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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Spiritual Questions & Answers > Pre-2007 QnA Swami Gaurangapada > Smritis, Shrutis, Shastras,...

Title: Smritis, Shrutis, Shastras,...

User: MatusDate: 2006-09-01 11:16:57


Dear Swami Gaurangapada Gurudeva,

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!


Please accept my most humble obeisances.


i would like to know more about the different categories of the holy scriptures, so that i can get some basic overview and understanding.


So my first questions would be:


What do Smritis, Shrutis, Shastras mean?


What is the difference between them?


Thank You very much.


Yours sincerely,



Title: Explanation of Sruti, Smriti and Sastra

User: bilva mangal das†††††† Date: 2006-10-20 10:55:24


Nityananda, Gauranga, Hare Krishna!

All glories to Swami Gaurangapada and all glories to Shrila Prabhupada!

Dear Matus,

I have made an attempt to answer your question and please forgive me if there are any mistakes.

The Sanskrit word Veda is derived from the root ‘Vid’ which means ‘to know’. Thus Veda means knowledge. Vedas are considered to be the source of all knowledge. Since the Vedic wisdom wastransmitted orally from guru to disciple, it is also called shabda *brahman, or spiritual sound. According to tradition, it was written down only when human memory began to deteriorate at the start of Kali-yuga. The Vedas were compiled by the literarary incarnation of God called Shrila Vyasadeva.



Vedas are also called Srutis. The Sanskrit term Sruti means that which is heard (through aural reception).

Srutis include the following:

Rig veda, athatrva veda, Sama veda, Yajur veda, Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.

Samhitas – literally "collections," in this case of hymns and mantras. They form the Veda proper.

Brahmanas – Prose manuals of ritual and prayer for the guiding priests. They tend to explain the Samhitas. Their main aim is to prescribe the rituals in detail and also praise the glory of the Devas.

Aranyakas – literally "forest books" for hermits and saints. They are philosophical treatises. Aranyakas were recited in hermitages in forests.

Upanishads – books of philosophy, also called "Vedanta," meaning the last portion or conclusion of the Vedas.


Smriti is a Sanskrit word which means ‘that which is remembered’. Smritis helps us in understanding the various injunctions and truths propounded in the Vedas. Smriti also denotes non-: ""]Sruti texts generally, seen as secondary in authority to Sruti.

Smritis include the following:

Dharmasastra, Itihasa, Puranas, Sutras, Agamas and Darsana.

: ""]Dharmasastra: They list the codes and rules governing the righteous conduct. This is represented by 18 books, including the Manu smriti.

: ""]Itihasa or the histories: It includes the Mahakavyas, or Epics Mahabharata and the Ramayana.

: ""]Purana: This is represented by 18 books. They are secondary scriptures that mainly focus on Vishnu or Shiva as the preferred supreme Deity. Shrimad Bhagavatam is called amalam puranam or the spotless purana.

: ""]Sutras: It is also known as Vedangas and considered to be limbs of the body of Vedas. This is represented by 6 categories: the Siksa (instruction), Vyakarana (grammar), Chandas (meter), Nirukta (etymology), Jyotisa (astro-science) and Kalpa (space)

: ""]Agama or the doctrines: There are three major divisions : the Vaishnava, Saiva, and Sakta. Agamas mainly talk about construction of temples; the rules for installation and consecration of the deities in the temples; and the methods of performing pujas in the temples. The Vaishnava Agamas are : Pancharatra Agama and Vaikhanasa Agama

: ""]Darsana or philosophies: This is represented by 6 schools of thought: Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, & Uttara Mimamsa.

Bhakti Smriti Shastras: Holy Books written by the Gaudiya Vaishnava Acharya Associates of Lords Nityananda Gauranga which are more advanced and deeper than all the other Smriti and Shruti scriptures combined.


Sastra in Sanskrit means a source of teaching, instruction or command.

The Srutis and Smritis are collectively termed as Sastras.


Title: Re: Smritis, Shrutis, Shastras,...

User: MatusDate: 2006-10-31 18:33:59


Dear Bilva Mangal,

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!


Thank You very much for Your answer. Now i got an image about the shastras and understand better their meaning and interconnection.


Yours faithfully,



Title: Re: Explanation of Sruti, Smriti and Sastra

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-12-15 06:47:56


Thanks Bilvaji. Just to add the main one for Smritis:

Bhakti Smriti Shastras: Holy Books written by the Gaudiya Vaishnava Acharya Associates of Lords: ""Nityananda Gauranga, which are more advanced and deeper than all the other Smriti and Shruti scriptures combined.