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Samvedana In Hindu Philosophy

In Hindu philosophy, Samvedana is a term meaning knowledge, sensation and experience. The root vid also means the same. This experience is a purely personal matter and depends upon many things, such as pre-natal impressions, atmosphere, education, company, reading, and so on.

Samvedana and vedana are near synonyms. The word vedana is used in the definitions of sukha (pleasure) and dukha (pain). That which imparts favorable experience is pleasure. Why a particular experience is sweet to one but bitter to another cannot be reasonably explained. Moreover, an experience may be sweet to a person at one time, but it becomes bitter to him at another time. Age, experience, company and pondering over some unpleasant incident may be the cause.

That which imparts disagreeable experience is duhkha (pratikulavedaniyam duhkham). The bitter taste of vegetables and medicines is most unpleasant to most people. The sweetness and bitterness experienced through the five sense organs have to be supplemented by psychological pleasantness and unpleasantness. We feel sad, morose and depressed sometimes, while at other times we feel happy, and even blissful. But these are not experienced through the sense organs. Therefore, other feelings such as fear, hatred, jealousy, scorn and revenge are also samvedanas.

Physical and psychological experiences of varied categories are samvedanas. An individual without samvedana must be either a beast or a superman, an emancipated person (sa vai mukto thava pasuh).