Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University
|Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University|
|Headquarters||Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India|
|Official languages||Hindi, English|
|Founder||Lekhraj Kripalani (1876–1969), known as "Brahma Baba"|
|Key people||Janki Kripalani, Hirdaya Mohini|
The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU), or Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya, sees itself as a vehicle for spiritual teaching and education in human and moral values and often references its association with the United Nations as a non-governmental organization (NGO) in support of this view. In the academic domain the BKWSU is usually considered a millenarian new religious movement (NRM) and is linked to the Hindu tradition due to its Indian origins. In interfaith dialogue the BKWSU is often considered a spiritual organisation rather than a religion.
The Brahma Kumaris (Hindi: ब्रह्माकुमारी, literal translation "daughters of Brahma", abbreviated BK) was founded by Dada Lekhraj Kripalani, who later took the name Brahma Baba, in India in the 1930s. It is distinctly identified by the prominent role women play in the movement. While the leadership is primarily female, there is also a significant degree of participation from male members.
The BKWSU teaches a form of meditation that focuses on their identity as souls, and that the soul is intrinsically good. They believe that all souls are children of one God who is the source of all goodness, and that we are one human family. The BKs teach that identifying with labels associated to the body like race, nationality, religion and even gender, divides people and feeds human weakness. They aspire to establish a global culture based on what they call ‘soul-consciousness’  and believe that the present world is predominantly ‘body-conscious’ and therefore requires total transformation.
The BKWSU is well respected for the hospitals, educational programs, environmental projects and outreach programs which they have established.
By the year 2008, with more than 8,500 centers in 100 countries, the movement claimed to have more than 825,000 regular students.
- 1 Early history
- 2 Expansion
- 3 Beliefs
- 4 Practices
- 5 Activities
- 6 Achievements and recognition
- 7 Controversies and criticism
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
The Brahma Kumaris was originally called Om Mandali. The group started in Hyderabad, Sindh in North-West India. It received this name because they would chant "Om" together, before having discourse on spiritual matters in the traditional satsang style. The original discourses were closely connected to the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most popular and revered religious texts in India. The Founder, Dada Lekhraj Khubchand Kripilani (then known as "Om Baba" – 1884 – 1969) was a wealthy jeweler and very well respected in his community. He had a series of visions and other transcendental experiences that commenced in approximately 1935 and became the basis for the satsang to start. He felt there was a greater power working through him and many of those who attended these gatherings were themselves having profound spiritual experiences. The majority of those who came were women and children from the Bhaibund caste - a caste of wealthy merchants and business people, whose menfolk spent considerable periods of time overseas for business.
Once Om Mandali had been meeting for approximately 3 years it started to become clear that it was giving very special importance to the role of women, and was also not adhering to the rigid caste system. The group named a 22 year old woman, Radhe Pokardas Rajwani (then known as "Om Radhe" – 1916 - 1965) as its President, her management committee was made up of 8 other women, and they allowed people from any caste to attend satsang. In addition the group advocated that young women had the right to elect not to marry and that married women had the right to chose a celibate life. In tradition bound patriarchal India, these personal life decisions were the exclusive right of the men in their lives.
On 21 June 1938 a committee headed by a number of highly regarded male members of the Bhaibund community that had been forming in opposition to Om Mandali picketed outside the organisation, preventing entry, throwing stones, and damaging property. This caused considerable upheaval in the community and prevented Om Mandali from operating. Women attending were verbally abused, there was an attempt to burn the premises down and many women and girls were later victims of severe domestic violence in their homes. The picketing resulted in criminal proceedings being taken against both groups even though Om Mandali were victims of agression, and in a gross injustice on 16 August 1938 the local District Magistrate ordered that Om Mandali be restrained from meeting. For their own safety and to avoid an increasingly sour atmosphere Om Mandali decided to leave Hyderabad and gradually relocated its activities to Karachi in the latter half of 1938. Approximately 300 members moved. On application to the Court of the Judicial Commisioner of Sind orders were made on 21 November 1938 that vindicated Om Mandali, removing the ban and removing them from the criminal proceedings. In an unusual move the judges directly criticised the District Magistrate for trying to punish the victims for the disturbance caused by the perpetrators and for trying to apply the law according to his own personal bias "to prevent, not acts which are wrongful in the eyes of the Law, but acts which are wrongful in the eyes of the district magistrate".
