Saint Manikkavasagar

Manikkavasagar, a Tamil saint and poet who wrote Tiruvasakam, a book of Shaiva hymns. Speculated to have been a minister to the Pandya king Varagunavarman II (also called Arimarthana Pandiyan), he lived in Madurai.

He is revered as one of the Nalvar ("group of four" in Tamil), a set of four prominent Tamil saints alongside Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar. The other three contributed to the first seven volumes (Tevaram) of the twelve-volume Saivite work Tirumurai, the key devotional text of Shaiva Siddhanta. Manikkavacakar's Tiruvasakam and Thirukkovaiyar form the eighth. These eight volumes are considered to be the Tamil Vedas by the Shaivites, and the four saints are revered as Samaya Kuravar (religious preceptors).

In his expression of intimacy to God, Manikkavacakar mirrored the sentiments expressed by his fellow Bhakti period saints referring to the Lord as the "Divine Bridegroom" or the Nityamanavaalar ("Eternal Bridegroom"), with whom he longed to be united in "divine nuptials".