Aghamas 101 by Swami Muralidhara Swamiji

What is called as ‘Agama?’

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

The makings of deities of Gods, consecrating it, performing puja, were all brought under the norms of the Shastras. This is called as ‘Agama’ Shastra.

How many ‘Agamas’ are there?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

There are twenty-eight ‘Saiva’ Agamas and two ‘Vaishnava’ Agamas. ‘Vaishnava’ Agamas consists of two groups viz. ‘Vaikanasam’ and ‘Pancharatram’. The former is based on the Vedas but the later was formed separately without any Vedic leaning. ‘Sakta’ Agamas are based on Devi puja. These belong to States of Bengal and Orissa. They are also called ‘Vamaccharam’.

Is ‘Vastu’ Shastra a part of ‘Agama’ Shastra?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

Yes. ‘Vastu’Shastra is a part of ‘Agama’ Shastra. The principles of ‘Vastu’ find a place in ‘Shilpa'(sculpt idols) Shastra, too. ‘Vasi’ and ‘Tatu’ put together form what is called as ‘Vastu’.

*This provides the guidelines for the construction of a building.

Streets run around the Temples. Does this, too, fall under the guidelines of Vastu shastra?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

In every Town it is the practice to build a Temple either in its center or in its Southern corner. And the houses are placed (built) depending on the location of the temple. This is also as per ‘Vastu’ tradition.

What does ‘Garbadanam’ mean?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

A vessel made of either silver, gold or bronze is placed below the Sanctom
Sanctorum of the Temple where the ‘Moola Murti’ (Main Deity) is to be
consecrated. This practice of burying the vessel below the earth is called
‘Garbadanam’. Water from the holy rivers, soil from holy places, ‘navaratnam’
(nine kinds of gems), ‘navadaniyam’ (nine kinds of grains), etc. are dropped
into this hole. The weapons of the particular God to be consecrated in this
Temple are also placed in it. For e.g. if the main deity is Lord Vishnu then His
five weapons namely ‘Gada’, ‘Katgam’, ‘Sarngam’, ‘Shankam’, ‘Chakram’, will be
placed here.

How does the idol in a Temple acquire the ‘sanithyam’ (the power)?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

Vedam consists of six parts. A Temple also has six prominent parts – Adishtanam,
Pikti, Prastaram, Peevam, Sigaram, Stupi. These six parts are complementary to
each other. They should not change in any way. If changed the deity loses its
‘sanithyam’. While in the initial stage of making the idols, viz. waxing,
shaping the clay, making the mould, they should be done amidst loud chanting of
mantras. That is, the work should be carried out while listening to the mantras.
Only then the ‘bimbamurti’ (the form of the idol) will become a ‘mantramurti’ (a
form with power). Power gets into it only through Bhakti and Mantras. That idol
which has been installed without mantra consecration will be lifeless.

What is the proof (‘pramana’) that the Presence (‘sanidhya) of Bhagavan is found
only in the Sanctum Sanctorum (‘garbagraha’) of a temple?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

“In several other parts of a big temple we find other forms (‘roopa’) of the
Deity (Murti) found in the Sanctum sanctorum. These deities are found to be in
similar style (‘amaippu’). In some temples these are found to be more beautiful
and at times bigger than the Main Deity. But, people do not feel devotion and
faith (bhakti-shraddha) on seeing these deities. This is because these deities
do not possess the ‘sanidhya’
In which part of a Town should the Temple of Lord MahaVishnu be constructed?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

MahaVishnu Temple should be constructed on the western side of the Town’s
Centerpoint. To its North-western corner, Lord Shiva’s Temple should be

Nearby should be the Temple of the ‘Sapta Madar’ (seven Goddesses). This is the
reason that Goddess Durga also bears the name of ‘Vadavayil Selvi’ (Lady of the
Northern door). It is also the practice to build Lord Subrahmanya’s Temple close
to MahaVishnu Temple. It became the practice to place ‘ugra murthys’
(deities/gods of fiery temperament) on the outskirts. But, it has also been the
tradition to consecrate these deities along with ‘Thayar’ (Goddess) so as to
calm them down.

What is the significance of ‘Nivedanam’ and ‘Deepa Aradhana’ in our Puja?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

Raja Yoga has eight steps or ‘angas’ towards the final goal. The rituals and
rites have their own procedures. Likewise, ‘Niyama Puja’ (Pujas as prescribed by
the Shastras) have 16 ‘angas’ or parts like ‘Aavahanam’, ‘Aachamanam’ etc. Of
these, ‘Nivedhanam’ and ‘Deepa Aradhana’ are key aspects. So we perform at least
these two as a part of our daily pujas.


In Temples, why is ‘teertha prasad’ given three times?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

‘Teertha prasad’ is given three times to protect one from untimely (unnatural)
death, to destroy all the sins and for cure from all diseases.

While there are innumerable ancient Temples in dilapidated state new Temples
keep sprouting up! Even the simple, daily pujas are not being performed
properly. Why?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

May be people think that Temple construction/renovation bestows ‘punya’
(merits)! This sad state of affair would not exist if one remembers that
performance of proper and regular puja and proper maintenance of the Temple is
also necessary following its construction/renovation.

Some people build temples but do not bother to maintain it and arrange for the
daily conduct of puja. Why does this happen?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

This is because people think that one can earn merits (‘punya’) just by building
temples and that temples are built only to earn merits.


Can women do Sashtanga Namaskar?

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

According to the scriptures, only men are permitted to perform Sashtanga Namaskar.


There is a Perumal temple in my native village that is locked up most of the
time and the ‘Archaka’ would not hand over the keys or responsibilities to
anyone. I requested them to take measures to have it renovated, however no one
is willing to take responsibility. Every other small temple by the roadside
becomes famous in no time, but this ancient temple is in a sad state. When will
this be renovated? It is my ambition to have it renovated.

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji:

One can become rich by honest earnings or through unlawful means. However the
second path is not permanent.

In the same way, a temple becomes famous by its ‘sannidhyam’ (presence of
divinity of the Lord). It could become popular through publicity etc., but that
is not permanent.

In order to bring about Sannidhyam in the temple, organize Akhanda Maha Mantra
Kirtan for 7/24 in the temple precincts with not less than 3 bhaktas chanting at
any point in time.

When this is performed. The Lord will show a way out and a solution towards
renovation will definitely be born.


Please Chant

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

and be happy

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Categories: Upanyasam

1 reply

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