[Samayam (path of realizing self and god), kuravargal - (Guru or Teacher)]: Before we start reading about 'Nayanmars', it becomes important to know about 'Samayakuravargal'. The contribution of these four saivaites are immorable and unmeasurable. They spread the 'Saivisam' and glories of the Lord all over India. They re-established the 'Saivisam' and the truth.
The four great saints of shaivism who took birth in the world showing us the path of elevating oneself to the Supreme shiva are the samayak kuravarkaL or nAlvar. They are:
- thirunyAna chambandhar
- mANikka vAchakar
The influence they created through their songs stay even now after a millenium and by the Grace of God should continue to inspire the minds of the generations to come. These beacons of shaivism are the guides the shaiva world looks up to and so they are called samayak kuravargaL .
The order in which these four great saints are kept is on the account of the order in which they attained the abode of Lord shiva. It may be recalled that day of attaining the abode of Lord shiva is considered much glorious than the day of birth, for example the gurupUjai of the various nAyanmAr. Though sambandhar was born few decades later than appar, he attained mukthi earlier than appar in his young age. So he is first in the order.