Parama Samhita (English translation)

by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words

This page describes conclusion (upasamhara) which is Chapter 31 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 31 - Conclusion (upasaṃhāra)


1-2A. In this manner I have related this teaching, with elaboration here and there, when needed. This knowledge is not to be taught in full to the undisciplined man who is not a devotee of Viṣṇu, who, from wrong conviction and the conceit arising therefrom, merely wishes to know it.

2B-3. This doctrine has completely been taught to you, even elaborately here and there as occasion required. Teach this to him who is entirely devoted to me, with a singleness of mind and fixed discipline; and who is born of a good family and is of good conduct.

4-5. Those great saints who, perpetually devote themselves to me, having come to Śvetadvīpa are the persons fit to learn this. Going there, therefore, quickly teach them, by My command, this knowledge which should be taught by Me.

6. They, being entirely devoted to me, desire no other good. I Myself give them this teaching in each cycle of time (Yuga).

7. Therefore going to Śvetadvīpa, give them this teaching completely and faithfully, if you desire to do what pleases me.

8. Those Yogins (saints) who go there by My grace, will in turn be taught by them, O, Pitāmaha!


9. Brahma, with hands folded before him, his eyes fixed on the ground in front of him, and with all the glory of his position, told the God of Gods “Be it as You say”.

10. Even Bhagavān Govinda disappeared the very moment. Seeing this, Brahma Kamalāsana, remained there struck with wonder.

11-12A. Brahma then went to Śvetadvīpa, as commanded by Hari. Then the residents of Śvetadvīpa seeing Brahma thus approach them, all of them overcome by surprise, pleased him by chanting lauds in praise of him.

12B-l5A. Then Brahma told them, with a heart well pleased, “O, Siddhāḥ Paramavaiṣṇavāḥ!”, the accomplished ones, devoted to Viṣṇu, listen to my words; may you have all good. Pleased with you, the Supreme God of the lotus eyes, wishes, of his own free will, to impart to you divine knowledge, in the fulness of His grace. Being directed by Him to go to you and impart the teaching by myself alone, I have come here, and am before you. I shall now impart to you the knowledge.”

15A-17. Thus addressed by Brahma, all the accomplished ones (Siddhas) said in reply, “Let the four, Sanatkumāra, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana learn from you, as they are extraordinarily knowing and intelligent. We shall learn from them afterwards as it suits our convenience. O, Pitāmaha! let them be teachers of Yoga (the path of devotion) by your grace”.

18. Thus permitted by the accomplished ones (Siddhas), these four great sages, being, pleased with this fresh accession of knowledge, sat round Brahma.

19. To them he imparted the knowledge which explains creation, passage through life here and hereafter, release and final destruction, to them, completely in the course of five days (pañca rātra).

20. Then, at the end of this course of instruction, Brahma, having accepted worship by these great Ṛṣis disappeared as they were witnessing bis exit.

21. These great Yogins, having obtained this knowledge and having been enlightened by it, imparted it to those accomplished ones (Siddhas) in full afterwards.

22. These (other yogins) in their turn, imparted by grace of God, to those devotees who, having duly practised the prescribed discipline, reached that island (Śvetadvīpa).

23. Having, by the grace of Viṣṇu, gone to that auspicious island, this work relating to the worship of Viṣṇu was obtained from Sanaka.

24. Having again seen Sanatkumāra and the other accomplished ones, I returned by the way indicated by them, O, Devala!

25. Having returned from the residence of the Supreme Soul, I have been living here in this Dvīpa (part of the world Jambudvīpa) for many years.

26. Going now and again I am in the habit of seeing the devotees of Viṣṇu there, having been blessed with long life. On these occasions I used to hear the great qualities of Viṣṇu described to me by them.

27-28. Going on occasions I used to see the devotees of Viṣṇu, namely, the very long-lived king of the tortoises, Akūpara, the chief Ṛṣhi Jaigiṣavya who remains untroubled even at the pralaya (flood of destruction); similarly Rama, son of Jamadagni, Atri, Aṅgirasa and other similar ones,

29-30. Even these Ṛṣis, regular followers of the path of Viṣṇu worship, going to Śvetadvīpa and, gaining knowledge of the attainable truth, became single-minded (Ekānti), ever happy, always devoted to worship of Viṣṇu, and being always deeply interested in their devotion. They dedicate themselves to the service of Vāsudeva.

31-32. O, Devala. This Vaiṣṇava knowledge in it’s entirity has been obtained by me. Having got rid of all doubts, I have now become a single-minded devotee of Viṣṇu. There is nothing other than this, for giving even a little that is good, by which a man worships the Supreme God as his sole object.

33. At all times and in all places of the world, hardly do men, even a few, excel devotees of Viṣṇu.

34-35. Whatever men devote themselves whole-heartedly to the service of Viṣṇu-Puruṣottama, these gain their life’s purpose, even in this worldly life without a doubt. Is it not a fact that. I do not see in the world one, O, Devala, who devotes himself to Janārdana, the God of Gods, without a wish to fulfil.

