pranava in the samhitas.

claude setzer cssetzer at
Sun Mar 16 20:23:21 UTC 1997

I believe that the largest collection of Pancaratra Agama reference
materials in the world,  even surpassing Madras, is in the Cleveland public
library, Cleveland, OH, USA. Some time quite long ago, I think about the
1930's, this library somehow got a large endowment for this type (Vedic,
etc.?) of materials, and it has continued to increase ever since. H. Daniel
Smith who spent some 20 or 30 years uncovering/collecting Pancaratra Agamas
throughout south India sent his (entire?) collection to this library. (He
relates the story that many of the very rare texts he collected were
literally about to be used for "firewood," by poor families in villages, as
he walked in the door and purchased them.) A small part of the collection
is documented and summarized by several publications of Daniel Smith, one
of which is "The Smith Agama Collection: Sanskrit Books and Manuscripts
Relating to Pancaratra Studies, a Descriptive Catalog." This is published
by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse
University, NY, USA. All of the references that you have listed below are
contained in this catalog and are supposed to be in the Cleveland library.
There are also parts of the Parasara Samhita in Devanagari manuscript, In
addition to full text in Telegu. I have a copy of parts of a lot of these,
but it would be rather difficult to find the sections you wish based on
your location references. My time is quite over scheduled now, but if you
cannot get your information from any other source I will try to help. I
strongly suggest that you take a trip to Cleveland, though, because that
should have everything you desire. Please let me know if you are able to go
there and what you think.

PS A small subset of this material is also available at the University of
Iowa library, by the incredibly gracious donation of H. Daniel Smith. I
helped to arrange this and also have a copy myself, along with full text of
a few Agamas. (This is about 2500 to 3000 pages of Dr. Smith's manuscripts
and photocopies from the Agamas, containing all references he was able to
find within Pancaratra Agamas concerning Prathishta. Many of these are hand
copied manuscripts not available anywhere else.) You can contact Ed
Shreeves, directory of special collections at the University of Iowa
Library, or Dr. Fred Smith in the Asian Studies(?) department, if you
happen to go through Iowa City.

Claude Setzer,  cssetzer at

> From: Jan Brzezinski <jagat at>
> To: Members of the list <indology at>
> Subject: pranava in the samhitas.
> Date: Sunday, March 16, 1997 12:38 PM
> Hi folks,
> I am trying to find some references in the Pancaratra Agamas. I am
> for statements to the effect that women and sudras are not (or are)
> permitted to receive initiation, pronounce the sacred pranava or other
> mantras, whether they can chant the eight-letter mantra with or without
> addition of the svaha, pha.t,, etc., whether they are eligible
> the panca-samskaras.
> The following Agamas are not available to me. If someone to whom they are
> available could kindly confirm or deny the validity of the following
> information, I would greatly appreciate it. Important verses with
> and (if really significant) transliteration are needed.
> [I am sorry to be asking such a lot all at once. A lot of these texts are
> not available even by interlibrary loan. If anyone knows where these are
> available in libraries, please let me know. If anyone can send
> of relevant pages, a million additional thanks.]
> (1) Pauskara Samhita : (page 227, edition?), 123-146a. Use of mantras by
> sudras and women. What does it say on this subject? 
> (2) Isvara Samhita : pp. 442-448; 559-587.
> (3) Parama Samhita (GOS, vol 86): Chapters 27-28. p.215 (vv.16-27) : A
> may wear sacred thread but only during worship. 'The rites for sudreas
> generally proceed along tantric lines, without the use of the bija
> whereas for ksatriyas and vaisyas the rituals are Vedic. (4.21). Sudras,
> women of good birth, character and qualities are admitted (7.24).
> (4) Satvata Samhita. After diksa any caste may use the mantras (2.1-12)
> in certain vratas non-brahmins do without mantras (chj. 8); women,
> people and youngsters may be eligible for ekaneka diksa (19.1-7).
> (5) Bharadvaja Samhita 1.12-20. Any profession or caste eligible for
> (6) Visvamitra Smhita 3.17-26. Women and sudras may be candidates for
> dvijatva. Alternative diksa rites in cases of women and sudras (3.27;
> (7) Parasara Samhita. (only available in Telugu script apparently)
> Rules for female prapannas, including necessity for pancasamskaras,
> for sudras. Prerequisites for initiation. Discussion of pancasamskaras in
> chapter 1.
> (8) Brhadbrahma Samhita. A lot about initiation and elements of
> pancasamskara. Anything about women and sudras?
> (9) Markanedeya Samhita. Talks about pancasamskara not being necessary
> Bhagavatas (12.4-6). 14.36, svayam diksa (for all?).
> (10) Visnutilaka Samhita. 3.490-511, special duties of widows, sannyasins
> and brahmacaris. 1.65, panca samskara named only. 4.154. Mantrayaga may
> performed by anyone who has pancasamskara.
> (11) Sandilya Samhita. 3.20-26. Purification of sudras by service,
> and tapas. Diksa for non-dvija. 2.15-42. Proper conduct of sudras, women,
> etc. ii.7.1-26. Generall rules of conduct for women. Sudras. Low caste
> to become pure. Non Vedic people are ineligible for diksa.
> KoTi-daNDavan-naty-ante. 
>        	Jan K. Brzezinski, Ph.D.
> 1262 rue St-Joseph, Val-David, QC J0T 2N0
>        (819) 322-3382, 322-6146

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