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This is a "Beginners Guide" to the Brahma Kumaris. A simple, plain English but comprehensive introduction to the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University; its beliefs, lifestyle and mode of operation.
Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask, in neat bite sized pieces without the requirement of specialist knowledge.
If your question is not written here, then email us at email@example.com and we might include it and our answer. This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) represents our current understanding and may be revised or updated from time to time.
It has been written and composed by ex-members of the religion who prefer to tell you how it is rather than put you through umpteen courses before they let you know what the Brahma Kumaris are really all about.
These FAQs have been written by ex-BKWSU followers some of whom had been teachers, center-in-charges and surrendered BKs within the organization with direct contact and involvement with the leadership over a period of decades and based on the finding of this forum.
It is written for would be Brahma Kumaris followers, the friends and family of BKs, IPs (important people) and VIPs that the BKWSU is targeting and individuals in governmental organizations that are increasingly sponsoring their activities and lending credibility to without knowing their true agenda.
It is also being read by active BKs as the forum is playing a part in promoting active reform of the BKWSU.
Why are you doing this and are you members of any group or religion?
The Brahma Kumaris leadership has misled generations of followers whilst exploiting them financially and for their free labor and, in our opinion, misrepresents itself to well meaning outsiders in a manner that benefits them in many way including financially.
It would seem to many that having secured their position, the leadership now hides the truth of the religion behind a polished PR machine, various fronts and diluted versions of their teachings. It can take months of involvement before newcomers discover what they really believe and teach. By that time, individuals have become assimilated and conditioned in a way to reduce their critical faculties. Few academics studying the group have even gotten this far.
Likewise, for friends and families of Brahma Kumari adherents it is impossible to gather from "official" websites what the organization is really about, how the leadership works or for them to gain an understanding about the changes that their loved ones are undergoing.
In order to balance the secrecy and manipulation, we believe that individuals have a right to know what is going and access to all the teachings of the BKWSU. To put it simply, we do not believe that truth can be established on the basis of lies and cover ups.
No. We have no alternative religious agenda and are not a member of any other group. We believe in freedom of speech, the right to information and society's right to know.
Basically, we have no costs. The software is free, the hosting is free, domain registration costs are currently down to $2.19 per year. The most we have ever paid for it is approximately $ 17 per year. There are no technical support or design costs. The forum is freely supported by volunteers.
Brahmakumaris.info is not a virtual or online BKWSU for individuals that want to develop their faith in Brahma Kumarism, or enjoy talking about "The Knowledge" without making the effort to go to morning class and their local BKWSU.
Nor is it for BKs to promote their religion or attempt to "save" or "correct" exiting-BKs. Supporting members know "The Knowledge" and organization very well. Probably better than most current BKs.
Brahmakumaris.info is to support ex-BKs, help exiting-BKs and inform non-BKs such as academics, friends and family of members as to what individuals are going through as BK adherents.
Brahma Kumari teachings are based on mediumistic messages given through trance mediums or channels. These are called Sakar Murlis (Pre-1969 death of the founder), Avyakt Vanis or Avyakt Murlis (Post-1969 death of the founder). Over 1,000 examples of these are offered on this website in a number of formats including searchable databases.
Brahma Kumari believe that another spirit entity, or soul, possessed firstly their founder Lekhraj Kripalani and now other adherents to speaks through their bodies and act. Outside of the BKWSU, this is known as "channelling". It is an advanced form of mediumship.
Since the death of Lekhraj Kripalani, BKs belief that both he, the spirit guide they believe is the God of all religions and other senior deceased BK adherents are channelled through "trance mediums". These mediums are said to go into a deep trance and allow the other spirit entities to possess their bodies and, again, speak and act through them.
Whereas BKs claim that the founder was able to remain conscious whilst the spirit did so, the lesser mediums are not able to and must remain in trance not knowing what is being said or done through them.
The core teachings of the Brahma Kumaris called "the Murli", after a magic flute that God Krishna was supposed to play to bewitch his female followers. These are channelled mediumistic messages allegedly spoken by God directly through the mouths of BK mediums.
The BKWSU is becoming increasingly secretive about these due to their controversial nature and given that they are often in opposition to activities carried out by the leadership and does not as a rule allow non-BKs access to them. And certainly not in anything but a watered down manner. Examples are not available on any BKWSU websites, adherents are not allowed to send them as emails, generally no longer allowed copies to take for home study and may only be given access in specific areas of the their center
There is further controversy within the movement that the leadership is editing, revising and re-writing them removing contentious elements, failed predictions, changing dates and so on.
Are there any other forms of psychism going on within the BKWSU?
Yes. Newly deceased senior Brahma Kumaris are said to be channelled by the organization's mediums following their death, even returning from beyond the grave to speak to their old friends and be fed via the medium's body.
Additionally, previously deceased Brahma Kumari adherents are said to make up an Advance Party which, along with founder Lekhraj Kripalani, acts psychically in some manner through current members influencing events. Many BKs report having varied psychically induced visions.
Individual followers are (allegedly) being used unconsciously as mediums or channels for these spirit entities, and "energy" or "vibrations", during meditation and whilst evangelizing for the BKWSU. The main spirit guide, or god of the Brahma Kumaris, clearly claims to enter into followers to do "work" or influence atmospheres in the channelled messages.
With the likelihood that the current medium of God is going to die before "Destruction", the BKWSU is said to be training up young women to take over her role as a mediums for God on her death.
Wealthy followers can pay to have special food offerings made for their deceased relatives during which time the BK medium will return with some special message often relating to the condition of their rebirth elsewhere or meeting God. Special attention is given to food and BK believe that they can fill food or sweeties with special spiritual energy that effects individuals that eat it. These are often given to IPs or VIPs as gifts.
The organization will consult with the spirit guides via their trance mediums to receive their guidance before any major building, business or evangelistic project.
The Brahma Kumaris do not tend to refer to this as channelling or even mediumship but obscure the practises to outsiders with vague references to "being used as an instrument", "inspired" and so on. On occasions, VIPs or politicians will be introduced to "God" speaking through a medium without knowing who it is they are supposed to be meeting, e.g. President Patil of India or Dr. Robert Muller, formerly Assistant Secretary General to the United Nations.
Whilst maintaining their faith that is is God Himself speaking through their mediums, general terms such as "the Light" or "the Supreme" will be used to non-adherents.
Why Nuclear War, natural disasters and civil wars?
The BKWSU has taught since it beginning that present day that all life on earth and humanity must be destroyed in a series of events it calls "Destruction". This is required to "purify" the world of vice. The core Brahma Kumari teachings claim that the external destruction of the world will come about by their inspiration and efforts. Specifically, it has been said that this means they will give the scientists courage to release the nuclear weapons that will destroy civilization and that Destruction emanates from their efforts.
These include Nuclear War, natural disasters and civil war. All other continents except for India are to sink below the oceans except for islands where present day Brahma Kumari centers are located. India is to be the scene of a bloodbath after which all bodies are washed away into the ocean by floods.
Following Destruction, an army of special individuals including scientists and Brahma Kumaris will rebuild civilization to its highest, high technology Golden Age in less than 30 years. Brahma Kumari adherents, reborn as "deities" will enjoy palaces of gold and diamonds, nuclear power flying machines and live to be 150 years old.
Previously, BKs taught followers that Destruction would take 50 years and Creation 50 years. References to this have been removed from their teachings.
Why do the Brahma Kumaris call it "Transformation"?
"Destruction", remains the word used by the God o the BKWSU, Brahma Kumari teachers and adherents internally. It has recently been euphemistically relabeled "Transformation" for non-BKs, especially in the West where the BKWSU appeals to the New Age market and is conscious of its public representation.
It means the same. Death for all life on earth in order to purify it so that the world can be reborn as a perfect Heaven on Earth for 900,000 faithful Brahma Kumari followers.
Who is going to inherit heaven on earth after "Destruction"?
Only Brahma Kumaris or their followers.
The current Brahma Kumaris leadership is said to become the Emperors and Empresses of the Golden Age heaven on earth. Each Brahma Kumaris follower will take a position in their 2,500 dynasty depending on the efforts and donations of time and money they make in this current life.
No other religions will experience a suffering free existence in a heaven on earth. All other religions will experience suffering for all their existence.
Heaven on earth is strictly hierarchical, an empire ruled by royal families which will consist of high ranking BK leaders past and present. To enjoy a high status in heaven, BK adherents are told to ensure good relationships in this life with senior BKs through conformity and submission.
Just prior to Destruction, Brahma Kumaris believe that the Indian Government is going to hand over power to their control and be recognized by governments internationally.
What is going to happen to other religions after the End of the World?
The Brahma Kumaris teach that, following the suffering of Destruction and Judgement Day, the souls of other religions go back to a spirit world where they remain inert and unconscious until they are reborn again to play their part again in the future. That is to say that Christian souls will remain "like eggs" for 3,000 years until they are reborn again following Jesus Christ's rebirth in the future.
There is no afterlife, no eternal release (Moksha/Nirvana) nor any other spirit worlds or heavenly realms.
No other religion but the Brahma Kumaris will experience the Golden Aged 'heaven on earth'.
All other religions, prophets and religious leaders are merely reborn in time to replay their lives identically as they have done so in recent history. See the BK's philosophy of an identically repeating 5,000 Year Cycle.
What about other countries except for India during Destruction?
The Brahma Kumaris belief that a greater India is the original heavenly paradise on earth and that Hindi is the original language. During Destruction, all other continents will sink below the oceans except for where there are BKWSU centers which will become islands for the reborn Brahma Kumaris to fly to in their thought-control, nuclear-powered flying machines.
Do Brahma Kumaris break up families or split apart husbands and wives?
Yes. Brahma Kumaris have quite correctly been accused of interfering with other individuals' marriages and bringing about the breaking up of families since the 1930s, every decade since and on every continent including even the family of the founder Lekhraj Kripalani. Unlike orthodox religions, as a celibate religion, its expansion has only come about by individuals leaving their families or by families converting to it. In the West, the latter is extremely rare.
The BK Leadership has throughout their history been active in encourage and advising its adherents on how to achieve breaking heterosexual and homosexual partnerships.
Very specifically, yes, and gradually if necessary. Brahma Kumari leaders and other followers will give specific advice to males, but much more likely female adherents, on how to split apart from their partners.
This will graduate from stopping physical and sexual contact and changing sleeping arrangements and has in some circumstances even involved support in initiating divorce proceedings. This has included avoiding skin contact, sleeping in separate rooms, refusing to eat food cooked by relatives, refusing to socialize or attend other religious events and so on.
In other cases, this has involved senior sisters advising on how and when followers should satisfy their partners sexual demands until leaving them and even advice to have an abortion in order to avoid the distraction of having children. It is accurate to say that leading Brahma Kumaris have also left family, partners and children behind to join the group.
Basically, no. Our experience is, do not even try. Brahma Kumari adherents can appear to be very attractive and a perfect potential partner but their purpose and intents is supposed to be single heartedly promoting the religion without any such distraction.
If a BK is being attractive to you, it is far more likely that they are using their personality, or even their sexuality on a discrete level, to draw you into the religion.
Even if you were to accept such limitations as complete celibacy, separate sleeping arrangements, lack of socializing and the not eating of food not cook by BKs, it is likely that your role could only become supporting them evangelize their religion.
Within the BKWSU there is the expectation that BKs leaving to form partnerships will return at some point with their partner and children.
Basically, no. Extreme celibacy is the norm which excludes even normal affection and socializing. Males and female live separately. All efforts and intentions are aimed toward expanding the religion and earning a high status and good fortune for the next lives. Anything else is seen as "maya" or an evil distraction. "Attachment" to another human being as a sin is probably only second worst to having lustful thoughts.
Some very rare marriages have occurred within the BKWSU for a variety of reasons, e.g. to save a female adherent from an arranged marriage, for the sakes of immigration and BKWSU evangelistic service.
Are children of adherents indoctrinated into the BKWSU?
Yes. Non-BK parents should be aware that BK adherents will subtlely and persistently attempt to indoctrinate their children and grand-children with BKWSU teachings and initiate them into BKWSU proactise. Brahma Kumaris beliefs are seen to be the one and only savour of humanity.
The BKWSU also used a number of discrete methods targeted at both children within families and disadvantages children such as orphans or street children such as "Relax Kids" products and Values in Education.
Additionally, the channelled entity the Brahma Kumaris consider to be God has specifically encouraged followers to target children and schools.
Have there been incidents of child sex abuse within the BKWSU?
