“Fire is His head, the sun and the moon His eyes, space His ears, the Vedas His speech, the wind His breath, the universe His heart. From His feet, the Earth has originated. Verily, He is the inner self of all beings.” - The Upanishads on Lord Shaiva
With the interest of preserving our culture and tradition the Acharyas have envisaged a project to safeguard Shaiva Agamas that are a prime part of agamic traditions. The trust has established a Shaiva Agama Patasala at the Sankara School in Mayavaram, a town famous for its rich cultural heritage (Tanjore District). The Patasala aims to train the Vidyarthis in Shaiva Agama learning along with regular school education.
Agama, in Sanskrit, means, "that which has come down." It refers to knowledge coming from minds of the Gods into man's intuitive consciousness. Possibly, it means wisdom propagated from the past and thus coming down from history or our forefathers - perhaps from the Indus Valley, as it exhibits great similarity to the Agamic religious patterns.
Agamas are canonical texts that are believed to be 'anadi' or revelatory, that have come down from the Godhead, just like the Vedas. They are also referred to as Tantra or Samhita. All the six major traditions of Sanatana Dharma - Shaiva, Shakta, Vaishnava, Kaumara, Ganapatya and Saura have their own set of tantras. The most popular are the Saivagamas (Siva), Vaikhanasa and Pancaratra Agamas (Vishnu) and Shakta agamas (Devi). The earliest surviving manuscript of a Shaiva Agama is dated in the 4th century.
The Agamas deal with the philosophy and spiritual knowledge that lies behind the worship of the deity besides the yoga, mental discipline and rules for the worship offered to each deity. Each Agama consists of four parts. The first part covers the philosophical and spiritual knowledge and the second yoga and mental discipline. The third part lays down rules for the construction of temples and for sculpting and carving the figures of deities for worship. The fourth part consists of rules related to the observances of religious rites, rituals, and festivals.
Temple worship across the subcontinent and even in medieval South East Asia was based on the agamas, that describe everything from site selection for a temple, karshana / construction, pratishtha / installation of deities, kumbhabhisheka / consecration, puja / worship rituals and utsava / festivals.
It is a living tradition, still followed across temples in South India. Agamas are a treasure trove of knowledge, with rich material on urban planning, architecture, design, sculpture, music, dance, many types of plants and flowers used in worship, festivals, scientific time measurement, scales for construction and so on.
"Agama ritual" is a broad term, covering temple rituals, personal rituals, social practices and much more. Most of our daily rituals can be traced back to agamic roots. Flag-hoisting, raksha bandhan, applying vibhuti, giving tambula/betel-leaves and nuts, waving of aarti lamps, removing of the evil eye, homa/ fire worship for various results, performing dana/charity, Vastu practices and so on. The said education is transformed to young minds of the hereditary families who have been following and practising these traditions till now.
The Shaiva Agama Patasala is a reflection of our interest in supporting families to get free academic education for their children’s with the added asset of learning our rich culture and traditional customs of their origin.
Sri Kamakoti Shaiva Agama Patasala
Valllar Double Street,