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The Agamas (Devanagari: आगम, IAST: āgama) are a collection of scriptures of several Hindu
Hindu
devotional schools.[1][2] The term literally means tradition or "that which has come down", and the Agama texts describe cosmology, epistemology, philosophical doctrines, precepts on meditation and practices, four kinds of yoga, mantras, temple construction, deity worship and ways to attain sixfold desires.[1][3] These canonical texts are in Sanskrit[1] and Tamil (written in Grantha script and Tamil script).[4][5] The three main branches of Agama texts are those of Shaivism
Shaivism
(Shiva), Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
(Vishnu), Shaktism
Shaktism
(Devi).[1] The Agamic traditions are sometimes called Tantrism,[6] although the term "Tantra" is usually used specifically to refer to Shakta Agamas.[7][8] The Agama literature is voluminous, and includes 28 Shaiva
Shaiva
Agamas, 77 Shakta Agamas (also called Tantras), and 108 Vaishnava Agamas (also called Pancharatra
Pancharatra
Samhitas), and numerous Upa-Agamas.[9] The origin and chronology of Agamas is unclear. Some are Vedic and others non-Vedic.[10] Agama traditions include Yoga
Yoga
and Self Realization concepts, some include Kundalini Yoga,[11] asceticism, and philosophies ranging from Dvaita
Dvaita
(dualism) to Advaita (monism).[12][13] Some suggest that these are post-Vedic texts, others as pre-Vedic compositions.[14][15][16] Epigraphical and archaeological evidence suggests that Agama texts were in existence by about middle of the 1st millennium CE, in the Pallava dynasty
Pallava dynasty
era.[17][18] Scholars note that some passages in the Hindu
Hindu
Agama texts appear to repudiate the authority of the Vedas, while other passages assert that their precepts reveal the true spirit of the Vedas.[2][19][20] The Agamas literary genre may also be found in Śramaṇic traditions (i.e. Buddhist, Jaina, etc.).[21][22] Bali Hindu
Hindu
tradition is officially called Agama Hindu
Hindu
Dharma
Dharma
in Indonesia.[23]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Significance 3 Philosophy

3.1 Relation to the Vedas
Vedas
and Upanishads

4 Texts

4.1 Shaiva
Shaiva
Agamas

4.1.1 Saiva Siddhanta 4.1.2 Kashmiri Shaivism

4.2 Shakta Agamas 4.3 Vaishnava Agamas

4.3.1 Vaikhanasa
Vaikhanasa
Agama 4.3.2 Pancharatra
Pancharatra
Agama

4.4 Soura Agamas 4.5 Ganapatya Agamas

5 History and chronology 6 See also 7 References 8 Sources

Etymology[edit] Agama ( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
आगम) is derived from the verb root गम (gam) meaning "to go" and the preposition आ (aa) meaning "toward" and refers to scriptures as "that which has come down".[1] Agama literally means "tradition",[1] and refers to precepts and doctrines that have come down as tradition.[8] Agama, states Dhavamony, is also a "generic name of religious texts which are at the basis of Hinduism
Hinduism
and which are divided into Vaishnava Agamas (also called Pancaratra Samhitas), Saiva Agamas, and Sakta Agamas (more often called Tantras).[8] Significance[edit]

Developing physical and mental discipline with Yoga
Yoga
is one of four recommendations in Agama texts.[12] Above a Yoga
Yoga
posture statue from Kashmir, India, a center of monistic Agama texts.

Agamas, states Rajeshwari Ghose, teach a system of spirituality involving ritual worship and ethical personal conduct through a precepts of a god.[clarification needed][24] The means of worship in the Agamic religions differs from the Vedic form. While the Vedic form of yajna requires no idols and shrines, the Agamic religions are based on idols with puja as a means of worship.[24] Symbols, icons and temples are a necessary part of the Agamic practice, while non-theistic paths are alternative means of Vedic practice.[24] Action and will drive Agama precepts, while knowledge is salvation in Vedic precepts.[24] This, however, does not necessarily mean that Agamas and Vedas
Vedas
are opposed, according to medieval-era Hindu
Hindu
theologians. Tirumular, for example, explained their link as follows: "the Vedas are the path, and the Agamas are the horse".[24][25] Each Agama consists of four parts:[12][24]

