Some Abuses Of Rights And Freedoms include destruction of individuality and free will, isolation from family, friends and the general community, and abuse of a members finances, time and energy.
1. Abuse Of Individuality: They adopt a ‘groupness’ mentality. They are not permitted to think for themselves apart from the group and only accept what they are told.
To be an individual is considered egocentricity. One must see oneself according to the generic understanding that applies to everyone – mind, intellect, sanskars (habits, attitudes), virtues and vices. Individuality is seen as being related to the mortal and temporary and therefore invalid.
2. Abuse of Intimacy: Relationships with friends, relatives, spouses, children, parents etcare broken or seriously hampered.
A member of the Brahma Kumaris is directed to dissociate from all family and friends as they are considered only attachments and therefore bondage to the ‘old world’ – which is to be destroyed very soon anyway. A member is not allowed to eat food cooked by anyone other than another member. All non-BKWSU members are considered impure ‘shudras’ (untouchables) who are the very expression of vice and weakness and are therefore to be avoided as much as possible. Contact with shudras is only recommended when serving them i.e.: trying to make them a member.
3. Abuse of Finances: Pressure to give all you can to the group. In non-communal groups, members usually live at the lower socio-economic strata, not because of a lower income level, but because they are always giving money to the group for some reason.
In order to purify ones karma, especially karma related to wealth, one must give donations to the BKWSU. This begins with a 10% tithing and then anything extra one can give. This would include gifts of jewellery, property, inheritances etc. For those of lim ited financial means volunteer work is recommended as a way of saving the BKWSU from spending money. The BKWSU has become a ridiculously wealthy organisation through the extraction of wealth from its membership. Finances are discussed in greater detail under “financial deception” later.
4. ‘Us versus Them’ Mentality: Isolation from the community in general. Anyone and everything outside the group is seen as ‘of the devil’ or ‘unenlightened’ etc. Their enemies now include former friends; the Christian church; governments; education systems; the media – the world in general. Those who are involved with these in any way see such involvement as a ‘means to an end’.
One would not accuse the BKWSU of being openly hateful of others but they still maintain an “us and them” mindset. The BKWSU have an elitist view of themselves as the pure souls who are the true children of god. All the rest are impure and to be ‘helped’. It tends to be more patronising attitude than resentful or paranoid.
5. Abuse of Time And Energy: The group controls and uses almost all the members time and energy in group activities. They are usually in a constant state of mental and physical exhaustion. As described previously, the BKWSU make a lot of demands of its members.
The mariadas isolate a student from previously existing family and social networks. They are encouraged to abandon or limit material concerns and efforts. They are not allowed to watch television or movies or read books. The time and energy that results from this is then redirected into ‘service’ and personal spiritual effort including meditation and study. A student’s day begins with meditation at 4.00am every day. They will be occupied until the end of their day. Being tired is a normal experience.
6. Abuse of Free Will: They must unquestioningly submit to the group’s teachings anddirections and their own free will is broken. Their will actually becomes the groups will without their realizing it. This is done either by coercive methods including low protein diets and lack of sleep, or over a period of time through intimidation. Both methods make heavy use of guilt.
A new student is taught that they are at the weakest and most impure stage of their eternal journey of reincarnation. The ‘pure vision’ of good members and seniors will help them reach their purest and most elevated stage, along with the wisdom and practices they will be taught. But only if they follow all the rules – mariadas and shrimat. In other words they are only to succeed if they surrender completely, and they are damned if they don’t. The student surrenders their free will to the group, and especially the Seniors, quite deliberately, and will not think independently or in a contrarian way again – without feeling guilty and remorseful. To think for yourself is considered maya and is therefore egocentric.
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