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Hindu Dharma: The Forty Samskaras

The chapters that exist in "The Forty Samskaras" are listed in this page. To go to another part in "Hindu Dharma", please either go back or see the bottom of this page.

Samskara I used the word 'samskara' above [in the previous chapter - of part Fifteen ]. I also explained its meaning according to the Tarka-sastra(science of logic) as 'impression on memory'. But this is not how the word is generally understood. 'Sam(s)'=well; 'kara'=making. 'Samskara' means making something good, refining or purifying it. The dharmasasthras deal ...
 
Paradise or the Path of Atmajnana ? Our worldly existence is a mixture of joys and sorrows. Some experience more joy than sorrow and some more sorrow. Then there may be a rare individual here or there who can control his mind and keep smiling even in the midst of sorrow. On the other hand, we do see a quite a number of people who have much to be happy about but who keep a long face. If a man lacks for something it means he is unhappy. All ...
 
Three Types of Worlds We speak of three worlds: devaloka ( world of the celestials ), manusyaloka ( this world of ours ), and naraka ( hell ). The first has nothing but pleasure; in the second it is a mixture of happiness and sorrow; and in the third there is nothing but pain and sorrow. According to our sastras a man who has committed terrible sins goes through torments of hell before taking lowly birth again in this world. Our ...
 
Meaning of Samskara What is karma? It means work. Suppose you have to make a vesti ( dhoti ). There are a number of processes, a number of works for it. The cotton has to be gathered from the field; it has to be cleaned and spun into yarn; then the yarn has to be woven into cloth and dyed. In the same way a man has to be made a knower of the Atman through a series of rituals. Karma has to be performed in such a way as to purify him both outwardly and inwardly. ...
 
The Eight Qualities The eight gunas or qualities are : daya, ksanti, anasuya, sauca, anayasa, mangala, akarpanya, asprha. ' Daya ' implies love for all creatures, such love being the very fulfilment of life. There is indeed no greater happiness than that derived by loving others. Daya is the backbone of all qualities. ' Ksanti ' is patience. One kind of ksanti is ...
 
Gunas in Practical Life All religions teach people to be loving, to be truthful and to be free from jealousy, desire and greed. But our religion goes further by imposing on us the performance of various samskaras to acquire these qualities in practical life. There is no use in merely preaching, in asking people to be like this or that. A man must be kept bound to a system consisting of such works as would help him in practice to acquire the noble qualities expected ...
 
Importance of Agni The samskaras cover an individual's entire life-span - 'Nisekadi smasanantakam' - from the moment before he is conceived in his mother's womb to the time when his body is offered to Agni. 'Niseka' (impregnation) is a rite performed with the sacrificial fire as the witness; and the funeral rites which come last are ...
 
Names of Samskaras The forty samskaras which are meant to purify the individual self are: garbhadhana, pumsavana, simanta, jatakarma, namakarana, annaprasana, caula, upanayana, the four rites like prajapatya (Vedavratas) performed during gurukulavasa (the years the celibate student spends in the home of his guru), the ritual bath on completion of gurukulavasa, marriage, the five mahayajnas performed everyday by the householder. We have listed ninteen so far. ...
 
Samskaras Performed by Parents The samskaras begin with garbhadhana, that is from the moment of coneption [or, more correctly, impregnation]. The 'sarira-pinda'must be formed to the chanting of mantras. People mistakenly think that rites like Pumsavana ...
 
Why not All Samskaras for All ? Jatakarma, namakarana, annaprasana and caula are common to all jatis. Only Brahmins, Ksatriyas and Vaisyas have the upanayana ceremony. There is nothing discriminatory about this nor need there be any quarrel over the same. People belonging to the fourth varna do physical work to serve the world and in the process acquire inner purity. They will gain proficiency in their hereditary vocations only by learning them from their parents or ...