36. Whosoever fixes his devotion to the feet of Viṣṇu and does not fall from it, has no death, no fear nor the.attainment of another birth.

37-38. Therefore, though proficient in the Vedas and the Śāstras, since you have been afflicted with doubt in a good course of enquiry, you will remain for ever a devotee of Viṣṇu. As a consequence of this, you will get into a settled conviction at the same time, and all your doubts will be removed without any effort on your part.

39. You will gain favours of God now and then, O, Devala! The efforts of a devotee are never destroyed.

40. He obtains, without his efforts, teachers from whom he could gain all knowledge combined with devotion.

41. Whatever men walk in this good way of life, become respected and spoken well of everywhere.

42. The gods, the demons, Gandharvas (beings of the air), Yakṣas (demi-gods), Rākṣas (evil-doers) and the snakes (beings of the underworld) none of these will do hurt to a devotee of Viṣṇu.

43. Those men who devote themselves to His service, in thought, word and deed, find nothing unattainable in this world or the other.

44-47. The moving creatures are superior in qualities to the unmoving objects of creation; Cattle stand higher than moving beings; men are superior to cattle; devotees of Viṣṇu among men; and among them, men of vast learning; among learned men, those who have practised what they learnt and attained to real knowledge (jñāna) among these, those who have gained mastery over their senses; among these the accomplished ones (siddhas); among the Siddhas the great Maharṣis: among these, those who have given up power (aiśvarya);among these again, those wishing for release (mūmukṣu). These are groups into which living things are placed, by whom the Supreme abode of Viṣṇu is attainable by right knowledge (jñāna).

48. To the Gods, lordliness, to the learned, knowledge and to the ordinary men devotion to Viṣṇu are the highest rewards. There is nothing that is equally fruitful of good.

49. Birth and death bring good to men devoted to Viṣṇu to others these bring only evil.

50. Therefore, O, Devala, give up all your other activities devote yourself to the Supreme Soul, Achyuta, by all means possible.

51-52. In this manner, O, Sinless One! this work bearing on Viṣṇu worship (Vaiṣṇava Tantra) including the esoteric section and various differing forms of worship; knowledge which came to us from the God of Gods, should not be imparted by you to a devoted man whose antecedents you do not know, O, Devala!

53. One who has had the three initiations from a really holy devotee of Viṣṇu alone is fit to receive the knowledge of Viṣṇu worship in its entirety,

54. This knowledge jñāna O, Devala, is not to be imparted by you to those who are eager for the mere knowledge of it and wish to learn it for that purpose only, though they be good people.

55. Of all kinds of gifts, the imparting of sacred knowledge excels in merit. The good results of the spread of knowledge are innumerable.

56. As by the suitability of a pupil, the gift of knowledge becomes meritorious, so the faults, in the recipient of knowledge, go to him that gives it.

57. Therefore the best of all knowledge should be imparted only after careful examination of the recipient, if one wishes to gain the great merit of the imparting of knowledge with much trouble.

58. For thy benefit, O, Devala! I have imparted, in an abbreviated form, the Pāñcarātra Tantra (the science of the Pāñcarātra) collecting the essence of all the treatises of the subject.

59. This knowledge should be acquired thoroughly, and should be put into practice, O, Devala! It should be contemplated upon always, and, by so doing, you will gain all you desire.

60-61. O, Devala! Have you comprehended all this science in full? Have you resolved all your doubts? Have you got to a fixed conviction about it? Having thus been addressed by Mārkaṇḍeya, Devala prostrated at the feet of Mārkaṇḍeya and spoke as follows

62-65. I have obtained this knowledge by your grace, O Sage! I have become one accomplished; and the darkness enveloping my heart has been removed. My doubts have been resolved and I have attained to a conviction. Now, interested devotion arises in me for certain, as I have obtained this knowledge, the most holy among the sacred knowledge. Ever obedient to your commands, I shall do as directed. In this manner, Devala, having obtained this excellent knowledge pertaining to Viṣṇu worship, took leave of Mārkaṇḍeya and went his own way.

66-69. The devotee of Viṣṇu, who hears this work with a pure heart, destroys all his sins even though committed in another life. If one, having heard this work, devotes himself to the worship of the Supreme Puruṣa, that one gains God’s grace in a short time. He who reads this with interest, or gets it read for him, his sins leave him and his devotion to God increases. Therefore worship the Supreme Puruṣottama in the prescribed manner of the Pāñcarātra. He also gains lordliness, divine or absolute, without other effort.

In the Parama Saṃhitā of the Pāñcarātraotherwise called Saṃsāra Saṅgraha, Chapter XXXI, entitled Upasaṃhāra (conclusion)