Article by: T. D. Joseph, Bangalore, India tdjaum(AT)gmail.com – If you have questions or remarks about this article, please contact the author.
Let us take some of the major teachings of Brahmakumaris and see what support we can find in the Bible, the holy book of the Christians.
1. Bible and Karma Principle
Science declares that “to every action there is ALWAYS an equal and opposite reaction.” Bible unequivocally states: “Whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) “EACH of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” (Romans 14:12) Jesus simply underlined this great truth when he said: “STOP sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14) Conversely, it implies: ‘START a life of purity, or a virtuous life, something better may happen to you.’ By this he clearly meant that man has to reap in proportion to what he sows—his good acts will bring good results, and his bad acts will bring bad results! Jesus was fully aware of the outworking of this (Karma) principle, hence declared John the Baptist is the re-incarnation of Elijah. Yet Jesus knew that many will not accept this important teaching of Cause and Effect or its extension—teaching of REINCARNATION, hence presented this teaching with this introductory verse: “if you are willing to accept it,” and closed it with a dispassionate note: “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 11:14, 15) By saying them he placed the truth of Karma or REINCARNATION beyond all disputes or arguments, and made individuals free to accept it regardless of their family beliefs or religious teachings.
Early Christians—including Church Fathers like Origin—believed in such a simple law of life, simple truth about man, that one must reap the consequences of his action immediately or later; in this life, or in the next. After all, it is not more surprising to have another birth than the present one. If this birth (which is a miracle) is possible, what is the difficulty for the same miracle to repeat itself? Not only our body (which is made up of billions of cells) is a miracle, but each cell, if viewed enlarged, is also a miracle with facilities and arrangements within it like that of a country’s capital city. Yet, these cells appear, remain for sometime and disappear after a while, hence are replaced every seven years, says the science. This means if you are 50 years old, you have lived through 7 different bodies, and now you are in your 8th body—whether you are aware or not, whether you agree or not. What happens in seven-year period happens at the close of one’s 70-80 years life-span also. Soul never stop existing—which makes it possible to reap what one sows. This knowledge would make every-one responsible-minded. Once convinced, one can never afford to engage in loose-conduct and presumptuousness, or take everything casually, but will act to the benefit of himself and others as he now knows that what he gives is what he is going to receive. It motivates him to change for the better as he is now convinced that he is the product of his past and the producer of his future.
2. Bible on our heavenly Father
Bible does not say God is omnipresent, but says he resides in a particular place (1 Kings 8:49; Matthew 6:9) and presents Him as ONE FATHER for all humanity. ALL humans are children of one and the only heavenly, supreme FATHER. (Compare Deuteronomy 10:17; Matthew 5:44; Romans 3:29) It is like there is only ONE ocean, even though people, depending upon the proximity, call it by different names like ARCTIC Ocean, ATLANTIC Ocean, INDIAN Ocean, and PACIFIC Ocean as if there are many oceans. God cannot divide people as His own and pagans as all are, in fact, His children. Jesus very well illustrated this point when he concluded the discussion on what one should do to get salvation, he declared compassion, as shown by the Samaritan, is the criterion for salvation. (Luke 10:25-37) This was a revolutionary concept Jesus introduced at a time when his contemporaries believed they were God’s chosen people, and others such as Samaritans are pagans, hence to be avoided. (Compare John 4:9) Jesus declared that God the FATHER looks for the FRUITAGE (not the religion of a person). (Compare Matthew 7:17-23; 21:43; Romans 2:12-16, 25-29). This revolutionary concept is already in practice among Brahma Kumaris organisation.
