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A Brief Biography of Shri Anandamurti or Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar

by Yogi Dada Dharmavedananda

From "Travels with the Mystic Master" - True Tales of a Tantra

[P. 16 to 23]

Shri Anandamurtiji was born in Jamalpur, Bihar at dawn on the full-moon

day in the Vaishakh (May) in 1921, the same day that Buddha was born
about 2500 years earlier. Because the sun was rising at the moment of his
birth, the baby was named Arun, which means “crimson dawn”. Later his
name was changed to Prabhat Ranjan, meaning “that which colours the
dawn.” His full name was Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. Some days after the
baby's birth, a ceremony was performed
at which many of the family members
were present. A cotton wick was dipped
into a silver pot of milk and then held
over the baby's mouth so that the milk
could drip in. At that moment, however,
Arun lurched forward, grabbed the wick
and started to drink from it directly.
Everyone was shocked, especially the
grandmother who exclaimed, “He is not
a baby, rather he is a grown-up boy! he
is Burho!” From that moment, Burho, which means “the ancient one,”
became his nickname. Later on it was shortened to Bubu. Many years
later, when Baba was asked about this incident, he said it was at that time
that he realized it would be better for him to act like a normal child.
When he was only an infant, he narrated strange experiences to his
mother, telling her how all the animals of the universe would enter in one
of his ears, and go out the other. Many of the descriptions fit animals
which he had never seen or which were extinct. He also narrated how all
the planets and galaxies were floating through him. His family members
all remember seeing Prabhat Ranjan, even from a very young age,
frequently sitting on his bed in the middle of the night performing
meditation. When he was five years old, Prabhat Ranjan accompanied his
parents to a Shiva temple. In the presence of the temple priest, the child
gracefully recited a lengthy Sanskrit hymn to Shiva with perfect accent
and intonation. The priest was shocked. How could a small, uneducated
boy without any prior exposure to Sanskrit perform such a feat? His
parents were also awe-struck by their own child. When admitted to the
Jamalpur primary school, Prabhat Ranjan caught everyone's interest by his
astonishing memory and grasp of countless scientific phenomena and
geographic facts that were obviously beyond the capacity of a human
mind, what to speak of a child's mind. He also surprised many people by
his daily habit of visiting the old unkempt Kali Hill Temple, a thoroughly
frightening place which everyone else avoided. When asked why he went
there, the child replied, I go there to think.” One day while walking home
from school, he came upon a group of other students standing on the
road. A large bull was blocking the path of the children, and they were
afraid to push it aside. Prabhat Ranjan stepped forward and held his palm
in front of the bull's forehead; immediately the bull sat down. During every
vacation period Prabhat Ranjan was sent to the family's peaceful ancestral
home at Bamunpara in Burdwan, West Bengal. Because he spent much of
his time lying in bed, his sister one day complained that he was a lazy
boy, neither studying nor playing like other children. She said she believed
he did not even know how to write his name. He asked her to bring a pen
and paper. Then he wrote his name in five scripts: Bengali, Arabic, Roman,
Devanagrii and Tamil. From that moment she stopped pestering him.
Many years later Baba mentioned that at the age of seven, while spending
long hours lying in his bed in Bamunpara, he chalked out his blueprint for
the future Ananda Marga.
This habit of remaining lengthy periods in his bed changed apparently
when he finished his plan. From that point on, Prabhat Ranjan became a
student leader. During classes he sat very still, listening carefully, and
absorbing every detail. But once out of class he would change completely.
He loved gymnastics, swimming, wrestling, football, track and field events
and other sports. He also enjoyed playing the flute, and writing poetry and
short-stories. Eventually he composed articles concerned with public
welfare which he published in commercial magazines. His father died at
the age of forty-five, and the family was beset by financial hardship.
