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Books > Hindu > हिन्दी > सात्वत संहिता: Satvata Samhita (Set of 2 Volumes)
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सात्वत संहिता:  Satvata Samhita (Set of 2 Volumes)
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सात्वत संहिता: Satvata Samhita (Set of 2 Volumes)
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Vol-I


Foreword

It gives me a great pleasure in writing this foreword to the critical edition and English translation of Satvata Samhita, the first of three Classical scriptures of Pancaratra Agama made by Dr. Prabhakar Apte. Dr. Apte was working in the Agama Kosa Project of Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha Tirupati from 1968 to 1970 and his critical edition of the second classical scripture of Pancarata Samhita has been published by Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, in two parts. With his sound research background in Agamas, Dr. Apte has added his valuable contribution to Agamic research by critically editing and translating Satvata Samhita which preserves the hoary tradition of Satvata Dharma mentioned in Bhisma Parva of Mahabharata and it is associated with Yadusaila or Melkote, as the main scripture.

Indology in nineteenth century was dominated by intensive and extensive research in Vedic studies and allied disciplines. Twentieth Century highlighted the areas of Paninian grammar, Comparative Philology and linguistics. The present century will be marked by study in Agama and Tantric field.

With growing interest of Agamas among scholars in India and abroad, I am sure this publication will be well received by scholarly world. I congratulate Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melkote for nicely bringing out the edition.

I specially congratulate the Academy of Sanskrit Research for making the copy ready for publication with phenomenal speed. I appreciate the skill and efficiency of the research staff for employing updated computer technology, especially in printing Slokardhanukramani in Roman Script. I wish the Academy & the young & dynamic Director, Dr. Bhashyam swamy, a bright success in all respects, in days to come and confer my blessing to the Academy to emerge as Apex Body for Agamic Studies, catering to the readers of Scholars through Web-site on Agamas.

 

Preface

The Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melkote had submitted to the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, Tirupati a Project Proposal for financial assistance to undertake Extensive Research on Pancaratra Agama. ‘A However the TTD, Tirupati has since extended its financial assistance to undertake the publication of a Book on Pancaratra Agama.

Since the Academy is located at Melkote to which the Satvata Samhita of Pancaratra Agama relates to, it was decided to publish av critical edition with English translation of the Satvata Samhita text to P begin with. One may wonder why this Melkote Edition is needed when there are already Kanchi & Varanasi Editions available. But the difference or the unique features of this Melkote Edition are :
1. It is to fulfill the wish of H.H. Sri. Yadugiri Yathiraja Sampathkumar Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamy of Sri Yadugiri Yatiraja Mutt of Melkote who had wished that till now no body has ventured to translate this valuable text —Satvata Samhita of Pancaratra Agama which is being followed at Melkote, from Sanskrit to English, for the benefit of larger interested readership. Incidentally, since the Pontiff attained the lotus feet of the lord on 15th April 2005. The book is dedicated to his memory as a humble homage to His Holiness, by fulfilling his wish by bringing out this Melkote edition.

2. The earlier editions like Kanchi & Varanasi editions do not have the value-additions like ‘Slokardhanukramani’ with chapter- wise reference in Roman characters.

3. Another feature of the Melkote Edition is the spelling of grammatically approved Sandhi—Splits.

4. Further, here, in this edition, there is a value addition over the Varanasi edition related to table of contents by showing page- numbers against each topic and also having separate table of contents in English.

In fact, this is only a beginning with regard to the Melkote Edition of Satvata Samhita as the work will not be complete if we do not bring out a critical edition and translation into English of the original the valuable commentary on Satvata Samhita by Pt. Alashinga Bhattar, the veteran of rich Yadugiri Heritage of Scholars and aptly edited by another eminent oriental scholar Prof. Vrajavallabha Dvivedi of Varanasi. In fact we are well suited for undertaking this work as the Academy is blessed with the possession of the original palm leaf manuscript of Alashinga Bhasya (or commentary), incidentally donated to the Academy by none other than the above reffered pontiff of Melkote Yatiraj Mutt,— H.H.Sri. Yadugiri Yatiraja Sampathkumara Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamy.

Thus I am sure that using this Melkote Edition will richly benefit the readers.

 

Introduction

Evolution of Pancaratra Agama:
Hindu Dharma is said to comprise of two major cultural streams. Viz.Nigama — Agama. Thus, it is also known as "Nigamagamatmaka Dharma?

N IGAMA covers the literary and ritual traditions followed under Vedic culture. i.e. it covers the four Vedas. (Rg; Yajus; Sama and Atharvana).

On the Other hand, AGAMA represents enshrined image-worship and the social life governed along with it. It is also known as Temple - Institution.

There is evidence to show that this has a definite period of commencement. It is believed that it commenced around the end of Dvaparayuga and the beginning of Kaliyuga. Mythological and Historically the antiquity of this fold dates back to Bhismaparva of the epic Mahabharata. There is also a geographical connectivity to locations like Kashmir. Archana and Seva — i.e. Offering Worship & Service to the Lord is believed to have commenced from the first devotee — Sankarsana of Lord Vasudeva (Visnu or Krsna). It is he (Sankarsana) who promulgated the Satvata Dharma. Lord Krsna is praised as "Sanatana Sasvata Dharma Gopta?’ In Kashmir literature it is stated that Sasvata is termed as Satvata. It is this Satvata Dharma which has been termed as PANCARATRA. It is to be noted that in the Pancaratra Agama, both Vedic as well as Tantric Mantras are pronounced; where as in the Vaikhanasa Agama and Saivagama principally Vedic and Tantric Mantras are respectively recited. While Pancaratra Agama has 108 Samhitas (Scriptural texts) the Vaikhanasa has only 10 and Saiva has 28.

In Mahabharata it is revealed that Lord Narayana who is also known as Vasudeva himself spelt out the entire tenets of Pancaratra Text. “Pancaratrasya Krtsnasya Vakta Narayanah Svayam?

Satvata Samhita is believed to be the first and foremost of all the Samhitas and it is further interesting to note that this Satvata Samhita is one and the only scripture to bear the same title as that of Satvata Dharma. Thus it is to be regarded as the most valuable and foremost Samhita. This Satvata Samhita along with 2 more Samhitas that followed - viz. Pauskara and Jayakhya are popularly known as “Ratnatraya" and these dates back to c.300 to c.500 AD. Next comes the Ahirbudhnya Samhita which is dated only after c.500AD but before c.800AD. The next to follow are marked as post classical or Arthopapadika Samhitas - they are Iswara, Parameswara and Padma.

The evolution of manifestation (also termed as Vyuhas) of worshipping the Lord Vasudeva dates back to Mahabharata period.- The e conception of different Vyuhas are classified under four stages. i.e. Eka; Dvi; Tri; and Catur and they are linked to Vasudeva; Sankarsana; Pradyumna and Aniruddha respectively. These Vyuhas explain the cosmic evolution which is also associated with Pancaratra.

The Caturvyuha which is revealed in the later section of Mahabharata seems to represent the earliest phase of ‘Samhita’ religion and philosophy. The reference to Parasurama’s instruction to Narada Muni which deals with leading the humanity to follow Satvata — Kriyamarga is more fully described in the above said earliest Samhita i.e Satvata Samhita — presumed to be the earliest document on Pancaratra. It is to be noted that Satvata Samhita relates to or refers to a doctrine known as "Brahmopanisad" depicting four fold path of worshiping the God, aimed at attaining Moksa (Salvation).

i. T he Yogins, who adopt the 1st path are eligible to worship God dwelling in their heart.
ii. In the second path, the vedic Brahmins worship God in his chaturvyuha form accompanied by chanting mantras.
iii. The third path of worship is by the devotees who worship the Lord in their chaturvyuha form but without chanting mantras.
iv. The fourth path represents the path of worship of mystic diagrams - yantra mandalas presided over by the vibhava devatas.
As a furtherance of this path the ‘Siddhapurusas’ attempting to bring together the different worshippers belonging to the yogic, vedic and tantric cults. Thus evolved the five fold tenets of Pancaratra religion - para; vyuha; vibhava; antaryami and archa. As revealed in Satvata Samhita, which also covers the practical aspects of temple building and iconography.
The Area (Temple) worship followings seems to have gained momentum during the time of Pauskara Samhita. By the time Jayakya Samhita this showed further expansion with the growth of Mathas, Religious Schools around temple surroundings. At this stage application of tantric influence formulae also appears to have increased.

