Ananda Marga – A Revolution (Part 2)
In the social sphere, too, both the means and the end adopted in Ananda Marga are revolutionary. They show a change which had never been conceived of before – a change which is not a cyclic change due to the development of the 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.
Human beings, from time immemorial, 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, and every such law clearly shows that the ruling class has framed the laws keeping their own interests as the uppermost consideration in their minds. For instance, in the Manusmrti, the text of laws framed by Manu, it is stated that if a Brahman boy marries a Shúdra girl, he is to be punished by shaving his head and taking him around the town seated on the back of a donkey, while the punishment for a Shúdra boy marrying a Brahman girl is death. These laws were accepted only as long as Brahman supremacy remained, and started being questioned the moment Brahman supremacy was removed.
Since Brahman supremacy there have been numerous lawgivers, and all of them have framed laws and rules to suit their own convenience. Some have placed allegiance to the king as the supreme duty of every member of society, others have placed the country or the state above the sovereign, while others have considered their religion most important. There is no one common bond in any of the numerous societies to keep all of them together. The laws for ensuring security are framed so as to provide security of varying degrees to members of the different strata of society, such as the difference [in degree of security provided] between the Brahmans and the Shúdras or that between 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, so far all lawgivers have done this, and the resulting society has been full of unrest.
The approach to tackle the problem of developing an everlasting society is revolutionary itself. The persons who are to build the society of Ananda Marga are not mere idealists and moralists. They are a group of classless, casteless, practical persons who do not only preach and meditate on the principles of classlessness, but actually practise them so as to be fit to be a member of any of the classes of the world, based on the individual capacities of human beings. With this background, they are bound together by the common bond of accepting Brahma [the Supreme Entity] as their common and foremost ideal. The ideal is everlasting, and equally important for any class of persons.
The social laws of the Marga do not only make no distinction between one person and another, but ensure that both sexes have to share equal responsibility in life. All social superstitions, such as discrimination against widows, etc., are discarded. Not only are these superstitions discarded, but the fundamental principles of some of the existing laws of society, such as allegiance to the laws of society and state, take only second place, that is, after allegiance to Brahma. Capital punishment,(1) such as outcasting, or restricting widows or women in general from taking part in certain social functions, do not find any place in our society.
Ananda Marga forms a society in which laws have been framed always keeping in view the common ideal, and thereby developing 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, whether of class or sex, where no one can be outcast or punished so that one may not be incapable of reforming oneself, and where no laws are framed keeping in view the interest of a few individuals only. In such a society, no one would be weak or downtrodden, and no one would allow oneself to be exploited by others. Such a society had been dreamt of and spoken of earlier by moralists and idealists, but never before has a practical approach to achieve it – as has been discovered by Ananda Marga by producing people who combine all the qualities of the different economic classes of the world in one individual – been conceived of by any of the numerous thinkers or lawgivers of the world.
All [Indian] philosophers and thinkers so far have declared the visible world to be unreal when compared to themselves. Ananda Marga takes a radically different view. According to the philosophy of the Marga, the world is as real as one’s knowledge of one’s own existence. At first it is difficult to imagine how far-reaching the effects of this radical change in the trend of thought can be. This approach not only gives the world the importance of human beings, but also makes the existence of the world essential. The world, or any worldly activity, is just as good a manifestation of the Supreme Being as human beings themselves. Hence Ananda Marga does not preach running away from the world, but makes it an essential requirement for every individual to be in the world. The idea of giving the world equal importance is a revolutionary idea.
All the religions of the world, whether present or past, have placed restrictions on the persons who are entitled to spiritual practices. In the Hindu religion also such restrictions are numerous. In almost all other religions there are restrictions as well. Ananda Marga has no such restrictions.
There is no need for a person to be a sannyásii to learn spiritual practices which so far had never been taught to family people. Ananda Marga places no restrictions on the members of a particular class, caste or sex for learning spiritual practices. The removal of such restrictions is a revolution. Never before had it been conceived that a family 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, and so every work connected with It should be done with as much efficiency as the worship in other religions. Brahma is omnipresent, and one need not go to the Himalayas to find Him. The idea 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 philosophies evolved by the great thinkers of the world so far.
Ananda Marga is radically different from all concepts of philosophy, economics or 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 resulting from the passage of time. It does not preach or practise anything which is not new in both approach and practice. It is a revolution which makes life a reality and teaches adjustment in life, rather than giving up the world and leading a useless, secluded life. It prepares human beings who are fit for every walk of life, who do not make any distinction among their fellow beings, and who are joined together as a complete, big one. In Ananda Marga all humanity, nay, all living beings, jiiva mátra, combine together in every walk of life as they sing:
[Let us move together, let us radiate the same thought-wave, let
us come to know our minds together,
Let us share our wealth without differentiation, like sages of the
past, so that all may enjoy the universe.
Let our aspirations be united, let our hearts be inseparable,
Let our minds be as one mind, so that we live in harmony and
become one with the Supreme.]
–P.R. Sarkar (aka. Shrii Shrii Anandamurtii)
(1) Here capital punishment means both social ostracism and punishment by death. –Eds.
A Few Problems Solved Part 7
Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 3 [a compilation]
Prout in a Nutshell Volume 1 Part 2 [a compilation]