Smriti, aka: Smṛti; 20 Definition(s)


Smriti means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Smṛti can be transliterated into English as Smrti or Smriti, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Dharmashastra (religious law)

Smritis mean “that which has to be remembered”. They refer to a specific set of sacred Hindu texts. They are composed by humans (unlike the Vedas) and are designed to guide a person through their daily lives.

The 18 smṛti’s of Hindu scriptures are:

  1. Āngirasa Smṛti
  2. Vyāsa Smṛti
  3. Āpastamba Smṛti
  4. Dakṣa Smṛti
  5. Vishnu Smṛti
  6. Yāgyavalkya Smṛti
  7. Likhita Smṛti
  8. Samvartta Smṛti
  9. Shanka Smṛti
  10. Bṛhaspati Smṛti
  11. Atri Smṛti
  12. Kātyāyana Smṛti
  13. Parāṣara Smṛti
  14. Manu Smṛti
  15. Aushanasa Smṛti
  16. Hārita Smṛti
  17. Gautama Smṛti
  18. Yama Smṛti
(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.


Smṛti (स्मृति).—The sovereign deity of remembrance. It is mentioned in Mahābhārata, Śalya Parva, Chapter 46, Verse 64, that this goddess Smṛti had walked in front of the army of Subrahmaṇya. Smṛti was the wife of Aṅgiras. Four daughters, named Sinīvālī, Kuhū, Rākā and Anumati, were born to Aṅgiras by his wife Smṛtidevī. (Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Aṃśa 1, Chapter 10).

(Source): Puranic Encyclopaedia

Smriti (Secondary Scriptures); The Smriti scriptures are of human origin and were written to explain the Sruti writings and make them understandable and meaningful to the general population..

Hindu religious literature, the most ancient writings in the world, is of two types: primary scriptures (Sruti) and secondary scriptures (Smriti).

The Smritis are:

Dharma Shãstras (Law Codes)

  • Manu Smriti; Includes laws for individual happiness and social stability; social philosophy.
  • Artha Shãstra; Includes guidelines for ruling the country.
  • Kãma Shãstra; An ancient manual of love and pleasure.

Itihãsas (Epics)

  • Rãmãyana; Describes the life story of Lord Rãma; a most popular instrument of religious teaching.
  • Mahãbhãrata; Includes the story of the Mahãbhãrata war. The Bhagavad Gîtã is a part of the Mahãbhãrata.

Purãnas (Mythology)

  • There are 18 major Purãnas: six devoted to worship of Shiva, six to Vishnu, and six to Brahma.

Ãgamas & Tantras (Sectarian Scriptures)

  • Scriptures of the three major theological traditions: Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Shaktism.

Darshanas (Manuals of Philosophy)

  • Brahma Sûtra; Vedãnta philosophy of Sage Vyãsa
  • Mîmãmsã Sûtra; Philosophy of rites and rituals of Sage Jaimini
  • Nyãya Sûtra; Logical analysis of Sage Gautama (not Buddhã)
  • Vaisheshika Sûtra; Atomic school of philosophy of Sage Kanãda
  • Sãnkhya Sûtras; Sãnkhya philosophy of Sage Kapila
  • Yoga Sûtras; Yoga philosophy of Sage Patãnjali
(Source): Kashmiri Overseas Association: The Nīlamata Purāṇa

1a) Smṛti (स्मृति).—Born of medha.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 1. 52.

1b) Law books; distinguished from śruti in Dvāpara and interpreted in two ways;1 no more recognised as authority in Kali.2

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 52. 12; 144. 7; Vāyu-purāṇa 58. 24; 23. 8; 32. 44.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 31. 6, 34; IV. 1. 30; 6. 64; Vāyu-purāṇa 58. 34.

1c) A mantrakṛt.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 145. 101.

1d) A daughter of Dakṣa; wife of Angiras; a gotrakāra;1 had two sons and four daughters—Sinīvāli, Kūhu, Rāka, and Anumatī; sons Bharatāgni and Kīrtimat.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 10. 27; 28. 14, 30; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 7. 25.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 9. 52, 55; 11. 17; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 10. 7.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Smṛti (स्मृति, “recollection”):—One of the names attributed to Devī, as chanted by the Vedas in their hymns, who were at the time incarnated in their personified forms. See the Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa chapter 5.51-68, called “the narrative of Hayagrīva”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam
Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Smṛti (स्मृति, “mindfulness, memory”):—One of the twenty-four emanations of Lakṣmī accompanying Nārāyaṇa. This particular manifestation couples with his counterpart form called Adhokṣaja and together they form the nineteenth celestial couple. Lakṣmī represents a form of the Goddess (Devī) as the wife of Viṣṇu, while Nārāyaṇa represents the personification of his creative energy, according to the Pāñcarātra literature.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Pāñcarātra
Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Smṛti (स्मृति) is the Sanskrit name for a deity to be worshipped during raṅgapūjā, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra 3.1-8. Accordingly, the master of the dramatic art who has been initiated for the purpose shall consecrate the playhouse after he has made obeisance (eg., to Smṛti).

