Nambiyandar Nambi

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The twelve volumes of Tamil Śaiva hymns of the sixty-three Nayanars
Parts Name Author
1,2,3 Tirukadaikkappu Sambandar
4,5,6 Tevaram Tirunavukkarasar
7 Tirupaatu Sundarar
8 Tiruvacakam &
9 Tiruvisaippa &
10 Tirumandhiram Tirumular
11 Various
12 Periya Puranam Sekkizhar
Paadal Petra Sthalam
Paadal Petra Sthalam
Raja Raja Chola I
Nambiyandar Nambi

Tirunarayur Nambiyandar Nambi was an eleventh-century Shaiva scholar of Tamil Nadu in South India who compiled the hymns of Sampantar, Appar and Sundarar and was himself one of the authors of the eleventh volume of the canon of the Tamil liturgical poetry of Shiva, the Tirumurai.[1]

Birth and life[edit]

Nambiyandar was born in the town of Tirunaraiyur into the tradition of the Adi Shaivites, brahmin priests in the temples of Lord Shiva.[2] The great Chola emperor Rajaraja[3] requested him to collect the hymns of the three great poet-saints Sampantar, Appar and Suntarar. Nambi managed to get palm-leaf manuscripts of the hymns, though some had been eaten away by termites. They were able to recover around ten percent of the entire set of hymns. Nambi also wrote a memoir of the lives of the sixty-three great devotees mentioned by Cuntarar; the Tiruttondar Tiruvandhadhi. His hymns in praise of Sampantar and Appar provide some biography of those saints.


Raja Raja Chola I (985-1013 CE) embarked on a mission to recover the hymns after hearing short excerpts of Tevaram in his court.[4] He sought the help of Nambi Andar Nambi, who was a priest in a temple.[5] It is believed that by divine intervention Nambi found the presence of scripts, in the form of cadijam leaves half eaten by white ants in a chamber inside the second precinct in Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram.[4][5] The brahmanas (Dikshitars) in the temple opposed the mission, but Rajaraja intervened by consecrating the images of the saint-poets through the streets of Chidambaram.[4][6] Rajaraja thus became to be known as Tirumurai Kanda Cholan meaning one who saved the Tirumurai.[6] Thus far Shiva temples only had images of god forms, but after the advent of Rajaraja, the images of the Nayanar saints were also placed inside the temple.[6] Nambi arranged the hymns of three saint poets Sampantar, Appar and Sundarar as the first seven books, Manikkavacakar's Tirukovayar and Tiruvacakam as the 8th book, the 28 hymns of nine other saints as the 9th book, the Tirumandiram of Tirumular as the 10th book, 40 hymns by 12 other poets as the 10th book, Tirutotanar Tiruvanthathi - the sacred anthathi of the labours of the 63 nayanar saints and added his own hymns as the 11th book.[7] The first seven books were later called as Tevaram, and the whole Saiva canon, to which was added, as the 12th book, Sekkizhar's Periya Puranam (1135 CE) is wholly known as Tirumurai, the holy book. Thus Saiva literature which covers about 600 years of religious, philosophical and literary development.[7]


  1. ^ "A twelve-book collection of hymns and writings of South Indian saints, compiled by saint Nambiyandar Nambi (ca 1000)", Page 840, Dancing with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Catechism, By Master Subramuniya, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Published 2003 by Himalayan Academy Publications, ISBN 0-945497-96-2
  2. ^ A web page on Nambi's life gives more details on him
  3. ^ A web page on Rajaraja Chola talks about his relationship with Nambi
  4. ^ a b c Culter 1987, p. 50
  5. ^ a b Cort 1998, p. 178
  6. ^ a b c Vasudevan 2003, pp. 109-110
  7. ^ a b Zvelebil 1974, p. 191


Related Devara temple near nambi's village[edit]

1.kattumannarkoil 8 km 2.Kanattumulloor 9 km 3.Omampuliyur 14 km 4.Melakadambur 14 km from here