SIXTEEN CELESTIAL DEGREES
In Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya, four subjects are taught Godly knowledge, Rajyoga meditation, cultivation of divine virtues and spiritual service. The example of excellence in these four subjects is the life history of Pitashri Brahma Baba, the founder of the Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya. Therefore if we follow the life history of Brahma Baba in our own lives, we can very soon attain sixteen celestial degrees. The sixteen celestial degrees are given below:
1. Art of Relaxation – If we live our life with the definite belief that the supreme soul is the real director and actor and we are only His instruments, we can always remain contented and relaxed even in illness. The knowledge that this is all on account of our own past deeds enables us to be stable in varying-situations, viewing them as various scenes of the pre – destined world drama. The picture of Vishnu on shesh shaiya (serpent bed) in the ocean is symbolic of the art of relaxation.
2. Art of Dealing or Behaviour – Our behaviour towards all should be such that it is full of natural and selfless love, respect, divine family feeling and sweetness. Such a person easily wins over everyone’s heart and rules over it. It is said that handsome is that which handsome does.
3. Art of Keeping Healthy – Swasth (Health) in other words Swa (Atma i.e. Soul) + Asth (sthit) means performing all deeds in soul- conscious stage. It is the key to be healthy. By considering ourselves as kings of anxiety less land we can always remain happy because there is no diet comparable to happiness. Clean drinking water, fresh food and fresh air have important place in maintaining good health. Baba used to say that for remaining healthy and happy, go on earning good wishes of all along with proper meditation and medication. Understanding the deep secret of drama and remaining happy in all situations- is the art of keeping healthy.
4. Art of Teaching – The Adi Pita Brahrna Baba with his sweet actions, loving spiritual vision, positive attitude and behaviour used to teach the children the lesson of belongingness. The essence of art of teaching is loveful behaviour. Saint Kabir Das has said this in his meaningful words „Studying books after books, the world has passed by, and none has become really knowledgeable. One who learns two and a half lettered word 'love, becomes truly knowledgeable.” Though there are four subjects in this Godly knowledge, Baba used to teach it in such a way as if he was teaching single subject and was teaching the same like a story. There used to be intimacy between the teacher and the student. If he had to point out some weakness to anyone, he used to do so individually in private and when he had to praise anybody, he used to do it openly in front of all due to which his self respect always remained intact and he used to transform himself Shri Krishna’s teaching to Arjuna while sitting on the chariot represents this art of teaching.
5. Art of Letter Writing – Baba’s letters used to be the source of inspiration in everybody’s life. If Baba was to draw anyone’s attention towards any of his deficiency, then he would first shower praises on him, then point out his deficiency in a symbolic (beautiful) way so that he would not feel himself degraded. Baba’s letters created desire for repeated reading. Baba used to win others through his letters. On reading his letters, the soul used to surrender itself to him.
6. The Art of Sustenance – Like a mother Baba used to brings up and guide the children with great love, sacrifice, service and with tirelessness. Baba used to say, „Do not take rest after holding an exhibition, fair or doing any other service; follow it up, then there would be result. If some seeker does not come due to some reason, send 'murli' or a letter or some 'Prasad' (Toli) or allot him some service, then he would keep on coming in contact.”
7. Art of Marching ahead – Our goal in life should always be elevated and we should go on making efforts to attain that goal. Whatever challenges (tests) come on the way, always go on marching ahead. Our progress would become source of inspiration for others too.
8. Art of Entertainment – Baba used to entertain and make children laugh while imparting knowledge. He used to clarify several deep secrets of knowledge in a very easy and entertaining manner. He used to cross adverse situations very happily.Baba used to entertain and make children occasionally laugh and would say, „Always keeps on smiling like flowers.”
9. Art of Sweet Talking – There is a saying „Tongue can bestow one with a throne, or can also lead one to gallows”. With sweet words, a person crosses many difficult situations. In soul-conscious stage, a man al ways speaks sweet words. A poet has truly said: 'Sweet word is a medicine and bitter word is an arrow; It affects the entire body though the hearing path is narrow.
