The spiritual teachings of Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar : descriptive philosophy and critical comparisons

Kang, Chris (2003). The spiritual teachings of Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar : descriptive philosophy and critical comparisons PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Kang, Chris
Thesis Title The spiritual teachings of Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar : descriptive philosophy and critical comparisons
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2003
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status Other
Supervisor A/Prof Rod Bucknell
Total pages 413
Total black and white pages 413
Language eng
Subjects 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies
Formatted abstract
This study is a phenomenological-dialogical examination of the spiritual teachings of Śrī Prabhat Rafijan Sarkar, founder-preceptor of Ānanda Mārga (AM), as contained in English-language publications of Sarkar's spiritual and philosophical discourses. The study also undertakes, in a preliminary attempt to identify possible connections and innovations, a comparison of Sarkar's spiritual theory and praxis with selected ancient, classical, and medieval expressions of Indian spirituality.

The collection of Sarkar's discourses falls into three main categories: (1) philosophical treatise (darśana śāstra), (2) spiritual treatise (dharma śāstra), and (3) social treatise (samāja śāstra). The focus of this study is on the philosophical and spiritual treatises, and its aim is to elucidate items of doctrine and praxis embedded in these texts with a view to correlating possible conceptual similarities or identities. A dialogical hermeneutic forms the background to this study and informs the tasks of phenomenological analysis and critical comparisons.

After presenting in Chapter 1, the overall picture of the structure and rationale of the study, and a brief biographical description of Prabhāt Rañjan Sarkar, the thesis goes on to discuss the methodological issues of a study such as this. After setting the context and method of this study, the thesis examines, in succeeding chapters, the following major doctrinal topics: Sarkar's ontology and cosmology, his theory of mind and biopsychology, practice frameworks, and soteriology in terms of spiritual disciplines and change dynamics. Chapters 7 and 8 critically compare, in a sequential manner, Sarkar's spiritual ideology with several major Indian spiritual traditions: the Vedic and Upanisadic legacy, the classical Hindu darśanas of Sāmkhya, Yoga, and Vedanta, Pali Buddhism, medieval Hindu Tantra (namely Śaktism, Śaivism, and Vaisnavism), and Bengali religion.

This phenomenological and comparative study of Sarkar's texts reveals Sarkar's AM ideology as a deep and comprehensive system of philosophy-praxis containing elements from a wide variety of sources rooted in the Indian tradition. The study also reveals major areas of agreement as well as disagreement between Sarkar's AM and traditional discourses of Indian spirituality. More importantly, it supports the assertion that Sarkar, while overtly non-aligned with any specific or recognised disciplic lineage (sampradaya) of Hindu or Buddhist origin, is nevertheless an authentic interpreter, teacher, and guru of Indian Tantra for the contemporary audience.
Keyword Sarkar, Prabhat Rainjan, 1923-1990
Ananda Marga (Organization) -- Doctrines

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Created: Tue, 07 Oct 2008, 18:04:13 EST by Dr Chris Kang on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry