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The following answer to How to start reading Bhagavad Gita? is deleted by one of the moderators here. Is the moderator justified in deleting the entire answer just because it contains a link to one particular book? I don't think so. I actually found the answer very informative although it included some links to one particular interpretation of Bhagavad Gita. I want to get others opinions on this.

Answer that was deleted (as is):

In my humble opinion,

Srimad Bhagavath Gita is a nectarian, wonderful and most miraculously blissful pond of knowledge which guides the suffering to understand basic questions of life, such as :

  1. Who am I?
  2. Who is God?
  3. What is the relationship of Almighty God with me?
  4. What is the purpose in life?
  5. Are there many Gods or is God one?
  6. How should one act in his life to be achieve the goal of life?

For the question,

Can anybody suggest me how to get started with it? I know it's a sequence of dialogues between Arjuna and Lord Krishna. Do I've to go through the Mahabharata in order to understand Bhagavad Gita?

It is not necessary to read mahabharatha to understand the Gita. Gita literally means the song of God. It is sung by the supreme God to all living entities and as such can be read by any person in any walk of life at any point of time without any prior information. However it is very much necessary to read the bhagavad gita IN PROPER ORDER. we cannot skip one chapter or start from a middle chapter. That would be like skipping first grade and studying Quantum physics. Please read in the order in which Srimad Bhagavad Gita has been sung by the Lord.

In which language should I read ?

There are many translated versions available in ENGLISH, HINDI. But it is also necessary to understand that anyone who has written the translation must come through specific parampara otherwise the translation is not authentic. (This link might be helpful : bhagavad-gita.org/DiscipleSuccession/)

There are a few versions available in English are good/ understandable, websites are as follows:

This is a fantastic source where the explanations given by prominent acharyas in a valid parampara are provided for each verse:

www.bhagavad-gita.org/

This is another good site, which provides great translations and purports: asitis.com

Some hard copy sellers: http://www.madhwakart.com/shop/geeta-bhashya/ http://www.flipkart.com/bhagavad-gita/p/itme3dhz4eztwyw5?pid=9789171494375&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=bhagavad+gita&ref=c9533ce6-43b7-479b-9b62-28089eabaaea

In my opinion the other Bhagavad gita translations that I've read were not as fulfilling/ understandable as the above two and as such I am quoting the ones I could understand ( The second one even has a supportive word by word sanskrit to english translation, which most others read but I don't) . Also many books have their own philosophy into the translations which completely changes the meaning of the Gita.

How will Bhagavad Gita change my life?I am not too religious but believe in things that makes sense.

If Bhagavad Gita is heard (or read) by a faithful person from a Guru who is self realized, then it will be all auspicious for the reader. And one of the main focal points to have while reading is the faith. And believe me, the Bhagavath Gita makes total sense, in a way nothing much else in the world can make sense.

- user1224 answered Feb 26 '15 at 10:05


Response by moderator when I flagged to undelete it:

Don't understand why this answer is deleted. What is "spammy" in this answer? – sv. yesterday

declined - Question is HOW TO READ and not WHERE to read. Other answer provides HOW TO READ unlike this answer which shares links to particular books (promoting) and hence sounds like spam.


Does this mean we are not allowed to add links to a website or book that subscribes to one particular philosophy we favor over others? And if we do, it means we are "promoting" or "spamming" this site with "our" opinions or philosophies?!

How are we supposed to answer questions like How to read Hindu Scriptures without leaving any links to books or websites?

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    The deleted answer does answer the how part as well.I consider it a good answer only. – Rickross Nov 7 '16 at 11:10
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    Why the downvote? – sv. Nov 7 '16 at 14:58
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This answer should Not be deleted. The argument is quite easy. As per the moderator's flag-response:

Question is HOW TO READ and not WHERE to read...

The 2 "How"-s are already visible in the answer:

  1. Can anybody suggest me how to get started with it?

  2. How will Bhagavad Gita change my life?

Let's ignore the 2nd one, but the 1st "How" is enough to sustain the main question.

The deleted answer is neither 1 liner nor low quality. If the links were found unacceptable then they should have been edited out [by the Mod]. The user is anyways non-existent to raise problem against it. Hence, I am bit surprised to learn that, the deleting moderator is the one who recently put a nice suggestion, which is fundamentally against deletion:
Please stop flagging (instantly) questions/answers as low quality if they are one-liners

To be able to delete this answer, moderators have to delete so many answers, which are indeed low quality.


