KMS series No. 42, 43, 44 , 45 & 46
Edited and Translated by: V. VARADACHARI
2009, 371 pp., abb., Intro., ISBN
2009, 372-551 pp., ISBN 978-81-208-3218-3(Vol.II)
2009, 552-1087 pp., ISBN 978-81-208-3219-0(Vol.III)
2009, 1098-1491pp., ISBN 978-81-208-3220-6(Vol.IV)
2009, 1492-1887 pp., ISBN 978-81-208-3221-3(Vol.V) Rs.6000 (set of five
Vaiṣṇavism has given rise to two very
important schools of ritual and philosophy - Vaikhanasa and Pāńcarātra.
Īśvarasaṁhitā is an important text of the Pāńcarātra school of Vaiṣṇavism.
Whereas Vaikhanasa is relatively archaic in character and leans more upon
the Vedic tradition for its repertoire of mantras used in religious rites
and ceremonies, the Pāńcarātra is more liberal and open in its approach. It
has a text tradition going back to some 2,000 years-which has also been the
main source of the Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy of Rāmānuja (eleventh-twelfth
century). In most of the Vaiṣṇava temples in south India, especially in
Tamil Nadu, worship is conducted in accordance with the prescription of one
of the important Pāńcarātra Saṁhitās.
The Īśvarasaṁhitā is an important text of the Pāńcarātra school and is
followed meticulously for the conduction of daily Pūjā ceremony and
performances of various religious festivals in the Nārāyaṇasvāmī temple of
Melkore. It can safely be dated to eighth-ninth century at least on the
basis of its reference in the Āgama Prāmāṇya of Śrī Yāmunācārya. It is
supposed to be a simpler and smaller version of the older Sāttvata-Saṁhitā
of this school which is the earliest available work of Pāńcarātra and is
considered as one of three ratnas Uewels), along with Pau kara and
Jayā-Saṁhitās. In twenty-five long Adhyāyas the Īśvarasaṁhitā describes in
great detail the rites, rituals and ceremonies taking place (or ought to
take place) in a Vaiṣṇava temple.
Palm-leaf manuscripts of the Īśvarasaṁhitā were procured mainly from the
Nārāyaṇasvāmī Temple of Melkore for the sake of authenticity. We have also
appended to the text the gloss of Aḷasiṁha Bhaṭṭa (early nineteenth century)
which shall be helpful in comprehending certain difficult or sectarian
expressions. The English translation on the opposite (right) page has been
provided for the facility of the modern scholars working on philosophy,
ritual and iconography oVaiṣṇavavism.
A proper understanding of ritual is obviously indispensable for the study of