Enduring characteristic of my dealings with the BKWSO

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Enduring characteristic of my dealings with the BKWSO

Post10 Apr 2009

Posted by rob on 09 Apr 2009.
rob wrote:I do drop into these forums from time to time to see what is happening in the former BK community. I am usually very busy working, so I catch up in the breaks.

I did not know Esther, but still the tragedy touches me as a person because this latest suicide seems to advertise so strongly the dangers of indocrination within the BKWSO. My story, Terry, goes back a long way. So I will try to be essenceful. And I also need to exercise some caution as I am not sure it would be a safe step to identify individuals.

When I was first introduced to the so called 'Knowledge', it was through a friend who had met a guy delivering the 7 Days Course in UK. From the outset, I found myself challenging the teachings being given to my friend by this so called "teacher". I had for many years studied spiritual systems and religions, psychology, mysticism, and a host of other subjects. So I felt I had some understanding of these things, sufficient to ask informed questions about what my friend was being taught.

I challenged the cosmology, the notion of the 5000 year cycle, the role of Lekraj, the issues of celibacy etc. At one point, my friend became frustrated and angry with me, and I was later to learn that each time I had challenged BK ideas he had gone back to pose my questions to the BK teacher. Although my friend was given answers to his questions, he later told me that he felt the BK teacher was pretty threatened by my questions - an odd reaction considering this BK was in possession of the so called "truth".

I also later learned that this 'teacher' was in fact not delivering courses from local BK centres, but from his home due to the fact there was some antagonism between him and the instrument soul running the centre. Later this instrument disclosed to me and others, it was his devotion to Raja Yoga that drove him to this path and that he did not trust the insturument at the centre whom he considered was envious of his rapid growth as a Yogi.

This kind of friction between BKs, so clear at the beginning, was to become an enduring characteristic of my dealings with the BKWSO.

Over some months, I learned more about the BKs and received the foundation course from the same 'independant' teacher. I later learned I was viewed in a less than positive way by this teacher who, in one session, deliberately asked me questions about my affiliations with another spiritual group. Unsatisfied by my answers, he concluded that my affiliations were nothing but a figment of my imagination. Only later, from others that he had confided in, did I learn this.

The irony of course is that my affliliation was genuine but to experience that kind of judgmentalism and dishonest attempts to 'catch me out' was hurtful to learn about. This was one of the first examples of the real character of many in the BK family. When I say "real character", I mean, of course, the characters that lurks underneath the smiles, the drishti gazes, the veneer of hospitality, the sweet words of 'Brother'. As I came to learn this facade conceals a less than wholesome set of motives for some BKs. Many practising BKs are victims of what I would refer to as 'ambition outreaching ability'.

In time, I was introduced to the small local centre and then the larger ones, including those in London. The latter centre I visited just a few times to see Janki, Jyanti, Sudesh and others. Unfortunately, there had already been disagreements and bad feeling created between those running the local centre and the teacher. I, and several other new BKs attending this centre together, were 'briefed' by the teacher about the bad practices of the centre instruments and warned about them.

A good 3-4 of us, having been given the basic teachings by the teacher and cautioned in this way, became rather allied with the teacher against the insturuments. We met at first reasonably, frequently with the teacher, and a culture of criticism and ridicule of these centre instruments was both facilitated and encouraged by this teacher. It was all very immature and unsavoury stuff when I look back on it. It was also very un-yogi behaviour. The centre instruments, had in their turn, tried to warn me away from the teacher.

This very unhealthy climate characterised my visits to the local centre, and also my visits to the larger ones. As I was introduced to more BKs, a kind of 'them and us' mentality grew up toward instrument BKs, mainly as a result of perceived inaccuracies in their behaviour when measured against 'Shrimat'. The attitude at times was very unforgiving, and at other times the BKs adopted a kind of false, "let's have good wishes for the enemy" approach.

This latter stance had the effect of allowing these BKs to appease their conscience for former instances of ridicule toward the instruments, and was clearly to me a kind of grand egotism - the kind that stems from the view that they are on the right path, so they are able to extend the benefit of good wishes to those on an innacurate path. This kind of immaturity and superiority - this egotism - would often be disguised as humility and comapassion. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth and it is tragic when I think of the extent to which these BKs were in the grip of this delusion.

If I had to say one thing about my experience, then it is that both the teacher and other BKs exhibited an inability to see through the veil of their own egotism, but a well developed capacity to believe they could identify egotism in others in such an adept fashion.

As months and then years rolled out I experienced many BKs who seemed in the grip of their egos, who concealed their dishonesty and duplicity behind several Gyani concepts; a favourite shield for such dishonesty being the famous, "Art of Revealing and Concealing". This concept was poorly understood by most but that did not matter, it was a ready and expedient justification for deceit.

On one occassion, I was informed by my fellow BKs that I would not be allowed to continue my meetings with them unless I reduced the amount of time I talked. Especially indulgent was the act of talking about oneself. A keen eye was kept on the ratio of conversation between BKs in this group, and signs of 'ego indulgence' usually meant talking more than others in the group. I discovered that this situation had been supported, if not orchestrated, by the very teacher who had delivered the 7 Days Course to me.

As absurd as this sounds, this was the climate within the BK group, and this threat to ostrisize me was one of the most hurtful and rejecting experiences I encountered in those early days.

This example illustrates the kind of oppressive, judgmental and duplicitous climate that existed. A climate ready made to create mental distress and erode a person's sense of worth and identity. This carried over into the centres I visited in general, where instruments appeared egocentric, semi literate, uneducated and with only a thin understanding of the Murlis. There was widespread Dadi worship in the centres which I found to be verging on dependancy for many. I knew BKs who, suffered stress related ailments, poor self-esteem, loss of independence, esteem issues, addictions, and depression. At times I witnessed racist attitudes toward non-whites, while non-white BKs often exhibited resentment and ridicule in return.

I was told by the teacher soul I first encountered that the "End of the World" would be in ten years - well, that marker passed more than ten years ago. The constant reference to preparation for 'the end' becomes the constant focus. Efforts were geared toward the end of one's life, so what point is there doing a degree, having a family, or having a career? I found this mentality to be one of the most unhealthy, and a powerful robber of my life.

Some BKs cultivated an air of mystery. They created the impression that they were able to fathom the secrets of the Murlis and glean Baba's most covert instructions. These BKs were somehow special enough to have this ability, and would of course be able to ascend to dizzy heights in their development. Again, this astounding arrogance sat side by side with a philosophy of humilty. People saw in themselves often no conflict between the two elements.

From the beginning, I entered a fratured culture of gossip, backstabbing and hypocrisy within the BK family, and soon felt increasingly alientated from the BK family as a whole. We tended to stick together in small groups, because centre life could not be trusted. This climate of estrangement gives little nurture to the spiritual aspirant. After a few years my efforts became weaker, I felt depressed, lonely, and at odds with the world around me. At first these struggles were interpreted by me and the teachers as part of the inevitable struggle between the old impure self and the new fledgling yogi. I realise now, of course, that my low mood and malaise was due to the denial of human needs, and a healthy appetite for normal interaction with the larger world.

In my enthusiasm, I also encouraged others into the BK fold - a fact I now regret deeply. I was constantly underestimated and treated like some novice to be guided by wiser Seniors. Again, I realise this was just garbage. As I started to re-orient myself and took up my studies again, the teachers reacted with constant surprise at my acheivements because they clearly had underestimated both my intelligence and my abilities. This reaction revealed their impoverished view of myself.

After some 5 years, I began studying again and developed my own career as a counsellor, teacher, trainer, mentor, supervisor, groupworker and cognitive behavioural therapist. I write articles, reviews and now books. I have found my life and nurtured it in a healthy way. I look back and see all the features of an alluring apocolyptic cult in the teachings and structure of the BKWSO. It is hazardous to the mental health of people.

One unfortunate legacy of the BKs I am witness to in my area, is the emergence of several individual therapists and the agencies they establish. These therapists and teachers etc, are really BKs but conceal these affiliations from their unsuspecting clients. They employ helping strategies with clients which are often thinly veiled BK methods. For me, these people present a hazard to the public in the UK.

Well, I did say I would be essenceful did not I? I may have not acheived that so well but condensing many years into one email is not so easy.

Hope the message is clear - be warned and avoid if you want to
remain healthy.

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