Tantra philosophy of Ananda Marga Written by Chien Hui Liu, Ph.D.

student, California Institute of Integral Studies

Introduction Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha (AMPS) is a spiritual social organization founded by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, also known by his spiritual name, Shri Shri Anandamurti, in Jamalpur, Bihar, India in 1955. Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar was an Indian philosopher, author, social revolutionary, poet, composer and linguist1. The spiritual practice of Ananda Marga is rooted in the intuitional science of Tantra and Yoga. In this paper, I will present the spiritual philosophy of Ananda Marga on selected topics in Tantra, Nirguńa and Saguńa Brahma, Taraka Brahma, Shiva and Shakti, Jiva and Parama Purusa, Concept of Atman, Brahma Cakra, and Paiṋcamakára from Shri Shri Anandamurti‘s discourses with some comparisons to other schools of thought.

Tantra in brief As noted in the contemporary scholar works, there have been existing controversies and disputations on the subject matter of Tantra regarding its history, origination, definitions, and practices. It is difficult to find a unified interpretation that fits for various sects under the name of Tantra. In this paper, I am going to present Tantra from Shri Shri Anandamurti‘s point of view specifically. There are differences regarding the history of Tantra as it is presented in the scholarly work today from that described by Anandamurti from his intuitional knowledge (one is able to access infinite knowledge of the Cosmos whether worldly or subtle when one merges his/her mind with the Cosmic mind). I will give a brief

Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananda_Marga (accessed on April 20, 2011) 1

history of Tantra from Anandamurti‘s view here. It is not possible to talk about history of Tantra without Shiva. Shiva came to earth about 7000 years ago. It was a turbulent era for India. The Aryans started entering India, bringing the Vedic tradition mixing with the Tantra-oriented culture of the indigenous people. Tantra is indigenous to India, and existed before Shiva‘s time, but in a scattered form. The Káshmiirii and Gaod́ iiya Schools of Tantra existed before Shiva‘s time as classical Tantra. Shiva was the one who gave a systematic form to Tantra and propounded both the crude and subtle form of practices to bring human being onto the path of spiritual evolution.2[This part of the tale would disputed widely from both emic and etic (here, scholarly) viewpoints, as Shiva is generally seen as eternal and, though he takes different forms, is not thought of in historical terms.] There are several reasons contributing to lack of Tantric texts in the present age. Firstly, in ancient times, people did not have knowledge of the alphabet and were not able to put the teachings into a written form as Vedic texts.{But the mantras of the Vedas were forbidden to be written and were passed down only orally until the 14th century CE.] Additionally, Tantra emphasizes practice, and Shiva did not like the teachings to be put in a written form. Lastly, throughout time, due to lack of proper preceptor- disciple structure, the teachings gradually got lost3. Both the Vidya and Avidya practices have been forgotten by people with the passage of time. Anandamurti suggests the spiritual aspirant move on the path of jiṋána, karma, and bhakti in the present age4. Now let us look at the meanings of Tantra from Anandamurti. There are two meanings given to the word Tantra. According to Anandamurti, the first meaning of

2 3

―An introduction to Shiva‖ in Discourses on Tantra Volume one ―Tantra and Indo-Aryan Civilization‖ in Discourses on Tantra Volume one 4 ― Vidya and Avidya Tantra‖ in Discourses on Tantra Volume two 2

Tantra from scripture is – Taḿ jád́ yát tárayet yastu sah tantrah parikiirttitah 「Tantra is that which liberates a person from the bondages of staticity.‖」 Here, Taḿ is the acoustic root of staticity. The root verb trae + d́ a = tra. Tra means ―that which liberates.‖ Therefore, the first meaning of Tantra is that which liberates one from bondages of inertness. Another meaning of Tantra is ―the practical science that leads one to expansion and attains liberation.‖ The Sanskrit root verb tan means ―to expand.‖ Therefore, the definition of Tantra here is a spiritual science that liberates one from bondages of animalistic tendencies and expands the unit consciousness into the Cosmic consciousness5. [Both explanations are good Sanskrit and well-known or easily recognized formulations] Furthermore, there are many characteristics that distinguish Tantra from other spiritual practices. I will present two main points here. First, the main characteristic of Tantra is that it represents vigor, the fighting spirit. This is a fight that occurs both internally and externally. There are two aspects to the fight within a person. The subtle fight is the rising of kulakuńd́ alinii through different chakras and finally reaches its final destination- Parama Purusa. The crude form of the fight is shattering the bondages of anger, suspicion, fear, shyness, etc. - to overcome one‘s mental weakness. These two fights must happen simultaneously within a person for spiritual advancement and growth. The external fight is the courageous spirit fighting against injustice or evil to establish righteousness and peace for the welfare of living being without compromise. It is a fight for ideology, and not fight for the sack of fight. The underlying intention is love, not hatred. It is important to note that it does not support violence or war here. [The ―fighting‖ aspect is original


