`We are all children of one supreme father and peace is our religion.’ (Brahma Kumaris South Africa FB Page)
The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) is a relatively new global spiritual movement which arose from a Hindu cultural base known as Om Mandli in the 1930s. They describe themselves as a “rainbow” family of individuals across the globe, from all walks of life who seek to help people to re-discover their inherent worth and to reconnect with their spirituality through a deeper understanding of the soul and its connection to God. Rather than promoting a particular religion, the Brahma Kumaris acknowledge the universal principles taught by God to humanity. Based on the principle that the roots of change lie within, the university encourages people to live by their highest values, vision and purpose, in the firm belief that this commitment to self-transformation will create peace and a better world for all.
There are more than 8,500 study centres of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University located in 110 countries including centres in southern Africa. At these centres they “nurture respect for all faith traditions, coherently explaining the nature of soul, God, time, and karma, and delineate an enlightened lifestyle.” Through a range of locally relevant projects and partnerships, including alternative energy and farming initiatives, the BKWSU work to promote spiritual understanding, leadership with integrity and actions for a sustainable future for humanity.
“At the core of the Brahma Kumaris’ work is the understanding of the connection among awareness, attitude, vision, action, and the (material) world. All real change – big changes in the word and small changes in a single life – occurs as a sequence of subtle shifts, beginning with a change in awareness.” http://environment.brahmakumaris.org The BKWSU has a strong environmental ethic , a natural extension of their belief in the spiritual growth and virtues of individuals, and expressed in living sustainably.
“Consider the impact of your thoughts on the environment. If you think the Earth is a beautiful living system and our existence is only a part of the intricate balance….then it is! Awareness becomes thoughts. Thoughts carry power. You will find yourself using the Earth’s resources with greater respect.
Kinder awareness leads to kinder thoughts,
leads to kinder consciousness,
leads to kinder action,
leads to kinder impact,
Impact triggers change. One person will share this thought with another, they with yet another and so on.
The more we think, the more we share. The bigger the numbers get, the greater the consciousness becomes. What started with one person, soon will become 100 then 1000, then 1000 000 00.
The time to act is now. The time to act collectively is now.
This creates an impact.
Impact came from action.
Action came from consciousness.
Consciousness came from thoughts.
Thoughts came from awareness. Want to save the Planet? It all starts and ends with our awareness!
(extracts from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S4XkPnURSc)
To grow environmental action from awareness, the Brahma Kumaris supports the following steps:
– meditation to connect us with our deeper values and to find the strength to live by them. Today there is a need to assess our personal values and to respond to the pressing call to live as global citizens, mindful of the impact of our choices,
– simple living to avoid a heavy demand on resources. There is much to suggest that those who choose to lead simpler, less materialistic lives have higher levels of well-being and greater resilience,
– a vegetarian diet is a practical way to live with greater respect for animals and for the Earth’s resources.
Spiritual leadership and the founding of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University
The spiritual leader of the BKWSU, Lekhraj Kripilani, was born in 1876, the son of a village schoolmaster and brought up within the disciplines of the Hindu tradition. He married, had five children and made a successful career in the jewellery trade where he became a very wealthy man. He held a respected position in his community and was well known for his philanthropy. In 1936, at the age of 60 Lekhraj felt increasingly called to spend time in quiet reflection and solitude. One day, while in a meditative state he felt a warm flow of energy filling him with light and exposing him to a series of powerful visions. These visions continued periodically over several months. They gave him new insights into the innate qualities of human souls, revealed the mysterious entity of God and described the process of world renewal. The intensity of the messages in the visions compelled Lekhraj to wrap up his business and devote himself to understanding the significance and application of this revealed knowledge. Although the visions ceased, their source remained with him guiding his transformation as well as that of those around him. Lekhraj became known as Brahma Baba and died at the ripe old age of 93 in 1969. The Tower of Peace at Madhuban, the main campus of the BKWSU, is a tribute to the invincible spirit of this ordinary human being who achieved greatness by rising to the challenge of the deeper truths of life.
Brahma Kumaris means Daughters of the Creator God. Brahma the Creator God, along with Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer, is one of a triad of Hindu gods. Seminal to the visions of Brahma Baba, was the revelation of the important role of women as spiritual teachers. Brahma Baba 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 organisation the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University and appointed a number of bright young women to be the first administrators and teachers in the BKWSU centres established across India. A number of these original women are still alive, although they are in their nineties. They have become beacons of love, peace and happiness in a world increasingly troubled by disordered relationships, greed, addiction, anger and violence.
The BKWSU reached South Africa in the 1980s and is becoming more significant in a post-apartheid South Africa, where its non-dogmatic embracing of non-cultural and non-religious beliefs appeals to many in a society that has had to endure generations of racial, religious and class distinction. http://www.academia.edu/3636329/The_Brahma_Kumaris_World_Spiritual_University_SA
Through the Call-of-the-Time Dialogue Series the BKWSU is reaching out to people of all ages to respond to the overarching question: “What is the time calling us to do?” This global platform is an opportunity for conversations filled with insights, ideas and fresh perspectives, so that, in collective wisdom, the seeds of true global partnerships can be developed to address our many environmental and other challenges. http://www.brahmakumaris.org/us/partnerships/callOfTheTime
The above introduction to the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University was written from information from the following sources. For a deeper understanding, we invite you to have a look at these resources and to contact some of the South African BK Centres.
Brahma Kumaris National Coordinating Office Johannesburg Inner Space 28 Judith Street, Observatory 2198 Johannesburg Phone: 011-487 2800 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Soweto Ekukhanyeni 1042 Phase 3 Diepkloof Extension, Diepkloof Soweto, Johannesburg 1862
Phone: 011-528 1289 Email email@example.com
Cape Town. Harmony House , 7 Dunluce Avenue Claremont Cape Town 7700
Phone 021-671 9972 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
KwaZulu Natal 26 Macleroy Road, Northern Park, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal 3201 Phone 033-342 9717 Email email@example.com
Port Elizabeth Raja Yoga Centre 178 Mountview Drive, Malabar Port Elizabeth 6020
Phone 041-457 1322 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University South Africa FB https://www.facebook.com/BrahmaKumarisKemptonPark)
Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University environmental website http://environment.brahmakumaris.org/images/resources/Living%20in%20Harmony%20II.pdf
Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University http://www.brahmakumaris.org/
Thesis by Gerelene Jagganath. Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University South Africa – Self Transformation is World Transformation.