सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Agamas and Vedas>"


Agamas and Vedas


In General

Agamic literature and Vedic literature are two separate schools of thought but they have many similarities. Vedas always took the stand as philosophical text and do not included into its fold other allied subjects like etymology and religious practices. But Vedas are accepting the ancillary subjects as Vedangas and depended on them for the performance of vedic rites. In contrast to this, Agama profess worship in the performance level with all the ancillary subjects like from yoga to etymology and temple construction is discussed in the original text itself. So, in general, we can say Vedas move from philosophy to performance and Agama from performance to philosophy. Vedas promote Yagna with no importance to any idols but Agamas are idolatry worship by pooja.

The system of performing Tantric performance is not mentioned anywhere in Veda or vedangas. But in the present day worship at temple, Vedas and Agamas act as complimentary to each other. This is achieved by the extensive use of Vedic Hymens recited while doing Tantric performance. The common belief is that worship professed by Agamas are said to be more suited for Kaliyuga than the philosophical doctrine of Vedas. So, Agamas are now getting a status similar to Vedanga in Hindu faith and followers do not find any difficulty in following this mixed system. Swami Vivekananda have identified the modern trend in Hinduism and rightly said – “Hindu religion as practiced in India today is almost entirely based on the Agamas”.

The Jnana Pada of Agamic texts can be considered equivalent to the Upanishad portion of Veda and the Vedic Darsanas. Kriya-Carya can be considered equivalent to the Srauta-Smarta portions of Kalpa, in that the ritual code and general codes are prescribe. The temple and individual worship prescribed in Agama are equivalent to Srauta and Grihya rituals respectively. The temple itself is regarded as a replica of Yaga Sala. To say Agama support dualism and idolatry worship as against the Vedic concept of Monism is also only partially true. The Agama Shastras are based in the belief that the divinity can be approached in two ways. It can be viewed as nishkala, the formless – absolute or as sakala having specific aspects in the form of a personal deity. The devotee following Agama tradition fully appreciates the Vedic monism and its ideal of formless Brahman that pervades all existence. Yet, he finds comfort in the duality of Tantra and Agama rituals because of the limitation of human nature. The worshipper is aware, all the while, that the forms (murti), sounds (mantras) and diagrams (mandalas) employed in worship are just human approximations and are inadequate representations of God. Yet, he tries to find through them an approach to the Supreme while upholding the Vedic ideals.

It will be true that Agamas are more adhered to Sankya yoga than the absolutism of Advaita Vedanta. To Agama, Purusha and Prakriti or Siva and Sakthi both exists. The only difference between them is that, the later depend on the former for its existence. Brahman is both nishkala and sakala. Kala is Prakriti. The nishkala Brahman or Para-brahman is the Tatpurusha, when thought of as without Prakriti (prakriteranya). It is called sakala when Purusha is with Prakriti. Sakthi is the Ananda-rupini-Devi, by whom the Brahman manifests itself. Brahman can exists but not manifest by itself without Sakthi. On the other hand Sakthi cannot either exist or manifest by itself without Brahman. Sakthi is not an illusion as said in Advaita Vedanta but a real existence when Siva(Brahman) is there as its cause. It is worth note for academic interest that Sri Sankaracharya distanced himself from Agama and never wrote anything about Agama literature and his criticism to Sankhya yoga is that it is just an Agama.

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Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana