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From Wikipedia:

Irawati Karve (15 December 1905 – 11 August 1970) was an anthropologist, sociologist, educationist and writer from Maharashtra, India.

One of her books, is used as a reference in this answer.

My question is are books written by this author have any authority on this site to be used in answers? I highly doubt that to be the case.

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    The other meta post solution will be really helpful to decide this as well. IMO, it should not be. I don't think modern thoughts have anything to do with Hinduism which is an ancient religion. – Mr_Green Sep 21 '20 at 11:12
  • "The other meta post solution will be really helpful to decide this as well" Which post are you talking about? And thanks for your response. @Mr_Green – Rickross Sep 21 '20 at 11:19
  • Okay thanks @Mr_Green – Rickross Sep 21 '20 at 11:26
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    We really need to identify people whose work reference can be used to cite sources. We should only allow works of those people who studied scripture as per Dharma like under some Guru's guidance etc. Otherwise answers from these anthropologist will only bring chaos. – TheLittleNaruto Sep 21 '20 at 11:30
  • So are you giving your reason for the downvote in that comment? @idolworshipper – Rickross Sep 21 '20 at 14:37
  • Oh I see @idolworshipper – Rickross Sep 21 '20 at 14:40
  • You can expand your comment to an answer @TheLittleNaruto – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 7:03
  • You can expand your comment to an answer if you wish @Mr_Green – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 7:04
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We should have a proper discussion to draw this line of which scriptures to allow and which not. But since you clearly mentioned the period which falls under the modern period, I propose we should not consider the works of this Author. I have nothing against this author or any other modern author, it is just I strongly feel modern authors have nothing to do with Hinduism.

To be more clear, the modern author's works should not be considered.

The following are fine irrespective of time:

  • Pure translation works.
  • Sthala puranas

My comment above:

I think translations are fine but not when the scriptures were mixed it with the author's own thoughts (interpolations?). I understand even Tulsidas did it in Ramacharitmanas but those books are what defined Hinduism, unlike modern books. I am just not sure where to draw this line exactly. But I am pretty sure we should not consider 1900s work i.e even Swami Vivekananda's (maybe it is allowed on phylosophy.se but not here).

  • Its not so much about the timeline. For example, Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna etc. are all modern day saints but their opinions have authority on this site or in any Hinduism related discussion. Because they all have practiced the religion, spirituality. Its about whether a particular author has any qualifications to hold an authoritative opinion on religion or not. – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 8:37
  • Knowledge of Sanskrit is not a benchmark, because this is not a site about Sanskrit language (pure Sanskrit Qs are regarded off topic here). Its like you can be well versed in English but you won't be able to understand anything in a Physics paper even if that is written in English unless you are a Pundit in Physics. – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 8:40
  • So you have to be a Pundit in spirituality, Religion, Hinduism to be considered an authority on this site. Question is if the author here has any Punditva in aforementioned matters or not. – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 8:44
  • So you have to be a Pundit in spirituality, Religion, Hinduism to be considered an authority on this site I feel that is opinion-based. IMO, we should consider Ramana Maharishi too in phylosophy.se - nothing respectfully wrong in it. There are already some good Q&A on philosophy.SE site on Ramana maharishi. – Mr_Green Sep 22 '20 at 9:02
  • Who is Nityananda to start with? @idolworshipper – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 9:02
  • There are already some good Q&A on that site on Ramana maharishi -- You mean on this site or on Philosophy.SE? @Mr_Green – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 9:04
  • philosophy.se.. updated. – Mr_Green Sep 22 '20 at 9:05
  • Also it is not subjective. Scriptures, which are our main sources here, clearly mention who all are qualified to read, analyse scriptures like Vedas, Agamas. So it is objectively clear that some people are already ruled out. Then we have to discuss about the rest. @idolworshipper – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 9:06
  • @idolworshipper And, its not only about spirituality too, its about Hinduism a religion. Just like you have to practice medicine to have an opinion on the subject to be held with any value by the medical community its the same here with Hinduism. – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 9:20
  • I am not sure of the exact date but as I see Hinduism is ancient. Nothing has been added recently (modern) which could make it more clear than what is already there. As I see, modern works have more to do with one's interpolations - spiritual or philosophical. I think this doesn't apply to translations and Sthala puranas. – Mr_Green Sep 22 '20 at 10:55
  • I am not sure about interpretations as I am not up to that level. But I feel that should be welcomed. This will definitely raise questions to differentiate between interpretations and interpolations. This is a good point and a "must-have" discussion among experts on this site. – Mr_Green Sep 22 '20 at 11:06
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As I tried explaining it to you in the Moderation Chat Room, as long as the citation addresses the question at hand it can be a valid reference for the site.

Rickross: @Pandya Are sources/books like the one used in the above answer valid? I think its time we draw a line.

sv.: I'm just curious. How do you draw this line? On what basis should the sources/books used be disallowed?

If the person saying the same thing is Swami Vivekananda and the book cited is Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, then it should be allowed? So we should focus on who is saying it and not what is being said?

Why don't you propose this new rule on Meta?

That is what this FAQ says:

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.

It doesn't say, the scholar needs to be Hindu, Indian, initiated (to read, translate and comment on the Vedas), etc. The only requirement is that the answer be relevant to what is being asked.

AFAIK, neither Stack Exchange nor this site currently discriminate authors based on gender, nationality, religion or political affiliations, so we don't keep a whitelist/blacklist of authors and publications.

