Teh Mahkota Dewa

Women and Spirituality

Sudesh Didi describes the unique role which women play within the Brahma Kumaris

In a world where women have been seen traditionally as someone's wife, mother, daughter, or sister, why would a woman choose to follow a spiritual path?

Perhaps because, deep inside every woman has a longing to “be” someone in her own right—fully aware of herself, confident and in control. When we talk of spiritual power, we are in fact referring to the original power of the self to be whole and independent—free from the web of domination and suppression, free from the need to exist for someone else's sake.

For the last two thousand years or more, women have not fully utilised their spiritual power. Instead, aspects of the “feminine” have taken mainly symbolic forms from the Virgin Mary to the vestal virgins, from Earth Goddesses to the Shakti Devis. On the one hand, women have been put on pedestals and worshipped on account of their purity or femininity. At the same time, they have been excluded from religious practices and barred, even until now, from entering some places of worship.

Elevated or chastised, exonerated or condemned, the main problem facing women is that they have never been treated as equal to men—either as spiritual leaders or spiritual seekers. This lack of equality finds its roots not only in sociological and cultural systems, but more particularly within levels of consciousness upon which spirituality and attitudes are ultimately based.

Women as Spiritual Leaders

Women become spiritual leaders when they themselves acknowledge they have the capacity and necessary attributes to play such a role. The change of consciousness needed is to move away from unworthy feelings and attitudes and to see the greatness contained within the self. Feminine qualities such as love, tolerance, compassion, understanding and humility are qualities of leadership. They are also needed for spiritual progress, for without them it would be impossible to come close to God and attain self-realisation. Every human being possesses those qualities but women are more easily and naturally able to tap them, for feelings of love and devotion are often more natural to women, combined with a profound sense of discipline and order. A true leader leads through example.

Women know how to serve and how to give. Often the notion of service or of putting others in front has been seen as a sign of weakness or lack of power. Quite the opposite is true. The ability to bow before others, with true humility, is the sign of the greatness of a soul who has conquered ego.

However this quality of giving to others must also be balanced with qualities of courage, determination, clear thinking and self-respect. Too often, women have a tendency to give to others and neglect their own spiritual needs. It is one of the major reasons women find themselves depleted and lacking in spiritual power. The foundation for assuming spiritual leadership is thus a change of consciousness. Overcoming the huge physical, religious and sociological barriers which have prevented women becoming spiritual leaders can only be done through the development of self-respect. The quality of self-respect comes from the knowledge and experience of the eternal self which is beyond social, cultural or physical identity. The eternal self or soul is pure, peaceful and complete with divine and spiritual qualities. When women touch this inner, eternal core, they gain the courage to play the part they are capable of.

Spiritual power is an expression of the inherent qualities of the spirit and has nothing to do with gender or physical limitations. Feelings of domination or suppression occur when there is the awareness of superiority or inferiority. Feelings of equality, however, manifest when there is the consciousness of spirit or soul. These feelings and attitudes can be expressed in actions with positive results.

Women are still a long way from enjoying positions of spiritual leadership, and society still doesn't fully concur with the notion that women make good spiritual leaders. Yet, society won’t necessarily change until someone, whether an individual or a group of individuals, breaks the tradition and sets a new role model. This, in part, was the thinking behind the work of Brahma Baba, founder of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.

Historical Context of Brahma Kumaris

In 1936, at the age of 60, Dada Lekhraj, a wealthy diamond merchant from the province of Sind (now Pakistan) experienced a series of powerful visions. He had always been religious-minded and had also held a highly reputable position in the community. Yet the visions changed his life completely, revealing striking images of the world passing through a period of immense unrest, as well as images of the change required to usher in a new world for the future. Within a year or so, Dada Lekhraj, later known as Brahma Baba, had sold his business and established a spiritual university. He nominated a group of 12 young women to assume all administrative responsibilities for the group of almost 400 people which met regularly to study spiritual knowledge and meditate.

At that time in India, women were treated as second class citizens, perceived as little more than chattels belonging to their husbands. Such attitudes have their roots in the traditional Hindu scriptures. For example, in the Ramayan there is a reference to four things being equal: a drum (that you beat), an animal (that you push), a senseless fool and a woman.

For Brahma Baba to place women in charge of a spiritual university at a time when they were still hidden by the veil—literally and figuratively—caused a huge uproar. But he was determined to carry out this gentle social and spiritual ‘revolution’. He believed that the balance of spiritual and social power wouldn’t change unless the inequalities were redressed, and women, both young girls and mothers, were given the right to serve the community as spiritual teachers.

By the time Brahma Baba passed away in 1969, the knowledge he was given and the changes he championed had found receptive and fertile soil. Within the space of 54 years, the University has grown considerably and now operates over 8,500 centres in 100 countries. All administrative and spiritual duties are carried out by Dadi Prakashmani and Dadi Janki, the two most senior women teachers who have been students since the University’s establishment.

Student not Disciple

Today, from an organisational perspective, both men and women assume responsibility for teaching and running centres. By and large, however, men follow the founder’s example and willingly put women “in front”.

For the Brahma Kumaris the concept of discipleship does not exist. Brahma Baba never positioned himself as a guru. He taught through example, by putting into practice the spiritual knowledge and principles he had received in his communion (yoga) with the Supreme Soul. He encouraged others to do the same by creating their own communication directly with the source.

Brahma Baba encouraged women to understand and explore their potential, and inspired them with a vision of the valuable contribution women can make as spiritual leaders. He found that women have the serenity and gentleness to understand and accept spiritual ideas easily without the barrier of arrogance which is so often present in men. So, by putting women forward, he sought to create a situation of equality and mutual respect and regard between men and women, and indeed within all relationships regardless of gender.

Sudesh Didi is Director of the Brahma Kumaris Centres in the Germany. She has been a student and teacher with the Brahma Kumaris University for nearly 50 years.

Why believe in Reincarnation?