Having failed to manipulate the higher Courts the Committee, which became known as the anti-Om Mandali committee, began a campaign of intensive political lobbying. In the Sind Legislative Assembly the Hindu minority held the balance of power and were threatening to resign and destabilise the government. To avert this on 31 March 1939 the government appointed ‘a Tribunal’ to inquire into the activities of Om Mandali. The Tribunal had no constitutional basis, was ex parte and made its findings without taking evidence from Om Mandali. This violation of natural justice precipitated the writing and compilation of "Is this Justice" by Om Radhe. On 18 May based on the Tribunal's findings the government in effect sought to reinstate the ban of August 16, 1938, declaring Om Mandali an ‘unlawful association’ under legislation intended to control Bengali terrorist groups (section 16 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1908). However Om Mandali continued to hold their Satsangs in spite of the ban. It appears the government no longer needed to placate the Committee and there is no evidence they took steps towards enforcement. In the face of this failure the Committee then hired someone to kill Om Baba, but this was also unsuccessful. However, there is a question over this claim : Jagdish Chander's 'Adi Dev' gives one version of the 'attack', his 'A Brief Biography of Brahma Baba' another version, and the BK 'comic book' history yet another version. 'Adi Dev' has been discredited, by recent discoveries in the British Library about the institution's history, and has been removed from sale in the UK and Australia. 
In April 1950 the organisation moved to Mount Abu in Rajastan India. From its beginning, the organisation's focus has been on education, not any form of worship, and for this reason renamed itself as Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. In 1952, after a 14-year period of retreat, a more structured form of teaching began to be offered to the public by way of a seven lesson course.
After an unpromising beginning when it almost ran out of funds, from the mid 1950s the Brahma Kumaris began an international expansion program. Since the 1970s, it spread to first London and then the West. The most visible manifestation of the religion are its "Spiritual Museums" sited in most major India cities where its teachings are conveyed vividly.
In 1980 the Brahma Kumaris became affiliated to the United Nations Department of Public Relations as an Non-Governmental Organisation. The relationship grew closer in 1983 when the Brahma Kumaris achieved consultative status with the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations. The BKWSU now have a permanent office space in New York for their work at the United Nations.
The leadership and membership of the BK movement remains primarily female, for example, in the UK only one-third of the 42 centres are run by males  and 80% of the membership are women. According to the BKWSU website, there are currently over 4,500 centres in 100 countries, mostly in followers' own homes with a tendency toward middle or upper class membership. Estimates for its worldwide membership ranges from 35,000 in 1993 to 400,000 in 1998 to 450,000 in 2000, however, it is reported that many were probably not completely committed to the group's worldview.
Human beings are made up two aspects. The physical external aspect is our body and all the extensions of the body like role, status, wealth, possessions, and relationships. Then there is the being part which is internal but whose character structure is revealed through one's external activity - whether actions are done with love, peacefully, with happiness or humility is an aspect of being. The body is the vehicle that the living being, the soul plays a part through. It is understood that the soul is an infinitesimal point of spiritual light residing in the forehead of the body it occupies. Just as a tiny cell in the body contains a DNA code uniquely describing the whole body, in the same way the form of the soul is a tiny blueprint of who I am. All souls originally exist with God in a "Soul World", a world of infinite light, peace and silence remembered as Nirvana in Buddhism or remembered as Paramdham in Hinduism. Here souls are in a state of complete rest and beyond experience. Souls enter bodies to take birth in order to experience life and give expression to their personality. Unlike other Eastern traditions, the human soul is not thought to transmigrate into other species.
