Sri Kamakoti Mandali  
shrImAtre namaH  
line decor
  HOME  ::  
line decor
   
 
Pancharatra Samhita

 

guNAtIto.akSharaM brahma bhagavAn puruShottamaH |
jano jAnannidaM satyaM muchyate bhavabandhanAt ||

A few years ago, I happened to look through various pAncharAtra saMhitAs to identify every possible material related to Lord nR^isiMha. This was a list that was then prepared mainly as a checklist based on the longer list by shrIkR^iShNamAchArya (some of the works listed therein do not seem to be available now). This list includes only those works which are available today, either published or in the form of manuscripts. Some works listed here as unpublished have now been published but I have not had the time to sanitize the list.

Published samhitA-s

1. agastya saMhitA
2. aniruddha saMhitA
3. ahirbudhniya saMhitA
4. Ishvara saMhitA
5. Kapi~njala saMhitA
6. kAshyapa saMhitA
7. jayAkhya saMhitA
8. j~nAnAmR^itasAra saMhitA
9. nAradIya saMhitA [not to be confused with saMhitA-s with the same name belonging to dharma, jyotiSha and shaivAgama (mahAsiddhisAra of rathAkrAnta branch) shAstras]
10. shrImannArAyaNa saMhitA
11. parama saMhitA
12. para(ma)puruSha saMhitA
13. parAshara saMhitA
14. pAdma saMhitA (not the same as rauravAgamAntargata pAdma tantra)
15. pArameshvara saMhitA (evidently different from parameshvara tantra, a vIrashaiva tantra and one of the eighteen rudrAgamas, listed in niHshvAsa tantra saMhitA)
16. purANa saMhitA
17. puruShottama saMhitA
18. pauShkara saMhitA (different from pauShkarAgama or pauShkara tantra which can be seen in four pAdas: j~nAna, yoga, kriyA and charyA. Yoga and kriyApAdas of this shaiva tantra are known as sarvaj~nAnottara and charyApAda as mAta~NgapArameshvara)
19. bR^ihadbrahma saMhitA
20. brahma saMhitA
21. bhAradvAja saMhitA
22. bhargava saMhitA
23. mAkaNDeya saMhitA
24. mAheshvara saMhitA (tantra)
25. lakShmI tantra
26. vishvAmitra saMhitA (not to be confused with the work dealing with sAvitrI mantra and the source of the popular balAtibalA kavacha)
27. viShNu saMhitA
28. viShNu tilaka saMhitA
29. viShvaksena saMhitA
30. shANDilya saMhitA
31. sheSha saMhitA
32. shrIprashna saMhitA
33. sanatkumAra saMhitA (Though a vaiShNava tantra, some scholars refuse to group this tantra under the pAncharAtra umbrella. Both toDalottara tantra and mahAsiddhisAra tantra refer to sanatkumAra tantra as belonging to shaivAgama. That is probably a different and unavailable tantra. There is also a saMhitA with the same name which is one of the splendid shubhAgama panchaka). 
34. sAtvata saMhitA (sAtvata tantra referred to in shrImadbhAgavatam is a different work; though it is vaiShNava in nature, it cannot be classified under pAncharAtra samhitAs)
35. hayashIrSha saMhitA

SamhitA-s available as manuscripts

1. anatAkhya saMhitA
2. aniruddha saMhitA (seems to be different from the earlier listed version. Kaushikotsava is an important topic of this saMhitA and probably is related to kaushikapurANa shravaNa vidhi described in pArameshvara saMhitA)
3. Ananda saMhitA
4. Ishvara saMhitA: nR^isiMha kalpa 
5. Ishvara saMhitA: There seem to be four different versions of this saMhitA. They involve conversations between R^ishi-nArada, pArvatI-shiva, R^ishi-bhagavAn and brahmA-bhagavAn. They do not seem to be a part of one bigger saMhitA. A similar occurrence can be seen in the case of kApi~njala saMhitA as well. 
6. upendra saMhitA
7. umA saMhitA
8. aupagAyana saMhitA
9. kANva saMhitA
10. shrIkAlottara saMhitA
11. kapila saMhitA
12. kAshyapottara saMhitA
13. khagaprashna saMhitA
14. khagendra saMhitA (sometimes referred to as vihagendra saMhitA)
15. khagendra saMhitA
16. garga saMhitA
17. gajendra saMhitA
18. gautama saMhitA
19. chitrashikhaNDi saMhitA
20. jayottara saMhitA
21. j~nAnArNava saMhitA (not to be identified as j~nAnArNava tantra)
22. tantratilaka saMhitA
23. trayashatottara saMhitA
24. durvAsa saMhitA (not to be confused with saubhAgya chintAmaNi tantra)
25. narasiMhapAdma saMhitA
26. nalakUbara saMhitA
27. nArada saMhitA
28. nArasiMha saMhitA
29. nArAyaNa saMhitA
30. pa~nchaprashna saMhitA
31. padmanAbha saMhitA
32. padmodbhava saMhitA
33. paramatattvanirNayaprakAsha saMhitA
34. paramAgama chUDAmaNi
35. pArameShThya saMhitA
36. pArAsharya saMhitA
37. pUrNa saMhitA
38. pradyumna saMhitA
39. prahlAda saMhitA
40. balapauShkara saMhitA
41. bR^ihaspati saMhitA
42. bodhyAyana tantra
43. brAhma tantra
44. bhAgavata saMhitA
45. bhArgavIya saMhitA
46. ma~NkaNa saMhitA
47. mahAkAla pancharAtra (Not really a pAncharAtra text. Is a Leftist vaiShNava tantra. adbhuta garuDa kavacha seems to be from this tantra)
48. mahAlakShmI saMhitA
49. mAyAvaibhava saMhitA
50. varAha saMhitA
51. vAmana saMhitA
52. vAyu saMhitA
53. vAsisTha saMhitA
54. vAsudeva saMhitA
55. vishva saMhitA
56. vishveshvara saMhitA
57. viShNutattva saMhitA
58. viShnumandira saMhitA
59. viShNurahasya saMhitA
60. viShNusiddhAnta saMhitA
61. vR^iddha pAdma saMhitA
62. vaihAyasa saMhitA
63. vyAsa saMhitA
64. shukaprashna saMhitA
65. kAlapara saMhitA
66. shrIdhara saMhitA
67. shrIshAstra
68. sa~NkarShaNa saMhitA
69. sAtyaki saMhitA
70. sArasamucchaya saMhitA
71. saMvarta saMhitA
72. sudarshana saMhitA
73. suparNaprashna saMhitA
74. haMsapArameshvara (Not really sure why this is listed as a pAncharAtra text! Utpala quotes this text in spandapradIpikA. Moreover, in the shrIchakra pUjA kalpa traditionally handed over to me, certain verses from this tantra are quoted, which are nothing close to reflecting a pAncharAtra doctrine). 
75. hiraNyagarbha saMhitA

A few definitions of Agama:

The popular one:

AgataM shivavaktrebhyo gataM cha girijAshrutau |
mataM shrIvAsudevasya tasmAdAgama uchyate ||

A more descriptive definition from our favorite bR^ihadvArAhI tantra:

sR^iShTishcha pralayashchaiva devatAnAM yathArchanam |
sAdhanaM chaiva sarveShAM purashcharaNameva cha ||
ShaTkarmasAdhanaM chaiva dhyAnayogashchaturvidhaH |
saptabhirlakShaNairyuktamAgamaM tadvidurbudhAH ||

vAchaspati mishra, in his tattvavaishAradI, defines Agama thus:

AgacChanti buddhimArohanti yasmAdabhyudayaniHshreyasopAyAH sa Agama iti |

Agamas are classified into two: vaidika and avaidika. shAkta, vaiShNava, shaiva, saura, vainAyaka and skAnda are said to be vaidika whereas bauddha and jaina Agama-s are described as avaidika. The seventy-two bauddha tantras which are termed as avaidika Agamas include the tantra of Aryama~njushrI, pramodamahAyuga, paramArthasevA, saMpuTodbhava, piNDIkrama etc. The jaina Agamas deal with various jina deities such as sarasvatI, ambikA, kuberA, padmAvatI, siddhArthikA etc., who are regarded as sevikA-s of the tIrtha~Nkaras. Various jina tAntrikas like mAnavadevasUrin (author of laghushAntimantra), vAdivetAlasUrin (bR^ihatshAntimantra), siddhasena-divAkara (a manuscript I have seen ascribes the authorship of kautUhalamantradarshana to him) etc. seem to have been responsible for propagating jaina Agama/tantra.

The vaidika Agamas, a term which we shall use here synonymously with tantra, are classified variously, with which we have dealt in detail earlier. For example, shaivAgama is classified on the basis of sampradAya, devatA, paramparA etc. One classification includes kApAla, kAlAmukha, pAshupata and shaiva. Another describes ten shaiva and eighteen raudra Agamas. shrIkaNTha saMhitA lists aShTAShTaka bhairavAgama-s. shrIkula tantra describes a threefold classification as kAdi, hAdi and kahAdi and so on.

vaiShNavAgama is classified into two: vaikhAnasa and pAncharAtra. The Agamas which were composed or revealed by vaikhAnasa are called vaikhAnasa Agamas. A work named vaikhAnasa vijaya describes this seer as none other than chaturmukha brahmA. These Agamas trace their origin to the vaikhAnasa sUtras which were revealed by shrImannArAyaNa. According to some scholars, these sUtras are nothing different from the taittirIya sUtras (vide brahmaNo nakhAdutpanna iti etc.)

Sage vaikhAnasa is said to have taught this shAstra to four of his disciples: atri, bhr^igu, kashyapa and marIchi. The extent to which this branch of Agama expanded can be understood from the words of marIchi in vimAnArchanAdhikaraNa:

mayA (marIchinA) cha jayasaMhitA, AnandasaMhitA, saMj~nAnasaMhitA, vIrasaMhitA, vijayasaMhitA, vimalasaMhitA, j~nAnasaMhitetyaShTAsu saMhitAsu lakShAdhika chaturashItisahasra granthA uktAH ||

With the above diversification of this branch of vaiShNavAgama in mind, one can consider the below (bare bone) classification:

1. pUrva, Atreya, viShNu and uttara tantras of atri
2. satya, tarka and j~nAna kANDas of kashyapa
3. khila, purAtantra, vAsAdhikAra, chitrAdhikAra, mAnAdhikAra, kriyAdhikAra, archAdhikAra, yaj~nAdhikAra, varNAdhikAra, prakIrNAdhikAra, pratigR^ihyAdhikAra, niruktAdhikAra and khilAdhikAra of bhR^igu
4. The above listed eight samhitAs of marIchi

The above works, twenthy-eight in number, form the core of vaikhAnasa Agama. Though there is the aspect of sahodaratva between vaikhAnasa and pAncharAtra branches, the differences are numerous. For example, vaikhAnasa prayogas utilize the vaidika mantras majorly when compared to the Agama mantras. In the case of pAncharAtra, the prAchIna saMhitAs exhibit the alpatva of vaidika mantras; the madhyakAlIna saMhitAs, while displaying samAnatva of vaidika and tAntrika mantras, do however lean towards the latter. In temples which follow vaikhAnasa Agama, only vaikhAnasa gotrIya brAhmaNas have archAdhikAra. In the same context, pAncharAtra grants archAdhikAra to those belonging to shANDilya, aupagAyana, mau~njAyana, kaushika and bharadvAja gotriyas, who are described as mUlapAncharAtrika-s. For greater details, one can refer to AgamaprAmANya of yAmunAchArya, pAncharAtra-rakShA of vedAntadeshika etc.

