Agama, aka: Āgama; 24 Definition(s)

Introduction

Agama means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

The Shaiva Agama perceives its texts were generated from Shiva as:—From Shiva to Devi, from Devi to Nandhi, from Nandhi to Brahma, from Brahma to Rishi and from Rishi to human beings.

Source: Wikipedia: Shaivism

The Agamas represent on independent class of writing by very early seers, who had an inward experience and enlightenment from the Supreme Being, and who were also perhaps influenced by the Vedas in their original form. They had realized in their lives and thoughts the general truths taught by the early Upanisads. So far as Saivism is concerned, these seers were not men from the North. They were essentially representatives of All India and they reflected in their thoughts, modes of meditation and worship, and in their writing, the inherent Theism of the South.

The Agamas claim Vedic authority for their doctrines. The agama doctrines are indeed theistic and such theism is not foreign to the Upanisads.

Source: Agama Academy: Kamika Agama

Āgama (आगम).—Revelation and sacred scripture in Tamil Śaivism was not, however, limited to the hymns of saints. The Āgamas, texts in Sanskrit that were concerned primarily with sādhana, ritual and spiritual practice, were also considered part of the body of revealed scripture. The contents of the Āgamas generally had a four-fold pada, division or structure: 1) jṅāna, knowledge; 2) yoga, techniques of meditation; 3) kriyā, architectural and iconographie making, and associated rituals; and 4) carya, performance of daily worship, as well as code of religious conduct. Śaiva Siddhānta was the philosophico-theological systematization of Śaiva revelation received through these two streams, and was indelibly linked to the public institution of the temple.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra (shaivism)

Āgama (आगम).—The āgamas are the basic scriptures of both Southern and Kaśmir Śaivism. Āgama means the source from which the spiritual knowledge spreads in all directions. It has seven characteristics such as creation of the universe, dissolution of the universe, worship of gods and goddesses, spiritual practice, repetition of the mantras for attaining perfection, and performance of satkarma. According to tradition, they are considered to be divinely inspired and emanating from Śiva.

According to one tradition, the basic Śaiva Āgamas are eighteen in number and according to another it is twenty eight.

Source: DSpace at Pondicherry: Siddha Cult in Tamilnadu (shaivism)

Āgama (आगम).—The āgamas are said to have originated from the five faces of Śiva. At the time of creation, Maheśa emanated the āgamas from his five faces in order to establish the four Puruṣārthas (dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa) in the world. Śaivāgama-lekha-sarvasvam recounts a declaration by Śiva that he uttered both the Veda and Āgama even before the creation of the world.

Source: Shodhganga: Temple management in the Āgamas
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Āgama (आगम).—1 —the rules of;2 for digging wells, constructing tanks and gardens;3 cited for yajñas where paśu was not involved and where bīja (seeds) served the purpose of the animal.4

  • 1) Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 17. 58.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 30. 19 and 27; III. 21. 46.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 58. 55; 143. 13.
  • 4) Vāyu-purāṇa 53. 122; 57. 100.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

The Shakta Agamas or Shakta tantras are 64 in number and grouped into Dakshina marga (right-hand) and Vama marga (left-hand).

Source: WikiPedia: Shaktism
Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

The Vaishnava Agamas are found into two main schools -- Pancharatra and Vaikhanasas.

