Chapter

Saṁsāra

Arvind Sharma

in Modern Hindu Thought

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195676389
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081974 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195676389.003.0011
Saṁsāra

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In classical Hinduism, the concept of samsāra was cosmological. A person lived in a universe with no beginning or end, assuming innumerable forms of life until he attained moksa. The concept of samsara in classical Hinduism involved vast temporal dimensions, a sense of which is clearly explained by Joseph Campbell. In modern Hinduism, the approach to samsāra is more psychological since psychic dispositions are the basis of this involvement in the temporal process. This explains the aphorism ‘samsāra is samsāra’. Aside from psychologizing the process, modern Hinduism also tends to subtilize it because the flow of samsāra from one life to another is not much different from the way one day flows into another, or even the way one moment flows into another. Samsāra is essentially associated with this flux. Scholars have acknowledged this shift of the concept from classical to modern Hinduism.

Keywords: Hinduism; samsāra; moksa; Joseph Campbell; samskāra

Chapter.  762 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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