Yes, there have been confirms incidents of child sex abuse in, at least, the organization's headquarters in India (Mount Abu), Delhi centers. Knowledge of these incidents was covered up and denied by the leadership.
Following their revelation, it took several years of lobbying before the BKWSU leadership enacted a child protection policy involving their persistent ignorance of correspondence on the subject.
The Brahma Kumaris both claim in public, and are instructed by their spirit guide, that they do not to accept donations from non-BKs. However, increasingly they are seeking funding from external sources.
Whilst the majority of funds supporting their property acquisition and evangelistic activities come from adherents, the BKWSU leadership has for some time successfully sought land, property and funding from governments internationally and wealthy non-BK outsiders. They have largely benefit from Hindu tradition, or superstition, to give to the holy and have marketed themselves in such a manner providing recognizable religious services such as Raksha Bandhan to Indian communities. Adherents are encouraged to give for 10% of their income, many center-in-charges will spend considerably more. The aim is to surrender 100%.
Their native Sindhi community is also a well known, successful and wealthy business community and has been known to support their activities whilst not always following their principles. Financiers and donors or property have also been sought from wealthy individuals of other religions, such as Islam, who are likely not to know of the real nature of their teachings.
Tax systems have been used and abused to their benefit as a charity or a religion.
Yes. Although strictly their philosophical teachings tell them not to accept money from non-BKs, recently the Brahma Kumaris have been seen increasing not just to accept donations from non-adherents but also rent their properties out to other business and religious groups and allow adherents to provide professional services as long as a commission is paid back to the organization or one of its fronts such as the Janki Foundation.
Financial dealings with the Brahma Kumari movement are bound with secrecy and obscurity. Adherents are discourage from requesting details and few if any public statements are made. Financial matters are dealt with by an elite inner circle without any democratic process. Invariably any serious matters will be referred to the organization's mediums to request advice and clearance from its spirit guides. A number of charitable front organization have been established to channel materials and funds back to the main organization.
Increasingly, the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University and its leaders are being discovered to hold investment and considerably large bank accounts. In the case of the UK branch, a surplus in excess of £3,000,000.
Global leader Janki Kripalani, despite having surrendered to the organization in the 1930s and have never held a job, was recently reported to have private a bank account at a private meeting.
Whilst encouraging followers to surrender their money and insurance policies, even donate property, work for free and give up both education and career ambitions, other Brahma Kumaris leaders have been found to depend on private pensions in order to support their privileged position.
The BKWSU organization, at the very least, also appears to have profited from property speculation and development at its Mount Abu headquarters. Running largely a "cash economy", at one point the Indian government acted to remove donation boxes from BK centers.
Indian followers especially have been encouraged to give gifts of silver and gold jewelry some of which has been given as gifts to VIPS, it is not know what happens to the rest. There have been other reports of individuals and the organization having profited from property speculation and development especially around their Rajasthan headquarters.
As a rule, no. It is seen as bad to create such "karmic accounts" to give money to charity, whereas the highest karma and liberation is achieved by donating wealth, property and free labor to the Brahma Kumaris.
As what many see as a face saving effort, the BKWSU did donate some money and goods following the Tsunami in India. It is understood that these were taken from special donations by adherents and not from the existing or general collection.
In one year, whilst the BKWSU (UK), a charity established to "alleviate poverty" collected over £2,000,000 in donations for its own use, it distributed just over £20,000 in emergency relief aid. No records of any programmes of alleviating poverty can be seen in the public accounts. None have happened.
The BKWSU leadership regularly encourages all followers to write their last will and testimony completely in favor of the organization, leaving property to the cult even when their are living dependents and descendants in order to "earn a fortune" and high status in the future heaven on earth. It offers followers a standardized will to do so.
While the organization does offer geriatric support to its followers and leaving caring to the physical family, some widows in such situations have been offered live in cooking positions within centers.
Have there really been financial crime commited by BKWSU?
Yes. Mostly, as with any controversy within the Brahma Kumari, it is covered up by the leadership and, within the highly controlled environment of the BKWSU is not spoken about openly. In India, the Brahma Kumaris, although not working for a living, are thought of being a very wealthy religion targeting middle class adherents.
These include well founded allegations of tax fraud and embezzlement (the taking of money from BK adherents for person use, benefit or comfort).
Many ex-members consider the leadership abusive and focused on financially exploiting followers based on falsified predictions of the End of the World and that they have a clear history of covering up the failures of the same.
Many centers, whilst operating on the surface as "charities" and accepting donations are actually privately own homes whose owners are paying off private mortgages and accepting services freely rendered by adherents.
There have been cases recorded of property scams involving senior members and deals relating to immigration status.
The main problem in discussing these is the Brahma Kumari leadership's fluid and chimeric position which makes it impossible to say whether such incidents were carried out by the BKWSU or by the individuals involved.
What appears to be common trends are the encouragement of poorer adherents to donate not just savings but even jewelry (gold,silver etc) which can be used as gifts for VIPs in India and the acquisition of properties despite the leaderships' prediction of an imminent and desirable End of the World.
The BKWSU also holds financial investments which remain undisclosed from adherents and undiscussed.
Brahma Kumaris believe that they are unique amongst all religions in that God speaks to them, in Hindi with a few English words, directly through their mediums. They believe that God has come to earth in person.
Prior to 1950, the Brahma Kumaris had no knowledge of this God and thought that millionaire businessman founder Lekhraj Kripalani was God, the Inventor of the Gita and a reincarnation of Krishna.
Since approximately 1950, the BKWSU has believed that the channelled entity, spirit guide that speaks through their mediums is the God of all religions. This God is called Shiva, his form an infinitesimal point of light and that he possesses first the body of millionaire founder Lekhraj Kripalani and other Brahma Kumaris to speak through to humanity. Each Year, Brahma Kumaris make an annual "pilgrimage" to listen and meet "God" in person speaking through their main medium in their Indian Headquarters.
By habit, the Brahma Kumaris do not make it obvious to non-BKs that they mean that their god is the God of all religion. Instead, BKs tend to talk in general terms about; "the Light", the "One", the "Supreme" and so on. What they specifically believe is that God meets and speaks to them directly via their mediums in India and does not do so to any other religion.
The Brahma Kumaris believe we are souls, infinitesimal points of light, existing in the physical body. They teach that human re-incarnate into a maximum of 84 bodies declining with each birth. The maximum number of rebirths is limited to Brahma Kumari followers, no other religion or practise having become enlightened or having gained liberation from rebirth.
