Friday, February 29, 2008

Wisdom uninterrupted

Brahma Kumari Usha, with the aid of the Gita, tells what is wrong with man today

By Shevlin Sebastian

In 1974, when Brahma Kumari Usha was 13 years old she had a vision of Lord Krishna sitting on a globe and playing the flute “I saw this image with my eyes open,” she says. “I rubbed my eyes and the vision remained. It was a turning point in my life.”

This happened in the town of Choma in Zambia. Her father, a businessman, had come to Zambia several years earlier. Usha’s mother, who was a devotee of Lord Krishna, made Usha sing bhajans from a very young age. The family would also have regular meditation sessions and it was during one of these periods that Usha saw the vision of Krishna.

In 1976, because of the new Zambian government rule that children from the age of 14 should go for national service, like doing road and bridge construction works, the family decided to return to India. They settled in Surat and Usha continued studying but in 1980, at age 19, she went to Mount Abu, the headquarters of the Brahma Kumaris, to meet the founder, Dada Lekhraj. He was a spiritual father to Usha and was called Baba. “I asked Baba what I should do with my life?” she says. “Baba just looked at me and said, ‘There is little time. So, don’t waste it. Go into service.’”

Usha was fearful because she did not know how to speak Hindi. “Baba blessed me and said, ‘You stay here for some time and learn it.’” Usha stayed at Mount Abu and was able to learn Hindi in just three months. “It was a miracle,” she says. On May 22, 1980, she dedicated herself to the Brahma Kumaris (www.brahmakumaris.com). After that she was sent to Mumbai where she spent 12 years.

Among the highlights of her time in Mumbai was the padayatra she undertook on August 5, 1985. Around 600 Brahma Kumars and Kumaris went on a journey by foot from all over India with the idea of congregating in New Delhi on October 24 to celebrate the UN Year of the Youth. Usha joined the Mumbai group and walked for two and a half months traveling through various villages and preaching to the people. “We spread the message of spirituality and the benefits of rajayoga meditation,” she says.

And, along the way, several miracles took place. Once when they walked into a village in Rajasthan, where it had not rained for three years, suddenly, it started raining. “The villagers worshipped us like Gods,” she says. “Sometimes when we felt very hot, we would pray to God and a single cloud would appear and move steadily over us.”

In the dacoit-infested Chambal Valley in Madhya Pradesh, they were walking silently, listening to devotional songs. “Suddenly, a man stepped forward with a knife and said, ‘Whatever you have, give it to me,’” says Usha. “We replied, ‘We don’t have anything.’ The man looked hard at us and something happened to him. Because the next thing he did was to surrender his knife.”

Usha’s face glows with happiness when she recounts the incident. At the Brahma Kumari centre at Edapally, she is dressed in a crisp white saree and blouse and with a badge, with the words, ‘Om Shanti’, pinned on her lapel. She is a senior Raja Yoga meditation teacher as well as a management trainer of the Prajapati Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya. She has traveled to all parts of India and in the US, Canada, Europe, Hongkong, Singapore, Russia, Malaysia and Cambodia. “I usually go to places where people understand English,” she says.

Asked how man can find happiness, Usha says, “The spirit needs wisdom, purity, love peace, happiness, and will power.” In great persons like Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Buddha, their soul batteries were fully charged. “In today’s world, the soul battery is discharged,” she says. “Human beings are leading a suffocating life.”

This suffocation could be one reason why on a Monday evening, a steady stream of people are entering the large shamiana at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium to hear Usha, 47, speak on ‘the spiritual significance of the Gita’.

Among them is P.K. Venugopal, 49, who works in the IT industry. “I am looking for salvation,” he says. “After 60, I will dedicate my life to spirituality.” Housewife Jaya Rajendran, 46, is looking for some practical lessons from the Gita. “I also want to bring up my children by making them imbibe the Gita. And I want them to have positive thoughts all the time.”

When Usha starts speaking, she is mesmerising. She uses no notes, occasionally clicks on a mouse in her Power Point presentation, but the words flow out effortlessly. She has clarity, passion and sincerity.

Some samples: ‘The soul is the master of the sense organs. As soon as I can master my sense organs, I will be able to master so many things around me.’ ‘As you think, so you become. When you think negative, you drain your energy. When you think positive, you generate energy.’ At the end of two hours, which seem to pass by in minutes, it seems there is a yearning among the audience to get in touch with the divine. And she shows the way: “I talk to God in the same way I am talking with you.”

(Permission to reproduce this article has to be obtained from The New Indian Express, Kochi)

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