(5,233 words)

Early Textual References

The earliest occurrence of the term saṃsāra in the vedic scriptures is in the Kaṭhopaniṣad, generally assigned to the period of the 5th to the 4th centuries BCE. In the Kaṭhopaniṣad we find the following:

But the person who lacks discernment, who is unfocused, always impure, does not attain that goal, and passes into saṃsāra (saṃsāram adhigacchati). (KaṭhU. 3.7)

We must remem…

Cite this page
Julius Lipner, “Saṃsāra”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 17 December 2018 <>
First published online: 2012

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