Sants

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Krishna Maheshwari

A saint is one who lives in God or the Eternal, who is free from egoism, likes and dislikes, selfishness, vanity, mine-ness, lust, greed and anger, who is endowed with equal vision, balanced mind, mercy, tolerance, righteousness and cosmic love, and who has divine knowledge.

Saints and sages are a blessing to the world at large. They are the custodians of superior divine wisdom, spiritual powers and inexhaustible spiritual wealth. Even kings bow their heads at their lotus feet. King Janaka said to Yajnavalkya, "O venerable sage! I am grateful to your exalted holiness for obtaining the ancient wisdom of the Upanishads through your lofty and sublime instructions. I offer my whole kingdom at thy feet. Further, I am thy servant. I will wait on thee like a servant".

Such is the magnanimous nature of saints and sages. Their very existence inspires others and goads them to become like them and attain the same state of bliss achieved by them. Had it not been for their existence, there would not have been spiritual uplift and salvation for you all. Their glory is indescribable. Their wisdom is unfathomable. They are deep like the ocean, steady like the Himalayas, pure like the Himalayan snow, effulgent like the sun. One crosses this terrible ocean of Samsara or births and deaths through their grace and Satsang. To be in their company is the highest education. To love them is the highest happiness. To be near them is real education.

The saints wander from village to village and disseminate divine knowledge. They move from door to door and impart wisdom. They take a little for their bare maintenance and give the highest education, culture and enlightenment to the people. Their very life is exemplary. Whether they deliver lectures or not, whether they hold discourses or not, it matters little.

Saints and sages only can become real advisers to the kings, because they are selfless and possess the highest wisdom. They only can improve the morality of the masses. They only can show the way to attain eternal bliss and immortality. Shivaji had Swami Ramdas as his adviser. King Dasaratha had Maharshi Vasishtha as his adviser.

There is no caste among saints and sages. Cobblers, weavers and untouchables had become saints. Saints, to whatever clime they may belong, have left their footprints on the sands of time, so that others, who are true and faithful, may follow their track in search of the Eternal Truth. Their lives have ever remained an inspiration to us. Their glory has ever been green in our memory. Their teachings have ever flowed with the tide of life.

Saints can have one or more titles attached to their name (and some have none). Some popular titles are Swami, Sant, Rishi, Muni, Goswami, Maharaj.

Saints of Ancient Times

The Acharyas

Six Goswamis of Vrindavan

Saints of Maharashtra

Saints of North India

Saints of South India

Women Saints

Bhakti Movement of modern day Tamil Nadu

Ancient Tamil Nadu saw two important Bhakti movements, which most probably preceded the philosophical movements of Adi Sankara and Ramanuja Acharya. The sages of the Bhakti movement worshiping Lord Shiva were called Nayanmars and those worshiping Lord Vishnu were called Azhwars.

63 Nayanmars of Tamil Nadu

The story of 63 Nayanmars is chronicled in a book called “Periya puranam” written by Chekizhar who was an eminent poet of his time. Among those 63 sages, four Natyanmars were the most important and they were Appar, Thirugnana Sambandar, Thirunavukkarsar and Manika Vasagar. All of them were great poets and traveled through out Tamil Nadu visiting the Shiva temples and composing poems on the deities in each Temple. The work of Manika Vasagar who was a Kshatriya by caste is called as Thiru vasagam. ”Thiru Vasagathukku urugar Evvasagathukkum Urugar” meaning, ”those who do not melt for Thiruvasagam will never melt for any other book”, was a famous Tamil saying of those times.

  • Adipattha Nayanar
  • Aiyadigal Kadavarkon Nayanar
  • Amaraneedi Nayanar
  • Anaya Nayanar
  • Appuddi Nayanar
  • Arivattaya Nayanar
  • Chandesvara Nayanar
  • Cheraman Perumal Nayanar
  • Dandi Adigal Nayanar
  • Enadinatha Nayanar
  • Eripatha Nayanar
  • Eyarkon Kalikama Nayanar
  • Gananatha Nayanar
  • Idangazhi Nayanar
  • Ilayankudi Mara Nayanar
  • Isaijnaniyar
  • Iyarpahai Nayanar
  • Kalia Nayanar
  • Kalikamba Nayanar
  • Kanampulla Nayanar
  • Kannappa Nayanar
  • Karaikal Ammaiyar
  • Kari Nayanar
  • Kazharsinga Nayanar
  • Kochengat Chola Nayanar
  • Kootruva Nayanar
  • Kotpuli Nayanar
  • Kulacchirai Nayanar
  • Kungiliya Kalaya Nayanar
  • Maiporul Nayanar
  • Manakanchara Nayanar
  • Mangayarkarasiyar
  • Munaiyaduvar Nayanar
  • Murkha Nayanar
  • Murthi Nayanar
  • Muruga Nayanar
  • Nami Nandi Adigal
  • Narasinga Muniyaraiyar
  • Nesa Nayanar
  • Ninra Seer Nedumara Nayanar
  • Perumizhalai Kurumba Nayanar
  • Pugal Chola Nayanar
  • Pugazh Tunai Nayanar
  • Pusalar Nayanar
  • Rudra Pasupathi Nayanar
  • Sadaya Nayanar
  • Sakkiya Nayanar
  • Satti Nayanar
  • Seruthunai Nayanar
  • Sirappuli Nayanar
  • Siruthonda Nayanar
  • Somasira Nayanar
  • Sundaramurthi Nayanar
  • Tiru-Navukkarasar Nayanar
  • Tiru Jnana Sambandar
  • Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar
  • Tiru Mula Nayanar
  • Tiru Nalai Povar Nayanar
  • Tiru Neelakanta Nayanar
  • Tiru Neelakanta Yazhpanar
  • Tiruneelanakka Nayanar
  • Vayilar Nayanar
  • Viralminda Nayanar


13 Azhwars

The Azhwars came from diverse caste groups and lived between 5th and 9th Century in southern India. Being great devotees of Lord Vishnu, especially Ranghanatha, they composed beautiful devotional poetry in his praise. Their individual compositions were later compiled into a single scripture by the name "Divya Prabhandam".

  • Bhutam
  • Kula sekhara
  • Madhurakavi
  • Nammalvar
  • Periyalvar
  • Pey
  • Poykai
  • Sant Andal
  • Sundaramurthi Nayanar
  • Tirumangai
  • Tirumazhisai
  • Tiruppaan
  • Tondar-adi-podi


Saints of Recent Times

Others not yet classified