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saMpradAyA and saMskrti..

What is sanatana dharmic 'culture'..? saMskrti is the equivalent word to english word culture, in our dharma. It means our ‘collective performance’. saMskrti, our collective performance as a society defines our collective value systems. It is based on the collective moral principles that we follow. These moral principles and value systems make the society to work together as a team.

Culture or saMskrti is defined by qualities/gunas and actions/saMskArAs of people. So saMskrti or culture is developing qualities that help people to collectively perform (saMskArA) as a society.

Our collective actions or saMskArAs define our value systems, define our moral principles or moral compass, which make our society to work together as a team.

Panini answers what is a saMskAra like this “samparyupebhyaḥ karotu bhūṣaṇe”. The act that adorns one’s personality is a saMskAra. The Shabda-koṣa defines it as “saṃskārāṇāṃ guṇāntarādhānam saṃskāraḥ” — that which brings about quality transformation. The Jaiminiya sutras define saMskAra as acts which make a certain person or thing fit for a particular purpose. Acts that impart suitability by removing the sinful thoughts (pApa-ksaya) or generating a clean mind (citta-suddhi) are saMskAras.

How is this citta-suddhi developed..? They are developed by imbibing eight Atma gunas.

The eight gunas are dayA (compassion), kSAnti (peace), ana-asuya (without envy), sauca (cleanliness), anayAsa (fatigue free), mangala (happy minded with positive thoughts), akArpaNya (free from miserliness), asprha (free from longing or continued attachment).These eight Atma gunas are to be developed by saMskAras, our collective actions, which will define our collective performance, the saMskrti, as a society.

People having these eight gunas is our saMskrti. When someone talks of Sanatana dharma saMskrti or its culture, these eight gunas coming out through the collective performance of our society is what should be meant.

Unfortunately today people see saMskrti as symbols and not actions (saMskArAs) and qualities (gunas). Hence they map it saMpradAyAs (what's given from the past) or tradition. Our saMpradAyAs or traditions might have helped develop these Atma gunas at one point of time. But the same may not help to develop these gunas currently and in fact may lead to opposite effect. Hence we should revisit our saMpradAyAs (reform them) with the purpose of reclaiming our saMskrti, which is to enable people to imbibe the eight Atma gunas by which we collectively perform our actions (saMskArAs) as a society.

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