First 25 Years of Gurukula
by Ac. Shambhushivananda Avt.(Kulapati, AMGK)
Shri P.R.Sarkar (Ba’ba’) founded Ananda Marga Gurukula (AMGK) as an autonomous board on Sept 7,1990. He had of-course planned it long before (see ,for example, his article on Kulapati of May 4,1986 published in Shabda Cayanika Vol.5). In the 1960’s, Baba had founded AMBE (Ananda Marga Board of Education) to supervise the standard of Ananda Marga Schools and to build a university at Anandanagar. The ERAWS functionaries were given ex-officio responsibilities for managing the functions of AMBE- which were limited to 1) publishing AM books for primary schools 2) setting up question papers 3) collecting dues from schools for each child enrolled in AM school 4) conducting Education Training Camps(ETCs) twice a year 5) supervising the academic standard of the teachers and schools. All these functions were later on integrated into AMGK Board guidelines and the honorary positions were replaced by permanent positions in the new structure.The new structure consisted of a nine member Cakradhuri and a general body called Mahasamiti (Academic Council) and consisting of academicians from all streams (subjects). The ERAWS functionaries were also brought into GK structure as the ex-officio members of Mahasamiti. The Mahasamiti is like an Academic Council of GK (General body or Syndicate of a University) and consists of elected Vidya Pratinidhiis (one for each faculty) and supported by a five-member Sahayak Parishad for each faculty. The ERAWS functionaries were also given the supporting structure of Sahayak Parishads to carry on their duties of coordination with in Mahasamiti. Hence, the GK stands an autonomous board with a healthy cooperation and coordination with Education department of ERAWS. Yet, the controlling role concerning academic affairs was left with the highest body of Gurukula viz., Cakradhurii which was to function under the direct guidance of HA (President & Purodha Pramukha) as per the guidelines enunciated by Revered Marga Guru, the founder of AMGK.
Shri P.R.Sarkar (Bab’a’) took many long arduous hours to create the skeletal structure of GK approving the allotment of devoted and qualified persons to different roles with in GK structure. However, the past twenty years of strifes with in AM left the GK dreams on a way side. During this period, founding Kulapati was left with no alternative but to develop a gurukula grass-roots structure around the world and the following steps were undertaken:
- Paying attention towards building a Neohumanist Education Network; creation of standards of neohumanist schools; publishing a global newsletter/magazine to foster development of neohumanist education system; standardization of procedures; and creating a forum where all neohumanist teachers can deliberate. The final outcome of these initiative is a series of publications , resource materials, global standards of neohumanist schools, and the establishment of GANE- a Global Association of Neohumanist Educators.
- The work of publishing school books which was initiated in early 1990’s continues to be carried on by Kolkata Office & Ranchi Offices along with preparation of examination papers, inspection of schools and establishment of new schools & institutions like Teachers Training College , Womens College at Anandanagar and some new high-schools.
- The Polytechnic College at Kolar , Abha Light College of Homeopathy, Teachers Training Program in Haiti are also among the new institutions established during the past twenty five years.
- Bringing together all initiatives in the field of Yoga, Health and Intuitional Science has also taken place. Several Wellness Centers have sprung up in the world where yoga/health education is being imparted; Yoga Academies have sprung up in Singapore (recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education in Singapore) ,Argentina, Vietnam and several other parts of the world; Yoga for Children programs (Yoga Education in Schools-YES !) are popular on almost all continents. Ananda Marga Association of Yoga Educators (AMAYE) holds a great promise to further such activities and develop the body of knowledge in this field.
- There have been several initiatives to discuss Microvita Theory and understand its implications for different fields of knowledge. A body of researchers in India, Europe and USA have formed groups and regularly discuss the science of Microvita and its implications.
- Proutists been constantly striving to address the lacunas of present economic-systems and offer Prout-based solutions for a more compassionate and sustainable economic system. AMGK is collaborating with PROUT Movement in order to establish a PROUT College in Denmark to further develop the socio-economic alternatives for this world.
- AMGK has floated the global conversation via the establishment of an on-line NH College. 25 acres campus is being built on a Master Unit in Marshall, North Carolina (USA) and will house a residential Neohumanist College. Bio-Psychology is now being actively discussed via the NH College.
- AMGK has also floated a “PRSI- PR Sarkar Institute” as a digital repository of all informations ,knowledge and archive materials related to the neohumanist world-view. This global information center will serve as a feeder for all neohumanist educational institutions and help serve the world with progressive ideas and thereby, help to carry on the legacy of Shrii P R Sarkar. Six acres campus is springing up near Albany, NY (in New Lebanon) to help provide a physical hub for such an archives & informations center.
- The youth in AMGK have joined together and created their own forum called “Spiritship” to increase their involvement in actualizing Gurukul dream and establishing the Intern Program of Gurukula.
- All the initiatives of AMGK are centered around building the educational capabilities in the field of research, educational training and serving the world with a neohumanist perspective. Neohumanism inspired futurists are also very active to offer neohumanist foresights for building a better world.
In 2001, Ananda Marga Gurukula was incorporated as an educational, tax-exempt non-profit organization in Denver, Colorado to coordinate gurukula activities around the world. A camp office was set up in Ithaca in 1990’s and “Gurukula Network” has been published from there bi-annually on a regular basis and distributed all around the world. Scores of Gurukula Conferences have been held since 1991 around the world and have fostered the creation of cohesive gurukula-team consisting of devoted and dedicated educationists. The stage is being prepared to establish a real-functioning Mahasamiti from competent persons from around the world.
The scope of Gurukula is vast. There are scores of faculties where GK has not even begun to pay its attention. It is hoped that in the next twenty five years, we shall be able to come closer to actualizing the dream of Gurukula as envisioned by Rev. P R Sarkar- the founder of AMGK. It is also hoped that Gurukula will further spread its core values to every nook and corner of this world and bring peace and prosperity to all.