(Last Updated on : 14/01/2012)
Divya Prabandham, also known as Nalayira Divya Prabandham, is a collection of four thousand Tamil
verses that were composed prior to the 8th century AD. It was composed by the 12 Alvars and was compiled by Nathamuni in its current form during the period between 9th Century and 10th Century. Divya Prabandham is the commencement of the canonization of the 12 poet saints who were followers of Vaishnavism. The songs in this collection are still recited widely even at the present day. The works of Nalayira Divya Prabandham were lost before they were compiled and structured in the form of a collection by Nathamuni. Divya Prabandham eulogizes and lauds Lord Narayana
(Vishnu) and his various incarnations. The alvars used to sing these hymns at several sacred shrines which are known as the Divya Desams.
The Vaishnavites of the Tamil country are also renowned as Ubhaya Vedanti, meaning those who follow both vedas. In various temples, such as Srirangam, the recitation of the Nalayira Divya Prabandham constitutes a vital part of the every day rituals. Among the 4,000 verses, the most prominent are the 1,100 above verses called Thiru Vaaymozhi, which was composed by Nammalvar
(Kaari Maaran, Sadagopan of Thiruk Kurugoor). The Tiruvaymoli, meaning words of the sacred mouth, is one of the well known Divya Prabandha, which is an imperative liturgical anthology of the Tamil Alvar Bhaktas. It was accumulated by the poet saint Nammalvar in the 9th century. The author identifies himself as a lovelorn shepherdess, known as Gopi, longing for Lord Krishna
Compilation of Divya Prabandham
Nathamuni was born in Veeranam (Veeranam), currently known as Kaattu Mannaar Koil. There is a lot of time lapse between Nathamuni and the last Alvar named Tirumankai Alvar
, and during that gap the four thousand verses of Nalayira Divya Prabandham were lost. According to legend, Nathamuni once heard a group of people chanting the paasurams of Aaraavamude, composed by Nammalvar
, at Kumbakonam. As he was fascinated by the hymns, he wanted to obtain more knowledge about them. One of these verses also states Aayiraththul Ippaththu meaning the 10 out of 1000. Nathamuni asked about the rest of the 990, and the people who recited the 10 hymns had no knowledge of the remaining verses. But as the hymns described the name and place of the Alvar (Kurugoor Satakopan), Nathamuni went to Thirukurugoor and enquired citizens about the 1000 verses of Swami Nammalvar.
Even the citizens of Thirukurugoor had no information about the 1000 hymns, but informed him regarding the 11 paasurams or hymns of Madhurakavi Alvar
, the disciple of Nammalvar Kanninun Siruthaambu. The people there told Nathamuni to travel to Thiruppuliaazhwar, where Nammalvar stayed and sang the 11 hymns for 12000 times. Nathamuni followed their suggestion, and satisfied with his sacrament, Nammalvar gifted him not only his own 1000 hymns, but the entire 4000 hymns composed by all the Alvars.
Content of Divya Prabandham
Divya Prabandham or Nalayira Divya Prabandham contains 23 Prabandhams which were composed by various Alvars. All of the Prabandhams contains a total of 3776 hymns.
These are mentioned below-
* Periazhvar Thirumozhi by Periyalvar
* Thiruppavai by Antal
* Nachiar Tirumozhi by Antal
* Perumal Thirumozhi by Kulasekara Alvar
* Thiruchchanda Viruththam by Thirumalisai Alvar
* Thirumalai by Thondaradippodi Alvar
* Thiruppalliyezhuchchi by Thondaradippodi Alvar
* Amalanadhi Piran by Thiruppaan Alvar
* Kanni Nun Siruththambu By Madhurakavi Alvar
* Peria Thirumozhi by Thirumangai Alvar
* Kurun Thandagam by Thirumangai Alvar
* Nedum Thandagam by Thirumangai Alvar
* Mudhal Thiruvandhadhi by Poigai Alvar
* Irandam Thiruvandhadhi by Bhoothathalvar
* Moonram Thiruvandhadhi by Peyalvar
* Naanmugan Thiruvandhadhi by Thirumalisai Alvar
* Thiruviruththam by Nammalvar
* Thiruvasiriyam by Nammalvar
* Peria Thiruvandhadhi by Nammalvar
* Thiruvezhukkurrirukkai by Thirumangai Alvar
* Siriya Thirumadal by Thirumangai Alvar
* Peria Thiru Madal by Thirumangai Alvar
* Thiruvay Mozhi by Nammalvar
All of the above mentioned Prabandhams included in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham anthology contains a total of 3776 hymns.