Ananda Marga, A Revolution?


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“Ananda Marga does not discriminate between a householder and a sannyasi (renunciant). The place of a chief or head of family in our Ananda Marga is more important than the place occupied by a Sannyasi, on the understanding that the head of the household does not depend on anyone for support, while the Sannyasi has to depend on others. A householder is like a strong tree that stands by itself, while the Sannyasi is like the vine that wraps around the tree for support. A householder, therefore, deserves more respect than a Sannyasi according to the trend of thought in Ananda Marga. This in itself is a revolutionary idea. No philosopher or thinker, either in the East or in the West, has dared to declare that a householder is worthy of more respect than a hermit or sannyasi. It takes the valor of a revolutionary to say this.”

This portion of “Ananda Marga: A Revolution” was eliminated by the acharyas (rotten oranges) after Anandamurti left his physical body in 1990. Here Anandamurti clearly expresses the importance of the householder and even more places it above the acharyas (monastics). Ever since it was published for the first time many Acaryas were bothered by it but of course dared not show their dissatisfaction with their guru. In 1991 that part of the discourse was removed and the books that still remained and had been published with the full discourse were burned on orders from the highest authorities of Ananda Marga Inc. in India. Nine years ago a dedicated scholar discovered that in the editions of 1991 onwards the above portion was not published. Here is a link to the collected works of Anandamurti, according to a DVD sold by Ananda Marga Publications in the 90’s. They want to sue me for sharing it now.

The following is the entire original discourse.

Ananda Marga: A Revolution

Ananda Marga is a revolution. It is not only a spiritual revolution but also an economic, social and mental revolution. The economic system, the social structure, the trend of thinking and the spiritual practices prescribed in our Ananda Marga are not only new but something quite different from the established ideas and practices in these spheres of life.

Ananda Marga is not a change merely due to the cycle of time but a revolution, a radical change – in the true sense. Never before in the entire history of this world or the universe, if it could be known to mortals, has a system of life fully embracing the economic, social, mental and spiritual spheres ever been correlated in such closely knit society as in Ananda Marga. In Ananda Marga, a sannyásii (renunciant) is as good a member of society as an ordinary family person earning his or her own living and maintaining his or her family.

If we examine each of these important spheres of life separately as depicted in our Ananda Marga we will see how they are radically different from all existing ideas. Ever since the beginning of this world the power to rule has been in the hands of one class or another. Long, long ago, when the world was only inhabited by animals, mere brute force determined the capacity of a group to rule. As an example, we find in the natural history of the world a period when enormous reptiles, the dinosaurs, ruled the world with the help of sheer weight and brute force. Rule of brute force did not end with the animals but continued even in the age of primitive human beings. Even after the advent of early civilization, kings and emperors depended on and ruled with the help of their physical strength. Every other quality on the earth was subordinate to physical strength. With the passage of time, as the mental faculties developed, physical force was replaced by mental capacity (the capacity of planning and forethought, etc.) as the essential requirement of ruling over others. With further economic development, money became important. Those in possession of money controlled the knowledge of the learned and the courage and strength of the brave. Hence the authority to rule passed on to the moneyed class – the capitalists. The capitalists could also not retain power for very long as their income depended on the workers. The toilers who lacked courage and strength, highly developed mental faculties and money, had thus far to depend on one of the above-mentioned three classes for their maintenance. The class of the physically strong (Kśatriyas) or the class of the mentally astute (Vipras) could do without the help of the workers and so as long as their rule lasted the toilers did not realize their importance; but the capitalists (Vaeshyas) could not produce their wealth without the help of the workers. The workers thus became an essential requirement of the rulers. The workers did not fail to realize this and consequently we find their attempts to rule manifested in the shape of the communist movement of the present age. A close study of this movement will show that it is not backed by individual physical strength or mental development, by reasoning, statesmanship or capital, but by the unity of workers, who have only one quality, the quality to work. This quality can be directed towards violence, for snatching away the capital and other attainments of the other classes. But whatever the workers’ drawbacks, the cycle of events shows that power is passing into their hands.

