From the Jacket
The Agama literature includes the Silpa-Sastra, which is basic to iconography. Worship dealt with in the Agama necessarily involves images which are worship-worthy. The rituals and sequences that are elaborated in the Agama books find relevance only in the context of an icon which is contained in a shrine. And icons are meaningful only in the context of shrines and worship.
Agama texts are not easily accessible to the people. A large number of them are still available only in manuscripts; some of them which have been printed are only in their Sanskrit originals. There is need, therefore, to present relevant excerpts from them at least, to make the volumes on iconography more meaningful.
Further, Indian temples are to be considered only in the general framework of temple culture, which include not only religious and philosophical aspects but social, aesthetic and economic aspect also.
The volumes named Agama Encyclopaedia deals with the temple-culture and Agama framework, the sectarian division of the Agama into Saiva, Vaisnava and Sakta, and the topics selected from the Agama texts follow. Thus, the entirety of the Agama, literature in so far as it is relevant to the temple-culture is brought within the scope of The Agama Encyclopaedia.
Vidyalankara, Sastra-Chudamini, Sangita-Kalaratna, Professor Saligrama Krishna Ramachandra Rao, is a well-known scholar who combines traditional learning with modern research. Well versed in Sanskrit, Pali, Ardhmagadhi and several modern Indian languages and acquainted with Tibetan and some European languages, he has written extensively on Vedanta, Buddhism, Janism, Indian Culture, Art and Literature.
In his professional career, however, he was a Professor of Psychology. He has headed the Department of Clinical Psychology in the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience?s, Bangalore and the Department of Indian Culture in the Collision College Study Center of the University of the Pacific (U.S.A.) He was the senior associate of National Institute of Advanced Studies (Indian Institute of Science), Bangalore, and Guest Faculty, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and member of the Governing Council of TTD (SVCL Research Center), Tirupati. He has been member of Karnataka State Lalitha Kala Academy and Sangita Nritya Academy and Sangita Nritya Academy; he has served on the Agama Board (Govt. of Karnataka). He is President of Silpa-Kala Pratisthana. The Govt. of Karnataka has honoured him with the 1986 Rajyotsava Award. He has received awards from Lalita-Kala Academy and Sangita Nritya Academy. He has been Awarded the Veda-Sanman for the year 2000 by the Govt. of India (Ministry of HRD, Sandipani Mahavidhyalaya, Ujjain). He has written more than Sixty Books in Kannada, a Play in Sanskrit, and a Pali Commentary on a Buddhist classic. One of his books on Iconography in Kannada has won the State Sahitya Academy Award, as also another of his Book on the Tirupati Temple.
Further, Indian temples are to be considered only in the general framework of temple culture, which include not only religious and philosophical aspects but social, aesthetic and economic aspects also.
The volumes named Agama Encyclopaedia will deal with the temple-culture and Agama framework, the sectarian division of the Agama into Saiva, Vaisnava and Sakta, and the topics selected from the Agama texts will follow. Thus, the entirety of the Agama, literature in so far as it is relevant to the temple-culture is brought within the scope of The Agama Encyclopaedia.
The volume deals with the general problems relating to the idea of Agama and the broad details of the tradition that is known after Agama. In the historical perspective Agamic tradition and the Vedic tradition were initially distinguished, but later the two fused. The circumstances that favoured the separation and integration have been explained. The role that Tantra played in crystallizing the Agama tradition has been elaborately explained and illustrated. And more importantly the volumes deal almost exclusively with the essential details of temple-culture in India Without an adequate appreciation of this context, other aspects of Agama cannot become meaningful. In one of the appendices, a fairly exhaustive account of Tantra has been given, for this has provided the major dimension to the Agama, especially of the Sakta pursuation.
The volumes which were originally published in the period 1989-1994 by the Kalpatharu Research Academy, Bangalore are being reprinted now, and I am grateful to my friend Shri Suni Gupta of the Indian Books Centre, Delhi for publishing a revised edition of the volumes.
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