What exchanges old for new, offers no special deals or closeouts, and keeps us coming back for more?


You were. You will be!
Know this while you are.
Reincarnation is the natural
process of recycling human energy through
birth, growth, decay and death.
Each rebirth is a link in one's eternal chain
of latent impressions, thoughts, desires and actions.
The soul in its new body is given the opportunity
to learn from the past,
to live the present and to prepare for the future.

Reincarnation: Why Believe?

Once I have begun to base my sense of ‘who I am’ on perceiving myself as a soul rather than on perceiving only my temporary costume, the body, I deeply realize that, as a being of spiritual energy giving life to the body, I am immortal. I begin to understand that I change bodily costumes just as a snake sheds its skin, but I – the eternal soul – can never die.

Death and Rebirth

At the moment of physical death, the soul withdraws its energy from the organs of the body and vacates its seat in the middle of the forehead. It takes with it the impressions accumulated in that life and enters into the body of an unborn baby, while that new body is still being formed in its mother’s womb. This normally happens between the fourth and fifth month of pregnancy. A human soul only enters a human body. The type of body the soul enters and the conditions of birth are determined by the past actions of the soul in its previous life or lives, and the cumulative account of give and take that it has built up with other souls. Without proper understanding of this process, the leaving of one body and the taking of another is often an experience of great fear and anguish; but the details of the old life are soon obliterated by new experiences so that the soul is not overwhelmed and confused by past memories.

Reincarnation: What You Take With You

By the time the baby’s body and brain are developed, the soul has all but forgotten the past and become accustomed to its new conditions and to the parents of its new body. However, although the soul cannot usually remember details of its past life or lives, it carries with it—in the form of attitudes, tendencies and personality—the cumulative effect of all that it has experienced and learned. All that is genetically brought to the new life is the physical make-up of the body, the racial type, the colour of eyes, shape of nose and so on. And although the environment in which a child is raised – as well as the personalities of those around the child – definitely exert an influence on the child’s development, its tendencies and reactions to people and events are not biologically generated but are inherent in the soul from previous existences. Those predominant impressions recorded in the past life soon begin to manifest themselves and are expressed in the new surroundings.

Relationship in Other Lifetimes

Human life is based on inter–relationships between souls, which in turn are based on the different impressions present in each. These impressions determine the course of life, the nature of the soul’s activities and its physical placement in a particular environment. Thus there is typically a link or an ‘account’ between two souls who have formed a relationship in one lifetime; that link will bring them together again in other lifetimes. This explains why many people have the sense of having met or known a person before, even though they are apparently meeting for the first time. Or they experience meeting someone with the feeling of either attraction or repulsion even though they don’t know them well enough in the current life to have developed those feelings. What is taking place is that the soul is recognizing the other soul – even though they have different bodies – from the last time they met.

Reincarnation: Process of Rebirth

Reincarnation is a process of rebirth. With each death comes a new birth and the opening of a new chapter in the never ending story of life. With each new birth the soul carries on with its journey through eternity where it left off in terms of its ‘accounts’ in the previous birth. The soul is not the victim of an angry or vengeful God condemning it to a lifetime of deprivation or suffering for no apparent reason. The soul inherits a past created by its own self. The fact that the precise past causes for the circumstances of the new life are not apparent or visible does not mean that they don’t exist. In other words, a soul born in fortunate circumstances is not the recipient of God’s grace or blessings; rather it is reaping the reward of its own generous and beneficial actions done in the previous birth(s). Each soul is constantly experiencing the effect of some past action and also planting seeds to be reaped as some future fruit.

The understanding of reincarnation reinforces, in meditation, the experience of my own immortality, my eternal existence as a soul. This is excellent medicine for many types of fear, anxiety and limited thinking.

What is Karma?

What gives exactly as much as it takes? Goes and comes around? What shows an effect but hides its cause?

The first thing we do is take a breath.
Then we must give it back.
This is the rhythm of life.
This is a natural law of reciprocity
Where everything and everybody is affected.
You start by taking what you end up giving.
This is the law of cause and effect.
This unwritten law encompasses every action we perform.
This is the law of perfect justice.
We always get the return of everything we give.

What is Karma?
Karma is a natural spiritual law or principle which governs all our interactions. It starts with the seed of thought which develops and grows over time through our feelings, attitude, words, actions, and relations. It finally settles into our souls as personality traits, only to emerge again in the form of another thought.

The Law of Karma can be understood as the spiritual equivalent of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action [on the physical plane] there is an equal and opposite reaction. In physics, the understanding of the absoluteness of Newton’s law shed so much light on a world that had previously been shrouded in mystery, that today it lies at the foundation of many advances in science and technology.

The Law of Karma
The Law of Karma is equally unequivocal in the spiritual dimension. It states that ‘for every action on the spiritual plane there is an equal and opposite reaction’. This means that if happiness is given, happiness will be experienced in return and if sorrow is given, sorrow will be experienced in equal measure. In other words, whatever emotion I cause another to experience must ultimately become my own experience.

Consequences of the Law of Karma

Understanding the Law of Karma makes me aware that each action (or karma) causes a return, a consequence; equally, events (and their effects) can only occur when there has been a corresponding cause. This means that whatever circumstances I’m in at the moment – whoever or whatever is compelling me or repelling me and whatever I am experiencing – is the consequence of my own prior thoughts, decisions and actions. Understanding the Law of Karma gives deep significance to concepts such as responsibility and justice.

Sometimes the Law of Karma is only half understood. Someone may think helplessly, “If whatever is happening to me now is because of my past actions, then there’s nothing I can do about it”. But if the past created the present, the present also creates the future. Instead of being a slave to one’s past, understanding the Law of Karma inspires us to actively participate in creating our own destiny.

