Honesty, Cleanliness, Simplicity
Dadi (elder sister) Janki was the Administrative Head of Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Godly Spiritual University from the year 2007 to 2020.
Dadi Janki was born on 01st January, 1916 in the northern Indian province of Sindh, (now in Pakistan). From her earliest days, a concern for the well-being of others was a driving force in her life.
Early Days before joining the Om Mandali
A life that turned out to be the ideal role model for millions of people across the world and the one who attained sublimity in spirituality during her lifetime had to face in her childhood untold suppression and sufferings. One who was so fond of reading scriptures was forcibly kept away from spiritual classes and learning. But strong will and determination of Dadi Janki helped cross the mountains of resistance, ailment, social and domestic pressure.
Her childhood memories include traveling around on her father’s horse and carriage to explain to others the benefits of a vegetarian diet and sitting with the sick and elderly to help lift their spirits. Dadi Janki spent only three years in formal education and then went on many pilgrimages in her search for truth and the understanding of God.
Her very first encounter with Dada Lekhraj convinced her that dedication to the Almighty did not mean just reading scriptures, chanting mantras and singing prayers. It could be deep focused concentration on and a silent contemplation of the Divine.
The impact of spiritual practice in her life came when she on a morning walk with her father in 1937 saw Dada Lekhraj in the park. His divine gaze (Drishti) made her light and enlightened from inside and that decided her ultimate goal and objective of her life.
Marriage took Janki to a Kirplani family, a rich business family with religious inclinations. Yet no one would allow her to attend Dada Lekhraj’s spiritual discourses. While still with her in-laws Janki was detected to be suffering from tuberculosis and the family was advised to keep her as happy as possible. Her husband, Naval, could go to any extent to keep her happy except allowing her to go to Dada’s Satsang, which was the only place that gave any solace and comfort to her. She was kept in house imprisonment to the extent that Naval would ignore his business just to keep a watch over her. Despite all efforts to the contrary, she could secretly get Baba’s Murli and other such godly messages in one way or the other.
Ultimately, with her father’s assistance she decided to run away from her husband’s home and come to stay with Brahma Baba in the Om Mandali premises at Karachi. Baba not only accepted her in the spiritual family but blessed her with many virtues and nobility.
Meeting Brahma Baba & Joining the Om Mandali
Though Janki had met Dada Lekhraj earlier, yet the true and proper association with him started when Janki came to Karachi and joined the Om Mandali. She had come out of a traumatic domestic life where material luxuries were in abundance but internally and mentally women were no better than slaves.
With limited means and difficult socio-economic conditions each member of the Om Mandali had to discharge many duties and godly services at the same time. However it goes to the credit of Dadi Janki that during the 14 years when she served as a Nurse, the need for a doctor from outside arose only 2 or 3 times. Dadi Ji’s dedicated and affectionate service & Brahma Baba’s experience of household medication helped the institution a lot.
Om Mandali Shifts to India
Dadi Janki was a part of the initial group of 180 members who came to Karachi, Pakistan to live the new essenceful life based on spirituality. This group devoted their time to intense spiritual endeavour. The exploration of soul consciousness in meditation awakened a deeper awareness of the original and eternal identity as a source of all spiritual attainments. The practice of remembrance of God was mastered as the method for self-transformation.
After India’s independence and partition in 1947, most of the Hindu population in that part of the country migrated to India. But the Om Mandali continued to stay in Karachi as for them the human soul is neither Hindu nor Muslim. But in the early 1950s, the Almighty Authority instructed the Brahma Kumaris institution to start their godly services in India. Many of the relatives of the members of the institution had settled in India and were willing to help and support them if they shifted to India.
Early Services in India
After the institution, lovingly called ‘yagya’ had shifted from Karachi and settled at Brij Kothi at Mount Abu, Dadi Janki made it her goal to do every single little bit in service of yagya and never be found idle doing nothing.
Dadi’s love of God’s Divine versions called ‘Murli’ was well known to everyone. Once Dadi was not well and was sad. On asking she told Baba that her regret is for not being able to listen to the Murli. Baba asked brothers to set up a microphone and speaker in Dadi’s room. Dadi Ji believed that the Murli is the only medicine that can fully cure the soul and keep it healthy.
During those days Baba asked Dadi Ji to impart the godly knowledge to the royal family of Bikaner and meet the Queen Mother there. When Dadi went there, the Queen Mother, in her own royal manner, asked, “Why did you come here? What is the purpose of your visit?” Without any hesitation Dadi Ji said, “I have come to tell you beautiful things about God.” The queen was really touched because people usually came only for help. And now here was a lady who wanted to enrich the royals. They had a wonderful meeting. After her return from the royal palace Baba said, “You have come after doing such a wonderful service to the Queen Mother and the royal family of Bikaner. Now you should be giving them good wishes (Sakash), till they get connected with the Supreme.” Dadi Ji realized that this was the true conclusion of a good godly service.
