The Brahma Kumaris in a Nutshell
Brahma Kumarism: a strictly millenarian (End of the World), spiritualist cult based on mediumistic teachings from a “spirit entity” adherents believe is the god of all religions. “God”, the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University teaches, speaks to humanity exclusively through their psychic mediums only.
They BKWSU remains extremely secretive of its original teachings which they call “Sakar Murlis”. This is due to their inflammatory nature, especially towards all other religions which are considered to completely “impure” and “degraded”, and yet they claim these are inspiration for all other religions.
These ‘channelled messages’ are being gradually re-written by the leadership to exclude failed predictions, incorrect references, politically incorrect utterances and lengthy repetition thereby disallowing adherents and researchers alike grounds to gain a full understanding of the religion and its founder.
The Brahma Kumaris do not follow or promote Hinduism, nor do they teach “ancient” Raja Yoga as they claim. Instead they use the language of such traditions, the New Age and personal growth movements with hidden meanings in order to to attract and acquire new adherents.
Beliefs: that 7,000,000,000 plus human beings must die during an imminent and desirable ‘End of the World’ they called “Destruction”, in order that 900,000 faithful Brahma Kumari followers will inherit a heaven on earth before 2036.
To outsiders, BKs refer to this event as a “Transformation” and adherents are led to believe that a heavenly royal status can be achieved after it by donating money, free labor and unquestioning mental submission to the Brahma Kumari leadership, who will rule the world as Emperors and Empresses. Those who do not will are said to become servants.
According to the Brahma Kumaris, a high status in this future heaven on earth is achieve by donating the most to them at this time. The world is to be “purified” by an unavoidable nuclear holocaust, which they will “give courage” to scientist and military leaders, and inspire. All other continents except for India, which the BKWSU predicts it will rule after the Government hands over power to them, will sink below the oceans. Previously their leaders, Lekhraj Kripalani and young female follower Radhi Pokardas Rajwani, believed themselves to be the cause of WWII and it to be the End of the World.
This is referred to as “The Knowledge” and largely kept hidden from outsiders
Controversies: the Brahma Kumaris have, over decades, invested millions in a public relations front which hides the truth of their religio-political cult. Not only outsiders, such as the politicians, United Nations Organization and VIPs they target, but also newcomers to the religion are deceived by the leadership. Few, even amongst their regular followers or supporters, manage to penetrate the facade of “positive thinking” and “self management leadership” courses used to encult outsiders and enter their inner circles to learn the truth of their politico-religious agenda.
As with other occult religions, the Brahma Kumaris leadership has sought to cover up or deny child sex abuses at its headquarters, multiple suicides of followers at centers, financial corruption and abuses, immigration abuses, the persecution of minor or breakaway groups, the breaking up of families and continues such practises as the mass marriages of virgins girls to their god spirit, whilst demanding dowries from their parents and the wealth of Indian villagers, often in the form of gold and jewellery.
Latterly, seeking an Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry, the cover up of cases of murder and rape have been raised by the Government of Haryana’s financial commissioner Sri R R Fuliya to Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot.
Much of the academic documentation about the religion is equally superficial and misled. Where in the past the Brahma Kumaris have courted, or been able to call up the support of misinformed cult apologists, recently long term adherents have started producing their own biased academia about the religion. Much effort and expense is spent in chasing “microphone souls”, high profile, non-adherent opinions formers who they believe will broadcast their chosen message often unaware of their ulterior motives, and the creation of opaque front organizations.
The organization has been accused of being a destructive cult, splitting up families and using hypnotic practises to control adherents since the 1930s.
Background: from 1932 until after 1950, followers venerated their millionaire financier Lekhraj Kripalani as the god “Brahma” before, again borrowing from Hinduism, introducing a new god named after “Shiva”. Such historical revisionism, as well as a number of failed predictions of “Destruction” going back to WWII, 1950, 1976, mid-1980s and so on, have been covered up from new followers and re-written. Likewise, so have the original mediumistic messages called “The Murlis” BK leaders claim are God speaking to humanity during mass seances at their Indian headquarters, the only place on earth they say is “pure enough” for God to incarnate.
The BKs’ “God Shiva” says he comes to “destroy all other religions”. Brahma Kumarism is the one, true religion. All other religions, called “the path of ignorance”, are said to be partial and imperfect memorials of Brahma Kumarism. BKWSU leaders claim to be, and encourage their followers to believe they are becoming, the deities worshipped by Hinduism today, the angels venerated by Christianity and the top 8 or 108 human beings who ever lived.
Time, according to the Brahma Kumaris, is limited to a single, identically repeating, 5,000 year period called, “The Cycle” in which human beings procreated by the power of mind for the first 2,500 years, and will do again from 2036, and the dinosaur period existed at the time of Ancient Greece. Likewise, in another 2,500 years into the future, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University leaders teach that Abraham, Buddha, Christ and Mohammed will all be reborn again in order to start to teach, after having re-learnt their religion under them at this time.
According to the Brahma Kumaris, Abraham, Buddha, Christ and Mohammed and others are also said to be spirit mediums, possessed by spirit entities which whom they continue to reincarnate for the duration of their religions’ history as in “Jesus” and a separate individual “the Christ”.
The organization will claim to be both a religion and not a religion according to which status benefits it the most. It has both religious and political ambitions.
Leadership: known as a wealthy religion in India, the BKWSU leadership continues to financially benefit from their position by encouraging their adherents to a total mental, physical and financial surrender to their God. “Service” projects, largely PR event rather than actual charitable acts, increasingly involve business class air travel and 4 star hotels.
The benefits of leadership includes the appointment of unpaid personal servants, a tax free existence in an environment where adherents are encourage to donate in cash, and the shared enjoyment of a valuable international property portfolio, including a number of attractive international retreat centers.
The Brahma Kumari leadership, many of whom were closely related to the Sindhi founder and medium Lekhraj Kripalani, offer little by way of democracy, accountability and security to their followers. Many who leave, leave as empty shells.
In the 1970s, the BKWSU started to target Westerners who were then used for their appeal to Indians, light skin having a higher status. The start of Brahma Kumari expansion into the West, under its current chief BK Janki Kirpalani, is notable for its purchase of freehold property at the same time it was encouraging its followers that the end of the world was to happen (1976) and to give over their life savings.
From its earliest days, the organization was willing to accept government money to assist its expansion from both within India and outside. Latterly, this has included the donation of land, properties and the negotiation of tax benefits.