by Dr Eugene D'Souza - Dombivli
Mumbai, Dombivli, Mar 2: “Though God is perceived differently in various religious traditions and referred by different names and assigned different attributes, He is One, and so is the entire humanity world over.” This noble message was emphasized by the representatives of different religious communities in an Inter-religious Meeting (Dharma Sammelan) organized by the Dombivli Centre of Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya on Saturday 1st March 2008, at Late Anand Dhige Hall, Gandhi Nagar, Dombivli. This Inter-religious meeting was organized in view of the Mahashivaratri.
Speakers at this Inter-religious meeting representing Hindu, Christian, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh communities and Brahma Kumaris collectively lighted the traditional lamp ‘samay’ symbolizing the fundamental unity of all religions.
Following the introduction and welcome of the speakers representing different religious communities, Brahma Kumari Pramila Rao, Manager of Microbiology Group at BARC traced the origin and growth of the spiritual movement culminating in the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya. She also narrated the various activities of this organization in India and abroad.
The speakers at the ‘Dharma Sammelan’ were: Mrs Shushma B. Limaye, Sardar Balwinder Singh, Mr. Chimanlal Singhavi, Buddh Ratna, Rajayogini Shakuntala Didi and Dr Eugene D’Souza.
The speakers at this Inter-religious meeting emphasized on promoting brotherhood, peace and harmony between different communities, and inter-faith dialogue.
Sugandhi Hegde, Programme Producer for Surya TV conducted the entire programme.
Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya
At the age of sixty, when most people think of retirement and spending their lives in ease and leisure, one man decided that his true mission in life was just beginning. He was Brahma Baba, whose original name was Lekhraj. Around the age of sixty, he suddenly underwent an inner transformation, renounced his wealth and devoted himself to the pursuit of self-awareness and helping to raise mankind to a nobler status. His goal was renewal of the world through virtue, human compassion and universal brotherhood. With this view, he founded the movement, which is now popularly known as the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya or the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.
Lekhraj, born in 1876 in Hyderabad, Sindh (presently in Pakistan) was the son of an ordinary school teacher. As he grew up, instead of following his father’s profession, Lekhraj became a successful diamond trader. Being generous in disposition he got himself involved in a number of philanthropic activities.
The year 1936 was a turning point in the life of Dada Lekhraj. At the age of 60 after getting several trance-like visions he was convinced that his mission would be to lay the foundation of a new world order based on peace and a spirit of brotherhood.
Being convinced about his mission, Dada Lekhraj began to spread his ideas initially in small gatherings attended by his relatives, friends and neighbours. He advised them on leading a life following a strict moral code. Gradually, Dada Lekhraj was addressed by his followers as Prajapita Brahma Baba.
Prajapita Brahma had great compassion for humanity and concern for the weak.. Emancipation of women was uppermost in his mind. He devoted his energy in empowering the women. As a first step in this direction, he surrendered all his assets and property to a trust, which was headed by a committee of women. Thus, he founded the institution of Brahma Kumaris in 1937, which became the first spiritual organization that is being run entirely by women or Brahma Kumaris. The male members in the organization are being called Brahma Kumars. Om Radhey, later known as Mother Saraswati, was the first administrative head of this spiritual institution.
The spiritual movement initiated by Brahma Baba moved from Hyderabad to Karachi and later following the independence and partition of India to Mount Abu in Rajasthan in 1950. Mount Abu proved to be an ideal center for meditation and quiet reflection.
Few years later the community moved to another site in Mount Abu and called it Madhuban, which is the present headquarters of this institution. After establishing a widespread spiritual movement centered around women, Prajapita Brahma Baba took Samadhi on 18th January, 1969.
Madhuban, besides being the headquarters of the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya is also a center for retreat where the Raj Yoga is practiced. It is a place of splendid scenic beauty with calm and peaceful surroundings. The Madhuban campus also has the Meditation Hut where Prajapita Brahma Baba used to meditate and the Tower of Peace which is the Samadhi of the Baba.
The most important part of Madhuban is the Om Shanti Bhawan or the Universal Peace Hall. This main hall, which had been the venue for several international conferences, has a capacity of seating 3,000 people. There is also provision for translation in sixteen languages.
From a humble beginning, the legacy of Prajapita Brahma, the ‘Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University’, has grown into a very large organization. The important feature of this organization is that it is managed exclusively by women. Brahma Kumaris run a vast network of 3000 educational centers in India and 330 abroad in 62 countries. These institutions are open to all irrespective of caste and religion. The ‘Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University’ has earned respect worldwide for the moral and spiritual education imparted by it and its work has been appreciated by the United Nations Organization.