Talk:Smarta tradition

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More sources and quotes for Smarta as a tradition of Hinduism[edit]

Murray Milner Jr. Professor of Sociology, Quote: Next, four subtraditions within Hinduism will be considered; three of these broad categories of religious tradition: Pantanjali's Yoga, the Smarta tradition, and sectarian bhakti. Each of these tends to emphasize one of the three paths identified in the Bhagavad Gita. A fourth case, Sri Vaisnavism, is then examined; it is a smaller, historically more specific sectarian tradition. The first three represent major traditions with Hinduism.[1]


  1. ^ Murray Milner (1994). Status and Sacredness : A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 191. ISBN 978-0195359121.
Your book says "The Smarta tradition has, however, always been dominated not by renouncers, but by Brahman householders." pg. 195.VictoriaGraysonTalk 00:01, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
@Vic: Don't cherrypick sentences out of their context. Keep reading through the end of that paragraph, better through page 202. Our goal is not to pick sides, or state as you have been implying with your version of the lead, "Smartas refers to (just) Brahmins". That is not what the sources are saying. Our goal is to summarize all the sides per WP:NPOV. For this article it means, acknowledging that Smarta term has contextual meanings, both as a general historic tradition and as a historic identifier of certain Brahmins. See the sections above. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 00:26, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
MSW, your own book clearly says the Smarta tradition is dominated by Brahmin householders.VictoriaGraysonTalk 00:29, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
For consensus, would you accept the following compromise: we acknowledge in the lead that Brahmin householders dominated the Smarta tradition, etc, for NPOV? Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 00:37, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
But actual indologists, not merely sociologists, like Flood define Smarta as being a Brahmin tradition.VictoriaGraysonTalk 00:40, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

@Vic: On the contrary, Indologists state different views, ranging from Smarta tradition was [1] mostly Brahmins, [2] mostly upper varnas, [3] all Advaita Vedantin Hindus. See Gerald James Larson's book India's Agony Over Religion published by State University of New York Press, for example. Meditate on this a bit @Vic. Or let @Joshua Jonathan review and revise per WP:3O. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 00:49, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

I think that the two of you should open an RfC, and invite other editors to give their opinions & sources. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:22, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Lochfeld, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z, p.656: "...a particular group of Brahmins"
  • Encyclopedia Britannica: "Smarta sect, orthodox Hindu sect composed of members of the “twice-born,” or initiated upper classes (Brahman, Kshatriya, and Vaishya), whose primarily Brahman followers"
On the other hand:
  • Ninian Smart, Ninian Smart on World Religions: Traditions and the challenges of modernity ..., p.186: "The modern Hindu ideology, as I have called it, is largely a smarta account."
  • Lola Williamson, Transcendent in America: Hindu-inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion, p.89: "What is called Vedic in the smarta tradition, and in much of Hinduism, is essentially Tantric in its range of deities and liturgical forms."
So, yes, Brahmanical, but with a much wider popular appeal, integrating Tantric elements into Hindu "orthodoxy." Which fits in with Vivekananda: presenting a modern synthesis of Tantric, yogic, bedhabedha and western esoteric elements as "Advaita Vedanta." What's new? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:34, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
@Joshua Jonathan:: Indeed, the summary of the sources, as you point out is, "yes Brahmanical, but with much wider popular appeal". @VictoriaGrayson is not accurately summarizing the sources with the POV "Smarta is only a Brahmin tradition". My concerns are [1] the main article barely discusses the "Smarta Brahmin" aspect, which it should, [2] the main article has the same websites that @VictoriaGrayson complained about in the Hinduism article, plus this article has unsourced content and WP:OR-Synthesis from sources that do not mention Smarta. If it is okay with you, I suggest we revise the main article with a better discussion on Smarta tradition as well as Smarta Brahmins from WP:RS. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 13:44, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
  • MSW, please quote Flood 1996 that says Smarta is a non-Brahmin tradition. You say I misinterpret that particular source, yet you never provide a quotation.
  • JJ, Smarta is tantric influenced. This is basic knowledge. But that has nothing to do with whether Smarta is a Brahmin tradition or not. For example, Adisaivas (Shiva temple priests) are Brahmins who specialize in tantra (Saiva Siddhanta). VictoriaGraysonTalk 16:34, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

It seems to me (for what it's worth) that Smarta was mainly a Brahmin movement, yet that it has been very influential in Hindu modernism, shaping the thoughts of many non-Brahmins. Both should be mentioned. And I believe rightaway that Smartism was influenced by Tantra. Look at Vivekananda; selling Ramakrishna as an Advaita Vedantin! But this syncretism seems to be what it really is all about. Maybe that's also a nice nuance to Hacker: he was looking for a dialogue with 'authentic Hinduism', to enrich or reground hos own faith, but found out that religion is shaped by humans, and changes. If this is so for Advaita Vedanta and Hinduism, why not also Christianity? With other words: the 'authentic Christianity' he was looking for didn't (and doesn't) exist either. What exists, is living, evolving religion; in the case of the Smarta tradition and exponts lie Vivekananda, a religion that incorporates several Indian traditions. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:27, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

@Vic: On Flood 1996, look at page 134, the paragraph that starts with "These sampradayas...". It is not specific to Brahmins, and goes on to state that Vaishnava sampradayas located themselves within the context of Smarta worship, particularly the Sri Vaishnava and Gaudiya Vaishnava traditions. Both of these traditions have from their earliest times included all social classes. Even within Shaivism, Flood 1996 notes the diversity of religious forms, from Smarta to others, on page 173. On page 159, he writes of Saiva, Vaisnava and Smarta religions (not Smarta Brahmins). On page 182, Flood writes, "Puranic, Smarta ideology dominated the early medieval period and became pan-Indian". And so on. @JJ already provided you with a quote from Encyclopedia Britannica, which includes three social classes. In other words, you are mistaken in insisting "Smarta is/has been only a Brahmin tradition", or at least your impression is not the only scholarly view out there. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 02:49, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
@JJ: Indeed, this is true of Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, etc. There aren't authentic or inauthentic lines. There have been, as Flood 1996 and others discuss, Shaiva-Smartas, Shakti-Smartas, Vaishnava-Smartas, Tantric-Smartas, etc. Yes, Smarta Brahmins and Shrauta Brahmins were a historic reality, and in some contexts Brahmins dominated the Smarta movement, but over many centuries it has been much more. Ganesha, which Smarta championed, is found all over Hinduism, for example. The guru of Kabir and his colleagues were Smartas, for example. Back to this article. How do you propose we improve the main section of this article? What sections would you suggest given what you have read and reviewed so far? Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 02:49, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
@Vic/@Joshua Jonathan: See this. It speaks of Vaishya Smartas on page 74, fishermen/sailors/cultivation/agriculturists who were "Smartas by religion" on page 76, etc. Yes, it also mentions Smarta Brahmins on pages 58-59, chapter 2. The chapter 3, titled Konkani non-Brahmin Hindus, starts at page 70. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 03:14, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
JJ, instead of this unreliable book from 1904, see HERE.VictoriaGraysonTalk 05:20, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
There's a list of Smarta communities in the article; most of them seem to be Brahmins. But any way: either open a RfC, as I suggested before; or expand this community-section, in which an overview of the relevant literature is given. Which means that both views will be represented there: Smarta as a Brahmin-tradition, and Smarta as a wider tardition. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:28, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

I find this discussion all very amusing. I live in S India and know many smartas. Don't mind my saying this but all these academics you are quoting really don't know what they are talking about. They just footnote each other and thick accretions of nonsense develop. Anyway, this is another section of Wikipedia that is about a queer as a $3 bill. I wonder why you don't get material from authentic Indian sources? Have you tried approaching a "smarta samaja?" Or is it that Indian people don't know anything about themselves and they need Westerners to tell them what they are actually about. What a colonial mindset. (talk) 03:08, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

RfC: New Lead[edit]

I am proposing to instate this lead. Note I have also provided supporting academic quotes.VictoriaGraysonTalk 20:32, 29 March 2016 (UTC)



I'm not sure whether it is better or not, but the article title needs to be addressed - perhaps after changing the lead. At the very least, "tradition" should not be capitalized. Huw Powell (talk) 16:02, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Reworking lead based on these sources[edit]

Flood, Gavin (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press:

  • page 17 "There is also an important tradition of Brahmans called Smartas"
  • page 56 "The Brahmans who followed the teachings of these texts were known as Smartas"
  • page 113 "Brahmans who followed the puranic religion became known as smarta".

Flood, Gavin (2006), The Tantric Body. The Secret Tradition of Hindu Religion, I.B Taurus:

  • pg. 8 "An important indigenous distinction is between tantrika, a follower of the Tantras, and vaidika, a follower of the Vedas. This distinction operates across the sectarian divides of Saivas, Vaisnavas and so on. The former refers to those who follow a system of ritual and teaching found within the Tantras, in contrast to those, especially the Brahman caste, who follow the Veda as primary revelation or sruti (and so called Srautas), or who follow the later texts of secondary revelation called smrti (and so called Smartas). The issue is complicated, however, by some vedic Brahmans, particularly Smartas, observing tantric rites...."

Buhnemann, Gudrun, Mandalas and Yantras in the Hindu Traditions, Leiden, Brill, 2003:

  • pg. 57 "Initially a brief explanation of the word Smārta may be in order. Smārta is a rather loosely used term which refers to a Brahmin who is an ‘adherent of the Smrti’ and of the tradition which is ‘based on the Smrti.’"

Murray Milner (1994). Status and Sacredness : A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture. Oxford University Press, USA:

  • pg.195 "The Smarta tradition has, however, always been dominated not by renouncers, but by Brahman householders."

