Spring Festival

“Holi Phagwa is the Hindu festival of colors. It celebrates the coming of spring, fruitful harvests, unity, joy, and a tale from the Bhagavad Gita. It is traditional to celebrate by, among other things, throwing vibrantly colored powder (Holi Gulal) at one another. In addition to the throwing of colored powder it is traditional to light bonfires in celebration of the miraculous escape of a young devotee (Prahlada) of the god Vishnu. A demon (Holika) tried to throw him into a fire, but he escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. ” (from the website

In Ananda Marga we celebrate the Spring Festival all over the world as an opportunity to come together in joy and happiness. Here is how Shrii Shrii Anandamurti – founder of Ananda Marga describes the celebration of the Spring Festival:

“Vasantotsava / Phálgunii Púrńimá. [The full-moon day of Phálguna {mid February to mid March}. Spring Festival.]…
 Those of the same age will play with colours and flowers among themselves in the morning of the full-moon day. The youngsters will offer the same at the feet of the elders, and the initiate at the feet of his/her ácárya/á. (But the elders will not offer colours and flowers to the youngsters.)
    Then, in the afternoon, all will perform collective Iishvara Prańidhána and Varńárghyadána {Guru Puja} (using áviir [coloured powder] or flowers of colours of their own choice). At the end, all will play among themselves with this áviir or these flowers without distinction between young and old, initiate and ácárya. Do not offer these colours or flowers at anybody’s feet. But if, while people are playing, they do touch anybody’s feet, that should not be considered wrong, in Ánandamúrtijii’s opinion. (Men and women should not exchange colours and flowers with each other.) Finally, there will be a collective meal.
      The following day, continue merry celebrations at your residence and have a procession with táńd́ava dance in the afternoon. Continue collective merry celebrations in the evening.”
In one of the discourses given on the Spring Festival Shrii Shrii Anandamurti gives the spiritual purport of the Festival:
“The main object of the Spring Colour Festival (Vasantotsava) is not playing with external colours; it is meant to offer Him the colours of different objects which have dyed the mind. When this practice of offering your own colours – your own attachments, becomes natural and easy, you will then merge in Him. Then you will have no need for any colour, for you will become colourless – you will go beyond the reach of any colour. Your unit-ego will become one with the Cosmic Ego. Whichever way you look you will see only Him in His ever-surging glory. There is no “I” nor “you”. By an everlasting, mutual pact the final curtain will have fallen on all clashes of “I” and “you”. At that stage, if you call Parama Brahma as “I”, you are right in calling Him so; if you call Him as “He”, you are equally right; and if you call Him as “you”, again you are correct. The extent of your attainment of Him will be proportionate to your self surrender.
       Remember, you have to offer your own identity – not money, rice plantains or other crude objects. The give-and-take of crude things is a business transaction. If you want to attain the bliss of Brahma, you must offer your own self. If you want to have the Great “I”, you must give away your own little “I”. You have to give the full sixteen annas, (the full rupee). Giving fifteen annas and holding back one anna will not do. You must completely surrender. To attain that Infinite One with the help of your mental concentration and strength, you have to surrender yourselves. But, remember self-surrender does not mean suicide. On the contrary, your soul will have its full expression. Your existence will not become contracted, for contraction is inert in principle. Hence in the Sádhaná of self-surrender the ego is expanded, not contracted. In the Mahábhárata, when Duhshásana was pulling the sari of Draopadii, she was tightly holding the cloth to her body with one hand beseeching lord Krśńa with the other. “Oh! My lord, save me!” But the Lord did not then come forward to save her from shame. When Draopadii found no means of escape, she then released her hold on the cloth and appealed to the Lord most piteously with both hands out-stretched, crying, “O Lord, I surrender my all to you. Do what you think is best”. And the Lord immediately rescued her. That is why I say that you will have to dedicate yourselves to His feet wholly and unreservedly. You will earn godliness in proportion to the extent that you surrender yourselves, and finally, after merging that acquired godliness of yours in His Entity, you will attain eternal bliss.
God bless you.”
(Vibration, Form and Colour)
HAPPY HOLI and happiness for everybody on this very auspicious day.

El Salvador: Culture empowers change

El Salvador is living a very delicate part of his history facing a social challenge where young people are exposed to violence and death on a daily basis.

It is remarkable that people maintain a joyful mood and a welcoming attitude even if in their heart there is so much fear and despair.

As the problem seems insurmountable, in the most inexplicable way solutions are sprouting and a new consciousness is raising.

In Panchimalco, not far from the capital San Salvador lives Miguel Angel Ramirez who has devoted his life to art and has transformed the small town through his painting, sculptures and art landscapes.

Miguel Angel Ramirez in a memorial sanctuary.

Miguel Angel Ramirez in a memorial sanctuary.

Visiting him on the day of his birthday it was both auspicious and delightful. The new project he is working to is the transformation of a farm in an ecological art place where young people can learn and express themselves in total communion with nature.


His students are from all ages and they participate to his workshops free of charge. The results are remarkable as we can witness in the works of a 15 years old and 20 years old student.



But Miguel Angel and Panchimalco are not the only example of the power of art and culture in transforming the social environment. In Suchitoto following the legacy of the know filmmaker Alejandro Cotto recently deceased, a number of artists are leading the change by creating cultural spaces through theater, sculpture, painting and history presented in a visual form. The result is remarkable which can be seen by visiting several projects and centers among which the major one is the Art for Peace project.


In the capital of San Salvador in the center near the Cathedral is located Maktub Cultural Cafe’ which is a place open to young people who gather in collectives and create a way to make a living through art.


Hector Bigit has made the dream of his life with Maktub. He has welcomed Ananda Marga and the meditation classes offered by Acarya Vimaleshananda Avadhuta free of charge which have resulted in increasing the consciousness of young people in San Salvador about their role in society.


Meditation and Ananda Marga are a proposal for El Salvador which may harbor a more balanced society and way of living. It is a proposal inline with the cultural renaissance that is already going on. The interview recorded at El Mundo Newspaper leave a message of hope that human life is made for happiness and not for sorrow and despair. It is worth remembering the words of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti – founder and preceptor of Ananda Marga: “Life is an ideological flow” and on a more personal tone “You are never alone of helpless, the force that guides the stars guides you too.


Guatemala – A place for all-round service

The last week of the year is a very auspicious time for distribution of cloths and other items. In Colinas de Minerva where the jagrti of Ananda Marga is located in Guatemala the neighbors know the dadas since many many years. This week of distribution was a good way to rekindle the relationship and have several families getting benefit and visiting our renovated place.
The family in the picture makes tortillas for living – the traditional food made from corn. It is the only family in the colony which has no electricity and in spite of all the efforts so far we could not help them with that. But they gladly accepted a good amount of wood for burning and two containers for water storage.
Cloths donated by Margiis in Guatemala were distributed, not only in the neighborhood, but also in some neighbor areas where there is necessity. Among other items distributed there were construction items like planks, blocks and electrical items which local constructors use regularly in their contracted jobs.
The neighbor committee of Colinas is now interested to use our place for meetings and also start workshops for children in collaboration with the municipality. We look forward for the developments in the new coming 2016. Happy New Year!

The Jagrti in Colinas de Minerva has now a new ceiling for the large room upstairs. Thanks to the support of the Margiis of Guatemala City the work was completed and now new possibilities are open for the utilization of the Jagrti.

cielo falso

Ananda Marga Guatemala is engaged actively in rescuing the land occupied by intruders on Ananda Maya Master Unit. A very significant step was completed  in the first week of January when a fence was installed in the upper portion of the land.


Young people are very interested in meditation and are bringing a new wave of light to everybody in Guatemala. Some of them were waiting for a long time the opportunity to learn spiritual practices and are now eager to do more and more for serving the community.


Guatemala opportunity by Ac. Vimaleshananda Avt.


Guatemala is a land of spiritual opportunities. The Mayan spirituality is very alive and the land carries a powerful spiritual vibration.

In the Ananda Marga spiritual family in Guatemala we have at present four active Mayan spiritual guides and it is quite remarkable their knowledge and experience which are bringing from their ancestral tradition. Ananda Marga is bringing them a spiritual ideology which allows them to estimate even more their treasures.

Venturing downtown in Guatemala main walking street close to the Presidential palace I enjoyed sitting on the sidewalk and teaching Baba Nam Kevalam meditation to a few young sellers. They were ready to follow through without hesitation considering and appreciating the gift given to them.

Guatemala is experiencing a social awakening which has no comparison in other latin american countries. Although complaining about corruption and crime Guatemalan people were able to drive to justice their former leaders who are now behind bars. Students and people in general protested and obtained justice. This is just remarkable.

In Guatemala Ananda Marga has social projects which need special attention. Margi in Guatemala are doing their best to keep up with all the legal complications and also financial burden. The time frames are sometimes longer than expected and Guatemala teaches patience to a great extent. This is one on the man lessons we can get visiting this blessed land.

Ananda Marga – basic words and meaning


This is a universal mantra which has as meaning the largest possible thought. It is in Sanskrit which is the most ancient and root of all languages.

BABA means Father as Universal Father or Creator

NAM means name

KEVALAM means only (EK in Sanskrit is the number one)
“Only the name of the Father” is one of the many interpretations of this universal mantra. It can be translated also as “Repeating the name of the most cherished Love Divine” or “Everything is an expression of Love Divine”

MANTRA is a word that indicates that which liberates the mind from attachments.

Baba Nam Kevalam can be sang and can be used for meditation that in this case means to chant internally without making any external sound.


We can say that meditation is concentrated thinking on the Divine. The basic principle is that what we think with concentration we are going to get. If we want to reach the spiritual realm it is sufficient to think about it with concentration using the mantra which contains the seed of spirituality.

When we meditate we manage to keep the body still, closing the eyes, tongue that touches the upper part of the mouth and above all keeping the spine straight. It is possible to meditate for log periods of time but it is recommended regularity more than duration. Twice a day with regularity for 20′ minutes each time is an ideal time to start.

Time and place are relative although the best time is at dawn and at sunset always before eating in order to have the maximum energy available for the mind.

Group meditation is always more effective and collective meditation once a week is the basic for creating a strong group bonding.

Meditation removes mental heaviness and creates an all-round wellness.
Only human beings have an adequate body for meditation both phisically and physiologically.

ANANDA MARGA (Path of Bliss) is a world organization which promotes the all-round well-being of all including animals and plants.

ACARYAS (spiritual teachers) of Ananda Marga teach meditation free of charge in individual form as a form of service to humanity. is a new website dedicated to Dharma Pracar (Propagation of Dharma) which offers more information and details providing also contacts for learning meditation in your own locality or elsewhere.

Published by Ac. Vimalananda Avt. – Sectorial Secretary
Ananda Marga New York Sector
149-02 Melbourne Ave Flushing, NY 11367 Tel. +1 718 898 1604

Edited by Ac. Vimaleshananda Avt. Public Relations Secretary
Ananda Marga New York Sector Tel. +1 347 592 7455

Crimson Dawn is edited by the Public Relations Department of Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha in New York Sector. We wish to offer an updated panorama of news and resources for the Ananda Marga society and public at large with particular focus on North, Central America and Caribbean (New York Sector).

Human society is one and it cannot be separated into many. Our mission is to help materializing this ideal bringing together the voices of universal service and spirituality. For more information about the activity of Ananda Marga in North and Central America:

Barefoot doctors by Eduardo Beltran

Money can buy almost anything and health has become a commodity too which is for sale at a cost that most of the time is not affordable by common people.  In western world health care is becoming a huge business where patients are just customers. But what happens with those who are not wealthy, or even rich enough to pay whatever modern medicine is willing to charge for treating your disease?

Even worse, in “developing” countries medicine is a luxury. And in places like Latin America or Africa those who can pay a good healthcare travel to rich countries or pay luxurious hospitals, but those who can’t afford that don´t get the most basic attention.

This is a social problem which is growing like an epidemic disease.

But there are solutions all over the world: communities moving back to medicinal plants or traditional techniques in order to relief pain and find cure. There are even social and philosophical movements to improve health by eating correctly in almost every country of the world, although everywhere there is still a long road to go. The World Health Organization recognized traditional medicine in 1978 and ever since some advances have shown.

Here is an example which is worth studying: barefoot doctors.

In a China were medical doctors were not enough to overlook for the immense needs of a huge population, barefoot doctors were a part of the problem which became the solution.

Villagers chosen by their neighbors were sent to study a basic training in acupuncture, preventive medicine and some westerns techniques to provide basic medical assistance in their own towns. By 1960 this medical assistance got to 90% of the Chinese population.

This barefoot doctors were also a part of the community: farmers, laborers, regular people, and divided their time between their regular works and helping their community. They even grew their own medicine plants.

The training for this doctors went from 6 months up to 2 years and usually this barefoot doctors went back to get a medical degree. An essential part of the training is acupuncture, which in China has been used for hundreds of years and is still being practiced not only in Asia, but Europe, Latin America or Australia.

Nowadays the barefoot doctors program does not exist anymore in China, but there are lessons we can still learn from them: anyone with a basic training can provide basic care to their neighbors, it is not necessary to make a full degree to provide medical assistance, and nowhere in the world any other program has trained as many people as the barefoot doctors program has.

What could stop an independent effort to train people in acupuncture, medical plants and basic relief? It is as simple as finding willing people and communities in need, and the world is full of both. Is money an issue? No. Anywhere where a community is healthier the income increases, and this communities can provide the sustained support for those who are willing to help.

There is a lot of information on the web about barefoot doctors and its movement. Health care for all the population of the world is not an impossible dream. It is just a matter of a well directed effort using what is already available as traditional medicine and therapies.

Eduardo Beltran is an acupuncturist doctor practicing in Cuernavaca – Mexico the traditional  Taoist style. He is looking forward to go to China for specializing in this system of medicine. Together with Francisco Menez they opened a practice as a cooperative offering treatments at a social cost and serving twice a week in the local communities.


Preface to “Yogic Treatments and Natural Remedies” book


The object of the art of healing is to cure a patient, both physically and mentally. So the main question is not to uphold any particular school of medical science; rather, the key task is the welfare of the patient.

Just as diseased body organs can be restored to normal by administering medicines internally or externally, they can also be healed, more safely and more perfectly, with the help of Yaogika Ásanas and Mudrás. The aim of this book, therefore, is to make the general public aware of the Yaogika methods of treating the various illnesses.

My purpose is to let people cure themselves by practising the Ásanas and Mudrás described in this book. People are requested not to take the risk of practicing Ásanas and Mudrás by themselves, but rather to do so under the guidance of an experienced Ácárya (spiritual teacher). Ananda Marga Ácáryas will always be ready to help without any remuneration. Detailed instructions for practising the Ásanas and Mudrás, for bathing, etc. have been given in Part Three of Ananda Marga Caryácarya (Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti, Caryácarya Part III [Ánandanagar: Ánanda Márga Pracáraka Saḿgha, 1979]). If necessary, the reader may consult that book.

Along with the Ásanas and Mudrás, a list of some free or inexpensive and easily-available, but proven and useful, medical remedies, as well as the methods of their application, has been given in this book. The public can make use of these applications by themselves, or, if needed, may consult experienced Ácáryas in this respect also.

Due to limitations of time, it is not possible for me to enter into personal correspondence with anybody. Any person having questions regarding the Ásanas and Mudrás and their performance, or the medicines and their applications, may contact their respective Ácárya, or may get in touch with the secretary of their local village or district committee or of the Central Committee of Ananda Marga. So much for now.

–The Author (Shrii Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar)
Kárttikii Púrńimá

Story of the Uniform

Version 1.2 August 2008
By Bhaeravii Devi with Ac Bhaskarananda Avt

Even though all the talk in virtual forum regarding acarya uniforms and the repercussions of wearing them in public or not has concluded, this has given me rise to gather more information about what is the full uniform and what it represents. They are so commonplace a sight for Margiis, but how often does one stop to pay attention past who is freshly ironed or not, how easy it is to spot the orange dot in a crowd at the airport pickup curb, or perhaps muse upon the subtly different shades of fabric that range from the color of orange juice to one a deeper shade reminiscent of ripe mango.

