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Prapancasara is an ancient authoritative work on mantras and tantras. This text which talks about mystic syllables and diagrams is traditionally ascribed to Adi Shankaracharya.

There are two editions of Prapanchasara. While the Srirangam edition contains 33 chapters, the edition of Arthur Avalon has 36 chapters. But the contents do not vary. Though some commentators refer to the work as that of Shankaracharya, Sarada Tilaka of Raghava Bhatta refers to it only as the work of Srimad Acharya.

In Satchakra Nirupana of Kalicarana also, the author is said to be Srimad Acharya. There are commentaries on the work, like Prapanca-sara-sambandha-dipika, Prapanca-sara-vivarana, Prapanca-sara-samgraha and Satsampradaya.

The important topics dealt with in the work are the following

  • The glory of sabda – Brahman (reality as sound)
  • The glory of the letters
  • Bhutalipi (scripts of the elements)
  • Explanation of preceptor and sacred mantras or chants
  • Articles of offering
  • Sacred mantras (sounds) to get various benefits
  • Sixty four saktis (powers)
  • The greatness of Sri Vidya (worship of Mother Goddess)
  • Special ceremonies
  • To ward off fever and delirium
  • Homas (oblations into ceremonial fire) to get power.

Those who follow this form of worship should, first of all, be initiated into it. It helps them not only to ward off their sins, but also to progress along the spiritual path.