||This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (February 2011)|
|An article related to|
Smarta Sampradaya (Smarta Tradition, as it is termed in Sanskrit) is a liberal or nonsectarian denomination of the Vedic Hindu religion which accepts all the major Hindu deities as forms of the one Brahman, in contrast to Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism, the other three major Hindu sects, which revere Vishnu, Shiva, and Shakti, respectively, as the Supreme Being. The term Smarta refers to adherents who follow the Vedas and Shastras. Only a section of south Indian brahmins call themselves Smartas now.
In Sanskrit, Smārta means "relating to memory, recorded in or based on the Smriti, based on tradition, prescribed or sanctioned by traditional law or usage, (etc)", from the root smr ("remember"); smarana. Smarta is a vriddhi derivation of Smriti just as Śrauta is a vriddhi derivation of Śruti.The system they follow is referred to also as Srauta-Smartha as evidenced in the sankalpams they take during prayers.
This joined reference srauta smarta cannot be separated in the context of an orthodox smarta brahmin because he would be expected to follow the sruti and thereby the smritis derived from them.
Salient features of Smarta tradition 
Smartas are followers and propagators of Smriti or religious texts, which are derived from Vedic scriptures. Smarta religion was practiced by people who believed in the authority of the Vedas as well as the basic premise of puranas. As a consequence usually only a brahmin preferred to use this term to refer to his family tradition.
It is most essential for Smarta Brahmins to specialize in the Karma Kanda of the Vedas and associated rituals diligently, and to teach the subsequent generations. This is the only reason that these families continue to be called Smartas.
Shad Darsana philosophy 
Smarta Tradition includes the followers of all the six Darsanas (systems) of Hindu philosophy. The basic idea of Smartas was belief in Vedic practices. Vedas are non-sectarian . The Smartas found that you cannot bring about a unity among different sects or revive the Vedic practices without bringing together the six systems of Philosophy. The Vedic rituals are based on Purva Mimansa. The Bhagavad Gita which contains the Sankhya and Yoga concepts is revered by the Smartas.
Differences with other Hindu denominations 
Smartas believe that the worshiper is free to choose a particular aspect of God to worship, to the extent that the worship practices do not contradict the Vedas and the Smritis. So in that sense an orthodox smarta is unlikely to view gods of non vedic religions favorably, even though he may hold the religion acceptable to its own traditional followers.
By contrast, a Vaishnavite considers Vishnu or Krishna to be the true God who is worthy of worship and other forms as his subordinates. Accordingly, Vaishnavites, for example, believe that only Vishnu or Krishna can grant the ultimate salvation for mankind, moksha. Similarly, many Shaivites also hold the same beliefs about Shiva. Notably, many Shaivites believe that Shakti is worshiped to reach Shiva, whom for Saktas is the impersonal Absolute. In Saktism, emphasis is given to the feminine manifest through which the male unmanifested, Lord Shiva, is realized.
Smartas, like many Shaivites and Vaishnavites, consider Surya to be an aspect of God. Many Shaivites and Vaishnavites, for example, differ from Smartas, in that they regard Surya as an aspect of Shiva and Vishnu, respectively. For example, the Hindu sun god is called Suryanarayana by Vaishnavites. In Shaivite theology, the sun is said to be one of eight forms of Shiva, the Astamurti. Additionally, Ganesh and Skanda, for many Shaivites, would be aspects of Shakti and Shiva, respectively.
These differences and the understanding of these differences is now generally diminishing between the Hindus, and the current practitioners of Hinduism are converging towards the Smarta philosophy, where Shaivites accept and pray to forms of Vishnu and vice-versa. That Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti are all forms of the same principal divinity is slowly gaining understanding and acceptance.
Shanmata and influence on contemporary Hinduism 
This is based on the belief in the essential sameness of all deities, the unity of God, and their conceptualization of the myriad deities of India as various manifestations of the one divine power, Brahman.
Smartas accept and worship the six manifestations of God, (Ganesha, Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Surya and Skanda) and the choice of the nature of God is up to the individual worshipper since different manifestations of God are held to be equivalent.
Smarta practices 
Daily routine 
The daily routine of a smarta brahmin includes performing
The last two named Yajnas are performed in only a few households today.
Panchayatana Puja 
The Smartas evolved a kind of worship which is known as Panchayatana puja. In this Puja, the five principal Brahmanical Hindu Deities (Surya, Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha and Devi) are the objects of veneration. The five symbols of the major Gods are placed on a round open metal dish called Panchayatana, the symbol of the deity preferred by the worshiper being in the center. A similar arrangement is also seen in the medieval temples, in which the central shrine housing the principal Deity is surrounded by four smaller shrines containing the figures of the other deities.
Some of the Smartas of South India add a sixth Deity Skanda.
The Smartas follow the Ashrama tradition of Hiduism. There are different sets of rules for each Ashrama (stage of an individual's life). The stages of life prescribed in the Vedic scriptures are Brahmacharya Ashrama, Grihastha Ashrama, Vanaprastha Ashrama and Sannyasa Ashrama. These four orders normally proceed one after the other, depending upon one's age, maturity, mental disposition and qualification. Each stage has its own set of rules within which it is conducted.
