Samhara, Saṃhāra: 25 definitions


Samhara means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Sanhar.

Images (photo gallery)

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra

Saṃhāra (संहार):—Eighth of the nine padas, or ‘fields of authority or qualification’ representing one of the nine groups of Dūtīs in the Dūtīchakra, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. The eighth group of Dūtīs is presided over by the Bhairava named Diṅmaheśvara.

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions

Saṃhāra (संहार) refers to the “death”, according to the Svacchandatantra 11.182-184.—Accordingly, “It is called Atimārga because it is beyond the mental dispositions. It is taught as ‘atimārga’ because the doctrine is beyond the worlds. And the lokas are designated ‘bound souls’, in the cycle of birth and death (sṛṣṭi-saṃhāra-vartman ). They who are established in the atimārga, [that is to say] the followers of the observance of the skull and the Pāśupatas, they are to be known as beyond them. There is no rebirth for them and they abide in [the reality of] Īśvara, in [the world of] Dhruva”.

Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Saṃhāra (संहार, “annihilation”) refers to the “annihilation of the world” and represents one of the “five-fold duties” (pañcakṛtya), according to Śivapurāna 1.10.1-5, “[...] the permanent cycle of the five-fold duties consists of creation, maintenance, annihilation, concealment, and blessing. [...] Saṃhāra is the annihilation [of the world]. [...] These five are my activities but are carried on by others silently as in the case of the statue at the Portal. The first four activities concern the evolution of the world and the fifth one is the cause of salvation. All these constitute my prerogatives. These activities are observed in the five elements by devotees—[...] Saṃhāra (annihilation) in the fire [...] everything is urged by the fire; [...] In order to look after these five-fold activities (pañcakṛtya) I have five faces, four in the four quarters and the fifth in the middle”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Saṃhāra (संहार).—A Bhairava god on the sixth parva of Geyacakra.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 19. 79.; 20. 92.

1b) The pralaya at the end of Kaliyuga; first covering by waters, next by tejas, then by ākāśa, then by bhūtadi, then by mahat, and lastly by avyakta;1 the period ending all manvantaras, each continuing for several yugas;2 impossible to be told in detail.3

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 11; 102. 4, 27-31;
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 100. 118;
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 61. 126-27.
Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śilpa-śāstra

Saṃhāra (संहार) is the Sanskrit name of a form of Bhairava. According to the Rudrayāmala, there are eight main forms of Bhairava who control the eight directions of this universe. The term is used throughout Śilpaśāstra literature.

Saṃhāra has the following eight manifestations:

  1. Saṃhāra,
  2. Atiriktāṅga,
  3. Kālāgni,
  4. Priyaṅkara,
  5. Ghoranāda,
  6. Viśālākṣa,
  7. Yogīśa,
  8. Dakṣasaṃsthita.

All these have a color resembling the lightning; they should carry in their hands the kuṇḍa, the kheṭaka, the parigha (a kind of club) and bhiṇḍipāla.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

1) Saṃhāra (संहार, “conclusion”) refers to one of the “five segments” of the plot (itivṛtta or vastu) of a dramatic play (nāṭaka), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 21. It is also known by the name Nirvahaṇa. These five segments are assigned to the principal plot (ādhikārika).

2) Saṃhāra (संहार) or  Saṃharaṇa refers to one of the two limbs (aṅga) belonging to Khañjanātkuṭā type of song (dhruvā) defined in the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 32.9-16. Accordingly, “depending on different conditions, the dhruvās are known to be of five classes”.

Natyashastra book cover
context information

Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing Dramatic plays (nataka), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar

Saṃhāra (संहार).—Unnecessary contraction of the place (स्थान (sthāna))as also of the instrument (करण (karaṇa)), which results into a fault of utterance called पीडन (pīḍana); cf. विहार-संहायोर्व्यासपींडने (vihāra-saṃhāyorvyāsapīṃḍane) R. Pr.XIV.2.

Vyakarana book cover
context information

Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

1) Saṃhāra (संहार) refers to the “process of withdrawal”, according to Kṣemarāja in his commentaries on the Netratantra and the Svacchandabhairavatantra, which is well known to the Kubjikā Tantras.—[...] The upward progression corresponds to the process of withdrawal (saṃhāra). In Kashmiri Śaiva terms, objectivity is initially merged into the subjective aspect of consciousness, which is then absorbed into the pure consciousness that transcends subject and object. Above the audible sound of the syllable OṂ is the sphere of the ideal objects denoted by speech (vācya), represented by the Point and the Half Moon. The Point symbolizes the union of transcendental Śiva and His energy, which corresponds to the sphere of immanence. It is energy gathered together in a highly concentrated state that contains in potential the entire sphere of manifestation. This the Kubjikā Tantras identify with the seed of the goddess, rather than the god.

