Definition - What does Vaikhanasa Agama mean?
"Vaikhanasa Agama" is a specific type of secondary scriptures in Hinduism, and it is a sub-category of spiritual and scriptural texts known as the Agamas. They give great detail about the process of image-worship and temple rituals, as well as certain aspects of temple architecture.
As a whole, the Agamas contain information on rituals and wider temple culture and are divided into three main branches:
- "Saiva Agama"
- "Sakta Agama"
- "Vaisnava Agama"
It is this final branch, the "Vaisnava Agama," which are split into two traditions - the "Pancharatra Agama" and the "Vaikhanasa Agama."
"Vaikhanasa Agama" takes its name from its founder, the sage Vikhanas.
Yogapedia explains Vaikhanasa Agama
The founder of the "Vaikhanasa Agama" tradition, Vikhanas, was considered an incarnation or emanation from Vishnu. He was a man of considerable vedic wisdom and is also sometimes associated with the creator, Brahma. He is generally portrayed as having a pale complexion, wearing golden clothes with four arms, and he is often depicted with his four disciples, to whom he taught to worship Vishnu. His image is often placed in the entrance of temples to Vishnu.
The "Vaikhanasa Agamas" are of particular importance to the Vaikhanasas, Hindu worshippers who devote to Vishnu as their primary god. They are mainly Brahmins. The "Vaikhanasa Agamas" place great significance on the images of gods and their consorts. They see the Godhead as the support of all. They teach that Vishnu will appear in the heart of devotees if they meditate as instructed. This ultimately leads to salvation.