The Agamas provide a considerable amount of information on the earliest codes of temple building, image-making, and religious procedure. Agama is the path of the agamas (of the tantric texts) of the tantric tradition from India and Tibet. There are things about healing and things about improving daily life. There are things that relate to cleansing your psychological blockages, also things about having a much better sex life, there are about a hundred other things, which address the body, the energy, the emotions, and the mind, which Agama does address collaterally.
Agama Meaning, Defining Tantra, and Nigama
Agama is derived from the verb root ‘gam’ which means “to go” and the preposition ‘aa’ meaning “toward”. It refers to scriptures as “that which has come down”. Agama is also a term used as a generic name for religious texts which are at the basis of Hinduism and are divided into three parts also known as the types of Agamas namely Vaishnava Agamas (also known as Pancaratra Samhitas), Shaiva Agamas, and Shakta Agamas (more often called Tantras).
Scriptures of Hindu Schools and a huge collection of several Tantric pieces of literature forms The Agamas. The Agama texts describe cosmology, mantras, epistemology, construction of a temple, philosophical doctrines, precepts on meditation and practices, deity worship, four kinds of yoga, and the ways to attain sixfold desires.
Agama can be said to be of the post-Vedic era and scripture that conveys ritual knowledge and is considered to have been revealed by a personal divinity. The texts written in Agamas are often in the form of a dialogue between Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati. Agamas neither accepts nor rejects the Vedas. But for appropriate practices, Agamas use the revealed knowledge of Vedas like a mantra when needed.
The three types of Agamas are
Vaishnava Agamas – Worshiping and regarding Lord Vishnu as the supreme power
Shaiva Agamas – Worshipping and regarding Lord Shiva as the supreme power
Shakta Agamas – Worshipping and regarding Divine Mother (Shakti) as the supreme power
The texts in Shaiva Agama and Shakta Agama are primarily based on the conversation between Shiva and Shakti. Each one of them is taking the role of a teacher and student. When Shiva is acting as a teacher, he revealed his knowledge to Shakti, which is called ‘Agama’, but when Shakti took the role of a teacher, the knowledge that she revealed to Shiva, is called ‘Nigama’, which is also referred to as ‘Tantra’.
Shruti texts include both Agamas and Nigamas.
Tantra technically belongs to Shakta Agamas, which worships and regards the Divine Mother (Shakti) as the supreme Goddess. Thus, it is a subordinate of Agamas but also known as Nigama.
Nigamas is understood as the highest truth, therefore Vedas are known as Nigama. The commands mentioned in Vedas are referred to as Nigama. The final truth or the conclusion after all the logic applied is also known as Nigama.
Agama Shastra or Sastra is a Sanskrit word that describes the blueprint for rituals, worship, temple construction, and many other things among the traditions of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. In Sanskrit, Agama means ‘handed down by tradition’ or ‘scriptures’ and the Shastra refers to the commentary or treatise.
The Agama Shastra acts as the manual for all religious practice-related details and can be viewed as a collection that goes beyond belief. It specifically explains, for instance, how to build a temple, including sculptures and statues of goddesses, but also gives instructions on appropriate forms of meditation.