The influence of Catholicism etc on one's becoming a BK

for ex-BKs to discuss matters related to experiences in BKWSU & after leaving.
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Terry

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The influence of Catholicism etc on one's becoming a BK

Post14 May 2009

From: I am a newcomer and having difficulty using the site.
Leela wrote:the BK system tapped into my own internal system that had been set up in childhood, and compounded it. I don't know if that is true for everyone.

This thread has really moved into meaningful areas since it started. Not sure if this contribution is continuing it or moving to another topic ...

My situation, as many know, is that my partner, has returned to the BK way of life. Living together since 1993, we, of course, know a lot about each other and our backgrounds. In relation to Leela's statement above - "internal system ... set up in childhood" - what I see is a definite resonance between the "heavier" aspects of BK teachings & culture and the pre-Vatican 2, Irish Catholic tradition she was born into and informed by.

In Australia, up until only recently (maybe the 1970's), the primary form of social discrimination was between Catholics and Anglicans. The majority of Catholics in Australia came from Irish roots. As I understand it, Irish Catholicism never really gave up the culture of Jansenism (or the Jansenist heresy - eventually condemned by the Pope but influential right up to the present). It's an approach which vilifies the body, believes the human condition (original sin etc) was beyond redemption (but continual penance was still expected!), life was a trial, only few attain salvation and so on.

Although in the 1960's Vatican 2 was to "modernise" the church, the existing nuns and priests had all been brought up under this old Irish Catholic culture, and many disputed or disliked the changes pronounced by the Pope. These people were the teaching nuns and priests in the Catholic school system, as well as the people turned to for advice & counselling in times of difficulty. Hatred and fear of sex and the sexual impulse, indoctrination of eternal damnation or salvation and so on, poured into malleable young minds, all created a "perfect storm" - a psychological conditioning ripe for exploitation, or at the least, ripe for easy transference to a substitute dogma.

I'd be interested to learn about others' reflection and experience on these questions;

    • was the Roman Catholic education system & culture - particularly up to the time of Vatican 2 in the 1960's and '70s - a forerunner and major reinforcement of your BK life (or your particular approach to it or experience of it)? Particularly for you Irish or Australian Roman Catholics, and

    • was it different for the British, Latinos and other Roman Catholics?

jann

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Post16 May 2009

What I know know is, that every religion claims to tell the truth, all other religions are false ... but yet throughout history they are always at war with each other and always will be.

Now I wonder where the love all the religions go for, comes from ... as BK loves their family every religion or new religious group loves ONLY their own followers as "family". All the rest is Maya, hell, or whatever. Every group and religion is hierarchical, one big person at the top that makes the rules, to give salvation and a ticket to heaven for a price you have to pay.

But is salvation/freedom not to be manipulated by anything? I consider myself to be completely free!!

Even more, after I studied many religions and some BK stuff. Freedom to me is not to be dependent, not to be ruled, and to do as I please. I need no leader, I am a leader! I am the leader my life, and know the universal laws to bring me everything I desire; and I got all the dreams I ever dreamt, without devotion to a made up God, Dadi or dedication to any group or religion. Religion was only invented to take away the fear of death ...

Now ... let's say there is a God, the one who created everything. Why did he created a man and a woman? If cult leaders say we have to be celibate? Why did he give us the wonderful still not fully explored mind with all emotions and capability to think and to reason and to feel, to love ... while cult leaders tell us to stop thinking?? To make you feel dirty and bad for the natural feelings you have???

That is all about control! And all religions say, they teach the poor. You are poor falling "down the hill", pain, divorce, sickness, death of a loved one ... don't we all feel lost some times??

At that moment you become a target. At that time you are poor, poor of the strong emotions you usually have and were able to control ... any help is welcome ... Well, the big surprise is that you will come over it anyway ... and in that you will grow ... but if you get lost in a group ... you have one more problem.

And that is to finally realise you are in the wrong place.

Terry

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Post16 May 2009

I'd mostly agree with you there, Jannisder. Was what you said a lifelong view from infancy, or a later realisation? My question is about the way we are shaped by parents & teachers, morally and religiously.

