Ranjana Patel RIP
London 1993: Ranjana was a strong, alive, creative spirit from Gujerat. She was a ‘surrendered’ sister – to newcomers she was one of the inner sanctum, part of the establishment. Ranjana had been “in gyan” (knowing the Truth) for about 7 years.
Ranjana was a young woman. She fell in love with one of the other members. However one of the main tenets of the Brahma Kumaris is celibacy and she and he broke that vow. She was devastated by a profound sense of guilt and failure, the wanton loss of her eternal fortune, and now to spend eternity among the lower castes. This, because she had fallen in love.
Ranjana was so devastated by her feelings of guilt and loss she jumped off a four story building. Unbelievably she survived, although sustaining significant injury. Later she disappeared. Someone randomly identified a photo of her in a local paper. It was a mortuary photograph of an unidentified body that had been lying on a cold slab for three months unasked for. This time she had succeeded by jumping off a five story building.
The Brahma Kumaris teach that making love is like throwing oneself off the 5th floor of a building and that was exactly what Ranjana did. And she was right, nobody cared. Not even the BKWSU Seniors with whom she had lived and worked for years, the very people who had preached to her about love and kindness, and enlightenment and service.
BKWSU’s management were so indifferent to Ranjana’s death that no effort was made to ensure that others of their membership did not suffer so badly. Shockingly and incomprehensibly Ranjana’s brother Sharad threw himself under a train a few years later. He was a member for many years but always believed himself not good enough – not pure enough, not yogi enough – the stress of the unreasonable expectations that had been imposed on him by the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris had killed him.
The BKWSU have no duty of care policy or exit strategy. After 70 years of enculting genuine, well-intended and intelligent people they have devastated thousands of lives whilst preaching the same spiritual rhetoric that killed Ranjana and Sharad and many others.
Our reason for being here is to attempt to persuade the management of the Brahma Kumaris to introduce an effective duty of care policy and exit strategy to transition and help existing and departing members. Their official line, in keeping with the Founders’ teachings, is that anyone who leaves is a traitor and should be treated accordingly. Thus far we have been ignored, as were Ranjana and Sharad.
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