Smruti (memory)

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Smruti (memory) is one of the three important mental faculties with dhi(intellect) and dhriti (restraint). It is referred in various contexts as given in this article.

Chapter/topic Smruti
Author Deole Y.S.
Reviewed by Basisht G.
Affiliations Charak Samhita Research, Training and Development Centre, I.P.G.T.& R.A., Jamnagar
Correspondence email:
Publisher Charak Samhita Research, Training and Development Centre, I.T.R.A., Jamnagar, India
Date of first publication: January 01, 2020
DOI 10.47468/CSNE.2020.e01.s09.001

What is Smruti?

Definition of Smruti

Smruti is defined as capacity of remembering the objective experiential knowledge. [Chakrapani commentary on Cha.Sa. Sutra Sthana 1/58]. It is the the real knowledge of subjects/experiences happened in past. [Chakrapani commentary on Cha.SaChikitsa Sthana9/3]

Smruti is the super sensorial capacity to remember the truth or essence of everything in the Universe. [Chakrapani commentary on Cha.Sa. Sharira Sthana 1/140]

Important quality

Brahma and Yamya Sattva (psychological traits) persons

Good memory is characteristic feature of an individual having Bramha type or Yamya type of psychological trait. Both types are categorized under the personalities due to dominance of Sattva (purity of mind). Therefore it is essential to have purity of mind to possess good memory. [Cha.Sa. Sharira Sthana 4/37]


The Vaidya shall possess good smruti i.e. memory in order to perform good clinical practices. [Cha.Sa. Sutra Sthana 2/36]

Good memory is one of the six attributes of a successful practitioner along with skill, inference, scientific knowledge, promptness in action and perseverance in practice. [Cha.Sa. Sutra Sthana9/21]

Good memory with scientific knowledge is quality of a life saving physician[Cha.SaSutra Sthana29/7]


Patient having good memory can recover faster as the he can tell correctly about the aggravating time. factors to physician. If incorrect information is provided, then the physician may mis-diagnose it and treatment may be wrong. In the same way, if the patient doesn't remember the proper medicine, dose and time, then it is difficult to attain the desired results. In some cases of mental disorders, like insanity, anxiety, hypochondriasis, memorizing episodes of disease lead to aggravation. Hence memory of the person shall be treated correctly by psycho-therapy. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 9/9]


The examiner shall possess good memory of scientific knowledge in order to examine, validate and authenticate observations. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana28/37]

Apta (authorities)

The experiential knowledge of science and statistics in memory is considered as authentic proof given by Apta(authority).[Cha.Sa.Vimana Sthana4/4]

Shishya (disciple)

Good memory is important quality of a disciple. This quality is assessed by a teacher while examining the student.[Cha.Sa.Vimana Sthana 8/8 and 13]

Sign of Sattva Sara (purity of mind)

A person with good memory (smrutimanta) is first and foremost sign of a person with utmost purity of mind. This is also one of the sign of great mental strength and objective to attain while treating mental disorders. [Cha.Sa.Vimana Sthana8/110]

Essential feature for good quality of life

Good memory is essential for good quality of life. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana30/24]

Origin of Smruti

Aatmaja bhava (factor related with one's soul)

During the process of embryogenesis, Smruti is categorized under the factors having origin from soul. It shows memory is unique in every individual and can differ from person to person. [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana3/10]

Smruti is related with soul

Smruti (memory) is a sign of consciousness or living being as it is a power of soul. The memory with soul is in dormant state and needs to be revealed after practice of meditation. The other type of memory includes experiential knowledge which comes after life experiences. It is possible that with extreme practice of meditation, the memory of soul gets connected with experiential memory and the person can remember knowledge of previous life(after rebirth).[Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana1/72]

Smruti of previous life (after rebirth) is due to soul

In living beings, the soul is responsible for ego, enjoyment of the result of deeds, engagement in deeds, transmigration from one body to another body, and keeping the memory of previous life (after rebirth). [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana1/52]

Jatismara (one who remembers previous past life)

There is possibility of remembering past life. One who remembers past life is called 'Jatismara'. Purity of psyche is responsible for remembrance of past life as it is united with the soul. [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana3/13]

Sattvaja bhava(factor related with one's psyche)

Smruti is categorized under the factors having origin from the psyche. [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana3/13]

Smruti as a tool to know one's origin

The origin of manifestation of life and mind is not told and for sure there is no such beginning. Their absence can be brought out only by excellent restraint, memory and knowledge. [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana2/42]

Smruti as a super-power

Superpower of knowledge

Smruti is enlisted among one of the eight superpowers of knowledge that are required for learning Ayurveda. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana1/39]

Attainment of Yogi (Yoga saint)

Yogi can attain the extra-sensorial power of memorizing everything in reality through practice. [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana1/140]

What are the factors affecting it?

Day time sleep and sleep patterns

Day time sleep or sleeping at improper time can affect memory and intellectual functions by creating obstruction. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 21/48]

Alcohol can destroy memory and other intellectual functions

The episode of acute alcoholism can affect the intellectual functions of grasping, restraining and memory. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana25/40]

In the first stage of alcoholic intoxication, the memory of the person is intact. Episodes of transient loss of memory are observed in second stage of alcoholic intoxication. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 24/43-44]

Smruti vibhramsha (perversion of memory) is observed as harmful consequence of alcohol. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana24/57]

Gramya ahara(domestic diet and lifestyle)

Improper diet and lifestyle can lead to loss of memory. The diet and lifestyle factors include: Eating sour, saline, pungent, alkaline, dried vegetables, meat, sesame, sesame paste and preparation of (rice) flour, germinated or fresh, awned or leguminous cereals, incompatible, unsuitable, rough, alkaline and channel blocking substances, decomposed, heavy, putrefied, and staled food items, indulging in irregular diet or eating while the previous food is undigested, day sleep, women and wine, performing irregular and excessive physical exercise causing agitation in the body, affected with fear, anger, grief, greed, confusion and exhaustion. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/2/3]

Smruti vibhramsha-cause of all miseries

Smruti vibhramsha is one of the cause of all miseries. [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana1/98]

The smruti is impaired due to covering of Rajas and Tamas over Atma, leading to impairment of knowledge of truth. This leads to mis-deeds. [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana1/101]

The impairment of memory leads to various intellectual errors called pradnyaparadha resulting in vitiation of all dosha. [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana1/102]

Disorder of Smruti is important cardinal sign of psychiatric disorders

Smruti vibhrama in Unmada(insanity)

The perversion of memory is cardinal sign of Unmada. It is reflected as complete or partial loss of memory. [Cha.Sa.Nidana Sthana 7/5]

Smruti samplav (abnormality) in Apasmara(epilepsy):

Smruti samplav means abnormal memory function is cardinal sign of Apasmara (epilepsy). [Cha.Sa.Nidana Sthana8/5]

Sign of Unmada(insanity)

Loss of good experiential knowledge i.e. memory is seen in patients of Unmada. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana9/7]

Specific sign of Kapha dominant Unmada

The pathogenesis of Kapha dominant Unmada includes the impairment of intellect and memory due to excessively aggravated Kapha dosha associated with ushma(heat of Pitta dosha) at Hridaya marma (heart as vital organ). This leads to various mental dysfunctions in Unmada[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana9/13]

Sign of Pishacha unmada

Destruction of memory is a sign of patient of Unmada due to affliction of Pishacha((a class of demons).[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana9/20]

Secondary impairment of Smruti due to somatic diseases

Sign of Kardama visarpa

Loss of memory is observed secondary to Kardama visarpa. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana21/38]

Sign of Pranavrita Vyana

Decrease in memory is sign of obstruction of functioning of vyana vata by Prana vata. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana28/202-203]

Assessment parameter for longevity/signs of dying person

Good memory is enlisted among the parameters to be examined while assessing the longevity and impending hazards to health. [Cha.Sa.Indriya Sthana1/3]

Loss of memory without any specific cause may indicate impending death in six months. [Cha.Sa.Indriya Sthana11/7]

Loss of memory is enlisted among the signs of impending death in near future. [Cha.Sa.Indriya Sthana12/48]

Utility of Smruti in treatment

A treatment measure in mental disorders

It is one of the treatment measures of mental disorders. The experiential knowledge of good memory can help to uplift the mental strength of the person in case of psychological trauma. In other way, forgetting bad memories is also implied in treatment of mental disorders. These principles are used in psychotherapy. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana1/58]

Important quality of mental health professional and psychiatrist

Atreya Punarvasu has been attributed with the highest qualities of intellect, memory and knowledge while he narrated the chapter on Unmada(insanity). This shows that a health care provider dealing with the mental health, psychiatric disease possess highest intellectual strength and memory in order to treat the patient. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana9/3]

