Pancharatra Samhita

guNAtIto.akSharaM brahma bhagavAn puruShottamaH | jano jAnannidaM satyaM muchyate bhavabandhanAt ||

A few years ago, I happened to look through various pAncharAtra saMhitAs to identify every pos list that was then prepared mainly as a checklist based on the longer list by shrIkR^iShNamAchAr be available now). This list includes only those works which are available today, either published here as unpublished have now been published but I have not had the time to sanitize the list. Published samhitA-s

1. agastya saMhitA 2. aniruddha saMhitA 3. ahirbudhniya saMhitA 4. Ishvara saMhitA 5. Kapi~njala saMhitA 6. kAshyapa saMhitA 7. jayAkhya saMhitA 8. j~nAnAmR^itasAra saMhitA 9. nAradIya saMhitA [not to be confused with saMhitA-s with the same name belonging to dharm rathAkrAnta branch) shAstras] 10. shrImannArAyaNa saMhitA 11. parama saMhitA 12. para(ma)puruSha saMhitA 13. parAshara saMhitA 14. pAdma saMhitA (not the same as rauravAgamAntargata pAdma tantra) 15. pArameshvara saMhitA (evidently different from parameshvara tantra, a vIrashaiva tantra and niHshvAsa tantra saMhitA) 16. purANa saMhitA 17. puruShottama saMhitA 18. pauShkara saMhitA (different from pauShkarAgama or pauShkara tantra which can be seen in and kriyApAdas of this shaiva tantra are known as sarvaj~nAnottara and charyApAda as mAta~N 19. bR^ihadbrahma saMhitA 20. brahma saMhitA 21. bhAradvAja saMhitA 22. bhargava saMhitA 23. mAkaNDeya saMhitA 24. mAheshvara saMhitA (tantra) 25. lakShmI tantra 26. vishvAmitra saMhitA (not to be confused with the work dealing with sAvitrI mantra and the s 27. viShNu saMhitA 28. viShNu tilaka saMhitA 29. viShvaksena saMhitA 30. shANDilya saMhitA 31. sheSha saMhitA 32. shrIprashna saMhitA 33. sanatkumAra saMhitA (Though a vaiShNava tantra, some scholars refuse to group this tantra

Ishvara saMhitA: There seem to be four different versions of this saMhitA. paramatattvanirNayaprakAsha saMhitA 34. jayottara saMhitA 21. shrIkAlottara saMhitA 11. khagaprashna saMhitA 14. umA saMhitA 8. upendra saMhitA 7.tantra and mahAsiddhisAra tantra refer to sanatkumAra tantra as belonging to shaivAgama. anatAkhya saMhitA 2. nalakUbara saMhitA 27. narasiMhapAdma saMhitA 26. 6. gajendra saMhitA 18. pArAsharya saMhitA 37. They involve conve R^ishi-bhagavAn and brahmA-bhagavAn. sAtvata saMhitA (sAtvata tantra referred to in shrImadbhAgavatam is a different work. nArasiMha saMhitA 29. khagendra saMhitA 16. trayashatottara saMhitA 24. nArada saMhitA 28. though under pAncharAtra samhitAs) 35. gautama saMhitA 19. pUrNa saMhitA . A kApi~njala saMhitA as well. khagendra saMhitA (sometimes referred to as vihagendra saMhitA) 15. chitrashikhaNDi saMhitA 20. Kaushikotsava is an im to kaushikapurANa shravaNa vidhi described in pArameshvara saMhitA) 3. 34. pa~nchaprashna saMhitA 31. tantratilaka saMhitA 23. paramAgama chUDAmaNi 35. hayashIrSha saMhitA SamhitA-s available as manuscripts 1. aniruddha saMhitA (seems to be different from the earlier listed version. kAshyapottara saMhitA 13. They do not seem to be a part of one bigger saMhitA. pArameShThya saMhitA 36. padmodbhava saMhitA 33. Ishvara saMhitA: nR^isiMha kalpa 5. kapila saMhitA 12. kANva saMhitA 10. nArAyaNa saMhitA 30. j~nAnArNava saMhitA (not to be identified as j~nAnArNava tantra) 22. padmanAbha saMhitA 32. garga saMhitA 17. Ananda saMhitA 4. aupagAyana saMhitA 9. durvAsa saMhitA (not to be confused with saubhAgya chintAmaNi tantra) 25. That i is also a saMhitA with the same name which is one of the splendid shubhAgama panchaka).