―Tantra and sadhana‖ in Discourses on Tantra Volume two 3

to Anandamurtiji, but certainly a reasonable modern interpretation] Moreover, the second characteristic is the practical essence of Tantra. There are two main parts within Tantra – nigama and a’gama: Nigama is the theoretical, and a’gama is the practical. [This neat, but there are numerous differing interpretations of the two words nigama and agama.] Tantra is based on practice rather than philosophy. According to Anandamurti, ninety percent of the intuitional science is practical, and only a very small portion is theoretical in Tantra. Sadhana is the intuitional science that has been given the most significant role in the practice of Tantra6. The essence of sadhana is a ceaseless effort moving towards liberation. Here, Anandamurti gives the meaning of Tantra is a broad term, ―Every sádhaná that aims at the attainment of the Supreme, irrespective of its religious affiliation, is definitely Tantra; for Tantra is not a religion, Tantra is simply the science of sádhaná...7‖ [This is a very spacious definition of Tantra. It covers a lot and takes in many paths that may not like being

called Tantra. On the other hand, philosophically I can see how your teacher might reach this conclusion] In conclusion, Tantra in Ananda Marga is based on practical intuitional science that helps one to expand on physical, psychic and spiritual level. It believes that the divinity is within the innermost core of each being. There is a calling, an innate longing for limitless freedom, bliss, and peace from that core. One can with vigorous effort shatter all the static bondages with equanimity, and move on the glorious path of spirituality. The ultimate goal of human being is to awaken the potential within and unify the small self into the infinite Cosmic consciousness.

Nirguńa and Saguńa Brahma

―The Intuitional Science of Tantra‖ in Tantra Volume two Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Discourses on Tantra two 4

Brahma is infinite and It has two different states – Nirguńa and Saguńa Brahma. Puruśa and Prakrti are present in both states. The differences between Nirguńa and Saguńa Brahma are due to the relationship between Puruśa and Prakrti. Saguńa Brahma is the stage where Puruśa is influenced and qualified by Prakrti. Prakrti is termed Cosmic principle8, which consists of three gunas, the only function of which is to qualify Puruśa. Prakrti is the qualifying principle and Puruśa is the object being qualified. Thus, Prakriti is the material base of the universe. Puruśa is pure consciousness that is being qualified into various shapes and forms. A stone looks inanimate and crude by the qualifying principle of Prakrti. But everything in this universe is consciousness [This is indisputably a tantric idea: all is consciousness] and nothing is crude. From a relative aspect, in this manifested world, the greater influence of Prakrti, the more crude consciousness appears as the example of inanimate objects, while with lesser influence of Prakrti, the subtler of the consciousness appeared. This can be seen in the example of a sage and a stone. The consciousness of a sage is expanded and beyond the bondage of Prakrti while a stone is bound by the force of guna where tamoguna is most present9. [But I believe stones are a lot smarter than they look!] The creation of universe is the thought-projection (kalpana‘) of Saguna Brahma. Saguńa Brahma Itself metamorphosed into every animate or inanimate being in this universe. Taking an example of a desk, we do not say Brahma exists in the desk since this means Brahma and desk are two separate entities. Hence, we say ―the desk is Brahma.‖ This is a non- dual point of view. The nucleus of the Saguńa Brahma is Puruśottama. Puruśottama is the witness-ship and the universe is Its objectified

―The word ―Prakrti‖ is not equivalent to the word ―nature‖ of the English language. As a matter of fact, nature is the property (dharma) of Prakrti. Whatever Prakrti does is commonly known as ‗nature‘…Prakrti comprises of three attributes (gunas)…‖ from Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Subhasita Samgraha I, 7-8. 9 Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, ―What is this world?‖ in Ananda Marga Elementary Philosophy 5

psychic form that bound by Prakrti. The oṋḿkára (a-u-m) is also used to describe Saguńa Brahma. The state of Saguna Brahma is often portrayed symbiotically of Shakti (Prakrti) dancing on the body of Shiva (Consciousness) where Shiva is just lying flat witnessing her dance10. Brahma is infinite. Nirguńa Brahma is the Supreme state of Brahma. In Nirguńa Brahma, the Unqualified Cosmic Entity, Purusa is not influenced or qualified by Prakrti. Prakrti is also present in the nirgun‘a state, but Her force is weaker and unable to bind Purus’a. In this state, Consciousness (Purus’a) is condensed. On the other hand, wherever consciousness is bound by the three gunas, that consciousness is less condensed. We find Saguńa Brahma, but the rest remains Nirguńa Brahma. This can be understood from the example of Saguńa Brahma as an iceberg in the infinite sea of Nirguńa Brahma. Saguńa Brahma is within Nirguńa Brahma11. This is important to be noted that Nirguńa and Saguńa Brahma are not separate. They are merely two different states of the same entity. [Ramakrishna says, ―Like water and ice, water being the nirguna and ice being saguna.] Comparisons: As described earlier, Samkhya school holds Prakrti as the primary cause of the creation of the universe. In contrast to this view, Advaita Vedanta of Sankaracarya holds the view that the one absolute reality is Brahma. Brahma is often described as infinite, transcendent, impersonal, and omnipotent as the only truth of reality, the universe is a false illusion from the force of Maya. Brahma is formless and without attributes as the ultimate pure truth of reality. In contrast to this view, Vaishnavism of Ramanuja, Madhva and Chaitanya consider God possesses infinite attributes. God is a

Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, ―Matter and Spirit‖ in Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 4, A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p. 2-3 11 Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, ―What is the Cosmic Entity?‖ in Ananda Marga Elementray Philosophy, A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p.3 6

personal deity and is often worshiped in the name of Krsna or Visnu. Among many schools, the distinctions between different states of Brahma have not been clearly identified and synthesized. In Ananda Marga philosophy, the one Brahma has two different states – Nirguna and Saguna are like two sides of a paper. In the non- qualified state of Brahma where Consciousness is not bound by forces of gunas is called Nirguna Brahma. In the process of creation where Prakrti plays her localized12 power on the body of Purusa is the state of Qualified Consciousness – Saguna Brahma. It is also real. These are two states of same one Brahma. Saguna Brahma is within Nirguna Brahma as the iceberg in the ocean of bliss. This manifested world is created in the Saguna state by the three gunas of Prakrti binding Consciousness with the authorization given by Him. This force of Maya that creates bondages may be difficult to cross, but Prakriti must take shelter in Purusa. She is the shakti (force) of Purusa. This philosophical thought also echoes with the line in the Giita. VII- 14 Daevii hyesa gunamayii mama maya duratyaya Mameva ye prapadyante mayametam taranti te. 「This Maya of Mine is of the three principles is almost insurmountable. Only those who take refuge in Me can overcome this Maya.」 The secret lies in the word ―Mine.‖ For those who surrender and take refuge in Him can overcome His Maya with His Grace13. When one realizes Brahma, one sees everything is Brahma, even the so-called illusion is also the play of Brahma.


―localized‖ means that the bondage of Prakrti does not pervade the entire body of Purusa. ―It is a ―localized‖ phenomenon; the influence of gunas takes place only in certain parts, so to speak, of the infinite Purusa.‖ From A commentary on Ananda sutram, p. 21 13 A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p. 8-9 7

Taraka Brahma The term Taraka Brahma is a Tantric concept, as a medium that bridges Saguńa and Nirguńa Brahma. Taraka means ―liberator,‖ a liberating Brahma. The meaning of Taraka Brahma is illustrated in one of the shloka in Ananda Sutram – Bháva bhávátiitayoh setuh Tárakabrahma ―The bridge between Nirguna Brahma and Saguna Brahma is called Táraka Brahma.14‖ Saguńa Brahma is within the scope of Brahma Cakra (creation of the universe) and the samskara15 is endless. When one‘s goal is Purusottama, one merges into Saguńa Brahma and attains the state of Moksa. However, it is not the final state of emancipation, as one merges in the creation Brahma with infinite actions and reactions. Nirguńa Brahma, on the other hand, is transcendental and formless. It is beyond manifestation and therefore difficult to attain as it is beyond the realm of mental apprehension. Taraka Brahma is in the middle that resides in both scope of Saguńa and Nirguńa Brahma and able to fulfill the functions of both. He is the liberator that brings unit beings from the saguńa state to Nirguńa Brahma, from Moksa to Mukti16. Ideation on Taraka Brahma is a practice particularly in Tantra that is distinct from sadhana of Saguńa or Nirguńa Brahma. At the time when dharma is declined and adharma is rampant, Parama Purusa, with the help of five fundamental factors creates Himself in human form. He is the Entity that guides devotes on the spiritual path with much love and affection. There is a special mission of His advent – to launch a ceaseless fight against injustice and evil force and to establish righteousness

14 15

Ananda Sutram, p.20 Samskara means reactions in potentiality. 16 Commentary on Ananda Sutram, p.73 ; Idea and Ideology, p. 45-46 8

and morality in society and. In Tantra philosophy of Ananda Marga, the advent of Shiva from 7000 years ago and the advent of Krsna from 3500 years ago are Taraka Brahma in the history17. [Quite a distinctive and unusual philosophy.]This reflects the verse in the Bhagavad Gita of the advent of Krsna – IV-7 Yada’ yada’ hi dharmasya gla’nirbhavati bha’rata Abhyuttha’namadharmasya tada’tma’nam’srja’myaham’ 「O Bha’rata, at a time when dharma is distorted and adharma is ascendant, I create myself out of my own fundamental factors.」 In Tantra philosophy of Ananda Marga, the difference between Sambhuti, Maha’sambhuti, mahápuruśas and avata’ra are distinguished. Sambhuti means “original creation.” Parama Purusa metamorphosed Himself into countless jivas.

These unit beings are Parama Purusa and can be called sambhuti. Maha’sambhuti means ―the Great creation,‖ ―the Great Appearance.‖ Mahá means ―great.‖ Taraka Brahma creates Himself from the five fundamental factors - solid, liquid, luminous, aerial and ethereal, into this world18. Taraka Brahma is also called Maha’sambhuti. The concept of Taraka Brahma is different from that of mahápuruśas or avata’ra. In this manifested world, each being is the manifestation of Parama Purusa, the expression of consciousness is different in each being depending on their development of consciousness. Mahápuruśas are great-elevated souls that have attained a state of perfection who people pay reverence and devotion onto their Holy feet. However, mahápuruśas are not the same as Taraka Brahma. Taraka Brahma comes at a specific time with a Great mission19.
17 18

From ―Taraka Brahma‖ in Discourses on Tantra volume 1 From ―Krśńa Unparalleled‖ and ―Sambhúti and Mahásambhúti‖ in Discourses on Tantra volume 1 19 Discourses on Tantra volume I, p. 10-14 9

IV-8 Paritra’n a’yasa’dhu’na’m’ vina’sha’ya ca dhs’krta’m Dharma sam’stha’pana’rtha’ya sambhava’mi’ yuge yuge 「I incarnate Myself in this world from age to age for the protection of the virtuous, the destruction of the wicked and the restoration of dharma.」 Avata’ra means the descendant or incarnation of God on earth. One flaw regarding this concept is that since every single being in this universe is derived from the Macrocosm, every object is the manifestation of Purusa. According to Anandamurti, to designate only a single entity as incarnation of Brahma is illogical and superstitious. Every being may be termed avata’ra of Brahma in this sense20. [Ultimately, I believe this is true] In conclusion, Taraka Brahma is not a figure in philosophy but the creation of devotional sentiment21.

Shiva and Shakti Brahma, literally means one who is great. In philosophy, Brahma is the infinite consciousness, the Supreme Entity that comprises of Purusa or Shiva and Prakrti or Shakti. Brahma is the collective name of Shiva and Shakti. The first verse of A‘nanda Su‘tram represents the basic concept of Ananda Marga philosophy. 1-1. Shivashaktyátmakaḿ Brahma.22 [Brahma is the composite of Shiva and Shakti.] Brahma is the Supreme Entity. Shiva is Cosmic Consciousness, also termed Purusa. Shiva means ―the witnessing consciousness.‖ Shakti is the binding force of
20 21

Shrii Shrii Anandamurit, ―Lord Krśńa's Unique Approach‖ in Discourses on the Mahábhárata. Discourses on Tantra volume I, p. 14 22 Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Ananda Sutram (India: Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha) 1. 10

Prakrti (Cosmic Operative principle). Shiva and Shakti are like two sides of a coin, as the quality of whiteness in milk. They may be understood separately from a philosophical point of view. However, in essence, they are interdependent with each other and cannot be separated as One Brahma. Shiva and Shakti may first appear as two. From the practice of sadhana, one brings Shakti merging into Shiva, and sees only the One Brahma that transcends the duality. Everything is divine from the eyes of one who has attained the knowledge of Brahma. 1-2. Shaktih Sá Shivasya Shaktih.23 [Shakti (the Operative Principle) is the shakti (force) of Shiva.] Puruśa is both the efficient and the material cause of the universe. Prakrti is the linking force that link between the efficient and material cause. This can be illustrated from the relationship of a potter and the clay. Puruśa is both the efficient cause (the potter) and material base (the clay) of the universe, the creator and the creation. Prakrti is the energy that He creates, linking between the efficient and material cause24. Puruśa is an all-pervading entity. Prakrti is the binding principle that takes shelter in Puruśa. This universe is the thought- projection of Puruśa. Puruśa is not able to realize His own existence without being qualified by Prakrti. In the process of creation, under the permission of Puruśa, Prakrti begins to bind in the body of Puruśa. ―Prakrti has been posing as the doer with the authority given to Her by Purusa.25‖ In Samskrta, Shiva is designated as masculine and Shakti as feminine. Brahma is
23 24

