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Ancient Hindu Scriptures
 
A G A M A S
SCIENCE AND ART OF TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION
 
POORNA PRAGNA - Srinivasaprasad Kidambi
 
 
Part II - ( Popular Texts )
Different Stages of Theory of Creation
 

I. Stage 1: Consciousness / Energy level (like quarks and beyond)
Sat Chit Ananda - Truth Existence Consciousness

 
#
NameRough TranslationRough English Equivalent Example
1
Sudha Pure concious and energy StatesMulti dimensional form Brahman
2
Asudha Pure Material StatesThree Dimensional form Durga
3
Misra
States of Dual Existence -both matter and energy
Two Dimensional form Sri Chakra
 

II. Stage 2: Systems and Subsystems
(like nebuelas, exploding stars, black holes, milky way and Solar Family)
avarana or koshas: (Subtle Manifestation)

1. Sakthi Kosa : Energy subsystem like exploding stars nebuellas
2. Maya Kosha : Intermediaries of energy and matter (Quarks, Barons, Yaxions, atoms, electrons, etc.)
3. Prasuthi Kosha: Material systems like solar family milky way galazy
4. Prakrithi Kosha: Material Subsystems like 9 planets within solar family etc
5. Jiva Kosha: The conscious princple that interacts with the above systems and subsystems

 

III. Stage 3: Gross Manifestation -- nama rupa

1. Varna : (Vibrations): Para, Vaikhari, Pasyanthi, Madhyama called Sristi -process of evolution
2. Nivrithi : (Systems): Pratishtha, Vidya, Santi, Santiatita. Prati sristhi -process of dissolution
3. Pada : (Grades of Matter): Jagrathi, Swapna, Sushupthi, Tuiya.
-Transformation stages in the process of evolution and dissolution
4. Tathva: (Types of matter): Dravya, Guna, Karma, Samanya, Samavaya,
Elemental matter and its properties
5. Mantra : (energy coefficients, Languages): 14 Matrikaas called Maheswara Sutraas,energy expression modes like languages, noise, sounds of various nature, frequencies, audiable, subtle, and the dynamics of sound light transformations (Sono Luminiscence) etc.
6. Bhuvana : 14 Differing planes of consciousness associated with the above 5 categories.

 
 

Agama Branches

The ancient sages understood that the entire cosmos is nothing but overlaying and intermixing forces/energies mediated by massive heavenly bodies appearing and disappearing at regular intervals creating a chain of perpetual evolutionary life forms called samsara. These evolutionary systems influence each other far and near either in positive or negative direction and affect various forms of manifested species differently. For the evolution to continue, it is primary to keep the species insulated from negative influences and provide positive energy influences to the maximum extant. That is the purpose of Agamas. This above mentioned concept of the creation and protection of the delicate balance between species and gross matter is elaborated through various branches of Agamas. All these branches start with the name of a deity. It is understood that each deity represents a specific energy state with certain parameters, and associated with certain aspects of gross manifestation. So by mentioning the deity name as prefix, particular Agama suggests that its scope of subject matter is limited to the energy state symbolized by the deity and the manifested material states that are directly or indirectly related to that energy state. The following 11 are the main branches of Agamas. Each branch contains thousands of texts associated with it.

 
1. Saktha 2. Vaishnava 3. Shaiva 4. Ganapathya 5. Svyambhuva (Brahma)
6. Chandra 7. Saura 8. Pasupatha 9. Kalamukha 10. Cina 11. Jina.
The first three and 7 are available now either in full and in part.
Rest are either presumed lost or in safe custody either Nepal or China or Tibet.
 
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Agama Padas (categories)

Each branch of Agama will have many texts and commentaries associated with it. Within each branch or within a particular text under consideration the information will be presented in the following broad categories.

1.Gnana Padam (Scientific Explanations)
2. Yoga Padam (Unifying methodology of the agama Process and Symbolism)
3. Kriya Padam (Procedural Methodology)
4. Charya Padam. (Brhavioural Methodology)
 
1. Gnana Padam (Knowledge and Information and explanations)
What ever is discussed in the above three padas are technically and scientifically explained in this part. All needed information like why this is done and why this is not done are explained with from three perspectives or modes of interpretations.
1. Adhibhoutika: Purely scientific perspective
2. Adhi Daivika: Socio Environmental Perspective
3. Adhi Atmika: Spritual Perspective
 
2. Yoga Padam (Unfying Methodology of the Process and symbolism)
How the energy manifests in differing states, how to tap it, how to hold it, how to avoid the unwanted energies and use them for the evolution of the mankind, how to transfer the energy held in a place for the people living in that place, by building temples, houses, ashramaas.
 
3. Kriya Padam (Procedural Detail)
How to hold the energies in a three-dimensional structure, like a temple, ashramaa or a house. It also details as how to construct the above said structures
 
4. Charya Padam (Behaviour Methodology)
How the deities are carved, worshiped in temples, houses which have the compatible three-dimensional shapes for the state of the energy in a particular place. The special, and particular and individual and place specific worships are to be performed given the energy content of a place. This also specifies the process of the linkage between the dual interpretation methodology followed by Agamas called Antaryagam and Bahiryagam of Charya Padam.
 
Dual interpretation technique of Agama Padas
Each and every aspect mentioned in the above four broad categories have two different interpretations associated with them. 1. Bahiryagam. External interpretation, which is basically why this thing is done now and how this has to be done. 2. Antaryagam. Internal interpretation, which gives a spiritual connotation to the process performed under a particular agama category and is aimed at serious spritual seeker. This internal interpretation suggests to the spritual seeker that the entire external practices can in fact be taken as steps in one's spritual progress of self-realization.
 

 

 
Six Goals of Agamas
All the 11 branches of Agamas aim at 6 fundamental goals to achieve. They are as follows:
1. Utchatana Vertical integration of natural energies (elecromagnetic, gravitional etc) maintaining the balance of nature
2. Stambhana Create and increase energy with holding capabilities of a particular place
3. Marana Destroy the negetive energy influences over a particular area
4. Bhedana Split diferent energies within a given area to maintain balance of nature
5. Santhi Maitaining the balance of nature with social progress
6. Pushti Nourishing the nature and species so that evolution progresses.
 
Grouping of Agama Goals
All the 11 branches of Agamas will be dedicated to do one or other goals mentioned above. The above 6 goals are devided in to 3 main groups. And they are called by the three deity names. These names are used to indicate the extant and scope of each group of goals. The following table summarizes the grouping and gives reason for picking up a particular deity name for the branch.
 

Group name -- Goals Pursued -- Reason

Saktheya Agamas - UCHATANA, STHAMBHANA - Devine Mother the source of all
Shaiva agamas - MARANA, BHEDHANA - Responsible for dissolution
Vaishnava agamas - SANTHI, PUSHTHI - Responsible for preservation of dharma

The same system of grouping is used to classify Agama texts. As all the six goals are so important for the maintaining the balance of nature and for the evolution of human beings Acharya Pingala who wrote Pingala Mata states that
"aagatham panchavakthraathu gatham cha giriraajaananee
matham cha vaasudevasya cha tasmaadaagamamuchyathe"

That which comes from Shiva is A and when it merges with Sakthi is GA and the same is when approved by Vishnu it is MA thus it is called Agama. In other words after all negetive energy forces withholding the evolution are destroyed (A), and all positive energies and influences are put in place (GA) then the evolution goes unhindered (MA).

 
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AGAMA TEXTS 
  

1. Sakth(ey)a Agamaas

Saktheya Agamas are grouped under two types. Dakshina and Vaama (wrongly used as right and left as the literary meaning of the words dakshina is right and vama is left). These are also called Samaya and Koula. Actually Dakshina means that which has duality in it. So in this system Dualism is important aspect in the beginning. Vama means that which measures by prana life force. Its approach is advaitik non dualistic in nature. So samaya or Dakshina predominantly use Puranic methodology of rituals and Vama or Kula use Tantric methodology of rituals. The total number of Agama groups under the above two types are seventy seven (77).
The total number of Saktheya agamas are classified under 3 categories. Five (5) groups are called Sudha or Samaya Agamaas (Dakshina Agamas dualistic in nature), sixty four 64 are called as Kula Agamaas (Vama Agamas, monoistic in nature), and the remaining eight (8) are called as Misra Agamaas ( both samaya and vama agamas, dualistic and monoistic in nature).

