Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Brahma Kumaris?
Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya (PBKIVV), shortly the Brahma Kumaris (BK) was founded in India in 1937 by Prajapita Brahma Baba and now has its international headquarters at Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India. Brahma Kumaris’ service outside India began in 1971 and now comprises a worldwide network of around 4500 centres in over 140 countries and territories. There are currently estimated to be around one million students. It provides spiritual education and reflective practices for people from diverse cultural backgrounds, inspiring them to live according to their own higher nature and contribute towards establishment of a better world.
What are the objectives / aspirations of Brahma Kumaris?
- To encourage a deeper understanding of the individual’s place and purpose within the broader context of life.
- To reaffirm the spiritual identity, inherent goodness, dignity and worth of the human being.
- To encourage a change of awareness, attitude, vision and behaviour within the human family.
- To help individuals rediscover their latent personal relationship with the Source of all Goodness.
- To foster a spirit of universal human brotherhood among all human beings irrespective of the differences in their religions, their languages, their races, their genders or their nationalities, so that they can draw profound inner strength from a relationship with their Eternal Parent, the Divine.
- To support the betterment of the human condition by remaining fully engaged in our communities and to support programmes, projects and initiatives with this rediscovered inner strength.
- To establish a relationship between human beings and their surrounding nature and environment, based on the principle of non-violence.
How does the Brahma Kumaris fulfil these objectives / aspirations?
Through its international network of centers, the Brahma Kumaris offers courses in Raja Yoga meditation and a range of lectures, workshops, short courses and programmes in personal development. There are also many community outreach projects that serve a variety of local needs.
At a national and international level, the Brahma Kumaris co-ordinates and works in partnership on a variety of projects that provide opportunities for people to participate in activities of social and humanitarian concern.
How does the Brahma Kumaris support the local community?
The Brahma Kumaris often plays a significant role in outreach to local communities. We conduct seminars, courses and workshops on meditation, personal development and new ways of working together in the community. The courses and the presentation vary according to country, culture and local facilities. To find out about the course in your area, please contact the website: www.brahmakumaris.org / www.mediawing.org
These courses are held at community centers, prisons, hospitals, homes for the elderly, drug rehabilitation units, schools and local business houses. They are based on practical and applied spirituality with a view to enhancing wellbeing and quality of life. The content is drawn from the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris. Individuals are able to deepen their self-understanding, explore and experiment with spiritual life skills for easier relationships and for greater fulfilment in life.
In addition to Raja Yoga Meditation, the others courses we offer include the following:
- Overcoming Anger: Understanding the underlying causes and subtle forms of anger, the effects of anger on our well-being and how to use one’s energy in a more productive way.
- Positive Thinking: Exploring the role of thought in shaping our perceptions, sense of meaning and actions, and how to reclaim our authenticity, freedom and self-mastery.
- Self-Esteem: How to re-build innate personality traits that contribute to self-esteem, self-respect and self-worth.
- Stress-free Living: Understanding, recognising and managing the varying levels of stress, worry and tension, and learning some simple ways to minimise these, by making a change in lifestyle patterns.
Further support is also provided for the following issues:
Other areas of activity include education, healthcare, interfaith and places of detention. There are also residential retreat centres, which provide a supportive and nurturing environment, where individuals and professional groups can explore meditation and the spiritual underpinnings of their personal life, family life and work life.
Partnerships and Global Initiatives
What partnerships and global initiatives are the Brahma Kumaris involved in?
The Brahma Kumaris engages in a variety of partnerships, based on shared purposes and principles.
The partnerships include the following:
- The World Renewal Spiritual Trust (WRST): It is registered as a public trust with its headquarters in Mumbai, India. Its objective is to impart education in moral, social and spiritual values to promote peace and harmony. Since the mid 1990’s, WRST has become one of the key developers and promoters of renewable energies in India. In order to strengthen its approach, the WRST works in close liaison with the Brahma Kumaris. In 2011, WRST was recognized as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India and caries out training programs in solar concentrating technology under UNDP funding.
