Ananda Marga

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Ananda Marga
Am image.png
Abbreviation AM
Motto Átmamokśárthaḿ Jagaddhitáyaca (liberation of self and service to all)
Founder(s) Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
Type Spiritual path
Headquarters Anandanagar
Region served Worldwide
Membership Private persons
Location in Sarkarverse
SVmap NonliteraryWorks.png

Ananda Marga (Ánanda Márga or Ānanda Mārga in Roman Sanskrit transliterations, आनन्द मार्ग in Hindi script and আনন্দ মার্গ in Bengali script), meaning "The Path of Bliss", also spelled Anand Marg and Ananda Marg) is the comprehensive spiritual path (set of spiritually based or spiritually oriented practices) prescribed by Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar aka Shrii Shrii Anandamurti.[note 1] At his direction, all personal instruction in these practices (including yoga exercises and meditation) must always be provided free of charge.


On 1939 August 2, (at 8:30 pm, on the full moon day of Shravani[note 2] Purnima[note 3]), Sarkar imparted tantric initiation to Kalicharan Bandyopadhyay (after aka Kalikananda Avadhuta) at the Kashi Mitra Ghát́ on the bank of the Bhagirathi river in Kolkata (aka Calcutta or Kalikata), West Bengal, India. This was the start of Sarkar's formal teaching. Sarkar was 18 years old at the time. From 1941 until 1954, Sarkar continued teaching the yogic techniques of tantra[note 4] to a select few in Jamalpur (in Bihar, India), while employed as an accountant of the Indian Railways. In 1955, Sarkar founded the Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha, taking on the role of its first president. Sarkar then resigned from his job with the Indian Railways to dedicate his full-time to that mission. From 1955 until his death in 1990, Sarkar not only went on expanding the scope and global penetration of the Samgha, but he also continuously amplified the teachings and practices of his Ananda Marga. Among other things, in the course of those 35 years, he produced over 200 books on a wide range of topics, he extensively expounded his social theory (PROUT), he set forth his ultra-positive social outlook (Neohumanism), and he composed 5,018 songs (Prabhat Samgiita). To promote his Ananda Marga, Sarkar created a cadre of spiritual teachers, known as tattvikas and acaryas. Those teachers who became renunciates were initiated by Sarkar into the Shaivite order of avadhuta.

Unlike most other tantric or yogic missions, Ananda Marga has only one Guru, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. After his demise, the role of Marga Gurudeva was not passed on to a successor. Hence, the fundamental philosophy and practices of Ananda Marga are largely fixed.

Conceptual framework

Just as the eight-fold path of Buddhism is inspired by what Buddhists refer to as the Four Noble Truths, Ananda Marga is also guided by a well-developed conceptual framework. This is set out in the five chapters of Sarkar's Ananda Sutram.[1]

In philosophical terms, the stance of Ananda Marga is best described as advaetadvaetádvaetaváda (non-dualistic dualistic non-dualism).[2] Originally and ultimately, everything is the singular consciousness.

In psychological terms, the stance of Ananda Marga is positive and optimistic. In a nutshell:

  1. The desire for sukha (happiness) is the primary drive of living beings.
  2. Only establishment in ánanda (unlimited happiness or bliss) can satisfy all thirsts.
  3. The unlimited is a singular, supreme entity (Brahma), beyond physical and psychic constraints.
  4. Consciously striving for attainment of the Supreme is dharma sádhaná (self-actualization).

According to Sarkar, when a conscious desire for liberation or perfection arises in the mind, one attains the sadguru (unfailing spiritual guide).[3]

In practical terms, the stance of Ananda Marga is rational and pragmatic. Ananda Marga rejects dogma and ritualistic worship, including religious prayer, in favor of subjective approach through objective adjustment.[4] To enhance devotion (love for the Supreme), Ananda Marga prescribes various yogic and tantric practices for physical, mental, and spiritual development, which Sarkar encapsulated in his Sixteen Points.[note 5]

In social terms, the stance of Ananda Marga is unifying. Ananda Marga sees a happy blending of individual and collective welfare. In the final analysis, the welfare of the individual depends on the welfare of the collectivity and vice versa.[5] To materialize a progressive society in which this condition is recognized and materialized, Sarkar introduced his Progressive Utilization Theory and Neohumanism.


Yama (Restraint)
Ahiḿsá (Benignity) Thinking, speaking, and acting without inflicting pain or harm on another
Satya (Benevolence) Thinking and speaking with goodwill
Not taking or keeping what belongs to others
Brahmacarya (Ideation) Constant mental association with the Supreme
Aparigraha (Frugality) Non-indulgence in superfluous amenities
Niyama (Regulation)
Shaoca (Cleanliness) Physical and mental purity, both internal and external
Santośa (Contentment) Maintaining a state of mental ease
Acceptance of sufferings to reach the spiritual goal
Svádhyáya (Contemplation) Clear understanding of any spiritual subject
Iishvara Prańidhána (Dedication) Adopting the Cosmic Controller as the only ideal of life and moving with ever-accelerating speed toward that Desideratum
Intent is primary, but both intent and action should conform if possible.

The practical discipline (cult) of Ananda Marga consists of sixteen elements and is hence commonly referred to as the Sixteen Points. In their original order, these sixteen points pertain to the following subjects:[6]


After urination, a little water is to be poured over the urinary organ or area. When outside the home, a small container of water (shaoca manjusa) is to be carried to ensure that this cleanliness practice may be maintained. (This is in addition to the common practice of cleanliness after defecation.)

This practice helps in the excretion of any urine remaining in the bladder after urination, thereby reducing the likelihood of kidney stones. The practice also reduces unwanted stimulation of the genitalia.


Males should ensure that the foreskin remains pulled back and that the area that would have been covered remains clean. If need be, a minor operation may be performed to enlarge the circumference of the foreskin. Females should maintain regular cleanliness of the genital areas covered by the labia. There is no need or desirability for any form of female circumcision.

This practice maintains a high standard of cleanliness of the genital area, reducing unwanted stimulation of the genitalia as well as the likelihood of some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).


Joint hair (under the arms and in the crotch) should be maintained (not cut or plucked). This hair should be cleaned daily. A little bit of oil should be applied afterwards, and the hair may be combed.

This practice helps to regulate the vital energies (práńáh). It strengthens the nervous system by maintaining a balance of body heat. The oil also serves as a natural deodorant.


Wear appropriate underwear. For men, this means a special loincloth, called a langota. For women, this means panties and brassiere (or tight-fitting vest).

This practice protects the sexual organs and prevents unnecessary stimulation of those organs, thereby reducing the sexual drive and enabling higher expressions of love that originate at the anáhata cakra.

Constant cleanliness

Before meditation, meals, and sleep, perform vyápaka shaoca (half-bath). This is done by first washing (with water) the genital area, second hands up to elbows and legs up to knees; then, taking a mouthful of water, splash water on the eyes and face at least twelve times. Finally wash the ears and the neck. If your stomach is empty, you may also do násápána (flushing the nostrils with water).

This practice gives a sense of freshness and energy, lowers blood pressure, and improves eyesight.


Bath mantra

Take a full bath at least once a day. In a very hot climate, take a full bath at least twice a day. Before drying the body, face the sun or a bright light, and perform the bath mantra (pitr yajiṋa). The associated gestures express the spirit of the mantra while ensuring that the rays of light are absorbed evenly throughout the upper torso.

This practice amplifies the benefits of half-bath and promotes humility and spirituality.


Both body and mind require food. Hence, food may be either carbonic or non-carbonic. In both cases, appropriate food should be consumed.

The three categories of food are:

  • Sáttvika – Sentient (good for both body and mind)
  • Rájasika – Mutative (good for either the body or mind and neutral for the other)
  • Támasika – Static (bad for either the body or mind)

The rule is to eat in moderation, preferring sáttvika food and avoiding támasika food. It should also be kept in mind that there may be some variations from person to person and climate to climate.

This practice strengthens both body and mind. It also enables the second stage of neohumanism, spirituality as a principle.


Main article: Fasting

When in good health, observe a complete fast on the appropriate fasting days. For householders, the fasting days are the eleventh day (ekádashii) after both the new moon (amávasyá) and the full moon (púrńimá). For renunciates, the fasting days are ekádashii, amávasyá, and púrńimá. In other words, householders fast twice in a lunar month, and renunciates fast four times in a lunar month. The extra time and attention from not eating should be dedicated to contemplation of the Supreme (upavása, living near the Lord).

Meditation and asanas.

This practice gives the digestive system a complete rest and protects against the loss of mental equilibrium.

Sadhana (spiritual endeavor)

Practice the meditation techniques (collectively referred to as sádhaná, spiritual endeavor), learned from one's ácárya, at least twice a day regularly. If one has also been given ásanas (yogic postures), those too should be practiced twice daily, unless otherwise instructed. (Preferably, ásanas are performed after meditation rather than before it.)

