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Questions and Answers, Q&A - Pt 1

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Questions and Answers, Q&A - Part One

To shed light on recent events involving Ananda Marga, Inc. (USA)
in the New York Sector of Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha

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0. Introduction:
What are the subjective and the objective values of Ananda Marga, the ideology of the Ananda Margii, a follower of Ananda Marga?
1. What happened with Ananda Marga, Inc. (USA) recently?
2. What harm is being done through the changes in the Bylaws of Ananda Marga, Inc?
3. What is the relationship between Ananda Marga, Inc., in the USA, and Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha (AMPS), globally?
4. What happened in New York Sector of AMPS in the years following the changes to the By-laws of Ananda Marga, Inc. in 2006?
5. How has Dada Vimalananda kept the Margiis informed about the situation?
6. Why and how did Dada Vimalananda dismiss the former members of the Board of Directors of Ananda Marga, Inc. and form a new board?
7. What was the response of the former Board of Directors to the letter advising them of their dismissal?
8. How will Ananda Margiis benefit from the newly reconstituted Ananda Marga, Inc., and, how will they benefit from the restored respect of AMPS Central and its constitutional parent religious authority?

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0. Introduction:
What are the subjective and the objective values of Ananda Marga, the ideology of the Ananda Margii, a follower of Ananda Marga?

In 1955 Ba'ba' established the spiritual mission and organization of Ananda Marga as its founding Guru, President and Purodha Pramukha. Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha is Ba'ba’s organization. He appointed the first General Secretary and all subsequent General Secretaries until His physical departure from this earth in 1990. He gave instructions that continue to guide Ananda Marga since that time. Some of those instructions provide that the organization continue the positions of President and Purodha Pramukha, with successors selected and elected accordingly. However, He told us that He will always be the Marga Guru. This means that Ananda Marga will always be His organization. He even mentioned on more than one occasion that the organization is His physical body.

The Guru and disciple relationship is one involving devotion and service. It is not for us as Ananda Margiis to determine or undermine the authorities and structures that Ba'ba' provided. Rather it is for Margiis to improve upon the work He wished for, expected from us and instructed us to do. We as Margiis need to first follow the guidelines of the organization that Baba gave in Carya’carya, various organizational rules and procedures, and all of the conduct rules in order to improve our personal and organizational lives. Only through these ideological steps will we be able to move forward in a united way and truly satisfy Ba'ba'. Such unity alone can sustain Ananda Marga, deserving the favor and the Grace of Guru.

1. What happened with Ananda Marga, Inc. (USA) recently?

In January 2006, the Board of Directors of Ananda Marga, Inc. illegally changed the By-Laws of the corporation in a way that gave the Board of Directors the right to reject any authorized Sectorial Secretary in New York Sector after the appointment by the General Secretary of Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha Central Office (AMPS Central) in Ranchi, India -- the parent body of the religious organization. The purported changes to the Bylaws were done without consultation with, or approval from AMPS Central. A short time later, Ac. Vimalananda Avt. was appointed as the official Sectorial Secretary by the General Secretary of AMPS. Subsequently, the same Board of Directors refused to accept the appointment.

Regardless, Ac. Vimalananda Avt., in the four years since that time, has been working in the sector as the official Sectorial Secretary. Subsequently the General Secretary requested Dada Vimalananda to reconstitute the Ananda Marga, Inc. Board of Directors with a entirely revised roster of directors. Recently, Dada Vimalananda complied and announced the reconstituted roster of Board members.

The ousted Board of Directors of Ananda Marga, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the reconstituted Board of Directors, including Ac. Vimalananda Avt. This was done in response to a letter they received from an attorney, sent on behalf of the rightful Board of Directors, Dada Vimalananda and Ac. Dhruvananda Avt, the General Secretary. The letter simply provided notice they had been removed from the Board of Directors and requested cooperation during the transition.

2. What harm is being done through the purported changes to the By-Laws of Ananda Marga, Inc?

The unauthorized changes to the By-Laws of Ananda Marga, Inc. cause harm to the members and structure of the organization by:

