Strange habits of the Brahma Kumaris

for ex-Brahma Kumaris, to discuss matters related to their experiences in BKWSU & after leaving.
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howiemac
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Strange habits of the Brahma Kumaris

Post by howiemac » 20 May 2006

I have been told that BKs were taught (in '70's, '80s, maybe still in some places?) to leave aside some of their food "for Baba" whenever they eat. I do not mean offering food here, but leaving some of your portion aside, every meal. I never encountered this particular dogma myself in my BK days (2000-2005) and it strikes me as both ridiculous (what use has an incorporeal soul for physical food?) and wasteful. Can anyone confirm the existance of this dogma in the BKs?

Please share any other BK habits that have stuck you as bizarre...

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Post by bansy » 21 May 2006

I never encountered this particular dogma myself in my BK days (2000-2005) and it strikes me as both ridiculous (what use has an incorporeal soul for physical food?) and wasteful. Can anyone confirm the existance of this dogma in the BKs?
This Bhog practice still occurs within BKs. BKs offer the food in remembrance, but if you've already cooked the food in remembrance and you eat in remembrance, then there is no need to waste time to have the "Bhakti ritual" of offering food. Some BKs have special bowls for this practice, and even special personal utensils for eating their meal. This I find odd because it means the utensils are judged pure/impure.

I recall reading somewhere that PBKs don't do this.

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Post by howiemac » 21 May 2006

Hi Bansy - i was not referring to the offering of Bhog, but to putting food aside "for Baba", though i must say i do find the offering of Bhog, with all the accompanying fuss (frilly doilies, flowers, special Bhog Bhakti songs, the works) another strange practice of the Brahma Kumaris - i mean the rituals are strange and out of place in an orrganisation that claims to be a knowledge based educational istitution without dogma or ritual (!!!!).

Cooking food in remembrance makes total sense to me, as does the offering of it in an atmosphere of tapasya (or indeed the Christian saying of grace before eating), but the strange rituals make no sense.

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Post by fluffy bunny » 21 May 2006

howiemac wrote:Cooking food in remembrance makes total sense to me, as does the offering of it in an atmosphere of tapasya (or indeed the Christian saying of grace before eating), but the strange rituals make no sense.
Or how they become set in concrete without any questioning and sheep-like BKs run to follow en suite. One person does someting they feel like doing, e.g. dressing the food offering up in a pretty doily, playing Bollywood music, and then the whole BK world follows. I guess it makes their life more interesting, it is a complete Vashnavite throw back to where the devotees would offer food to Krishna, wash and dress their statues up in expensive dolls clothes.

I never heard of the leaving of a little bit of food in BK back in the 80s but I have heard of it in other South East Asian [ non-Indian ] societies. Perhaps it is another Bhakti carry over. Likewise, although, yes, they tell you a special set of utensiles for Bhog, I have never heard for that for general use. Although in India, it is very common to carry one's own bowl and cup.

What we were told though was stuff like how close to Destruction, there would be little food left and some of it would be poisoned/radioactive and so during the process of offering food, their God would check it out and send a message/touch if it was inedible and so this was why it was a good practise. I mention this to underline the subtle, repetitive use of " End of the World Fever " and peer pressure. I do not even remember instructions on how to being mentioned in the Murlis.

It is another of those strange rituals that seem to go against the grain, like 6 foot high backlit pictures of Dada Lekhraj in the meditation room. Those were completely against Shrimat and you can blame Janki for breaking that rule.

Actually, from a religious point of view, I would not argue against the offering of food. It seems more reliable "grace" from the quick 3-2-1 stare [Dhristi] some BKs gave food before eating. But then, why were also encouraged to give Dhristi to food after it was offered? Was any of this related to Gyan and what Brahma taught? Needless to say, I do not bother now.

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frilly offerings

Post by sparkal » 23 May 2006

The only positive I can come up with at the moment is that eating is something we all do. So, if you can get people to remember God when eating, they will definitely remember that one at least 2-3 (or is it 10) times a day. Otherwise, it seems like ritual.

(I think I might be a closet frilly doily fan)

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Bhog etc.

Post by aimée » 24 May 2006

The ritual of leaving food aside as probably be started by individuals, but I have neither seen this practice and it does not fit with the principle dear to BK world that no food should be waisted.

The idea of offering food seems good at first and was justified by the BK authorities as a way to put good vibrations in it. Then why not frankly decide to meditate on this food for that purpose and not as an offering?

It is said in Murlis: "This Bhog etc.is neither knowledge nor meditation. One should not have any connection with these things" (18-7-70 pg-4)"

I also saw somewhere that Shiv doesn't even come to smell it. A teacher in my BK time justified this point by making a difference between Shiv and Krishna/Brahma/Dada lekkraj in his Avyakt form, which makes things even worse.

The BK path is preparing the path of devotion for the broad drama, Dadi Janki even started the idea of offering for the departed souls, you cannot get more Bhakti than that!

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Re: Bhog etc.

Post by fluffy bunny » 24 May 2006

Aimée wrote:The ritual of leaving food aside as probably be started by individuals, but I have neither seen this practice and it does not fit with the principle dear to BK world that no food should be waisted.
I would agree. I remember stress placed on not wasting food that reached back to the Om Mandali days, or early Madhuban, when pressumably Dada Lekhraj's money was running out and food was becoming scarse.

The Dadis used to talk about, and I think it made it into the Murlis, how they had to survive on one roti a day and that if anyone was going to starve it would be Dada first.