The words 'Supreme Soul' are used to refer to God. God is incorporeal and eternal, a point of light like human souls, but not having a physical body, as He does not enter the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Another difference between human souls and God is that God is the perfect and constant embodiment of all virtues, powers and values and that He is the unconditionally loving Father of all souls, irrespective of culture, gender, or religion.
God's purpose is to spiritually re-awaken humanity and to eliminate all evil and negativity. He is not the creator of matter which is itself considered to be eternal.
Every action performed by a soul will create a return accordingly. The destiny of the soul’s next body depends on how you act and behave in this life. Through meditation, by transforming your thinking pattern and eventually your actions, you can purify your karmic account and lead a better life in the present and next birth.
Cycle of time
In contrast to linear theories of human history that hypothesize an ancient point of origin for the universe and a final destruction, the BKs don't posit a 'birth' or 'death' or even 'age' for the universe. They consider these to be projections of body conscious thinking - trying to force the universe to fit the human life cycle. Instead BKs see the world drama as an eternal, naturally occurring 5,000 year cycle. The cycle is composed of four ages (yugas): the Golden Age (Sat Yuga), the Silver Age (Treta Yuga), the Copper Age (Dwapar Yuga), the Iron Age (Kali Yuga) and each represents 1250 years of the cycle. The present period of this world drama is sometimes described as a fifth age or "Confluence age" as it's considered to be the confluence (the junction or meeting) between the Iron age and the Golden age. 
The first half of the cycle (the Golden and Silver ages) is considered to be the age of 'soul conscious living'. The Brahma Kumaris see this as a time of 'heaven on earth' or as a version of the Garden of Eden when human beings are fully virtuous, complete, self-realised beings who lived in complete harmony with the natural environment. The primary enlightenment was the innate understanding of the self as a soul. Accordingly there is no concept of death as it is merely changing the clothes of one body for another. Everyone understands that whatever they do comes back to them, so everyone naturally performs positive actions, maintains pure feelings for other beings and sorrow is never inflicted on any human or animal.
The second half of the cycle (the Copper and Iron ages) is the age of 'body conscious living'. By contrast to the total harmony and inner fulfillment of the first two ages, the next two ages are characterised by the human search to reclaim what they lost. It is believed that over successive rebirths the soul eventually loses the power to main self awareness and 'falls' into body consciousness. In this awareness life is primarily driven by sensory experiences and the main support to prevent the erosion of the inner world is religion.
The present time is believed to bring great global transformation as the world is transitioning from the present Iron age to begin a new Golden age. Modern civilization is said to be unsustainable and that economic and environmental pressures will ultimately boil over into civil and global conflict, coupled with natural calamities. It is believed there will always be a human population on Earth and that cataclysmic events form part of a natural and cathartic cyclic process.
The Brahma Kumaris teaches a form of meditation through which students are encouraged to purify their minds. This may be done by sitting tranquilly, then making affirmations regarding the eternal nature of the soul, the original purity of one's nature, and the nature of God. The aim of the BK meditation is also to learn to hold meditative states while being engaged in every day life.  For this reason meditation is usually taught and practiced with open eyes. 
Good Wishes and Pure Feelings
Flowing on from the BK belief that everyone is a spiritual being, is the practice of Shubhawna (good wishes) and Shubkamna (pure feelings). For BKs, all prejudices and ill-feelings are seen as arising from identifying the self and others based on external labels like race, religion, gender, nationality, beauty (or lack of) etc. However when there is the practice of finding the intrinsic goodness in each one, the prejudice based on those labels is replaced by the vision of one Spiritual Parent, one Human family, and universal spiritual values such as respect, love, peace and happiness. A flagship slogan for the BKs has been When we change, the world changes. It is for this reason that BKs consider bringing about this kind of change within the self as an important form or 'world service'.