Without the yogic code of ethics, yama-niyama, sádhaná is impossible. Hence, yama-niyama must also be strictly observed.

This practice enables self-realization, attainment of perfection or oneness with the Supreme.

Sanctity of ideal

Fight for your ideology. Be one with your ideology. Live for your ideology. Die for your ideology.[7]
Shrii Shrii Anandamurti

Maintain noncompromising strictness and faith regarding the sanctity of one's personal ideal (Iśt́a). In this context, the personal ideal is always Paramapuruśa (Supreme Consciousness), reflected through the form of Guru.

This practice strengthens one's topmost cakras (gurucakra and sahasrára), and it amplifies the projection of Iśt́a on society.

Sanctity of ideology

Maintain noncompromising strictness and faith regarding the sanctity of ideology (ádarsha). In this context, ideology is the reflection in the mind of inspiration flowing from soul (átmá). Ideology determines how a spiritual aspirant lives in this world.

This practice eliminates cynicism and despair, and it elevates the social mentality.

Sanctity of conduct rules

Supreme Direction
Those who perform sádhaná twice a day regularly, the thought of Paramapuruśa will certainly arise in their mind at the time of death; their liberation is surely attained. Thus every Ánanda Margii must do sádhaná twice a day. This is the direction of Paramapuruśa. Without yama-niyama, sádhaná is impossible. Hence it is also the direction of Paramapuruśa to follow yama-niyama. Disregard this direction and one may have to suffer the torments of animal life for millions and millions of years. So that no one will undergo such suffering, so that
everyone might come to eternal peace under the loving shelter of Paramapuruśa, it is the binding duty of every Ánanda Margii to endeavor to bring all to the Ánanda Marga path of welfare. Giving guidance to others about the way of righteousness is an inseparable part of sádhaná. [note 6]
Shrii Shrii Anandamurti

Maintain noncompromising strictness and faith regarding the sanctity of conduct rules. For a spiritual aspirant, uplifting conduct rules are the greatest wealth.

This practice provides the physical and mental capacity for doing great deeds in this world. It also provides a powerful and consistent example for others to follow.

Sanctity of the Supreme Direction

Maintain noncompromising strictness and faith regarding the sanctity of the Supreme Direction. The Supreme Direction sets out the essence of Ananda Marga and what it means to be an Ananda Margii.

This practice ensures success in spiritual life. It also connects the individual with all other beings in the spirit of service and blessedness.


In Ananda Marga, dharmacakra is the combined force of yogiis operating as one, especially in meditation. When in good health, attendance at the weekly dharmacakra is a must.

This practice accelerates personal spiritual progress, and it creates a powerful, collective mental force for solving all problems of the world.


After waking, remember with resolve the vows taken at the time of initiation as well as any other tantric vows taken, for example, marriage vows.

This practice inspires greater and more subtle creativity. It benefits both the individual and society through the resultant service.

CSDK (conduct rules in detail, seminars, duty, kiirtana)

Kiirtana with the universal mantra of Ananda Marga, Bábá Nam Kevalam (meaning "only His name").

This point has four parts:

  • Follow all conduct rules in detail, as laid out in Caryácarya.
  • Attend seminars, and also give seminars on Ananda Marga practices and philosophy.
  • Accept a service-related duty, and carry out the responsibility sincerely.
  • Do more and more kiirtana.

This practice enhances the expression of the four propensities controlled at the lowermost energy center, the múládhára cakra: káma (psycho-physical longing), artha (psychic longing), dharma (psycho-spiritual longing), and mokśa (spiritual longing)



