World Sanskrit Conference (WSC) (17th : 2018)

The Practice of Saṃskāras in Assam, a Northeastern Part of India: A Note Sarma, Jagadish

Abstract

The saṃskāras or the sacramental rites are said to be the religious purificatory rites and ceremonies for sanctifying the body, mind and intellect of an individual, so that one may become a full-fledged member of the community. The saṃskāras are performed at different stages of the life of a person. The numbers of saṃskāras are different as per the different Smṛtis. Assam, a northeastern part of India, was known as Kāmarūpa or Prāgjyotiṣapura in the epic and postepic period. Being in the eastern periphery, it developed its own socio-religious customs and ritualistic procedure without deviating from the basic principle and with the broad framework of the Vedic culture. The Vedic culture was deeprooted and the study of the Vedas was also carried on in this state strictly in accordance with the prescribed norms and approved procedure since the seventh century, A.D. In Assam, Assamese Hindu families performed ten kinds of saṃskāras accordance with the procedure as stated by the Smṛti digest writers of the “Kāmarūpa School” of Dharmaśāstra. Some also follow the rules and regulations as laid down by the Smṛti digest writers Raghunandana and Halāyudha. The Kāmarūpa School was developed in this region of India in the early twelfth century, A.D. Nowadays, though all these saṃskāras are performed, they are not observed in the same manner as the Smṛti writers would have expected. In this paper an attempt has been made to trace some aspects in performance of the saṃskāras by the Assamese Hindu people of this region of India.

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