Law of Karma: Absolute Justice

Thought is a seed; action is its fruit. The quality of fruit is determined by the quality of its seed. Good thoughts lead to good actions which benefit others as well as one’s self. The Law of Karma begins to work to my advantage when I stop habitual actions that are harmful, take responsibility to positively address the consequences of any such actions performed in the past, and pay attention to performing positive actions from this moment forward. The Law of Karma is a law of absolute justice whose long arm reaches easily from one life to the next, enabling the soul to reap the fruit of whatever seeds it has sown and to create the destiny it wants.

Meditation enables me to understand my karmic circumstances, empowers me to settle my ‘karmic accounts’ in the best possible ways and shows me how to accumulate ‘karmic credit’ for the future.

True Self… Naked and Exposed

Dr. Roger Cole recalls the transforming insights he gained when he explored death and dying with one of his groups

One of the outstanding benefits of accurate self-awareness is a relative freedom from the needs and dependencies that normally govern our lives. It also establishes a new frame of reference for the terms purpose and meaning. Such orientation and freedom enables one to experience peace and contentment, without leaving ‘worldly’ responsibilities behind. It is a liberated state, yet influential, with the potential to create a far better world.

In the care of the dying we are occasionally privileged to witness this potential. In the mid-seventies Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote a landmark book On Death and Dying. In this she outlined five stages of adaptation to a terminal condition, those of anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When the final stage of acceptance is manifest, we can see the example of the original nature of the soul emerge. And within this example is merged a mirror of opportunity; the opportunity to discover our true self.

About a year or two ago I was asked to speak to a group of hospice volunteers about spiritual aspects of care for the dying. During the discussion I talked about this state of acceptance. Not as one that simply acknowledges death but as one that engages that outstanding beauty of a soul. In the hope of a demonstration, I asked if anyone had ever witnessed such beauty at the time of a death.

One of the group, June, volunteered that she had. Her mother’s death had been like this, one of true acceptance, despite the fact that she lay there, withered and utterly dependant. “It was beautiful,” she said. “My mother was radiant with peace and the room just filled with her love. Everybody there was uplifted and happy by her company. She appeared so contented. It seemed as though she was surrounded in light…like an angel. I will never forget it. It was really special.”

It is wonderful, isn’t it, that such a grace can emerge at the time of dying? June and her sisters were with her mother when she was dying. I prompted June with a few questions. “Was your mother worried about any of you at that moment in time?” “No”, she said. “She knew we were there, but she was beyond concern about how we were feeling”.

“How about her looks and circumstances?” I asked. “Was she bothered by her appearance, or about the disease, and the fact she was dying?”.

“No…,” she paused. “…mum was at peace with herself. It was as if her body had ceased to exist. Only serenity remained, and there was no fear there at all.”

“How about all the problems of our world?” I asked. “Was your mom troubled by all the conflicts, deprivation and confrontation that are going on?” June laughed, entertaining a fleeting memory. “Oh, mum always had an opinion about everything. She used to get into a real state about it all. Really angry or really sad. But now you mention it…no, she wasn’t troubled at all. I guess she must have just let go of everything…,” she faltered, searching, “…she had let go of everything.”

This last statement had a profound effect on the room, the words were charged with positive emotions. There was pause, then a short silence that was full and unifying. The group vibration resonated with peace and harmony, as I measured the final question.

“In letting go of everything, just before she died, did your mother appeared to be carrying the burden of any of her life’s roles or responsibilities?”

“No, she had become completely free...completely free!”

In those final conscious moments of her life, June’s mother had become completely free. And liberated. Freed from all concerns of living. In the essence of her soul and ‘living spirit’; liberated—yet still occupying the wasted remnants of her physical body. As such, the soul stood naked and exposed, revealing her true and authentic self. I regard this to be fully manifest acceptance and would describe it as a state of grace. Or as one of true dignity. Most people feel that loss of dignity is attained where there is a dependency, or the need for help with their bodily functions. I believe this to be a misconception which reflects human ignorance. An ignorance born of body consciousness. While we will be exploring this concept further, June’s mother offers herself as living proof of this ignorance. In spirit she was graceful, and was revealing her true and original personality through liberation. The questions that I asked of June, were intended to explore four principle directions by which liberation leaves a soul free and vibrant. Liberation from the roles and responsibilities of a lifetime. Liberation from being affected by problems, in an increasingly complex world. Liberation from the material world, including the physical body, its diseases and appearance. And liberation from the attachments we form in a lifetime of relationships.

By liberation, June’s mother entered a state of being in which she was freed from the awareness of her body. She had become completely ‘soul conscious’. As such she naturally filled the room with a radiance of love, peace and acceptance. And those who were in her presence became happy and peaceful. I believe this to have reflected a return to her original condition. The condition she had before taking birth. That of a peaceful soul.

In witnessing this example we are seeing the establishment of soul-consciousness in the face of death. So one might ask, why is it we wait so long to find such serenity? And why do we have to be forced into submission—by death—before we can love and let go? Evidently it could be possible to do so in life and our volunteer’s mother is trying to show us this. The question is, “How”?

I have considered transformation to begin with enlightenment. And that enlightenment is bestowed as gift of awareness, requiring no endeavour on behalf of its beneficiary. When there has been recognition of the opportunity that enlightenment offers, then transformation can proceed. The difference now is that effort must be made. During enlightenment the individual’s experience is akin to that of June’s mother. Spiritual growth or transformation is about holding this love and light constantly. The effort required needs to be made in two directions simultaneously—towards the state of being; and towards the state of liberation. In fact both of these are intimately associated. The main effort is that of becoming soul conscious and free from dependencies. Liberated!
It represents a completely new identity.

In our volunteer’s mother this was attained in the face of death. Through the dying process she had become completely detached from all directions external to herself. External, that is, to her soul—the true or authentic self. In so doing she became a vessel of divine influence, radiating love, light and peace to those around her. She was detached from her family, yet they were experiencing love from her. She was detached from her family, yet they were experiencing love from her. Pure spiritual love. It seems a paradox, doesn’t it, that she had become both detached and loving? Totally unconcerned about anyone’s welfare. Yet loving and, quite effortlessly, meeting everyone’s need for peace and happiness. Her spiritual beauty came with the exposure of her soul. Through its nakedness, seeds of transformation were cast in a radiance of purity. And like a mirror she was revealing the true nature of soul to anyone who entered her presence. June had said, ‘It seemed as though she was surrounded in light…like an angel.” I think she was an angel.