By the time of the evolution of Isvara Samhita i.e c.600 to c.900 AD the classical Samhitas had already attained scriptural status. It was at this juncture that the Vaikhanasa School of followings was also recognized as an Agama on par with Pancaratra.

In fact there are four famous seats of Vaisnava Siddhanta (of Visnu followings) — viz.:
Yadavadri (Melkote);
Srirangam;
Hastisaila (Kanchi) and Venkatadri (Tirupati)
These are regarded as svayamvyaukta ksetras while Venkatadri adopted Vaikhanasa Agama the other three seats are governed by the three schools of Pancaratra agama viz. Satvata—Iswara @ Melkoteg; Pauskara-Parameswara @ Srirangam and Jayakya-Padma at Kanci. Further each of these four Ksetras have been allotted a deity; a mantra; a scripture and an explanatory text.

In fact, this is only a beginning with regard to the Melkote Edition of Satvata Samhita as the work will not be complete if we don’t bring out a continued edition of translation into English of the original the valuable commentary on Sasvata Samhita by Pt. Alashinga Bhattar, the veteran of rich Yadugiri Heritage of Scholars and aptly edited by another eminent oriental schlar Prof. Vrajavallabha Dvivedi of Varanasi. In fact we are well suited for undertaking this work as the Academy is blessed with the possession of the original palm leaf manuscript of Alashinga Bhashya ( or commentary), incidentally donated to the Academy by non other than the above referred pontiff of Melkote Yatiraj Mutt,- H.H.Sri. Yadugiri Yatiraja—Sampathkumar Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamy. I am confident mat this work also commences at the earliest and the publication is released in the coming year itself.

I will be failing in my duty if I don’t thank the New, young and dynamic Director, Dr.Bhashyam Swamy as well as the able Administrator and Registrar, Sri.B.S. Krishna Prasad of the Academy who have given me die opportunity to undertake the task of Translating and editing this Book. My sincere thanks are also due to the Academy’s Scholarly and Technical team lead by Vid.S. Narayana. Sri.S. Kumar, the Asst. Registrar deserves a special mention, as he was always kind enough to extend all the timely administrative and financial support through out tenure of the project work.

 

Contents

  Foreword i-ii
  Preface iii-v
  Introduction vi-ix
Chapter-1 Question - Answer 01-06
Chapter-2 Worship of fourth divine Manifestation 7-21
Chapter-3 Adoration of Deep-sleep-Manifestation on the pericarp of ‘H’ syllable 22-32
Chapter-4 Adoration of Dream-Manifestation 33-41
Chapter-5 Characteristics of awakening state of Manifestation 42-62
Chapter-6 External worship of fourfold selfhood 63-105
Chapter-7 Ritual of chant less vow 106-129
Chapter-8 Ritual of vow with chants 130-158
Chapter-9 Ritual of Internal Worship of Deities Pertaining to Incarnational Manifestations 159-185
Chapter-10 Mode of External Worship Pertaining to Incarnational Deities 186-196
Chapter-11 Statement of characteristics of mystic diagrams and fire-pit 197-211
Chapter-12 Meditation over Incarnational Deities 212-259
Chapter-13 Meditation over presiding deities of ornaments and missiles 260-271
Chapter-14 Ritual of mounting of sacred Thread-garland (on to the idol) 272-279
Chapter-15 Ablution of Sacred Garland 280-286
Chapter-16 Ritual of threefold initiation 287-296
Chapter-17 Ritual of Nrsimha pertaining to Incarnational Manifestations 297-338
Chapter-18 Initiational rite pertaining to titual retention 379-422
Chapter-19 Initiational rite 423-457
Chapter-20 Ablution-Rite 458-466
Chapter-21 Dogmatic Code 467-479
Chapter-22 Characteristics of Apprentice, Deemed Son etc. 480-492
Chapter-23 Composition of chants: Cluster and verbal pertaining to incarnational Deities 493-515
Chapter-24 Characteristics of image, alter and shrine 516-591
Chapter-25 Installation Ceremony 592-662
Vol-II

Foreword

It was nearly five years back that the edition and translation of Satvata Samhita by Dr. Prabhakar Apte was published by Academy of Sanskrit Research. At that time, he had asked me the question whether the commentary on Satvata Samhita is also to be translated. I answered with emphatic ‘yes’. Since Alashinga Bhartar alias Toda Bhattacarya is a precious heritage of Melkote. He was conferred honour for his distinguished scholarship and service to Narayana temple institution; and he was given a golden bracelet, locally called Toda. Thereafter he became known in Melkote as Toda Bhattacharya: a worthy son of worthy father, Yogananda Bhattacharya, who gave his valuable service as the priest of Narayana shrine. He was the torch-bearer of unique Satvata tradition of Pancaratra Agama. Traditionally, Satvata Samhita is regarded a supreme and sovereign authority for administration and worship ritual of Narayana temple. He wrote the gist of Satvata Samhita in his scholarly work Satvatamrta which Academy of Sanskrit Research proposes to publish alongwith translation in English. Alashinga Bhattar, inspired by his father’s contribution to Satvata tradition, ventured to undertake the mega mission of writing commentary on Satvata Samhita as well as Isvara Samhita which was a commentarial text on it and also contained Yadavacala Mahatmya. Isvara Samhita alongwith Alshinga Bhattar’s commentary is already published by Indira Gandhi Kalakendre, New Delhi. H.H. Yadugiri Yatiraja Sampatkumara Ramanuja muni of Melkote graciously donated the palm leaf manuscript in Grantha characters to Academy of Sanskrit Research at the request of Dr. R.R. Karnik on behalf of Academy of Sanskrit Research. Satvata Samhita along with Alashinga Bhashya is published from Varanasi. However, the palm leaf manuscript in H.H. Seer’s possession was not used in it. Honourable Sampatkumara Bhattar, and Vid. Narasaraja Bhattar the chief Archaka of Narayana temple, Melkote kindly provided us a copy of Alashinga Bhashya transcribed by him from Grantha to Telugu script. Thus we had three sources of which palm leaf copy was made the prime source and other two were used for comparison. Academy of Sanskrit Research staff members, Sarvashri Vid. S. Narayana, Vid. H.S. Hanumantha Rao and Vid. S. Krishnan delegently went through the manuscript and prepared the press copy by supplying Pathabhedas in footnotes.

It gives me pleasure to write this foreword which will go as volume II of Satvata Samhita series. I assure the readers that Academy of Sanskrit Research will bring out Satvatamrta in near Future.

We are thankful to the authorities of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam and the Dharma Prachara Parishath for their generous financial help. I place on record my thanks to the services rendered by Sri Krishna Prasad former Registrar of ASR and N.V.R. Prasad of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth for their untiring efforts to procuring sponsorship.

I tell feel indebted to the help rendned by honorable Vid. Sampath kumar bhattar and Vid. S. Narasaraja bhattar. Thanks are also due to Sri S. Kumara for his administrative co-operation.

