Hindu Ashrams and Hindu Organizations

Ananda Marga

Ananda Marga: "Path of Bliss"

Ananda means "bliss" and Marga means "path."  So Ananda Marga means "Path of Bliss."

Bliss is infinite happiness. It is the fundamental desire of human beings. "There is in the living being a thirst for limitlessness." We can never be satisfied with limited things. They may give us pleasure for a while, but not long-lasting satisfaction. A limited object can only give a temporary and limited amount of happiness. But only infinite happiness will satisfy us. So how are we to attain it? By expanding our awareness to infinity; by transforming our individual limited experience into the cosmic experience of the unlimited: infinite happiness; perfect peace and contentment – bliss.

Ananda Marga is the name of the system which allows us to do that. It is an optimal selection of those techniques and practices that lead to the total experience of infinite peace and happiness – what we call "self-realization." It is an ideology and way of life; a systematic and scientific process for the fulfillment of all human needs: physical, mental and spiritual. It is introversial, intuitional practice; with techniques ranging from personal hygiene to yoga postures; from social service to meditation. Its goal is the all-round elevation of human beings, both individually and collectively, in all spheres of human existence: individual, social, economic, intellectual and spiritual. It is a total response to human longing and aspiration.

As an organization, Ananda Marga has a global network of centers in virtually every country of the world. Its activities encompass a wide range of projects for the welfare of humanity, animals, plants and the whole planet. These include yoga and meditation centers, schools, children’s homes, food distribution centers, disaster relief, medical centers and community development projects. Emphasis is placed on meeting the needs of the local people and assisting them in developing their personal and social resources for the prosperity of all.

The philosophy of Ananda Marga is one of universalism. It is an all-embracing outlook, recognizing God as the one limitless supreme consciousness, with all beings of the universe part of the one cosmic family.

It recognizes that a balance is needed between the spiritual and mundane aspects of existence, and that neither one should be neglected at the expense of the other. Hence the goal of Ananda Marga is "Self-realization and the welfare of the universe."

History of Ananda Marga

The beginnings of Ananda Marga take us back to the state of Bihar, India in 1955, to the town of Jamalpur where Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar organized the first chapter of Ananda Marga. His philosophy strongly rejected dogmas, superstitions and conventions such as the caste system. Sarkar taught spiritual practices for self-development and urged the aspirants to take a strong stand against exploitation and corruption. The motto "Self-realization and service to humanity" became the guiding ideal for thousands of people who were attracted to the universal vision of Ananda Marga.

After a few years, the movement had spread through the states of Bihar and West Bengal. In 1962, P.R. Sarkar initiated the first monk of Ananda Marga. The creation of the order of nuns followed in 1966. Most members of Ananda Marga are lay people, including students, married couples, single adults, etc. All are able to benefit from the spiritual practices taught as well as contribute to the society through one or another of Ananda Marga's programs. The monks and nuns, who have dedicated their lives for social service, serve as full time workers of the mission and are instrumental to Ananda Marga's expansion and existence. In 1963, Sarkar expanded the organization with the Education, Relief, and Welfare Section (ERAWS) and opened the first Ananda Marga schools. As Ananda Marga spread all over India in the Sixties, the scope of Ananda Marga's social service grew to include children's homes, medical clinics, feeding programs and disaster relief teams. AMURT (Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team) was started in 1965 and since then has been an ever-present participant on the disaster relief scene.

By 1970 Ananda Marga had become a global organization with branches in Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Australasia. The seed that was planted in the humble Indian village back in 1955 has today grown into a vibrant global network of men and women whose desire is to serve God by serving humanity, across national, economic or ideological barriers.

Today Ananda Marga is a world-wide organization with spiritual and social activity centers in different countries of the world. The mission runs schools, medical units, children's homes, rural development projects and meditation and yoga centers, and is a leading global agency for social development and progress with particular emphasis in the third world.


Foundation of Ananda Marg

Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar (Shrii Shrii Anandamurti)

Modern writer, philosopher, scientist, social theorist, and spiritual leader, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar has attracted a following in more than 130 countries. His books have been translated into all the world's major languages, and his unique blend of historical perspective and social commentary has been the inspiration for social activists seeking progressive alternatives to capitalism and communism.

From his early childhood in Bihar, India, where he was born in 1921, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar has been attracting others by his deep love for humanity and guiding them along the path of self-realization. Adjusting the ancient science of Tantra Yoga to meet the needs of this age, he developed a scientific and rational philosophy (based on the immanence and transcendence of God) and taught a system of practical spiritual disciplines for physical, mental and spiritual development. Recognizing him as a spiritually realized master, his followers called him Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, which means, "He who attracts others as the embodiment of bliss", or simply "Baba" (father).

