Parama Samhita (English translation)

by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words

This page describes abridgment (samgraha) which is Chapter 27 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

Chapter 27 - Abridgment (saṃgraha)


1. The duties which you have prescribed to us here and there commingled, these, O God of Gods! please give to us in order.


2. Glad I shall be to recite to you in order, all that you have to do: the daily duties, the occasional ones for specific purposes, and those intended to gain a wished for object.

3. First of all one should get up, then he must pronounce the word Nārāyaṇa; then, carefully turning to the East, make protection for himself.

4-10A. Revolving in mind everything as having been created (by God); by the combination of elements forming the body in due order, then get down to the earth, and go out as usual before. Then having thrown off the wastes in the body, in the manner prescribed for clearing these, wash, with water and earth, both hands and feet, and then the face; then, having cleaned, in the manner prescribed, the nose, the eyes and the ears, chew the tooth stick and wash the mouth. Then, having taken the holy sip in the manner ordained and having taken the water for a drink and wiping off the face once, and then again, taking the holy sip once again, sprinkle water over yourself as directed. Then, throwing the water round you, offer the water oblation due in the morning. Then again wash your hands in water, make an incantation of the Pañca-mantra, and then circumambulate God. Thereafter, having broken silence by speaking to a Brāhmaṇa, break your vow of silence.

10B-12. Even if one be poor, he should not give up what is auspicious to himself, namely, sandal, flowers, the two mantras, and the top-knot, which is strength-giving; as also looking-glass, collyrium, some protective talisman, and betel and nut for chewing (mukhāvāsa) when available. Then again one should wear: the ornaments and weapons prescribed for him. Having first done all these, then let him proceed to the performance of his daily round of worldly duties.

13-14. A wise man who wishes success in whatever he does even of worldly work, should sit pronouncing the mantra of the earth (Kṣiti-mantra); he should move reciting the Vāyu-mantra (mantra of air); he should speak with the invocation to the Ākāśa (ether); he should see things invoking Light (Agni); and he should touch water whenever necessary invoking the mantra of water.

15-21. When the time for worship has arrived and the articles for worship are ready collected, having cast off things which he had worn and bathed, and then offered the water-oblation to the Gods, let him go to the place of worship. When there, having made himself formed of mantra, let him imagine the place and the vessels in it as being made of gems, and the chapel itself of gold, and the water brought for worship as brought from holy places. Having fixed upon the place for throwing the cast off things outside of the outer circuit of the temple, let him fill first one vessel, and then another, with water. From out of one of these, let him do the feet—washing and the taking of the holy sip, and from the other, the bathing. Similarly water for washing hands and feet; fill another vessel with things needed for worship. For all purposes fill another large vessel with water. Let other vessels for sandal etc. be placed fixed in their position. Placing the things needed for the fire-oblations to the right of the fire, and then making the seat and the circumambulating space all right, and then, taking in the hand sweet-smelling flowers, invoke the supreme God.

22. Then let him place the flowers etc. in the hand on the seat and then pray that Viṣṇu be present thereon from the beginning of the worship to the end.

23-25. Then let him offer worship, in the prescribed manner, and surrender himself to God. Then let him pray for the return of God in the manner of invocation. Then having cleaned the place and the vessels, and, having made the bali offering outside, let him offer to Viṣvaksena, the cast off apparel of God, with worship. Then, having taken the holy sip, let him take his food with other Vaiṣṇava guests to the extent of his ability. In taking the food, let him do so as Agni (fire), the food itself being Soma (moon).

26-30. Having then taken the holy, sip, let him contemplate the senses (indriyas) and the elements (bhūtas) in mind, after his hands and feet had become dry after the washing, or else touch them with the appropriate mantras. Let him spend the rest of the day in discourses upon stories relating, to God or, in doing work which is not opposed to righteous doing. When the evening has arrived let him perform the evening rights of worship. A wise man will thereafter recite prayers in praise of God. Having then taken his food and the holy sip at the end of it, when night comes on let him install God in the ākāśa of his own heart. After having offered worship to the Supreme God, again let him go to sleep happily, adopting the course of involution. This is the accepted rule of life for the family man among the worshippers of Viṣṇu.

31. To others as well, this abridged course is considered suitable. To a Śūdra the fire-rites are not intended, nor the morning and evening devotion.

32. I have so far discoursed on Puṣpa-yoga (worship with flowers) in this abridged course of worship. Similar abridged courses of other forms of worship I shall now describe to you.

33. One who is desirous of initiation (dīkṣā), should, go to another who is righteous and merciful, and, propitiating him, let him know what he wishes.

34-35. The. teacher, having understood the disposition and the course of conduct of the applicant, should first of all instruct him in the doctrine of this form of religion. Then haying formed'the Cakra-maṇḍala (the circle of lotus figure) in a clean and sequestered place, and then, having invoked into it the Supreme Lord and having offered worship mentally, he should then admit the disciple.

36-37. Then the expert in the mantra (preceptor), having made the circle mantra-maya (invoking the various deities by holy invocations) by the process of creation, and then, showing it to the disciple, should first of all make him listen to a discourse on Bhakti (devotion), the preceptor, the teaching, and the various forms of conduct prescribed. Again the preceptor should teach him the mantra (the mystic text) which has come down in regular tradition from of old.

38-42A. Having caused figures to be made of powder, give him initiation into the literature; then give him the instruction, and then again the mode of worship. Then make him perform worship with flowers, the muttering of mystic formulae, and the course of discipline, then give him the formal invitation with the accompanying mantras and fire-rites. Then again go through whatever has to be done by recitation and by means of the fire-rite. In the performance of the fire-rite, and in the course of initiation previous, protective rites are prescribed. The third part is the dismission of the various deities etc. separately. In this manner having got through the three parts of the initiation rites, each part more elaborate than the preceding, a devotee of Viṣṇu in control of his passions attains to the accomplishment of his wishes.

42B-43. One who wishes to establish God permanently for worship, should first construct a temple, according to his means, of stone, brick or wood, With all the prescribed features.

44-47A. Having ascertained that the day of installation is near, having propitiated the architect with money, and having gained self-satisfaction thereby, let him set about collecting things for the ceremony of installation. First of all let him take over, from the sculptor, the new image of the deity by paying him whatever may be due and pleasing him with words of praise; let him then choose a priest of good conduct and deeply learned in the Śāstra (Pāñcarātra), clever and devoted, giving him money and other things to keep him satisfied.

47B-48. Whatever of other things may have to be got anew, let them be brought together, and then, having got the ground cleaned up, let him have the eye of the image opened in the prescribed manner.

49. Place the image in water, and have the surroundings protected. Then get the adhivāsana (preparatory rites) according to the rules laid down.

50-51A. Then let the wise man install the image on an auspicious day. Having installed the image, give to those who seek, without omission, clothing and food everyday in the usual form.

51B-53 A. To all those devoted to Viṣṇu, and to those who are learned without exception, provide daily food and clothing; so also let all servants and all artisans, be propitiated in the proper manner, as well as the officials, the priests and those officiating at worship. Otherwise great harm will befall one who establishes a place of worship.

53B-56. When the fourth day has arrived, having put the image through an elaborate ablution, let the image in festive array go on the Tīrtha-yātra (journey to the holy bathing-place). At the end of this festival, let him install the God in the temple and cause daily worship being done. Offer should be made of bali everyday, either three times or once. O, Pitāmaha! this is the end of the installation ceremony. Having thus established the image in this manner, one accomplishes his wishes.

In the Parama-Saṃhitā of the Pāncarātra Chapter XXVII, entitled Saṃgraha (abridgment)