Dada Maheshvarananda in 2011
May 11, 1953 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Main interests||PROUT, economic democracy, meditation, yoga|
In 1978 he became a monk in India, dedicating his life to the service of humanity; since then he has continuously worked in different parts of the world. He teaches meditation, yoga and other techniques for personal transformation free of charge, and the Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT), a post-capitalist model to empower people and communities to create a better world.
His most recent book is After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action was published in 2012. His first book, After Capitalism: Prout's Vision for a New World with a preface by Noam Chomsky was published in 2003 and has been translated in 10 languages.
In 2007 he founded the Prout Research Institute of Venezuela in Caracas, where he currently serves as director.
Born 1953 in Philadelphia, US, he pursued "Peace Studies" for two years at Earlham College before deciding to withdraw his enrollment. During his studies, he was active in the protests against the Vietnam War. "In 1974", he wrote, "I learnt meditation from Ananda Marga and began reading the books of Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. The spiritual practices transformed me, and I discovered a happiness and inner fulfillment greater than I had ever imagined possible. Sarkar's books offered an inexhaustible wealth of ideas on social change and the inner spiritual journey." In 1976 he began a monastic lifestyle with Ananda Marga.
Career as an activist monk
In January 1978, Dada traveled to India where he met Sarkar for the first time. Maheshvarananda wrote of that meeting, "Sarkar inspired me to become a monk, and to dedicate my life to the service of humanity." He had many later encounters with Sarkar and began a lifelong study of Sarkar's vision for ideal socio-political organization, the Progressive Utilization Theory (Prout).
From 1979 to 1991 Dada taught meditation and yoga to hundreds of Asian people, and supervised various social service projects in Indonesia and the Philippines (also known as "Maharlika"). There he witnessed the People Power Revolution that overthrew dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the rise of popular movements like Ang Kasama, which is based on Prout. He helped organize relief operations with the international service organization, AMURT (Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team), which he described as a profound experience of "solidarity and grace". During that period, in 1983, Sarkar initiated him into the order of avadhuta, a monk or nun of an order close to the tradition of Shaeva Tantra.
From 1992 to 2003 Dada worked in Brazil, where he participated in Eco-92, the World Social Forum. It was there that he met and was inspired by leaders of Liberation Theology and other popular social movements, such as Leonardo Boff, Frei Betto, Herbert de Souza, Carlos Minc and Marcos Arruda. He taught weekly meditation classes in Carandiru Penitentiary and other prisons to help inmates utilize their time for their personal transformation. He also took part in the protests against the World Bank and IMF in 2000.
Maheshvarananda toured Europe extensively from 2003 to 2006, organizing and leading seminars and workshops about social issues, spiritual values, and Prout. He spoke at The Other Economic Summit (TOES), the protests against the G8 Summits in Georgia (2004), and Edinburgh (2005).
In 2007 Dada founded the Prout Research Institute of Venezuela in Caracas, an independent, not-for-profit foundation. Its mission is to empower all people to improve their quality of life within a more just society by fostering and promoting worker cooperatives, self-reliant communities, environmental protection, universal ethics, and spiritual values. He has published over 80 related articles in different international journals and lectured at more than 60 universities on the subject of Prout.
- After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action (2012, Innerworld Publications) ISBN 978-1-881717-14-0 (paperback)
- After Capitalism: Prout's Vision for a New World (2003, Proutist Universal Publications) ISBN 1-877762-06-7 (paperback), published in 10 languages.
- Published with Mariah Branch, “The Progressive Utilization Theory (Prout): Alternative Economic and Social Model for the Welfare of All” (2010) in WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society.
- “Will Organized Religions Survive in the New Millennium?” in New Renaissance, Vol. 9, Number 3.
- “Revolutionary Consciousness: Development as transformation”(subscription required) in Development 46, (1 December 2003).
- "A Personal Remembrance and Conversation with Paulo Freire, Educator of the Oppressed" in Neohumanist Educational Futures: Liberating the Pedagogical Intellect, edited by Sohail Inayatullah, Marcus Bussey and Ivana Milojević, Tapei, Tamkang University Press, 2006.
- “Go with the Flow” (1985)
- Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
- Ananda Marga
- Ananda Sutram
- Progressive utilization theory
- Law of Social Cycle
- Ananda Marga College and Ananda-Marga-Gurukula University
- Ananda Marga missions
- Maheshvarananda is the spiritual name (meaning in Sanskrit "one who experiences the bliss of the Supreme") and Dada (or Dada-ji, when intended with more respect), means elder brother in several Indian languages.
- "After Capitalism: Prout's Vision for a New World" (2003, Proutist Universal Publications) ISBN 1-877762-06-7 , p.25
- "Go with the Flow" (1985)