”Ananda Sutram was composed in Sanskrit by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti in the year 1961. It summarizes the entire Ananda Marga philosophy in sutra format. It consists of five chapters and 85 sutras describing the universe, the mind, the soul and the foundations of a healthy society” (Suresh Emre).
Recently, my copy of this new commentary written by Devashish Acosta Donald on the Ananda Sutram arrived. While I like this book overall, one criticism I have is the commentator’s inadequate understanding of Buddhist teachings. He described Buddhism as “pessismistic” which parrots common caricatures rooted in superficial knowledge. My published academic essay “Sarkar on the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths” should dispel this myth. I appeal to critics of Buddhism to first take a pause, read carefully and understand, before making rash conclusions.
I recited the Sanskrit slokas (verses or aphorisms) of the Sutram with subtle joy. I first read the Ananda Sutram and its original commentary by Didi Anandamitra in 1995-6. It was a beautiful time of intense study and meditation under the guidance of my acarya Dada Kamaleshvaranda Avadhuta. Our small study group was flowing together sweetly and lovingly. I see that as a tribute to our guru Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (1921-1990) and ultimately a blessing of the divine providence of God. The Ananda Sutram was one key primary text for my doctoral dissertation. It was a text blissful to read and reflect upon.
To date, I still regard the Ananda Sutram as the most succinctly profound articulation of nondual tantric cosmology, psychology, spirituality, meditation and theory of society to be found anywhere. It is universal in scope, impeccable in depth, lucid in breadth, and breathtaking in magnitude. While there remain points of contention for me, it nevertheless bespeaks a cosmically-attuned mind able to take in a panoramic vision of reality, compassionate enough to elucidate a practical way forward for sculpting a healthy human society. I’d have preferred a brighter and more vibrant bookcover. But I will endeavour to read and digest this book slowly.