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Ganeshpuri – Abode of Avadhootas

Written by Dhritiman Biswas

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Early last year (2014), I went to meet Sri Vasudev ji near Ganeshpuri (Maharashtra). I had already met Sri Vasudevji the previous year. We talked fondly about Mohanji. He remembered Mohanji’s visits to this Nath temple with a twinkle in his eye. Mohanji and the Avadhoota of the Nath templeHe showed me Mohanji’s eye cards and a printout of the blog on Mohanji’s universe about him! He asked me to translate the blog and smiled as I read it out loud. He also enquired about Bibaji and Mila. A dhoti was presented to him on behalf of Mohanji, at his lotus feet.

He narrated a couple of interesting incidents about Bade Baba and Gandhiji. Once Gandhiji came to pray at this same Nath temple before an agitation against the British. Bade Baba told him, “You are Paramguru. Why have you come here? You go and do your work.” When Gandhiji was in London negotiating with the British Government, Bade Baba instantly told his followers in India what had transpired (in those days, even a telegram took days to reach). Next day, the newspaper declared exactly what Bade Baba had told his followers!

Sri Vasudevji asked me to meditate inside the Nath mandir and then showed me the forms of Gods on the wall. I had the honour of drinking tea made by him for me. He also gifted me pictures of Nath Gurus, Sai Baba, Devi Mata and Bade Baba (now kept at my home altar)!!!

I went to the adjoining Brajeshwari temple with flowers and spent some time at the Datta mandir.

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The Kailash Nivas – where Bade Baba used to live

I went to Bade Baba’s main temple at Ganeshpuri. After prayers and parikrama, I bought a small murti of Bade Baba. On the way back, I saw the Kailash house – where Bade Baba used to live.

Coincidentally, I had read about Mohanji’s visit to Ganeshpuri online just a few days back, although I was not even searching for it specifically. Due to the odd hour of the day (late afternoon), there was no one at Kailash house and Bade Baba’s room was locked. I prostrated in front of his chair. I had a wish to kneel and pray before his bedroom. I saw the security guard and requested him to show me Baba’s room. He replied that he could be sacked if he opened it. But after much pleading, he opened the room for a quick prayer. I kept the recently purchased idol on the bed and quickly prayed.
Bhagawan Nithyananda - Bade BabaAfter I walked out of the room, the guard called me to a side room and offered me the juice which Baba consumes every day as prasad! I suddenly realised that Mohanji was with me – as these special privileges are accorded only when Mohanji is present! I consumed the juice knowing it was Mohanji who was drinking Bade Baba’s prasad! I was just the medium. As I walked out, all the lights came on at the Kailash house!
So I returned home with Bade Baba’s idol, blessed by the presence of Mohanji and Bade Baba himself.
Jai Gurudev! Jai Gurudev! Jai Gurudev!

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Miraculous Days with Mohanji – Part 2

Written by Rajesh Kamath

Hyderabad

Both our groups reached Swamy Thyagananda’s ashram late in the night. It was in the outskirts of Hyderabad. As soon as we entered the ashram, they received us with a lot of respect and reverence. The ashram was a quaint cozy place. There was a sacred homa kunda (fire pit) near the entrance of the ashram and a nice landscaped garden next to it. Further down, there was a dining hall to the left and the main building behind it where the temple and living quarters were. There was a beautiful ancient idol of Lord Ganapati on the way leading to the main building.

Mohanji and swami Thyagananda at the gates 1,2

Mohanji and swami Thyagananda at the gates

Swamy Thyagananda took us to the sacred homa kunda and performed a ritual offering for our group. There was a beautiful idol of the Divine Mother, in the form of Maa Durga, in front of the sacred homa kunda. Various offerings were made to the Divine Mother amidst the chanting of Vedic hymns by Swamy Thyagananda and his disciples. The place was brimming with divine energy from the fire ritual. Swamy Thyagananda honored Mohanji with a turban, shawl and garlands; and welcomed him to the ashram.

Adorning the Divine Mother

Adorning the Divine Mother

Chanting by Swamy Thyagananda

Chanting by Swamy Thyagananda

Offerings for the fire

Offerings for the fire

Offerings into the fire

Offerings into the fire

Honouring with turban and shawl

Honouring with turban and shawl

We then moved to the main building and headed to the main temple room where a beautiful image of the Divine Mother was installed along with the photo of his Guru. Swamy Thyagananda did a small puja for the Divine Mother and his Guru. All of us prostrated and took the blessings of his Guru and the Divine Mother.

