Vedic Religion

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 5 16:45:04 CDT 1999

Regarding the vaikhAnasa Agamas and the
vaikhAnasa sUtras of the vedic SAkhA -

There is no proof that the vaikhAnasa Agama texts are derived from the
corresponding sUtra literature, but those who follow the two sets of texts
overlap to a large extent. They are found mostly in Tamil and Telugu
speaking areas. Similarly, one may point to the vAtUlas, which is the name
of an Agama, a Yajurveda SAkhA and also a gotra. They are also found mostly
in the south. but in ever-dwindling numbers.

The Agamas by and large regulate the public worship in temples, while the
sUtras regulate the personal dharma of the vaikhAnasas. One significant
example is the group of hereditary priests at Tirupati. Most other big
SrIvaishNava temples follow the pAncarAtra rites. There are also groups of
SrIvaishNavas in Tamil Nadu who follow the vaikhAnasa sUtras in their daily
rituals, e. g. those associated with the AdivarAha temple in
Kallidaikurichi. In Venkateswara temples built outside India, they follow a
mixture of rules, but heavily slanted towards the pAncarAtra, because the
standards of ritual purity (maDi in Tamil and Kannada) cannot be maintained


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