Definition - What does Samanya mean?

Samanya is a Sanskrit word that means “universal,” “general,” “inclusive,” “whole” and “entire.” It can refer to a community, genus or commingling of qualities. In the Vaisheshika school of Indian philosophy, samanya refers to genus and is one of the seven padarthas (categories of being).

Samanya can also refer to one of the two main classifications of dharma (duty) in Hindu and yogic philosophy. Samanya dharma is the universal/general dharma, that which is not specific to a person or his/her role in life. It is the dharma that should be practiced by everyone.

Yogapedia explains Samanya

In the ancient Indian system of medicine known as Ayurveda, one of the key principles is the concept of samanya (similarity). Dravya (substances) can be enhanced or increased by consuming related things. For example, muscles can be increased by eating meat.

In Vaisheshika, samanya refers to similarities that permit objects to be classified together. Samanya, therefore, is the universal characteristic/quality that the various individual members of a class possess. For example, “dog” evokes the qualities universal to the class (samanya), while a specific dog does not. Likewise, “samanya yoga” refers to those practices that are universal to the many schools and styles of yoga.

Samanya is a concept that encompasses not just physical substances and characteristics, but qualities and actions. It is divided into higher samanya, which is known as satta (existence) and includes everything, and lower samanya, which includes a limited number of items.

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