HINDU ENCYCLOPEDIA

सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Samskara"

Word

Samskara

Sanskrit

संस्कार

IAST

saṃskāra

In General

The word Samskaras used in the Dharmic Texts is for certain expressive and symbolic performances in accordance with the ideals of Vedas. Samskaras are the religious sacraments to be followed by everybody. Apart from religious purificatory rites and ceremonies for sanctifying body, mind and intellect, it also includes steps for refining and empowering the personality. Every society promotes good qualities for its peaceful existence and Samskara is the Hindu way. The Samskara is thus a moral institution which tells us how to cultivate good qualities.

The purificatory Sacrament said in Garhya Sutra form most important part of Samskara. Puranas and Itihasa do the same work by showcasing ideal characters but they do not have rules for Dharma in codified form, nor do they contain directions for proper performances of Dharma. Although Vedas are the root of all Dharma they treat the problem in philosophical way, and do not go into the fine details of performing Dharma. Vedas support Pooja, Sraddha and Tarpana. But these are not codified in Vedas nor said any procedure for its performance. The rites that are not explicitly mentioned in the Vedas but are dealt with in the Smrities are called Smartha Karmas and those that are explicitly mentioned are called Srauta Karmas. These two form the Karmas to be followed for Samskara. So various Smrities and the Vedanga called Kalpa Sutra (Garhya Sutra is a part of it) form the rules and regulations for Samskara.

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Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana