As I discuss in this answer, one of the early movements that was important to the development of Vaishnavism was the ancient Pancharatra movement, whose sacred texts or Agamas consisted of detailed procedures to worship the sage Narayana, an ancient incarnation of Vishnu. Since the Pancharatra Agamas originated from Narayana himself, they're followed by pretty much all mainstream Vaishnavas today.

But there was a time when some people, particularly the Purva Mimamsa school of Hindu philosophy, rejected the Pancharatra Agamas because they believed that the Vedas were the only legitimate Hindu scriptures. So as I discuss in this answer, the early Sri Vaishnava Acharya Yamunacharya composed a work called the Agama Pramanya to defend the scriptural authority of the Pancharatra Agamas.

That isn't the only work that Yamunacharya composed, however. He also composed a work called the Kashmir Agama Pramanya, which is now lost. But Yamunacharya alludes to it in this excerpt from his (regular) Agama Pramanya, in the course of refuting the argument that the customs of Pancharatra-following Brahmins are contrary to Vedic practices:

Those who perform the forty sacraments which are enjoined by the Ekayana scripture ... properly follow the rules laid down by the grihyasutras of their own shakha and do not abdicate their brahminhood because they fail to follow the rites of a different shakha[.]... It follows that the non-observance of certain rites enjoined by different shakhas does not mean that either one forfeits his brahminhood - that the Ekayana shakha is preterpersonal scripture has been enlarged upon in the Treatise on the Validity of Kashmira Agama, and is therefore here not further discussed.

For those who don't know, as I discuss in my answer here some people believe that the Pancharatra tradition originated in a now-extinct Shakha or recension of the Shukla Yajur Veda known as the Ekayana Shakha. (See my answer here for more information about Vedic Shakhas.)

In any case, my question is, what are these "Kashmira Agamas" that were defended by Yamunacharya's lost work? The only Agamic texts from Kashmir I'm familiar with are the Shaiva Agamas, which are used in Kashmir Shaivism, but it would be strange for a Sri Vaishnava Acharya to write a defense of Shaiva Agamas. Are there any Vaishnava Agamas from Kashmir, and was Yamunacharya's work a defense of those?

And what is the connection of the Kashmira Agamas to the Ekayana Shakha, given that Yamunacharya wrote a defense of the scriptural validity of the Ekayana Shakha in his Kashmira Agama Pramanya? If both the Pancharatra Agamas and the Kashmira Agamas originated from the Ekayana Shakha, what is the difference between them?

1 Answer 1


The Kashmiraagamapramanya, a lost work of Sri Yamunacharya, is said to establish the revealed character(Apauruseyatva) of Ekayanasakha.

The Ekayana is itself alluded to Sukla Yajurveda. Yamunacharya has reffered to this Ekayana thrice in Agama pramanya.

Another, scholar and writer Nagesa identified this Ekayanasakha with Kanva recension of Sukla yajurveda in his work entitled Kanvasakhamahimasangraha. The author gives the following as synonym of Ekayana

Iyam suddhayajussakha prathametyabhidhiyate! mulasakheti capyuktam tatha caikayaaniti ca! Ayaatayamayajusa tatha mokshaikasadhikaa! Ityadyanekanamani santyasyastatra tatra vai!

Chadogya upanishad passage " rgvedam bhagavo dhyemi....ekaayanam" indicates that ekayanam was a valid source.

Some scholars hold that Ekayanasakha might have been a scripture on bhakti and consisted of mantras from Vedas, brahmanas and other matters quiet independently.

Among Vedas Yajurveda formed the large part of its content. For e.g. Sattvata samhita ( Chapter 25, verse 94) supports the above statement.

Also, in Jayakhya samhita ( Chap 1 Verses 109, 111, 115 and 116) admits that the pancharatra agama should have had special relation with Kanva sakha.

The verses from Jayakhya samhita given above, indicates that the followers of Pancharatra mainly adopt the kanva sakha for their rituals and many of the pancharatra acharyas belong to it.

The home of Pancharatra agama must have been Kashmir. There are internal evidence in the Pancharatra texts in support of Kashmir having been the home.

Agamadambara, a work by Jayanta bhatta(880AD) of Kashmir refers to the practices of followers of Pancharatra system. The birch bark which grows primarily in kashmir is enjoined in the early pancharatra text viz Lakhmi tantra, Ahirbhudanya samhita.

Also, paushkara samhita, refers to waters from rivers to be brought for giving bath to deity. The region with reference to directions from which water is to be brought indicates Kashmir only.

The passages from pancharatra texts are quoted by Utpala (850AD) in his work Spandapradipika. Svacchandatantra a monistic saivagama nelonging to kashmir mentions that pancharatra agama is Veda itself. Kshemaraja (1000 AD) of kashmir comments on this and shows the parity between Pancharatra and Veda.

These Pancharatra texts which were considered to be part of the earliest phase of Pancharatra system belonging to Kashmir are Jayakhya, Sattvata, Pauskara, Lakmi tantra and Ahirbhudanya samhita.

All the above evidences indicate and prove beyond doubt that Kashmir must have been the home of Pancharatra system and earliest works of Pancharatra.

Also, slightly digressing a slightly, we all know that Shankara in his brahmasutrabhasya in utpattyasambhavat adhikarana, concedes that there are elements in pancharatra which are completely acceptable such as that Narayana is Supreme reality, that he has manifested himself in varied ways, and that he is to be worshipped through single minded devotion.

Amalananda sarawati, follower of Adi Shankara defends Pancharatra vyuha theory, which was main point of criticism levelled on Pancharatra by Adi Shankara.

There is a section of advaitins who hold that the pancharatra vyuha theory shouldn't be understood literally as explained by Shankara.

Amalananda saraswarti, the famous adavaitin and author of commentary called vedantakalpataru on bhamati of vachaspati, which is in turn a commentary on Shankara's bramha sutra bhasya refutes the criticism of Pancharatra vyuha theory made by Shankara and upholds the pancharatra vyuha theory, very against his other fellow advatins.

(The contents are assembled from a book called Contribution of Yamunacharya to Vusistadvaita by Dr.M.Narsimhacharya)

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    Your answer doesn't really answer my question. My question isn't about what the Ekayana Shakha is or what the evidence for it is. My question is about what the Kashmira Agamas are and what their relation is to the Pancharatra Agamas and the Ekayana Shakha. Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 21:16
  • @Keshav - Kashmiraagama pramanya is about upholding the validity of Ekayana sakha from which the pancharatra agamas originated or are part of
    – user808
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 21:30
  • Yeah, I know that Kashmira Agama Pramanya contains a defense of the authenticity of the Ekayana Shakha, as I stated in my question. But what does the term "Kashmira Agama" mean? Is "Kashmira Agama" just a synonym for "Pancharatra Agama", or is there another set of texts called Kashmira Agamas? Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 21:35
  • @Keshav - Added a few reasons and proofs why they are called part of Kashmir or why Kashmir is considered as home of the early phase of Pancharatra system.
    – user808
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 22:39
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    But if "Kashmir Agama" and "Pancharatra Agama" are synonyms, then why would Yamunacharya title two different works "Agama Pramanya" and "Kashmira Agama Pramanya", if both titles mean "Treatise on the Authority of Pancharatra Agamas"? Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 13:03

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