Hinduism: The Sanatan Sanstha Way

Satire

Hinduism: The Sanatan Sanstha Way

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré

T

he Sanatan Sanstha, founded in 1990 by Jayant Balaji Athavale, is an organisation that believes spirituality is a science. Its stated aim is rekindling “dharma” in our society and protecting the seekers of the path of righteousness. Also, ensuring India remains a Hindu Rashtra, by ensuring people follow their brand of Hinduism. A noble vision, indeed.

Five members of the organisation have now been linked to the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, two of whom have also been named in the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, and M M Kalburgi. Apparently being accused of murder is one of the best ways to be a true Hindu.

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Before we get into more tips from the Sanstha to live the real Hindu way, let’s catch up on some basic SS terminology. The Sanstha says the universe is made up of three particles – the triguna, or sattva, raja, and tama. The sattvic man leads his life expecting no recognition or reward, the rajasik man lives for personal gain, and the tamasik has no problem with stepping on toes to get ahead.

The reason for our existence, according to the SS, seems to be to avoid exposing ourselves to a mixture of raja-tama waves and increasing our exposure to sattvic energy. It is so important that the organisation suggests that even wedding cards be “sattvic” in nature.

While the group claims to “provide education in dharma and scientific technology for the benefit of Hindus”, all it mostly does is dish out an array of random rules on how we should live, get married, or urinate.

Let’s start with the last one.

Have you been covering your head while urinating or defecating? According to the Sanstha, it is imperative to prevent direct physical contact with the raja-tama waves, which are all over your dirty loo. Did you know covering your head protects your brahma randhra (opening in the spiritual energy system) to some extent? Who would have thought.

Besides this glorious detail, the Sanstha also quotes an unnamed French scientist as having espoused the “Hindu” way of urinating and defecation – crouching. According to the Sanstha and the French scientist, standing while peeing increases your chances of coming into contact with the infamous raja-tama waves, and decreases your accuracy ten-fold.

The French scientist is quoted as saying, “Urinating in the standing posture causes urine droplets to fall on the feet and scatter on the floor as well. The genitals should be washed after urinating. If not washed, subtle crystals of urine will form after drying of the urine and will be responsible for diseases.” Genius.

The hair issue is slightly more complex. It is bad for men to grow their hair, because of raja-tama, but it is the opposite for an ascetic. The logic is that ascetics emit enough radiant waves to form a “spherical sheath of radiant waves in the environment”, thus “denoting a reduction in body awareness”.

Women, too, have a natural “protective sheath” around their body, thereby protecting them from negative energies. According to the SS, the swiftly moving waves of kriya-shakti (energy of action) generated by the movement of long hair keeps the “shakti tattva vibrations in an awakened state”. Due to this awakened state, a woman with long hair looks “more humble” and “polite”.

Also it’s acceptable for Sikhs to have long hair, mainly because the objective of Sikhs “was to create a warrior community”. The hair, along with the raja waves, help create a “kshatravrutti (combating attitude)”.

A common problem most people face is that they inevitably kill tiny insects and ants while they work, either by cooking, filling water, and sweeping with a broom. The Sanstha has a solution for this as well. “If this violence occurs through you, then to eliminate the impressions of sin from our mind, atonement by performing vaishvadev (meditation before a fire) should be undertaken daily.”

The Sanstha website also has a few general rules to live a long life. “One who aspires to live long should not climb on the back of a cow or a bull, should not allow the smoke from a funeral pyre to touch his body, should not sit on the bank of a river (other than the Ganga) at dusk, should not allow the rays of the rising sun to touch his body and should not sleep during the day.”

Which brings me to, “where we should bathe.” The basic answer is always in flowing water – like a river or a reservoir. This is because flowing water creates “radiance in a dormant state from the sound”. This awakens the body, thus pushing the raja-tama predominant waves (which have accumulated and intensified in the voids of the body) outwards.

The guidelines go on to recommend that women should wear a “perfectly sattvic” nine-yard sari (because other forms are less so) and speaking of sattvic in matters of marriage; a religious marriage is always preferred because “it creates a glow on the faces of those being married” and reduces some of the infamous raja-tama waves that the Sanstha is so vociferously against.

We could go on but suffice it to say that the guidelines are a robust list of rules that will need the better part of your week just to read. Implementing them, of course, is the work of a lifetime. But then if you seek “swarg” it must be done.

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