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Agamas

Agama means "without access".

Hinduism

In Hinduism, Agamas are so-called revelatory texts, which are named after the respective revealing divinity. The dialogue in which Shiva speaks and Parvati (Shakti) listens are called Agama. The lyrics in which Parvati speaks and Shiva listens are called Nigama.

The Agama traditions include yoga and other concepts of self-realization including Kundalini yoga as well as the philosophies from Dvaita to the monistic Advaita.

An Agama has the four sections Carya, Kriyā, Yoga and Jñāna.  The Āgamas therefore contain practical rules for the construction of temples (Kriya pada) and for the formation and instructions for the worship of the gods (Arkas) and the atonement ceremonies (Charya pada).

The Agama texts also include cosmology, epistemology, philosophical considerations (Jnana pada), meditation rules and the four types of yoga (yoga pada).

There are 28 Saiva Agamas and more than 207 Upagamas known. Five classes of worship emerged, the so-called Pancha Upasakas.

Agamas are divided according to five criteria (Pancha Upasakas) in Vaiṣṇava Āgamas, Surya Agamas, Ganapatya Agamas, Çaiva Āgamas and Çäkta Āgamas

  1. Energy: Shakti - Sakta Agamas
  2. Visible Source (Sun): Surya - Soura Agamas - based on Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta, Ganapatya, Kaumara and Soura.
  3. Controller - Ganapati : Ganapataya - Agamas
  4. Destroyer - Shiva : Saiva Agamas
  5. Highest source - Vishnu : Vaiṣṇava Agamas  of Pancharatra and the Vaikhanasas

The Suprabhedagama, the Analagama, the Vijayagama and the Sarvoktagama are considered as Mula - Agamas.

Shaiva Agamas

Of the 253 Shivaist Agamas, only about 15 were published while the rest is found in temples.

There are roughly 64 Kashmir-Saiva-Agamas and the 28 Saiva-Siddhanta-Agamas, which are associated with the 5 faces of Sadashiva.

The first four faces taught 5 while the last (Ishana)  taught 8:

  1. Sadyojata face: It revealed Kamika, Yogaja, Cintya, Karana and Ajita  to Kausika Rishi.
  2. Vamadeva face: It revealed Dipta, Sukshuma, Sahasra, Amsumat and Suprabheda to the Kasyapa Rishi.
  3. Aghora face: It revealed Vijaya, Nisvasa, Svayambhuva, Agneya (or Anala) and Vira at the sage Bharadvaja.
  4. Tatpurusha face: It revealed Raurava, Makuta, Vimala, Chandrajnana and Mukhabimba (or Bimba) at the sage Gautama.
  5. Isana face: It revealed Prodgita, Lalita, Siddha, Santana, Sarvokta, Parameswara, Kirana and Vatula to the sage Agastya.

To these 28 Agamas exist 204 explanatory upa-agamas. They can to be found in the four Shivaist schools of origin Kapala, Kalamukha, Pashupata and Shaiva.

  1. 10 Sivabheda Agamas: 1. Kamika, 2. Yogaya, 3. Chintya, 4. Karana, 5. Ajita, 6. Dipta, 7. Sukshma, 8. Sahasraka, 9. Amshumat and 10. Suprabheda
  2. The 18 Rudrabheda Agamas: 11. Vijaya, 12. Nihshvasa, 13. Svayambhuva, 14. Anala, 15. Vira (Bhadra), 16. Raurava, 17. Makuta, 18. Vimala, 19. Chandrajnana (or Chandrahasa), 20th century. Mukhabimba (or Bimba), 21. Prodgita (or Udgita), 22. Lalita, 23. Siddha, 24. Santana, 25. Sarvokta (Narasimha), 26. Parameshvara, 27. Kirana and 28. Vatula (or Parahita).

Shakta Agamas

In these 77 Tantric texts, Sri Devi and her formations are revered in the Sri Vidya. They are divided into Dakshina marga (right hand) and Vama marga (left hand). 

This includes the Mahanirvana Tantra, the Kulanarva Tantra, the Kulasara Tantra, the Prapanchasara Tantra, the Tantraraja, the Rudra Yamala, the Brahma Yamala, the Vishnu Yamala and the Todala Tantra.

Jainism

In Jainism Agamas are the canonical texts based on Mahavira's teachings. Traditionally these sutras are transmitted verbally by teachers (acaryas or gurus) to the disciples.

They consist of 45 texts:

  • 12 Angās (Ācāranga sūtra, Sūtrakrtanga, Sthānānga, Samavāyānga, Vyākhyāprajñapti or Bhagavati sūtra, Jnātrdhārmakathāh, Upāsakadaśāh, Antakrddaaśāh, Anuttaraupapātikadaśāh, Praśnavyākaranani, Vipākaśruta, Drstivāda)
  • 12 Upanga āgamas ( Explanations of the Angās)- (Aupapātika, Rājapraśnīyam, Jīvājīvābhigama, Prajñāpana, Sūryaprajñapti, Jambūdvīpaprajñapt, Candraprajñapti, Nirayārvalī, Kalpāvatamsikāh, Puspikāh, Puspacūlikāh, Vrasnidaśāh)
  • 6 Chedasūtras (Rules of the monks and nuns)- (Ācāradaśāh, Brhatkalpa, Vyavahāra, Niśītha, Mahāniśītha, Jītakalpa)
  • 4 Mūlasūtras ( Writings on the early stages of monkhood )- (Daśavaikālika, Uttarādhyayana, Āvaśyaka, Pindaniryukyti
  • 10 Prakīrnaka Sūtras -(Catuhśarana, Āturapratyākhyanā, Bhaktaparijñā, Samstāraka, Tandulavaicarika, Candravedhyāka, Devendrastava, Ganividyā, Mahāpratyākhyanā, Vīrastava)
  • 2 Cūlikasūtras ( Writings that further enhance or explain the importance of Angas )- (Nandī-sūtra, Anuyogadvāra-sūtra)

Buddhism

In Buddhism, a āgama (Sanskrit and Pali for "holy work" or "script") is a collection of early Buddhist scriptures. The different schools had different reviews of the individual Agama.

The 5 āgamas together form the Sūtra Piṭaka of the early Buddhist schools.
In the Pali canon of the Theravada school written in the Pali language, the term Nikāya is used instead of āgama.

The 5 āgamas are here

  • Dīrgha Āgama (Nikāya) - (Long Discussions, Cháng Ahánjīng Taishō) - corresponds to the Dīgha Nikāya of Theravada.
  • Madhyama Āgama (medium-length discussions , Zhōng Ahánjīng, Taishō 26) - corresponds to the Majjhima Nikāya of Theravada.
  • Saṃyukta Āgama of Theravada (Connected discussions, Zá Ahánjīng Taishō 2.99) - corresponds to the Saṃyutta Nikāya of Theravada.
  • Ekottara Āgama (" Numbered discourses", Zēngyī Ahánjīng, Taishō 125) -  corresponds to the Anguttara Nikāya of Theravada.
  • Kṣudraka Āgama oder Kṣudraka Piṭaka (Smaller collection) - corresponds to the Khuddaka Nikāya of Theravada.

References

  1.  http://www.indologica.com/volumes/vol13/vol13_art07_MALLEDEVARU.pdf
  2.  http://www.saivasiddhanta.org/data/attachment.php?id=5110&for_session=0ac78143088d6a5df6ac31f57607c53d
  3.  http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/scans/MWScan/MWScanpdf/mw0129-Akhara.pdf

Literature