Sarkar, Probhat Ranjan (1923-1990)

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Sarkar, Probhat Ranjan (1923-1990)

Known primarily under his religious name, Shrii Anandamurti, the founder of the Hindu religious community, the Ananda Marga Yoga Society. Sarkar was born in 1923 in Jamalpur, India. His father died when he was still a youth, and he went to work for the railroad in order to provide for his family. In 1955, however, he announced to his fellow employees that he had attained enlightenment and was leaving his secular occupation to found a spiritual movement that he termed the path (marga ) of bliss (ananda ). The movement expanded rapidly.

Ananda Marga was envisioned as a fully integrated social-spiritual movement and members were expected to practice yoga (a form of tantric yoga) and to engage in social work. The group founded over 400 schools and 250 children's homes.

In 1958, under his given name, Sarkar launched Renaissance Universal, an organization designed to propagate his social ideals, which he presented as the Progressive Utilization Theory (Prout). Prout was offered as a political alternative to both the communists and the philosophy of the then Indian government. The Indian government became a particular target because of its perceived corruption, and in 1967 and 1969, Anandamurti's followers ran candidates. Indira Ghandi retaliated by issuing orders against any government employee joining Ananda Marga. Then in 1971 Anandamurti was arrested, ostensibly for giving orders to members to kill some former members. He was still in jail when Ghandi issued the Emergency Rule in 1975, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment in November 1976. Ananda Marga was banned, many of its members arrested, and its assets seized.

Finally, in August 1978, after the fall of the Ghandi government, Anandamurti's case was reviewed, the fictitious nature of the charges against him ascertained, and he was released. In the meantime his movement had spread around the world. He died in October 1990.


Anandamurti, Shrii [P.R. Sarkar]. The Spiritual Philosophy of Shrii Anandamurti. Denver, Colo.: Ananda Marga Publications, 1981.

Sarkar, P. R. Idea and Ideology. Calcutta, India: Ananda Marga Pracaraka Research, 1967.

Tadblavananda, Avadhuta Archrya. Glimpses of Prout Philosophy. Copenhagen, Denmark: Central Proutish Publications, 1981.