Who we are and What we do?...................................

What is the Brahma Kumaris (BKs)?
The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) is an international non-governmental organisation with spiritual headquarters in Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India with over 8,500 centres in 100 countries, territories and islands. As a learning community, it currently has more than 825,000 regular students seeking to strengthen their ability to live by their own higher nature and to improve their contribution to society through spiritual education and reflective practices.
What are the aims and objectives of the Brahma Kumaris?
The Brahma Kumaris seeks to help individuals re-discover and strengthen their inherent worth by encouraging and facilitating a process of spiritual awakening. This leads to an awareness of the importance of thoughts and feelings as the seeds of actions. The development of virtues and values-based attitudes creates a practical spirituality which enhances personal effectiveness in the workplace and in family life. An understanding of the spiritual context of human existence is offered, helping to make sense of contemporary issues. Based on the principle that the roots of change lie within, the university encourages individuals to live by their highest values, vision and purpose. It holds that this commitment to self-transformation will create peace and a better world for all.
How does the Brahma Kumaris carry out these aims?
Through its international network of centres, the organisation offers courses in Raja Yoga Meditation and a variety of lectures, short courses and programmes in personal development. Outreach projects to the community serve a variety of local needs. Brahma Kumaris retreat centres provide a supportive and nurturing environment where individuals and professional groups can explore meditation and the application of spiritual values in daily life. At the national and international level, by engaging in partnerships and dialogues, the Brahma Kumaris co-ordinates a variety of projects providing opportunities to participate in activities of social and humanitarian concern. The focus is always on developing spiritual learning as the key to individual and world transformation. The guiding principles that form the foundation on which all BK courses, activities, programmes and projects evolve are respect, co-operation, trusteeship and benevolence.
Why are all Brahma Kumaris courses and programmes offered free of charge?
From the beginning, the organisation’s work 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, background or financial circumstances. This ethic is endorsed and reflected by all participating BK teachers and students.
How is the organisation funded?
The organisation is run with voluntary contributions, both financial and in kind, from individuals who have been served personally through its courses and activities. As an aspect of their life of service, students of the Brahma Kumaris contribute regularly in support of the work, in accordance with their means. This is done without overview by the organisation. The organisation neither solicits nor accepts funds from others for activities that relate to the internal running of the organisation and there is no membership fee. Funds from well-wishers, national or international agencies are sometimes received for humanitarian and environmental initiatives, such as solar energy projects, health and education projects that are designed to benefit the community as a whole.
Can anyone participate in the courses and programmes?
Yes, all 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.
Are children allowed to participate?
Yes. Young adults under the age of majority (18 years) require written permission from a parent/guardian prior to joining in activities, unless accompanied by the parent/guardian. Minors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. In cases where children’s retreats are organised, parents are required to sign separate documents enabling retreat teachers and facilitators to act in loco parentis. All Brahma Kumaris’ centres carry child-protection policies, in accordance with the laws of the country.
Do I need to take any precautions before learning meditation?
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.
What courses do we offer?
All courses, activities, programmes and projects help sustain a life-long learning process. Offerings are broad and inclusive, applicable in everyday life, and relevant within a broad cultural context. Courses and Programmes offered at the centres: Core Curriculum: Raja Yoga Meditation At the heart of the university’s teachings is the Foundation Course in Raja Yoga Meditation. Classes are a practical study and facilitate an inward journey towards recognition of the deepest aspects of the self, a relationship with God, and the purpose of life. The practice of meditation is grounded in a core knowledge that connects the inner world of thoughts, feelings and ideas to the outer world of actions and relationships. The result of this practice builds mental, intellectual and emotional capacity. Like any skill, meditation requires practice. By doing a little every day, it soon becomes a natural, easy and enjoyable habit. The course covers: 1. Consciousness and Self-Realization. 2. Our Home of Silence. 3. Relationship with God Law of Karma Reincarnation Eternal World Drama Tree of Life A Spiritual Lifestyle The course presentation may vary according to country, culture and local facilities. Personal Development Courses Through these courses and programmes individuals deepen their self-understanding, explore and experiment with spiritual life skills, and develop a strong spiritual context with which to live a practical and fulfilling life. The courses offered may include: Positive Thinking – How to use the mind in a positive, productive, and beneficial way Stress-free Living – Understanding, managing and preventing stress Self Management for Quality of Life – Exploring spiritual tools to manage time, anger, etc. The Four Faces of Woman – Balancing personal, family, and professional lives The Secrets of Self-Esteem – How to build and sustain self-esteem and self-worth.
What community project do we do?
Brahma Kumaris centres often play a significant role in their local community. Activities are designed to involve people in identifying and implementing the positive spiritual values, ethics and understanding necessary to improve the quality of family, community and professional life. Brahma Kumaris teachers visit community centres, prisons, hospitals, homes for the elderly, drug rehabilitation units, schools and local businesses to give talks and conduct seminars on meditation, personal development and new ways of working together in the community. Community projects include: 1. Interfaith - helping to build bridges between people of different faiths, beliefs and cultures. 2. Service in Places of Detention - serving both staff and detainees. 3. Spirituality and Men (SAM) – an exploration of spirituality through informative dialogue, honest interaction and meditation. 4. Youth - encouraging youth participation and leadership through spiritual development, enhancing social skills and intergenerational dialogue. 5. Spirituality and Women - exploring the symbolism of four ‘faces’ which have characterised women and their role in society through the ages.


