Monthly Archives: December 2011
The Philosophy of Karma stated in its most essential form is “As you sow, so shall you reap.” “Every action causes an equal and opposite reaction.”
Each action is a seed planted, which comes to fruition according to time. Every second we perform an action. We are encouraged to be very aware of and monitor the quality of each thought, word and act as they emerge through us.
Thoughts, words and deeds fall on a wide spectrum between pure and impure. The consequences occur in the immediate short term, mid-term and long term. They affect your body, mind, wealth, relationships, circumstances, opportunities etc. All actions are performed in the context of the consequences of previous actions, which are often unknown to us due to being performed in the distant past of another life time. Sometimes we do not see the connections, and do not recognize that we are experiencing the consequences of a wrong action, or set of actions, we did, or are continuing to do, in this life. In the western tradition we tend to think of sin as an individual action. In BK knowledge we look at a tendency or series of similar actions as the sin, bearing in mind that it is very rare to do something only once, hence the connection between karma and sanskaras.
The knowledge of Raja Yoga as described by Brahma Kumaris IVV and studied by BKs through the murlis includes much information about karma. Essentially: a pure action brings about a beneficial result. An impure action brings about a result of loss. Whether we are soul conscious or body conscious makes all the difference to the quality of our actions. The aim of the study and practice is to become Karmateet, which means free from the effects of karma. Baba’s definition of perfect is free from or beyond the effects of karma.
It is very easy to over-simplify and arrive at erroneous conclusions. The path to the Karmateet stage is fraught with complications, self-deceptions, illusions, delusions and other errors. At the same time it is only by being willing to face all these that the student becomes experienced and gains clarity.
Knowledge of Karma must also be set in the context of the other concepts such as
- The predestined drama of 5000 years duration
- The predestined part or role of each soul
- Free will
- Tests and challenges
- Maya or Ravan
- The eight powers of yoga
Considering all these aspects shows the law of Karma to be a very complex machinery that can be interpreted in many different ways. Shiva Baba has revealed much new information about these concepts and teaches us to become experienced and conversant, with the aim of becoming wise. The teachings are presented initially as a broad framework. The subtleties and intricacies are acquired slowly over time, as an individual BK progresses in his or her journey of the spiritual practice of Raja Yoga.
Every soul exists within a perpetually turning cycle of cause and effect. Every soul acts according to their sanskaras which are produced by their karma, which in turn reinforces their sanskaras. Very slowly over the course of the cycle of time, the quality of consciousness declines, tying the bondages of karma ever more tightly in an escalating knot of negative give and take, which binds the individuals concerned in intensifying forms of suffering and sorrow.
Enter: the concept of charity. Charity is pure action performed independently of conventional or justifiable reactions, and has the power to loosen the karmic knot. The power to perform charitable actions is generated through meditation and study of spiritual knowledge. Poonya ki poonjee refers to a special level of pure karma that is a true sacrifice.
The knowledge and practice of Raja Yoga is a teaching given by God (Shiva Baba) who is outside the karmic cycle and enables a soul to escape from the bondages of karma. A BK is encouraged to follow Srimat in order to be successful. Going against srimat obstructs success. Srimat is the directions of God.
This is why God is called the Supreme Teacher, the Purifier, the Merciful one, the Guide, the Knowledgeful One.
In the context of an organization, the laws of karma are only incidentally taken into consideration, and only as they figure within man made legislation as it applies to human resources etc. In the context of a family the laws of karma are taken into consideration only in so far as they correspond with the religious tenets and social conventions that govern families. Our inquiry focuses here particularly on the western world. In India the idea of karma is much more prominent in the family context as it is an integral part of the Hindu tradition which includes the concept of reincarnation.
In Brahma Kumaris, although we say this is an organization, in fact it is only to a certain extent. It is rather a spiritual family. In this context the laws of karma are investigated and interpreted in as fine detail as possible.
One problem is that the laws of karma are harsh, merciless and cold. Consequently people generally have a strong antipathetic reaction. They don’t like the concept and consequently disagree with it. By disagreeing with it, they discount it, deny it, and avoid it, often choosing instead to blame others, God, circumstances, injustice etc. However such reactions do not change the inexorable course of the laws of karma, nor their inevitable consequences.
