Upanishads RIG VEDIC
* Aitareya * Kaushitaki
* Chandogya * Kena
* Brihadaranyaka * Isha * Taittiriya * Katha * Shvetashvatara * Maitri
* Mundaka * Mandukya * Prashna
* Bhagavad Gita * Agamas
RELATED HINDU TEXTS
Puranas BRAHMA PURANAS
* Vishnu * Bhagavata * Naradiya * Garuda * Padma * Vamana * Kurma * Matsya
Shastras and sutras
* Chronology of Hindu texts
* v * t * e
SHRUTI or SHRUTHI (Sanskrit : श्रुति; IAST : Śruti; IPA/Sanskrit : ) in Sanskrit means "that which is heard" and refers to the body of most authoritative, ancient religious texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism . It includes the four Vedas including its four types of embedded texts - the Samhitas , the Brahmanas , the Aranyakas and the early Upanishads .
Śrutis have been variously described as a revelation through
anubhava (direct experience), or of primordial origins realized by
ancient Rishis . In
All six orthodox schools of Hinduism accept the authority of śruti, but many scholars in these schools denied that the śrutis are divine. Nāstika (heterodox) philosophies such as the Cārvāka s did not accept the authority of the śrutis and considered them to be flawed human works.
Shruti (Śruti) differs from other sources of
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Distinction between śruti and smṛti
* 3 Texts
* 4 Role in
* 9 References
* 9.1 Cited sources
* 10 External links
The Sanskrit word "श्रुति" ( IAST : Śruti; IPA/Sanskrit : ) has multiple meanings depending on context. It means "hearing, listening", a call to "listen to a speech", any form of communication that is aggregate of sounds (news, report, rumor, noise, hearsay). The word is also found in ancient geometry texts of India, where it means "the diagonal of a tetragon or hypotenuse of a triangle", and is a synonym of karna. The word śruti is also found in ancient Indian music literature, where it means "a particular division of the octave, a quarter tone or interval" out of twenty-two enumerated major tones, minor tones, and semitones. In music, it refers the smallest measure of sound a human being can detect, and the set of twenty-two śruti and forty four half Shruti, stretching from about 250 Hz to 500 Hz, is called the Shruti octave.
In scholarly works on Hinduism, śruti refers to ancient Vedic texts from India. Monier-Williams traces the contextual history of this meaning of śruti as, "which has been heard or communicated from the beginning, sacred knowledge that was only heard and verbally transmitted from generation to generation, the Veda, from earliest Rishis (sages) in Vedic tradition. In scholarly literature, Śruti is also spelled as Shruti.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN śRUTI AND SMṛTI
Smriti literally "that which is remembered," refers to a body of
Hindu texts usually attributed to an author, traditionally written
down but constantly revised, in contrast to Śrutis (the Vedic
literature) considered authorless, that were transmitted verbally
across the generations and fixed.
Smriti is a derivative secondary
work and is considered less authoritative than Sruti in Hinduism.
Sruti are fixed and its originals preserved better, while each Smriti
text exists in many versions, with many different readings. Smritis
were considered fluid and freely rewritten by anyone in ancient and
Both śrutis and smṛtis represent categories of texts of different traditions of Hindu philosophy . According to Gokul Narang, the Sruti are asserted to be of divine origin in the mythologies of the Puranas . In contrast, states Roy Perrett, ancient and medieval Hindu philosophers have denied that śruti are divine, authored by God.
Nāstika philosophical schools such as the Cārvākas of the first millennium BCE did not accept the authority of the śrutis and considered them to be human works suffering from incoherent rhapsodies, inconsistencies and tautologies.
Smṛtis are considered to be human thoughts in response to the śrutis. Traditionally, all smṛtis are regarded to ultimately be rooted in or inspired by śrutis.
The śruti literature include the four Vedas:
Each of these Vedas include the following texts, and these belong to the śruti canon:
* Samhitas * Brahmanas * Aranyakas * Upanishads
The literature of the shakhas , or schools, further amplified the material associated with each of the four core traditions.
Of the above śrutis, the Upanishads are most widely known, and the central ideas of them are the spiritual foundation of Hinduism. Patrick Olivelle writes,
Even though theoretically the whole of Vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth , in reality it is the Upanishads that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism. — Patrick Olivelle
ROLE IN HINDU LAW
वेदोऽखिलो धर्ममूलं स्मृतिशीले च तद्विदाम् । आचारश्चैव साधूनामात्मनस्तुष्टिरेव च ॥ Translation 1: The whole Veda is the (first) source of the sacred law, next the tradition and the virtuous conduct of those who know the ( Veda further), also the customs of holy men, and (finally) self-satisfaction (Atmanastushti). Translation 2: The root of the religion is the entire Veda, and (then) the tradition and customs of those who know (the Veda), and the conduct of virtuous people, and what is satisfactory to oneself.
वेदः स्मृतिः सदाचारः स्वस्य च प्रियमात्मनः । एतच्चतुर्विधं प्राहुः साक्षाद् धर्मस्य लक्षणम् ॥ Translation 1: The Veda, the sacred tradition, the customs of virtuous men, and one's own pleasure, they declare to be the fourfold means of defining the sacred law. Translation 2: The Veda, tradition, the conduct of good people, and what is pleasing to oneself – they say that is four fold mark of religion.
Only three of the four types of texts in the Vedas have behavioral precepts:
Bilimoria states the role of śruti in Hinduism has been inspired by "the belief in a higher natural cosmic order (Rta succeeded later by the concept Dharma) that regulates the universe and provides the basis for its growth, flourishing and sustenance – be that of the gods, human beings, animals and eco-formations".
