Information on these pages has been used with permission from Scottish Inter Faith Council.
Local contact information
The local contact information below has been compiled by the Chaplaincy at the University of St Andrews.
183 Dalry Road
Edinburgh EH11 2EB
T: 0131 2297220
Introduction to Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University
The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) works in 84 countries around the world. It operates through more than 5,000 centres including three in Scotland (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow), and over 30 in the rest of the UK. The world headquarters is in Mt Abu, Rajasthan, India. The BKSWU was founded in 1937 in Karachi by Brahma Baba, a businessman and philanthropist, who dedicated the remaining 33 years of his life to its formation and growth. On nearing retirement age, he had a vision of how people of all cultural backgrounds could come together to rediscover and develop the spiritual dimension of their lives.
Brahma Baba set up a trust of twelve women to run the organisation and this system has continued with mainly women running its centres around the world. The current administrative heads of the BKSWU are both founding students and are women now aged in their 80s: Dadi Prakashmani, a president of the Parliament of the World's Religions in 1993, and Dadi Janki, one of an eminent group 'Keepers of Wisdom', convened by the United Nations, to advise political leaders on world wide issues.
The University's core curriculum is offered in the form of a foundation course in meditation, based on the teachings of Raja Yoga. This is the path of understanding and knowing one's identity as a spiritual being. Students study Raja Yoga meditation, the linking of the soul with the Supreme soul through the power of pure and elevated thinking.
Places of worship
Classes are held at the University's learning centres and people from all backgrounds and cultures attend. There are currently around 500,000 regular students worldwide who attend meetings daily in the early morning before work time, for meditation and spiritual study.
The main activity of the BKSWU is to provide a service to local communities of a variety of educational programmes and courses at no cost to the participants, with an emphasis on meditation and personal spiritual development. The individual learns to develop a sense of self-worth and respect for others, which helps to bring greater peace of mind and happiness in life. The BKSWU also runs activities both independently and with other organisations to explore the spiritual dimension in different areas including: youth, women, men, inter-religious dialogue, business, prison life, education, science, social work and health care.
In honour of its founder Brahma Baba, the BKSWU celebrates the 18th January as a special day of silence and meditation experience, dedicated to world peace.
Food and diet
All students are encouraged to eat a lacto vegetarian diet free from alcohol and tobacco and to abstain from recreational drugs.
Concerns of the community
As an international non-governmental organisation, the BKSWU holds general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and consultative status with UNICEF. It is a recipient of seven UN Peace Messenger Awards. It continues to contribute to raising world awareness of spiritual values through local, national and international projects. These have included Global Co-operation for a better world, 1989-1991 and worldwide activities for 2000, the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace. The BKWSU is also an active sponsor of Living Values, an education programme which is a partnership amongst educators around the world, sponsored by UNESCO.
The BKSWU provides a caring, co-operative and supportive environment that allows personal growth, recognising that "when we change, the world changes".
You can get more information about religious movements from Inform, a charity based in London.