Those who followed his teachings found their lives transformed as they overcame the weaknesses and negative tendencies of the mind to experience a deep peace and bliss within. Inspired by his selfless example, they focused their efforts on serving the society and elevating the oppressed.

Ananda Marga

In 1955, while still leading a normal life as a railway official, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar formed the organization Ananda Marga ("Path of Bliss") with the twin purposes of spiritual progress and social change. To this end he began training missionaries to spread his teachings of "self-realization and service to humanity" all over India and later throughout the world. Reflecting the broadness of his universal vision, Ananda Marga subsequently became a multi-faceted organization with different branches dedicated to the upliftment of humanity through education, relief, welfare, the arts, ecology, intellectual renaissance, women's emancipation, and humanistic economy.

In 1963, he established the Education, Relief and Welfare Section (ERAWS), which runs schools, orphanages, medical units, retirement homes, free kitchens, drug rehabilitation centers and homes for shelterless women throughout the globe. The Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT) has rendered disaster relief in fire, flood, typhoon, earthquake and war, and received numerous citations from the United Nations, the Red Cross and many governments.

Contributions to the Fields of Humanities, Linguistics, Science and the Arts

In the field of ecology and environmental awareness, Sarkar propounded the philosophy of Neohumanism, expanding the spirit of humanism to include love for animals, plants and the inanimate. He started a global plant exchange program to save and propagate thousands of plant species, and encouraged the establishment of animal sanctuaries in various locations around the world.

In the realm of philology and linguistics, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar wrote numerous volumes on the Bengali and Sanskrit languages, which trace the evolution of words, phrases and cultural traditions that comprise today's tapestry of Indian languages, as well as new and important insights into Indo-European and other languages of the world.

In the field of science, Sarkar introduced the theory of Microvita, which has subsequently captured the interest of scientists around the world. In a series of groundbreaking discourses, Sarkar struck at the heart of conventional physics and biology, pointing out that the basic buildings blocks of life are Microvita – emanations of pure consciousness. The Microvita theory provides a link between the worlds of perception and conception and implies that the distinct disciplines of physics, biology, and mathematics will merge into one science of understanding the real nature of the universe.

In the fields of music, literature and art, Sarkar urged artists to produce art for service and blessedness rather than merely "art for art's sake", and gave guidelines for achieving this goal. Sarkar not only wrote long philosophical treatises, but enriched us as well with children's stories, fiction, comedy and drama. His most dramatic contribution is the 5018 songs known as Prabhat Samgiita (Songs of the New Dawn) which he composed from September of 1982 until his departure in October 1990. These beautiful songs express the spiritual feelings and universality of the human heart. Most of the songs were written in Sarkar's mother tongue, Bengali, and Bengali scholars have bestowed on them the highest praise for their poetic and symbolic expression.

Socio-Economic Justice

For the collective welfare of the entire universe, Sarkar propounded Prout (the Progressive Utilization Theory), which stands for the maximum utilization and rational distribution of all the resources and potentialities of the world – physical, mental, and spiritual – and the creation of a new, humanistic social order of harmony and justice for all based on Neohumanism, the principle of love for all beings of the universe.

His demands for social justice, and his uncompromising moral stand against corruption and exploitation, brought about the opposition of certain vested interests which resulted in the persecution of Ananda Marga and his own arrest in 1971 under false charges. During his seven-year incarceration he survived a poisoning attempt by government officials and fasted on a liquid diet for over five years in protest. Ultimately acquitted of all charges by the high court, he was eventually released from prison in 1978. From then until his physical departure in 1990, he continued to guide the rapid expansion of Ananda Marga all over the world.

Beaconlight of the Future

Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar wrote over 100 books on subjects as diverse as mysticism, cosmology, sociology, history, education, yoga, medicine, ethics, psychology, humanities, linguistics, economics, ecology, farming, music and literature. He delivered several thousand discourses and composed over 5000 mystical songs. He taught the science of meditation for self-realization directly and indirectly to millions of people. But most importantly, through his personal example, profound philosophy, systematic spiritual practices and far-reaching service projects, he has been – and continues to be so to this day – the sole inspirational drive for the universal mission of Ananda Marga.


Ananda Marg Centers Around the World

North and Central America USA, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean
South America All the countries of South America
Europe Europe, Iceland, Greenland and Western Russia
North (East) Central Asia China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Eastern Russia and Central Asia
South Asia India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal
South-East Asia Indonesia, Malaysia, Maharlika (Philippines), Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos
Africa Sub-Saharan Africa
Middle East The Middle East, North Africa, Mediterranean and the Balkans
Australasia and Oceania Australia, New Zealand and the
South Pacific