Parama Samhita (English translation)

by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words

This page describes the secret doctrine (rahasya) which is Chapter 30 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 30 - The Secret Doctrine (rahasya)


1-3. O Bhagavan, Vaikuṇṭha, Puṇḍarīkākṣa! This knowledge I have gained, through Your grace, most completely. All the doubts which had arisen all round, have been destroyed. O Lord of the Universe! I consider myself the accomplished, only as from to-day. If there is yet any sacred knowledge left in this matter, even that, explain to me in full. I am very anxious to know this.


4. Be it so. I shall recount to you this secret knowledge, O Pitāmaha! Knowledge which has never before been heard by anyone. Knowledge the most beneficial among the beneficial knowledge.

5. A man should serve me with constant devotion, without regard to any benefit being derived thereby, in accordance with the method prescribed in the work (Pāñcarātra).

6. At the end of worship thus offered, or in the middle of it, with head bent down in reverence, and hand folded before oneself in worship, let one dedicate oneself as my (God’s) servant.

7-8A. worshipper should not pray to the Supreme Puruṣottama even in times of danger, for food, drink, wealth, children, years of life, power, position. Even though I should daily be appealed to in this manner, I grant none of these if I am not pleased. If I should be pleased however, I shall grant all these without being asked.

9. In this matter, the cause of my grace is not the time; it is not the magnitude of worship; nor is it the suffering of the worshipper.

10-13. I can myself understand the worshipper’s good qualities and bad, the merit of the worship offered and the nature of time. I shall myself become gracious, having understood the merit of the worship at all times; and, being graciously pleased, I shall bestow my favour though never quickly.

If my favour is not gained in this birth, it will be in the next; if not even in the next, then in the next following. If one should offer service to me once and gives up service, he will not attain to my grace even in a hundred births.

14. By the ripening of one’s good deeds and by the destruction of one’s evil ones, I shall show what my grace is to my devotees.

15-18. It is then that my grace reaches him in the form of good to him His friends increase, his enemies are destroyed; his efforts succeed completely, his ailments disappear of themselves; he has no trouble in gaining food and drink; his cattle increase; he gains years of life; he begets good children; people generally speak in praise of him; thieves do not steal his goods; his power and position remain firm, and he is spoken of as a glorious man. After enjoying unending happiness, death comes to him in proper time.

19-20. Then he attains to another birth in a family of great people. He grows more prosperous by devotion to me, even in that life. After this, he gains another birth even greater than the previous one. In this way he grows better and better from birth to birth.

21-22A. Thereafter he attains to the eight kinds of power without any difficulty. In this condition he remains long in enjoyment, being devoted to me. Or else, pursuing the path of knowledge, he attains to Nirvāṇa (eternal happiness).

22B. It is not true to say that those devoted to me never fall from my grace.

23-24. Even being devoted to me alone as his protector by his own choice, if he should only forget me, even under the influence of sleep-like happiness, he would then see troubles rise around him. Thereafter he gets carried off by the flood of troubles.

25. In consequence, his mind gets filled with various kinds of desires; and then, by the force of contact with them, he makes vain efforts at great things.

26. Having met with obstruction in this he turns to something else. Having been thus baulked in his efforts, he suffers difficulties in life.

27. To him all cause of prosperity is devotion directed towards me. When he loses this feeling of devotion, difficulties come to him of themselves.

28. Therefore when devotion to me arises in a man, it must be fostered by all efforts. That takes him to a good course of conduct.

29. As a boat cannot go up by itself on water, no one can go forward without his own efforts at worship; not only that, but he would be carried backwards by opposite currents.

30. In this manner, that man’s wealth increases by means of devotion to me; it also makes him the best of men, being freed from all sorrow arising out of life in the world.

31. Just as a boat turns back through the sailor’s fault, so, by giving up devotion to me, one’s worldly life increases.

32. Therefore the only resort of embodied souls is complete devotion to me. O, Pitāmaha! all else is only to foster its growth.