2) Smṛti is also the Sanskrit name of one of the seven Nāṭyamātṛ (‘mothers of nāṭya’) mentioned in the Nāṭyaśāstra 3.86-87. They should be offered worship during ceremonies such as ‘consecration of the mattavāraṇī’ and ‘pouring ghee into sacrificial fire’.

Accordingly (85-87), “After saying these words for the happiness of the king, the wise man should utter the Benediction for the success of the dramatic production. [The Benediction]: Let mothers such as Sarasvati, Dhṛti, Medhā, Hrī, Śrī, Lakṣmī, and Smṛti protect you and give you success.”

3) Smṛti (स्मृति, “recollection”).—One of the thirty-three ‘transitory states’ (vyabhicāribhāva), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 7. These ‘transitory states’ accompany the ‘permanent state’ in co-operation. The term is used throughout nāṭyaśāstra. (Also see the Daśarūpa 4.8-9)

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Smṛti (स्मृति, “recollection”) is remembering every condition of happiness and misery. It is caused by determinants (vibhāva) such as health, troubled night, disturbed sleep, seeing parallels, having an example, thinking, constant practice and the like. It is to be represented on the stage by consequents (anubhāva) such as nodding of the head, looking down, raising up the eyebrows and the like.

(Source): Natya Shastra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Smṛti (स्मृति).—Sacred texts ascribed to human authorship; (lit., remembering). Note: Smṛti is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

(Source): Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms
Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha or jyotish) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Smṛti (स्मृति) refers to “memory”; mentioned as characteristics of intelligence (buddhi) in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.26.30.—Smṛti means “memory”, and svāpa means “sleep”. Sleep is also necessary to keep the intelligence in working order. If there is no sleep, the brain cannot work nicely. In Bhagavad-gītā it is especially mentioned that persons who regulate eating, sleeping and other necessities of the body in the proper proportion become very successful in the yoga process.

(Source): VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam
Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

General definition (in Hinduism)

Smriti (Sanskrit: स्मृति, Smṛti) literally "that which is remembered," refers to a specific body of Hindu religious scripture, and is a codified component of Hindu customary law. Smṛti also denotes non-Śruti texts and is generally seen as secondary in authority to Śruti. The literature which comprises the Smrti was composed after the Vedas around 500 BCE. Smrti also denotes tradition in the sense that it portrays the traditions of the rules on dharma, especially those of lawful virtuous persons.

There are two important sides of Smriti: Smriti as Tradition and Smriti as Texts.

  1. Smriti as Tradition consists of Smriti as memories. It is from these memories that the rules of dharma are preserved and passed down.
  2. Conversely, Smriti as Texts refers to the notion of Traditional Texts. These consists of mostly the dharmasastras and are described as literature which has been “inspired by the smrti”.
(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Smṛti — lit. “What is remembered” – refers to the Law Books all of which have human authors and which have more specific injunctions covering every aspect of one’s life, social, domestic as well as political and criminal.

(Source): Red Zambala: On the Salvific Activities of God

Smṛti (स्मृति):—If śruti is what is directly revealed to the Ṛṣis, the smṛti is what is recollected by them and recorded afterwards. The traditonal number of Smṛtis or law books is eighteen. They are

  1. Manusmṛti,
  2. Parāsarasmṛti,
  3. Vasiṣṭhasmṛti,
  4. Śaṅkhasmṛti,
  5. Likhitasmṛti,
  6. Atrismṛti,
  7. Viṣṇusmṛti,
  8. Hāritasmṛti,
  9. Yamasmṛti,
  10. Aṅgirassmṛti,
  11. Uśanassmṛti,
  12. Samvartasmṛti,
  13. Bṛhaspatlsmṛti,
  14. Kātyāyanasmṛti,
  15. Dakṣasmṛti,
  16. Vyāsasmṛti,
  17. Yājnavalkyasmṛti
  18. and Sātātapasmṛti (Śātātapasmṛti?).

All these Smṛtis are equally authoritative but the Manusmṛti has commanded universal respect from the authors of all other Smṛtis and authors of the Itihāsas and Purāṇas because it is the most comprehensive and the most elucidative or clear. The Parāśarasmṛti, is considered to be the standard work for this Kali age. It enumerates exhaustively the special rules for the Kali age. It is said in the Manusmṛti itself that Manu’s laws apply to the Kṛtayuga, Gautama’s laws to the Tretāyuga, the laws of Śaṅkha and Likhita to the Dvāparayuga and those of Parāśara to the Kaliyuga.

(Source): Institute of Sri Ramchandra Consciousness: A Handbook of Hindu Religion: Literature

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Smṛti (स्मृति, “mindfulness”) refers to one of the “five dharma practices” (pañcāṅga) for obtaining the first dhyāna according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVIII). Accordingly, “Smṛti is mindfulness applied to the happiness of the first dhyāna. The ascetic knows that kāmadhātu is impure, deceptive, contemptible, whereas the first dhyāna is estimable and laudable”.