Jnana pada, also called Vidya pada[12] – consists of doctrine, the philosophical and spiritual knowledge, knowledge of reality and liberation. Yoga
Yoga
pada – precepts on yoga, the physical and mental discipline. Kriya pada – consists of rules for rituals, construction of temples (Mandir); design principles for sculpting, carving, and consecration of idols of deities for worship in temples;[26] for different forms of initiations or diksha. This code is analogous to those in Puranas
Puranas
and in the Buddhist text of Sadhanamala.[12] Charya pada – lays down rules of conduct, of worship (puja), observances of religious rites, rituals, festivals and prayaschittas.

The Agamas state three requirements for a place of pilgrimage: Sthala, Tirtha, and Murti. Sthala refers to the place of the temple, Tīrtha is the temple tank, and Murti
Murti
refers to the image of god (usually an idol of a deity).[citation needed] Elaborate rules are laid out in the Agamas for Silpa (the art of sculpture) describing the quality requirements of the places where temples are to be built, the kind of images to be installed, the materials from which they are to be made, their dimensions, proportions, air circulation, lighting in the temple complex, etc.[26] The Manasara and Silpasara are some of the works dealing with these rules. The rituals followed in worship services each day at the temple also follow rules laid out in the Agamas. Philosophy[edit]

Temple design (Shore temple) and iconography such as the Nataraja (Dancing Shiva) are described in the Agama texts.[26][27]

The Agama texts of Hinduism
Hinduism
present a diverse range of philosophies, ranging from theistic dualism to absolute monism.[13][28] This diversity of views was acknowledged in Chapter 36 of Tantraloka by the 10th-century scholar Abhinavagupta.[13] In Shaivism
Shaivism
alone, there are ten dualistic (dvaita) Agama texts, eighteen qualified monism-cum-dualism (bhedabheda) Agama texts, and sixty-four monism (advaita) Agama texts.[29] The Bhairava
Bhairava
Shastras are monistic, while Shiva
Shiva
Shastras are dualistic.[30][31] A similar breadth of diverse views is present in Vaishnava Agamas as well. The Agama texts of Shaiva
Shaiva
and Vaishnava schools are premised on existence of Atman (soul, self) and the existence of an Ultimate Reality ( Brahman
Brahman
– called Shiva
Shiva
in Shaivism, and Vishnu
Vishnu
in Vaishnavism).[32] The texts differ in the relation between the two. Some assert the dualistic philosophy of the individual soul and Ultimate Reality being different, while others state a Oneness between the two.[32] Kashmir Shaiva
Shaiva
Agamas posit absolute oneness, that is God (Shiva) is within man, God is within every being, God is present everywhere in the world including all non-living beings, and there is no spiritual difference between life, matter, man and God. The parallel group among Vaishnavas are the Shuddhadvaitins (pure Advaitins).[32] Scholars from both schools have written treatises ranging from dualism to monism. For example, Shivagrayogin has emphasized the non-difference or unity of being (between the Atman and Shivam), which is realized through stages which include rituals, conduct, personal discipline and the insight of spiritual knowledge.[33] This bears a striking similarity, states Soni, to Shankara, Madhva and Ramanujan Vedantic discussions.[33] Relation to the Vedas
Vedas
and Upanishads[edit] Main articles: Vedas
Vedas
and Upanishads The Vedas
Vedas
and Upanishads
Upanishads
are common scriptures of Hinduism, states Dhavamony, while the Agamas are sacred texts of specific sects of Hinduism.[8] The surviving Vedic literature can be traced to the 1st millennium BCE and earlier, while the surviving Agamas can be traced to 1st millennium of the common era.[8] The Vedic literature, in Shaivism, is primary and general, while Agamas are special treatise. In terms of philosophy and spiritual precepts, no Agama that goes against the Vedic literature, states Dhavamony, will be acceptable to the Shaivas.[8] Similarly, the Vaishnavas treat the Vedas
Vedas
along with the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
as the main scripture, and the Samhitas (Agamas) as exegetical and exposition of the philosophy and spiritual precepts therein.[8] The Shaktas have a similar reverence for the Vedic literature and view the Tantras
Tantras
(Agamas) as the fifth Veda.[8] The heritage of the Agamas, states Krishna
Krishna
Shivaraman, was the "Vedic peity maturing in the monism of the Upanishads
Upanishads
presenting the ultimate spiritual reality as Brahman
Brahman
and the way to realizing as portrayed in the Gita".[34] David Smith remarks, that "a key feature of the Tamil Saiva Siddhanta, one might almost say its defining feature, is the claim that its source lies in the Vedas
Vedas
as well as the Agamas, in what it calls the Vedagamas".[35] This school's view can be summed up as,

