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The Difference between Sruti and Smriti
Gareth: Can you please explain the difference between sruti and smriti? And why Vedanta is not a philosophy? Anubhavanda refers to Vedanta as a philosophy. Also, can you explain why James is so hard on intuition?
Sundari: Anubhavanda is a good teacher; however, perhaps because he is Indian and he is teaching Westerners, some of his terminology is confusing. Some of his language sounds experiential. Philosophy is the thought or system of thought that is developed by a person or persons, describing their interpretation of the higher purpose of reality. Vedanta is no such thing. It is a proven, consciousness-based means of knowledge, and thus a valid means of knowledge for the very reason that it is totally independent of any person or person’s experience or opinion. It is not a path of any kind, because it is the knowledge that runs under all paths and makes them possible. Vedanta can never be argued with, because when you take any of its precepts and follow them to their conclusion, they are irrefutable. This is never true of philosophy, because it is subjective and therefore dependent on opinion or belief.
The difference between sruti and smriti is that sruti is the revealed word of God, or scripture, unrelated to any one’s person or person’s opinion or experience. It does not come from the human mind; it is given to the mind of man by divine revelation. It is called apauruseya jnanam in Sanskrit. No person thought up Vedanta; it was evolved by consciousness for consciousness so that it could know itself in the apparent reality. Unlike most religions and philosophies, its basis is irrefutable and irreducible logic, or knowledge, whereas smriti is based on memory or the personal experience of a person or persons, i.e. interpreted knowledge, opinions or beliefs, philosophy.
This is why Vedanta is so insistent upon the correct terminology used to teach it; it is not up for interpretation by anyone. This is why it is strange that Anubhavanda gets his terms confused in this way. One would think he would be very clear about this. He also describes self-knowledge as “beyond logic, reason, cause and effect,” which is correct if he is describing the self. But then he describes it as “intuitive,” which is totally misleading. Self-knowledge is not intuition, because intuition changes all the time and as such is not a reliable source of knowledge.
~ Om and prem, Sundari