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Smriti – Recollection In Hindu Religion

Smriti is known as recollection or memory in Hindu religion. It is also the name used for recollected holy texts in Hinduism. Every object we perceive or every incident that takes place creates an impression on the mind. This impression remains latent until it is revived, either by word or similar incident. Every sense organ creates its own impression. Thus, if one sees an orange, then the size, form and color are recollected by the mind. The tongue remembers the taste, the nose its smell and the skin its tender smooth touch. These four sense organs create their impressions. The ear, in this particular incident, is passive.

The mind as a sense organ revives its affection or anger or compassion and such other feelings. The reason for this specialization is that from five elements, viz., earth, water, fire, air and ether are produced respectively nose, tongue, eyes, skin and ears. They have their objects in the qualities of these elements, viz., smell, taste, vision, touch and noise, respectively. These qualities of elements and human emotions have created latent impressions. The process of awakening is called recollection or smriti. Recollection can be deemed more realistic, as we recall or recollect what has been conceived mentally earlier in time.

This is the form of knowledge accepted by Vaisesikas and also Naiyayikas. They divide knowledge into two categories – perception, and memory.

Memory does impart knowledge without the help of five sense organs. But this knowledge sometimes has a drawback. Human memory does remain constant but sometimes fails in certain particulars. Thus, it may not be perfect knowledge. However, it remains old knowledge.

Pratyabhijnya is advanced form of memory. When we identify an object or an individual as the same thing or person we had come across or met beforehand, it is termed as pratyabhijnya (recognition). In memory, the person or the object in direct form is not essential, while in recognition they are essential directly.