Om Shanti as Omertà - The BKWSU Family as a "Mafia"

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Om Shanti as Omertà - The BKWSU Family as a "Mafia"

Post08 Feb 2009

A number of times member Alladin has called the Brahma-kumaris a "mafia". To be honest, although I think it is not so far off the mark in many ways, I have been uncomfortable with particularly because I think it would give the BKWSU capos an easy excuse to ridicule independent thought about their organization and the movement that follows it. However ...

In order to understand what the actual structure of the BKWSU is, I offer this work in progress and comparison for peer review. I think most individuals would agree that the real structure of the Brahma Kumari movement is unseen, unstated, undocumented and not openly discussed. Just like the Mafia, in the 'BK Family' the code of "Om Shanti" all to often equals "omertà". Or as Dadi Janki says, "don't think ... don't ask".

Omertà (omerta) is a term used in criminal organizations such as the Mafia and is commonly definition as the "code of silence". It implies, the categorical prohibition of cooperation with state authorities, reliance on its laws and services and discussion of "family" business, even if or when one has been victim or perpetrator of a crime. The code is said to have been adopted as a way of opposing foreign rule or protecting interests under foreign rule. Within Mafia culture, breaking the oath of omertà is said to be punishable by death. In the Brahma Kumaris, we should be grateful it is only punishable by the eternal 'spiritual death' of banishment and cold shouldering by the Seniors.

There is an old Sicilian proverb, "Cu è surdu, orbu e taci, campa cent'anni 'mpaci" ("He who is deaf, blind, and silent will live a hundred years in peace"), I dare say the Sind has a similar one.

The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra) is an Italian criminal secret society, offshoots emerged on the East Coast of the United States and in Australia during the late 19th century following waves of Italian emigration. The Mafia is active not only in several illegal fields, but also tending to exercise sovereignty functions – normally belonging to national authorities – such as rule over specific territories. It operates as a loose confederation of groups, called 'cosche' or 'families', each with sovereignty over a specific territory; a town or village, a neighborhood of a larger city, a nation. It is seen as a "way of being" and a "consciousness of one's own worth" within their social structures.

Each family, however, has a tight pyramidal command structure, led by a capofamiglia boss, who is aided by a second-in-command (a sotto capo or "underboss") and one or more advisers (consigliere). Under their command are groups of "soldiers", each led by a caporegime. Other than its members, a "family" makes extensive use of a number of associates. These are people who aid or work for a family but are not treated as true members, e.g. friendly politicians and aspiring members. An associate is considered nothing more than a tool. A single capo di tutti capi or "boss of bosses" allegedly commands all the families. However, the idea is largely a media creation and the reality is that the Mafia is ruled by a number of individuals existing in strained but co-productive relationships.

To join the Mafia, one has to be initiated, carefully supervised and tested to assess the individual's obedience, ability and even ruthlessness. Those who betray are threatened with death. A mafioso is not supposed to introduce himself to another mafioso but must ask a third, mutually-known mafioso, to introduce him to the latter as "a friend".

Like the BKWSU, the Mafias operate in strict secrecy, across foreign lands and generally in a foreign and codified language that excludes and make it hard to penetrate for outsiders. Also like the BKWSU, they tend to have moved into legitimate business and operate fronts behind which they carry on their real agenda, being seen to donate to public charities and at time courting the media and so on.

Obviously, the mafia has become primary a serious criminal underground whereas the Brahma Kumari trade in their religion ... critics such as the PBKs suggesting even an illicit trade from the spiritual point of view. Obviously we are talking about much subtler "crimes" here but some of the financial aspects of the BKWSU, and adherence to local laws, have been noted to be a little shady around the edges.

Any BK watcher can immediately identify many of the similarities and parallels to BK life; the capo di tutti capis, the lieutenants, the code of silence, the language (e.g. "London Family", "Brazil Family", "The Family"), the legitimate fronts, strict hierarchies, pyramid structures etc ... the fact that the "real power structure" is unstated, undiscussed and obviously not what is written on paper for the governments, its chimeric and chameleon-like ability to change identities and the underhand nature of expansion.