 

Introduction

1.1 The term Satvata:
Satvatas, Vrsnis, Yadus etc. are traditionally the terms used for the clan to which Krsna belonged. Apparently, the Yadu dynasty inherited some code of religious practice which was known as Satvata vidhi. According to the description in Bhismaparva of Mahabharata, Sankarsana, the elder brother of Krsna praised him at a period which was marked by the culmination of Dvapara Yuga and the beginning of Kaliyuga. “Satvatam vidhim asthaya. Gitah Sankarsanena Yah.. Dvaparasya yugasya ante Adau Kaliyugasya ca ..” As per this description there had been a religious tradition in Krsna dynasty to worship some hero as a personified god and as per history, Vasudeva, the son of Vasudeva was prophecised to be the incarnation of Visnu with a mission of establishing Dharma by punishing the wicked and protecting the virtuous. In order to deceive Kamsa, the Lord took birth after Balarama or Sankarsana who became his elder brother. However, he became the first to adore him as a god as per the Satvatavidhi. In Bhagavad Gita Vyasa has praised the devotee who worships Vasudeva as a supreme, to be rare Mahatma: ‘Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah’. Thus in the propagation of Satvata Vidhi, Sankarsana became the leader and others followed him. A popular line in Bhagavad Gita: ‘Sanatanah Sasvata dharma gopta’, in which the Lord is praised to be the perennial protector of eternal dharma, the Kashmir recension gives a variant reading as: Satvata dharmagopta. It gives Satvata vidhi the status of Satvata dharma.

Some time after the final phase of Mahabharata the first scriptural documentation of the Agama named as Pancaratra bears the title Satvata Samhita, which is the first of three gems: Ratnatraya, other two being Pauskara and Jayakhya. As per the chronology adduced by F. Otto Shrader, the triad of classical Samhitas range between 3rd to 4th century AD. There was a minor mistake in internal chronology in which he placed Pauskara Samhita to be earlier than Satvata Samhita. The mistake was due to a line in Satvata Samhita: Pauskarakhye ca Varahe.... which refers to cosmic creational phase marked by Pauskara, i.e. lotus born Brahma. He mistook it to be reference to Pauskara Samhita. However, in Pauskara Samhita, there is a clear reference to Satvata Samhita.

In the introductory chapter of Satvata Samhita, Lord Parasurama instructs sage Narada to enlighten the sages performing penance on Malaya mountain about the Satvata mode of worship which apparently was inspired by the concepts embedded in the Satvata dharma and Satvata vidhi of Mahabharata. Alshing Bhatta belongs to the priestly heritage of Lord Narayana of Yadugiri, i.e. Melkote, through his father Yogananda Bhatta, Whose ritual commentary on Satvata Samhita is Satvatamrtam. He often uses a term: Satvata nistha which apparently refers to a living tradition who adhered to the Satvata mode of worship.

This is in brief the evolution and growth of the term and concept of Satvata, which is the name of the first revealed text of Pancaratra Agama.

1-2. Agama-dharma: Evolution and Growth
Sanatana Hindu Dharma is considered to have a dual inbuilt composition. The two components are popularly known as Nigama and Agama. Hence, Hindu dharma is said to be Nigamagamatmaka. Broadly and briefly Nigama - dharma can be described as that socio-cultural growth which has sacrificial institution or Yajnasamstha as the nucleus. For Nigama dharma, Vedas are the scriptural source. Vedas are believed to be Apauruseya, i.e. having no recorded human authorship. Vedas are also known to be revealed and the names of Rsis associated with various Suktas are said to be the seers and not composers (Rsayah drastarah). The tradition of performance of yajnas is from time immemoraial. As per Indian chronology the Yajnasamstha has a continuous flow through the ages: Krta, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. Kings and affluent and affording leaders of society performed various kinds of yajnas where social gatherings took place from far of places. The sacrifical institution thus had a perennial flow encompassing geographical expanse of Bharatavarsha. History records that king Raghu performed Visvajit Yajna, king Rama, Asvamedha yajna and King Yudhisthira, Rajasuya Yajna. In Mahabharata it is recorded that before Rajasuya, four Pandavas: Bima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva completed four political expeditions covering the entire map of Bharat by planning their respective tours to leave no region untouched. In this way, Yajnasamstha developed and maintained its all pervasive religio-cultural impact on society.

While Nigama-dharma had sovereign monopoly during first three yugas, a parallel cultural course emerged at the culminating period of Dvapara yuga. Unlike Nigama -dharma, it has historically recorded period of origin and the name of the promulgator. Mahabharata (Bhima parva and Santiparva) gives the time as: Dvaparasya yugasya ante and adau Kaliyugasya ca, i.e. end of Dvapara and beginning of Kali, that is to say, more than five thousand one hundred and eleven years.

2.2: Periodical stages of Agama-dharma

Broadly, the growth of Agama-dharma can be divided into four stages: 1. Adikala, i.e. ancient period 2. Agamakala, i.e. Agamic period 3. Acaryakala, i.e. the period from 10th to 18th CAD 4. Adhunika kala, i.e. modern period. The ancient period continued from culmination of Dvapara and covering over three thousand years of Kaliyuga. During that period two religio-cultural currents were flowing in parallel streams: Nigama dharma and Agamadharma.

The Agamakala was marked by the composition of scriptures of Agamas. Traditionally, the earliest triad of Samhitas: Satvata, Pauskara and Jayakhya, are believed to be based on the Mula-Veda. The analogy is based on the popular belief that Vyasa divided unified Veda into four Vedas: Rk, Yajus, Sama and Atharva. Thus the scriptural basis for Nigamadharma was fourfold Vedas inspired from one basic Veda. Like that three classical Samhitas were inspired from Mula-Veda and were the basis for Agama-dharma.

The Acaryakala was marked by the commentary by Shankaracharya on Pancaratra Adhikarana of Brahmasutras (II.2. 39-42). It gave indirect recognition to Agama-dharma and Shankaracharya tradition also initiated Pancayatanapuja. Before Acarya period, in south India, Agamadharma had a strong socio-religious basis in Kashmir and it had migrated to south India and had gained ground. Yamunacarya, the Pancaratrika Naiyayika wrote Agama Pramanya to defend the authority of Agamadharma. He termed it as Kashmiragama. His role was carried forward by Ramanuja. Ramanujacarya took advantage of the situation favourable for Agamadharma and promoted the temple building activity on large scale and spread the impact of Agama-dharma to all layers of society. His mission was carried forward by subsequent Acaryas, especially Vedantadesika, who composed Pancaratra Raksa to strengthen the authority of Agamadharma. It was Ramanujacarya who contributed his mite in overall systematisation and development of four Svayamvyakta Ketras, i.e. self-emanated seats of Lord Visnu: 1. Narayanadri, i.e. Yadavadri (Melkote) 2. Srirangam 3. Visnukanci and 4. Venkatadri. Out of these Venkatadri, i.e. Tirumala is governed by Vaikhanasa Agama and other three are governed by Pancaratra. Among the three, Narayana temple in Melkote has Satvata Samhita as sovereign authority and Isvara Samhita has practical ritual authority.

The modern time is marked by the establishment of British rule in India. The gazettes have recorded various temples, especially in south India which are governed by Vaikhanasa, Pancaratra and Saiva Agamas. After Independence the four southern states have separate ministries for Hindu religious and charitable endowment departments. The Agama-dharma is thus systematically documented and boards are appointed for administration. This period can be named as Adhunikakala. Tirupati - Tirumala Devasthana Board has a separate department called DharmaPracharini Parishad which promotes Agamadharma. In Kerala, it is called Devasvam Board which controls the administration of Hindu temples. For big temples like Tirumala the executive officer is an I.A.S. officer.

The Agamadharma which originated in Dvaparayuga has been going from strength to strength and today not an hour passes when some temple- activity: building, renovation or festival does not take place.

