One moderator in this answer writes:

Yes, scriptures should not be used to demean particular caste or gender. Instead, scriptures should be interpreted properly.

The same moderator on the main site has written this answer listing several ways the Vedas can be interpreted.

So I wonder what exactly does this mod mean by should interpret scriptures properly. Does he mean, should be interpreted according to the taste of the majority of users?

AFAIK, most Hindu scripture, e.g., the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and Mahabharata have several commentaries written on them, and very often there is a disagreement among commentators on some crucial/controversial verses.

One of the most controversial verses of Gita, according to some commentaries, suggests women, vaishyas and shudras are born in sin.

Another example is Manusmriti, verse 8.299. No matter how you interpret the verse, it still supports domestic violence of some form.

Given this, how are Hinduism SE moderators or users going to decide what should be the "proper interpretation of scriptures" in any given answer? I thought this was achieved through voting and users shouldn't be flagging answers, which according to them, have interpreted scriptures/verses incorrectly.

This answer by an ex SE Community Manager clearly says all interpretations are welcome and that SE is not the platform for pronouncing absolute truths. IMO, having an arbitrary rule like "scriptures should be interpreted properly" also falls under this category.

I don't know enough about Hinduism to know which approach will work best, but be aware that users are expected to adopt a respectful attitude toward beliefs they disagree with. There's no room for pronouncing absolute truths.

And yet we have a moderator who appears to be ignoring this basic rule from the early days of the site. A single moderator arbitrarily deciding whether scriptures have been interpreted properly or not in any given answer is definitely a cause for concern.

Maybe this site urgently needs a new rule: "Current site rules should be interpreted properly by moderators"

  • 3
    In the quoted text, there are two sentences. The second sentence is spoken only in connection with the first sentence. (That's why it starts with "instead"). The aim is not to interpret the scripture neither it is to debate on interpolations, but the aim is to avoid denigration of particular caste or gender.
    – Pandya Mod
    Jun 23, 2020 at 5:42
  • 2
    What is the "proper interpretation" of Manusmriti, verse 8.299? To beat women & slaves or not beat them? If I say it's ok to beat them, is it me who's denigrating them or scriptures? @Pandya Jun 23, 2020 at 13:44
  • Various interpretations of scriptures, according to the various acharayas and schools of thought, are already allowed. What's your point here? Is it related to any particular posts? @sv.
    – Rickross
    Jun 25, 2020 at 13:44
  • Click on links posted (start with the first). @Rickross Jun 27, 2020 at 21:35
  • @sv "What is the proper interpretation of Manusmriti, verse 8.299? To beat women & slaves or not beat them?" - Do you have children ? Do you have children that do not listen/behave ? Have you heard of "spare the rod, spoil the child" ? Have you heard testimonies of ex-children (i.e. adults) who are grateful that their parents "beat sense into them" ? Have you heard of 'scared-straight' programs ? The proper interpretation is that - if someone (close to you) is being unruly, you can use a ruler to straighten them (puns intended). If not, you are guilty of making them crooked.
    – ram
    Jul 3, 2020 at 7:34
  • 1
    You're missing the point. I only used the Manusmriti verse as an example. The mod is saying 'scriptures should be interpreted properly' if not the user will be disciplined. The post will be marked as rude/offensive. I'm asking, who is a mod or user to tell others the "correct interpretation" of anything? Do we need this kind of moral policing when there's already a code of conduct? @ram Jul 3, 2020 at 18:12
  • @sv, you brought up that example to say that 'no matter how verse X is interpreted, it is WRONG'. No. There is a way to interpret it in a way that is RIGHT. The only question in our minds is, who has the right to interpret. There are 3 options - OP (who writes answer) does. Mod (who has powers) does. Nobody does. If I''m right, you are for option 3 - simply state references, do no interpretation, everyone is free to interpret as they like. Option 1 is OP interprets as he pleases, others voice their response through upvote/downvote. Option 2 (mod interference) is what you're against. Correct?
    – ram
    Jul 3, 2020 at 19:13
  • 1
    @ram I'm for Option 1, which is why I supported user21018 although I didn't agree with his views/conclusions. A lot of people downvoted his answers which is also fine by me. It's their choice. But some started flagging as rude/abusive and a mod due to his personal biases accepted those flags. This is what I'm against. Note that the mods usually don't do anything that the majority of users don't want. So in this case, the mod thinks he's right because he acted due to multiple flags. He could've just ignored the flags but he didn't. Jul 3, 2020 at 21:30
  • 1
    'No. There is a way to interpret it in a way that is RIGHT.' - Right & Wrong are subjective. What you think is right (beating wife or kids under some situations) could be illegal in some countries. Which is why I think we should not get into this 'correct interpretation' business at all. Jul 3, 2020 at 21:42
  • 1
    Here's an answer that actually cites Manusmriti 8.299. What will happen if 3-4 people flag this as rude/offensive? I asked the same here and the mod has no answers. @ram Jul 3, 2020 at 21:44
  • @sv - if I agree with you, then when it comes time for enforcement, it has to be both ways - any 'interpretation' by OP (either questioner or answerer) must be removed - that's all the moderator's job should be. OR, everyone gives their own interpretations, and users can choose. But, you're forgetting an important part of a moderator & community's job - to get people the correct facts about Hinduism (no matter how subjective/different it is, each one must strive to put forth the BEST factual answer according to him/her). If someone interprets a scripture, and you feel it's wrong, you should do
    – ram
    Jul 4, 2020 at 4:35
  • ..something. if you do nothing, citing 'neutrality or objectivity or consistency' or whatever, while that may fit with the policies of this particular site, it will not fit with one's conscience. At that point the only issue that is relevant is 'might is right' - you use all your power to put forth your interpretation, and i do mine, and whomsoever makes a better impact on readers, so be it. Keeping quiet when common-sense misinterpretations are going on, accrues guilt. e.g. beating wife or kids is not illegal, depends on circumstances. not beating them, may not be illegal, but immoral.
    – ram
    Jul 4, 2020 at 4:38
  • for e.g. you slap your son when he steals a pencil from his friend. you slap your wife if she disrespects guests who came to stay at your house. these are not violence. these are corrective measures. by your logic, putting people in prison is illegal. if you accept cops have the right to 'correct' criminals, with or without any questioning, or with implicit acceptance that State/Govt/King has the right to do so, then also implicitly accept that a guru has the right to beat his shishyas, a husband her wife, a father (or mother) their son, with correction as the goal.
    – ram
    Jul 4, 2020 at 4:41
  • 'everyone gives their own interpretations, and users can choose' - this and other SE sites already operate on this basis. This is nothing new. 'to get people the correct facts about Hinduism' - No, that's not the goal of this site. See this comment by a mod. For something to considered a fact, there has to be some consensus among scholars, e.g., there is a lot of disagreement on the exact date of the Vedas. @ram Jul 5, 2020 at 4:01
  • So, mods should not be validating answers (and acting on them) using their own knowledge/interpretation which is subject to bias. All answers which cite sources to support a particular conclusion should be allowed. Mods and other users should not try to take down answers they think don't show Hinduism in a good light ("This is not a Hindu site but is a site about Hinduism"). Now the mod who made that statement is himself confused on how to handle this situation. @ram Jul 5, 2020 at 4:07

1 Answer 1


This site needs something on interpreting scriptures. In the post there is no mention of interpolations at all.

What if someone is selectively quoting interpolated verses to show a gender or sect in a bad way?

Even non hindu religious texts are said to have interpolations. This is not exclusive to Hinduism. Over the years there is a big possibility that scriptures are adulterated especially when there was no media or printed material.

Manu smriti and many other smritis have controversy over being interpolated. In some chapters we see one statement and one other chapters make opposite statement.

For example; there is a text named allopanishad which talks about god of other religion and another text named sailopanishad. So if someone selectively quotes these texts then it would be totally different from core hindu ideology.

  1. Not every sanskrit text is a scripture

  2. Not EVERY single verse of EVERY scripture is authentic

  3. Even if a scripture has such statements; using them selectively against a race or gender (along with a personal opinion) is not something which would make sense.

  • 1
    "In the post there is no mention of interpolations at all" - my post is not about interpolations so you can do a separate post about it. Last time a mod left comments saying some verses/stories in a few Puranas as interpolated, it led to this meta post. You are free to post an answer there. Jun 23, 2020 at 13:53
  • "What if someone is selectively quoting interpolated verses to show a gender or sect in a bad way?" - what if some acharya creatively translates some verses to show their favorite god or sect is supreme? It's the same thing. As long as it's directly answering the question, any selective references/ interpretations are allowed. We don't need an oversight committee of select users/mods policing other users with arbitrary rules. Jun 23, 2020 at 14:00
  • No selective quoting and demeaning a gender or race is not allowed Jun 23, 2020 at 17:16
  • Is this answer offensive to mleccha race? And who exactly are mlecchas in the 21st century? Everyone who's not a Hindu? The answer engages in a lot of selective quoting denigrating mlecchas and yet why did it receive so many upvotes? Is it because it is targeting non-Hindus and the upvoters are Hindus? This is what I mean by arbitrarily applying rules! Site rules need to be consistent. If one can selectively quote and say Kalki avatar will hunt and kill all mlecchas, another can do the same with women & shudras. Jun 23, 2020 at 18:23
  • Why didn't the mod intervene and delete the other answer? Is he anti-mleccha which is just a racist of a different kind? Not a single mod is found commenting/answering this meta post. What does it tell you about the mods? Jun 23, 2020 at 18:31
  • Mleccha is not a negative or a demonic word. That answer could be false answer. It generally means outside of bharata or outside of sanatana dharma Jun 24, 2020 at 0:56
  • You should have had reported that answer to the mods Jun 24, 2020 at 0:56
  • I didn't report that answer because those citations are answering a specific question. If he wrote those as comments under some posts targeting mlecchas I would've flagged them. This is what you & others need to understand. Jun 24, 2020 at 3:30
  • If you read the Mahabharata you'll know that the Kalki avatar will massacre all mlecchas from the face of the planet. Now why would Kalki kill all mlecchas if the word doesn't mean 'demonic'? Jun 24, 2020 at 3:35
  • "a Brahmana of the name of Kalki will take his birth...And he will take his birth in a town of the name of Sambhala in an auspicious Brahmana family...And he will restore order and peace in this world crowded with creatures and contradictory in its course....And he will be the Destroyer of all, and will inaugurate a new Yuga. And surrounded by the Brahmanas, that Brahmana will exterminate all the mlecchas wherever those low and despicable persons may take refuge." — you still think 'mleccha' is a harmless word?! Jun 24, 2020 at 3:38
  • Rakesh Joshi, in this case @sv is right. Mleccha in the Kalki context most likely means demonic. And if being against demons is called racist, so be it. This is stretching political correctness to unnecessary heights. Next up, being against thieves is called thievist.
    – ram
    Jul 3, 2020 at 7:42
  • Based on one thing you cant generalize right Jul 3, 2020 at 15:01
  • BTW, just for the heck of it, I did flag the answer on mlecchas as rude/offensive to see how the mods would respond to it. And guess what, the flag aged away!! Meaning the mods did not want to act on it. Never happened to me before!! This proves CoC is applied selectively on the site. Jul 14, 2020 at 3:31
  • Even I had issues with mod like Keshav. Nevertheless what do you say about interpolations Jul 14, 2020 at 3:43
  • To call something an interpolation or not is very tricky, the farther you go back in time, the smaller/shorter any scripture will be. Some scholars say Bhagavad Gita and even Vedas are interpolated. People generally call some aspect of Hinduism they don't like as interpolated by the British or 'Invaders' even when evidence of the same is found in other scriptures. So unless there is strong evidence from a critical edition like Ramayana and Mahabharata, it wouldn't be correct to call everything one finds offensive in Hindu scripture as "interpolation". Jul 14, 2020 at 19:59

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