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Re: Old Hindu Dogma Getting New Colour in Ananda Marga #2

Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2012 13:27:44 +0200 
From: Shankar Panigrahi
Subject: Re: Old Hindu Dogma Getting New Colour in Ananda Marga #2



(Note: This is an updated and corrected version of the second letter in this series. A link to the initial letter is appended below. In addition, all below sections in brown italics are excerpts from that first letter. - Eds)

"The existing Hindu dogma of shraddhanjali or punyatithi (annual death ceremony) has been redecorated and given a place in Ananda Marga - not just in the form of so-called mahaprayan but also as an annual death day ceremony for Ananda Margiis who have passed away.

Unfortunately this has become a general trend in our Ananda Marga society.

Some may think this is something glorious, but when it runs contrary to Baba's teaching, then there is no question of it being something good. Rather it is a dogma that should be removed.

The new dogma is that some are turning the death day of their dear relative into an annual death day ceremony.

Since 1990, there have been innumerable cases wherein margii families choose to observe the anniversary of the death of their cherished relative.

For instance, someone dies on July 1st, then the prescribed system is to mourn and observe death death for no more than 12 days. That means, by 13 July, all public ceremonies and gatherings related with the mourning of the deceased must be completed. That is Baba's system.

But some families are opting to celebrate the death for years and years, by honoring the anniversary of the death each year on July 1. They mark those celebrations by reciting shlokas, distributing food and clothes, and garlanding the deceased margiis's photo etc. Just as is done in the Hindu dogma of punya tithi / shraddha.

To some naive persons this may sound "honorable" or "respectful", but it is 100% against Baba's system."



Unfortunately, here are a few recent examples of "prominent" margii families that are going against Baba's teaching.

[A] The family members of Ac Harishankarji of Ranchi performed the first shraddha divas (death day ceremony) of Shrii Harishankar by incorporating the Hindu dogma mass feeding. Not only that, every year since, on the death day anniversary of Ac Harishankar, the son and his family come to Ranchi and, along with other family members, they garland Harishankarji's samadhi (tomb), which is inside the house premises. These are "important" margiis yet they are involved in Hindu dogma each year on the anniversary of Ac Harishankarji's death.

[B] Lokanath Pradhanji, a well-known margii of Debagad, Sambalpur in Odisha state, is involved in annual death day ceremonies. Pradhanji was a college professor who was blessed with microvita sadhana by Ba’ba. But on the death day anniversary of his father, he performs akhanda kiirttan for 12 hours in his residence, feeds the kiirttanites & relatives - i.e. Hindu dogma of mass feeding. This occurs every year on 13th June which is the occasion of his father’s death anniversary. In this case, Lokanath Pradhanji is continuing the dogma of mass feeding and kiirtan year after year after year. This is a more serious case.

[C] Another margii, Pratap Nayakji also involved in dogmatic Hindu shraddha tradition of doing mass feeding for the occasion of his wife's shraddha ceremony. Nayakji is well-versed with Caryacarya, yet on the anniversary of his wife's death, he did the mass feeding the first year and continues honouring her with garlands on the anniversary of that day. Ironically, before his wife’s death he was against mahaprayana, now he is in favour of it. By the way, Nayakji was a WT sanyasi before emergency period. He knows the rules, yet still he indulges in annual death day celebrations anyway.

[D] Other important margiis like Bhaskar Jenaji observed the death day or shraddha divas of his mother accompanied by a mass feeding in the dogmatic Hindu tradition. Since that time, others have tried to convince Jenaji to do a mass feeding each year, but thus far Jenaji has resisted. Bhaskar Jenaji received microvita sadhana. If he had been strict in following only the Ananda Marga system and not done the Hindu dogma of mass feeding at the shraddha ceremony, then he would not be facing the pressure to continue this dogma year after year. Even then, to his credit, he does not give in to the pressure.

[E] Prof Aditya Mohantyji observed the initial shraddha ceremony on the death day celebration for both his wife & his father with mass feeding according to the Hindu dogma. He too was blessed with microvita sadhana. He was aware that he should not do mass feeding, but due to social pressure he gave in to Hindu dogma that first year. To his credit, he has not continued it like Lokanath Pradhanji does.

In particular these three - Loknath Pradhanji, Bhaskar Jenaji, & Prof Aditya Mohantyji - are samaj leaders who go to conferences and seminars preaching the gospel of Prout and neo-humanism. So when people see them cave in to Hindu dogma, then naturally others will also do the same. That is what happens when leaders fail to live up to an ideal.


Actually, all of the above are so-called important margiis - holding important posts - but see their standard. They had the opportunity to see Baba and receive His blessing. When they were close to Baba they understood His guidelines, but as soon as they were apart from Baba they could not keep His teachings in mind - they could not follow His mandates. Such persons are the worst type of devotees.