A preventive measure of exogenous diseases

The person shall always remember the ultimate truth about death of dear ones like son, daughter etc., so as to prevent exogenous diseases arising due to grief or bereavement as it occurs. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana7/53/54]

One of the observable measure for mental health

One shall always follow and remember good experiential knowledge for preserving mental health. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana7/58]

Treatment for Atattvabhinivesha

The patient suffering from Atattvabhinivsha shall be treated to induce his good memory and live with friends having good scientific and spiritual knowledge. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana10/63]

One of the measure for health in this life and after life

The persons shall always remember the suitable and unsuitable things for himself based upon his habitat, season and basic constitution. He shall follow the opposite measures of these three parameters for sustaining equilibrium. One shall always remember and observe Sadvritta for better health in this life and after life. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana8/17]

Sign of curing unmada

Regaining original memory is sign of cure from Unmada(insanity). [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana9/78]

An important pre-requisite for administration of Kuti praveshik Rasayana

The person who intends to follow kutipraveshik rasayana must possess strength with good memory.[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/1/22]

Can Smruti be improved?

Ayurveda elaborates the measures to preserve and protect Smruti (memory) by following certain rejuvenation therapies. The dysfunctions of Smruti (memory) can also be treated and improved by means of pharmacological and non-pharmacological measures. These are detailed as under.

Treatments used to improve memory and its disorders

Principles of treatment of memory disorders associated with Unmada

The principles of treatment of Unmada are applied in treatment of memory disorders:

  1. In case of dominance of Vata dosha:
  • Intake of oils and ghritas (sneha) substance
  • If there is obstruction in channels, mild unctuous evacuatives in small quantities should be administered.
  1. If the insanity is caused by kapha and pitta
  • therapeutic emesis and purgation after unction and sudation.
  • Post- evacuation dietetic regimen (gradually from lighter to heavier diet as per prescribed procedure)
  • Non-unctuous (niruha) and unctuous (anuvasana) enema
  • nasal errhines (shiro-virechana)


By the administration of these therapeutic measures, heart, sense organs, head and bowels (koshtha) get cleansed as a result of which the mind gets refreshed and the patient regains memory as well as consciousness.

Even after the completion of above cleansing procedure, if the abnormal behaviour persists, the application of irritant snuffing, collyrium and beating should be done, which are useful for stimulating his mind, intellect and body.

One who is non-submissive and strong in physique, should be bound with firm and soft cotton bandage and should be confined in a dark room free from irons rods, wooden pieces etc.

Verbal teasing or threatening/shouting with anger (tarjana), terrorizing (trasanam), gifts /donations(danam), gladdening and exhilaration(harshanam), consolation (santwanam), frightening(bhayam) and astonishing/exhibition of surprising acts (vismaya) restore the mind to normalcy by diverting it and counteracting the causes of loss of memory.

The patients suffering from unmada should be administered thick ointment (pradeha), anointing (utsadana), massage (abhyanga), fumigation (dhuma) and intake of ghee to arouse mind, intellect, memory and consciousness. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana9/24-32]


Benefits of Rasayana

Good memory can be achieved and preserved by following Rasayana (rejuvenation therapies). [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/1/7-8]

Ghee possess memory improving potential

Ghee has the potential to improve memory functions. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana13/43)

The cow's ghee possess the properties to increase memory. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana27/231]

Haritaki(terminalia chebula) can improve memory

Haritaki has the potential to quickly correct errors of intellect and memory. It can remove the functional covering over intellectual and memory related functions. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/1/34].

Brahma Rasayana

Brahma rasayana formulation is indicated in improving memory. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/1/56]


The popular formulation Chyavanprasha can prevent loss of memory and help to preserve it. It can be helpful to retrieve it. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/1/73-74]

Aindra Rasayana

Aindra rasayana is useful in improving the memory functions and cure diseases with secondary loss of memory.[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/3/27-29]

Triphala Rasayana

The Triphala Rasayana can improve and rejuvenate memory functions if taken continuously for one year. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/3/47]

Shilajatu Rasayana

The Shilajatu rasayana can improve and generate memory if taken as per the method described in [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/3/53].