This situation reminds me of below post:
What does Hindu scripture say about class hierarchy?

An answer with mainly links is retained. Fine enough. However, another answer with proper scripture citation & covering all the queries, stands deleted (> 2k rep users can see). I suspect the deletion is due to mismatch of personal beliefs. Had raised this issue in below meta-post, to no resolution so far:
Moderators should give time & scope of discussion before deleting a post for active users

Flagged it 6 months back & recently, but both were rejected with "found no evidence" reply. Such confused policy can be seen in many places, here is 1 more example:
How could octogenarian heroes fight in Mahabharata?

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  • Seems like the moderators here are stubborn and don't want to correct their mistakes but go on to write "feel good" posts like the one you mentioned. – sv. Nov 7 '16 at 14:38
  • @sv. This entire post has worked productively for undeletion of that post. I also fully understand & have observed that, you as a user have contributed a lot to this community by editing & flagging. Around 6-7 months back I wished to see you as another Mod & was even thinking of putting a post for it. Let's avoid any comments which are confronting in nature (like above), which may hamper your chances to the diamond. – iammilind Nov 8 '16 at 0:25
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    I'm not seeking moderator-ship :) But moderating the moderators should be the job of everyone, not a handful of users. Should I become a moderator, 'blindly' supporting another moderator is the last thing I will be doing. I'm also of the opinion that if one cannot take criticism (such as the above comment), they are not eligible to become a moderator! – sv. Nov 8 '16 at 0:37
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Moderators must not delete answers period. They may place a comment that an answer is incorrect/inappropriate/in contradiction to the site's rules etc.. Deletion is an extreme measure and must be employed only in cases of abuse.

The answer referenced in this Q does not merit deletion at all!

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  • If we don't take action against posts that who do not follow the rules, then people will have no incentive to follow the rules. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 22 '16 at 16:04
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    @KeshavSrinivasan Indiscriminate actioning , actioning out of spite, moderators ganging up to enforce "rules" (which they interpret according to their convenience) etc. are not going to increase the value of this site. I ask you again, why didnt you delete your own answer which didn't follow the rules? Are we also condoning/promoting double standards for moderators? As @ sv said moderators of this site need to be moderated as well. – user1195 Nov 23 '16 at 3:22
  • So according to you, we should not delete spam, low quality, comment like answers? – Mr. Alien Nov 23 '16 at 3:44
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    @Mr.Alien low quality and comment-like answers should be called out. Not deleted outright. Especially since mods are often error-prone when it comes to judging quality. Spam is abuse of the site. This is why I said we need well-defined guidelines for mod actions. So far moderators seem to be acting on flimsy reasons and personal biases as well. Sorry to say, but the mods have some work to do wrt comprehension, judgement, bias and other aspects. Good luck. – user1195 Nov 23 '16 at 6:59
  • @moonstar2001 Sorry, I don't agree to that, in case of any complains, please contact StackExchange team, they will help you out. – Mr. Alien Nov 23 '16 at 7:28
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    @Mr.Alien, though I believe that bad answers should be deleted to clean the contents of the site. I do with agree with moonstar2001 that, sometimes the moderating power is abused in many SE sites. I have witnessed in philosophy.SE. Here also there are many examples. But the best one was discussed in this meta post. The answer was deleted even though it had scriptures & step by step answers to all queries. As per you, mods make mistakes. Agreed. Why don't they fix it? The flag to undelete was rejected twice. Also, no answer in that meta post. – iammilind Nov 23 '16 at 8:43
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Answer was deleted by me. Flags were handled by me. First, lets discuss why the delete.

As you have already shared the post, lets focus on the date part which says user1224 answered Feb 26 '15, that means, answer is almost two years old. We used to get a lot of spammy answers where people were promoting their books and personal websites on random questions.

User flagged the answer as spam (I've not deleted the answer on my own). I am feeling glad that users are sharing deleted answers and the reply to the flag I've given but none shared the comment I've posted on the answer before I deleted.

