Sanatan Sanstha

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Sanatan Sanstha
Santan logo.jpg
Understand the science of Spirituality, do spiritual practice and attain Bliss
Motto Reinstatement of the Divine Kingdom
Formation 1990
Purpose Spirituality, Educational, Religious Studies
Region served
Worldwide
Website Sanatan Sanstha

The Sanatan Sanstha is a non-profit organization registered in India.[1] It was founded in 1990 by Jayant Balaji Athavale with the blessings of Bhaktaraj Maharaj and is based on the study of spirituality.[2] as a science. The stated main aim of the organization is to present spirituality in a scientific language for the curious (Jidnyasu) and to guide seekers.[1] The Sanstha has a chain of centre in different parts of India and abroad.[3]

Athavale has worked in the field of spirituality to share with humanity the findings of his research into the deeper understanding of the spiritual dimension using a scientific approach. In order to achieve this end, he has published more than 1.6 million copies of spiritual books in Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati, English and six other languages since 2002.[4] News Today columnist V. Sundaram describes Athavale as a "rare spirit who brings to ordinary men a realization of their own divinity and makes spiritual life seem adventurous and attractive, so that they may go forth into the world with a new interest and a new joy at heart."[3] He claims that Athavale's work has been recognized by Hindu saints and sages belonging to all denominations.[5]

Founder[edit]

Athavale was by profession a consultant clinical hypnotherapist from Mumbai. He undertook extensive research on clinical hypnosis both in India and overseas and practiced in Great Britain from 1971 to 1978. However, after practicing as a hypnotherapist for twenty years, he realized that nearly 30 per cent of his patients did not recover with the usual treatment regimens. On the contrary, many of those patients recovered fully after having gone on a pilgrimage, or having followed the spiritual advice of a saint.[5][6]

Although Athavale was an atheist at that time, this phenomenon intrigued him and prompted him to take steps to study reasons behind these cures.[6]

He visited saints from different spiritual paths all over India. He asked them questions about the theory as well as the practice of the science of Spirituality and carefully recorded the answers. Slowly, He began to realise that medical sciences are limited theto the physical and to some extent the psychological aspects of the patient, but it leaves out the entire spiritual dimension. Athavale came to the conclusion that there was another science far superior to physical and psychological medicine, and that was the "science of spirituality" rooted in Sanatana Dharma. The saints told him that spirituality is not a science which can be learnt just from books, but one needs to practice it, so he started intense spiritual practice under their direction. As a result of his efforts, Bhaktaraj Maharaj came into his life as a spiritual guru to guide him further.[5][6]

Realizing the importance of what he called the science of spirituality, Athavale started advising his patients to follow some spiritual practice. To his great joy and satisfaction, he found that the cure rate among his patients increased substantially by following this new path of guided spirituality. Ploughing deeper and deeper into the field of the theory and practice of spirituality, he wrote 21 volumes on this subject with the objective of educating and guiding humanity at large about their need to take to the sublime path and enter the field of spirituality rooted in Sanatana Dharma. In 1988, Athavale started conducting free of charge workshops on spirituality in the city of Mumbai. In 1990, with the blessings of his sadguru, Bhaktaraj Maharaj of Indore, he founded the Sanatan Bharatiya Sanskruti Sanstha so as to facilitate the spread of spirituality. Taking note of its immediate tremendous growth, keeping the larger aspect of the smooth running of the organization in view, he renamed it as Sanatan Sanstha on 24 March 1999.[6][7]

Under Athavale, Sanatan Sanstha has created mass awareness among the Hindus of India, through the following activities[5] organised in several parts of India:

  1. Discourses on various topics in spirituality
  2. Weekly spiritual meetings (satsangs)
  3. Child guidance classes (balsankarvarg)
  4. Workshops on spiritual practice (sadhana)
  5. Workshops on stress management
  6. Rallies
  7. Training in self-defense
  8. Relief measures in calamities, training in first aid and fire fighting
  9. Campaigns to create awareness of righteousness (dharma)[5]

Blessings[edit]

Jayendra Saraswathi (speaking in saffron cloths) guiding masses in Hindu Dharmajagruthi Sabha organised by HJS in Chennai, 19 April 2009

Jayendra Saraswathi[edit]

"Dharma has no birth and death. Intermittently when it is ruined then it marks the beginning of development. Sanatan Sanstha too has been promoting dharma by imbibing its importance of dharmacharan (righteous conduct), on the society with great efforts." According to the HJS website, Jayendra Saraswathi, the Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, made the above statement during his visit to the Panvel ashram of Sanatan Sanstha on 10 June 2009, and blessed the society saying that its mission would spread throughout the entire country.[8][9] Saraswathi attended the 117th Hindu Dharmajagruthi Sabha organised by HJS in Chennai on the 19 April 2009 and guided the masses.[7][10]

Taponidhi Nandgiri Maharaj[edit]

On 24 May 2009 Taponidhi Nandgiri Maharaj from the Shanaishwar devasthan in Solashi blessed Sanatan Sanstha, saying that Athavale's "mission of the establishment of righteousness is being undertaken throughout the entire Universe!"[11]

Path of the Guru's grace (Gurukrupayoga)[edit]

"Ramananda Maharaj, Athavale's spiritual counselor"

Individual spiritual practice[edit]

Individual practice is said to include chanting the Lord's name, attending spiritual meetings (Satsang), service unto the absolute truth (satseva), sacrifice for the absolute truth and spiritual love without expectations (Priti).[1][5][12]

In the organization, the members of different religious groups are encouraged to use the name of their individual God. According to Sharon Clarke Sequeira, the 1985 Miss India contestant who represented India at the Miss World contest in London and a former model of prestigious campaigns like Lakme, Bombay Dyeing etc., chanting Hail Mary for two years yielded her dramatic dividends. Today, few events or people upset her: anger seldom arises, and she has transcended her extended love affair with food that sent her weight soaring from 58 kg during her modeling days, to 95 kg. She is now down to 68 kg. Her threshold to bear grief and pain has risen. Even her pulse rate is an incredibly low 46.[2]

Spiritual practice for the sake of society[edit]

According to the Sanatan Sanstha organization, the spiritual practice for the sake of society includes propagating spirituality, undertaking the mission of "social upliftment", national security, rekinding righteousness (dharma), protecting "seekers" and destroying "evildoers" (Kshatradharma).[1][5]

Creating awareness of righteousness (dharma)[edit]

"Hindu Awakening" conferences (Dharma Jagruti Sabha)[edit]

According to promoters, the main objective of these conferences is to create a feeling of unity and fraternal solidarity amongst all Hindus, cutting across different sects and sub-sects and to create a new sense of awareness of the relevance, greatness and significance of Sanatan Dharma. In order to achieve this objective, the focus will be on specially designed programmes to raise the levels of public enlightenment relating to the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, Bhagawad Gita and other Hindu scriptures. As of April 2009, 117 such conferences had been conducted by HJS in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Thousands of Hindus were said to have participated in these "Hindu Awakening" conferences with commitment, conviction, gusto and enthusiasm.[7]

One of the men[who?] from the media who attended the Hindu Dharmajagruti Sabha at Barshi wrote: "HJS has been organizing 'Hindu Dharmajagruti Sabhas' in various places in the State for creating awareness among Hindus about the importance of 'Dharma-shikshan' and 'Dharmacharan', for uniting Hindus and re-establishing the supremacy of Hindu Dharma. Today’s meeting, which was a unification of 'kshatra-teja' and 'Brahma-teja', was a memorable experience for people from Barshi".[7]

Spiritual television channel (Sree Sankara)[edit]

From 15 December 2008, the Dharmasatsang and Dharmashikshanvarga (educating people in the society regarding Dharma) presented by the Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS started being telecast 5 days a week on the spiritual television channel Sree Sankara. This channel was inaugurated at the auspicious hands of Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham on 21 December 2008. The Governor of Karnataka, Rameshwar Thakur was the chief guest at the function. During this function Saraswati blessed the mission of Sanatan and felicitated Pruthviraj Hazare, the group editor of Sanatan Prabhat periodicals.[13]

Awards[edit]

Shanaishwar Devasthan, Solashi, Satara District, Maharashtra has honored Athavale with a Shanaishwar Krutadnyata Dharma Award on 24 May 2009. It was presented by Taponidhi Nandgiri Maharaj. As stated by Maharaj the award was presented to Athavale for giving people a treasure-trove of spiritual knowledge presenting a scientific viewpoint on various religious acts performed by Hindus and has taken thousands of seekers to the pinnacle of spiritual progress.[11][dubious ]

Sanatan's seeker, Chandrahas Changdev Gavand from Vasheni, Uran District, was presented the 21st Century Role-Model Award 2009 by Samaj Vikas Academy in Colombo, at the hands of the Vice-President of the Academy, Shri Tilak on 28 May 2009.[14][dubious ]

Controversies[edit]

Allegations[edit]

