Brahma Kumaris

Coordinates: 24°35′33″N 72°42′30″E / 24.5925°N 72.7083°E / 24.5925; 72.7083
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Brahma Kumaris
Formation1936; 88 years ago (1936)
FounderLekhraj Kripalani
TypeSpiritual organisation
Legal statusFoundation
PurposeEducational, Philanthropic, Spiritual, Meditation
HeadquartersMount Abu, Rajasthan, India
  • 8500+ centres
Coordinates24°35′33″N 72°42′30″E / 24.5925°N 72.7083°E / 24.5925; 72.7083
Key people
Dadi Janki, Dadi Prakashmani and Dadi Hriday Mohini
WebsiteInternational India

Brahma Kumaris is a spiritual group that started in Hyderabad, Sindh in the 1930s by Lekhraj Kripalani. The organisation is known because a lot of women are part of it.[1]

They teach that a person should see themselves as a soul and not a body. They think that all souls are good and that God is where all good comes from. They want to create a worldwide understanding based on what they call "soul-consciousness".[2][3][4]

In 2008, the group said that they have more than 825,000 people who come all the time, with over 8500 centres in 100 countries.[2]

History[change | change source]

The Brahma Kumaris began as a small, caste-specific, spiritual community in Hyderabad, Sindh, India in the 1930s. The community was formally established in 1937, as a trust comprised of young women, but its formation can be traced back to 1932. The precursor to modern-day Sindh was Mohenjo-Daro. One of the world’s most ancient cities, it was the cradle of the Indus Valley. Archeological evidence indicates that region held a progressive society, a well-engineered and designed city. Socially there was equality between women and men, and very low rates of crime.

By contrast, in the 1930s in some parts of Sindh many women were in purdah. Even in the contemporary world, some parts of Sindhi society expect women to wear soft shoes so they are not heard, to live behind blinds so they cannot be seen, and to move according to the instructions of a male relative. For some women, even looking at or speaking to a male outside her family is forbidden. These ideas are not native to Sindh but were adopted by Sindh locals upon arrival of Arabian culture. This tension was vibrant during the time of North West India after British colonisation, and just before the partition of India. This was crucial to the development of the Brahma Kumaris.[5]

The founder of the Brahma Kumaris was a successful middle-aged jeweler, Lekhraj Koobchand Kripalani, residing in Hyderabad (in pre-Partition India). He was of the Bhaiband caste and born into a family who were devotees of Vallabhacharya (1479-1531), a Hindu theologian and philosopher. Vallabhacharya taught Shuddha (pure) Advaita (non-dualism), an interpretation of Vedanta that rejected asceticism and monastic life, suggesting that through loving devotion to God any householder could achieve salvation. This understanding influenced the early teachings of the Brahma Kumaris and may be at the heart of its role as a social reform movement.[6]

Beliefs[change | change source]

The group has made itself different to Hinduism. They see itself as spiritual teachers and not a religion.[1]

Brahma Kumaris believe God to be an incorporeal point of light.

The Brahma Kumaris say "Supreme Soul" for God. They say that God will always exist but without a physical presence. He does not go through the repeating birth, death and re-birth. God is seen as perfect.[7]

Study (murli)[change | change source]

Brahma Kumaris' members read the murli which is flute in Hindi. It is read to classes early each morning in most BK centres in the world. It is also available online.[8][9]

Lifestyle[change | change source]

Brahma Kumaris say that a specific lifestyle is good to have control over one's thoughts.[10][11] But not everyone does everything and selects what they would like to do:[12]

  • Celibacy,[13][14][15] evn if one is married[15][16]
  • Sattvic vegetarianism, a strict lacto-vegetarian diet[17] (no eggs, onions, garlic and/or spicy food) cooked only by themself or Brahma Kumaris members.[14][18]
  • No from alcohol, tobacco and non-prescription drugs.[14][17]
  • Early morning meditation every day at 4:00[14] to 4:45 am, called 'Amrit Vela'.
  • Daily morning class at approximately 6:30 am.[19][20]
  • Brahma Kumaris normally wear white clothes, to symbolise purity.[21][22][23]
  • Members normally only talk to other members.[14]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kranenborg, Reender (1999). "Brahma Kumaris: A New Religion?". Center for Studies on New Religions. Retrieved 27 July 2007. A preliminary version of a paper presented at CESNUR 99 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Kranenborg1" defined multiple times with different content
  2. 2.0 2.1 Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin (2010). Religions of the World. A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. ABC-CLEO, LLC. pp. 383–384. ISBN 9781576072233. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "World 2010" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Tomlinson, Matt; Smith, Wendy; Manderson, Lenore (2012). "4. Brahma Kumaris: Purity and the Globalization of Faith". Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and Pacific. Springer. ISBN 978-94-007-2931-5.
  4. Religions of the World. A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. J Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann. Facts on File Inc, 2007, ISBN 0-8160-5458-4
  5. "Brahma Kumaris – WRSP". Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  6. "'Yagya' - Brahma Kumaris History and Story". Brahma Kumaris. Archived from the original on 2021-05-18. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  7. Ramsay, Tamasin (Sep 2010). "Custodians of Purity An Ethnography of the Brahma Kumaris". Monash University: 107–108. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. Musselwhite, Richard (Sep 2009). Possessing knowledge: organizational boundaries among the Brahma Kumaris (PhD thesis). University of North Carolina.
  9. Ramsay, Tamasin (Sep 2010). Custodians of Purity An Ethnography of the Brahma Kumaris (PhD thesis). Monash University.
  10. Hodgkinson, Liz (2002). Peace and Purity: The Story of the Brahma Kumaris a Spiritual Revolution. HCI. pp. 2–29. ISBN 1-55874-962-4.
  11. Lochtefeld, PhD, James G. (2002). "Brahma Kumaris". The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Vol. I. New York: Rosen. ISBN 0-8239-3179-X.
  12. Clarke, Peter (2006). Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements. Routledge. pp. 71–72. ISBN 0-203-59897-0.
  13. "Brahma Kumaris – FAQs – Teachings and way of life – Are there any special lifestyle disciplines in the Brahma Kumaris way of life?". Brahma Kumaris official website. Retrieved 22 March 2018. Celibacy is seen as the basis for cultivating a safe and pure way for people to be and live together. ... The Brahma Kumaris view celibacy as fundamental to self-realisation and to recreating a loving relationship with God and to creating a culture of peace and non-violence.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Babb, Lawrence A. (1987). Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition. Comparative Studies in Religion and Society. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-7069-2563-7.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Wilson, Bryan; Eileen Barker; James Beckford; Anthony Bradney; Colin Campbell; George Chryssies; Peter Clarke; Paul Heelas; Massimo Introvigne (1999). Wilson, Bryan (ed.). New Religious Movements: Challenge and Response. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-20049-3.
  16. Milner, Murray (1994). Status and sacredness: a general theory of status relations and an analysis of Indian culture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-508489-4.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Bartholomeusz, Tessa J. (1994). Women Under the Bo Tree: Buddhist Nuns in Sri Lanka. Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions. New York: Rosen. ISBN 0-521-46129-4. series edited by John Clayton (University of Lancaster), Steven Collins (University of Chicago) and Nicholas de Lange (University of Cambridge)
  18. "Brahma Kumaris: Conquering A Callous World with Purity". Hinduism Today. May 1995. The most strict will not eat food which is not prepared by a Brahma Kumaris. While traveling they abstain from public fare and carry their own utensils for cooking.
  19. Whaling, Prof Frank (2004). Partridge, Christopher; Melton, Gorden (eds.). Encyclopedia of New Religions; New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities. New York: Rosen. ISBN 0-7459-5073-6.
  20. Hodgkinson, Liz (2002) Peace & Purity: the story of the Brahma Kumaris. Health Communications. p. 96. ISBN 9781558749627
  21. Hinnells, John (1997). The Penguin Dictionary of Religions. Extract by Eileen Barker. Rosen, New York. ISBN 0-14-051261-6.
  22. Barker, Eileen (1989). New Religious Movement: A Practical Introduction. London: HMSO. pp. 168–70. ISBN 0-14-051261-6.
  23. Melton, J. Gordon (1993). The Encyclopedia of American Religions (4th ed.). Detroit: Gale. pp. 909–10.

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