The Brahma Kumaris believe that there is only life on Earth, that the universe is limited in size and is only 5,000 year old. They teach adherents that there are Three World; the physical universe, an infinite spiritual world of red light using classical terms such as Brahm or Nirvana to describe it, and between the two a temporary world of white light in which there are visions but no sounds and in which BKs can exits, travel around as angels, receiving and giving psychic visions. This last world they call "The Subtle (or Angelic) Regions".
"The Three World" is one of the core original classes of BK philosophy and often referred to. No mention of any other "spirit worlds" or heaven realms are made nor are they accepted as existing and they do not correlate to the Subtle Regions.
The BKWSU has its own unique and simplified understanding of Hindu Karma philosophy which includes the theory that ever misfortune was originally caused by the victim themselves, e.g. whether child sex abuse, as happened at the organizations headquarters, or the Jewish Holocaust etc.
It believes that ill fortune can only be removed by suffering or BK Raja Yoga and that this time is the only time to earn the greatest material good fortune which will lead to a maximum of 2,500 years in heaven on earth.
The Brahma Kumaris believe that, although matter is eternal, time is at most 5,000 years old and that it repeats identically ever 5,000 years in a cyclic fashion. What that means is that, literally, you read this identically 5,000 years ago and will read this again in 5,000 years time.
This Cycle starts off pure and perfect and declines until it is 100% impure and imperfect in a series that goes; gold, silver, copper, iron as by classical Hindu and Greek philosophies.
BKs believe that dinosaurs existed 2,500 years ago at the same time as Abraham and offer no scientific explanations for the numerous anomalies arising from this faith.
At the end of each Cycle, there is an age of uplifitment called the Diamond or Confluence Age which was originally 12 years long but currently stands as 10 years long, 70 of which have finished.
A common metaphor deployed by the BKWSU is the Tree of Humanity, human civilization visualized as a tree of which the Brahma Kumaris, as reborn gods and goddess, form the trunk, all other religions, the branches of the tree and all sects and cults, the twigs.
"Spiritual powers" with the BKWSU generally relate not to siddhis, magic or occult abilities but to virtues or moral values. However, many psychic and supernatural abilities are suggested of their founder and leadership such as the ability to travel to other dimensions and speak with the deceased or enlightened, the ability to travel to different parts of the world out of their bodies to inspect centers and followers homes, the ability to read adherents' souls, predict the future, "give blessings", clear karma etc.
The BKWSU leadership believes that it can speak directly to God and that God speaks directly back to them and directs them through their mediums. Senior sisters are empowered within the group to be able to give advice "equal to God's" that if adherents follow their safety and success is guaranteed and no negative karma is incurred.
Many claims are made of their practise being able to cure illnesses, save lives and so on in which remarkable personal testimonies on behalf of BK adherents are important faith devices.
Whilst many neophyte adherents are at a vulnerable period in their lives and directly targeted by the Brahma Kumaris, such as experiencing the death of family members, young individuals away from home, break up of relationships or suffering from addictions according to the traditional model of cult inductees, others would consider themselves to be genuine "spiritual seekers" attempting to answer the questions of life and existence that they have been unable to find in orthodox religions. Many of the original BK adherents in the West came through established interests in yoga, spirituality, India and alternative lifestyles.
In the West, the Brahma Kumaris originally marketed themselves as providers of 'peace of mind' and promoting 'peace', albeit in contradiction to their specifically millenarianist beliefs in the imminent and desirable "Destruction" of humanity that they are bringing about. More recently, they have remarketed themselves as providers of discussion about "values".
Whereas originally, the Brahma Kumaris offered intensive 7 days courses in which they presented the totality of their perfected "knowledge" and initiated individuals into their meditational practise, individuals are now usual enculturated through a process of vague and general seminars, e.g. retreats, business or artistic events on a variety of topics consciously targeted at different groups within society, e.g. women, mother and children, educators, sufferers of depression, executives, jurists etc which introduce lightweight version of their practises
These meetings are generally organized by individuals who have a specific interest or experience in the relative field and act as filters or "honeypots" for new potential BKWSU recruits who. For a considerable period, potential recruits will have no idea about the Brahma Kumaris' real beliefs or intentions. Graudually, BK leaders or adherents will "take the pulse" of these individuals (assessing their recruitability), for potential interests in a deeper commitment. At this point, they will be invited to take more private lessons in the BKWSU beliefs, which may still be spread over weeks, and incorporate intense one-to-one meditation session where adherents will sit staring into the potential recruitee's open eyes in which the experience of a connection the spirit entity they consider to be God is transmitted.
Whereas the Brahma Kumaris have always been instructed to seek out famous or important people, to act as a draw for the general public, increasingly the BKWSU is involving non-BKs in their evangelical events to change the impression given by such programs. The intention remains within the organization is to bring it into contact with influence others, potential recruits and act as generally good PR for the group.
Generally, the psychic experience individuals experience following the practise are very strong in comparison to other religions. Individuals can experience feelings of deep inner silence, contentment and love, and a light, "bodiless" sensation. This is understood to be due to their direct connection with the channelled spirit entity that the Brahma Kumaris believe is God. Adherents find spiritual comfort, inspiration and intellectual satisfaction in the mediumistic messages called Murlis that take the place of scriptures, or "word of God", within the movement and consider all their questions answered.
Many individuals benefit from the effects of the new disciplined lifestyle giving up alcohol or drugs, rising early, becoming vegetarian and so on although for many the daily routine of waking at 4 am and constant evangelism become exhausting. Others benefit from, and find comfort in, life within the highly disciplined and conformist environment in which major life decisions are handed over to the leadership.
For Indian families, the BKWSU should be seen in a different light as it provides for Hindus a more simple, modern and ascetic analogue for classical Hinduism whilst also providing a recognizable environment for traditional expressions of devotion, e.g. darshans, satsangs, spiritual discourses, donating money in which the Brahma Kumari leaders take the place of priests and gurus.
For Indian women, it can be a great escape and an apparent empowerment from unwanted husbands, arranged marriages and a patriarchal society. Around the main core, a 'lay' community of part-time or less committed followers and supporters has developed.
For Westerners, the Brahma Kumaris originally provided an easier, more accessible analogue for a traditionally ascetic "yogi" lifestyle for mainly "hippie" or "new age" type individuals, an association that did not fit easily with the leadership, allowing them to follow a disciplined spiritual lifestyle without physically renouncing their comforts.
Latterly, the has been modified by adherents and the organization has consciously re-marketed it. A new attraction has arisen within the organization presenting itself under the guise of professional or corporate empowerment by way of "management leadership" seminars and "values" trainers which has included financial opportunities for some chosen ones. These opportunities have been extended in an attempt to hold on to young adherents growing up within the organization as children of followers.
The Brahma Kumaris specifically and persistently encourage followers to detach from their "impure" and unenlightened physical relatives, old friends and even children, to express the emotions of "all relationships" with their channelled entity and to consider other Brahma Kumari followers to be their true spiritual family. This is persistently ingrained into adherents' minds during the daily scripture reading.
After a short period time, almost to all contacts and relationships will be within the religion and almost to all free time will be spent in some BKWSU related activity whether listening to or giving sermons, teaching and evangelizing, maintaining centers and regular services or developing "service" programs.
The Brahma Kumaris provide for their followers an environment that satisfies many to most of their social needs, including the possibility to travel.
The beginning of adherents involvement with the Brahma Kumaris is generally marked by an experience referred to as the "Honeymoon Period" by BKs. This is a short period lasting a few months where the individuals feel unnaturally "high", or "Intoxicated" in BK Speak. This period does not last although neophytes will not believe this. It is likened to "childhood" within the movement and in the future and followers will be encourage to remember these experiences as an inspiration to continue when they wear off.
The experience is often similar to a 'manic' phase or falling in love and is likely to concern friends and family as it is usually combined with radical lifestyle and personality changes, and often tireless evangelical enthusiasm. The individual will feel light, rushes of love or strong emotions and experience strong psychic experiences such a visions of light or "bodilessness".
Dangers occur of mental and personal breakdowns if the individual does not follow the prescribe disciplines that the religion sets during this period. Adherents will separate from their Friends and family and become difficult to impossible to reason with or relate to outside of their new found religious interests.
This period tends to wear off after 6 months or so after which the individual will be persistently encouraged to "make efforts" to regain it and increasingly surrender their mind, body and wealth to the organization.
BK meditation is primarily an open eye meditation designed to induce within the individual a state of mind that can be carried at all time during the waking day.
It is initially taught as a gentle stream of thoughts or vague visualization to be followed by newcomers, often to soft, quiet meditational music and in slightly darkened or red lit room, which have a potentially hypnotic effect on individuals. These calm the individual and open their minds to suggestion and psychic influences. These are recorded as tapes, CDs or digital files for downloads for playing back later.
Within a formal teaching environment, and latter at ever stage of involvement, the meditation experience is initiated and reinforced by the direct "transmission" from a committed Brahma Kumari adherent. This is called "Dhristi" and involves the adherent to a newcomer, or a senior practitioner to a junior adherent, staring directly into the open eyes of the lesser individual and transmitting the "vibrations", spiritual energy of the channelled entity the BKWSU considers is God, or the mental experience of the more experienced individual.
This practise of staring will start as a matter of a few minutes but gradually be increased until as a full BK, it will be practised for anything up to hours at a time in intense group mediations. During this experience, individuals will often experience visions of light, a pressure on their foreheads, waves of love or spiritual energy leading to a feeling of separation from their body and a state the Brahma Kumaris call "soul consciousness", the experience of the self as a spirit being and not a body.
In theory, one this state is experienced and mastered, the individual is then able to connect directly to the God of the Brahma Kumaris in rapturous union. The followers imagines or experiences themselves to be a soul, travel to a golden red world of spiritual light and be pulled into direct contact with the living god within it.
BK adherents are encouraged to remember this state and their god at all times experience a gentle communion or being "touched" it. It would appear that elements similar to hypnosis and auto-suggestion, NLP, spiritual healing, trance and psychic channelling are all involved to different degrees.
The God of the Brahma Kumaris places a persistent encouragement for BK adherents to attract and recruit important people or VIPs to act as "microphones" for the organization broadcasting its message to a wider audience.
Brahma Kumaris leaders will specifically target the involvement of VIPs in their evangelical programmes offering them gifts and privileges within the movement.
Theoretically, the aim of the Brahma Kumaris is to return to their perceived perfect state of being in this life in order to prepare themselves for a life in a Golden Aged heaven on earth that is going to follow the Destruction of the current world.
The purpose of the BKWSU is to find all the original heavenly souls they called Brahmins, and help them not just to prepare for Destruction and the Golden Age after but to gain a high status within it.
In doing so, BK Brahmins believe that they will either become angels of light who will serve the world with their, or their god's, love, peace and light or help practically create heaven on earth after an imminent nuclear war.
Yes. Extensively. This, and its process of development, has been hidden from followers.
The BKWSU largely claims that its philosophy is derived from mediumistic channelled messages they believe are God speaking directly to them. During its history, especially in the early years, it used a number of different mediums some of which, such as the "Golden Circle", left the organization and are no longer officially discussed or acknowledged.
It is believed that Global Chief Janki Kripalani's sister was a member of such a group. The organization now presents Lekhraj Kripalani as the chief medium.
For at least the first 18 years, from 1932 to at least 1950, adherents thought millionaire founder Lekhraj Kripalani was God on the basis of visions of him as Krishna. It was only sometime after 1950 that the BKWSU re-wrote its philosophy to include an incorporeal God it named Shiva who was claimed to be possessing him and speaking though him.
This has been hidden from adherents and the hagiographic histories and biographies written by the organization fictionalizes the early history of the organization.
Destruction - failed predictions of the End of the World
The Brahma-kumaris have predicted the End of the World, known as "Destruction" to them, on a number of occasions notably; WWII, 1950, 1976, mid-1980s, Year 2000. The failure of these predictions have been kept hidden from followers and new adherents. At the time of failure, many adherents left the movement.
Generally, the organization responds by saying that "Baba (God) has never given a specific date for Destruction" which is true to the extent that he has never state a specific day. But the spirit guide has made these prediction to specific years. The channelled messages and teaching aids have since been "revised" to correct, alter or remove these predictions.
For at least the first 18 years, from 1932 to 1950, the Brahma Kumaris were a monist tradition in the form of orthodox Advaita schools believing that there was only one ultimate substance or principle called the Brahm or Braham. They practised faith in "Aham Brahm Asmi", literally "I am Brahman" or "I am God".
