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Recently I participated in the Antim Sanskara of my Father in Law. Also we say that " He or She is very Sanskari. " In both the context word Sanskar is used.

My questions are : What is the meaning of the word Sanskara?

Do animals also have Sanskaras?

  • It means a sacrament. See questions tagged under samskara and also What are the 16 sanskaar (Sacraments of Life) and How do you complete them? – Sarvabhouma Jan 12 '18 at 17:15
  • The answer given by you fails when we say " He or She is very Sanskari." – Dheeraj Verma Jan 13 '18 at 3:36
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    It does because you are comparing oranges and apples. Both are different. One word has many meanings. She is a sanskari means "She is reformed". Sanskara means reform or a sacrament done for the reform one's life. Antim samskara done is one of the sixteen sacraments and the last one. So, this is the correct meaning. – Sarvabhouma Jan 13 '18 at 5:45
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There are many meanings for Sanskara or Saṃskāra (संस्कार):

putting together

making perfect

consecrations

behavioral traits

dispositions

accomplishing well


A Grihastha (householder) has 3 kinds of duties/rituals/consecrations:

  • Nitya (regular),

  • Naimaitik (causal) and

  • NityaNaimaitik (a combination of both). - Markandeya Purana

Most of the Samskaras from the list of 16 Samskaras (Ṣoḍaśa Saṃskāra) generally falls under Naimaitik (causal) rituals/consecrations category.

The sanskaras vary in number and details. They range from the list of 40 sanskaras in the Gautama Dharmasutra to 16 sanskaras in the Grhyasutra.

The behavioral traits such as compassion, patience, non-envy, purity of thought speech & body, inner calm & peace, positive attitude and generosity etc. also comes under Saṃskāras.


Antyesthi or Antim Sanskar (Cremation) is part of 16 Samskaras as disscussed here.


When someone says "He or She is very Sanskari"; they refer behavioral traits of a person such as compassion, patience, non-envy, purity of thought speech & body, inner calm & peace, positive attitude and generosity etc. which are included in 40 sanskaras. सदाचार (morality or good behavior ) is also closely related with the statement "He or She is very Sanskari".

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P.V Kane - in his book History Of Dharmasastra Vol II Part I is quoting the meaning of word samskara given by Sabara Swami in his commentary of Jaiminis Purva Mimansa sutras 1.1.3 and Kumarila Bhatta in Tantra-Vartika .

संस्कारो नाम स भवति यस्मिञ्जाते पदार्थो भवति योग्य : कस्य चिदर्थ स्य |

Sabara explains samskara as that which being affected makes certail thing or a person fit for certain purpose..


And Kumarila Bhatta in Tantra-Vartika (a commentary on Śabara's Bhāṣya on the Pūrvamīmāṃsā sūtras of Jaimini) says that

योग्यतां चादधाना: क्रिया : संस्कारा इत्युच्चते |

"Samskaras" are those actions and rites that impart fitness. Fitness is of two kinds ;it arises by removal of taints (sins) or by the generations of freash qualities.

see Point 448 & footnote on the page.

  • Can I say that knowing what is good and what is bad is a result of Sanskar? – Dheeraj Verma Jan 16 '18 at 10:01
  • Not completely , We have to read vedas /shastras ,also Gurus guidance and teachings are required in order to know good and what is bad. That means a lot of other things are also required and not only Sanskar. But certainly Sanskar (by anyone Parents /Guru) plays a vital role. I will update you on this point later on. – SwiftPushkar Jan 16 '18 at 10:05

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