Similarly, if Ananda Marga only developed due to the cycle of events, the power to rule should accordingly be vested in one of the classes. When the workers or communists outlive their utility to rule, according to the ordinary cycle, power should pass to the brave or the statesmen, and Ananda Marga should also have aimed for this. In our Ananda Marga, however, this is not so. Ananda Marga does not follow any of the old patterns of economic life. The power to rule is not bestowed on any one class. In fact, in our Marga there are no separate classes. Our Marga has eradicated the age-old system of classifying human beings according to their trade or even capacity. The four classes who have ruled the world at one time or another are not of recent origin, but have been known ever since the beginning of humanity as Brahmins, Kśatriyas, Vaeshyas and Shúdras. These trade-wise classifications developed because certain individuals were more suited for a certain type of work. The classes so formed started the fight for power and for their own comforts and thus the system of one class rule came into existence. It would appear that the formation of trade-wise classes was a natural and logical development. If that were so, how then can Ananda Marga establish a classless society? Those who do not know Ananda Marga will come to the natural and obvious conclusion that one: Ananda Marga should not claim any achievement which is illogical and hence a classless society, which would be illogical, cannot be achieved by Ananda Marga; and two: that Ananda Marga is also like many of the other societies of idealists and moralists who aim at a classless society. But Ananda Marga’s attempt to establish a classless society is not confined only to those who are the preachers of the Marga or those who understand the philosophy of the Marga and appreciate the necessity of a classless society. This attempt is undertaken by every member of Ananda Marga, for every member practices a system of living which leads to a classless society.

The revolutionary character of our Marga is evident from the way it tackles one of the oldest vices of human beings, the vice of dividing themselves into classes for their own benefit. These artificial classes get a logical support by the fact that they have sprung up from the grouping together of persons of similar aptitude for better utilization of their capacity. For instance, the learned and the statesmen all combined together and formed the class of Brahmins. Similarly, the strong and the brave formed what is called the Kśatriyas. The Vaeshyas and the Shúdras were formed in a similar way. Ananda Marga’s approach is not to call these classes bad but to make all the members of Ananda Marga practice and develop the good qualities of them all. For instance, the developed mind required for a Brahmin is necessary for every member of Ananda Marga. Every person who joins Ananda Marga, whether of the Shúdra or Vaeshya or any other class, has to strive to develop and strengthen the mind. Everyone has to work for a strong and healthy body. Everyone has to work for a living. This has been given so much importance in our Marga that it has been declared that to work as a sweeper – the most menial of tasks – is far more respectable than to depend upon others for one’s daily needs. Not only earning money and having a balanced and dependable economic life is important. Even the lowest of the social classes, which people normally scorn, have been given equal importance. Every member of the Marga has to physically serve others. This is normally seen as the work of the so-called Shúdras, but followers of the Marga cannot develop completely unless they also do this efficiently. In short, all the characteristics of the four classes have to be mastered by each individual in our Marga. It is not only mastery of these characteristics which is necessary, but their regular practice is an essential duty of every member of Ananda Marga. Every individual thus becomes universally fit, and any person makes as good a Brahmin as a Shúdra. Thus no scope is left for some to leave others behind and form a special group. This classless society is not only aimed at in our Marga but is evolved by practice. This approach to change a society full of classes and sects, was never thought of before. The very class system which appeared as a logical development and evolution can be removed by an even more logical method, to form one classless society.

Ananda Marga is therefore not merely an organization of idealists or moralists who preach a classless society, but a method, a system or a dharma which leads to a classless society. It has not been formed as a result of cyclic changes in the economic sphere of the world like the evolution of communism, but is a radical change in all existing economic practices or theories conceived so far. It is a revolution in the economic sphere of the world’s life.

In the social sphere, too, both the means and the ends adopted in our Marga are revolutionary. This shows a change which had never been conceived of before, a change which is not a cyclic change due to the development of social habits of human beings. It is a change based on the fundamental characteristics of the human mind and hence it is a change which will last as long as the human mind lasts.

From time immemorial, human beings have been framing laws and rules to govern themselves so that the fundamental rights of each individual are secured and all the members of society can live peacefully. Such laws have been framed from time to time by the ruling class. On examining these laws it is evident that the ruling class framed them keeping their own interest as the uppermost consideration in their mind. For instance, in Manusmrti, the text of laws framed by Manu, it is stipulated that if a Bráhmin boy marries a Shúdra girl, he is punished by shaving his head and taking him around the town seated on the back of a donkey. The punishment of a Shúdra boy marrying a Bráhmin girl is death. The laws were accepted only as long as the Bráhmin supremacy remained, and were questioned the moment the Bráhmin supremacy was removed. After the Bráhmin supremacy, there have been numerous law-givers who have all framed laws and rules to suit their own convenience. Some have declared that allegiance to the king is the supreme duty of every member of society; others have placed the country or state above the sovereign; while others have considered their religion more important. There is no single common bond in any of the numerous societies to unite them. The laws for ensuring security are framed in such a way that equal security is not provided to all the members of the different strata of the society: there are differences between the Bráhmins and Shúdras or the white Americans and the black Americans. Such laws lacking a common bond cannot lead to the existence of a peaceful and everlasting society. Unfortunately all that the lawmakers have done so far is to frame laws which have caused immense social unrest.

