by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words
This page describes the tradition of agastya’s emigration confirmatory 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
It is clear from what has been stated above that the teaching of the Bhāgavata religion had early got formulated perhaps in the region of Kurukṣetra, and carried over the country to the extreme south by the Sātvata movement which must have begun somewhat earlier than the great war of the Mahābhārata. The tradition of the movement of Agastya to the south contains points in it which would confirm this.
When it was resolved that Agastya should move southward across the Vindhya mountains, it is said that he went to various places and obtained various items of equipment for his journey south. For one thing, he carried the waters of the Ganges in his kamaṇḍala (water-pot) and went to Kṛṣṇa and obtained 18 leaders and 18,000 cultivators, and with much other equipment went forward towards the south. These traditions are certainly reminiscent of the southward movement of a people from the north carrying with them the culture that had already got into vogue in the north. When the body thus emigrated and settled down in the south, there started a new development, which combined the culture of these immigrants and of that of all the people whom perhaps they found there already.
The whole course of this development included in it the Bhakti cult which we find in full efflorescence by the beginning of the Christian era showing a further exuberance of growth in the centuries following to the time of Rāmānuja. Rāmānuja had ample material in the latter half of the 11th century, and the earlier half of the 12th to formulate the system of worship and religion which goes by the name. Vaiṣṇavism. His -teaching was carried to the north in the generations immediately following and developed in various branches with characteristic differences suitable to the localities where it developed further in the somewhat sensuous Rādhākriṣṇa cult of Bengal on the one side, and the somewhat Severer cult of the Sikhs on the other. We are not concerned to deal with that topic further here.
Footnotes and references:
Tolkāppiam Pāyiram and Nacchinārkkiniyar’s Commentary thereon.