Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

for measuring opinion on matters relating to their BKWSU experiences
Forum rules A forum specifically for polls on any topic relating to Brahma Kumaris. Anyone can vote here or discussion the poll. General conversion about the issues is best kept to the Commonroom.

Do you find yourself in this birth as a BK / ex-BK soul in black body?

Yes
4
17%
No
20
83%
 
Total votes : 24

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onthor

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Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post03 Dec 2016

.
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Pink Panther

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post03 Dec 2016

Onthor, why the equivocation?

Maybe some simpler, more direct questions may help garner clarity.

Are you young, gifted or black?

What was the ethno-cultural makeup of the centre, zone you were part of as a BK?

With the ‘positive’ attitude you practiced, was what you saw of what was going on around you the same as what someone with a disinterested, objective view would see, i.e. someone not practicing ”soul consciousness” (or whatever shorthand term we use) or any other ”predetermined” consciousness would see?

Did you "brush off” any slights directed at you or at others as ”drama” or ”their sanskaras”? Or none occurred?

If all was hunky dory, we’ll just 'move along, nothing to see here’ ( s the policeman said to the spectators gathered around the car crash).
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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post03 Dec 2016

I have a longer, more reasoned response that I was going to post but I won't right now. Thank you, Pink, for addressing the subject of the thread. Those are hard questions I am asking but genuine ones and, as you've proven, valid ones.

I don't see BKism as a liberation movement for any race. I think it does very little to uplift those who need uplifted the most, and a lot to exploit those who are already personally or culturally "burdened".

I'd pick that gentleman you mentioned as a neighbour, Pink, before I'd accept any of the light or "wheaten" skinned inner circle of the Kirpalani Klan (... to quote Indian marriage adverts).
"Did I experience a heightened spiritual awareness and gain any spiritual wisdom whilst studying Gyan?"

A very good question to ask, and keep asking as one reviews one's BK past.

Did you, and did you really? Let's take karma philosophy and square it with the Black experience. Whose fault is their oppression?

So you're saying your local centre and center-in-charge was a nice/laid back/mellow/equal ops one ... fair enough. Defend it. State your truth. But what about also adopting a wider vision and seeing the bigger picture? Life's not all about you and your experience. I think, in my time, we were just on the fringes and, my feeling is, accepted as the lunatic fringes of BKism; tolerated, accommodated, accepted, given additional privileges because of our usefulness or because they did not understand us fully (at that time).

Africa was still the Dark Continent for the BKs in my time. I have no idea what is going on there now. Is any one checking? Does anyone care?

For me, if knew the cult/religion/organisation to which adhered was practising discrimination, I would take it up with the leaders and then leave on principle if it did not stop, and expose it or protect others from it afterwards.

One of the problems with BKism is that one is just so busy/consumed/exhuasted and tied to one's own little centre that one often fails to do just that. And I think that and their "don't look ... don't speak out" attitude is deliberately controlling.

Who even thought as a BK to check on the welfare of others in other centres in other countries? How were such concerns handled and by whom?

I was deeply disgusted when I heard of some of what goes on not just in India to the villagers but in Africa and the Americas (ask about poorer South American BKs, South America is also dived by light and dark skin).

I think we were encouraged not to perceive the real, not to look and see, and, especially, not to question or challenge anything that might rock the boat or change internal caste order.

Is that "a heightened spiritual awareness"?

I think that as BKs we were encouraged to accept we actually had no rights at all never mind not stand up for any, and this is the legal reality with the BKWSU today. BKs adherents the world over are not "members" of the cult, they have no rights at all. They exists and attended on the whim of an absolutely unaccountable leadership.

If you square that we not being paid for our labour, we were mentally enslaved. I'd even go as far as to say the young or Indian "surrendered Sisters" (especially 'Indian in India') were actual slaves. They were not free. They were not even 'indentured servants who could pay off their lives and earn their freedom with years of labour.

They may have been "house niggers" for the Kirpalani Klan, e.g. had a nice-ish life in the centres and not on the plantation, but they were still enslaved. Golden chains or golden cages are still chains and cages. They had no where else to go, no way out. I'd even say that's still the situation now. The BKWSU has no exit plan for them.

Even within, say, the Black BK community, they are creating class or caste division based largely on money (this also applied to South American), e.g. based on who will ever be able to go to Madhuban, meet their god and get married officially and those who will never be able to.
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onthor

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Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post03 Dec 2016

Pink Panther wrote:Onthor, why the equivocation?

Maybe some simpler, more direct questions may help garner clarity.
Are you young, gifted or black?
What was the ethno-cultural makeup of the centre, zone you were part of as a BK?

With the ‘positive’ attitude you practiced, was what you saw of what was going on around you the same as what someone with a disinterested, objective view would see, i.e. someone not practicing ”soul consciousness” (or whatever shorthand term we use) or any other ”predetermined” consciousness would see?

Did you "brush off” any slights directed at you or at others as ”drama” or ”their sanskaras”? Or none occurred?

If all was hunky dory, we’ll just 'move along, nothing to see here’ (as the policeman said to the spectators gathered around the car crash).

Are you young, gifted or black? - I have answered this question before. My consciousness has evolved to the extent that I am comfortable acknowledging my African-ness based on my appearance; yes, I am melanated. Yes, I am aware of some of the gifts I have been blessed with and am discovering more as life goes on. As for age, I am now closer to the "end of life" according to the average lifespan, than the flush of youth.

Again, you ask me to "see as another might"; I cannot. The centre was well run, we were almost all householders and all had a keen interest in studying the Murli. In hindsight, I would say that we were all gifted in getting the message of the Murli and my fellow "Africans" of my generation, and common background, and similar life experience, ALL entered Gyan with a deep pre-existing love for GOD (not uncommon amongst melanated peoples; but not exclusively the case).

Yes, we did eventually brush off any "slights" as you term them; I am certain that any BK student is aware of the saying that 'sanskars will rub'. In fact, as I recall it, Shiv Baba often mentions this in the Murli, so why should I allow the odd mishap with a fellow human to force my rails off track? That would be folly considering that I believed that God was speaking to me!

Hope this helps
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onthor

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Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post03 Dec 2016

For me, it is a bit like this. BKdom is a matrix within The Matrix. Back then I did not even know there was a Matrix much less that there could be a subsection marked BKdom. I was fully locked-in numberwise according to my capacity. Becoming a BK was just another step in my spiritual journey so it seemed and I believed all that stuff fully. I've been gifted with both a sharp intellect as well as a surprising amount of "innocence" given the troubles I've gotten myself into. Unfortunately, I attributed a lot of my progress to being a BK rather than be open to recognising my personal mark (so to speak).

Sorry if I keep saying more of the same but this is how I have filed my BK experience away and am comfortable with it. Maybe the centre was small enough for us to co-exist well; it could be a matter of fortune as a BK would say but, hey, it was what it was.

ex-l, the day I stopped teaching Gyan to others with same level of conviction I once did, was the day that I realised that up till then I had been sort of taking advantage of their openness. Again this was not planned; it just happened as a natural consequence of my fetters becoming loosened. In fact, those courses were some of my happiest because I felt like me.

I really feel for you and the events that transpired with a student of yours (for want of a better term) but there is NO way that I can accept that my failure to feel similarly about my own experience is somehow a failing on my part. Sorry that is how it is for me. However, do not mistakenly think that I do not bear scars of an eternal and personally disturbing nature.

I do, ex-l, and they cut very, very deep but those are my burdens to bear and I do the best that I can with them.
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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post03 Dec 2016

I think I can concur with the "The Matrix" related stuff.

Once you *see* how how one cult operated, in the case of the BKs' mini-cult, you start to see how all cults operate ... you have earned a practical understanding of what you are calling the matrixes, and I would call "the cultic model". Perhaps even moreso than academics whose understanding - however useful in naming the various parts - is theoretical.

I think one also starts to reaction not just intuitively but viscerally to cultic methods being used upon one ... hence your/one's reaction to the machinations of what you are calling "the New World Order".

Actually, our only difference is that I don't think it is a "New World Order", I just think it's a continuation of the the Old World Order. Samo-samo ... a greasy pole or dung heap that the Kirpalani Klan is doing their best to clamber up as high as they can as possible.

What I think we're both saying is BKism is not a liberation movement. It does not offer the old "liberation in life" that it claims ... it is just a more comfortable cell if you are willing and able to meet its jailors' entrance demands?

