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What does this website's name stand for?

(SanAtan) Dharma vs Hinduism
Looking at the vast knowledge of members here, I often feel that what we majorly discuss here is SanAthan Dharma disguised as Hinduism. Like: Pilot driving a car.

"Hinduism" stands for "Religion followed by Hindus".
"Dharma" is not "Religion" and it cannot remain "SanAtan", if it's only for "Hindus".

Historically, the name "Hindu" was given to Indians by Persians. Which actually refers the people staying near the Sindhu river in Northern India. Unfortunately, though the meaning of "Hindu" has broaden, it's still limited to Indian subcontinent. Let's stretch even more

"Hindu" = people following Indian culture across the world,

it still remains one of those religion specific SE websites like: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism ...

Isn't it better to have the name of this website related to "SanAtan Dharma" such as "dharma.stackexchange.com"?
Some may question against the name change such as:

  • What is there in name?
  • How will people recognize what the site is about?

Well, there is definitely an issue when you name something when it's worthy for a term. e.g. "God" is a term while "Allah" or "Vishnu" is a name.

We may lose many intellectuals around the world, if they recognize this site specific to Indianness. (SanAtan) Dharma is derived from collection of various philosophies. Let everyone be part of it.

Why should the answers be backed up with scriptures or sources?

Personally, I have hardly missed references from scriptures in my Q&A, however I still find this approach to be flawed. Below are few points:

  • We are referring to the sources which were created by some ancient people. Did they refer any sources? No. They just let their mind flow through. Let's follow that and make mistakes & churn out the nectar.
  • By mandating scriptures, are we allowing the free thinking? Philosophers are thought experimenters. By imposing such compulsions, we might end up creating or making ourselves clones.
  • When our traditional Indian scholars have difference of opinion while analyzing scriptures, what to say about average people like us! If anyway, there is going to be difference of opinion, then why to insist for the scriptures?
  • Suppose someone answers with own philosophy, it will just contradict certain other thought process at the max. What is the problem? There are many contradictions among the scriptures. Not only that, Bhagavad Gita itself has lot of contradiction within itself! Why are we so much worried about man-made contradictions?
  • According to BG 18.67, one should not depart the knowledge to those who are not austere, devoted, fault finders. When we refer Gita here, we never know who on the internet is going to read it. Aren't we paradoxing this holy scripture?
  • This question was raised in past: Lets stop asking for “Sources” everytime. The Community Coordinator (super moderator) didn't mandate sources. According to him, the sources are "good to have".
  • Another reference What is OPINION BASED

I am sure, there can be many other arguments in support and against this topic. But here the intention is to grow this community in a natural direction of "truth finding" relating to modern times rather than cloning the old thought process again and again.