Other practices 
All Smartas who take up the Brahmacharya Ashrama by undergoing Upanayana, are expected to learn the Vedas and Shastras besides leading a strict celibate Life. They are expected to adhere to a sattvic diet and adhere to other rules of the Smriti tradition of their respective families. In modern days, the Smarthas contend with learning at least the select portions (called Suktas) and other portions from the Aranyaka of the Veda.
Smartas are recommended to follow the Brahma form of Vedic marriage (a type of arranged marriage). The marriage ceremony is derived from Vedic prescriptions. Women acquire the traditions of her husband's family upon marriage.
Lineage is an important continuity for the Smarthas. It is called the Gotra. Each Smartha family belongs to a particular Gotra which is the progeny of an identified Rishi. People belonging to the same Gotra are deemed brothers & sisters and hence cannot marry each other.
The Shrauta tradition 
Religious institutions 
Traditional Smarta religious institutions:
- Sringeri Sharada Peetham
- Govardhana matha
- Dvaraka Pitha
- Kanchi matha
- Shri Gaudapadacharya Math
- Chitrapur Math
and other Sankara Maths spread all over India.
The other Hindu missions with Advaita traditions closely linked with the Smarta philosophy are :
Prominent Smarta teachers 
Some of the prominent Smarta Teachers:
- Govinda Bhagavatpada
- Adi Shankara
- Vachaspati Mishra
- Sri Ramakrishna
- Swami Vivekananda
- Brahmananda Saraswati the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, the Guru of Transcendental Meditation.
- Appaiah Dikshitar
- Jagadguru Swami Sri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji Maharaja. Vedic Mathematics.
- Madhusudana Saraswati
- Jagadguru Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrusimha Bharati, Sringeri Sharada Peetam
- Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati III, Sringeri Sharada Peetam
- Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha, Sringeri Sharada Peetam
- Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha, Sringeri Sharada Peetam
- Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
- Srimad Raghaveshwara Bharathi Swamiji of Ramachandrapura Mutt, Hosanagara
- Sri Sri Ravishankar, Founder, Veda Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth, Bangalore.
Smartas follow the Hindu scriptures. These include:
- The Vedas (Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda). These are considered primary spiritual resources; every Brahmin family is affiliated to one or more of the Vedas.
- The Upanishads, which are part of the Vedas, are often mentioned separately, given their especial importance as products of past intellectual ferment.
- The Bhagavad Gita, a summary of the Upanishads is highly revered. Adi Shankaracharya wrote the very first and major commentary on it. It is a text that is recommended for daily readings and many Smarthas still do so. Other Advaita commentaries are by Madhusudhana Saraswati and Sridhara Swami.
- The Smritis" are religious books based on Vedas and are written by important Sages/Rishis of the past. Each of them contains recommendations and practices unique to itself. The Book an individual follows depends on his family. Thus, ritual practices sometimes varied from family to family, depending on family tradition. Some of the more common religious law books were the Manu Smriti, the Apastamba Smriti and the Bodhyayana Smriti.
- The two epics Ramayana of Valmiki and the Mahabharata have been commented by many Smarta philosophers and scholars. Harikathas, Pravachanams, Upanyasams, Kalakshepams on these texts are still very popular. The Ramayana is the text of choice for daily devotional reading or Nitya Parayanam for many Smarthas and it has pervaded and guided Hindu conscience for centuries.
- The Puranas contain the lore and explanations of the theology of the Vedas. They are a collection of sacred historical events that were passed from one generation to the next in the form of mythological stories. Smarta philosophers use the puranas to get a better understanding of Vedas, but do not consider them as completely authentic texts. However, the major Puranas are revered by Smartas. The Srimad Bhagavatham and Vishnu Purana are treated with the same reverence as the major epics, as also being the chosen texts for daily devotional reading (Parayana grantham). "Sridhariyam" on the Bhagavatham, and "Bhavartha-Dipika" on the Vishnu Purana are well known Advaita commentaries both by Sridhara Swami.
In addition to the above scriptures, Smarthas also recite various hymns or Shlokas and Stotras composed by Hindu saints and poets. The afore mentioned scriptures are also the texts of choice for daily reading by the Acharyas of the Shankara mutts.
Though most of the Hindus follow the Smarta tradition, only a few communities still call themselves Smartas. These communities are mostly in South India.
- See:Kannada brahmins
- Andhra Pradesh
See also 
- .Goyal (1984)
- A day in the life of a Brahmin
- A Religious History of Ancient India. Volume 2. By S.R.Goyal. Published by Kusumanjali Prakashan, Meerut, India
- Karki math
- Goyal, S. R. (1984) A Religious History of Ancient India. Volume 2. Published by Kusumanjali Prakashan, Meerut, India
- Adi Sankaracharya and Advaita Vedanta Library
- Advaita Vedanta Homepage
- Jagadguru Mahasamsthanam, Sringeri Sharada Peetam
- Shankara Sampradayam
- Hinduism Today - Description of Smartism among the four major divisions of Hinduism.
- Overview of the three major divisions, from the book, Hindu Dharma, Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, and the three other schools devoted to Ganesh, Skanda and Surya.
- Six schools of smarta hinduism
- Oneness of God from Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
- Description of smarta tradition.