saMsAra = Reincarnation?

Lance Nelson lnelson at teetot.acusd.edu
Tue Feb 14 13:21:15 EST 1995


Since everyone is busy discussing the momentous issue of moderation, I 
thought this might be a good time to ask a question that, however dumb, 
relates to the actual subject matter of the list.

I notice that in most English language textbooks, the word "saMsAra" is 
given as the Indic translation of "reincarnation."  However, I notice 
that in my reading of VedAnta texts, "saMsAra" generally means something 
more like "world."  So, my question is: What is the correct translation 
for the noun "reincarnation" (or, I suppose, "transmigration") in 
Sanskrit, Hindi, and other Indian languages?  Is there a word, such as 
"punarjanma," that is actually in use to designate reincarnation without 
reference to the cyclic world in which it occurs?

---------------------------
Lance Nelson
Religious Studies    
University of San Diego
lnelson at pwa.acusd.edu
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