Interview on Radio
Interview taken by the correspondent and programme director Kim Kukholev From Sis. Sudha, Bro. Vijay, Sis. Yelena Dorofeeva
Bro.Vijay. Madhuban is a place in the beautiful mountains called Aravally 800 km west of Delhi, Maunt-Abu, Rajasthan.
Corr. As I understood, in India there is a kernel of your university and its centres or branches are scattered all over the world?
Sis.Sudha. That's right. The headquarter of the university is in India and now the university has about 5000 centres in more than 75 countries of the world.
Corr. 5000 centres. One of them is in Moscow, but also there are centres in other cities of Russia. I invite for the conversation a student of the university Yelena Dorofeeva.
Sis.Yelena. We have one centre in Moscow, we also have centres in Moscow Region: in Istra, Chkalovskii, etc. And also in CIS and Baltic. Total about 20 centres. In Riga, Kiev, Tashkent, Perm, Sochi, etc.
Corr. I came to know about you just after your 10th anniversary celebrations, is it so?
Sis.Sudha. We have began our activity in this part of the world, i.e. in Russia or the former USSR, 10 years ago. When we came at that time there was no such an aim to open the university here, we did not think there would be such a great interest to spirituality. Our idea of Russian people was quite different, we thought they did not accept spirituality. And when we came here, halls were overcrowded, there was no place to sit, although we did not make any advertisement, but people came by their own, and they not only listened to the knowledge with an interest, they also had a great desire to change themselves, to transform their life, their way of life and to obtain inner peace and happiness. And now we are very happy to see such kind of transformation in our students whom we call sisters and brothers.
Corr. So, you address to each other as sisters and brothers?
Sis.Yelena. Yes, we do it with great happiness, and we have a feeling of a family here, we come every day and have this happiness to communicate with each other.
Corr. First of all, I want to introduce our listeners about Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. This university is a non-governmental, non-political, non-commercial, educational, social organisation working with an aim of bringing a world of peace and harmony through spreading systematic moral and spiritual education which promotes personal development, creative powers, teaches moral values, forms a strong character and positive attitude to the world. Many things in this building tell us of the activities of the university. One of the directions is inner harmony, peace, what else?
Bro.Vijay. Happiness, purity, love, power, knowledge and wisdom. These virtures, in fact, are the basis of the beginning of any civilization, of the developing of any culture. Already 65 years the university is working with the faith that culture has its ethical, spiritual and moral basis which we have to understand deeply and imbibe and then bring them into society. This is the way to unite the world and make it beautiful.
Sis.Sudha. One of the direction or we may say the aim of our activity is connected with the present situation that everything now in this world is divided into pieces because of different races, cultures, languages, nationalities, colours of the skin and so on. Because of this many people are now fighting among each other, there are so many wars are going on, quarrels, conflicts etc. But we want to make people understand that in reality we all are souls, we are one family, and we want to break down those walls which divided hearts of people so that the world becomes one, like one family, where there will be love, unity and harmony. We all are children of One Father and we have one and the same aim: we all want peace, we all want happiness, we all want love, what for all these wars then? Is it because we speak different languages? because our bodies are of different colours? How does it matter if someone is wearing black costume and someone is wearing white costume? Is it a reason to fight? No. When we begin to understand that the light of souls is the same, the language of souls is the same, language of love, language of silence, when people understand all this, then conflicts can finish. On this aspect also the university makes special stress.
Corr. In your monologue I have caught the idea of Bhagwat Gita.
Sis.Sudha. Yes, you are right, there are such words written in Gita that we all are souls, and many people in the world read Gita now, but then a question arises: to what extent we can inculcate that what we read. One thing is to know something or read or speak but another thing is when we practice it. Right?
Corr. So the activity of your university is not based on some particular, for example, Indian culture, but as I understand on the international, world culture.
Bro.Vijay. We are not a religious organisation. There is no religious propaganda, but only deep experience of our morality. All the programmes, all the work, all the directions of the activity are based on very common, pure, simple understanding of human values.
Corr. That is why, probably, in this building, as I was told by Yelena Fiodorovna, you have some concerts in which singers of Russian folk songs, Byelorussian, Kazakh, etc. participate.
Sis.Yelena. We hold different kinds of programmes, lectures for public, etc. Our programmes are usually followed by such cultural programmes prepared by the students of the university and they do it quite professionally. All those who see these programmes leave in a happy, peaceful mood and very contented.
Corr. It means that through communication, people also know of culture and art of each other?
Sis.Sudha. I will give you one example, in a garden there are different kinds of flowers. Flowers are different but this makes a garden beautiful. There are different cultures, but if in one culture something is good, in other culture something else is good, this is nice, this makes this world beautiful. It does not matter if it is Russian or Byelorussian or Indian or Kazakh. The main thing is that it must bring harmony and love into the soul.
Corr. It is not by chance that you call each other brothers and sisters. It comes from spirituality, it comes from cloister customs where people reverently honour each other, forgiving some defects of a person and exalting his qualities.
Bro.Vijay. Yes, of course. If we really understand the whole human civilization, definitely we all are brothers and sisters, this is the basis of relationships. All the religions also accept Adam to be the father of humanity. On this basis we should understand that our relationships are those of brothers and sisters. And further and higher than these are also spiritual relationships. Because each human being is not a body, not a costume but a soul, as it was already explained. And these spiritual relationships in fact are brotherly relationships.
Corr. You have said that you are not simply students but eternal students. You, Vijay Kumar, already 10 years here in Moscow and you are both a coordinator and also a student of this university?
Bro.Vijay. Yes, every person should constantly study and every step of our life is learning.
Sis.Sudha. Because this is a study to develop positive qualities in person and to remove completely negative qualities from one's character. The whole life is needed to reach that stage, this is first. And also we all understand that when a person begins to think that I already know everything, he quickly becomes old. When a person has aspiration to learn more and more he always remains young.
Sis.Yelena. All the students who regularly come to study at this university are of different age, nationality, faith. There are no such kind of limitations which would not allow a person to study here. All enjoy studying here. For us this study is really an enjoyment. I consider myself a lucky soul who have found that university which I was searching all my life.
Bro.Vijay. You know how many problems there are in our days in the society? And all these problems have now reached their extreme. Our programmes help to remove the social evils, drug addiction, alcoholism etc. We do some preventive work in this direction.
Corr. I have noticed there are no ashtrays here. Nobody is smoking here? You also against smoking?
Sis.Sudha. Yes, nobody is smoking here, nobody takes alcohol etc. because here we talk about inner intoxication, inner contentment. When a person is contented and happy, no such thoughts even come into his mind, he is far from these habits. Many of the students before coming here smoked, took alcohol, but all of them gave up. All this was wastage of money, harm for the health, pollution of the atmosphere. Now when they gave it up, they save their money, their health is better.
Corr. Do you also recommend some diet?
Sis.Sudha. Vegetarian diet, because we very well understand and have a conviction that as the food so is mind. Non-vegetarian food is a result of violence. If we eat food which is a result of violence it can't make a person peaceful. Vegetarian food gives a person a tendency of non-violence. First principle of a spiritual person is non-violence. How can we kill something to fill our stomach. This is not humane. We want peace in the world, but how it is possible if such things continue to happen. You know Lev Tolstoy said: Until slaughter-houses exist in the world, wars will continue.
Corr. By the way, about wars. Earlier you said that you are against any kind of wars including wars on the ethnic basis, on the national basis. What do you think about present-day situation in the Northern Caucasus (Chechnya)?
Sis.Sudha. If we begin to understand the roots of why it is happening, how people are suffering there, how many mothers are peaceless, their children die, lost their houses; it is all because of some old or new animosity with each other. When we bring sorrow to others ultimately what we will have? Just the same. It does not matter whether it is Dagestan or Chechnya or Russia or Pakistan or India or Israel, wherever it may be, wars are bad. This is not humane. Only when human being looses his humane qualities only then he can kill another human being, otherwise this is not possible. Perhaps even animals did not do so much violence as much is done by people to each other. I can hardly imagine how it is possible to kill.
Corr. I again catch the notes of Bhagwat Gita. Perhaps this is not by chance that activity of your university started in India. From there these roots of goodness, understanding the world, rapprochement of nations are coming.
Bro.Vijay. This is not by chance. The ancient name of India is Bharat which means a land where there is full happiness, full perfection, people are overflowing with wealth. It is known as the land of angels or deities. The aim of the university is to reveal how at all a person can become an angel or a deity imbibing the godly virtues. We talk about God, but when people have those godly qualities we will have a beautiful world which is called heaven established by God Himself. India is also called the land where God Himself descends. This is an eternal land. Bhagwat Gita started from there.
Corr. About all this you are talking in your lectures at the university in this building?
Sis.Sudha. We organise public lectures, exhibitions and different other programmes. After that for those people who are interested to know more deeply we have preliminary course. One hour and a half every day except Saturday and Sunday 5 times a week in the evening. During this course we give this understanding about our true self, about God, about actions, history of the world, good qualities, negative tendencies, how to remove them etc.
Corr. If a person comes to you for a longer period of time, then he is attracted by India and wants to see this land of wonders. Yelena Fiodorovna, have you ever been to India?
Sis.Yelena. I have been three times in 1996-98. The university gives every student such chance.
Corr. What are you doing there? Visiting some holy places?
Sis.Yelena. First of all, we study, we deepen our knowledge. There are Dadis who share their spiritual experience, nowhere else we can get such enjoinment.
Sis.Sudha. The university organises the programme but students pay for all their expences. Those who understand and want to understand more deeply these teachings and get more experience they live in our headquarter about 15 days. When a whole day they stay in that atmosphere, that purity, completely powerful atmosphere, they fill themselves with powers. These powers help them when they return back. Here they spend only 1 -1.5 hour in the class and the whole day they stay in outer world where the atmosphere is completely different. Not to become influenced by the negative atmosphere, for this, power is needed. That is why our students come here every day and also if there is a possibility they go to our headquarter every year to receive power for themselves and also to be able to help their relatives, friends, etc.
Corr. Thank you very much and in order to put a full stop in this conversation I would like to ask you to say a few words to our listeners, what would you like to wish them?
Bro.Vijay. In the present time full of tension I wish everyone to control their feelings and their emotions. Let everyone's feelings become the basis for peace in the future. We wish everyone a happy future.
Sis.Sudha. For a long time we are listening that what one sows that he reaps, this is a law to apply in our life. If I do good, I receive good, if we give happiness to others, we will receive happiness, so I wish to the listeners that every day they give happiness at least to one person. This will in return bring them back the happiness.
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