In the view of Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar the two lifestyles, householder and renunciate, are equally dignified. Neither is inherently more elevated spiritually; rather, spiritual elevation depends entirely upon sincerity of spiritual practice. However, Sarkar notes that the lifestyle of the householder is somewhat more difficult than the lifestyle of the renunciate. Renunciates are obliged to serve only one family, the universal family. Householders, on the other hand, must balance the obligation of service to their small family with the obligation of service to their larger (universal) family.
Classification of Ananda Marga renunciates
Ananda Marga renunciates are whole-time missionary workers, typically acaryas. Junior renunciates are known as brahmacariis and brahmacariniis for males and females respectively. Senior renunciates are known as avadhutas and avadhutikas for males and females respectively. The junior renunciates are considered to be avadhuta/avadhutika trainees and, as such, are expected to follow all of the avadhuta/avadhutika conduct rules very strictly.
After a training period of not less than a year, junior renunciates are evaluated as to whether they are fit for becoming avadhuta/avadhutika. If deemed fit, the brahmacarii/brahmacarinii receives initiation into kapalika sadhana. Thereafter, s/he takes the oath of avadhuta/avadhutika and is given a new name. For avadhutas, the new name ends with ananda. For avadhutikas, the new name begins with ananda.
Uniform of Ananda Marga renunciates
The uniform of brahmacariis and brahmacariniis is an orange gown and orange sash with white trousers (for brahmacariis) or white saree (for brahmacariniis). The headgear is an orange turban (for brahmacariis) or an orange wimple (for brahmacariniis). The orange color symbolizes sacrifice. The white color symbolizes purity.
In the case of avadhutas and avadhutikas, the dress is entirely orange. For avadhutas, instead of trousers, a lungi is worn. Additionally, when in formal attire, avadhutas wear a dagger slung over the shoulder and tucked into the sash. They also carry a danda (lathi). Avadhutikas carry a trishula (trident). The dagger signifies discrimination. The lathi signifies simplicity or straightforwardness. The trishula combines these two concepts.
History of Ananda Marga renunciates
Sarkar founded his order of renunciates in 1962. Prior to that time, all of the acaryas of Ananda Marga were deemed to be householders (or potential householders). Since 1962, Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha has had and continues to create both householder and renunciate acaryas.
From 1962 until his death in 1990, Sarkar personally imparted all initiations of men into kapalika sadhana, required for becoming avadhuta. (Initiation of women into kapalika sadhana was carrried out by the Central Women's Welfare Secretary, Avadhutika Ananda Bharati, or her representative.) After 1990, the duty of initiation into kapalika sadhana has been assumed by the Avadhuta Board and is carried out under the board's direction.