Agama, which glorifies Saguna Brahmam as Siva, has given rise
to Saivite aspect of Hindu thoughts and philosophy and several types
of Saivite practice. Kashmir Saivam of the Pratyabhijna system,
Veera Saiva forms of Karnataka and an important school of philosophy
called Saiva Siddhantha are all formed on the basis of Saiva Agama
as their authority and show a distinct leaning to Advaitam. There
are Twenty- eight Agamas, of which one of the chief Agama is Kamikam.
There were about 207 Upa-Agamas, of which only fragmentary texts
of Twenty are available.
Agama, including Thanthra, glorifies God as Sakthi or one of
many names of `Devi' and as the Supreme and Mother of Universe.
There are Seventy-seven Agamas. They are in the form of dialogues
between Sakthi and Siva. They also teach several occult practices
some of them confer special powers while others bestow knowledge.
Sakthi is the creative power of Siva. Saaktham is considered to
be a supplement to Saivam.
Agama glorifies God as Vishnu, and their teachings lean towards
Visishta-advaitam. There are two hundred and fifteen Vaishnava Agamas.
They are of four kinds: Pancharathra, Vaikhanasa, Prathishthasara
and Vijnanalalitha. Brahma, Saiva Kumara, Vasishtha, Kapila, Gauthamiya
and Naradiya are the seven groups of Pancharathra which are regarded
as the most authoritative of the Vaishnava Agamas. Thus the Agamas
were written for the three main forms of Deities, Siva, Vishnu and
Sakthi, the three main divisions of the practice of Hinduism.
fourth division is the ritualistic Smartha Sampradaya, the
followers of the Smrithi, who also accept Agama rules for six forms
of Deity and Temple worship as established by Sri Adi Sankara. Each
one of the three Agamas considers that their form of God as the
ultimate creator and protector of all Universe, worlds and all life
forms therein. It must be understood that in spite of the intense
diversity of the teachings and methods of worship, the Agamas are
all similar to Vedas in their spirit and message and their teachings
are considered as equally authoritative.