Should there be a "put your money where your mouth is" rule for Hinduism Stack Exchange?

For example:

  • If someone thinks Sati is dandy - should he declare that if he were to pre-decease his wife, he expects her to share his funeral pyre?

  • If some users believe animal sacrifice as prescribed in the Vedas is still valid today, should they declare they'll act on these beliefs if given an opportunity?

  • If a user believes a widow's head needs shaving if her husband dies prematurely, should they declare they're willing to perform this act themselves if the widow is a loved one?

If not, how do we tackle the problem of a newbie on the forum who thinks acting on these beliefs is lawful as there's clearly scriptural sanction for some of these?

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    Discussing a custom like Sati is pretty much irrelevant at present as the custom itself is obsolete now. But as far as scriptures are concerned, they highly praise the practice, but they also say that it is not mandatory. It can not be forced upon one who is not willing. It is left to the widows to decide.
    – Rickross
    Dec 19, 2017 at 5:40
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    No, we don't require users to state their thoughts on anything. And this is irrelevant for Meta, but one can believe that Sati is morally permissible without thinking that everyone must do it. Dec 19, 2017 at 8:56
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    et tu @rickross? it is NOT NOT NOT left to the widow to decide. It is ILLEGAL - which part of "illegal" don't you understand? When you say the scriptures praise it, don't you understand it is an endorsement of it to fellow Hindus?
    – S K
    Dec 19, 2017 at 13:08
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Dec 19, 2017 at 15:37
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    @SK I made some edits so it looks like an objective question not attacking any particular user. Your original question was good as well but for some reason the majority of users didn't think so. Let's see if they like this version better :) Dec 21, 2017 at 17:01

3 Answers 3


You're cherry picking.

Its worth remembering that many of the scriptures were written in a very different age - not the "kali yuga" we live in, and culturally we've changed a lot since those days. Modern day, practical hinduism is probably influenced a lot more by local, later saints than strict reference to the vedas.

However many answers reference scriptures since that's the context for what happened

Sita walked into a fire and came out unscathed. The Sages of the sagas (or even properly skilled asuras) could bring the dead back to life. Many of these practices attempt to reference these imperfectly.

We're not that great.

Head shaving, for example was not the proudest moment for the south. It was mean, demeaned someone for nothing more than outliving her husband. That said, some old bramin men refused to set foot in their home, living on the steps, shaved their heads, and wore white in memory of their dear wives.

Its worth remembering - hinduism is a religion that's been around long enough that there's many different paths and many different ways people find feels right for them.

Some paths might not be the right ones for our times. They were written, or instituted for different times. Many mentions of the sati indicate they were a reaction to invaders doing.. things to widows.

Many later saints specifically were against animal sacrifice - including quite the founders a few mainstream schools of hinduism. On the other hand, not everyone's got fruit or flowers - nor have the faith to give an eye to god.

I'd finish by saying that its the internet - and what you're asking is unenforceable. I try to give answers in good faith but it isn't necessarily what I believe in - just what I think is the best answer, referencing what seems appropriate to the question asked. If something's clearly offensive we have other methods - like flags.

  • Hello, some users here consider this post as the ultimate guideline to follow. It will be great if you can share your thoughts on the advanced discussions we are having on similar discussions which have gone to a level that I personally believe shouldn't have happened. Please share your thoughts whenever you can. Here is the link: hinduism.meta.stackexchange.com/q/2096/93
    – Mr_Green
    Jan 20, 2021 at 17:43

Posting the same answer here, after discussing with user sv.

I agree with Mr. Alien. As a community, we discussed this before but looks like it was ignored by some comunity members. I request community members not to encourage posts that are decided as off-topic already. If needed, please have a meta-discussion before moving forward.

Now, I will try to explain why I agree with Mr.Alien, in my perspective:

First of all, none of us here hold any ill intention - in asking, answering, or commenting on such posts. I understand, as a community, we are just trying to discuss and take info from the available Hindu documents & understandings as much as possible. I respect and appreciate that.

But, this is a request that as we are in beta, we can define the scope properly and better. So, our content will be richer with what exactly Hinduism stands for and how it can be used by young people who are visiting this site in the 100's every day. To make such richer content, we should bound with ethics. Whatever we are sharing, discussing here now will shape the future readers of this site. We don't know how the readers will take our content - as granted, will misunderstand, will find it offensive. Either way, as a community, it is our responsibility to avoid such misunderstandings as much as possible.

So, I suggest - Our content should bound with ethics and legality, in coordination with SE guidelines and CoC.

To explain this more, if a question is about something ethically wrong (or illegal), then the possible answers will be neutral or legally wrong, legally right. Now, we don't know which answer the future reader will grasp. If they grasp an illegal answer it could lead to unfortunate events in real life. We possibly should not be part of or indirectly responsible for such events. So, we should not encourage or endorse in any way. We should stay away from it. All I am requesting is to keep ethically wrong posts out of scope.

If an expert thinks they can beautifully handle this, think again, you won't be the single person to answer such posts. Better to step back and close it. Please be ethically reasonable and responsible.

If OP asks questions like:

  • "What is the punishment for hit and run?"
  • "Doing Japa standing in the middle of the highway where the planets align"

Don't answer. Just close it! and flag if it offends you

As a human, we follow humanity guidelines first, then nation guidelines and then religion guidelines. And as a community member, we should first follow ethics, then SE guidelines, and then discuss Hinduism in that scope. Going reverse will create a nuisance in the formed society/community.

  • "Our content should bound with ethics and legality" - seems like you are not reading the MSE posts you are linking. The top-voted answer is actually arguing against what you are proposing here. It reads: "I would be very conservative with that, as not all people on SE are from the same country and laws can be very diverse. I would comment on the answer that it breaks these [laws] in [country]." Jan 20, 2021 at 17:57
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    Besides, considering that this is a site about Hinduism hosted in USA, I don't think Indian law should be taken into account. From this MSE post: "Stack Exchange is based in the United States, and is therefore subject to U.S. law" Jan 20, 2021 at 18:00
  • @sv. I linked to know what the SE guidelines currently accepts. You are right but my answer is not just that link, It is a request not to allow such posts. Again, we can scope if we are willing to. I get it you don't want to. I am not sure what you are trying to prove. subject to U.S. law - I am not sure what to make of it. You either didn't get my answer or trying to steer this somewhere else.
    – Mr_Green
    Jan 20, 2021 at 18:04

we are discussing Hinduism in the 21st century. There are things like sati which are now considered barbaric and are illegal in today's world. if someone wants to express support for these activities, he/she should declare that he/she would do it in their personal life in today's day and age. If they are speaking in defense of a past Hindu practice they themselves have no intention of carrying out, they are posting in bad faith and are harming Hinduism.

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    It seems doesn't belong to meta
    – Pandya Mod
    Dec 19, 2017 at 2:36
  • @Pandya Why do you think it doesn't belong on meta? The question is tagged 'discussion'...so all kinds of opinions are welcome. Jan 20, 2021 at 18:10

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