3. Agamadharma: Nature and Scope:

In Bhisma parva, this dharma is named as Satvata Dharma and its ritual code is called Satvata vidhi. Its promulagator is Lord Krsna or Narayana. In Bhismaparva the eligibility for worship and service is thrown open to all the four Varnas. This has been a catholic step by which the society at large had opportunity of participation in Satvatavidhi; the participation which was denied to them so far Nigama dharma. It is said in Bhismaparva: The two terms, Arcana and Seva gradually grew into two wings of temple culture: worship ritual and social service. Ultimately it has developed into a full-fledged department of religious and charitable endowments. Vasudeva, Visnu or Narayana is philosophically regarded as the supreme self and Sankarsana a doyen of Yadu or Vrsni dynasty is attested to be the first worshipper of Vasudeva as per Satvata mode of worship. Apparently, Yadus inherited the Satvatadharma which was marked by enshrined image worship which was propagated by Vasudeva, the Vrsni hero and incarnation of Visnu who propagated it further. Worship of personal god was the distinguishing feature of Satvata dharma as opposed to Nigama-dharma in which oblations were offered to pantheon of gods into sacred fire-Agni who acted as a courrier offering that service. Whereas, Nigama-dharma required merely temporary structures: Yajnakundas, citis and Yajnamandapas. Agamas developed a full-fledged technology of iconography, architecture, sculpture and renovation. The Samhita texts provided the scriptural sanction as well as infrastructure for Satvata, Pancaratra, Ekanti or Bhagavatadharma. Consequently, Agamadharma developed on two fronts: literary and practical; on one side temple building activity and temple ritual activity went on growing and pervading Bharatavarsha culminated in acceptance of one hundred and eight Divya Ksetras; the literary activity developed on other side with post - Mahabharata composition of Pancaratra Samhitas. The first phase was that of classical Samhitas: Satvata, Pauskara, Jayakhya and the second phase was of commentarial Samhitas, Isvara, Paramesvara and Padma. Those texts contained Mahatmya chapters giving factual pen-picture of three respective Svayamvyakta Ksetras. Isvara Samhita chapter XX narrates Yadavacala Mahatmya, Paramesvara Samhita ch. X narrates Sriranga Mahatmya, and appended chapter of Jayakhya Samhita which was apparently composed after Padma Samhita, narrates Hastigiri i.e. Visnu-Kanci Mahatmya. That chapter being latest in chronology gives an infrastructure of three Svayam-vyakta Ketras with their sovereign authoritative scriptures, the main presiding deity, the respective Mantra and respective practical manual. Thus Isvara Samhita is labelled as Arthopapadika of Satvata Samhita and it is taken to be an executive manual: Karvakari pracaryate for 1. Satvata Samhita is revered as having a soverign status for Yadavacala Narayana shrine. The pair: Pauskara and Paramesvara rule over Srirangam and another pair: Jayakhya and Padma rule over Visnukanci. The literary growth of Samhitas culminated in Padma Samhita which is a model Samhita text comprising four Padas.

3.2. Thematic structure:
3.2.1. Jnanapada contains the philosophical and metaphysical background of Satvatadharma explaining the, nature of ultimate reality, cosmology, nature of Moksa and means to attain it: Jnanayoga, Karmayoga and Bhaktiyoga, doctrine of Karma and concepts of Papa and Punya.

3.2.2. Yogapada gives the Agamic version or ritual-oriented application of Astangayoga. Bhutasuddhi, i.e. elemental purification which is a prerequisite for temple- priest to purify his body, mind and spirit to make it fit for image- worship. It is a sublimated component of Yogic practice, specially designed for temple- ritual. Manasa-puja or Manasayaga is another ritual component which is more suited for introvert and is useful for personal worship and temple- worship.

3.2.3. Kriyapada - this section of Agamas provides for architectural, technological basis to supplement the enshrined image worship, round the clock and round the year. Specialised intricacies of iconography, sculpture and architecture are left to Sthapatis and Silpasastra: Silpasastra vidhanena kuryat. In Silpasastra texts, the ritual requirements are advised to be done in consultation with Agamas: Agamokta Vidhanena kuryat. Thus Agama and Silpa are complementary in promoting Agama-dharma.

3.2.4. Caryapada is more extensive and forms the scriptural basis for the infra structure and function of enshrined image worship. The temple worship has three phases: routine, occasional and motivated: Nitya, Naimittika and Kamya. Caryapada provides the practical details for conducting all those rituals. Utsavas and Tirthayatras are another important features of Agamadharma for which also Caryapada serves as manual. It is to be noted that all the Samhitas do not have Pada-wise arrangement and the topics covered by the Padas are found scattered. However, the thematic arrangement is relevant. Besides Samhitas, there are practical digests: Prayoga-granthas such as Utsava-sangraha, Prayaschittasangraha etc. which have been useful for practitioners of Agamadharma.

4. Satvata Samhita and Satvata Vyakhya

4.1. The relationship of Satvata Samhita and actual temple worship of Narayana in Melkote is like Rgveda and Yajnasamstha. The author of Satvata Samhita is not aware of Narayana ksetra. However, by the time of Isvara Samhita or at least at the time of composition of its 20th chapter: Yadavacala Mahatmya, the full-fledged temple with vertical and horizontal architectural components and several images: Dvaradevatas, Avaranadevatas, Vimana-devatas etc. were in existance. The priestly tradition has apperantly unbroken continuity, at least since the time of Ramanuja who restored Lord’s image which was misplaced at that time. Out of the five Gotras authorised to perform Parartha- yajana for Narayana temple, one is Maunjyayana and the doyen of that Gotra, namely Yogananda Bhattacharya is attested to be the priest. The tradition of using Satvata Samhita as source book must have unbroken continuity upto his time, i.e. two hundred years back. It is evident from his own book: Satvatamrta, giving the gist of Satvata Samhita which is often quoted by his son Alashinga Bhattar, who wrote elaborate commentary on it. Alashinga Bhatta also refers to Isvara Samhita as its official commentary. He also elaborately quotes from Lakmi-tantra, which is later than Isvara Samhita, especially philosophical ones. He has also written his prose commentary on Isvara Samhita which is a Narayana temple oriented text which werved the present editor of Satvata Samhita, Vol. I and II ; To write a research article on temple text corelation in ‘Melkote through the ages’. Alashiga Bhattar refers to a group of staunch adherents of Satvata tradition, perhaps originating in Bhisma parva and continuing through the times of Satvata Samhita, Isvara Samhita and Lakmi-tantra. He has also extensively dealt with the points of agreement and dis- agreement with the views expressed in the commentary on Paramesvara Samhita by his contemporary Nrsimha Yajvan. Many of the verses quoted by him appear to be common to both, Isvara and Paramesvara Samhitas. Thus it may not be a strict thematic separation among Satvata nisthas and others. It is interesting to note that the first Devanagari edition of Satvata Samhita edited by Pt. Prativadi Bhayankara Anantacharya was published from Kanchi in 1902 and Isvara Samhita in 1925. The first edition of Padma Samhita in Telugu script (1925) and Pauskara Samhita in 1934 were published from Melkote and Paramesvara Samhita from Srirangam in 1952. As per Agamic scheme, Satvata and Isvara Samhitas should have been published from Melkote, Pauskara from Srirangam and Padma from Kanchipuram. It is a matter of satisfaction that the latest edition of Isvara Samhita alongwith Alashinga Bhashya, though published from Delhi, is prepared in Melkote. Satvata Samhita as well as Alashinga Bhashya is now published from Melkote. The palm leaf, paper- manuscript on which this edition is based also belongs to Melkote and it has been the valuable possession of present day Archaka family represented by Sampatkumara Bhattar and Narasaraja Bhattar.

The Satvata Samhita was second time published in Devanagari script, from Varanasi in 1982 edited by Vrajavallabha Dwivedi and the potential of Alashinga Bhattar as a commentator on the earliest Samhita of Pancaratra is before the scholars. It has to be noted after the thorough study and translation of his commentary that Alashinga Bhattar’s pen is of high mark versatile scholarship. The Commentators like Sayana on Rgveda, Vijnanesvara on Yajnavalkya Smrti, Medhatithi on Manusmrti, Patanjali on Panini are wellknown. Alashinga Bhattar is only comparable to such commentators, a fact which has so far not come to the light, to the research world.