- Global Hospital and Research Centre (GHRC), Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India: In 1989, eminent Mumbai-based head and neck cancer surgeon Dr. Ashok Mehta visited the Brahma Kumaris spiritual headquarters in Mount Abu. His positive experience led him to believe that the Brahma Kumaris represented a like-minded group of people with whom he could work in partnership to implement his vision of a model hospital focusing on holistic healthcare. The project was adopted by Khuba and Gulab Watumull of Mumbai and Hawaii (USA) respectively, and was named J Watumull Global Hospital & Research Centre, in memory of their late father.
- Janki Foundation for Global Health Care: It is a UK charity foundation promoting spirituality in health care. It supports healthcare professionals through values-based dialogue and training, and contributes to general well-being through inspirational books, CDs and lectures. It also gives regular financial support to the Global Hospital and Research Centre at Mount Abu, India, which has pioneered a healthcare model combining modern medical technology with spirituality and complementary medicine. Dadi Janki is the President of the Janki Foundation.
- Images and Voices of Hope:Media as Agents of World Benefit. The Mission states: Positive change is about focusing on the world we want to live in – not only solving the problems in the world. It’s not about glossing difficult truths. It’s about amplifying the best in human nature and, whenever possible, shining a light on the steps we can take towards the future we want. Read more.
- The Point of Life Foundation: It is a US non-profit entity, established to serve the global community. It is founded on the vision of a spiritual model of healthcare, with a focus on the well-being of the whole person. It aims to integrate a people-centred approach within the existing paradigms in healthcare, and to inform people about issues relevant to the holistic health, with emphasis on the spiritual approach to health, care, healing, self-care, and healthcare education. The Point of Life Foundation works in partnership with the Brahma Kumaris in two primary areas, which are as follows:
- Local educational initiatives for healthcare professionals and the public under the auspices of ‘Hope in Healthcare’.
- Global outreach to support the work of the J Watumull Global Hospital & Research Centre (Mount Abu, India) and similar projects through facilitating donation of physical resources and volunteering of professional services.
The Brahma Kumaris Global Initiatives:
The initiatives are drawn from the creative minds of individuals, who integrate their personal spiritual growth with the work they do in the world. Applying the double helix of the spiritual with the secular, topical global issues are explored through outreach to the wider population, drawing on their collective wisdom and enlightened insight. Courses, activities, programmes and initiatives are designed to help in everyday life. They cover a broad cultural context and include the following:
- The Call-of-the-Time Dialogue Series (COTT) – It is co-facilitated by BK Jayanti Kirpalani, Director of the Brahma Kumaris, UK and Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer, MIT, USA, leaders from across cultures, religions, and races come together with honour, respect and appreciation of the intrinsic value of each one present. Together they explore the crucial territory where personal and collective cultivation meet. They are convinced that such explorations will prove vital to the larger issues that lay ahead for the world.
- The Future of Power – It is a series of exclusive conversations exploring the forthcoming ‘shifts in power’ and their impact on leadership in the 21st Century. Hosted by Dadi Janki, Administrative Head of the Brahma Kumaris, and Nizar Juma, a Nairobi-based businessman and industrialist, the conversations successfully provide participants with an opportunity to take time out and reflect on the deeper meaning of power in their lives.
- The Four Faces of Woman – It aims at helping women to balance their personal, family and professional lives and exploring the deeper meaning of the feminine characteristics and their role in restoring humanity to its original state of authenticity and harmony.
- Being with One Initiative — In light of the current speed of change, the instability of many areas of our world, and the suffering of millions, perhaps there is another way we can help. As spiritual beings we all share the same Source of spiritual light and power. Many now recognise that we can gently raise our consciousness, connect with the Source, and serve as instruments of the ONE to bring that healing light, love and power into the world.
It is a subtle exercise in which we can serve to empower and strengthen others. In the process, we also empower our own resilience to face our own daily challenges. Whatever you call the ONE whom we all share and to whom we are all connected, we invite you to join us annually in a collective effort in Being with ONE from 21 September,- The UN International Day of Peace – to 2 October,- The UN International Day of Non-Violence.
- Just-a-minute – It is an initiative created to mark the 70th anniversary of the Brahma Kumaris. Worldwide, more and more people are realising the benefits of short meditation breaks during the day. These breaks in our busy, often challenging, everyday lives help us experience peace and well-being, no matter what is happening around us. Everyone can practise these one-minute breaks, wherever, whenever. The just-a-minute website offers easy tools and tested tips on how to get started.
- The Culture of Peace and Non-Violence – It is a commitment to peace-building, mediation, conflict prevention and resolution, peace education, education for non-violence, tolerance, acceptance, mutual respect, intercultural and interfaith dialogue and reconciliation. The Brahma Kumaris participated in the Decade 2000-2010 promoting the Manifesto and collecting thousands of signatures in the form of pledges.
- Sharing our Values for a Better World – It was a year long project that started in September 1994 and continued through October 1995 culminating in a celebration honouring the UN50. Throughout the year, all the Brahma Kumaris’ centres organised and focused activities around 12 values – Co-operation, Freedom, Happiness, Honesty, Humility, Love, Peace, Respect, Responsibility, Simplicity, Tolerance and Unity.
- Global Co-operation for Better World – A United Nations Peace Messenger Initiatives it elicited from people, in words or pictures, responses to the question: “What is your vision of a better world?”Visions, hopes, and aspirations of a sweeping cross-section of individuals from more than 120 countries had been collected. The Global Vision Statement synthesised and reflected the contributions of the people. Visions of a Better World, a Peace Messenger Publication, was published featuring some of the vast outpouring of colour and creativity produced by the Project.
- The Million Minutes of Peace Appeal – It was dedicated to the UN International Year of Peace. That appeal, which asked people to pledge time in meditation, positive thinking, or prayers for peace, reached 88 countries and collected 1,231,975,713 minutes of peace. The total was equal to some 2,344 years of peace! The Brahma Kumaris were awarded seven national and one international Peace Messenger Awards by the Secretary General of the UN for their contribution to the Year.
Brahma Kumaris Environment Initiative: It is about awakening greater environmental awareness within our own organisation, as well as collaborating and learning with others through dialogues, partnerships, UN conferences and local initiatives. As a spiritual organisation our main aim is to help people understand that any change in the outer world, starts with a change in our inner world. Hence, our environmental initiative is based on the following five main principles:
- Living with simplicity
- Buying compassionately
- Using economically
- Learning continuously
- Sharing generously
Teachings and Way of Life
What is the core curriculum of the Brahma Kumaris?
At the heart of the Brahma Kumaris teachings is the Foundation Course in Raja Yoga meditation. This course provides a practical understanding of the relationship between spirit and matter, as well as an understanding of the interplay between souls, God and the material world.
The series of classes in this course will facilitate your inward journey in an efficient and effective way. Learn about the following:
- Consciousness and Self-realization
- Connection and Relationship with God
- The Law of Karma
- The Cycle of Time
- The Tree of Life
- A Spiritual Lifestyle
The lessons are offered in two parts:
- Part 1: offers the basic knowledge and practice of Raja Yoga meditation. This is for people who are interested in only learning how to meditate as a regular practice.
- Part 2: offers the teachings of Raja Yoga as a study. The teachings take the aspirant into the depths of universal truths. The goal of the teachings is to learn how to concentrate the mind and to discover the innermost core of the soul’s divinity. This is for people who want to exercise their own reason and judgment; who want to learn from the authority of their own experiences and sustain a lifestyle on a more elevated spiritual plane
What are the main pillars in the Brahma Kumaris way of life?
There are four main pillars:
- Spiritual Study – The daily study of spiritual knowledge gives nourishment to the soul to remove blind faith and to see events, situations and circumstance as opportunities to apply the teachings.
- Rajayoga Meditation – Rajayoga meditation provides a direct connection to the Source, enabling the soul to draw power and build resilience and spiritual capacity.
- Inculcation of Virtues – The awareness of the self as a soul awakens the essential core of divine virtues, giving the inner strength to overcome negative self-beliefs and the freedom to be the authentic self.
- Spiritual Service – Being is seen as the basis for serving – bringing the virtues of the soul into whatever role one happens to be playing.
Are there any special lifestyle disciplines in the Brahma Kumaris way of life?
The journey towards self-realization involves observing certain lifestyle disciplines, which are recommended and not imposed. The Brahma Kumaris’ environments are nurtured by observing these disciplines.
Spiritual study and practice underpin an individual’s spiritual journey. It is the responsibility of each person to discern and choose what lifestyle disciplines they are ready to implement, and at whatever pace suits them.
The two main lifestyle disciplines observed are the following:
- Sattwic (Pure) Diet: It is a vegetarian or vegan diet that contributes to general well-being and helps develop clarity and concentration. It involves no substance abuse, including not using any alcohol or tobacco.
- Celibacy: It is seen as the basis for cultivating a safe and pure way for people to be and live together. This choice can make people stronger in themselves, more autonomous and more self-confident. It liberates both genders from their over-reliance on each other and supports greater equality. The Brahma Kumaris views celibacy as a fundamental principle to self-realization and to recreating a loving relationship with God and to creating a culture of peace and non-violence.
Does everyone have to conform to the Brahma Kumaris way of life to be part of the BK Community?
No. This is a learning community in which all the participants are involved in a process of spiritual development. Each individual chooses what to take from the curriculum, according to their interest. It is an open learning environment, to which people from diverse backgrounds come, bringing with them the richness of their specialties. The level of commitment is a personal decision.
Is there a special dress code?
There is no specific dress code, although casual, modest dress is generally appropriate, when attending BK courses or activities. White is the preferred colour within the BK community, as it reflects the inner aspirations towards living a life of simplicity, purity, cleanliness and truth – qualities to which the practice of Raja Yoga meditation gives rise.
How does the Brahma Kumaris view religion?
The Brahma Kumaris emphasizes on the importance of the ‘dharma‘ element of religion – the inculcation of the universal principles, taught by God to humanity, for spiritual renewal and restoration. The purpose of ‘dharma‘ is to recognize that spirituality is the key to bringing justice, peace and well-being to humanity.
Every soul, regardless of the religion, is spiritually moulded by his or her relationship with the Supreme, and their understanding and practice of faith and life experiences. The way forward is a return to the spirituality at the heart of the great faiths. In practical terms, this means living with the highest ideals that faith inspires within souls – of love, compassion, truth and non-violence.
How does ‘knowledge-based’ meditation work?
The Brahma Kumaris’ teachings are set within the context that the world is at a turning point at which a transformation of consciousness is taking place. One of the main teachings is that the tree of humanity has one seed, God, the Supreme Soul, who stays eternally full of all divine qualities. As children of the one Seed, human beings are one family. By making a subtle shift from an outer, material dependency to an inner, spiritual awareness, human beings realise their true selves and recognise the Source, God, and restore themselves to their original nature of peace, respect and love.
Raja Yoga meditation requires the individual to study spiritual knowledge. Understanding of the knowledge is essential to its practice and application. The aim of Raja Yoga is self-sovereignty and self-mastery and so it is important for the individual to be discerning on his or her spiritual journey. The process of learning is a simple one: listening to and understanding the teachings; contemplating and making sense of how to apply the teachings in life; inculcating the teachings and emerging the innate qualities into the awareness of the self; experiencing the meaning of insightful wisdom and deciding the quality of one’s own actions.
The process begins at the personal level with a collective momentum building, and eventually leads to a shift from a world torn apart by anger, attachment, arrogance, greed and lust to a kinder, gentler world, with only the finest in human virtues – happiness, love, peace and purity.
What is the role of the meditation teacher?
The term ‘teacher’ is used for a person facilitating the process of taking an individual through the lessons of the Raja Yoga Meditation Course. The teacher’s role is more of a spiritual coach.
How is the Brahma Kumaris funded?
The Brahma Kumaris runs on voluntary contributions, both financial and in kind, from individuals who have benefited personally through its courses and activities. The Brahma Kumaris students, inspired to serve others, choose to contribute regularly in support of the work, according to their means. There is no membership fee.
Funds from the philanthropists, national or international agencies, are sometimes received for humanitarian and environmental initiatives, in such fields as solar energy projects, health and education.