A quote from an anonymous wellwisher ...
anonymous BK wrote:I recall a youngish, attractive South African female politician, quite close to Mandela, who was having real angst about Karmic theory as presented by BK, in an African context ... she felt that karmic theory confirmed the black races [were a] failure, given that the black races were the poorest, so to be black was, ipso facto, to be the worst kind of 'Shudra' ... and inherent in that was a strong streak of White/Indian racism.

Well observed I thought at the time. She used to come to the Oxford programs in the 1990s ...

What about Black role models within BKs, especially younger men?

Did you ever meet Clarke Peters? He was a lone "dark star" - a celebrity endorser - within BKism for a long time.

Funny, considering what we are talking about.
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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post05 Dec 2016

Question, is there a Black caucus or "wing" within BKWSU?

Were there groups or places where these issues could be discussed?

Were there specifically targeted programs?

Speaking of the devil ... Clarke Peters: 'I was 15 when I first stuck out my thumb and ran away from home'
Clarke Peters spoke not wrote:I loved the classics without knowing that those roles were limited for a soul locked in a dark body.

The opportunities weren’t there.” It’s a problem he encountered repeatedly.
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post15 Dec 2016

There was a Black caucus. I recalled us having a meeting when we went to Abu in the 80s.

I wanted to mentioned two West Indians, the BKs never contacted or tried to contact. One was a famous Cambridge trained PhD physicist who wrote : To Sir With Love. The other was the great CLR James.

Just check out: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/ ... are_btn_fb
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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post15 Dec 2016

I am reading the Walter Rodney book, 'How Europe Underdeveloped Africa', at present.

It makes fascinating reading and poses considerable problems from the White-centric world view, e.g. "little" asides like how James Watt's steam engine was financed by West Indian slave/plantation owners. Consider how different history would have been had it not been funded. It kickstarted the industrial revolution.

CLR James I know of, there's a library named after him nearby to me. He was another great socialist or "people" person.

Rodney's work even more highly critical of capitalism, and especially global capitalism, placing slavery and the deliberate underdevelopment of Africa at the core of its foundations, an argument I cannot disagree with.

However, I am uncomfortable at his, and the others referenced above, portrayal of it as a "European" or "White" thing versus Black ... as if it was a democratic concensus of all White, or as if all White people had an interest in it. There's less of emphasis on the class angle (although some in Rodney's work).

For me, being of "White peasant stock" until the start of the 20th Century myself, I think that portrayal is a little erroneous because the very same people were treating White underclasses in exactly the very same manner at home ... including "press ganging" them to work on the ships in the first place. Consequently, although *some*, very small element of White societies profited, and Europe generally benefited, I reject any personal feeling of guilt or responsibility. I mean, given the choice of working on a sunny sugar plantation in the Caribbean, or starving to death ankle deep in frosty mud in a wintery Ireland ... which one would you have chosen?

The book, however, also forces me to view the Brahma Kumaris' social and economical growth as also being based on a kind of slavery.

In particular, the mental and economic enslavement of their "sevadhari" class of primarily young women.

As I read Rodney's work I started to look at the Brahma Kumari cultural and economic growth as being based on the same model, albeit at a slightly more subtle level.

I am sorry to say this but any work without pay and minimum rights and benefits ... is slavery.

The position of the Brahma Kumaris unpaid workforce is not even indentured servitude (there is no rewad, no freedom at the end of it). I believe it is literaly slavery.

The BKs say, "anyone can leave any time" ... but, tell me, where would some women who has worked for the BKs for, say, 25 years go? Will they give her a financial settlement in order to re-settle herself? Sufficient land to grow a sustenance level of food as per the indentured servants and freed slaves in the Americas?

What will she do to survive with ... no money for all her labour ... no savings ... no training ... no real skills ... no marriage potentiality ... no longer able to bear children to look after her in old age?

They are enslaved, pure and simple; at first mentally, and then economically.

More later once I have finished the book.
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Pink Panther

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post16 Dec 2016

:shock:
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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post16 Dec 2016

This probably belongs with the other topic on the issue.

I accept many of the surrendered Sisters may well be far happier living their lives in a centre than married off to some man they don't love and living with their inlaws ... but without pay, explicit rights and social benefits including personal ownership, they are still basically enslaved.

One would have to look more closely at class, or caste, within BKism.

Life on the BK plantation is all fine and dandy today. What about tomorrow when the revenues start to drop below sustainable levels?

