saMsAra

s. kalyanaraman s._kalyanaraman at mail.asiandevbank.org
Wed Feb 15 10:17:27 EST 1995


     The root is perhaps, sR. sarayatE = begins to flow (Rgveda); saarun = 
     to transport gradually from one place to another (e.g. grain from 
     threshing floor to house), collect (Kashmiri); saarNo = to convey, 
     transplant, separate grain from dirt (Kumaoni); saarnu = to move 
     (Nepali). In classical Skt. there is an apparent, abrupt semantic 
     expansion; cf. MaitraayaNi Upanishad: saMsAra = undergoing 
     transmigration; Manu: secular life, the world; Pali, Pkt.: the round 
     of birth and death; Sinhala: sasara = transmigration; Hindi: sa~sArA = 
     the world; but cf. sara = going (PaaNini). I suppose that when a 
     reference to secular life is made by someone to a married person, in 
     colloquial Tamil, saMsAram does certainly connote 'family' (hence, 
     'your wife'; this may be a polite way of avoiding saying the blunt, 
     perhaps uncivil, directness: 'your wife'! It is analogous to saying: 
     'my wife is in the family way' as a substitute for: 'my wife is 
     pregnant'.) To revert to saMsAra: if a philosophical proposition 
     exists propounding 'a cyclical continuum or motion of births and 
     deaths', theories of transmigration cannot be far behind. 
     s._kalyanaraman at ctlmail.asiandevbank.org

 




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