At some point after 1950, the Brahma Kumaris introduced an individual personality they called the "supreme soul", WITHIN that Brahm element or "soul world", into their theodicy calling him "Shiva Baba". As of this date, (2008) here is no reference within their official media or publications how, why or when this happened. It is thought that the leadership is sworn to secrecy about this.
The BK use of the terms Brahm and Nirvana for the same are unique and not according to the orthodox beliefs of Hindus or Buddhists.
1884 Lekhraj Kripalani born
1932 Lekhraj Kripalani retires and starts holding Satsang at his home in Hyderabad, Sind
1937 Om Mandli face public criticism and legal action, Kripalani creates committee of women including his wife and 'Om Radhe'
1938 Kripalani said to surrender his wealth and property to an unnamed trust
1950 Om Mandli moved to Mount Abu
1950 (approx) God Shiva is introduced into Brahma-kumari beliefs
1952 Service in India
1965 Om Radhe dies and B.K. Manmohini become 'Controller of Service'
1969 Lehkraj Kripalani dies of a heart attack the day after a trust of formed by others to control his religion.
1971 Service in London and Hong Kong starts
1974 Janki Kirpalani goes to London
1985 head of organization Didi Manmohini dies
1986 Million Minutes of Peace
1991 J. Watumull Memorial Global Hospital and Research Centre established
No. The Brahma Kumaris do not teach Ancient Raja Yoga.
The famous Raja Yoga has been taught for over 2,000 years and is recognized as being by documented by Patanjali. It bears no relationship to the beliefs and practise of the Brahma Kumaris.
The current form of initiation practised by the Brahma Kumaris dates back to approximately 1950. Not even the 1930s as claimed by the organization. Prior to the 1950s, the Brahma-kumaris had a different practise based around the belief that Lekhraj Kripalani was God and faith in a universal spiritual element called the Brahm they called Aham Brahm Asmi, after the traditional Hindu mantra.
How can the Brahma Kumaris claim their form is Ancient Raja Yoga?
It is only according to their philosophy of a 5,000 Year identically repeating Cycle of Time. Brahma Kumaris believe that no time exits longer than 5,000 years. 5,000 Years ago, they were teaching their form exactly as today. Therefore theirs is the oldest form.
Further more, the Brahma Kumaris teach that all other religions are imperfect and incomplete memorials of them and their practises, therefore Patanjali's Raja Yoga was a imperfect and incomplete memorial of them from 5,000 years ago.
No. Brahma Kumarism is not Hinduism. To understand Brahma Kumarism, it is better to look at and understand the Sindhi community in Pakisthan from which they first arose.
Although the majority of BKs are born into Hindu families, the Brahma Kumaris use Hindu terminology, puts on events during Hindu festivals to attract followers and has definitely been inspired by it, the Brahma Kumaris specifically claims that they are not Hindus. Neither are they representatives of the Hindu religion despite forming charities to "promote Hinduism".
The Brahma Kumaris do not follow Hindu rites or festivals faithfully but offer their own interpretation of them. Not all religions from India are Hindu.
These points are clearly stated in the channelled messages the Brahma Kumaris base their teachings on and confirmed by the most senior teachers. The Brahma Kumaris believe that "Bhakti", the Hindi word for the devotional path is impure and degraded and that no one else but them teaches the truth. All other religions, included those of Hinduism, are but an imperfect, partial memorial of their religion from 5,000 years ago.
The Brahma Kumaris are also told by their god, and believe, that the Hindus are their worshippers and will recognize them as their deities or gods that they worship in temples. "Bhakti", the term used for religious devotion has negative connotations within the BKWSU. It is the path of ignorance or "stumbling in darkness".
Within the movement, there is the expectation of a Hindu backlash when the general population discovers that they teach that god Krishna did not speak the Gita but that their god Shiva did. For approximately the first 20 years, the BKs believed that LK was literally the inventor of the Bhagavad Gita.
What do the Brahma Kumaris and their God think about other religions?
In the original teachings, other religions are called, "impure, devilish, the 'path of ignorance'" and so on. According to the Brahma Kumaris and its spirit guide, all other religions bring about degradation of humanity.
Specifically, it believes that other religions are all incomplete reflections of Brahma Kumarism from which the religious founders studied and experienced 5,000 years ago. Only Brahma Kumarism has a direct relationship with and knowledge of God.
What do the Brahma Kumaris think about Muhammad and Islam?
As with other religions, the BKs believe that Muhammad learned about God religion from the BKWSU 5,000 years ago. He is then said to reincarnated 1,400 years ago. A second soul is said to have descended from the spirit world, possessed him and together they started their Islam. In essence, that Muhammad was a medium and channel for another entity, just as Lekhraj Kripalani was for God Shiva.
Both Muhammad and this other spirit entity are then said to have continued to reincarnate within the Mohammedan religion guiding it in human form until the present day. At no point since his birth did Muhammad leave Earth, join God, nor did he have perfect knowledge of God, nor did God inspire him directly. Strangely, the God of BKWSU called Abraham the founder of Islam 2,500 years ago and did not mention Judaism until its expansion into the West.
What do the Brahma Kumaris think about Jesus Christ?
As with other religions, the BKs believe that Jesus learned about God religion from the BKWSU 5,000 years ago. Jesus is then said to reincarnated, probably in the lowest ebb of heaven on earth, after which he reincarnated. 2,000 years ago the Christ soul, a second soul descended from the spirit world, possessed him and together they started their religion. In essence, that Jesus was a medium and channel for Christ, just as Lekhraj Kripalani was for God Shiva.
Both Christ and Jesus are then said to have continued to reincarnate within the Christian religion guiding it in human form until this present day.
What do the Brahma Kumaris think about 20th Century religions and today's leading thinkers?
According to the Brahma Kumaris all 20th Century religions and todays leading thinkers are "impure", "unselfrealised" and "ignorant". They are nothing but one or two reincarnation worth souls experiencing their "Golden Age" at the "Fag End" of the impure "Hell world" or "Iron Age".
There are specific Brahma Kumari quotes and not interpretations.
According to the Brahma Kumaris, no other religion nor prominent thinkers, such a Freud, Jung, Gandhi, Luther King etc can offer any eternal benefit and all such souls must come back to the Brahma Kumaris in order to study to gain their status for the next 5,000 years Cycle of Time.
