Two nights ago in the New York Public Library, I sat there until closing, reading the transcripts of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th World Congress of Religions, held in Japan during 1954-55. This is a time period in the development of the Brahma Kumaris that we know little about. The documents shed real light on the development of their understanding and gives us a much more nuanced appreciation of how things refined over time.
These records (which will be transcribed into editable text and uploaded here along with photos of the original source) reveal the following:
- There is no mention of Shiva (outside the Shiv Shankar reference) and no indication yet of understanding Shiv Baba as God.
- They still use the term "God Brahma" but along with "God Vishnu" and "God Shiv Shankar". God Brahma is the corporeal of Incorporeal God and God Vishnu and God Shiv Shankar are the subtle of Incorporeal God.
- There is much more focus on the Trinity of God.
- God is omnipotent and omniscient, but no longer omnipresent. However His light and His presence are omnipresent in this corporeal world.
- God resides in the home of souls. This contrasts with the early understanding of Infinite Divine Light (which according to original photos continued through to 1952). They now understand the difference between the One who resides in the region of light, and the region of light itself.
- God is the mover of the Drama. "God is the transcendent power that gets the drama a-going" and "The efficient cause of all the phenomenal universe". Now understanding is that Drama moves everyone, including God (although some may still debate this).
- God has the shape of a Shiva Lingam. No mention yet of Jyoti Lingam (although they may not be a relevant distinction between Shiva Lingam and Jyoti Lingam). Absolutely no mention of Jyoti Bindu (point of light) which is the current understanding. Modern understanding is that all souls, all living beings, including the Supreme Soul, are the form of a tiny point.
- They still use the Gita as a frame of reference: "The significance of a religion based on one God is great but only if it is corroborated by the Gita"
- They believe the error in the Gita is that it contains the knowledge of Lord Brahma, not Lord Krishna (now the BKs understand it contains the knowledge of one Incorporeal God Shiva).
- "Brahma is the corporeal of Incorporeal God through the instrumentality of the sisters." There is no mention of Brahma being an instrument of God, or the medium for the Supreme Soul, but rather the incorporeal manifest in the corporeal. There is also a description of the Supreme Soul inhabiting the brain of an old man and using his mouth. This is the first indication we have that they may be starting to understand the existence of two distinct personalities. Yet understanding is still vague.
More is on the way.