 

Contents



Sample Pages

Vol-I



Vol-II



सात्वत संहिता: Satvata Samhita (Set of 2 Volumes)

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Vol-I


Foreword

It gives me a great pleasure in writing this foreword to the critical edition and English translation of Satvata Samhita, the first of three Classical scriptures of Pancaratra Agama made by Dr. Prabhakar Apte. Dr. Apte was working in the Agama Kosa Project of Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha Tirupati from 1968 to 1970 and his critical edition of the second classical scripture of Pancarata Samhita has been published by Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, in two parts. With his sound research background in Agamas, Dr. Apte has added his valuable contribution to Agamic research by critically editing and translating Satvata Samhita which preserves the hoary tradition of Satvata Dharma mentioned in Bhisma Parva of Mahabharata and it is associated with Yadusaila or Melkote, as the main scripture.

Indology in nineteenth century was dominated by intensive and extensive research in Vedic studies and allied disciplines. Twentieth Century highlighted the areas of Paninian grammar, Comparative Philology and linguistics. The present century will be marked by study in Agama and Tantric field.

With growing interest of Agamas among scholars in India and abroad, I am sure this publication will be well received by scholarly world. I congratulate Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melkote for nicely bringing out the edition.

I specially congratulate the Academy of Sanskrit Research for making the copy ready for publication with phenomenal speed. I appreciate the skill and efficiency of the research staff for employing updated computer technology, especially in printing Slokardhanukramani in Roman Script. I wish the Academy & the young & dynamic Director, Dr. Bhashyam swamy, a bright success in all respects, in days to come and confer my blessing to the Academy to emerge as Apex Body for Agamic Studies, catering to the readers of Scholars through Web-site on Agamas.

 

Preface

The Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melkote had submitted to the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, Tirupati a Project Proposal for financial assistance to undertake Extensive Research on Pancaratra Agama. ‘A However the TTD, Tirupati has since extended its financial assistance to undertake the publication of a Book on Pancaratra Agama.

Since the Academy is located at Melkote to which the Satvata Samhita of Pancaratra Agama relates to, it was decided to publish av critical edition with English translation of the Satvata Samhita text to P begin with. One may wonder why this Melkote Edition is needed when there are already Kanchi & Varanasi Editions available. But the difference or the unique features of this Melkote Edition are :
1. It is to fulfill the wish of H.H. Sri. Yadugiri Yathiraja Sampathkumar Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamy of Sri Yadugiri Yatiraja Mutt of Melkote who had wished that till now no body has ventured to translate this valuable text —Satvata Samhita of Pancaratra Agama which is being followed at Melkote, from Sanskrit to English, for the benefit of larger interested readership. Incidentally, since the Pontiff attained the lotus feet of the lord on 15th April 2005. The book is dedicated to his memory as a humble homage to His Holiness, by fulfilling his wish by bringing out this Melkote edition.

2. The earlier editions like Kanchi & Varanasi editions do not have the value-additions like ‘Slokardhanukramani’ with chapter- wise reference in Roman characters.

3. Another feature of the Melkote Edition is the spelling of grammatically approved Sandhi—Splits.

4. Further, here, in this edition, there is a value addition over the Varanasi edition related to table of contents by showing page- numbers against each topic and also having separate table of contents in English.

In fact, this is only a beginning with regard to the Melkote Edition of Satvata Samhita as the work will not be complete if we do not bring out a critical edition and translation into English of the original the valuable commentary on Satvata Samhita by Pt. Alashinga Bhattar, the veteran of rich Yadugiri Heritage of Scholars and aptly edited by another eminent oriental scholar Prof. Vrajavallabha Dvivedi of Varanasi. In fact we are well suited for undertaking this work as the Academy is blessed with the possession of the original palm leaf manuscript of Alashinga Bhasya (or commentary), incidentally donated to the Academy by none other than the above reffered pontiff of Melkote Yatiraj Mutt,— H.H.Sri. Yadugiri Yatiraja Sampathkumara Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamy.

Thus I am sure that using this Melkote Edition will richly benefit the readers.

 

Introduction

Evolution of Pancaratra Agama:
Hindu Dharma is said to comprise of two major cultural streams. Viz.Nigama — Agama. Thus, it is also known as "Nigamagamatmaka Dharma?

N IGAMA covers the literary and ritual traditions followed under Vedic culture. i.e. it covers the four Vedas. (Rg; Yajus; Sama and Atharvana).

On the Other hand, AGAMA represents enshrined image-worship and the social life governed along with it. It is also known as Temple - Institution.

There is evidence to show that this has a definite period of commencement. It is believed that it commenced around the end of Dvaparayuga and the beginning of Kaliyuga. Mythological and Historically the antiquity of this fold dates back to Bhismaparva of the epic Mahabharata. There is also a geographical connectivity to locations like Kashmir. Archana and Seva — i.e. Offering Worship & Service to the Lord is believed to have commenced from the first devotee — Sankarsana of Lord Vasudeva (Visnu or Krsna). It is he (Sankarsana) who promulgated the Satvata Dharma. Lord Krsna is praised as "Sanatana Sasvata Dharma Gopta?’ In Kashmir literature it is stated that Sasvata is termed as Satvata. It is this Satvata Dharma which has been termed as PANCARATRA. It is to be noted that in the Pancaratra Agama, both Vedic as well as Tantric Mantras are pronounced; where as in the Vaikhanasa Agama and Saivagama principally Vedic and Tantric Mantras are respectively recited. While Pancaratra Agama has 108 Samhitas (Scriptural texts) the Vaikhanasa has only 10 and Saiva has 28.

In Mahabharata it is revealed that Lord Narayana who is also known as Vasudeva himself spelt out the entire tenets of Pancaratra Text. “Pancaratrasya Krtsnasya Vakta Narayanah Svayam?

Satvata Samhita is believed to be the first and foremost of all the Samhitas and it is further interesting to note that this Satvata Samhita is one and the only scripture to bear the same title as that of Satvata Dharma. Thus it is to be regarded as the most valuable and foremost Samhita. This Satvata Samhita along with 2 more Samhitas that followed - viz. Pauskara and Jayakhya are popularly known as “Ratnatraya" and these dates back to c.300 to c.500 AD. Next comes the Ahirbudhnya Samhita which is dated only after c.500AD but before c.800AD. The next to follow are marked as post classical or Arthopapadika Samhitas - they are Iswara, Parameswara and Padma.

The evolution of manifestation (also termed as Vyuhas) of worshipping the Lord Vasudeva dates back to Mahabharata period.- The e conception of different Vyuhas are classified under four stages. i.e. Eka; Dvi; Tri; and Catur and they are linked to Vasudeva; Sankarsana; Pradyumna and Aniruddha respectively. These Vyuhas explain the cosmic evolution which is also associated with Pancaratra.

The Caturvyuha which is revealed in the later section of Mahabharata seems to represent the earliest phase of ‘Samhita’ religion and philosophy. The reference to Parasurama’s instruction to Narada Muni which deals with leading the humanity to follow Satvata — Kriyamarga is more fully described in the above said earliest Samhita i.e Satvata Samhita — presumed to be the earliest document on Pancaratra. It is to be noted that Satvata Samhita relates to or refers to a doctrine known as "Brahmopanisad" depicting four fold path of worshiping the God, aimed at attaining Moksa (Salvation).

i. T he Yogins, who adopt the 1st path are eligible to worship God dwelling in their heart.
ii. In the second path, the vedic Brahmins worship God in his chaturvyuha form accompanied by chanting mantras.
iii. The third path of worship is by the devotees who worship the Lord in their chaturvyuha form but without chanting mantras.
iv. The fourth path represents the path of worship of mystic diagrams - yantra mandalas presided over by the vibhava devatas.
As a furtherance of this path the ‘Siddhapurusas’ attempting to bring together the different worshippers belonging to the yogic, vedic and tantric cults. Thus evolved the five fold tenets of Pancaratra religion - para; vyuha; vibhava; antaryami and archa. As revealed in Satvata Samhita, which also covers the practical aspects of temple building and iconography.
The Area (Temple) worship followings seems to have gained momentum during the time of Pauskara Samhita. By the time Jayakya Samhita this showed further expansion with the growth of Mathas, Religious Schools around temple surroundings. At this stage application of tantric influence formulae also appears to have increased.