In 2008, six members of Sanatan Sanstha were arrested for planting bombs outside of an auditorium in Thane, Vashi.[15][16] In 2011, two of the accused were found guilty and sentenced to ten years incarceration.[17] Even though Ramesh Gadkari and Vikram Bhave were acquitted of the terror charges under the stringent UAPA,[18][19] still the Maharashta government has sought to ban the organization,[20] and has pressed the case for a ban to the central government as well.[21] A central government investigation of the group was ongoing. However, after investigating the 2009 Goa blast case for two years; on 31st December 2013, the Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court acquitted all six members of Sanatan Sanstha.[22][23][24][25]

Convictions[edit]

On 30 August 2011, Ramesh Gadkari and Vikram Bhave were found guilty in sessions court of the Thane blasts and received the maximum sentence of ten years rigorous imprisonment.[26][27][28]Judgment of trail court is further challenged in the Bombay(Mumbai) High Court and on 2nd May 2013 court ordered to release the accused on bail.[29][30]

Ericksonian Hypnosis[edit]

Public interest litigations have been filed in the Bombay High Court seeking ban on Sanatan Sanstha stating that the organisation uses a technique called Ericksonian hypnosis (a technique whereby individuals as well as masses in the society can be hypnotised), to lure people into joining it and carry out acts of violence.[31][32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d (official website of Sanatan Sanstha)
  2. ^ a b Suma Varughese "Sharon Clarke Sequeria, a former model spoke to Suma Varughese" As on 28 June 28, 2009 on lifepositive.com
  3. ^ a b V. Sundaram "Guru Poornima and Guru – Sishya parampara", 06 July, 2009 newstodaynet.com
  4. ^ Sanatan Publications [1], 26 June 2009, sanatan.org
  5. ^ a b c d e f g V. Sundaram "Sanatan Sanstha and Guru Poornima" 26 June 2009, News Today
  6. ^ a b c d "About Us", Spiritual Research Foundation, retrieved 28 June 2009
  7. ^ a b c d "The historic significance of Hindu Dharma Jagruti Sabha", 17 April 2009, News Today
  8. ^ "Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati’s visit to Sanatan Ashram, Panvel", Hindu Jagruti, 27 June 2009
  9. ^ "Shri. Shivaji Vatkar explaining about Sanatan's Holy texts to Sree Shankaracharya", 27 June 2009, Hindu Jagruti
  10. ^ "Chennai: Hindu Dharmajagruti Sabha", 21 April 2009, Hindu Jagruti
  11. ^ a b "Shanaishwar krutadnyata dharma award", Forum for Hindu Awakening, 26 June 2009
  12. ^ "Path Of Guru's Grace", retrieved 28 June 2009, Spiritual Research Foundation
  13. ^ "Sree Sankara a spiritual TV channel launched", 26 June 2009, bharathagnana.com
  14. ^ "Role-Model Award 2009", 5 June 2009, Forum for Hindu Awakening
  15. ^ Mateen Hafeez (20 September 2011). "ATS will appeal in blasts case". The Times of India. 
  16. ^ "Court accepts charges in Thane blast case". The Indian Express. 18 Jan 2009. 
  17. ^ "Theatre blast convicts get 10 years in jail". The Hindu. 30 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "Thane blast: Terror charge falls flat". The Times Of India. 10 Sep 2011. 
  19. ^ "Court clears '08 blast convicts of terror charges". The Indian EXPRESS. 10 Sep 2011. 
  20. ^ Singh, Vijay (12 March 2011). "Sanatan Sanstha to fight state ban". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  21. ^ "Ban Sanatan Sanstha: Maharashtra to Centre". The Indian Express. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  22. ^ "Congress government in Goa gave free hand to haters of Sanatan Sanstha". The Economic Times. 1 Jan 2014. 
  23. ^ "Court acquits Sanatan Sanstha members in 2009 Goa blast". Deccan Herald. 1 Jan 2014. 
  24. ^ "2009 Goa blast: court acquits Sanatan Sanstha members". The Hindu. 1 Jan 2014. 
  25. ^ Hafeez, Mateen (6 October 2011). "'Govt is harassing Sanstha members'". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  26. ^ "Theatre blast convicts get 10 years in jail". The Hindu. 31 August 2011. 
  27. ^ "Two get 10 years in jail for Thane blasts". Hindustan Times. 
  28. ^ Rebecca Samervel (31 August 2011). "10-yr jail term for 2 Thane blast convicts". Times of India. 
  29. ^ "Bombay HC grants bail to accused in Thane theatre blast case". www.indlawnews.com. 2 May 2013. 
  30. ^ "Right wing member gets bail in 2008 Thane blasts case". www.tehelka.com. 8 May 2013. 
  31. ^ "PIL seeks ban on Sanatan Sanstha - Mumbai - DNA". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  32. ^ "Move to ban Sanatan Sanstha pending with Centre: ATS". Indian Express. Retrieved 2013-02-15.