By attaining grace, June’s mother had also revealed this aim and object of spiritual growth. That of becoming an angel. Or soul conscious. From this case it is evidently possible to do so. Her soul consciousness was state of awareness (or being) that served and uplifted others. She gave out an automatic, natural radiance of pure virtues. With a leaf from her book, as enlightened effort makers, we could transform ourselves. And become holistic, spiritual servers, whatever our social or professional roles. Where June’s mother was forced to do so by her circumstances of death, we have the opportunity to ‘embrace the light’ in accordance with free will. In giving us this example, she has afforded us this opportunity. An opportunity for even higher attainment than hers.

Where she found liberation and self-realization in death, we can do so in life. But we must first let go of fears and misconceptions. And understand paradox. To detach from those we love will transform the quality of that love into something divine and unconditional. Do we have the confidence to let go of relationships? And become merged in the divine love that will fulfil those relationships? Or is it that our fear is too great—that we will lose something? It is no easy thing to let go of a world you have come to depend on. But it is a wonderful thing to surrender your life to a higher power. For in surrender you become an instrument, where there is no burden on your shoulders. And you discover the delight of lightness in the service of humanity. I guess angels don’t get too worried about things. Then why should they? They are only God’s helpers after all.

June’s mother has given us a glimpse of the personal aim and objective within transformation or spiritual growth. And we have looked beyond enlightenment to the state of grace. Grace that beckons the soul to make effort to be itself, and to become free, liberate from body-consciousness. By this I mean to have a separate awareness from the physical body; and to be liberated from the four directions. Those of attachments, of responsibilities, of being affected, and of the material world.

We are now entering the individual’s journey. In doing so we will take care to remember that who ever travels this path enters a divine plan. Effort-making and self-transformation are inspired by a higher power. Enlightenment is a gift of higher power. And the motivation to take the journey is sustained from this divine source. We will also remember that the individual who journeys, contributes spiritual vibrations towards world transformation. Each one unique. Each one selected, each with a role to play.

Yet not one is special. For each is only rediscovering his or her true self, before allowing it to remain naked and exposed!

Roger Cole is a specialist physician trained in cancer medicine. He currently directs the Palliative Care Service in Australia. This is an extract from his forthcoming book A Tapestry of Light. It was originally published by BK Publications ( in Retreat Magazine #10.

The Tao

Respectfully revised and lovingly added to by Barbara Bossert-Ramsay and complemented by the thoughts of Dadi Janki

The title of the annual Mt Abu Forum in India in February 1998 was “The Spirit of the 21st Century”. Three themes provided the focus for the forum: simplicity, creativity and responsibility. During the forum Robin Ramsay, Barbara Bossert-Ramsay and Tamasin Ramsay adapted and performed The Tao to align with the themes, and then Dadi Janki shared a lifetime’s wisdom on each of the three topics. This is the essence.


To know others is wisdom;
To know the self is enlightenment,
To master others requires force;
To master the self requires strength.

To be happy where you are is to be content,
To be content is to be eternally present,
To be eternally present is The Way

Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.

Keep your mouth closed,
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.

Beware of any undertaking
That requires new clothes.

He who has achieved this state is happy with friends and with enemies,
is comfortable with good or with harm,
with honour and disgrace.

This is the highest state of man.

The five colours blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavours dull the taste.

Owning and losing madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.
Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.

If I have just a little sense,
I will walk on the main road and my only fear will be of straying from it.
Keeping to the main road is easy,
But people love to be side tracked.
When the court is arrayed in splendour,
The fields are full of weeds,
And the granaries are bare.
Some wear gorgeous clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
And indulge themselves with food and drink;
People have more possessions than they can use.
This is certainly not the way.
Sainthood, charity, ingenuity.
These three are outward forms alone.
They are not sufficient in themselves.
Give up sainthood.
Renounce the self-righteousness of wisdom,
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.

Give up charity.
Renounce opinions of what should be
And humanity will re-discover respect and love.

Give up ingenuity.
Renounce accumulation and profit
And bandits and thieves will disappear

It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To cast off selfishness
To temper desire
To realise one’s true nature.

This is contentment.
This holds happiness.

Empty yourself.
Let your mind rest.
All the things of the world rise and fall
While the soul watches their return.
Everything grows and flourishes and then returns to its source.
To return to the source is stillness.
This is unchanging, eternal.
To know this constancy frees the mind.

A free mind brings an open heart.
Open hearted, you will act royally.
Being royal you attain the divine.
Being divine will be your true self
Your eternal self.

The body dies.
The soul will never pass away.


It is a form of wisdom to know how to remain simple, to merge everything and become peaceful. In this state of consciousness spiritual power is accumulated automatically. To become simple means to become a good example in front of the world.
When we become simple we see the solution to everything is to remain peaceful and happy in our dealings with everyone. Simplicity creates the sate of introversion in which we no longer waste time and energy by going into this and that. This makes us very royal in our attitude and behaviour. Any unfulfilled desire does not even arise in us. Any work that we are responsible for is done with a natural easiness. We are able to create ideas and an atmosphere that makes everyone feel comfortable. It’s as if the inner mirror becomes clean and we can see clearly what we have to do.
Simplicity allows us to have courage and faith and it is this that creates success. Simplicity allows us to let go of old things. Simplicity allows us to be more loving towards ourselves and others. And this is what develops self respect. And by living in a simple way the specialty of each one becomes clear and we can easily see each other’s value.

What is firmly established cannot be uprooted.
What is firmly grasped cannot slip away.
It will be honoured from generation to generation.