Maybe to help this start, Greek Orthodox culture - my inherited culture - I would say is generally more life affirming than the Western churches. It does not condemn the body (maybe an attitude inherited from Classical Hellenism?) or sexuality (e.g lower order priests can marry and have children). It emphasises the resurrection over the Crucifixion, and so on. So the solemnity and puritanism, by which many BKs practiced their "faith", seemed foreign to me.

I was in Madhuban for my first 18th January. Standing around the Tower of Peace, it was a cold sunny day and my "monkey hat" (balaclava) fortunately covering all but my eyes, because I was finding it hard to suppress my laughter at the absurd scene. With my new understanding and new convert's euphoria of the time, here we were, at the memorial of the greatest human achievement - the first human to become "Avyakt' - and instead of celebration, it was like Armistice Day, or other memorial days, where we remember the fallen. Everyone so somber and mournful like we'd all just lost our homes and families after an earthquake.

And then, this incredibly distorted Hindi trumpet music blares out from a bad tannoy sytem really loud and harsh. I could not fully control myself, stifling ever louder giggles under my breath at the increasingly ridiculous scene, finally to lose it completely when, at the end of the formalities, the person next to me commented on how moved he was by my weeping at Baba's memory. I had to walk away quick smart, using my elbow and shawl to try and smother my now uncontrollable laughter. (I should have realised then and there how out of sync I was with these people). Apart from that day, I never enjoyed 18th of Januaries. They always felt contrived, and I couldn't laugh.

Although I consciously rejected Christianity, generally when I was 12, I saw (and in the course of my work, still find) Catholicism and Protestantism as quite dismal or dreary practices. By that, I mean "non-celebratory". For example, the language in Greek Orthodox tradition is to "celebrate'', not honour or remember, the saints day "festival". There's no practice of confession, "mea culpa", or penances. The attitude to the church hierarchy (except by the old women) is healthily disrespectful. Just as many people hung around outside the church, waiting for the service to end, as inside. Lots of chat, games and so on create quite a hubbub out there. Yes, life.

I'll just ask again if I may - does anyone else have experience (directly or indirectly) of how childhood religious conditioning - particularly pre-Vatican 2 Catholicism - influenced their approach to morality, religion, BKism? (My experience of BK westerners is that a very large number do come from Roman Catholic family and/or schools and other religious school backgrounds).
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ex-l

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Post16 May 2009

That is probably a cue for a split topic ...

Count me out, I am afraid. I am not a Catholic and, apparently (read this as you will), I was told my spirit guide is from the Orthodox Church side. However, I consider myself to be an 'orthodox geek', not an Orthodox Greek, nor am I rushing to a conclusion on this line of thought.

I think there is a strong validity to this line of analysis, and its criticism of "preaching Christ Cruxified", "the blood of the lamb ... hellfire and brimstone" type Western Christian Churches. People should stop and think a little bit more about this.

The only divider I would add (and offer as a rough sketch), is to factor in the climate too. Northern souls (northern traditions whether Prostestant or European Jew) tend to be more head-bound - simply because of the damned cold, wet and indoor life; whereas southern souls and traditions tend to be more body/senses/nature bound in my approximate opinion.

So, could you be asking, was the BKWSU (UK) and its fiefdoms the Anglicanish Roman Church and we its Calvinist reformers? In academia, Virendra Dev Dixit and the PBKs have already been cast as the Protestant reformers but I am not so sure. In answer to that question I would say, no, we are The Englightenment.

BK types, and especially PBKs should be loving this analysis because, in essence I am following the doctrines of "The Shooting Period". Neo-BKs probably wonder what the hell it is I am talking about and am just criticising them.

Terry

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Post16 May 2009

I'd agree that environment affects culture.

I don't want here to discuss comparisons of BK/PBK to the Reformation. I am interested in the actual experiences of reflective readers, of the relationship between upbringing and later attitudes.

I'd also add to my earlier post regarding the Jansenist heresy that, amongst Catholics, the Jesuits were always the most educated and broad minded, and regarded the Jansenist influence with disdain in that it was akin to Calvinism (a strict, puritanical, dour Protestant movement). So there may be resonances there for others.
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leela

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Post18 May 2009

There is a lot being discussed here and a lot I would like to reply to, but one thing at a time.
Terry wrote:what I see is a definite resonance between the "heavier" aspects of BK teachings & culture and the pre-Vatican 2, Irish Catholic tradition she was born into and informed by.