Levinson states that the role of śruti and smṛti in Hindu law is as a source of guidance, and its tradition cultivates the principle that "the facts and circumstances of any particular case determine what is good or bad". The later Hindu texts include fourfold sources of dharma, states Levinson, which include atmanastushti (satisfaction of one's conscience), sadacara (local norms of virtuous individuals), smṛti and śruti.
The śrutis, the oldest of which trace back to the second millennium BCE, had not been committed to writing in ancient times. These were developed and transmitted verbally, from one generation to the next, for nearly two millenniums. Almost all printed editions available in the modern era are copied manuscripts that are hardly older than 500 years. Michael Witzel explains this oral tradition as follows:
The Vedic texts were orally composed and transmitted, without the use of script, in an unbroken line of transmission from teacher to student that was formalized early on. This ensured an impeccable textual transmission superior to the classical texts of other cultures; it is, in fact, something like a tape-recording.... Not just the actual words, but even the long-lost musical (tonal) accent (as in old Greek or in Japanese) has been preserved up to the present. — Michael Witzel
Ancient Indians developed techniques for listening, memorization and recitation of śrutis. Many forms of recitation or pathas were designed to aid accuracy in recitation and the transmission of the Vedas and other knowledge texts from one generation to the next. All hymns in each Veda were recited in this way; for example, all 1,028 hymns with 10,600 verses of the Rigveda was preserved in this way; as were all other Vedas including the Principal Upanishads , as well as the Vedangas. Each text was recited in a number of ways, to ensure that the different methods of recitation acted as a cross check on the other. Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat summarizes this as follows:
* Samhita-patha: continuous recitation of Sanskrit words bound by
the phonetic rules of euphonic combination;
* Pada-patha: a recitation marked by a conscious pause after every
word, and after any special grammatical codes embedded inside the
text; this method suppresses euphonic combination and restores each
word in its original intended form;
* Krama-patha: a step-by-step recitation where euphonically-combined
words are paired successively and sequentially and then recited; for
example, a hymn "word1 word2 word3 word4...", would be recited as
"word1word2 word2word3 word3word4 ...."; this method to verify
accuracy is credited to Vedic sages Gargya and Sakalya in the Hindu
tradition and mentioned by the ancient Sanskrit grammarian Panini
(dated to pre-Buddhism period);
* Krama-patha modified: the same step-by-step recitation as above,
but without euphonic-combinations (or free form of each word); this
method to verify accuracy is credited to Vedic sages Babhravya and
Galava in the
These extraordinary retention techniques guaranteed an accurate Śruti, fixed across the generations, not just in terms of unaltered word order but also in terms of sound. That these methods have been effective, is testified to by the preservation of the most ancient Indian religious text, the Ṛgveda (ca. 1500 BCE).
This part of a Vedic student's education was called svādhyāya . The systematic method of learning, memorization and practice, enabled these texts to be transmitted from generation to generation with inordinate fidelity.
Max Müller in an 1865 lecture stated:
The idea of revelation, and I mean more particularly book revelation,
is not a modern idea, nor is it an idea peculiar to Christianity. In
no country, I believe, has the theory of revelation been so minutely
elaborated as in India. The name for revelation in Sanskrit is shruti,
which means hearing; and this title distinguished the Vedic hymns and,
at a later time, the Brahmanas also, from all other works, which
however sacred and authoritative to the
* ^ A B Elisa Freschi (2012): The
Vedas are not deontic authorities
in absolute sense and may be disobeyed, but still recognized as an
deontological epistemic authority by a
* ^ A B C James Lochtefeld (2002), "Shruti", The Illustrated
Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 2: N–Z, Rosen Publishing. ISBN
9780823931798 , page 645
* ^ A B C D E F Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty (1988), Textual Sources
for the Study of Hinduism, Manchester University Press, ISBN
0-7190-1867-6 , pages 2-3
* ^ Michael Myers (2013). Brahman: A Comparative Theology.
Routledge. pp. 104–112. ISBN 978-1-136-83572-8 .
* ^ P Bilimoria (1998), ‘The Idea of Authorless Revelation’, in
Indian Philosophy of Religion (Editor: Roy Perrett), ISBN
978-94-010-7609-8 , Springer Netherlands, pages 3, 143-166
* ^ Hartmut Scharfe (2002), Handbook of Oriental Studies, BRILL
Academic, ISBN 978-9004125568 , pages 13-14
* ^ Klaus Klostermaier (2007), Hinduism: A Beginner's Guide, ISBN
978-1851685387 , Chapter 2, page 26
* ^ Elisa Freschi (2012), Duty, Language and Exegesis in Prabhakara
Mimamsa, BRILL, ISBN 978-9004222601 , page 62
* ^ A B Roy Perrett (1998),
* ^ A B Original Sanskrit version:Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha, pages
English version: The
Charvaka System with commentary by Madhava
Acharya, Translators: Cowell and Gough (1882), pages 5-9 * ^ Flood,
Gavin. pp. 39.
* ^ A B Wendy Doniger (1990), Textual Sources for the Study of
Hinduism, 1st Edition, University of Chicago Press, ISBN
978-0226618470 , pages 2-3; QUOTE: "The
Upanishads supply the basis of
* Coburn, Thomas, B. Scripture" in India: Towards a Typology of the
* Shruti and other texts (Incomplete), Wikisource
Upanishads (in Sanskrit, complete list of 108) Wikisource
* Shruti in Hinduism, University of Pittsburg
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