Source: Wikipedia: Vaishnava dharma
Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Āgama (आगम).—Augment, accrement, a word element which is added to the primitive or basic word during the process of the formation of a complete word or pada. The āgama is an adventitious word element and hence differs from ādeśa, the substitute which wholly takes the place of the original or (आदेशिन् (ādeśin)). Out of the several āgamas mentioned by Pāṇini, those that are marked with mute ट् () are prefixed, those, marked with क् (k), are affixed, while those, marked with म् (m), are placed immediately after the last vowel of the word. The augments become a part and parcel of the word to which they are added, and the characteristics of which they possess;cf.यदागमास्तद्गुणी-भूतास्तद्ग्रहणेन गृह्यन्ते (yadāgamāstadguṇī-bhūtāstadgrahaṇena gṛhyante), also आगमानां आगमि-धर्मिवैशिष्ट्यम् (āgamānāṃ āgami-dharmivaiśiṣṭyam) Par. Śek. Pari.11. Those grammarians, who hold the view that words are unproduced and eternal, explain the addition of an augment as only the substitution of a word with an augment in the place of a word without an augment; cf. आदेशास्तर्हिमे भविष्यन्ति अनाग-मकानां सागमकाः (ādeśāstarhime bhaviṣyanti anāga-makānāṃ sāgamakāḥ) M. Bh. on I.1.20; I.1.46. The term āgama is defined as अन्यत्र विद्यमानस्तु यो वर्णः श्रुयतेधिकः । आगम्यमानतुल्यत्वात्स आगम इति स्मृतः (anyatra vidyamānastu yo varṇaḥ śruyatedhikaḥ | āgamyamānatulyatvātsa āgama iti smṛtaḥ) Com. on Tait. Prāt.I. 23.

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
context information

Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Agama (अगम) refers to a “tree”, as mentioned in a list of twenty-five synonyms in the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga) of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu (an Ayurvedic encyclopedia). The Dharaṇyādi-varga covers the lands, soil, mountains, jungles and vegetation’s relations between trees [viz., Agama] and plants and substances, with their various kinds.

Source: Wisdom Library: Raj Nighantu
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Nirukta (Sanskrit etymology)

Āgama (आगम) is also popularly explained as a compound of āgatam + gatam + matam, meaning that which came from the face of Śiva, was received by Girijā and which serves as the code for śivabhaktas (cf. Introduction to Kāraṇāgama).

Source: Shodhganga: Temple management in the Āgamas (nirukta)
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Nirukta (निरुक्त) or “etymology” refers to the linguistic analysis of the Sanskrit language. This branch studies the interpretation of common and ancient words and explains them in their proper context. Nirukta is one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Agamas expound many aspects, including personal worship, temple construction and architecture, Iconography, worship in temple, Vāstu and so on. It is not an exaggeration to say that most of the popular aspects of Hinduism are found in Purānic and Agamic literature. Primarily Agamas are of three schools – Vaiṣṇava, Śaiva and Śāktā. They are followed by Vaiṣṇavites, Śaivaites and Śāktās respectively.

 Agama has three parts, Mantra, Tantra and Yantra.

Source: Hindupedia: The Hindu Encyclopedia

Āgama (आगम):—The Āgamas contain rules for the construction of temples and shaping of arcas and the consecration and worship of the latter. The Āgamas are treatises by sages on the practical side of religion. They contain rules for the construction of the temples, making of arca, consecration of the temples and idols, worship of the arca and expiatory ceremonies for acts of commission and omission. Incidentally they treat of town planning to show the place of temple in a planned town and the qualifications of the worshipper. These Āgamas are two-fold, the Vaiṣṇava and the Śaiva according as they treat of the temples, arca and worship of the different forms of Viṣṇu or Śiva.

Each Āgama has four sections in it called

  1. Caryā,
  2. Kriyā,
  3. Yoga
  4. and Jñāna.

The first treats of the daily duties; the second of the worship of God; the third of the practices tending to the control of the senses and for the meditation of God. The last treats of the nature of God, the constitution of the body and mukti.

Source: Institute of Sri Ramchandra Consciousness: A Handbook of Hindu Religion: Literature

Āgama (आगम).—According to the Vārāhītantra, Āgama deals with seven topics, viz., cosmology, destruction, worship of god, sādhanā, puraścarṇa, six forms of rites and four forms of meditation. The number of Āgamas of the Pañcarātra School is generally stated to be 108, but on comparison with different lists their number appears to be more than Two hundred. The Vārāhītantra gives a list of twelve special Āgamas which are Muktaka, Prapañca, Śāradā, Nārada, Mahārnava, Kapila, Yōga, Kalpa, Kapiñjala, Amrtaśuddhi, Vīra and Siddhasamvaraṇa.

The Āgamas are of three main classes’ viz., Śaivāgama, Śaktāgama and Vaiṣṇavāgama or Pañcarātra. Each and every sect also have their own Āgamas.

