Harmful story from “Ananda Katha”
Note: This letter is about one Baba Story book. We should examine this below account and evaluate how far the book is appropriate or not.
We all know that throughout His many discourses Baba warns us about the dangers of dogma, as well as the horrors of avidya tantra. Yet, on occasion we come across incidents where certain Ananda Margiis start praising the so-called greatness of some dogmatic, religious leaders, or some avidya tantrics etc. In particular this has happened with one publication. First let's review, one important Baba story and then review the particulars from the book, “Ananda Katha”.
Avidya tantra is very harmful - story of Khagen
In Shabda Cayanika Baba recounts the tragic story of his laokik student colleague, Khagen. Unfortunately Khagen was very fascinated by avidya tantra and started practicing. And ultimately in a short while he got some siddhis. But then the situation became terrible. And in the end, Khagen did something very bad by practicing the "killing mantra". He irresponsibly killed one dog using that black mantra. Then something even more horrible happened. The disembodied mind of the dog was always coming after him. Due to the resultant phobia over this, Khagen's entire mental existence turned into that dog. He lost his human voice and began expressing himself like one dog, just barking like a dog. Khagen could only make the barking sound of a dog. Khagen was always tortured and haunted in this way.
Here Baba recounts this incident in His Shabda Cayanika series.
Ananda Marga philosophy states, "Khagen was totally absorbed, like a tree immersed in meditation. He didn’t blink at all or move even a finger or a toe so I kept quiet for some time and remained standing there, not disturbing him. At one point, I looked over at the dog and saw that he had died...I understood that this was all Khagen’s affair. He had mastered the skill to kill an innocent creature and drive its body...A few years later I was once again sitting in that same place at the dead of night bathed in moonlight...I remembered the incident of Khagen and the dog on that full-moon night in Phalgun. Neither of the two was present. During the day I asked the local villagers for news about Khagen. “Yes, yes,” they said. “Sometimes we see a half-mad fellow wandering the jungle paths at the edge of the hills. He often goes around barking as if he thought he was a dog. Whenever he sees anyone with glasses he rushes after them, grabs them and says: ‘Prabhat, you have come. I have left that path, I have left that path, bark, bark, I have left that path, but that dog won’t leave me alone. Whenever I want to meditate or to repeat my Iśt́a mantra that dog comes into my mind and starts barking mercilessly. What can I do, tell me! It would be better to die.’”" (1)
By the above, it is very evident that by engaging in avidya tantric practices one will meet their ruination. So we should neither practice such things nor glorify others who fall prey to the allurement of avidya tantra.
How one writer glorifies this debauched fellow
Unfortunately, in his book, one writer has narrated the story of how he himself was so attracted and enthralled with an avidya tantric. That avidya tantric's superficial name was Da'ta'ji (in Urdu and Arabic language, the 'Data' term is used for God). Actually that avidya tantric, Da'ta', was from Muzaffarpur, Bihar and he was an advocate, i.e. a lawyer.
The story goes that one day that lawyer while doing his job in the court shed himself of his black gown and threw it away. And he went to his Muslim pseudo-guru who was an alcoholic. There this dogmatic-minded advocate learned various avidya tantric methods. And while involved in that negative study he egotistically adopted the new name, Da'ta'ji (in Urdu and Arabic language, the 'Data' term is used for God).
And as per their usual misguided way, this Da'ta'ji fellow also indulged in drinking alcohol and became one grand so-called leader with a large audience of dogmatic worshipers etc. And the writer has glorified this lowly, dogmatic avidya tantrika Da'ta' character in his book. Here starts an excerpt from that very book:
Ananda Katha book states, "Despite this evidence of his drinking alcohol, there was a spiritual glow on his face. I touched his feet...I was feeling attracted towards him. During that visit he did many miraculous things for several people, such as curing the daughter-in-law of a devotee by sending her a glass of water from which he had drunk. He also revived the fevered, unconscious daughter of a destitute follower by anointing her teeth with his own saliva."
This concludes that direct citation from pages 57-58 of the writer’s book Ananda Katha.
Sadguru Baba warns about such avidya tantrikas
Yet we know by Baba's teachings that avidya tantric practices are very cheap. That state is easily achieved with very little effort, just by chanting some mantra and tantra etc, one can get various superficial siddhis, i.e. occult powers. Baba harshly condemns the use of occult powers and warns us that such powers are fleeting in nature and of no benefit, rather they are dangerous. (2)
But by showing those occult powers, these misguided avidya tantrics try to garner a lot of respect from the innocent public - those who are ignorant about tantra and spirituality. And to attract even more people, these avidya tantrics place some religious umbrella on their head by proclaiming themselves to be the head of one ashram etc. Because if they are attached with any of the dogmatic religions and get the status of monk or renunciate, then they are treated as a demi-god. So such avidya tantrics do like this to increase their prestige. And on the top by putting on some false or misguided display of occult powers, the innocent public gets attracted and infatuated.
So it is tragic that a member of our Ananda Marga who wrote the book 'Ananda Katha' also became fascinated by such avidya tantrics. As noted above, in his book he clearly describes how he was completely in awe of Da'ta'ji, that negative Avidya Tantric advocate who was drinking alcohol etc. The margii writer uses all sorts of flowery language to portray his deep respect and full appreciation for this misguided avidya' tantric named Da'ta'ji (in Urdu and Arabic language, the 'Data' term is used for God).
But we should view the situation according to Baba's vision. And Baba warns us that all these practices of avidya tantra are very harmful and misguided. That's why these avidya tantrikas ultimately degenerate into stone, iron, or metal. Their future is completely black. (3)
For these reasons Baba warns us to stay away from this negative practice as they push one far from the goal and submerge one in pain, suffering, and degradation. This should be very clear to all Ananda Margiis.
Very harmful story
But unfortunately, one senior sadhaka from those early days glorified this dogmatic avidya tantrika in his book. This story is harmful and will mislead innocent readers in any number of ways. Firstly, it sets a bad example that one should indulge in avidya tantra in order to get respect. Then one will be a revered member of society. This is one wrong teaching from the story. Secondly, the writer has written in such a manner as if in Ananda Marga we appreciate the dark path and occult powers related with avidya tantra. This is a second misconception propagated by this book.
Thirdly, the way the story is written, this degraded Da'ta' character is portrayed as being greater than our Sadguru Shrii Shrii Anandamurti ji. This is yet another horrible outcome of this story. In his own awe for avidya tantra, the writer forgot that his purpose in writing was to glorify Baba, but instead the writer raised the banner of this dogmatic, drunken Da'ta' fellow and presented Sadguru Baba as being beneath him.
So this story is misleading and harmful in any number of ways. New people will certainly be led astray. The most harmful aspect is that it misportrays Baba's true status and undermines Ananda Marga ideology. And further down in this letter are recommendation for what should have been done.
Ananda Margiis are far above such lowly avidya tantrikas
Perhaps one of the reasons the writer wrote about this drunken, avidya tantric in his book is because he (the writer) himself suffered from an inferiority complex. In the face of Da'ta'ji, the writer felt himself to be lowly. That could be the cause of why he glorified this dogmatic Da'ta' fellow. But no margii should succumb to such feelings of inferiority when confronted by an avidya tantric.
Baba poignantly guides us that those who have been blessed to receive initiation into the Tantric cult of Ananda Marga sadhana are truly fortunate. Specifically only those human beings who have the very strong desire and longing to realize Parama Purusa, only they get liberated from the serpentine noose of the all-pervading maya. Only such jiivas get the unique opportunity to receive Taraka Brahma as their Guru. In Ananda Sutram Baba guides us:
3-8 "Muktya'ka'unks'aya' sadgurupra'ptih"
Ananda Sutram states, "Purport: When a vehement desire for emancipation wakes up in a person, he attains his Sadguru [true spiritual preceptor] on the strength of that desire." (4)
So in pointed fashion Baba tells us that only those who have the deep longing to get Parama Purusa, only those blessed sadhakas get initiation into the Tantric cult and receive the Sadguru. In stark contrast, those who do not have that longing - i.e. those avidya tantrikas - remain far off from the path. They do not have an earnest desire for liberation so they do not come in contact with the Sadguru. So Ananda Margiis are far above, by His grace, because we got the blessing of receiving Taraka Brahma as our Guru.
We should not be in awe of fake religious leaders
No Ananda Margii should be awe-struck and feel inferior to such religious leaders. The above sutra also means that all such dogmatic religious leaders, or heads of various ashrams or mat'ha's or monasteries, and other such pseudo-leaders do not have that special longing for Parama Purusa in their heart. Rather they are deficient in this regard. And that is why they did not receive the Sadguru. Due to their distinctly lower standard, in the name of worship such misguided persons are sunk in dogmatic rituals and external paraphernalia. So they are far from the divine tantric teachings and unique process of Ananda Marga sadhana. In which case they are not getting the direct grace of Sadguru.
Thus when Taraka Brahma comes as the Sadguru then only qualified sadhakas come in His divine contact, i.e. only those who have an ardent longing for liberation get the Sadguru. Those fake yogis, avidya tantrikas, and dogmatic priests yogis do not have that sincere longing for liberation or emancipation - rather they are plunged in worldly desires like name and fame. That is why they did not come into Ananda Marga That is why they could not get the Sadguru. Only those entire into Ananda Marga who have a deep desire for liberation.
Ananda Sutram states, "Purport: When a vehement desire for emancipation wakes up in a person, he attains his Sadguru [true spiritual preceptor] on the strength of that desire." (4)
Here then is significant difference between Ananda Margiis and non-Margiis: Ananda Margiis are more close to Parama Purusa, and non-margiis are further away from Him. This is the undeniable fact. And this is what Baba tells us in Ananda Sutram. So we should not get befooled and get caught up following those so-called leaders of those dogmatic paths. Because those misguided leaders themselves are far below the spiritual standard of Ananda Margiis.
In the social sphere, regardless of how much "respect" and no matter how many followers those dogmatic leaders have, all that pomp and show does not hold any value in the spiritual field. Rather it is due to their blatant lack of spiritual flow that those negative leaders behave in this way.
What the writer should have done
>From the spiritual perspective, we Ananda Margiis - being the disciples of Sadguru Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji - are truly blessed. Because greatness in the spiritual field is determined by one's proximity to Parama Purusa. And we Ananda Margiis have a developed longing to attain Him. That is why we have received the Sadguru. And by moving ahead on the path we are getting closer and closer to Parama Purusa. Whereas those negative avidya tantrikas are terribly degenerated and they could not get the Sadguru.
So no Ananda Margii should harbour the negative approach of praising and feeling inferior to any of those dogmatic religious priests. Because our standard is far above than that.
(A) If any writer is recounting a tale from the distant past or their early youth then they should clarify that by writing, "In those days I was young and did not know better etc, but now I fully understand that occult powers are very harmful and based on dogma", or "at that time I was a very new margii and did not understand Ananda Marga teaching, but now I know that things like avidya tantra are 100% contrary to Baba's teachings." If the writer clarifies the topic in this way, then it will keep the reader from being led astray. That is what should have been done in this case.
(B) Anyone writing a Baba story book must be able to clearly differentiate between itikatha (factual history) and itihasa (educative history). Merely recounting any type of story is not helpful. Rather those negative stories - like the above account about Dattaji - should be tossed aside entirely, and instead it is the writer's responsibility to only select and highlight those stores which inspire and lead one along the path of Supreme Benevolence. In that case, new and naive readers will not be led in the wrong direction.
Overall, the story which family Ac Naginaji included in his book "Ananda Katha" about the drunken Da'ta' fellow is very misleading and harmful. It veers off course in many ways and leaves readers with a wrong understanding that in Ananda Marga we appreciate such dogmatic avidya tantrics. The best thing is for this story to be removed from the book and for a statement to be issued by the publishers explaining how this story wrongly portrays the stand of Ananda Marga.
~ In-depth study ~
Glorifying so many Himalayan so-called sadhus
No Baba story book should bask in praising lowly, dogmatic gurus etc. This is the wrong approach. That is what this writer did with regard to the drunken Islamic guru, and tragically we see this commonly done in various Baba story books. For instance, Dada Cidananda devotes long chapter(s) in his book glorifying so many Himalayan so-called sadhus. These dogmatic monks are sunk in worldly desires and prestige yet Dada places them up on grand pedestal. This is the entirely wrong approach. In a Baba story book only Guru should be revered and dogmatic things should be pointed out.
Many are aware that Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his autobiography how on the night that his father died he himself was plunged in sensual pleasures with his spouse and thus failed to be near his father. This story contains a negative teaching and should never have been included in such a book as those readers who revere Gandhiji will emulate that lowly behaviour.
How avidya tantrics kill others & ruin themselves
Here following are some of Baba's teachings and warning about the sheer negativity of avidya tantra.
Ananda Marga philosophy states, "Those who harm others while trying to fulfil their own selfish ends, those who practise Avidyá Tantra in the name of Vidyá Tantra, and those with a sinister, sadistic nature who mercilessly kill millions of innocent people by manufacturing lethal weapons get the status of mahákapála [negative microvita] after their demise. They always keep trying to destroy the living world." (5)
Ananda Marga philosophy says, "People use the power that comes from sádhaná in order to win the admiration of others. The exhibition of one’s supernatural powers would make others extol, respect or even worship one. Others would look upon one as a great devotee (sádhaka). This is the only reason behind the display of one’s powers. A desire to command respect and devotion from others is only being entrapped by vanity (mána) and pride (mada) of Avidyámáyá. The use of power for such objects is the pursuit of Avidyámáyá, and the pursuit of Avidyámáyá leads to degradation. Hence any use of supernatural power brings one under the control of Avidyámáyá, which inevitably leads to a fall and to degradation." (6)
Ananda Marga philosophy states, "The use of sádhaná-begotten power has to be regarded as a blasphemy. For is it not challenging the supremacy of God by neutralizing the effectiveness of the laws of His nature with the help of supernatural powers? One may cross a river by walking on water, may walk through raging fire, or may even perform the miracle of curing one of an incurable disease. One would invariably be using one’s powers to nullify the nature (dharma) of water and fire and to interfere with the law of Prakrti which makes one suffer reactions of all one’s actions. Anyone walking on water in a river must be drowned. Fire has the property of burning whatever may come in its contact. Similarly one has to bear the consequences of one’s actions. To evade these effects is to challenge the authority of God. It is not merely challenging, but demolishing the very constitution of creation and its laws. There could be no greater blasphemy." (7)
Very negative and harmful intentions of avidya tantrics
Ananda Marga philosophy guides us, "One part of Avidya' Tantra is to kill or cause the death of someone through mantra or through some related technique or in some artificial way. This is call ma'ran'a. [Ma'ra literally means annihilation] (8)
Ananda Marga philosophy teaches us, "The motivation behind the practice of [negative] Avidya Tantra is ma'raya ma'raya na'shaya nashaya ucca't'ayaa uyaa't'aya mama shatrun'a'm ["Kill my enemy, kill. Destroy my enemy, destroy. Uproot my enemy, uproot.'] This sort of mentality should not be allowed to develop in a person. This sort of prayer should be avoided." (9)
Ananda Marga ideology states, "Now what happens when a man sees some unnatural picture or unnatural image or unnatural being? One possibility I have already explained - it may be that a Tantrika, with the help of his ectoplasmic structure, has created a body for a disembodied mind just to terrorize others. A Vidya Tantrika won't do these things, but an Avidya Tantrika may do so just to terrorize others, as they used to do in the past. After getting some money they would stop the practice." (10)
1. Shabda Cayanika - 2, Disc: 13
2. Reference Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell - 6, p.389
3. Reference: discourse "Vidya' Tantra and Avidya' Tantra"
4. Ananda Sutram, Sutra 3-8
5. Disembodied Souls and Microvita – Excerpt A
6. Ananda Marga Elementary Philosophy
7. Ananda Marga Elementary Philosophy
8. Discourses on Tantra - 2, p. 252
9. Discourses on Tantra - 2, p. 254
10. Ananda Vacanamrtam - 3, p. 86
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