An esoteric introduction to the Mrigendra Agama unveiled by Lord Indra


The following is a lucid translation of excerpts from the Mrigendra Agama, chapter 1, verses 5-17. At the hermitage known as Narayana Ashrama, great sages leading pure lives of austerities installed and worshiped a Sivalinga with concentrated heart and mind, invoking the vibrant presence of Lord Siva. Impressed by their diligence and sincerity, Lord Indra took the form of an ascetic and approached the hermitage. The sages welcomed Him with reverence. Indra then asked them to tell Him about their worship.
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THE SAGES REPLIED: “THE WORSHIP OF SIVALINGA, BEING PERformed by ascetics in order to attain their desired goals, is indeed an inevitable sadhana, ordained in the Vedas and the Sutras themselves. Even in the four Vedas, only Rudra has been mentioned as the principal Lord, existing as the purport of all words and mantras. Even in the Kalpa treatises, the directions for invoking Rudra’s immediate presence have been set forth evidently.”

Even though the sages amply explained their view on the importance of Linga worship, Indra—desiring to test their spiritual maturity and their grasp of Agamic wisdom—challenged: “Your scripture, which directs you to undertake activities such as the worship of the Sivalinga, is an outcome of misunderstanding. The knowledge gained through scripture is a myth—fruitless because the God who revealed the scripture is not different from the words which constitute that scripture. The Word itself should be considered as the principal Deity. If it is claimed the Deity has a concrete form, comparable to our own form, and that He and Word exist apart, then He is unable to exist simultaneously in various places where offering rites are performed. Therefore, the existence of God cannot be established. All proof expounded by those who argue for the existence of God—such as direct perception, inference and verbal testimony—are not valid to even a small extent. They do not serve the intended purpose. Verbal testimony of God is fruitless, because apart from the words of testimony there exists no distinct form or proof. And how could common worldly babble establish the existence of God?”

Having been pummeled by the surging waves of the ascetic’s argument for atheism, the sages remained like a mountain, strong, unmoved and unaffected. One among them boldly countered, asserting that the all-powerful Divine form of Ishvara-Siva has a matchless capacity in the performance of cosmic activities. “The divine form of the Lord is never deteriorated, deformed or degenerated like our own bodies. Therefore, your statement that a being possessing a definite form cannot present himself simultaneously in various places is not justifiable. Once more, your argument that there is no Deity—Indra for example—that is separate from the word Indra, holds good, just as it would with the words such as pot or moon. Of course, the mere word pot could not fetch the water, nor could the word moon diffuse its cool, bright rays. Therefore, apart from these identifying words, there do exist the things that are named by them. How could words which denote actions and forms be inseparably one with those actions and forms themselves? All the courses of action would be deprived of their intended purpose if there were inseparable oneness between the words and the things or actions indicated by them. Your declaration that all things are unreal does not stand to reason, since everything is governed by the relation of cause and effect. If the elements such as air and ether are unreal, how is it that they are dissolved and created again? They evolve from certain causal sources and are reabsorbed into them after a considerable lapse of time. So, they are real. Even common worldly usages cannot be set aside as baseless, since they are rooted in an age-old and valid tradition.”

The sages became so delighted by this discussion that their eyes filled with tears of bliss. Seeing them in this state, Indra, deeply pleased, revealed to them His true divine form, scintillating with the brilliance of the rising sun and attended by hosts of celestial beings. On seeing this great Lord, the sages chanted His praise, reciting hymns from the Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas, then prostrated before Him.

Indra addressed them: “Sages, choose a boon according to your wish, a boon considered to be the most supreme in the world.” The sages asked that they receive instructions on the principles set forth in the Saiva-Agama.


Atop Mount Kailasa: At the mountainous heights of consciousness, four sages receive divine teachings from Lord Siva
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DR. S. P. SABHARATHNAM SIVACHARYAR, of the Adi Saiva priest lineage, is an expert in ancient Tamil and Sanskrit, specializing in the Vedas, Agamas and Shilpa Shastras. This excerpt is from his recent translation of the Mrigendra Agama.