Definition - What does Agama Shastra mean?
"Agama Shastra" is a Sanskrit term that describes the manual for worship, temple building and rituals, among other things, within the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. From Sanskrit, agama means “handed down by tradition” or “scriptures,” and shastra refers to a commentary or treatise.
The "Agama Shastra" serves as the guideline for all of the details related to religious practice and may be thought of as a collection or compendium that goes beyond doctrine. For example, it specifically describes how to build a temple, including the figurines and statues of deities, but it also provides guidance on proper meditation practices.
Yogapedia explains Agama Shastra
Because Hinduism is made of many varied traditions, not all follow the "Agama Shastra," but most do. Most sections of the collection are ancient and are clearly pre-Vedic, but others are dated later.
The "Agama Shastra" is one of many agamas, which is composed of four padas, or "parts":
- Jnana pada, which describes the philosophy and worldview.
- Yoga pada, which describes the mental and physical practices that lead to unification with higher consciousness.
- Kriya pada, which lays out details for worship and temple construction.
- Charya pada, which describes rules and code of conduct for worship.