10. The Art of Making one’s Own – Baba used to fill so much confidence in children by loving and praising them that their virtues began to develop and they used to perform wonders. Baba used to fill hope in hopeless souls. He used to win over others hearts in such a way that they never desired to stay away from Baba. On meeting Baba everyone used to feel very light and happy.
11. The Art of Leadership – Leader’s task is to awaken people and encourage them to progress. Baba effortlessly turned every effort- maker into a leader or a teacher. He engaged everyone in active service as per his qualities so that he must develop his potentiality. When the intellect is engaged in creative activity, the destructive activities automatically cease. As a stone becomes worship-worthy when rolling with current of water, similarly by serving others gradually they become valuable gems. Thus Baba encouraged everyone to do progress by assigning him work as per his ability or interest.
12. The Art of Learning – Learning implies transformation in one’s life. Brahma Baba, even after attaining old age, always used to consider himself just a student. This attitude took him to the peak of the heights. Learning needs inquisitiveness. Baba, while explaining the importance of spiritual education, used to say, „Children who love Murli also love Murlidhar (Deliverer of Murli). Therefore never miss morning class of Murli (Spiritual discourse).” Similarly when Baba used to address even old persons as 'children' they also acquired alertness for learning and study.
13. The Art of Transformation or Moulding – Baba used to say that after understanding one’s duty and aim of life, it is not difficult to mould oneself and transforming one’s life style and the old sanskars. In Brahma Baba’s own life, such transformation was evident. The day he experienced the vision' I am Vishnu so are you; from that very day the transformation started taking place. Quick efforts means quick transformation, i.e., 'immediate charity results in great achievements. Baba adopted this technique in his life as a great formula.
14. The Art of Changing Waste into Best – People, convert the waste iron or gold into new articles by melting. Similarly, after making others to give up their old sanskars (tendencies) and old abits, Baba used to inspire them to transform these into good habits. He always uphold the pious thought to transform the vicious world into viceless. Baba also used to transform some old useless things in the yagya into some new useful things.
15. The Art of administration – For establishing the New World, transforming each and every one’s sanskars and habits is necessary which is really a difficult task. The greatest artist or administrator is one who can complete a task with minimum means. Baba’s motto was- 'Begin the job and means will automatically start coming by themselves'. Baba always used to give an opportunity to everyone to do something or the other. Baba’s administration was so excellent that everybody demanded work because everyone saw the work as service and service as the basis for future rewards/achievement. Here, there is neither any supervisor nor any manager and no body to show his ego or might. That is why, in this administration, there is never any strike of work or a holiday. Every day, the class of Murli (learning) takes place at punctual time.
16. The art of Absorbence – It was observed in Baba' s life that if any child used to put his/her confidence in Baba, Baba used to absorb his weakness like an ocean and never expressed it to others. As such, everyone used to relate his / her mental agony to Baba with an open mind. Ganeshji is shown with a big belly as the symbol of art of absorbence.
The (different) titles given for 16 arts
1. The art of friendship – the art of making others one’s own – the art of winning the heart of others.
2. The art of dealing with others – the art of divine behavior
3. The art of reforming – the art of transformation
4. The art of refreshing – the art of being carefree – the art of relaxing
5. The art of developing – the art of learning
6. The art of remaining happy and content – the art of progressing – the art of marching ahead
7. The art of keeping others happy / healthy – the art of staying healthy
8. The art of organizing – the art of writing
9. The art of leadership – the art of leadership
10. The art of administration – the art of administration
11. The art of learning and teaching – the art of teaching – the art of learning
12. The art of enjoying work and leisure – The art of making people smile – entertaining
13. The art of speech – giving a speech – sweet talking
14. The art of thinking – making best out of waste – changing waste into best
15. The art of social service and spiritual welfare – giving sustenance – sustenance
16. The art of concealing and revealing – accommodation – absorbance