A soul experiencing power, fame and wealth at the end of the 20th Century is a lowly individual of little spiritual merit. Only the Brahma Kumaris, who claim to have experienced their Golden Age at the begining of a "pure", "Heavenly" earth 5,000 years ago are able to experience a direct relationship with God and give benefit to others.
Brahma Kumaris take the maximum of 84 birth and therefore become the most spiritual human being. Christ, Buddha, Mohammed and any other promininent historical figure experiences only 63 or less births. Those taking their first birth in the 20th Century would only experience one or two births (in approximation but a correct explanation of Brahma Kumari philosophy).
Any races are welcome to convert to Brahma Kumarism but the leadership remains entirely Sindi or Hindi.
The majority of Brahma Kumari adherents are Indian. The majority of the Brahma Kumari leadership were originally Sindis. This is true of many BKWSU centers in the West where Hindi and Sindi followers provide the financial and logistical (free labor) backbone for expansion.
Whilst not being Hindu, the Brahma Kumaris target Hindus and Brahma Kumarism appears both familiar and "modern" to Hindus. it is often, and arguable incorrectly described as being "Neo-Hindu". It
The Brahma Kumaris, although not working for a living, are thought of being a very wealthy religion targeting mainly middle class Indian and wealthy Sindi adherents abroad who share culturally affinities and have the practise of donating wealth to religious gurus.
Since the start of global expansion white adherents have been used to bolster the Brahma Kumaris status and appeal to Indians. Although still a very small minority, Brahma Kumarism is now an international religion. Non-Indians are called "Double Foreigners".
Some black and other Asians have reported elements of racism, as non-Sindi Indians have done of the Sindi leadership. Elements of God's language, as spoken until the 1960s through founding medium Lekhraj Kripalani, would appear to non-BKs to be distinctly racist or discriminatory by today's standards although this could not be considered an institutional position. Much of this is being edited out or hidden from non-members.
Can I join the Brahma Kumaris and keep my original religion?
The Brahma Kumaris are unusual for an Indian religion due to their evangelistic nature.
In public, seeking to increase their membership and expand their sphere of influence, they will claim that Brahma Kumarism is not a religion and that anyone can either join or practise Brahma Kumarism.
Members will for the sakes of evangelising claim to be of another, or their original religion. This is not an honest relfection of the beliefs of the Brahma Kumaris. The Brahma Kumaris to be the most elite religion in history, the precusors of all other religions which are merely part reflections or "impure" memorials of their religion. The Brahma Kumaris claim a monopoly on the direct relationship with a spirit entity they claims is the God of religions.
it is not possible to keep one's or practise one's original religion as a Brahma Kumari adherent. All other religions are thought to be "ignorance" or "stumbling around in darkness". No other religious practise is thought to bring benefits and a Brahma Kumaris adherent would be expected to accept all related Hindu disciplines they practise.
Since their expansion into the West, non-Brahma Kumari religious events are celebrated but in re-defined symbolic manners, placing their own specific meanings upon them. To a BK, all other religions are distinctly inferior than Brahma Kumarism having existed only in the "Hell" period of their world history. All other religions missing out on the "Heaven" period of BK world history. All other religious founders have less reincarnations, and hence less wordly and spiritual experience, than BK adherents.
BK adherents, even married ones, are made to follow strict celibacy including not looking, thinking about or touching other bodies. Total celibacy excludes masturbation or any other form of stimulation. Human love or sex is seen as "the Ocean of Poison" or "the sword of lust"> It is the worst vice and the greatest obstacle.
Members carrying on sexual or emotional relationships will be advise to split apart, disallowed from making the annual visit to the Indian headquarters or barred. In theory, there is no procreation at all within the BKWSU.
BK adherents are encouraged to follow strict sattvic vegetarianism (lacto-vegetarian without onions and garlic related food stuffs) and are discouraged from eating any food that is not produced by themselves or another Brahma-Kumari adherent. Even their own physical families.
BKs do not drink alcohol, smoke, use non-prescription drugs, eat out in restaurants and so on but will allow themselves machine made foods such a bread, drinks or sweets.
Wake and prepare for a 45 minute meditation at 4 am.
Daily class and meditation from approximately 6.30 am to 8 am.
Regular meditation breaks during the day called "traffic Control"
Keeping a detailed diary called a chart of their efforts
Teaching classes and general evangelism as time allows.
7 days a week, 365 days a year.
BK adherents are discouraged from taking any holidays except an annual retreat to their Mount Abu headquarters where they meet en masse with their God speaking and acting through one of the organization's psychic mediums, and to work on other outreach programmes.
Depending on their level or commitment, Brahma Kumari adherents are slowly encouraged to follow various other additional disciplines such as;
body washing after defecation to include a complete change of clothes
washing before cooking
menstruating women are discouraged from entering center kitchen areas as are weaker followers
confession of weakness and impurities to senior teachers
Each year, during a limited season, Brahma Kumari adherents are encouraged to visit the movements headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan called "Madhuban".
it is here that adherents are able to listen directly to God speaking to them via the organization's chief medium, an elderly Indian women follower called Hirday Mohini or "Gulzar". Followers are encouraged to make donations here for increased karmic benefit.
The core activity of Brahma Kumari lifestyle is service which is the evangelism of the the religion in numerous ways. This is called "Service" to BKs although generally it performs no other function to society or any individuals but to promote the organization.
As a rule, the Brahma Kumaris do not do charity although recently a number of members have started to do so against the resistance of the organization's leadership.
Physical relatives or family of Brahma Kumari relatives or adherents are refered to as "lokiks", meaning "wordly" family. Other followers are refered to "Alokik" or spiritual family.
Brahma Kumari follower are made to see other Brahma Kumaris as their "family" and their physical family as a responsibility to "serve", that is to convert to Brahma Kumarism.
Other Brahma Kumaris are seen as "pure", adherents' physical families are said to be "impure". They are also called "Shudras" a derogatory Indian word for the lowest caste. Brahma Kumari followers are gradually separated from the "lokik family" as lokiks are seen as a distraction from BK life.
BKs are by principle not allowed to eat the food prepared by their mothers or other non-BK family members for fear of being influenced by "negative body-conscious energy" contained within the food.
Couples are separated from non-BK partners, mothers of children from husbands, some BK mothers have even left their children to join the BKWSU. Sex or affection is not allowed.