Brahma Kumaris' students study the murli. The Hindi word murli literally translates to "flute". It is an oral study, read to the class early each morning in most BK centres on the world. Students often take notes on points that seem poignant to them and will reflect on them throughout their day.
There are two types of murli:
- 1. Sakar Murlis refer to the original orations that BKs believe to be the Supreme Soul speaking through Brahma Baba.
- 2. Avyakt Murlis, are spoken by BapDada. BKs believe BapDada is the Supreme Soul and the soul of the now angelic Brahma Baba. BapDada comes and speaks to the BKs through a senior BK sister called "Dadi Gulzar". The Brahma Kumaris believe that the soul of Brahma Baba has become perfect and now has the role of an angel. The Murlis are what the Brahma Kumaris use to direct their personal spiritual effort and service activities.
Avyakt murlis are still being spoken at the BKs headquarters in India. Students must complete the Brahma Kumaris foundation course and start by attending morning Murli class before visiting the headquarters.
Brahma Kumaris recommend a specific lifestyle in order achieve greater control over physical senses. However many participate in a casual way electing to adopt whichever beliefs and lifestyle disciplines in the following list they wish:
- Complete celibacy. in or out of marriage
- Sattvic vegetarianism, a strict lacto-vegetarian diet (excluding eggs, onions, garlic and/or spicy food) cooked only by the self or other members of the BKWSU.
- Abstaining from alcohol, tobacco and non-prescription drugs.
- Daily early morning meditation at 4:00 to 4:45 am, called 'Amrit Vela'.
- Daily morning class at approximately 6:30 am.
- Men and women traditionally sit on separate sides of the room at the centres during classes.
- Brahma Kumaris can be identified by their frequent adoption of wearing white clothes, to symbolise purity.
- Students often prefer to keep the company of yogis (soul conscious individuals) as opposed to bhogis (those given over to worldly pleasures).
The United Nations
The Brahma Kumaris at the United Nations is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) in general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and UNICEF. It is associated with the UN Department of Public Information.
- granted International Peace Messenger Initiative status by the U.N. for the Global Co-operation for a Better World campaign.
- Traditionally the Brahma Kumaris have conducted an introduction to meditation consisting of seven one-hour-long sessions. The sessions include their open-eyed meditation technique and philosophy. The organisation also offers courses in "positive thinking", "self management leadership", and "living values." They also have a number of voluntary outreach programs in prisons.
- In India the Brahma Kumaris often use Hindu terminologies such as Raja Yoga, karma and Bhagavad Gita. However the way they are taught brings out new meanings and non-traditional interpretations. A popular lecture series has been created, dedicated to this.
- The Brahma Kumaris have starting building coalitions and leading conglomerated networks of cooperation. One such example, with the support of Vicente Fox, was carried out under the auspices of a commercial enterprise introducing Brahma Kumari meditation practice and philosophy to the Government of Mexico through the "Self Management Leadership" (SML). The SML course is closely related to the Brahma Kumaris philosophy and is the backbone of Brahma Kumaris management philosophy. 90 trained facilitators ran programs through which 25,000 people at the top level of government have passed.
The Brahma Kumaris have launched an Environment initiative
- Pioneering work in solar energy and sustainable energy, including developing the world's largest solar cooker.
- The first of its kind, on this scale, the BKs are establishing a solar thermal power plant on 25 acres of land in Talheti at the base of Mount Abu where the International Headquarters is located. The plant is projected to produce 22000 kwh of electricity daily. The project has been made financially possible due to the support of the Indian and German governments.
- Sustainable Yogic Agriculture (SYA) started in Northern India in 2009. One basic premise of the BK environmental initiative is that our thoughts and consciousness can affect the natural environment. Based on this premise experiments are being conducted in partnership with leading Agricultural Universities in India to establish if the practice of Brahma Kumaris meditation in conjunction with implementing more traditional organic farming methods, can be shown to have a measurable and positive affect on crop development.
In more recent years the Brahma Kumaris expansion in size has led to a greater participation in more mainstream community services.