 
Theoretical Basis
The Dakshina or Samaya Agamaas declare that Tantra is Vidya and they are part of the Vedas. So throuhgh the deities any seeker can realize the essence of Vidya (realization) as explained in the Vedas and merge with the supreme brahman.
The Vama and Kula declare that the whole of the Vedas it self is Tantra and thus Vidya and this Vidya is nothing but the Para Sakthi and she is not different from the spritual seeker.

The Misra takes the approach of both and preaches that in the beginning the need of deity is there but in the end seeker becomes the deity. Ultimately the all the three preaches the unison with the Brahman (Supreme Conciousness) perceived as Sakthi.

The most Important Saktha Agamaas are:
1. Tantra Raja Tantra
2. Vamakeswara Tantra
3. Rudrayaamala Tantra
4. Kulanrnava Tantra
5. Bala Patala Tantra
The following are the commentaries on these Agama texts by great saints.
# : Name of commentary-- : -- Author
1 : Prapancha Sara -- Acharya Sankara
2 : Sarada Tilaka Tantra -- Lakshmana Desika
3 : Varivasya Rahasya -- Bhaskara Raya
4 : Agama Vagisa Tantra -- Sara Krishnananda
5 : Sri Tatva Chintamani -- Poornaananda Paramahansa Parivraajaka
6 : Commentary on Soundarya Lahari -- Lakshmi Dhara
 
  

2. Shiva (Shaiva) Agamaas :

All these agamaas hold shiva as supreme deity along with Para Sakthi. The purpose of this mode of worship is to use various energy forms for destruction of negetive influences. The Shaiva Agamaas are classified in to eleven (11) schools of thought depending on the need and mode of usage of Energy. These are called as Sidhanthaas or established scientific theories.

1.Shiva 2. Pasuphatha 3. Karunika 4. Kapalika 5. Kalamukha 6. Vama
7. Langala 8. Soma 9. Bhairava 10. Nakula 11. Pratyabhijna.
Nakula and Langala are grouped under Nakuli Sapa Supata. The Shiva Sidhantha contains 4 sub groups. They are 1. Samanya Shiva, 2. Poorna Shiva, 3. Misra Shiva, 4. Sudha Shiva.
Among the above eleven (11) only three sidhantas are available. The rest are presumed lost or in safe custody in either China, Tibet or Nepal. The available three sidhantas are 1. Shiva 2. Pasupatha 3. Pratyabhijna
 
Theoretical Basis
All the available Sidhantas propose worship of Shiva with 5 facets
1. Sadyojatha; 2. Vamadeva; 3. Tatpurusha; 4. Aghora; 5. Isana.
They preach the process of self realization (shiva realization) through Vidya, Kriya and Yoga. The objective is removing the pasu (beast) from pasa (bondage of material worls) by pati (protector that is shiva). During this process the following 5 principles are studied

1. pati protector
2. jiva individual jiva
3. yoga process of yoga
4. niyama scriptural rules
5. dhukanta. Process of practice

The above self realization or Shiva realization can be achieved by the following approaches called Upayas.
Theya re three types of Upayas behavioural methodologies.

1. Anavopaya; 2. Sakthopaya; 3. Sambhavopaya.
These Upayas guide in the path of Karma (action) which leads to Gnana (knowledge and self realization) and finally lead to Vidya Supreme realization. There are 120 Agamaas in these three sidhantas available.
 
  

Shaiva Sidhanta Agamas

Of the one hundred and twenty existing agamas, 28 agamaas belong to Shaiva Sidhantha School, and are classified under 4 heads.

1. Kamika Agamaas 2. Karana Agamaas 3. Suprabhedha Agamaas
4. Vathula and Veera Agamaas. The last one are very important in this tradition.

Pasupatha and Pratyabijna Sidhanta Agamas

Under the Pasupatha and Pratyabhigna Sidhantha (These systems are Advaithic (monoistic), Dvaithic (Dualistic) and Dwaithaadwaithic (Qualified monodualistic). There are 92 agamaas under these sidhantas and aree classified in to 64 schools of thought.

