This is a question about what kind of references have to be provided when writing answers on Hinduism.SE.

My basic question is: Are modern shlokas, scriptures, views, sayings etc. valid when using them as references? Or are only references from the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and other ancient texts considered valid?

Also, what time frame is considered ancient or non-modern? Can a reference given to prove a point from plays, poems, fictional plays etc. valid? E.g., are Kalidasa's plays considered valid and authentic? Books and scriptures of what period i.e., pre-modern, pre-medieval etc. should be referred to for writing answers?

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  • 4
    I think one can give modern refrences also if he/she mentions the source.... – Tejaswee Jun 21 '16 at 14:05
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    Not all Kalidasa's works should be deemed authoritative. For e.g., abhignyAna zAkuntalam is a fictitious account of a puranic/itihasic event. In general, kAvyAs may not be treated as valid reference unless we can vouch for their accuracy vis-a-vis scripture. – user1195 Feb 4 '17 at 8:42
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    @moonstar2001 - Yes , you are correct in the case of "Abhijnana Shakuntalam". – SwiftPushkar Feb 10 '17 at 11:28

From lowest quality to highest quality of references (according to me).

  • Wrong reference [for example, misquoting]

    These should be avoided as they could be misleading.

  • Missing reference (for example, a link that doesn't work]

    These are to be avoided, if the answer contains only the link.

  • Extremely Broad reference (for example, reference: Veda, Good luck!]

    Specific is always better. Because the information can be verified or understood easily by going to the respective chapter and verse.

  • Opinion

    Opinions are ok, if backed up with logical inference or scriptural inference. Otherwise, they need to be avoided.

  • Blogs or Yahoo Answers,etc

    Blogs are usually unreliable and they simply contain other people's views.

  • Wikipedia

    Wikipedia is not as unreliable as blogs, but still they are not considered a substitute for actual references. For more details, visit Is it OK to cite Wikipedia in answers?

  • Puranas, Sayings of Saints, Authoritative texts (example: Yoga Sutras, Vivekachudamani, etc)

    Some people regard Puranas as highly authoritative texts. However in certain things, Puranas contain conflicting and sometimes sectarian literature. Similarly the sayings of saints are regarded highly by most Hindus. However there is usually disagreement between saints of different sects and also sometimes the question of is X a saint is not agreed by all.

  • Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Gita

    These are considered Highest Truth by Vedantins. However they can be interpreted in numerous ways, which are sometimes conflicting. Also many disagree on the actual number of authentic Upanishads.

  • Direct quotes from Gita, Veda, etc without relying on commentary

    Probably the best kind of reference if available. So that there need be no scope for interpretation. The answer would be crystal clear.

So the higher in the list, the higher the likelihood of getting upvotes. The lower entries have risk of getting deleted or changed to comments. The middle values usually either get less upvotes or sometimes downvotes as well.

Kalidas poems, etc. would be considered as 'Sayings of Saints' according to me and therefore, perfectly valid references!

Modern Shlokas may be considered authentic according to me, if, there is either a sect that accepts it, or a saint who quoted it.

All the best.

  • 3
    @ sai Very Thanks for answer. It covers all my questions. :) – SwiftPushkar Jun 21 '16 at 16:00

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