  • Illegally perpetuating the insubordination of the former Sectorial Secretary, keeping that religious officer in place indefinitely, contrary to the authorized posting order of the General Secretary of AMPS Central.
  • Creating a devastating split and creating multiple and contradictory allegiances among the Ananda Marga followers/members and the Whole-timer Sannyasin community.
  • Making the Ananda Marga, Inc. Board of Directors and the Sectorial Secretary unaccountable to anyone but themselves, which is against the norms of AMPS as established by the Ananda Marga founder and preceptor.
  • Allowing the Board of Directors to accept the authority of the General Secretary or reject it arbitrarily and without reason. This untenably places the religious authority of the parent, AMPS Central, into a subordinate position -- an unacceptable position in the global hierarchical AMPS organization.
  • Challenging the religious and legal authority of the AMPS Central structure that created and contains Ananda Marga, Inc., from which it derives its non-profit and religious status, and, its very existence.
  • Causing the breakdown of discipline in Ananda Marga, Inc. and AMPS by attempting to de-legitimize the very authority whose responsibility it is to maintain organizational discipline and hold the Sectorial Secretary accountable to the parent organization for his actions.
  • Ex-communicating the USA from AMPS Central by non-representation in regular global Whole-timer Sannyasin meetings of AMPS Central called World RDS (WRDS) since 2006 and breaking all communication with AMPS Central.
  • Encouraging Whole-timers to travel without tour programs authorized by AMPS Central, a violation of basic Whole-timer conduct rules.
  • Procuring immigration visas for whole-timers to enter the USA and the New York Sector from other sectors without posting orders and tour programs approved by AMPS Central. This is not only illegal but it is against the rules, policies and procedures pertaining to Sannyasin as established by the Ananda Marga founder and preceptor.

3. What is the relationship between Ananda Marga, Inc., in the USA, and Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha (AMPS), globally?

Ananda Marga, Inc. is affiliated with its parent organization, Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha, a global religious hierarchical organization with Central Office in India. In order for AMPS Central to operate in the United States, as in any other country, it requires a legal formation recognized by the government. The corporate entity of Ananda Marga, Inc. was created for this purpose and complies with the laws of the country. But as a religious organization and a sectorial or national entity, Ananda Marga, Inc. is governed by the AMPS internal rules and procedures established through the legacy of its many years of operation under the direct administration of its Founder, Rev. Marga Guru, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti ji. The direct supervision continued until His last breath. It will continue indefinitely, indirectly, through the legacy.

In the USA and the New York Sector, the link to AMPS is maintained through the Sectorial Secretary and his subordinate relationship with the General Secretary of AMPS to which he is accountable and under whose authority he acts. The General Secretary, through his/her constitutional authority, has the power to post the Sectorial Secretary and remove that assignment, at any time for any reason. No one else, no legal document, nor any governing document of a subordinate organization has the power to change those procedures, unless authorized in writing by the General Secretary of AMPS Central.

Attempts to change the organizational functioning of Ananda Marga, Inc. through any means, not authorized by AMPS Central, violates AMPS religious codes and procedures -- the Guru’s mandate.

It should be remembered that all Whole-timer Sannyasin are created, trained, certified and given assignments by AMPS Central alone and as such they are required to obey and follow the policies and procedures as established by the founder and preceptor.

4. What happened in New York Sector of AMPS in the years following the purported changes to the By-laws of Ananda Marga, Inc. in 2006?

The true Sectorial Secretary, Ac. Vimalananda Avt., and numerous representatives of AMPS Central visiting on inspection tours, attempted to work with the former Sectorial Secretary and the other Whole-time workers posted in the sector. During the three-plus years since the illegal amendments were purportly enacted, Ac. Vimalananda Avt. and these representatives attempted to educate members of Ananda Marga about the facts and the issues, amicably resolve differences, and restore the proper relationship of Ananda Marga, Inc. with AMPS Central. These efforts took the form of many formal and informal events, special joint Sectorial whole-time worker meetings (RDS), and other ad-hoc meetings, above and beyond the collectively-held programs that have been the tradition of Ananda Marga in the USA and the New York Sector for many decades.

Hundreds of hours of discussions, meetings and various other sincere efforts to communicate, comprising thousands of people-hours took place over these years. No one was idle or passive in responding to the crisis as it was developing, particularly the rightful Sectorial Secretary.

Though Dada Vimalananda attempted to work with the removed Sectorial Secretary and other Whole-time workers of Ananda Marga, Inc., the renegade Sectorial Secretary made it difficult, and at times impossible, for Dada Vimalananda to operate as the rightful Sectorial Secretary in the sector. In this period, many attempts were made by AMPS Central to communicate with the insubordinate Sectorial Secretary and the renegade Board of Directors to no avail. Central representatives that were sent to discuss the issue were always disrespected and ignored.

5. How has Dada Vimalananda kept the Margiis informed about the situation?

Dada Vimalananda has been educating the Margiis about the truth of the situation via email, web-site postings, many telephone and in-person conversations, and, as well with the development of a team of senior, respected Margiis who are familiar with the facts and properly educated on the issues. Since the task is huge and as the former Sectorial Secretary and former Board of Directors have been spreading misinformation, perpetuating half-truths and myths in order to create more confusion, this has not been a simple and easy task. The difficulty has been accentuated by a scarcity of resources available in the absence of any charge handover from the former Sectorial Secretary.

Dada Vimalananda maintained a low profile out of respect for the AMPS religious and organizational structure involving the Whole-timer Sannyasins, and the desire not to contribute to any further polarization of the General Margii followers/members.

