Shakti: When mythology meets science

Aug 11, 2013, 09:33 IST | Moeena Halim

Filmmaker Supriti Malhotra's documentary delves into Hinduism's concept of Shakti as a sacred cosmic force or energy and links it with Hubble's law of the expanding universe

The very same year that Hubble discovered that the world was expanding, another scholar wrote about Shaktism, describing Shakti as being the most concentrated form of energy,” begins documentary filmmaker Supriti Malhotra, who is exploring the concept of Shakti through her feature-length documentary film Shakti: of Science and Traditions. Malhotra, whose previous short film won the 48 Hour Film Project award, intends to cover every aspect of Shakti in her latest -- from the similarities between the mythological concepts of Shakti and more modern scientific theories, as well as the hypocrisies contradictions surrounding the followers of the Mother Goddess across the country.

Malhotra hopes to portray the thought-provoking similarities she found between science and Shaktism 

The belief in Shakti is a binding factor for Hindus across the nation, finds Malhotra. “Hinduism has three schools of thought -- Shaktism, Shaivism and Vaishnavism. But even in the other two, the idea of the Mother Goddess exists,” explains Malhotra. “I wanted to tackle all the aspects of Shakti -- the mythological and scientific concept of energy, status of women, religion, and the mindset of women,” says Malhotra, who visited Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu, among other states.

Malhotra believes that our religious and spiritual thought affects the way we interact with the world. “I went around rural India asking impromptu, personal questions so that I’d get the most honest answers from the people. It was common for people to say things like ‘Aurat devi ka avatar hai’ (A woman is an incarnation of a goddess). But empowerment isn’t just about deifying women; it’s about providing them the right to make their own decisions. Are you affording that respect to women?” questions the filmmaker, who is eager to cover every demographic and has planned another month of travel across the country.

An animation representing the Big Bang theory. Pic courtesy/CERN

With the use of animation in her film, Malhotra hopes to portray the thought-provoking similarities she found between science and Shaktism in a universally appealing manner. “During my 18-month-long research I found so much I’d like to highlight. Take the concepts of matter and Maya for instance -- they both refer to a concept of illusion; matter may seem different in its different forms, but it’s all essentially made of the same stuff,” she says. To get in touch with the filmmaker, email her at 

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