Encyclopedia Britannica Smarta entry:

  • "primarily Brahman followers"

Lochfeld, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z

  • p.656: "Name for a particular group of brahmins"VictoriaGraysonTalk 21:50, 10 February 2018 (UTC)
VictoriaGrayson: Joshua Jonathan and I discussed this with you. I am reverting the article to last best version because of the past consensus and because it meets the NPOV guidelines better: we can't take sides and present one-sided summaries, rather we must describe the sides. Brahmin, indeed, is alternatively spelled as Brahman, just like Hindu has in the past been spelled as Hindoo. But, this is not the article to discuss that. The article already mentions, "The term [Smarta] also refers to Brahmins who specialize in the Smriti corpus of texts named the Grihya Sutras, in contrast to Shrauta Sutras.[11][12][13]" If you have anything new that JJ and I did not discuss before with you, please identify and explain. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 03:22, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
How can you cite NPOV when I'm quoting your own books? The whole point is that you ignore what your own sources say. Also Brill encyclopedia of Hinduism clearly indicates Smarta as referring to Brahmins.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 03:29, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
This is an article on the Smarta tradition. It is more than Smarta Brahmins / Smarta in the Brill and few other sources you mention above. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 03:44, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
You are blatantly ignoring what your own books clearly say. And then you create a false edit summary saying "recover peer-reviewed scholarly sources and sourced content, restore the NPOV version."VictoriaGrayson (talk) 03:47, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

What is "false" in that edit summary? It did recover the following sourced content from scholarly sources,

"Smarta tradition is a movement in Hinduism that developed and expanded with the Puranas genre of literature.[1] This Puranic religion is notable for the domestic worship of five shrines with five deities, all treated as equal – Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Surya and Devi (Shakti).[1] The Smarta tradition contrasted with the older Shrauta tradition, which was based on elaborate rituals and rites.[1][2] There has been considerable overlap in the ideas and practices of the Smarta tradition with other significant historic movements within Hinduism, namely Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Shaktism.[3][4][5]
The Smarta tradition developed during (early) Classical Period of Hinduism around the beginning of the Common Era, when Hinduism emerged from the interaction between Brahmanism and local traditions.[6][7] The Smarta tradition is aligned with Advaita Vedanta, and regards Adi Shankara as its founder or reformer.[8] Shankara championed the ultimate reality is impersonal and Nirguna (attributeless) and any symbolic god serves the same equivalent purpose.[9] Inspired by this belief, the Smarta tradition followers, along with the five Hindu gods include a sixth impersonal god in their practice.[9] The tradition has been called by William Jackson as "advaitin, monistic in its outlook".[10]"

Again, the sources and article do say the term smarta refers to Brahmins, and then it summarizes more. I welcome you to expand the section on Smarta Brahmins from the Brill and other sources, in the main article. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 03:57, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

This is not sourced content because it doesn't follow what the books actually say. I quoted what your books actually say.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 04:01, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
See the discussion above. There is no need to fix the lead, or side with a particular POV. I added a bit more from Milner to the article about the Smarta tradition. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 04:13, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Its not about POV. Its about misrepresenting books.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 04:24, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

@VictoriaGrayson: JJ and I went over this with you in the past. Milner and others describe Smarta as a tradition of Hinduism. Buhnemann and others discuss Smarta Brahmins. The article needs to summarize both. It does. In fact, the article in places includes Smarta tradition-related quotes exactly from the source. If you want to allege misrepresentation, you must provide evidence. Please see WP:ASPERSIONS. If you provide specific page numbers and sources with explanation, we can collaborate to further improve this article. But please do read the past discussion such as those in early 2016 on this subject. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 17:46, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

I already quoted what your books actually say. See above.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 20:38, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Then JJ and I countered you and clarified what the sources additionally state. See above. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 20:57, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
No you didn't. You never quoted Flood 1996 where it says Smarta is a non-Brahmin tradition.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 21:02, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
I do not understand you. Quote what and from which page number of Flood 1996? Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 21:32, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Please quote ANYWHERE in Flood 1996 where it says Smarta is non-Brahmin tradition.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 21:37, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
We summarize what multiple peer-reviewed scholarly sources and similar RS state, and do not rely exclusively on what one source may or may not state. Where does the current article attribute what you allege to Flood 1996? FWIW, some of the Flood 1996 etc cites and content, without page numbers, in the current article is from a version before I first edited the article. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 22:30, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

Please don't talk about reliable sources. You use books like "Transcendent in America: Hindu-inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion". While it is technically an academic book, its only tangentially related to the subject.VictoriaGrayson (talk) 22:51, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

You keep evading my questions. The two page review and commentary on Smarta tradition in Lola Williamson's book published by New York University Press is good, it is one of many relevant RS. Williamson is a professor of Religious Studies. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 23:14, 18 June 2018 (UTC)