Why are all the Brahma Kumaris courses and programs offered free of charge?
From its beginning, the work of the Brahma Kumaris has been based on the principle that spiritual knowledge is a basic right of every human being. It was the founder’s (Brahma Baba’s) aim to provide opportunities for everyone to develop their own spiritual potential, without charge, regardless of age, gender, background or financial circumstances. This ethic is practised by all participating BK teachers and students.
Can anyone participate in the courses and programmes?
All adults are welcome to participate in any activity of their choice. Informal open-house meetings and visits provide an opportunity for individuals to learn more about the organisation even before deciding to participate in any of the courses or activities at local centres. For many of the courses and programmes, prior registration is required.
Are children allowed to participate?
Young people aged 16 and over may join group classes and activities. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by their parents / care takers.
All the Brahma Kumaris centers carry child-protection policies, in accordance with the laws of their respective countries and cities.
Do I need to take any precautions before learning Raja Yoga meditation?
In general, anyone can benefit from Raja Yoga Meditation. If you are uncertain or if you are suffering from a mental illness, it is advisable to ask your doctor’s opinion before learning to meditate. It is also important that you do not discontinue any medication without first consulting your doctor.
Do the Brahma Kumaris centers offer counselling?
The organization does not offer counselling at any of its centers. It provides a wide range of courses in spiritual knowledge. Individuals are free to choose what they wish to practise.
History and Leadership
Where was the Brahma Kumaris founded and when?
It was founded in 1930’s in Hyderabad, Sindh (now part of Pakistan, but at that time part of colonial India) by Brahma Baba, formerly known as Dada Lekhraj Kripalani, who had a series of visions depicting world transformation. In 1937, he formed a managing committee of eight young women and established an informal group named “Om Mandali” that grew into the “Brahma Kumaris” of today.
What is the history of the Brahma Kumaris’ founder?
Dada Lekhraj was a successful and much-respected jeweler. He was born into a religious family in Karachi located in Sindh in 1876. His father was a Schoolmaster and up till the age of 60, he kept changing 12 Gurus in life.
In 1936, around the time when most people at his age start to plan their retirement, he actually entered into the most active and fascinating phase of his life. After a series of deep spiritual experiences and visions, he felt an extremely strong pull to give up his business and dedicate his time, energy and wealth to laying the foundations of what later would become Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya (PBKIVV) shortly the Brahma Kumaris (BK). He soon became known as Brahma Baba. He spent the rest of his life bringing people of all cultural, socio-economic and religious backgrounds together to rediscover and develop the spiritual dimensions of their personal lives and to integrate this into their world.
He insisted that his role was that of a simple instrument and not that of a guru. He recognised God, the Being of Light, the Benevolent one, as the primary inspiration for Brahma Kumaris and their work. In May 1950, he moved with other founding members from Karachi, Pakistan, to Mt. Abu in India, where he remained until his passing away in 1969.
Is Brahma Baba a God? Who is God?
He was not God. But, he became important as a medium to make us meet our long lost and now found Father of all Souls called God. His body became a tool in which God descended down to transform the souls and thereby bring about World Transformation.
God is the One, who has been remembered as the Ocean of Love, the Intellect of the Wise, the Almighty Authority, the Comforter of Hearts, the Truth, the living Supreme Being and the Blissful One.
Therefore, the Brahma Kumaris is not a sect worshipping idols but the one, which produces the models of spirituality and ideals who become idealistic Rajayogis after taking powers from God through practice of Meditation.
Organisation and Administration
Who currently heads the Brahma Kumaris?
When the founder, Brahma Baba, passed away from this life in 18th January, 1969, the leadership of the community continued with members of the original group of young women. Today, the few surviving leaders, mostly in their eighties and nineties, carry a powerful presence, having spent a lifetime mastering the inculcation and application of spiritual knowledge.
Dadi Janki currently serves as the Administrative Head of the Brahma Kumaris worldwide, Dadi Hirdaya Mohini serves as the Additional Administrative Head and Dadi Ratan Mohini as the Joint Administrative Head.
