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(5,201 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 remember tha…

Cite this page
Lipner, Julius, “Saṃsāra”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 03 July 2022 <>
First published online: 2018

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