Saturday, 19 February 2022

Vedas Are Science And Agamas Are The Technology To It


The Vedas and Agamas are the integral scriptures of Hinduism. While most Hindus seem to be aware of the Vedas and the smritis, the knowledge of Agamas is somewhat restricted to a smaller circle.

The Agamas comes under Tantra. While the Vedas were perceived as a series of sounds that embody the cosmic truths, the Agamas were revealed by Paramashiva Himself, in form.

To put it simpler, the Vedas were revealed by the avyakta ( unmanifest ) aspect of Paramashiva while the Agamas, by the vyakta ( manifest ) aspect of Paramashiva.



If you look at Tirumantiram, you find parallels between the Vedas and Agamas.

Tirumantiram, 8th Tantiram, 10th Thirumurai 

திருமூல நாயனார் அருளிய திருமந்திரம்
எட்டாம் தந்திரம்
ஆறந்தம்
பத்தாம் திருமுறை
திருச்சிற்றம்பலம்
வேதமொடு ஆகமம் மெய்யாம் இறைவன் நூல்
ஓதும் பொதுவும் சிறப்பும் என்றுள்ளன
நாதன் உரையவை நாடில் இரண்டந்தம்
பேதமதென்பர் பெரியோர்க்கு அபேதமே.
திருச்சிற்றம்பலம்

Tirumūla nāyaṉār aruḷiya tirumantiram
eṭṭām tantiram āṟantam pattām tirumuṟai
tirucciṟṟampalam
vētamoṭu ākamam meyyām iṟaivaṉ nūl
ōtum potuvum ciṟappum eṉṟuḷḷaṉa
nātaṉ uraiyavai nāṭil iraṇṭantam
pētamateṉpar periyōrkku apētamē.

Tirucciṟṟampalam

In this hymn, the Siddha Thirumoolar refers to Vedas as 'podhu' and Agamas as 'sirappu'.

He explains how the Vedas serve as a 'science' and the Agamas on the other hand, as a 'technology' to the mentioned science. In essence, they are both two sides of the same coin.

The Breakdown of Vedas and Agamas.

Let us look at an example of how the Agamas serve as a manual to apply the underlying science in the Vedas.

Video : Shivopasana mantra by my Whatsapp Veda student Sravanti.

I will be using an example from the Yajur Veda. In the Taittiriya Aranyakam ( the portion traditionally learnt in the forest region ), we have a reference to the 5 facets of Paramashiva - Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Ishana. This whole segment is colloquially referred to as the ' Shiva upasana mantra'.

Let us look at the mantras :  


(1) सद्योजातं प्रपद्यामि सद्योजाताय वै नमो नमः। भवे भवे नातिभवे भवस्व माम् । भवोद्भवाय नमः

sadyojātaṃ prapadyāmi sadyojātāya vai namo namaḥ। bhave bhave nātibhave bhavasva mām । bhavodbhavāya namaḥ

Translation: I completely surrender to Sadyojata who is the source of existence. Namaha to Sadyojatam.Release me from the cycle of birth. Lead me beyond births into enlightenment. Namaha to the One who can bring me beyond birth and death.

( Namaha comes from Na ( not ) and Maha ( me ). Namaha is an utterance of surrender where we disidentify our false identity and attain complete oneness with the divine )

(2) वामदेवाय नमो ज्येष्ठाय नमश्श्रेष्ठाय नमो रुद्राय नमः कालाय नमः कलविकरणाय नमो बलविकरणाय नमो बलाय नमो बलप्रमथनाय नम स्सर्व-भूतदमनाय नमो मनोन्मनाय नमः

vāmadevāya namo jyeṣṭhāya namaśśreṣṭhāya namo rudrāya namaḥ kālāya namaḥ kalavikaraṇāya namo balavikaraṇāya namo balāya namo balapramathanāya nama ssarva-bhūtadamanāya namo manonmanāya namaḥ

Translation : namaha to the preserving aspect of Paramashiva,Who is the primordial,most worthy,Who is Rudra,Who is the Lord of time,Who manifests varieties in the cosmos,Who is the source for the varieties of strength,Who is the source of all strengths,Who surpasses all strengths,Who is the ruler of all beings,Who kindles the atma.

