The smriti texts form the secondary body of vedic literature. Unlike the sruti, the smriti texts were developed much later and deal with more traditional legends that are prevalent today. Modern Hinduism mainly derives its law, ethics and spiritual practice from these texts. The term smriti translated as ‘that which is remembered’, are mainly composed by revered and spiritual figures who are perceived to be pivotal personalities in the development and propagation of Vedic dharma.
The development of smriti texts offers a number of explanations for its creation. Firstly the texts assisted in codifying religious and social law, even offering a more simplistic and practical form of life. Secondly due to the complex and lofty religious and philosophical import of the Vedas, not all individuals were eligible to learn sruti texts, for this the smriti text offered the religious basis for Vedic life. Thirdly smriti texts allow sectarian traditions to propound their own philosophy using the tenants of sruti supposedly permitting them to be authoritative literature.
As mentioned earlier the smriti texts are exhaustive in nature and hence to accommodate for all the texts is virtually an impossible task. However we could broadly categorise the texts into socio-religious works, philosophical works, historical events and traditional legends.