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Amrit Vela: literally translated as ‘the hour of nectar’, this is the principle meditation for all good members. Starting at 4.00am it finishes at 4.45 am. The member starts his/her day meditating on the self as a soul and Shiva as God, or the self as a deity princess in paradise. This time is really the principle mechanism in self indoctrination. It is a time of silence, with no talking or acknowledgment of others. One visualises (imagines) a blissful relationship with their ‘loving Mother and Father’ and induces a feeling of gratitude for the ‘blessings’ they have received. It is an exersize in mental masturbation that coverts fantasy into some level of imagined experience of Shiva and Brahma or the self as metaphysical being. Or as a ruler of a kingdom in heaven.
BapDada: this term is a reference to the combined form of God Shiva and Brahma Baba (Dada Lehkraj – Dada was renamed Brahma Baba by Shiva according to BK lore). According to BK belief, when Dada Lehkraj died in 1969 he did not reincarnate as normal, but rather he ascended to the ‘subtle regions’ – a mythical dimension of light outside the physical universe. Periodically Shiva and ‘Brahma Baba’ will temporarily incarnate into the body of a trance messenger and speak. One of the BK senior sisters, known as Dadi Gulzar, is the only one officially permitted to go into a trance state and BapDada will only ‘speak’ through her.
Body Consciousness / Soul Consciousness: the principle effort of all members (as good students) is to renounce body consciousness and become soul conscious. This means to imagine/visualise/pretend that one is a point of light in the centre of the forehead, a being of purity, peace and power, and to ‘see’ all others as the same.
Bhandara / Bhandari: Bhandara literally translates as ‘kitchen’. However it is used in the BKs as a reference to the donation box, or more correctly – bhandari. This subtle play on words gives the feeling that one is feeding God, rather than bleeding into a money box.
Celibacy: The BKs view of sex is very negative – they consider it as the greatest sin because they believe it destroys ones’ spirituality and subtle relationship with God. They say this happens because it makes you a slave to the senses and relationships impure and complicated. The only way to become pure and free from the burden of karma (the consequences of past sin) is to renounce sex and become celibate. By BK definition, this means masturbation is also ‘illegal’. This aspect of the doctrine makes being human seem dirty. A member would feel guilt and shame if he or she has “impure thoughts” or feels horny.
Confluence Age: This is the time when, according to BK doctrine, God incarnates into the founder of the BKs and begins to teach the knowledge of salvation. This period is now, and is believed by the BK membership to occur between the Iron Age (Hell) and the Golden Age (Heaven). Both the Iron Age and Golden Age are concepts that exist in traditional Hinduism, and like most BK ‘knowledge’, is reinvented as a supposed new knowledge.
Dada Lehkraj: The founder of the Brahma Kumaris. He began teaching his version of Hinduism in Hyderabad in 1932 and quickly formed a group of followers. By 1936 he had a group of about 500. He formed a society known as Om Mandli which comprised mostly of women. He moved the group to Karachi and a lot of controversy ensued. There is little doubt that he was a charming and convincing man with considerable powers of persuasion. He also had the practise of putting young female recruits up front to create a persona for the organisation that has been very effective. He died in 1969. According to legal documents he was 85 but the BK version of history (heavily revised – see BK History) he was 93.
Dadi Janki: current head of the Brahma Kumaris. She began the development of the organisation outside India in London in 1974. With a few chosen recruits, a sweet charm and disarming cleverness she has proven very successful in developing the organisation into what is effectively a corporation. The most disturbing aspect of Dadi Janki is that despite her appearance of powerful spirituality, she is well aware of the lies and fabrications upon which the organisation is built and the general membership is fed. Her own biodata is built on the false premise that she was one of the “original souls” who formed the group in 1936. There is no record of her involvement with the organisation before 1950. It is no secret to her inner circle that she was married with a child, both of whom she abandoned to dedicate herself to the cult.
Dadi Prahkashmani: The former head of the Brahma Kumaris who died in 2007. She was a sufferer of Alzheimers, something the BK spin machine tried very hard to play down. This was not the anticipated end to someone who was believed to be the most enlightened and spiritual person on earth.
Detachment: this is a central teaching of the BKs. The world is about to end, there is only time enough to focus on spiritual development and to create ones own fortune for the next life in Heaven. One must detach from ones own body, the sences, desire and therefore from any form of emotional attachment. This philosophy is encroached in high spiritual jargon such as ‘everyone is special, but no one in particular’. This philosophy has resulted in the isolation of new members from friends and family and has broken up many marriages, notably when celibacy is brought into it.
