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Hindu Scriptures
Hindu Scriptures

Smriti

A second category of authoritative sacred texts were authored by humans under divine inspiration. These are known as smriti (remembering). The smriti texts are more popular and easy to understand. Many of them are popularly remembered and passed from generation to generation. They include the law (books of laws), puranas (myths, stories, legends) and epics (sets of holy myths including Ramayana and Mahabharata).

a. Law-books 

Manu Smriti 
Yajnavalkya
Baudhayana
Apastamba
Vashishtha
Gautama 
Raghunandana

b. Epics

Ramayana
Mahabharata - Bhagavad Gita

c. Puranas

Bhagavata
Skanda
Vayu
Markandeya, etc.
Chandi (part of the Markandeya Purana)

The smriti tradition made the divine wisdom more relevant to the lives of ordinary human beings. The earlier Vedic texts emphasized sacrificial ritual as a means of addressing and appeasing the gods. The later Vedic texts such as the Upanishads described the divine as the omnipotent and impersonal brahman.

In the smriti texts, in marked contrast to earlier vedas, god is described as much more personal, entering into the lives of humans by creating them, loving them, inspiring them to worship and ultimately, through divine grace, saving them.

The earlier shruti vedas and the later smriti texts can be compared to Old Testament and New testament of Christians in their philosophy in terms of approaching god.

Hindus often recite verses from the smriti texts in an individual's daily meditation. The stories from these texts are repeated by priests, grandmothers and storytellers as a means of inspiring moral living.

 

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