Pancharatra Agama work
AHIRBUDHNYA SAMHITA: Tamil translation without Sanskrit text by Srimushnam Srinivasachariar; Pub. by R. Vasudevan and R. Devarajan, Thane. Copies can be had from LIFCO Publishing Co. Ltd., T. Nagar, Chennai-600017. Rs. 200.
AGAMAS CONSTITUTE a huge corpus of religious literature, dealing with temple construction, installing images and conducting rituals and festivals. Each religion has its own Agama literature. The Vaishnava agamas are twofold, Pancharatra and Vaikhanasa. Many temples follow the Pancharatra tradition and some, the Vaikhanasa tradition. Ahirbudhnya is among the older Samhitas of the Pancharatra corpus and is in the form of an exposition of the doctrines given by one of the eleven Rudras bearing that name. Its central theme is the glorification of Sudarsana, the discus of Lord Vishnu, which is sometimes identified with the Lord Himself. Lord Vishnu is said to have two kinds of powers: "Iccha Sakti" (power of volition) and "Kriya Sakti" (power of action). The former is identified with Lakshmi and the latter, with Sudarsana. This Agama is devoted to occultism, philosophy, cosmology, magical yantras (motifs), exposition of several mantras and so on. An important feature is that it articulates for the first time, the concept of Saranagati (whole-hearted surrender) which is considered to be the most efficacious means of liberation. It is significant that there is no reference to temple festivals in this Agama. The Ahirbudhnya Samhita, which has 60 chapters, was edited by Pandit V. Krishnamacharya and published by the Adyar Library and Research Centre, twice.
This volume is the first ever translation into Tamil, done by a well known savant, Srimushnam Srinivasachariar. He has reproduced the Sanskrit text of chapters 34 and 35, which deal with 104 mysterious weapons (astras), stating that in spite of his best efforts, he could not arrive at their correct meaning. This is understandable since the specifications of mantras and weapons constitute an occult science. The translation of the remaining portion of the text is simple and lucid. The introduction is a mine of information on Srivaishnava religion and philosophy. The work is a valuable addition to the existing literature on the Pancharatra system.
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