|Part of a series on|
|Hindu scriptures and texts|
|Related Hindu texts|
The Naalayira Divya Prabandham (Tamil: நாலாயிரத் திவ்வியப் பிரபந்தம், romanized: Nālāyira Divya Prabandham, lit. 'Four Thousand Divine Hymns') is a collection of 4,000 Tamil verses composed by the 12 Alvars. It was compiled in its present form by Nathamuni during the 9th–10th centuries. The work, an important liturgical compilation of the Tamil Alvars, marks the beginning of the canonisation of 12 Vaishnava poet saints, and these hymns are still sung extensively today. The works were lost before they were collected and organised in the form of an anthology by Nathamuni.
The Divya Prabandham sings the praises of Narayana (Vishnu) and his many forms. The Alvars sang these songs at various sacred shrines known as the Divya Desams. The Tamil Vaishnavites are also known as Ubhaya Vedanti (those that follow both Vedas, that is, the Sanskrit Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda, as well as the Tamil-language Tiruvaymoli, a work which devotees of Sri Vaishnavism regard as the Tamil Veda. In many temples — Srirangam, for example — the chanting of the Divya Prabandham forms a major part of the daily service. It is also recited in some North Indian Vaishnavite temples, such as Badrinath. The Divya Prabandham is recited along with the Vedas, and it is given equal status to the Vedas in the Tenkalai denomination of Sri Vaishnavism, largely due to the efforts of Ramanuja who enshrined the Divya Prabandham on the same pedestal as the Vedas.
Prominent among its 4,000 verses are the over 1,100 verses known as the Tiruvaymoli ("verses of the sacred mouth"), composed by Nammalvar (Kaari Maaran, Sadagopan of Alvarthirunagari Temple) and which forms the third portion of the overall Divya Prabandham. Nammalvar self-identifies as a lovelorn gopi pining for Krishna.
The compendium begins with the Tirupallantu, a benedictory hymn written by Periyalvar, wishing long life to Vishnu.
The hymns or songs sung by the Alvars dedicated to Vishnu are specifically designated the term pasuram in Tamil.
The works that make up the Naalayira Divya Prabandham are usually preceded by a taniyan. A taniyan refers to a stray verse, also referred to as a laudatory verse, that offers a brief synopsis of the life of the Alvar poet, a summary of the themes of the hymns, and emphasises the merit gained from the recitation, listening, or reading of the given text. It serves to glorify both the hymns as well as the composer of the hymns. Six taniyans precede the Tiruvaymoli, the most of any text in the compendium.
Following the customary recitation of the hymns of the work, a vāḻi tirunamam is chanted. This refers to a hymn that serves to commemorate or exalt the poet-saint who composed a given work. For instance, such a verse may hope for the poet-saint to live long, or for their names to be remembered for a millennium.
The collection, once thought to have been lost, was organised in the form of an anthology by Nathamuni.
Nathamuni was born in Veera Naarayanapuram (Veeranam) or present-day Kaattu Mannaar Koil. There is a long time gap between Thirumangai Alvar (the last Alvar) and Nathamuni. In this dark period, nobody knew what happened to the 4,000 verses of the text.
Legend has it that once Nathamuni heard some people reciting the cantos of Āravāmude of Nammalvar at Kumbakonam. Captivated by these pasurams (hymns), he wanted to know more about them. One of the verses also mentioned Āyiraththul Ippaththu (Tamil: these 10 out of the 1000). When Nathamuni enquired about the remaining 990, the people who sang the 10 did not know anything about the other verses. But as the song mentioned the name and place of the Alvar (Kurugoor Satakopan), Nathamuni proceeded to Thirukurugoor and asked the people there about Nammalvar's 1,000 verses.
The people did not know the 1,000 verses that Nathamuni wanted, but they told him about 11 pasurams (hymns) of Madhurakavi Alvar, a disciple of Nammalvar, and the Kanninun Cirutampu. They asked him to go to Thiruppulialvar, the place where Nammalvar lived, and recite these 11 pasurams 12,000 times. Nathamuni did as advised, and pleased with his penance, Nammalvar granted him not only his 1,000 pasurams, but the entire 4,000-pasuram collection of all the Alvars.
|Part of a series on|
|Topics in Tamil literature|
|Five Great Epics|
|Naalayira Divya Prabandham|
|Tamil history from Sangam literature||Ancient Tamil music|
The following table shows the details of the 4,000 pasurams (hymns).
|Sl no||Name of the prabandham||Starting from||Ending with||Number of pasurams||Sung by|
|4||Perumal Tirumoli||647||751||105||Kulasekara Alvar|
|5||Tiruchanda Viruttam||752||871||120||Thirumalisai Alvar|
|9||Kanninun Cirutampu||937||947||11||Madhurakavi Alvar|
|10||Periya Tirumoli||948||2031||1084||Thirumangai Alvar|
|13||Mutal Tiruvantati||2082||2181||100||Poigai Alvar|
|16||Nanmukan Tiruvantati||2382||2477||96||Thirumalisai Alvar|
|21||Ciriya Tirumatal||2673||2712||40||Thirumangai Alvar|
|22||Periya Tirumatal||2713||2790||78||Thirumangai Alvar|
|24||Ramanuja Nutrantati||3893||4000||108||Periya Koil Nambi|
|Total number of pasurams||4000||4000||4000|