The word pAncharAtra has been explained variously. The word pancha is interpreted as samasta and rAtra as upAsanA, thus leading to the definition: samagranarasamaShTyAH upAsaneti. The following are some other definitions seen within the pAncharAtra saMhitA-s:

purANaM vedavedAntaM tathA.anyat sAMkhyayogajam |
pa~nchaprakAraM vij~neyaM yatra rAtryAyate.abjaja |
phalotkarShavashenaiva pA~ncharAtramiti smR^itam || [pauShkara saMhitA]

sAMkhyaM yogastathA shaivaM vedAraNye cha pa~nchakam |
prochyate rAtrayaH kAnte AtmAnandasamarpaNAt ||
pa~nchAnAmIpsito yo.arthaH sa yatra samavApyate |
paramAnandametena prApnoti paramAtmanaH || [shANDilya saMhitA]

pa~nchetarANi shAstrANi rAtrIyante mahAntyapi |
chandratArAgaNaM yadvat shobhate naiva vAsare ||
tathetarANi shobhante pa~ncha naivAsya sannidhau |
pa~nchatvamathavA yadvaddIpyamAne divAkare |
R^icChanti rAtrayastadvaditarANi tadantike || [pAdmasaMhitA, j~nAnapAda]

The deities associated directly with pA~ncharAtra are also described in some of the saMhitAs:

Adau kr^itayuge prApte keshavena prasAditA |
Ananto garuDashchaiva viShvaksenaH kapAlabhR^it ||
brahmA ityeva pa~nchaite shr^iNvanti pR^ithagIritam |
anantaM prathame rAtrau garuDashcha dvitIyake ||
tR^itIyarAtre seneshaH chaturthe vedhasAshritam |
rudraH pa~nchamarAtre cha shraddhAshAstra pR^ithak pR^ithak || [vihagendra saMhitA]

sudarshanAdhyA hetIshAH pa~ncha brahmarShirUpataH |
samutpannAH kShititake pauNDravardhnasthalAdishu ||
pa~nchAyudhAMshAste pa~ncha shANDilyashchaupagAyanaH |
mau~njAyanaH kaushikashcha bhAradvAjashcha yoginaH ||
pa~nchApi pR^ithagekaikadivArAtra jagatprabhuH |
adhyApayAmAsa yatastatastanmunipu~NgavAH || [Ishvara saMhitA]

Among the many definitions, I find the following two describing the dArshanika tattva of pA~ncharAtra saMhitA:

mahAbhUtaguNAH pa~ncha rAtrayo dehinaH smR^itAH |
tadyogAdvivR^ittervA pa~ncharAtramiti smR^itam ||
bhUtamAtrANi garvashcha buddhiravyaktameva cha |
rAtrayaH puruShasyoktAH pA~ncharAtraM tataH smR^itam || [parama saMhitA]

rAtraM cha j~nAnavachanaM j~nAnaM pa~nchavidhaM smr^itam |
tenedaM pA~ncharAtraM cha pravadanti manIShiNaH ||
j~nAnaM paramatattvaM cha janmamR^ityujarApaham |
j~nAnaM dvitIyaM paramaM mumukShUNAM cha vA~nChitam ||
j~nAnaM shuddhaM tR^itIyaM cha ma~NgalaM kR^iShNabhaktidam |
chaturthaM yaugikaM j~nAnaM sarvasiddhipradaM param |
j~nAnaM cha pa~nchamaM proktaM tadvai vaiShayikaM nR^iNAm || [j~nAnAmR^itasAra saMhitA]

The following definition was oft quoted by the late shrI Mukkur Swamigal, one of the greatest bhAgavatas to have descended on earth in the last century, who I had the pleasure of meeting and conversing on two different occasions:

bhagavadbhaktireva syAt bhaktAnAM muktikAraNam |
tadbhaktibodhakaM shAstraM pA~ncharAtrAgamaM smR^itam || [puruShottama saMhitA]

Some find the reference to a shrIvaiShNava as a bhAgavata unacceptable. This seems unneeded as:

sUriH suhR^id bhAgavataH sAtvataH pa~nchakAlavit |
ekAntikastanmayashcha pA~ncharAtrika ityapi |
evamAdibhirAkhyAbhiH AkhyeyaH kamalAsana || [pAdma saMhitA]

sUriH suhR^id bhAgavataH sAtvataH pa~nchakAlavit |
ekAntikastanmayashcha pA~ncharAtrika ityapi |
evamAdibhirAkhyAbhiH AkhyeyaH kamalAsana || [pAdma saMhitA]