Indrokta Rasayana (list of herbs to improve memory)

The celestial drugs grown in Himalaya taken in matured form such as aindri, brahmi, payasya, ksheerapushpi, shravani, mahashravani, shatavari, vidari, jeevanti, punarnava, nagabala, sthira, vacha, chatra, atichchatra, meda, mahameda and other vitalizing drugs if taken with milk for six months can certainly improve intellect, memory, quality strength and other desired effects. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/4/6]

Indrokata Rasayana (formulation)

The formulation told by Indra can give strength to memory. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana1/4/24]

Mahapaishachika ghrita

Mahapaishachika ghrita is indicated in memory disorders associated with Unmada (insanity). [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana9/48]

Apatarpana (fasting) can improve memory

The diet leading to apatarpana (emaciation) can improve memory. Fasting can improve memory. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana23/24]

Effect of flesh of tortoise

The flesh of tortoise and turtle can generate memory.[Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana27/84]

Non-pharmacological measures to improve smruti:

The following serve as means to the attainment of moksha.

  1. Due devotion to noble person;
  2. Shunning of the company of the wicked;
  3. Observing sacred vows and fast;
  4. Pursuit of the rules of good conduct;
  5. Compliance with scriptural prescriptions;
  6. Scriptural knowledge;
  7. Liking for lonely living;
  8. Detachment from the objects of senses;
  9. Striving for moksha (salvation);
  10. Absolute mental control;
  11. Abstinence from performing the acts(leading to any effect);
  12. Annihilation of the effects of past actions/deeds;
  13. Desire to get away from the worldly trap;
  14. Absence of egoistic disposition;
  15. Being afraid of contacts of the soul, the mind and the body;
  16. Concentration of the mind and intellect in the soul; and
  17. Review of spiritual facts.

All this can be attained by virtue of the constant remembering of the fact that the soul is different from the body, mind and senses. The latter has nothing to do with the former. [Cha.Sa. Sharira Sthana 1/143-146]

Eight factors to retrieve memory

The following are the eight factors that bring about a good memory:

  • Knowledge of cause (of a thing and event etc.);
  • Knowledge of form (e.g. after seeing gavaya in the forest one remembers a cow having a similar form);
  • Knowledge of similarity (e.g. on seeing a son one remembers his father having similar form);
  • Knowledge of contrast (e.g. having seen an ugly form one remembers a beautiful form);
  • Concentration of mind;
  • Practice;
  • Attainment of metaphysical knowledge; and
  • Subsequent partial communication of an event.

The regime prescribed in verses above, beginning with devotion to the noble persons and ending with absolute mental control (items 1-10) serve as an aid to good memory. If one only remembers the real nature of thing he gets rid of miseries. [Cha.Sa. [[Sharira Sthana 1/147-149]

A mean for salvation

The power of metaphysical memory constitutes the best way of liberation, as shown by the liberated ones. Persons following this way do not get rebirth after death. This is again the best way to the attainment of yoga (communion with God) as well as moksha (salvation). This is what the yogins, the virtuous ones, the followers of the Sankhya system, and the liberated ones say. [150-151]

Smruti nasha (deleting memory) as treatment

If the episode of fever is triggered even due to the thought of fever (as like in anxiety), then deleting the memory of fever episode is treatment measure. This treatment of deleting memory is utilized in psychological disease to remove the experiences harmful for health of the person. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana3/324]

Current Researches

Ghadage Pallavi, in her study concluded that Smruti is streams of previous experience which helps to recollect the facts related to present experience or object. It results from collective action of atma, mana, buddhi and medha. The faculties like dhi, dhriti, and smruti are inseparable parts of the buddhi performance. The factors like dosha, prakriti, vaya, sara etc. primarily influence memory. Secondarily, it can be affected by diseases. It is also one of the key factor in Psychotherapy. Adravyabhuta (Non-pharmacological) and Dravyabhuta (pharmacological) therapies mentioned in Ayurveda can help for excellence of memory.[1]

Related chapters

Unmada Nidana Adhyaya, Apasmara Nidana Adhyaya, Katidhapurusha Sharira Adhyaya, Unmada Chikitsa Adhyaya, Apasmara Chikitsa Adhyaya

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  1. Pallavi Ashok Ghadage, Niranjan Yethadka, Narendra Trivedi. A Review on Smriti (Memory) and its Affiliates in Ayurveda. J. Res. Tradit. Med 2017; 3(5): 143-150 available from downloaded on April 18,2019