Brahma Kumaris is not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

for discussing revisions in the history of the Brahma Kumaris and updating information about the organisation
  • Message
  • Author
Offline
User avatar

ex-l

ex-BK

  • Posts: 10148
  • Joined: 07 Apr 2006

Brahma Kumaris is not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post28 Feb 2019

Apparently, the Brahma Kumaris is not a cult says BK Neville Hodgkinson. Gosh, I am glad he cleared that one up for me.

But when precisely did it stop being a cult?

Neville Hodgkinson is perhaps more responsible that most BKs in the West for redifining BKism and making it suitable for the English speaking and Western market.

Asked whether the BKs were a cult, Hodgkinson replied - somewhat disingenously to anyone who knows its core beliefs and its history - that it is not a cult, it is “a spiritual movement”.
“It teaches we’re eternal souls and this body is not the essence of who you are. The essence is the soul. There is a supreme source of truth with which we can renew ourselves when we connect with that.”


“Cult”, he says, "has unpleasant connotations of taking over people’s minds and leading them to do violent or dangerous things. That’s not what BK does."

“It is not a religion" either, he says, so why do they claim religious charitable status to avoid paying taxes?

Two faces, no?
Brahma Kumaris is not a cult, says Neville Hodgkinson
JULY 11, 2016 PEOPLE BY MAJORIE CHIEW

British journalist, author and meditator Neville Hodgkinson and his wife, Liz, split in 1988. He felt bad for a long time about the marriage not working because he was too caught up in his spiritual journey at the time.

But two decades later, he had a good laugh about that difficult time when he read The House Is Full Of Yogis (HarperCollins, 2014), a book written by his younger son Will. It tells of the early days when Hodg-kinson began practising with Brahma Kumaris (BK) in the 1980s.

The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University is a woman-led spiritual training organisation founded in India in the mid 1930s.

“The book was incredibly funny and quite healing for me,” says Hodgkinson, 72, who joined BK in 1994, halfway through his career as a medical and science journalist in London.

“It’s so funny and kind and it put my heart to rest. There’s a plan to make it a TV series,” says Hodgkinson.

Will (the other son is Tom) was reluctant to show the book to his Father until the last minute, fearing he might object.

“But I loved it! I was crying with laughter over almost every page,” Hodgkinson says, adding that there were “re-created conversations, some exaggerations but the gist of the story was correct”.

Hodgkinson recalls that Will was probably 11 or 12 years old when he came home from school one day to find the house full of yogis – his Father’s new friends.

In the book, he makes fun of the way his Father behaved. Like telling a 12-year-old boy “to consider himself to be a soul ... to understand that this body is the Chariot, you’re the soul”. Hodgkinson did not realise how comical he was being from a teen perspective.

Will also describes humorous changes in his household: the family went from a yuppie lifestyle to vegetarianism; stock car racing (Dad’s past time) to “reflective things” (Dad’s meditation); pop art (of a Coca-Cola bottle) to spiritual images (of Indian deities).

Hodgkinson was in journalism for more than 30 years in Britain, specialising in the health, medicine and science beats. He wrote for The Times, the Daily Mail, the Sunday Express and The Sunday Times.

Recently, he was in Malaysia to conduct a weekend retreat focused on “The Art and Science of Not Thinking”, at Dengkil, Selangor.

Books run in the family

Hodgkinson has lived and worked for the past 20 years at the Global Retreat Centre in Oxford, in Britain (globalretreatcentre.org). Specialising in lectures and classes on the links between science and spirituality, he gives talks regularly across Britain and in other countries.

He has written several books, the latest of which is I Know How To Live, I Know How To Die (Ocean Paperback, 2016), based on the teachings of current BK chief Dadi Janki.

His other books include Will To Be Well – The Real Alternative Medicine (Hutchinson, 1984), AIDS – The Failure of Contemporary Science (Fourth Estate, 1996) and Inside Out – A Better Way Of Living, Learning, And Loving (on Dadi Janki’s behalf, 2003).

Hodgkinson says that when Will was 15, Liz, also a journalist, wrote Sex Is Not Compulsory (1986), a book about celibacy.

Hodgkinson explains: “Celibacy is one of the practices that the Brahma Kumaris teaches to people who are very serious about making a connection with god. It created interest all over the world because at that time the fear over about HIV/AIDS was huge.”

Liz wrote it from the point of view of a feminist. She felt that celibacy could be an empowering option for a woman in marriage. Afterwards, both husband and wife were interviewed.

Will was watching TV at his boarding school when, suddenly, his parents were on screen, talking about celibacy. He was very embarrassed when the girls started asking him questions like: Is it true they are celibate? Isn’t that weird? Are you celibate?

All for meditation

Looking back, Hodgkinson is grateful for “a lot of good” that has happened in his life after joining BK. “The practice of nourishing yourself with the divine reduces your dependency on another person,” Hodgkinson explains.

“Now I’ve the strength, and because of Liz’s respect for that strength, we’ve become closer,” says Hodgkinson, who confides that his “attachment to and depen-dency on Liz was one reason that, after nearly 25 years together, she wanted to separate”.

In recent years he worked with Liz (now a freelance author and journalist) on her book, Dadi Janki: A Century Of Service (2015), a biography covering the BK spiritual head’s 40 years of service outside India.

There are those who call BK a cult, we tell Hodgkinson, asking for his take on this view of the organisation.

He promptly replies that it is “a spiritual movement”.

“It teaches we’re eternal souls and this body is not the essence of who you are. The essence is the soul. There is a supreme source of truth with which we can renew ourselves when we connect with that.”

The word “cult”, he says, has unpleasant connotations of taking over people’s minds and leading them to do violent or dangerous things. That’s not what BK does.

Also, he says: “It is not a religion in the sense that most religions identify with a particular culture. There is sort of a BK culture (like vegetarianism) but it’s not a culture that belongs to a particular group of people. The movement is all over the world, supported by people from many different backgrounds.”

Hodgkinson himself comes from a Christian background but became an atheist in his late teens and 20s. Later, even though he had put his faith in science, he still felt an emptiness in his life. He reckons it was from living in “a too materialistic way” and “not paying attention to the inner life”.

Some of that connection was made through meditation, which BK advocates; specifically, Raja Yoga meditation.

Hodgkinson explains: “It entails coming into the present moment, letting go of the past, not worrying about the future, and turning your attention inwards. When you’re peaceful, you embrace positive feelings of love, peace and happiness.”

More and more people, he says, want to learn about spirituality.

“I find it is so good to help them. Although the vast majority of those who come to us don’t become regular students or part of BK, they go off with spiritual skills that help them.”
Offline
User avatar

ex-l

ex-BK

  • Posts: 10148
  • Joined: 07 Apr 2006

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post28 Feb 2019

Meanwhile, never missing to how much she gets paid per word to wash the family's linen in public in Right wing tabloids, ex-wife Liz writes
The loneliness and endless regret of being a divorced grandmother: LIZ HODGKINSON is that 'discomforting modern phenomenon'

Sitting at the kitchen table, a pensive look on her face, I could tell my 11-year-old granddaughter Delilah had something on her mind.

'Don't you like Grandpa Nev?' she asked of my ex-husband, Neville.

'Yes, I do like him,' I replied.

'Then why are you divorced?'

'We like each other,' I tried to explain, 'but we just don't like living together.'

As Delilah tried to absorb this, with a puzzled look on her face, I felt a great sadness that two of her loving, doting grandparents couldn't be the traditional granny and grandpa she would clearly love to have.

---

When my husband Neville and I split up in 1988, grandchildren were not even the merest speck on the horizon.

It eventually became apparent that we could not co-exist under the same roof, so the divorce at least brought our bloodcurdling rows to an end. And once divorced, we got on fine.

Our two sons, Tom and Will, teenagers at the time, seem to have lived their lives unaffected by it all. Our grandchildren though - still lovely, fresh-faced, innocent young people - are another matter.

My ex and I love the grandchildren equally, but being divorced grandparents means everything has to be done separately.

