"Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controversy

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ex-l

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"Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controversy

Post08 Aug 2012

A dispute over the Brahma Kumaris' connection to the Living Values education program erupted on the website of The Guardian national newspaper related to an article about how "Schools revive 'touchy-feely' approach". See also, "BKs in our school systems and outright deception".

The article is probably based on PR to promote Dr Neil Hawkes' paid consultancy service and website Values-based Education.

(Expect pages and comments to go "missing" from the internet, so take copies if you are interested)
The Guardian wrote:This school is located in the heart of (UK Prime Minister) David Cameron's Witney constituency in West Oxfordshire ...

Tower Hill is one of a growing number of schools in the UK that have adopted values-based education, a fast-growing movement set up by a former Oxfordshire headteacher, Neil Hawkes.

Of course, we could argue that this is another example of someone else within the BK sphere taking an element of BK service and turning it into a private business, an approach unthinkable until recently, and low and behold Neil even promotes another such example, Relax Kids, on his website. But is it right to say Neil Hawkes started this "movement" or the Brahma Kumaris? (I know other BKs who worked on the original idea).

Discussion by the readers of The Guardian raises concerns about the cultic connections to which Dr Neil Hawkes answers, perhaps poorly advised, stating he is "not a Brahma Kumari member" ...
Dr Neil Hawkes wrote:NeilHawkes 7 August 2012 4:09PM

... One of the writers today, has inferred that I am a member of the Brahma Kumaris, and that my website id a front for them!

This is not true, as I have never been a member of this group.

Now remember Vales Education is about promoting values in educations like "truth and honest" because, strangely, on 08 December 1995 Frances Farrar, who wrote a book about Neil's work, published an article on TES the largest network of teachers in the world which said -
TES wrote:Mr Hawkes, a former RE adviser for Buckinghamshire and principal education officer on the Isle of Wight, chose to go back into a school post in order to regain contact with children.

He studies aspects of spirituality with a group called Brahma Kumaris outside Oxford, and believes that the practice of reflection is valuable to the whole curriculum as well as to the whole child.

A Brahma Kumaris book, Visions of a Better World, published in co-operation with the United Nations, is on display in the school's front hallway, and the Brahma Kumaris Co-operation in the Classroom schools resource pack is used by several of the teachers.


- revised 12 May 2008

Who is right? Dr Neil Hawkes has certain spoken at many Brahma Kumari events and been involved in promoting the Living Values service programme.

    Perhaps he is depending on that favorite old half-truth ... the Brahma Kumari's convenient claim that "the BKWSU has no members".

    Or perhaps he is just lying? (Not in front of the kids, please).
Dr Neil Hawkes also makes use of other Brahma Kumarisms, such as referring to its members as "educators" at the inception of the Living Values service programme (BKs often call Brahma Kumari recruiters "educators", he says there were 30, we say 25), and leaning on its relationship with the United Nations to give it more credibility.

They even claim Living Values was "developed for UNICEF in New York" and at his seminars, Neil regularly promotes such BK publications such as;

    Co-operation in the Classroom, and
    Living Values - Brahman Kumaris World Spiritual University
And he makes no effort to deny they are an 'End of the World' cult.

What is the truth?

The Brahma Kumaris world is full of such ambiguity and obfuscation with only those with close, direct connections with the BKs can pick up on. It regularly represents its members ... adherents ... students ... followers ... whatever, its spin off organizations, and the business of its adherents and "serviceable" ex-adherents as if they are entirely separate in a manner to give its activities more credibility.

It talks about truth and honest as virtues or values ... and then it deceives and manipulates non-adherents.

Although not relevant to the outside world, another ethical question arises within the BK world about the right of BK adherents ... students ... followers ... (cough, "members") ... to take and use elements of the religion's philosophy and service programmes, and turn them into private business ... when it is forbidden to the general rank and file. Why had the leadership started to allow this, especially as it involves the discussion of business between adherents?

