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Re: aagama-s and temple construction

From: sampath kumar (
Date: Sat Mar 11 2000 - 06:49:06 PST

--- Mani Varadarajan <>
> Perhaps some agama experts say this, but S.K.
> Ramachandra Rao,> one of the great iconographical
experts of modern> times,> argues in his book "The
Hill-Shrine of Vengadam"> that the> Tirupati idol
indeed complies with descriptions of> possible
> images contained in the older Vaikhanasa texts. I
> believe> he cites Atri or Bhrigu Samhita.

Mani and other friends,

I have not heard of Sri.Rao's book but my information
comes from Sri.N.Ramesam's excellent book "The
Tirumala Temple" published by the TTD(1979).
Sri.Ramesam was one time Chairman of the
Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam.

In the above book, giving graphic iconographic details
of the "moolavar", Sri.Ramesam first catalogues in the
form of a check-list all the characteristics of a
Vishnu idol laid down in the "mArichasamhita" of the
VaikhAnasa-agama. Then he tries to fit the actual
features of the idol with the check-list. He then does
the same with another check-list of features laid down
in the "bhrighu-samhita".

With the "brighu-samhita" the author says:
"The 33rd adhyAya of the brighu-samhita shows that
Vishnu has 4 hands invested with 5 weapons or
aayudhA-s; the 2 halves of the body are symmetrical
and beautifully shaped; that he wears all the
divya-aabharanA-s; SriDevi ever abides in his form and
that he is full of kalyana-gunA-s and wanting in none
and he shines with his 6 gunA-s (shadguna).

"But this description is not a detailed one for
Venkateshwara. The divya-aayudhA-s, not all the
weapons are in SriVenkaeshwara's hands."

After similar and careful iterative process (4 full
pages) of matching the features of actual idol, one by
one, with other aagama specs (like those of the
"maricha-samhita")the author finally concludes:

"From a detailed examination of the aagamic rules, (we
see that) the idol of the Lord does NOT correspond to
them. One can therefore only come to any one of the
following two conclusions:

(1) The idol of Lord Venkateshwara was conceived and
executed at a time before the aagamA-s were codified
and came into being; or

(2) The idol is a class by itself and from the
earliest days has been so conceived and made by the
sculptor as to drive home the point that the Lord is
self-manifest or "svayambhu"."

Very, very interesting passage!

It also leads one to wonder why the author says that
the aagama-s were "codified". It leads one to believe
that perhaps the aagamA is the "codified" form or
derivative of something else that preceded it in

Now, could that "something else" not have been
"portions" of some hoary Vedic "samhita-s" long lost
to posterity but later reclaimed to be "codified" into

Just a (wild!) thought.
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