Shruti & Smirti in Indian Thought

‘Shruti and Smriti:

One of the foundations of Indian thought is the separation between shruti and smriti as two different kinds of knowledge.

Shruti is authorless. It is heard as direct inner experience without any intermediary, not unfiltered through one’s own conditioned mind. It is available only in high states of consciousness achieved by rishis and advanced yogis.

Smriti is constructed by persons in a historical, cultural context, and is conditioned by its authors. Hence, it must change with time and context.

Shruti is eternal truth, while smriti is meant to be changed and is to be applied like case law with great care taken for each context to determine its applicability and the required adaptation.

Shruti is the rishi’s/yogi’s present moment embodied experience of the ultimate reality. Smriti is disembodied knowledge that is objectified and discursive. Shruti is kept alive by living enlightened spiritual masters.”


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