Public programme at Global Co-operation House . London . UK
Sunday 27th April 2008
What does it mean to truly live with dignity? That was the subject that was addressed by Dadi Janki in front of a full auditorium of 500 people at Global Co-operation House, North West London on Sunday 27th April 2008.
The event was introduced by TV news executive Jo Sawicki, who described Dadi as a “powerhouse” and explained to the many first-time attendees in the audience that the Brahma Kumaris were an organisation dedicated to teaching deep peace.
Lou Beckerman began the evening with a beautiful song that set the atmosphere for the rest of the night. She has travelled worldwide using song as a means of healing.
Jo Sawicki then introduced Dadi Janki and explained that she wanted to tackle the issue of dignity with Dadi around three different aspects. At the end of each of these, Sister Waddy from Miami gave a three minute meditation commentary that took the audience into the experience that Dadi had shared. Jo began by asking Dadi what it meant to have dignity for the self and where it comes from.
Dadi replied: “People make a lot of external effort to find dignity, but it is only when we have honesty and love for the self that we can experience true dignity. Dignity is simple to explain but bringing it about is complex. First it is a question of having very pure feelings of compassion and then with help from God I can bring it about easily.
“Attaining dignity doesn’t require much time or expense. The most important thing is to fill my time with quality using elevated, divine, spiritual thoughts. What is spirituality? Bringing light and might from God into my life. Internally, the mind must recognise ‘WHO AM I’ and my intellect must also see this. In my natural original state, my dignity is inherent.”
Jo then asked Dadi to touch on another aspect of dignity – the work environment. She asked her how to maintain dignity in times when there can be a lot of pressure and stress.
Dadi said that, before we do anything in response to a situation, we should first go into silence: “I make time to find these moments of silence throughout the day to experience my dignity, finding and experiencing the values I have. I look into my heart and see from the perspective of value and respect for others. If I have faith in myself, it can even change the circumstances. This is a very subtle matter to understand and practise. Arrogance will bring my dignity down. I then experience sorrow. So I must finish my arrogance to bring my spiritual identity into play.
She added: “If I do these things, I can bring benefit to everyone around me, those living with me or working with me. Then the relationships will be more than just about work. If I start with silence and finish in silence, then I will not be tired. It is “wrong thinking” which causes tiredness. Some Raja Yoga students ask me for advice: ‘Should I leave my job?’ I tell them that they don’t go to their company to work but to give good company to others.”
Jo then asked Dadi to talk a little about a third aspect of dignity – dignity in family life. She asked Dadi how we can instil values in children that can counter the negative influences they face today.
Dadi responded: “Children today do not get the type of sustenance they used to in the past at home, let alone at school. If the parents come home late, then it’s not surprising that the children do the same. Parents should never scold children but spend time with them. There are many families that have found unity and harmony. When I came to this institution, I was given 40 children to look after and teach. Brahma Baba (the founder) and Mama (the organisation’s mother figure) taught us how to raise them with love but also discipline: how to walk, talk, sit, etc. Those children gained a lot of benefit. It is important that parents set the example for them – only then can they imbibe virtues. I always say to people that they should never go to sleep late and they should get up early. I tell them that we (the Brahma Kumaris) don’t have lots of variety in our diet, nor do we waste time and money on fashion and material things. My life should have simplicity, good vision for others and sensible manners. This is what brings us our honour and what instils it in our children.
Audience members were then invited to ask Dadi some questions. The first one asked her how she approached the judgement of character in other people.
Dadi answered: “We must first understand ‘character’. A good character illustrates what God has given us: his qualities of forgiveness, compassion, truth, love, etc.
I should not do anything that brings shame, dishonour or embarrassment in front of God, my parents or my clan. My conscience should prick, if I tell lies, gossip, steal or cheat. If there are others around you that don’t have this character, you should be able to transform them.
Jo then asked how we could keep our children safe from bad company. Dadi said that it was down to the parents to give children the company they needed, so then they would not need to seek it in other people: “Many children say that they never experienced love from their father or mother. We need to change this.”
The evening ended with Dadi sharing toli (a sweet made with love) with all the audience. A number of those who came said how much they enjoyed Dadi’s insights, including many new people, who said they were keen to come and listen to her again.