The Veda
Veda
is the cow, the true Agama its milk. — Umapati, Translated by David Smith[35]

Texts[edit] Shaiva
Shaiva
Agamas[edit] The Shaiva
Shaiva
Agamas are found in four main schools: Kapala, Kalamukha, Pashupata and Shaiva, and number 28 in total as follows:

Kamikam Yogajam Chintyam Karanam Ajitham Deeptham Sukskmam Sahasram Ashuman Suprabedham Vijayam Nishwasam Swayambhuvam Analam Veeram Rouravam Makutam Vimalam Chandragnanam Bimbam Prodgeetham Lalitham Sidham Santhanam Sarvoktham Parameshwaram Kiranam Vathulam

Parts of the Nihsvasatattvasamhita manuscript from Nepal, reproduced in 1912 from a palm-leaf original, linking Shaiva
Shaiva
Agama to esoteric Tantra.[36]

Saiva Siddhanta[edit]

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The Shaiva
Shaiva
Agamas led to the Shaiva Siddhanta
Shaiva Siddhanta
philosophy in Tamil-speaking regions of South- India
India
and gave rise to Kashmir Saivism in the North-Indian region of Kashmir. Kashmiri Shaivism[edit] The Agamas of Kashmiri Shaivism
Shaivism
is also called the Trika Shastra.[37] It centers mainly on the Trika system of mAlinI, siddha and nAmaka Agamas and venerates the triad Shiva, Shakti, Nara (the bound soul) and the union of Shiva
Shiva
with Shakti.[38] The trika philosophy derives its name from the three shaktis, namely, parA, aparA and parApara; and provides three modes of knowledge of reality, that is, non-dual (abheda), non-dual-cum-dual (bhedabheda) and dual (bheda). The literature of Kashmiri Shaivism
Shaivism
is divided under three categories: Agama shastra, Spanda shastra, and Pratyabhijna
Pratyabhijna
shastra.[38] Although the Trika Shastra
Shastra
in the form of Agama Shastra
Shastra
is said to have existed eternally, the founder of the system is considered Vasugupta
Vasugupta
(850 AD) to whom the Shiva
Shiva
Sutras were revealed.[37][38] Kallata in Spanda-vritti and Kshemaraja in his commentary Vimarshini state Shiva revealed the secret doctrines to Vasugupta
Vasugupta
while Bhaskara in his Varttika says a Siddha
Siddha
revealed the doctrines to Vasugupta
Vasugupta
in a dream.[37] Shakta Agamas[edit]

The Shakta Agamas deploy Shiva
Shiva
and Shakti, and a unified view as the foundation for spiritual knowledge.

