Introduction: The sacred sequence of the Sixty-Three Nayanars
By Vidya Dehejia
Inspired by Siva, the Saint Sundarar who lived in the eighth century, sang the Thiru-Thonda-Thogai pathigam at the temple of Thiruvarur.
This hymn is the original list of the Saiva Saints, and Sundarar apparently listed the names in the order in which he happened to recollect them. The list follows a random sequence, being neither chronological, nor alphabetical, nor grouped according to caste or occupation. Since Sundarar sang the glory of the saints at the command of God Siva himself, the list became a sanctified one. It was elaborated by Nambi-Andar-Nambi in the tenth century and codified by Sekkilaar in the twelfth-century work the Periya-Puranam but the sequence remained unaltered. The order of this list is meticulously followed in the temples for the placement of bronze or stone images of the Nayanars, as also for their figures on the temple walls.
God Siva's 63 Nayanars:
Dehejia, Vidya. Slaves of The Lord - The Path of the Tamil Saints.