Now, if we look at the generally proposed structure for the mafia families, it is said to look like this:

Mafia Family Structure
Mafia_family_structure.gif (5.9 KiB) Viewed 3253 times

If we look at the BKWSU, Brahma-kumari family structure, I would propose it looks a bit like this (click to open up in full):

Proposed BKWSU structure
BKWSU-structure.gif (19.37 KiB) Viewed 3252 times

Now, you will immediately see two main differences; firstly the exalted position given to the rich, famous or powerful right next to the leadership. I added this in respect to the privileges and access granted to such individuals and highlight their role in giving power to the Seniors ... status by association to convince and enthrall the following that what they are doing is correct and "must" be the work of God. Why "God" exactly prefers retired disco stars, Bollywood and Asian pop over higher cultural pursuits is beyond me ... but the message is simple. If you are rich, famous and powerful, you get to sit on the stage.

Secondly, is the influence and status afforded to the power Dadas and "serviceable" Westerns. Frankly, although the PR face of the BKWSU is female, it is widely suspected that it is the Dadas that really run the Brahma Kumaris; Nirwair, Ramesh Shah, Anand Kishore etc and have unquestionably immovable positions with the power structure despite what ever they may do. Perhaps even such individuals like the more junior Karuna Shetty would make it into this rank.

On the Westerner front, at various levels, high profile or high influence individuals are afford 'some' but not all rank and privileges due to their notorious (within the BKWSU world view) temperamental nature. They assist in tuning the Beakies message to local cultures, for "making introductions" (see above to mafia details) and as an "acceptable face", e.g. the regular blue-eyed, blond hair adonyses (both male and female) that have graced the public face of the BKWSU. They do like their blondes and white faces are awfully good for impressing other browns.

Often these individuals are wealthy and privileged, and we can chart who they are make through BK history; in other case they are intelligent and ambitious themselves. In recent years; Neville Hodgkinson (press and media) Brian Bacon (SML), Mike George & Nikki de Carteret (marketing), Diane Tillman (Values Education) Judy Rodgers (Appreciative Inquiry) and so on, in early years Simon Vivian, Robert Shubow and what was that other Brother from London called that learnt Hindi and opened up South America? (Please add and re-edit as necessary). But ... their fortunes are fickle, they come and they go. We could probably chart them all here.

At the bottom, under the rank and file of the BKWSU, you also see the non-BKs contact souls, who probably think they are part of the movement but actually, like the mafia above, are just seen as instruments earning their fortune by donating to the BKs, to be picked up, put down and used in detached manner according to the needs. Along with physical family members of BKs, these could include; local government, embassy staff, media contacts, artists, legal profession, material suppliers, maintenance people, tribal women laborers and all the other general "Shudra" riff-raff the BKWSU overlords have to deal on a regular with in their tryst with, and ambition for, power.

Obviously, there is some movement between the lower realms, e.g. unstable or exiting BKs falls from the ranks of the Shiv~Shakti Army to the contact soul or Shudra realms. The model also underline the similar of the non-megalithic structures of both underground movements. In both the Mafia and the BKWSU, each zone, "family" or even center operates with a degree of autonomy from all other "families"; specific individuals are given license to act as Brahma Kumaris on an apparently ad hoc basis often dependent, in my opinion, on their financial status or ability to 'pull in the moolah' (Dollars); very real commissions, privileges and "respect" are paid back to the "Boss of Bosses", Seniors and other equals who regularly go about surveying their international empires a bit like medieval royalty did; rewards and privileges are given to those that open up new territories whether social or geographic ... and there is some tension, attachment to position and rivalry in the middle ranks.

Your criticisms are welcome ... where did you fit in? Or where did they try and fit you in?

GuptaRati 6666

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Re: Om Shanti as Omertà - The BKWSU Family as a "Mafia"

Post03 Sep 2015

Ken opened the centers in Brazil. He was not the first in South America. When he set foot in Silver Age, center in Georgetown was four years old and the one in Trinidad and Tobago was two years old, and the BK presence at the UN was in its second year.

Ken was forced out of Australia due to a clash of sanskars with a powerful BK Sister. The ex-BKs in Australia know the story with Ken in more detail. I used to watch with fun the ways and means of the powerful and famous Western BKs. In those days in the 1980s my priority apart from effort making was my med school studies, which the BKs did not support though Medium Spirit gave me the green light personally to pursue academic studies.

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