Onthor raised the idea of Black people being more naturally religious. I'd disagree with that. I think what he was saying is that many Black people growing up under the weight of British imperialism were more subjected to fairly basic Christian indoctrination for generations and, hence, more susceptible to being hooked by a church or cult like the BKs.

And sold down the river again. Except for a few rare "mystics" perhaps, I don't see the natural connection between their own natural spirituality and BKism, nor that BKism would be their liberation or match their prime needs.
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onthor

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Young, Gifted & Spiritually Attuned AFRICAN

Post18 Dec 2016

onthor wrote:With all due respect ex-l these sorts of questions can be said to reveal a degree of body-consciousness that is not reflective of the spiritual tenets of Gyan as I know them to be. Are you playing devil's advocate? Or are we to see these queries as a stark revelation of the saying that "many are called but few are chosen"? ... ex-l it is abundantly clear (to my way of 'seeing') that you do not have any clue how spiritually attuned the African really is.

Hi ex-l, please see above with reference to your erroneous comment in your post preceding this one, re: "Onthor raised the idea of Black people being more naturally religious."

Dear reader, I have deliberately, sincerely, oft stated on this topic that it is not nor will it ever be my intention to assert or support any ideas of superiority/inferiority whichever side of the fence such sentiments may come. It ought to be clear for all to see that I did not use the word "more" in my original remarks; nor did I use the word "religious"; nor were my remarks a subtle or gross comparator with anything or any "others".

ex-l, as I read/interpret your posts on this site, they are infused with a (commendable) blend of 'earnest scholarly endeavour' and 'heartfelt conviction', and so if for the sake of goodwill I do allow that my remarks can be construed as a form of comparison, then I do so in order to underscore that such comparison is ONLY just if it (the word "more") is meant to assert that my remarks were/are by way of contrasting with "not being spiritually attuned". That said, any other use of the word 'more' must therefore be taken as a device of your own purpose.

Secondly, you will note that although I have lifted the last four words of my preceding paragraph exactly as they were written in the original post, you have chosen to replace them & whatever you thought I meant with the 2 words 'naturally religious'. Such a substitution may well represent one of the ways in which you are able to understand and fit my remark into your world view, however, as myself being the onthor of the original phrase, that substitution is neither valid nor does it accurately present/interpret what was written.

regards

onthor
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onthor

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Young, Gifted & Spiritually Attuned AFRICAN

Post18 Dec 2016

To continue more the off-topic bent for a while I would hazard a guess that I am more "well acquainted" with the late Walter Rodney's latter day's on this plane of existence than you are or you will learn from the book. In fact, I myself, as well as many others, are aware of much evidence that the late Walter Rodney was victim of political assassination - giving his life as it were for the politics he believed in and argued for under the banner of the Working People's Alliance. But, as I said, it is only a guess and am more than happy to be wrong.

Given that the a lot of effort is expended in maintaining the credibility of this forum and its mission to the highlight the BKWSU as not being all it purports to be, in my quiet moments away from this forum I realised that I don't have much to add to the stated mission of this place. You are right, there is a way to look back at my being a BK and see that my time in Gyan did not do anything much to educate/enlighten me as to my "Blackness". But I never 'became a BK' with that purpose in mind; therefore I do not feel any upset these many years after that such 'enlightenment' was not even a by-product of the organisation's teachings. But one of benefits I experienced as a BK was a heightened appreciation for the spiritual, i.e the so-called non-physical component of the human manifestation irregardless of race. A bit like was sung by the late Bob Marley (in words said to be borrowed from a speech by the Emperor of Kush, Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael. So, in layman's terms, the awareness of energy, soul, spirit did more to heighten my appreciation of being part of ALL humanity rather than it served to give rise to my grumbling about the lack of 'diversity' in the BKWSU.

I knew and accepted the traditions from which the BK teachings came. When I gave the seven day course, or whatever other service I engaged in, I never had nor did I have to learn to suppress a colour conscious mindset. I cannot do anything if the reader's own BK experiences does/did not make it possible for them to do the same. Nor am I suggesting that my experience is the desirable one.
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onthor

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Young, Gifted & Spiritually Attuned AFRICAN

Post18 Dec 2016

From where I am now placed in my life one concern I would voice is about the possibility that there is such a level of known make-believe and revisionism in the foundation and ongoing development of the organisation, that opening up would signify a loss of control the Seniors dare not allow. Personally, I would feel that such a revelation would be like a confession that I had been kept in a state of mental and spiritual entrapment - but, remember, I was an adult when I joined-up so I also feel that I have to take some ownership of that.

