Sadhana Smriti: A New Text for Progressive Hinduism

 
 

What is a Smriti?

From A Hindu Theology of Liberation, by Sadhana advisory board member Dr. Anantanand Rambachan:

"Hinduism has traditionally distinguished between śruti and smṛti texts. Śruti literally means "that which is heard" and designates those scriptures that are considered to be revealed and that enjoy supreme authority. The term is regularly employed as a synonym for the Vedas ... While the śruti texts are acknowledged to be revelation, the sphere of their authority is carefully defined and limited. 

Smṛti, on the other hand, means "that which is remembered" and refers to sacred texts that have a human origin. These texts are secondary in authority to the śruti and, more importantly, deal with those aspects of the tradition that are contextual and limited to specific time periods and social conditions. [Problematic] views in the smrti texts must be dealt with by showing how they reflect social structures, beliefs, and patterns of authority in particular historical periods. Such texts must be replaced with new smrtis that express aspirations ... for justice. The explicit recognition that the smrtis are contextual works grants the liberty to undertake this task."

Insofar as smṛti is humanly authored, it is generally fallible and liable to change. It is also liable to criticism. As such, it is a selective term. Sometimes, what is smṛti for you may not be recognized as such by me ... we may weigh this authority differently according to the particular traditions out of which we come or the exigencies of the situation. Smṛti is the medium through which we hear the voice of śruti; it is interpretative, selective, collaborative, flexible.
— Julius Lipner

Sadhana Smriti

A Sadhaka (one who performs her Sadhana) understands her original ekatva (oneness) with all jivas (living beings) and with the very presence of the Divine.

She serves all jivas in the mood of seva (devotional service), in the practice of ahimsa (peaceful and non-violent relations), as the positive practice of compassion and justice.

The dharma of the Sadhaka is rooted in the fabric of justice. Her just relations with all beings emerge from the very font of her heart of bhakti (devotion).

She is para-dukha-dukhi; she feels the pain and pleasure of her fellow jivas as her very own. She loves the taste of love; she loves the love she gives and shares.

Her dharma is justice. Her Sadhana is fierce resistance against all adharma (injustice), manifesting in personal relations and in systems and structures.

Wherever there are those jivas forced into high and low, at the expense of their flourishing, she practices her Sadhana in concert with her fellow Sadhakas.

In her vision of wisdom, she encounters all jivas equally, equitably, committed to their flourishing. When she encounters a jiva of great power and privilege, or her Mother Cow, or her Sister Elephant, or her Brother Dog, or the jiva which has been outcaste from her flourishing, she offers her embrace of bhakti to each and all. She is especially committed, as her dharma is justice, to the flourishing of her outcaste sister, to the fierce resistance of the systems of adharma (such as casteism, patriarchy, homophobia, Earth-denying nihilism, racism, and religious hatred). (Translation of Bhagavad-Gita 5:18)

Her Sadhana is karma-yoga (selfless action) strengthened by truth, knowledge, and wisdom (jnana-yoga) and rooted in the flood of devotion (bhakti-yoga).

Her devotion is to Divine Presence, in Personal form and in the Ground of Being, a Divine Presence which includes, honors, protects, and embodies all expressions of gender, sexuality, faith, and culture.

Her dharma, being the dharma of justice, is solid in the core of truth as found in the traditional Vedic sastra (scriptures), but fluid, flexible and open to new aphorisms which resist the presence of adharma and create afresh and anew dharma rooted in the fabric of devotion, love, and justice.

The taste of the Holy Name of the Divine is the sweet nectar of her life and the wellspring of her bhakti. For she loves the taste of love; she loves the love she gives and shares.

Om shanti, shanti, shanti. Peace, peace, peace.


Our Sadhana Smriti is an evolving work that is shaped by our Sadhakas. If you would like to add an aphorism to the Smriti, please contact us at info@sadhana.org.