doctrine). vishveshvara saMhitA 57. Is a Leftist vaiShNava tantra. vAyu saMhitA 53. balapauShkara saMhitA 41. varAha saMhitA 51. sudarshana saMhitA 73. adbhuta 48. shrIdhara saMhitA 67. haMsapArameshvara (Not really sure why this is listed as a pAncharAtra text! Utpala quotes t shrIchakra pUjA kalpa traditionally handed over to me. vaihAyasa saMhitA 63. viShNusiddhAnta saMhitA 61. viShNurahasya saMhitA 60. vishva saMhitA 56. vR^iddha pAdma saMhitA 62. ma~NkaNa saMhitA 47. bR^ihaspati saMhitA 42. sAtyaki saMhitA 70. bhAgavata saMhitA 45. brAhma tantra 44. bhArgavIya saMhitA 46. saMvarta saMhitA 72. mahAkAla pancharAtra (Not really a pAncharAtra text. mAyAvaibhava saMhitA 50. shrIshAstra 68. hiraNyagarbha saMhitA A few definitions of Agama: The popular one: AgataM shivavaktrebhyo gataM cha girijAshrutau | mataM shrIvAsudevasya tasmAdAgama uchyate || . prahlAda saMhitA 40. vAsisTha saMhitA 54. viShnumandira saMhitA 59. 75. vAsudeva saMhitA 55. mahAlakShmI saMhitA 49. bodhyAyana tantra 43. vyAsa saMhitA 64. shukaprashna saMhitA 65. sa~NkarShaNa saMhitA 69. sArasamucchaya saMhitA 71. pradyumna saMhitA 39.38. viShNutattva saMhitA 58. suparNaprashna saMhitA 74. vAmana saMhitA 52. certain verses from this tantra are quoted. kAlapara saMhitA 66.

defines Agama thus: AgacChanti buddhimArohanti yasmAdabhyudayaniHshreyasopAyAH sa Agama iti | Agamas are classified into two: vaidika and avaidika. One class and shaiva.. kashyap Agama expanded can be understood from the words of marIchi in vimAnArchanAdhikaraNa: mayA (marIchinA) cha jayasaMhitA. The above listed eight samhitAs of marIchi The above works. shrIkaNTha saMhitA lists describes a threefold classification as kAdi. saMpuTodbhava. vainAyak bauddha and jaina Agama-s are described as avaidika. Atreya. satya. devatA. The Agamas which were co vaikhAnasa Agamas. saura. archAdhikAra pratigR^ihyAdhikAra. kriyAdhikAra. the prAchIna saMhitAs exhibit the alpatva of vaidika displaying samAnatva of vaidika and tAntrika mantras.) Sage vaikhAnasa is said to have taught this shAstra to four of his disciples: atri. According to some scholars sUtras (vide brahmaNo nakhAdutpanna iti etc. mAnAdhikAra. vijaya saMhitAsu lakShAdhika chaturashItisahasra granthA uktAH || With the above diversification of this branch of vaiShNavAgama in mind. who are regarded as sevikA-s of the tI mAnavadevasUrin (author of laghushAntimantra).A more descriptive definition from our favorite bR^ihadvArAhI tantra: sR^iShTishcha pralayashchaiva devatAnAM yathArchanam | sAdhanaM chaiva sarveShAM purashcharaNameva cha || ShaTkarmasAdhanaM chaiva dhyAnayogashchaturvidhaH | saptabhirlakShaNairyuktamAgamaM tadvidurbudhAH || vAchaspati mishra. paramArthasevA. kuberA. purAtantra. vaikhAnasa prayogas utilize th Agama mantras. viShNu and uttara tantras of atri 2. A work named vaikhAnasa vijaya describes this seer as none other than cha to the vaikhAnasa sUtras which were revealed by shrImannArAyaNa. In tem vaikhAnasa gotrIya brAhmaNas have archAdhikAra. khila. vaiShNavAgama is classified into two: vaikhAnasa and pAncharAtra. The seventy-two bauddha tantras which are Aryama~njushrI. shaiva. pUrva. who are described as mUlapAnch . vaiShNava. vIrasaMhitA. vAdivetAlasUrin (bR^ihatshAntimantra). Another describes ten shaiva and eighteen raudra Agamas. saMj~nAnasaMhitA. in his tattvavaishAradI. AnandasaMhitA. piNDIkrama etc. do however lean towards the latter. pramodamahAyuga. siddhArthikA etc. bhr^igu. a term which we shall use here synonymously with tantra. Though there is pAncharAtra branches. ambikA. The j sarasvatI. pAncharAtra grants arc aupagAyana. padmAvatI. paramparA etc. sidd the authorship of kautUhalamantradarshana to him) etc. one can consider the be 1. seem to have been responsible for propag The vaidika Agamas. hAdi and kahAdi and so on. chitrAdhikAra. kaushika and bharadvAja gotriyas. shAkta. are classified var example. mau~njAyana. the differences are numerous. For example. form the core of vaikhAnasa Agama. tarka and j~nAna kANDas of kashyapa 3. niruktAdhikAra and khilAdhikAra of bhR^igu 4. vAsAdhikAra. shaivAgama is classified on the basis of sampradAya. twenthy-eight in number. In the case of pAncharAtra. In the same context.

