Introduction to the Pancaratra and Ahirbudhnya Samhita

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Item Code: IDG589
Publisher: The Adyar Library and Research Centre
Language: English
Edition: 1995
ISBN: 0835672778
Pages: 212
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5" X 5.6"
Weight 340 gm
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Book Description


Introduction to the Pancaratra and the ahirbudhnya samhita by F. Otto Schrader, the then Director of the adyar Library, first published in 1916 (Second Impression 1971) is a pioneering work in the field which has served as 'a Concise, but encyclopedic reference book on the Pancaratra.' It is an example of Garman scholarship, and set the standard for the publications of the Adyar Library and Research Centre. It was written as an exhaustive introduction to two volume edition of the Ahirbudhanya Samhita prepared under the direction of Schrader by Pandit M. D. Ramanujacharya, and deals with the whole literature of Pancaratra then available, the philosophy of Pancaratra, and a detailed analysis of the contents of the Ahirbudhnya Samhita. Though much work has been done in the field by the Adyar Library and Others. Schrader's introduction has not been superseded and still remains and excellent introduction to that system of Vaisnavism. The Adyar Library and Research Centre has published the Pancaratraraksa of Vedanta Desika, a critical work in the field, in 1942, the Laksmitantra (1959) and the Sanatkumara Samhita edited by Pandit V. Krishnamacharya (1969). To meet the steady demand from the discerning public, we are issuing a third impression of this excellent work on the Pancaratra.

Prefatory Note

The book, small in size but rich in contents, which is herewith placed before the public, has been written during internment at Ahmednagar because of the war, though some of the materials on which it is based had, fortunately, been collected by him before the war broke out. Only three of the Samhita MSS. Of the Adyar Library, namely those of nos. 8, 70 and 195 of the synopsis on pp. 6ff., which were acquired recently, have remained entirely unknown to Dr. Schrader.

The burden of seeing the work through the press has fallen on the undersigned who, though having done all in his power to acquit himself honourably of his task, is fully aware of its difficulties and of the inadequacy of his knowledge of Sanskrit to cope with these with complete success.

The author has undoubtedly doubled the value of his monograph by adding to it copious Indexes and a detailed synopsis of the contents. Together they render the whole of the subject-matter of the book in all its categories instantaneously available for reference. Thus the work may preliminarily serve as a concise but encyclopaedic reference book on the Pancaratra, until it shall be superseded by subsequent more exhaustive publications. The Numerical Index contains some items not found elsewhere in the book.

I may be permitted to express here my great satisfaction at having had the privilege of watching over the booklet on its way through the press, a last service rendered to the Adyar Library in close and pleasant co-operation with Dr. Schrader, which puts a term to a period of over seven years' daily collaboration with the same aims, in the same spirit and in complete harmony, for the same object.

May Dr. Schrader's last official work performed for the Library enhance the renown of that institution, and may it be judged to constitute of fit conclusion to his eleven years' tenure of office as Director of the Adyar Library.

The publication of this book also, as that of the two volumes of the text edition of the Ahirbudhnya Samhita, has been greatly facilitated by the courtesy of the military censors at Ahmednagar, to whom our sincere thanks are due.

Introductory Remark

The publication of the Ahirbudhnya Samhita, by the Adyar Library, has been undertaken with a view to starting investigations in a branch of Sanskrit literature which was once cultivated in countries as far distant from each other as Kashmir, Orissa and Mysore, but is now practically extinct except in a very few places of Southern India where considerable remnants of it are still being preserved and partly even studied. Some scanty information about it has, indeed, reached the West, and a few of the Samhita-s of the Pancaratra-s have been published; still, when asked about the latter, most orientalists will even now be likely to confess that they have so far seen only the Narada Pancaratra, 'a Tantric work of little if any value' while, as to the philosophy of the Pancaratra, the theory of the avatara-s in its common Vaisnavite form and a very elementary conception of the doctrine of the vyuha-s (derived from the commentaries on Brahma sutra, II. 2. 42) will be found to be all that is know. An attempt will be made in the following pages to provide the future student of this unexplored field with a provisional foundation.