Cultivate Virtue in your self,
And Virtue will be real.
Cultivate Virtue in the family,
And Virtue will abound.
Cultivate it in the village,
And Virtue will grow.
Cultivate it in the nation,
And Virtue will be abundant.
Cultivate it in the universe,
And Virtue will be everywhere.

Therefore look at the body as body;
Look at the family as family;
Look at the village as village;
Look at the nation as nation;
Look at the universe as universe.

How do I know the universe is like this?
By looking!

My words are easy to understand, my directions easy to practice,
Yet only a handful under the sky hears and follows them.

My words have ancient beginnings
My laws are eternal.
Those that know me are few;
Illusion is everywhere.
Therefore the sage wears rough clothing and keeps jewels safe in his heart.

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
But only the centre hole makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room
And it is the holes that make it useful.
Shape your clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.

Without going outside
You might know the whole world.
Without looking through the window,
You might see the ways of heaven.
The farther you go,
The less you know.

Thus the sage knows without travelling;
He sees without looking:
He creates without doing.

You are able to develop creativity in yourself when you have the attitude of learning and when you have the aim of self improvement. When you have the aim of self improvement you won’t want to have any defects in your character. You will make an effort to remove anything negative. For this I need to make myself calm and peaceful. I need to spend time in silence. I have to see myself within. Then I can cleanse my inner self. Then I can create new things. This is the practice which can restore my creative ability.

Try not to allow anything external to influence you; whether it is in the form of praise, defamation, victory or defeat. Everything that is happening is just like a game. I am just an actor. So keep yourself always balanced. Whatever is happening externally let it happen but maintain your highest intentions and focus inside. Thoughts, words and actions should be identical. Attitude should be filled with benevolence and thoughts constantly lined with the creator.

Just as there is a connection with the power generator in order to draw power so in the same way we have to be linked with the creator and draw that power to play our role accurately within the creation. This power restores concentration which enables us to create pure and positive thoughts. When there are thoughts of love and respect for the self we are able to create the same for others. This is spiritual service.

Accept your life willingly,
Accept obstacles as part of the human condition.

What do you mean by ‘Accept your life willingly’?
Ride the low waves as well as the high,
Do not be concerned with loss or gain.
This is called ‘Accepting your life willingly’.
What do you mean by, ‘Accepting obstacles as part of the human condition’?
Obstacles are part of your learning
Without obstacles how can there be life?

Surrender yourself willingly;
Then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the worlds as our own self;
Then you can truly care for all things.

A good walker leaves no tracks;
A good speaker makes no slips;
A good reckoner needs no tally,
A good door needs no lock,
Yet no one can open it.
Good binding requires no knots,
Yet no one can loosen it,

Therefore the sage takes care of all men
And abandons no one.
He takes care of all things
And abandons nothing.

This is called ‘following the light’,
This is the heart of the mystery.

When Truth is lost,
Charity and self-righteousness arise.
When cleverness and scholarship are born,
The great pretence begins.
When there is no peace within the family,
Social workers and care givers are born.
When the world is confused and in chaos.
The keepers of peace appear.

Know the strength of man,
But keep a woman’s care!
Be the stream of the universe!
Being the stream of the universe,
Ever true and unswerving,
Become as a little child once more.

Know the white,
But keep the black!
Be an example to the world!
Being an example to the world,
Ever true and unwavering.
Return to the infinite.

Know honour,
Yet keep humility.
Be the valley of the universe!
Being the valley of the universe,
Ever true and resourceful,
Return to the stage of the uncarved carved block.

When the block is carved,
It becomes useful.
When the sage uses it, he comes the ruler.
Thus, ‘A great tailor cuts little.’

The greatest good is like water
It flows in places human beings reject.
It gives life without any effort.


In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling, be just.
In business, be vigilant.
In action, keep your timing full of care.
Let your heart be like water
It will flow in places human beings reject.
It will bring life without any effort.

Ancient masters.
Profound, responsive, subtle, mysterious.
The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.
Because it is unfathomable.

But we can describe their appearance.
Watchful, like those crossing a winter stream.
Alert like those aware of danger.
Courteous, like visiting guests.
Yielding, like ice just about to melt,
Simple, yet holding everything,
Like blocks of wood ready to be carved.

And if we learn carefully,
If we remain still until the moment of action
If we yield like ice just about to melt,
We too become simple, like blocks of wood ready to be carved.
It is the depth of their knowledge that is unfathomable.
Not having knowledge itself.
And having the knowledge,
The depth is only your decision.
And to all others,
It is unfathomable


Regarding the coming 21st century we all have a responsibility to plant seeds. The first seed is of simplicity: to have simplicity in our communication with each other and in our relationship with God. There is great beauty in this simplicity for it is open and honest and clean. In your relationships develop a selfless attitude where you bring benefit to one another. Put your heart on one another’s hand. Trust one another. Everyone is now thinking for themselves or their own family. This is the time to think for the world, we have to do something for the world. I have to look and see what it is I have to do at this very important time now.

It is our responsibility to be forgiving, loving and merciful towards ourselves and then others. We must not be sorrowful seeing people in sorrow; this does not help them. So we must bring them to happiness. With truthfulness and with love, if I am responsible for my own self and know that this is what I have to do, I will definitely receive the help of God. But first I need to have pure and elevated thoughts, determined and courageous thoughts; these are my responsibilities and these will serve the world in the 21st century.

Barbara Bossert-Ramsay is an author and freelance writer based in Melbourne. Dadi Janki is the Additional Administrative Head of the Brahma Kumaris.

The Holy Grail of High Self Esteem

Lesley Edwards goes straight to the core of the challenge that faces us all, every day—the rebuilding and the maintenance of high self esteem.