Do Brahma Kumaris centres offer counselling?
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.
What are the Brahma Kumaris teachings?
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.
How does the Brahma Kumaris view religion?
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.
What are the main principles 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.
Are there any recommended observances in the Brahma Kumaris way of life?
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.
Does everyone have to conform to the BK 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 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.
Is there a dress code?
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.
What residential retreat facilities do you offer?
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, villaelisa@bkumaris.org.ar, 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, serraserena@bkumaris.org.br, 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.

History and Leadership.....................................................

Where was the Brahma Kumaris founded and when?
It was founded in 1936 in Hyderabad, Sindh (now part of Pakistan, but at that time part of colonial India) by Dada Lekhraj, 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 that grew into the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.
What is the history of the Brahma Kumaris founder?
Dada Lekhraj was a successful and much-respected jeweller. In 1936, aged 60, when most of his colleagues were planning their retirement, he entered into the most active and fascinating phase of his life, during which he became known as Brahma Baba. Drawn to invest more time in quiet reflection and solitude, he began to experience a series of powerful visions that continued periodically over several months. Through them, he received new insights into the innate qualities of human souls, the mysterious entity of God and the process of world transformation. The intensity of the messages conveyed by the visions was such that Brahma Baba felt compelled to wrap up his worldly business and devote himself to understanding the significance and application of this revealed knowledge. He spent the last 33 years of his life bringing people of all cultural, economic and religious backgrounds together to rediscover and develop the spiritual dimensions of their personal lives and to integrate this into their world. Brahma Baba insisted that his role was that of an instrument and example, and not that of a guru. He recognised God, the Being of Light, the Benevolent One, as the primary inspiration for the Brahma Kumaris and their work, and directed everyone’s attention towards God. After the partition of India and Pakistan he moved with the other founding members to Mt. Abu in India, where he remained until his death in 1969.
Who currently heads the Brahma Kumaris?
When Brahma Baba passed from this life, in January 1969, the leadership of the organisation continued with members of the original committee of young women. Today, the surviving leaders carry a powerful presence, having spent a lifetime mastering the inculcation and application of spiritual knowledge. Dadi Janki currently serves as the Chief Administrative Head of the Brahma Kumaris worldwide. Dadi Hirdaya Mohini, the Co-Administrative Head and Dadi Ratan Mohini, the additional Co-Administrative Head. Now in their eighties and nineties, these women, fondly called Dadis (elder sisters), serve as instruments who share a total dedication to God. Regarded as seniors, 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 organisation the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.


