Ananda means “bliss” and Marga means “path.”
So Ananda Marga means “Path of Bliss.”
Bliss is infinite happiness. It is the fundamental desire of human beings. “There is in the living being a thirst for limitlessness.” We can never be satisfied with limited things. They may give us pleasure for a while, but not long-lasting satisfaction. A limited object can only give a temporary and limited amount of happiness. But only infinite happiness will satisfy us. So how are we to attain it? By expanding our awareness to infinity; by transforming our individual limited experience into the cosmic experience of the unlimited: infinite happiness; perfect peace and contentment – bliss.
Ananda Marga is the name of the system which allows us to do that. It is an optimal selection of those techniques and practices that lead to the total experience of infinite peace and happiness – what we call “self-realization.” It is an ideology and way of life; a systematic and scientific process for the fulfillment of all human needs: physical, mental and spiritual. It is introversial, intuitional practice; with techniques ranging from personal hygiene to yoga postures; from social service to meditation. Its goal is the all-round elevation of human beings, both individually and collectively, in all spheres of human existence: individual, social, economic, intellectual and spiritual. It is a total response to human longing and aspiration.
As an organization, Ananda Marga has a global network of centers in virtually every country of the world. Its activities encompass a wide range of projects for the welfare of humanity, animals, plants and the whole planet. These include yoga and meditation centers, schools, children’s homes, food distribution centers, disaster relief, medical centers and community development projects. Emphasis is placed on meeting the needs of the local people and assisting them in developing their personal and social resources for the prosperity of all.
The philosophy of Ananda Marga is one of universalism. It is an all-embracing outlook, recognizing God as the one limitless supreme consciousness, with all beings of the universe part of the one cosmic family.
It recognizes that a balance is needed between the spiritual and mundane aspects of existence, and that neither one should be neglected at the expense of the other. Hence the goal of Ananda Marga is “Self-realization and the welfare of the universe.”