The Āgamas are usually in verse, and vary in length. In theory they consist of four parts (pādas):

  1. on knowledge or doctrine (vidyāpāda),
  2. on ritual (kriyāpāda),
  3. on conduct (caryāpāda),
  4. and on yoga (yōgapāda);

Āgamas do not focus on philosophy or doctrine; but on how devotees should conduct their lives and practice religion. The doctrine in all Āgamas is not homogeneous; some are dualist, others non-dualist. Their cosmogony (notably the lists of tattvas) also differs, as do their views on initiation.

Source: DSpace at Pondicherry: Siddha Cult in Tamilnadu (hinduism)

Āgama (आगम) is generally defined as “well constructed and traditionally communicated wisdom”, i.e ā + gam. Āgamas are broadly classified into three groups viz. Śaiva, Vaiṣṇava and Śākta. Based on this sectarian classifications definitions are different from each other. These Āgamas are also often employed as synonyms with the words called Tantra, Mahātantra and Saṃhitā.

The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu so, it is termed as Āgama. Or, it represents the wisdom proceeded from the mouth of Śiva, received by Pārvatī, which is capable of removing three impurities are called as Āgamas. The Śāktāgamas holds the idea that of holy wisdom imparted by Devī to Īśvara. This is in consonance with Śaivāgamas. The Vaiṣṇavāgamas preache us the right behaviour, knowledge about the divine states and manner of obtaining them, and about the glory of God and reality (definitions found in this school treat āgama as a śāstra).

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva (h)

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Āgama () in Buddhism is used to refer to a collection of discourses (Sanskrit: sutra; Pali: sutta) of the early Buddhist schools, which were preserved primarily in Chinese translation, with substantial material also surviving in Sanskrit and lesser but still significant amounts surviving in Gāndhārī and in Tibetan translation.

There are four extant collections of āgamas, and one for which we have only references and fragments (the kṣudrakāgama). The four extant collections are preserved in their entirety only in Chinese translation (āgama: 阿含經), although small portions of all four have recently been discovered in Sanskrit, and portions of four of the five āgamas are preserved in Tibetan.

The four (plus one) āgamas are:

  1. The dīrgha-āgama (“long discourses”, Cháng Ahánjīng 長阿含經 Taishō) corresponds to the Dīgha-nikāya of the Theravada school.
  2. The madhyama-āgama (“middle-length discourses”, Zhōng Ahánjīng 中阿含經, Taishō 26) corresponds to the Majjhima-nikāya of the Theravada school.
  3. The saṃyukta-āgama (“connected discourses”, Zá Ahánjīng 雜阿含經 Taishō 2.99) corresponds to the Saṃyutta-nikāya of the Theravada school.
  4. The ekottara-āgama (“numbered discourses”, Zēngyī Ahánjīng, 增壹阿含經 Taishō 125) corresponds to the Anguttara-nikāya of the Theravada school.
  5. The kṣudraka-āgama or the kṣudraka-piṭaka (“minor collection”) corresponds to the Khuddaka-nikāya, and existed in some schools (eg., Dharmaguptaka).
Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

India history and geogprahy

Āgama.—(SII 1), a doctrine; cf. Lākul-āgama (EI 32), the doctrine of Lakula (Lakulīśa). Cf. āgama-samaya. Cf. s-āgama-nirgama-praveśa (IE 8-5), ‘together with approaches, ingress and egress’. Note: āgama is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Agama in Pali glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