I don't know much more about different Catholic traditions than what you describe in your post and what I have observed in Irish family, friends and BKs. But I think this resonance is of fundamental importance when we examine our BK life. It had never occurred to me until I discovered it in myself and then, of course, it becomes impossible to miss.

Many religious traditions are life-denying in some way, especially when they impose rules and judgments on the body and sexuality. If our parents came from such a religion, and we were brought up with it, then I think we easily latch on to the more life-denying aspects of the BK message. My own religious background was not Catholic but it was somewhat dour and non-celebratory.

I am also curious to know if the opposite is true - if our family of origin and our childhood religion was truly a celebration of life, could/would/did we find our way into the BKs, and what was the experience like then?

Obviously, religion informs the way parents do their job of parenting, and I think this very early interaction between infant and parent is even more relevant than the religion per se. It is easy to affirm the existence of a baby in a positive way, and it is also easy to disrupt the development of the baby's sense of self and security in its own existence. From my recent exploration/reading/therapy, I am seeing that there doesn't need to be outright abuse in order to trigger a lack of confidence in the infant's sense of its own existence. It can be something as subtle as the mother not making eye-contact with her child.

I wonder now if all spiritual searching and longing is not about reclaiming that fullness of self and life that was somehow hampered from emerging in our infancy and childhood. At a recent spiritual gathering I went to, the teacher described our sense of longing for God or Truth as nothing more than homesickness, and that resonated with me too.

starchild

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Post18 May 2009

ex-l wrote:The lasting question I am left with ... the nature of the psychic influences upon the individual entering it ... what kicks starts the Honeymoon Period ... I don"t expect them to be easily resolved ... I could not for one moment deny them ...

My opinion is that this is a core issue for those feeling the need to resolve their involvement and experience with the BK's. Obviously there are those who say that their time there and their leaving was all good. Perhaps not easily resolved ex-l but, as I say, I believe a core issue. I have just started to examine my own feelings around all this so I am not clear what answers will emerge. I have learned to take things slowly with myself.
Jannisder wrote:Now I wonder where all the religions go for, come from

This, of course, is a huge question. You seem to be in a very good place Jannisder. I know a lot of people, all with different attitudes. It seems to me that, generally, most societies seem to turn towards some sort of spiritual aspect, from the earthy to the very celestial. Within that, individuals seem more or less concerned.

I would consider myself one of those people, for whom the spiritual aspect has always seemed very important, from the time that I was a young child. Even when not questing, I would be interested in spiritual practice and religions as others might read, or be interested in, history or geology and so forth.

I would imagine that religions who are looking for people to join, would to some extent target people who are interested in and open to spiritual and religious ideas etc. In fact, I always was approached by these groups but never got caught until the BK's. I would never have thought that I would be in danger, which is why I find ex-l's questions so relevant.

Terry,

I, as you probably read in my previous postings was brought up in the Catholic religion. I never heard of the particular strand of catholicism that you are speaking about. Certainly original sin was not beyond redemption, that was what baptism was for.

And although there was a lingering teaching of fear and hatred of sex outside marriage (Catholics seem to be great procreators ;) ), by the seventies I do not think that any one that I knew took it any way seriously. Most people recognized that the nuns, priests and Brothers etc had been coerced into their vocations through family and societal pressures. All of this have come more to light in recent years.

Most people I know stopped practicing as soon as they were teenagers, and most would not have taken up any alternative religion.

A lot of people seem to have their children christened etc, from what I understand this is for the sake of family and community ritual. Much as weddings I suppose. And the Catholic Church seems to be accommodating these changes; I expect they do not have much choice.

And, as can be observed, in the different practices from one country to another within the Catholic church, they have always been inclined to include local beliefs, traditions and festivals and integrate them into the Catholic rituals.

I am very surprised to hear that a large number of Western BKs come from a Catholic background. Most of the "spiritual seekers" I met in my life did not.

