This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

Shruti and smriti

The two basic classes of writing contained in the Hindu tradition are shruti and smriti, the latter being derived from the first, with shruti as the highest class of writings and properly called Scripture. However, clarifications are in order due to Western modes of thinking about scriptures in general. Shruti is not ‘revelation’ in the religious sense, and the two things should not be identified with one another, being two different points of view. According to Shankaracharya:

[Shruti] is a means of direct perception, since, in order to be an authority it is necessarily independent of all other authority; while smriti plays a part that is analogous to induction, in that it derives it authority from an authority other than itself.

We should note at this point that, in Hindu logic, perception (pratyaksha) and induction (anumana) are the two ‘means of proof’ (pramanas) pertaining to knowledge derived from the sensible order. The difference between shruti and smriti is like that between immediate intellectual intuition and reflecting consciousness or discursive thought. This is further evidenced by the former term being related to ‘hearing’ and the latter to memory. We should note again that ‘hearing,’ in Hindu cosmology, has a certain priority due to sound being considered as the primordial sensible quality. ‘Memory,’ on the other hand, is a reflex of perception, and all it contains is reflective, which is to say indirect, knowledge. If we acknowledge light as a symbol of knowledge, we can say further that shruti is the sun and smriti the moon.

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