But, if all is exactly as we were taught, then I am equally happy to have moved on and continue to make the best of my past and future life-choices. This mindset may not be in keeping with the ethos of this website but am sure that there is not just one sort of ex-BK.
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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post18 Dec 2016

With regards your first post above, I did not make a comparison against other races either ... and I reject such a broad undefined concept as "Black", I think you have to be far more specific than you are being.

I meant "more naturally spiritual/religious than they are". "Or appear to me", if you wish to look at it subjectively.

Spiritual or religious meaning the same to me. For me, the "non-physical component" could just mean trance and mediumship experiences ... whatever they might be.

OK, you said, "you do not have any clue how spiritually attuned the African really is". Let's start with "which African or Africans?"

There's an idea amongst archeologists that the earlist religions/spirituality evolved out of a lack of understanding of meteorology. In short, primate humans the world over did know what made the weather ... their lives and deaths being determined by it ... and so they invented stories about gods, super humans or super animals (stuff they saw around themselves) to explain it and then got into trying to appease them in order to get more better stuff.

These days, in the African Churches I see around me, "more better stuff" appears to highly materialistic "I was lost and then found Jesus, now I have a Mercedes and lots of money".

I am saddened by African's indoctrination into, and adoption of, Christianity because I see it, firstly, as an extension of White colonial-imperialism ... a sort of "Sunday school slavery"; and, secondly, as a sort of sad aping of the White man. An adoption of the White man's voodoo because it was more powerful. And it most certain was in a worldly way.

Around the corner from where I worked there was an African church and it saddened me how mentally enslave to the trappings of White imperialism they remained in a very primitive, almost child-like manner.

The men would dress up in cheap and shoddy equivalents of Victiorian tropical military uniforms, complete with sashes, fake medals, cockatoo pith helmet; and the women would dress up in the Victorian nighties, complete with frilly nightcaps ... an outfit we know the imperialists dressed them up in to stop their jiggling boobies being a distractions for young missionaries far from home and a White women.

They were, I would argue, confusing the trappings of British/Imperial material power with the methods of achieving it on a "monkey see, monkey do" level.

OK ... there may well be a difference between "spiritual" and "religious" (if so, please define what you mean by it). However, I think we can all accept that religion has always just been a form of tribal indoctrination enthusiastically usurp by Empire builders throughout history and the world over.

Brahma Kumaris included.

How do you feel about Black people dressing themselves up, mentally and physically, in the BKs' Hinduism Lite™ ?

Sadly, to find accounts, and living systems of native African spirituality is increasing difficult these days given the power of the imperial religions and materialism.

But if you're interested in exploring the differences, and how it is being challenged, I'd encourage you starting with Colin Macmillan Turnbull books, 'The Forest People' and 'The Mountain People'. To explore spiritualist religions with parallels to BKism, that is "spirits" acting as a voice of the oppressed, I've mention the Tromba spiritualists amongst the Sakalava people* in Madagascar on this forum before. Possibly also the Zār cults of East Africa too (they were said to served as a refuge for women and effeminate men).

Of course, spiritualism in the forum of vodun (voodoo) is far more common amongst Africans as, I would argue, their tendency towards religious hysterias, trance and spirit possession (both human and non-human) ... whatever they might be.

Some of the videos on Youtube of Nigerian Churches are fascinating to watch. Something I take from them is how the trappings of "Christianity" are used as a facade for native spiritualism, just as so called "Sufis" in Sudan and East Africa adopt Islamic trappings ... presumably, in both cases, to avoid the persecution of the dominant Imperial religions.

It's funny because if you speak to a new agey Westerner, "Sufis" are the cool Islamic mystics. If you speak to a modern Sudanese, so called "Sufis" are the worst exploitative charlatans promoting superstitions and keeping people dumbed down and uneducated.

So, please, define your terms more clearly.

Tell us what you mean, not how little of a clue I have about African spiritually.

No, I'd never heard about Rodney before but I know more than an average amount about the Black Panthers, and the American States response to them. I think BKism distracted us and our energy from very real racialist issues in the world which still need a more practical addressing than sitting on your bum going "Om Shanti".
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