- Global Hospital and Research Centre (GHRC) was started Rajastan India in 1991, funded by the J. Wattammull Memorial Trust. GHRC provides free healthcare to one of the most impoverished areas in India.
- In the 1990s the Janki Foundation was formed.
- BKWSU runs a charitable Village Outreach Programme in Mount Abu and administers the Global Hospital and Research Centre (GHRC).
- In 2004, the Brahma Kumaris established the G.V. Mody Rural Health Care Centre & Eye Hospital, located at the base of Mount Abu.[dead link]
Meditation retreats have become an increasingly popular form of community service for the Brahma Kumaris, with over 15 different residential complexes around the world: San Francisco, New York (upstate), Brazil, Melbourne, Sydney, near Delhi, Hyderabad, Mount Abu, Oxford, Worthing, Nairobi, Durban, Italy, Kuala Lumpur, The Philippines, Bali. Retreats are normally run over weekends where the general public can come and take time out from their busy lives to learn through their own direct experience about the benefits of meditation and its application in their daily life.
Achievements and recognition
- The Brahma Kumaris was awarded 7 UN Peace Messenger Awards 1987 for its co-ordination of the ‘Million Minutes of Peace’ project.
- The Brahma Kumaris have undertaken major international projects; ‘The Million Minutes for Peace’ in 1986 (above), and ‘Global Cooperation for a Better World’ in 1988.
- UNESCO special award for collecting 35 million signatures from all over India and 120 other countries in support and promotion of the UNESCO’s ‘Culture of Peace’ Project entitled Peace Manifesto-2000 in the International Year of Culture of Peace −2,000 as proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in the year 2,000.
- The Governor of the Indian state of Uttarakhand; Margaret Alva (First woman governor of that state) commended the Brahma Kumaris: "The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University had influence on changing cultural opinions of women, and its teachings and practise has brought about a significant change in the status of women and the regard that men hold for women."[dead link]
- BKs are known for charitable activities. Ruth Broyde Sharone, the Co-Chair of the Interfaith Ambassadors for a Parliament of the World Religions (IAPWR) and journalist; wrote: “BKs are also well known for their charitable acts, especially on Mount Abu, where they have established themselves as teachers and healers. A modern hospital provides low-cost care for not just the BK community but the entire population of Rajasthan. (A visit to the dentist and an ex-ray for an infected tooth cost me only $10.) Several years ago Dr. Vinay Laxmi, a charming gynaecologist, launched a program in several surrounding villages to provide natal care for mothers and good nutrition for their children. I visited one of the villages and met ‘miracle children’ who would have died or been severely crippled from malnutrition and sickness were it not for the BKs’ dedication.“
Dadi Janki Kripalani, born in 1916, is the current Administrative Head of the Brahma Kumaris
- In 2005 Dadi Janki received the COURAGE OF CONSCIENCE AWARD. Past recipients include Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi.
- Dadi addresses the United Nations as part of an eminent group of 10 spiritual leaders - "Wisdom Keepers" - convened at United Nations conferences .
- His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan awarded Dadi a knighthood in 2004. She was made a Grand Cordon under the Order of Independence for her work promoting peace and inter-religious harmony . This is Jordan's highest civil award .
- Dadi received an honorary doctorate from the Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management.
- In 2010 Dadi was awarded 'Spiritual Personality of the year' by the Indo-European business forum, Incredible India and Demystifying India
Dadi Prakashmani was Co-Administrative head of the organisation from 1969 - 1983, and then Chief Administrative head from 1983 - 2007 (supported by two other sisters Dadi Janki and Dadi Gulzar from 1983).
- Dadi was awarded Peace Medal of the United Nations for the year 1981 for the ‘Million Minutes of Peace’ project.
- The Brahma Kumaris Youth Wing was awarded a place in the Guinness World Records for the "largest sand painting in the world" on 26 November 2010.