Ananda Sutram, p.2 A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p.5, 25 ―Prakrti only acts to whatever extent Purusa has authorized or authorized Her to act…‖ from Ananda Sutram, p.3-4 11

neuter. The Supreme Brahma is symbolized by two sexes but the Brahma Itself is beyond any duality that encompasses all as the Supreme Oneness26. Comparisons: Samkhya philosophy recognizes the world consisting of two separate entities, Prakrti and Purusa, and denies the existence of God, in a dualistic point of view. It also sees Prakrti as the ultimate cause of the material world. In Ananda Marga philosophy, Puruśa and Prakrti are collective name of One Brahma and cannot be separated. Puruśa and Prakrti are one and the same. This is an absolute monist view that sees the oneness of Brahma. Prakrti is the binding force of Puruśa that binds in the body of Him with His permission. Puruśa is the ultimate chief cause of the manifested world. Underlying the bondage of the manifested world is pure consciousness, everything is divine in its nature. Prakrti is merely the force of Purusa through which His Liila is manifested. This manifested world is a relative reality that exists through change but it is not an illusion27. Prakrti often has been viewed as the force of Maya that generates ignorance and creates bondages. However, Prakrti is not the enemy of human being in the path of liberation. By properly employing the three attributes of Prakrti, one can bring oneself towards the subtle realm of liberation with the help of sattvaguna of Prakrti and brings one towards Brahma28.


Avtk. Ananda Mirtra Acarya, A commentary on Ananda Sutram (India: Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha, 2002) 4. 27 Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, ―June- July 1970‖ in Ananda Vacanamrtam 30 28 ―Brahma causes the emancipation of the living beings with the aid of sattvaguna of Prakrti. Hence, the fact that Prakrti contributes to emancipation is an admitted truth… One can elevate oneself in the mental horizon with the aid of sattvaguna of Prakrti…in the attraction process of Brahma…to find fault with Prakrti without resorting to spiritual practices betrays inactivity and this should not be supported.‖ From Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Subhasita Samgraha I, p. 15-17 8 ―Telepathy means to act over a distance that it receives mental waves over a distance… And it is sarvapratisamvedii- everything reflecting, sarva = everything‖ From A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p.4 12

Jiiva and Parama Purusa The fundamental difference between Macrocosm and Microcosm is in the attributional aspects. The attributional aspects can be understood as the aspects that are formed by the three gunas and the samskara formed from past desires. These attributional aspects are not permanent nature but transitory. Under the influence of Prakrti, the attributional Macrocosm is formed, the Microcosm. The only difference between jiva and Shiva is that jiva is bound by fetters (pa’sha). When the fetters are removed, jiva becomes Shiva. Sadhana (spiritual practice) is an endeavor to free oneself from the fetter and moving towards Parama Purusa29 Comparisons: Dvaita school of Vedanta, founded by Madhvacharya, emphasizes a strict distinction between Paramaatma (God) and jiivatma. This school of thought holds the view that God maintains Its Supremacy that jiiva does not merge into Brahma at the time of liberation. To consider the final destination of jiiva, we may begin by tracing back the origination of jiiva. Parama Purusa under the binding principle of Prakrti is metamorphosed into everything that is apparent in the universe. Although jiiva is seemingly separate units, it is part of the Infinite and hence there‘s the essence of divinity within. The relationship of jiiva and Shiva is like that of sugar and water that by one‘s advances in sadhana, jiiva finally dissolves into the great ocean of blissful Parama Purusa30.


Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, ―The difference between Macrocosm and Microcosm‖ in Ananda Vacanamrtam Part 2 30 A beautiful poem by the mystic poet of Bangal, Ramprasad, illustrates this point: Prasád bale – yá chili bhái tái habi re nidenkále; Yeman jaler vimba jalei uday, jal haye se misháy jale. [Prasad says that you will be the same in the end as you were in the beginning. Just as a water bubble arises from water and the next moment dissolves back into the water, similarly the jiiva comes out of Parama Puruśa and ultimately returns to Parama Puruśa.] from Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, ―Raja Krśńa 13

Concept of Atman The physical sense of existence is reflected on our mental plate. The activities from the external world are ―telepathized‖ on the mental plate as an image of a flower reflects in the mirror. Our mental waves then reflect on the soul plate. All the objects, thoughts and activities, from crude to subtle, are all reflecting on the soul plate, the Atman. Therefore, Atman means ―that which is omni-telepathic.‖ Every existence depends on the witness-ship of Atman, without it the world cannot exist8 [A view similar to this is found in the text Kamakalavilasa, where the world is a mirror reflecting, as it were, the light of Siva] Atman (unit consciousness) is a pure consciousness that does not enact any activities. It is a witnessing entity that reflects the activities of the mind (manas) as the image of a flower reflecting on the mirror but Itself remains unaffected. Atman is also called Citi-Shakti, force of consciousness, that it attracts the mind towards itself as a piece of iron to the magnet. Atman provides inspiration for the mind to move inwardly for self-realization and free itself from the influence of Prakrti. However, the mind loaded with samskara is like rusty iron where the attraction from Atman is not as strong. Hence, sadhana is an endeavor for the purity of mind to free itself from the bondages of Prakrti31.