33. Whoever worships me daily, or recites whatever is in praise of me, or contemplates me inwardly, all that goes only to increase his devotion to me.

34. Where devotion is absent, all effort, even though great, turns out to be only for worldly show, and brings no result either here in this life or the life hereafter.

35. Therefore make your devotion grow by all possible effort. So increased, this devotion leads the devotee to the highest heaven of Víṣṇu.

36. For the increase of that devotion, perception of Truth is described as the cause. See me always as the Truth, and devotion to me increases thereby.

37. “As you see me at this time and in the form that you do, I am the only one born, having obtained this form.

38. I have also had an anterior birth, somewhere in a particular place which in the possession of the wealth of qualities, was the best or middling or inferior.

39. I have also another birth of some kind, auspicious or otherwise. Then again there is yet another for certain.

40. No one accompanies me when I am born from my mother’s womb somewhere, nor when I die alone.

41. From my affliction, no affliction arises for anyone else. No one else is happy, because of my happiness. Therefore I have no one who is my friend.

42. I have come (into existence) alone, I am here alone, I pass on to another body by myself alone for certain.

43. Whether I be long-lived, whether my life be of middling length, whether I be short-lived this condition of life of mine is not equalled by that of another.

44. This which was enjoyed by others before is now my enjoyment; again this comes to be enjoyed by others, when I should have gone.

45-46A. This place is not mine; neither the wealth nor the power; these servants, these wives, these sons, and these friends, all these live for themselves; not one of these is placed here for me.

46B-47A. This disease gives me trouble; this old age gives me trouble; other sufferings are also mine, as also the sorrow that results from these sufferings.

47B-48A. Whatever was seen in the previous year, is seen again this year. Whatever work has then been done, has now to be done over again.

48B-49. Though food was taken on the previous day, similar food has to be taken today as well. In the same manner one has to do his work and one has to go to sleep. In the same manner do animals, birds and other creatures.

50. I do not see anything in me which makes me superior to them. When creatures are born they rejoice much.

51. Therefore birth may be good or bad, both are to me alike; therefore I have no love for birth or death.

52. Nor have I any love for learning, for good form, for friends and relations. I see nothing under my control, no one obeying my commands.

53-54A. I see but myself alone, struggling in the sea of saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death). As one traveller meets friends on the way, gets his food, money and resting place, so I see this life of mine as I am born into it.

54B-55A. As a bird resides in its hole in the tree and gives it up, so my life in this body is not worth wishing for.

55B-56A. Wherefrom did I come before, where then do I go again, how long am I to live here, I know nothing of these.

56B-57. Whatever has happened I do not know nor; of any advantage derived therefrom; whatever is going to come is without advantage similarly; what have I in between? Therefore, I desire the protection which is like that obtainable by one wholly devoted to God.

58-60A. Otherwise my fear of death will not go away from me. Possession of full powers of my senses, and of the discriminating activity of my mind in this life, I have gained by good fortune, by good deeds, by all possible effort, so that in the next one I may have an increased wealth of good deeds stored for me.

60B-65. In the deeds I do I see nothing leading to eternal good. Their results are increasingly compounded with sorrow, and destructive of true knowledge. In the Vedas, Śāstras and Āgamas, it is only works that are prescribed. By these deeds however, the affliction of the mind is not destroyed at any time. Therefore I must search for a teacher as reliable support, so that what little I do may become capable of doing me good. I do not see any other person (puruṣa), than Viṣṇu in the ItihāsaPurāṇaLoka (world of experience), Veda and Āgama, to render me this help. Therefore I seek refuge in you, O, Bhakthavatsala! without any desire, but with fixed devotion in thought, word and deed. I shall not apply my mind to do anything to satisfy a wish of mine.

66-67A. What is the use of my gaining fulfilment of one or two of my wishes? Therefore, without looking for any result, I shall devote myself to Hari as my refuge. In this, my effort, my single-minded devotion all the time shall be unperturbed.”