Trika school of thought is the most complex among them and it consists three (3) parts. They are 1. Pratyabhigna Sasthra 2. Agama Sasthra 3. Spanda Sasthra. This Trika is the basis of the Shivite Worship in Kashmir. This is the most exhaustive System of the Shaiva Agamaas which is highly scientific and technical. A part of this is followed in South India by various Shiva Acharyaas.

The following are the important treatise on the Shaiva Agamaas

# :- Name - & - Author
1 - Siva Gnana Prabhodha Sutra - by Mekanda Deva
2 - Sivagnana Bhasya - by Sivagra Yogi
3 - Brahma mimansa - by Srikantha Sivacharya
4 - Shivakamanidipika - by Appaya Dikshitha
5 - Srikara Bhasya Srikara - by Panditharadhya
6 - Advaitha in Shaiva Agamas - by Trayambaka
7 - Shiva Drishthi - by Somananda
8 Pratyabhigna Suthra - by Utpala Deva
9 Pratyabhigna Karika - by Utpala Deva
10 Tantra Loka - by Abhinava Guptha
11 Malinivijaya Varthika - by Abhinava Guotha
12 Pratrimsika Vrithi - by Abhinava Guptha
13 Paramartha Sara - by Abhinava Guptha

 

 

 

3. Vishnu (Vaishnava) Agamas

Vaishnava Agamaas are three types, 1. Vaikhanasa and 2. Pancha Rathra. 3. Sri Sasthra. The Pancharathra accepts the mode of Vedic and Tantric worship. The Vaikhanasa accepts Vedic worship. The Vaikhanasa system is called Ekayana. The Sri Sasthra which is the scientific basis for the both agamas is not available now. To fill the gap the Pancha Ratra system is vitalized with revived parts of Sri Sastra.. Actually Ekayana or Vaikhanasa is one of the Declencions (sakhas) of the Yajur Veda compiled under the direction of Sage Vaikhanasa, and this declension is not available and the Agama for this declencion is existing in the form of Vaikhanasa Agama.

Theoretical Basis

The Vaishnava Agamas uphold Lord Vishnu as the supreme brahman along with Sri or Maha Maya. Though these agamas are sudha dwaitik (pure dualistic) in the initial stages they propose the Advaithic (monoistic) philosophy in their final stages. As these agamas are for the welfare of the society they propose eloborate festival and ritual practices which are absent in the other two systems of Agamas.

 

The Vaikhanasa mode of worship stresses that the worship of Vishnu is to be done with out expectation of results or benifits. The vaikhanasa proposes the process of Karma Sanyasa (non atachment twards acton) and Phala Sanyasa (non attachment towards result). Both Agama types stresses the importance of Gnana (knowledge), Karma (action), and Bhakthi (devotion). The sudha dwaitha (pure dualism) system of realization is adopted in the Vaishnava agamas in the initial stages.
Though all modes of worship 1. Japa (recitation) 2. Dhyana (meditation) 3. Homa (ritual worship through yagna) 4. Archana (worship with lord's names) are stressed, the Archana mode of worship is the most important for the Vaikhanasa Agamas. Vikhanasa is the sage who revived these texts and taught them to 4 of his disciples

1. Atri 2. Bhrigu 3. Kasyapa 4. Marichi

All these students contributed to the Vaishnava Agama thought, but unfortunately only a portion of their works is saved. The rest is either lost or presumed to be in safe places in Tibet, China or Nepal. .

Maharshi Atri wrote 4 texts, 1. Purva Tantra 2. Atreya Tantra 3. Vishnu Tantra 4. Uttara Tantra.
Maharshi Bhrigu wrote 13 texts containing 88, 000 Slokas.

They are : 1. Khila Tantra 2. Pura Tantra 3. Vasanadhikara 4. Chithradhikara 5. Manadhikara
6. Kriyadhikara 7. Archanadhikara 8. Yagnadhikara 9. Varnadhikara 10. Prathigruhyadhikara
11. Nirukthadhikara 12. Prakirnadhikara and 13. Khiladhikara.
Of these thirteen, 6 & 8 are available in print. 3 & 7 & 11 are available in manuscripts,
2, 4, 5 & 9 are available in fragments, and the rest are not available.

The texts written by Sage Kashyapa and Sage Marichi are not available.

 
 

 

 
 
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