[Advaita-l] Questions on Importance of Agamas given by Three Acharyas

Venkatesh Murthy vmurthy36 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 23 04:31:07 CST 2011

Kindly see my questions below.

Importance of Agamas to Hindus

In the book Saiva Siddhanta-

Thus, P.T. Srinivasa Iyengar writes in the
 Introduction to his Outlines of Indian Philosophy (Theosophical
Publishing Society, Benares and London, 1909), regarding the
importance of the Ägamas: Although the Hindu honours the Vedas as
eternal, and, with much pride, calls himself a Vedäntist, and has recently
resolved to carry the light of Vedänta to the West, the living religion of the
Indian today is based on the Ägamas, that is, on the Saiva-, Sakta- and
Vaisnavägamas ... Although discussion is for preference based on snippets
of the Upanishads, the actual opinions and religious beliefs of the Hindu
are taken entirely from the Ägamas.

In another part of the book he writes: The influence of the
Ägamas or (as they are more usually known) the tantra has become very
deep in Indian life. The living religion of the Hindu of today is essentially
tantric, from Cape Comorin as far as the furthest corner of Tibet. Even the
few genuine Vedic usages that have survived, and which are thought to
stem directly from the Vedas, the Sandhyä, have been modified by adding
tantric usages. The Ägamas also influenced considerably the development
of Vedänta philosophy. Samkara was a supporter of the Säkta sects, and
his advaita interpretation of Vedänta, though clearly independent of the
Sakta Ägama, is influenced by tantric theories. And Rämänuja, who on
Doctor Thibauts view presents a less extreme form of Vedänta, though one
closer to the ideas of Bädaräyana, was a Vaishnavite, and regarded the
Vaishnäva Ägama as an authority, although he seldom cites it in support
of his exposition. Mädhva stands so much under the influence of the
Ägamas that his Commentary (on the Vedänta Sütra) is just a catena of
Agamic texts, with a few words put in here and there to connect them.

Swami Vivekananda, the representative of Hinduism at the
Congress of Religions in Chicago, gave a similar judgment at a
Congress held in Madras:
As to tantra and its influence, the fact is that apart from the srouta
and smarta rites, all other rituals being observed from the Himalayas to
Cape Comorin are drawn from the tantra, and they dominate the worship
of the Saktas, the Saivites and the Vaishnavites and all the others.

1 He is saying even Sandhyavandana has Tantric influences. What are they? Nyasa?

2 He is saying Advaita of Adi Sankara has Tantric influence. How?


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list