Smaarthas and Advaita

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Mon Feb 3 10:52:55 CST 1997

On Sat, 1 Feb 1997, H. Krishna Susarla wrote:

> Can anyone provide a definition of the term "smaartha" and its relation to
> advaita? I understand that smaarthas are caste braahmins who practice

A smArta is one who follows the smr.tis, especially the standard
dharmasUtras. Theoretically, the term can denote a member of any varNa,
but in practice, is used mainly for brAhmaNas, at least in the south.

A smArta is not automatically an advaitin. In south India, there is a high
probability that a smArta is a follower of one of the advaita maThas, but
in the north, that is hardly the case. This is probably because
distinctions among smArta, SrIvaishNava and mAdhva are more pronounced
in the south for historical reasons.

The Encyclopedia Brittanica has a pretty decent article on the term
smArta. Look it up.


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