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Monday, 21 November 2011

Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in Mount Abu

Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in Mount Abu



Activities

The Brahma Kumaris conduct seven one-hour-long courses in their philosophy and open-eyed meditation technique. The organization offers courses in "positive thinking", "self management leadership", and "living values."
The Brahma Kumaris also have a number of voluntary outreach programs in prisons.

Lifestyle

The movement teaches that the world is approaching a time of great change that will be heralded by war, natural calamities and suffering.[4] As a form of developing inner spiritual resilience, the Brahma Kumaris adopt a disciplined lifestyle which involves:
  • Celibacy, including no sex within marriage.

  •  So long as chastity is followed, marriage and family life are allowed.
  • Sattvic vegetarianism, a strict lacto-vegetarian diet(excluding eggs, onions, garlic and/or spicy food) cooked only by the self or other members.
  • Abstaining from alcohol, tobacco and non-prescription drugs.
  • Daily early morning meditation at 4:00 to 4:45 am, called 'Amrit Vela.'
  • Daily morning class at approximately 6:30 am.
  • Men and women traditionally sit on separate sides of the room at the centers during classes.
  • Brahma Kumaris can be identified by their frequent adoption of wearing white clothes, to symbolize purity.
  • Recommends that companions (friends/family) be good (satsang) soul-aware yogis as opposed to those given over to worldly pleasures, known as bhogis.

Central beliefs

Radha-Krishna deities in Brahma Kumaris headquarter
Central to its faith are the beliefs that:
  • The human being is an eternal soul living within a physical body and is not the physical body which is dualistic "I am a soul, my body is a garment".
  • Reincarnation happens only from one human body to another.
  • Humanity is currently reaching the end of the current cycle and thus the world will be destroyed, a time referred to as "Destruction".
  • Indian subcontinent will be the site of the future Golden Age paradise and that a form of Hindi is the original language of humanity, all other continents being destroyed. Followers are taught that only they will live in the coming Golden Age paradise. as Gods and Goddesses.




God

The Brahma Kumaris claim their spirit guide, who they call Shiva is the God of all religions and an eternal soul, just like human soul, but the Supreme one and speaks to humanity exclusively via the Brahma Kumaris spirit mediums. They claim Shiva is the same spirit being known as Allah or Jahweh and its purpose is to awaken humanity, destroy other religions to eliminate evil and negativity. He is not the creator of matter which is itself considered to be eternal.
God, they believe, possesses or incarnates into the religion's spirit mediums at mass seances at its headquarters in India and speaks to its followers in person, these messages called "Murlis" becoming the scriptures of the religion but hidden from outsiders.

Self

Human and even animal souls, called atmas, are believed to be an infinitesimal point of spiritual light residing in the forehead of the body it occupies. Souls are believed to originally exist with God in a "Soul World", a world of infinite light, peace and silence called Nirvana. Here souls are in a state of rest and beyond experience. Souls enter bodies to take birth in order to experience life and give expression to their personality. Unlike other Eastern traditions, the soul is not thought to transmigrate into other species and does not evolve but rather devolves birth after birth. Within this "point of light" all aspects of the personality are contained and is said to enter the human body in the 4th to 5th month of pregnancy.

Cycle of time

Time is considered to be cyclic, repeating identically every 5,000 years, and is composed of five ages (yugas): the Golden Age (Sat Yuga), the Silver Age (Treta Yuga), the Copper Age (Dwapar Yuga), the Iron Age (Kali Yuga) each exactly 1,250 years long, and the Confluence Age (Sangam Yuga). The Confluence Age is said to be 100 years long, and believed to have begun again in 1936 with the descent of Shiva, during which present day civilization is to be completely destroyed by natural disasters, civil and nuclear war. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi states this information is generally hidden from non-members.
During the first half of the cycle, procreation is believed to be possible through the power of yoga without sexual intercourse. The Universe is never transformed into primordial or atomic state matter, nor does the world ever becomes devoid of human beings.

Tree of humanity

It is taught that all of life will die and return to Nirvana, then take birth in the forthcoming cycle at their predestined time and place. This is portrayed as the "Kalpa Vriksha Tree", or the "Tree of Humanity", in which the founder Brahma Baba (Dada Lekhraj) and his Brahma Kumaris followers are shown as the roots of the humanity. A new world order starting with the birth of Krishna and a population of 900,000 is believed to go on to enjoy 2,500 years of paradise as living deities before humanity splits and the religious founders incarnate. Each creates their own branch and brings with them their own followers from the Infinite Light, until they too decline and splits, schisms, cults and sects appear at the end of the Iron Age.
The aim of the individual Brahma Kumari is to gain a high status in the coming paradise, perhaps even a select 108 who are 'totally victorious' and will rule there. Members of the physical families of Brahma Kumaris who have contact with the University are said to become members of the 16,000 top souls and at the end of each Cycle, everyone will see visions in which their personal destinies will be fully disclosed.

