Ananda Marga Yoga Society
Controversial Hindu religious group with branches in many
Western countries. It was founded in January 1955 in Railway
Quarters No. 339, Jamalpur, India, by Probhat Ranjam Sarkar
(b. 1921), a former railway accounts clerk and journalist known
by his religious name, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. Above and beyond
his yoga teachings, Sarkar also taught a political philosophy
known as ‘‘Prout’’ (progressive utilization theory), claiming
that capitalism makes men slaves and communism makes them
beasts; Prout offered a middle way of socialist autocracy. The
meditation and yoga materials are generally released under
Sarkar’s religious name, and his political writings under his
birth name, Phabhat Rainjan Sarkar. The two movements are
officially independent of each other, though informally they
are closely associated.
Initiates to Ananda Marga are instructed in the ‘‘path of
bliss’’ by a teacher (guru). Included in the instructions are the
traditional yogic disciplines of yama and niyama, the do’s and
don’ts of yoga. The disciple is admonished to abstain from violence,
falsehood, theft, incontinence, and acquisitiveness, and
to follow a path of purity, contentment, austerities, study, and
dedicated activity. They are told to meditate twice daily and
work toward bringing all to the path of perfection. Social service
is also emphasized.
Both Ananda Marga and the Proutist party developed
through the 1960s. In 1967 and 1969 the Proutists ran candidates
for office in India. Then in 1971 Sarkar was accused by
a former follower of conspiracy to murder, and he was arrested
and left in jail awaiting trail. In the meantime, Prime Minister
Indira Ghandi proclaimed a national emergency in 1975 and
banned Ananda Marga. Members of the organization were involved
in several violent incidents, some growing out of their
public protests of their leader’s imprisonment without a trial.
Brought to trial under the emergency, he was not allowed to
bring any witnesses in his behalf and was convicted. In 1978 he
was retried and found not guilty, and there was general agreement
that Sarkar was the victim of political persecution. Since
that time the movement has spread worldwide, and the era of
social conflict seems to have ended.
Ananda Marga was brought to the United States in September
1969 by Acharya Vimalananda. By 1973 there were more
than one hundred centers, three thousand members, and a
monthly periodical, Sadvipra. Ananda Marga was established in
Great Britain under the leadership of an American disciple
known as Acharya Bharadwaja. Branches teach meditation and
yoga allied with a program of popular social activities such as
food cooperatives, prison work, disaster relief, and projects
with migrant farm workers. The address of the main headquarters
is at Eastern Metropolitan By-Pass, V.I.P. Nagar, Tiljala,
Calcutta 700039, India. The U.S. headquarters are found at
97-38 42nd Ave., 1-F, Corona, New York 11368. There are also
British centers at 14 Hendrick Ave., London SW12 and 8 Ullet
Rd., Liverpool 8.
Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii. The Great Universe Discourses on
Society. Los Altos, Calif. Ananda Marga Publishers, 1971.
Sarkar, P. R. Ideas and Ideology. Calcutta Acarya Pranavananda
Avadhuta, 1978.
The Spiritual Philosophy of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. Denver
Ananda Marga Publications, 1981.

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