Pashupatas (was Re: Sivaachaaryas)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Oct 29 22:08:16 CST 2001

On Sun, 28 Oct 2001, BGS wrote:

> The Arunachala Mahatmyam of Skandapurana declares “ only five of the twenty
> eight Agamas lead to the path of liberation - the Kalamukha,Kankala, Saiva,
> Pasupata and Mahavrata.”  The (28)Agamas followed by the Adisaivas are not
> included in the above list. They come under the Saiva Agama group. The
> Lagulagama comes under the Pasupata Agama group.

The tika of Lakshmidhara on Saundaryalahiri enumerates the Shaiva/Shakta
shastras differently.  They were succesively spoken by Sadashiva
Bhagawan.  First were 10 Shivagamas with dvaita teachings,
then 18 Rudragamas with vishishtadvaita teachings.  (These are the 28
accepted by Shaiva Siddhantins,)  Then were 64 Bhairavagamas which were
Advaita.  These are also known as tantras.  (One definition I have come
across is that agama and tantra are virtually the same except in an agama,
the male principle of divinity is considered superior, and in tantra the
female principle.)  The 64 tantras were then condensed into the
Vamakeshvari Tantra which is the foundation of Shrividya.

I am intrigued by your mention of Lakulagama.  Is this the same as
Pashupati sutras?  As far as I know this along with its commentary
Pancharthabhashya by Kaundinya, and a work called Ratnakarika by Bhamaha
are the only surviving Pashupata works.  Madhavacharya in his section on
Pashupatas in Sarvadarshanasamgraha also only quotes from Pasupatisutras.

> The Pallava Kings who actively supported/patronised the Pasupata sect,
> belonged to the Bharadvaja Gotra. According to Vamana Purana, Bharadvaja
> was the preceptor of the Pasupatas. Mahapasupata is described as the form
> of Siva who incarnated himself  as Bharadvaja for the propagation of the
> Pasupata doctrine.
> Ananta Sivacarya of Kuram and Yagna Bhatta of Srikattupalli (Ref. Kuram and
> Velurpalayam Copper Plates) might have also been the followers of this sect.

Sanskrit literature also mentions a few followers of this sect.
Uddyotakara the author of the varttika on the Nyayasutrabhashya calls
himself pashupatacharya.  Bhasarvajna was the author of a work called
Nyayasara.  Bhamaha mentioned above is more famous as the author of a
kavyashastra called Kavyalankara.

> Vamana Purana describes of a war between Siva and Asuras. Siva was
> supported by the Mahapasupatas and others. Siva extended special welcome to
> Mahapasupatas because they did not recognize a distinction between him and
> Vishnu. Even today We can see images of Vishnu and his consorts in the
> temples erected by the Mahapasupatas.

In the Shiva Mahapurana, Lakulisha (or sometimes Nakulisha) is mentioned
as an avatara of Shiva Bhagawan and the founder of the Pashupata
sampradaya.  Bharadvaja was his pupil.  He was born in Karavarohana
(Gujarat state.)  The Shivalaya there is called Pashupateshvara.
I believe I read in a British source from the 19th century (unfortunately
I can't remember the name,) there were still Pashupata monks there even in
those days.  They could be distinguished from other sadhus because they
carried iron staves.  During my last trip to India I wanted to visit there
but never got the chance.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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