5 Differences Between Smriti & Shruti In Hindu Scriptures

The ancient Vedic literature is intricately divided into two fundamental sections: “Shruti” and “Smriti.” Shruti, often regarded as the original knowledge of self or Brahman, stands as the ultimate authority in Hinduism. In contrast, Smriti encompasses the interpretations given to Shruti by the great sages of the time.

Shruti vs Smriti

The entire sacred texts forming the core corpus of Hinduism, created during the Vedic era, fall under Shruti literature. Examples include the Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads. While the term “Shruti” in Sanskrit translates to “that which is heard,” “Smriti” means “that which is remembered.” Shruti literatures are considered authorless, while Smriti literatures have identifiable authors, although they are often considered less authoritative than Shruti texts.

Shruti Literature: Timeless Wisdom

Shruti literatures, including the Vedas, are believed to be Apaurusheya, not man-made. According to Hindu belief, during intense meditation or samadhi, the great sages of the pre-Vedic era directly heard the Vedas from God (Ishwar). This divine origin makes Shruti timeless, as it is considered the voice of God or the ultimate consciousness.

In scientific terms, the ancient sages experienced the voice of their ultimate consciousness during samadhi. Thus, Shruti is synonymous with the knowledge of Brahman or the self, forming the basic principles of Sanatana Dharma. These texts are timeless and applicable to any society, religion, caste, or period of time.

Smriti: The Remembered Tradition

Smriti, as the interpretation of Shruti, is akin to books of laws or guidelines written by various sages and saints to ensure the smooth functioning of society. Smriti literally means “that which you remember.”

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It represents a tradition as opposed to the revelation that Shruti embodies. Smriti literature includes the majority of Hindu texts, such as Puranas, Epics, and other scriptures, which play a significant role in Hindu religion. In the event of a conflict between Smriti and Shruti texts, Shruti always prevails in authority.

Smriti texts are further categorized into Vedanga, Upaveda, Upanga, and Darshan, representing the result of human intellect primarily from the great sages and saints who wrote them. These texts, including the famous Puranas like Shiva Purana, Vishnu Purana, and Garuda Purana, delve into ancient stories and the histories of gods and deities.

Although Shruti and Smriti are interconnected, any doubts arising while studying Smriti literature can often be resolved by delving into Shruti as well.

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Shiba Prasad

Shiba Prasad

I've been captivated by India's ancient history and Vedic culture. What began as a hobby, reading books on Hinduism, has now turned into my full-time commitment, researching and writing for this blog. When not working, I enjoy spending time with friends.

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