Class of Hindu sacred literature that is based on human memory, as distinct from the Vedas, which are considered to be divinely revealed.

Smrti serves to elaborate, interpret, and codify Vedic literature. It is considered less authoritative than Vedic literature but tends to be more widely known. The term has come to refer particularly to texts pertaining to law and social conduct, including the Kalpa-sutras, the Puranas, the Bhagavadgita, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata.

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▪ Hindu literature
      (Sanskrit: “Recollection”), that class of Hindu sacred literature based on human memory, as distinct from Vedic literature, which is considered to be Śruti, or revealed. Smṛti literature elaborates, interprets, and codifies Vedic thought but, being derivative, is considered less authoritative than the Vedic Śruti. Most modern Hindus, however, have a greater familiarity with Smṛti scriptures. The texts include the important religious manuals known as the Kalpa-sūtras; the compilations of ancient myth, legends, and history, the Purāṇas; and the two great epics of India, the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata. The latter contains within it probably the single most influential text in Hinduism, the Bhagavadgītā. In time the term Smṛti came to refer particularly to the texts relating to law and social conduct, such as the celebrated lawbook, the Manu-smṛti (“Tradition of Manu”).

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Universalium. 2010.

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