In the first article on building self esteem (see The Beauty and the Beast) I described the first two steps as Knowing Yourself, and Accepting Yourself: to know and accept yourself as you are, good and bad; and to know and accept yourself as you could be, making the choice to realize your full potential for positive transformation, and appreciating the spiritual process that makes this possible. Having understood and accepted where you are coming from and where you are going to, the next step is to commit yourself to the journey. The challenge of building true self esteem is a pilgrimage in search of the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is our worthiness, our purpose in life, our dignity, our beauty, true love, and a satisfying, peace of mind. Journeys can be dangerous things. Sometimes it’s safer to stay at home with the comfort of denials and attachments and support systems that tell us how wonderful we are—blissfully ignorant of all the work that needs to be done. It is when we venture outside our comfort zones that we get tested and challenged.


The third step to building self esteem is to protect yourself. This means be careful. You have enemies. There will be forces at work that will try to stop you getting to your ‘Soul Room’, that inner space where you can sustain your soul consciousness and cultivate your conversation with God. Voices will call out to you from the other rooms. “Where are you?” “We need you here!” They will prevent you from knowing and learning from God, the master architect of your new self.

On a pilgrimage it is often best to travel alone, at least for the substantial part of the journey, while you are regaining your self esteem. The purpose of your life at the moment is to find the Holy Grail. But that is not an end in itself. What is most important is what you do with it when you have found it. Then the purpose of your life is to give, to express, to share what you have found. It is true that in a sense you cannot separate the two, for in giving, expressing and sharing you also discover yourself. But it is a fine balance and one that is easily lost. So make sure, if you are traveling closely with others, to give yourself plenty of space.

While Noah built his ark, people came and laughed at him, and teased him. “What on earth are you doing Noah?” They thought he was mad. It may be that others won’t understand why you want to go to your Soul Room to be quiet and to know God. The cocoon is not the most attractive phase in the life of the butterfly, but it is an essential step. No cocoon, no butterfly, simple as that. God has a preservation order on you at this time. Trust, and have faith that if you keep going inside to find power, that the power will do its work.

Protecting yourself is a lot to do with the relationships in your life, your relationship with yourself, with God and with other people. Put your relationship with yourself and God first. Your lessons will come through other people, but don’t lose sight of who is learning and who is teaching.

Relationships with others are a way of knowing ourselves on a deeper level. They are intense and interesting and real. We need someone to bounce off, to mirror back to us our reality. But we need to be wary about what they are mirroring back, which reality, which identity. If you are on a pilgrimage to find your true identity then be careful what other people see in you, because you will see yourself with those eyes too and this could give you a false sense of security; you think you are fine, when really there’s a lot you could be working on. When you are close to someone, your perception gets mixed up with their perception; sometimes you can’t even tell whether your feelings are your own or theirs. If they are not seeing themselves clearly, they will project what they don’t like in themselves onto you, and if you are not doing your work properly you will project what you don’t like in yourself onto them! All relationships are an exchange of power, people competing for energy: A and B taking support from each other until A no longer has the energy or the interest and withdraws affection. And B, having become dependent, is then unable to find that energy either from within or from anywhere else.

In an ideal relationship there will be an exchange of high quality love. Some recent scientific research from New York, which has been attracting media attention, has identified three types of love: lust, attraction and attachment. Lust and attraction speak for themselves. They can be lots of fun, but there may be a hefty price to pay in terms of your self esteem, and they will ultimately be distracting for anyone on a true pilgrimage. Attachment perhaps promises a deeper love, but how many people do you know who can’t live without each other, but they can’t really live with each other either? They love to hate each other! So be careful of the quality of your relationships. Are you really ready to love another human being properly? Or do you need to learn to love yourself first?

The things that attract us to other people are often qualities we would like to have ourselves. If we are quiet and gentle, we may find extrovert and confident people attractive. If we are strong and dynamic, we may find gentle and calm people attractive. In either case, the only and real lasting solution is to find whatever quality we are looking for in someone else—inside ourselves. For the power that can be found by returning to the natural state of the soul has all the ingredients needed for the making of any quality.

Within the cocoon of spiritual transformation there is a perfect balancing out of qualities; a balancing of the male and female within us all. For all of us can be strong as well as gentle, responsible as well as free, adventurous as well as cautious. When we see the alchemy of what was once weak becoming strong, what was once idealistic becoming visionary, what was once worry becoming freedom—then relationships change from being dependent to interdependent, from being unhealthy to healthy.

God teaches us to love ourselves. Because He has no hidden agenda He will mirror back to us only our highest qualities. We will not be able to project onto Him our own weaknesses; we will simply have to accept them and own them. He will not project onto us, because He has no weaknesses. He will not take our power away, nor will He withdraw His power, because it is unlimited. Having a relationship with God is necessary when our batteries have run down. And for anyone looking for self esteem that is likely to have happened.


The final step to building self esteem is to empower yourself. Power comes from all sorts of places. Some energy will be temporary, like the buzz of caffeine or cocaine that ends up leaving you feeling low. The energy spurt of a temporary attraction can also leave you feeling deflated when it fades, or damaged when it is not reciprocated. Even riding high on success and achievement carries within it the inevitability of coming down to earth with a bump when there is criticism and misunderstanding.

True energy will leave you feeling quietly confident, contented, satisfied, accepting, loving and at peace. You will feel connected to your own inner goodness, to the source of goodness in the universe and the goodness in other people. You will be stable and calm when things are going well and when things go badly. You will not need to blame or criticize anyone or anything.

You will love yourself—which means looking after your physical needs, eating the right food, taking exercise. You will spend time alone, being creative, meditating or enjoying silence, happy with your own company, and happy in the company of others. You will know your limitations and draw clear boundaries with confidence and calmness when it comes to work and commitments.