Baba says "According to Tantra, disciples are of three categories. The worst category are likened to pitchers placed inversely in a tub of water. Such pitchers contain water as long as they are kept in the tub, but as soon as they are taken out, all the water pours out. These disciples acquire spiritual knowledge when they are in close contact with the preceptor, but as soon as they are apart from the preceptor they forget all his teachings." (Ananda Marga Ideology & Way of Life - 9, Tantra and Sádhaná)

That is the state of the aforementioned so-called senior and great margiis.


According to Baba, greatness is based on something else.

Baba says, "It is action that makes a person great. Be great by your sádhaná, by your service, by your sacrifice." (Ananda Vanii #20)

According to Baba, greatness is not determined by being a senior citizen or gaining a top university degree, or any other worldly quality. Greatness comes from one's sadhana, service, and sacrifice.

The aforementioned persons think they are following so-called mahaprayan, therefore their dealing is good. They justify that they are merely emulating what is done in Kolkata each October. But nothing could be further from the truth; their dealing is not good. They are drowned in dogma yet do not realise it. Such is their unfortunate state.


Note: In Ananda Marga, shraddha should be done once within the 12-day mourning period and money must not be spent on food / feasting or charitable donations to the priest. Just we follow Baba's given ceremony in Caryacarya. Spending money on shraddha means succumbing to Hindu dogma. So if one does a mass feeding in honour of the deceased during the 12-mourning period, then that is bad. Then there are those who do annual death day ceremonies and spend lavishly on food / feasting and donations. That is a second scenario. Both situations are bad, but doing a dogmatic Hindu-style shraddha on the anniversary day is worse. Any of the above margiis falling in either of these categories are living representations of Hindu dogma. They should change their ways immediately.


Since long, because of this death day dogma, Indian society has been exploited financially by Hindu priests. The common people incur huge loans and are forced to feed their entire village on annual death day celebrations. Plus they pay those priests enormous sums of money. If all this is not done, then they will not go to heaven. In turn, many lead miserable lives trying to repay these huge loans. Spiritually this is very bad and socially it is crippling. There are many reasons why this death day dogma is poisonous for society, but this is one of the major ones. Because of this, centuries ago led by Carvak, atheism was on the rise in India. People were getting exploited by the priests and Carvak stood up against those religious exploiters. Even then he could not root out this dogma completely. So still society is suffering. Now is the time for all Ananda Margiis to wipe out this dogma with our dharmic, God-centered approach, by Baba's grace.

Baba's system is a 12-day mourning period.

Of course we all know that Baba has firmly declared in Caryacarya that the period of mourning shall be 12 days - no more.

Baba says, "The period of mourning should not extend beyond twelve days." (Caryacarya - 1)

Thus to observe an annual death day ceremony is against Baba's guideline and against His wish.

All this type of dealing is not at ll pleasing to Guru.

However, certain families justify that when so-called mahaprayan is observed every year as shraddhanjali (dogmatic Hindu shraddha ceremony) in Tiljala, then why can't we (i.e. the family) observe the death of our dear loved one, each year on the anniversary of his death.

They innocently think that by honoring the death day annually, they are pleasing both Baba and their deceased relative. But in true sense they are satisfying neither. Because to please Baba one must follow His teachings and to please a deceased person one must honor their wishes. And most often, in the case of a Ananda Margiis, honoring their wishes means following Guru.

Thus by observing the annual death day, neither party is pleased. The deceased is not pleased nor does Guru approve.

Yet people have fallen into this trap because that is the prevailing Hindu dogma and that is what groupists like Sarvatmananda have popularised in Ananda Marga.

This is the predicament and the new dogma that is taking birth.


These people forgot Baba's slogan:

Baba says, "You boys, you girls, you the spiritual aspirants, must always remember that you must never surrender at the altar of dogma. In the past, dogma committed so many nuisances, dogma created so many fissiparous tendencies in this human society. Your slogan should be “Dogma – No more! Dogma – No more!” Establish yourselves above the boundaries of dogma, and be established in the excellence of human glory." (A Few Problems Solved - 4, Dogma – No More)

We must not succumb to the dogmatic Hindu beliefs of mass feeding on the initial shraddha ceremony nor observing the annual death day ceremony with feasting and public donations. As disciples of Lord Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji, we must glorify Him by adhering to and practically following His divine teachings.

Shankar Panigrahi


The following is Baba's discourse - Shraddham - from Ananda Vacanamrtam Part 3:

What’s the meaning of shráddhá? “Shraddhayá diiyate yastu ityarthe shráddhah” – “that which is offered with shraddhá is shráddha.” And what is shraddhá? “Shrat satyam iti dhiiyata ityarthe shraddhá”, that is, when an idea or a culminating point is accepted as supreme, then that idea or culminating point is called “shrat”; and when the mind, with its propensities, moves towards that object, that movement is called shraddhá. Shrat + dha is shraddhá. Now let us see some of the prevalent usages of the world in connection with this shraddhá, or shráddha. When you offer something with shraddhá, it is shráddha. A priest may say that your father will die only once, and so after his death you should arrange for a sufficient quantity of food-stuffs, a sufficient quantity of edibles, a sufficient quantity of clothes, etc., for him. And that has been done in India for about five thousand years, since the time of the Atharva Veda. And people have generally offered rice and sesame, also honey and ghee, to be consumed by that person who has left the world.

Regarding these things, Maharshi Charvaka (he lived in India about 2500 years ago, during the time of Lord Buddha. He was a bit senior to Lord Buddha. Charvaka’s disciple, Ajit Kusum, was a contemporary of Lord Buddha) said “If you are in a room, and another man is in the courtyard a few yards away, and you offer rice and sesame for that man, he won’t get that rice and sesame, and his hunger won’t be satisfied. And if a man is in another world, Aparaloka, and you are offering rice and sesame for him, will he get them? Is it reasonable? No, no. All these things are exploitation by the privileged class.”

After offering rice, sesame, clothes, etc., what do you find? The rice is consumed by the purohita in his house. Go to his kitchen, and all that rice is being consumed by his family. That dhuti which is being offered by you for your late father is being used by the purohita, and the sháŕii by the purohita patnii; and the gamci, the towel, if it is surplus, is sold in the market. And the utensils are also sold in the market. So your deceased father, your parents, who are now inhabitants of Aparaloka, won’t get anything.

And the second thing you will see, or you will feel, is that they do not require these things. The microcosm, or unit spirit, does not require any food or clothes or sesame or utensils. All these ideas are scoundrels’ philosophy. And they have been doing this type of exploitation for the last five thousand years, since the time of the Atharva Veda.

In some other corners of the world, people wait for forty days, and after forty days they offer a particular type of prayer, and that prayer is supposed to make the position of the dead person secure. Is this logical? Certainly not. All these things done in the name of shráddha are nothing but a cheating business.

In prehistoric times also, those people of less-developed intellect used to think in this same way, that even after death people require worldly objects. So in prehistoric times also you would find, looking within the graves, that they used to offer barley (at that time wheat was not popular), wine, honey, such things. And even now in India during shráddha they use these things – barley, wine, wool – so that the dead person will wrap that woollen cádar around themself, etc.

Now, as I told you, in all corners of the world this type of exploitation is going on. And why are the people being exploited? Because they are under the veil of superstition. They are superstitious people. They are less developed in intellect.

I remember a short story. In my town there was a businessman. Say his name was D́oman Sáhu. And his father was also a businessman. During the day he was a businessman, and at night he was a d́áku(2) . Say D́oman’s father’s name was Mohan Sáhu. Now a big pańd́ita came from Kashmir to my home town and said that he had the capacity with the strength of his mantra, to arrange heaven for all pápiis, all degraded persons, all degraded souls. Then D́oman thought, “My father Mohan is a d́áku. Let me take the help of this big pańd́ita and arrange heaven for my d́áku father.”

So the pańd́ita said, “Yes, yes, yes. I will do everything, but I want fifty guineas as a fee for the purpose.” And D́oman agreed.

But D́oman’s friend was one Mr. Ravi Ghose, a very intelligent man. Ravi Ghose said, “You see, D́oman, that pańd́ita is a businessman, that is why he wants fifty guineas. You do one thing. Let there be bargaining. Tell the pańd́ita, ‘You see, pańd́itajii, I can offer only fifty silver coins, fifty rupees. Please agree.’”

Then the pańd́ita said, “Yes, it will be done, but had it been fifty guineas, your father would have reached just below the Párijáta tree of Nandana Kánana of heaven. If you give fifty silver coins, fifty rupees, he will reach the main gate of heaven, but not near that Parijata tree.”

D́oman thought, “Right near the gate. Then that short distance will be covered by my father on foot. Then let me spend only fifty rupees.”

Then again he went to Ravi Ghose, that crooked and intelligent fellow. Ravi Ghose said, “You see, D́oman, our first attempt has been a success. Now you just tell him, ‘Pańd́itajii, I will spend only forty rupees; not fifty.’”

Pańd́itajii said, “In that case, there will be a short gap.”

Then next day D́oman said, “No, I will spend thirty rupees,” and so on. And finally the settlement was for ten rupees.

So this is the commercial story regarding shráddha. There is nothing in it.

So what should one do? Haven’t we any social responsibility for dead persons? When the necessity arises, we should offer shraddhá for them, not barley or wheat or woollen clothes or wrappers or ghee or sesame. What can we do? As long as a man is here in our society we have a social responsibility for him. Human beings are social beings, we have a social responsibility for them. And when the leave this world and go to the other world, they go beyond the scope of our responsibility. We cannot render any service to them. Our social responsibility is over as soon as the cremation is done.

So what can we do? We can say “O Parama Puruśa, while that man was with us we tried our best to do whatever we could do. But now they are beyond our scope, they are beyond our jurisdiction, so please do take care of them.” This much of a request can be made by us, and nothing more than that. And the Ananda Marga shráddha is just like that. Here we require no edibles, no clothes or anything else. We offer our shraddhá, and we do nothing else, and we can do nothing else. (Ananda Vacanamrtam - 3, Shra'ddha)


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