pranava in the samhitas.

Marzenna Czerniak-Drozdzowicz MDROZ at
Tue Mar 18 11:10:23 UTC 1997

Date sent:      Sun, 16 Mar 1997 18:34:18 GMT
Send reply to:  indology at
From:           Jan Brzezinski <jagat at>
To:             Members of the list <indology at>
Subject:        pranava in the samhitas.

Hi folks,

I am trying to find some references in the Pancaratra Agamas. I am looking
for statements to the effect that women and sudras are not (or are)
permitted to receive initiation, pronounce the sacred pranava or other seed
mantras, whether they can chant the eight-letter mantra with or without the
addition of the svaha, pha.t,, etc., whether they are eligible for
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 references
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 photocopies
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 sudra
may wear sacred thread but only during worship. 'The rites for sudreas
generally proceed along tantric lines, without the use of the bija mantra,
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) but
in certain vratas non-brahmins do without mantras (chj. 8); women, elderly
people and youngsters may be eligible for ekaneka diksa (19.1-7).

(5) Bharadvaja Samhita 1.12-20. Any profession or caste eligible for prapatti.

(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; 9.762-73).

(7) Parasara Samhita. (only available in Telugu script apparently) 3.78ff.
Rules for female prapannas, including necessity for pancasamskaras, 3.108ff
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 for
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 be
performed by anyone who has pancasamskara.

(11) Sandilya Samhita. 3.20-26. Purification of sudras by service, devotion
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 ways
to become pure. Non Vedic people are ineligible for diksa.


        Jan K. Brzezinski, Ph.D.
1262 rue St-Joseph, Val-David, QC J0T 2N0
       (819) 322-3382, 322-6146

As I am working on the Parama Samhita I can provide you with some 
- there is no p. 215 in Parama - ed. Baroda 1940 (sanskrit text 
finishes with 208 and English text with 196)

- in chapter 27 vv16-27 do not refer to suudras, only vers 31 says 
about suudras:
anye.saamapi tulyo'ya.m sa.mgraha.h sa.mbhava.h sm.rta.h/ 
naagnikaarya.m tu suudrasya nasandhyopaasana.m tathaa//

- chapter 28 is very corrupt and not translated into English

- chapter IV. 21 does not refer to suudras at all

- chapter VII.24 :
braahma.naa.h k.satriyaa vaisyaa diik.saayogyaastraya.h sm.rtaa.h/
jaatisiilagu.nopetaa.h suudraasca striya eva ca//

- chapter XVII vv.14-20 - about suudras(I think you take it as XXVII)
suudra.mtu tantrajairmantrairdaasaanta.m naamaca sm.rtam/
upaviita.m ca vastra.m ca yojayet//14
uttariiyopaviite ca puujakaale tu naanyadaa/
na suudrasya para.m biija.m jape dhyaane ca kalpayet//15

I hope it will help
Marzena Drozdzowicz

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