What does Samskara mean?

What does Samskara mean? There are many definitions of Samskara, and we will review them and outline the most commonly understood meaning of Samskara.

What does Samskara mean?

So what does Samskara actually mean!? We will review through a few definitions online (from Wikipedia and Yogapedia) and outline a common understanding with input to Samskara. 

As per Wikipedia:

Wikipedia definition

Samskaras or sanskaras (Sanskrit: संस्कार) are, in Indian philosophy and Indian religions, mental impressions, recollections, or psychological imprints. In Hindu philosophies, samskaras are a basis for the development of karma theory.

According to various schools of Indian philosophy, every action, intent or preparation by an individual leaves a samskara(impression, impact, imprint) in the deeper structure of the person’s mind. These impressions then await volitional fruition in that individual’s future, in the form of hidden expectations, circumstances or a subconscious sense of self-worth. These Samskaras manifest as tendencies, karmic impulses, subliminal impressions, habitual potencies or innate dispositions. In ancient Indian texts, the theory of Samskara explains how and why human beings remember things, and the effect that memories have on people’s suffering, happiness and contentment.

Source: Wikipedia

Yogapedia beautifully expands:

Samskara Definition

It is said that a samskara is created after a vritti, or thought wave, arises in the mind. Once this thought wave has left normal consciousness, it sinks down into the subconscious or unconscious mind, where it remains in the form of a samskara. 

Samskaras also serve as memory stores that hold all past experiences in perfect detail. When memories are recalled, the samskaras come back to the level of the conscious mind in waves of recollection.
Samskaras supposedly have the potential to influence a person’s future because they house hidden expectations and unconscious ideas that are waiting to come to fruition. 

According to Hindu beliefs of reincarnation, every person is born with samskaras already, which are embedded and imprinted in their minds from past lives. During a person’s lifetime, they will gain many more samskaras. In this way, samskaras are associated with karmic theory. The actions and karma that one accumulates in one lifetime will be passed on to one’s future reincarnation through one’s samskaras.

Source: Yogapedia

Our extension:

Therefore, Samskara’s are basically deep embedded emotional muscular impulses that are a result of all our accumulated experiences, so far. We are born with Samskara’s and during our lifetime, acquire new ones. Positive or Negative, is indeed dependent upon perspective. However, Negative/Positive Samskara’s could be shifted bringing it to our awareness and residually developing new habits with discipline.

Many times, we act without thought, or rather impulsively. It is the ‘Samskara’ with in us that drives us to do so. Sometimes, such an action results positively, and sometimes, negatively. We all carry emotional baggage deeply embedded into us. Developing new habits engrains into our Samskaras. Our intention with Samskara Tribe is to connect to our deeper self and develop practices that would enrich our Samskaras. We strive to meditate conscious, alert, focused habits, to enrich our Samskaras and eliminate ‘impulsivity’ out of the equation, merging thought, and action, as one, flow.

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