Swamy Thyagananda and Mohanji at the temple

Swamy Thyagananda and Mohanji at the temple

Divine Mother and the photo of Swamy Thyagananda's Guru

Divine Mother and the photo of Swamy Thyagananda’s Guru

Swamy Thyagananda doing the puja

Swamy Thyagananda doing the puja

The red carpet was literally laid out for our group in the ashram. Even though the ashram had modest facilities, they offered us the best rooms that were available. Swamy Thyagananda offered his own room to Mohanji and he stayed outside the ashram. All the ashramites lovingly attended to our every need and ensured that no stone was left unturned in making us comfortable. They had thought about every detail, including having hot water ready for washing our hands and feet. We were treated to a sumptuous multi-course Andhra vegetarian meal. Absolutely yummy! Post the meal, we retired to our rooms. With all the travel, Mohanji was tired and decided to retire for the night.
With all the divine events that took place, we found it hard to settle down with all the surplus energy. We huddled around Thyagananda Swamy. He told us that incarnations like Mohanji happen once in thousands of years. He told us that we were very lucky to be connected to a Guru like Mohanji and that we should hang on to him with all our might. Describing the energy transfer to Mohanji in Kuruvapuram, he said that he had the experience of Mohanji becoming Adi Shesha (King of all Nagas and the resting couch for Lord Vishnu) and himself becoming the Divine Mother. He could feel the dissolution of their human forms and the merger of their respective energies into one. Most of the discussion was in Telegu with a bit of intermittent English. I tried to keep up as best as I could with the help of the lady from our group who translated important points for me. I was attending to Mohanji so I reluctantly decided to head back towards our rooms and call it a night.
In the morning, Mohanji came down to receive Swamy Thyagananda when he entered the ashram. Swamy Thyagananda hugged Mohanji deeply and showered a lot of love on him. He tenderly kept touching Mohanji and pouring his blessings. They walked together to the main temple. As he entered, Swamy Thyagananda gave a soulful call to the Divine Mother like a child crying out to his mother. It truly touched our hearts. Swamy Thyagananda then performed a puja for the Divine Mother and his Guru. Hearing the chants pouring forth from his melodious voice made it a truly blissful experience. He then garlanded Mohanji with the garlands that were offered to and wrapped around the Divine Mother.

Mohanji welcoming Swamy Thyagananda at the gates

Mohanji welcoming Swamy Thyagananda at the gates

Mohanji welcoming Swamy Thyagananda at the gates

Mohanji welcoming Swamy Thyagananda at the gates

Love of the masters

Love of the masters

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Masters bowing to the Divine Mother

Masters bowing to the Divine Mother

Swamy Thyagananda with Mohanji in deep prayer

Swamy Thyagananda with Mohanji in deep prayer

Swamy Thyagananda honouring Mohanji

Swamy Thyagananda honouring Mohanji

We then proceeded to have a delicious South Indian breakfast of dosas, idlis and some very yummy chutney. Following that, we settled down next to the two masters. Swamy Thyagananda kept pouring his love to Mohanji. He was very sad that we had to leave soon. He kept telling Mohanji to take him along since he would feel all alone once Mohanji left. Swamy Thyagananda said that there was a significant energy transfer done in Kuruvapuram last night and Mohanji would feel its effects on his body for a while but it would eventually stabilize. Swamy Thyagananda did mantra chanting for Mohanji to stabilize the energy transfer and also to shield Mohanji from its effects. Then Swamy Thyagananda gave each of us a crystal bead necklace intuitively based on our requirements.

Swamy Thyagananda chanting for Mohanji

Swamy Thyagananda chanting for Mohanji

Finally it was time for us to leave Hyderabad. Swamy Thyagananda did a small ritual with Mohanji in the sacred homa kunda. We took the blessings of the Divine Mother and headed to our car. Swamy Thyagananda was very reluctant to let Mohanji go. He told us that he would be going over to Swamy Poornananda’s ashram (his Guru’s Guru) near Sri Sailam in a few days and requested Mohanji to join him there. There were heavy hearts and many sad goodbyes and we eventually headed out for Ahobilam.