AgamaprAmANya of yAmunAchArya.arthaH sa yatra samavApyate | paramAnandametena prApnoti paramAtmanaH || [shANDilya saMhitA] pa~nchetarANi shAstrANi rAtrIyante mahAntyapi | chandratArAgaNaM yadvat shobhate naiva vAsare || tathetarANi shobhante pa~ncha naivAsya sannidhau | pa~nchatvamathavA yadvaddIpyamAne divAkare | R^icChanti rAtrayastadvaditarANi tadantike || [pAdmasaMhitA. pAncharAtra-rakShA of vedAntadeshika etc.anyat sAMkhyayogajam | pa~nchaprakAraM vij~neyaM yatra rAtryAyate. The word pancha is interpreted as samasta a samagranarasamaShTyAH upAsaneti. I find the following two describing the dArshanika tattva of pA~nch mahAbhUtaguNAH pa~ncha rAtrayo dehinaH smR^itAH | tadyogAdvivR^ittervA pa~ncharAtramiti smR^itam || bhUtamAtrANi garvashcha buddhiravyaktameva cha | rAtrayaH puruShasyoktAH pA~ncharAtraM tataH smR^itam || [parama saMhitA] rAtraM cha j~nAnavachanaM j~nAnaM pa~nchavidhaM smr^itam | tenedaM pA~ncharAtraM cha pravadanti manIShiNaH || j~nAnaM paramatattvaM cha janmamR^ityujarApaham | j~nAnaM dvitIyaM paramaM mumukShUNAM cha vA~nChitam || j~nAnaM shuddhaM tR^itIyaM cha ma~NgalaM kR^iShNabhaktidam | . The following are some other definitions seen within the pA purANaM vedavedAntaM tathA. j~nAnapAda] The deities associated directly with pA~ncharAtra are also described in some of the saMhitAs: Adau kr^itayuge prApte keshavena prasAditA | Ananto garuDashchaiva viShvaksenaH kapAlabhR^it || brahmA ityeva pa~nchaite shr^iNvanti pR^ithagIritam | anantaM prathame rAtrau garuDashcha dvitIyake || tR^itIyarAtre seneshaH chaturthe vedhasAshritam | rudraH pa~nchamarAtre cha shraddhAshAstra pR^ithak pR^ithak || [vihagendra saMhitA] sudarshanAdhyA hetIshAH pa~ncha brahmarShirUpataH | samutpannAH kShititake pauNDravardhnasthalAdishu || pa~nchAyudhAMshAste pa~ncha shANDilyashchaupagAyanaH | mau~njAyanaH kaushikashcha bhAradvAjashcha yoginaH || pa~nchApi pR^ithagekaikadivArAtra jagatprabhuH | adhyApayAmAsa yatastatastanmunipu~NgavAH || [Ishvara saMhitA] Among the many definitions.abjaja | phalotkarShavashenaiva pA~ncharAtramiti smR^itam || [pauShkara saMhitA] sAMkhyaM yogastathA shaivaM vedAraNye cha pa~nchakam | prochyate rAtrayaH kAnte AtmAnandasamarpaNAt || pa~nchAnAmIpsito yo. The word pAncharAtra has been explained variously.

45) refutes pAncharAtr the same adhikaraNa. This seems unneeded a sUriH suhR^id bhAgavataH sAtvataH pa~nchakAlavit | ekAntikastanmayashcha pA~ncharAtrika ityapi | evamAdibhirAkhyAbhiH AkhyeyaH kamalAsana || [pAdma saMhitA] sUriH suhR^id bhAgavataH sAtvataH pa~nchakAlavit | ekAntikastanmayashcha pA~ncharAtrika ityapi | evamAdibhirAkhyAbhiH AkhyeyaH kamalAsana || [pAdma saMhitA] The sequence of the words used here are interpreted to be in the order of antiquity.42. tadviShNoH paramaM padaM sadA pashyanti sUrayaH. who I had the pleasure of meeting and conversing on two different occasions: bhagavadbhaktireva syAt bhaktAnAM muktikAraNam | tadbhaktibodhakaM shAstraM pA~ncharAtrAgamaM smR^itam || [puruShottama saMhitA] Some find the reference to a shrIvaiShNava as a bhAgavata unacceptable. which can be seen in all pa~ncharAtra can be seen in shatapatha brAhmaNa: sa etatpuruShamedhaM pa~ncharAtraM yaj~nakratumapashyat || [shatapathabrAhmaNaH. yAmunAchArya seems to be the first among the shrIvaiShNavas to champion t AgamaprAmANya to refute the opinion of shrI kumArila bhaTTa that the pAncharAtrAgama-s w sUtrabhAShya.chaturthaM yaugikaM j~nAnaM sarvasiddhipradaM param | j~nAnaM cha pa~nchamaM proktaM tadvai vaiShayikaM nR^iNAm || [j~nAnAmR^itasAra saMh The following definition was oft quoted by the late shrI Mukkur Swamigal. one would need to examine the following statement: vedamekAyanaM nAma vedAnAM shirasi sthitam | tadarthakaM pA~ncharAtraM mokShadaM tatkriyAvatAm || [shrIprashna saMhitA] The pAncharAtrika-s interpret the word ekAyana mentioned above as referring to the kANvI shA regard themselves as the anuyAyins of the kANvI shAkhA: ekAyanAn yajurmayAn AshrAvitamanantaram | [sAtvata saMhitA] kANvI shAkhAmadhIyAnAvaupagAyanakaushikau | [jayAkhya saMhitA] kANvI shAkhAmadhIyAnAn vedavedAntapAragAn | saMskR^itya dIkShayA samyak sAtvatAdyuktamArgataH || [Ishvara saMhitA] aupagAyanapUrvAste nAnA gotrA mumukShavaH | adhIyAnAH kaNvashAkhA tathA mAdhyandinAhvayam || [pAdmasaMhitA] In Southern India. 13/6/1/ To trace the Vedic origin of pAncharAtra. The word sUri puruSha sUkta. one of the greatest bh century.2. takes two of the sUtras as pUrvapakSha and attempts to refute shankara thro sahasranAma bhAShya of parAshara bhaTTA and shrIsUkta bhAShya of ra~NganAtha muni furth . while dealing with utpattyasambhavA.adhikaraNa (2.

adhikaraNa. pA~ncharAtrakaNTakoddhAr uttamUr vIrarAghavAchArya deserve mention in this context.A Brief Study By Swami Harshananda. Interestingly. madhvAchArya accepts pAncharAtra as pramANa as stated in his sUtra bhAShya: R^igyajussAmAtharvA cha bhArataM pA~ncharAtrakam | mUlaM rAmAyaNaM chaiva shAstramityabhidhIyate || But unlike sha~Nkara and rAmAnuja. Whether they . he indulges in neither khaNDana or maNDana of pAncharA utpattyasambhavA. for those incapable of even that. he illustrates the alternative thus: athavA sarvadA shAstraM shrImadbhAgavatamAdarAt | paThanIyaM prayatnena sarvahetuvivarjitam || Finally. as a last resort. He illustrates puShTi bhakti thus: gR^ihaM sarvAtmanA tyAjyaM tacchet tyaktuM na shakyate | kR^iShNArthaM tanniyu~njIta kR^iShNaH saMsAramochakaH || For those incapable of puShTi bhakti.Apart from the works of vedAnta deshika and piLLai lokAchArya. and this is t reference: jagannAthe viTThale cha shrIra~Nge ve~NkaTe tathA | yatra pUjApravAhaH syAt tatra tiShTheta tatparaH || ******************************************* daityAsthipa~njara-vidAraNa-labdharandhra raktAmbunirjarasariddhanajAtapa~NkA | bAlendukoTikuTilAH shukacha~nchubhAso rakShantu siMhavapuSho nakharA harervaH || The Pancaratra Agamas. January 2003 • 1 Chapter : Courtesy Copyright Prabuddha Bharata Agamas are a special class of Hindu religio-philosophical literature handed down through a succession of teachers from the most ancient days. maryAdA and pravAha. His tantrasArasamucchaya seems to be follow the shailI of pAnch The status of pAncharAtra within the school of vallabhAchArya becomes evident if one carefully bhakti: puShTi. tIrthayAtrA is recommended.