  • I believe that references are not mandatory, however if there are references, they should be specific, with verse numbers or links if possible. If there are no references, I believe the person should provide an active disclaimer that 'this is my opinion'. According to me, the most dangerous answers are those that simply state, 'refer this purana or this veda' without quoting the exact verse. Because users will simply believe it is true, because they dont want to read through entire purana or veda. This is my vote on this -- meta.hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/364/119. – Sai Feb 9 '16 at 16:51
  • @Sai my very 1st answer was deleted with explicit disclaimer of my opinion and it also contained Gita verses (meta.hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/361/…). Another dangerous thing is to give misunderstood meaning from script (e.g. ISCKON Gita with all respect). If I cite a source & my answer is upvoted, naive users will perceive my interpretation to be true. To cite sources Many argue, show right path, help, guidance... IMHO that can't be right. Bcoz ultimately all are opinions, none can be judgement. – iammilind Feb 10 '16 at 2:30
  • @Sai, To clear the air, I am not against citing the sources for fact based answers. Actually I have re-read your linked answer. BTW I upvoted when I first saw. Creators of ShAstras didn't refer anything. Hence relating everything from ShAstra doesn't seem to furthering thought experiments. Example: In top schools, we get engineers but hardly inventors. Training at times stops free flow thinking & hence inventions. Society needs both. Like how we need both Rafi(trained voice) & Kishore(untrained) :-). If someone posts opinion with complete disregard to scriptures, we can always downvote it. – iammilind Feb 10 '16 at 7:32
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    I believe your very first answer was deleted for other reasons (people taking offense to the wordings in it, rather than any specific opinions. Your answer is actually very good I believe if you edit it and remove those parts that are not 'politically correct' -- not sure if you want to do that -- , I am sure it would pass through the votes to reopen it.) As far as 'Creators of Shastras didnt refer anything'. You're right, but there are things to be considered if have to be successful at fostering such thought process. I will work on writing an answer to comment on it. – Sai Feb 17 '16 at 15:18
  • @Sai, Good to have your answer. Few more examples to promote this Q: "Ability to fly" was achieved differently during RAmAyana & by Wright bros. "Mass destruction" was achieved differently during MahAbhArata & by Manhattan project. Had the humans stuck to old ways, probably they would have created silly shadows of old self. I often see in this site, that people are hell bent towards scriptures. Mods are not in fault, bcoz they follow the rules. Osho read lots of philosophy, yet many of his teachings were by heart. Jaggi VAsudev hasn't read anything, yet he answers such pleasing things to ears! – iammilind Feb 19 '16 at 11:09
  • @iammilind I only upvoted because I agree on sources. I disagree with you on some points too.Agree : We need not make sources mandatory. They are encouraged(better if added). Disagree: Opinion based. There should be somthing backing up from a source is needed. We can't allow anything in the name of opinion as answer. – Sarvabhouma Apr 26 '17 at 15:19
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  1. This is a Q&A site and not one that aids the development of hypotheses.

  2. "tasmAt sAstram pramANam" - Proof (also benchmark) is in the scripture.

  3. It is intemperate to compare oneself to ancient rishis who divined the laws of nature through tapas. We are not as pure and enlightened as them to start propounding our own convenient theories on Hinduism.

Therefore referencing scripture is a good rule to have for anyone offering answers to questions about Hinduism.

  • Thanks for the answer. It will be good if your points were elaborated with following implied questions: 1. Difference of opinion between scholars is prevalent. Then what purpose does it serve. Can I do this? Refer a scripture which somewhat matches my thinking as escape window & write own philosophy 2. What was referred then, when that scripture was composed? 3. Advaita says all are same. Who Rishi & who Dushta? How to define purity, enlightened, divinity? Does Tapas mean only some Mudra? Btw, I too believe scriptures are "good to have", but not as a rule. No further arguments from me. – iammilind Feb 5 '16 at 4:07
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    1.In spite of differences, whatever view upholds the vedas is considered the standard even among scholars.You can refer to scripture and yes, then you may state that you still have questions and have not completely reconciled your view to it. 2. I'm sure you heard the term "apourusheya" and understand its import 3. Yes - but- as long as we have not attained the state of advaita, we cannot honestly claim (or be judged by) sama drishti. It is disingenuous & self-serving to call upon advaita to promote our own views.The "Advaita" view will hold only when one has become self-realised. – user1195 Feb 5 '16 at 4:28
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    Scripture is not just "good to have". It is a must; especially when there are so few in this world who understand Hinduism. Just as one's theories of physics or another science are built-upon existing laws of physics (or that other science), so also answers on Hinduism must be based on scripture. – user1195 Feb 5 '16 at 4:30
  • 3. Who said tapas is mudra? – user1195 Feb 5 '16 at 4:32
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Regarding naming the community, visit Should we change the community name to Sanatana Dharma?

1. We are referring to the sources which were created by some ancient people. Did they refer any sources? No. They just let their mind flow through. Let's follow that and make mistakes & churn out the nectar.

No, consider to visit following two similar answers:

Quoting from above mentioned post:

Veda(वेद) are Shruti scripture. It is said/believed that Rishi in the state of Tapasya heard Vedas directly from Parabrahma/Parameshwara, In other words Rishi attained this jnana in state of samadhi which is called Shruti. So, Vedas are called अपौरुषेय that means it is not created by man i.e impersonal/authorless and believed to be the words of Ishwara, eternal.