Jesus presents God as a BENEVOLENT FATHER and asked his listeners to manifest the same quality—doing good for its own sake (not for any reward in return). He said our Heavenly Father “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” And he added: “Be perfect [or whole], therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-48) He also said: “if you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give GOOD GIFTS!” (Matthew 7:11) “Every good gift and every perfect present comes from the Father of lights,” says another Bible writer. (James 1:17). This idea of God as being the epitome of GOODNESS (Shivam in Sanskrit), runs throughout the Bible: “How abundant are the GOOD things that you have stored up for those who fear you.” “Taste and see that the LORD is GOOD.” (Psalms 31:19; 34:8 also see Jeremiah 31:14) Then comes the shortest sentence in the Bible which is richest in meaning: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) When it says God is love, it uses the Greek word agape for love, meaning principled/unselfish love, which is deep and constant, characterized by constant care, or “UNCONQUERABLE BENEVOLENCE, invincible goodwill,” says Greek Scholar William Barclay. This idea of benevolence is what becomes more pronounced when Brahma Kumaris and Brahma Kumars address God as SHIVA BABA, meaning our MOST BENEVOLENT FATHER. In Sanskrit SHIVA means “benign, kind, pure, auspicious,” and BABA means Father. I was too delighted to hear them calling God as Sweet Shiva Baba, and Him addressing them as my Sweet Children. They feel a oneness with their heavenly Father—a cherished condition for which Jesus himself prayed for his followers. (John 17:21) Yet, this is something Christians could never accomplish who even now remain divided into thousands of sects.
3. Bible on end of the age [or kali yug]
Brahma Kumari gyan teaches that just like in a day of 24 hours, man passes through wakeful state, dreamy state and deep-sleep state, history too passes through similar states. History repeats itself at every 5000 years, of which the first half (2500 years = 1250 years of GOLDEN age + 1250 years of SILVER age) could be figuratively called as DAY where humans live in soul-consciousness, doing virtues, and the other half as NIGHT (2500 years = 1250 years of COPPER age + 1250 years of IRON age) where humans fall into body-consciousness, into vices, dreamy first, and then asleep towards righteousness and sanity. Further it teaches that the present time is very special, it is the transitional stage (called the Confluence Age—a small period between iron age and golden age), and that Golden Age will become a reality here on earth very soon.
Interestingly, Jesus referred as DAY to a period where people would live by the light within, and NIGHT to a period where people fall from elevated spiritual standards with sanity in the world dwindling. (Compare John 9:4; and 11:10, and 1 John 1:6) Also, Bible says God’s DAY is not literal 24 hours. It informs that God, after creation, rested on seventh DAY. (Genesis 2:2) Later writings, written after a few thousand years, says God’s seventh DAY had been still continuing. (Psalm 95:11 and Hebrews 4:3, 4) Then NIGHT began when people began to do “fruitless deeds.” (Ephesians 5:11; Colossians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:5). And the NIGHT will climax when people loose their sanity and become “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) This same period will also witness even world-wars [these have already been happened in 1914-1918, and 1939-1945] and great tribulation [this is yet to happen]. (Mathew 24:3-7, 21) Then comes a drastic turn of events when God Himself brings destruction to “those ruining the earth” and ushers in a new age, a GOLDEN age of virtuous or paradisaical life.—Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:18; 21:1-4.
This Biblical concept of history passing through an entropy and again being set right as golden age is another important teaching which Brahma Kumaris presents with absolute clarity and with a precise time-table.
4. Bible on Brahma Kumaris organization
Interestingly, Bible also speaks of a positive development taking place in juxtaposition while global moral break-down reaches its climax. It simply foretells the following two prophecies:
(1) There will appear, on the world scene, an organisation of “WISE VIRGINS” who will be “lamp-bearers” or spiritual guides for the whole humanity, with enough fuel-supply to accomplish the global teaching programme before the destruction strikes the world (Matthew 24:3; 25:1-13),
(2) and they will have their world-head quarters on a mount where they will receive spiritual feeding program from their heavenly Father. (Isaiah 2:2-4).