(3) अघोरेभ्योऽथ घोरेभ्यो घोरघोरतरेभ्यः। सर्वेभ्य-स्सर्वशर्वेभ्यो नमस्ते अस्तु रुद्ररूपेभ्यः

aghorebhyo'tha ghorebhyo ghoraghoratarebhyaḥ। sarvebhya-ssarvaśarvebhyo namaste astu rudrarūpebhyaḥ

Translation : Namaha to the ferocious,benign and very ferocious aspect of Rudra.To this form of Paramashiva,I surrender.


(4) तत्पुरुषाय विद्महे महादेवाय धीमहि । तन्नो रुद्रः प्रचोदयात्  

tatpuruṣāya vidmahe mahādevāya dhīmahi । tanno rudraḥ pracodayāt

Translation : May we realise the truth that Paramashiva is real. Let us meditate on Mahadeva. May Rudra inspire our intellect such that it matures to enlightenment.


(5) ईशान-स्सर्व-विद्याना-मीश्वर-स्सर्व-भूतानां ब्रह्माऽधिपतिर्ब्रह्मणोऽधिपतिऽब्रह्मा शिवो मे अस्तु सदाशिवोम्

īśāna-ssarva-vidyānā-mīśvara-ssarva-bhūtānāṃ brahmā'dhipatirbrahmaṇo'dhipati'brahmā śivo me astu sadāśivom

Meaning : Paramashiva is the sovereign of all knowledge and beings. He is the Lord of the Vedas and those who impart the Vedas. I realise that I am verily Paramashiva, denoted by ‘OM’.

~ Krishna Yajur Veda,Taittiriiya Aranyaka,10th Prashna ~

~ Mahanarayana Upanishad ~

Now let us look at the application of these Vedic mantras as described in the Agamas. We can find the reference in Raurava Agama Vidya Pada, in the 6th Chapter.

The verses below are directly taken from the Raurava Agama.

(1) अथ ब्रह्ममयं गुह्यं शिवकायात्म संस्थितम् । कलाभेदं प्रवक्ष्यामि तच्छृणुध्वं यथाक्रमम् ।।

atha brahmamayaṃ guhyaṃ śivakāyātma saṃsthitam । kalābhedaṃ pravakṣyāmi tacchṛṇudhvaṃ yathākramam ।।

Meaning : These kala-mantras are of the nature of Paramashiva Himself. These are identical with the divine form of Paramashiva ; they are to be kept secret.

The above verse introduces the sadhaka to the truth of the mantric body of Paramashiva. We refer to this as the 'Vidya deha' . The word vidya here refers to mantras. That is also why Vedas ( derived from vidya ) are in the form of mantras. The body of Paramashiva is referred to as 'mantra-maya sharira', meaning a body which is made up of mantras.

(2) सद्योजातश्च सद्यश्च भवश्चाभव एव च ।। तथानादिभवश्चैव भजस्वेति भवोद्भवौ ।

sadyojātaśca sadyaśca bhavaścābhava eva ca ।। tathānādibhavaścaiva bhajasveti bhavodbhavau ।

Meaning : Sadyojaatam, Sadyojaataaya, Bhava, Abhava, Anaadibhava, Bhajasva, Bhava and Udbhava - these are the eight kala mantras pertaining to Sadyojata.

These 8 kala mantras are embedded in the Vedic mantra we saw earlier : 

सद्योजातं प्रपद्यामि सद्योजाताय वै नमो नमः। भवे भवे नातिभवे भवस्व माम् । भवोद्भवाय नमः

sadyojātaṃ prapadyāmi sadyojātāya vai namo namaḥ। bhave bhave nātibhave bhavasva mām । bhavodbhavāya namaḥ

For instance, bhavodbhavaaya as a word itself has two kala mantras - bhava and udbhava. Bhava + udbhava = bhavodbhava.

If you notice the Agamic explanation, it is identical with the Vedic mantra we find in Yajur Veda. The Agamas simply help us identify the 8 kala mantras of Paramashiva which are found in the Vedas.

Similarly, the Agamas give a breakdown of the mantras pertaining to the other 4 facets.