Smriti means which is remembered or which is based upon memory. In other words, which is produced out of human intellect. These are texts written/composed by Rishi and handed down by tradition. So, in contrast to Shruti which is authorless (divine origin), Smriti is derivative work (produced out of intellect) that is usually attributed to an author. Smriti texts are written on the basis of or inspired by Shruti but given less importance/supremacy than Shruti

So, Hindu Scriptures are not just a result of ancient peoples free flow of mind or opinions of them. Vedas are considered most authentic scriptures and other scriptures like Puranas, Bhagavad-Gita, works/philosophies/doctrines of Acharyas are ultimately inspired by it.

2. By mandating scriptures, are we allowing the free thinking? Philosophers are thought experimenters. By imposing such compulsions, we might end up creating or making ourselves clones.

You're not compelled to speak the philosophies or interpretations of others, you're free to think and interpret scriptures but you should cite the scripture as reference to what you're saying. (In other words, you need to cite the source whose you're interpreting or say based on which you're saying)

3. When our traditional Indian scholars have difference of opinion while analyzing scriptures, what to say about average people like us! If anyway, there is going to be difference of opinion, then why to insist for the scriptures?

Difference in interpretation is due to different way of preaching according to level of intellect. When we feel two scriptures contradict with each other, it is mostly because we've not understand the sense of preaching. A wise and learned man doesn't realize such contradiction.

Difference and Contradiction is also discuss somewhat in this post

As said, you're free to interpret according to your way/opinion but insisting on scriptures is essential to preserve the base/substratum of our Dharma.

4. This question was raised in past: Let us stop asking for "Sources" every time The Community Coordinator (super moderator) didn't mandate sources. According to him, the sources are "good to have".

Community manager's answer is according to theegeneral guidance usually applicable to the SE Network. We all (community) should decide what we except according to our community. - Reference.


So, we must insist on scripture. Visit my related explanation at Why we must insist on sources.

Also take a look at why our Dharma is called Arsh Dharma.

  • Few counter points: "It is said/believed (<- who) that Rishi in the state of Tapasya" -- How do we define tapasya? Suppose you say, if a person is in some posture(mudra) & hears something then it's tapasya. In that case, Krishna never did that. In fact he told the whole Gita in a battlefield with a relaxed mind. So does that mean Gita is invalid? Let's assume Krishna was in enlightened mode (i.e. tapasya) already. Then how can we claim, the ppl writing an answer in SE are not enlightened? Similarly, what if someone really heard veda like sounds and expresses here. Would we accept it? – iammilind Mar 10 '17 at 9:22
  • Let me rephrase the point again: "Veda"-s are eternal. No doubt. How do we be sure that what we consider the 4 Veda-s are genuine? Those are the words which were heard by the saints & passed on? Now I do understand that, we have to stop doubting at some point to have something. So we trust that whatever is coming for centuries from teacher to student, is something trustworthy. Then the next Qn is: saints heard those words at say time = t1, which we have approved. Suppose if you or me hear some words at time = t1 + T = now, then why shouldn't it be allowed? (1/2) – iammilind Mar 10 '17 at 12:26
  • Then you may say, that "those" are saints, but "you/me" are not saints. In such case, what is the definition of "saint", long beard -- modest cloths -- white hair? Then may be Krishna & Vivekananda have to be excluded. Or the ones who is revered & worshipped by many followers? Then we have to include all the modern days saints in every religion. (We are not even discussing about Twitter/FB following). The points behind my argument is that, absolutely everything can be argued in logical & convincing way. Ultimately what will remain is just "choices". The choice of powerful will count. (2/2) – iammilind Mar 10 '17 at 12:32
  • @iammilind ok. yes everything can be argued in logical and convincing way. I hope this conversation is going in constructive way. Now, talking about Rishish, visit this and this which may help in getting the true significance of Rishis and Gurus. Atma/BrahmaJnana (self-realization) is peerless also visit this. Agian talking about arguing logically, You be interested in this :) – Paṇḍyā Mar 10 '17 at 17:18

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