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Samskaras or samskars are the Hindu rites of passage that mark the important stages of one's life and enable one to live a fulfilling life complete with happiness and contentment. The samskaras pave the way for one's physical and spiritual journey through this life.

It is believed that the various Hindu samskaras meticulously leads to a purification of one's sins, vices, faults, and even correction of physical deformities. The Upanishads mention samskaras as a means to grow and prosper in all four aspects of human pursuit - Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Karma and Kama (work and pleasure), and Moksha (salvation). These samskaras also bind an individual to the community that nurture the feeling of brotherhood.

Although the scriptures differ on both the names and numbers of samskaras, the 16 samskaras that the ancient sage Veda Vyas propounded are considered the most important rites of passage in a Hindu's life. Most of these, which originated thousands of years ago, are practiced by most Hindus even to this day. However, there are eight rites known as 'Ashtasamskaras' that are considered essential. Read more...

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