67B-68. In this manner let a Vaiṣṇava make up his mind alone and with a clear mind, and, with a wish to gain the accomplishment of complete devotion to Viṣṇu, let him practise, with mind collected, the conviction thus formed. When one’s mind attains to serenity by this, let him ' contemplate Him, as a wise man should do.

69A. If one is given to love and hatred, even the true appreciation of truth becomes fruitless.

69B-70A. The mind of even an uncultured man attains to clearness by going to holy places, or by coming into the presence of hermits and saints; at the end of sleep, or when left to himself alone. In the case, of a cultured man, the mind attains to the serenity the more readily.

71. In this kind of work, a wise devotee of Viṣṇu should gain the calmness of mind, and do what is needful to get at the truth by his own efforts alone.

72. By so doing, his devotion to me does not diminish at any time; he is not worried by desires, nor does, sorrow afflict him.

73-75. A man devoted to Viṣṇu turns back from the transactions of the world. He is not over eager to gain enjoyment; nor is he carried off by gaining the enjoyable. What is not attainable, he is not anxious to gain; but, if he should, he does not allow himself to be carried, off by the enjoyment of it. When evil befalls him or when he is deprived of some cherished object, he puts them down to. the result of Karma, and does not give himself up to any sorrow. He is not troubled by the thought that one thing is good, and the other not.

76-77A. He regards lordliness as some little acting in a drama, and holds it in little esteem. He does not boast of what he has done, nor is he proud of his achievements. Feeling bound to do his duty, he does not look for benefits even from his worship of the God of Gods.

77B-78A. In the manner that his mind is attached to wealth, wife and son, in the same manner is his mind devoted to the God of Gods.

78B-79A. When, in this manner, devotion to me is born in one, that wise one, wherever he be placed, gives up everything and becomes an ascetic.

79B-81. He goes round the earth by himself alone. He goes to the holy bathing places, and places sacred to me. He must be devoted to me, he must contemplate me, he must surrender himself to me, and he must always be speaking of me, He then, at the last moments of his life, would think of me and gains association (sāyujya) with me.


82. What is the lordliness (aiśvarya) consisting of eight qualities which a devotee enjoys? Even after attaining this, does embodied man come back to worldly life? What is the difference between eternal happiness. (nivṛtti) and this lordliness which has been described by you as association (sāyujya) with you?


84-87. A man possessed of lordliness can become just a visible atom, and can become as big as he likes. He can become as light as a bit of silk cotton (ŚalmaliBombax heptaphyllum). Whenever he wishes, he is able to bring all the world under his control. In the matter of food and diversions, he always does as he pleases. He can bring under his control all other beings at the mere, thought (of his wishing to do so). He can enter whatever body he pleases in. a moment. These are the eight qualities making up the lordliness of which I told you before.

88. Many are the people who, having obtained these powers, enjoy their possession and become lords of creation without meeting any obstacle in their way.

89-90. These men, in all the world, are not guilty of any offence, and do not even get rid of birth so long as they are devoted to me. Should they however forget me, being deluded by the enjoyment of happiness, they meet with obstacles in their course.

91. Even they, protected by their devotion to me, with these obstacles around them struggle against the current of human existence in other lives.

92. They gain their birth in good families of great people; and, when in life, devote themselves to worshipping me alone in order to gain my grace as the result of their devotion (siddhikāmyā).

93. If a saintly man, though in a lordly position, should devote himself to me, he spends his life in happiness in all the worlds, as if he were a mukta (released).

94. Then, those having gained divine association (sāyujya) and being rigorously devoted to me, and austere in life, become my servants, and remain ever in that condition (nityā) without any trouble.

95. To them, life in the world will come again by lapses in their devotion to me. Otherwise this position is eternal here through my grace.

96. Those, who have freed themselves from worldly life, (nivṛttā or muktā) however are the best among men and are superior to all others, superior to those in life, and being always not different from me.