Controversies and criticism
- When the organisation began, a lot more emphasis was placed on Destruction. As the organisation developed, it witnessed World War II, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Cold War. However nowadays destruction is usually called Transformation, and perhaps also due to some failed speculations on the date, it tends to be downplayed. The Brahma Kumaris have been criticised for hiding or down playing the significance of destruction from non-members, particularly as BKs still believe it will happen 'soon'. However the BKs maintain their primary purpose is to teach meditation and peace of mind, not to push their views about the different challenges the world is facing on non-members who have usually just come to about learn meditation or values based living.
- Pratibha Patil, the UPA-Left candidate and former president of India said on camera during the Indian presidential election, 2007, that she spoke to "Baba" (a term the BKs use for God) of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University at their headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan. Patil stated that when she meet Baba He had indicated great responsibility was coming her way. She had gone to seek the blessings of Hirday Mohini, also known as Dadi Gulzar or Dadiji.
- In the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Howell reported the Brahma Kumaris protected itself from the practice of families 'dumping' their daughters with the organisation by requiring a payment from the families of those wishing to dedicate their daughters to the work and services of the organisation. The payment was to cover the living expenses incurred during the trial period.
- Dr. John Wallis wrote a book examining the status of tradition in the contemporary world which used the religion as a case-study, focusing on recruitment methods, the issue of celibacy, reinterpretation of religious history. He reports about the re-writing of the revelatory messages (Murlis) by the BKWSU leaders and anger and aggression towards the Adhyatmik Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya. (The Adhyatmik Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya or Advance Party).
- The Brahma Kumaris have been accused of breaking up marriages.
- When the organisation started commentators[who?] have stated that empowering women to assert their right to remain celibate, particularly in marriage, was a prime factor in the controversy that arose in 1930's Sind as it directly challenged the dominance men held over women in patriarchal India . Overlooking the organisation's predominantly female leadership and that this practice was adopted by both men and women equally, one modern commentator has even criticised the practice of celibacy within the organisation as being a form of patriarchal control
- Associated concepts
- Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements. Peter Clarke. Routledge, 2006, ISBN 0-203-59897-0 (Adobe e-reader format)
- Religions of the World. A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. J Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann. ABC-CLEO, LLC 2010, ISBN 978-1-57884-203-6
- Reender Kranenborg (1999). "Brahma Kumaris: A New Religion?". Center for Studies on New Religions. Retrieved 2007-07-27. "A preliminary version of a paper presented at CESNUR 99"
- 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
- Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan. ABC-CLEO, LLC 2010, ISBN 978-1-57884-203-6
- Matt Tomlinson, Wendy Smith, Lenore Manderson (2012). "4. Brahma Kumaris: Purity and the Globalization of Faith". Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and Pacific. Springer Science + Business Media. ISBN 978-94-007-2931-5.
- Matt Tomlinson, Wendy Smith, Lenore Manderson (2012). "4. Brahma Kumaris: Purity and the Globalization of Faith". Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and Pacific. Springer Science + Business Media. p. 64. ISBN 978-94-007-2931-5.
- Matt Tomlinson, Wendy Smith, Lenore Manderson (2012). "4. Brahma Kumaris: Purity and the Globalization of Faith". Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and Pacific. Springer Science + Business Media. p. 51. ISBN 978-94-007-2931-5.
- Matt Tomlinson, Wendy Smith, Lenore Manderson (2012). "4. Brahma Kumaris: Purity and the Globalization of Faith". Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and Pacific. Springer Science + Business Media. p. 52. ISBN 978-94-007-2931-5.
- Babb, Lawrence (1984). "Indigenous feminism in a modern Hindu sect, Signs:". Journal of Women in Culture and Society 9 (3): 399–416.
- Hodgkinson, Liz (2002). Peace and Purity: The Story of the Brahma Kumaris a Spiritual Revolution. HCI. p. 19. ISBN 1-55874-962-4.