The Shakta Agamas are commonly known as Tantras,[8][9] and they are imbued with reverence for the feminine, representing goddess as the focus and treating the female as equal and essential part of the cosmic existence.[39] The feminine Shakti
Shakti
(literally, energy and power) concept is found in the Vedic literature, but it flowers into extensive textual details only in the Shakta Agamas. These texts emphasize the feminine as the creative aspect of a male divinity, cosmogonic power and all pervasive divine essence. The theosophy, states Rita Sherma, presents the masculine and feminine principle in a "state of primordial, transcendent, blissful unity".[39] The feminine is the will, the knowing and the activity, she is not only the matrix of creation, she is creation. Unified with the male principle, in these Hindu
Hindu
sect's Tantra
Tantra
texts, the female is the Absolute.[39] The Shakta Agamas are related to the Shaiva
Shaiva
Agamas, with their respective focus on Shakti
Shakti
with Shiva
Shiva
in Shakta Tantra
Tantra
and on Shiva
Shiva
in Shaiva
Shaiva
texts.[39] DasGupta states that the Shiva
Shiva
and Shakti
Shakti
are "two aspects of the same truth – static and dynamic, transcendent and immanent, male and female", and neither is real without the other, Shiva's dynamic power is Shakti
Shakti
and she has no existence without him, she is the highest truth and he the manifested essence.[39] The Shakta Agamas or Shakta tantras are 64 in number.[9] Some of the older Tantra
Tantra
texts in this genre are called Yamalas, which literally denotes, states Teun Goudriaan, the "primeval blissful state of non-duality of Shiva
Shiva
and Shakti, the ultimate goal for the Tantric Sadhaka".[40] Vaishnava Agamas[edit] Main article: Pancharatra The Vaishnava Agamas are found into two main schools – Pancharatra
Pancharatra
and Vaikhanasas. While Vaikhanasa
Vaikhanasa
Agamas were transmitted from Vikhanasa Rishi to his disciples Brighu, Marichi, Atri
Atri
and Kashyapa, the Pancharatra
Pancharatra
Agamas are classified into three: Divya (from Vishnu), Munibhaashita (from Muni, sages), and Aaptamanujaprokta (from sayings of trustworthy men).[1] Vaikhanasa
Vaikhanasa
Agama[edit] Main article: Vaikhanasa Maharishi Vikhanasa is considered to have guided in the compilation of a set of Agamas named Vaikhānasa Agama. Sage Vikhanasa is conceptualized as a mind-born creation, i.e., Maanaseeka Utbhavar of Lord Narayana.[41] Originally Vikhanasa passed on the knowledge to nine disciples in the first manvantara -- Atri, Bhrigu, Marichi, Kashyapa, Vasishta, Pulaha, Pulasthya, Krathu and Angiras. However, only those of Bhrigu, Marichi, Kashyapa
Kashyapa
and Atri
Atri
are extant today. The four rishis are said to have received the cult and knowledge of Vishnu from the first Vikahansa, i.e., the older Brahma
Brahma
in the Svayambhuva Manvanthara. Thus, the four sages Atri, Bhrigu, Marichi, Kashyapa, are considered the propagators of vaikhānasa śāstra. A composition of Sage Vikhanasa's disciple Marichi, namely, Ananda- Samhita
Samhita
states Vikhanasa prepared the Vaikhanasa
Vaikhanasa
Sutra
Sutra
according to a branch of Yajurveda