BK adherents are encouraged to practice detachment from physical relatives and breakaway from the influence of previous friends who are seen to be full of Maya or illusion.
As a rule, Brahma Kumaris adherents do not take holidays or breaks from their commitment as to do so would be to lose their spiritual inheritance, lose status and face and become a "traitor" to the religion.
Holidays are generally not taken and not encouraged. Instead, an annual retreat at the movements main ashram is used to deepen commitment and experience mass seances, numbering in 1,000s or 10,000s of adherents, with the spirit entity they believe to be the God of all religions.
Despite separating from their physical family mentally, physcially and financially, many Brahma Kumari adherents are forced to return to their families to rest and recouperate after physical or mental breakdowns, or in the case of severe ilness as, generally, the religion - or other followers - do not look after its followers' physical needs.
The Brahma Kumaris promotes itself through the United Nations, uses the opportunity to meet important people and increases both its leadership's status in the eyes of its followers and the organization's status within the political arena.
The BKs have a small office space currently understood to be a couple of desks in the New York headquarters of the United Nation Organization. Adherents attend numerous events internationally to promote their religion, in some cases claiming to be "UN advisors". The organization often dedicates meditation events which it already carries out "to the United Nations".
From time to time the BKWSU will produce an light weight article on some peace or spiritual values related subject but in general, the United Nations association is mainly used and abused to the BKWSU benefit establishing credibility for beliefs and activities the United Nations Organization has no knowledge of.
Does the BKWSU believe in the Universal Declaration of the United Nations' Human Rights?
The Brahma Kumaris beliefs and organizational structural are in many case entirely contradictory to the Declaration and work of the United Nations. Central to this is the Brahma Kumaris' belief that humanity is doomed and will only decrease in spiritual values until the forthcoming, immediate and desirable final "Destruction" during which 6,000,000,000 human being will be killed in nuclear war and natural disasters.
Heaven on earth, peace amongst humanity is the Brahma Kumaris preserve only after the world has been "purified" in this manner. Further more, attempts to save or improve the present world or environment are futile.
What other names or front organizations does the BKWSU use?
Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University
Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Visha Vidyalaya
Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization
Academy For Better World
World Renewal Spiritual Trust
Brahma Kumaris Educational Society
Brahma Kumaris Association
Brahma Kumaris Spiritual Centre
Brahma Kumaris Spirituele Akademie
Rajyoga Education & Research Foundation
Learning Center For Peace
The Meditation Center
Anubhuti Retreat Center
Living Values Education Program
Self Management Leadership
Visions of a Better World Foundation
The Janki Foundation for Global Health Care
Global Forum for Public Relations
Point of Life Foundation
Brahma Kumaris Community Education Resources
Brahma Kumaris Spiritual Learning Centre
Bahrain Meditation Centre for Self-development
Center for Spiritual Learning
The Women of Spirit Network
Celebrating Human Greatness
Four Faces of Woman and others.
Increasingly, Brahma Kumari adherents of various levels of commitment and conformity are also presenting themselves as;
• independent academics documenting Brahma Kumarism, e.g. Judy Rodgers, Tamasin Ramsay, Stephen Nagel and Wendy Smith promoting Brahma Kumarism
• new aged style business or personal growth "consultants", e.g. Mike George, Lucinda Drayton,
• child entertainers, e.g. Marneta Viegas of Relax Kids, and
* therapists who include Brahma Kumari techniques in their treatment of clients.
A small group of elderly male and female adherents some of whom have been followers since the 1930s, others having joined in the 50s and 60s. The BKWSU puts great emphasis on the leadership being all female but this is not so. And notably not on the financial side. There is controversy over the establishment of the main trust that governs the organization.
The BKWSU is very largely undemocratic and the leadership is almost entirely unaccountable. There is no duty of care towards adherents as they considers themselves to run organizations which have no members.
Internationally, it is split up into various geographic zones which run somewhat autonomously as personal fiefdoms of the senior sister in charge. Individual centers are mostly private homes.
The BKWSU does not publicly offer any constitution or operating manual even to its donors and followers.
Probably, yes. The Brahma Kumaris have many elements which match identically attributes ascribed to cultic religions. Increasingly, against the advise of their own philosophy, they are becoming a personality cult based around the worship of their founder and senior sisters.
Why do the Brahma Kumaris say they are not a religion?
The Brahma Kumaris are not a "university", they are a new religious movement or a cult. Their organizations are established as religious organizations, their leaders refered to as clergy where useful. Where it is not useful, or damaging to their aims, they will deny it.
To distract from the reality, Brahma Kumaris will often claim to be "spiritual" not "religious". In truth, it is little more than a marketing ploy. The BKWSU have all the respective components of a faith or religion.
Essentially the same as the BKWSU with the exception that they question the current mediumship with the BKWSU and propose an alternative medium of God, Veerendra Dev Dixit who they claim was Lekhraj Kripalani's business partner in his previous incarnation and the first medium of the Shiva soul.
The PBKs tend to adopt a more metaphorical understanding of the teachings. For example, the PBKs explain the failed predictions of "Destruction" that were given for 1976 as not the destruction of the world but of elements within the Brahma Kumari movement.
For more information, contact PBKs followers, here; PBKs.info.
Veerendra Dev Dixit of Farrukhabad. Dev Dixit was an member of the BKWSU who holds a PhD. Unsatisfied with the answers the BKWSU leadership were able to give him, he continued investigating the teachings until his persistence became unwelcome and he was banned from the BKWSU.
Yes. Vishnu Party, Inadvance Party, Super Inadvance Party and another former BK follower who thinks he is Krishna and leads a small group. Such organizations tend to use method and concepts learned during their time with the BKWSU or (AIVV) PBK in addition to new or traditional faith elements.
Any BKs found to investigate PBK teachings are banished without appeal from the BKWSU system. Kidnapping and beatings of PBKs by BKs have occurred at a number of public events in numerous Indian states suggesting it is a centralized policy. The BKWSU leadership goes to some effort to block adherents exposure about PBKism and aggressively discrediting Veerendra Dev Dixit and his followers.
No. None of the core group supporting this website are PBK followers. None have undertaken the PBK course of study. PBKs and all others are welcome to contribute to this website as long as they can accept the terms and conditions we offer.
Forum supporters have no other collective loyalties to any group.