Normally, Brahma Baba would give a class in the evening. On the 18th of January 1969, Brahma Baba had been experiencing chest pain. Against his normal routine, Baba didn’t conduct morning class. Rather, he asked Ishu Dadi, the senior sister who looked after the mail, for any unanswered letters saying “I want to clear all my accounts”. After responding to all the letters, Baba went on a tour of the kitchen and the new construction of the Training Section, near where they used to play bandminton, and the current site of Brahma Baba’s memorial, ‘The Tower of Peace’. Baba was aware the children would be waiting for the murli so he decided to give evening class early. The dinner bell rang early and class was also held earlier than usual at 8pm.
After giving class, Baba stood at the door of the History Hall, gave drishti (looked at everyone with spiritual love) and said “Tonight, Baba is taking leave”. He leaves, and Senior Sisters Kumarka (later named Dadi Prakashmani) and Shantamani follow him. No-one would realise the gravity of what Baba said, until later that evening.
In his room, Baba said to Kumarka that he was feeling unwell, with a slight pain in his chest. She asked Shantamani to tell Vishwa Kishore to call the doctor. Vishwa Kishore went on his bicycle to call the doctor. In 15 minutes they would return. But by then it would be too late. While waiting for the doctor, Brahma Baba was in obvious pain, before moving towards a state of complete yoga (connection with the Divine). In this stage, Baba handed the leadership of the Brahma Kumaris over to Dadi Prakashmani and Didi Manmohini (c. 1922 – 1985).
In 1969 many in Mount Abu wondered what would happen to the Brahma Kumaris now that their founder had passed. It was a difficult time for the senior sisters, as they had grown up with Baba, and never imagined a day would come when he wouldn’t be a physical presence in their lives. It was up to Dadi and Didi to guide the organisation through the passing of Baba and then continue as caretakers of the organisation.
After he ‘left his body’, the soul of Brahma briefly came into a number of different sisters including Sister Santiri, Sister Sheil Indra and Sister Gulzar (the current medium). There was initial uncertainty as to how the teachings would continue. There was also still the sense of spiritual urgency that had accompanied the community from the very earliest years.
From 1966 through to 1974, Avyakt BapDada predicted 1976 as the date of ‘vinash’ or catastrophic world change. This would be followed by the liberation of all souls, and the beginning of a new Cycle of Time, with souls either in the deep peace of liberation (Nirvana) or the peace and abundant joy of liberation in life (Golden Age). Many of those in the community, while mourning the passing of their founder, were also wondering what would happen next. Under the guidance of Didi Manmohini and Dadi Prakashmani, the organisation flourished. International service began and foreigners began coming to India, and claiming the path as theirs, with as much love and dedication as the earliest members. Many still remain.
As with many new religious movements, dates have come and gone. However, the sense of urgency remains today, with the feeling that ‘time is short’ and thing will happen ‘suddenly’. This awareness is universal within the membership and reinforced through the annual spiritual teachings given by BapDada.
More about predictions within the Brahma Kumaris teachings can be found here.
Dissemination and Service
1959 to 1970 Classes were conducted in the homes of BKs.
1970 The first overseas centre is established in Slough, United Kingdom in the house of Nirmla Bakshi and Suman Bakshi (who would later start service in Germany). Brother Shiv Kumar teaches meditation and gives discourses in knowledge. A small group of locals became very interested in the teachings.
1971 An inaugural group of BKs from India were sent to help support this early service. The delegation of five included Brothers Jagdish and Ramesh, Sisters Sheil Indra, Rosie and Nirmala. Nirmala continued the service in Slough before travelling later to begin service in Australia.