vyuha (emanation). methods of self-control and the greatness of the Yadav Hill (now known as Melkote. Brahma and Rudra over five nights (panca = five. or expiations for sins. according to lists given in various works. descriptions of several mantras (sacred syllables) and yantras (magic diagrams) as also rituals for curing diseases. Yamunacarya (918-1038 AD) in his scholarly work Agamapramanya has conclusively established their affinity with the Vedas. 4. or the Vaikhanasa Sutras. 3. Many others are not available in any form though their names are mentioned in other works. or emanations of the lord. Isvara Samhita: It is a work of 24 chapters of which 16 deal with ritualistic worship. has been a subject of discussion among scholars. and other similar topics. 2. However. or liberation). Of the three kinds of Agamas. The word ratra also means jnana. Karnataka). Hayasirsa Samhita: A fairly exhaustive work in 144 chapters and distributed among 4 kandas. Derivation of the Name The literal meaning of the word Pancaratra is ‘that which is connected with five nights’. bhaktiprada (that which confers devotion). The total number of works-generally called samhita or tantra-exceeds 200. vibhava (incarnation). Garuda. a Vaisnava pilgrim centre on a hillock near Mysore. the Saiva. methods of initiation. methods of diksa. prayascittas. The other branch of the Vaisnava Agamas is the Vaikhanasa Agama. or liberation). ‘Sankarsanakanda’. These are tattva (cosmology). . Or alternatively. ratra = night). Aniruddha Samhita: Also called Aniruddhasamhita-mahopanisad. bhaktiprada (that which gives mukti. The specialty of this work is that it deals with the four vyuhas. details regarding mantras. Pancaratra Literature Pancaratra literature is very vast. rules for making and installing the images of gods. or sections-‘Pratisthakanda’. Since it teaches five kinds of knowledge it is called Pancaratra.it deals primarily with rituals concerning the installation of images of various minor deities as also the methods of their preparation. Ahirbudhnya Samhita: This is a fairly voluminous work with 3880 verses in 60 chapters. antaryamin (indweller) and arca (form of worship) – it is called Pancaratra.represented a system parallel to and separate from the Vedic traditions or a continuation of the same and rooted in them. it has 34 chapters dealing entirely with descriptions of various rituals. Visvaksena. ‘Lingakanda’ and ‘Saurakanda’. Other subjects treated in this work are descriptions of images. yaugika (yoga) and vaisayika (objects of desire). Quite a few are in the form of manuscripts preserved in oriental libraries. or spiritual initiation. The following is a brief descriptive list of the works presently available. practice of meditation. 1. wisdom or knowledge. the Sakta (or the Tantra) and the Vaisnava. though only a few have been printed. the Pancaratra Agamas belong to the last group. Lord Kesava (Visnu or Narayana) is said to have taught this esoteric science to Ananta. since it teaches about the five aspects of God (called Purusottama) – para (highest). muktiprada (that which gives mukti.

