(1) Mandatory observances (duties) of Ananda Margis:
(a) The one formless, beginningless and infinite Parama Brahma (Supreme Consciousness) is the only entity to be attained by living beings – That alone is Jagat Guru (the Supreme preceptor), That alone has revealed Brahmavidyá (intuitional science) to us through the medium of the name and form of Anandamúrtijii. Unit beings must be made to appreciate Its majesty.
(b) Whether one is healthy or sick, whether in a sitting or lying posture, or in a vehicle, full Iishvara prańidhána (meditation) will have to be performed twice a day. Whether there be any urgent work in the immediate future or not, and whether the mind be unsteady or not, all sádhakas should do japa (repeat Iśt́a mantra (The mantra which leads to the ultimate goal) eighty times at first, and then continue japa for as long as they like, according to instructions, without counting.
Do not have breakfast until you have finished your Iishvara prańidhána in the morning. Likewise, do not take your evening meal until you have completed your evening Iishvara prańidhána.
(c) The requirements and prohibitions of Yama and Niyama have to be observed under all circumstances. Yama has five parts –(i) ahiḿsá, (ii) satya, (iii) asteya, iv) Brahmacarya, v) aparigraha. (i) Ahiḿsá: Not to inflict pain or hurt on anybody by thought, word or action, is Ahiḿsá. (ii) Satya: The benevolent use of mind and words is Satya. (iii) Asteya: To renounce the desire to acquire or retain the wealth of others is Asteya. Asteya means “ non-stealing.” (iv) Brahmacarya: To keep the mind always absorbed in Brahma is Brahmacarya. (v) Aparigraha: To renounce everything excepting the necessities for the maintenance of the body is known as Aparigraha.
Niyama has five parts – (i) shaoca, (ii) santośa, (iii) tapah, (iv) svádhyáya, (v) Iishvara prańidhána. (i) Shaoca is of two kinds – purity of the body and of the mind. The methods for mental purity are kindliness towards all creatures, charity, working for the welfare of others and being dutiful. (ii) Santośa Contentment with things received unasked-for is santośa. It is essential to try to be cheerful always. (iii) Tapah: To undergo physical hardship to attain the objective is known as Tapah. Upavása (fasting), serving the guru (preceptor), serving father and mother, and the four types of yajiṋa, namely, pitr yajiṋa, nr yajiṋa, bhúta yajiṋa and adhyátma yajiṋa (service to ancestors, to humanity, to lower beings and to Consciousness), are the other limbs of tapah. For students, study is the main tapah. (iv) Svádhyáya: The study, with proper understanding, of scriptures and philosophical books is svádhyáya. The philosophical books and scriptures of Ananda Marga are Ánanda Sútram and Subháśita Saḿgraha (all parts), respectively. Svádhyáya is also done by attending dharmacakra (group meditation) regularly and having satsauṋga (spiritual company), but this kind of svádhyáya is intended only for those who are not capable of studying in the above manner. (v) Iishvara prańidhána: This is to have firm faith in Iishvara (the Cosmic Controller) in pleasure and pain, prosperity and adversity, and to think of oneself as the instrument, and not the wielder of the instrument, in all the affairs of life. (d) No creature should be allowed to starve to death. Even a játa shatru (born enemy) should not be starved to death, nor left mutilated.
(e) The weekly dharmacakra must be attended when you are in good health. If because of state service or service to the sick one is not able to attend dharmacakra at the scheduled time, then one should go to the jágrti at some time that day and perform Iishvara prańidhána. And if even that is not possible, one must miss a meal on the week-end.
(2) When you fast for mental purification, you should give your food to a needy passerby, and use the drinking water to water the plants.
(3) Bear in mind that you have a duty towards – indeed, you owe a debt to – every creature of this universe, but towards you, no one has any duty; from others, nothing is due.
(4) An animal life is given to carnal pleasure human life is for sádhaná; but, for sádhaná the body is necessary – so in order to maintain the body, you will have to be vigilant about everything in the world.
(5) Everything requires a base; if life does not have a strong base, it is disrupted by an ordinary storm. Brahma is the strongest base.
(6) Dharma (spirituality) is an internal thing. One who is hollow within conceals it in ringing brass bells, beating drums and making noises all around.
(7) One will not be able to know anything unless one develops the psychology of “I know not.” It is the fundamental spirit of a true aspirant.
(8) Human life is short. It is wise to get all the instructions regarding sádhaná as soon as possible.
(9) When the flow of the mind is not impeded by selfishness, narrowness, and superstitions that alone is mukti (liberation).
(10) “Whatever you speak or do,
Forget Him never;
Keeping His name in your heart,
Work, remembering it is for Him,
And, endlessly active, drift in bliss.”
(11) Through all works, big and small, humanity has to be awakened. Humanity in its fullest sense is divinity, and its perfection is Brahmatva (Brahma-hood). The aspirant must not forget this even for a moment.
(12) When one notices a defect in oneself, and does not find the means for shásti (corrective punishment), one should purify the mind by fasting.
(13) Before censuring anyone for some fault, make sure that you do not have the same defect.
(14) When one is established in Yama and Niyama, aśt́a pásha (the eight fetters) fall from the mind. One who is not fettered can never have superstitions.
(15) Actions and not logic establish one’s superiority.
(16) Do not try to assume superiority by belittling others, because the other person’s inferiority will become lodged in your mind.
(17) Overcome censure by praise, darkness by light.
(18) Not to call a thing what it is, but to call it something else, is known as slander. Therefore those who in the name of the beginningless, endless, formless Brahma worship idols, are indulging in deliberate slander. You must not give indulgence to this type of Mahapápa (great sin).
(19) By práńáyáma, pratyáhára, dhárańá and dhyána (lessons of sádhaná: vital-energy control, withdrawal, concentration and meditation), the enemies of mind are controlled. You will have to bring the fetters and the enemies under your control – you should not be controlled by them. But in the very nature of living things, human beings will always have these fetters and enemies of the mind.
(20) The major part of the slander in the world is based on falsehood. Some indulge in it unknowingly, some because their petty interests are hurt, and others, under the compulsion of hiḿsa vrtti (the mental propensity of harmfulness). With a cool mind you should explain this to the slanderer, but before doing so, make sure there is not even a farthing’s worth of truth in his statement. If there is even a little fault in you, you should keep your mouth closed and accept it all, and you should thank the person for pointing out your fault and ask for punishment.
(21) You should always bear in mind that you should not try to convince by argument anyone who criticizes your Iśt́a (Goal), Ádarsha (ideology), Supreme Command or Conduct Rules. If this occurs you should adopt a hard and uncompromising attitude.