Brahma Cakra There is a theory of creation in Tantra philosophy of Ananda Marga termed Brahma Cakra. As the moon revolves around the earth and the earth revolves around

and Dvaetadvaetaváda‖ in Namámi Krśńasundaram (Ananda Marga Publication) 31 Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, ―Some questions and answers on Ananda Marga Philosophy‖ in Táttvika Praveshiká 14

the sun in the celestial sphere. Brahma Cakra is the Cosmological system of this universe in which many jivas are revolving around the nucleus, Puruśottama. (Please see Appendix – Cycle of Evolution illustration) This Brahma Cakra, the circle, is completed by the process of saiṋcarah (eccentric) and pratisaiṋcarah (concentric). Saiṋcarah is the extroversive movement that Purusa (Pure Consciousness) is bond by Prakrti (Cosmic Principle), the gunas gradually increase its bondage on Consciousness resulting in the cruder forms of the universe we see today. Pratisaiṋcarah is the introversive movement evolving back to the original, non-qualified state of Purusa where the bondages of Prakrti lessened32. Here, we will start with the process of saiṋcarah. Before the beginning of creation, Parama Purus’a is in a nirguna state. This is a state of absolute infinite peace, para’ sha’nti. The three gunas of Prakrti are in an equilibrium state, dormant and unmanifested flowing in linear motions and forming polygonal diagrams. These three forces gradually formed a triangle from constantly transforming themselves into one another, from sattva into rajah and rajah into tamah, then again tamah into rajah and rajah into sattva. This stage is pre-evolutional state and purely theoretical in its sense because it is in a non-qualified state where mental comprehension is not possible. While the three forces in the triangle lose their equipoise, the first force that emerges out from the triangle is sattvaguna, because it is the most powerful force out of the three gunas. The vortex where sattvaguna flows out is called “iccha’biija‖ or ―ka’mabiija,‖ seed of desire. With this original desire of Parama Purusa, the whole universe is born with innumerable desires. This original desire is fulfilled and satisfied through the creation of the universe33.

32 33

A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p. 10-11 The question comes of what was this desire and why did Parama Purusa create this world? ―The devotee… defends God thus…My Lord was utterly alone before the creation. A man becomes mad if 15

When the sattvaguna flows out from the original equilibrium state of the three gunas, the Cosmic Principle starts to influence Pure Consciousness. The Cosmic Principle at the stage where it starts to exert its localized power on Consciousness is called Maya’. Under the influence of the sentient force, the Pure Consciousness transforms into ―Mahatattva‖ or ―Mahat,‖ the sense of ―I exist‖ is created34.‖ The sentient force gradually wanes and the mutative force became dominant. A part of the Cosmic Mahat transforms into Ahamtattva under the influence of rajoguna. Ahamtattva is the sense of ego or doership – ―I do,‖ ―I act.‖ Gradually rajoguna wanes and tamoguna became dominant, the Cosmic citta is created. The Cosmic citta is the ―done I?‖ that a portion of Cosmic Mind becomes objectified so that the Cosmic Mind is able to perceive an objectified portion of Itself – Mahat and Aham with the citta as the object and think ―I have done this.‖35 The Cosmic Mind that is formed by Mahatattva, Ahamtattva and citta is called ―Bhu’ma’ma’na‖ (Macrocosmic Mind) or ―Brahmama’na‖ (Mind of Brahma). This may refer to the ―Supermind‖ from Shrii Aurobindo, ―The Supermind is the link with Saccida’nanda and the world… it is conscious reality throwing itself into mutable forms…36‖ From the Cosmic Mind of citta, the gunas continue to exert their influence on Purusa. The five fundamental factors are gradually formed one by another – from

he is alone for a long time in a big vacant house. God was restless before creation. He could neither love nor feel angry within anyone. So creation was a compulsion. He has created all these forms by multiplying Himself…If we who are His own forms feel a little restlessness in His creation, we are somehow this footnote got split blessed, for we are saving our Lord from the restlessness of utter loneliness‖ from Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Baba‘s Grace (Ananda Marga Publications: Los Altos Hills, 1973) p. 14 Commentary on Ananda Sutram by Avtk. Ananda Mitra, p. 18-21, Tantra Volume 1 by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, p. 16-19, 20-21 34 ―This is the first and most subtle layer of the Cosmic Mind. Purus’a is sleeping and when Prakrti wakes Him up His first thought is “I exist‖ from A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p. 22 35 Shrii Shrii Anandmurti, ―Saiṋcara and Práńáh‖ in Idea and Ideology (Ananda Marga Publication), A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p. 22-23 36 A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p. 23 16

