Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar

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From the Sarkarverse wiki:

"Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar (1921 May 21 – 1990 October 21), also known by his spiritual name, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti and known as Baba to his disciples, was an Indian Guru, philosopher, author, social revolutionary, poet, composer, and linguist. His teachings spanned the entire spectrum of thought and pointed humanity in a direction toward developing their intrinsic spiritual nature and shaping a society that would provide the congenial environment for the development of higher consciousness. He once stated to one of his disciples that he wanted to give new ideas in every sphere of human endeavour and action. Sarkar was the founder of Ananda Marga (Path of Bliss) in 1955, a spiritual and social organisation that offers instruction in meditation and yoga. Ananda Marga is now spread in over 120 countries around the world on all six continents. He systematized the entire spiritual practices of Ananda Marga into what he called The Sixteen Points which lay the foundation of a balanced and progressive development of the individual on physical, mental, social, mental and spiritual levels. Giani Zail Singh, seventh President of India, has said about Sarkar: "Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar was one of the greatest modern philosophers of India."

Sarkar's system of spiritual practice has been described as a practical synthesis of Vedic and Tantric philosophies. Vedic spiritual practices are more ritualistic and devoted to the chanting of popular shlokas such as the Gayatri Mantra or the singing of traditional Indian bhajans. The meditation systems found in Vedic paths are not detailed nor are mantras individually prescribed according to the psychic temperament of the aspirant. Sarkar's sadhana system is based on the ancient Tantric practices which over time have eroded and fallen into misinterpretation for lack of a competent Preceptor. In Sarkar's revised Tantra he makes use of "siddha mantras"or proven mantras which are potentized by a Mahakaul (perfectly realized Master) that have the capability to raise the latent spiritual force within the subtle spinal column often referred to as "kulakundalini". Such mantras are individually imparted to a willing aspirant according to their intrinsic psychic temperaments referred to as "samskaras". He denounced materialism and capitalism, and described the universe as a result of macropsychic conation – the entire universe exists within the cosmic mind, which itself is the first expression of consciousness coming under the bondage of its own nature.

Sarkar was a prolific author and produced an extensive body of works that includes theories aimed at increasing human welfare such as the Law of Social Cycle, the Progressive Utilization Theory, the Theory of Microvitum, as well as the philosophy of Neohumanism."



Thomas Lombardo:

"Critical of profit-motivated capitalism, hedonistic materialism, and religious dogma, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar developed a Spiritual or Neo-Humanism, bringing in spiritual, economic, social scientific, ecological, and moral themes to create a long term view of human progress; progress is the evolution of consciousness and movement directed toward the well-being of everyone. Basing his philosophy on love and respect for all things and the central human ideals of freedom, equality, and justice, Sarkar proposed that the physical, mental, and spiritual realms of humanity all need to be addressed in a vision of the future. A new social order – a "moral society" – is needed for the future, emphasizing cooperation over competition, collective welfare over profit, and transcendent ideals over self-interest. And finally, as a common theme that runs through many works, the idea of the New (or Second) Enlightenment, reflecting an ethical, psychological, and social transformation in humanity, has been proposed as a hopeful and preferable futurist vision for the world."

Source: Lombardo, Thomas (21 July 2011) Wisdom, Consciousness, and the Future: Collected Essays Xlibris Corporation [1]

Sohail Inayatullah on P.R. Sarkar's Civilizational Project

Sohail Inayatullah:

"Sarkar's intent was and is (his organizations continue his work) to create a global spiritual socialist revolution, a renaissance in thought, language, music, art, and culture. His goal is to infuse individuals with a spiritual presence, the necessary first step in changing the way that we know and order our world. Unlike the socialists of the past who merely sought to capture state power--forgetting that the economy was global and thus in the long run strengthening the world capitalist system--or the utopian idealists who merely wished for perfect places that could not practically exist or spiritualists who only sought individual transformation at the expense of structural change, Sarkar has a far more comprehensive view of transformation of which his social cycle provides the key structure.

His theoretical offerings include a range of new approaches to understanding social reality. His theory of neo-humanism aims to relocate the self from ego (and the pursuit of individual maximization), from family (and the pride of genealogy), from geo-sentiments (attachments to land and nation), from socio-sentiments (attachments to class, race and community) from humanism (man as the center of the universe) to neo-humanism (love and devotion for all, inanimate and animate, beings of the universe). Paramount here is the construction of self in an ecology of reverence for life, not a modern/secular politics of cynicism. Spiritual devotion to the universe is ultimately the greatest treasure that humans have; it is this treasure that must be excavated and shared by all living beings.

Only from this basis can a new universalism emerge which can challenge the national, religious, class sentiments of history. The first step, then, is liberating the intellect from its own boundaries and placing it in an alternative discourse. Sarkar then seeks to make accessible an alternative way of knowing the world that includes yet steps beyond traditional knowledge points; reason, sense-inference, authority, and intuition.

The central framework for his neo-humanistic perspective is his Progressive Utilization Theory. PROUT encompasses Sarkar's theory of history and change, his theory of leadership and the vanguard of the new world he envisions, as well as his alternative political economy.


His theory of history constructs four classes: workers, warriors, intellectuals, and accumulators of capital. Each class can be perceived not merely as a power configuration, but as a way of knowing the world, as a paradigm, episteme or deep structure, if you will. In Sarkar's language this is collective psychology or varna (here, dramatically reinterpreting caste). At the individuals level there is varna mobility, one can change the influence of history and social environment! At the macro level, each varna comes into power bringing in positive necessary changes, but over time exploits and then dialectically creates the conditions for the next varna. This cycle continues through history and for Sarkar is indeed an iron law of history, true irrespective of space/time and observer conditions. It is a law because it has developed historically through evolution and because the cycle represents a universal social structure. For Sarkar, there have been four historical ways humans have dealt with their physical and social environment: either by being dominated by it, by dominating it through the body, dominating it through the mind, or dominating it through the environment itself.

While the parallel to caste is there (shudra, ksattriya, brahmin and vaeshya), Sarkar redefines them locating the four as broader social categories that have historically evolved through interaction with the environment. Moreover, varna for individuals is fluid, one can change one's varna through education, for example. Caste, on the other hand, developed with the conquest of the local Indians by the Aryans and was later reinscribed by the Vedic priestly classes.3

Sarkar believes that while the social cycle must always move through these four classes, it is possible to accelerate the stages of history and remove the periods of exploitation. Thus Sarkar would place the sadvipra, the compassionate servant leader, at the center of the cycle, at the center of society (not necessarily at the center of government). In his life, Sarkar's efforts were to create this type of leadership instead of building large bureaucratic organizations. He sought to create a new type of leadership that was humble and could serve, that was courageous and could protect, that was insightful and could learn and teach, and that was innovative and could use wealth--in a word, the sadvipra.

These leaders would, in effect, attempt to create a permanent revolution of sorts, creating a workers' revolution when the capitalists begin to move from innovation to commodification, a warriors' revolution when the workers' era moves from societal transformation to political anarchy, an intellectual revolution when the warrior era expands too far--becomes overly centralized and stagnates culturally--and an economic revolution when the intellectuals use their normative power to create a universe where knowledge is only available to the select few, favoring non-material production at the expense of material production. Through the intervention of the sadvipra, Sarkar's social cycle becomes a spiral: the cycles of the stages remains but one era is transformed into its antithesis when exploitation increases. This leads to the new synthesis and the possibility of social progress within the structural confines of the four basic classes. Sarkar's theory allows for a future that while patterned can still dramatically change. For Sarkar, there are long periods of rest and then periods of dramatic social and biological revolution. Future events such as the coming polar shift, the possible ice age, increased spiritual developments in humans due to various spiritual practices, and the social-economic revolution he envisions may create the possibility for a jump in human consciousness.4

Sarkar's theoretical framework is not only spiritual or only concerned with the material world, rather his perspective argues that the real is physical, mental and spiritual. Concomitantly, the motives for historical change are struggle with the environment (the move from the worker era to the warrior era), struggle with ideas (the move from the warrior to the intellectual), struggle with the environment and ideas (the move from the intellectual era to the capitalist eras) and the spiritual attraction of the Great, the call of the infinite. Thus physical, mental and spiritual challenges create change.

The key to Sarkar's theory of history, thus, is that there are four structures and four epochs in history. Each epoch exhibits a certain mentality, a varna. This varna is similar to the concept of episteme, to paradigm, to ideal type, to class, to stage, to era and a host of other words that have been used to describe stage theory. Sarkar, himself, alternatively uses varna and collective psychology to describe his basic concept. Collective psychology reflects group desire, social desire. There are four basic desire systems. The four varnas are historically developed. First the shudra, then the ksattriya, then the vipra, then the vaeshya. The last era is followed either by a revolution by the shudras or an evolution into the shudra era.

The order is cyclical, but there are reversals. A counter evolutionary movement or a more dramatic counter revolution which may throw an era backwards, such as a military ksattriyan leaders wresting power from a vipran-led government. Both are short-lived in terms of the natural cycle since both move counter to the natural developmental flow. But in the long run, the order must be followed.

Significantly--and this is important in terms of developing an exemplary theory of macrohistory--Sarkar does not resort to external variables to explain the transition into the next era. It is not new technologies that create a new wealthy elite that can control the vipras, rather it is a fault within the viprans themselves. Moreover, it is not that they did not meet a new challenge, or respond appropriately, as Toynbee would argue. Rather, Sarkar's reasoning is closer to Ibn Khaldun's and other classical philosophers. They create a privileged ideological world or conquer a material world, use this expansion to take care of their needs, but when changes come, they are unprepared for they themselves have degenerated. While changes are often technological (new inventions and discoveries of new resources) it is not the significant variable, rather it is the mindset of the vipran, individually and as a class, that leads to their downfall.


Embedded in his social theory is Sarkar's alternative political economy. In this project he designs his ideal theory of value. For Sarkar there are physical, intellectual and spiritual resources. Most economic theory privileges the material forgetting the intellectual and especially the infinite spiritual resources available to us. Secondly, his theory uses as its axial principle the notion of social justice, the notion of actions not for selfish pleasure but for the social good.

Society is perceived not as an aggregate of self-contained individuals nor as a mass collectivity designed for the commune, but rather as a family moving together on a journey through social time and space. Within the family model there is hierarchy and there is unity. Newly created wealth is used to give incentives to those who are actualizing their self, either through physical, intellectual or spiritual labor, and is used to maintain and increase basic needs--food, clothing, housing, education and medical care. Employment, while guaranteed, still requires effort, since central to Sarkar's metaphysics is that struggle is the essence of life. It is challenge that propels humans, collectively and individually, towards new levels of physical wealth, intellectual understanding and spiritual realization. Sarkar speaks of incentives not in terms of cash, but in terms of resources that can lead to more wealth.

Finally, Sarkar would place limits on personal income and land holdings for the world physical resources are limited and the universe cannot be owned by any individual since it is nested in a higher consciousness, the Supreme Consciousness."



of his social and political philosophy:

P.R. Sarkar's Law of Social Cycle


"The concept of Varna describes four main socio-psychological types, whereby human psychological and physical endowment and social motivations are expressed: the Vipra (intellectual), Kshatriya (warrior), Vaishya (acquisitor) and Shudra (labourer). Varna, in Sarkar's perspective, however is more than just a psychological trait but rather an archetype, approximately to Michel Foucault's notion of epistemes, which are broader frameworks of knowledge defining what is true and real.[14]

Sarkar's "Law of Social Cycle" applies these traits in a theory of historical evolution, where ages rise and fall in terms of ruling elites representing one of the above mentioned traits. This "law" possibly connects to the earlier cyclical historical ideas of Sri Aurobindo, with a focus on the psychology of human development, as well as Ibn Khaldun, among other macrohistorians ideas about cycles. However, along with a cyclical dimension — the rise and fall of ages — Sarkar's theory exhibits a correspondent linear dimension, in that economic and technological "progress" are considered critical in terms of meeting the changing material conditions of life. Ultimately, for Sarkar, true progress has to prioritise development in the spiritual dimension.

Spirituality for Sarkar is defined as the individual realising the "true self". In addition to yogic meditational practices and purity of thought and deed, Sarkar attached great importance to selfless social service as a means of liberation. Sarkar considered it necessary for the social arrangements to support the inner development of human beings and rejected both capitalism and communism as appropriate social structures for humanity to move forward to the golden age of a balanced way of life sustaining all-round progress. A serious problem with capitalism was according to Sarkar the concentration of wealth in a few hands and stoppages in the rolling of money which he considered root causes of recessions, even depressions. A spiritual way of life, however, would in no way be divorced from creating structures that help meet the basic, though ever changing, needs — food, housing, clothing, health and education.

Sarkar claims to have developed both Ánanda Márga and the Progressive Utilization Theory as practical means to encourage harmony and co-operation to help society escape this proposed cycle. Sarkar argues that once the social cycle is understood and sadvipras evolved, then the periods of exploitation can be largely reduced, if not eliminated. With leadership that is representative of all aspects of the varnas — that is, the leader engaged in service, who is courageous, who uses the intellect for the benefits of others, and who has innovative/entrepreneurial skills — the cycle can become an upward spiral.[15] Sarkar's concept of karma samnyasa refers to the principle that a yogi becomes a person with all-round development and a balanced mind, that he called a sadvipra; and that this is accomplished by someone who remains fixed on the "supreme" consciousness through transformative personal practices and engaging in the politics of social liberation as a form of service work."


Progressive Utilisation Theory


From the Sarkarverse:

"The Progressive Utilization Theory is a socio-economic theory first mentioned in 1959 by Sarkar[ To popularise and implement PROUT, Shrii Sarkar established the organisation, "Proutist Universal", which primarily consists of five federations (students, intellectuals, farmers, labour, and youth). The proutist economy as described by Sarkar is a form of cooperative and decentralised economy that looks more at the collective welfare rather than to profit, without neglecting the promotion of the individual merits of each. "Progressive utilization" stands for the optimisation and maximum utilisation of natural, industrial and human resources on a sustainable basis for the entire ecosystem. This theory, that claims to overcome the limitations of both capitalism and communism with his Law of Social Cycle founded on Sarkar's "Social Cycle Theory", is not concerned solely with economics. In 1968, Sarkar founded the organisation "Proutist Block of India" (PBI), to further the ideals of his theory through political and social action.[18] The PBI was soon superseded by "Proutist Universal" (PU). According to its proponents PROUT encompasses the whole of individual and collective existence – physical, educational, social, political, mental, cultural and spiritual – not just for human beings but for all beings."


Neohumanism: liberation of intellect

From the Sarkarverse:

"In 1982, Sarkar extended his writings on the subject of human society with the introduction of his new theory of "Neohumanism". If humanism tends to contemplate only humans in a human-centric view, Neohumanism, according to Sarkar's theory, is instead the elevation of humanism to universalism. Sarkar said "When the underlying spirit of humanism is extended to everything, animate and inanimate, in this universe – I have designated this as "Neohumanism". This Neohumanism will elevate humanism to universalism, the cult of love for all created beings of this universe." Neohumanism is said to prefer to existential value over utility value for all living beings. Sarkar's Neohumanism places great emphasis on rationality and encourages what he calls a protospiritual mentality, a process of continually recognising each object with which we come in contact, externally or internally, as a manifestation of the Supreme Consciousness (Brahma). According to Sarkar, rationality helps to give rise to devotion, which he consider to be the "highest and most valuable treasure of humanity".[19] In Sarkar's view, Neohumanism leads to the liberation of human intellect from the constraints of imposed dogma and psychic complexes helping to bridge the gap between the inner and outer worlds."


More information

Perspective. By Dada Shambhushivananda)