Meditation

The Brahma Kumaris teach a form of meditation called Raja Yoga, which according to Reender Kranenborg may not be the same as classical Raja Yoga as described by Patanjali, through which members are encouraged to purify their minds. This may be done by sitting tranquilly in front of a screen on to which Dada Lekhraj's image is projected, then making affirmations regarding the eternal nature of the soul.
Lawrence Babbs described another practise where "the student or students sit in a semi-darkened room facing the teacher (usually a woman). Just above and behind the teacher's head is a red plastic ovoid that glows from a lightbulb within, in its center is a tiny hole which appears as an intense whitelight against the red glow. This device represents the Supreme Soul (known as Shiv Baba) who is the presiding deity of the universe. With devotional songs playing softly in the background, student and teacher gaze intently at each other, either in the eyes or at the forehead. While doing this the student is supposed to imagine him or herself as a soul and not as a body. The student is told to think of themself as separate from the body, as bodiless, as light, as power, as bathed in the love and light of the Supreme Soul, and so on. This might continue for fifteen or twenty minutes". Babb also states that while staring (gazing into the eyes of an adept) at the teacher, many students experience visual hallucinations involving lights.

Murlis

David Barrett states, "Unlike traditional forms of Hinduism, the Brahma Kumaris' teachings come not so much from ancient scriptures but from revelations given in trance states". However, the mediumistic messages known by Brahma Kumaris as "Murlis" read at the 6.30 am meetings are slowly developing the nature of potential scriptures. The earlier ones channeled by Lekhraj Kripalani while he was alive, are now repeated in a five year cycle. They are supplemented by later murlis channelled by Hirday Mohini of Delhi in trance states, and these too are written down.
There are two types of mediumistic messages; sakar and avyakt;
  • Sakar Murlis refer to the original classes said to be spoken by "Shiva" through the medium of Lekhraj Kripalani in the 1960s, before he died of a heart attack on 18 January 1969.[51] These include teachings by Shiva and the life of personal experience of Lekhraj.
  • Avyakt Vanis, or Murlis, refer to the teachings of Shiva and the soul of the deceased Lekhraj Kripalani combined through a medium named Hirday Mohini, or "Dadi Gulzar".[52] The Brahma Kumaris believe that the soul of Lekhraj Kripalani has become perfect and now has the role of an angel. These messages are understood by members of the BKWSU to be the words of God. The Murli's are what the Brahma Kumaris use to direct their personal spiritual effort and institutional service.
One must complete the Brahma Kumaris foundation course before starting to attend morning murli class and visiting the headquarters in India during the period when, according to Howell and Nelson, "deceased founder communicates via trance-medium".

Achievements

In India, the BKWSU runs a charitable Village Outreach Programme in Mount Abu and administers the Global Hospital and Research Centre (GHRC), established in 1991 and funded by the J. Wattammull Memorial Trust. In 2004, the Brahma Kumaris established the G.V. Mody Rural Health Care Centre & Eye Hospital, located at the base of Mount Abu. The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) in general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and UNICEF. It is associated with the UN Department of Public Information.
The Brahma Kumaris have undertaken two major international projects; ‘The Million Minutes for Peace’ in 1986 for which they received 7 Peace Messenger Awards and ‘Global Cooperation for a Better World’ in 1988.
The organization now has hundreds of branches internationally and
  • was awarded 7 UN Peace Messenger Awards 1987 for its co-ordination of the ‘Million Minutes of Peace’ project.
  • Pioneering work in solar energy and sustainable energy, including developing the world's largest solar cooker.
  • Chief administrator Prakashmani awarded Peace Medal of the United Nations for the year 1981 for the ‘Million Minutes of Peace’ project.
  • granted International Peace Messenger Initiative status by the U.N.for the Global Co-operation for a Better World campaign.

Use of mediumship

The BKWSU is believed by its members to have been established by Shiva Baba (God-Father Shiva, described as the Supreme Soul and conceived as the one God of all religions) through the medium of the group's founder Lekhraj Kripalani From the beginning, a number of trance-messengers have received messages and teachings. According to an account by Sister Denise, who was at that time Director of the San Francisco Center, a medium has been used to directly channel a message from a deceased senior Brahma Kumari, Didi Manmohini.[ In its early days, children would commonly go into trances, having visions of Krishna and Vaikunth (Golden Age Heaven) and engaging in ecstatic dances for as long as 7 days. A number of mediumistic female followers known as Sandeshputris (trance messengers) also helped add to the group's spiritual knowledge through psychic visions.
The deceased human founder Lekhraj Kripalani continues to be channelled through a senior sister (Hirdaya Mohini, referred to familiarly as Dadi Gulzar) at the organization's Rajasthan headquarters. The combined presence of the BKWSU's human founder and the spiritual being the BKWSU believe is God are referred to as BapDada (meaning Father and Grandfather) by BKs, especially in the context of their manifestation via this trance medium, through which the pair continue to direct the organization to this day.

Divine indication

Pratibha Patil, the UPA-Left candidate and current president of India said on camera during the Indian presidential election, 2007, that she spoke to the spirit of the deceased leader of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University at their headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan. Patil stated that she had received a mediumistic message indicating great responsibility coming her way during the last season in which the spirits called "Bapdada" communicated with the faithful of the Brahma Kumaris sect.She had gone to seek the blessings of Hirday Mohini, also known as Dadi Gulzar or Dadiji.

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