Parama Samhita (English translation)

by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words

This is the English translation of the Parama Samhita, a manual textbook of the Pancaratra system of philosophy and worship. It summarizes topics such as ritualistic worship and initiation as detailled in the various Agamas belonging to the Pancaratra school of Vaishnavism....

Preface

The Pāñcarātra manual entitled “Paramasaṃhitā is published here with an English translation for the benefit of the non-Sanskrit knowing public. Among the Pāñcarātra works, this one occupies a high place, and has been quoted as such by eminent Acāryas. Even so, manuscripts of the work have become rare, and all our enquiry could give us no information of any other copy than the manuscript, Shelf No. 10 G. 27, in the Theosophical Society, Aḍaiyar, of which a copy came into our hands by chance, and a more or less imperfect manuscript, No. 23743 (Grantha) in the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library at Madras. The first of these is said to have been copied on 24th January 1918 from the MS in possession of Raṅgaswami Bhattacarya of Sriraṅgam. On both of these manuscripts this edition of the work is based. Except for very bad lapses in chapter XXVIII and comparatively smaller lapses in the very first chapter, the work is in a fairly good state of preservation. It is published therefore as it is without waiting for the possibility of a more complete copy. If ever one should become available, it would not be difficult to issue an amended text, and make the work complete. The work is of too great importance to the Bhakti school of Vaiṣnavism to need any apology for its publication. I acknowledge here with pleasure my obligation to Dr. Benoytosh Bhattacarya, Director, Oriental Institute Baroda, and the Government of His Highness the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda for publishing it in the Gaekwad’s Oriental Series. I acknowledge with equal pleasure the assistance I received from Sāhitya Śiromaṇi Pandit S. Rajagopalacarya who read the work with me, and whose comparatively short introduction in Sanskrit is also included in the work. It is hoped that this publication would lead to a better understanding of the Pāñcarātra, and of the character of the āgama works generally.

S. KRISHNASWAMI AIYAṄGAR.

5th March 1940.
Mylapore, Madras S.