Dharmraj: Literally this translates as the Lord of Righteousness. The BKs teach that if a member fails in their efforts for complete purity they will face God, as Dharmraj, as their judge. Their failure will lead to severe punishment – “like a 1,000 years of sorrow in a second”. Only then will they be pure enough to go to Heaven, and only then as a servant or cremator. Put this in context of a 5,000 year identically repeating cycle, and it means that a member who fails or leaves will have to endure this for all eternity.
Dharna: this is the one aspect of the BKWSU philosophy that gives an appearance of credability and is subsequently exploited as a marketing tool – dharna is the practice of spiritual qualities and the expression of spiritual values in character and action. This is the key aspect for most members – the knowledge and meditation are supposed to lead to this point – that of inculcating the virtues of God. A good student of the BKWSU would be attempting to practise virtues, such as kindness, tolerance, forgiveness etc in every word and action – and be feeling guilty every time they fail by succumming to the five vices – anger, ego, greed, attachment and lust. Every time a student has a thought of sex, or feels irritated, or feels lonely, or wants something material, they have failed – for all eternity. This level of instilled guilt disempowers people and makes them subservient to the seniors who purport to be above the vices.
General Class: general class is held every morning and is open to anyone who has completed the seven lesson introductory course. There is often a lecture given by the senior teacher at the facility in which the class is being conducted, followed by the reading of a “murli”. Thus it is normally referred to as “murli class”
Gyan: this is the Hindi word used by the BKs’ to refer to their knowledge. This is their version of the ultimate truth and incorporates the knowledge of the soul, supreme soul, the 5,000 year identically repeating cycle etc.
Jayanti Kripalani: Jayanti is currently Director of the Brahma Kumaris in Europe and has been a very dominant force in the development of the BKWSU in the West. She was Dadi Jankis’ principle side kick until very recently when Dadi was made head of the organisation and relocated to India from London. She became involved in the organisation in London in the early 1970′s courtesy of her mother who was a long term BK from India. She is intelligent, competent, and has a masterful use of language. She has a profound ability to convince and manipulate people. She has crushed anyone who dissents or disagrees with her with a teflon like ability to remain free from the repercussions.
When Ranjana was going through her crisis Jayanti was in the best position to help as her closest associate of many years but failed to do so. Jayanti has also failed to ensure that such a tragedy didn’t happen again despite her role in the organisation giving her the best opportunity to do so. Her diplomacy is legendary in the organisation but it disguises many things. There are numerous instances of her anger and vitriol (ie: verbal abuse) devastating unsuspecting members. She is hyperactive by nature, hyper-focused and emotionally removed.
Karma: The philosophy known as “the law of karma” is dominant in all eastern religious belief systems. Essentially it is the belief that the consequence of every action is carried with the soul from one life to the next. It is believed that if the soul performs meritorious actions in this life then the next will be good. It also translates that suffering and unhappiness in this life is the product of sin in past lives.
Historically kings have used this belief to suppress and control their subjects – ” because I am the king and I have have such wealth and privilege I must have been very good in my last life. And because you are peasants with a life of poverty and suffering, then you must have been very sinful. Therefore I am better than you and deserve to be king.” The uneducated masses would accept this and the status quo would be maintained – this is the history of Asia. The Brahma Kumaris use the same methods – the ‘seniors’ are considered more powerful and purer than the struggling, impure plebacite.
Karmateet: this is the aim of all BKs’ – to reach the point where they are completely free from the burden of past karma (actions). This requires the member to follow all the rules, instructions from seniors, to participate in ‘service’ (the expansion of the organisation) and many hours of meditation (self indoctrination). According to BK teachings the karmateet stage must be achieved before the world is destroyed – and the seniors are constantly reminding the general membership that the world is going to end very soon. The implication is that the members must make constant, deep and sincere effort. If they fail, not only do they fail forever, but all remaining karma (impurity) will be purged by God as their Judge and they will experience “a thousand years of suffering in a second”.
Maryadas: these are the basic rules by which a member MUST live his or her life. If one is not following these rules then one is not considered a true member and is not considered pure. Essentially these rules are sold to the member as the basis and very minimum effort for becoming completely pure and free from past karma – the central aim of the Brahma Kumaris. Someone who follows the rules will be rewarded with permission to travel to Madhuban to meet God. These rules are: celibacy, amrit vela every day, murli class every day, traffic control (5 minute meditations at prescribed time during the day), vegetarian diet, to only eat food cooked by another member, and to shower after defaecation. It is also understood that a good member would not watch television or movies or read books. They would also do everything they can to get to Madhuban every year.
Madhuban: this is the headquaters of the Brahma Kumaris. It is located atop Mt Abu in the Aravali Ranges in Rajasthan, about half way between Bombay and Dehli. When it was purchased in 1950 it was a summer retreat belonging to a wealthy Indian family. Mt Abu is one of many “hill stations” in India that were the result of British colonists looking for somewhere cooler to spend the summer. It has grown exponentially from a small compound that could house 20 or 30 people to the epicentre of a complex that can now accommodate thousands.
Every year western members of the Brahma Kumaris travel there to meet ‘God’ (BapDada), meditate and engage in a powerful group experience. It is the highlight of the yearly calender and a good member would make it their number priority to get there. It is the principle method on the agenda for effective indoctrination of the general membership.
Maya / Ravan: these are the principle enemies of all BK’s – or at least they have made to believe so. Maya translates as the illusion of thinking “I am this body and name”and Ravan translates as the human vices which lead to ‘impure karma (action)’. The vices listed by the BK’s are: lust (sex), anger, greed, attachment and ego. Whilst overcoming these vices is a noble cause, the Brahma Kumaris impose the impossible expectation upon its’ members of complete purity – to be constantly free from the influence of these vices in every thought, word and action. To be influenced is to fail. This creates a burden of near constant guilt that becomes the prison walls of all BK’s. It drives them to ‘constant effort’, which is the catchcall of the Brahma Kumaris – but it means that every member must be constantly preoccupied with being a good student with no time for distractions – including family, personal entertainment, academic studies etc.
Mount Abu: is the location of the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in India – Madhuban. Is is in southern Rajasthan north of the Gujerat capital of Ahemdebad. Over the last few years the BKWSU have developed a massive facility at the bottom of the mountain in Abu Road. This accommodates 10,000 people in what is really a small town.
Murli: this is the transcript of what ‘God’ said through the mouth of Brahma (Dada Lehkraj). As the original murlis are too controversial the BKWSU only distributes to its’ centres the murlis from 1964 to 1969 – re-editing and recycling them every 5 years. Members of the organisation, who describe themselves as students, will attend general class every morning to study the murli, and take notes. They will then, in theory, spend the day meditating on the ‘wisdom’ of the murli in a process that can only really be defined as self-indoctrination.
Pol Pot: was the leader of the infamous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. He was responsible for the deaths of almost 3 million people – almost half the population of Cambodia. However, he was described by those who knew or met him as a man of impeccable manners, very charming and instantly trustworthy. Like his peers – Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Dong – he was very effective in small groups. He was able to promote himself to others in small groups so effectively that they would in turn then promote him to a larger audience. The reverence of Pol Pots inner circle automatically translated into reverence from anyone who might become associated with him however indirectly. This is the power of celebrity. Pol Pot effectively created a personality cult that translated into a large powerful organisation. This is the same process by which any person becomes a cult leader, including Dadi Janki.
Pukka: this is a Hindi word that has found its way into the English language. It basically translates as ‘good’, as in “he is a pukka (good) student”. Being pukka is a common compliment to a member of the BK’s and therefore an objective for every member.
Raja Yoga: in Hindu tradition there are eight styles of yoga. Hatha Yoga is the one westerners will be most familiar with – it involves stretching and postures. Raja Yoga literally translates as ‘the king of yogas’ and is regarded in India as the Yoga of meditation and enlightenment, and is the practise of only the holiest of sages. Traditional Raja Yoga was created by Patanjali possibly around the time of Christ. His knowledge of Raja Yoga is contained in a scripture known as the “Yoga Sutras”.
The Brahma Kumaris purport to teach Raja Yoga. In fact they have stolen the term to use as a reference to their own, unique style of meditation which they market as the “supreme yoga” – and which bears zero relationship with Patanjalis’ Raja Yoga. This is a combination of arrogance and deception typical of the organisation.
Sanskars: this Sanskrit word is a reference to the characteristics, habit and tendencies of a person – what might normally be referred to as a persons subconscious. It is a very significant concept in the BKWSU and one of the principle ideas by which the organisation controls the minds and will of its’ members.
In essence, according to BK philosophy, the reason one suffers is because their sanskars are ‘impure’. This is the result of impure actions (karma) being stored in the subconscious as sanskars. The only way one can transform these impure sanskars into pure sanskars (virtues) is by meditating on the BK God – Shiva, and by doing service (making other people members and thus saving them) which they describe as pure karma. They also say that as now is the only time God Shiva comes to transform the world, now is the only opportunity to do pure action. And that to leave means to surrender to ones’ own impure sanskars – to be overcome by weakness.
Seniors: a broad reference to those who have been a member for a long term and who have achieved some degree of status. Status is given by someone higher up the food chain – for example a member may be given the position of ‘centre -in- charge’ or ‘national co-ordinator’ etc. The general membership naively see status as a form of recognition for the quality of the soul – the quality of that souls’ effort, yoga, and service. Therefore they are, by default, more powerful and entitled to respect.
Service: see “seva”
Seva is translated from Hindi into ‘service’ in English. Service is the ultimate aim for all BKs’ as it is the way by which a member will accrue merit for Heaven. In BK jargon they refer to the individuals ‘fortune’. Every action is either increasing or diminishing their fortune. The highest action is to serve someone so that they become a BK also. Thus all BKs are focussed on recruitment of new members alongside a half hearted effort to ‘bring benefit’ to the wider community.
Seva actually translates as “to give comfort and happiness”. That is a much purer idea and motive, but western BKs’ especially are rather trained in the concept of ‘service’ as recruitment.
Seven Day Course: this is the basic course in what the Brahma Kumaris refer to as Raja Yoga – their system of knowledge. It comprises seven one hour lessons: Soul, God, Karma, Cycle of Time, The Tree (of religion), Dharna and Murli. A page is being developed to cover this more fully.
Shrimat: literally translated as the ‘directions of God’. Shrimat is dispensed by the Seniors based on their interpretation of the BK philosophy as found in the Murli. A good member would not make an independent decision for fear of that decision being the product of their own ‘Manmat’ (ego) or ‘Parmat’ (the influence of an impure human). The dispensing of Shrimat is one of the primary methods of controlling the minds and lives of the members.
Shudra: this term refers to the untouchable caste in the Hindu system. All humans are considered shudras if they do not belong to the Brahma Kumaris. This is a clear indicator of BK conceit.
Surrendered: if a member is well regarded by senior management they may be offered the opportunity to surrender – this is interpreted as a high honor. A surrendered member disengages from all relationships with the normal world and and is only concerned with BK matters. In return the member will get share accommodation and meals. There is no financial reward at all. A surrendered person will be called upon to work long hours at whatever task is required – cooking, cleaning, office work etc. They are effectively enslaved. It is very difficult to leave the organisation from this position as it is nigh on impossible to reintegrate into normal life socially or financially. Ranjanas’ story highlights this.
Traffic Control: this is a timetable of short meditations. They are imposed at a basic practise for all members. The aim of the exersize is for members to focus their minds on ‘Shiva Baba’, or the self as a soul (special, deity child of Shiva Baba). It is an effective part of the mind control process.
VIP: refers to “Very Important People” – probably the single greatest key to success for the BKWSU management – and the area of greatest deception – is the recruitment of well known and/or influential people. With a long term strategy and many years of practise they have managed to access and use many unwitting VIPs – for example Ken Livingstone, Lord Mayor of London – and exploit their names to develop public credibility. They have been so determined in this area that a long list of VIPs have been used over time and this association has enbled them to establish BK leaders as VIPs themselves.
Yoga is a typically Hindu reference in that it can be made to mean a variety of things. The BK’s play on traditional terms and references to appear typical of Eastern ‘thought’ whilst pushing their extreme ideas. Most westerners think of yoga as a variety of stretching poses. The BK’s teach that their yoga is the supreme yoga and all other forms are effectively inferior if not just a waste of time. They claim that yoga is the union one has in meditation on their God.
Yoga Sutras are the original scriptures that describe yoga and the practises of yoga according to Patanjali, the systems’ creator. These date back almost 2,000 years. They are completely unrelated to anything the Brahma Kumaris teach, despite their claims to be the ‘true’ teachers of the ‘true yoga’.
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