A’ka’shatattva (ethereal factor), Va’yutattva (aerial factor), Tejastattva (luminous factor), Apatattva (liquid factor) to last Ks’ititattva (solid factor). This is the end process of Saiṋcara. The process of Saiṋcara is influenced by Avidyamaya of Prakrti. This is an extroversive process moving away from the nucleus under the influence of the gunas and by the increase bondage of gunas results in cruder and cruder form of manifestation. The transcendental Consciousness metamorphosed into numerous jivas from nirguna state to saguna state37. Then, it begins the process of pratisaiṋcara. Pratisaiṋcara is the introversive phase moving towards Puruśottama from crude to subtle. When the process of Saiṋcara has gotten to the crudest form, the solid factor, further grossness of Purusa is not possible. The gunas of Prakrti also are exhausted at this stage. The process of pratisaiṋcara starts. Pratisaiṋcara is the evolution from matter to mind, from mind to consciousness. The attraction to the end goal of the process is from the Supreme nucleus, the pure Consciousness of infinite peace and bliss. This is a returning home path back to the original state of every being. It also reflects the concept of Zen Buddhism that returning to the Original face38, the face where all life begins and ends. This is a movement towards decreasing desires resulting in moksa or mukti in contrast to the process of saiṋcarah that the desire of Parama Purusa for creation was satisfied. This path of sa’dhana’ as nivrtii ma’rga, decreasing of desires, by constantly ideating on Brahma by seeing everything is divine, transforming crude desires to

37 38

Ananda Sutram p. 6-7, A commentary on Ananda Sutram, p. 22-26 Here is a poem that illustrate the indescribable essence of Original Face from Mumon ―You cannot describe it or draw it, You cannot praise it enough or perceive it. No place can be found in which To put the Original Face; It will not disappear even When the universe is destroyed.” Wikipedia, ‖Original face‖ from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_face (accessed on April, 18, 2011) 17

subtle longing for Thee, gradually develop the mentality of vaera’gya (nonattachement) through the practice of Jnana, Karma and Bhakti. It is important to note that pratisaiṋcarah is not a complete negation of saiṋcarah, since a complete negation will cancel each other and the existence of both will be destroyed. This circle of creation, Brahma Cakra, begins by the beginningless, infinite Parama Purusa and back to where it all started, the ever-lasting bliss.

Paiṋcamakára There are different degrees of subtle and crude propensities in humans. As humans evolved from animal, the degree of animal propensities (crude desires) exists in humans as well, such as the instincts of eating, sleeping, fear and procreation. There is nothing wrong with these innate instincts. For those with strong desire towards physical enjoyment, it is difficult to just give up these propensities. It is also unhealthy to suppress these desires by force. According to Anandamurti, the idea behind the crude Paiṋcamakára is to carry out sadhana in the process of physical enjoyment while exercising limits on them. For instance, a meat-eater will limit the quantity of meat intake as part of sadhana. By practicing sadhana while limiting the indulgence on the physical enjoyments, one gradually develops mental power to overcome and gain control over those animal instincts39. Pancamakara usually refers to as the ―five ma sounds‖ – madya (wine), máḿsá (meat), matsya (fish), mudrá (parched grains), and maethuna (sexual intercourse). There are crude and subtle ways of practicing paincamakara. The crude aspect is the


―In this way people can gradually establish the superiority of their minds over objects of enjoyment. The practice of this pravrttimúlaka [extroversial] Paiṋcamakára will gradually take them to the nivrtti path.‖ from ―Tantra and sadhana‖ in Discourses on Tantra II 18

best known, but often misunderstood or criticized. On the other hand, the subtle way is often not known. Both crude and subtle ways of practicing paincamakara have their underlying value and significance and neither should be disregarded. In Ananda Marga Tantra practice, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti gave a new interpretation on paincamakara from yoga marga (path of Yoga) perspective. Madya sádhana The crude meaning of madya is wine. From the practice of sadhana, a sadhaka immerses oneself in the intoxication of divine bliss resulting from the secretion of sudha (hormone) from Brahmarandhra (pineal gland). This hormone is also called somarasa or somadhárá because it is partially controlled by moon (soma). Madya as a metaphor is used to describe the nectar of this divine joy from the practice of sadhana. A poem from the Tantric mystic Ramprasad beautifully illustrated this point. Surápán karine ámi sudhá khái jaya Kálii bale; Man-mátále mátál kare mad-mátále mátál bale. 「I drink no ordinary wine, but Wine of Everlasting Bliss, As I repeat my Mother Kali's name; It so intoxicates my mind that people take me to be drunk!40」 Therefore, the subtle interpretation of Madya sadhana means the intoxicated hormones from pineal gland that makes a sadhaka drift in bliss41.


