Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Dictionary


Home | Rel-Dictionary | Dictionary


Back to A

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P-Q  R  S  T-U  V-W-X  Y-Z
see also    Nigam

A sacred work, especially of Shaivism or Jainism.
Some of Aagam literature is -  (1) Panchraatra Aagam, (2) Vaikhaanas Aagam, (3) Shaakt Aagam, (4) Shaiv Aagam + Shaiva Siddhaant, (5) Pashupat Aagam, (6) Saur Aagam, (7) Gaanapatya Aagam, (8) Lingaayyat Aagam.

The word Aagam literally means any sacred writing. In English the word Scripture (or the Scriptures) means the Old and the New Testaments (the Bible). However, by extension, the word (without the capital) may be used to refer to any sacred writing. In Tamil, Aagam is any sacred writing, but in the context of Shaiv Siddhaant, Aagam are Shaiv religious texts. They are not part of the Vaidik corpus. Vaidik texts are known as Nigam. Aagam literally means that which has come down, just as the word Avataar refers to the Divine Being who has come down to earth. Women and Non-Braahman were not barred from listening to or reciting the Aagam, although it used to said sometimes that Aagam were not intended for the common people. In the Shaiv Siddhaant tradition, the canonical Aagam number 28. Though the original Aagam were in Sanskrit, there are many Tamil Aagam also.

One may also interpret Aagam metaphorically as paths to spiritual fulfillment, to Divinity, the right way, as it were. In the Shaiv Siddhaant tradition, this right way has been revealed to humankind by none other than the Divine (symbolized as Shiv all through this work). Normally one would say that we come close to the Divine by following the spiritual path. But our poet says here that the Divine comes close to us through the spiritual path. How are we to understand this?

A child in need of food or security runs to its mother. More often than not, it is the mother who is caring for the welfare of the child. She does this out of her unbounded love. Likewise, we are told here that the Divine transformed itself into the Aagam and has come to us. It is always close to us. And the prayer is that it be that way for ever.

Now one might wonder if this is really always so. Is the path of spiritual fulfillment that close to everyone? There are two answers to this question. First, it is certainly the case for those who have received grace. Those who are thus blessed feel that the Divine has come to them and remains with them. The other answer is that this is indeed true for everyone, except that not everyone recognizes it. It is somewhat like oxygen which sustains our life, but not everybody breathes it consciously.


Home | Rel-Dictionary | Dictionary


Back to A

Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 09/26/11