2) Saṃhāra (संहार) refers to “universal destruction”, according to the Devīpañcaśataka, an important source of the Kālīkrama that developed in Kashmir after the Kālī Mata of the Jayadrathayāmala.—Accordingly, “The permutation (of the Transmental) is said to be the Light that precedes the mistress of the Wheel of Rays [i.e., puñjacakra-īśī] (of divine consciousness). [...] (That light) is not the moon, (or) the light of the stars; it is not the light of the rays of (the sun), the lord of the sky, nor is it the brilliance of lightning—nor is it like the beautiful sun (of energy). That Light (bhāsā) is seen in the belly (of consciousness) with the eye of knowledge, that is, in the eye on the path of opening. She is not seen otherwise. All (things) shine due to her: Fire, Moon, Sun and stars. As the division of Sun and Moon, she bestows the plane of oneness. Thus she is the aggregate (kula) of rays and, ferocious she is the Supreme One (Parā) who has reached the final end of Kula and devours duality with the Yoga of the Fire of (Universal) Destruction [i.e., saṃhāra-vahniyoga]”.—(Cf. Puñjacakra).

Shaktism book cover
context information

Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Tibetan Buddhism

Saṃhāra (संहार) refers to one of the male Vidyā-beings mentioned as attending the teachings in the 6th century Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa: one of the largest Kriyā Tantras devoted to Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of wisdom) representing an encyclopedia of knowledge primarily concerned with ritualistic elements in Buddhism. The teachings in this text originate from Mañjuśrī and were taught to and by Buddha Śākyamuni in the presence of a large audience (including Saṃhāra).

Source: OSU Press: Cakrasamvara Samadhi

Saṃhāra (संहार) is the name of a Bhairava deity [i.e., oṃ saṃhārabhairavāya svāhā], according to the Vāruṇī Pūjā [i.e., Varuni Worship] ritual often performed in combination with the Cakrasaṃvara Samādhi, which refers to the primary pūjā and sādhanā practice of Newah Mahāyāna-Vajrayāna Buddhists in Nepal.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 5: The category of the non-living

Saṃhāra (संहार, “expansion”) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.16.—How does the empirical soul with innumerable space point exist in one of the innumerable space-points of space? It is possible due to the capacity of expansion (saṃhāra) and contraction (visarpa) of the soul, like light. The empirical soul is of the size of the body it owns according to this capacity of expansion and contraction.

Is contraction (saṃhāra) and expansion (visarpa) nature of the soul or is it an attribute of kārmika bondage? Contraction expansion is not the nature of the sol. It is an attribute of the name karma associated with the soul. Do Siddhas have expansion and contraction? If not, why not? No, as they (Siddhas) is free from body-making karma. Contraction and expansion is an attribute of karma and not of the soul.

Source: The University of Sydney: A study of the Twelve Reflections

Saṃhāra (संहार) refers to the “destruction (by Yama)”, according to the 11th century Jñānārṇava, a treatise on Jain Yoga in roughly 2200 Sanskrit verses composed by Śubhacandra.—Accordingly, “[com.—Next he speaks about the superiority of destruction by Yama (antakasaṃhāraviśeṣam)]—As the young so the old, as the rich so the poor, as the brave so the cowardly—Yama devours [all] equally. When Yama is an opponent of embodied souls, all elephants, horses, men, and soldiers and the powers of mantras and medicines become useless”.

General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Samhara in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

saṃhāra : (m.) abridgement; compilation.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

saṃhāra (संहार).—m (S) Destroying or destruction (i. c. reduction into its original state) of the universe. 2 Extinction, exhaustion, consumption, extirpation, annihilation &c.; demolition of form, mode, or state, or destruction of being, in the widest acceptation; and, preëminently (in poetry and popularly), exterminating or extensive slaughter:--whether the act or the state. 3 S Collecting: also collectedness or a collection. 4 Abridging: also abridgedness or an abridgment. 5 Contracting or gathering together generally: also contracted or gathered state.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Saṃhāra (संहार).—1 Drawing or bringing together, collecting; अनुभवतु वेणीसंहारमहोत्सवम् (anubhavatu veṇīsaṃhāramahotsavam) Ve.6; कृत्स्नं च धनसंहारं कुर्वन्ति विधिकारणात् (kṛtsnaṃ ca dhanasaṃhāraṃ kurvanti vidhikāraṇāt) Mahābhārata (Bombay) 12.2.8.

2) Contraction, compression, abridgment.

3) Withholding, drawing back, withdrawal (opp. prayoga or vikṣepa); समर्थो धारणे मोक्षे संहारे चासि पाण्डव (samartho dhāraṇe mokṣe saṃhāre cāsi pāṇḍava) Mahābhārata (Bombay) 3.4.15; Bhāgavata 1.7.27; प्रयोगसंहारविभक्तमन्त्रम् (prayogasaṃhāravibhaktamantram) R.5.57,45.

4) Restraining, holding back.

5) Destruction, especially of the universe, universal destruction; संहारे समनुप्राप्ते व्यादितास्य इवान्तकः (saṃhāre samanuprāpte vyāditāsya ivāntakaḥ) Rām.7.62.5.

6) Close, end, conclusion.

7) An assemblage, a group.

8) A fault in pronunciation.

9) A charm or spell for withdrawing magical weapons.