By the time of the evolution of Isvara Samhita i.e c.600 to c.900 AD the classical Samhitas had already attained scriptural status. It was at this juncture that the Vaikhanasa School of followings was also recognized as an Agama on par with Pancaratra.

In fact there are four famous seats of Vaisnava Siddhanta (of Visnu followings) — viz.:
Yadavadri (Melkote);
Srirangam;
Hastisaila (Kanchi) and Venkatadri (Tirupati)
These are regarded as svayamvyaukta ksetras while Venkatadri adopted Vaikhanasa Agama the other three seats are governed by the three schools of Pancaratra agama viz. Satvata—Iswara @ Melkoteg; Pauskara-Parameswara @ Srirangam and Jayakya-Padma at Kanci. Further each of these four Ksetras have been allotted a deity; a mantra; a scripture and an explanatory text.

In fact, this is only a beginning with regard to the Melkote Edition of Satvata Samhita as the work will not be complete if we don’t bring out a continued edition of translation into English of the original the valuable commentary on Sasvata Samhita by Pt. Alashinga Bhattar, the veteran of rich Yadugiri Heritage of Scholars and aptly edited by another eminent oriental schlar Prof. Vrajavallabha Dvivedi of Varanasi. In fact we are well suited for undertaking this work as the Academy is blessed with the possession of the original palm leaf manuscript of Alashinga Bhashya ( or commentary), incidentally donated to the Academy by non other than the above referred pontiff of Melkote Yatiraj Mutt,- H.H.Sri. Yadugiri Yatiraja—Sampathkumar Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamy. I am confident mat this work also commences at the earliest and the publication is released in the coming year itself.

I will be failing in my duty if I don’t thank the New, young and dynamic Director, Dr.Bhashyam Swamy as well as the able Administrator and Registrar, Sri.B.S. Krishna Prasad of the Academy who have given me die opportunity to undertake the task of Translating and editing this Book. My sincere thanks are also due to the Academy’s Scholarly and Technical team lead by Vid.S. Narayana. Sri.S. Kumar, the Asst. Registrar deserves a special mention, as he was always kind enough to extend all the timely administrative and financial support through out tenure of the project work.

 

Contents

  Foreword i-ii
  Preface iii-v
  Introduction vi-ix
Chapter-1 Question - Answer 01-06
Chapter-2 Worship of fourth divine Manifestation 7-21
Chapter-3 Adoration of Deep-sleep-Manifestation on the pericarp of ‘H’ syllable 22-32
Chapter-4 Adoration of Dream-Manifestation 33-41
Chapter-5 Characteristics of awakening state of Manifestation 42-62
Chapter-6 External worship of fourfold selfhood 63-105
Chapter-7 Ritual of chant less vow 106-129
Chapter-8 Ritual of vow with chants 130-158
Chapter-9 Ritual of Internal Worship of Deities Pertaining to Incarnational Manifestations 159-185
Chapter-10 Mode of External Worship Pertaining to Incarnational Deities 186-196
Chapter-11 Statement of characteristics of mystic diagrams and fire-pit 197-211
Chapter-12 Meditation over Incarnational Deities 212-259
Chapter-13 Meditation over presiding deities of ornaments and missiles 260-271
Chapter-14 Ritual of mounting of sacred Thread-garland (on to the idol) 272-279
Chapter-15 Ablution of Sacred Garland 280-286
Chapter-16 Ritual of threefold initiation 287-296
Chapter-17 Ritual of Nrsimha pertaining to Incarnational Manifestations 297-338
Chapter-18 Initiational rite pertaining to titual retention 379-422
Chapter-19 Initiational rite 423-457
Chapter-20 Ablution-Rite 458-466
Chapter-21 Dogmatic Code 467-479
Chapter-22 Characteristics of Apprentice, Deemed Son etc. 480-492
Chapter-23 Composition of chants: Cluster and verbal pertaining to incarnational Deities 493-515
Chapter-24 Characteristics of image, alter and shrine 516-591
Chapter-25 Installation Ceremony 592-662
Vol-II

Foreword

It was nearly five years back that the edition and translation of Satvata Samhita by Dr. Prabhakar Apte was published by Academy of Sanskrit Research. At that time, he had asked me the question whether the commentary on Satvata Samhita is also to be translated. I answered with emphatic ‘yes’. Since Alashinga Bhartar alias Toda Bhattacarya is a precious heritage of Melkote. He was conferred honour for his distinguished scholarship and service to Narayana temple institution; and he was given a golden bracelet, locally called Toda. Thereafter he became known in Melkote as Toda Bhattacharya: a worthy son of worthy father, Yogananda Bhattacharya, who gave his valuable service as the priest of Narayana shrine. He was the torch-bearer of unique Satvata tradition of Pancaratra Agama. Traditionally, Satvata Samhita is regarded a supreme and sovereign authority for administration and worship ritual of Narayana temple. He wrote the gist of Satvata Samhita in his scholarly work Satvatamrta which Academy of Sanskrit Research proposes to publish alongwith translation in English. Alashinga Bhattar, inspired by his father’s contribution to Satvata tradition, ventured to undertake the mega mission of writing commentary on Satvata Samhita as well as Isvara Samhita which was a commentarial text on it and also contained Yadavacala Mahatmya. Isvara Samhita alongwith Alshinga Bhattar’s commentary is already published by Indira Gandhi Kalakendre, New Delhi. H.H. Yadugiri Yatiraja Sampatkumara Ramanuja muni of Melkote graciously donated the palm leaf manuscript in Grantha characters to Academy of Sanskrit Research at the request of Dr. R.R. Karnik on behalf of Academy of Sanskrit Research. Satvata Samhita along with Alashinga Bhashya is published from Varanasi. However, the palm leaf manuscript in H.H. Seer’s possession was not used in it. Honourable Sampatkumara Bhattar, and Vid. Narasaraja Bhattar the chief Archaka of Narayana temple, Melkote kindly provided us a copy of Alashinga Bhashya transcribed by him from Grantha to Telugu script. Thus we had three sources of which palm leaf copy was made the prime source and other two were used for comparison. Academy of Sanskrit Research staff members, Sarvashri Vid. S. Narayana, Vid. H.S. Hanumantha Rao and Vid. S. Krishnan delegently went through the manuscript and prepared the press copy by supplying Pathabhedas in footnotes.

It gives me pleasure to write this foreword which will go as volume II of Satvata Samhita series. I assure the readers that Academy of Sanskrit Research will bring out Satvatamrta in near Future.

We are thankful to the authorities of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam and the Dharma Prachara Parishath for their generous financial help. I place on record my thanks to the services rendered by Sri Krishna Prasad former Registrar of ASR and N.V.R. Prasad of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth for their untiring efforts to procuring sponsorship.

I tell feel indebted to the help rendned by honorable Vid. Sampath kumar bhattar and Vid. S. Narasaraja bhattar. Thanks are also due to Sri S. Kumara for his administrative co-operation.