āgama : (m.) 1. coming; approach; 2. religion; scripture; 3. an inserted consonant.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Āgama, (fr. ā + gam) — 1. coming, approach, result, D.I, 53 (āgamanaṃ pavattatī ti DA.I, 160; cp. Sdhp.249 dukkh°). — 2. that which one goes by, resource, reference, source of reference, text, Scripture, Canon; thus a designation of(?) the Pātimokkha, Vin.II, 95 = 249, or of the Four Nikāyas, DA.I, 1, 2 (dīgh°). A def. at Vism.442 runs “antamaso opamma-vagga-mattassa pi buddhavacanassa pariyāpuṇaṇaṃ”. See also āgata 2, for phrase āgatāgama, handed down in the Canon, Vin Loc. cit. Svāgamo, versed in the doctrine, Pv IV.133 (sv° = suṭṭhu āgat’āgamo, PvA.230); Miln.215. BSk. in same use and meaning, e. g. Divy 17, 333, āgamāni = the Four Nikāyas. — 3. rule, practice, discipline, obedience, Sn.834 (āgamā parivitakkaṃ), cp. Davs.V, 22 (takk°, discipline of right thought) Sdhp.224 (āgamato, in obedience to). ‹-› 4. meaning, understanding, KhA 107 (vaṇṇ°). — 5. repayment (of a debt) J. VI, 245. — 6. as gram. tt. “augment”, a consonant or syllable added or inserted SnA 23 (sa-kār’āgama). (Page 95)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

āgama (आगम).—m (S) A general name for a Shastra or work on science and of divine origin. 2 A class of Shastras, containing spells and incantations. 3 Rise, origin, the reaching or falling unto (as of an estate) considered as constituting the claim or title to it. () 4 Beginning, commencement, outset. Pr. pātaka āgamīṃ gōḍa nirgamīṃ kaḍū. Also āgamē sukhamāprōti nirgamē prāṇasaṅkaṭaṃ. 5 Approach, arrival, coming to. 6 A title-deed; any voucher, record, or document, constituting a legal title. 7 A grammatical augment.

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āgama (आगम).—. Add:--8 Rise, spring, origin, coming into being.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

āgama (आगम).—m Rise. Approach. Beginning. A title-deed. A class of Shastras.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Agama (अगम).—a = अग (aga) q. v. बभूवुरगमाः सर्वे मारुतेन विनिर्धुताः (babhūvuragamāḥ sarve mārutena vinirdhutāḥ) Rām.5.14.17.

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Āgama (आगम).—1 Coming, arrival, approach, appearance; लतायां पूर्वलूनायां प्रसूनस्यागमः कुतः (latāyāṃ pūrvalūnāyāṃ prasūnasyāgamaḥ kutaḥ) U.5.2; Śi.1.3; अव्यक्ताद् व्यक्तयः सर्वाः प्रभवन्त्यहरागमे । रात्र्यागमे प्रलीयन्ते (avyaktād vyaktayaḥ sarvāḥ prabhavantyaharāgame | rātryāgame pralīyante) Bg.8. 18; R.14.8, Pt.3.48; Ms.8.41; so व्यसन°, अन्धकार° (vyasana°, andhakāra°) &c.

2) Acquisition; एषोऽ स्या मुद्राया आगमः (eṣo' syā mudrāyā āgamaḥ) Mu.1; Ś.6. this is how I came by this ring; Dk.139; वेदानामागमः (vedānāmāgamaḥ) K.18; विद्यागमनिमित्तम् (vidyāgamanimittam) V.5.

3) Birth, origin, source; आगमापायिनोऽनित्यास्तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत (āgamāpāyino'nityāstāṃstitikṣasva bhārata) Bg.2.14 coming and going, of short birth or duration, transient; आगमः काव्यामृतरसानाम् (āgamaḥ kāvyāmṛtarasānām) K.5.

4) Addition, accumulation, acquisition (of wealth); अर्थ°, धन° (artha°, dhana°) &c.

5) Flow, course, current (of water); Ms.8.252,9.281; रक्त°, फेण° (rakta°, pheṇa°).

6) A voucher or written testimony; see अनागम (anāgama). संभोगो दृश्यते यत्र न दृश्येतागमः क्वचित् (saṃbhogo dṛśyate yatra na dṛśyetāgamaḥ kvacit) Ms.8.2.

7) Knowledge; शिष्यप्रदेयागमाः (śiṣyapradeyāgamāḥ) Bh.2.15; प्रज्ञया सदृशागमः । आगमः सदृशारम्भः (prajñayā sadṛśāgamaḥ | āgamaḥ sadṛśārambhaḥ) R.1.15; यस्यागमः केवलजीविकायै (yasyāgamaḥ kevalajīvikāyai) M.1.17; Y.2.212,92.

