01/10/18 | By Maria Barry

by Neville Hodgkinson

Who has come, who has come

Who has come to the door of my heart

With the tinkle of ankle bells

Who has come

From her earliest days, Dadi Janki had the feeling that the secret of life would lie in learning about God. She only underwent three years of formal schooling, and for the rest was a devout student of Hindu scriptures, and the dharma of putting religious principles into practice. Her father introduced her to many sages and saints and took her on pilgrimages all over India.

None of this satisfied her. She saw many impressive demonstrations of devotional practice, with all sorts of chants, special physical powers, and amazing skills of oratory. However, it seemed rather self-absorbed; and hard work! Children are perceptive and sometimes she was struck by a contrast between what the teachers and holy men said, and how they behaved in private. She did not find the love that her heart told her was somehow of the essence of God.

Until one day, when she was 19, and out walking with her father in her home town of Hyderabad, Sindh, a province in Northern India that became part of Pakistan after the 1947 partition. They came across Dada Lekhraj, a jeweller of high standing in Sindh. She had known him from early childhood, but now something had changed. As he approached, with his gaze meeting hers, she felt transported to some timeless dimension, beyond this material world. It was as if she no longer existed as a bodily being. There was a sense of filling with light – and pure love. In that instant she felt that she had at last found what she had been looking for over all those years.

Soon afterwards, she learned that this transformation in Dada had come about through some visions he had experienced, and that those insights followed a period in which he had made persistent, conscious efforts to become aware of his own divinity, repeatedly reminding himself that he was a soul, distinct from brain and body. It was as though he had prised open the doors of perception that keep most people’s everyday consciousness at the mundane level, and a higher awareness, or divine light, had flooded into him.

Just as the young Janki had been transported by the radiance in Dada Lekhraj, many others were experiencing the same. Gatherings were taking place at his home, which held an enormous attraction. It was like moths circling a flame. The women of the community were particularly drawn, and the men, often away from home on business for long periods, were at first happy for their womenfolk to be receiving good company, and uplifting instruction.

This was no ordinary religious satsang, however. In the wake of his visions, which he felt were of divine origin, Dada was teaching a radical understanding. It had become clear to him that we were entering a time of transition, in which our world, now tired and old, would be renewed. This would happen at the level of human consciousness first: only then could heaven on earth, the fabled golden age in which human beings would once again live with universal peace, love and joy, replace the hell which so many were experiencing.

Understandings of this kind, involving a repeating cycle of time, lie at the heart of Indian spirituality. However, whereas tradition considers the existing cycle to have thousands of years yet to run, Dada’s insight was that the transition from old to new is imminent. He made those drawn to him feel that time was calling each one to make their own, immediate contribution to the process, by letting go of the influence of the past and immersing themselves in divine truth.

Neville Hodgkinson worked for many years as a science and medical correspondent for national newspapers in the UK, including the Daily Mail and Sunday Times.  In 1994 he gave up his journalistic career to live and work full time at a retreat centre near Oxford.  He specialises in talks and workshops exploring the links between science and spirituality, in particular examining questions about death which others shy away from.  He is the author of two previous books, Will To be Well, and AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science.  He has also written books under the Brahma Kumaris imprint.

hrcoverI Know How To Live, I Know How To Die - The Teachings of Dadi Janki: A warm, radical, and life-affirming view of who we are, where we come from, and what time is calling us to do

Frontier science meets deep soul awareness in this unique exploration of the teachings of Dadi Janki, head of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, by Neville Hodgkinson, former Sunday Times science and medical correspondent.

I Know How To Live, I Know How To Die conveys the love and strength that emerge within us, and the huge benefits brought to our work and relationships, when we restore our connection with the divine through spiritual understanding and practice.





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