This article tackles the issue of violence inside Ananda Marga, a contemporary Indian religious movement based in West Bengal. It analyzes a controversy Ananda Marga has been through and questions its role within the movement by examining its link with an internal characteristic of the group: an initiatory process into asceticism. Based on long-term anthropological fieldwork in India, I describe the structure of Ananda Marga and then distinguish between the "history" of the movement, which is written and given collectively, and the "stories" of the movement, which are told orally and individually. By confronting these different versions of the same event, I argue that the controversy can be seen as a part of a larger initiatory process in which committed disciples gradually acknowledge the legitimacy of violence.
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