Gayatri Naraine has been the Brahma Kumaris’ (BK’s)representative to the United Nations since 1980. When she first met the BKs as a young woman in 1975, she was working at the University of Guyana in the office of the Dean of Education.
In 1978, she came to the United States, and soon after her arrival began to facilitate the Brahma Kumaris’ representation with the United Nations in New York, beginning with the Department of Public Information (DPI). She was successful in obtaining formal affiliation to DPI for the Brahma Kumaris in 1980. After three years she was convinced that values and spirituality were a necessary ingredient in the work of the UN, and she began working to secure a consultative status for the Brahma Kumaris in the Economic and Social council (ECOSOC), which she was able to do in 1983.
As the BKs liaison to the UN, her role was to connect what the UN was doing on a global scale in the social and humanitarian fields of development with what the BKs were doing in those same areas using their expertise in spiritual growth of people on a personal scale. The UN was addressing the wellbeing of people in all nations and seeking to provide the right conditions for the fulfillment of their human rights, such as the rights to education, health, and peace. She recognized that the BKs had certain expertise in the spiritual dimension that could be explored and extended from personal to the collective through their relationship with the UN.
This marked the beginning of her lifelong interest in the connection between personal awareness and transformation of consciousness and change in the world. Over the years she directed many outreach projects and attended UN conferences and summits all over the world.
For each conference, position statements were developed and activities conducted and expanded on a central theme: for change to occur in the outer world, there had to be a transformation in the inner awareness of the individual. People had to see a different world before they could transform policies, systems, and relationships.
In conceptualizing the contribution the Brahma Kumaris might make in the sphere of UN activities, Gayatri evolved a premise: that what the UN was doing could be simplified and made more meaningful to people’s daily loves. This strategy proved especially effective in honoring the UN dedicated days which include: the International Days of Peace, Non-Violence, Tolerance, and Happiness, International Day of Woman, International Day of Youth, World Health Day, and World Environment Day.
Over the years of working with people in the non-governmental and civil society communities within and outside of the United Nations, Gayatri witnessed that when a person participates in their individual capacity, but knows that it is for a purpose bigger than their own self-interest, it draws from within them a special kind of gift. They know that they are not just working for themselves, nor even for their own country or region, but dedicating their efforts to the world. This awareness evokes from people their inner greatness, and that is the gift they offer.