it also contains certain philosophical views. which includes pranayama and samadhi. puja (ritualistic worship) and homa (fire ritual). 13. temples and worship there.5. it deals with the process of creation. and deals with the following topics: a detailed account of creation.000 verses spread over 40 sections in 4 chapters. 8. It deals entirely with rituals of worship. Maha-sanatkumara Samhita: This is a voluminous work of 10. . sacrifices and methods of rituals as also prayascittas. various Vaisnava mantras. or sacred formulas). or the muttering of the name of God. In the twelfth chapter. Padma Samhita: Dealing mainly with rituals and chanting of mantras. this work is in 31 chapters. 7. Vishnu Samhita: A work in 30 chapters. Visnu-tattva Samhita: Comprising 39 chapters. it deals with the methods of japa. is superior to karma yoga. 14. it also deals mainly with ritualistic worship Its philosophy is akin to that of Sankhya with some variations like the purusa (the individual soul) being all-pervading and his activating prakrti to evolve into world. diksa (initiation). It is interesting to note that some funeral sacrifices also find a place here. Vihagendra Samhita: It is in 24 chapters. yogabhyasa (practice of yoga) and mantropasana (spiritual practice through the repetition of mantras. or expiations of sins. acaras (codes of conduct) for Vaisnavas. this consists of 43 chapters. Apart from meditation on mantras. Pauskara Samhita: Considered one of the earliest works of the Pancaratra system. ablutions and the wearing of Vaisnava marks. 16. 12. Sudarsana Samhita: A treatise comprising 41 chapters. or expiations. and yoga classified as jnana yoga and karma yoga. It has 33 patalas. the topic of pranayama as a part of the process of worship is also described extensively. Parama Samhita: A work in 31 chapters. 10. it deals with sacrificial oblations. 6. It deals mainly with poisons and methods of remedy by suitable mantras. and prayascittas. rituals of initiation and worship. or chapters. it deals with meditation on mantras. it deals mainly with meditation on mantras expiations of sins. or incantations. 15. and some purificatory rites. which seems to mean ritualistic worship of Visnu. It declares that jnana yoga. Apart from dealing with various kinds of image worship. Kasyapa Samhita: This is a comparatively small work in 12 chapters. 9. it deals with image worship. 11. Paramesvara Samhita: A short work of 15 chapters. Jayakhya Samhita: This work is one of the cardinal texts of Pancaratra literature. Parasara Samhita: A concise work in 8 chapters.

evolves from out of Himself three subsidiary agents or forms: Acyuta. three kinds are recognized: brahmasarga. Puruse. svadhyaya (study of the Vedas) and other similar religious disciplines are useful in spiritual life. Brahmasarga is the projection of the four-faced Brahma from Visnu and the creation of the world by Brahma. He is anadi and ananta (without beginning or end). Satya and Purusa. is buddhi (cosmic intellect). He can be realized through the pure mind. The third form. The purusas or jivas (souls) get associated with bodies in accordance with their karma. the jivas appear to have become one with Him. Hence He is too subtle to be perceived by the senses or the mind. called Purusottama Vasudeva. enjoyer) of all that is born out of the gunas. He is also the bhoktr (experiencer. vikrtatma and bhutatma. These then create the five gross elements. He is the substratum and support of the whole universe. dana (making gifts). . it is only jnana (knowledge) of the paratattva. However. Suddhasarga is the third creation. It is He who binds the jivas with vasanas (residual impressions) and again. Prakrtisarga is similar to the creation described in the Sankhya philosophy. The second produces the five karmendriyas (organs of action). The first product of the evolution of pradhana. This paratattva (God) is the same as the Brahman of the Vedas and the Upanisads.Philosophy of the Pancaratra Agamas The philosophy of this system has been expounded in detail in the Jayakhya Samhita. When they realize this Brahman or God. acts as the antaryamin. rajas and tamas. but do maintain a subtle distinction also. From the last evolve the suksmabhutas or tanmatras (the five subtle elements). Prakrti or pradhana comprises the three well-known gunas-sattva. or creation. It is He who inspires all the gods to work. when rajas has gained the upper hand. is ahankara (egoism). These forms in reality are non-different from Him. or the Inner Controller. A brief summary follows. Their association with the inert bodies make the latter appear as conscious even as an iron piece acts like a magnet in the vicinity of a powerful magnet. Hence this philosophy can be called Bheda beda or Dvaitadvaita. prakrtisarga and suddhasarga. The first gives rise to the five jnanendriyas (organs of knowledge) and the mind. He is both transcendent and immanent with regard to this created universe. Here God. that can give moksa. Though He is beyond all gunas. This is called manasika-pratyaksa. The whole creation comes out of a combination of these basic products. or the highest Reality. As regards srsti. Though yajna (Vedic sacrifices). due to the will of God. The second product. He is of the nature of pure Consciousness (cit) and Bliss (ananda). This is of three types: prakasatma or taijasatma. He is sarvajna (omniscient) and sarvasakta (omnipotent). it is He who inspires them to undergo sadhanas (spiritual disciplines) to get out of the bondage of vasanas. when sattva is predominant.

