In reply to:

If I am not mistaken Pashupata initialy was to great degree antinomian, put stress on the freedom from formal rules, and in this aspects was quite resembling to malamatiya and qalandariya sects of Islam which by the way originated in the Eastern part of Islamic caliphate close to the place where Pashupata once was spread. Qalandariya had the strange custom to shave all heair from head, beard, even eyebrows which was very shocking for the most of Muslims, and to wear metal rings. Also the attitude of Pashupata reminds me the attitude of hippies and youth movement of 1968 generation. Understandable with the time the radicalism of Pashupatikas was attenuated and they were "tamed" by Orthodox Brahmanism, but nevetheless I think they continued to be more liberal. Btw. has the Pashupata survived until our days? So it is indeed must be universal. If you could indicate some links about Pashupata I would be thankful.

The following account of the Pashupata Sampradaya which exists to the present times, will show that your views above are quite misplaced and too bold conjectures without any basis. You can refer the references at the end of this article for more information. Since you cannot read Sanskrit, I am not posting the bibliographic information of published texts of the Pashupata Sutras, the Panchartha Bhashya and so on.


Pashupata Sampradaya

The Pashupata sect appears to be very old, being mentioned along with Samkhya, Yoga, Veda and Pancharatra as the 5 original systems of Dharma in the Mahabharata. The same text adds that the system was originated by Lord Shrikantha Shiva, the son of Brahma, the lord of pashus and the husband of Uma. Elements of Pashupata Yoga are to be encountered in old texts like the Atharvashiras Upanishad and the Shwetashvatara Upanishad. But the oldest extant classical text of the system is the Pashupata sutras of Nakulisha, whose name also appears as ‘Lakulisha’ in literature.

In chapter 5 of Bana’s Harshacharita [Ref. 2, pg. 134] are mentioned Pasupata Saivas who gave up their crest jewels. They are said to have been present in the army encampment of Emperor Harsha, and also in the hermitage of Divakaramitra. The female ascetics of the Pasupata order are said to have kept a rosary in their hand, they put on Tilaka mark on their forehead and wore red robes.

Commenting on Brahmasutra 2.2.37 , Shri Shankaracharya states that the Maheshwaras had 4 subdivisions: Kalamukhas, Kapalika, Shaiva and Pashupata. He takes this and the adjacent sutras as a refutation of the Maheshwaras in general. On the other hand, Shri Ramanuja takes this section as a refutation of the Pashupata doctrine alone. Bhaskara, on the other hand, mentions the 4 divisions of Maheshvaras as Pashupatas, Shaivas, Kapalikas and Kathakasiddhantins. Does this indicate that the Kalamukhas were primarily the followers of Kathaka Shakha of Yajurveda (and therefore residents of Punjab and Kashmir)? Or it might indicate that the Kalapmukhas were precursors of Kashmir Shaivism. Bhaskara further indicates that the 5 categories of the Maheshvara system were adhered to by some followers of Nyaya, Vaisheshika also. The Samkhyas and the Shaivas are said to have held a slightly different views on Moksha than the followers of Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Pashupata and Kapalika in Bhaskara’s commentary.

Teachers of the School

Lakulisha: He is said to have hailed from the village of Karvan, which is located in the Dabhoi taluka of the Baroda district. According to the Karvan mahatmaya, Nakulisha was the 7th in descent from Sage Atri, who was a ‘manasaputra’ son of Brahma, and was the son of Vishvarupa and Devi Sudarshana. They are said to be residents of the village Ulkagrama, which is identified with the modern village of Avakhel, close to Karvan. Miraculous anecdotes are narrated of his childhood. According to Vayu Purana 1.23.202-214, he was a contemporary of Veda Vyasa and Lord Krishna, and was the 28th incarnation of Lord Rudra. According to this text, he appeared by animating the body of an dead 8 year old Brahmachari at Kayavarohana. Skanda Purana 5.48-63 adds that from Kayavarohana, Nakulisha went to Mahakalavana near Ujjain and settled down there. According to the Kurma Purana 1.53.28, he had 4 main disciples named Kushika, Gargya, Maitraka and Rushta. The Linga Purana gives the name of the last as Kaurushya- a word which has the same meaning as the word ‘Rushta’. At Ujjain, he is said to have composed the Pashupata Sutras, which he taught to his 4 disciples. A pillar erected by Chandragupta II at Mathura in 380 C.E. states that a ‘Guruvayatana’ (am abode of the Gurus) was established by one Uditacharya, who was 4th in descent from a teacher of Pashupata sect named Parashara, who in turn was 6th in descent from Kushika. If this Kushika is one of the four disciples of Lakulisha, the latter must have existed around 125 C.E. According to some scholars, Lakulisha modified the Maheshwara doctrine by putting different interpretations on all 5 main concepts in that doctrine and placed special emphasis on the different kinds of behavior to be adopted at each of the 5 stages, in their progress from initiation to the attainment of the unlimited powers of knowing, willing and acting on the terrestrial place.

