Works of Swami
Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1900 – 1990) has left us with a commentary on Hindu religion and its practices which are strikingly different from what we have learned from the renowned exponents and saints of the religion. Hindu religion from this unique and true angle is called Shaktivada, which is not just an ideology, but a science – science of Human Evolution.
In the modern world, the word Hinduism leads us to a picture of a pantheon of many and often conflicting ideologies and practices. On the one hand we have a set of primitive customs - full of superstitious beliefs, the caste system, and ritualistic overkill. We find it in many varieties among the large and divided Hindu society spread across India. These Hindu practices and beliefs seem to have little relevance in modern society. On the other hand, we have a modern neo-age picture of Hinduism made famous by modern Hindu saints. This brand of Hinduism goes very well with modern life of reduced social responsibility, it preaches ideal of peace, religious equality, and hails yoga as the seed of all. In order to fit the ‘sanatan’ tradition of Hinduism into this mould, we have tried to re-render our traditional ‘scriptures’ in the shape of our ‘secular’ ideals, creating mindless explanations for those ancient lines.
But Hinduism is not just about philosophies and preachings. For backing our scriptures and philosophies, stands our daily rituals and practices, which a pious Hindu still performs everyday. In today’s world they may seem insignificant to most, and to most of those, who practice, it is little more than a custom kept alive. But it would be wrong to assume customs and rituals are of a cultural importance only, for they are intrinsically related to our philosophies. Philosophies hardly mean any thing to common man unless he can live by it. Our ancestors, the rishis, didn’t just narrate philosophies but introduced practices which helped us to live by and strive for the ideals set before us. And when we try to measure today’s hindu ideas (which essentially boils down to the one idea of equality of religions) against our very own customs, a disconnect and mismatch is apparent to anybody who cares to see. If Hinduism is all about peace, why do then we find all our gods and goddesses with weapons? Why in our rituals and Puranic stories, slaying the asuras or ‘demons’ has been given the highest importance and is sung with utmost praise? Many such questions can be raised to challenge the ideas that define Hinduism today. In the days of glory ‘atheistic’ philosophic schools like Naya and Samkhya was given same respect as the ‘theist’ schools. But Hinduism (or rather its gurus) now teaches that belief is the key to liberation! No doubt with such stress on logic and truth, our gurus find little difficulty in equating Islam, which teaches nothing apart from plunder, rape and sadism against other civilizations, with Vedas and Upanishads and Muhammad is no lesser than Buddha!
Shaktivada presents the truth of human development. It’s entirely based on a few pillars of philosophy, or science as we may call it, of the human psyche. It’s not a new religion or a new philosophy. Indeed, the foundation of Shaktivada is laid in the book ‘Kramabikaser Pathe’ [The Path to Evolution]. It starts by explaining the common hymns that a Hindu sings everyday in praise of the five principle gods and goddesses – Ganesh, Surya, Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti (Durga), commonly called the "Pancha Devata ". When we understand these underlying pillars of Shaktivada, we begin to realize that all our religion, practices, politics, education and society in general are bound by one cord.
We have no doubt that to the person who is rational in mind and true at heart will get the essence of Shaktivada and it will open the door of his true calling, which now stands mystified and blocked by false religions and false leaders.