Hinduism includes many rituals which are based on religion. But within each of these rituals and beliefs there are hidden scientific facts that are known and unknown to modern science. Hinduism is not a just religion, it is keeping a lot of science hidden.

Most of the ancient rishis were also scientists. They made us follow these rituals based on science. There are no religious books other than the Vedas that deal significantly with different sciences. Ayurveda, yoga, Vedic mathematics, astrology, Vasthushasthra, geography, etc. are some of the direct examples. But most followers do not know the reason behind following rituals. It will be difficult to find all of them, but what we come to know about particular rituals can be shared with this community.

So the question here is why should we not allow questions related to the science behind rituals? Why should we not consider such questions on-topic? When we enter the public beta it is going to be an issue if we have not defined the behavior of the questions like these.

  • 2
    At this point in the beta it would be much more helpful if you frame your questions as questions and separate your suggestion for what the answer should be and post it as an answer. This allows not only the voting system to show consensus more obviously but it takes the focus of other answers off of refuting you and your argument an onto making solid cases for or against a position. I suspect this will not be an simple issue to sort out. Would you mind going ahead with an edit to your post to fit that format and post about half of the above as an answer? Thanks for your consideration.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 8:18
  • @Caleb: As you suggested, I have removed some of the questions from this post, will try to ask in the original site as per the rules. Also some of them are already asked in the beta.
    – user11
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 15:50
  • @ArunningMind I don't think Caleb was talking about the example questions you posted. He was probably saying that you should include your viewpoint on the issue ("Hinduism/Sanathana Dharma is not only a religion but also a culture..." and "Surely such questions will have answers from the religious view as well as from the scientific view...") as an answer rather than as part of the question.
    – senshin
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 20:39
  • We aren't running a Science Diorama fair, are we? Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 15:13

4 Answers 4


But most of the followers do not know the reason behind following rituals.

"Why do we practice this ritual?" may be a good question then - as long as answers are expected to provide historical evidence backing up any explanations provided.

But that's not quite what you're proposing. What you're talking about is something the folks on our hermeneutics site often refer to as anachronisms - taking works or concepts from one time period and interpreting them in the context of another.

This practice can be very misleading to readers.

Much of what is taught no doubt arose from attempts to understand and explain the world around them, and thus in a sense it can be considered science - however, when attempting to document the reasoning behind these teachings it is important to seek out the knowledge and assumptions held by those who devised them. Explaining the wearing of tilak in terms of pituitary glands is inaccurate at best, and actively misleading at worst - it would be akin to explaining plague doctor masks in terms of germ theory.

If your goal is to explain the practices of the ancients, it is critical that you first possess their knowledge - and then strive to communicate it in terms that reflect their understanding of it. Anything else is dishonest, and unfair to both your reader and those whose knowledge you purport to share.

  • 3
    Perfect. Couldn't have said it better.
    – cheenbabes
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 3:57
  • @Shog9:Agree on your points, without sufficient explanations and references, such questions will be misleading. Answer accepted and also the related (tilak question)answer removed since I have not found any other references supporting it.
    – user11
    Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 15:31
  • I do have a similar answer as mine, so I am putting my answer back and waiting for the references.
    – user11
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 17:57

To be frank, whatever actual science there is behind some rituals are only known to the rishis. In course of time people have added their own thoughts and beliefs to why certain things are done. So asking about the science behind rituals will only result in people posting pseudo science. Unless we have an expert here of the caliber of a rishi, we can hardly get the actual reasons. But such persons are way away from the Internet busy in their duty and austerity. Even if they had access to the site they would hardly answer the questions.

Secondly, the core of Hinduism is spiritualism. And science and spirituality are two different fields. So not everything can be explained exactly in terms of modern science. So to discourage spreading of pseudo science questions that can not be answered by giving reference to scriptures should be marked off topic.