(3) वामो ज्येष्ठश्च रुद्रश्च कालश्चैव कलस्तथा ।। विकरणश्च बलश्चैव विकरणोऽथ बलस्तथा। प्रमथो दमनश्चैव मनश्चोन्मन एव च ।।

vāmo jyeṣṭhaśca rudraśca kālaścaiva kalastathā ।। vikaraṇaśca balaścaiva vikaraṇo'tha balastathā। pramatho damanaścaiva manaśconmana eva ca ।।

Meaning : Vama, Jyeshtha, Rudra, Kaala, Kala, Vikarana, Bala, Vikarana, Bala, Pramathana, Sarvabhuuta damana, Mana and Unmana - these are the thirteen kala mantras pertaining to Vamadeva.

Compare this Agamic verse with the Yajur Veda mantra at the beginning of the article and you will find the resemblance.

(4) अघोरश्चाथ घोरश्च घोरो घोरतरस्तथा। सर्वत: सर्व रुद्रश्च रूपश्च हृदयं विदुः ।।

aghoraścātha ghoraśca ghoro ghoratarastathā। sarvata: sarva rudraśca rūpaśca hṛdayaṃ viduḥ ।।

Meaning : Aghora, Athaghora, Ghora, Ghoratara, Sarvebhya, Sarvasharvebhya. Namaste astu Rudra, Rupebhya - these are the eight kala mantras pertaining to Aghora Hrdaya Mantra. It is to be known that these kala mantras constitute the chest part of the form of Paramashiva.

This is also how we get the Agamic mantra ' Om hum aghora hrdayaya namaha' , which is used to consecrate one's heart centre before any ritual. The aghora mantra is related to the heart centre of Paramashiva.


(5) तत्पुरुषो महादेवो रुद्रश्चेति प्रचोदयात् । चत्वार्येतानि वक्त्राणि कल्पयेन्नियतः शुचिः।।

tatpuruṣo mahādevo rudraśceti pracodayāt । catvāryetāni vaktrāṇi kalpayenniyataḥ śuciḥ।।

Meaning : Tatpurushaya vidmahe, Mahadevaya dhimahi, Tanno Rudrah, Pracodayat - these are the four kala mantras pertaining to Tatpurusha. The sadhaka, being purified, should identify these mantras with the faces of Sadasiva, in strict accordance with the directions.

(6) ईशान ईश्वरो ब्रह्मा शिवश्चेति सदाशिवः। मूर्धानं पञ्चधा भित्त्वा शिवस्य परिकल्पयेत् ।।

īśāna īśvaro brahmā śivaśceti sadāśivaḥ। mūrdhānaṃ pañcadhā bhittvā śivasya parikalpayet ।।

Meaning : Ishanassarva vidyanam, Ishvarah sarva bhutanam, Brahmadhipatir-brahmanodhipatih, Shivome astu, Sadashivom - these are the five kala mantras pertaining to Ishana. The sadhaka should differentiate the Ishana mantra into five in this way and identify them with the head of Sadasiva.


Image: The ritual of Sakalikaranam, where the sadhaka touches the head when the Agamic Ishana mantra is recited. The Ishana mantra represents the head of Paramashiva.

The Application

To apply the knowledge of the Vedas, we use the Agamas. The 5 mantras pertaining to the 5 facets of Paramashiva are used to transform our being into that of Paramashiva.

We are ultimately Paramashiva ( paramashivoham ). In any ritual, we perform the nyasa ( meaning, to 'clean' ) - in which we invoke and transform every part of the body into Paramashiva.

The Agamas guide us on how to do this.

Video : Guru puja and Shiva puja as per Agamas. In this ritual, you will find instances of the application of Vedas in the form of Agamas. You will notice Sakalikaranam ( min 20.44 ), the Agamic procedure to transform oneself into Paramashiva before commencing the puja. The procedure of Sakalikaranam finds reference in the Kamika Agama.

Quoting Raurava Agama again : 






Paramashiva's form constitutes 38 kala mantras and these are found in the 5 facet mantras of the Vedas.

The Agamas guide us on using these 38 kala mantras and performing specific gestures, mudras and visualization methods to literally transform our being into that of Paramashiva, ultimately attaining complete oneness with Paramashiva.

The Vedas contain the door to enlightenment, and the Agamas are the key to it.

As you can see, the Vedas and Agamas are really two sides of a common coin.









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