shruti versus smriti (was Re: Some Vedic sacrifices...)

Sankaran Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Thu Jan 20 12:33:31 CST 2000

On Wed, 12 Jan 2000, Anand Hudli wrote:

> On Tue, 11 Jan 2000 15:59:07 -0600, Sankaran Jayanarayanan
> <kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU> wrote:
> >Yes. The BaudhAyana dharma shAstra explicitly lays down the first 3 points
> >(shruti, smR^iti, shishhTaachaara: the conduct of shishhTas -- those who
> >are well-versed in the Vedas) as the correct dhArmic codes.
> >
> >> And each of these is more
> >>  powerful than the succeeding one. When there is a conflict between
> >>  factor i, 1 <= i <= 3, and factor (i+1) on any issue, factor i is
> >>  declared the winner and its dictates must be followed. It also follows
> >>  that whatever the shruti says overrides whatever any other source of
> >>  dharma may say to the contrary.
> >>
> >


> >Therefore, smR^iti comes in handy while interpreting shruti, and is
> >complementary to it.
> >
> >I'm only saying that one must consider smR^iti as an aid to understanding
> >the import of shruti statements, and not take shruti at face value when
> >smR^iti *seems to* contradict shruti. Rather, one should reconcile the
> >so-called contradictions.
>  Not so. There is absolutely no question of reconciling shruti with
>  smR^iti. Reconciliation is possible ONLY when two or more texts
>  at the SAME level of authority seemingly contradict each other.
>  Reconciliation cannot be done when one text is at a higher level of
>  authority than the others under consideration. In such cases, the
>  text at the higher level wins, hands down!


The kAnchi paramAchArya does not subscribe to this view. In his book
"Hindu dharma," he says more than once that shruti, smR^iti and puraNas
are all at the same level among the shabda pramANas.

Chapter on "shruti-smR^iti shrauta-smArta," p.503:
"It is not proper to think that the smR^itis are inferior to the Vedas or
that the purANas are inferior to the smR^itis. We must learn to take an
integrated view of all of them. In the purANa the Vedic truths are
illustrated in the form of stories. The smR^itis bring the Vedic dharmas
and karmas in the form of instruction and injunctions and tell us how the
rites are to be performed."

p.504:"We use the terms "shruti pramaaNa" and "smR^iti pramANa" (the
authority of the Vedas and the authority of the smR^itis), but making such
a distinction does not mean that we should treat shruti and smR^iti as
different or that we should think that the one is inferior to the other."

Again in the chapter on "Sacrifices," p.625:
"I told you, do you remember, that there was no question of shruti being
superior to smR^iti or vice versa?"


>  Anand

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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