  • Science and spirituality are related. For example, for having a better,calm mind you need to eat sathwika food items becuase the food you consume will controll the mind. The science is for helping spirituality. And your mentions about the rishis are 100% right. SE is limited since we don't have experts like them, but surely we can share what you get from them in Sathsangs or related classes. That's the only thing I wanted by this post.
    – user11
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 16:19
  • They are related in the sense that for certain spiritual practices you can find a valid scientific reason. They are two different fields in the sense that their foundation is different. For example, spiritualism is based on the concept of spirit or the soul. But science says there is no such thing as a soul. Spiritualism accepts the existence of God, but science says there is probably no God. That's why I said Not everything can be explained exactly in terms of modern science.
    – Be Happy
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 16:25
  • @ArunningMind: The question is, what is the authority and reliability? "I heard somewhere (or I believe) that X is a scientific reason for Y" should not be a criterion for posting answers on this site. (You can post such content on your blog, or Facebook, or somewhere, but Stack Exchange is for specific, useful, reliable, verifiable answers to focused questions.) Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 6:57

Questions about modern science are not the purview of this site. Stack Exchange runs many other sites where questions about science may be on topic: see this list. For the purposes of understanding scientific justifications for Hindu practices, Biology and Physics are the most likely to be relevant. The Skeptics site may also prove useful at times.

Questions on this site should be restricted to questions of religion. This may include questions about "science" as practiced by ancient peoples (e.g. astrology, ayurveda, etc.), but does not include questions about modern science.

What are the advantages of Ekadasi Fasting?

I don't know anything about this particular topic, but I'm sure there are many mystical/religious/spiritual advantages to it. Those are what you should focus on. If you want to know if it will bring you health benefits, go somewhere else. (Biology.SE is not a good option, since I think they don't allow human nutrition questions.)

Why does Hindus touch earth everyday before starting the day?

There are any number of religious justifications for this practice. There are no scientific justifications for it that I am aware of. If you want to find out if there are indeed any scientific justifications, go to some other site. This is not the place.

What are the effect of different food on human mind according to Vedas?

This question would definitely be on-topic. Indeed, basically any question about what the Vedas have to say would be on-topic. (On the other hand, questions about what science has to say would not be.)

Is there mentions of Cloning in Vedas?

This would also be on-topic. I'm not sure why you would ask this question, but I wouldn't vote to close it.

Note: On the whole, Christianity.SE does not like these questions (though there are conflicting opinions that are well-represented as well). I have not found any policies on Islam.SE or Judaism.SE.

See also this conversation I had with a moderator from Christianity.SE about this kind of question: Questions about science.

  • Why should we go somewhere else sir? I think there will be people who know the facts behind these and experts will come and join us who can answer such questions. It will be beneficial to people to know that such scientific reasons exist behind Hindu rituals.
    – user11
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 9:26
  • Stack Exchange sites are built around communities of experts. The experts on Hinduism (a religion) are here. The experts on human biology and physics and whatnot are not here.
    – senshin
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 9:28
  • FYI, apart from religious justifications, touching earth has some relation with the flow of energy between body and earth.
    – user11
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 12:18
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    @ArunningMind Exactly, Earth is big black hole, that's why "earth wire" goes deep into earth to protect us from electric shock. Now see the logic , we are closest to point of shock yet current prefers flowing many meters down into earth. This is one the reason we are supposed to meditate on kusha/ or mat as prescribed in our scriptures
    – user115
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 5:26
  • @ArunningMind: This site is explicitly not a catch-all place for all possible questions and answers about Hinduism. The goal is to have a high-quality site, not necessarily a universal one. "It will be benefical to people" should not be a criterion for whether something is on this site. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 5:58
  • There is a major difference between Islam, Christianity and Hinduism. The former are defined by Quran and Bible, primarily. But Hinduism, as it is being followed is not so rigid. We have had different cultures and relgions that got amalgamated (the Greek culture, Buddhist and Jain ideas of vegetarianism). So, I don't think the SE sites of others should be our guides.
    – tpb261
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 4:06

Hinduism/Sanathana Dharma is not only a religion but also a culture or scientific way of living. When considering this as a way of life we will need to consider science or social related questions too.

I have asked some questions which are related to science and one of it has been put on hold for being offtopic, Please see the question related to Tilak. EDIT: Now the question is on topic as I removed scientific part from the question.

And some of the questions which can be expected in future in beta,

Why Hindus take Ekadasi Fasting?

Why does Hindus touch earth everyday before starting the day?

What are the effect of different food on human mind according to Vedas?

Surely such questions will have answers from the religious view as well as from the scientific view. That should be considered as a positive one. Already we do have one example in the private beta which do have both of these views. See the question and answers to the question related to cremation of bodies . So if science related questions are off topic, we can not proceed with the answers with science related view.

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