How does your faith help you in times of struggle, change, and new beginnings?
My faith gives me the courage and confidence to know that I can draw spiritual power from the Source of all strength – the Almighty. That spiritual power enables me to bring changes in my awareness, attitude, and vision, and therefore my behaviour, so that there can be a new perspective and a new start. With faith and courage, help comes from God but also from others who are on a spiritual journey, too.
How does your faith describe the relationship between all living things, the Earth, and the Divine?
We understand that there are three eternal aspects: God, souls, and matter. At first, there is perfect harmony between the three. Then, as fear, greed, and arrogance start to motivate human behaviour, peace and harmony is lost. Re-connecting with God transforms the soul. This, in turn, transforms our relationship with all living beings. We return again to perfect harmony.
What does your faith tradition teach about material consumption and simplicity?
From the outset, the Founder of the Brahma Kumaris himself led a very simple lifestyle and inspired others to so the same. He taught the community to use only according to needs, avoid waste, re-cycle, and to give respect to the natural resources that we use.
How does your community approach examining and changing our lifestyles?
A very specific tradition within our community is to simplify our lives. Our aim is to centre our lives more on God and Divine attributes, rather than on an interest in the material only.
In what ways does your community provide you with a guide to life?
Every thought, word, and action of mine has an impact on myself, other people, and the world. Understanding the law of ‘karma’ (action and reaction), I aspire to give more than I take, i.e. to become a loving individual who acts in ways that uplifts the self and humanity. Non- violence, the highest principle one can live by, is what we aspire to.
Which sacred texts most inspire you to act for change?
The Founder of the Brahma Kumaris shared teachings daily for over 30 years. These contain guidance for all aspects of life and form the basis of everything we do. We pay attention to four subjects: connecting with God (yoga); daily spiritual study; developing virtues in life; and the service of others.
What have you done to improve the sustainability of your diet, transportation, and/or energy use?
I was born a vegetarian, but moving towards a totally plant-based diet took a little while. Partly it was a question of availability, or convenience, partly not offending others (cows are sacred in India!). But by keeping respect for the self as well as respect for others, I now have a firm commitment to this. It’s heartening that so many are doing the same now.
How would you describe the experience of making these lifestyle changes?
Moving to a totally plant-based diet brought many challenges, especially in terms of travel and hospitality, but non-dairy options are now available in most countries. It is rewarding to know that it is a contribution to the world.