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Proposal: Hinduism

At the time of my writing this, our Hinduism proposal has attained 93% commitment. It won't be long before we get into the Private Beta phase. So, it is almost time that we look ahead and prepare for the future. What happens in the private beta phase? What is the expected performance for a proposal to cross the private beta and step into public beta?

Also, I think now is the time to decide and distinguish the on-topic and off-topic matters for our proposal. The users can share their views about this in their answers.

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I hope we know what we are getting into. It is relatively easy for followers of other religions to have a Q&A site because they have one God or no God at all. Also, they have basically one primary sacred text. But when it comes to Hinduism, there are as many gods as there are people in the country. Then there are so many sects and creeds that without a strict policy of rules and guidelines everything will turn into a mess and chaos.

We have six different Vedic philosophical systems (Vaishesika, Yoga, Samkhya, ...), five different vedanta schools of thought (Advaita, Dvaita, Vishishtadviata, ...), three primary sects (Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktisim), two secondary sects (Sun worshipers, Ganpati worshipers). Then among Shavites we have pashupata, kaula, kapalika, etc. Among Vaishnavites we have followers of Krishna, Rama, Jagannatha, etc. Among Shaktas we have worshipers of Durga, Gayatri, Kali, Laxmi, Chandi, etc. So there are many sects or sampradayas each having their own set of texts and philosophies. Then there are tantric agama sects having their own set of rituals and beliefs.

Followers of all these sects consider their deity to be the supreme God and their path to be the right one. So there can never be any conclusive answers on certain questions like the following:

What is the best method for attaining God as per Hinduism?

Who is the supreme God? Shiva or Krishna?

How the universe came into existence as per Hinduism?

So basically the questions which can have different answers from the different sects should be discouraged. There should not be any comparison or discussion through answers that may undermine or overstate any specific sect or group. Instead questions should be specific and targeted to a particular sect. We can do so by creating separate tags for each system. For example:

Who is the supreme God? (This question can be tagged Vaishnavism or Shavism to provide answers only in that context)

How did the universe come into existence? (This question can be tagged Vaishnavism or Shavism to provide answers only in that context citing reference from their texts like Bhagavatam or Shaiva Siddhanta )

So the point is to take care so that indecisive opinions do not cross over. Any such questions should be discouraged and marked off topic.

Secondly, users should be encouraged to ask questions that can have specific answers as per some text or scripture. So questions like the 1st one, "What is the best method for attaining God" should be discouraged as their can be many opinions regarding this. Instead questions like below should be encouraged:

1.Questions which can have definitive answers from some text or scripture.

What is the view of the Samkhya school of thought regarding God?

Who brought the river Ganga to earth?

Is love marriage allowed in Hinduism?

What is the message of Bhagavad Gita regarding Karma?

2.Questions which can have informative answers regarding Hindu culture.

Why do we observe Holi?

Why shradha rites are performed after the death of a person?

Is there a story like Noah's ark in Hinduism?

What are the purusarthas?

I picked up some of these from the example questions section which has mostly valid questions. So we must encourage similar questions. However, if you are into spirituality then you know that there can be questions answers to which can not be provided. So spiritual questions that should be asked to teachers and gurus should be discouraged. This includes questions from yoga and tantra systems. Questions like below should be marked off topic:

How to raise Kundalini?

What mantra should be chanted for that God?

How to practice meditation?

Basically questions that enhance our knowledge of Vedic scriptures, traditions and their teachings should be encouraged. Another thing is that we shouldn't include Jainism questions as it will clutter things. I found the following questions and answered it there: https://area51.meta.stackexchange.com/a/14540

This community should be about Vedic culture, scriptures (as described by Vineet) and its teachings. I think we can start with these and revise the guidelines once the site becomes open and starts accepting questions.

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Well to be honest, Hinduism is an umbrella term for Vedic, animistic and tribal traditions of India. I don't think we should restrict the scope of it specifically to Vedas as it will undermine a vast tradition of myths, rituals and karmakanda.

As a primer, here's my list --

  1. Vedic literatures (Veda, Upanishad, Shastra, Purana)
  2. Smriti literatures
  3. Myths and Fables (including but not limited to Mahabharata, Ramayana and other animistic and tribal traditions including Panchatantra and Jataka (?)).
  4. Philosophical Hindu School of thoughts (including but not limited to Mimamsa, Uttramimansa, Nyaya, Vedanta (and NeoVedanta))

Probably, others can append or edit this list as a starting point. There could be some overlap with other Indic Religion, specifically, Buddhism and Jainism. But I guess, that's the way things are.

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