means, in the Hindu context, "a traditional doctrine, or system which commands faith".
In Hinduism, the Agamas are a collection of Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...
scriptures which are revered and followed by millions of Hindus.
Agamas deal with the philosophy
Hindu philosophy is divided into six schools of thought, or , which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures. Three other schools do not accept the Vedas as authoritative...
and spiritual knowledge behind the worship of the deity
Within Hinduism a large number of personal gods are worshipped as murtis. These beings are either aspects of the supreme Brahman, Avatars of the supreme being, or significantly powerful entities known as devas. The exact nature of belief in regards to each deity varies between differing Hindu...
, the yoga and mental discipline required for this worship, and the specifics of worship offered to the deity. Each Agama consists of four parts. The first part includes the philosophical and spiritual knowledge. The second part covers the yoga and the mental discipline. The third part specifies rules for the construction of temples and for sculpting and carving the figures of deities for worship in the temples. The fourth part of the Agamas includes rules pertaining to the observances of religious rites, rituals, and festivals.
The Agamas state three essential requirements for a place of pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...
- Sthala, Teertham and Murthy. Sthala refers to the temple, Teertham, to the temple tank and Murthy to the deity(ies) worshipped. A temple may also be associated with a tree, called the Sthala Vriksham. For instance, the Kadamba tree at the Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple is the Sthala Vriksham. A lone banyan tree that adorns the spacious courtyard of the Ratnasabha at Tiruvalankadu is the Sthala Vriksham. The entire area is believed to have been a forest of banyan trees once.
Elaborate rules are laid out in the Agamas for Silpa (the art of sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...
) describing the quality requirements of the places where temples are to be built, the kind of images to be installed, the materials from which they are to be made, their dimensions, proportions, air circulation, lighting in the temple complex etc. The Manasara and Silpasara are some of the works dealing with these rules. The rituals followed in worship services each day at the temple also follow rules laid out in the Agamas.
according to shaiva agama
it is generate from shiva
as (shivena devya datham devya dathamthu nandhine nandhina brahmana datham brahmana rishi dhathakam rishinaam maanusha datham ethyethe agamodhbavam
it means all agamas are came
from shiva to devi
from devi to nandhi, from nandhi to brahma, from brahma to rishi, from rishi to human beings
agamas are still in worship
The Agamas are one of the sources for yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...
methods and instruction. The Shaiva Agamas revere the Ultimate Reality as Lord Shiva (Shaivism
Shaivism is one of the four major sects of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. Followers of Shaivism, called "Shaivas," and also "Saivas" or "Saivites," revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer,...
). The Vaishnava-Agamas (Pancharatra
Pancharātra is a Sanskrit drama written by Bhasa. The plot is based on the Hindu epic Mahabharata....
Vaikhānasa is one of the principal traditions of Hinduism and primarily worships Vishnu as the Supreme God.The followers are mainly brahmins of Krishna Yajurveda Taittiriya Shakha and Vaikhanasa Kalpasutra. The name Vaikhānasa stands for both the followers as well as the fundamental philosophy...
Samhitas) adore the Ultimate Reality as Vishnu (Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu, or his associated Avatars such as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God....
). The Shakta-Agamas (Tantras
Tantras refers to numerous and varied scriptures pertaining to any of several esoteric traditions rooted in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. Although Buddhist and Hindu Tantra have many similarities from the outside, they do have some clear distinctions. The rest of this article deals with Hindu...
) venerate the Ultimate Reality as Shakti the consort of Shiva and Divine Mother of the universe (Shaktism
Shaktism is a denomination of Hinduism that focuses worship upon Shakti or Devi – the Hindu Divine Mother – as the absolute, ultimate Godhead...
). Each set of texts expands on the central theological and philosophical teachings of that denomination.
The Agama traditions have been one of the sources of early Yogic and Self Realization concepts in India. They have influenced thinkers and philosophers who sought an alternative to the excessive ritualism and sacrifices of the Vedic system of that time. Besides Hindu texts, early Jain and Buddhist scriptures are also called Agama texts.
The two main schools in the Vaishnava Agama are Pancharatra and Vaikanasa Agama. The Saiva Agama has led to the Saiva Siddhanta philosophy in South India and to the Pratyabhijna system of Kashmir Saivism. In the Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...
s the word Agama literally means religion. The Agamas are also known as Tantras.