Ananda Marga

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Ananda Marga Mean?

Ananda Marga is a socio-spiritual organization which was founded in India in 1955 by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, a yogi and philosopher. The name is also used to refer to the lifestyle advocated by Sarkar, which recommends service as a way to ensure both personal development and the positive transformation of society.

Ananda Marga describe their mission as both self-realization and service to humanity. They value the fulfilment of the spiritual, mental and physical needs of all of society. They run non-commercial meditation centers and humanitarian projects around the world.


Yogapedia Explains Ananda Marga

The full name of Ananda Marga is Ánanda Márga Pracáraka Saḿgha which can be translated into English as "the organization to propagate the path of bliss."

The foundation of the practical philosophy of Ananda Marga is Tantra yoga, with meditation as the main spiritual practice. The teachings of Ananda Marga center on “Sixteen Points” — a set of rules that guide the social and spiritual actions of its members. These principles are explained in a Sanskrit text written in 1961, "Ananda Sutram." Ananda Marga encourages the practice of yoga asana, mudras and pranayama, as well as two specific yogic dances that prepare the mind for meditation. They eat a lacto-vegetarian diet and may use fasting as a spiritual practice.

The organization came into conflict with the Indian government when acharyas of Ananda Marga accused the government of corruption. Their popularity in India in the 1960s also created tension with the Communist Party in West Bengal and in 1967 their headquarters were attacked. In 1982, in an incident known as the Bijon Setu Massacre, 16 monks and a nun belonging to Ananda Marga were killed and burned to death. No arrests were ever made.

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