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There are many questions, particularly by user Srimannarayana KV, asking or stating whether a particular scripture, chapter, verse, etc. is an interpolation.

For example: Was Vishnu Sahasranama, a part of Anusasana Parva of Mahabharata, or a later day addition?

Is Shanti Parva an interpolation in the Mahabharata?

How can these questions be answered from Hindu scriptures or even commentaries of acharyas, outside of their own opinions?

The topic of interpolations belongs to the field of textual criticism and not Hinduism, let alone Hinduism stack exchange, where we answer from scriptures.

As a matter of fact, it is impossible to prove whether a verse, chapter, or scripture is an interpolation; you can only guess with or without confidence whether something is interpolated or not.

Moreover, one can claim that something was redacted or omitted from an earlier manuscript just as easily as one can claim that it was interpolated into later ones.

So these kinds of questions are not appropriate for this site and should be closed as opinion based. In some cases, they actually were closed as opinion based.

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  • Good proposal. Let us wait and see what your biased moderator say – Srimannarayana K V Sep 18 '20 at 13:11
  • @SrimannarayanaKV If you or someone can actually prove beyond doubt that something is an interpolation, then there is no issue. – Ikshvaku Sep 18 '20 at 13:13
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    People have sometimes gone overboard in labeling things as interpolations. In some cases at least, such arguments can be countered by proper research. – user17987 Sep 18 '20 at 13:14
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    You can rephrase your question as " Purge and Blacklist the word and tag Interpolation from this site" @Ikshvaku , so that you can attract maximum number of supporters – Srimannarayana K V Sep 18 '20 at 13:39
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    @SrimannarayanaKV That's funny – Ikshvaku Sep 18 '20 at 15:43
  • @Rickross I agree, these questions are not appropriate here. – Ikshvaku Sep 19 '20 at 11:29
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    Interpolations can not be proved .. so such questions are only giving certain users the opportunity to normailze the practice of quoting works/opinions of sceptics, indologists in answers and which should be stopped. Why not go and post such questions on Sceptics.SE? @Ikshvaku (I had to remove my earlier comment as there were some errors in it) – Rickross Sep 19 '20 at 11:31
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    @Rickross right, we should start stopping interpolation QnA... – YDS Sep 19 '20 at 12:07
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    Yeah and also the practice of quoting from books written by sceptics, indologists in answers @YDS – Rickross Sep 20 '20 at 5:38
  • @Ikshvaku: The question - Is Shanti Parva an interpolation in the Mahabharata? was posted by another member. You have quoted my name wrongly here. :-) – Srimannarayana K V Sep 20 '20 at 9:06
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    @SrimannarayanaKV "Let us wait and see what your biased moderator say" if you have problem with mods' actions, you may consider contacting Stack Exchange using "contact us" form. Claiming again and again via posts and comments is not a good idea. – Pandya Sep 20 '20 at 9:21
  • @Pandya: Earlier I had contacted the Stack Exchange using help centre. They did not respond. Besides, I have nothing against you personally. My only request is you should remain NEUTRAL being a moderator. However, you are showing biased attitude towards a group of persons. – Srimannarayana K V Sep 20 '20 at 9:24
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    @SrimannarayanaKV Nobody is showing biased attitude; it's just you made up your mind and don't want to come out of it. – TheLittleNaruto Sep 20 '20 at 9:43
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    @srimannarayanakv Please stay on this site but kindly refrain from attacking the moderator every now and then. I dont know what experience you had with him, but even if you did have a bad experience, it is good to let things be and move on. – user17987 Sep 20 '20 at 13:19
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    @Ikshvaku, yeah, we can easily use the wording to find out if it is an honest question or a loaded one. – mar Oct 1 '20 at 0:22
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I agree we should not allow interpolation posts. The question is clearly explained. Whoever agrees, please upvote this answer.

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    I would have agreed with this a few months back. But now, I disagree. Hence I am downvoting. – user17987 Sep 20 '20 at 0:41
  • @idol Why would you not agree now? Just curious! – TheLittleNaruto Sep 20 '20 at 13:45
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    @TheLittleNaruto Apart from sv.'s good answer above, the other reason is that I dont think all claims of interpolations are necessarily opinion based (of course I am only stating my opinion here). – user17987 Sep 20 '20 at 13:51
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    Then we should have proper boundary for which is allowed and which is not. Please do so. – Mr_Green Sep 21 '20 at 3:17
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I am reproducing the question content hereunder.

How can these questions be answered from Hindu scriptures or even commentaries of acharyas, outside of their own opinions?

The topic of interpolations belongs to the field of textual criticism and not Hinduism, let alone Hinduism stack exchange, where we answer from scriptures.

As a matter of fact, it is impossible to prove whether a verse, chapter, or scripture is an interpolation; you can only guess with or without confidence whether something is interpolated or not.

Moreover, one can claim that something was redacted or omitted from an earlier manuscript just as easily as one can claim that it was interpolated into later ones.

So these kinds of questions are not appropriate for this site and should be closed as opinion based. In some cases, they actually were closed as opinion based.


Basically, these type of ideas will crop only when ONE thinks that everything that is available in EPICs, Puranas, etc, are to be taken on FACE VALUE.

No. They should not be taken on FACE VALUE.

If we accept them in toto, we will be doing unjustice to ourselves and to Sanatana Dharma.

For example:

The disowning of Sita episode is available in Sargas 115-117 of Valmiki Ramayana.

In this episode, a deliberate attempt was made by subsequent writers to project Sri Rama and Sita as the incarnations of Narayana and Lakshmi.

भवान्नारायणो देवः श्रीमांश्चक्रायुधः प्रभुः || ६-११७-१३ एकशृङ्गो वराहस्त्वं भूतभव्यसपत्नजित् |

"You are the Lord Narayana himself the glorious god, who wields the discus. You are the Divine Boar with a single tusk, the conqueror of your past and future enemies."

सीता लक्ष्मीर्भवान् विष्णुर्देवः कृष्णः प्रजापतिः || ६-११७-२८ वधार्थं रावणस्येह प्रविष्टो मानुषीं तनुम् |

"Seetha is no other than Goddess Lakshmi (the divine consort of Lord Vishnu), while you are Lord Vishnu. You are having a shining dark-blue hue. You are the Lord of created beings. For the destruction of Ravana, you entered a human body here, on this earth."


Here, we can cross check with Rig Veda, Brahmanas, etc, the slokas mentioned above, and can easily deduce that these Sargas 115-117 of Valmiki Ramayana, as interpolations.

  1. Nowhere in Rig Veda or brAhmanAs, it was mentioned that Narayana and Lakshmi are DIVINE Couple. It was the product of Puranas.

  2. In Rig Veda, Rudra was mentioned as DIVINE boar, but not NARAYANA. There was no mention of NARAYANA in Rig Veda. In brAhmanAs, it was Prajapati, who took the form of Boar.

  3. Except in the interpolated areas of Ramayana, the word Lakshmi was not used to indicate the DIVINE consort of Vishnu. It was used to indicate riches only.

  4. In their anxiety to describe Sri Rama as the incarnation of Vishnu, those writers forgot that in subsequent generations, like ours, an accusation will arise about Sri Rama as male chauvinist.

This is only illustration of an interpolated version in Ramayana. If we study deeply and cross check with available scriptures, we can easily find the interpolations.

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  • The Purusha sukta at the end has "hri and lakshmi are your wives", and Narayana is the deity of the purusha sukta. Also, it is more of an injustice to Hinduism to declare that the Brahmanas who expounded the scriptures were so dishonest as to interpolate greater than 50% of them. – Ikshvaku Sep 20 '20 at 12:07
  • @Ikshvaku: Quote your views from Purusha Sukta of Rig Veda, which is authentic. You might be quoting from Purusha Sukta of Yajur or Atharva. – Srimannarayana K V Sep 20 '20 at 12:12
  • @Ikshvaku: Please do not drag brAhmanAs into the issue. The brAhmanAs clearly stated that it was Prajapati that took the form of boar, not Narayana, as Vaishnavaites claim. You people are taking shelter behind interpolated versions of EPICs and deified versions of Puranas and claiming many unwarranted things that have no basis from Rig Veda, which is the basis of all scriptures. – Srimannarayana K V Sep 20 '20 at 12:18
  • I am quoting from Purusha Sukta of Yajur Veda Samhita, which is also authentic. Who says it's not authentic? The Rig Veda Purusha Sukta is only half of the full one. And by "Brahmanas" I don't mean the text Brahmanas, I mean Brahmins*, who according to you are all dishonest liars and interpolated 50% of scriptures. That makes Hinduism look bad. – Ikshvaku Sep 20 '20 at 12:39
  • @Ikshvaku: You are trapped now. What said that Purusha Sukta of The Rig Veda is only half of the full one? Vaishnava acharyas? It is now hilarious to know as to how you people are misinterpreting the Rig Vedic Verses – Srimannarayana K V Sep 20 '20 at 12:42
  • It is half because the text itself is literally half that of the one in the Yajur veda. Look here: sacred-texts.com/hin/rvsan/rv10090.htm | the last verse is found half way in the yajur veda samhita. – Ikshvaku Sep 20 '20 at 12:43
  • @Ikshvaku: Why do you drag brahmins in to the issue? I never mentioned the word brahmins. I had stated that subsequent writers – Srimannarayana K V Sep 20 '20 at 12:44
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    Those subsequent writers are brahmins. Who else would it be? In any case, your idea that hinduism is based on the rig veda samhita is baseless since it is not believed by any orthodox vaidika or rishi in the history of sanatana dharma. Vyasa, Jaimini, Shabara, etc all considered all four vedas and all four parts of the vedas as equally authoritative since they are all authoritative. Please see the mimamsa sutras and shabara's bhashya for this. – Ikshvaku Sep 20 '20 at 12:45
  • @Ikshvaku: the Shukla Yajur Veda's Purusha sukta contains 22 verses, whereas Rig Vedic one contains 16. Please check. I repeat, more than Shukla Yajur Veda, it is Rig Veda that is authentic. There is no mention of Narayana in Rig Veda – Srimannarayana K V Sep 20 '20 at 12:46
  • @Ikshvaku: Don't try to misinterpret the verses from Veda to suit to your theories. I stop here, as you keep on misinterpreting issues – Srimannarayana K V Sep 20 '20 at 12:47
  • You are ignoring and dismissing VEDIC verses to suit your theories. – Ikshvaku Sep 20 '20 at 12:50
  • Even at other places in the Ramayana, Rama is mentioned as an incarnation of Vishnu. The reason why this point is not hammered throughout the epic is because only a human can kill Ravana. If one says Rama being an incarnation of Vishnu is an interpolation, indirectly they are saying that Valmiki is incapable of writing a good story where the protagonist is unaware of his divine nature till the end. – user17987 Sep 20 '20 at 13:10
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    @ikshvaku I am not aware of any ancient tradition that says only Rig veda samhita is authentic. Actually, from an advaita-vedAnta perspective, most of Rig veda samhita would be karma kanda and not jnAna kanda. – user17987 Sep 20 '20 at 14:19
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    @Ikshvaku: I do not know your age, but based on your writings, one can easily infer your immaturity. I do not know what type of education you got, but you are failing to understand the basic tenants of SPIRITUALITY. The same Almighty God, who gave an opportunity to defend the values of the Sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism, to Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja, etc, also gave opportunity to Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, etc. However important/ minuscule may be their respective roles, those ancestors of this country called India, discharged their role with commitment (1/2) – Srimannarayana K V Sep 20 '20 at 15:34
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    I think sri suktam speaks about sri and not vishnu patni lakshmi. – Rakesh Joshi Sep 20 '20 at 21:44
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How can these questions be answered from Hindu scriptures or even commentaries of acharyas, outside of their own opinions?

They can be answered by citing works of either acharyas, traditional commentators or modern scholars. E.g., commenting on this verse from Bālakāṇḍa of Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, one traditional commentator (Nāgoji Bhaṭṭa) says:

caturviṃśat sahasrāṇi ślokānām uktavān ṛṣiḥ |
tathā sarga śatān paṃca ṣaṭ kāṇḍāni tathā uttaram ||1-4-2


The Number of Slokas and Sargas in the Ramayana 1.4.2

'Sargasatam panca satskandani' means the Ramayana comprises five hundred sargas covering six kandas. But the sloka says the total number of slokas in the Ramayana to be 24,000. Since the actual number is far less and there is no reference to the Uttarakanda, this sloka is spurious.

The Critical Edition of Rāmāyaṇa which includes the Uttarakāṇḍa as one of its kāṇḍas has excised this verse from Chapter 4 of Bālakāṇḍa.

So a user answering a question on the authenticity of this verse should be free to cite either of the two sources. I don't think the site should mandate that users cite only opinions of traditional commentators.

The topic of interpolations belongs to the field of textual criticism and not Hinduism,

If textual criticism doesn't belong to Hinduism why are people like Nāgoji Bhaṭṭa commenting on authenticity of Rāmāyaṇa verses? Why are they pointing out inaccuracies when they are supposed to blindly believe whatever was passed down to them?

let alone Hinduism stack exchange, where we answer from scriptures.

I've yet to come across a single site policy or FAQ which says only scriptures should be used as references. This FAQ on the other hand explicitly states that questions can be answered using works of scholars:

  1. In the absence of any scriptural reference, written works of scholars, researchers and popular personalities can be used which must be providing a relevant answer.

We have several other questions which are of historical nature that cannot be answered solely using scriptures:

Why cows are given so much importance in Vedas?

Are there any strong evidence that Hinduism religion is an ancient one?

How has Lord Vishnu's understanding developed and what was his role initially?

Aryan Migration theory—evidence for and against it in the Vedas

Is there a scriptural basis for Out-of-India hypothesis?

Were Aryans the forefathers of Hindus?

If you want this site to become a knowledge base (like Wikipedia) for all things related to Hinduism, you need to allow questions of all sorts, traditional, historical, controversial, questions criticizing Hinduism, etc. If you are going to ban questions related to interpolations, users will go to other sites like Quora and get the answers they want any which way. You just cannot stop curious minds.

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    I'm not denying orthodox scholars question the authenticity of verses. For example, the Vaishnava commentator Govindaraja has questioned the authenticity of the Aditya Hrdayam of the Ramayana because it was not cited by an earlier commentator. But what I mean is that Hindu scholars don't assume that a particular text they received was highly interpolated and they have to find the "critical" one like modern scholars do with the critical editions of the Manusmriti, etc. – Ikshvaku Sep 18 '20 at 22:50
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    As for historical questions in general, I agree they are fine, but asking whether a verse is an interpolation is pure opinion. Maybe a better question would be "Was this verse cited by earlier scholars?" or something similar. – Ikshvaku Sep 18 '20 at 22:51
  • This situation has arisen because many scholars of last 2-3 centuries have written commentaries not purely spiritual or philosophical but with an agenda, invariably a social agenda, which was then justified as being done for the sake of society. This worsened in the last 100 years with Indologists and other western academics writing without any commitment to remaining unbiased. Hence, some modern scholarship and books are definitely suspect. – 9bilvapatra Apr 1 at 2:22

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