Services in Pune, Mumbai & Ahmedabad
The greater part of Dadi Ji’s time was spent in godly service at Pune and nearby areas and as per Dadi Ji’s own words it was here that she learnt the early lessons of spiritual practice. Her only interest was to follow Baba. Her ‘Ji Baba’ and ‘Haan Baba’ became a tagline affixed with her persona. Baba’s every single word was a volume of instructions for her. Dadi Ji had always been transparent and simple and did not hide her respect and love of the Divine. This was also the basis of her spiritual empowerment. Baba’s love and service should make us light and enlightened, this was her criteria of true devotion.
Dadi Ji often said that Baba engaged her in Pune to teach her the important principles of spiritual conduct. Whilst in Pune, she learnt more than she could during any other phase of her life. Once, while in Bombay, Dadi Ji was not keeping fit and was brooding over her handicap in godly service. All of a sudden Baba came there. Reading her mind he said, “Your future & destiny is in His hands & He always has very high and great things to be undertaken by you. Never underestimate yourself or His vision.” This removed all doubts from her mind and since that day she always thought of herself undertaking great responsibilities assigned by none else but the Almighty Authority lovingly called Shiv Baba. In 1966, Brahma Baba asked Dadi Ji to set up a centre at Ahmedabad.
On one occasion Dadi Ji had written to Baba in detail about some function at the centre. When after a few days Dadi met Baba, she tried to tell him the whole story. Baba said, “You have already given a detailed description and Baba has read that, why should you repeat and waste your words and energy?” There were so many such little things that Dadi Ji learnt from Baba which laid a strong foundation for self transformation.
A New Chapter of Dadi’s Life – Godly Services Abroad
It was in April 1974 that a 58 years old lady attired in simple white arrived in London with a seemingly simple message to impart – the true word of God to the West. An English writer says about her first visit to London, “She was under five foot tall, uneducated, spoke no English, had nowhere to live and no money. She had never been out of India before and in addition, she was in very poor health with a lifelong history of serious illness.” But one determination she had – to impart the true word of God to the West. Her sheer force of will made her the role model for others in study, remembrance of God, and spiritual service.
She was tireless, accepting invitations to speak in city after city, to be a Wisdom Keeper at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, and to speak at the United Nations, where in 1983 the Brahma Kumaris had become a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with general consultative status. Dadi had also led the development of several international projects promoting vision, values and action at grass-roots level including the UK prison staff. The Brahma Kumaris maintained a strong presence and contribution at the United Nations, and Dadi served as one of the Keepers of Wisdom, an advisory group of eminent spiritual and religious leaders, at the UN Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil and at Habitat II in Istanbul, Turkey.
Dadi was a visionary and had an unswerving optimism. Frank Whaling, Professor Emeritus of Edinburg University describes the Brahma Kumaris as a ‘new spiritual tradition’ and says, “As with all spiritual traditions, the Brahma Kumaris are different, bewildering and fascinating in their newness and in their complexity… Not for Dadi Janki any pomp or circumstance. She still (in the year 2015, when Dadi was 99) wears a cheap cotton gown, she owns no possessions and has no actual home of her own. One of her special qualities, perhaps, is that even when she and the institution, had nothing, she always projected the feeling that nothing was lacking in her life… there was always something royal and stately about her.”
Expansion of Services Worldwide
Brahma Kumaris found the expansion of their ideals in the lives of people across the world through the dedicated efforts of Dadi Janki, after she came to the UK in 1974. The very first Westerners to become committed Brahma Kumaris abroad were Denise Lawrence and John Kane in 1975. Though Kane left the movement, Denise remains a BK till date. Then came three young men, who pivotal to the development and expansion of the Brahma Kumaris outside India. They were Charlie Hogg, Ken O’Donnell and Balwant Patel who now run centres across Australia, South America and Nairobi (Kenya) respectively.
Dadi did not speak much, but taught through the power of silence. She also conducted classes whereby a sister translated to English. Dadi successfully planted the roots of spirituality, divinity and values in the minds of those who joined the institution. She became a medium for world service. In fact, when Dadi Ji came to London in 1974, the invitation was from Africa. However, finally before going there, Dadi Ji first went to Zambia, then Kenya followed by Liberia and Nigeria. In fact, Dadi Ji went on establishing centres in all these countries. In this way requests started pouring in from Guyana, South America and many more places. These roots are now widely spread all over the world in more than 140 countries.
Dadi has promoted inter-religious understanding and co-operation throughout her life. She was a Patron of the World Congress of Faiths and a member of the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders. In December 2003, she was invited as a spiritual resource to be part of a small delegation of religious leaders who took part in dialogues in Jerusalem, Gaza and Ramallah, to help build trust and develop joint initiatives between Palestinian and Israeli women.
