What is the core curriculum of Brahma Kumaris?
At the heart of the Brahma Kumaris teachings is the Foundation Course in Raja Yoga meditation. This course provides a practical understanding of the relationship between spirit and matter, as well as an understanding of the interplay between souls, God and the material world.
The series of classes in this course will facilitate your inward journey in an efficient and effective way. Learn about:
- consciousness and self-realisation
- connection and relationship with God
- the law of karma
- the cycle of time
- the Tree of Life
- a spiritual lifestyle
The lessons are offered in two parts:
Part 1: offers the basic knowledge and practice of Raja Yoga meditation. This is for people who are interested in only learning how to meditate as a regular practice.
Part 2: offers the teachings of Raja Yoga as a study. The teachings take the aspirant into the depths of universal truths. The goal of the teachings is to learn how to concentrate the mind and to discover the innermost core of the soul's divinity. This is for people who want to exercise their own reason and judgment; who want to learn from the authority of their own experiences and sustain a lifestyle on a more elevated spiritual plane
What are the main pillars in the Brahma Kumaris way of life?
There are four main pillars:
- Study – The daily study of spiritual knowledge gives nourishment to the soul to remove blind faith and to see events, situations and circumstance as opportunities to apply the teachings.
- Meditation – Meditation provides a direct connection to the Source, enabling the soul to draw power and build resilience and spiritual capacity.
- Practise virtues – The awareness of the self as a soul awakens the essential core of divine virtues, giving the inner strength to overcome negative self-beliefs and the freedom to be the authentic self.
- Serve – Being is seen as the basis for serving – bringing the virtues of the soul into whatever role one happens to be playing.
Are there any special lifestyle disciplines in the Brahma Kumaris way of life?
The journey towards self-realisation involves observing certain lifestyle disciplines, which are recommended and not imposed. Brahma Kumaris' environments are nurtured by observing these disciplines.
Spiritual study and practice underpin an individual's spiritual journey. It is the responsibility of each person to discern and choose what lifestyle disciplines they are ready to implement, and at whatever pace suits them.
The two main lifestyle disciplines observed are:
- Satwic (pure) diet: a vegetarian or vegan diet contributes to general well-being and helps develop clarity and concentration. No substance abuse, including not using any alcohol or tobacco.
- Celibacy is seen as the basis for cultivating a safe and pure way for people to be and live together. This choice can make people stronger in themselves, more autonomous and more self-confident. It liberates both genders from their over-reliance on each other and supports greater equality. 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.
Does everyone have to conform to Brahma Kumaris 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 spiritual development. Each individual chooses what to take from the curriculum, according to their interest. It is an open learning environment, to which people from diverse backgrounds come, bringing with them the richness of their specialties. The level of commitment is a personal decision.
Is there a special dress code?
There is no specific dress code, although casual, modest dress is generally appropriate, when attending BK courses or activities. White is the preferred colour within the BK community, 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.
How does Brahma Kumaris view religion?
The Brahma Kumaris emphasises the importance of the ‘dharma' element of religion – the inculcation of the universal principles, taught by God to humanity, for spiritual renewal and restoration. The purpose of ‘dharma' is to recognise that spirituality is the key to bringing justice, peace and well-being to humanity.
Every soul, regardless of the religion, is spiritually moulded by his or her relationship with the Supreme, and their understanding and practice of faith and life experiences. The way forward is a return to the spirituality at the heart of the great faiths. In practical terms, this would mean living the highest ideals that faith inspires within souls - of love, compassion, truth and non-violence.
How does ‘knowledge-based' meditation work?
The Brahma Kumaris teachings are set within the context that the world is at a turning point at which a transformation of consciousness is taking place. One of the main teachings is that the tree of humanity has one seed, God, the Supreme Soul, who stays eternally full of all divine qualities. As children of the one Seed, human beings are one family. By making a subtle shift from an outer, material dependency to an inner, spiritual awareness, human beings realise their true selves and recognise the Source, God, and restore themselves to their original nature of peace, respect and love.
Raja Yoga meditation requires the individual to study spiritual knowledge. Understanding of the knowledge is essential to its practice and application. The aim of Raja Yoga is self-sovereignty and self-mastery and so it is important for the individual to be discerning on his or her spiritual journey. The process of learning is a simple one: listening to and understanding the teachings;contemplating and making sense of how to apply the teachings in life; inculcating the teachings and emerging the innate qualities into the awareness of the self; experiencing the meaning of insightful wisdom and deciding the quality of one's actions.
The process begins at the personal level with a collective momentum building, and eventually leads to a shift from a world torn apart by anger, attachment, arrogance, greed and lust to a kinder, gentler world, with only the finest in human virtues – happiness, love, peace and purity.
What is the role of the meditation teacher?
The term ‘teacher' is used for a person facilitating the process of taking an individual through the lessons of the Raja Yoga Meditation Course. The teacher's role is more of a spiritual coach.