The ‘Social’ Face of the Brahmakumaris in India

Contemporary perspectives and praxis nuances

Authors

  • Samta P. Pandya Tata Institute of Social Sciences

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v8i1.50

Keywords:

Brahmakumaris, fieldwork, social service

Abstract

Based on fieldwork, this article analyses the Brahmakumaris movement in India in terms of its contemporary perspectives and praxis nuances. The focus is that its contemporary stance is a mix of millenarianism, simultaneous accommodation-assimilation and subtle exclusivity. Commencing with a brief overview of the charisma, genesis and cultural geographies, the contemporary perspectives and visions on society, stratification, ethics and transformation have been discussed. These include the re-interpretations reflecting in ontology and epistemology, through the Raja Yoga propositions; in cosmology and historicity, through the world tree concept; and, an eventual instrumentalism and “New Age-ification” in praxis. Woven intermittently is the critique of the epistemological hybrid. The “social” angle in praxis nuances comes through aspects of volition, prescriptivism and doctrinarism, and the institutionalized endeavours. The political economy of practice through dimensions of memory and oblivion which determine the operational style has been deliberated. The new thematic and methodological insights gained from fieldwork have been discussed.

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Author Biography

Samta P. Pandya, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Samta P. Pandya is Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. Her areas of interest include faith, religion, spirituality, social work and aging issues.

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Published

2013-10-29

How to Cite

Pandya, S. (2013). The ‘Social’ Face of the Brahmakumaris in India: Contemporary perspectives and praxis nuances. Fieldwork in Religion, 8(1), 50–73. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v8i1.50

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