Is there a Darshana/Philosophy based on Agamas?


I can answer only based on ShAkta scriptures. I can't elaborate anything on man made philosophies.

Also, Agamas are plenty in number. They can be divided into ShAkta, Shaiva and other similar groups.

Note that, my answer is only based on the ShAkta Agamas, and also on as much as i know about them.

The 6 Darshanas are first of all condemned in KulArnava Tantram, which is one of the most authoritative ShAkta Agamas, as follows:

[Lord Shiva says to Goddess PArvati]
Shadadarsana MahAkupe PatitAh Pashavah Priye|
ParamArtham Na JAnanti PashupAshaniyantritAh ||


The Pashus are thrown into the giant well (MahAkupa) [which is of the form of the] six Darshanas. Bounded by the PAshas, these persons do not know about the supreme truth (ParamArtha).

KulArnava Tantram 1.87



The man in bondage is a Pashu. It does not indicate anything derogatory. And the PAshas are the bondages.

When, the JivA is bounded by the PAshas he is a Pashu, relieved of those PAshas is the Supreme SadAshiva.

Viz-PAshavadhah Smrito Jivah PAshamuktah SadAshivah

. So, the basic idea is similar to Advaita Vedanta where Jiva does not know its true nature which is of the nature of Paramatma.



According Shaiva Agamas, Mala (impurity), Karma ( actions) and MAyA (illusion or avidyA) are the three pAshas.

Again, Mala, Karma, MAyA and Bodhshakti are also known as PAshas.

The six Kanchukas (Shatkanchuka) viz- MAya, KAla, Niyati, KalA, VidyA and RAga are also PAshas.

The Pancha Kleshas viz- AvidyA, AshmitA, RAga, Dvesha, and Abhinibhesha. are also PAshas according to Shaiva scriptures.

In ShAkta scriptures usually we find mention of eight PAshas viz- GhrinA (disgust), LajjA (shame), Bhaya (fear), ShankA (apprehension), Jugusa ( translation of this and few others pending ), Kula, Shila and JAti. But in some scriptures we also find mention of 52 and 62 PAshas.


Now, the reason why the six darshanas are condemned becomes clear upon reading the next verse given below:

Pathanti VedashastrAni Vivadanti Parasparam |
Na JAnanti Param Tattvam Darvi PAkarasam YathA ||


These persons constantly debate and argue with each other by reading Veda and other scriptures. But they don't get a clue of the Supreme Truth (Param Tattvam) just like the ladle does not get the taste of the food [which is cooked with its help].

KulArnava Tantram 1.94

And, this is actually what you see as happening in reality. All the philosophers claiming their thinking as the correct one and the most superior one argues with each other but all that is in vain.

That no such philosophy is capable enough to depict the correct nature of Brahman (the Supreme reality) is made clear by Lord Shiva in the following verse:

Advaitam Kecidicchanti Dvaitam icchanti ChApare |
Mama Tatvam Na JAnanti DvaitAdvaita Vivarjitam ||


Some prefers Advaita (non-dualism), some other prefers Dvaita (dualism). But my true nature (or the nature of the Brahman), which is devoid of both Dvaita and Advaita (DvaitAdvaita Vivarjitam) is not known to either of them.

KulArnava Tantram 1.110.

To be frank, here what is condemned is not the 6 philosophies but the nature of unintelligent persons reading them and trying to come into some kind of conclusions and also engaging into debates with each other.

The Philosophies are like VichAras which arise from mind (Mana) and intellect (Buddhi). When one is merged with the Supreme Being, the mind, intellect and all other faculties are also equally merged. So, then, where is the question of VichAra like Dvaita or Advaita or something else?

Also that the aforementioned NindA (criticism) of Shad Darshanas is something like Nahi-Ninda (superficial criticism) is also made clear in the following verses:

Shada DarshanAni MehAngAni Padau Kukshih Karau Sirah |
Teshu Bhedantu Yah KurjAnmAngam Chedayettu Sah ||


The six Darshanas are my six limbs viz- two legs, two hands, the torso and the head. One who discriminates between them equivalently cuts my limbs (Angachedana).

YetAnyeva KulasvApi ShadangAni Bhavanti Hi |
TasmAd VedAtmak ShAstram Viddhi KaulAtmakam Priye ||


These six Darshanas are the six limbs of KulashAstras too. That's why know that the Vedatmaka scriptures are also KaulAtamka in nature.

KulArnava Tantram 2.85,86.

So, the 6 darshanas are also the philosophies of Kaulism or Shaktism.

About why Agamas are not popular like some other Shastras like Veda, PurAna

Among various Shruti & Smriti scriptures, Agamas are those scripture not so popular or say people usually don't know much about them.

The primary reason behind this is that they are meant to be kept secret. This is per the orders of Lord Shiva who created all of them. Secondarily, Agamic knowledge should only be learned from one's Guru. It flows through Sampradayas and secretly. And, thirdly, Agamas are terse and esoteric in nature. Difficult to understand on ones own.

For example:

PAramparjya KramAyAtam Panchavaktreshu Samshtitham |
Akathyam PAramArthena TthApi Kathayami Te ||

So, here Lord Shiva clearly says, that the Agamic knowledge which was originally situated in His five faces are to be propagated through Guru Paramapara. And he also says, that this knowledge can not be given or should not be spoken of (Akathyam) in general.


Deyam BhaktAya ShishyAya Anyatha Patanam Bhavet |

This knowledge can be passed on to only able disciples otherwise downfall is inevitable.


GuhyAd Guhyataram Devi SArAt SAram PrAt Param


RahasyAtirahasyAni KulashAstrAni PArvati

So, this knowledge should be kept as top most secret. And that's why it is not that popular among the masses.

Veda ShAstra PurAnAni PrakAshyAni Kuleswari |
Shaiva ShAktAgamAh Sarve RahasyAh ParikirtitAh ||


Veda, PurAnas and other Shastras can be made public (or revealed) but the Shaiva and ShAkta Agamas are famous as secret and mysterious.

KulArnava Tantram 3.4

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