 

Introduction

1.1 The term Satvata:
Satvatas, Vrsnis, Yadus etc. are traditionally the terms used for the clan to which Krsna belonged. Apparently, the Yadu dynasty inherited some code of religious practice which was known as Satvata vidhi. According to the description in Bhismaparva of Mahabharata, Sankarsana, the elder brother of Krsna praised him at a period which was marked by the culmination of Dvapara Yuga and the beginning of Kaliyuga. “Satvatam vidhim asthaya. Gitah Sankarsanena Yah.. Dvaparasya yugasya ante Adau Kaliyugasya ca ..” As per this description there had been a religious tradition in Krsna dynasty to worship some hero as a personified god and as per history, Vasudeva, the son of Vasudeva was prophecised to be the incarnation of Visnu with a mission of establishing Dharma by punishing the wicked and protecting the virtuous. In order to deceive Kamsa, the Lord took birth after Balarama or Sankarsana who became his elder brother. However, he became the first to adore him as a god as per the Satvatavidhi. In Bhagavad Gita Vyasa has praised the devotee who worships Vasudeva as a supreme, to be rare Mahatma: ‘Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah’. Thus in the propagation of Satvata Vidhi, Sankarsana became the leader and others followed him. A popular line in Bhagavad Gita: ‘Sanatanah Sasvata dharma gopta’, in which the Lord is praised to be the perennial protector of eternal dharma, the Kashmir recension gives a variant reading as: Satvata dharmagopta. It gives Satvata vidhi the status of Satvata dharma.

Some time after the final phase of Mahabharata the first scriptural documentation of the Agama named as Pancaratra bears the title Satvata Samhita, which is the first of three gems: Ratnatraya, other two being Pauskara and Jayakhya. As per the chronology adduced by F. Otto Shrader, the triad of classical Samhitas range between 3rd to 4th century AD. There was a minor mistake in internal chronology in which he placed Pauskara Samhita to be earlier than Satvata Samhita. The mistake was due to a line in Satvata Samhita: Pauskarakhye ca Varahe.... which refers to cosmic creational phase marked by Pauskara, i.e. lotus born Brahma. He mistook it to be reference to Pauskara Samhita. However, in Pauskara Samhita, there is a clear reference to Satvata Samhita.

In the introductory chapter of Satvata Samhita, Lord Parasurama instructs sage Narada to enlighten the sages performing penance on Malaya mountain about the Satvata mode of worship which apparently was inspired by the concepts embedded in the Satvata dharma and Satvata vidhi of Mahabharata. Alshing Bhatta belongs to the priestly heritage of Lord Narayana of Yadugiri, i.e. Melkote, through his father Yogananda Bhatta, Whose ritual commentary on Satvata Samhita is Satvatamrtam. He often uses a term: Satvata nistha which apparently refers to a living tradition who adhered to the Satvata mode of worship.

This is in brief the evolution and growth of the term and concept of Satvata, which is the name of the first revealed text of Pancaratra Agama.

1-2. Agama-dharma: Evolution and Growth
Sanatana Hindu Dharma is considered to have a dual inbuilt composition. The two components are popularly known as Nigama and Agama. Hence, Hindu dharma is said to be Nigamagamatmaka. Broadly and briefly Nigama - dharma can be described as that socio-cultural growth which has sacrificial institution or Yajnasamstha as the nucleus. For Nigama dharma, Vedas are the scriptural source. Vedas are believed to be Apauruseya, i.e. having no recorded human authorship. Vedas are also known to be revealed and the names of Rsis associated with various Suktas are said to be the seers and not composers (Rsayah drastarah). The tradition of performance of yajnas is from time immemoraial. As per Indian chronology the Yajnasamstha has a continuous flow through the ages: Krta, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. Kings and affluent and affording leaders of society performed various kinds of yajnas where social gatherings took place from far of places. The sacrifical institution thus had a perennial flow encompassing geographical expanse of Bharatavarsha. History records that king Raghu performed Visvajit Yajna, king Rama, Asvamedha yajna and King Yudhisthira, Rajasuya Yajna. In Mahabharata it is recorded that before Rajasuya, four Pandavas: Bima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva completed four political expeditions covering the entire map of Bharat by planning their respective tours to leave no region untouched. In this way, Yajnasamstha developed and maintained its all pervasive religio-cultural impact on society.

While Nigama-dharma had sovereign monopoly during first three yugas, a parallel cultural course emerged at the culminating period of Dvapara yuga. Unlike Nigama -dharma, it has historically recorded period of origin and the name of the promulgator. Mahabharata (Bhima parva and Santiparva) gives the time as: Dvaparasya yugasya ante and adau Kaliyugasya ca, i.e. end of Dvapara and beginning of Kali, that is to say, more than five thousand one hundred and eleven years.

2.2: Periodical stages of Agama-dharma

Broadly, the growth of Agama-dharma can be divided into four stages: 1. Adikala, i.e. ancient period 2. Agamakala, i.e. Agamic period 3. Acaryakala, i.e. the period from 10th to 18th CAD 4. Adhunika kala, i.e. modern period. The ancient period continued from culmination of Dvapara and covering over three thousand years of Kaliyuga. During that period two religio-cultural currents were flowing in parallel streams: Nigama dharma and Agamadharma.

The Agamakala was marked by the composition of scriptures of Agamas. Traditionally, the earliest triad of Samhitas: Satvata, Pauskara and Jayakhya, are believed to be based on the Mula-Veda. The analogy is based on the popular belief that Vyasa divided unified Veda into four Vedas: Rk, Yajus, Sama and Atharva. Thus the scriptural basis for Nigamadharma was fourfold Vedas inspired from one basic Veda. Like that three classical Samhitas were inspired from Mula-Veda and were the basis for Agama-dharma.

The Acaryakala was marked by the commentary by Shankaracharya on Pancaratra Adhikarana of Brahmasutras (II.2. 39-42). It gave indirect recognition to Agama-dharma and Shankaracharya tradition also initiated Pancayatanapuja. Before Acarya period, in south India, Agamadharma had a strong socio-religious basis in Kashmir and it had migrated to south India and had gained ground. Yamunacarya, the Pancaratrika Naiyayika wrote Agama Pramanya to defend the authority of Agamadharma. He termed it as Kashmiragama. His role was carried forward by Ramanuja. Ramanujacarya took advantage of the situation favourable for Agamadharma and promoted the temple building activity on large scale and spread the impact of Agama-dharma to all layers of society. His mission was carried forward by subsequent Acaryas, especially Vedantadesika, who composed Pancaratra Raksa to strengthen the authority of Agamadharma. It was Ramanujacarya who contributed his mite in overall systematisation and development of four Svayamvyakta Ketras, i.e. self-emanated seats of Lord Visnu: 1. Narayanadri, i.e. Yadavadri (Melkote) 2. Srirangam 3. Visnukanci and 4. Venkatadri. Out of these Venkatadri, i.e. Tirumala is governed by Vaikhanasa Agama and other three are governed by Pancaratra. Among the three, Narayana temple in Melkote has Satvata Samhita as sovereign authority and Isvara Samhita has practical ritual authority.

The modern time is marked by the establishment of British rule in India. The gazettes have recorded various temples, especially in south India which are governed by Vaikhanasa, Pancaratra and Saiva Agamas. After Independence the four southern states have separate ministries for Hindu religious and charitable endowment departments. The Agama-dharma is thus systematically documented and boards are appointed for administration. This period can be named as Adhunikakala. Tirupati - Tirumala Devasthana Board has a separate department called DharmaPracharini Parishad which promotes Agamadharma. In Kerala, it is called Devasvam Board which controls the administration of Hindu temples. For big temples like Tirumala the executive officer is an I.A.S. officer.

The Agamadharma which originated in Dvaparayuga has been going from strength to strength and today not an hour passes when some temple- activity: building, renovation or festival does not take place.