  1. ^ Ánandamúrti, as he was called by his early disciples, is a Saḿmskrta word meaning "Bliss personified".
  2. ^ Shravan is the fifth month of the Indian lunar calendar, beginning in late July and ending in the third week of August. It is the month of festivals, commemorating the precedence of the sacred over all aspects of life.
  3. ^ Shravani Purnima is the full moon in the month of Shravan.
  4. ^ P.R. Sarkar clearly explained in his books the meaning of Tantra: "What is Tantra? The process of transforming (latent divinity) into the Supreme Divinity is known as Tantra sadhana... The significance of the term tantra is 'liberation from bondage (the bondage of dullness or staticity)'. The letter ta is the seed (sound) of dulness. And the root verb trae suffixed by da becomes tra, which means 'that which liberates' - so the spiritual practice which liberates the aspirant from the dullness or animality of the static force and expands the aspirant's (spiritual) self is Tantra sadhana. So there cannot be any spiritual practice without Tantra. Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (Ac. Vijayananda Avt. Editor) (1994) Discourses on Tantra 2 AMPS-Ananda Printers  "Tantra in itself is neither a religion nor an 'ism'. Tantra is a fundamental spiritual science. So wherever there is any spiritual practice it should be taken for granted that it stands on the Tantric cult. Where there is no spiritual practice, where people pray to God for the fulfillment of narrow worldly desires, where people's only slogan is "Give us this and give us that" – only there do we find that Tantra is discouraged. So only those who do not understand Tantra, or even after understanding Tantra do not want to do any spiritual practice, oppose the cult of Tantra." (Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii, 1959).
  5. ^ Sarkar formulated his Sixteen Points in 1971 about a month before his arrest on December 29.
  6. ^ This version is a recent translation from the original Bengali (Caram Nirdesh চরম নির্দেশ)


  1. ^ Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (1961) Ánanda Sútram Jamalpur: Ananda Marga Pubs ISBN 978-8172520274 
  2. ^ Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (Ac. Pranavananda Avt. Editor, Ac. Vijayananda Avt. transl. from Bengali) (1981-1th ed. and followings), Namami Krsnasundaram, Kolkata: Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha, ISBN 978-8172521110 
  3. ^ Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (1961) Ánanda Sútram Jamalpur: Ananda Marga Pubs ISBN 978-8172520274 
  4. ^ Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (1961) Ánanda Sútram Jamalpur: Ananda Marga Pubs ISBN 978-8172520274 
  5. ^ Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (1961) Ánanda Sútram Jamalpur: Ananda Marga Pubs ISBN 978-8172520274 
  6. ^ Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1987-4th ed.) Ananda Marga Caryacarya Part 2 Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 978-8172521530 
  7. ^ Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1996) Ánanda Váńii Saḿgraha Kolkata: Ananda Marga Publications .


Further reading

  • Ananda Marga Aa. Vv. (1973, 2nd ed.) Teaching asanas: An Ananda Marga manual for teacher Los Altos Hills: Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 0-88476-000-6 
  • Acarya Prasiidananda Avadhuta (1990) Neo-Humanist Ecology Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 971-8623-12-4 
  • Avadhūtika Ānanda Mitra Ācāryā (1986) Neo-humanist Education: Education for a New World Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 0-88476-007-3 
  • Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1995-6th ed.) Ananda Marga Caryacarya Part 1 Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 978-8172520281 
  • Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1987-4th ed.) Ananda Marga Caryacarya Part 2 Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 978-8172521530 
  • Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1992-4th ed.) Ananda Marga Caryacarya Part 3 Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 978-8172521547 
  • Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1961) Ánanda Sútram Jamalpur: Ananda Marga Pubs ISBN 978-8172520274 
  • Nandita, & Devadatta. (1971). Path of Bliss: Ananda Marga Yoga. Wichita, Kan: Ananda Marga Publishers.
  • Hatley, Shaman and Inayatullah, Sohail. (1999),"Karma Samnyasa: Sarkar’s reconceptualization of Indian ascetism”, in K. Ishwaran, ed., Ascetic culture: renunciation and worldly engagement (Leiden, Brill,Vol. 73, International Studies in Sociology and Social Anthropology),139-152
  • Inayatullah, Sohail. (2002) Understanding Sarkar: The Indian Episteme, Macrohistory and Transformative Knowledge. Leiden: Brill.
  • Tarak. (1990). Ananda Marga, social and spiritual practices. Calcutta: Ananda Marga Publications.
  • Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1988). Ananda Marga ideology and way of life in a nutshell. Calcutta: Ānanda Mārga Pracāraka Saṁgha.
  • Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan (1957-1968) Problems of the Day Jamalpur: Ananda Marga Pubs ISBN 81-7252-019-0 
  • Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan (Ac. Pranavananda Avt. Editor) (1961-2001) Idea and Ideology Kolkata: Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 81-7252-205-3 
  • Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan (1957 first ed. in Bengali, 1983 first ed. in English) Yogic Treatments and Natural Remedies Jamalpur/Calcutta: Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 978-8172520250 
  • Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan (1982) The Liberation of Intellect: Neohumanism Kolkata: Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 978-8172521684 
  • Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan (1987) Neohumanism in a Nutshell, vol. 1 Kolkata: Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 81-7252-184-7 
  • Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan (1987) Neohumanism in a Nutshell, vol. 2 Kolkata: Ananda Marga Publications ISBN 81-7252-184-7 

External links