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Ahirbudhnya Samhita – Contents – What It Is About?

Ahirbudhnya Samhita is a composition that eulogizes Bhagavan Vishnu and his Shakti (energy) in the form of Sudarshana. Ahirbudhnya Samhita contains 3,800 verses known as karakas and sixty chapters. Ahirbudhnya was one of the eleven Rudras. He preached Narada and Narada taught Pancharatra to seer Durvasa is an exposition of the importance of sudarshana and contains some important Vaishnava directives. It is said that the original book contained 240 chapters which were later condensed into thirty. For the first time, in modern times, a German scholar, Dr F.O.Scharader, published this book on Pancharatra.

This Samhita has two parts wherein occult worship and its methods are given in detail. From the first to the fourteenth chapter, there is an exposition of philosophical concepts. Brahman is propounded as full of eternal bliss and having neither a beginning nor an end. His very form is Narayana. He is all-pervading and everlasting. He resides in very being and pervades everything. He is faultless and undisturbed like the wave-less sea. He has no tinge of material qualities and is the abode of non-material qualities. He has no limitation due to space, time and objects. He is ever full, nityodita (ever manifest) and cannot be guessed to be of this or that kind of size (Ahirbudhnya Samhita 2/22-26). Caturvyuha is also described in detail. The four vyuhas are said to be of three kinds in their collective nature on grounds of their vyapti (pervasion), the manifestation of the respective gunonmesha (qualities) and personal figures (Ahirbudhnya Samhita 5). In the same way, the individual self is also beginning-less and full of bliss. He is conceived to be brahma-maya and ever present. He is part of eternal powers. The individual beings who have received Shaktipata (the fallen energy from God, are along liberated.

From the fifteenth to the thirty-second chapters, the authority, matrika, mantra, disha, yoga, nyasa, utsava etc., are described in detail. God is explained through mantras, and yoga depicts nadi and pranayama lucidly. Chapters 33 to 50 elucidate the form and effect of sudarshana, the worship of yantras, mahabhisheka and surrender, etc., in detail. Chapters 51 to 59 explain subtle and gross forms of Vishnu and his supreme meaning. Tara or taraka mantra are described fully. The identity or non-difference among Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Samkarshana, Vasudeva, Shakti and Vishnu are explained. Purusha Sukta, Sri Sukta, Varaha Mantra and Narasimha Mantras are illustrated fully. With the description of the importance of Shastra, the book is completed. A resume of the contents of the Samhita completes this chapter.

Kashmir appears to have been the place of origin of this Samhita on the following grounds. Birch-bark which grows in Kashmir and the Himalayas, is stated to have been used as a sheet for the drawing of a yantra (diagram) (Ahirbudhnya Samhita 26/75). The aspirant, who gets initiated according to the tradition, is stated to get rid of all wrong acts like the sun which gets freed from the obstruction caused to its brilliance by snow, a comparison which points to a region in Kashmir or the Himalayas (Ahirbudhnya Samhita 39/28). The reference to King Muktapida of Kashmir (750 CE) in chapter 48 confirms the place of the rise of the text in that region. Thus, this book has a special place in the Pancharatra tradition.