One of the things that seemed a lot more attractive to me in the eastern traditions was; that you are a beautiful soul as opposed to being a sinner (though the Catholics are great on the forgiveness thing). Also that the Catholics; for all their faults, do embrace mysticism. I saw similarities between catholicism and hinduism.

I do not know if any of this is helpful. I personally have never had great results in resolving relationship problems by examining the issues of the other person. Although it is perhaps useful for understanding.

You have spoken about the importance of moving on. I expect that is really difficult if your family, who I assume you wish to continue relationship with are, and wish to, continue being practicing BK.

Finally, once again, I think that Leela has come in very wisely with her observations on parenting and the small child.

Terry

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Post19 May 2009

starchild wrote:although there was a lingering teaching of fear and hatred of sex outside marriage (Catholics seem to be great procreators ), by the seventies I do not think that any one that I knew took it any way seriously.

You'd know the Jesuit phrase, "Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man". We may consciously think one thing, not realising that the logic we live by is really a reconstruction of earlier "formwork" or shaping by parents, teachers and society, all of which play on deep psychological needs and fears.

A colleague, who is quite a ladies' man, last night commented to me how 90% of the women he meets need to get drunk before they allow themselves to be sexually open or flirtatious (which, of course, makes them less attractive). That they cannot allow themselves to be "sexy" whilst sober shows, even in this day and age, that hang-ups and sexuality still go hand in hand (they can always blame the grog). These are moral remnants not consciously adhered to, but still influencing behaviour.

That we did not run a mile, that we accepted the teaching that celibacy is the ideal state not just for "Confluence Age' but for half of eternity, that sex is a "lower" activity, I would say, is indicative of the religious conditioning we thought we were free of, but runs as an undercurrent through society and ourselves.

The Jansenists were condemned hundreds of years ago, so they are not 'consciously" part of the Catholic tradition, but their influence runs as an undercurrent right up till now, because it plays on deep insecurities. The truth of it is in that we can easily imagine the stereotypical repressive Catholic nun or priest flushing red with rage, that'd use the strap to punish children, bellow at any indication of manifesting pubescent flowering, the terror that would instill in a child (and I have only seen that in films, never experienced it)!

We all need to re-examine ourselves regularly to see how "independent" we really are.
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ex-l

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Post20 May 2009

terry wrote:A colleague, who is quite a ladies' man, last night commented to me how 90% of the women he meets need to get drunk before they allow themselves to be sexually open ...

I am not sure how "scientific" that observation is. Perhaps it is more of a personal confession from him of the type of women he attracts ... and preys on?
That we did not run a mile, that we accepted the teaching that celibacy is the ideal state not just for "Confluence Age' but for half of eternity, that sex is a "lower" activity, I would say, is indicative of the religious conditioning we thought we were free of, but runs as an undercurrent through society and ourselves.

I would add that celibacy itself also has objective effects which many find beneficial. Cults do because without any doubt, it free us adherents time, energy and wealth from a vast realm of activities that they, the cult leaders, consider unproductive for the cult's interests.

But, then, I would separate 'celibacy' from 'repression', which is what I think you are talking about.

Many, including BKs, confuse the two. More traditionally, there is the graduation from childhood, through expression and 'fulfillment', to then renunciation. Say that which Osho encouraged. Under the guise or by 'yukti' of an End of the World which was meant to happen during WWII or 1950, the Brahma Kumaris have short-circuited this. By doing so they practise avoidancy (of unwanted attention from husbands), denial (of the their own sensuality), repression and celibacy. A few claim to perfect it but we have no way of knowing. Of course, your equation also seem to assume sexual desire as an equal or absolute prerequisit to humanity.

So, in the Australian BKWSU, we are specifically talking about British or Irish attitudes to sex ... could you give a rough sketch of the demographics of the Oz BKs and how many this would apply to? Are they mainly Anglo-Celtic? One might also examine the chemistry between Hindi and Christian pre-programming.


The Meaning of Life - The Protestant View

Terry

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Re: The influence of Catholicism etc on one's becoming a BK

Post20 May 2009

terry wrote:A colleague, who is quite a ladies' man, last night commented to me how 90% of the women he meets need to get drunk before they allow themselves to be sexually open ...
ex-l wrote: I am not sure how "scientific" that observation is. Perhaps it is more of a personal confession from him of the type of women he attracts

Liked the Python clip!

Obviously it was not meant to be scientific - it was a lead in to a point discerning the influence of cultural baggage on modern mores. I did come back at him that even though they were less attractive when drunk, he probably looked less unnattractive to them!
ex-l wrote:I would add that celibacy itself also has objective effects which many find beneficial.

Part of this topic, which has graciously been created as a new topic, is about the different ways we approach the same teachings. I am sure we all can write about the different attitudes to sex and celibacy we experienced in our time. Indeed ex-l, one fond memory I have of you is loudly concluding a point you were making in a class with, "You aren't celibate, you're frigid!"

This is the reason for my wishing to explore this topic. Maybe those that find it hard to "transition out" of BK life - or even consider it - may find it is because of what they brought in to it as much as what they became whilst there?

Hopefully, we people who are in, or have been through, the sexually distorting prism of BK life can examine ourselves, and we can all learn something about ourselves - who we were, why we found things the way we did. Leela's invaluable sharing of her finding refuge there is one example, which others have found resonance with.

Even while a committed BK, I never considered sex as "impure". I held the view, similar to what you stated, that it was a discipline for the time of Sangam Yuga. It allowed full concentration on "effort" and "service". I was aware of the puritanical heritage others brought to it though. You can go on a fast and get benefit, but if fasting for too long you become ill, and if even longer, you permanently damage you health.

If you are brought up in a belief that promotes anorexic behaviour, then find yourself in a group that says "eating is sin", you'll fit comfortably, like a glove, as you slowly die.
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ex-l

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Re: The influence of Catholicism etc on one's becoming a BK

Post20 May 2009

For those folks that don't know 'The Meaning of Life' by the brilliantly insightful and irreverant Monty Python team, the other side of the Catholic parody was ...


As I said, I cant speak personally about Catholicism but it would be worth charting the prism through which Brahma Kumarism entered the West. Specifically, you can take the tradition from "Dadi" Janki Kripalani through Waddy, who obvious would fall into your Irish Catholic equation but then also Maureen who is Jewish and on to lesser bit part players. I have often asked (mostly to silence), how much Brahma Kumarism is a just an escape from sex for India women and functional but loveless arranged marriages; if any of them have ever enjoyed it or even loving affection. And how much all that, on top of the intial Sindi experience, colored BKism's development. It sounds largely like a context of socialized rape.

An aside, the Ryan Report is finally out after many delay; 'Endemic' rape and abuse of Irish children in Catholic care, inquiry finds. I am not sure of the relationship between the Christian Brothers and the Jansenist you mention.
A nine-year investigation has found Catholic priests and nuns for decades terrorised thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style children's institutions in the Irish Republic. Government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rape and humiliation, which the report found to be "endemic" in the Catholic church.

High court judge Sean Ryan today unveiled the 2,600-page final report of Ireland's commission into child abuse, which drew on testimony from thousands of former inmates and officials from more than 250 church-run institutions.

More than 30,000 children deemed to be petty thieves, truants or from dysfunctional families – a category that unmarried mothers were often lumped into – were sent to Ireland's austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last church-run facilities shut in the 1990s.

The report found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys' facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but instead endured frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.

Terry

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Re: The influence of Catholicism etc on one's becoming a BK

Post21 May 2009

ex-l wrote: the Ryan Report is finally out after many delay; 'Endemic' rape and abuse of Irish children in Catholic care, inquiry finds.

This led the news bulletins here today, which shows the way that culture entwined itself here.

The culture that gives rise to such behavior and attitudes is broader than the individuals involved, it sets up an atmosphere where different individuals react in different ways. Some may flourish, but many suffer.

The baby boomer generation were raised under more conservative values - which is why the 60's cultural events are so significant. I am a tale end baby boomer, and lived in a suburb that was a hub of countercultural activity, becoming a young hippy before I became an old one. The exposure to eastern philosophies was novel, and the freedom to change over to that was good, but I am sure many brought the structures and strictures from their parents over, and merely clothed them in new silks.

Your earlier question re: BKs in OZ. In the days when I became involved, a large number, I'd guess the majority, of the early BK Brothers were Catholics (and it was mostly males) most of them went to Catholic schools. A number were Anglican and attended Anglican church schools, the minority were us secularly educated. They, of course, had a received culture, and that, of course, transmitted that into the new communities they were involved with.

I suppose what I am saying is that just as a lot of middle class kids became hippies and counter culture types, it was mere adolescent rebellion, and most settle back to become what they always were going to become. So too on the religious side, they live out the BK life like Roman Catholics in different clothing. Yes, the theology is different, but the existential experience is similar.
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ex-l

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Re: The influence of Catholicism etc on one's becoming a BK

Post22 May 2009

terry wrote:I suppose what I am saying is that just as a lot of middle class kids became hippies and counter culture types, it was mere adolescent rebellion, and most settle back to become what they always were going to become.

So too on the religious side, they live out the BK life like Roman Catholics in different clothing. Yes, the theology is different, but the existential experience is similar.

I have often though how individuals do this, e.g. how certainly class (both Christian and Jew) are embarrassed by their own 'uncool' religion and then adopt Buddhism which, as something 'exotic', is consider aesthetically "cool". To me, it seems they turned their Buddism into themselves and something merely a small step away from their own previous religion; "Sunday School Buddhism" and "the atheist Jewish intellectual".

Of course, in the East, the Buddhist schools are the Vaticans and Buddhism is practised entirely like Catholicism, e.g. Buddha as Christ, followers praying to the multifold saints, rote, ritual and blind faith impressed upon society by fear and violence, the acretion of great wealtha nd power, and corruption and abuse. And how similar Brahma Kumarism has become to Hinduism? Could we suggest that Om Mandli was merely their counter-culture period before they settled back into what they knew best setting up their own guru lineage and temples franchises.

Of course, in your world view, you discount the "unprovable" reincarnation and so can only take these influences back as far as childhood. Any assumption of "past life" influences must seem romantic and delusionary, and I would not argue at either that or that romance and delusion are used by the Brahma Kumaris to reinforce their faith, e.g. the old "every Westerner in a second birth BKs Indian born in the West to do service".

I have thought a lot about this question but find it difficult to look at myself and know what is true. My own family were not religious, although the society I grew up in 'notionally' was but a Post-Enlightenment Protestantism. One that "asserted the fundamental importance of human reason combined with a rejection of any authority which could not be justified by reason" and one that "held to an optimistic belief in the ability of humanity to effect changes for the better in society and nature, guided only by reason". An "Enlightenment" characterised by "empiricism and practicality" and the "practical benefit for both the individual and society as a whole". An analyst could suggest a connection between that and my BK and post-BK stance but I am not sure it would have any truth to it.

The Brahma Kumaris' rigid adoption of monotheism and millenarianism is both interesting and unusual. It has a distinctly Christian flavour as supported by numerous flattering references to Christ in the Murlis in the way that no other religious founder receives. I question if Lekhraj Kirpalani was deeply influenced by the British Christians in India and the strains of this remain attractive to the Christian born.

Personally, I consider Lekhraj Kirpalani to have had a shattered mind, to have suffered some kind of mental breakdown following undocumented psychic influences, a kind of spirit possession (however we understand that), and then - after breaking apart his old identity, his place within his society and taking on the responsibility of a few hundred others - having had to gradually piece together a religion from those fragments of other religious that were in his mind to keep his micro-society together.

Looking at the early Western BKWSU, I see a far more British and Anglican (Church of England) flavour coming into dominance; e.g. cool to cold, heady, condescending, slightly insenstive to others, detached. Both males and females, e.g. Neville Hodgkinson would have made a good parish priest, many of the older white Sisters were 'Women's Institute' material.

Were the younger BKs were forced into acting out an image of "piousy religiosity"? The Indians, who I suspect are not actually that classy to other Indians, demanded of the young Westerner BKs some kind of conformity to middle class standards. I agree people do not actually change that much and suspect they do become very much like their parents before them.

Does 'rien' ever change more?
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ex-l

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Re: The influence of Catholicism etc on one's becoming a BK

Post03 Jun 2009

Just to put a different spin on this ... senior BK adherent, and adviser to the Kripalani Klan, Neville Hodgkinson of London and his son blame the Protestants for it all at a BKWSU event.

Elsewhere, I noted Neville's son, journalist Tom Hodgkinson, was promoting the so-called 'Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University at an event called, "The Art of Doing Nothing". It turns out that both the Hodgkinsons used the event for a bit of 'Protestant bashing'. Was I wrong to cast Neville as an "Anglican BK"? What means this turn back to defend The Vatican???

Taken from the Beakies publicity report of the meeting. "Doing nothing", Tom Hodgkinson proposed, "is therapeutic" ... going on to talk of the social forces that make people work long hours doing what they do not enjoy; tracing them back to the "protestant work ethic of 17th century mill owners and the Mayflower pilgrims who quashed the Catholic traditions of festivity and community". Tom linked Protestant ethics with depression and found it not insignificant that a UNICEF study found UK children to be the unhappiest in the Western world.

Well, "Doing Nothing" is fine if you have a Daddy (like you), a Didi or a Dada (like Lekhraj Kirpalani) to fall back on. Its not a luxury every one in the world has, Tom.

Concurring with much of what Tom said, senior Brahma Kumari adherents and journalist Father Neville Hodgkinson chimed in waxing about "the pre-Puritan sense of providence and acceptance of a spiritual dimension which curbed the ego and brought contentment". Pre-Puritan acceptance of a spiritual dimension ... (that deserves a topic of its own!).

Neville spoke of several Brahma Kumari leaders that did very little and yet "their vision and understanding was such that they were able to make happen by the power of thought what 'busy' people never could". Yes ... but firstly on Lekhraj Kirpalani's money; and then on the hard earned millions of their supporters. The money that pays for their impressive properties and international airtravel. And all the fabrications and mental manipulation etc.

Neville admitted that having "gone weird" after joining the Brahma Kumaris, as Tom called it, his belief in the BKs had led to him becoming a "pariah" in his profession as a successful science journalist ... but through becoming an adherent to the Brahma Kumaris he had found a "totally alternative source of joy to the costly antiques and fast cars in which he'd sought enjoyment in the past". How wonderful. What Catholic taste.

So, excuse me if my history is a little bit weak but ...

    • did not the Vatican create huge power and wealth on the basis of a vast international slave class who really did not have the pleasure of "idling" as a way of life?
    • were the various Inquisitions all "festive and communal" for their victims?

    [Remember, the Catholics even took the Inquisition (kidnap, torture and murder of opponents) to India where "Saint" Francis Xavier had established a trading colony. "Saint" Francis Xavier writing back to Rome to demand permission for it).]

    • was not the Catholic Church the church of the land owners and used for the total control and taxation over the work force?
    • was there no benefit at all to the rational science, the Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, class struggles that came out of the Protestant Reformation?
    • was it really all just about gentile Catholics getting to loaf around versus Protestants slaving workers?
I am sorry ... I could go on and on (try reading 'Unmaking the West' by Tetlock, Lebow, Parker) but, frankly, its ridiculous.

I appreciate that Tom dropped out of Cambridge University and did not finish his education. An education which his parents must have paid dearly for. But surely it does not take that much intellect to see through the superficial seduction the BKs offer to drag folk in, even if it means using their "famous" non-believer children to do so? Let us also presume they were loyal enough ("attached" by BK standards) to provide a safety net whilst he went off and ran a skateboard shop. Then, surely, the parents gave their children a foot up into their same business and profession (journalism and publishing).

So, is this is not just more of the usual?

A privileged few selling a way of life to ordinary working people who can never aspire to it. Something that is really just driven by acquired wealth rather than "spiritual values" or spirituality. Loafing turns divine. Neville has (had) money; so did the original BKs. His child is a product of that money, so were the original BKs. They put on a non-University level waffle and call it "global service" but, what is it really?

Is it not just a privileged few are dangled as bait to suck in a serf class that will then labor for free ... and even fund ... BK global cultic expansion ambitions; the masses achieving status and "satisfaction" by their association with the lucky, moneyed, few?