Has Dr Neil Hawkes officially "ex-ed" himself from the BKWSU ... and this is an attempt to make something out of his time with them? Or was he only a "co-operative" or "microphone soul" ... a demi-BK used and manipulated by the BKWSU leaders for their own benefit?

Given the revolving doors between Living Values and the BKWSU organization, is he still promoting them by stealth?



What is inarguable is that the Brahma Kumaris started Living Values as its 3rd international service in 1995, that it was run from its centers worldwide by leading adherents, that they used it to gain credibility and further penetration, especially in territories where they real agenda or message would be highly unacceptable, e.g. Middle East, China and public school systems. We must presume Dr Neil Hawkes is perfect aware of what their beliefs and agendas are.

See also:
Values, and Values in Education, Redbridge Advisory Service 1999

Living Values: An Educational Initiative is a project which is currently been piloted in 5 countries. The Living Values Educators’ Kit comprises a range of materials including a guidebook, values activities for different age groups, a card pack and poster. Training courses for educators are coordinated by the Brahma Kumaris (World Spiritual University).
'Living Values: an educational program’—from initiative to uptake'. Elisabeth Arweck & Eleanor Nesbitt

This article is concerned with the connection between religions and education. It explores the case of one particular values education programme, ‘Living Values: an educational program’, and its link with the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) to show how the programme originated and developed, which individuals and institutions were involved in these processes, how such a programme finds application in British schools and what form such application takes. The article traces a ‘chain of transmission’ from inception to classroom.


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ex-l

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Re: "Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controver

Post08 Aug 2012

The Guardian moderators seem determined to delete any reference to a 1995 TES article which reports Neil Hawkes as studying "aspects of spirituality with a group called Brahma Kumaris outside Oxford" (their Global Retreat centre) and that, "a Brahma Kumaris book, Visions of a Better World, published in co-operation with the United Nations, is on display in the school's front hallway, and the Brahma Kumaris Co-operation in the Classroom schools resource pack is used by several of the teachers."

Neil states that his website is accused of being "a front for them".

Actually what was said was that, "For the Brahma Kumaris, the Living Values has been an exceptionally fruitful secular front, offering a mask of credibility and respectability for their otherwise dubious beliefs and practises in the same manner as their often exaggerated relationship with the United Nations".
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Re: "Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controver

Post08 Aug 2012

aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh that video is sooooo creepy. He is certainly disturbing enough to be a BK.

I remember Living Values often being spoken of as a way of BK message getting in schools. The RELAX KIDS lot are a very creepy bunch too.
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Re: "Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controver

Post08 Aug 2012

Yes, very creepy!
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Re: "Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controver

Post09 Aug 2012

It raises interesting questions for me. What is going on here? How can an otherwise intelligent individuals be suckered in to acting as a front for BKs without even knowing or believing in all they stand for? Or is Living Values an avenue for some BKs to do something genuinely good?

I define "front" as anything the BK can use as a mask for their actual agenda or take credit from to increase their status and credibility. What is interesting is how far from the BK Living Values is shifting and how many apparently non-BKs it is incorporating.

I agree with you ex-BK. LV started as "Sharing Our Values for a Better World" and was the BKs third, big international PR campaign in 1994-5, following on from the successful models established by "The Million Minutes of Peace" in 1986 and "Global Co-operation for Better World" in 1988-91.

I cannot take the idea that it was "service" because, seriously, what different do/did they really make? They are marketing campaigns, just like the Peace Marches they used to do before (... and the idea for Million Minutes of Peace did not come from the BK HQ, I am sure it came from some young Australians. Janki etc wanted to carry on the tradition of self-advertisatory "Peace Marches" in the West).

Anyone hanging around closely with the BK is initiated into the meditation. What does it mean ... "He studies aspects of spirituality with a group called Brahma Kumaris outside Oxford, and believes that the practice of reflection is valuable to the whole curriculum as well as to the whole child." Does the "practice of reflection" include BK meditation?

