Shruti and Smriti

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Jun 16 15:52:29 CDT 1998

On Mon, 1 Jun 1998, Chandran, Nanda (NBC) wrote:

> This is something I'm not really clear about. It's said that the Rishis
> saw the revelations. What does 'see' mean? Considering that the shruti
> has been taught by the ear through the millinea one would think that the
> first rishi was taught the same way by Srimath Narayana. But then,
> shouldn't it be 'heard', rather than seen? But then shruti does mean,
> "what's heard".

Yes it does.  But Rshi means mantra drshta or see-er of mantras.  Perhaps
the receiving of a mantra was an all-round sensory experience which is
only partially described by "seeing" or "hearing".  What it all boils down
to is that the Rshis are only the agents of transmission of the Vedas not
authors.  The Vedas have no authors human or for that matter divine.

> Again if as GMurthy states that these are the teachings of rishis who
> have experienced the infinite bliss of Brahman, then aren't the Gita,
> Yoga Vasishta and Ashtavakra Gita in the same class? Krishna, Vasishta,
> Ashtavakra and Janaka are reowned jnanis, who too have experienced the
> infinite bliss of Brahman. So why are these texts referred to as smritis
> or what's remembered?

Smriti is that which is based on the Vedas.  Unlike Shruti they are the
actual production of various Rshis.  In matters of Dharma they are as
valid and imperetive as Shruti.  Only in the case where a Smrti
contradicts a Shruti can it be ignored though the Shastris prefer to try
and reconcile them rather than throw them out.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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