, I have been working as part of a mammoth archival project initiated by DD-Podhigal TV channel. The channel has taken up the task of recording the 'Naalaayira Divya Prabandham', amongst its various other archival projects.

We have been taking up samples from each of the Azhwar's works and this programme titled 'Azhwargalum Amudha Thamizhum' is telecast from 7.10 a.m to 7.40 a.m, every Saturday (and a repeat telecast from 9 a.m to 9.30 a.m on the following Thursday).

So far, we have completed the works of the first three Azhwars, having chosen a sample of 16 verses each, from the total of 100 verses in each.

Verses from the next Azhwar, Thirumazhisai Azhwar's work, called 'Naanmugan Thiruvanthaadhi' are being telecast now. I propose to list the verses and give their meanings here as weekly posts, soon after each episode is telecast. (Each episode covers about 3 to 4 verses, commencing with commentary for the particular verse by Sri.Tha.Ku.Subramaniam, followed by the verse being rendered by me.)

I thought I would give in this post, a brief introduction to 'Divya Prabandham' and in the next post titled 'Divya Prabandam-Part 1',about the first three Azhwars' works:


Azhwar means "One who immerses himself". The Azhwars deeply immersed themselves in their devotion and Bhakti towards Lord Narayana. The Azhwars are reported to be incarnations of the weapons used by the Lord, like the Vanamaali, the Garuda, conch, mace, sword etc.

The wisdom of the Azhwars was the direct result of the Lord's divine grace and therefore called ' Divyam'. It is because of this that the works of the Azhwars are collectively called ' Divya Prabandham'.These are a set of 4000 poems (paasurams).

The Azhwar Pasurams are arranged as under:

1. Mudhalaayiram (1000)

* Periyaazhwar Thirumozhi:473
* Thiruppavai:30
* Naachiyar Thirumozhi:143
* Perumal Thirumozhi:105
* Thiruchchanda Virutham:120
* Thirumaalai:45
* Thiruppalli Ezhuchi:10
* Amalanaadhipiraan:10
* Kanni Nun Chiruthambu:11


2.Irandamayiram (2000)

* Periya Thirumozhi:1084
* Thiruckurundhandagam:20
* Thiru Nedundhaandagam:30


3.Moondrayiram (3000)

* Thiruvai Mozhi:1102


4. Naalaamaayiram (4000)

* Mudhal Thiruvanthaadhi:100
* Irandam Thiruvanthaadhi:100
* Moondram Thiruvanthaadhi:100
* Naan Mugan Thiruvanthaadhi:96
* Thiruvirutham:100
* Thiruvaasiriyam:7
* Periya Tjorivamdhaadhi:87
* Thiru Ezhu Kootru Irukai:1
* Siriya Thirumadal:40
* Periya Thirumadal:78
* Iramanuja Nootrandhadhi:108


Mudhalayiram(1st 1000): 947
Irandaayiram (2nd 1000): 1134
Moondrayiram(3rd 1000):1102
Naalaayiram( 4th 1000):817
Total: 4000
Poigai Azhwar, Budat Azhwar and Pey Azhwar are the first three Alwars ( Mudal Alwars).
They were contemporaries who were born in the same year, in the same month, in the same Suklapaksha on successive Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

Poigai Azhwar is believed to be an incarnation of Paanchajanyam(the divine conch of Lord Vishnu,called Sanghu in Tamil). He appeared on the lotus bud in a pond (Poigai)in Tiruvekka near Kanchipuram.

Budat Azhwar, an incarnation of Kaumodhaki (the divine mace of Lord Vishnu) appeared in a Kurukkatti flower in Mahabalipuram, also near Kanchipuram where the Lord instead of reclining on his divine couch of Adisesha, reclines on the floor and hence is called ' Stala Sayana Perumal'.

Pey Azhwar, an incarnation of Nandaki (the divine sword of Lord Vishnu) appeared in a red lily flower (sevvalli) in the well of the temple of Adhikesava Perumal at Mylapore, Madras.

(To be continued in the next post...)

1 comment:

Sathej said...

A detailed post! Very informative. Keep writing. Nice to get to know of some of the stories behind some Pasurams :)