Among her many honours, in 2004, Dadi was awarded the Grand Cordon of the first order of Al Istiklal (the Medal of Independence) by HM King Abdullah ll of Jordan in recognition of her humanitarian service to the world.
Dadi Janki Highlights:
International Patron of Rights and Humanity.
Patron of the World Congress of Faiths.
Member of the Global Peace Initiative of Women.
Board Member of the Elijah Interfaith Institute.
Founder President of the Janki Foundation for Global Healthcare (supporting the Global Hospital and Research Centre in Mt Abu, Rajasthan and promoting greater awareness of holistic health and the spiritual dimension of health care.)
Divine Coronation as Chief of Brahma Kumaris
In August 2007, Dadi Prakashmani Ji left her mortal coil and Dadi Janki became the Chief Administrator of the Brahma Kumaris. Dadi carried out her services from Mt Abu and continued to guide all the centres in India and abroad. BK Jayanti was appointed as director of all Europe centres. She could not be limited to any place, culture or life-style. Dadi Janki was like a champion who attracts the masses like a magnet attracts the pins. In fact, she was above the worldly considerations of comfort, luxury and attainment. Her main concern was taking Baba’s message even to the darkest corner of this globe.
Her name had a magical impact wherever she went. People thronged to her meetings and addresses in thousands not just in India but across the world. She was applauded and honoured wherever she went, be it among the Sheikhs in the Arab countries or the tribals of India or Africa. Everyone understood her message and the appeal. She had taken the image of the ‘World-Mother’.
She had a captivating style of her own. Whosoever came to her, she had one affectionate address for all, “Come, my dear brother” and would catch the person by his or her hand. This gesture was so mesmerizing. That is why many people just wished to see her and be in her presence even for some small spell of time. Wherever she went she was treated no less than an Angel in flesh and bones.
The spiritual power of Dadi Ji’s vibrations was so strong that even the efficient, competent professionals and senior diplomats would forget their protocol and turn to Dadi Ji for advice & guidance.
Liz Hodgkinson in her book on Dadi Janki says, “Like the Queen, she does not carry money and indeed has never had any money of her own.” But one thing about her is sure “…. you cannot be unaffected by her. She has a presence and exudes a magnetic force that cannot be ignored.” Liz says, “Dadi Janki will not allow any worship or devotion. If she is anything she will tell you, she is a Companion of God… because she communes with God all the time.”
Great spiritual leader and a visionary
Dadi Janki is internationally acknowledged as a great spiritual leader, Dadi’s lifelong focus had always been to align her mind and heart to God’s will and purpose. Dadi Janki was a visionary, with an unswerving optimism. She used to say, “In the winter, we foresee the spring”.
“She held a vision of a world where all things are given freely, where the highest human potential is fully realized.” That future world is guaranteed, in Dadi’s eyes, but to reach it, our consciousness has to change.
Dadi Janki was declared “The most stable mind in the World” by the University of Texas, USA in 1978 which is a remarkable achievement for any human alive.
Biography “A Century of Service” by Liz Hodgkinson in 2016.
“I know how to live, I know how to die” – The teachings of Dadi Janki, book written by Neville Hodgkinson -2015.
Appointed as Brand Ambassador for “ Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” (Clean India Mission) by the Government of India.in 2015.
Awarded the Bharat Gaurav Award at The House of Commons, London, UK.in 2014.
Keynote address at the Sant Sammelan (gathering of sages and saints) in India – 2014.
Dadi Janki had many more accomplishments throughout her century of service to mankind.
Even at an age of 104 (last days of life), Dadi served not with the body, but with good wishes and vibrations. Dadi’s early life and spiritual life, both were full of sacrifice and selfless service to the world.
Dadi Janki attained her angelic stage on 27th March, 2020. With her entire life dedicated to service, Dadi Janki continues to live in the memories and inspire the next generation of spiritual aspirants.
Commemorative Postage Stamp of Rajyogini Dadi Janki Ji
On 12th April 2021, Hon’ble Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, released the Commemorative Postage Stamp of Rajyogini Dadi Janki in New Delhi. The event was attended by the Union Minister, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, former Director of CBI, Shri DR Kaarthikeyan, BK Brijmohan, BK Asha, BK Shivani, BK Mrityunjaya and other dignitaries. Members of Brahma Kumaris from across the world also joined the event virtually.
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu praised the Brahma Kumaris for being a women led organisation. Recalling his meeting with the revered Dadi Janki at Shantivan campus of the Brahma Kumaris in 2019, the Vice President termed her as one of the foremost spiritual leaders of contemporary times. Calling Dadi an embodiment of calm and composure, he said that until the very end, she always practiced what she preached. He also said that it is a befitting tribute that the Government is releasing a postage stamp to mark the first anniversary of an extraordinary spiritual teacher.