God, Shiva Baba through Brahma Baba, provides us with detailed descriptions of the laws and accounts of karma, and each BK individually interprets this according to their capacity and understanding. Any limitations in their capacity and understanding in their relationship with these laws cause them to take sorrow or become bitter towards them or the BK family/organization.
The more an individual BK is spiritually powerful, pure, clear, and with understanding of the Gyan, the greater their ability to manage, accept and effectively interpret the laws of karma and calculate the accounts of karma.
This implies that a BK must grapple with the concept, the laws and the accounts of Karma. This is difficult because it is very subtle. It requires that a BK becomes adept in the use of the 8 powers of Yoga, particularly the power to face. There is no short cut. This process takes time and a lot of patience. We don’t always have that, which is frustrating.
In the spiritual family set up of the Yagya, there is God, Shiva Baba, the Supreme Father, Teacher and Sat Guru. Then there are Brahma and Saraswati, the spiritual parents on the physical level who interpret and demonstrate the guidance provided by Shiva Baba. In his turn Shiva Baba guarantees that their interpretation is correct.
Then there are the elders, the Dadis. They are clearly identified and their importance is that they are original founding members of the family and lived with Shiva Baba, Brahma Baba and Mama. They experienced the knowledge being given and interpreted from the outset and are therefore in the best position to carry it forward. They are the best references for those who came later on.
Then there are the Didis and senior brothers, the generation of sisters and brothers who entered in the 1950s and 60s, who experienced Brahma Baba, Mama and the Dadis, who were given fullest apprenticeship in the practice of Raja Yoga and many of whom were assigned to serve in western countries and provide guidance to western people who wanted to learn Raja Yoga and become part of the BK spiritual family.
Because the Yagya deals with money and property and other physical aspects, there was a need to establish an organization so that donations could be received, and the BK family could have an interface with local governments. This applies in India also. Consequently we have an organizational structure as well as a family structure, and this is a continuum.
Things that make a difference to your karma
- Influence of company
- Impact of using the Third Eye
- The consciousness of the Confluence Age
- Tiag, tapasya, seva – (renunciation, intense meditation, service)
- Facing and settling karmic accounts along the way
- Murjeeva janam – Death while alive – change of consciousness and sense of identity but keep the same body)
- Icchha mataram avidhya – Ignorant of all trace of desire
- Influence of Maya, Ravan, the force of evil
When a BK becomes a BK, an unwritten contract gets established once that BK begins working with the question “Who am I?”
- As a Child of The Father, an inheritance is to be claimed. This implies fidelity and loyalty in the relationship.
- As a student of The Teacher, a status is to be claimed. This implies honesty in the relationship.
- As a follower of the Sat Guru, liberation is to be claimed. This implies obedience in the relationship.
The five forms of the swadarshanchakra dhari mantra – Hum So, So Hum: Brahmin, Devta, Khshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra describes the reality of the decline of the soul during our passage through time. Psychologically it is only possible for a person to face and come to terms with this reality at the time of the confluence age, in our last of the 84 births, the time when we have reached the lowest point. This is also the point at which the pendulum swings in the other direction. The point when the soul goes from the lowest to the highest stage – the confluence of the time cycles.
The Five Forms of our practice: Point of light, Deity, Worship Worthy Image, Brahmin, Angel enable us to experience the points of progression around the cycle as positive moments. This mental or spiritual practice enables us to transcend the horror of our descent and decline. It mitigates the psychological trauma of facing the reality that rather than moving in an evolutionary progression, we only decline from the beginning to the end. Psychologically the soul cries out “what is the point?” and crumbles in disbelief and despair.
But, if we see the five stages as positive and all related to our perfect forms, or the different facets of our eternal perfection, then psychologically the soul can accept such a reality about itself. The soul affirms during the confluence age that: I am a Point of light, a Deity, a Worship Worthy Image, a Brahmin, an Angel. This also corresponds to my passage round the cycle. I spin the cycle and this is my eternal identity.
