basic thought of Hinduism, both in the Vedic teachings and Agama
practice, is the belief that there is One formless God or Nirguna
Brahmam. According to Vedantha, Adhvaitha and Smartha Sampradaya,
He manifests through His Yoga Maya as the Saguna Brahmam in the
material Universe created by Him and He takes the various forms
for our understanding. We are created as a part of His Divine
spirit which goes through endless cycles of rebirth until it is
purified to be liberated, to be united with the Divine, by performing
its various Karma according to each one's Dharma.
of other schools of philosophy, such as Sankhya, Poorva Mimamsa,
Dhvaitham, the Bhakthi schools, and followers of Agama forms of
worship are slightly different. These will be explained later.
Sankhya and Mimamsa are based on the practice of Karma and Rituals
as the basic approach without an important role for a God. The
Bhakthi schools support the theories of devotion and surrender
to God and that all individual souls are different from the Divine
Reality and do not attain equality with God but only serve Him
to reach His abode as ultimate liberation from the cycle of Samsara,
of birth, death and reincarnation.
Agamas established the rules for construction of Temples and worship
of God in various forms of Deities. A small fragment of the community
who were the priests only understood them and others started to
follow it blindly without studying them. Often they thought that
mere recitation alone would give them Divine Powers.
Dharma Sasthras established the rules of conduct for daily living
and for regular prayer rituals. The Dharsanas explained the Philosophy
of the Vedas. The Ithihasas and Puranas told the stories of Divine
Incarnations as examples of the Spiritual message. In the medieval
period many leaders gave us these teachings as simple theories
of Spiritual Discipline for daily practice.
highly educated religious Yogis and Gnaanis could follow the path
of knowledge and observe the way of life as in the Scriptures
with meditation and prayers to the Absolute -the One Supreme Reality-
Formless God, in what is known as Nirguna-upasana.The
common people could not comprehend all the teachings of the Vedic
philosophy. They followed the rituals, recitations of Vedas and
the path of Devotion. They performed the prayers and sang songs
to the manifestations of God in various forms, called the Saguna-upasana,
and followed the Agamas and Puranas with Vedic rituals to fire