Yajurveda
and was Brahma
Brahma
himself.[41] The extant texts of vaikhānasa Agama number 28 in total and are known from the texts, vimānārcakakalpa and ānanda saṃhitā, both composed by marīci which enumerate them. They are:[42][43] The 13 Adhikaras authored by Bhrigu
Bhrigu
are khilatantra, purātantra, vāsādhikāra, citrādhikāra, mānādhikāra, kriyādhikāra, arcanādhikāra, yajnādhikāra, varṇādhikāra, prakīrnṇādhikāra, pratigrṛhyādhikāra, niruktādhikāra, khilādhikāra. However, ānanda saṃhitā attributes ten works to Bhrigu, namely, khila, khilādhikāra, purādhikāra, vāsādhikāraṇa, arcanādhikaraṇa, mānādhikaraṇa, kriyādhikāra, niruktādhikāra, prakīrnṇādhikāra, yajnādhikāra.[citation needed] The 8 Samhitas authored by Mareechi are Jaya saṃhitā, Ananda saṃhitā, Saṃjnāna saṃhitā, Vīra saṃhitā, Vijaya saṃhitā, Vijita saṃhitā, Vimala saṃhitā, Jnāna saṃhitā. However, ānanda saṃhitā attributes the following works to Marichi—jaya saṃhitā, ānanda saṃhitā, saṃjnāna saṃhitā, vīra saṃhitā, vijaya saṃhitā, vijita saṃhitā, vimala saṃhitā, kalpa saṃhitā.[citation needed] The 3 Kandas authored by Kashyapa
Kashyapa
are Satyakāṇḍa, Tarkakāṇḍa, Jnānakāṇḍa. However, Ananda Saṃhitā attributes the satyakāṇḍa, karmakāṇḍa and jnānakāṇḍa to Kashyapa.[citation needed] The 4 tantras authored by Atri
Atri
are Pūrvatantra, Atreyatantra, Viṣṇutantra, Uttaratantra.[citation needed] However, Ananda Saṃhitā attributes the pūrvatantra, viṣṇutantra, uttaratantra and mahātantra to Atri.[citation needed] Pancharatra
Pancharatra
Agama[edit] See main article: Pañcaratra Like the Vaikhanasa
Vaikhanasa
Agama, the Pancharatra
Pancharatra
Agama, the Viswanatha Agama is centered around the worship of Lord Vishnu. While the Vaikhansa deals primarily with Vaidhi Bhakti, the Pancaratra Agama teaches both vaidhi and Raganuga bhakti.[44] Soura Agamas[edit] The Soura or Saura Agamas comprise one of the six popular agama-based religions of Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta, Ganapatya, Kaumara and Soura. The Saura Tantras
Tantras
are dedicated to the sun (Surya) and Soura Agamas are in use in temples of Sun worship. Ganapatya Agamas[edit] The Paramanada Tantra
Tantra
mentions the number of sectarian tantras as 6000 for Vaishnava, 10000 for Shaiva, 100000 for Shakta, 1000 for Ganapatya, 2000 for Saura, 7000 for Bhairava, and 2000 for Yaksha-bhutadi-sadhana.[7] History and chronology[edit] The chronology and history of Agama texts is unclear.[18] The surviving Agama texts were likely composed in the 1st millennium CE, likely existed by the 5th century CE.[18] However, scholars such as Ramanan refer to the archaic prosody and linguistic evidence to assert that the beginning of the Agama literature goes back to about 5th century BCE, in the decades after the death of Buddha.[8][18] Temple and archaeological inscriptions, as well as textual evidence, suggest that the Agama texts were in existence by 7th century in the Pallava dynasty
Pallava dynasty
era.[17] However, Richard Davis notes that the ancient Agamas "are not necessarily the Agamas that survive in modern times". The texts have gone through revision over time.[17] See also[edit]