From Poetry Chaikhana http://www.poetrychaikhana.com/R/Ramprasad/Idrinknoordi.htm (accessed on April 8, 2011)

There is another poem by a Tantric yogi, Yaduktaḿ Parama Brahma nirvikáraḿ niraiṋjanam; Tasmin pramadanajiṋánam tanmadyaḿ parikiirttitaḿ. 「Intense love for Nirvikára Niraiṋjana Parama Brahma leads to the annihilation of thought, intellect and ego, and appears as an intoxication which may be termed a madya sádhaná.‖」from ―Tantra and 19

Máḿsa sádhaná The crude meaning of máḿsa is meat. In the subtle aspect, Ma means ―tongue,‖ máḿsa means ―speech.‖ Hence, the subtle meaning of máḿsa sádhaná means

control over one‘s speech. Another interpretation of máḿsa sádhaná is to surrender one‘s total actions whether good or bad completely to the Divine42. Matsya sádhaná The crude meaning of matsya is fish. The subtle interpretation of fish represents breath. A sadhaka controls the breath and concentrates their mind on the ajina cakra. This can be understood from this Sanskrit verse – Gauṋgá Yamunayormadhye matsyao dvao caratah sadá; Tao matsyao bhakśayet yastu sah bhavenmatsyasádhakah. ―One who eats the two fish that swim, one through the Ganges (representing the id́ á nád́ ii) and the other through the Yamuna (the piuṋgalá nád́ ii) – that is, one who takes the breath flows of the left nostril and the right nostril to the trikut́i (concentration point of the ájiṋá cakra) and suspends them there by purńa kumbhaka (holding the inhalation) or shunya kumbhaka (holding the exhalation) – is a matsya sádhaka.43‖ Mudrá sádhana The crude use of mudrá sádhana uses a certain type of parched grains. The subtle meaning of mudrá sádhana means keeping good company for spiritual advancement. This can be understood from this shloka – Atsaungena bhavenmuktirasatsaungeśu bandhanam; Asatsauṋgamudrańaḿ sá mudrá parikiirttitá.
sadhana‖ in Discourses on Tantra volume II 42 Vaḿ máḿsanotihi yatkarma tanmáḿsa parikiirttitaḿ; Na ca káyaprati vántu yogibhimasimucyate. ―One who surrenders all one’s actions, good, bad, righteous, sinful, wicked – even the attainment of prolonged penance – to Me, is called máḿsa.‖ From ―Tantra and sadhana‖ in Discourses on Tantra volume II 43 Discourses on Tantra volume II, p. 50 20

“Bad company leads to bondage; good company leads to liberation. Having understood this supreme truth, one should avoid bad company. This shunning of bad company is called mudrá sádhaná.44” Maethuna sádhaná The crude meaning of maethuna sádhaná is sexual intercourse. This practice has been adversely criticized. The aim behind the crude usage of this practice is to develop self- restraint over sexual instinct in a natural way. The practice of Tantra is not to escape or suppress the animal instincts in human but utilize practices to transform and getting control over them. The subtle meaning of maethuna sádhaná is the raising of kulakuńd́ alinii to bring jiva union with Paramashiva at the sahasrára cakra. Conclusion I will end this paper with a short description from Anandamurti on the mystery underlying the creation of the universe – ―The soul comes from the unqualified Brahma, gets involved in the qualified Brahma, and gets attached to the body when it becomes lost in Brahma45‖. The Cosmos is embedded in the mysterious play of Thee beyond the normal realm of understanding. Intuitional science is the endeavor to awaken the divinity within each being and evolves toward expansion of consciousness. The universe is ever changing and moving across time, space and objects. One day it will come that humanity will begin to realize this hiding secret of mystery.


Discourses on Tantra volume two, p. 50 Devashish Donald Acosta, Anandamurti- The Jamalpur Years, Puerto Rico: InnerWorld Publications, 2010 21

Comment by Jim Ryan, PhD [Thanks for this exhaustively detailed account of the philosophy of Tantra according to Anandamuri. In the process you touch on a number of other Hindu Though this all only comes from a

philosophic systems, describing them accurately.

single teacher, it is a good research paper, using a wide variety of sources of Anandamurtis thought. Though he grew up in Bihar, he is, as I suspected when you were talking about him in class, a Bengali (and a Brahman.) (Of course, the Bengal also

quotation of Ramprasad is a tip-off—he is so beloved of the Bengalis).

has closer connections, sometimes, religiously, between its Saivas and Vaisnavas— hence this strong emphasis on the Gita (originally associated with the Vaisnavas) by a tantrika Shaiva. Anandamurti can be placed along a spectrum of tantric practioners.

In general., it seems his views are right in the middle between the ―right‖ and ―left‖ handed branch. You would enjoy my Tantrism class as it explores the many levels and forms of tantric thought. Good job.]