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Re: Validity of the Samhitas (was Re: Am Namo Narayanaya)

From: Greg Jay (
Date: Wed Jun 24 1998 - 22:02:00 PDT

Sri Krishna Susarla said:
>I have been wondering about the origins and the validity of the literatures
>known as the Samhitas. Gaudiya Vaishnavas seem to quote from them profusely,
>and indeed one of their own main scriptures is the Brahma-samhita.

Brahma-samhita is a purely Gaudiya shastra. It is only the 5th chapter of a
work supposed to have 100 chapters, found by Sri Chaitanya on his visit to
the Adi Keshava Perumal temple at Tiruvattur in Tamil Nadu near to
Tiruvanantapuram on the Kerala border. It is not to be confused with
another work by the same name which is recognized as part of the Pancaratra

Sri Krishna Susarla said:
>I don't think the samhitas are mentioned there. In fact, I have yet to see
>any reference to the 'samhita' class of literature in either the shrutis or
>the itihasas/puranas. Nevertheless, it seems that many Vaishnavas do quote
>from them without reservation. Can anyone shed some light on this? I ask out
>of curiosity only; I'm not casting doubts on the discussion above (which is
>also interesting in its own right). I would really like to know where these
>Samhitas come from and what evidence substantiates them as bona fide

Sri Adi Shankara says in his Bhasya that he rejects the Pancaratra
(Samhitas) as authority, this is due to his misunderstanding of the roles
of the Vyuhas like Sankarsana. He misunderstands that the Pancaratra
mistakenly propounds an origin of the Jivatma. It in fact does not. Later
Sri Ramanuja pointed this out in Sri Bhasya. Also Sri Yamunacharya has
written Agama Pramanya which deals with proving the authenticity of the
Agama (Samhitas, there are two Vaisnava Agamas, the Pancaratra and the
Vaikhanasa). And then later Sri Vedanta Desika has written Pancaratra
Raksha which also deals with the same subject, ie proving the authenticity
of the Pancaratra (Samhitas) as Pramanam.


Keshava das