It is important to remember that the AMarga acarya uniform is not a haphazard piece of loose clothing worn just for comfort. The acarya uniform was not something that was tossed together on whim, but another working of the laboratory of the mind of Baba. According to Dada Bhaskaranandji as he was told by Dada Satyanandji, Baba had a dream as a child of someone wearing the uniform of an avadhuta coming to earth from a different planet to meet Him. It was out of this vision that He patterned the revered uniform of His sannyasii, the prototype for his social worker and spiritual guide combination. In an organization with no temples or formal structures of worship, but known for personal services in providing schools and disaster relief, the uniform shows itself as the most visible representation of Baba in society at large, and of course, the cognitive human factor inside.

There is something about the invisible energetics of that uniform and the respect it elicits in public. People pay attention. Even in the West where not many understand the spiritual traditions of the East, there is curiousity and enough awe to pay attention. For persons of Indian heritage, no explanation is needed. My neighbor, from South India working in Silicon Valley and a devout practicing Hindu, spotted a dada on the walkway and immediately went to stand face to face with him, put his hands together, bowed his head, and did a namaste to receive a blessing from dada of a few words.

The whole time workers (WTs) were created out of the family acaryas a few years after the formation of AMPS in 1955 due to the rapidly increasing workload of the expanding Mission. Baba wanted the family acaryas to take longer and longer leaves from their families and jobs for pracar throughout India. The request for more and more pracar created a situation in which the householders came to realize their limitations and understand that full time workers were essential to realize the proper dynamism of the Mission. In a vote, the householders unanimously requested Baba to create sannyasiis (monks), who would fulfill this need for workers 100 percent of their time dedicated. And by this decision, the sannyasii system was created inside the organization and the next step creating Baba’s vision for a new value-oriented complete civilization was put into action.

The first new workers were diiksha bhratas (initiated brothers) of the householder dadas. The first four sannyasii created were 1) Satyanandji (who left shortly after Baba’s departure and installation of PP), 2) Shivanandji (later Samanvayananda), 3) Sambuddhanandji (later Dharmadevananda, Dada Dharma, as he was known outside India), and 4) Pranavanadji (the senior most organizationally active acarya still living at this writing). “Initially there were part-time acaryas,” says Dada Pranavanandji. “They would go for pracara and would visit their families also. It was in early1961that Baba decided to make avadhutas. Those who were married had to first take permission from their wives to become avadhutas. The first were Acarya Nityananda, who was later ordained as sanyasin and christened Satyananda Avadhuta, and Acarya Ram Swartha (who was later ordained as sanyasin and christened Shivananda, and they received permission from their wives to work with Baba.”

On the visible social level He introduced “the dedication, service mindedness, and catholicity of Christianity combined with the social equality of the Muslims and the anti-exploitation sentiment of Marxism” into Neohumanism and Prout. They would be trained sannyasii, in the tradition of thousands of years of the renunciates and teachers of Indian legend. These spiritual aspirants were given intensive, indepth training to live life according to Baba’s freshly available practices combining the metaphysics of the original Tantra of Shiva with the Bhakti and Prapathi philosophy of Krishna. Not stopping there, Baba also incorporated the ethics and morality of the Buddha and the austerity of the Mahaviir Jains into personal transformative precepts of “subjective approach through objective adjustment”.

Acaryas would be respected depending on their degree of dedication to Guru coupled with the ability for hard work. This means moving through levels of the demanding practice of the Rajadhira’ja Tantra Yoga, the AMarga system of sadhana directing inner energy, as tutored by Baba, through the stages of Sahaja Yoga (easy yoga/the system of our 7 lessons), Kapalika Sadhana, Avadhuta Diiksa, and later Vishesa Yoga (special yoga created by Krishna). The Kapalika Sadhana was first introduced by Lord Shiva, with Bhaerava and Bhaeravii his first initiates. A well-practiced acarya is indeed a living tradition and wellspring of knowledge for society and his/her students.

So the new uniform was to be a full the representation of the complex internal components of higher truth incorporated into this new way of life, as well as a simple, culturally sensitive form of dress for social work and public rituals.

Before the ERAWS was formed around 1965 with the first school at Anandapur in Bhagalupur Bank, Bihar, there were no formal brahmacari uniforms or Sanskrit names. Every acarya was posted with their laukika name, like Satyandji was Ac Nityanandaji, Prananvanandji was Ac Rameshji, and Sambuddhanandji was Ac Asimji. They used to wear a simple dhoti and kurta in white. Dhoti means Bihar or Bengal style longcloth, similar to a lungi, but tiered in a very different style. Every so often a photograph of Baba on a field walk is posted on the internet and he is accompanied by dadas in all white, dating these photos as pre-1965.

“I joined Ananda Marga as whole time worker on December 1, 1961. I underwent Prout and Tattvika training during December 1 and 14 and appeared before Baba for examination. He was merciful enough to pass me. Then I worked as Tattvika as assistant to Ac. Asimji. During the last week of December 1961, there was a terrible accident in which many of us were seriously injured. Myself, Nityanandaji (later Satyananda), Asimji (later Sambuddhananda), and many others. After I recovered from injuries, I was given acarya training and was posted in South India by the end of March, 1962,” recalls Dada Pranavanandji. “The first avadhuta was ordained during Ananda Purnima of 1962. Training Centre started sometime in 1964 and thereafter Dadas and Didis started getting their name changed.”

The uniform of the male ERAWS workers was originally white pants, orange gown, orange headgear, and white waist belt copied from Vivekananda. Baba asked a Margii, who was the then Chief Vigiliance Officer of the Bihar Electricity Board of 1965-6 named Shayma Narayan Srivastava for input and he suggested it. While Vivekananda did not bother about colors, Baba was specific that the belt should be white. Initially only ERAWS acaryas and SDM acaryas used to wear the uniforms. Acaryas working in PU and VSS were exempt from the uniform for reason of work. But later, in the turmoils of 1971, it became the compulsory uniform for all the non-avadhuta acaryas/brahmacari sadhakas.

Later, after being given the avadhuta diiksha, one gets the dream uniform. The main pieces of the full uniform are the lungi, lungota, gown, sash, shawl, and turban for dadas and veil for didis. Discipline in those early days was very strict as to its proper wearing with all the accessories. The color is orange like a flame, the traditional saffron color of renunciation, a colored cloth easily available and plentiful in India. The uniforms are measured to size and handmade by Margii and non-Margii tailors. The new avadhutas got their first uniform from their department head at their first post. “There was a rule that your boss had to give you the first uniform. Thereafter you are wise enough to make it according to your convenience,” says Bhaskaranandji.

“The turban is a sort of head-dress and keeps you smart and soldier-like,” says Pranavanandji. “Baba wanted us to be soldiers, so our uniform is also like that of soldiers. With long hair, the turban helps us to remain tidy.” It is a matter of simple reflection that the turban originally was used in fights for protection. It saves the head from extreme cool in winter and hot in summer. Of course, every religion has their identifying headgear covering the crown. In terms of the Tantric practice, it blocks light and keeps the pineal gland dark and cool so it can ideally secrete the coveted divine nectar necessary for spiritual intoxication.

But the official, and most simple, uniform of the Bhaerava (the title of every male Tantric) is his birthday suit. There is a story about a reporting session before Baba where it was required for acaryas to give their reports in the nude and they were in full uniform. It is recalled Baba affectionately saying, “Take off those silly costumes!” in reference to their orange uniform. The following sloka was given by Baba in the May 1970 DMC at Ranchi, a few days before his arrest. “It is amazing to write these precious things said only once in a general meeting of Avadhutas so long ago,” recalls Bhaskaranandji. “It is a mark of the intensity of my respect to the Master in remembering this material.”

Sambaro va pi ca digambaro va

(With cloth or with the cardinal directions as the cloth {meaning naked})

Tvagambaro va pi ca cidambarastha,

(Skin as the only dress or transcendental knowledge worn as the cloth)

Unmattavadvapi ca balavad va

(Like an intoxicated ghoul or frolicking child)

Pishaca vadvapi ca caratavanyam.

(Like a demon at times, while retributing {giving punishment}the criminals in human form, the avadhutas tread the path.)

One acarya mentioned to me that there is one more piece of clothing that is needed with the uniform outfit in the future—a three-quarter length orange trenchcoat for cold climates and rainy conditions to replace the wide variety of fabrics and mixed styles of dark colored jackets the acaryas wear now (I have even heard of the wearing of bathrobes as coats on occasion over the uniform.).

Accessories include a vertical vermillion line down the forehead (tilaka), the staff (danda), and the dagger (churi). These symbolic accessories go beyond the individual and ego; they express the universal life of the spirit. They communicate a metaphysical reality that is too limited or complex in terms of regular language. The form itself is not enough; the vermillion line, the danda, and the churi can only be understood properly in context of relationship to Baba and His organizational allegories. They are the emblems of the avadhutas/avadhutikas. Slowly the vermillion and danda are becoming forgotten for lack of use.

The vermilion, which according to the old system was imperative, was shaped like a burning flame or a leaf with long and tiny end towards the upper portion of the forehead (a rounded oval shape filling about 60 percent of the space between eyebrows). Why is the vermillion not in use, I asked Dada Bhaskaranandji. “The vermilion as a 24-hour part of the uniform fell from use as its image could create a negative sentiment amongst the public in India and also it looked very flamboyant. You see it on all the pictures of Shiva and photographs of naked lotus-seated sadhus today. Baba never formally advised stopping the practice and kept mum when the wearing of it stopped, gradually, a few days after it began. But it is still compulsory as part of the ritual before the night pooja. No kapalika goes to the burial ground even today without the red. If ever there is an attack psychically, one concentrates on the area between the eyebrows and so is well protected. Any attack is repulsed due to the red. The red causes a boomrang effect of the applied power. It is called tilaka, but this word has now assumed a lot of different meanings, especially for women in regular society who make the red mark on their Ajina chakra with sandal paste.”

Baba has prohibited non-Tantrikas from going to the burial ground. Now many dadas who do not know about this warning of Baba take Margiis along with them to burial grounds and cemetery for sadhana. The fear feeling that is elicited in the dead of night is very important for the tantra sadhana. Also there is the question of safety of the one who is not an initiated tantrika by Baba, as well as distracting the tantrika who is supposed to perform his sadhana alone. Therefore asking a non-tantrika to accompany the tantrika casts a doubt on the purpose and sincerity of the dada who takes a Margii to the burial grounds. So unsuspecting Margiis are advised to discontinue this practice. The profoundly esoteric tantric significance alone can act as a warning to discourage ambitious Margiis who think to sit kapalika alone without proper instruction or in the company of their favorite avadhuta.

“There was a time an avadhuta would not be admitted into meetings or in front of Baba if he did not carry a staff; we call it a danda,” remarked Bhaskaranandji. “The staff is made of strong bamboo and the height is from the ground to the middle of the chest, or until the anahata, so it is quite a personalized accessory. The didis also carried a staff (trishula) of bamboo or strong wood, fitted with a trident on top which reaches just above the shoulder like the one in pictures of Shiva, which looks very beautiful.”

The staff not only embodies authority, but dignity of office. It has the traditional attributes of the control of thought, word, and deed of sages and saints of the past. The danda symbolizes straight forwardness in general and in front of the Master especially, along with unbending strictness in the principles of Yama and Niyama. A few sannyasii in rural MUs in India still carry the danda while walking. I think the Margiis find inspiration in the vision. Some say the habit of using the danda will return in the future for it embodies the spirit of the kapalik, straight as a stick.

“I never used vermillion as a sannyasin,” recalls Pranavanandji. “I never knew it as a part of uniform. Perhaps it remained for a little time in vogue after first sannyasin took oath. We started using dagger less and less after trouble erupted with the administration during Baba’s incarceration. Although I have a danda with me even now, I seldom use it. The majority of avadhutas do not even have it.”

Even today in India many carry the churi, although in the present crisis environment it is discouraged, especially at public functions like DMS. If one does not carry the sheathed dagger tucked in the belt, surely they keep it with their possessions. It is not part of the uniform out of India and rarely does one see it in the global sectors. Many modern and Western cultures would find the archaic masculine phallic symbol of the Tantric’s blade foreign and strange, much less at odds with the image of being devoted to the service of the divine or set apart for religious purposes.

The churi is at least a 6-inch blade. “They look very fine and give the impression of a knight of honor’s side wear,” remarked Bhaskaranandji. Its sharpness symbolizes the cutting through of the illusions of the maya and one’s victory over the negative propensities. It is in the shape of a triangle, the same downward triangle in the Pratiika (the Bhaeravii cakra or Star of David). The churi and skull are used, one in each hand, in the tandava dance (or ideated in the fists). Churis are easily purchased in India or made by special order from ironsmiths, a trade once prominent but now almost disappeared from the common marketplaces. They are also given as a gift, such as from a senior sannyasii to a new avadhuta.

The dagger has sparked a lot of speculation and controversy all over India. The Hindus took this dagger as an unwanted thing for a sannyasii and they have criticized it severely. Shiva originally created this idea of the avadhuta carrying a weapon. He knew the preservation of hairs give courage to fight injustices. Later the Buddha distorted the original ideas of Ahimsa, or non-violence, by asking his followers to shave their body hair so that the human fighting spirit would vanish. As a result, when the Moslem invaders arrived in India, the Buddhist sannyasii, known as Painca Bhadras (“who removed the five hairs”), ran away to hide in the high altitudes of the Himalayan range and paved the way to Lamaism.

The Sikhs in India wear the dagger or sword religiously as it was made compulsory by Guru Gobind Singhji, the tenth Guru of the Khalsa Panth. It was Guru Gobind who re-realized Shiva’s vision and created the first fighting race in hundreds of generations, restoring India’s lost manliness. He asked the Hindus turned Khalsas, or Sikhs (Khalsa is the word for sadvipra in Punjabi), to grow their body hair and start using the Kripan (sword). As the Buddha had destroyed the seeds of survival struggle with his edicts, a few hundred years later Mahatma Gandhi would reinforce this negative idea of Buddha’s action of no reaction under any circumstances in the face of adversity, which has spread all over the world as a philosophy of non-violence.

“One day Baba explained to me how to face the public when they asked this question of why the sanyasii should carry a dagger,” retells Bhaskaranandji. “Baba said ask them: “How do you cut the umbilical chord of a child when it is born? They will reply that it is done with a blade, or in another sense, some sort of weapon. Then you ask them how do you cut firewood to cremate a person after death? In India cremation is the generally accepted form of disposal of a dead body. They will reply that it is done with an axe. When you need a blade from birth to death, why should you throw it away in the middle of life? You will see that the public will slowly retreat.” I have found in dozens of occasions while traveling in train or buses in India, the public who ask the question, do indeed retreat after thinking on Baba’s words.”

Special Thanks is extended to Dada Pranavanandji for his comments and review for accuracy.

Sanscrit, the Language of Taraka Brahma

By Ac Bhaskarananda Avt and Bhaeravii Devi


Yah va’radvayam’ niyamitaru’pen’a sa’dhana’m’ karoti, mrityuka’le Paramapurus’asya katha’ tasya manas’i ja’garis’yati ja’garis’yatyeva’ tatha’ sa muktih pra’psyati pra’psyatyeva – tasma’t pratyekam A’nandama’rgiin’a va’radvayam sa’dhana’ avasya kartavya’ – ayameva Paramapurus’asya nirdeshah. Yama-niyama vya’tireken’a sa’dhana’ anus’t’ita’ na bhavati, tasma’t yama-niyamayoh  pa’lanam Paramapurus’asya eva nirdeshah. Asya nirdeshasya avama’nana’m na’ma kot’ikot’ivatsarasya krite pashujiivansya kleshe dahanameva. Kopi ma’nanvah yatha’ tadrisha kleshe’ dagdhah na bhavet – sarve yatha’ Paramapurus’asya snehachha’ya’m pra’pya sha’shvatiim sha’ntiim pra’pnuyuh, tena sakala ma’nvanam A’nandama’rgasya kalya’nasya pathi a’nayanasya ce’s’t’a’ pratyekam A’nandama’rgiin’a’ avashyakaraniiyah. Anya’n satpathah nirdeshada’nam sa’dhana’ya’h angameva.

( Shishyadhame’na bhaskara’nande’na mu’la Bangala Bhasha’yam Samskrite anuditam idam paramanirdesham.)

The Supreme Command translated into Roman Sanskrit

by Ac. Bhaskarananda Avt. & Ac. Sudhiirananda Avt./Winter 2008


Sanskrit is the language the Taraka Brahma preferred. Any learner of this language will find that he will fall in love with this divine language (Giirva’ni). Many are its heart-touching sensibilities. Our Master has opened up many hitherto unknown facts on various aspects of Sanskrit for the sake of its scientific origin and hence, universal acceptance as the base for unified and glorious march of the human society. He authored two books on the specific study of linguistics and Sanskrit, Varn’a Vigina’na, “The Science of Letters”, and the Shabda Cayanika series. He often said that Sanskrit would come into more common use again in future generations, stressing its importance to each individual on the path of self-realization

Exactly what is language? Certainly we are all dependent on it, needing it to communicate with the rest of our human community (note the similarity of the two words here, communicate and community). Language is an external reality of organized audible uttered sounds produced in our vocal cords that have become organized into different patterns and agreed upon over time allowing the speaker to convey his meaning. This formation and transformation of expression is then heard and, hopefully, interpreted by another speaker of the same language. The grammar in a language is the intellectual governing factor in the way the words are put together to make larger more complex units, such as compound words and sentences, for the full expression of ideas and emotions. Word order is a dominant factor, as much as intonation, and all languages are tightly organized by a set of strict, non-flexible, logical rules.

Written words are conventionalized symbols of spoken language. When you think about it, we are habitualized by the usage of our formal language system and it is a clear indication of our cultural heritage. It is a skill involving signs, sounds, and gestures, once mastered, is totally taken for granted. “The three fundamental relative factors are the spatial factor, temporal factor, and personal factor,” says Baba. “These three are called Tridan´d´a in Sanskrit. Tri means three in Sanskrit. T-R-I. Tri. In Latin also, tri-angle. Tridan´d´a. Dan´d´a means pillar or stand. In Latin, “triped”. These are the fundamental relative factors.” (AV-14)

The Vedic language is the oldest language which we are familiar with. This language was influential in central Asia and certain parts of India for a period that extended from 15,000 years ago to about 7,500 years ago. It is unique, as for all Indian languages up to the present, by containing a series of sounds that cannot be traced to any other Indo-European tongue, showing the influence of the early native and aboriginal peoples who would later meld with the Åryas tribes who spoke pre-Sanskrit dialects.

Written script did not yet exist at the beginning of the Vedic era, a transitional period between pre-history and history. It came in to existence between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago with the Saindhavi Script, which is the beginning of the study of the human past from written sources. One of India’s greatest achievements is her remarkable alphabet. It commences with the vowels, followed by the consonants, all scientifically ordered according to their mode of production (in contrast to the Roman alphabet, which is haphazard, yet borrows many concepts from the Indian script).

If all the languages of India are like the veins and arteries of those ancient people, then Sanskrit is the language of our bone marrow. The language of Sanskrit was invented nearly 3,500 years ago in the periods of time that produced the Mahâbhârata, the wisdom epic Sanskrit poem that chronicles the life of Krishna and contains the Bhagavad-Gita (“the Lord’s Song”), as well as chronicling the titanic proportions of the civil war battle of Kuruksetra that was fought with tribes from the Himalayas to the tip of southern India, Cape Comorin and almost caused annihilation of the human race.

The earliest surviving form of written Sanskrit is the Rg Veda, a collection of 1028 sacred hymns used at sacrificial rites, collected and written down in archaic Sanskrit by tribal Aryan brahman priests who became known as Brahmavarta. These priests had a spiritual genius in perfecting advanced poetic techniques used for the compositions. The hymns composed by the priests were handed down by word of mouth within seven priest families, each with a sort of copyright on their own collection, and were so sacred that no minor alteration was allowed. This was accomplished though a complex system of checks and balances, along with feats of remarkable memory, within the priestly schools (Gurukuls) that preserved them. The divine and eternal Rg Veda has never been accurately dated, but it is most probable between 1,500 and 1,000 B.C.E.

The Aryans took the spoken word very seriously (as a natural phenomena, speech was given divinity and considered a deva), so the act of listening and chanting was what bought them in contact with the sacred rather than gazing visually at images. So the syllabic sounds in a chant were holy. These Vedic hymns in Sanskrit are still recited today and solidly connect the modern living Indian religious culture as a bridge to ancient oral traditions with remarkably exact accuracy of tonal accents and intonations to the ones chanted over 3,000 years ago.

Baba says, “Although the Rg Veda is mainly concerned with hymns, it also contains various tales and anecdotes. While not all of these stories and tales carry equal spiritual value, they are representative of the cultural heritage of those ancient humans. They paint a portrait of the gradual advancement of human thinking and the structure of society. When considered from this point of view, the language, literature and expression of the Rg Veda is of special value to the world.” (SC-2, 96-7)


The Birth and Development Of Sanskrit

Sanskrit is descended from common parent dialect spoken by semi-nomadic pastoral tribesmen in the steppelands of an area that stretched from Poland into Central Asia, dated by linguists at approximately 2,000 B.C. The exact locality is conjectured near the Oxus River at an archeological site called Balkh in Bactria, near present day Bokara. This was one of the chief Aryan settlements, with ruins that extend over 20 miles, and an overland stop on the Silk Road and Greco-Persian colony that economically linked China to the Middle East for centuries. Think of this site as the radiating point for the development of six lines of speech–Indian, Iranian, and European.

When referring to migrations, one cannot think in terms of a single exodus, but must embrace a multitude of generations and tribes with circumstances that affects peoples, such as desiccation of pastoral lands and population pressures. When looking at a map of the ancient world, the mercantile exchange, migrations, and military invasions become logical. The three main civilizations were the Nile, Euphrates, and Indus river areas. The outlaying areas to the north, along the Mediterranean, and into the eastern deserts all connected these highly populated areas, making the Middle East and India almost one nation.

The Aryans who migrated were originally nomadic tribal pastorals, but gradually had adopted some agriculture as well, with cultural and religious traditions of their own. Their dialect is now known as Avestan. They called their gods daevas (“the shining ones”) and amesha (“the immortals”). In Sanskrit these terms evolved to devas and amrita, words that are still in use today. They had a patrilinear tribal organization and deep spiritual respect for nature. In the lands they they settled and intermarried, their original language gradually adapted itself to the tongue of the conquered peoples of the older civilizations and ancient cultures.

The entirety of Southeast Asia, Afghanistan, and India were connected by one language prior to the emergence of Sanskrit. The three cultural lineages of the Indus were Mangolian, Vaedic, and Tantrika, co-existing in Jambu dwiipa (the area from Gandhar to Southeast Asia all the way to the Great Barrier Reef situated on the eastern side of Australia.). Roughly speaking, until the times of Mahabharata, due to constant giving and taking amongst these three lineages there had come a cultural equilibrium and uniformity that gradually merged in to one language of binding. This remarkable indigenous language that gradually merged with the structure of the Avestan Aryans and became that we now call Sanskrit.

The Avestan Aryans transmigrated in waves into Punjab and the highly populated Indus Valley, arriving well after the Harappan empire, one of the most advanced civilizations of the ancient world, had crumbled. There was no invasion or mass migration. The Avestan Aryans were culturally diametrically opposed to the local peoples and it took centuries for the older civilization of non-Aryans to significantly influence and meld with the Aryans. The Aryans originally did not live in cities, but little villages, so there is little archeological remains. The Aryan expansion is conjectured and recreated for history through Sanskrit literary sources such as the Rg Veda, Atharva Vedas (sacrificial instructions of the Brahmanas), and mystical Upanisads.

Over a span of centuries, these northern tribes who tamed the swift horse and harnassed it to a light two spoke-wheeled chariot (as opposed to the heavy four solid-wheel bullock carts), migrated far west, into Europe (ancestors of the Latins, Greeks, Celts, and Teutons),while others spread south into Anatolia (Turkey), and into the Causcasus and fertile Iran tableland of the the Euphrates Valley (the conquerors of Babylon), to make an Indo-Iranian culture (Old Iranian is a form of Sanskrit).

Out of Southern Russia through the high-altitude mountain passes of the Kirthar Range and the Hindu Kush, others migrated into the northwest of India, down into the Kashmir and Punjab valleys, gateway to the rice and cotton-growing civilization along the Indus River valley (present day Pakistan), the home of Sadashiva and roughly one-quarter of the world’s population at the time. Here Indian history becomes like a jigsaw puzzle, with scholars still debating when what happened, for after the initial migrations, there is much conjecture and over a thousand years completely unaccounted for until the first written Sanskrit hymns and inscriptions, proof of the antecedent development of the language.

With all this movement of peoples, it is now easy to see how Sanskrit is a remote cousin to all the languages of Europe with the exception of Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian, Turkish, and Basque. Any student of Latin and Greek can immediately recognize the relationship between Western verbal systems and Sanskrit. (Think of Sanskrit as the elder didi and English as one of the youngest didis.) Baba says, “Latin is the daughter of Vedic and so is Sam´skrta.”. (PNS-17, ‘The Significance of Language’) “Latin is very close to Sanskrit. The Latin term fraternity comes from the root frater adding nity suffix. In Latin frater changed in Vaedic bhra’tar amd that changed to Bhrater in Sanskrit. Latin mater changed to Vaedic ma’tar and then in Pharsi meyer and changed to English mother. And the same word from Vaedic became ma’tr in Sanskrit. And from ma’tr to ma’ta’ in Bangla and Hindi. The Latin word pater, in pharsi became pader, and that same pater from Latin became pear in Vaedic, and from Vaedic it became pitr in Sanskrit. And in Indian languages in Hindi and Bangla, it became pita. And from Latin pater it became father.” (Varna Vijina: Disc 6) For this reason Sanskrit is dubbed the ‘faithful guardian of the Indo-European lines of speech’. Plus it is Sanskrit is the root of so many Arabic & Middle-Eastern words.

Baba says, “Sam’skrta is a classical subject as well as an ancient

language. It is the mother of all the mother languages of South Asia and

Southeast Asia.” (PNS-17, p. 62)

No living language stands still. Just as our solid body is a mass of constantly moving minute cellular action not visible to the naked eye, this is also true of a language. It is alive–changing and evolving within its embodied form of use. After the collection of the archaic Rg Veda, Sanskrit developed quickly to a more simplified grammar, although remaining terrifically complex. New words from non-Aryan sources appeared, old words forgotten. With this evolution, doubts arose to the precise pronunciation and meaning in the older Vedic texts, which had a mandatory rule to be recited accurately or else lose the effective intensity they were designed to invoke. Out of the need to preserve the sanctity and purity of the religious texts, India developed the sciences of phonetics and grammar. India is the only country to investigate the laws that govern the evolution of language in a scientific manner except for the Greeks.

In India, Sanskrit was an exclusive lingua franca, a secret one for high caste people belonging to the priestly and brahmanic circles, gradually becoming that of the governing class as well. If a lower caste woman even listened to it, she was punished by having molten lead poured into her ears. The bulldozer of Muslims and Christians were a reaction of Parama Purusha. They plundered India for a thousand years, looting and raping the women folk as a result of this superiority arrogance that reinforced the chasm of social inequality. But they strenuously preserved this language for their own purposes, the only plus point of these arrogant and bigoted brahmins. Hundreds of regional dialects developed in the lower castes.


The Legacy of Panini’s Grammar

Linguistic textbooks appeared, analyzing the verbiage of Sanskrit, with the most famous one by Maharshi Panini in Astadhyayi (‘Eight Chapters’) around 400 B.C. Up until the 18th & 19th century study of Sanskrit by Western scholars, it is the most detailed and scientific grammar composed in any part of the world in all of history. It was of a specialized nature, this great terse grammar of Panini, recognizing the root as the basic element of a word, of which there are thousands of monosyllabic roots that change with the augmentation of prefixes, suffixes, and inflections. Every beginner struggles with Panini’s rules of euphonic combination (sandhi) and every word of a sentence is affected by the neighboring words to create an acoustic effect pleasing to the ear.

Panini’s grammar is considered one of the greatest intellectual achievements of any ancient civilization for his systemization of Sanskrit Philology into Grammar, Phonetics and Rhythms. (Philology is the study of human speech specifically to literature as a key to illuminate cultural history, hence the importance of the Vedic and Epic literature.) Panini was the undisputed authority on Sanskrit, so much so that no writer or speaker for the past 2,000 years dared infringe on his fixed framework of 4,000 grammatical rules, even if they disagreed with minor points. He stabilized the Brahman’s classical Sanskrit and the only changes thereafter were to be in vocabulary, and with fixed rules, the language developed freely within them. Panini called the priestly elitist language Samskrta, meaning ‘perfected’ or ‘refined’, and the naturally developing simpler everyday speech of the lower castes and tribespeople, Prakrtas, or ‘unrefined’.

All later Indian grammars are commentaries on Panini, including the Mahabhasya of Patanjali (aprox. 2nd century B.C.), a follower of the Sankhya metaphysical philosophy (its influences are seen in our Baba’s Tantra). This is the same Patanjali of Yoga Sutras fame. His yoga-darshanas are grouped into aphorisms on yoga practices, the nature of prakrti and Purusa, spiritual disciplines, and meditation techniques recorded from the Upanishads, handed down verbally from prehistoric times. Since there were no books at that time, gurus would memorize each aphorism and then give oral commentary in a local Prakrita. Later the commentaries were memorized, then transcribed.

Apabhramsa was a language developed after the Prakrit languages. Apabhramsa means a corrupted form of Sanskrit language. Patanjali was the first to use Apabhramsa in his Mahabhasya. Mostly Jain religious language and spiritual literature of the Siddhas were composed in Apabhramsa language. The Romani people migrated from Rajasthan, Punjab, Sindh and Afghanistan in first century A.D. They were speaking Apabhramsa language pertaining to western part of India. They spread in western countries about 12 century A.D. Modern Provincial languages have all developed from different Apabhramsas.

The Prakrita languages, simpler in sound and grammar, came in to general use around the same time as Sanskrit, shortly before the birth of Krishna, and there were a multitude of dialects by the time of the Buddha. This everyday speech of ancient India has been preserved almost exclusively throughout the unorthodox esoteric spiritual traditions, such as the Tantra and the Jainas, for their idiomatic scriptures were composed in languages for the common people to understand. One of the earliest Prakritas was Pali, the language of the orthodox Sthaviras Buddhists, although Buddha himself taught in the Magadhi prakritic dialect and his oratories were translated into other local dialects (the Buddha himself produced no written scriptures in his lifetime). Pali has remained a living religious language in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka, and is included in modern Sanskrit Dictionaries.

Certain royal courts had their own Prakrita. There were Prakritas especially for the speech of women and respectable people of lower orders, one especially a literary language especially for lyric song. There was even a standardized procedure for dramatists who first thought in Sanskrit, then produced their Prakrita passages by mechanical rules of conversion for working from one language into the other. A hybrid of Western Prakrits used for inscriptions and as an official court language became the sacred language of the Jainas and their sacred literature is written in it. There was also a prakritic dialect spoken exclusively in Ceylon, influenced by an old Dravidian language of India, Tamil, a non-Sanskrit based independent language. A derivative of Prakrita was used in Bengal by Buddhist writers and is the ancestor of modern Bengali (Bengali is 94% Sanskrit).

The Amarakosha written by Amarasinha was the first Sanskrit thesaurus. He was a distinguished scholar and contemporary of Kalidasa, “India’s Shakespeare”, both members of the nine “gems” (a reference to nine important scholarly advisors) of the Gupta court around AD 380. The Amarakosha-grantha (from amara “immortal” and kosha “collection or dictionary”), consists of three parts, or kandas, and is written in in verse format. It is still in use and available online.


The Europeans Discover Sanskrit and Become Indologists

Up into the late 18th century, Europeans made no attempt to study India’s ancient past beyond a few references by early Greek and Latin authors. Portuguese Jesuit Father Hanxleden compiled the very first handwritten Sanskrit grammar in the early 1700s, which was used by his successors. Another Jesuit noted the connection between Sanskrit and European languages, but conjectured that the Brahmins were descended from one of the migrating Hebrew tribes. With the exception of the few Jesuit missionaries who mastered Sanskrit since it was the classical language of India and necessary for conversion, the first linguistic interest emerges with the East India Company employees who learned Sanskrit from Bengali pandits.

Charles Wilkins made the first direct translation of the Bhagavad Gita into English in 1784 through the Asiatic Society of Bengal, newly founded by Sir William Jones, a Supreme Court judge in Calcutta. Jones, a linguistic genius speaking Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, and Arabic, rejected the view held at the time that all European languages stemmed from a Hebrew spoken in Persia. He challenged the dogma by claiming that both European languages and Persian were derived from a common ancestor not Hebrew. This small band of Englishmen in the Asiatic Society, translating works such as Kalidasa’s Sakuntala, the Gita Govinda in 1792 (the Dasama Granth of the 10th Skih Guru written in 1730 in Braj, a melange of Sanskrit, medieval Hindi, Persiona and Arabic), and the Upanisads in 1801 (which were first translated from Persian), were the first Indologists, giving Europe a taste and growing interest for the literature of ancient India. Later the Society would delve into archeology by government grant (and the translations of temple inscriptions) and the monumental task of working backwards through the present scripts to decipher the earliest Brahmi script, giving access to translating and reading the massive rock face-inscribed edicts of emperor Ashoka from the 2nd century B.C.E.

The government of the French Republic founded the Ecole des Langues Orientales Vivanes and Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding members of the Asiatic Society, held on parole in France in 1803, was the first to teach Sanskrit in Europe. It was from Hamilton that the first German Sanskritist learnt the language. The first university chair was set up in France and from there the larger German universities all set up departments for Sanskrit and Indian studies. The first Sanskrit was taught in England in 1805 at the training college for the East India Company, following with chairs at all the major universities. Grammarian scholars and linguists created the science of comparative philology just to analyze Sanskrit’s relation to Indo-European languages.

The Germans published the not-to-be-outdone Sanskrit-German Wörterbuch in 1819, which is a full 7 volumes. Dubbed the St. Petersburg Lexicon, it was published in part by the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences in the 1850s. The first edition of the Sanskrit-English Dictionary appeared in 1872, compiled by Sir Monier Monier-Williams (it is still in print) of the newly formed Indian Institute at Oxford University, to promote the translation of the New and Old Testaments into Sanskrit for the conversion of native Indians to the Christian religion.

This passion for Sanskrit in the 19th century, along with the fascination with all things of the East, laid the groundwork for yoga to be introduced to America and Europe decades later. Oxford University Sanskrit professor Friedrich Max Müller edited and published the first English Rg Veda and the great series of annotated translations called the Sacred Books of the East. Swami Vivekananda, the Bengali disciple to the Hindu saint Ramakrishna, traveled to America for the Chicago Dharma Samellan, the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, giving the first spiritual lectures on jnana, bhakti, karma, and raja yogas to Westerners and subsequently established the Vedanta Society.

Around this time, native Indian Sanskritists such as Sir R.G. Bhandarkar (1837-1925) became dominant in the field of philology and took the initiative for scholars to translate works such as the gigantic Mahabbharata. The Sanskrit College, established in 1824 during the Governor-Generalship of Lord Amherst and currently affiliated with the University of Calcutta, specialized in the scholarship of Indian tradition, including ancient Indian languages like Pali and Prakrit, and interpretation of ancient Indian texts. The institution came into prominence during the principalship by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in 1851, who admitted students from other than the brahmin caste. All major Sanskrit translations of ancient Indian literature now comes from Indian Sanskritists.

Long ago, there was an article in the Bhavans Journal published by the Bharatiiya Vidya Bhavan in the early 1970’s written by two visiting grammarians of the German language who paid glowing tributes to Panini. They opinioned that if a grammarian of any language on earth wants to write a grammar book for his own language, he will have no alternative than to take recourse to come to India and study Panini.


Sanskrit and Connecting with the Realm of the Spirit

The formation of the language now known as Sanskrit is not as simple as the regional Indian people adopting a language from the Causasian steppes. While the grammatical structure of the pre-Sanskrit dialects of Aryans is clear, the merging and evolution with the embodiment of a universal language detailing the energy philosophy of the Tantra created the most remarkable and transcendant of all of human languages. It is the most ancient of languages and purposely constructed with the fifty principal sounds of the alphabet developed within the concept of bringing the fundamental energy of sacred vision into daily life. This means the soundless, inaudible absolute is interpreted through bodily vibrations and expressed through the vibratory source point (bindu) to form the letters. The letters form words and then mantras, the sonic expression of shakti, or pure consciousness, and secular speech. The creation of the sounds of the letters in the Sanskrit language is especially relevant to the practice of Tantra. While many traditions utilize the famous sacred syllable OM, it is the sound heard in the deepest of meditation and its psychospiritual essence must be awakened and realized to be empowering, so initiation is mandatory.

Along with the geographical, social, historical, and cultural applications, Sanskrit is a language with depth and dimension that is totally unique in any world language. It utilizes a spiritual technology designed to use human energy to convert and neutralize aggression. The yogins of ancient India explored and analyzed the unconscious realm to a degree that has never been exceeded or even corrected it is so brilliant. This language is the only one that has its sound vibrations rooted in spirituality, giving Sanskrit a mythical and mystical quality side-by-side with the practical. Baba gave attention to the most minute roots of the creation of language by his expatiation of psycho-acoustic notes and inferential acoustic notes, both known to and developed by the ancients, and their integral affect on the Sanskrit language.

Sadashiva was the first to organize the Tantra in His mental laboratory. He found that the microcosm, or Jiiva’tman/the unit being, is a sleeping or hibernating macrocosm. In other words, he discovered that the human body is a miniature form of the cosmos. You know that amphibians like the frog and snakes hibernate; for a long period in the year they sleep off or suspend the animation of their body. Sadashiva knew that each soul is potentially divine and to shake off this ‘sleep’ and the goal of life is self-realization, he organized the Science of Spirituality or Tantras (the original sadhana-shastra scriptures are considered to be direct teachings from Sadashiva) for the foundation of his metaphysical truths and pragmatic orientation where action plays the key role. He studied the mental tendencies or propensities (vrittis) and categorized them into 50 main proclivities. He defined the seven energy centers of the body (called cakras, which in English is the Sanskrit word for ‘wheel’) and located the central points, or nucleus, of the collection of glands which control these vrittis, and then a subsidiary gland which control the variable tendencies of each. Further, each vritti has an acoustic root, its own Viiija Mantra. So the subtle sounds of the 50 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet can be said to be representative of the basic vibrations of the kundalini. In meditation, the fundamental energies as they rise from the bottom cakra are caught in the petals, or letters, of each lotus.

Wherever there is any entity, any movement, any functional activity, there is sound, and that sound is called the acoustic root. Each and every expression has got its acoustic root. For example, when one laughs, the sound “ha ha ha” is produced universally on the outbreath. That ha ha sound thus produced is the actionable or entitative representative, the acoustic root or Viija Mantra, of that particular action bearing the tendency which propels the action. On another, more subtle level of yoga, the acoustic root for all celestial bodies is the sound’ ha’. ‘Ha’ is the acoustic root for eternal space. The controlling sound is ‘ha’. The influence of light waves on the navel and below is’ ksìa’, the last letter of the Sanskrit alphabet. Thus, the power of the mantric syllables.

Despite their overlap, the Vedic language and Sanskrit are very different. The primary use of this language pertained to pure spiritual practices. It was the spoken language of the then elites of Indian savants and luminaries. Krishna, known for his radical visionary ability, used to speak Sanskrit with the Kauravas, and the Shaurase’ni Pra’krita to the Pa’ndvas, since they were informal with each other due to close affinity. Those were the days Krishna Himself was renovating the Prayoga Shastra, or the

A’gama (‘textbook’ of spiritual practices), the experimental science in the laboratory of His mind. He was following the foot prints of Sadshiva. There are references when Krishna shows Arjuna his past life as Sadashiva, the organizer of the Science of Spirituality and author of the Tantras .

Indian Sanskrit poetry is akin to an incantation of words and phrases, which can become incredibly ornate and one of the characteristics of Sanskrit is its startling verbal ingenuity and complex polyphony. But the normal stanza was one of four quarters, each of a length varying from eight to twenty-one syllables, equal and unrhymed. Single-stanza poetry is concise and expressive. The most basic meter is called a sloka (a unit of poetry translating to ‘stanza’, grammatically complete into itself), eight syllables to a quarter. If you study the first three letters of each lines of the following Sanskrit sloka, you will find the word A’gama (translating to ‘practical spiritual cult’ or referring to knowledge gained by means of texts) spelled out. The arrangement is one of beauty in its balance, appealing to the Western mind with its worldly wisdom and spiritual theme of Sacred Law.

A’gatam Shiva Vaktrebhyo,

Gatam ca Girija shrutau

Matam ca Vasudevasya,

Tasmat A’ ga ma ucyatei

Originated from the mouth of Shiva,

Entered also the ears of Girija (Parvati)

Receiving acceptance of Vasudeva (Krishna)

Therefore it took the shape of A’gama.

Psycho-Acoustic Notes

Our Master has brought out the inner secrecy of word formations in Sanskrit language. The hidden truth behind the creation of words has been hitherto neglected by science and philosophy. But it should not be so because all sounds in this universe have their origin in what are known as psycho-acoustic notes.

The evolution of sound vibration is divided into three basic levels: visible speech, the most subtle sound that is heard only by the intuition; intermediate speech, sound which is the voice of thought you hear in your mind; and manifest speech, or audible sound spoken that is transmitted as you speak out into the air.


Sanskrit Grammar in a Nutshell

Originally the Vedas and ancient Sanskrit had three methods of pronunciation — the Samvrita, the Vivrta and the Tiryak. These have evolved into the four accepted systems of modern Sanskrit pronunciation in India. Kashika (of Benares), Dakshinii (Southern Peninsula), Maharashtrii (of Maharashtra), and Gauriiya (Bengali). Modern Prakritas are the vernacular of the modern Hindu culture. There are a lot of differences in each style; the less informed keep fighting for superiority of their style instead of accepting the wide variety.

Language is primarily composed of vowels, consonants, and diphthongs, although in Sanskrit, the vowels and diphthongs were discovered originally only for spiritual use in Tantric practices. There are 16 vowels and 34 consonants in Sanskrit, for a total of 50 basic letters.

Both the Sanskrit and the Vedic have three measures of pronunciation. They are the Hrsva (short), Diirgha (long), and Plu’ta (extended or prolated). While Sanskrit is scientific in that the ‘one sound one symbol’ principle applies (and each consonant and vowel sound has a symbol attached), given the variable power to construct a tremendous variety of conjunct consonants, naturally intricate and complicated, you end up with almost infinite variety of sounds. Sanskrit is considered the highest type of language due to its construction patterning off these basic sounds. It has 20 different prefixes and just less than 2,000 Roots (Dhatus or the primordial constituent substance) divided into ten categories. If a prefix is added to a root, the original meaning could be forcibly replaced. The laws of root evolution are a marked idiosyncrasy of Sanskrit.

The Future of Sanskrit

“If Sam’skrta is used human unity will be encouraged and

human beings will move closer together. See how sweet the link is

between Vedic, Sam’skrta and the other classical languages of the world?

So you should encourage the study of Sam’skrta.” (PNS-17)

While Baba required all his acaryas to master a working knowledge of Sanskrit grammar to aid in their understanding and correct pronunciation of the mantras as teachers, as well as a key into their own spiritual process, not all who walk the yogi path can speak it. While classical Sanskrit was never spoken by the masses, it was the official tongue of the Hindu church and state, along with being spoken by the upper classes. It connected the whole of India for centuries and is a living connection to the past generations.

Today, learned Brahman, serious students, spiritual aspirants, and visiting scholars from around the globe can all meet and converse in Sanskrit with perfect understanding. It is an essential study for Baba’s sannyasii, coupled with Bengali, to being able to read Baba’s texts in their original language, to encounter Baba’s inherent meaning in the most direct manner. Sam’skrta is a fascinating language and immanently suited to our spiritual lifestyle. words like Guru, dharma, mantra, karma, and so many others have been incorporated to languages all over the globe. Since it is a unifying languge, Baba gave his sadhakas Sanskrit names.

Today English is spoken throughout India and co-exists with Sanskrit among intellectuals, and the Roman alphabet is used as a written expression of Sanskrit, a leftover of the British Raj, just as Arabic and Persian elements were absorbed during the occupation of Muslim Iranian peoples. Baba said that the Roman script is the best script of the world. Since Sanskrit does not have any script of its own and English is the lingua franca of AMarga. the Roman script was adopted by Him. Baba gave a few innovations by adding ten more letters, and called it His Roman Sanskrit. There is the book “Basic Sam’skrta” by the late Dada Vijayanandaji of the Publications Department, out of print, but its a wonderful starter for those who want to learn Romanised Sam’skrta There are 34 consonants in Sanskrit. In Indian schools, first the students are taught the Svara and then the Vyanjanas separately. This is the scientific reason why the vowels and consonants are created. In the Shabda Cayanika series, He has said the languages who do not adopt innovations made by Him and avoid the habit of constant innovation, will end up perishing.

For the serious student of Baba’s work, as a guide while reading our philosophy publications and an excellent reference to Baba’s unique interpretations of Sanskrit words and concepts, there is a volume devoted to the supplementary definitions of terms called Ánanda Marga Dictionary, which has been in print since 2004. This dictionary supercedes the Ánanda Márga Gurukula’s Ananda Sutram Word Index compiled by the late Shri Ladli Prasad Bhargava. the first etymology of all the basic Sanskrit words used in the aphorisms. This was combined with a one-letter Tantrika dictionary commonly dubbed ekákïarimátrkákoïah.

Sanskrit, the mother of all languages, was developed from the externalized sounds of the human inner body, essentially an eternal song. Our Master clearly said: “All languages of the world are bound together on a single thread — su’tre mani’gan’a’ iva — translating to ‘no language is beyond this law’. Those languages which used to carry the remnants of natural melodies have also finally had to obey this law”. (Varn’a Vigina’na, “The Science of Letters”).

Baba made many references to the fact that Sanskrit will re-emerge as being a relevant living global language in the future generations. Here is a quote written in the late 1800s in England regarding Sanskrit, that could have been authored by Baba himself:

“…our so-called European alphabet, as adopted by the Greeks, Romans, and modern nations of Europe, is really Asiatic, and not European in its origin….certain features which connect it with the so-called divine Nagari alphabet of the Brahmans. …it is well suited to the expression of their venerated Sanskrit; while its numerous accessory appliances, its types of various kinds and sizes, its capital and small letters, hyphens, brackets, stops &c., make it better suited than any other graphic system to meet the linguistic requirements of the coming century–a century which will witness such vast physical, moral, and intellectual changes, that a new order of things, and almost a new world and new race of being, will come into existence. In that new world some of the most inveterate prejudices and and peculiarities now separating nation from nation will be obliterated, and all nationalities–brought into fraternal relationship–will recognize their kinship and solidarity.” (Monier-Williams, Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 1994 [originally published 1899])