- Pokardas, Om Radhe (1939). Is this Justice? Being an account of the founding of Om Mandali and Om Nivas and their suppression under the Criminal Laws Amendment Act 1908. Om Mandali, Pharmacy Printing Press, Bunder Road Karachi.
- Chander, B. K Jagdish (1981). Adi Dev: The first man. B.K. Raja Yoga Center for the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.
- Walliss, John (2002). From World-Rejection to Ambivalence. Ashgate Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7546-0951-3. "Lekhraj was born in Sindh in 1876 into the Kriplani family who were devotees of the Valabhacharya sect."
- 'A Reader in New Religious Movements: Readings in the Study of New Religious Movements'. George D. Chryssides, Margaret Wilkins, Margaret Z. Wilkins. Continuum, 2006. ISBN 0826461689
- Howell (1998)[page needed]
- 'Religion & globalization: world religions in historical perspective'. Esposito, John L. Fasching, Darrell J. Lewis, Todd Thornton. Oxford University Press, 2002 - P. 340
- Whaling, Frank (2012). Understanding the Brahma Kumaris. Dunedin Academic Press Ltd. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-903765-51-7.
- Howell (1998)[page needed]
- 'Why are Women More Religious Than Men?' Trzebiatowska, Marta. Bruce, Steve. Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN 0199608105,
- "Adherent Statistic Citations". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2007-08-20. "Worldwide, this path has 4000 centres and approximately 400,000 members."
- Julia Day Howell (2006), "Brahma Kumaris (Daughters of Brahma)" (pp. 71–72). In: Clarke, Peter B. (2006). Encyclopedia of new religious movements. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-203-48433-3. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- Howell (2006) p72" Since the [Brahma Kumaris] University spread to Western societies it has increasingly accommodated people with little interest in its theodicy but attracted to the practical applications of BK spiritual practises. The community service programmes of the 1980s and 1990s stimulated creative renderings of BK meditation as a tool for psychological healing and eclectic spiritual exploration. The casual participants whom the BKs have attracted in this way probably made up the vast majority of the 450,000 people on the University's records at the turn of the 20th to 21st century".
- Howell (2006) p71
- Ramsay, Tamasin (Sep 2010). "Custodians of Purity An Ethnography of the Brahma Kumaris". Monash University: 105.
- Barrett, David V (2001). The New Believers. Cassell & Co. p. 265. ISBN 0-304-35592-5. "Time is cyclical with each 5,000-year cycle consisting of a perfect Golden Age, a slightly degraded Silver age, a decadent Copper Age, and an Iron Age which is characterised by violence, greed, and lust. Each of these lasts for exactly 1,250 years. Our current Iron Age will shortly come to an end, after which the cycle will begin again."
- "Brahma Kumaris: Conquering A Callous World with Purity". Hinduism Today. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
- Bartholomeusz, Tessa J.; Clayton, John; Collins (1994). Women under the Bo Tree: Buddhist nuns in Sri Lanka. Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-46129-0.
- Chryssides, George (2011). Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810879670. "Members are encouraged to purify their minds by the practise of Raja Yoga. This can entail sitting tranquilly, in front of a screen which Dada Lehkraj's picture projected, then making a number of "affirmations", regarding the eternal nature of the soul (atma), the original purity of one's nature, and the nature of God (paramatmā Shiva). The Brahma Kumaris believe that practise of Raja Yoga enables spiritual progress as well as having pragmatic benefits, for example, business success. Brahma Kumaris frequently organise seminars on business management and on developing personal life skills"
- "Brahma Kumaris: Landmarks in History". BKWSU. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
- Howell and Nelson (1998). "On celibate marriages: the Polish Catholics' encounter with Hindu spirituality". Glancing: Visual Interaction in Hinduism", Journal of Anthropological Research. "in order to progress to the next stage of membership – the visit to the University's headquarters in Rajasthan during the period where its deceased founder communicates via trance-medium – they have to not only demonstrate their commitment by following the recommended lifestyle but also, more importantly, be seen to be doing so by the university. this is instrinsicly linked with the second technique, the utilisation and negotiation of different metaphors or readings of the university's theodicy at the different events and in different types of literature in relation to its intended (core or periphery) audience" ... "amongst committed, core members "...the tradition is lived [and expressed] without apology, translation or dilution"."
