A spiritual search and the Brahma Kumaris
I had been brought up a Christian [in Scotland], but lived in India for many years as my husband was from there. We lived in Delhi and that’s where I came into contact with the Brahma Kumaris. When I first went to India, I lived in what was called a joint family, [my extended family in law]. I started to read and study Hindu philosophy. My father in law had various gurus who came to the house... I was interested, but none of them seemed quite right. Then one day I happened to be passing the [Brahma Kumaris] Centre in Delhi and I decided to go in. There was a sister there who started explaining things in broken English which I couldn't understand- but I could see from her eyes that she held the secret to what I was looking for… I didn’t believe in rebirth because I was brought up a Christian, but this experience led me to feel that, yes, we do live more than one life.
The Brahma Kumaris started in the mid 30’s, in what is now Pakistan, where the founder had a series of visions. He felt that if the world was to improve in any way, then women needed to be at the forefront. In those days, and generally speaking, spiritually, women were not considered to offer much, and so this was revolutionary.After Partition the group moved to India and set up their headquarters in Mount Abu. The founder was named Brahma, and Brahma Kumaris means ‘children of Brahma’. When the organisation of about 300 people moved to India in the late 40’s, early 50’s, they started opening centres in various cities.Families wanted to know...what is this Raja Yoga? And so they started studying RajaYoga meditation... to regain their own spirituality and their own spiritual strength, as is spoken of in the traditions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata... Since the 70’s, BK Centres have opened up and flourished on all the continents. Now there are something like 8000 centres worldwide - mostly in India of course.
A young man came into contact with BKs in 1976, in London. Then in 1978, he came up to Edinburgh and started a Centre here [in Miller Place]. He also invited one of the senior sisters from London to come up [to run the Centre]. When I finally decided to come back [to Edinburgh] in 1997, Dadi Janki, who was then the overseas head of the organisation, asked me to stay in the centre here, so I took over the running of it. Coming back to UK was a bit of a culture shock for many reasons. For example I had been in the way of wearing a sari. We do have the practice of wearing white and the Indian sisters usually wear saris, which I do occasionally too.