Prelims 9995

With reference to Alvars and Nayanars, consider the following statements:
1. They used Tamil for promoting their messages and singing hymns in praise of God.
2. They did not believe in caste based discrimination.
3. The women saints renounced their social obligations and became nuns.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A.
1 and 2
B.
2 and 3
C.
1 and 3
D.
1, 2 and 3
Explanation :
Alvars were Tamil poet-saints of South India who espoused bhakti (devotion) to the Hindu Supreme God Vishnu or his avatar Krishna in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service. Nayanars were a group of 63 saints (also saint poets) in the 6th to 8th century who were devoted to the God Shiva in Tamil Nadu. Nayanars, along with their contemporaries Alvars, influenced the Bhakti movement in Tamil. They were against the traditional Brahminic domination and condemned the caste system. They travelled from place to place singing hymns in Tamil in praise of their gods. During their travels the Alvars and Nayanars identified certain shrines as abodes of their chosen deities. Very often large temples were later built at these sacred places. These developed as centres of pilgrimage. Singing compositions of these poet-saints became part of temple rituals in these shrines, as did worship of the saints images.
The most striking features of these traditions was the presence of women like Andal, a women Alvar and Karaikkkal Ammaiyar (a Nayanar). These women renounced their social obligations , but did not join an alternative order or become nuns. Hence, 3rd statement is wrong.

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