8) Supply of money, income, revenue.

9) Lawful acqusition of anything; आगमेपि बलं नैव भुक्तिः स्तोकापि यत्र नो (āgamepi balaṃ naiva bhuktiḥ stokāpi yatra no) Y.2.27,28.

1) Increase of property.

11) A traditional doctrine or precept, a sacred writing or scripture, Śāstra; अनुमानेन न चागमः क्षतः (anumānena na cāgamaḥ kṣataḥ) Ki.2.28,5.18; परिशुद्ध आगमः (pariśuddha āgamaḥ) 2.33; K.55,337.

12) The study of Śāstras, sacred knowledge or learning.

13) Science, a system of philosophy; साङ्ख्यागमेनेव प्रधानपुरुषोपेतेन (sāṅkhyāgameneva pradhānapuruṣopetena) K.51; बहुधाप्यागमैर्भिन्नाः पन्थानः सिद्धिहेतवः (bahudhāpyāgamairbhinnāḥ panthānaḥ siddhihetavaḥ) R.1.26

14) the Vedas, the sacred scripture; आत्मन्युपरते सम्यङ् मुनिर्व्युपरतागम (ātmanyuparate samyaṅ munirvyuparatāgama) Bhāg.1.2.4. न्यायनिर्णीतसारत्वा- न्निरपेक्षमिवारामे (nyāyanirṇītasāratvā- nnirapekṣamivārāme) Ki.11.39.; आगमः खल्पपि (āgamaḥ khalpapi) Mbh. on P.I.1.1.

15) The last of the four kinds of proof, recognized by the Naiyāyikas (also called śabda or āpta- vākya, the Vedas being so regarded).

16) An affix or suffix.

17) The addition or insertion of a letter; भवेद्- वर्णागमाद्धंसः (bhaved- varṇāgamāddhaṃsaḥ) Sk.

18) An augment; इडागमः (iḍāgamaḥ).

19) Theory (opp. prayoga); चतुःषष्टिकलागमप्रयोगचतुरः (catuḥṣaṣṭikalāgamaprayogacaturaḥ) Dk.12.

2) (-maḥ, -mam) A work inculcating the mystical worship of शिव (śiva) and शक्ति (śakti), a Tantra; आगतं पञ्चवक्त्रात्तु गतं च गिरिजानने । मतं च वासुदेवस्य तस्मादागममुच्यते (āgataṃ pañcavaktrāttu gataṃ ca girijānane | mataṃ ca vāsudevasya tasmādāgamamucyate) || Śabdak.

12) The mouth of a river.

22) What comes later or afterwards. आगमवदन्त्यलोपः स्यात् (āgamavadantyalopaḥ syāt) MS.1.5.1. (āgamavat as explained by śabara is yathā samājeṣu samāseṣu caṃ ye āgantavo bhavanti te pūrvopaviṣṭānanupamṛdyaiva niviśante evamihāpi draṣṭavyam |

23) A way of worship; labdhānugraha ācāryāttena sandarśitā- gamaḥ | mahāpuruṣamabhyarcenmūrtyābhimatamātmanaḥ || Bhāg.11.3.48.

24) A road or way journey; āgamāste śivāḥ santu Rām.2.25.21.

Derivable forms: āgamaḥ (आगमः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Agama (अगम).—m.

(-maḥ) 1. A tree. 2. A mountain. E. a priv. and gama who goes.

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Agama (अगम).—m.

(-maḥ) A Brahman, one who does not salute a Brahman making obeisance to the gods only, and returning salutations, with his blessing. E. a neg. and gama who salutes.

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Āgama (आगम).—m.

(-maḥ) 1. Arrival, coming, approach. 2. A Sastra or work on sacred science in general, supposed to be of divine origin. 3. A Tantra or any work inculcating the mystical worship of Siva and Sakti. 4. A grammatical augment, a syllable or letter inserted in any part of the radical word. 5. Record, title deed, legal title, a voucher or written testimony, &c. E. āṅ before gam to go, to come, ac aff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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