By Jamuna Rangachari
Considered to have one of the most stable minds ever studied, Dadi Janki, head of the Brahma Kumari movement, attributes her equanimity to purity of thoughts, words and actions, says Jamuna Rangachari
Today, Raja Yoga has become part of the common parlance due to the Brahma Kumari movement. The Brahma Kumari movement has also established women as adept spiritual guides and mentors for seekers of truth.
Dadi Janki, the administrative head of the Brahma Kumari movement epitomises this phenomenon. She has spread Raja Yoga throughout the world and maintains an unrivalled daily lecture and touring schedule even today, at the ripe old age of 99. She has travelled the world almost relentlessly over the past decade, engaging with people from the grassroots to the top brass. Dadi Janki refuses to set limits and boundaries to human achievement, and by doing so, she inspires millions to believe that they too can make the impossible, possible.
When I met her for the interview, before answering the queries, she began by stating, “Om Shanti – I am peace. Before I speak, I always say Om Shanti three times. The first Om Shanti is to become self-aware – ‘Who am I?’ The second is to become aware of the Supreme – ‘Who do I belong to?’ The third is to remind myself, ‘What kind of actions do I need to perform in the world?’ One can be helped tremendously in a practical way in life, from the awareness of these three Om Shantis.”
Excerpts from the interview:
What is the role of religion and faith in today’s world?
We speak of religion as dharma. Actually the basis of human life is swadharma (to act according to your original nature). Our swadharma is peace, love and truth. Nowadays in the world, people don’t have faith in the self, God or each other. I have seen that dharma means to have faith – faith in who I am originally. When there is faith, there is truth, love and unity. In fact, there are five things that result from faith: truth, love, patience, humility and sweetness. Faith brings these five things into our life in a practical way.
How did you find the purpose of your life to be that of spirituality?
I was 21 when I embarked on this spiritual journey and received the introduction of the Supreme Soul and the understanding that we are at a special time in the cycle of humanity – The Confluence Age – a confluence between the old world of Kaliyug and the new world of Satyug (age of truth). Now, I am 99 years old.
Since receiving the introduction of the Supreme, I began to experience what spirituality really is. It is nothing showy, but a quiet internal process of self-realisation; of knowing yourself, knowing God and performing elevated actions. I have always paid attention to my karma. Whatever actions I perform, others on seeing me will do the same. I have to keep my karma good. I have always paid attention to these two things.
Good karma means action without the arrogance of the body, without desire, anger, greed, attachment. Let my actions be free of these vices, and then spirituality will automatically permeate into practical life.
Your mind is said to be one of the most stable ever studied. How does one achieve this?
This is a wonder. Internally, we have to keep our thought power pure and peaceful. There is no need to think wasteful thoughts. Energy is wasted in thinking about others and the past – thoughts of why something is happening, how something is happening. When there isn’t waste, the mind remains stable.
How do we find the purpose of our life?
When I was younger, I practiced devotion. Since childhood, my food and clothes were simple. I didn’t like to be fashionable. For me, to be devoted to God meant to interact honestly and with love. I never distinguished between my family members and others. All were the same to me. There was a loving interaction with everyone. However, I had a deep longing for God, the Supreme. Who is He and what is He like? I experienced this through Brahma Baba. I knew Brahma Baba from before – he was also a sincere devotee, never did any devotion in a ‘showy’ way. You will discover your purpose when you learn to live life with honesty and love.
We need knowledge to discover purpose – an introduction of ‘who am I, who do I belong to, and what do I have to do’. When we receive an introduction, things become easy. So we have to recognize this for ourselves and then share it with each other. This is our duty.
What kind of education do you think will enable us to enjoy a complete, holistic life?
When people think of the word education, they think in terms of livelihoods like becoming a doctor, or a lawyer. I have been educated in the scriptures and received only three years of formal schooling from age nine. There were a variety of subjects, such as history, and arts, which I felt weren’t of use to me. I learnt a little English and would always get 99 per cent in arithmetic. And that is why I can calculate things well even today. Education means to take what is necessary in life for yourself; what is useful for your interaction; and for keeping your accounts in life accurate. Don’t become confused by taking in what is not useful.
How does one include spirituality in one’s normal day-to-day life?
The main thing I have shared is that we need to hold an awareness of three things – Who am I? Who do I belong to? What do I have to do? When we practically understand these things from God the Supreme, then automatically we cease to ask ‘how’ ‘why’ and ‘what’. It is not a question of how but what consciousness we remain in as we continue to carry out daily activities.
At the age of 99, you have more energy and determination than even youngsters. How have you achieved this?
As a detached observer, even before adopting spiritual knowledge, I never wasted my time, money or energy. I still have great value for time. I have never had to ask for money from anyone. I always had the pure wish to remain simple, and become a sample. I always advise others to experiment with simplicity and see its results. You won’t have any worries about anyone and no-one will worry about you. It’s important to always remain light.
You have introduced Raja Yoga to the entire world. Can we all do this?
I have often deeply felt how the Supreme Soul has given me such teachings to live a practical spiritual life. People have been inspired by the practical life and proof of these teachings.
No matter what religion or culture you may be from, you can focus on increasing self-awareness – Who am I? Who do I belong to – that One who is the Supreme Soul, the Father of all – is also my father. He is my father, mother, teacher and satguru. I have all relationships with Him. We automatically receive power through these relationships, and then our practical life gives an introduction to others. We don’t have to speak much through the mouth, but others will receive inspiration from our practical life.
Raja Yoga means to have the sanskars of self-sovereignty. This brings reality and royalty in our character. Yoga means relation, connection and communication with the One. This is essential for everyone – young and old. With the practice of Raja Yoga your awareness stays clean and remembrance stays good. Happiness and sorrow; respect and disrespect; insult and praise; victory and defeat – are all dualities that exist in life. However, we have the power to remain in equanimity in the face of all this.
There is a lot of violence in the world today, in the name of religion. Why do you think this is happening?
There is often the ego of religion, ‘I am so and so’ – this is cause of conflict. Someone will ask me, if I am a Hindu and I will simply smile. My religion, and that of every person, is simply of truth and love. To leave that and become attached to limited identities of being a Hindu or Christian, or Muslim means that we then come into conflict of these positions.
Look here, we are thousands living together but we are living in peace. People witness this. Where there is truth and love, it’s a wonder. Purity is the key here. There is purity and cleanliness in food and behaviour/lifestyle.
When we hold on to limited identities, then we experience fear, fear of other religions, perhaps the fear of being converted. Because truth is my religion, there is no fear. Truth makes you fearless and courageous.
What is the primary bottleneck that most people face while trying to lead a positive life? How does one tackle it?
The attractions of customs and systems of the world in general. We are habituated to move along on the basis of external customs and systems. You can see how fashion develops in hairstyles, clothes, etiquettes, and what we own. If you look at our life there is no obstacle, because there is simplicity. This is the key.
What are the experiences in your life that you are proud of?
Even to use the word ‘proud’ is a little gross. At a subtle level, I’ve always maintained the practice of remaining unshakeable, immovable and stable; there are no desires that pull or fluctuations that arise from the fear of losing something. The power of concentration has kept me going until today. It’s important to maintain an introverted and concentrated state and to remain a well wisher of others. To always have good wishes and pure feelings.
When God is pleased, then there’s no need to advocate or to try and prove anything! When there is courage, the Father helps and the Lord is pleased with an honest heart. When your intentions are clean, then your thoughts will manifest practically.
What is your vision for the future? We know the focus of your organization is the dawning of Satyug? Is this happening?
This is not something in question, but is practically being revealed in our lives as Brahma Kumars and Kumaris. We have four practical subjects: knowledge or study, yoga, dharna (to adopt godly virtues), and service – to remain in pure feelings and to be a well wisher for all.
At this time, we are now practically seeing falsehood coming to an end…
Truth is being established. The power of truth is revealing itself and we are realisng that Satyug is coming and Kaliyug is finishing.
What would be your message to our readers?
It is important to remain simple. Live with the power of concentration in the awareness of the One and with economy. There is a lot of benefit to living economically.
About the author : Jamuna Rangachari is a writer who has authored three books for children, and compiled and interpreted Teaching Stories-I and II for Life Positive.
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