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Hindus believe in Brahman who is considered to be the uncreated creator of the entire universe. Brahman is considered to be the most absolute form of reality.

Brahman is thought to take a variety of different forms and Hindus are often classified according to which expression or form of Brahman they worship. Vaishnavas strictly worship Vishnu and his incarnations, Shaivas strictly worship Shiva and the deities associated with him, Shaktis strictly worship The Mother Goddess (Devi) in her various forms, but Smartas worship any and all of the Hindu deities as they please.

Smartas believe in liberal Hinduism and therefore worship the deities of their choosing instead of making a commitment to just one facet of the Trimurti.

Many Smartas are concerned with upholding a nonsectarian orthodoxy according to the teachings of the Vedanta school of Hinduism. The Vedanta school is largely concerned with attaining self-knowledge and the main scripture that is studied by this school of Hindus is the Vedanta Sutra, which is a commentary on the Upanishads (one of the key Hindu scriptures).

Smartas also govern themselves according to the teachings of the Hindu reformist Adi Shankara, while also adhering to that which is written in the Ramayana and Mahabharata scriptures.

The goal that each Smarta strives to reach is the realization of Brahman (the absolute form of reality) within themselves. This realization is called Moksha.

Once a Smarta has achieved Moksha they are said to have been freed from the pain of enduring the never-ending cycle of birth and death that characterizes human life.