What is the Brahma Kumaris’ relationship with the United Nations?
The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University is a non-governmental organisation in general category consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in consultative status with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and is affiliated to the Department of Public Information (DPI).
How old is the Brahma Kumaris’ relationship with the UN?
The Brahma Kumaris became affiliated to the DPI in 1980 and to ECOSOC in 1983.
How does the Brahma Kumaris contribute to the work of the UN?
The Brahma Kumaris supports the UN Millennium Development Goals through a wide range of programmes promoting education; gender equality and empowerment of women; mental, physical, and spiritual health and well-being; and environmental sustainability. Their special competence in the area of human and social values allows them to bring a particularly ethical and spiritual approach to world concerns. In this capacity, the BKs regularly work with NGO committees and caucuses, specialised agencies and government missions, and contribute to policy through oral and written statements. The BKs strive always to promote awareness and highlight the great aspirations of the purposes and principles of the UN. In doing so, they initiate international projects to provide people from around the world with an opportunity to participate in activities of social and humanitarian concerns.
What UN Conferences have the Brahma Kumaris participated in over the years?
Over the years, the Brahma Kumaris have participated in most UN world conferences. Conferences attended in the past five years include: 1. United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing, Madrid, Spain, April 2002 2. United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, August/September 2002 3. United Nations Special Session on Children, UN Headquarters, New York, USA, May 2002 4. World Summit on the Information Society, First Phase, Geneva, Switzerland, December 2003 5. Review and Appraisal of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Outcome Document of the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly, UN Headquarters, New York, USA, February/March, 2005 6. Informal Hearings of the General Assembly with Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and the Private Sector, New York, USA, June 2005 7. World Summit on the Information Society, Second Phase, Tunis, Tunisia, November 2005 8. Decent Work Agenda, International Labour Organization (ILO), Geneva, Switzerland, December 2005.
What specific projects has the Brahma Kumaris contributed in bringing UN programmes to the masses worldwide?
The Brahma Kumaris has initiated and implemented global projects to help raise awareness of the significance of the UN on people’s lives: 1. The Million Minutes of Peace Appeal, held in observance of the International Year of Peace, in 1986. Brahma Kumaris centres in seven countries received Peace Messenger Awards for their significant contribution. 2. Global Co-operation for a Better World, a peace messenger initiative, was a follow-up to the work done during 1986 and reached out to people in 129 countries, asking them for their vision of a better world. This was compiled in a book entitled, “Visions of a Better World.” 3. Sharing Our Values for a Better World, a programme to honour the UN 50th Anniversary, in which people were asked to identify values that gave meaning to the lives of people in their country. A book entitled “Living Values: A Guidebook” was dedicated to the UN 50. 4. International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence. The university signed a partnership agreement with UNESCO and was designated as a “Messenger for Manifesto 2000”. It actively promoted Manifesto 2000, collecting over 37 million signed pledges by individuals to implement it. The university also organised “Flagship” and other events in 51 countries and held numerous seminars and workshops regarding and promoting the principles and values underlying a culture of peace.
What are some of the on-going activities in support of UN programmes?
Annual observance of UN-dedicated days - the International Day of Peace, International Women’s Day, World Health Day, Human Rights Day, International Day of Tolerance and World Environment Day. 1. Promote Gender Equality and Empowerment of Young Women through the Commission on the Status of Women. 2. A world-wide initiative on the Spiritual Dimension of Decent Work, in support of the International Labour Organization’s Decent Work Agenda. 3. Research and development of Renewable Energy to ensure environmental sustainability. 4. Reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health through the Global Hospital and Research Centre. 5. The launch of Values in Healthcare: A Spiritual Approach, a personal and team development programme for healthcare practitioners in partnership with the Janki Foundation. 6. Develop a global partnership for development: The Call-of-the-Time Dialogue Series: a living dialogue taking place on all continents, among people of all generations and from many different walks of life. These dialogues create ‘safe spaces’ for world servers to have deep conversation and meaningful connection. With the overarching question of “What is the time calling us to do?” the dialogues provide an opportunity for conversations filled with insights, ideas and fresh perspectives so that, in collective wisdom, the seeds of true global partnerships are developed.
How can I get more information on BKs at the UN?
Visit the website at un.brahmakumaris.org
Global Initiatives and Partnerships
The Brahma Kumaris co-ordinates and participates in a variety of partnerships aimed at serving the wider community, based on shared purposes and principles. These partnerships include the co-design and facilitation of a variety of dialogues and initiatives. 1. Education – Living Values Educational Programme; Education in Values and Spirituality. 2. Health – Janki Foundation for Global Healthcare (UK based charity); Point of Life Foundation (POL), USA and the Global Hospital and Research Centre in Mt Abu, India. 3. Leadership – Call of the Time (COTT). 4. Media – Images and Voices of Hope (IVOH). 5. Environment – Renewable Energy Projects -- Hybrid Energy, Solar Energy.
International Projects
1986 - The Million Minutes of Peace. 1988-91 - Global Co-operation for Better World. 1994-95 - Sharing our Values for a Better World. 2000 - Culture of Peace.

Organisation and Administration................................

How are teachers appointed?
An individual who has been a regular student of the university for at least 12 months, who follows the basic lifestyle proposed by the university, has been adequately trained to be able to give the Raja Yoga introductory course, is actively involved in the service activities of the university, has shown an interest and aptitude for teaching and who has been approved to give this course by his or her Main Centre Co-ordinator, in consultation with the National Co-ordinator, is appointed as a teacher of the foundation course. This person is required to attend regular teachers’ meetings both in their own country as well as an annual international teachers’ meeting.


I’m interested in finding out more, what should I do?
Contact a centre located near you.
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