Śaivāgamas

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Saivagamas, ZaivAgamas, shaivaagamas


Śaivāgamas

Āgamas are post-Vedic Hindu scriptures relevant even today. They primarily deal with practical spiritual disciplines, ethical codes and temple rituals.

Of the three main divisions of the āgamas (See ĀGAMAS.), the Śaivāgamas are listed as the first. They are also called by other names such as Samhitā and Mahātantra. They had already come into existence by the first century B. C.

Their philosophical tenets are the same as those of the Pāśupata cult (See ŚAIVISM.).

The Śaivāgamas are divided into two groups: pradhānāgamas and upāgamas.

The former comprises 28 works and the latter either 208 or 225.

The twenty-eight major āgamas are: Acintyāgama, Ajitāgama, Amśumānāgama, Analāgama, Bimbāgama, Candrajñānāgama, Diptāgama, Kāmikāgama, Kāranāgama, Kiranāgama, Lalitāgama, Makutāgama, Niśśvāsāgama, Pārameśvarāgama, Prodgitāgama, Rauravāgama, Sāhasrāgama, Santānāgama, Śarvāgama, Siddhāgama, Suksmāgama, Suprabhedāgama, Svāyambhuvāgama, Vātulāgama, Vijayāgama, Vimalāgama,

Vlrāgama, Yogajāgama.

These major āgamas have evolved out of the five faces of Śiva (= Pañcānana) as follows:

1. Sadyojāta : Kāmika, Yogaja, Acintya,

Kārana, Ajita.

2. Vāmadeva: Dīpta, Suksma, Sāhasra,

Arhśumān, Suprabheda.

3. Aghora : Vijaya, Niśśvāsa,

Svāyambhuva,

Anala, Vīra.

4. Tatpuruṣa : Raurava, Makuta, Vimala,

Candrajñāna, Bimba.

5. īśāna : Prodgita, Lalita, Siddha,

Santana, Śarva, Pārameśvara,

Kirana, Vātula.

Sometimes, the first ten āgamas listed under the first two aspects of Siva are named as Sivasamhitās and the rest as Rudrasamhitās.

All these āgamās follow the standard pattern of the fourfold division, viz., Jñanapāda, Yogapāda, Kriyāpāda and Caryāpāda. (See ĀGAMAS for details.)

Anyone who wishes to practise the disciplines of the Śaivāgamas has to undergo dīkṣā or initiation. The process is explained in detail. One interesting point is that it varies according to the gotra (lineage) and Vedic śākhā (branch assigned for study) of the seeker, thereby confirming that the Śaivāgamas are very much a part of the Vedic tradition.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Śaivāgamas Āgamas are post-Vedic Hindu scrip¬tures relevant even today. They primarily deal with practical spiritual disciplines, ethical codes and temple rituals. Of the three main divisions of the āgamas (See ĀGAMAS.), the Śaivāgamas are listed as the first. They are also called by other names such as Sariihitā and Mahātantra. They had already come into existence by the first century B. C. Their philosophical tenets are the same as those of the Pāśupata cult (See ŚAIVISM.). The Śaivāgamas are divided into two groups: pradhānāgamas and upāgamas. The former comprises 28 works and the latter either 208 or 225. The twenty-eight major āgamas are: Acintyāgama, Ajitāgama, Amśumānāgama, Analāgama, Bimbāgama, Candrajñānāgama, Diptāgama, Kāmikāgama, Kāranāgama, Kiranāgama, Lalitāgama, Makutāgama, Niśśvāsāgama, Pārameśvarāgama, Prodgitāgama, Rauravāgama, Sāhasrāgama, Santānāgama, Śarvāgama, Siddhāgama, Suksmāgama, Suprabhedāgama, Svāyambhuvāgama, Vātulāgama, Vijayāgama, Vimalāgama, Vlrāgama, Yogajāgama. These major āgamas have evolved out of the five faces of Śiva (= Pañcānana) as follows: 1. Sadyojāta : Kāmika, Yogaja, Acintya, Kārana, Ajita. 2. Vāmadeva: Dīpta, Suksma, Sāhasra, Arhśumān, Suprabheda. 3. Aghora : Vijaya, Niśśvāsa, Svāyambhuva, Anala, Vīra. 4. Tatpuruṣa : Raurava, Makuta, Vimala, Candrajñāna, Bimba. 5. īśāna : Prodgita, Lalita, Siddha, Santana, Śarva, Pārameśvara, Kirana, Vātula. Sometimes, the first ten āgamas listed under the first two aspects of Śiva are named as Sivasamhitās and the rest as Rudrasamhitās. All these āgamās follow the standard pattern of the fourfold division, viz., Jñanapāda, Yogapāda, Kriyāpāda and Caryāpāda. (See ĀGAMAS for details.) Anyone who wishes to practise the disciplines of the Śaivāgamas has to undergo dīkṣā or initiation. The process is explained in detail. One interesting point is that it varies according to the gotra (lineage) and Vedic śākhā (branch assigned for study) of the seeker, thereby confirming that the Śaivāgamas are very much a part of the Vedic tradition.