Nevertheless, his mother made the necessary sacrifices so that Prabhat
Ranjan could attend college. In 1939 her son was admitted to the faculty
of science in Vidyasagar College in Calcutta where he developed a
reputation for assisting students troubled by poverty. He took private
tutoring jobs in order to help others. Students also flocked to him for help
in their studies - even senior students. He also began attracting many
people with his unusual talents - palm reading, fortune-telling, and
manifesting various supra-psychic phenomena. Every evening he used to
walk along the bank of the Ganges River, where he would also sit for
meditation. Throughout his life, he never had any spiritual teacher or
guru. One night, however, he began his own work as a guru. It was a full-
moon night, and he was meditating in a cremation ground on the bank of
the Ganges. Suddenly he heard a rough voice demanding, “Give me your
money, or I'll kill you immediately!” He turned and found Himself facing a
tall robust criminal. Unafraid, he said, “Kalicharan, I promise to give you
all the money I have. But first tell me whether you rob people out of
necessity or out of habit.” The dreaded thief was electrified by the
composure of the slight lad, and amazed that he had been addressed by
name. In a flash he understood the youth was a saint. Kalicharan said, “All
my life I wanted to be a good person, but was never given the chance.”
Moments later he entered the river to purify himself of his sins, then sat
before Prabhat Ranjan and said, “Khoka, teach me as you want.” Khoka
means little boy. Prabhat Ranjan corrected him. “Call me Baba.” Then he
initiated Kalicharan, who, while doing meditation, entered the super-
consciousness state. Afterward, Baba compelled a weeping Kalicharan to
accept the few coins he had in his pocket. From that day, the rectified
thief became a great spiritualist and his name was changed to
During his time in Calcutta, Baba stayed at the house of his maternal
uncle, Sarat Chandra Basu. Sarat Chandra's cousin was the famous social
activist Subhash Chandra Bose. Though the name of Subhash Chandra
Bose is not so familiar throughout the non-Indian world, in India his
memory is commonly given equal or greater respect than that of
Mahatma Gandhi. These two figures were the greatest leaders of the
movement to gain independence from England. Another renowned
personality with whom Baba had a close relationship was the
revolutionary sociologist M.N. Roy. Over a period of several years, both
Subhash Chandra Bose and M.N. Roy frequently visited Baba to imbibe
sociological concepts and solutions from him. Subhash Chandra also
benefited from Baba's knowledge of Tantra. After completing his
intermediate studies in science in 1941, the dire financial condition of the
family forced Baba to give up his further studies. He returned home and
joined the accounts department of the railway workshop in Jamalpur. At
that time Jamalpur was home to the biggest such workshop in all of Asia,
with thousands of employees. Two years later, during the second World
War, he entered the Territorial Army. After completing his military service,
Baba returned to the railway workshop, and continued working there for
more than twenty years. He was esteemed by the staff for his perfect
efficiency and loving nature. Moreover, he became renowned as a palmist
and fortune-teller. Many people came to him to find out the whereabouts
of their lost children and articles, and also to be healed from chronic or
incurable ailments. One day, while India was still a British colony, Prabhat
Ranjan was approached by an English gentleman who told him that his
wife was suffering in a London hospital. She had sent a telegram saying
that the doctors found it difficult to diagnose the disease, but had decided
to remove one of her kidneys. The man was depressed because he could
not go to England to comfort his wife due to the war. Baba closed his
eyes, then told him to send a cable requesting the doctors to make
another medical check-up. Baba said, “Do not worry. A simple operation
will suffice. Your wife will be cured and soon return to you.” After a few
days, news came that his wife was healed and on her way to India. When
she arrived, Baba was invited to their house. When he entered, the wife
was astonished. She took her husband into the side room and asked,
“Who is this gentleman?” The husband said, “It is Shri Prabhat
Ranjan Sarkar, my sole friend when I was in distress about your illness.”
She became panicky and replied, “It is impossible, because he is the same
Indian doctor who prevailed on the other doctors not to remove my kidney
but to prefer a minor operation! When the operation was performed, he
remained all the time next to me, keeping his hand on my head. It made
me feel completely calm.” The husband was stunned. Baba, however,
evaded their questions, and quickly left the house.
In those days, Baba kept a special mirror in his bedroom. Occasionally
when people expressed anxiety to him about their far-away relatives, he
would allow them to look into the mirror and see their relative. From this
experience they derived great relief. Each time that he did this, however,
he became sick for some time. A woman was once desperately weeping
about the fact that she had been unable to meet her mother just before
the old lady's death. Baba showed her the mirror in which she saw her
mother calmly sitting in a row boat on a lake. The woman was very
satisfied. After this he became very sick and remained so for one month.
During that time, Baba's mother came in the room and broke the mirror.
Until 1954, Baba led a life of spiritual camouflage. He initiated a large
number of people without letting one another know that they were the
disciples of one and the same guru. Most of his co-workers and even his
family did not know about his spiritual work. On November 7th, 1954, he
called his disciples together for the first time and delivered his first
spiritual address. On January 9th, 1955, Ananda Marga Pracharaka Sangha
was formally founded. He explained that the organization aimed at a two-
fold ideal: liberation of self, and service to the world. Then, for the first
time in a collective meeting, Baba gave his now-famous special gesture of
blessing. Everyone in the congregation entered into various states of
spiritual awakening. In the late 1950's Baba married, and a few years
later, a baby boy was born. Thus Baba demonstrated that a family was no
impediment to a life of supreme dedication. From 1955 Baba began
training spiritual teaches or acharyas and empowering them to teach the
meditation lessons. In the first years, all of these men and women were
well-educated, respected family people. They eventually numbered
several hundred. In these first years of Ananda Marga, Baba also wrote
much of the basic spiritual and social philosophy. He saturated his
disciples in blissful experiences,
and gave almost no guidance regarding any social work except for the
propagation of spiritual and yoga practices. Baba frequently demonstrated
extraordinary psycho-spiritual phenomena. He induced different states of
super-consciousness in his disciples, caused individuals to die and then
brought them back to life, and created special circumstances in which
they would hear the divine sounds. This purely spiritual phase ended in
1962 when Baba began the order of monks and nuns. The speed of
Ananda Marga's growth accelerated greatly, and began to spread
throughout India. Though his demonstrations continued, Baba now began
organizing massive social service programs. In 1963, the Education, Relief
and Welfare Section was started. Workers and Margis (members of
Ananda Marga) threw themselves into opening schools and welfare
homes, and into catastrophe relief work. Yet it was only at the end of
1966, when the organization had grown to immense proportions, that
Baba agreed to give up his job at the railway office. By maintaining his
employment throughout the foundation years of the organization, he
demonstrated that busy family people are capable of both spiritual
achievement and service to society. He accepted his workers' request to
give up his job only when they promised to keep up with his speed. He
told them their activities would increase ten times. Baba moved to Ananda
Nagar, our global master unit, located in an impoverished tribal area. The
organization's speed became something unimaginable. Throughout the
same period, the public was exposed to Baba's socio-economic concept
called Progressive Utilization Theory (or PROUT), which he had first given
in 1959. Because of Prout's intrinsic threat to vested interests, opposition
to Ananda Marga developed among corrupt politicians and other shady
public figures. That opposition began expressing itself in a sinister way in
1967 when an attack was organized against Ananda Nagar by members of
the Communist Party(Marxist). Five monks were murdered. Several
politicians and hoodlums were eventually arrested and convicted for the
murders. Other serious incidents occurred over the following years,
including one more murder by the Communists in 1969. #2
It should be understood that the Communists were, even then, a major political force in India.
Today they hold the power in West Bengal, the state in which Ananda Nagar and Calcutta are
both located. Our central office is in Calcutta.
By that time, Ananda Marga's influence had grown considerably. Half the police
commissioners of Bihar state were Margis as well as many other public officials. Margis
gained a reputation as scrupulously honest people who refused to accept bribes or in any way
compromise their morality. Baba had always spoken out against all forms of corruption, and
Margis in public positions began exposing the corruption rampant in the administration at
that time. In 1969, in light of these developments, the federal government passed a ban order,
forbidding civil servants and other government employees from joining Ananda Marga. The
order claimed that Ananda Marga was actually a political organization. Ananda Marga then
filed a challenge in the Supreme Court and won the case, causing the ban to be withdrawn.
