The site is only one day old, and already there is quite a bit of contention between the different understandings of Advaita, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, etc.

This is to be expected with such a large banner as "Hinduism."

I see a lot of personal opinions on here that are not directly referenced by scripture. Obviously, there will be strong feelings here, but we must avoid backing up our views with such explanations as "according to Shankaracarya," "in the Vedas," "generally in India," etc, etc. Nobody will take this site seriously unless we require people to provide specific quotes from scripture.

Any ideas on this?

  • Of course, we should cite scripture whenever possible. However, some questions will be difficult to answer on a scriptural basis, e.g. questions about modern practice in some particular region or community. These questions would ideally be answered by referring to other scholarly sources, but in some cases, we'll have no choice but to fall back on personal experience to answer question.
    – senshin
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 22:49
  • @senshin See the answer below, but the rule should at least be, if you're discussing philosophy, you MUST quote scripture. You should also specify the philosophy the answer adheres to as we will certainly have a monistic vs dualistic debate on every single question, which is not at all professional or academic.
    – cheenbabes
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 0:05
  • 1
    @cheenbabes I don't think there's a need to quote scripture specifically. I think it would be fine to quote say, Adi Shankara's writings on a particular topic, and then specify that this is an advaita perspective. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 4:57
  • 1
    @cheenbabes Are you using scripture in a broader sense than just Vedas, Puranas, and Itihasas? If you just mean that there should be citations of some kind of religious work, whether it's an official work of scripture or not (I wouldn't call Adi Shankaracharya's writing scripture), then I'm in complete agreement with you. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 5:03
  • +1 on scripture. Although It would have me go search the holy books to find the numbers of the verse :) As well as find English version of it as when stating from scripture. There is no room for error writing it.
    – Sisir
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 9:28
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Not necessarily in a broader sense but rather to prevent people who may not have scholarly perspective from making blanket statements. Sankaracarya also wrote "Bhaja Govindam" and made statements about the divinity of Narayana, so using him as an authority for all things Advaita should be checked. I propose that anyone who says "Sankaracarya said" follow that up with a specific reference that everyone else can cross-reference.
    – cheenbabes
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 15:03
  • @cheenbabes OK, I'd certainly support that kind of rule, but that's a broader rule than just requiring scriptural citations. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 15:10
  • Also, which Version/ Edition etc then could be addressed, and some types of questions are less related to highly specific Text excerpts: so perhaps could in general be useful to consider each post in context; and when citation(s) are listed, perhaps try have the citations include title, edition, version, book, chapter, verse, page, stanza, line, word etc where possible and reasonably feasible & appropriate to the question subject; eg, 'Mahabharata, Book Six' is helpful, yet in many instances more detailed citation could be helpful. Thank you :)
    – M H
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 5:11

2 Answers 2


A Back It Up! principle is a good idea for any subjective topic (which is to say, any topic where the asker or other readers cannot personally verify answers on their own):

Back It Up! means that your answers must be based on either:

  • Something that happened to you personally
  • Something you can back up with a reference

What references "count" is a matter for y'all to discuss here, but I would strongly recommend that you demand some reference for any answer that purports to speak authoritatively, and down-vote those that do not; if this site is to be useful to others, it must gather accurate information rather than unsubstantiated opinions and hearsay.

See also:

  • I think personal experience may not be suitable for this site.
    – Pandya Mod
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 11:37
  • As I said in this answer, which references you consider sufficient is a matter y'all have to decide among yourselves, @pandya - that's not something I should decide for you.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 17:41
  • Ok. Yes we have Is Personal Experience a Source? post for that.
    – Pandya Mod
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 17:59

What we can do:

  • Provide references in your own statements
  • Downvote all answers lacking evidence

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .