Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 8, No 1 (2013)

The ‘Social’ Face of the Brahmakumaris in India: Contemporary perspectives and praxis nuances

Samta P. Pandya
Issued Date: 29 Oct 2013

Abstract


Based on fieldwork, this article analyses the Brahmakumaris movement in India in terms of its contemporary perspectives and praxis nuances. The focus is that its contemporary stance is a mix of millenarianism, simultaneous accommodation-assimilation and subtle exclusivity. Commencing with a brief overview of the charisma, genesis and cultural geographies, the contemporary perspectives and visions on society, stratification, ethics and transformation have been discussed. These include the re-interpretations reflecting in ontology and epistemology, through the Raja Yoga propositions; in cosmology and historicity, through the world tree concept; and, an eventual instrumentalism and “New Age-ification” in praxis. Woven intermittently is the critique of the epistemological hybrid. The “social” angle in praxis nuances comes through aspects of volition, prescriptivism and doctrinarism, and the institutionalized endeavours. The political economy of practice through dimensions of memory and oblivion which determine the operational style has been deliberated. The new thematic and methodological insights gained from fieldwork have been discussed.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/firn.v8i1.50

References


Babb, L. A. 1982. “Amnesia and Remembrance in a Hindu Theory of History,” Asian Folklore Studies, 41.1, 49–66. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1178308
Babb, L. A. 1984. “Indigenous Feminism in a Modern Hindu Sect,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 9.3, 399–416. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/494068
Bradley, T. 2009. “A Call for Clarification and Critical Analysis of the Work of Faith-Based Development Organisations (FBDO),” Progress in Development Studies 9.2, 101–14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/146499340800900202
Crowe, B. 2011. “Fichte, Eberhard and the Psychology of Religion,” Harvard Theological Review, 104.1, 93–110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0017816011000071
Hassija, J. 1981. Adi Dev. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Hassija, J. Education in Values by Brahmakumaris. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya, no date.
Hassija, J. 1996. One Week Course for Attainment of Complete Purity Peace and Prosperity. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Hassija, J. 1994. “The Nature of Consciosuness in the Light of Raja Yoga, Gita and Some Other Disciplines.” IV International Symposium of Science and Consciousness, Mexico. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya, 1–41.
Hassija, J. 2006. The True Essence of Srimad Bhagwad Geeta. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Hassija, J. n.d. Parmatma Ka Avataran: Kab, Kyon Aur Kaise (in Hindi). Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Hatcher, B. 2007. “Bourgeoisie Vedanta: The Colonial Roots of Middle Class Hinduism,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 75.2, 298–323. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfm005
Howell, J. D. 2005. “Muslims, the New Age and Marginal Religions in Indonesia: Changing Means of Religious Pluralism,” Social Compass 52.4, 473–93. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0037768605058151
Isaac, J. C. 2003. “Faith-Based Initiatives: A Civil Society Approach,” The Good Society, 12.1, 1–10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/gso.2003.0027
J.Watumull Global Hospital and Research Centre (JWGHRC). (2001) JWGHRC Information Booklet. Mount Abu: JWGHRC.
Kennedy, S. S., and W. Bielefeld. 2006. Charitable Choice at Work: Evaluating Faith-Based Job Programs in the States. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Kinnvall, C., and T. Svensson. 2010. “Hindu Nationalism, Diaspora Politics and Nation Building in India,” Australian Journal of International Affairs 64.3, 274–92. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10357711003736451
Matchett, F. 2005. “The Puranas,” in G. Flood, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 129–43.
Nietzsche, F. 1998. On the Genealogy of Morals. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.
Parkes, M., and P. Gilbert. 2010. “Gods and Gurudwaras: The Spiritual Care Programme at the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust,” Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 13.6, 569–83. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2010.488437
Penumakka, M. 2006. “Luther and Sankara: Two Ways of Salvation in the Indian Context,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 45.3, 252–62.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya (PBIV). 1983. Just a Moment. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya (PBIV). 1996a. Raja Yoga - New Beginnings. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya (PBIV). 1996b. Practical Meditation. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya (PBIV). 1998. The Spiritual Powers of the Soul. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya (PBIV). 1999. “Report of the International Conference on Spiritual Wisdom for Changing Times,” Spiritual Wisdom for Changing Times. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya, 1–104.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya (PBIV). 2003. Mateshwari Jagdamba Saraswati. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya (PBIV). 2004. Adi Devi Jagdamba Saraswati. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya (PBIV). 2008. Melodies of Mama. Mount Abu: Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya (PBIV). 2011. “JWGHRC – a Journey.” Jnanamrut 11 October, 34–42.
Ramsay, T., L. Manderson and W. Smith. 2010. “Changing a Mountain into a Mustard Seed: Spiritual Practices and Responses to Disaster among New York Brahmakumaris,” Journal of Contemporary Religion, 25.1, 89–105. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537900903416838
Roy Wallis, R. 1984. The Elementary Forms of the New Religious Life. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Spradley, J. P. 1979. The Ethnographic Interview. Wadsworth Group/Thomson Learning.
Trompf, G. W. 2000. “Millenarism, History, Sociology and Cross-Cultural Analysis,” The Journal of Religious History 241, 103–24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9809.00104
Valpey, K. 2010. “Found in Translation: Revisiting the Bhagvad Gita in the Twenty-First Century: A Review Article,” The Journal of Hindu Studies, 2.2, 258–69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhs/hiq015
Van Maanen, J. 1988. Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Walliss, J. 2007. The Brahmakumaris as a Reflexive Tradition: Responding to Late Modernity. New Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass Publishers.
Westbrook, D. A. 2008. Navigators of the Contemporary: Why Ethnography Matters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226887531.001.0001






Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy