FROM THE AGAMAS
Sage Matanga receives Siva’s grace in the form of the Parameshvara Agama
The following is a lucid translation of excerpts from the Matanga Agama, chapter 1 of the Vidya Pada, in which Sage Matanga is blessed with the knowledge of the Agamas from Lord Srikantha following a period of intense austerity.
ON THE SIDE OF THE CHARMING HIMALAYAN MOUNTAIN, there is a peak known as Mount Kailas, which is inhabited by divine beings and siddhars. One of those siddhars was a great sage considered a lion among seers. Endowed with a divine and vibrant form, brightened and strengthened by constant penance, his name was Matanga.
Sage Matanga was established at Mount. Kailas, firmly absorbed in one-pointed meditation on Lord Siva, his previous state of impurity incinerated by the fire of knowledge. As he was upon the verge of disentanglement from the bondage of ego and matured enough for moksha, the supreme Lord Srikantha manifested before him. Accomplished in yoga and having performed great penance, Matanga could see Srikantha’s etheric form directly.
With great wonderment, beholding the Lord of the universe, Matanga exclaimed: “O Bhagavan! You are the Lord of tattvas! You are the Lord of all the worlds! The entire realm of matter, moving and unmoving, is charged with your divine presence!” Matanga then prostrated himself on the ground.
Hearing these utterances, the Lord, adorned with the gems of assurance and protection, lifted Matanga up, wiped away the fatigue of his tapas and cleansed him of all residual ignorance. Srikantha then spoke: “O Sage, supreme one among seers, ask of me any boon that you intently desire.”
Sage Matanga, his inner self elated and his body exuding eagerness, implored: “O Lord of devas! Through your grace I have become accomplished in my goal of Self Realization. What wonder is there now? O Lord, by your mere presence I have attained the great fruit of sivatva—the power of all knowing and all doing—which is to be gained only through the supreme initiation. Now all that is to be known and to be practiced after receiving this diksha has become fulfilled merely through your gracious and kind words.
“Even so, for the benefit of the world, to which I wish to transmit the principles concerned with diksha, kindly teach me a scripture that, with succinct statements, grants both worldly enjoyments and final liberation, a scripture that deserves a prominent state, one which enshrines in itself the unique concepts of the Lord; a teaching embedded with gems containing the principles of human existence, which could destroy the roots of ignorance, enabling the reader to cross over the ocean of rebirth; a scripture that could make known the true state of supreme bliss, which is not susceptible to double meanings or impaired with inexplicable and ambiguous statements. Finally, it must contain the embodiment of all concepts from other related scriptures and be capable of demonstrating the reality of the higher planes of existence. It should also not be spoiled by contradictory statements.”
Revealing Grace: Siva imparts the Paramesvara Agama to Matanga
Having heard the request of Matanga, Lord Srikantha, whose form is the seat of pure consciousness and is eternally free from decay, pleasingly and affectionately elucidated to the great sage:
“There is a such a scripture, replete with investigations about the gem-like principles of human existence, rich in conclusions drawn with clarity that make known the Agamic tradition, which has emerged on the path of creation, been maintained by the Lord and transmitted through a competent and continuing lineage; a scripture composed methodically, associated with well-classified divisions, filled with auspicious laws related to the padarthas—the objects of experience. This scripture of such excellence, which is eternal, consists of four sections—kriya, charya, yoga and jnana. This scripture has come down directly from the Supreme Lord, who is eternally free from the veiling bondage known as anava mala—the individualizing veil of duality that enshrouds the soul.
“Originally this scripture emanated in the form of inaudible sound from the face of Sadasiva, the Lord of five cosmic functions—creation, preservation, destruction, revealing grace and concealing grace. Then, it attained the manifest and audible form of sound for the sake of preserving the lineage of the Guru.
“This Agama was then revealed to Anantesvara by Lord Sadasiva, consisting of tens of millions of verses set in the anushtup meter (eight letters per line). Then Anantesvara, who is endowed with supreme sivajnana, revealed this Agama to me, Srikantha, which reducing the number of verses to one hundred thousand.
“Now, as you are my disciple, I will proceed to teach you this scripture, known as Parameshvara Agama, reducing the number of verses to three thousand and five hundred. This Agama, which has been thus abridged and grasped by me, is not in any way diminished by this reduction, still clearly making known the subtle principles of life. It is also not impaired with too much brevity. Beyond all doubt, it contains all the established truths and expresses them clearly and brilliantly.”
Thus it was that after worshiping Lord Hara with one-pointedness, Matanga received from Him the ocean of scripture called Parameshvara Agama. Here, now, is revealed that same ocean of scripture, rendered with clarity and replete with wisdom.
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 Matanga Agama.