Once, just once since they were born, we managed to take [son] Will's two children to Cotswold Wildlife Park together - after months of planning and co-ordination ... it was never to be repeated.

Presumably because Neville was always touring the country or jetting off somewhere exotic to promote BKism, as above?
It all means that we miss out on many milestones.
Offline
User avatar

Pink Panther

  • Posts: 1678
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2013

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post01 Mar 2019

”WE ARE NOT A CULT” Says Cult Spokesperson
by Pink Panther 1 March 2019. Published by World Spiritual Press

Spokesperson for the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, BK Neville Hodgkinson today said that the Brahma Kumaris organisation is not a cult. ”At least not like those other ones that do blatantly criminal things. We’re better than that.” He then went on to deny that they were a Religion. ”Sure, we'd like to be like to be like the Anglicans, or even the Ba’hai, but we need to differentiate ourselves in the market place a little. But religion is such a loaded word. And anyway ...” he continued putting on his Oxford intellectual hat, ”we believe other religions are imperfect memories of us and it's philosophically impossible for the imperfect memory and the remembered perfection to be the same thing". [He looked at me with anticipation, I think he was expecting a response, as if he had revealed some great secret and wanted to know what I thought about it, or so it seemed, but I had no idea what he was talking about.]

Recently, Hodgkinson was in Malaysia to conduct a weekend retreat focused on “The Art and Science of Not Thinking”, at Dengkil, Selangor. ”I got everyone to act completely impulsively. It was a zany fun time that took people out of their comfort zone”. He then went on to describe the innovative program. He got everyone to sit quietly and listen but not think or critique what they were hearing. Then if they felt like doing something else, they must have been thinking that, so not to do that. He always mentioned the donation box exercise which involved throwing as much money as possible into a box that had painted on it the flag of Northern Macedonia ( I did not get to ask the reasoning behind that) emphasising the main point of the exercise was to do it without thinking about the denomination of the note, or even how many notes, (cheques and credit cards also accepted). It was always done at the end of the workshop, an experiment providing undeniable proof of having ”imbibed” (a word BKs like to use for things other than liquids) the spirit of the weekend’s theme.

When asked about the spirit that is supposed to be the source of the BK teachings, he replied ”We don't talk about that too much. We trust the senior teachers and that is our personal experiment. It’s the Science of Not Thinking, get it?”

As the interview ended, he stood and put on a white jacket over his white shirt. I noticed he wore cream-coloured trousers, white socks and white canvas "boating" shoes. Over his left shoulder he slung an Indian woven shoulder bag, out of which a book fell on the floor in front of me. It had a yellow and black cover, the white-letters of the title spelling out "Positive (Not) Thinking For Dummies: How to (Not) Join a Cult”.

Again I must have had a quizzical look as he apologised and explained ”It’s something we're working on, a revolutionary idea from the Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University Education Wing that others have already copied in a limited and imperfect way, but this is the original. It’s a simplified guide to all kinds of subjects but this one is the most important. I request that you keep this off-the-record for non-commercial reasons of course”.

I agreed I would but as you, dear reader, can see, I have just written about it. I mustn’t have been thinking. An imperfect memory of some BK event? Let’s call it science, an experiment. An experiment like when the BKs in Australia printed a version of the Hare Krishna vegetarian cookbook and claimed it as their own, to see if they could get away with it. The Hare Krishnas are of course both a religion and a cult. And they understand copyright law.
Offline

GuptaRati 6666

  • Posts: 443
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2015

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post01 Mar 2019

Neville is for sure a unique and/or prestigious-laden individual, but a personality lacking in Aesclepian authority and I may have Aesclepian authority in clinical medicine and medical science.

The BKs have scored some points in their mission of directed change, especially using Neville. Where are his papers published in peer-reviewed or scholarly journals? What is the current value of the Hirsch Index for his publications.

The HI quantifies the number of times a scholarly paper is cited by other scientists and/or scholars in their publications. Personally, when writing papers, I will deliberately restrain myself from citing papers or publications by BK authors or BK affiliated writers, if I can help. I am also concerned about the content and construct validity of BK scholarly publications and those published for lay readers.

There are distinct differences between a scientist and a science journalist, though some scientists and physicians have become quite successful journalists and authors. There are also successful scientists who are authentic activists who are also success authors and have the academic peerage and credentials to validate their professional status.

The late Lewis Thomas, former director of the Sloan Kettering Cancer Research in New York City and Carl Seagan are examples. There are also Noam Chomsky, Edgar Mitchell, Vandana Shiva, Gary Null, and Michio Kaku.

Is he a bench scientists, who develops and experimentally tests hypotheses?
Offline
User avatar

ex-l

ex-BK

  • Posts: 10148
  • Joined: 07 Apr 2006

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post01 Mar 2019

GuptaRati 6666 wrote:Is he a bench scientists, who develops and experimentally tests hypotheses?

His great contribution to science was in the field of AIDS denial, arguing that HIV was not related to AIDS in his book 'AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science; How a Virus that Never Was Deceived the World'.

When an article was published about it, SUNDAY TIMES SCIENCE EDITOR AWAITS FLAT EARTH.making the connection to his adherence to BKism, note how he knowingly responded with rank and manipulative dishonesty.

He wrote,
Despite this, an abusive article appeared in the London Observer (yes, them again) headlined "Sunday Times Science Editor Awaits Flat Earth", with a secondary heading "Neville Hodgkinson's two masters". It accused me of being a member of a "bizarre religious cult" preaching the imminent arrival of a flat earth, and of worshipping a naked, hairy man with snakes around his neck whom I had never seen.

As ex-BKs we can breakdown his twists, how
    a) he was not a member of "a bizarre religious cult preaching the imminent arrival of a flat earth", "he was a member of a bizarre religious cult preaching the imminent death and Destruction of humanity, the sinking of all continents except India and preaching the imminent arrival of heaven on earth".
It's hard to work out which is the whackier.
    b) The "naked, hairy man with snakes around his neck" was clearly a reference to Shiva, as in Shankar to BKs, who Hodgkinson *had* clearly seen, on numerous BK posters of the Trimurti since he as initiated into BKism. (BKism confusing outsiders by its usurping and redefinitions of the names of a Hindu deity Shiv-Shankar.
Just the analysis on that one sentence exposes his personality type.

He knew perfectly well how close the critique was. He knew perfectly when what the Shiv-Shankar reference referred to. He knows perfectly well how whacky BK beliefs are. And he hides the truth by doing a soft shoe shuffle around the issues and making the newspaper look like a fool.

Note, the actual article did not say the Brahma Kumaris were "a bizarre religious cult preaching the imminent arrival of a flat earth", it documented them perfectly accurately, writing
His readers, including the many journalists and scientists who have vigorously attacked hIs reporting for endangering lives, be surprised to learn that Hodgkinson has been for the past 14 years a student and teacher with a new religious movement of Hindu origin called the Brahma Kumaris, which enjoins its members 'not to fall into the sterile world of scientific rationality'.

The London-based Cult Information Centre ... describes the group as a religious cult. A spokeswoman said they had received several inquiries from relatives worried about loved ones who had joined the group. The Brahma Kumaris believe that the world is about to end in apocalyptic destruction, ushering in a Golden Age in which group members will be divine beings living in palaces 'decorated with multicoloured lights'.

In Adi Dev - The First Man, a book by group member Jagdish Chander, the nature of the paradise that awaits is revealed: 'The axis of the planet shall straighten from its angle of 23.5 degrees to the truly vertical. The continents shall come together once more ... There will be springtime all year long. The replenished earth shall give birth to a new society, technologically advanced, yet also completely, divinely virtuous: A paradise of endless happiness.' For 'narrow-minded rationalists' who might doubt the likelihood of a flat earth emerging in the near future, the text proclaims: 'This is not a dream, but revealed reality.'

The joke is that both his wife Liz and his son Will wonderfully documented *his* family's breakdown due to the BK influence.

