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Recently, Dwarka Shankaracharya, Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati stirred controversy by claiming that since Shirdi Sai was a human and that there are no mention of him any Hindu scripture, he shouldn't be worshipped.

Is there any basis for his allegation? Does Hindu scriptures prohibits worship of humans?

Is a seer right in issuing a carpet ban on worship of a 'god' on this basis?

Reference: Times of India

EDIT1: I haven't made myself sufficiently clear on this, I answered a question couple of days before asking the same things here.

With the minimal understanding of Hinduism I have, what Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati said is not fair.

Hindu Pantheon was never static but fluid and very dynamic. Our concept of gods were very different in vedic times, which included Indra, Agni, Mithra, Varuna and other Rigvedic deities.

Later, the concept of god shifted from these gods to the gods which we know, right now i.e. the Trimurty (Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma) and various incarnations of Vishnu, Sons of Shiva and Shakti. Rigveda doesn't have mention of these gods, rather later wikipedia.org Puranas were entirely dedicated to them, which made up the myth base for these gods.

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I am sure people will not listen to them. because they are not as much popular as Sai Baba. why should people listen them? even, I think it depends on individuals and their beliefs. – Mr_Green Jul 7 '14 at 9:34
Being the head of Dwarka pitha, he has somewhat authoritative control over Hinduism. – Vineet Menon Jul 7 '14 at 9:42
I think this is an opinion-based question. When there are different schools of thought in Hinduism which differ in their opinion of Shirdi Sai Baba, I don't see how this site is equipped to resolve this. As far as whether humans can be worshiped, that's not necessarily what's at issue, because some people believe that Shidi Sai Baba was the incarnation of a god, so it would be like worshiping Rama or Krishna. – Keshav Srinivasan Jul 7 '14 at 15:09
@KeshavSrinivasan I think this is not opinion based Does Hindu scriptures prohibits worship of humans? – Mr. Alien Jul 7 '14 at 15:41
@Mr.Alien What about the people who think Shirdi Sai Baba wasn't an ordinary human, but rather that he was an incarnation of a god like Rama or Krishna? – Keshav Srinivasan Jul 7 '14 at 15:54

The Swami has every right to hold such an opinion. Ordinary Hindus also have the right to disagree with his opinion. The Swami does not have authority over Hindus.

Bhishma said in Mahabharata Santi Parva Section 132 that a man

"is said to be conversant with duty, who knows duty as depending on all four foundations". These four foundations of duty are (1) as laid down in the Vedas, (2) as laid down in the Smritis, (3) as sanctioned by ancient usage and customs and (4) as approved by the heart or one's own conscience."

Thus whether a Hindu worships Sai baba is a matter of his conscience. Nobody can interfere in such a matter.

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Exactly, a person' s beliefs, whatsoever they may be should never be influenced by others. Every individual has the right to believe what (s)he wants to, follow whom (s)he wants to. – Shamayeta Jul 8 '14 at 7:45
While every one has free will to believe or not believe in a certain thing, the citation of Mahabharata is talking about all four things not just one's own conscience. If the last one was the only metric Duryodhana cannot be blamed as wrong! – srinivasacarya dasa Nov 6 '14 at 7:13
@srinivasacaryadasa Duryodhana and his accomplice Karna themselves agree several times in MB that they are on the wrong side - so their conscience is clear, in that, they knew very well right from wrong yet they picked wrong. – sv. May 26 at 18:55
Your blockquote seems to be footnote by Ganguli from here, do you know where the 'four foundations' are actually listed in scripture? MB or Manu etc. Thanks. – sv. May 26 at 19:02
@sv the block quote contains both Bhisma's statement and Ganguli's footnote explaining the four foundations. Unfortunately Ganguli does not give any scriptural source. – Pradip Gangopadhyay 2 days ago

The acarya of a particular institution will have the right to decide the matters based on scriptural injunctions. However, those who are faithful to that acarya will follow the ban and not others. Generally speaking, depending on an individual's nature and motivation he or she will worship a particular personality or energy. This topic is very ancient and Arjuna asks Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 17.1:

Arjuna inquired: O Kṛṣṇa, what is the situation of those who do not follow the principles of scripture but worship according to their own imagination? Are they in goodness, in passion or in ignorance?

It is described further that those in goodness worship various devatas (like Candra, Surya, Ganesa, Indra and so on). Those in passion worship some powerful persons including demons (raksasas). Those in ignorance worship ghosts and spirits (bhutas, pretas)

To summarize:

  1. No, worship of humans is not denied in the scriptures but such type of worship is not considered on the same level of worship of devatas or the Supreme Vishnu tattvas.

  2. I think he has a valid reason since reference to Saibaba is not found in the major texts like Bhagavadgita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and other major puranas that are prevalent.

  3. Yes, an acarya can ban like this for his followers because he is guided by scriptures for the goals he and his followers are after.

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