These two prophecies fit perfectly with the Brahma Kumaris organisation. Because they are internationally known for their practice of celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:29), and their head office is situated on a LITERAL mount (Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India) to which people from ‘all the nations stream.’ A group of over 25,000 people from all over the world come here on rotation, stay and take in advanced spiritual feeding program for a week. FIGURATIVELY too, these people are on an exalted mountain because of their high moral standards and purity (Psalm 73:1) resulting from their vice-less living—something far more difficult than literal mount-climbing. The prophecy also says: “they will not take up sword against nation”—including the nation of animals. (Isaiah 2:4) This prophecy too finds its 100% fulfillment among Brahma Kumaris, because (1) they practice non-violence (Matthew 9:13), and (2) to satisfiy their sense of taste, they do not slaughter animals on the altar of greed, as they are pure vegetarians.—Philipians 3:19.
Appearance of this holy people on the world scene is of historic significance! When the iron age reaches its peak, situation is like that of an old tree that can continue no further. “It is at this time, the seed, God the Supreme, appears. The Seed incarnates on earth and through His teachings, lays the foundation for a new tree. Out of the old tree comes the foundation of the new tree, and the sapling for the new world is planted. Those who are the leaves of the old tree, the souls of iron age [Kaliyug], experience transformation and become THE FOUNDATION FOR THE NEW WORLD. This comes about through a change in consciousness, and then a change in sanskaras [the personality traits].
But the destruction of the old tree must also take place at the same time, so that on one hand, there is the foundation of the new tree through the message of the Supreme, and on the other the destruction of the old tree. This occurs in different ways. The old tree goes through great upheaval due to natural calamities: earthquakes, floods, and great violence in nature. There is confusion amongst human beings and this leads to anarchy and civil strife, signs of which are already apparent. Then the tree is finally made to topple with the power of nuclear weapons. Once the old tree has fallen the sapling, which has already been established, begins to bloom.” A recreation, a new world, a golden age, a new tree, begins again.—Compare Genesis 1:27-31; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1.
5. Bible on New Personality
Bible commands: “Put off” old personality as you would put off an old suit of clothes. And “put on” the new personality, which is created according to God’s will in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:23, 24) These wordings “put off” and “put on” suggest that one can make any changes in his life style as easily as he changes his clothes, and does not require months or years. When values change, life-style too changes. Kids keep on changing their toys, and eventually lose their attachment towards toys themselves when they grow up, and this can never be reversed. Take another situation. One may conclude that his maximum running speed is 25 km per hour, yet his speed will suddenly increase into 30 or 35 km per hour when chased by a hungry lion, or he may even climb a thorny tree with ease even though he has never climbed a tree before. From where does he get this strength and knowledge? He feels the need, and he does it. He is a child of the Almighty. This ability to bring instant change is available in the realm of spirituality too, as the above-mentioned Bible verse claims.
This is exactly what Shiva Baba too says in Murli (23.10.1970): “When the Marshal says “RIGHT” soldiers turn RIGHT in one second, because he is on the battle-field. Similarly, you are at war with MAYA (the attraction of this world— your attraction towards your body, assets and relatives as your true security). If you are with Shiva Baba, if you have made Him your companion, and taken His hand, you will not be knocked out by Maya rather there will be destruction of MAYA. The more you invoke divine virtues, the more the offering of the defects will be burnt (just like crackers being burned during Diwali festival). Adopt the new costume of the new sanskar, die a living death with regard to your old sanskar, and adopt the new sanskar of the new life. This is possible if you keep the “beautiful scenes of the Golden Age in front of your eyes.” (Murli 29.10.1970) Sanskars are our own creation, hence can be undone just like a path is made when we walk over grassland, and disappears when we no longer walk over it. “Pay constant attention to yourself as you pose for a photograph being careful not to make any movement. Consider that your photograph is being taken at every second.” (Murli 5.11.1970) “If you constantly remain cheerful, there wil be no attraction to MAYA. THIS IS BABA’S GUARANTEE.” (Murli 22.10.1970) There are countless people among Brahma Kumaris organization, who made instant changes (or “put on” new personality) and are able to show visions of Shiva Baba to others through manifesting His qualities.
One can find among Brahma Kumari organisation a systematic expression of all the above mentioned Biblical concepts found scattered in the Bible. Interestingly, my familiarity with the Bible made it easier for me to accept BK gyan.