Smriti and the Hinduism teachings
Smriti literally means “memory” or “remembrance” and in, the spiritual life, it’s connected to the memory of our soul nature, or “divine memory”.
Smriti is related to what was recollected based on human memory and is different from the Vedas, which are called Shruti, concerning what was heard. Smriti is one of the bases of the Hinduism.
Smriti: Hindu sacred literature
Smriti relates to a collection of scriptures that are distinct from the Vedas. It elaborate and interprets the Vedic thought but is in a lower level of importance.
The book and scriptures that are part of Smriti are:
- Kalpa-sutras: a manual of Hindu religious practice;
- Puranas: compilations of ancient legends and history;
- Ramayana and Mahabharata: the two great epics of India;
- Bhagavad Gita: the most influential text in Hinduism.
Even though the Smriti literature is of less authority to the Hinduism, nowadays, the population has a strong relationship with its scriptures and they can be regarded as the texts that rule society.
Some of these texts have the same value of the Vedas’ Upanishads, primarily because they simplify, share and codify the teaching of this great scriptures
Puranas and the Bhagavad Purana
The Puranas, which means “very old”, talk about the creation, telling it through myths and stories. They correlate the three sets of books to Brahma, the creation, Vishnu, which allows permanence and Shiva, the destruction.
In these stories appear the deities, their lives, passions, characteristics, genealogies and patriarchs. In these stories, some of these stories end up ruling people’s lives in different aspects.
The Indians recite some of these stories publicly, being the most popular Srimad Bhagavatam, which consists of 8000 verses and mostly tells the stories of Vishnu, but also of the great Lord Krishna.
The Bhavagad Gita
This is probably one of the best-known books from Hinduism tradition. The Bhagavad Gita is part of Mahabharata and consists of 17 chapters where Krishna and Arjuna dialogue in the middle of an imminent fight between the families of the Kingdom.
Arjuna doesn’t want to fight and asks Krishna for advice. Krishna tells him it is must fight, since that is the dharma at that moment, and from that moment on a dialogue happens between the two, where Arjuna questions the master about what is being enlightened, what is being a wise master.
The second book summarises all the teachings and, therefore, is the most studied.
Sometimes the scriptures are divided into other categories and contemplate the Sutras, for example. Smriti is, like Shruti, in Sanskrit, the traditional language in which the teachings that are the base of yoga are passed from teacher to student.
Although nowadays there are a lot of yoga schools that don’t approach the teachings behind the physical practice, the students who get in contact with the knowledge usually start by the Smriti scriptures. It’s considered that the student’s mind must be ready, which can happen through meditation, to understand and incorporate the real teaching of Vedanta.
You may also like:
- The four major schools of Buddhism
- Sacred texts of Hinduism: get to know this remarkable collection
- Hindu Gods and Goddesses
- Vedic Astrology: everything you need to know