March 5, 2015 | Comment

dadi_janki_bkmeditationWeaving the Story of Women’s Lives: Her Name Means “Jewel of Light”
Dadi Prakashmani (c. 1922-2007)

Editors’ Note:

Who was this woman in whom the Founder of the Brahma Kumaris entrusted everything? In honor of Women’s History Month, we offer a glimpse into the life of Dadi Prakashmani. She oversaw the expansion of the Brahma Kumaris into a global organization and provided spiritual and administrative leadership for 40 years following the death of the founder, Dada Lekraj Kripalani, known as Brahma Baba. Since her death 2007, she has been remembered as a continued source of inspiration. In Washington, DC, USA, June 10th is celebrated as Dadi Prakashmani Day.

You remember her as being tall and stately and are amazed to find that her height is only five feet, two inches. Her dress is a plain white cotton sari, always pressed and spotless, yet her manner and bearing reflect an inner royalty. She administers an international organization with 350, 000 members and chapters in 60 countries; yet unlike most other executives, she lives in a simple room which she shares with an assistant. She is host to royalty, to heads of state, to representatives of the United Nations, to international leaders from every profession – yet you always find her easy to meet, and to talk with. She thinks of herself as an instrument, a server, a trustee. Many think of her as an angel….Get to know her. You’ll never forget her…She’ll welcome you to her home like a long-lost sister or brother.

Dadi Prakashmani in her own words:

The world is on the threshold of the most positive and dynamic change in history, and women are in the vanguard of it. In 1937, women in India were severely suppressed. They could not speak in the presence of men, they were not allowed to be educated; they were forced to wear veils over their faces; their lives were consigned to slavery in their husband’s kitchen. So our organization set out to redress that imbalance. We taught the equality of women with men, emphasizing the great social value of feminine qualities – love, mercy, sacrifice, compassion, service – which men also should be encouraged to acquire. At the same time it was important for women to acquire what are regarded as masculine qualities such as fearlessness, determination and detachment. Each of us must become perfectly balanced within ourselves. After all, it is only this physical body which has a male or female gender, not the consciousness. Women have been oppressed for centuries and have remained powerless. But when we make them aware of their original divinity and power, they become strong and regain their lost energy. Women have a wonderful capacity for self-sacrifice, renunciation and love. When people see these qualities in them, they are easily drawn towards them and start following their example.

Adapted with permission from: “Her Name Means Jewell of Light”, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India: 1992. File photos: © Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.

Filed in: Upholding the Dignity of Women

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