Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 2:00 AM
The second sets are the Smritis, meaning that which is remembered. Unlike the Srutis, which are of Divine origin, the Smritis are human compositions which regulate and guide individuals in their daily conduct and list the codes and rules governing the actions of the individual, the community, society and the nation. They are known as the Dharma Shastras or the laws governing righteous conduct.
A day of Brahma the Creator is also known as a kalpa, and is divided into four ages or yugas, the Satya or Krita Yuga, the Treta Yuga, the Dwapara Yuga, and the present age, the Kali Yuga, which is also the age of degeneration of virtue. Each age has its own law-givers.
There are 18 Smritis in all and there have been many law-givers in the land, such as Manu, Yajnavalkya, Shankha, Likhita and Parashara.
Manu is the earliest of them all and his laws have greatly influenced the life of the people of this country. However, it is mainly on the Yajnavalkya Smriti that Hindu Law of today is based.
Hinduism is unique in that it accepts that the rules of society change with every age, and therefore the laws, or the Dharma Shastras, must change from time to time. Since these laws are enunciated for the guidance of Man, they are governed by the time and age he lives in.
Hinduism is a living, practical religion because it accepts that the laws governing the conduct of man and society are man-made laws which have to be flexible and dynamic and subject to change. It therefore does not give room to bigotry or intolerance as it does not say that a set of rules made hundreds or thousands of years ago should be valid today.
This has made it possible for the laws relating to Hindu society to be further changed by legislation in modern times, for protecting the interests of women, of daughters and wives.
Both the Srutis and Smritis are read and memorised by scholars and were utilised by king and priest, by the rulers and their ministers, to implement Divine and Human Laws.