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I feel Jaggi Vasudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and their respective websites should not be offered or accepted as valid scriptural references to corroborate one's answers about Hinduism. These and other such "gurus", while they may be of pure heart are not necessarily educated in the scripture and very often spout self-contradicting, inconsistent, incorrect theories.

We should reject such references.

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    Well, certainly if a question is asking for scriptural references then quote a modern-day figure would not be appropriate. But for the purpose of a general question like "Why do Hindus wear Vibhuti on their foreheads?" then citing Ravi Shankar or even citing a Western Indologist would meet the standard of citing sources in your answer. – Keshav Srinivasan May 3 '16 at 4:37
  • Why should one accept the authority of these modern day gurus even if it is a general question? – user1195 May 3 '16 at 4:41
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    Well, because they're an authority on at least what some Hindus, namely their followers believe. Now if it so happens that Ravi Shankar says "The reason Hindus wear Vibhuti is this" and it turns out that that's an idiosyncratic view that's neither reflected in scripture nor believed by the vast majority of Hindus, then that would certainly be a good reason to downvote the answer. But there's no need to delete an answer just because it cites a modern-day guru. – Keshav Srinivasan May 3 '16 at 4:46
  • It is not sufficient that some so-called Hindus with insufficient knowledge of scripture follow them, for them to be deemed authorities on matters related to Hinduism. – user1195 May 3 '16 at 4:47
  • Well, in this site we're not pre-judging what sects of Hinduism are right or wrong. Personally there are a great many sects of Hinduism whose views I think are totally contrary to Hindu scripture. But still, saying "people of sect X believe Y" is not grounds for deletion. – Keshav Srinivasan May 3 '16 at 4:53
  • Jaggi Vasudev and Ravi Shankar and the likes are not "sects of Hinduism" – user1195 May 3 '16 at 4:59
  • Well, if not sects unto themselves, their followers at least constitute sub-sects, in the same sense that ISKCON members form a sub-sect of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect. In any case, my point is, if someone writes an answer citing Ravi Shankar as a source of information about what followers of Ravi Shankar believe, that's fine. If they cite him as a source of information on what Hindus in general believe, and that turns out to be baseless, then that's certainly a valid reason for downvoting. – Keshav Srinivasan May 3 '16 at 5:10
  • These individuals may not say "scripture says...". The transfer of wisdom is usually in the form of speeches, (mis)interpretations, extrapolations etc. of concepts rooted in Hinduism. And such conclusions are incorrect more often than not, and hence they must be inadmissible. – user1195 May 3 '16 at 6:07
  • Additionally, even without reference to scripture when they make statements like "Adi Yogi is Shiva. He is the originator of yoga. It happened 15000 years ago", it is obvious that they are being completely inaccurate. So even without qualifiers that you mention , Keshav, these so-called gurus' pearls of wisdom must be discounted. – user1195 May 3 '16 at 6:15
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    This is my humble opinion: Some reference > No reference > Unknown reference :). If the answer mentions an answer and then adds the disclaimer that this is taken from the words of Saint X. Then at least you can decide for yourself whether you want to take it into consideration or not. If you feel its against the Hindu scriptures then you can always leave a comment. Because if we start removing the words of saints, then some would say Ramakrishna is not valid authority! Some would say Shankaracharya is not valid authority! Finally we will be left with Vedas, Puranas and Ithihasas, good luck! – Sai May 4 '16 at 18:47
  • @Sai AdiShankaracharya is valid authority and authority of Ramakrishna is questionable, because he includes pradhan(prakriti/nature) in his definition of Bramhan. Which clearly contradicts Bramhan Sutras by Bhadrayana. – Yogi Jun 9 '16 at 12:57
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    @Yogi Good question. Let's go one by one. 1. The question here is basically should we accept the words of saints. Going by that category only the puranas, ithihasas and vedas. Not even Brahma Sutras :) 2. Which definition of Ramakrishna are you referring to (attach link here)? 3. Ramakrishna talks in various layers of realization, just as Shankara did. We have to examine properly in context. 4. Brahma Sutras itself is not part of Veda, Ithihasa or Purana. Only vedantins believe that one has to be in line with Brahma Sutras. Shaivites do not believe that. – Sai Jun 9 '16 at 15:28

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