3. Agamadharma: Nature and Scope:

In Bhisma parva, this dharma is named as Satvata Dharma and its ritual code is called Satvata vidhi. Its promulagator is Lord Krsna or Narayana. In Bhismaparva the eligibility for worship and service is thrown open to all the four Varnas. This has been a catholic step by which the society at large had opportunity of participation in Satvatavidhi; the participation which was denied to them so far Nigama dharma. It is said in Bhismaparva: The two terms, Arcana and Seva gradually grew into two wings of temple culture: worship ritual and social service. Ultimately it has developed into a full-fledged department of religious and charitable endowments. Vasudeva, Visnu or Narayana is philosophically regarded as the supreme self and Sankarsana a doyen of Yadu or Vrsni dynasty is attested to be the first worshipper of Vasudeva as per Satvata mode of worship. Apparently, Yadus inherited the Satvatadharma which was marked by enshrined image worship which was propagated by Vasudeva, the Vrsni hero and incarnation of Visnu who propagated it further. Worship of personal god was the distinguishing feature of Satvata dharma as opposed to Nigama-dharma in which oblations were offered to pantheon of gods into sacred fire-Agni who acted as a courrier offering that service. Whereas, Nigama-dharma required merely temporary structures: Yajnakundas, citis and Yajnamandapas. Agamas developed a full-fledged technology of iconography, architecture, sculpture and renovation. The Samhita texts provided the scriptural sanction as well as infrastructure for Satvata, Pancaratra, Ekanti or Bhagavatadharma. Consequently, Agamadharma developed on two fronts: literary and practical; on one side temple building activity and temple ritual activity went on growing and pervading Bharatavarsha culminated in acceptance of one hundred and eight Divya Ksetras; the literary activity developed on other side with post - Mahabharata composition of Pancaratra Samhitas. The first phase was that of classical Samhitas: Satvata, Pauskara, Jayakhya and the second phase was of commentarial Samhitas, Isvara, Paramesvara and Padma. Those texts contained Mahatmya chapters giving factual pen-picture of three respective Svayamvyakta Ksetras. Isvara Samhita chapter XX narrates Yadavacala Mahatmya, Paramesvara Samhita ch. X narrates Sriranga Mahatmya, and appended chapter of Jayakhya Samhita which was apparently composed after Padma Samhita, narrates Hastigiri i.e. Visnu-Kanci Mahatmya. That chapter being latest in chronology gives an infrastructure of three Svayam-vyakta Ketras with their sovereign authoritative scriptures, the main presiding deity, the respective Mantra and respective practical manual. Thus Isvara Samhita is labelled as Arthopapadika of Satvata Samhita and it is taken to be an executive manual: Karvakari pracaryate for 1. Satvata Samhita is revered as having a soverign status for Yadavacala Narayana shrine. The pair: Pauskara and Paramesvara rule over Srirangam and another pair: Jayakhya and Padma rule over Visnukanci. The literary growth of Samhitas culminated in Padma Samhita which is a model Samhita text comprising four Padas.

3.2. Thematic structure:
3.2.1. Jnanapada contains the philosophical and metaphysical background of Satvatadharma explaining the, nature of ultimate reality, cosmology, nature of Moksa and means to attain it: Jnanayoga, Karmayoga and Bhaktiyoga, doctrine of Karma and concepts of Papa and Punya.

3.2.2. Yogapada gives the Agamic version or ritual-oriented application of Astangayoga. Bhutasuddhi, i.e. elemental purification which is a prerequisite for temple- priest to purify his body, mind and spirit to make it fit for image- worship. It is a sublimated component of Yogic practice, specially designed for temple- ritual. Manasa-puja or Manasayaga is another ritual component which is more suited for introvert and is useful for personal worship and temple- worship.

3.2.3. Kriyapada - this section of Agamas provides for architectural, technological basis to supplement the enshrined image worship, round the clock and round the year. Specialised intricacies of iconography, sculpture and architecture are left to Sthapatis and Silpasastra: Silpasastra vidhanena kuryat. In Silpasastra texts, the ritual requirements are advised to be done in consultation with Agamas: Agamokta Vidhanena kuryat. Thus Agama and Silpa are complementary in promoting Agama-dharma.

3.2.4. Caryapada is more extensive and forms the scriptural basis for the infra structure and function of enshrined image worship. The temple worship has three phases: routine, occasional and motivated: Nitya, Naimittika and Kamya. Caryapada provides the practical details for conducting all those rituals. Utsavas and Tirthayatras are another important features of Agamadharma for which also Caryapada serves as manual. It is to be noted that all the Samhitas do not have Pada-wise arrangement and the topics covered by the Padas are found scattered. However, the thematic arrangement is relevant. Besides Samhitas, there are practical digests: Prayoga-granthas such as Utsava-sangraha, Prayaschittasangraha etc. which have been useful for practitioners of Agamadharma.

4. Satvata Samhita and Satvata Vyakhya

4.1. The relationship of Satvata Samhita and actual temple worship of Narayana in Melkote is like Rgveda and Yajnasamstha. The author of Satvata Samhita is not aware of Narayana ksetra. However, by the time of Isvara Samhita or at least at the time of composition of its 20th chapter: Yadavacala Mahatmya, the full-fledged temple with vertical and horizontal architectural components and several images: Dvaradevatas, Avaranadevatas, Vimana-devatas etc. were in existance. The priestly tradition has apperantly unbroken continuity, at least since the time of Ramanuja who restored Lord’s image which was misplaced at that time. Out of the five Gotras authorised to perform Parartha- yajana for Narayana temple, one is Maunjyayana and the doyen of that Gotra, namely Yogananda Bhattacharya is attested to be the priest. The tradition of using Satvata Samhita as source book must have unbroken continuity upto his time, i.e. two hundred years back. It is evident from his own book: Satvatamrta, giving the gist of Satvata Samhita which is often quoted by his son Alashinga Bhattar, who wrote elaborate commentary on it. Alashinga Bhatta also refers to Isvara Samhita as its official commentary. He also elaborately quotes from Lakmi-tantra, which is later than Isvara Samhita, especially philosophical ones. He has also written his prose commentary on Isvara Samhita which is a Narayana temple oriented text which werved the present editor of Satvata Samhita, Vol. I and II ; To write a research article on temple text corelation in ‘Melkote through the ages’. Alashiga Bhattar refers to a group of staunch adherents of Satvata tradition, perhaps originating in Bhisma parva and continuing through the times of Satvata Samhita, Isvara Samhita and Lakmi-tantra. He has also extensively dealt with the points of agreement and dis- agreement with the views expressed in the commentary on Paramesvara Samhita by his contemporary Nrsimha Yajvan. Many of the verses quoted by him appear to be common to both, Isvara and Paramesvara Samhitas. Thus it may not be a strict thematic separation among Satvata nisthas and others. It is interesting to note that the first Devanagari edition of Satvata Samhita edited by Pt. Prativadi Bhayankara Anantacharya was published from Kanchi in 1902 and Isvara Samhita in 1925. The first edition of Padma Samhita in Telugu script (1925) and Pauskara Samhita in 1934 were published from Melkote and Paramesvara Samhita from Srirangam in 1952. As per Agamic scheme, Satvata and Isvara Samhitas should have been published from Melkote, Pauskara from Srirangam and Padma from Kanchipuram. It is a matter of satisfaction that the latest edition of Isvara Samhita alongwith Alashinga Bhashya, though published from Delhi, is prepared in Melkote. Satvata Samhita as well as Alashinga Bhashya is now published from Melkote. The palm leaf, paper- manuscript on which this edition is based also belongs to Melkote and it has been the valuable possession of present day Archaka family represented by Sampatkumara Bhattar and Narasaraja Bhattar.

The Satvata Samhita was second time published in Devanagari script, from Varanasi in 1982 edited by Vrajavallabha Dwivedi and the potential of Alashinga Bhattar as a commentator on the earliest Samhita of Pancaratra is before the scholars. It has to be noted after the thorough study and translation of his commentary that Alashinga Bhattar’s pen is of high mark versatile scholarship. The Commentators like Sayana on Rgveda, Vijnanesvara on Yajnavalkya Smrti, Medhatithi on Manusmrti, Patanjali on Panini are wellknown. Alashinga Bhattar is only comparable to such commentators, a fact which has so far not come to the light, to the research world.

 

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