What Is Ananda Marga?

The aim of Ananda Marga ("the Path of Bliss") is to help individuals achieve complete self-realisation and to build a social structure in which the physical, mental and spiritual needs of all people can be fulfilled.

AMURT water project in Ghana

Today, Ananda Marga is a multi-faceted organisation with different branches dedicated to the upliftment of humanity through education, relief, welfare, the arts, ecology, intellectual renaissance, women's emancipation, and humanistic economy. (These are external links and will open in a new window).

The Ananda Marga Mission took seed in the town of Jamulpur, in the state of Bihar, Northern India where P.R. Sarkar (also known as Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, or more simply as "Baba") organised the first chapter of the organisation. His philosophy was one of universalism, based on the notion that all created beings are part of one universal Cosmic family, in which all are equal. He strongly rejected all dogmas, superstitions, and conventions - such as the caste system. Instead he taught spiritual practices for self-development and urged the aspirants to take a strong stand against discrimination, exploitation and corruption. The motto "Self-realisation and Service to Humanity" became the guiding ideal for thousands of people who were attracted to the universal vision of Ananda Marga.

A child during "quiet time" at an Ananda Marga school

In 1962, P.R. Sarkar initiated the first monk of Ananda Marga. The creation of an order of nuns followed in 1966. In 1963, Sarkar expanded the organisation with the Education, Relief, and Welfare Section (ERAWS) and opened the first Ananda Marga Schools. In the sixties, as Ananda Marga spread all over India, the scope of Ananda Marga's social service grew to include schools, children's homes, medical clinics, feeding programmes and disaster relief teams. AMURT (Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team), one of the few non-governmental relief and voluntary organisations of Third World origin, was started in 1965, and officially established in 1970. It has continuously participated in emergency relief programmes during natural and man-made disasters.

Though P.R. Sakar passed away in 1990, Ananda Marga has continued to grow. Today it is an international organisation, running thousands of Neo-humanistic schools, yoga meditation centers, children's homes, medical units, food distribution centers and master units (rural development cooperative communities) in over 160 countries worldwide. Emphasis is placed on solving the problems of the local community, whatever they may be, and assisting them in managing their personal and social resources for the welfare of all.

One of the most prominent amongst Ananda Marga's development projects is the rural development programme in Purulia, West Bengal known as Ananda Nagar ("City of Bliss"). A comprehensive and integrated approach to solving the area's problems has given hope to the inhabitants of this area, which has been one of the poorest in India. Ecology, culture, education, economic and social development have all been addressed. Following the same approach, whilst adapting to the local circumstances, hundreds of master units have been started in different parts of India and all over the world. These communities provide an alternative lifestyle to urban congestion, promoting rural development not only in terms of agriculture but also culturally, educationally and spiritually. Ananda Marga is now a leading global agency for social development and Neo-Humanistic education and is pioneering projects throughout the world.

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