Since the renegade Whole-timers, including the insubordinate former Sectorial Secretary, have involved many Margii followers/members and polarized most of them, the General Secretary instructed Dada Vimalananda to address the situation directly.

Dada Vimalananda's communications will continue along with the issuance of informational materials such as this list of Questions and Answers. Dada has arranged the creation of a web site specifically meant to educate everyone about the issues, solicit unanswered questions, untangle the web of misinformation and misunderstandings, disarm the antagonists, and provide regular updates. Please visit http://www.ampsnys.org/communications and http://www.ampsnys.org/communications/docs for more information. If you wish to be on an information email list for the purpose, please inform Dada Vimalananda at his email address, ssnysector@gmail.com . He has also created an interactive blog to help the growth and development of Ananda Marga in New York Sector at http://anandaparivara.vimalananda.org.

6. Why and how did Dada Vimalananda dismiss the now ousted members of the Board of Directors of Ananda Marga, Inc. and form a new board?

After years of effort and attempts by Central Office to communicate with Tiirthananda failed, the General Secretary authorized Dada Vimalananda to act in a more direct way as the representative of the General Secretary in the sector. The General Secretary instructed Dada Vimalananda to start with forming a new Board of Directors and to make efforts to regain the legitimate control of Ananda Marga, Inc. as the authorized representative of the General Secretary in New York Sector.

Dada Vimalananda, as the duly posted Sectorial Secretary of New York Sector, created a new Board of Directors and had a lawyer send a letter on his behalf to all the replaced members of the Board of Directors as notice that they were removed from the board. The letter also requested that they turn over control of all the assets of the corporation to the newly constituted Board of Directors in accordance with the instructions of the General Secretary and rules and practices of AMPS Central.

The insubordinate Sectorial Secretary had continually violated structural discipline by failing to attend World RDS in India, to send reports, to cooperate with inspections held by AMPS Central representatives and to maintain any communications with the AMPS Central Office in Ranchi, India for an extended period of time. Efforts by AMPS Central were made to bridge this gap, with no success. The General Secretary has the right, acknowledged in the By-laws of Ananda Marga, Inc., to appoint a new Sectorial Secretary who then may dismiss and appoint new board members at his discretion for the welfare and security of the organization. The letter sent to the ousted board was done according to this procedure.

7. What was the response of the removed Board of Directors to the letter advising them of their dismissal?

The ousted Board of Directors responded to the letter with a lawsuit against the official Sectorial Secretary and the authorized Board of Directors to prevent them from acting as such. Details of the lawsuit may be found at http://www.ampsnys.org/communications. This lawsuit was initiated without first attempting to negotiate with or the discuss the matter with the rightful Sectorial Secretary, Dada Vimalananda.

The lawsuit requested the court to intervene in the religious affairs of Ananda Marga, Inc. However, constitutionally, the government and courts have no jurisdiction to regulate the affairs of religious organizations.

Extract from the U.S. Constitution, 1st Amendment.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”

8. How will Ananda Margiis benefit from the newly reconstituted Ananda Marga, Inc., and, how will they benefit from the restored respect of AMPS Central and its constitutional parent religious authority?

The Margiis will be helped by the reestablishment of a strong organizational structure that will demand, support and maintain the discipline of the Whole-timer Sannyasin workers. The Margii community has become divided by disputes among the Whole-timers arising from the weakened organizational structure. When this structure is allowed to function properly, the Margiis will move together in a natural way in the absence of current elements pulling them apart and polarizing them.

Ananda Marga, AMPS, has two component entities in one institution. The "structure" is composed exclusively of Whole-timer Sannyasin, who hold structural and supervisory positions from General Secretary, to Sectorial Secretary, to Regional Secretary, onwards to lower levels; as well as other departmental and similar posts at the various levels.

The second component is the "organization" composed of all General Margiis who occupy positions of Bhukti Pradhana, on the Bhukti Committee, Unit Secretary, on the Unit Committee, and as members of working boards and advisory committees in support of the structural Whole-timer supervisors at each of the levels. Except for the advisory committees, all the positions are selecto-elective with General Margiis empowered on the Bhukti and Upabhukti level, and empowered to some extent on the ACBs where the control is with the respective Whole-timer Secretaries.

The seeds of crisis came when some Margiis became or were involved in aspects of the "structure" and, at times, the personal-life-related issues of Sannyasin; areas which are beyond their jurisdiction. Even in a secular organization or a commercial company... personnel issues are entirely private and out of bounds for public discussion and disclosure.

Likewise, Sannyasins should not interfere in or involve themselves in certain aspects of the Margiis lives, including the elections of Bhukti Pradhana and Upabhukti Pramukha, except as prescribed in election guidelines -- to identify/qualify the candidate nominees and the electoral body.

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