These women, fondly called Dadis (elder sisters), serve as instruments of spiritual service, who share a total dedication to God. Regarded as senior yogis, they have an immense love and regard for one another and an absolute commitment to world service.
What does ‘Brahma Kumaris’ mean?
‘Brahma Kumaris’ means ‘daughters of Brahma’. Seminal to the vision of world renewal was the revelation of the important and prominent role of women as spiritual teachers. Brahma Baba correctly foresaw that core values based on traditionally feminine qualities – patience, tolerance, sacrifice, kindness and love – would increasingly become the foundation of progress in personal growth, human relations and the development of caring communities. To maintain the emphasis on this vital core of leadership, he named the organization Brahma Kumaris (BK). For more information about the Brahma Kumaris click here.
How can the the Brahma Kumaris help me?
The Brahma Kumaris is a Selfless Society whose principles and guidelines lead us to practising values in life where the Supreme is our guiding light whose proof is seen as success in all walks of life with great positivity.
Why is the Brahma Kumaris honoured Worldwide?
The Brahma Kumaris is being honoured for the reason of pure and positive vibrations being felt
by its followers. These vibes emerge due to the direct link with the Divine through practice of
Rajyoga Meditation. Also, here it is believed that “honour is received when we honour others”.
Is the Brahma Kumaris a Religion?
It is an “Art of Living” which is beyond Religion. Its teachings can be summed up as follows:
- Meditation is a must for a peaceful living.
- True knowledge is wisdom reflected in our attitude.
- Unless you do not give to others, you do not get. “Be good, Do good” is our motto.
Does the Brahma Kumaris believe in other Religions?
Yes, the Brahma Kumaris strongly believes in the core principles of all religions and respects them from its heart. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that it believes more so in equality of all religions because God being the Father of all souls is One and, therefore, as His children, we all too, belong to one family rather than naming it a Religion.
Is the Brahma Kumaris Scientific or is it Spiritual?
The Brahma Kumaris is a wonderful blend of Science and Spirituality where each individual here uses the instruments and means of Science for comfortable living and, on the other hand, have a Spiritual Mindset too, which keeps their stage stable and positive in situations of crisis too.
What is taught in the Brahma Kumaris?
Here a 7-day course involves knowledge about the self, the Supreme, the significance of human existence in this World Cycle, Karma Philosophy and building connection with Supreme God through Rajayoga Meditation.
What is the knowledge about the self?
Each one on this Universe has a unique role to play, as though we are actors on this World stage. Therefore, this body is a costume and the self within is the imperishable spiritual entity, which needs to be remembered. But, what we remember very often is the body and its relationships, which is the main cause for all sorrows and sufferings.
What is Karma Philosophy?
A man was blind throughout his life but was very good indeed in his behaviour. People tried to find out the reason why he was blind in spite of such nice behaviour and deeds. They called a Psychologist, who took him into his remote past by way of some techniques and found out that in past birth he was into a king’s territory and was given the role of punishing people by pulling out their eyes before the death sentence. He did that role not for the sake of doing but he also enjoyed killing people by pulling their eyes out, which became his hobby and, therefore, it resulted in him being blind throughout his life in his next birth.
So, actions (Karma) needs to be done by being as detached instrument and not with involvement and interest– this is the crux of Karma Philosophy.
How does meditation help?
Meditation is, in fact, a medicine for the soul. The true knowledge about the self works as the food for the soul in which meditation is like a fuel added to a motor car before driving. It keeps us in boosted spirit and builds confidence and gives us a positive approach to deal with life wherein lastly an individual finds himself successful.
How can I become a Brahma Kumar or Brahma Kumari?
In a way, becoming a Brahma Kumar or a Brahma Kumari is a mindset. If your attitude is that of a Universal Brotherhood for all, if you are generous, a positive thinker all the time and if you are connected with the Supreme constantly, then, that itself makes you a Brahma Kumar or a Brahma Kumari. Of course, there are certain individuals, who have surrendered their lives for this great task; but ideals are not many, only a few. Therefore, it is not necessary to renounce the world and, then, get a degree of a Brahma Kumar or a Brahma Kumari.