- Lochtefeld, PhD, James G. (2002). "Brahma Kumaris". The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism I. New York: Rosen. ISBN 0-8239-3179-X.
- Babb, Lawrence A. (1987). Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition. Comparative Studies in Religion and Society. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0706925637.
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- 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.
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- "Brahma Kumaris: Conquering A Callous World with Purity". Hinduism Today. Retrieved 2007-07-28. "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."
- 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.
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- Musselwhite (2009) pp 141, 163–164, 174 "The problem was that up until that time, my relationship with him had been through the Brahma Kumaris; but now he was President, and he wanted to use...not only Self Management Leadership, but the whole strategic focusing thing, and his party was the center-right, Catholic party. They're sufficiently fundamentalist for them to have a fit about Brahma Kumaris" "So we went there, but it had to be done within the context of a commercial enterprise. So, we set up a branch of a consulting company there. But the fact of the matter is, most of his senior people have...been to Oxford for the Brahma Kumaris program. Many have been here to Madhuban.... So the Brahma Kumaris have had a huge influence in the reform process there [in Mexico].... We have trained 90 facilitators from the government who are running these programs, 25,000 people, all the top level of government throughout the entire country have been through the course.", " a management training program called Self Management Leadership, which has become the backbone of Brahma Kumaris management philosophy"
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- Walliss, John (September 1999). When Prophecy Fails: The Brahma Kumaris and the Pursuit of the Millennium(s). p. 5. "...The Million Minutes of Peace which raised over one billion 'minutes of peace' people in 88 countries participating in prayer, meditation and positive thoughts. For this the University was awarded one International and six UN National 'Peace Messenger' Awards."
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- Brahma Kumaris: Conquering A Callous World with Purity, Hinduism Today, May 1995
- Jain, Chandra Mohan (1983). Guida Spirituale. Rajneesh Foundation International. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0-88050-575-3. "The other is these Brahma Kumaris, they have not reached the whole world, they have remained confined to India. They talk utter nonsense, and they talk with authority. And they go on saying everything. This date that you mention that in 1987 this world will end... This date has changed many times in thirty years, and it will change again.."
- Miller, Sam (2010). Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity. Penguin India. ISBN 0099526743. "The movement's very strong millenarian belief are underplayed"
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- Walliss, John (2002). The Brahma Kumaris As a Reflexive Tradition: Responding to Late Modernity.
- Walliss, John (Sept 1999). "When Prophecy Fails: The Brahma Kumaris and the Pursuit of the Millennium(s)". British Association for the Advancement of Science, Sheffield. "In addition, they accuse the University hierarchy of actively censoring or altering murlis that could potentially undermine their privileged position or which 'don't suit their philosophy'. The 'Special instruments' (senior members are, they allege 'constantly revising Murlis" to the extent that, for example, a passage from a 1969 murli referring to Shiva being unable to 'mount a virgin' was altered in the 1990 revised edition before being removed completely in the 1993 revision..." Dr. Walliss also notes that while the BKWSU was, "originally a reclusive, world-rejecting organization, over the last 30 years the Brahma Kumaris have begun a campaign of active proselytizing and international growth. Thus, whilst still retaining its original millenarianism, currently within the West the organization promotes itself as part of the New Age movement and emphasizes ideas around the issues of self-development, empowerment and personal success." Finally, Dr. Wallis disputes BKWSU's belief that Raja Yoga is the precursor to all world religions, including those that historically predate it. Specifically, "This is part of a lengthy answer to the question of how the University could claim that Raja Yoga is the precursor to and influence of world religions that historically predate it often by a few thousand years. Again, 'Baba' is cited as the source of ultimate authority.""
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