"samsara" meaning "life"

Peter Friedlander peterfriedlander at YAHOO.COM.AU
Tue Feb 3 06:12:34 UTC 2009

Dear Colleagues,
In Hindi usages of samsar(a) in the sense of the phenomenal world that go back at least to the time of Kabir and Raidas, so certainly since the 16th century. However samsar in Hindi bhakti poetry normally overlaps with the sense of rebirth in the phenomenal world in expressions like 'how can I cross to the other shore of samsara?'. 
Somewhat later, probably in the 19th century, samsar started to be used as a Sanskritic synonym for duniya. I am sure the shop in Banaras 'sari sansar' thinks of itself as 'sari world' rather than 'endless rebirth in saris'! (or saris in endless rebirth).

Peter Gerard FRIEDLANDER (Dr) :: Centre for Language Studies and South Asian Studies Programme :: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences :: National University of Singapore :: AS4 9 Arts Link, #02-01 :: Singapore 117570 :: 65-6516 2468 (DID) 

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