I am sorry if this distracts from the original topic of overly strict Catholics and its influence onto the BK movement in the West. I hope this adds another element. One could easily draw correlations between the nature of Papal power and the European ruling classes.

Terry

ex-BK

  • Posts: 389
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  • Location: OZ

Re: The influence of Catholicism etc on one's becoming a BK

Post04 Jun 2009

ex-l wrote:I have often though how individuals do this, e.g. how certainly class (both Christian and Jew) are embarrassed by their own 'uncool' religion and then adopt Buddhism which, as something 'exotic', is consider aesthetically "cool"

Yes, you are right there. In India and China, and throughout Asia, becoming Christian seems more enlightened for many, linked to the technologically advanced, democratic West and its values that they aspire to.

I wish more credit was given, by the West and the East, to the pre-Christian pagans (e.g. the classical cultures of the Hellenes and the Romans) and the medieval Muslim world that preserved much of that inquiring and questioning spirit, rather than only seeing the "Judeo-Christian" part of it. It'd be cool to see a temple to Athena in Ahmedabad!

(BTW - did you know the first written records of Buddhist teachings were in Aramaic, as there was no written script in Bharat at the time, 200-300 BC, only later translated back to Pali? I leave the intelligent reader to ponder the implications (for "Gyan", Buddhism, Christianity, Sufism etc). Suffice to say there were Buddhist communities in Syria before the birth of Christ. He would not have had to travel far).

Similarly, even the Chinese are barely aware of their own contribution to world civilisation, cowed by colonial and then Maoist influences. A recent book brought this to my attention -
Bomb, Book and Compass: Joseph Needham and the Great Secrets of China (also published as "The Man who loved China") Author: Simon Winchester.

The seventeenth-century philosopher-statesman Francis Bacon famously declared that nothing had changed the world more profoundly than three great discoveries: printing, gunpowder and the compass. What he did not know was that all three had already been conceived of and successfully employed by a single people, living on the far side of the globe, long before the West ever 'invented' them. And yet it was not until more than three hundred years later, in a young scientist's study in Cambridge, that one remarkable man set out to give these people the credit they rightly deserved.

Joseph Needham was a keenly intelligent, charismatic young biochemist, working towards a glittering career at Cambridge, when he fell in love with a young Chinese student. His passion for his mistress quickly led to a fascination with her country's language and history, and he soon developed an astonishing reputation as a self-taught, albeit eccentric, scholar of Chinese culture. When, in 1943, the British government sent him on a diplomatic mission to help save China's universities from the occupying Japanese forces, he began the research that would occupy him for the rest of his life and which would one day lead him to write the greatest work on China ever created in the Western World.

Needham's twenty-four-volume masterpiece, "Science and Civilization in China", remains an unrivalled account of the nation's astonishing history of invention and technology: from blast furnaces and suspension bridges, to the game of chess and the first toilet paper. In Bomb, Book and Compass, Simon Winchester tells the story of this man, his book, the passion that inspired it - and the extraordinary rise of the Chinese nation that continues to this day.
ex-l wrote: senior Brahma Kumari adherents and journalist Father Neville Hodgkinson chimed in waxing about "the pre-Puritan sense of providence and acceptance of a spiritual dimension which curbed the ego and brought contentment". Pre-Puritan acceptance of a spiritual dimension ...

Relating back to topic - maybe the Python skits say it better, and generalisations do fall over in certain particular situations. Maybe the real dynamic is not which denomination, but the fact that in every society there are those who would emphasise seriousness of life over the celebration, the transcendent over the immanent, and seek to explain their good fortune over other's lesser fortune by way of some "virtue" other than productivity or "transfer of energy".

A social system or religion would give preference to one side more than another, without complete dominion (otherwise there'd be no tensions or conflicts). It is an aspect of the masculine/patriarchal to suggest that, "its my way or the highway" which is more akin to institutionalised collective thinking, rather than the feminine principle, which is more like, "let things take their own course". To recognise each has virtue at its appropriate time is an integration rarely found institutionally. The superego is often voracious.
Superego : the part of the personality representing the conscience, formed in early life by internalization of the standards of parents and other models of behavior.
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