or meditation on God. Upasana. the other four being in a latent condition. the mind is now able to meditate on the Atman within. virya (virility. or total absorption in God. Narayana. more commonly known as Vasudeva in this system. Aniruddha. It is practically the same as jnana yoga. The first is called kriyakhya. or the Indwelling Power and Spirit. or attributes. in the fullest measure. A special contribution of the Pancaratra Agamas to the religio-philosophical literature of Hinduism is the concept of the vyuhas. or the group of six blessed qualities. In this system. Is it in the form of practice of various virtues like sauca (cleanliness). unaffectedness) and tejas (splendour). karuna (compassion). From Sankarsana emanates Pradyumna and from him Aniruddha. sakti (ability. has all these gunas. The Pancaratra Agamas. This guru gives the disciple mantradiksa (initiation with a holy name or syllable). Purified by the practice of kriyakhya. Sankarsana (or Balarama). ashyayana (study of the scriptures). The latter is almost the same Yoga of Patanjali (200 BC). which results in the experience of unitive consciousness that jnatr (knower). on the other hand. However. tapas (austerity). aisvarya (lordship). emerges. a creative and a moral one. potency). or liberation. This association of vasanas is anadi. (Hence the name caturuyuhas. jneya (object of knowledge) and jnana (knowledge) are all one and the same. has two stages. especially the jayakhya Samhita. If in Sankarsana jnana and bala are predominant. The path to this moksa. ahimsa (not harming others).The maya (delusion) power of God makes the jivas (through vasanas. yajna (sacrifices). dana (giving gifts). satya (truth). the Jiva awakens to true knowledge and gets liberated from all shackles. Bhagavan and Vasudeva are the various names by which God the Supreme is known. exhibits sakti and tejas to a much greater degree. bala (strength). Paramatman. in Pradyumna aisvarya and virya are more prominent. Each of the vyuhas is created with two activities. which are four. Though the latter three vyuhas are also in essence equal to Vasudeva. starts with the inspiration of the jiva by God to seek a great guru. Regular and steady practice of the mantrajapa (repetition of the divine name) results in samadhi. By the will of Bhagavan Vasudeva (the first or the original vyuha) the second vyuha. or spiritual preceptor. The former consists of meditation on God with form along with the repetition of appropriate mantras. he is called Bhagavan. Since God. they manifest only two of the six gunas prominently.) Vyuha means a projection or emanation. Visnu. and so on? The second is called sattakhya or jnanakhya. . They are jnana (knowledge). or past impressions) get identified with the body-mind complex. or beginningless. describe two types of yogas: mantradhyana and yogabhyasa. by the grace of God the antaryamin. Bhaga means sadgunas. catur meaning ‘four’.

images of deities. gives rise to three more sub-vyuhas. These twelve are considered the masadhipas or adhi-devatas (tutelary deities) of the twelve lunar months. Sridhara. Vamana. Trivikrama. follow their dictates. making a total of twelve emanations. again. . They are also offered arghya (ceremonial water) in ritualistic worship. If the doctrines of bhakti. Narayana. Govinda. Thus the Pancaratra Agamas have contributed considerably towards practical Hinduism. especially in South India.Each of the vyuhas. or self-surrender. Conclusion The Pancaratra Agamas are a continuation of the Vedic tradition. Hrsikesa. Iconographically. Padmanabha and Damodara. Apart from srsti (creation). Visnu. and prapatti. sthiti (sustenance) and pralaya (dissolution) of the world. Even today. They also expand and expound concepts about God and devotion. the repetition of which will confer many a blessing on the votaries. thus keeping its traditions alive. Madhava. find an important place in this system. God discharges two more functions: nigraha (controlling and punishing evil-doers) and anugraha (showering His blessings on those who lead a good life and are devoted to Him). They are Kesava. Madhusudana. cakra (discus). all of them are identical except for the arrangement of the four emblems of Visnu sankha (conch). or devotion. and temples as also several mantras. most of the Vaisnava temples. worship. gada (mace) and padma (lotus)-in the four hands. no less in the attention paid to rituals.