  Prefatory Note v
  Inspired and non-inspired literature 2
  The name Samhita and its synonyms 2
  Knowledge of the Pancaratra in the West, etc. 3
  Lists of Samhita-s 3
  Synopsis of five lists 6
  Samhita-s not mentioned in the lists 12
  Samhita-s present in Libraries 13
  Editions of Samhita-s 14
  Extent of Samhita literature 15
  Chronology 15
  Provenance and diffusion 18
  Terminus ad quem of original Samhita-s 22
  Three classes of Samhita-s 22
  Chronological table of chief Samhita-s 23
  Later additions in the lists 24
  Division into pada-s, ratra-s and kanda-s 25
  The name Pancaratra 27
  Ten principal subjects 29-30
  Laksmi and Visnu 34
  Kriya-sakti and bhuti-sakti 35
  The six Attributes (guna-s) of God 36
  Two sets, totality, three pairs of Attributes 39
  Process of emanation 39
  The term uyuha; names of the uyuha-s 40
  The sakti-s of the uyuha-s 41
  Two activities of each uyuha 42
  Their ethical activities 44
  In what sense they represent the soul, the mind and the ahamkara 45
  Twelve sub-uyuha-s descending form them 48
  Another set of twelve 48
  Thirty-nine uibhava-s (avatara-s) 49
  Primary and secondary avatara-s 55
  Origin of the avatara-s from the uyuha-s 55
  Plants and inanimate objects as avatara-s 56
  Arca-avatara, antaryamy-avatara 56
  Highest Heaven (Vikuntha) 57
  Withdrawn, or not, in the great Dissolution 58
  Heavenly (pure) matter 59
  The Para form of God 60
  Its ornaments and weapons 60
  The para and the vyuha Vasudeva 61
  Sakti-s (wives) of Visnu 62
  The angels (nitya-s or suri-s) 64
  The liberated 66
  The group-soul or kutastha-purusa 69
  The eight Manu-s 71
  The maya-sakti 72
  Beginning of evolution; ' descent ' of the Manu-s 73
  Sheath of maya ; niyati 74
  Kala (Time) 75
  Gross, Subtle and Highest Time 76
  The guna-body and the Avyakta 77
  Matter, Time and Soul 79
  Origin of mahat; its synonyms 80
  Mahat threefold and eightfold 81
  Sojourn of the Manu-s in mahat 82
  What is mahat? 83
  The threefold ahamkara 87
  The individual ahamkara and the manas 87
  The ten elements and the ten senses 88
  Manava-s, manavasmanava-s, Fall of Man 90
  Origin of the Egg (brahmanda) 91
  Intramundane vyuha-s 93
  Plurality of brahmanda-s 94
  Eight hundred Visnu-s 97
  The Soul during the Great Night 98
  Liberation and Great Dissolution 100
  The ' obscuration ' of the Soul and the Divine Grace 101
  'Atomicity ' of the bound, ubiquitas of the liberated Soul 102
  'Identity ' with the Lord, how Understood 104
  General Description 114
  The Great Problem (the Sudarsana) 115
  Explanation of the name Sudarsana 116
  The Sudarsana as the Kriya-sakti 117
  Involution and Evolution 118
  Variety of Views about Creation 119
  The Sudarsana as the ' support ' (adhara) 120
  The Sudarsana as the 'measure ' (pramana) 123
  Rationale of the avatara-s 124
  The original sastra 125
  The five siddhanta-s 125
  Fallacious Systems 129
  The Objects of Life 129
  Bondage and Liberation 131
  What System to Follow 133
  Castes and Periods of Life 134
  Interdependence of the two Higher Castes 135
  Origin of the Sounds 136
  The Three Occult Alphabets 137
  The sakti-mantra and the great sudarsana-mantra 139
  Initiation 139
  Rakisa-s and yantra-s 140
  Worship; yoga 140
  Origin of the astra-s 143
  Astra-mantra-s; description of the astra-s 144
  Story of Madhu and Kaitabha 145
  Description and worship of the Sudarasana-yantra 146
  Worship of the sixteen-armed Sudarsana 146
  Nyasa=bhakti 147
  Origin and Cure of Diseases 147
  The Great Baptism 149
  Origin, etc. of the Anga-mantra-s 149
  How ot Resist Divine Weapons and Black Magic 149
  How to make the Sudarsana-purusa appear 150
  The Four (five) forms of the Sudarsana-purusa 150
  The ideal purohita; the mahasanti-karman 151
  Story of Manisekhara (Effect of Prayer, etc.) 152
  Story of Kasiraja (Hostile Magic Neutralized) 153
  Story of Srutakirti (Hostile Neutralized) 153
  Story of Kusadhavaja (Prarabdha Annihilated) 154
  Story of Muktapida (The Magical Seat) 155
  Story of Visala (the Magical Finger-ring) 156
  Story of Sunanda (The Magical Mirror) 156
  Story of Citrasekhara (The Magical Banner) 157
  Story of Kirtimalin (The Magical Awning) 158
  Mantra-s explained from three standpoints 161
  The tara (ka) mantra 161
  Explanation of the Word names 162
  'Gross ' and ' subtle ' sense, Other Designations of 162
  The narasimhanustubha-mantra 163
  The Purusa-sukta 164
  origin of the Theory of the vyuha-s 165
  The Ahirbudhnya-samhita briefly characterized 166
  The Parisista (Supplement) 166
  I. The Divine 24-fold Machinery of Existence 169
  II. Four kinds of Worship 170
  III. Description of the Four vyuha-s for the Purpose of Meditation 173
  INDEXES 177-200
  I. Subject Index 177
  II. Index of Authors and Works 188
  III. Index of Proper Names 193
  IV. Index of Sanskrit Terms 195
  V. Numerical Index 197
  VI. Index of Images (Similes) 200

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