The concept of a hierarchy of souls is also psychologically abhorrent to people raised in the culture of equality. It represents a demand to turn ones back on one of the most elevated values in the culture, and psychologically this is unacceptable. There is a clash of values that brings on an ethical dilemma that the western person finds impossible to resolve. In some cases a person responds to this dilemma by “suspension of disbelief”. This is like blind faith. A person rejects their previous value system wholesale and takes on a new one which is unfamiliar. But, they recognize God, therefore they are ready to turn their backs on their ideas and philosophical positions up to that moment of recognition of God. However, this forces them to take on a “fanatical” position. Some people have a moment of instant recognition which is so powerful that they are compelled to act upon that experience in a total way. Others take their time and slowly arrive at recognition. They act upon a slowly awakening recognition step by step integrating changes in their life-styles and belief systems gradually over some years. The first category tends to get immediately and strongly implicated in the BK center, service etc. and make huge and rapid changes in their ways of life. The latter category makes changes very slowly and may never get intensively implicated in the centre activities or become a “dedicated BK”.
Rather than becoming a “fanatical BK” a more healthy approach for those who experience instant and powerful recognition, might be to deal with the dilemma in steps. It is important to recognize that while the moment of recognition is intense, exhilarating, possibly an overwhelming “calling”, nevertheless the soul is not actually powerful at that time. There may even be visions which are extremely compelling. The person may feel much empowered by the experience, but that is not the same as the accumulation of spiritual potency that arises over a long period of time of meditation and spiritual study.
(I was fortunate to have a background in philosophy and intensive study in spirituality from many traditions and religions. My university training in philosophy and the humanities, literature, history etc. provided me with the intellectual tools to complement my instant recognition and visionary experiences with a hard-nosed analysis of what was being presented to me. I could also engage in an in-depth investigation of the BK organization and family, visiting many centres, and checking out everything in every way I could think of. My process was in this way two pronged. One side was electric, powerful, instant recognition and surrender, and the other side an intellectual analysis, close observation of the people concerned and non-emotional evaluation of what this is.
I entered into an unspoken contract with Dadi Janki that on my side I would do whatever she would tell me, and on her side she would move me forward in the traditional BK way of the original founding father and mother. Although this was very arduous at times, I was always very aware that this is the best way to gain the greatest resilience, insight and capacity, and I therefore accepted it at each step. Anyone who has studied the lives of those who undertook a serious spiritual practice knows that it is arduous, lonely, mysterious and fraught with tests. My special interest in classical mythology of India, Greece, Rome, Egypt and China confirmed this also. I often thought of the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Dadi Janki also provided me with powerful thoughts to help me across difficult terrain. For example, “It’s not good, it’s not bad; it just is.” It’s happening, but it’s not happening to me.”)
The knowledge of Drama is very subtle and deep. It implies that you have to let go of each scene, each event, each act of each soul, moment by moment and not keep any of it in mind, on the “Chitta” (memory track) or in the heart, otherwise the soul gets contaminated and cannot proceed unhampered. The yoga is broken and the soul founders.
Madhuban (Pandav Bhawan, Gyan Sarovar and Shantivan) but specially Pandav Bhawan, the original ashram created by Brahma Baba, Mama and the Dadis is the place of pilgrimage. We BKs return to Madhuban annually or biennially or more often. This place contains the spiritual power that we recharge ourselves with regularly. Of course each one must do their own meditation daily, with special emphasis on Armit Vela to keep up the power levels that enable the soul to combat the opposition from Maya, Ravan, the force of Evil or whatever you like to call this negative energy. We meet Bapdada in Madhuban (now in the Diamond Hall of Shantivan). Bapdada fills us with incognito power. We receive power and sustenance from the family, from the Dadis and other seniors, and from the place itself.
Once a BK begins the practice of Raja Yoga, it is understood that she or he has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged the force of negativity. Its response is relentless and continuous. This means, once we start the process, it behooves us to maintain our levels of spiritual power and we must be careful to keep a balance of Yoga and Knowledge, and Yoga and Service. If we lose the balance and the yoga becomes weak, then we are vulnerable to Maya and very easily we make small mistakes (negative karmas) which add up and can be so powerful that it causes us to fail, to leave the practice and return to the “worldly life”. In such a case we tend not to blame our karma of negligence of our practice, but rather tend to blame others, the BK organization or family etc. This is a failure to accept and to see that we are responsible for what has happened.
However, our Dadis help us at every step and do whatever they can to re-empower us with drishti, donation of yoga, powerful classes, personal conversations, and many forms of sustenance that bring us back on track. This is the love of the family elders.
