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Mṛgendrāgama. Sections de la doctrine et du yoga

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1The Mṛgendrāgama is occupying a very conspicuous position within the vast extension of Śaiva agamic literature. In spite of its being reckoned among the upāgamas or “secondary āgamas, as a mere epitome of the Kamikāgama, it has been playing for a long time the role of a standard account of dualistic Śivaism. Mādhavācārya, for instance, quotes abundantly from it throughout the seventh chapter of his celebrated Sarvadarśanasaṅgraha. Its peculiar clarity and concise completeness — it is one of the rare texts actually comprising the four traditional sections (Jñāna-, Kriyā-, Yoga- and Caryāpāda) — may have early gained it, from the South to Kashmir, a genuine all-India popularity. While the Caryā- and Kriyāpāda have been critically edited by the French Institute of Indology (N.R. Bhatt, 1962), the Jñāna and Yogapādā are still waiting for such a treatment. They have been however selected for a translation because of their special interest. They contain, indeed, one of the most detailed statements of the philosophy of classical sanskrit Śaiva dualism, as distinct from the Tamil Śaivasiddhānta.

2The present translation is based on the comparison and mutual emendation of the two existing editions (Srinagar, 1930 and Devakottai, 1928). The Devakottai edition of the Jñānapāda includes a Vṛtti by the kashmirian writer Nārāyaṇakaṇṭha (probably 11th century) and a subcommentary (Dīpikā) by the wellknown Aghoraśivācārya (12th century) of the Cola country. The Srinagar edition has only the Vṛtti. As for the Yogapdda section of the Dīpikā, it seems to be lost. Minor disagreements occur here and there between the two commentators. They are commented upon in the notes along with indication of significant variants, tracing of quotations and referring to other Śaiva dualistic works as well as to modern critical literature.

3The Jñānapāda is divided into 13 chapters. Chapter I tells how the Śaiva doctrine has been revealed and transmitted from Śiva himself down to the author of the text. Profusely quoting from the Veda, it tries to prove that even there Śiva is regarded as the supreme deity. By the way, attacks are being launched against the Pūrva-Mīmāṃsā and its alleged “atheism. The entire second chapter is devoted to a scathing criticism of the “other ways of salvation”, namely the six brahmanical darśanas (excepting Patanjali’s Yoga system), Jainism, Buddhism, the Pāñcarātra and Cārvaka doctrines. The third chapter demonstrates that the universe is the work of an infinitely intelligent and powerful Lord. The fourth chapter describes the essence of Śiva, his possessing of a body made of mantras, his creating of subordinate Lords, or Demiurgs, like Vidyesvaras, Mantresvaras etc. The fifth chapter describes Śiva’s fivefold operation, that is Creation, Maintenance and Destruction of the universe, Grace and Concealment. Chapter 6 deals with the paśu or fettered soul. The bond itself, along with its tripartition into mala, māyā and karman, is being described in the seventh chapter. Chapter 8 points to the necessity of admitting karman as an independant entity. Chapter 9 deals with Māyā as the sole material cause of the so-called “impure creation”. By the way, it criticizes the atomism of the Vaiśeṣika philosophy. Chapter 10 explains how the derivative tattvas, from kalā down to the gross material elements, proceed from māyā. In this context, special attention is devoted to the problem of time (kāla). Chapters 11 and 12 are dealing with conceptions (pratyaya) and sense-organs (indriya), respectively. The Jñānapāda ends (chapter 13) with a detailed description of the universe, from the hells, earth and heavens up to the subtle worlds beyond the realm of māyā. As for the Yogapāda, it develops more or less on the lines of Patanjali’s Yogasūtras but drops yamas, niyamas and āsanas, while, at the same time, admitting japa and vicāra as full-part aṅgas.

© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 1980

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