Hello and welcome to Hinduism.SE. We understand that you are trying to help other users by suggesting them to read a particular book, but your answer sounds spammy as you are posting links to other website which is not accepted. So I'll be deleting your answer, if you have any knowledge over this, write in your own words and flag your answer for undelete.

(No one shared this comment ;) )

As I've clearly stated here to the user that the time I deleted, we were against such links and hence, told him to share some data if he has any rather than linking to a book directly. I also stated to flag for an undelete once the answer is edited by him.

I never received any flags, nor the answer was edited by that particular user. I don't think I did anything wrong in order to prevent spam.


Coming to @iammilind's answer, what he states is :

The deleted answer is neither one liner nor low quality. If the links were found unacceptable then they should have been edited out.

As a high reputation user himself, or the OP, you guys could've edited out the link and flagged it for undelete, but neither one of you did it.


Closing out the confusion:

If you flag a post to undelete, please edit the post before you ask for undelete.

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    IMO, the answer should be undeleted "as is" i.e., without involving any edits removing links to book recommendations or websites in that answer. I don't agree with your reasoning that the answer is "spammy" or "promoting" a certain philosophy. Going by your "reasoning" I have to go around flagging or downvoting all answers by Gaudiya Vaishnavas just because they subscribe to ISKCON. Many of the answers here regularly reference the site vedabase.com. So all users here should take up your suggestion and report all those answers as 'spam' or 'promoting' the ISKCON philosophy? – sv. Nov 7 '16 at 19:19
  • Also, the original answer clearly says "This is a fantastic source where the explanations given by prominent acharyas in a valid parampara are provided for each verse: www.bhagavad-gita.org" -- so he's not promoting any particular philosophy. – sv. Nov 7 '16 at 19:21
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    @sv. Did you read my answer or you just commenting without reading it as it is not going your way? I wrote We used to get a lot of spammy answers where people were promoting their books and personal websites on random questions., also I've undeleted the answer as thats what you wanted. EOD. – Mr. Alien Nov 7 '16 at 19:25
  • "you guys could've edited out the link and flagged it for undelete, but neither one of you did it." -- you are missing the point. I did not edit it before I flagged it because it didn't need any edits in first place. – sv. Nov 7 '16 at 19:25
  • I did read your entire answer before commenting. My flag and your reason for declining are from yesterday -- not two years ago! – sv. Nov 7 '16 at 19:30
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    I did make an indirect reference to your comment, which you have already covered in the 2nd half. There I wrote: "If the links were found unacceptable then they should have been edited out." That's a polite way of saying that: If you, as a Mod had found the links inappropriate then you should have edited them. That doesn't imply that others also find links as inappropriate. Let not links be the only reason for deleting a valid answer. Glad to know that, you are ready to fix a mistake by undelete. Why are you crediting that undeletion to @sv.'s 'wanting'? Let's not make it sarcastic. Thanks! – iammilind Nov 8 '16 at 0:16
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    "I've undeleted the answer as thats what you wanted. EOD. " No Mr Alien. Not EOD. We need to look at the source of this thinking that makes a moderator think they have permission to take indiscriminate action against a user or a post. We need a clear set of rules for moderator actions. Such actions cannot be at the moderators' discretion as clearly such discretion is not as evolved as it should be. – user1195 Nov 23 '16 at 3:23
  • @moonstar2001 haven't I explained enough? – Mr. Alien Nov 23 '16 at 3:43
  • @moonstar2001 Also, you have flagged this answer hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/2818/124 as not an answer and you are saying that we shouldn't delete answers? – Mr. Alien Nov 23 '16 at 3:50
  • @Mr.Alien Is it Pradip Gangopadhyaya's answer that was flagged by me? It is highly unlikely that I would flag a detailed answer. Is it possible that "wires got crossed"? I still say mods should not delete answers. – user1195 Nov 23 '16 at 7:08
  • @Mr.Alien Which answer? I do not recall. Even if I did flag it, it is a call for the moderator to review the merit of the flag.If the flagger is mistaken, then the flag need not be actioned. Mods should know this already. I am surprised you don't. – user1195 Nov 23 '16 at 7:14
  • @moonstar2001 If the flagger is mistaken, mods are humans and they make mistakes too. – Mr. Alien Nov 23 '16 at 7:28

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