Āgama (Buddhism) Āgama (Jainism) Sacred geometry

References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g Grimes, John A. (1996). A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Terms Defined in English. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-3068-2. LCCN 96012383. pages 16–17 ^ a b Julius Lipner (2004), Hinduism: the way of the banyan, in The Hindu
Hindu
World (Editors: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, ISBN 0-415-21527-7, pages 27–28 ^ Mariasusai Dhavamony (2002), Hindu-Christian Dialogue, Rodopi, ISBN 978-90-420-1510-4, pages 54–56 ^ Indira Peterson (1992), Poems to Siva: The Hymns of the Tamil Saints, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-81-208-0784-6, pages 11–18 ^ A Datta (1987), Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: A-Devo, Sahitya Akademi, ISBN 978-0-8364-2283-2, page 95 ^ Wojciech Maria Zalewski (2012), The Crucible of Religion: Culture, Civilization, and Affirmation of Life, Wipf and Stock Publishers, ISBN 978-1-61097-828-6, page 128 ^ a b Banerji, S. C. (2007). A Companion To Tantra. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 81-7017-402-3 [1] ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mariasusai Dhavamony (1999), Hindu
Hindu
Spirituality, Gregorian University and Biblical Press, ISBN 978-88-7652-818-7, pages 31–34 with footnotes ^ a b c Klaus Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-7082-4, pages 49–50 ^ PT Raju (2009), The Philosophical Traditions of India, Routledge, ISBN 978-81-208-0983-3, page 45; Quote: The word Agama means 'coming down', and the literature is that of traditions, which are mixtures of the Vedic with some non-Vedic ones, which were later assimilated to the Vedic. ^ Singh, L. P. (2010). Tantra, Its Mystic and Scientific Basis, Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 978-81-8069-640-4 ^ a b c d e Jean Filliozat (1991), Religion, Philosophy, Yoga: A Selection of Articles, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-0718-1, pages 68–69 ^ a b c Richard Davis (2014), Ritual in an Oscillating Universe: Worshipping Siva in Medieval India, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-60308-7, page 167 note 21, Quote (page 13): "Some agamas argue a monist metaphysics, while others are decidedly dualist. Some claim ritual is the most efficacious means of religious attainment, while others assert that knowledge is more important." ^ Guy Beck (1993), Sonic Theology: Hinduism
Hinduism
and Sacred Sound, University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0-87249-855-6, pages 151–152 ^ Tripath, S.M. (2001). Psycho-Religious Studies Of Man, Mind And Nature. Global Vision Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-87746-04-1 ^ Drabu, V. N. (1990). Śaivāgamas: A Study in the Socio-economic Ideas and Institutions of Kashmir (200 B.C. to A.D. 700), Indus Publishing Company. ISBN 978-81-85182-38-4. LCCN lc90905805 ^ a b c Richard Davis (2014), Worshiping Śiva in Medieval India: Ritual in an Oscillating Universe, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-60308-7, pages 12–13 ^ a b c d Hilko Wiardo Schomerus and Humphrey Palmer (2000), Śaiva Siddhānta: An Indian School of Mystical Thought, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-1569-8, pages 7–10 ^ For examples of Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
Agama text verses praising Vedas
Vedas
and philosophy therein, see Sanjukta Gupta (2013), Lakṣmī Tantra: A Pāñcarātra Text, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-1735-7, pages xxiii-xxiv, 96, 158–159, 219, 340, 353 with footnotes, Quote: "In order not to dislocate the laws of dharma and to maintain the family, to govern the world without disturbance, to establish norms and to gratify me and Vishnu, the God of gods, the wise should not violate the Vedic laws even in thought – The Secret Method of Self-Surrender, Lakshmi
Lakshmi
Tantra, Pāñcarātra Agama". ^ For examples in Shaivism
Shaivism
literature, see T Isaac Tambyah (1984), Psalms of a Saiva Saint, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 978-81-206-0025-6, pages xxii-xxvi ^ Helen Baroni (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Zen Buddhism, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8239-2240-6, page 3 ^ Tigunait, Rajmani (1998), Śakti, the Power in Tantra: A Scholarly Approach, Himalayan Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-89389-154-1. LCCN 98070188 ^ June McDaniel (2010), Agama Hindu
Hindu
Dharma
Dharma
Indonesia as a New Religious Movement: Hinduism
Hinduism
Recreated in the Image of Islam, Nova Religio, Vol. 14, No. 1, pages 93–111 ^ a b c d e f Ghose, Rajeshwari (1996). The Tyāgarāja Cult in Tamilnāḍu: A Study in Conflict and Accommodation. Motilal Banarsidass Publications. ISBN 81-208-1391-X. [2] ^ Thomas Manninezhath (1993), Harmony of Religions: Vedānta Siddhānta Samarasam of Tāyumānavar, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-1001-3, page 135 ^ a b c V Bharne and K Krusche (2012), Rediscovering the Hindu
Hindu
Temple: The Sacred Architecture and Urbanism of India, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, ISBN 978-1-4438-4137-5, pages 37–42 ^ Archana Verma (2012), Temple Imagery from Early Mediaeval Peninsular India, Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 978-1-4094-3029-2, pages 150–159, 59–62 ^ DS Sharma (1990), The Philosophy of Sadhana, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-0347-1, pages 9–14 ^ Mark Dyczkowski (1989), The Canon of the Śaivāgama, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-0595-8, pages 43–44 ^ JS Vasugupta
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