The BKs used to say that "every rice grain you wasted would be one less jewel in the Golden Age" and the sister known as Saraswati seemed to be a bit of a dragon when it came to policing the sisters, many of whom had come from wealthy families and were not used to cooking never mind deprivations. Personally, how many jewels one was going to wear in Heaven was never exactly an inducement for me! It shows you where their heads were at.
Aimée wrote:The idea of offering food seems good at first and was justified by the BK authorities as a way to put good vibrations in it. Then why not frankly decide to meditate on this food for that purpose and not as an offering?
Yes, it is very Krishna devotee style, they were almost entirely from a Vashnavite background. I suppose it gives them something to fill their day with. ANother one of those little non-sequitors, e.g. if one's mind was to b ecome powerful enough to change matter from impure to pure, then how come you could not cope with a plate of rice and lentils in front of you?

One of my biggest amusements was discovering, despite all the emphasis there was on not eating impure, Kali Yugi, Shudra prepared food, that Sister Jayanti survived her international stateswoman travel schedule on Airport coffee. But that was OK for her ...

There was a subtle little quite slide, that no one tells you about and is not written, that it was OK to eat "neutral foods", e.g. those made by machines like Coca Cola and bread. Again, slight double standards and unspoken alterations. Coffee is not actuallly Sattvic ... but health and nutrition were considered " Bhakti " by the BKs and I thought that there was distinct tendency that made beating your body up a sign of a cool BK.
Aimée wrote:The BK path is preparing the path of devotion for the broad drama, Dadi Janki even started the idea of offering for the departed souls, you cannot get more Bhakti than that!
That Murli quote is from a BKWSU Murli? Amazing ... how far are they walking away from what their god says and not listening? Dadi Janki, who to be frank I never warmed to nor saw what all the fuss was about, seems to have been quite a scene shifter. It was she that insisted on the bigger than life sized Dada Lekhraj trance lights despite the Murlis stating no pictures of him.

I found Janki a little manipulative or invasive. Now, she may have been right so I cant say, but I remember when I decided to stop eating dairy because it made me feel sick that she made a big show in front of the whole class of not given me Dhristi when I went up to receive Toli but giving it to the Toli instead. Ditto, I got pulled up and told to cut my hair and so on.

Quite the little Emperor.

[God, I used to hate the Dadi worshipping that went on. Where does that fit in any spiritual path?]

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Re: Bhog etc.

Post by uddhava » 24 May 2006

ex-l wrote:I found Janki a little manipulative or invasive. Now, she may have been right so I cant say, but I remember when I decided to stop eating dairy because it made me feel sick that she made a big show in front of the whole class ...
What do you mean 'she may have been right' - you mean that deities have to eat dairy?

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Re: Bhog etc.

Post by fluffy bunny » 25 May 2006

Uddhava wrote:What do you mean 'she may have been right' - you mean that deities have to eat dairy?
Ha! Only Hindu ones ... right in the sense to challenge what might have been ego or bad sanskars.

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Post by aimée » 30 May 2006

I cannot see deities eating dairies, or any product from the animals. In fact their body would be so perfect that they would only need the juice of some fruit to be fed. Even now there are some yogis who don't eat and just have a bit of water, and they survive for years.

In the west we have far too much dairies and that makes us sick. A vegan was saying that having milk was like being breast fed during adulthood, which is not a very appealing idea, especially by a species that is not even our own! Saying that I still have a bit of milk, thinking of giving up this nonsense, and surviving the contradiction ...

I am now starting to understand Dadi Janki. She has been very sweet and helpful with me at some point, but as soon as one does not fit under her control, she then becomes not so sweet (euphemism ...).

Aimée

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Post by howiemac » 30 May 2006

Aimée wrote:I cannot see deities eating dairies, or any product from the animals. In fact their body would be so perfect that they would only need the juice of some fruit to be fed.
i agree - in fact i suspect the Golden Aged "body" is so subtle it requires no food at all, and the eating of fruit is just for pleasure ...
I am now starting to understand Dadi Janki. She has been very sweet and helpful with me at some point, but as soon as one does not fit under her control, she then becomes not so sweet (euphemism...).
... In other words she is a tyrant ... a Jeckyl and Hyde character who switches between sweet loving, and despotic domineering ... that is my experience :(
If she is a world emperor in the Golden Age then i would rather stay sublime in the Soul World ...

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Post by john » 30 May 2006

... in other words she is a tyrant ... a Jeckyl and Hyde character who switches between sweet loving, and despotic domineering ... that is my experience Sad. If she is a world emperor in the Golden Age then i would rather stay sublime in the Soul World ...
I am so glad to hear you say this because it was my opinion, maybe not as strong, because early on I decided Janki was a soul to be avoided. What you say doesn't surprise me.

My problem for years after was, but this is a soul that is so close to God she must be right, therefore I must be wrong to have these strong gut feelings that something wasn't right with her. I couldn't resolve this and it was part of my reason for leaving BKdom.

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Post by howiemac » 30 May 2006

John wrote:My problem for years after was, but this is a soul that is so close to God she must be right, therefore I must be wrong to have these strong gut feelings that something wasn't right with her. I couldn't resolve this and it was part of my reason for leaving BKdom.
Yes - i had the same problem - how could a soul so powerful in Yoga behave so badly? i still don't have the answer to that one ... she was instrumental in me leaving too ... (can you tell?) ... and i thank her for it with all my heart :).

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