Hindu Saṁskāras: Socio-religious Study of the Hindu Sacraments

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Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1969 - Religion - 327 pages
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The Hindu Samskaras give expression to aspirations and ideals of the Hindus. They aim at securing the welfare of the performer and developing his personality. They go back to a hoary antiquity. The Vedas, the Brahmanas, the Grhyasutras, the Dharmasutras, the Smrtis and other treatises describe the rites, ceremonies and customs here and there but they do not present them in their historical evolution. The present work is a systematic study of all the Samskaras enjoined to be performed at the various epochs in the life of an individual from conception to crematorium. The author has cited parallels in other religions to show that they are universal and have a recognised place in ancient cultures and are still represented within the limits of modern religion. He has also shown that the sacramental beliefs and practices, far from being an irrational priestcraft, are consistent and logical and have practical utility and intention. This work discusses the source, meaning, number, purpose and the constituents of Samskaras grouped under five heads: prenatal, natal, educational, nuptial and funeral. Besides being a landmark in Hindu culture, it presents patterns of life based on high ethical, spiritual and humanistic values.
 

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Contents

CHAP
1
Twofold Purpose
2
The Smſtis
7
The Relative Importance of Sources
13
The Popular Purpose
25
The Moral Purpose
31
CHAP PAGE
33
Spiritual Significance
42
Răştrabhịta and other Sacrifices
218
The Praise of Woman
219
The Bride Sprinkled
220
Local Customs
221
The Bride Carried and Blessed
224
CHAP PAGE
225
Prayers Appeals and Blessings
231
The Vedarambha Beginning of the Vedic Study
234

The Garbhadhāna Conception
48
The Pursavana Quickening of Male Child
60
The Jätakarma Birth Ceremonies
70
The Nāmakarana NameGiving
78
The Nişkramaņa First Outing
86
The AnnaPrāśana First Feeding
90
The Sixteen Samskāras
102
THE EDUCATIONAL SAMSKĀRAS
106
The Chūda Karaņa Tonsure
141
CHAP PAGE
143
Introductory
146
i The Origin
153
vi The Historical growth of Eight Forms
159
CHAP PAGE
168
Fire
202
iii The Vedic Period
205
CHAP PAGE 6 The Nuptial Bath
210
The Marriage Party
211
Anointment
214
Kanyādāna
215
The Significant Question
216
iv The Sūtra and Subsequent Periods
243
Lustration
244
CHAP PAGE 8 The Removal of the Corpse
248
Anustaraņi
249
Orientation
251
Cremation a Sacrifice
253
The Return
255
Regaling the Mourners
256
AsthiSañchayana
259
SantiKarma
261
The Śmaśāna
263
Offerings to the Dead
265
SapiņdiKaraņa
267
The Primitive Nature of the Ceremonies
274
CONCLUSION 1 Life a Mystery and an Art
275
The Procedure of the Saṁskāras
276
iii Philosophical Indifference and Hostility towards the Samskäras and their reconciliation with Philosophy
277
Bibliography
283
Chaturthikarma 224
303
The Keśānta Shaving of Beard
313
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