Which Shastras are more authoritative,the Smritis(Dharma Shastras) or the Puranas?
Here is my answer which is based on the Devi Bhagavatam & the Vyasa Smriti.
The Devi Bhagavatam states that in such situations the views of the Puranas are to be rejected .In other words,the Smritis are more authoritative.
Nârada said :– “O Muni! The S’âstras are not one, they are many and they lay down different rules and contradictory opinions, How then Dharma is to be followed? And according what Dharma S’âstra?” Nârâyana said :– S’ruti and Smriti are the two eyes of God; the Purânam is His Heart. Whatever is stated in S’ruti, the Smriti and the Purânams is Dharma; whatever else is written in other S’âstras is not Dharma. Where you will find differences between S’ruti, Smriti and Purânas, accept the words of the S’rutis as final proofs. Wherever Smriti disagrees with the Purânas, know the Smritis more authoritative.
And where differences will crop up in the S’rutis themselves, know that Dharma, too, is of two kinds. And where the differences will crop up in the Smritis themselves, consider, then, that different things are aimed at
Note that, here Narayana refers to Rishi Narayana and not Lord Vishnu.Narada ,of course, is Deva Rishi Narada.
EDIT-In his speech here (which is a part of the book named "Hindu Dharma") Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji also hints that as far as authority is concerned Sruti-Smriti-Purana is the usual order.So,Smritis are indeed considered as more authoritative than the Puranas.
But of course what he is actually trying to convey is that all the three has to be treated with equal importance as having same authority.
Those who composed the Smritis and laid down the performance of such rites must have been fully aware of the spirit of the Vedas. It is not proper to think that the Smritis are inferior to the Vedas or that the Puranas are inferior to the Smritis. We must learn to take an integrated view of all of them
The Vyasa Smriti also repeats the same thing which is said in the Devi Bhagavatam :
In matters of discrepancy between the S'rutis, Smrit'is, and Puranas, the former should be held as decisive, whereas the Smritis should have preference in all topics where there would be a difference of opinion between them and the Puranas.
Vyasa Smriti,Chapter 1,Verse 4.
So,the Smritis are indeed more authoritative than the Puranas.
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