|Another class of
popular scriptures consists of the so called Agamas. This word is used in a narrow sense
to denote the sectarian scriptures dealing with the worship of a particular aspect of Go
and prescribing de tailed courses of discipline for the worshipper. According as the
deity that is worshipped is Visnu or Siva or Sakti, the Agamas are divided into three
classes, which have given rise to the three main branches of Hinduism, namely,
Vaishnavism, Saivism and Saktism.
Agamas or Pancaratra Agamas glorify God, as Visnu. The Saiva Agamas glorify Him as have
and have given rise to an important school of philosophy known as Saiva Siddhanta. And the
Sakta Agamas or Tantras glorify the Supreme as the Mother of the universe under one of the
many names of Devi. It should be remembered that, in spite of their immense diversity in
forms and methods of worship, the Agamas are all Vedic in spirit and character, and hence
are looked upon as authorities. Meykandar, a great Saivite writer says, "The Agamas
are specially revealed for the benefit of the blessed, and they contain the essential
truths of the Veda and the Vedanta."