Agamas are known to be the reservoir of knowledge an Upasana as an important component of
Sadhana Marga. They are believed to provide a synthesis of Karma Marga and Jnana Marga.
Agamas have also become the main source-material on what may be described as Temple Culture,
- which consists of themes, such as, the principles of Temple construction, rules and norms
for installation of the Idol in the garbhagriha of the Temple, methods, techniques and
modalities of worship, including the rules and norms for conduct of rituals, special Utsavas
etc. and various Tantras aimed at realization of specific phalas. The etymological meaning
of Agama signifies that Agama Sastra is a compendium of Dharma and Adharma and it provides
useful guidelines for purusing Dharma Marga in practical life.
Agamas are highly diversified in terms of their basic tenets and practices. We have
Vaisnava Agamas, Saiva Agamas and Sakta Agamas. Even in the Vaisnava tradition, we have two
main streams of approaches viz Pancaratra Agama and Vaikhanasa Agama.
Different forms of Upasana Kramas are conceived and prescribed in Agama Sastra. Sri
Madhvacharya, provides an interesting rationale for these different categories of Upasana
karmas. While commenting on the Brahma Sutra.
In his Brahma Sutra Bhasya, Acharya states as follows :
Thus, the variance in Upasanas is due to the differences in the of different
Upasakas. The modality of doing Upasana through the idols of the Lord, pertains to those who
are not fully accompalished with true knowledge. We all belong to the category of and hence
worship of the deity in the form of Idols is prescribed.
It is asserted in the Agama Sastra, that the extent of the spiritual presence of the
Deity in the Idols that we worship, depends upon the extent of tapasya of the Archaka. The
following sloka asserts this point :
In view of the above, knowledge of Agama Sastra and the practice of the worship as
per the norms of the Agama Sastra become very important. Construction of Temples,
installation of the main deity of the temple conduct of daily puja and celebration of the
main festivals etc. are supposed to be carried out as per the prescriptions of Agama Sastra.
We observe that even in the present times, many new temples are being built, and renovations
of existing temples are also undertaken. Rituals in regard to daily puja and on the
occasions of special festivals are being carried out as per the age old traditions and
conventions, to the best understanding of the Archakas of the respective temples. In view of
the decline in the number of knowledgeable persons in Agama Sastra, it is often feared as to
whether the traditional Agama discipline is being properly followed or not in the various
temples. The recent controversy in regard to the practice of temple worship in the TTD
temples is a case in point. As a TTD Board meetings. It is in this background that I
proposed to Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati, to organize a national level
conference, which will bring together well known Agama Pandits of both traditional and
When I happened to discuss this proposal with Dr. (Smt) Haripriya Rangarajan,
well-known scholar of Tantrism and Agama Sastra, she fully endorsed the idea and assured
whole hearted support for making the conference successful. We are grateful to Dr. (Smt)
Haripriya Rangarajan for her constant support in working out the various aspects of the
Research in the field of Agama Sastra is not new to the scholars of Rashtriya
Sanskrit Vidyapeetha. It was way back in 1970 that R.S. Vidyapeetha, then called as the
Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, had published Visvamitra Samhita one of the celebrated texts
on Agama Sastra. The Vidyapeetha has the privilege of publishing many other valuble texts
such as, Naradiya Samhita 1971, Vishvaksena Samhita in 1988 and Poushkara Samhita in 1991.
R.S. Vidyapeetha has the unique distinction of launching a major project on Vaikhanasa Agama
Kosa. Though this project had been launched more than three decades ago, it had remained
dormant for quite some time. I took special initiative to get this project revived recently.
Three volumes of Vaikhanasa Agama Kosa have been recently published. I would like to urge
the scholars of the Vidyapeetha to complete this project at the earliest since its
usefulness in the scholarly and practical world is very great.
The present conference has brought together scholars in the different branche
aspects of Agama Sastra, - in particular, - Pancaratra Agama, Vaikhanasa Agama, Saiva Agama,
Sakta Agama and Tantrism. The scholars have presented their scholarly perceptions on the
various issues, such as, Pratistha rituals, Bera Vichara, Yoga and Agamas, Archana Prakaras,
Temple Renovation (Jeernoddhara), Tantrism, Yogini Tantra, Srividya, Relevance of Agama in
Modern Times, etc. The conference has discovered that there is still a small community of
scholars, who have studied Agama Sastra in great depth and perfection and that there is need
for creating avenues for their frequent meeting and interactions.
I commend to the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha that it may hold regularly annual
conferences of Agama scholars and bring out small booklets on specific themes such as Temple
Renovation, Archana Prakara, Rituals and Tantras.
This volume of the conference papers provides a very useful insight into the various
themes dealt with during the conference.
I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Prof. S.K. Ramachandra Rao, well
known scholar on Agamas for delivering a very perceptive key note Address on the scope and
content of the Agama Sastra as a whole. His incisive thoughts have set the tone for
deliberations in the conference.
I would also like to thank all the scholars in different Agama, for having graced
the occasion and enriched the deliberations with their scholarly contributions.
I should place on record our appreciation and gratitude to Prof. L.N. Bhat, former
Registrar, R.S. Vidyapeetha and currently consultant on Agama Kosa Project in Rashtriya
Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, and Pandit K. Hayavadana Puranik, consultant in the Centre for
Exellence in Traditional Sastras, for their relentless efforts in coordinating the different
aspects of the conference. I should also express our appreciation of the valuable
intellectual guidance give by Prof. D. Prahlad Char, the then Vice-Chancellor of Rashtriya
Sanskrit Vidyapeetha in regard to the various aspects of the theme of the conference. We
also appreciate the encouragement given by Prof. K.E. Govindan, the present Vice-Chancellor
I/c, for making this publication come out in a short time. I hope that the scholarly world
would find this volume interesting and inspiring.
It is a matter of great pleasure for me place before the scholars and general public, the
Proceedings, of the National Seminar on Agamas, conducted by the Agama Kosa Project of the
Vidyapeetha. Agamas mainly deal with the rituals associated with Temple, method of
worshipping the God, the deities, and other related topics such as Iconography. The subject
of Agamas has not received the attention it deserves, either in the Universities or Research
Institutes. For example, the amount of research that was done in the Vedas etc. was not
carried out in the Agamas, though a vast literature exists. It is expected the present work
provides the necessary impetus and direction for scholars to undertake research work in this
area. The Agamas also contain valuble information on various scientific and technical
subjects, like Metallurgy, Botony, Human Anatomy, etc. Further study in this direction needs
to be undertaken, along with the main subject matter.
I am glad to see research papers on various themes presented in the conference, that
are very relevant to our times. Many papers are such that they are of interest even to the
layman. I thank all the scholars who have attended the conference and presented their
I take this opportunity to thank Dr. V.R. Panchamukhi, hon'ble Chancellor of
Vidyapeetha who was the main inspiration behind this Seminar. I also thank Dr. (Mrs)
Haripriya Rangarajan, New Delhi for her keen interest in conducting this Seminar.
I would like to thank Prof. L.N. Bhat, Prof. K. Hayavadana Puranik, and Dr. (Mrs)
Haripriya Rangarajan, for editing and bringing out the conference Proceedings in an
excellent manner. I am sure that the present volume proves to be an invaluable addition to
the Agama literature in modern times.
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