Hodgkinson wrote,
'Some scientists like to consider themselves pure observers of objectively acquired fact, but they neglect the fact that what and how they observe are likely to be influenced by their state of mind. Inner peace improves the ability to see and think clearly.'

He warns that scientists who neglect their spiritual development could find themselves working in a moral vacuum. He describes God as 'the ultimate benefactor' and asks why some scientists are so scathing about religion.

Then, crucially, in a passage that pre-figures the crusading zeal of his book, he writes that the 'arrogance that characterises ... the scientific establishment may have to take a considerable knock before we open the door to a different way of thinking and feeling'.

Like he does, presumably? How's the AIDs Denial Industry doing these days?

What he said of the above was,
It was utter fantasy (although it's true that for 20 years I have practised meditation with a highly respected spiritual training organisation)

We as ex-BKs know he was lying 100% and that the BK beliefs were being presented absolutely accurately.
Offline

oldbk

  • Posts: 69
  • Joined: 29 Dec 2018

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post01 Mar 2019

From our end, at least, let us stop using the false title of "guru" to these "faith peddlers". This title is an insult to that word.
Offline

GuptaRati 6666

  • Posts: 443
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2015

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post02 Mar 2019

I agree OldBK. The word guru means a person who removes darkness. Just as the words karma and pandit have migrated into the language of Western intellectuals and the Western lay public, guru is used in the West to refer to some one who is an authority, world authority in a specific discipline. For example; Chris Barnard was considered one of the gurus of heart transplant surgery.
Offline
User avatar

ex-l

ex-BK

  • Posts: 10148
  • Joined: 07 Apr 2006

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post02 Mar 2019

I understand your position oldbk, and it may be correct. Are there any true gurus left?

It is true that the word is somewhat tarnished, in religious use, purely by the activities of those portraying themselves as gurus to a Western audience but, as Gupta points out, it is also used positively for an expert.

In my case, I was merely limited by the number of letters I could fit into the title ... but I also wanted to make a point.

Neville, who we have evidence of working closely with the BK inner circle in PR or publicity matters and refining not just marketing ideas and strategy (in one case against us), tell us "The Brahma Kumaris are not a Cult".

Let's translate that, "A Cult PR or Marketing Guy says his Cult is not a Cult". Doh!

The BKs are a cult that claims it is not a cult (as all cults do).
The BKs are a cult that claims its gurus are not gurus, while attacking the credibility and standing of real gurus.

"We have no gurus", the BK have always exclaimed.

Actually, this is interesting. On one hand, it is cashing in on the Western ignorance and prejudice towards gurus; on the other hand, it is actually admitting that they cannot "remove the darkness", or lead you from darkness 'gu', to light 'ru'.

Of course they BKs have their "cult gurus", they just call them their Didis, Dadis and Dadas in instead.

What is interesting about the Hodgkinson AIDs case ... is that, as a Right winger, he forced a national Left wing newspaper to make an apology after it had accurately published the truth about the Brahma Kumaris, and then went on to mock and damage its credibility ... by falsify representing the paper's accurate report.

What does that say about his and their nature and credibility?

For example, it never mentioned a "hairy man snakes around his neck", nor claimed that the BKs literally believed in a flat earth. "Flat earther" is a term used generically to describe people who obstinately believe in something that it patently impossible or not true. It is used in a derogatory sense to mean anyone who holds ridiculously views.

As a journalist, Hodgkinson would know this.
Offline
User avatar

Pink Panther

  • Posts: 1678
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2013

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post03 Mar 2019

we-are-not-a-cult Hillsong.jpg

Bobbie Houston has her own personal crusade- to empower women through the Hillsong Sisterhood Program.

we-are-not-a-cult-but-we-are-superior.jpg
we-are-not-a-cult-but-we-are-superior.jpg (47.44 KiB) Viewed 970 times

we-are-not-a-cult-but-we-are-superior.jpg

we-are-not-a-cult Tshirt.jpg

The new uniform that proves each BK's individuality
Offline

GuptaRati 6666

  • Posts: 443
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2015

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post04 Mar 2019

The global cult awareness peaked in the late fall of 1978 and can be attributed to the Jonestown incident in the Guyana jungles.

