by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words
This page describes the bhagavata religion coeval with jainism and buddhism of the English translation of the Parama Samhita, representing a manual of the Pancaratra school of Vaishnavism philosophy. These pages summarize ritualistic worship, initiation and other topics, as contained in the various Agamas belonging to the Pancaratra school
The Bhāgavata religion and the Bhāgavatas are under reference in literature which takes us back to the early literature of the Jains, as some of their earliest classics make mention of the holy ones of the Bhāgavatas. The inclusion of the names, Vāsudeva and Baladeva among the Salāka Puruṣas of the Jains and their reference to the relationship between Ariṣṭanemi and Vāsudeva among the Bhāgavatas, would make the idea of Vāsudeva-worship contemporary with the earliest stages of Jainism. The idea of the Vāsudevas and the Baladevas being regarded as among the great personages of the Jains in the present day would certainly attest to an equal antiquity to the Bhāgavata religion. Equally early references to the Bhāgavatas could be traced in Buddhist literature. The Ghaṭa Jātaka seems to be reminiscent of the Vaiṣṇava tradition; Ghaṭa, the brother of Vāsudeva is identified with the Buddha in a previous birth, and Vāsudeva is identified with Sāriputra. Other early Buddhistic texts contain references to the sect of the Bhāgavatas among the innumerable religious sects who were contemporary with the Buddha himself, as has been pointed out long ago by Sir K. G. Bhandarkar. It thus makes it clear that the Bhāgavata religion as such is at least as old as Jainism and Buddhism.