1) Practice, skill.

11) A division of hell.

Derivable forms: saṃhāraḥ (संहारः).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Saṃhāra (संहार).—m.

(-raḥ) 1. Destruction, loss. 2. The destruction of the world. 3. A division of Tartarus. 4. Abridgment, abbreviation. 5. Collection, assemblage. 6. Restraining, suppressing. 7. Practice. 8. A fault in pronunciation. 9. Close, end, conclusion. 10. A charm or spell for restraining a magical weapon. E. sam together, hṛ to take, aff. ghañ .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Saṃhāra (संहार).—i. e. sam-hṛ + a, m. 1. Collection, comprehensive description, in ṛtu-, of the (six) seasons, title of a poem, [Lassen, Anthologia Sanskritica.] 60, 1. 2. Abridgment. 3. Restraining. 4. Destruction (of the world), [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 1, 80. 5. Practice, [Rāmāyaṇa] 1, 30, 2; skill.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Saṃhāra (संहार).—[masculine] drawing together, contraction, abridgment, compendium, collection; gathering etc. = saṃharaṇa; conclusion, end ([drama]).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Saṃhara (संहर):—[=saṃ-hara] a raṇa See saṃ-√hṛ.

2) Saṃhāra (संहार):—[=saṃ-hāra] a -raka etc. See saṃ-√hṛ.

3) Saṃhara (संहर):—[=saṃ-hara] [from saṃ-hṛ] b m. drawing together, contracting, [Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary]

4) [v.s. ...] destroying, [ib.]

5) [v.s. ...] Name of an Asura, [Harivaṃśa]

6) Saṃhāra (संहार):—[=saṃ-hāra] [from saṃ-hṛ] b m. bringing together, collection, accumulation, [Mahābhārata]

7) [v.s. ...] contraction (of the organs of speech, opp. to vi-hāra q.v.), [Ṛgveda-prātiśākhya]

8) [v.s. ...] drawing in (of an elephant’s trunk), [Raghuvaṃśa]

9) [v.s. ...] binding together (of hair; cf. veṇī-s), [Mahābhārata]

10) [v.s. ...] fetching back (an arrow after its discharge by magical means), [Mahābhārata; Rāmāyaṇa; Purāṇa] (cf. [Indian Wisdom, by Sir M. Monier-Williams 402 n. 1])

11) [v.s. ...] abridgment, comprehensive description, a compendium, manual, [Lāṭyāyana]

12) [v.s. ...] destruction ([especially] the periodical des° of the universe at end of a Kalpa), [Manu-smṛti; Mahābhārata] etc.

13) [v.s. ...] a destroyer (= saṃhartṛ), [Mahābhārata xiv, 1577]

14) [v.s. ...] end, conclusion (of a drama or of an act of a drama), [Bharata-nāṭya-śāstra; Sāhitya-darpaṇa] etc.

15) [v.s. ...] a division of the infernal regions, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

16) [v.s. ...] Name of an Asura ([varia lectio] saṃ-hrāda), [Harivaṃśa]

17) [v.s. ...] practice, skill, [Horace H. Wilson]

18) Sāṃhāra (सांहार):—[wrong reading] for saṃ-hāra.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Saṃhāra (संहार):—[saṃ-hāra] (raḥ) 1. m. Destruction, especially that of the world; division of hell; abridgment; collection; restraining; skill.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Saṃhāra (संहार) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Saṃghāra.

[Sanskrit to German]

Samhara in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Samhara in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Saṃhāra (संहार) [Also spelled sanhar]:—(nm) annihilation; massacre; —[karanā] to annihilate; to massacre; ~[kārī] see [saṃhāraka].

context information


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Prakrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary

1) Saṃhara (संहर) in the Prakrit language is related to the Sanskrit word: Saṃhṛ.

2) Saṃhara (संहर) also relates to the Sanskrit word: Saṃbhāra.

context information

Prakrit is an ancient language closely associated with both Pali and Sanskrit. Jain literature is often composed in this language or sub-dialects, such as the Agamas and their commentaries which are written in Ardhamagadhi and Maharashtri Prakrit. The earliest extant texts can be dated to as early as the 4th century BCE although core portions might be older.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Saṃhara (ಸಂಹರ):—

1) [noun] ಸಂಹಾರ - [samhara -] 1 & 7.

2) [noun] the state of being harmoniously associated.

--- OR ---

Saṃhāra (ಸಂಹಾರ):—

1) [noun] the act of gathering, collecting together.

2) [noun] the act of interweaving; to make something by interweaving.

3) [noun] the state of being shrunk.

4) [noun] an abstract; a summary.

5) [noun] the act of controlling or being controlled.

6) [noun] the end; conclusion.

7) [noun] a destroying or being destroyed; destruction.

8) [noun] the act of withdrawing a discharged arrow.

9) [noun] the mythological deluge that is supposed to destroy the world periodically.

10) [noun] the action of destroying the world periodically by the Supreme Being.

11) [noun] an act or instance of killing (another being).

12) [noun] (in comp. only) he who kills or destroys.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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