Rasikara Kaundinya: He is the author of the famous Panchartha Bhashya on the Pashupata Sutras. There are four texts which give some indication of the period of Kaundinya: The Ratnatika, the Tarkarahasyadipika of Gunaratna on Haribhadra Suri’s Shaddarshana Samucchaya and Rajashekhara’s Shaddadarshana Samucchaya. These works state that according to Pashupatas, there had been 18 Tirthankaras starting with Lakulisha himself, and that Rasikara Kaundinya was the 17th. Tirthankaras 2-5 were the 4 disciples of Lakulisha. Allowing 25 generations for the 11 generations of teachers intervening between Lakulisha and Rasikara Kaundinya, we arrive at a date of approximately 400 C.E. for the latter.

Doctrines of Pashupata System
1.There is one God, who is Lord Rudra.
2.God is the efficient cause of the Universe
3.Salvation, and a cessation of the cycle of births and deaths can be achieved by propitiating Lord Rudra. Thus, the system sees God as a personal deity.
4.The fruits of Karma result in bondage, the 3 fold miseries of mundane existence, and the limitations of one’s powers, will and strength.
5.Lord Rudra can be propitiated by taking recourse to Dhyana Yoga (meditation), practiced in a secluded spot, accompanied with the observance of certain mental, moral and physical disciplines. These disciplines destroy the effects of Karma.
The moral, physical and mental disciplines are expounded in a four fold manner manner namely Kriyapada, Charyapada, Yogapada and Jnanapada. The Kriyapada deals with the rituals portion, the Charyapada with the behavorial aspects, the Yogapada with the meditation aspects and the fourth with the state of realization, or knowledge.

In course of time, these disciplines were subsumed under the ‘Pashupata Vrata’. This stage of the Pashupata thought is expounded in the Shaiva Puranas, the Shaiva Upanishads like Kalagnirudra and so on.

Literature of Pashupata Shaivas:
1.Pashupata Agamas: They are said to be 28 in number
2.Pashupata Sutras of Lakulisha: They comprise of 168 aphorisms in 5 chapters, The text starts with the word ‘atha’ and ends with the word ‘Shiva’. According to the Panchartha Bhashya, these sutras were taught by Lakulisha to his disciple Kushika at Ujjain. There is considerable emphasis on the ‘Pashupati’ aspect of Lord Rudra and the 5 chapters deal with the specific rules of behavior that should be observed by the Sadhaka in each of the 5 stages. The first stage is that of a Sadhaka who bears outward symbols of the sect (Vyaktavastha) whereas the last stage is that of perfect repose (Nishtha). The 5 fundamental principles (padarthas) of the Maheshvara system are: Karya, Karana, Yoga, Vidhi and Dukhanta. The Pashupata Sutras mention them here and there, but there is no attempt therein to give a systematic exposition of the same.
3.Panchartha Bhashya of Kaundinya: Kaudinya has tried to prove in his work that the Lakulisha presumed the 5 Padarthas of the Maheshwara system in the composition of his text, and therefore the Pashupata Sutras deserved the title ‘Panchartha Shastra.’ The Bhashya clarifies the distinction between the views of the Pashupatas following the Vaisheshika system, and the Shaivas following the Nyaya school of philosophy.
4.Material in the Shiva Purana, the Linga Purana, the Vayu Purana, the Brahmanda Purana, the Kurma Purana and other Shaiva Puranas
5.Minor Shaivite Upanishads like the Kalagnirudra Upanishad, the Brihajjabala Upanishad and so on.
6.Ganakarika on the Panchartha Bhashya by Haradatta
7.A section in Haribhadrasuri’s Shaddarshanasamucchaya and commentaries thereon
8.Anonymous Dipika on the Panchartha Bhashya
9.Section on the Pashupatas in Rajashekhara’s Shaddarshanasmucchaya and commentaries tthereon.
10.Samskarakarika, Satkaryavichara and other works quoted or named in the commentary on Ganakarika by the Naiyyayika Bhasarvajna
11.Chapter on Pashupatas (6th) in Madhaviya Sarvadarshanasamucchaya
12.Svayogashastra mentioned in the Jaina works
13.Numerous inscriptions from 10th to 14th cent. C.E.


1. Vasudeva S. Agrawala; The Deeds of Harsha; Prithivi Prakashan; Varanasi; 1969

2. Pt. Jagannatha Pathaka; Harsa-Charita of Banabhatta; Chowkhamba Vidyabhawan; Vidyabhavan Sanskrit Granthamala No. 36; Varanasi; 1964

3. P. C. Divanji; Lakulisha of Karvan and his Pasupata Cult; in Gautam Patel et al (Ed.); Contribution of Gujarat to Sanskrit Literature (Dr. M. I. Prajapati Felicitation Volume); Dr. M. I. Prajapati Sastipurti Sanman Samiti; Patan (Gujarat); 1998