The approach taken by Ananda Marga to tackle the problem of developing an everlasting society is revolutionary in itself. Those who are to build the society of Ananda Marga are not mere idealists and moralists. They are a group of classless, caste-less, practical people who not only preach and meditate on the principles of classlessness, but actually practice those principles so as to be fit to be a member of any of the classes of the world based on their individual capacity as members of humanity. With this background they are bound together by a common and foremost ideal. The ideal is everlasting and of equal importance for any class of people. The social laws of our Marga not only make no distinction between one person and another, but encourage both sexes to share equal responsibility in life. All social superstitions like widowhood, etc., are discarded. Not only are the superstitions discarded, but the fundamental principles of some of the existing laws of society, like allegiance to the laws of society and state, take second place. Of primary importance is one’s allegiance to Brahma (the Supreme Being). Harsh social punishment such as creating outcasts or placing restrictions on widows or women in general in participating in certain social functions do not find place in our society. Ananda Marga has formed a society which frames its laws on the basis of common ideals in order to develop the idea of the oneness of all humanity. This society is radically different from any existing society, for it provides a society with a common bond where there is no distinction between class or sex, where no one is declared an outcast or punished without being given the chance for self-reform, and where no laws are framed keeping in view the interest of only a few individuals. In such a society no one is weak or downtrodden and no one is allowed to be exploited by others. Such a society had been dreamed of and advocated earlier by moralists and idealists, but never before has such a system been achieved, as it has been within Ananda Marga, which combines all the qualities of the different economic classes of the world in one individual. Never has such a system been conceived of by any of the numerous thinkers and law-givers of the world.

If Ananda Marga is a revolution in the economic and social spheres, it is an even greater revolution in the mental and spiritual spheres. Philosophers and thinkers so far have all declared the visible world to be unreal as compared to themselves. Ananda Marga takes a radically different view. According to the philosophy of our Marga, the world is as real as human beings’ knowledge of their own existence. How far-reaching is the effect of this radical change in the trend of thought, is difficult to imagine at first. This approach not only gives the same importance to the world as to humanity, but makes the existence of the world essential too. The world, or any worldly activity, is just as good a manifestation of the Supreme Being as humanity itself. Hence Ananda Marga does not preach fleeing from the world, but makes it an essential requirement for every individual to remain in the world. The idea of giving the world equal importance to humanity is a revolutionary idea. Ananda Marga does not discriminate between a householder and a sannyasi (renunciate). The place of a chief or head of family in our Marga is more important than the place occupied by a Sannyasi, on the understanding that the head of household does not depend on anyone for support, while the Sannyasi has to depend on others.

A householder is like a strong tree that stands by itself, while the Sannyasi is like the vine that wraps around the tree for support. A householder, therefore, deserves more respect than a Sannyasi according to the trend of thought in Ananda Marga.

This in itself is a revolutionary idea. No philosopher or thinker, either in the East or in the West, he dared to declare that a householder is worthy of more respect than a hermit or sannyasi. It takes the valor of a revolutionary to say this.

All the religions of the world, whether present or past, have placed restrictions on who are entitled to perform spiritual practices. In the Hindu religion such restrictions are numerous; and in almost all other religions there are restrictions. Ananda Marga has no such restrictions. To learn those spiritual practices which have thus far been denied to family people, one need not become a sannyási. Ananda Marga places no restrictions on members of a particular class, caste or sex for learning spiritual practices. The removal of such restrictions is a revolution. Never before was it conceived that a person living with his or her family and earning a living could achieve the ultimate goal, but the revolution of Ananda Marga has made it possible.

Everything we see is a manifestation of the Supreme Being. Thus every action connected with it should be done with as much efficiency as the worship in any of the religions. Brahma is omnipresent – one need not go to the Himalayas to find Him. That whatever we do, see, hear or feel is Brahma, is a unique idea. Such a philosophy is a revolution and is radically different from the philosophy evolved by the great thinkers of the world so far.

Ananda Marga is radically different from all concepts of philosophy as well as economic and social thinking. It is not a change which has evolved as a result of the evolution of the human mind and its economic and social environments. It is a revolutionary concept of life altogether different from any of the present or past ideas. It is a change which is independent of the cyclic changes due to the passage of time. It does not practice anything which is not new both in approach and practice. It is a revolution which makes life a reality. It teaches adjustment to life, rather than giving up the world by leading a life of useless seclusion. It creates people who are fit for every walk of life, who do not make any distinction among their fellow beings, and who are joined together as one world community. In our Ananda Marga all humanity, nay, all living beings (jiiva matra tare) have combined together in every walk of life.

by William Enckhausen email: