Hello from daughter of BK

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alanna
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Please give a short description of your interest in joining this forum.: I grew up in the BK family in the UK, my Dad is still an active and senior (ish) member, but I have chosen not to continue life as a BK. I have felt a mixture of shock, empathy and interest while reading through the forums here and hope to be able to learn more and maybe help others by joining, particularly younger BKs/ex-BKs who may have had similar experiences to myself. Thanks.

Hello from daughter of BK

Post by alanna » 17 May 2008

Hello all,

I found this forum a couple of months ago and read through the threads for hours, feeling a mixture of shock, empathy and interest. I grew up in the BK family in the UK (from the age of 4ish) and my Father is still an active and fairly senior BK. After talking to him about some of the things I read here, he said it was fine to share my experiences with you all so I thought I'd join up.

Growing up in the BK family was generally a positive experience for me. I was never pressurised into getting involved, into acting a certain way or believing certain things as others were, and my Father has been fully supportive of my decision not to continue living as a BK. I went to morning class regularly as a child, and enjoyed making friends with other BK children - we had a separate children's class and I used to go to the children's retreats at Oxford as well as local centre outings. I did feel that the BKs were part of my family and I really appreciate the love and support I felt from them. I also feel that growing up as a BK had a positive impact on my view of the world and helped me develop the social conscience and desire for change that I have now. Unlike the BKs, I want to change things NOW and enjoy my life NOW instead of focusing on the next birth (when I won't even appreciate all the hard effort I put in anyway!), which is why I am no longer a BK.

On the negative side (and I want to stress that my overall experience was very positive) I was also very aware of the problems that the BK lifestyle caused between my parents, who had been married for a number of years before becoming BKs, and this did upset me. Other personal difficulties I had were worrying about their reactions to my beginning a sexual relationship as a teenager, and I felt a great deal of guilt because I thought that my Father would be disappointed in me. I am fortunate in that he was very understanding, and my guilt wasn't a reflection of the way he treated me, just knowing what BK standards of living were. The only really upsetting episode I have had as a result of growing up BK was finding out a couple of years ago that, since I had stopped going to morning class, my dad hadn't been eating any of the food I cooked. He covered this up very well, and I appreciate that he did that, but when I found out I felt so rejected.

As others have mentioned on this forum, the sharing of food is a sign of great respect in many cultures, and rejecting it - especially from your own daughter - is really offensive. I can understand the BK thinking on this when it comes to eating food prepared in a restaurant, but when it's coming from a member of your family who loves and respects you, who doesn't cook with onions and garlic for your benefit and makes an effort not to swear etc when preparing the food, I think it's wholly unnecessary. How come it's OK to eat a chocolate bar made in a factory but not a meal prepared by your daughter?! My sister and I laugh about this now, and joke about how he cannot eat our food because it's full of sin (!), but I still think this attitude is wholly unnecessary and runs contrary to the basic ethos of love and fraternity that underpins BK thinking.

I think many of the problems and issues I've read about on these forums and experienced or witnessed myself arise from the inability within BKWSU to seperate out the basic teachings of god from Indian cultural dictates and from the interpretations given to his words by others over the years. I've spoken to my dad about some of the issues brought up on this forum, and I hope they will be taken on board, particularly in relation to the duty of care they should have to both current members and those who leave the organisation. A serious and indepth review is currently being taken with regards to BKWSU policy, procedure and teachings so perhaps they are beginning to listen and are willing to change.

I think that's enough about me! Look forward to discussing these issues more, particularly with any others who grew up in the BKWSU and have now moved on.

Alanna

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Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by fluffy bunny » 18 May 2008

alanna wrote:I've spoken to my dad about some of the issues brought up on this forum, and I hope they will be taken on board, particularly in relation to the duty of care they should have to both current members and those who leave the organisation. A serious and indepth review is currently being taken with regards to BKWSU policy, procedure and teachings so perhaps they are beginning to listen and are willing to change.
Hi alanna and welcome.

Yes, we are all waiting with interest to see how the BKWSU responds to the question and problems posed by this forum. All credit to the active members for bringing about positive change ... let us see how it goes. Can you be specific about what progress is being made and when we might expect to see it?

They tell us nothing but supporters gave us a copy of a recent NCO meeting in Abu. Its funny you mention "Duty of Care" because they downplayed it to "Culture of Care" which is quite different. Duty of Care is a legal obligation imposed on individuals requiring that they adhere to a reasonable standards while performing acts that could foreseeably harm others. I also noted that the BKWSU made no mention of addressing the issue of historical revision. Historical and philosophical revision which most BKs, probably even your Father, had no idea about. From the outside, they seem to have given themselves a year to chit-chat about this and reporting back in October during the next Madhuban season.

I am cautious, and to be honest, expect little but window dressing. I think the culture of deceit (especially to the outside world) is too deep within the institution of the BKWSU, the leadership is far too unaccountable and autocratic and the following made too stupid and impotent (not emphasis). To me, all this "serious and in depth review is currently being taken ... etc etc" sounds just like any other political party fobbing off their electorate and "being seen to do something" by its peers, e.g. a way to save face to outsiders that are hearing of the problems.

I am sorry to dive straight in with two feet. Obviously, I am not directing this at you, I am just grateful for having another freethinker on the forum. Can I ask you on a personal level;
  • What you make of the BKs' "God/Baba" now?
    How you came, or have not come, to terms with Destruction?
Thanks.

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Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by arjun » 18 May 2008

alanna wrote:The only really upsetting episode I have had as a result of growing up BK was finding out a couple of years ago that, since I had stopped going to morning class, my dad hadn't been eating any of the food I cooked. He covered this up very well, and I appreciate that he did that, but when I found out I felt so rejected.

As others have mentioned on this forum, the sharing of food is a sign of great respect in many cultures, and rejecting it - especially from your own daughter - is really offensive. I can understand the BK thinking on this when it comes to eating food prepared in a restaurant, but when it's coming from a member of your family who loves and respects you, who doesn't cook with onions and garlic for your benefit and makes an effort not to swear etc when preparing the food, I think it's wholly unnecessary. How come it's OK to eat a chocolate bar made in a factory but not a meal prepared by your daughter?! My Sister and I laugh about this now, and joke about how he cannot eat our food because it's full of sin (!), but I still think this attitude is wholly unnecessary and runs contrary to the basic ethos of love and fraternity that underpins BK thinking.
Dear sister,
Om Shanti and welcome to the forum. I am sure you will find the like-minded/experienced friends here. I sympathise with you for the feeling of rejection that you experienced after your Father stopped eating food cooked by you. He should have adopted a more moderate approach especially when you tried to come up to his expectations even after leaving the BKs, but must have been put in a fix because of the directions given in the Murlis, which say that one should not eat food cooked by someone who indulges in lust. He should have talked to you directly about his reservations.

Anyways, I appreciate your magnanimity in having understood your Father's feelings/compulsions and maintaining a good relationship with him. I am sure that if you continue to love him, he would start eating food cooked by you.

I, as a BK, was told that when it is not possible to cook my own food when I am away from home, I could eat food prepared either by virgins :P or by grandmothers/widows 8) even if they were non-BKs, as they have either not experienced lust or have renounced it :D.

Regards,
OGS,
Arjun

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Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by john morgan » 18 May 2008

alanna wrote: Unlike the BKs, I want to change things NOW and enjoy my life NOW instead of focusing on the next birth (when I won't even appreciate all the hard effort I put in anyway!), which is why I am no longer a BK.
Hello Alanna,

I am glad that you came here. What you have said is very clear and very interesting. The main thing that I noticed I have quoted above. In fact it almost jumped out at me! The reason for this is that it is not at all how I see the knowledge as taught by the BK's. I am not trying to start an argument with you I'd just like to offer another perspective, so here goes.

There are many people who wish to change the world. They look at it and say, "This needs changing or that needs changing." Sometimes these people forget about themselves. The BK knowledge comes from the viewpoint, "if you wish to change the world start with yourself". This is what BKs are doing. They wish to create a virtuous world where people do not hurt each other as they often do now. Their perspective is spiritual and the main focus at present is internal. The basis of this kind of life is, as you know, purity.

I am not sure where you got the idea that BKs are waiting for the next life because the way I see it is that life will be pretty boring compared to this one and the opportunities for change considerably less. Also this is the time when we can be most awake. We can become aware of how we create thought and attitudes on a very deep level and though this improve our lives and the lives of those around us. For example, a so called normal person will get angry and blame the person that annoyed them, perhaps a BK if in the same situation will not experience either anger or blame. If they do experience anger they are much more likely to go back to the drawing board and begin the process of learning that will enable them to respond very differently in future. The BK-type life often goes far further than this, many experience incredible happiness that can help and support others in their effort to change, this activity is in effect is changing the world on a very deep level. Enough of my perspective, I'd very much like to hear your response.

Also, you have not mentioned visiting Madhuban, have you been there? I would like to hear your experience if you have.

Kind regards,

John

alanna
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Please give a short description of your interest in joining this forum.: I grew up in the BK family in the UK, my Dad is still an active and senior (ish) member, but I have chosen not to continue life as a BK. I have felt a mixture of shock, empathy and interest while reading through the forums here and hope to be able to learn more and maybe help others by joining, particularly younger BKs/ex-BKs who may have had similar experiences to myself. Thanks.

Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by alanna » 18 May 2008

Hi ex-l,

I am afraid I don't know too much more about the review other than that the initial debrief to teachers only happened in the last few weeks and a number of meetings are planned across the country in various centres. I respect my Father and am not comfortable trying to get any info out of him and posting it here, but I do share some of your concerns and hope the results of the review will be made public. He at least certainly seems to have taken on some of the issues I raised, and I trust him to address them appropriately. But then again, what people who have suffered after leaving BKWSU, there is still that "wah drama" attitude ... And also the idea that BKWSU is a family and doesn't need to run in the same way as other organisations - but he said they are certainly having to work to comply with a whole range of laws and legislation at the moment.

On baba and Destruction: I think my general perspective is probably quite different to most of those here in that I grew up with BK knowledge and so much of it just seems totally normal to me. This doesn't mean I believe in all of it but, for example, it just feels right to me that I am a soul and that I reincarnate. Another result (I think) of growing up in BK knowledge, meditating, going to morning class is that I am actually not very interested in spiritual matters! I have never had a burning need, like my dad did, to know who I am, where I come from, why we're here etc, because in a way I have always known. So now, whether baba actually exists or not, whether the theory of The Cycle is true, whether I really am a soul doesn't actually matter too much to me: I just get on with my life.

My view on God is that his existence doesn't have any bearing on my life. I honestly don't know whether baba really exists. Part of me thinks he does and most of me wants him to because, unlike many cults, there doesn't appear to be any person at the top of BKWSU that is a millionaire, that is abusive and power hungry. No one seems to be hugely benefitting from the organisation in any material sense, so I don't see why there would be any need to fake his coming down, though of course it could be more compex than that. I know this sounds very simplistic, and I think that's also a reflection of my growing up in BKWSU - my knowledge wasn't gained as an experienced, educated adult through hearing and engaging with the course, but as a process of accumulation, through what to me seemed like interesting stories. I have assimilated some of the basic ideas, and the positive values, but I don't have a tangible sense of what it is to truly believe and understand.

As for Destruction - I think I've always seen it as more of a metaphor and, considering the state the world is in and the need for worldwide revolution and change in order to save humankind from killing each other and the planet, it doesn't seem too far fetched. I know my dad initially believed in a genuine apocalyptic style Destruction (he cancelled his pension), but I think he now takes a more metaphorical stance as I do. The same goes for the 5,000 year cycle. I have been thinking about that a bit recently, actually, after watching the recent programmes on Steven Hawking's theories - interesting that the Black Hole could be both the beginning and end of the universe, which suggests some kind of cycle (whether or not it would repeat exactly is another matter entirely!).

alanna
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Please give a short description of your interest in joining this forum.: I grew up in the BK family in the UK, my Dad is still an active and senior (ish) member, but I have chosen not to continue life as a BK. I have felt a mixture of shock, empathy and interest while reading through the forums here and hope to be able to learn more and maybe help others by joining, particularly younger BKs/ex-BKs who may have had similar experiences to myself. Thanks.

Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by alanna » 18 May 2008

Hi Arjun,
I, as a BK, was told that when it is not possible to cook own food when I am away from home, I could eat food prepared either by virgins :P or by grandmothers/widows 8) even if they were non-BKs, as they have either not experienced lust or have renounced it :D.
My word! See, this is where I think cultural influences and certain individuals' interpretations of baba's word come into play. I find it hard to believe that a loving, benevolent god would buy into the view of sexually active woman as unclean - such a typically patriarchal value. The same goes for BK sisters not being allowed in the kitchens when on their period. Sigh.

alanna
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Please give a short description of your interest in joining this forum.: I grew up in the BK family in the UK, my Dad is still an active and senior (ish) member, but I have chosen not to continue life as a BK. I have felt a mixture of shock, empathy and interest while reading through the forums here and hope to be able to learn more and maybe help others by joining, particularly younger BKs/ex-BKs who may have had similar experiences to myself. Thanks.

Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by alanna » 18 May 2008

Hello John,

Yes, I can appreciate and understand that perspective. I think the BK ideal of "when we change, the world changes" is wonderful, and I did not mean to imply that BKs are wasting their time by focusing on that. Everyone has to do what they think is best to change the world and help others. I just think perhaps it is unfortunate that in choosing the spiritual path some BKs can cause a great deal of upset and harm on the lokic level. For example, I am not sure how the retraction of physical affection from your wife, abandoning your children or not getting involved in their lives really helps anyone (and I am not saying that all BKs do this, but some do). The way I choose to help others is dealing with the problems they face on a daily basis, which for me means tackling discrimination, particularly sexism and the patriarchal system as I am a woman. I know my dad is doing the same thing in a way, but it's not for me :).

I am afraid, though I was thinking more of much baser things when I said I want to live in this life! It's all very well for my dad to turn his back on simple pleasures, on sex, on stimulating food and drink, on the media and politics, on relationships and having children: he'd already experienced all this when he became a BK. I never had, and my view is that I'd rather indulge in all this - while doing my bit to improve society - than follow the BK lifestyle. OK, so I may not be going to the Golden Age (which is what I meant by waiting for the next life, though it was a poor choice of verb), but wherever I do end up next, I am not going to be thinking "damn, if only I'd made the effort last time I'd be in a better situation" because I won't have that awareness! So I am enjoying life now, obviously trying to stick to positive values and helping others. Perhaps this sounds awfully selfish and disappointing and, as I said earlier, part of the reason I can let go of BK life and values is because I never made the active choice to be a BK and was never fully committed to BK life, but that's just what works for me!

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Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by fluffy bunny » 18 May 2008

john morgan wrote:I am not sure where you got the idea that BKs are waiting for the next life because the way I see it is that life will be pretty boring compared to this one and the opportunities for change considerably less.
Um ... how about the Murli!?!

John, our good friend has just come out of the BKWSU and still has a Father in. How long have you been out of the game and how long will it been until you realise your game is different from theirs? The bottomline is as a BK you do all sorts of crazy stuff, work for free and donate money BECAUSE in your next 21 lives you might be the king of the Golden Age. If you have a different idea, it is your own.

alanna
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Please give a short description of your interest in joining this forum.: I grew up in the BK family in the UK, my Dad is still an active and senior (ish) member, but I have chosen not to continue life as a BK. I have felt a mixture of shock, empathy and interest while reading through the forums here and hope to be able to learn more and maybe help others by joining, particularly younger BKs/ex-BKs who may have had similar experiences to myself. Thanks.

Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by alanna » 18 May 2008

The bottomline is as a BK you do all sorts of crazy stuff, work for free and donate money BECAUSE in your next 21 lives you might be the king of the Golden Age. If you have a different idea, it is your own.
Ha! I don't think that's the only reason for being a BK but, yes, I was basically saying that I'd rather have a good time now than make effort so I can drink milk and honey in the Golden Age :). I am so generation X ...

alanna
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Please give a short description of your interest in joining this forum.: I grew up in the BK family in the UK, my Dad is still an active and senior (ish) member, but I have chosen not to continue life as a BK. I have felt a mixture of shock, empathy and interest while reading through the forums here and hope to be able to learn more and maybe help others by joining, particularly younger BKs/ex-BKs who may have had similar experiences to myself. Thanks.

Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by alanna » 18 May 2008

our good friend has just come out of the BKWSU
Just to clarify: I haven't been active in the BKWSU for about 9 years, but obviously I have some idea of what's going on and still go to functions every now and then with my dad. I had no idea of the controversy surrounding the organisation until my dad mentioned "the anti-party" at Xmas and I asked what he meant. He also mentioned the letter written by the Brother whose sister was abused, so I googled that and found this forum. I felt so horrified at what they both went through, especially as it was such a contrast to my own experience as a child BK.

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Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by john morgan » 18 May 2008

A wee ditty about "Duty of Care" and "Culture of Care."

In work, everyone is expected to perform their duty, this is the norm and is expected. On a personal level duty can be considered offensive. That my friends and I enjoy each others company, and that we have interests and aims in common, are much more the reasons for our friendship than a sense of duty.

Perhaps the highlighting of a "culture of care" is more a reflection of a family and friends situation than that of a workplace.

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Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by john morgan » 18 May 2008

I notice Alanna, that you say a great deal about your dad but little or nothing about your mum. Was it that your dad's interest in all things BK effectively split your family and if so are you still in contact with your mum?

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Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by fluffy bunny » 18 May 2008

Thanks Alanna, that is interesting, I hope that we can come back to your "relationship with god" at some other point or in another thread as, you are right, growing up inside a family where it is the norm puts you in quite a different frame from one that is "converted" to BK-ism.

John, a "duty of care" proscribes an institution's legal responsibility to those it inducts into its proceedings. A duty of care protects such subjected individuals from abuses such as undue influence, or indeed what is known as "religious abuse", one such being 'excommunication' on the whim of an unaccountable leadership.

One such "duty of care" of the BKWSU leadership could perform would be to warn newcomers about the previous failed predictions of Destruction in order that they might make sensible life decision and not take excessive and damaging life decision based on the End of the World coming. Another might be ensuring that individuals who are performing free labor for the organization are insured by it for personal damages etc. Duty of care is about being mature about the realities of what is going on.

For example, in the America, the BKWSO have "no members" and rename their donors as "students". Having no members means they have no legal obligations towards anyone being victim to circumstances nor, possibly, any individual being victim from anyone else bar official trustees and employees because of what they might have experienced or been led to do for the sake or in the cause of the BKWSU.
  • 'Duty of care' means; we have a responsibility to others and to fulfill it.
    No duty of care means; we ignore it so ... "its not our fault, its your karma".
"We are family" is about as big a con as, "We are a university". But it might be worth looking into what responsibility a university has towards ITS students.
alanna wrote:I find it hard to believe that a loving, benevolent God would buy into the view of sexually active woman as unclean - such a typically patriarchal value. The same goes for BK Sisters not being allowed in the kitchens when on their period. Sigh.
Yup ... and a pretty pervy God if he is that concerned and checks sisters out if you ask me. Pass me a machine made non-dairy chocolate bar.

alanna
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Please give a short description of your interest in joining this forum.: I grew up in the BK family in the UK, my Dad is still an active and senior (ish) member, but I have chosen not to continue life as a BK. I have felt a mixture of shock, empathy and interest while reading through the forums here and hope to be able to learn more and maybe help others by joining, particularly younger BKs/ex-BKs who may have had similar experiences to myself. Thanks.

Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by alanna » 18 May 2008

My parents are still together. My mother became a BK too, but once my sister and myself stopped going to class etc she did too, and she no longer goes to class or meditates, though she does get involved with the centre and BKs on occasion. It is my feeling that she stayed with my dad and became a BK because she loved him and us, although she tells me she does believe in BK knowledge, she just takes the same view that I have the right lifestyle. I cannot imagine the pain she must have gone through when my dad became a BK and stopped being physically affectionate towards her. We found out a couple of years ago that she always wanted more than two children, but BK put a stop to that. That was a truly heartbreaking revelation.

Luckily, since I and my sister have had boyfriends and grown up, my dad has become more relaxed on a number of levels - he frequently hugs or puts his arm round my mum now :). He will also eat a salad in a restaurant so we can go out and celebrate her birthday. He watches films and TV and my older relatives tell me he is much more his "old self" than when he first found Gyan and had a total character change. I used to hear them arguing when I was little (or rather my mum being upset and my dad doing the calm BK thing - which to us non-BKs can be incredibly infuriating), and I am SO glad that he has managed to adapt his lifestyle to include my mum more. Having said that, he is still away from the house a couple of nights a week and many weekends on BK business, and I worry that my mum is lonely - I am sure being a BK for so long made it harder to have friends, and she doesn't have the children around that she might have done if she'd had more after my sister.

You asked me about Madhuban - I went three times between the ages of 9 and 12, and it was a fantastic experience, though I spent most of the time playing. I experienced a great amount of love from the BK family and felt very safe there. I remember seeing baba speak and trying desperately to see his soul enter Dadi - I so badly wanted to have an "experience" because people kept talking about how children could have them so easily, and I think I convinced myself that I saw a great shining light. I am not sure what I really took from the experience spiritually, as I said, it was all normal for me so I just took it all in.

alanna
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Please give a short description of your interest in joining this forum.: I grew up in the BK family in the UK, my Dad is still an active and senior (ish) member, but I have chosen not to continue life as a BK. I have felt a mixture of shock, empathy and interest while reading through the forums here and hope to be able to learn more and maybe help others by joining, particularly younger BKs/ex-BKs who may have had similar experiences to myself. Thanks.

Re: Hello from daughter of BK

Post by alanna » 18 May 2008

ex-l wrote:One such "duty of care" of the BKWSU leadership could perform would be to warn newcomers about the previous failed predictions of Destruction in order that they might make sensible life decision and not take excessive and damaging life decision based on the End of the World coming.
Agreed. I dread to think how my parents are going to make up for all the years my dad wasn't paying into a pension fund because he thought Destruction was on its way. At least he's started paying it again now.

Interesting points there generally. I've got so much to catch up on.

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