Samsara

संसार - sʌmˈsɑɹə

The outward play of maya or delusion with the long cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. (1)

Samsara is the world of delusion in which we all live. The forms with which we identify and the emotions which bind us to those forms constitute the cosmic dream. Samsara is the dream world as opposed to the realm of spirit. The word also refers to the emotional involvement of individual souls in the dream, the endless cycle of birth and death governed by karma. (2)

Some discriminating souls seek liberation from the bounds of samsara. They long to overcome karmic attachments to their experiences in samsara. Swami Kriyananda writes that a renunciate of the new age may overcome samsara by affirming the divine truth in everything instead of identifying with the attachments of the individual ego. (2)

But the practitioner of yoga may not necessarily choose the path of renunciation. In contrast to yogi-renunciates, yogi-samsaris contribute to the outward play of samsara. He participates and even enjoys the world of delusion, created by God, but he does not identify himself with limited ego. (3) Although outwardly different, the yogi-samsari and the yogi-renunciate both offer themselves up to God, inhabiting but not clinging to or becoming distracted by the ephemeral world.

References

  1. The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, explained by Paramhansa Yogananda. Glossary.
  2. a b A Renunciate Order for the New Age, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 5, “Samsara vs. Renunciation.”
  3. The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, explained by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 18, “The True Yoga.”