Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

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desi_exbk

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Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post06 Feb 2009

More appropriate classification of me could be "ex-BK and family of a BK"! I grew up as a BK child. Though I snapped out of that hypnosis, which lasted well into my adult life, I am still associated with BKs because of my siblings who are dedicated. I recently found this website and spent a lot of time reading various forums. I feel the outrage that 'ex-l' expresses, agree with some of 'terry's' conclusions and enjoy the banter/comments from folks like 'alladdin', 'paul'. I see most of you are much wiser (and older :D), more experienced in life, but I hope to bring the perspective of a small town Indian who made it to the other side.

Regards,
Deccani
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Terry

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK.

Post07 Feb 2009

HI Deccani

It sounds like you are doing very well post BK life.

In some ways I feel that children of BKs have an advantage over those who convert to BK's (or any religion) because, just as most of us Westerners rejected our parents' Christianity based not on the good points within Christianity but because of the inconsistencies and "history", and we looked elsewhere, so too children of BKs, upon reaching their rebellious years, will re-examine and rebel.

I also think in India, as the home of BKs, it can be understood as one of thousands of variations. Here in the West, for most who become BKs, it is their first deep encounter with "Hindu" thought and culture, and it's seductive to the ego for a number of reasons. It's so nice and easy to suddenly become an expert in the long traditions of India, to be able to explain the Gita without having read it, to be able to feel an authoritative part of the progressive ethno-cool "counter-culture" because we meditated, travel to India, insist on vego food.

I look forward to hearing your experience and comments based on life on the Deccan
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ex-l

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post07 Feb 2009

deccani wrote:I hope to bring the perspective of a small town Indian who made it to the other side.

What ... made it to the other side of the small Indian Town!?! Sweet soul ... the world is much bigger than that! ;)

Yes, it would be very interesting to me at least. Although I often rant on about the BKWSU in the West, I have in the back of my mind that the Western BKWSU world is really just the tip of the iceberg, the icing on the Brahma-Kumari cake, and I am both interested and concerned about what is goes on in.

For example, we read of the habit of the 'so-called feminist' Brahma-kumaris demanding familes hand over their young virgin daughters' dowries in India ... signing over their lives to servitude. I also read both Tamasin and Robin Ramsay, write or be reported, talking romantically about how (I paraphrase both together here but can provide sources) "3 poor Brahma Kumaris Sisters live, sleep, eat and teach Brahma Kumarism in a single room (of a Gita patshala) ... but how they are the happiest people they have ever met".

Sometimes I wonder if it would not be better that the likes were helped to get an education, find proper employment, live in their own apartment ... and not have to go through the initiation of wearing second-hand hand me down saris from the center-in-charge etc.

What I am drawing attention to here is that the BK experience in the West is very often one of privilege born of wealth ... and, of course, such BKs from the West experience even more privileges when they then go to BK India. I don't even mean great inherited wealth here, I just mean to be get to the point of being interested and then able to pursue Brahma Kumarism, WASP BKs generally have to come a more middle class or professional background and, in my opinion, the trend in the West (outside of the chapati rolling caste of Hindi BK Sisters) is upmarket. Look at all the spin around executive coaching etc.

It is as if you have had to have had "everything" ... or the potential of it by birth ... in order to then renounce it and give it away.

From the literature on the subject, in the old days, up until say the 1970s, the Brahma-kumaris were thought of in India as a middle class or wealthy religion. That case must have changed to some degree as they have been reaching their target "subject status" or "devotee souls". We have also read on this forum of the abuse or exploitation of lower caste or poorer BKs in India.

Of course, that is all theory. Sure, on the other hand, BKism must appear modern and rational in comparison to other sects and cults ... especially as it is peppered by Westerners and corporate consultants. I do though wonder what the hell is going on when I heard of them paying for laser shows, state of the art production facilities and business class airfares from a religion in a country that still has open sewers and people's whose lives are to shovel over people's sh*t.

I still cant correlate all that with "The Lord of the Poor". Over to you, please ... do not be afraid to insult us or them.

Best wishes ...
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bkti-pit

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK.

Post07 Feb 2009

Welcome Deccani! It will be very interesting to know of your experience and your perspective.
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Mr Green

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post07 Feb 2009

hi and welcome
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desi_exbk

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post07 Feb 2009

terry wrote: "It sounds like you are doing very well post BK life."

Terry, I guess I am one of those lucky ones. Enough intellect to question things.
"In some ways I feel that children of BKs have an advantage over those who convert to BK's ..."

In India, we "follow our fathers"! So, the concept of rebelling against our parents is 'foreign' to us - atleast, it was for me. So, those scars are as deep.

Also, I see your point on the tradition of heterodoxy in India. May be, that helps a little.
ex-l wrote:Although I often rant on about the BKWSU in the West ...

ex-l, that is exactly what inspired me to share/contribute here. I saw that most of the contributors are 'double foreigners' (oh, how much I envied the privilege doled out to you guys!!) and thought I could add to the discussion.
... WASP BKs generally have to come a more middle class

Point taken about Indian target group. You can easily see why. This faith (or is it a religion??!!) is definitely not for the poor. They are the lot doomed for every Kalpa! But, when you talk about executive types in the West, I think you are only talking about UK and US. What about some other EU nations/Latin America? I would think you will find similar demographics there. Hey, give some respect to our Sindhi mathas and Gujarathi bhens ;). I am sure they are the majority among the 'desi junta'.

I have come to believe that an honest social worker working in a slum is much better than one of those superstar yogis (ek sau aath types) sitting on their asses sending vibrations to solve global issues. Talk about acting locally!!

Mr. Green and bkti-pit, Thanks for the welcome.
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bkti-pit

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post07 Feb 2009

deccani wrote:I have come to believe that an honest social worker working in a slum is much better than one of those superstar yogis (ek sau aath types) sitting on their asses sending vibrations to solve global issues.

In all my years as a BK in the West, most all the official visitors we had from India were business type or professional type (doctors, engineers, etc) but I can remember a young Sister from Mumbai area who had been a BK for a few years and was a social worker in the slums. Although they all were very respectful and respectable, she was such a breath of fresh air.
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desi_exbk

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post07 Feb 2009

Since I come from such a family, demands or nagging hints at dowry is a first hand experience. Rationale is simple: If we were to marry them off, we would have give our daughters/Sisterters dowry anyways. So, why not get back 'thousand fold' by giving that to Yagya?! Only fools would miss out on such a smart investment opportunity ;). Pressure comes from the fact that, more money you bring in while you surrender elevates your treatment/status among fellow Sisters. Some families buckle to this pressure as they do not want their daughters/Sisters mistreated.

Talking about "3 or more happiest people living in a single room", give me break! (As ABC's John Stoussel would say). Even marriages - which I think 99% of them involve just two :D - are difficult, with sex thrown in. Imagine these sexually repressed, under high stress to constantly check yourself, with a goal claim the no 1 position (is not that already taken?!) and wanting to change the world. Unfortunately, there is depression, suicides (hey, I have some to contribute here ... will do in other threads), jealousy and competition - giving bhashan in 'functions' vs teaching SML vs sitting on gaddi to teach the class vs just the 7 day course vs the daily chores.

Oh, add some poor education and ignorance to the mix. Hope you get the picture.
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Terry

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post07 Feb 2009

deccani wrote:Since I come from such a family, demands or nagging hints at dowry is a first hand experience. Rationale is simple: If we were to marry them off, we would have give our daughters/Sisters dowry anyways. So, why not get back 'thousand fold' by giving that to Yagya?!

What is the situation for someone (generally speaking of the culture) who decides they will refuse to join the BKs, or have joined through family pressure? Or a person like yourself, obviously educated and not at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder? Was a dowry given, or was it withheld from you? (I can understand if you do not wish to discuss your personal affairs)
Talking about "3 or more happiest people living in a single room", give me break!

Could not the situation for said 3 possibly be preferable, an escape from forced marriage, low employment prospects or whatever? I, too, have visited such small Gita parshalas (I remember Sarnath in Gujarat) and found the atmosphere positive (that was one visit one place and decades ago).

I think the issue is: what arises when a "surrendered" Sister wants to un-surrender, and take a new path in life? There'd be an official - they are free to go - policy, but what is the peer, family and social realities?
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ex-l

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post08 Feb 2009

deccani wrote:Hey, give some respect to our Sindhi mathas and Gujarathi bhens ;). I am sure they are the majority among the 'desi junta'.

Wow. A kick ass desi girl. "Excuse me but are you single and still a virgin? We have some very suitable boys here, you know" (with apologies to my usual audience for the unsuitable cultural in-joke).

OK deccani ... deliver the goods and wake these white boys up please.

Do Western BKs just not suffer from "Wet Paint Syndrome"? You know, that condition the Queen of England has because whenever she goes out to see "common people", everyone decorates the place, putting on their best clothes and smiles excitedly. Consequently, she believes that the "real world" smells of wet paint and moth balls and everyone is on Prozac. Imagine the scenario when an "wheaten-skinned" Amazonian heiress turns up at a grassroots Gita pathshala ... hardly a scientific sample, methinks.

I am indebted already. I have been looking at a way of defining the Brahma Kumaris and, currently, I see them as a throw back to the 'Age of Empires'. Only that they are building their empire ... one for this day and age not the a golden future ... by stealth and on religion, as indeed the Christians did in their time. At the bottomline, whatever the BKs really are or are not, they are empire builders. Their modus operandi is a lot close to traditional Sindiworkie than "Hinduism", with Sindhi bosses and Gujerati servants, and this is one of the ways that the West has being going wrong categorizing and treating to them. I wonder if old Lekkie or the Holy Spook saw what the good Christian white folks in India were doing and wanted a bit of the action?

    Desi: (literally someone from one's own country) used by Indians abroad for other Indians abroad.
    Junta: a group of persons controlling a government especially after a revolutionary seizure of power.
    Desi junta: ex-patriot Indians in the West taking over power (approx)?
But why the fascination with Westerners? Is it just the light skin and money ... or the promise of living in a land with few flies, running hot water and sewers? Its strange because the "desi junta" is generally portrayed ... by its own critics ... as stingy, uncool, racist, hypocritical, biased and supercilious. Gosh ... who does that sounds like? And what is thing with claiming white boys as Double Desis?

How does it look from "behind the veil"?
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desi_exbk

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post08 Feb 2009

terry wrote:I think the issue is: what arises when a "surrendered" Sister wants to un-surrender, and take a new path in life? There'd be an official - they are free to go - policy, but what is the peer, family and social realities?

Terry, Social pressure is enormous to stay surrendered. You are definitely not welcomed at your parents' home. There is still social stigma against having divorcée or an unmarried daughter at home. Not having financial independence is a big obstacle.
... an escape from forced marriage, low employment prospects or whatever?

Agree. In some cases that is a better choice. I do know couple of such individuals whose life is now comfortable when compared to how they would have lived their life in marriage. But, I wonder if someone would be indebted for a lifetime.
ex-l wrote:Desi: (literally someone from one's own country) used by Indians abroad for other Indians abroad.
Junta: a group of persons controlling a government especially after a revolutionary seizure of power.
Desi junta: ex-patriot Indians in the West taking over power (approx)?

ex-l, Thanks for making me look smarter :D. I was using junta not as in "Burmese militart junta" but as in janata party - people's party. Janata, is a Hindi word for 'the populace; or the people'.. But, I like your interpretation.
But why the fascination with Westerners?

I think you nailed on both. It's definitely money and also good for marketing ... recruiting 'desi janata'. If possible, they could put you in a curio.
And what is thing with claiming white boys as Double Desis?

is not that Double Videshis? Videshi - a foreigner. Everyone is a foreigner since their original abode is Paramdham. You folks are doubly so, as you are not from India. Good churning, eh?
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ex-l

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post08 Feb 2009

deccani wrote:Terry, Social pressure is enormous to stay surrendered. You are definitely not welcomed at your parents' home. There is still social stigma against having divorcée or an unmarried daughter at home. Not having financial independence is a big obstacle.

Does age or sexuality make a great different too?

I mean, after late-20s, early 30s potential marriage chances for Indian women must drop to zero ... and what is a Brahma Kumari going to do that is past child bearing age? If the BKs sap her career and educational opportunities ... then she has no way out except to join the widows in Benares. This is where I think there is a danger of real abuse taking place. How can it be "feminism" if the women are not liberated and independent? Surely they have just changed from a male master to a female master?

(Ditto lesbians. Are the Brahma Kumaris an escape route for them? If it is true that 4 percent and 5 percent of the population is homosexual joining the BKs would be a hell of a lot easier than coming out.)

Is it true that in India, 1,000s of teenager girls are joining? What is the median age for new BKs?
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desi_exbk

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post09 Feb 2009

ex-l wrote:Does age or sexuality make a great different too?

Social stigma I talked about is predominantly againt women. Age plays a critical role if you are thinking about marraige. For women over 30, the chances of getting married decrease exponentially. If you are past child bearing age, then forget about it. It is lot easier if you are a man.

So, there is no real incentive to unsurrender.
ex-l wrote:What is the median age for new BKs?

That is an interesting question. Add to that, what is the average level of education?

I see that when you guys say BK, you are refering to surrendered Sisters and Brothers. From my experience, the majority of them are in teenage when they decide to get married to Baba. Is not that illegal in many countries! :D Sad, but true. These girls are naive, undereducated with no experience of the real world - most of them would still be living with their parents (we live with our folks until we get our job - in case of a boy - and get married - in case of a girl). Any topic of sex such a taboo in Indian society, these girls hardly know what they are getting into.

Imagine them turn into marraige/relationship/career counsellors :shock:
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yogi108

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post09 Feb 2009

Welcome Deccani ...

An Indian Brother with wit and sarcasam is always a pleasure ... You mentioned that your kids are also BKs ... how did they get, say, "Intoxicated"? Will be nice to hear.

Yogi
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ex-l

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Re: Hello. My name is ... and I am a recovering BK

Post09 Feb 2009

deccani wrote:Any topic of sex such a taboo in Indian society, these girls hardly know what they are getting into. Imagine them turn into marraige/relationship/career counsellors :shock:

I imagine that you are going to tell us they are. Of course, in the West we have seen that with one or two become corporate consultants but not, notably, on a wholesale basis ... Beyond a Shivshakti's ability to give Shrimat on ANY subject from financial or property investments to international politics, of course. ;)

How young are we talking about here ... and what is the career trajectory for them in the BKWSU? (chapati rolling, housework, 7 day courses, living 3 to a room, the odd peace march if they are lucky ...).
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