Dadi Janki, the administrative head of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, left the body in Maha Samadhi on March 27 at the age of 104. Dadi (the title means elder sister) was an extraordinary being, a powerful yogi, a great leader, an inspiring role model, and an exquisitely beautiful soul. I had the privilege of serving with her, studying under her tutelage, and having a personal relationship with her for ten amazing years during my spiritual journey on the Earth plane. I offer blessings for her ongoing seva in the subtle regions, no doubt leading battalions of angels assisting in the return of God’s Dharma to our ruined planet, restoring our world to a new Golden Age.
Raj Yogini BK Dadi Janki
The decade I spent in association with the Brahma Kumaris was formative for my style of life, my appreciation for purity and integrity, and my dedication to spiritual service and meditative remembrance of God. My introduction to their spiritual order was magical and involved overwhelming ecstasies and synchronicities that could not be downplayed. That meeting caused me to take a sharp turn in my life in a new direction and at an accelerated pace that has never stopped.
I was one of the first people in the USA to be mesmerized to such an extent by the BK message and vibe that as soon as permissible, I found myself on a plane to India to visit their ashram headquarters in Mt. Abu, in Rajasthan, to learn the profound secrets of their non-ordinary energy field and the Source from which it came. When the time came to make a commitment to the path, I took a vow to live by the Dharma fully for ten years. I probably would have taken lifetime vows if I had been offered the chance to live in their ashram. But they wanted me to continue to work part time at least as an attorney, which would enable me to be a more influential speaker on their behalf, and even to give talks to various bar associations in India about karmic law, which I did.
Brahma Kumaris Ashram Headquarters in Mt. Abu, in Rajasthan
Many incredible events took place during that wondrous period in my life, of such a nature that no novelist could have imagined such a carnival of divine beauty and humor. I had the honor of attending a great Kumbha Mela in Haridwar; meeting sadhus and saints in Rishikesh; of spending time in Shiva’s holy city of Benares; of meeting Indira Gandhi, then prime minister of India; of conversing with many gurus and pandits, Bollywood celebrities, and scholars of Indian philosophy; and of coming to understand the most subtle inner treasures of wisdom contained in the many spiritual traditions of ancient Bharat.
Kumbha Mela in Haridwar, Rishikesh and Benares
But the most powerful influences upon me during those blissful days were the great leading yoginis of the Brahma Kumaris Vishwa Vidyalaya. The top leader at that time was Dadi Kumarka, and she won my heart completely. She gave me the name Raj Kumar. (Later, from the secret leader, BapDada, I received another spiritual name. But that is another story for another time.) Dadi Kumarka—her given name was actually Prakashmani, Jewel of Divine Light—was the happiest person I had ever met. I felt joy whenever I saw her, and I was lucky enough that she sometimes called me into her private quarters to participate in special planning meetings. It was a great honor and I was humbled.
Often, at those meetings, Dadi Janki was also present. Dadi Janki symbolized not happiness but sheer fearless invincible power. At that time, she did not live in the ashram, but managed the movement’s affairs in London, and had charge of all the BK centers outside of India. In that capacity, she traveled widely around the world. Since I was sometimes also sent on little speaking tours in Europe and around the US for their spiritual order, I had the chance to see her in many places, and of course I spent a good deal of time in London attending her classes. Dadi Janki toughened me up. She kept us all in permanent boot camp. “Keep your titles tight!” I remember her telling us, referring to such titles as Child of God, Gyani (true knower of God), and Raja Yogi—royal and holy being, sovereign over the maya (illusion) of body identification.
Dadi Janki was a dynamo of karma yoga. She never stopped working, used every opportunity to teach and to shape her students into greater and more accurate manifestations of worthiness, virtue, intelligence, perseverance, and tip-top self-presentation. She hardly slept, yet was always bright and shining at those 4am meditations that she led every day. And she always had a new teaching on her lips at every class, a new take on the understanding of the soul and God, a new motto to motivate us to even greater efforts toward self-mastery.
A time came when it became incumbent upon me ethically and spiritually to leave the BK University. For a number of years, I had been becoming more and more unsatisfied with the teachings, unable to reconcile them all with my own internal sense of the Real. I was also being asked by many other BK students for counseling and felt wrenchingly the limitations of my abilities. So I began to read again—after years of having abandoned my scholarly pursuits entirely for meditation and service—now focusing on science and psychology. I studied clinical hypnosis. Eventually, I went professional as a hypnotherapist, and then a past life regression therapist. Eventually I also added other titles to be able to deal with all the varieties of spiritual emergency that a California healer had to master: ghostbuster, curse remover, depossessionist (exorcist), and finally close encounter therapist. And of course, I had to study Jungian analysis and dreamwork, then went even deeper into psychoanalysis and discovered the writings and seminars of Jacques Lacan, which took me even further down the rabbit hole.
The knowledge gained from all this formal study of course distanced me from the simpler paradigm of reality taught by the BKs. Moreover, at the ten-year mark of my time with the Brahma Kumaris, when my vow had ended, I had a meeting, again in the private women’s quarters of the ashram, this time in Dadi Janki’s room. With Dadi present, BapDada appeared and gave me blessings to go on the new path I was now called to, and it was clear that this was my official parting from the life of the Brahma Kumaris, and the beginning of a new phase of my individual journey.
I have been privileged to have met and studied with a number of great spiritual beings in this life. I number among those of course Baba Hari Dass, my first Indian guru; Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, and many wonderful Hasidim; a holy Christian monk and several Christ-like beings of that lineage; a beautiful Sufi master and many devout Muslims; a great Zen teacher; a crazy wisdom shaman who introduced me to entheogens and some wild rides into near insanity, if not divine love; several extraordinary masters of martial arts; and a few mind-boggling secular teachers, including the great Lacanian analyst, Moustapha Safouan.
But the most impacting person and the most exacting teacher, for the longest period of study, during my entire and very long apprenticeship in the spiritual world, was no doubt Dadi Janki. I cannot say she was a friend or even that I felt close to her. What I felt, as never before, was respect, honor, and recognition of undeniable greatness. I will never forget her, and never stop thanking her for the help I received through her example.
I remain on close terms with a number of Brahma Kumaris adherents. Some visit the Sat Yoga Ashram, others correspond. But I have not had any official contact with them for many decades. Yet I always keep them in my heart, for they brought me closer to God than I would otherwise have been able to reach, and they made me a better human being than I would have become without their training.
Blessings to you, Dadi ji! And to all the Brahma Kumaris who must now carry on without her guidance. And to all of us, all children of God, who must now grow up from childhood and become full manifestations of the Supreme Being. Our time has come.