Do Brahma Kumaris centres offer counselling?
What are the Brahma Kumaris teachings?
The organisation does not offer counselling at any of its centres. It provides a wide range of courses in spiritual knowledge. Individuals are free to choose which course they are interested in and pursue it to whatever extent they feel comfortable with.
How does the Brahma Kumaris view religion?
The basic understanding in Raja Yoga meditation, which the university teaches, is that each one of us is an eternal spirit or soul. Like actors taking on a costume, we express ourselves on the ‘stage’ of the world through our physical bodies. As souls, our original nature is filled with the highest qualities of peace, purity, love, joy and power. However, over time, forgetting this spiritual truth, we have lost ourselves in an addictive search for temporary happiness through physical and material means. This has brought us into a state of worry, fear and conflict.
The present time is seen as a unique turning point, in which amidst the suffering and violence, a transformation of consciousness is taking place. How? The university understands that the tree of humanity has one seed, God, the Supreme Soul, who stays eternally full of all divine qualities that are originally ours. As children of the one Seed, all souls are spiritually related. By making a subtle shift from an outer, material consciousness to an inner, spiritual consciousness, we once again realise our true selves and God, and move towards our nature of peace, respect and love. The process begins at the personal level and will eventually lead to a shift from a world torn apart by anger, dependency, arrogance, greed and lust to a kinder, gentler world with only the finest in human virtues – happiness, love, peace and purity.
What are the main principles in the Brahma Kumaris way of life?
We emphasise the importance of the ‘dharma’ element of religion – inculcation of the universal principles, taught by God to humanity, for spiritual renewal. The purpose of ‘dharma’ is to enable us to come close to God so as to receive the power to live by our highest motivations, and finish our negative tendencies. When our actions become aligned to universal principles, this becomes a basis for the advancement of the world.
Are there any recommended observances in the Brahma Kumaris way of life?
There are four main principles: Study – The daily study of spiritual knowledge provides nourishment to create a healthy and stable mind. Meditate - The practice of soul-consciousness creates inner strength to overcome negative self-beliefs. Connecting to God in a personal relationship removes blind faith and instils a deep sense of trust. The relationship charges the battery of the soul and fills it with love, peace and power. Practise - To live a life dedicated to improving one’s character by imbibing universal truths and higher motivations in thoughts, words and actions. Serve - To share with others on the basis of one’s own life experiences.
Does everyone have to conform to the BK way of life to be part of the BK community?
Aspiring to complete self-realisation does involve observing certain lifestyle disciplines. These are recommended and not imposed (although centres ask students to observe the disciplines on their premises). The fundamental belief is that every human being has an intrinsic spiritual nature and qualities but to uncover these qualities is a journey. The pace at which that journey takes place is individual to each one. Spiritual study and practice underpin the endeavour, and it is the responsibility of each student to discern and choose what works best for him or her. The basic lifestyle choices encouraged are:
Satwic (pure) Diet: As well as being good for physical health, a vegetarian diet, avoidance of alcohol, drugs (non-prescribed) and tobacco, helps develop the clarity, concentration and subtle focus which spiritual development requires.
Celibacy: Because of the current parlous state of the world, recreating a loving relationship with God and oneself in a whole-hearted way is seen as a priority. This is helped through abstinence from sexual intercourse, which whilst capable of being an expression of love at the human level, generally pulls our consciousness firmly into the material domain. Celibacy helps to cleanse our subtle faculties of thoughts, feelings, intentions, motives, desires, words, perceptions and relationships – enabling us to give and receive lasting, spiritual love.
Is there a dress code?
No. This is a learning community in which all the participants are involved in a process of life-long development. Everyone has access to the full curriculum and each one chooses what to take from that according to their interest. It is an open school to which people from diverse backgrounds come, bringing with them the richness of their specialities. The level of commitment is a personal decision.
What residential retreat facilities do you offer?
There is no specific dress code, although casual, modest dress is generally appropriate when attending BK courses or activities. Some members within the BK community prefer to wear white, 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.
Retreats: The university now has a number of residential retreat facilities across the world where individuals and professional groups can find an atmosphere conducive to contemplation, meditation and exploration of meaning and purpose at both personal and professional levels. Most retreats cover awareness of the inner self or soul, silent contemplation, meditation and developing spiritual understanding. Gatherings of specific professional groups are sensitively guided to explore spiritual values and their application in the workplace. Examples of themes include Inner Peace, Inner Power; Values in Healthcare; Spirit of Leadership; Healing Heart and Soul; Peace of Mind, Exploring the Power of Silence. To find out more about the retreat centres, please click on the links below: 1. Centre for Spiritual Learning, firstname.lastname@example.org, Villa Elisa, Argentina. 2. Centre for Spiritual Learning, Leura, New South Wales, Australia. 3. Centre for Spiritual Learning, Wilton, New South Wales, Australia. 4. Centre for Spiritual Learning, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 5. Villa Serra Serena, email@example.com, Serra Negra, Brazil. 6. Gyan Sarovar Academy for a Better World, Mount Abu, India. 7. Casa Sangam Retreat Centre, Gubbio, Italy. 8. Centre for Spiritual Learning, Tagaytay, Philippines. 9. Global Retreat Centre, Oxford, United Kingdom. 10. Peace Village, Haines Falls, New York, USA.