Smṛti (स्मृति, “mindfulness”) refers to one of ten constituents (dravya) of the thirty-seven auxiliaries to enlightenment (bodhipākṣika), according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XXXI.—Accordingly, “these thirty-seven auxiliaries (bodhipākṣika) have ten things (dravya) as roots (mūla). Mindfulness (smṛti) constitutes: a. the faculty of mindfulness (smṛtīndriya); b. the power of mindfulness (smṛtibala); c. the factor-of-enlightenment called mindfulness (smṛti-saṃbodhyaṅga); d. the [factor-of-the-path] called right mindfulness (samyaksmṛti)”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Smṛti (स्मृति, “mindfulness”) refers to one of the fourty “conditions” (saṃskāra) that are “associated with mind” (citta-samprayukta) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 30). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., smṛti). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Smṛti also refers to one of the “five faculties” (pañcendriya), one of the “five strengths” (pañcabala) as well as one of the “seven factors of awakening” (bodhyaṅga), as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 47-49), all forming part of the “thirty-seven things on the side of awakening” (bodhipākṣika-dharma).

Smṛti also refers to one of the “eight practices for the abandoning of conditions” (saṃskāra) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 119).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Smṛti (स्मृति, “remembrance”).—What is remembrance (smṛti)? Remembering/ recollecting or knowing from past experience is remembrance. What is the function of smṛti? The function of smr.ti is to recollect now the entities known earlier.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

smṛti (स्मृति).—f (S)pop. smṛta f Recollection, reminiscence: also remembrance or memory. Used throughout as smaraṇa, where see at large. 2 Law,--the body of law as delivered originally by manu and other legislators to their respective pupils, and committed by them from recollection to writing: also any book, canon, or portion of this body or code.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

smṛti (स्मृति) [-ta, -त].—f Recollection; memory; law delivered by manu.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Smṛti (स्मृति).—f. [smṛ-ktin]

1) Remembrance; recollection, memory; अश्वत्थामा करधृतधनुः किं न यातः स्मृतिं ते (aśvatthāmā karadhṛtadhanuḥ kiṃ na yātaḥ smṛtiṃ te) Ve.3.21; संस्कारमात्रजन्यं ज्ञानं स्मृतिः (saṃskāramātrajanyaṃ jñānaṃ smṛtiḥ) T. S.; स्मृत्युपस्थितौ इमौ द्वौ श्लोकौ (smṛtyupasthitau imau dvau ślokau) U.6;4.2.

2) Thinking of, calling to mind.

3) What was delivered by human authors, law, traditional law, the body of traditional or memorial law (civil or religious) (opp. śruti).

4) A code of laws, law-book.

5) A text of Smṛti, canon, rule of law; इति स्मृतेः (iti smṛteḥ).

6) Desire, wish.

7) Discrimination, discretion; स्मृतौ हतायां भृतमानदुर्दृशः (smṛtau hatāyāṃ bhṛtamānadurdṛśaḥ) Bhāg.4.3.17.

8) Understanding.

Derivable forms: smṛtiḥ (स्मृतिः).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

Relevant definitions

Search found 207 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Anusmṛti (अनुस्मृति, “judgement”) refers to one of the six members (aṅga) of the Ṣaḍaṅgayoga, a...
Vedasmṛti (वेदस्मृति) refers to the name of a River mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VI.10.16...
Smṛtiśāstra (स्मृतिशास्त्र).—1) a law-book, code, digest. 2) legal science. Derivable forms: sm...
Manusmṛti (मनुस्मृति).—A code of conduct written by Manu alias Mānavācārya who was the father o...
Muṣitasmṛti (मुषितस्मृति).—a. bereft of memory.Muṣitasmṛti is a Sanskrit compound consisting of...
Smṛtīndriya (स्मृतीन्द्रिय) refers to the “faculty of mindfulness” and represents one of the fi...
Smṛtihetu (स्मृतिहेतु).—a cause of recollection, impression on the mind, association of ideas.D...
Smṛtivirodha (स्मृतिविरोध).—1) opposition to law, illegality. 2) disagreement between two or mo...
Smṛtiviṣaya (स्मृतिविषय).—the object of memory; स्मृतिपथं, स्मृतिविषयं गम् (smṛtipathaṃ, smṛtiv...
Smṛtyapeta (स्मृत्यपेत).—a. 1) forgotten. 2) inconsistent with Smṛti. 3) (hence) illegal, unjus...
Smṛtipatha (स्मृतिपथ).—the object of memory; स्मृतिपथं, स्मृतिविषयं गम् (smṛtipathaṃ, smṛtiviṣa...
Smṛtibhramsha (disturbed memory) is described as a symptom where Smṛti (memory) is vitiated ...
Smṛtyupasthāna (स्मृत्युपस्थान) refers to the “foundations of mindfulness” and represents one o...
Smṛtipatraka (स्मृतिपत्रक).—a register-book; राजाद्यङ्कितलेखस्य धारयेत् स्मृति- पत्रकम् (rājādy...
Smṛtibala (स्मृतिबल) or simply Smṛti refers to the “strength of mindfulness” and represents one...

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