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In Hindu Dharma the Vedas,Upanishads,6 Vedangas,Smritis(or the Dharma Shastras),Puranas and the Itihasas(Ramayana and Mahabhartha) are usually together called the Shastras or Scriptures.

Among them, the Vedas(Srutis) ,of course,are considered as having the supreme authority.

The Smritis or the Dharma Shastras teach us what is right(Dharma) or wrong(Adharma) in a given context.They contain the rules of righteous living.

There are eighteen main Smritis or Dharma Sastras. The most important are those of Manu, Yajnavalkya and Parasara. The other fifteen are those of Vishnu, Daksha, Samvarta, Vyasa, Harita, Satatapa, Vasishtha, Yama, Apastamba, Gautama, Devala, Sankha-Likhita, Usana, Atri and Saunaka.

The laws of Manu are intended for the Satya Yuga, those of Yajnavalkya are for the Treta Yuga; those of Sankha and Likhita are for the Dvapara Yuga; and those of Parasara are for the Kali Yuga

Likewise,the principle Puranas are also 18 in number.They contain "old" stories that happened in earlier Kalpas and Yugas.They also contain principles of right conduct.

Now,it is a well known principle that whenever there occur a conflict/disagreement on a topic between the Vedas and Smritis then the views of Vedas are to be accepted & those of the Smritis are to be rejected.

But what about similar situations when disagreement appear between the Smritis and the Puranas?

Which view is to be accepted in those cases and which one should be rejected?

In other words,Among the Smritis and the Puranas which one is more authoritative?

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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.

From Book 11,Chapter 1,Devi Bhagavatam:

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 :

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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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    It is interesting that a Purana is givnng more importance to a Smriti. I suspect interpolation. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Dec 24 '16 at 15:31
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    @PradipGangopadhyay Why do u consider that it shud be the other way round?I have always seen in verses Sruti-Smriti being used in tandem..In any case,did u read in any of the Scriptures like Puranas which discuss this issue? – Rickross Dec 24 '16 at 16:26
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    I don't think like the way u are thinking..Do u think these Shastras are mere books and that the authors thereof are striving for supremacy?NO way..I believe they will just mention what is "true"..And it is also not that that since Sruti is more authoritative nobody consult Smritis..Each has their own value.. – Rickross Dec 24 '16 at 16:55
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    As i have said before i don't agree with ur view points..That Vyasa and other Smriti Kartas & Purana Kartas are "mere humans" or that these Shastras are "mere books" is not acceptable to me.. – Rickross Dec 24 '16 at 17:10
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    @PradipGangopadhyay On one hand u say Vyasa was a "mere human" and on the other u say u believe that one of his "mere books" is one of the most important Hindu Shastras?..How can u explain this? – Rickross Dec 25 '16 at 6:25
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I am writing this answer to clarify my position. I have already stated that I find it strange that the author of Devi Bhagavatam would have given precedence to Smritis over the Puranas. I also have deeper reasons to reject what Devi Bhagavatam is stating.

Let me use a simple example to make my point. Let us assume that a Purana states that Sun is a hot object while a Smriti says that Sun is a cold object. How do decide which statement is correct? The first step will be to check if there is any Sruiti statement that would resolve this discrepancy. If there is one than obviously we choose that statement that is in agreement with Sruti. What happens if there is no Sruti statement on this issue? Then we need to use reason and our experience to resolve the discrepancy. Blindly applying the Devi Bhagavatam or any other scriptural statement would lead to disastrous consequences.

One objection to the position sketched above would be to argue that one has to accept whatever is stated in a Purana or Smriti simply because they are sacred scriptures. Such a position, blind acceptance of scripture, is not recommended by Hindu scriptures itself.

...Reflecting on this entire teaching, do as you think fit.

Gita 18.63

However, discard the desire (kama) and material wealth (artha) if contrary to Dharma; as also, any usage or custom or rules regarded as source of Dharma if at any time they were to lead to unhappiness or arouse people's indignation.

(Manu Smriti 4.176)

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    For questions like this one we can expect precise answers..And,this is not even an answer i'm afraid..It wud be an interesting exercise to find out which other Puranas discus the issue on hand.. – Rickross Dec 25 '16 at 6:11

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