Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Hindu-Aryan Myth of Savitri Devi

The whole terrible Nazi experience had many oddities, and Savitri Devi, a relatively unknown woman, is one of them. Born in France in 1905 as Maximiani Portas, the daughter of a Greek father and an English mother. She became a Greek national in 1928. She was attracted to the Greek Orthodox Church and Byzantine culture, but soon became more interested in paganism and pantheism, with strong anti-Semitic prejudices. 
She left for India in 1932 at the age of 27, in search of the roots of the Aryan civilization. Following the lead of people like Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and many other pseudo-scientific teachers, she regarded Hinduism as the only living Aryan heritage in the modern world, superior to all other religions. She adopted the name Savitri Devi and accepted India as her home. Convinced that she could rediscover a living Aryan world only in contemporary India, she championed the cause of Hindu nationalism and a neo-Nazi cult.  She lived and worked in Calcutta and called Hitler her idol. She admired the Brahmins, India's highest caste, whom she saw as a pure race. By the late 1930s she was involved with Hindu nationalist movements like the Hindu Mahasabha

N. Goodrick-Clarke  notes: “For Savitri Devi, Hinduism was the custodian of the Aryan and Vedic heritage down through the centuries, the very essence of India. In her opinion, Hinduism was the sole surviving example of that Indo-European paganism once common to all the Aryan nations” (Hitler's Priestess, p.44).

After the war Devi traveled through a devastated Europe and was a vocal apologist of the Nazis, regardless of the horrendous things they had done. Her early writings were republished by far-right-wing publishers, and she gained new fans in the 1970s as neo-Nazism spread. Devi died in 1982, but her combination of Hindu religion and Nordic racial ideology became "a bridge between neo-Nazism and the New Age" movements

Her numerous writings are available online at the Savitri Devi Archive.

My primary scource for this article is Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth, and Neo-Nazism  by N Goodrick-Clarke.

For more on Savitri Devi's continued influence consult Goodrck-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology.

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