Smriti, aka: Smṛti; 21 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 (?).
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:
- Āṅgirasa Smṛti
- Vyāsa Smṛti
- Āpastamba Smṛti
- Dakṣa Smṛti
- Vishnu Smṛti
- Yāgyavalkya Smṛti
- Likhita Smṛti
- Samvartta Smṛti
- Shanka Smṛti
- Bṛhaspati Smṛti
- Atri Smṛti
- Kātyāyana Smṛti
- Parāṣara Smṛti
- Manu Smṛti
- Aushanasa Smṛti
- Hārita Smṛti
- Gautama Smṛti
- Yama Smṛti
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): archive.org: 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.
- 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.
- 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
1a) Smṛti (स्मृति).—Born of medha.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 1. 52.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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 (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)
Accordingly, “smṛti 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): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Smṛti (स्मृति) refers to one of the 93 alaṃkāras (“figures of speech”) mentioned by Cirañjīva Bhaṭṭācārya (fl. 17th century) in his Kāvyavilāsa and is listed as one of the 89 arthālaṃkāras (figure of speech determined by the sense, as opposed to sound).—Cirañjīva has admitted smṛti-alaṃkāra. His predecessor Mammaṭa has treated smaraṇa as a figure of speech which is not different from smṛti. He says—“yathā’nubhavamarthasya dṛṣṭe tatasadṛśe smṛtiḥ smaraṇam”.
Whenever a thing is remembered it is called smṛti. How this type of remembrance can be taken as a figure of speech? It may be said that any remembrance in practical life can not be accepted as an alaṃkāra. When a poet describes this type of remembrance with his genius it becomes an alaṃkāra.
Example of the smṛti-alaṃkāra:—
nāsāgranyastadṛṣṭeḥ svaviṣayavikalībhūtabāhyendriyāyā kiñcitkiñciddadhatyāḥ pulakamapi tanau bhittimālambitāyāḥ |
kālindīkūlakuñje niravadhi bhavataśceṣṭitaṃ yadyadāsī- dantastattatsmarantyāḥ kṣaṇamiva divasā yānti tasyāḥ kadācit ||
“She whose vision is fixed on the edge of the knows, whose external sense organs are ineffective to respective objects, who expresses (bears) in his person some kind of delight, who stays by restoring to a pillar, who remembers in her innermost part of heart at every moment all thine activities which happened continuously in the bower in the bank of kālindi; passing somehow her days”.
Notes: This verse exemplifying the figure of speech smṛti is taken from Mādhavacampū composed by the author himself. In this verse the separated woman is remembering her association with the hero in the bower situated in the bank of the river Kālindi. So it is an example of the figure of speech smṛti.(Source): Shodhganga: The Kavyavilasa of Ciranjiva Bhattacarya (natyashastra)
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).
Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)
Smṛti (स्मृति).—An authoritative dictum of an ancient grammarian before the famous author of the Varttikas;cf. तथा च स्मृतिः श्तिपा शापानुबन्धेन निर्दिष्ट्ं (tathā ca smṛtiḥ śtipā śāpānubandhena nirdiṣṭṃ) etc, Siradeva Pari. 68.(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.
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
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
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’).
Nyaya (school of philosophy)
Smṛti (स्मृति, “remembrance”) refers to one of two types of Buddhi (cognition) according to Annaṃbhaṭṭa in the Tarkasaṃgraha.—According to Annaṃbhaṭṭa, buddhi is of two kinds:—smṛti (remembrance) and anubhava (apprehension). That knowledge is known as smṛti which is produced from mental impressions only. Annaṃbhaṭṭa explains in the Dīpikā that the word mātra is used in the definition to avoid over-pervasion to pratyabhijñā.(Source): Shodhganga: A study of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika categories
Nyaya (न्याय, nyaya) refers to a school of Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. The Nyaya philosophy is known for its theories on logic, methodology and epistemology, however, it is closely related with Vaisheshika in terms of metaphysics.
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.
