The Iyengar community traces its philosophical origins to Nathamuni, a Sri Vaishnavaacharya who lived around 900 CE. Nathamuni was influenced by Nammalvar and other alvars (Sri Vaishnava poet-saints of southern India) and he introduced their philosophy into temple worship. Nathamuni's efforts were formalised into a religious system of lifestyle, practice and worship by Ramanuja who propounded the philosophy of Visishtadvaita.
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Iyengar or Ayyangar is a caste given to Hindu Iyengar Brahmins of Tamil origin, who follow the Visishtadvaita philosophy propounded by Ramanuja. They are found mostly in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu but some live in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Iyengar are divided into two different sub-sects and, as with other Hindu communities, they are also classified based on their gotra, or patrilineal descent. The original language of the Iyengar Brahmins is Tamil, but they also speak other languages, notably Telugu and Kannada.
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