I must have been in denial that the BKs have been a cult for almost 5-10 years after Jonestown.
Offline
User avatar

ex-l

ex-BK

  • Posts: 10148
  • Joined: 07 Apr 2006

Re: Brahma Kumaris is not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgki

Post05 Mar 2019

BTW, what are the BKs this week?

They are a religion, they are not a religion ... a World Spiritual University ... World Spiritual Organization ... an Academy ... a religio-political movement ... non-political ... they are Hindu ... they are not Hindu ... they are an NGO ... they are not an organisatio, they are a family ... perhaps they are just shape shifting lizards from another planet? (Joke)
There's an old joke within BKism .. the BKs are a family when they want something from you, and an organization, when you want something from them.

not-a-Cult.jpg
Offline

GuptaRati 6666

  • Posts: 443
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2015

Re: BKs not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgkinson

Post06 Mar 2019

At the time, late 1978 early 1979, the BKs had only established a beach head in the USA and had to distance themselves from any and all forms of labeling as a cult.
Offline

oldbk

  • Posts: 69
  • Joined: 29 Dec 2018

Re: Brahma Kumaris is not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgki

Post12 Mar 2019

I have to agree with Neville on "Brahma Kumaris is not a cult", but not for the reasons he has put forth.

Looking at their activities and the direction they are going, they are really a Religious/Political Organization. Something like the Christian churches, having their own power block in the corridors of the government.

One example from India,

http://gomtinagar.BK.ooo/category/uncategorized/

And there are many others, where they are inviting VIPs like Vice President of Argentina, ex-President India, Hollywood Celebrities. They even have then media department named as Godlywood Studio. What a low-level approach to associate "Godly" tasks with Hollywood?

"100 fold punishment should not be forgotten".
Offline

oldbk

  • Posts: 69
  • Joined: 29 Dec 2018

Re: Brahma Kumaris is not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgki

Post12 Mar 2019

Another example below, something to note here. The Indian side of BKs are at a different level compared to "double foreigners". In India, it is more towards Hindu religion, political power play, tradition ... which is high profile events, inviting political figures, getting certificates/awards from city, county, state officials.

http://BK.ooo/vizianagaram-brahma-kumar ... -mahotsav/
"100 fold punishment is not to be forgotten"
Offline
User avatar

ex-l

ex-BK

  • Posts: 10148
  • Joined: 07 Apr 2006

Re: Brahma Kumaris is not a cult says BK guru Neville Hodgki

Post12 Mar 2019

oldbk wrote:I have to agree with Neville on "Brahma Kumaris is not a cult", but not for the reasons he has put forth.

In the old days, then Jagdish Chander was in charge of the PR, they used to call themselves as a "religio-political movement". As you say, in India this makes sense if you want to seek security through power and status.

I tend to call them a 'cultic religion' rather than a cult, unless I am just using the c-word for ease of use (a shorter, single word). A religion with distinctly cultic tendencies, but one that has broaden out and matured from its cultic roots. I suppose "new religious movement" fits OK.

At what point did it develop from being a small personality cult into a cultic religion? Hard to say but not long ago, probably Post-2000 when it started to soften its "Destruction" theory, into a "Transformation" theory ... but I think it's still conflicted at its core.

Perhaps they are just waiting for the likes of Janki Kirpalani to die off, in order to be able to admit they were wrong?

I remember Jayanti and her followers speaking of the need to show respect, as not to rock the boar and upset the old inner circle. Once they die off ... who knows how it will develop? Hopefully chuck out all the End of the World stuff and start considering education and mutual aid seriously?

Was it a democratic mutual aid society in favour of female empowerment, it would be a good thing ... but not if it means brainwashing and exploiting people to get there.

Will they ever be able to wash their karma clean though now? What do you think? I think they need to start apologising to a awful lot of people and admitting their conceits and dishonesties. Until they do ... cult/cultic.
Next

Return to The BKWSU

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

cron