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Pashupata Sutra

Pashupata Sutra is the earliest treatise on the main tenets of the Pasupata System. Pashupata Sutra or Panchadhayayi pertains to the school of Maheshwara Shaivism which was opposed to Vedic practices in ancient India.

Pashupata Sutra enunciates the doctrines of the Nakulisa Pashupatas, the followers of the Nakulisa (Lakulisa), held as a manifestation of Lord Shiva.

The work was commented on by Rasikara Kaundinya, probably belonging to the Gupta period. The work is divided into five section (hence known as Panchadhyayi), dealing with the five fundamentals of the Pashupata system – these are the main principles of the sect.

The five fundamentals are
  1. Mahat Karya –
  2. The karana – Lord Shiva is main cause
  3. The constituents of Yoga (meditation)
  4. Viddhis such as bathing three times a day (practices)
  5. End of Duhkhanta (misery) – this is the final goal.
Pashupata Sutra lay down certain practices to be adopted by an adherent of this school.
He should besmear his body thrice with sacred ashes, sleep on ashes, live in a secluded house or in a cave or in a cremation ground, have control over the senses and make his living by seeking alms. He should have a single dress and conduct himself in such a way that ordinary men despise him. He was required to practice control of breath and repeat the sacred formula of Rudra to get free from pollution. He should have matted hair and a skin garment and hold a trishula (trident) in his hand.