- Smriti as Tradition consists of Smriti as memories. It is from these memories that the rules of dharma are preserved and passed down.
- 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”.
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
- 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
Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)
1) Smṛti (स्मृति, “mindfulness”) refers to one of the “five dharma practices” (pañcāṅga) for obtaining the first dhyāna according to the 2nd century 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”.
2) Smṛti (स्मृति, “mindfulness”) refers to one of ten constituents (dravya) of the thirty-seven auxiliaries to enlightenment (bodhipākṣika), according to 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)”.
3) Smṛti (स्मृति, “mindfulness”) refers to one of the twenty-two faculties (indriya), according to chapter 38. The word indriya, derived from the root id or ind, is synonymous with great power, with control. The twenty-two Dharmas in question [viz., smṛti] have the characteristic of being dominant in regard to the living being (sattva) in that which concerns: his primary constitution, his distinctiveness, his duration, his moral defilement and his purification.(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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
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
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.
Languages of India and abroad
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
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.
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.
Derivable forms: smṛtiḥ (स्मृतिः).(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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.
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Anusmṛti (अनुस्मृति, “judgement”) refers to one of the six members (aṅga) of the Ṣaḍaṅgayoga, a...
Smṛtiśāstra (स्मृतिशास्त्र).—1) a law-book, code, digest. 2) legal science. Derivable forms: sm...
Vedasmṛti (वेदस्मृति) refers to the name of a River mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VI.10.16...
Smṛtibhraṃśa (स्मृतिभ्रंश).—loss of failure of memory. Derivable forms: smṛtibhraṃśaḥ (स्मृतिभ्...
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...
Samyaksmṛti (सम्यक्स्मृति, “right attentiveness”) refers to the seventh of the Āryāṣṭāṅgamārga,...
Smṛtiviruddha (स्मृतिविरुद्ध).—a. illegal. Smṛtiviruddha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of t...
Smṛtivirodha (स्मृतिविरोध).—1) opposition to law, illegality. 2) disagreement between two or mo...
Smṛtihetu (स्मृतिहेतु).—a cause of recollection, impression on the mind, association of ideas.D...
Ānāpānasmṛti (आनापानस्मृति) refers to the “recollection of breathing” (inhalation and exhalatio...
Smṛtiviṣaya (स्मृतिविषय).—the object of memory; स्मृतिपथं, स्मृतिविषयं गम् (smṛtipathaṃ, smṛtiv...
Smṛtipatha (स्मृतिपथ).—the object of memory; स्मृतिपथं, स्मृतिविषयं गम् (smṛtipathaṃ, smṛtiviṣa...
Smṛtipatraka (स्मृतिपत्रक).—a register-book; राजाद्यङ्कितलेखस्य धारयेत् स्मृति- पत्रकम् (rājādy...
Search found 64 books and stories containing Smriti or Smṛti. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
Brahma Sutras (Shankara Bhashya) (by Swami Vireshwarananda)
Chapter II, Section I, Adhikarana I < [Section I]
Chapter III, Section IV, Adhikarana IX < [Section IV]
Chapter II, Section I, Adhikarana II < [Section I]
Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi (by Ganganatha Jha)
Verse 2.40 < [Section XIII - Initiation (upanayana)]
Verse 2.71 < [Section XVII - Rules of Study]
Verse 2.49 < [Section XIII - Initiation (upanayana)]
Vedānta-sūtras Part II (by George Thibaut)
IV, 2, 21 < [Fourth Adhyāya, Second Pāda]
III, 4, 41 < [Third Adhyāya, Fourth Pāda]
III, 3, 18 < [Third Adhyāya, Third Pāda]
Vedānta-sūtras Part I (by George Thibaut)
I, 2, 25 < [First Adhyāya, Second Pāda]
II, 1, 1 < [Second Adhyāya, First Pāda]
II, 1, 2 < [Second Adhyāya, First Pāda]
The Devi Bhagavata Purana (by Swami Vijñanananda)