The sequence of the words used here are interpreted to be in the order of antiquity. The word sUri is traced by pAncharAtrika-s back to the mantra in puruSha sUkta, tadviShNoH paramaM padaM sadA pashyanti sUrayaH, which can be seen in all the four divisions of the Veda. The usage of the word pa~ncharAtra can be seen in shatapatha brAhmaNa:

sa etatpuruShamedhaM pa~ncharAtraM yaj~nakratumapashyat || [shatapathabrAhmaNaH, 13/6/1/1]

To trace the Vedic origin of pAncharAtra, one would need to examine the following statement:

vedamekAyanaM nAma vedAnAM shirasi sthitam |
tadarthakaM pA~ncharAtraM mokShadaM tatkriyAvatAm || [shrIprashna saMhitA]

The pAncharAtrika-s interpret the word ekAyana mentioned above as referring to the kANvI shAkhA of the yajurveda. The mUla pAncharAtrikas regard themselves as the anuyAyins of the kANvI shAkhA:

ekAyanAn yajurmayAn AshrAvitamanantaram | [sAtvata saMhitA]

kANvI shAkhAmadhIyAnAvaupagAyanakaushikau | [jayAkhya saMhitA]

kANvI shAkhAmadhIyAnAn vedavedAntapAragAn |
saMskR^itya dIkShayA samyak sAtvatAdyuktamArgataH || [Ishvara saMhitA]

aupagAyanapUrvAste nAnA gotrA mumukShavaH |
adhIyAnAH kaNvashAkhA tathA mAdhyandinAhvayam || [pAdmasaMhitA]

In Southern India, yAmunAchArya seems to be the first among the shrIvaiShNavas to champion the cause of pAncharAtra. He authored AgamaprAmANya to refute the opinion of shrI kumArila bhaTTa that the pAncharAtrAgama-s were avaidika. bhagavatpAda sha~Nkara, in his sUtrabhAShya, while dealing with utpattyasambhavA.adhikaraNa (2,2,42,45) refutes pAncharAtra. rAmAnuja, in his shrIbhAShya, while dealing with the same adhikaraNa, takes two of the sUtras as pUrvapakSha and attempts to refute shankara through the nirUpaNa of pAncharAtrika siddhAnta. sahasranAma bhAShya of parAshara bhaTTA and shrIsUkta bhAShya of ra~NganAtha muni further showcase the siddhAnta of the pAncharAtrikas. Apart from the works of vedAnta deshika and piLLai lokAchArya, pA~ncharAtrakaNTakoddhAraH of varadAcharya and pAncharAtrapAramyam of uttamUr vIrarAghavAchArya deserve mention in this context.

Interestingly, madhvAchArya accepts pAncharAtra as pramANa as stated in his sUtra bhAShya:

R^igyajussAmAtharvA cha bhArataM pA~ncharAtrakam |
mUlaM rAmAyaNaM chaiva shAstramityabhidhIyate ||

But unlike sha~Nkara and rAmAnuja, he indulges in neither khaNDana or maNDana of pAncharAtra while commenting on the utpattyasambhavA.adhikaraNa. His tantrasArasamucchaya seems to be follow the shailI of pAncharAtrAgama.

The status of pAncharAtra within the school of vallabhAchArya becomes evident if one carefully observes his darshana. He defines three types of bhakti: puShTi, maryAdA and pravAha. He illustrates puShTi bhakti thus:

gR^ihaM sarvAtmanA tyAjyaM tacchet tyaktuM na shakyate |
kR^iShNArthaM tanniyu~njIta kR^iShNaH saMsAramochakaH ||

For those incapable of puShTi bhakti, he illustrates the alternative thus:

athavA sarvadA shAstraM shrImadbhAgavatamAdarAt |
paThanIyaM prayatnena sarvahetuvivarjitam ||

Finally, for those incapable of even that, as a last resort, tIrthayAtrA is recommended, and this is the only place where pAncharAtra finds a faint reference:

jagannAthe viTThale cha shrIra~Nge ve~NkaTe tathA |
yatra pUjApravAhaH syAt tatra tiShTheta tatparaH ||

*******************************************
daityAsthipa~njara-vidAraNa-labdharandhra
raktAmbunirjarasariddhanajAtapa~NkA |
bAlendukoTikuTilAH shukacha~nchubhAso 
rakShantu siMhavapuSho nakharA harervaH ||