Intro

Smartas are followers and propagators of Smriti or religious texts derived from Vedic scriptures. It is from this that the name smarta is derived. Sanskrit, Smārta means "relating to memory, recorded in or based on the Smrti, based on tradition, prescribed or sanctioned by traditional law or usage", from the root smr (remember).This term is used with respect to a certain specialized category of Brahmins.

Doctrine

Smarta follow the Hindu philosophy of Adi Shankara, an 8th century CE theologian. It was Shankara’s ideas that brought the Vedic communities together. He stated that the Vedas allowed for the worship of any of the different Hindu gods, establishing that worship of different deities was in line with the teachings of the scriptures. He taught that there was no contradiction in doing so, as each deity was an alternative manifestation of Brahman. He succeeded in convincing the Hindu community of the truth of his arguments, and his beliefs have continued to influence Hindu society, allowing the different denominations to co-exist peacefully.
 
The philosophy is generally referred to as Advaita. In this philosophy God is both Saguna and Nirguna. As a Nirguna he is pure consciousness dissociated from matter. He (the gender itself is meaningless here) has no attributes, and has no form. As a saguna, there is quality that can be attributed. He is infinite and thus can have a multitude of attributes. Accordingly, the scriptures hold that Vishnu and Shiva are ultimately the same and simply manifestations of Brahman. The Smarta theologians have cited many references to support this point.

Whilst many Hindus now accept a version of this philosophy, Smartas wholeheartedly embrace it, and offer religious devotion to a host of gods, seeing each as merely another form of the Supreme Being. They are generally devoted to Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesh, Surya and Durga in their daily worship.

Smartism Today (UK)

There exist no figures for the number of practicing Smarta in the UK. They celebrate all Hindu festivals alike and view festivals in honour of each individual god as equally important celebrations of Brahman.

 

 

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