Desperate to stop Ananda Marga, the government, in complicity with the Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI), resorted to drastic measures. They concocted murder conspiracy charges
against Baba, and he was arrested in December 1971. The victims' bodies were mutilated and
unidentifiable. Though there was no solid evidence, the case dragged on for nearly seven
years, while Baba tolerated difficult jail conditions. In 1973, when it appeared we might soon
win the case, Baba suffered an attempt to kill him by poison. He lost his eyesight and
underwent intense pain for many days. When the government refused to investigate the
poisoning, Baba began a protest fast consuming liquids only - which he continued for more
than five years. He stopped the fast when he was proven innocent, honourably acquitted and
released from jail in August 1978.During the time of his fasting, several Members of
Parliament came to visit Baba. This was one of the few known times when he permitted on-
Margis to meet and talk to Him. Normally it was always his policy to remain inaccessible to
the general public. The visiting officials begged Baba to break his fast, arguing that his life
was vital for the success of his mission. But Baba replied, “My ideas are more precious than
my life.” On the other hand, when he was later asked how it was possible that he sustained
his body despite prolonged fasting, he answered, "There is nothing unnatural about it. The
only difference is that while other people take energy assimilated in their edibles, I have to
derive energy directly from sunlight.” Before Baba was imprisoned, Ananda Marga was
active in only five countries. By the time he came out, it had spread to eighty, and had
become the world's largest traditional yoga movement. As Tantric principles would suggest,
the struggles undergone by the workers and Margis had only helped in strengthening them.
Such difficulties, however, were far from finished. On May 1st, 1982,seventeen Dadas and
Didis were killed in a barbarous manner by the Communists in Calcutta. Later, Dada
Ajitananda was beaten to death in Siliguri jail because he refused to support a false case filed
by the Communists. In 1981 Baba conducted an extraordinary three-month program in which
he used his subtle perception to analyze the conduct and health of thousands of Margis, one
by one. It was a unique activity never before done by any spiritual master. This was the only
time in Baba's life that he clearly exposed his occult power to such a large number of people
over many days continuously. From 1985 a massive development program of Ananda Nagar
was undertaken. More than one hundred small and large buildings we reconstructed, farms
were started, various development training programs for the neighbouring villagers were
begun, ecological energy systems were established, women's welfare activities were
undertaken, agricultural research stations were created, and the network of roads and rivers
was greatly expanded. A hospital was built, which now serves hundreds of people every
week. The kindergarten, primary school, high school and university have a total enrolment of
over one thousand students, many of whom live in hostels and children's homes. There is a
bakery and several different kinds of small industries. The Communists, intimidated by such
progressive activities in the center of a belt of poor, illiterate tribal people, began striking
directly at Ananda Nagar. Almost every day thugs attempted to destroy buildings or crops, or
to attack our workers. Ananda Marga's leading agricultural scientist, Dada Asiimananda, was
murdered along with four other workers. Later, one worker was killed and four Margis
severely injured when they were trying to protest police mistreatment of a number of
overseas Margis. All of these disturbances continued until October 21st, 1990, the day that
Baba left his physical body. After that the attacks greatly diminished. Baba left behind a vast
legacy. He wrote over 200 books on diverse subjects. An incomplete list of those subjects

--Spiritual Philosophy And Practice, Yoga And Tantra
--Psychic Development
--The Cycle Of Creation And Reincarnation
--Social Philosophy, Norms, Ceremonies And Systems
--Bengali Dictionary Of Over 6000 Difficult Words, With Derivations
--Bengali Encyclopaedia Of Over 6000 Pages
--English, Sanskrit And Bengali Grammar Books
--Language, Script And Philology
--Microvita (Most Minuscule And Mysterious Life Form)
--Neo-Humanism (Overcoming Dogma, Creating Universalism By Devotion)
--Health Habits And Medical Treatment
--Justice And Women's Rights
--The Judicial System And Criminality
--Culture, Literature And Fine Arts
--Industrial Policy, Cooperatives And Commerce
--Ecology, Population Growth And Decentralization
--Politics, Government, Democracy, Communism And Progressive Socialism
--History And Civilization: Socially, Economically, Culturally And Spiritually
--Analysis Of Spiritual Scriptures And Mythological Writings
Analysis Of Major Religious Schools And Historically-Related Figures
--Bio-Psychology, Glands And Anatomy
--The Social Roles Of The Major Professions
--Short Stories
--Children's Stories
In addition to these writings, Baba composed 5018 songs in eightlanguages, collectively
called Prabhat Sangeet. The songs were written during the last eight years of His life.