This isn't the first time this issue has come up. A few users even had problem with answers citing works of modern/controversial gurus:

So if you don't like Iravati Karve and her works, you can downvote answers that cite her all you want. But banning some authors (just like modern gurus) simply because some users don't like their views/conclusions may get SE staff involved in the workings of this site.


We really need to identify people whose work reference can be used to cite sources. We should only allow works of those people who studied scripture as per Dharma like under some Guru's guidance etc. Otherwise answers from these anthropologist will only bring chaos. – TheLittleNaruto 5 hours ago

So all modern translations of Vedas, Upaniṣads, Gītā, etc. especially by Westerners should be disallowed too? Example:

And what about users who provide their own English translation of Sanskrit verses in their answers? Shouldn't they have "studied scripture as per Dharma like under some Guru's guidance"? How do we find out if these users are really qualified to write answers on this site? Even if they self-attest, should we just take their word for it? Maybe we should thoroughly vet all new users for their "Hinduness" before they are allowed to write answers on this site. Seems like a great way to run an SE site.

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    So you assumed that all westerners without studying scripture under some Guru guidance wrote translations? – TheLittleNaruto Sep 22 '20 at 7:38
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    I have noticed; you like to emphasize this word(westerners) a lot. I wonder what makes you do that. May be you have never met any initiated westerner Hindu. Also In the question body OP is talking about an Indian and not a westerner. – TheLittleNaruto Sep 22 '20 at 7:41
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    And I think OP is interested in drawing line in between whose work is allowed to provide the sources and whose not. It's not about westerners at all. I think you got some agenda. What is your agenda? – TheLittleNaruto Sep 22 '20 at 7:43
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    I think translations are fine but not when the scriptures were mixed it with the author's own thoughts (interpolations?). I understand even Tulsidas did it in Ramacharitmanas but those books are what defined Hinduism, unlike modern books. I am just not sure where to draw this line exactly. But I am pretty sure we should not consider 1900s work i.e even Swami Vivekananda's (maybe it is allowed on phylosophy.se but not here). – Mr_Green Sep 22 '20 at 7:58
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    You are right .. I am trying to know whether this particular author Karve is qualified to hold an authoritative opinion about Hinduism, religion or spirituality or not. Its not about the author's gender, ethnicity etc. So I don't understand why such irrelevant and misleading stuffs are present in this answer. @TheLittleNaruto – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 7:58
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    @idol Translation is not a problem here, it becomes a problem when one does their own analysis in order to deny any event which have occurred in itihasa or scripture. Hope this is clear to you now. – TheLittleNaruto Sep 22 '20 at 12:03
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    Even for translations they (westerners) rely on traditional Hindu scholars like Sayana and many others. Those are not their own translations at all.They simply have sufficient knowledge in Sanskrit to be able to translate original Sanskrit works/translations into English. @TheLittleNaruto And even whether they have correctly rendered (say) Sayana's work or not must be subject of investigation. We can not take them for granted. – Rickross Sep 22 '20 at 12:39
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    @Rickross True! So we really need to setup a boundary here. Let's hope this discussion will bring a conclusive set of rules. – TheLittleNaruto Sep 22 '20 at 12:45
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    @sv. I was guessing you have such agenda. Guess I was right. So you do have agenda to bring issues unnecessarily. – TheLittleNaruto Sep 22 '20 at 17:10
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    @sv. I also said translation is okay as long as translator "analysis" does not deny any event which have occurred in itihasa/scripture. And about that statement studied scripture under some guru applies equally be it an Indian or a foreigner. In the question body itself OP is talking about an Indian translator and not a foreigner. You are just proving my point that you got some agenda for sure otherwise you wouldn't have sticken to this word "westerner" – TheLittleNaruto Sep 22 '20 at 17:33
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    @sv. So back to comment 1, did you also assume that "all the westerners" who are associated with Hinduism are not studying scripture under some Guru? The way you kept using this westerner word, your answer looks "Yes"! Guess that makes you against them and not me. Because my comment is generalized, and yours is targeting a certain group of people which is against CoC. – TheLittleNaruto Sep 22 '20 at 17:45
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    No, I didn't, but your comment was a blanket statement against all Indian and Western scholars of Hinduism. Especially Western because they are only interested in studying Hinduism, not get initiated formally, their personal religion could be Christianity or they maybe Atheist or Agnostic. And in my answer I never said all Westerners automatically become ineligible based on the new criteria you propose. It is just your assumption. @TheLittleNaruto – sv. Sep 22 '20 at 17:51
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    @sv. haha! Dude you really want to play round and round. Don't you? How many times I'll have to reply with previous comments. Please read them before you put next comment. lol – TheLittleNaruto Sep 22 '20 at 17:56
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    "Because my comment is generalized, and yours is targeting a certain group of people which is against CoC." - are you kidding? You were the one proposing all unnecessary rules and restrictions on references to be used on this site. What references a user wants to cite should be left to them. Who are you to dictate what they cite? @TheLittleNaruto – sv. Sep 22 '20 at 18:00
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    Even in this answer the user is bringing in the westerner angle "The more Western these historians are the more problematic it is for you to digest some of the things they say." But I will object in the same way even when any Indian would write something like that and if I find it in posts of this site. So, we can not rule out that your apprehension might be true. @TheLittleNaruto – Rickross Sep 23 '20 at 6:29

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