The Sanatan Sanstha is a right-wing Hindu group in India. It was founded in 1999 by 'hypnotherapist' Jayant Balaji Athavale with the support of Bhaktaraj Maharaj. The group states its main aim as presenting spirituality in a scientific language for the curious (Jigyasu) and guiding seekers. The organization has a chain of centres in different parts of India as well as abroad.
Athavale purports to work in the field of spirituality with a goal of gaining understanding of the spiritual dimension using a "scientific approach." To this end, he has published more than 6.5 million copies of spiritual books in Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati, English and ten other languages select goalkeeper gloves. Sanstan Sanstha also publish four editions of Daily, weekly & fortnightly in two languages and a Monthly. News Today columnist V. Sundaram described 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." He claims that Athavale's work has been recognized by Hindu saints and sages belonging to all denominations.
Persons owing allegiance to Sanatan Sanstha have been arrested in four bombings in Vashi, Thane, Panvel (all in 2007) and Goa (in 2009) and in the murders of Narendra Dabholkar (in 2013), Govind Pansare and M. M. Kalburgi (both in 2015). This has led to calls for Sanatan Sanstha to be banned. However, Such claims are ruled out by Maharashtra Minister of State for Home, Karnataka CID, Goa chief minister and Central Home Ministry. On 2 December 2015, Minister of state for home for Government of India informed in Rajya Sabha that, no links could be found among the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M. M. Kalburgi and there was no proposal to ban Sanatan Sanstha. Dabholkar's family is claiming the link between the three murders and requesting court to club the cases. However, Central Bureau of Investigation have informed High Court that it is waiting for the ballistic report from Scotland Yard to link all three cases.
"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 website of Sanatan Sanstha's Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) branch, 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.
Saraswathi attended the 117th Hindu Dharmajagruthi Sabha organised by HJS in Chennai on the 19 April 2009 and guided the masses.
On 24 May 2009 Taponidhi Nandgiri from the Shanaishwar temple in Solashi blessed Sanatan Sanstha, saying that Athavale's "mission of the establishment of righteousness is being undertaken throughout the entire Universe!"
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.
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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".
From 15 December 2008, the Dharmasatsang and Dharmashikshanvarga (educating people in 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 by 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.
Sanatan Sanstha is making use of spirituality and religiosity teachings in eradicating the negative influences, in the mind of Hindu youth.
Sanatan Sanstha is fighting the court cases against denigration of Hindu sentiments. Court Cases against M. F. Husain for hurting Hindu sentiments was one of the classic example of fighting denigration in Constitutional and peaceful way.
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.
In 2008, six persons owing allegiance to Sanatan Sanstha were arrested for planting bombs auditoriums in Thane and Vashi and a movie theater in Panvel. In 2011, two of the accused were found guilty and sentenced to ten years incarceration. Ramesh Gadkari and Vikram Bhave were acquitted of the terror charges under the stringent UAPA, however waist water bottle holder, the state government's appeal against the removal of UAPA is still pending in the High Court. The Maharashtra government has sought to ban the organization, and has pressed the case for a ban to the central government as well. A central government investigation of the group was ongoing. On 2 December 2015, Minister of state for home informed in Rajya Sabha that, there is no proposal to ban Sanatan Sanstha.
Sanatan sanstha’s image in society is sullied due to allegations of involvement in unlawful activities. Hence, Sanatan Sanstha has started series of public meetings in different Cities in Maharashtra to dispel off "misunderstanding" about the organization.
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. Judgment of trail court is further challenged in the Bombay(Mumbai) High Court and on 2 May 2013 court ordered to release the accused on bail.
Six members of the Sanstha arrested in the Goa blast case under UAPA were acquitted by the Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court for want of evidence goalkeeper gloves online, while UAPA remains in force against three Sanstha members who are absconding. Rudra Patil and Sandeep Arolkar or Sarang Akolkar alias Kulkarni have been declared absconders by the National Investigation Agency, with a red corner notice issued against Patil.
A member of the Sanatan Sanstha was arrested for the murder of Govind Pansare. The Special Investigation Team investigating the murder, arrested Sanstha member Sameer Gaikwad and was on the lookout for another member Rudra Patil, who is absconding since the 2009 Goa blast. The prosecution stated in the court that Sameer Gaikwad was in different city (Thane) around the time of the murder of Govind Pansare. Minister of state for home, Ranjit Patil claimed that the arrest of Sameer Gaikwad was based only on suspicion, and that the only proof is a cellphone conversation about killing Pansare. Eventually, it was revealed that the evidence against Gaikwad is strong, as he was present at the scene of the crime, and he had discussed the murder with other Sanatan Sanstha members. Sanatan Sanstha was also planning to create a 15,000-strong armed force.
Indian investigative agencies believe that the Sanatan Sanstha is implicated in the murder of Narendra Dabholkar.
In June 2016, Virendrasinh Tawade,a member of Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS), an offshoot of Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested in connection with the murder. An official of the CBI revealed that emails exchanged between Tawade and his underground colleague Sarang Akolkar, from 2008 to 2013, discuss procurement of weapons and establishment of a weapon-manufacturing unit.
MLA Vishnu Wagh has said that there is evidence of the Sanstha's involvement in the murder of Kannada scholar M. M. Kalburgi. On 16th oct 2015, Karnataka CID team shared that they don't see involvement of Sanatan's activist Sameer Gaikwad in M thermos bottle. M. Kalburgi murder. Hence, they are not going to seek his custody for any further investigation.
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. Such claims are rejected by Dr. Hamid Dabholkar, son of slain rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar. According to him, hypnotism could not provoke a person to cause violence.
In September 2016, the Maharashtra police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the February 2015 murder of communist leader Govind Pansare, seized 20 boxes of restricted drugs — including sleeping pills and suppressants — from the premises Sanatan Sanstha’s ashram in Panvel. An SIT official stated that "It is suspected that the drugs were being used to control the mind of followers at the ashram".