97-98. To them there is no birth again, nor is there any lapse in them. What is said in the Vedānta as Paramaṃ Padam of Viṣṇu is this alone; as also ApavargaMukti, and Nirvāṇa to men. This alone is the ultimate attainable object of all desirable objects. This is the ultimate end of the attainable ends.

99-101. All other attainable ends are liable to lapses, O, Pitāmaha! Owing to differences in human nature, the one or the other is wished for by some. Therefore to men the two are generally acceptable, namely Aiśvarya and Apavarga. These can be attained only by devotion to me, the distinction between the two being due to the difference in the qualities of those practising the devotion.

102. Whenever a man makes his mind exclusively virtuous in character, then he puts himself, by all efforts possible, to the practice of various exercises leading to contemplation of mind (Yoga.)

103. While thus engaged, he devotes himself to me with a concentrated mind which makes ignorance perish and activity cease.

104-107. Thereafter, by means of rebirth in higher forms, his devotion to me gains in strength. Then if he gains, in the course of this progress, a touch of the active qualities (rajas) in his mind, then he gains complete lordliness (aiśvarya). If, on the contrary, he gains satva (Serene strength) quality of mind, without the slightest touch of the quality of rajas (activity), then to him there is only release (mokṣa). In this manner are the two ends of existence described. Therefore, wishing for a good end, let one be devoted to me always. Thus practising devotion, the wished for end is attained.


108. By what fault is it that man loses the feeling of devotion in his mind either in this world, or in the higher? Pray explain that to me, O, Puruṣottama!


109-111. A Vaiṣṇava should consider the following as obstacles to the practice of Yoga (concentrated application of mind):—Disgust, Doubt, Illness, False knowledge in practice, the near presence of cooked food, the approach of the beloved, delusion produced by Goddess Māyā etc.; the attachment which is engendered by the contact of dear ones, the self-elation which springs in one’s mind at the hearing of one’s own praise.

112A. When these arise in the mind, practise the tattva-darśana (Realization of the Truth).

112B-15A. Even in respect of the passions, recede by steady effort, slowly. In the matter of food and drink, do not be too quick lest you should hurt the body. In the matter of sexual relations, in the case of the itching palm, in the seeing of something never seen before, in the showing of one’s devotion to the rulers of men, and in cases of delusion of mind, let there not be too much hurry, and, in the practice of resignation, the body should not be put to pain as a consequence.

115B-116A. When one has slowly recovered from the surrender to these passions, devotion to me grows in him by itself alone (and without his effort).

116B-119. Without previous enjoyment, it is impossible for men to completely renounce pleasures. Therefore let them enjoy these, in the manner prescribed by the Dharma Śāstra, but without allowing the desire for these to overpower one. A wise man of good qualities, having enjoyed them in all conditions of life, should reflect, that indulgence in these passions is a difficult matter, not everlasting, uncleanly, capable of enjoyment only by sacrificing all, and otherwise beset with dangers, and then renounce it altogether.

120. To one turning back from the gratification of the senses, serenity of mind results from this resolve. The best means to come to this decision is purity of life

121. To one who adopts purity of life, the feeling of fear springs in the mind, in regard to indulgence in passion, and this fear saves the man.

122-123. A wise Bhāgavata (Vaiṣṇava), always practising with effort, purity in all kinds of food, in his bedding and clothing, in his own old residence and in the water he uses, by himself alone gives up any contact with things unclean.

124. By absence of contact with things unclean, his mind becomes clear and serene; and when that serenity is attained, the desire for indulgence gradually gives way.

125. When indulgence in pleasure has given way, he becomes devoted to me; and, being thus devoted to me, he practises Yoga (concentrated meditation) overcoming all obstacles.

126-127. Being then rid of all the past sins, he attains to the highest heaven, O, Pitāmaha! In this wise, I have detailed the secret teaching to you. Having heard this, a man becomes one who has fulfilled his duties.

In the Parama Saṃhitā of the Pāñcārātra Chapter XXX, entitled the Secret Doctrine (Rahasya)

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