Vaikhanasa Agama

Vaikhanasa temple


The Vaikhanasas are a small endogamous community of Sri Vaishnava Krishna Yajurveda Brahmins of South India.

Their spirituality involves idol worship of Vishnu, Vedic rituals, and bhakti.

The Vaikhanasas consider this approach even superior to Brahma vidya.

Vedic rituals such as homas, idol worship, and devotion have prominent positions in the Vaikhanasa system.

Vaikhanasa is an integration of the Vedic and Agamic systems.

The worship at Tirupati Sri Venkateswara Temple is done as per Vaikhanasa Agama.

Vaikhanasa Agama

The Vedic aspect of Lord Vishnu manifested as Sage Vikhanas.

The principles and secrets of the Vedas were taught to Vikhanas by the Lord himself in the form of the Vaikhanasa Kalpa Sutra.

They were originally one and a half crores of granthas in number. 

A grantha means 32 letters in Anushtup meter.

Vikhanas taught them to Sages Bhrigu, Marichi, Atri, and Kashyapa.

From these, Bhrigu compiled Adhikaras, Marichi compiled Samhitas, Atri compiled Tantras, and Kashyapa compiled Kandas adding up to a total of four lacs of granthas.

Vaikhanasa - Bhagavacchastra also known as Vaikhanasa Agama developed from these.

The major difference between Vaikhanasa Kalpasutra and Vaikhanasa Agama is in the prominence given to Vedic Yajnas.

Kalpasutra was written at a time when elaborate Vedic yajnas following Shrauta Sutras were very much prevalent.

In the Agama, less importance is given to elaborate yajnas.

They have been replaced by rituals as per Grihya Sutras.

The Pancha Mahayajnas to be practiced by every householder on a daily basis took the place of the elaborate yajnas.

Vaikhanasa Agama Texts

As mentioned above, the Vaikhanasa texts are of four types: Adhikaras, Samhitas, Tantras, and Kandas.

The 13 Adhikaras

  1. Khilatantra
  2. Puratantra
  3. Vasadhikara
  4. Chitradhikara
  5. Manadhikara
  6. Kriyadhikara
  7. Archadhikara
  8. Yajnadhikara
  9. Varnadhikara
  10. Prakirnadhikara
  11. Praigrihyadhikara
  12. Niruktadhikara
  13. Khiladhikara

The 8 Samhitas

  1. Jaya Samhita
  2. Ananda Samhita
  3. Samjnana Samhita
  4. Veera Samhita
  5. Vijaya Samhita
  6. Vijita Samhita
  7. Vimala Samhita
  8. Jnana Samhita

The 4 Tantras

  1. Purva Tantra
  2. Atreya Tantra
  3. Vishnu Tantra
  4. Uttara Tantra

The 3 Kandas

  1. Satya Kanda
  2. Tarka Kanda
  3. Jnana Kanda

Some other important texts

  1. Bhagavad Archa Prakarana
  2. Brahmotsavanukramanika
  3. Pratishta Vidhi Darpana
  4. Vaikhanasa Mahima Manjari
  5. Sri Vaikhanasa Grantha Mala
  6. Mokshopaya Pradipika
  7. Samtarchanadhikarana
  8. Vimanarchana Kalpa

Contents of Vaikhanasa Agama

  • Construction of temples
  • Types of garbha griha
  • Consecration of temples
  • Installation of idol
  • Daily worship
  • Materials for daily worship
  • Veda Mantras used in worship
  • Naimittika karma
  • Prayaschitta vidhi
  • Festivals

Important features of the Vaikhanasa system

  • Vikhanas is the creator of the world.
  • Vedic authority is essential for all religious rituals.
  • Veda Mantras are used in worship.
  • Their samskaras, 18 in number, are performed following the Vedic system.
  • The authority of Vaikhanasa Kalpa Sutra is well accepted by authors of other sutras.
  • The Vaikhanasas worship Vishnu exclusively.
  • In Varaha Purana, Lord Vishnu himself says: Ashwattha tree, brown cows, Tulasi, and Vikhanas are dear to me and among them, Vikhanas is my dearest.
  • Vaikhanasas believe that worship of Vishnu can compensate for any omission in performing great yajnas since Vishnu himself is Vishnu - यज्ञो वै विष्णुः.
  • Daily worship of Vishnu is equivalent to the worship of all Gods.
  • Idol worship of Vishnu at home is as important as worship at the temple.
  • Worship at the temple is for the benefit of the whole society whereas worship at home is for the benefit of the individual family.

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