To maintain this state of self esteem you will need to be very cautious about what causes leakages to your inner strength. Power will seep away if you are not true to yourself. We all have an internal barometer which will indicate to us when we are off track. Deep within the soul, in the silent Soul Room of our being, is our conscience. It is our inner wisdom, the part of us that knows really that love is a more natural state of being than hate, that peace is more natural than stress. And it knows when we violate our own truth through our weaknesses, compulsions and being influenced by others. Our conscience ‘bites’, we become prisoners of our own conscience. I said earlier that God does not withdraw His power, but we can prevent ourselves from taking the power of goodness from God, and finding strength in our own goodness if we are not true to ourselves. If we deceive ourselves, if we forget who we really are, if we take quick fixes of energy by criticising others, by giving in to greediness or easy options, our energy will leak away. If we abuse ourselves or anyone else in any way we will not have a clear conscience. It will play on our minds. And when we go to our Soul Room there will not be peace, but punishment. Self inflicted punishment, the punishment of a troubled mind.

It is a paradox of spirituality, that real self esteem comes when we in fact go beyond our ‘self’. If we transcend ourselves, if we no longer have any selfish or willful desires, we can become an instrument of God’s will. Then our purpose in life becomes very clear. And it is only when we have a clear purpose that we can have true self esteem. When we go beyond our ‘selves’ then we find the soul. Then our life’s purpose is quite simply to learn to love and to bring peace on earth, in whatever way we can. This may be through composing a symphony or baking cakes. It does not really matter.

The Feminine Principle

Author’s Bio: Gayatri Naraine is the Brahma Kumaris Representative at the United Nations in New York. This article, (copyright 1998 by Gayatri Naraine), was a featured article in “The Fabric of the Future—Women Visionaries Illuminate the Path to Tomorrow”, edited by M.J. Ryan, and published by Conari Press, Berkeley, California. Written 8 years ago, the article is still vitally relevant today.

Gayatri Naraine anticipates the emergence of the feminine at the level of spirit.

Personal growth and human development are perhaps two of the more popular banners flapping in the breeze at the eve of the 21st century. So what’s new? Aren’t these two old chestnuts that humanity has been chewing over throughout history? The issues may indeed be the same but what is new is the emergence of a suppressed part of the human dynamic that can be called the feminine principle. This principle does not cater to a prejudiced belief in the superiority or inferiority of one group compared to another. Nor does it seek to replace male chauvinism with female chauvinism. Its aim is to allow the blossoming of a full and balanced personality that is at once vigorous and serene in an era of both light and might.

The feminine principle is a subtle energy, which has remained untapped within the psyche of both men and women. It is merged in the essence of our spiritual identity and is marked by qualities attributed to the more gentle side of the human being—care, respect, trust, patience, loyalty, love honesty, empathy, and mercy. When this principle is understood and realised, it is a force so powerful that it awakens us to new realities and realigns us to the true purpose and meaning of life .Both men and women possess this feminine principle but throughout history it has often been equated with emotion, weakness, and vulnerability and, in the context of social, economic, and political issues, flushed from the mainstream of development to a backwater and then labelled as ‘women’s issues’. The feminine principle was thereby controlled and crushed by the iron hand of patriarchal power, which almost invariably demanded nothing less than the sacrifice of intuition at the altar of rigid logic, the suppression of gentleness for the sake of brute strength, and the compliance of women with the dominance of men.

If the problems which have arisen through the suppression and control of this principle are to be corrected in a way that will last, then this must be done through a change of consciousness rather than a reversal of positions, roles: a change of consciousness which takes its birth from a base of spirituality and not from a base of sexuality. The feminine principle, this untapped subtle potential that lies at the core of our being, must now be realised to restore a balance between intellect and intuition, facts and feelings, reason and realism.

At the brink of the new millennium, in the midst of the most turbulent of times, the feminine principle is the clear, cool spring that can give life to humanity’s arid wasteland; the sacred water from which to draw purpose and meaning.

Lessons Come From Hindsight

Looking back at the twentieth century, one my say that the progress of women has been slow and laborious, for up until the ‘60s women were best known for their roles as wives, mothers, sisters, nurses, and secretaries. As women’s liberation movements asserted that women were also entitled to human rights, the international community responded with a series of women’s conferences that have contributed to the great strides made in putting women’s concerns high on the global agenda. Yet most women who managed to claim the positions they deserved in the world did so at the expense of the feminine principle and were either caught in the power play of sexuality or achieved their positions only by developing an iron-fisted control over others. While such measures were doubtless successful in the short term, any individual who has to compromise on who she is, and knowingly or unknowingly deny herself access to the source of her own strength, will sooner or later succumb to the trap of exploiting, manipulating, and discriminating against others—the very evils she sought to dispel. Deprived of the strength that comes from within, these are the only tools available to a person living outside the borders of their own being.

Twentieth-century women will be remembered as pioneers of a hard and perilous path to freedom and liberation. Their efforts brought phenomenal breakthroughs and taught significant lessons. The starting point was action-oriented and was influenced by characteristics associated with the left hemisphere of the brain—courage, determination, will-power, and advocacy. The result was the formation of an international network of women’s organizations and groups whose fingers are on the pulse of political, social, and economic changes, and who know how these impact the lives of women all over the world. Faced with the paradox of some material and professional success but very little emotional and spiritual fulfilment, such women continued to feel a sense of inner depletion and a lack of self-worth and self-esteem. Recognizing that the advancement of women was an uphill task, a whole of many parts, it became apparent that progress on the outside had to be nurtured by growth on the inside. Soon, programs on self-development and personal growth began to mushroom. Conferences, seminars and forums were replaced by dialogues, discussions and conversations. The significant lesson learned was the patience to trust that whatever happened was part of a process that would lead to a successful outcome and the rediscovery of characteristics such as intuition, creativity, spirituality, nurturing, sustenance, care, love, and compassion. This shift in consciousness became the backbone of their stories.

Vision Comes From Foresight

Women of the twentieth century have developed guidelines and set standards for women of the twenty-first century to pursue and develop further. The feminine principle, which has come to be seen as the light at the end of the tunnel in the latter years of the twentieth century, will become a natural way of being in the future. Trust, respect, and wisdom will lie at the heart of authentic leadership by women and men; integrity and high moral standards will sustain it. Power will no longer lie in the hands of others who make decisions for us, but within the hearts of each one of us. As natural leaders, we will lead from the core of our inner strength and will follow our own inner principles, conscience, and truth, thus creating our own disciplines.

It will be an integral part of the awareness and attitudes of women responsible for the growth and development of children that every child has the right to participate fully in all areas of society and to equality of opportunity. These guardians of humanity’s future will ensure that the worth of an individual is not determined by gender and will bestow the love and respect with which the true self of each young person may flourish. To a great extent, it lies in the hands of women to master a process that will rescue us and succeeding generations from being restricted by discriminatory attitudes, abusive patterns of physical and emotional behaviour, and the limitations we may have put on ourselves. This will be the sine qua non of our ultimate freedom.
Wisdom Comes From Insight

“Who am I, always keeping an ‘eye’ on ‘I’?”

At the confluence of the two millennia, one of the most challenging insecurities to be overcome is that felt by people in relation to themselves—the question: Who am I?

By using the feminine principle as the premise to explore this mystery, we can embark on our journey of discovery from a perspective of faith in one’s self. We are often reluctant to look within ourselves because we lack the confidence to come face-to-face with the person we fear the most—our own true selves.

Spiritual knowledge gives a deeper level of understanding that can remove the fear of the unknown and open the door to insight. Insight gives the spiritual clarity to recognise the self and the inner strength to accept the self, including our present limitations. Insight also serves as a searchlight with which to see through the layers of limitations we have acquired by overemphasizing the temporary or physical aspects of our identity and with which to focus on the realization of our original and eternal identity— “Who I am always.”

To identify with the inner self is the method to free myself from the confines and constraints of the physical limitations. Faith in myself elevates and divinises my intellect and opens my third eye of wisdom. This is the kind of faith that creates trust and gives me the courage to accept the past, enjoy the present, and create the future I want. It is the wisdom that women must embody. This wisdom is born from the depth of a spiritual consciousness and has been remembered as shakti—will-power received directly from God. Such wisdom, when brought into action, has a truly transforming effect on our lives and the lives of those around us, bringing about integration with integrity.

Using the feminine principle to bring about integration with integrity is the most powerful tool now at our disposal. The practice of returning to one’s original identity and remembering “Who I am always”, as we play our different roles and honour our various responsibilities, is crucial—as it enthrones us on our seat of self-respect. When our subtle inner abilities are integrated in the wholeness of our being and allowed to be expressed with the support of self-respect, actions are performed with a high level of integrity.

The feminine principle has often been mistaken for femininity on a physical level and so respect for inner beauty has often yielded to an obsession with beauty that knows nothing deeper than the skin. A women’s worth comes from the original and innate qualities of the soul: truth, love, purity, joy, and peace, and it is from these values that a women’s beauty is derived and radiated through her features. To believe in the beauty of one’s innate worth and to see the self in the context of this eternal reality, rather than just the transitory physical appearance, gives a tremendous boost to one’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

To feel is a basic human trait, yet when it comes to expressing our feelings in a particular relationship, our passion for a task or admiration for a piece of art or music, often we either overindulge ourselves and lose our sense of reason or we suppress ourselves with the fear of being rejected or of being too emotional. Something somewhere has gone wrong with feelings and so we need to understand deeply what true feelings are. Feelings are linked to motives, intentions, desires, and expectations, and I can control the way I feel when I am in touch with these. I am empowered when my feelings are based on the strength of what is true to me and come from respecting and believing in myself. I am disempowered when I allow external influences to create doubts and fears in the way I feel, causing me to look outward to validate my own feelings. Looking outside myself is the way to let loose waves of victimisation, uncertainty, and insecurity and so feelings are often suppressed and never dealt with. This suppression of feelings leads to depression as I am unable to trust my own feelings and I am reluctant to talk about them, fearing being misunderstood, criticized, or rejected. Staying close to my own truth, innate values, and inner strength enables me to trust my feelings. I am responsible for the way I feel and I have the capacity to remove any painful feelings and to create pure feelings in their place.

Capacity building is the art of balancing feeling with reason. This balance is especially needed in areas of trust, honesty, loyalty, and love. Reason tells me that when I begin to cultivate and nurture any of these values, my own insecurities, fears, and doubts will arise to test the strength of my commitment and to stretch my capacity. Every test has a benefit merged in it. What needs to be understood during these battles is that I must not shrink my capacity to trust just because someone betrays this trust, or my capacity to be honest just because someone lies to me. It is so easy to be influenced by someone else’s behaviour and to internalise their weakness in a way that causes me to lose faith in my own capacity and to waver from staying in alignment with my own values. This is where space is required to maintain healthy and long-standing relationships and not to become so wrapped up in another that I lose all sense of who I am. This stepping back to maintain my own independence and integrity nurtures my growth and increases my capacity to exercise freedom of choice rather than succumbing to the pull of external influences or the expectations of others.

It has been observed that a woman’s intuition guides her ability to make decisions, almost like a sixth sense. However, intuition on its own is not enough for effective decision-making. It is only when motives are clean and devoid of selfish desires that the intuition can give clear signals to help make objective decisions. These subtle abilities must be applied or expressed in relation to facts and not fancy or imagination. Walking the tightrope of daily life can also challenge our ability to make decisions with integrity. This is why it is so important to periodically keep an ‘eye’ on ‘I’ to see whether my actions, words, thoughts, and values are in alignment with my principles. If they are not we must use our sense of self-worth to allow us to delay the decision and, if they are, then that alignment gives us the authority to take a stand, make the decision, and be committed to it.

Within the heart of the human soul, a new world is waiting to be born. The gift we can, and must, offer —to ourselves and to each other—is to rekindle within ourselves the flame of the feminine principle and then to keep that flame glowing strong and steady in our souls, sustaining it with the oil of pure feelings, faith and determination. A commitment to live by this principle is a commitment to ignite the spirit of the twenty-first century in the hearts of all humanity. If I don’t make this commitment, who will? Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

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