The Yagya is an intricate machine created by Shiva Baba through the medium of Brahma as an instrument whereby a BK can create a positive account of karma with God. Ordinarily a soul has karma with other souls and with matter. Through the means of religion a soul creates in indirect karmic account with God. The Yagya is a means whereby a BK can create a direct karmic account with God. This intensifies the possibility of powerful remembrance, tapasya and service. It creates such a powerful accumulation of positive karma for the soul that there is extreme benefit. Those who understand this clinch a “deal” with Baba. Shiva Baba describes this as “you give one, and God gives you hundreds of thousands in return”. A very important part of the study and practice of Raja Yoga is to figure out this deal and take best advantage. Not everyone will do this. Some will get it wrong and get into a negative or less positive account with God. As a result they become distanced from God and they experience lack of Yoga.
God’s srimat is:
- As much as possible remain in My Remembrance
- As much as possible do everything in my remembrance
- As much as possible keep Me with you
- Refer to me
- Take my help
- Follow the example of Brahma Baba
- Think about what he would have done and do likewise
In this way a BK intensifies their karmic connection with Shiva Baba. He says do not defame me, do not do any karma which would spoil the reputation of the Father. If we err in this way, we would go into a negative account and this would put us into loss. Then we would experience some mental or physical distance from the Yagya. To come close again we have to do very strong practice of meditation. Sometimes the problem is that due to ego or attachment we blame the Yagya for our own karmic accounts with someone, with the body or some other thing. Then we have to overcome that ego, attachment or other negative emotion that is prompting our negative thinking and acting, and which is pulling us away from positive relationship with the Yagya.
In the final analysis, we are responsible for what happens to us. Even so, it is essential to accumulate the power to face and accept it. As much as we accumulate inner power so much are we able to accept the laws of karma, face the consequences of our own karma and move forward.
On the night of Friday December 17th, 2011, 26 brothers and two sisters reached the monastery. The thin nuns thinly dressed shivered in their welcome as we invaded the small group of pilgrims, in preparation for doing our seminal work. Me, white, 62, old BK of 37 years together with D, large black woman, BK of some years, not sure of her age. I invited her at the last moment. The brothers are wondering: “Qu’est ce que tu fais la? T’es pas un frère.” “Finalement, elle est une frère manqué, donc pas de probleme.” The average age in gyan of the 26 brothers was 15 years, some married, some widowed, divorced, single, one homosexual some were from outside France and outside the cultural background of Christianity. Some were heads of centres, others very implicated in the service projects. We will spend 4 days together on this frozen mountain to uncover the secrets of why some men are terrified by women and keep on killing them either through the sexual act, through domestic violence, through abortion or infanticide and why some women behave like vampires towards men.
We did not know souls could be so terrified. One brother has not so far shown his face today. Today we open up the Pandora’s box of male sexuality.
One brother did what he could to avoid coming, but he’s here, somewhat exhausted, but present front and centre. Now he’s out collecting items to form the centre flame that presides over our deliberations. Finally they created a continuously burning bush.
We are about to enter a dark tunnel that leads to the centre of mother earth, like a Navajo at a peyote ceremony. He enters the womb, sits with the fire and slowly burns and dissolves his ego until he has created the white eagle.
I observe them sitting closely together like sardines in a can, with all the doors and windows closed. They seem to wish to return to the womb, that dark enclosed and airless space, isolated from the real world. I keep gasping for air, and move their walls and chairs creating more open space. The tipi fire is replaced by a candle and some sticks and stones. We have created our version of a sweat lodge, a vision quest, a step into the unknown dark womb of the subconscious.
One said: “this is very difficult.” Another said: “they were so innocent they did not know it is impossible, so then went and did it.” Amongst us, this journey has not been done before. All the men congregated at one end of the refectory doing the washing up, while the two women sat at the other end of the long room.
Let the games begin.
Here is our schedule: We started with Baba’s famous mantra. “Forget your body, forget your bodily relations, forget your bodily religions and remember One alone.”
We had to go through three levels. First the physical: Lust, then the emotional: anger, and finally the mental: ego. The fourth day was entitled Strategy. I made points for us to dialogue about. I had to set the rules for dialogue and some guidelines for strategy. No GASS. No generalizations, no accusations, no speculations, no speeches. Keep the confidentiality of what is spoken here to protect the privacy of each participant. The brothers introduced an additional rule. No Mocking. They said men tend to mock, to taunt, to tease and be sarcastic around matters of a man’s feelings and his inner world.
The schedule of each day was intense and fixed.
|Sunday December 18, 19, 20, 21.|
|4:00 – 4:45||Amrit Vela Yoga|
|6:00 – 6:30||Yoga|
|6:30 – 7:30||Murli|
|7:30 – 8:00||Class on theme|
|8:30 – 9:30||Breakfast|
|10:30 – 11:00||Yoga|
|11:00 – 13:00||Dialogue|
|13:30 – 14:30||Lunch|
|14:30 – 17:00||Free time, walk etc|
|17:00 – 17:30||Yoga|
|17:30 – 19:00||Dialogue|
|19:00 – 19:30||Yoga|
|19:30 – 20:30||Diner|
|20:30 – 22:00||Dialogue|
A. Physical – Lust
1. Forget your body = overcome the biological drives that promote sexuality: Facing your sexuality and fulfilling the commitment to celibate life style through yoga power.
2. Forget your bodily relations: Married, widowed or single: celibate within the surroundings of women, worldly society, conventional social paradigms. Media, advertising and businesses that promote and draw your attention to body conscious and sexual relationships.
3. Forget your bodily religions: neutralize the moral injunctions of conventional Judeo Christian traditions that make you feel guilty around your sexuality. Achieving an attitude of neutrality, detachment and self pride vis-à-vis the attractions of sexuality, sexual drives and addictions.
B. Emotional – Anger
1. The shift from physical to emotional: when physical sexual energy is repressed it transforms into anger.
2. Territorial urges. Conflict and competition. Money, power, property.
3. Relationship with the sisters. Dealing with a system that places women in the dominant role. Handling the realities of dominant women, rivalry, jealousy, influence and power.
C. Mental – Ego
1. Ego: the mask that hides primordial, primitive emotions of anger and sexual aggression.
2. Ego of position, intellect, competencies, physical beauty, power and influence. Status symbols in the BK world.
3. The feeling of being insulted. Reactive behavior. Being a control freak. Imposing your will on others.
1. What’s going on here?: a summary of the analysis of the three preceding days. Contextualized in the return to Paris, other cities, the centre, BK life. What are our major and serious challenges?
2. Guiding Principles: defining the guiding principles that form the parameters. Describing the logic and coherence that address the challenges.
3. Actions: What actions should be undertaken to ensure the challenges get addressed effectively. Ensuring you attain your determined objectives.
DOES ALL THIS RESULT IN THE SOUL FORGETTING EVERYTHING AND REMEMBERING GOD ALONE?
We have had two days now and the third has just begun with Amrit Vela. The energy had to be raised to the highest level and is now steady at that place. We travelled through the dark night of lust. The physical matters, and we created animals for both lust and anger. Each animal mutating into something more ferocious as it moved from the secret interior world of lust to the more expressed world of violence.
Many had experienced abuse from their mothers, many from their fathers and many from both. There is the legacy of war, toxic social attitudes regarding parenting and schooling, the specter of parents crushing their children to the ground like warriors destroying their enemies. Those children then crush their own children in an endless round of intensifying reprisals.
There were many discoveries also. Adopting the attitude of resignation is not an option, because it implies that you give up the will to resist, to fight for your right to exist. You become hopeless like a zombie.
One said, “I resent women because they are beautiful and attractive.” We thought they loved women for those reasons, but yes and no. It is ambivalent.
Today we need to go deep into the original pain. Pain gets healed by love. The soul must love itself in order to become soul conscious, then the soul can turn to God and then only receive the healing power of God’s love. You must love God deeply. Today Baba says, “Remember me with patience, depth and sincerity.” This is the key.
They resist the pain so much, but the only way out, is through. We must go deep into the pain, softly, gently and completely.
Their pain is so intense they cannot go near it. It is so extreme they must remain dissociated, and far. But, returning to the scene of torture is necessary in order to become immune like the prisoners of Cape Town’s Robben Island.
A man is so closed. They kept tightly packed together like penguins in Antarctica, with all the doors and windows closed, the curtains closed, during this December 21st, the longest night of the year. They wanted to be closed and shut down to shut out the pain. But now they must open. Allow the pain to come and take them, penetrate them and move through each nerve and vein to clean the traces left by the prior searing pain of trauma. The local artisans who make glass wine bottles know they have to burn themselves again to heal the inadvertent burns of molten glass. The brothers must do likewise.
History must remain always present. All of the past and future must be kept close. Baba gives us the totality so we can merge it into the spinning of the time cycle and hold all of history to our breasts closely merging it into the point of the self.
One said, “Lust and anger falsify the soul”. This statement opened up the way to going deep inside. With that statement, the vices had been segregated from the essence of being, and further progress took place quickly. As we moved through the intense journey through lust, anger and ego, one asked, “What is it that keeps us from our essential selves?” Some brothers said what they really, really wanted was the experience of fusion. This is why the attraction of lust is so powerful because it is the promise of fusion, but ultimately, it is always disappointing. The answer came, “you need a key.” This triggered another response. “We have to get to the tabernacle.” This was the opening. You must find the secret golden key to the tabernacle of the heart of the soul. This is the sacred place where you keep God. This is the sacred place where the soul can experience the sacred fusion with God that brings total fulfilment.
Dadi Janki always tells us, “you must not keep anything in your heart, otherwise Baba cannot sit there.” They made that discovery by their own route. This changed the vibration and they moved into a childlike state of innocence and began to dance. At least two hours they danced together like prisoners that had just been freed. They became completely integrated for a while. All the disconnected and broken parts of the self came together and they became the essence of love and harmony, safely and without any fear of danger. No authority figure would smash their innocence and force them to be violent. They danced and then they played boy’s games wildly and freely, their faces smiling from ear to ear.
When the nun came in to meet them, she was amazed at how they told her, “Yes, we have spent the whole day discussing lust and anger.” She said, “they said this with huge smiles across their faces.” She had never seen something like that. The Roman Catholic men she generally works with, who are striving to be monks and priests do not smile about such things.
On the last day, I raised the subject of strategy. There had to be a way to bring them gently back to the world of life in Paris and the French provincial towns, the realities of their families, professional and artisanal lives, BK centres, and the prevailing social attitudes that condemn BKs as a dangerous sect to be harassed and vilified. The nun spoke the sobering words, speaking about the risk she had taken, saying: “I stood up for your group to be allowed to stay here at the monastery, because I know you so well, but you should remember that no other monastery in this country would allow you to stay on their premises.”
Many brothers reacted strongly against the very idea of strategy. Several said, “we hate strategy, it doesn’t work, it is bad, why are you taking us away from our loving harmony and forcing us to face such a concept?” We had to slow right down, and sit for two hours just with the word “strategy”. What is it, what is the load on the word, why do they hate it so much? I was not expecting such a reaction. But, after the intervention of one man who came in just at the end of the session, there was a shift. He had been a “Call of the Time” guest. He was the husband of one of the BK sisters, who lived near and had been invited to have lunch with us. He provided the validation for the need for strategy. Although a term normally used in the military and in business, without strategy, you cannot move forward in your aims, you cannot integrate your spiritual discoveries into your personal, family or professional lives. So, gradually and gently through the day we moved forward with the concept of strategy, and the word become integrated in their conversations, they saw the need, the relevance and application of the concept and stepped away from their prejudices against it.
On the train journey back to the capital city with two of the brothers, we pondered on what had taken place. Next morning about eight from the group were present in the morning class and shared their experiences. The sisters were watching with faces of amazement. “What about us? We don’t want to be left behind. We want access to this thing that made the brothers enter the state of love and harmony.” They could sense the atmosphere of connectedness and bonding that existed between the brothers. Their faces were shining and smiling. The sisters wanted that so badly. The other sister also shared her experience of the retreat. Her important insight was that now we needed to do something that integrates the brothers and the sisters into a cohesive and coherent whole. The underlying antagonism between the sisters and brothers had been shown up and needed to be addressed quickly.
The society we live in militates against social cohesion between men and women. Keeping them suspicious of each other and antagonistic sucks out all their power. Body consciousness does that. Soul Consciousness brings the masculine and feminine into an integrated whole like Vishnu and the soul returns to its satopradhan state of innocence.