Nāyaṇmār (sing., nāyaṇār, ‘leader’). Title bestowed on a claimed sixty-three saints in the Tamil Śaivite tradition. The hymns (especially of N̄āṉacampantar, Cuntaramūrti, and Appar) are regarded by Tamil Śaivas as equal in worth to the Vedas. They are gathered in the Tēvāram, part of the Tamil Śaiva canon. Their lives (in hagiographical style) are contained in Cekkilār's Periya Purāṇam (12th cent. CE), building on earlier works, especially that of Suntarar (Nampiyārūrar). Cekkilār includes an account of Suntarar in his own work, tracing his life from his abode with Śiva to his earthly manifestation, which he undertook, with Śiva's permission, in order to marry—provided he worshipped Śiva on earth.
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