Would many headmasters front up for a cult that believes in a 5,000 Year Cycle of Time and that it is going to "give courage" to scientists to use nuclear weapons to murder humanity? Oh, and that children born of the evil of lust today are impure "scorpion and snakes".

Around the BKs appear to be a circle of otherwise decent, intelligent, sensitive enough people and who come to the BK's defence. In my opinion, which the BKs can hide behind and use as reasonable seeming fronts. How many of you sat in on meetings where such "serviceable souls" were flattered and encouraged? (We used to laugh a little about it because it was obvious some of them came around because they were falling for some Sister, or thought that had a chance!). They all got a dose of the meditation and "zapped" by a Senior Sister ... which was what it was all about.

But what it seems to be is that now is that you can become part of the BKs without even being a BK and going through the course etc. Of course, some might be encouraged by their own ambitions or business interests too ... I cannot say. I've never met or spoken to this man.

But unless he puts a strong firewall between his business and the BKs, I'd just put him down for being part of their drone army ... a sleeper to be awoken and used when required, useful for bring in better contact souls and cooperative enough to front up a BK events at BK venues to draw more people in. If he does not then, in my opinion, he is part of their operation and it is interesting to watch how subtle the BKs influence is becoming.

I am sure BKs all think, "oh, he will come to Baba near the End".
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Re: "Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controver

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Re: "Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controver

Post03 Jun 2014

If we cannot promote values in the society but only discuss about the negativities of others, then it never could be social works. So, do something positive through this site other than just criticizing others. If you say that criticism is needed, even then what about your elevated actions? Are we really spiritual? What are we doing for the society, just criticism?
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ex-l

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Re: "Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controver

Post03 Jun 2014

masterji wrote:What are we doing for the society, just criticism?

Who are the Brahma Kumaris to promote "virtues" when time and time again they have been proven to have no ethics.

The values they understand best are marketing values.

The only point I might agree with you is that "we are what we do, not what we say" ... but there are 10,000 better ways to "serve" the world than doing marketing and PR for the Brahma Kumaris.

And what India needs most is practical change, not airy fairy "values".

600,000 million Indian, the majority women, still have to defecate in the open air, inconveniencing them, putting them at personal risk and causing terrible water born and life threatening illness, especially to children.

Try fixing that before you start build the palaces of gold and jewels for your leaders or even paying for all their 5 star luxury retreats, and business class air travel.
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Re: "Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controver

Post04 Jun 2014

Try fixing that before you start build the palaces of gold and jewels for your leaders or even paying for all their 5 star luxury retreats, and business class air travel.

Although there have been some notable exceptions, India historically has never been a country of technical and material (i.e. things that matter) innovation.

At its heart is a ”vedic" culture concerned with hierarchy and aristocracy. Its religion has always been (since the Rig- Veda was composed 3,500 years ago) concerned with ”self- purification” because the world is corrupt and impure ( maybe guilt- born out of the bloodshed of aryan conquests?) There has never been until the 20th century a general valuing of social improvement & political reform, it was always founded on improving one’s personal advantage which was granted by class/inheritance and keeping the masses below compliant.

Vedanta and it's other spiritual descendants built on this value system, devaluing any expenditure of energy into significantly improving the here and now. All effort is adjudged as worthwhile or not according to theoretical assumptions about a next life. The best minds got diverted into metaphysics rather than physics and engineering etc

Of course such minds helped develop many yogic and other practices which within them contain great value, and only now is that aspect of India’s contributions being separated out from religion a.k.a. the ties that bind, now that rational secular objectivism can discriminate between the practical & actual benefits versus the speculative metaphysical benefits.

The masses won’t demand proper sanitation ahead of owning a Nokia as long as most believe such things are a boon from Ganesh or fruit of karma.
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Re: "Touchy-feely" PR erupts into BK Living Values controver

Post04 Jun 2014


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