Fire ritual

Fire ritual

Taking leave of the Divine Mother

Taking leave of the Divine Mother

Ahobilam

It was a long drive to Ahobilam but the weather was really good with bright sunny skies and a cool breeze. Mohanji asked the group to wear, in turns, the garlands of the Divine Mother which had been offered to him by Swamy Thyagananda. He said that the garlands were very powerful and full of divine energy. He asked us to wear them for as long as we could. We kept doing annadana wherever we could when we took our pit stops – mostly stray dogs with a few humans.
Through this journey so far, I got into the unfortunate trap of comparing experiences. The spiritual experience of the lady in Kuruvapuram made me very jealous and insecure. I felt like I was not getting my fair share.  Another thing that I noticed was the energy beggar in me. I was actively seeking out trinkets, blessings and mantras. It was as if the trinkets like the crystal necklace, the garlands saturated with divine power, etc. and the mantras were a shortcut to spiritual growth. Same goes for the blessings from the masters. I was very happy when I received the crystal necklace from Swamy Thyagananda. I was like, “Dude, I got one too”. When we huddled around Swamy Thyagananda in the night, I knew that my job was to be around Mohanji and help him as much as I could to make his stay comfortable. That was my defined role for the trip. But I chose to stay around Swamy Thyagananda for a longer while so I could have some more blessing shekels thrown my way.
During our drive to Ahobilam, Mohanji unexpectedly gave me the dope straight up. He specifically addressed me and said that I want you to remember two things – 1. All realized masters pour out their blessings without asking. You get as much as you need and as much as you can receive. You don’t need to ask. 2. Your Guru always gives you more than your due. Don’t expect anything because you don’t know what to expect. He burst my bubble right there and addressed my insecurities. 
Moving on… We stopped at a wayside restaurant for lunch. Our waiter was a scrawny man whose dress had equal holes and cloth. When we finished and paid the bill, Mohanji asked us to tip him the rest of the money – a big tip for this remote part of the country. His toothy smile stretched from end to end and genuine happiness beamed from his face. When I mentioned this to Mohanji, he was matter of fact. But I really felt touched and grateful to witness a simple thoughtful act bringing so much joy to someone.

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Swamy Thyagananda called multiple times all along the way. He spoke mostly in Telegu which was translated by a lady within the group and sometimes in halting English. He kept saying that he was feeling very bad that Mohanji had left. He kept asking Mohanji when he would come down next to visit him. He reiterated his request to Mohanji to join him on his trip to Swamy Poornananda’s ashram near Sri Sailam. In one of the calls, Thyagananda Swamy bestowed the title “Vishwa Kalyananda Bharati” (which translates to “the savior who works for the welfare and happiness of the universe”). He said that he had been asked to do so at the behest of Sri Chakra Meru (the goddess in her form of Shri Lalita or Tripura Sundari – the highest aspect of the Divine Mother). He explained to us that Mohanji was an avatar (divine incarnation) whose mission was focused not only on earth but also in several other dimensions of the universe. It will be very difficult for people to recognize him let alone understand him.
Along the way, we were informed by one of the people from Hyderabad (who had come to Kuruvapuram) that he had arranged for VIP protocol for Mohanji for his visit in Ahobilam. He had also made arrangements for our accommodation and for a priest to accompany us for the darshans (seeing a holy saint or image). I was supposed to coordinate the accommodation and had no clue till that morning on where we were supposed to stay. But grace flowed from Mohanji and everything was arranged for us in picture perfect fashion.
Towards the evening, my mind was in a tumult and I was praying to Lord Hanuman all through the evening to help me surrender to Mohanji. We reached Ahobilam in the night. We passed by an old temple at the entrance to Ahobilam. Mohanji asked me to get down from the car and pray there. Guess what? It was a temple of Lord Hanuman. The idol was very beautiful – an ancient stone idol with golden paint on it. I felt very grateful and prostrated before Lord Hanuman. When I returned to the car and told Mohanji that it was Hanumanji’s temple, he smiled at me with twinkling eyes and said, “I know. That’s why I asked you to go”.
The police party and priest met us at the entrance and took us to our accommodation. It took us a while to settle in the hotel. In the meantime, they arranged for our food. Since we were tired from the long journey, we had our dinner and retired for the night.

The priest

The priest

In the night, my mind was still quite restless and I stepped out to the terrace adjoining the hotel room for a smoke. I took some extra bananas along with me for the monkeys. When Mohanji gets on your case, you can’t but be shaken up. Being close to the blazing volcano at such close range is not for the faint of heart. With the kind of failings that I have, you need a strong hide and an even stronger backside.  I was praying to Lord Hanuman to help me with surrender. At that moment, a monkey descended on the terrace and sat on the railing as if waiting for me. I handed him the bananas which he accepted, ate and moved on. I took it as a sign that Lord Hanuman was listening to me. With that happy thought, I went off to sleep.
A brief background of Ahobilam is in order. Ahobilam (aka Ahobalam) was blessed to be the scene for the Narasimha avatar (the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu). Lord Vishnu took the Narasimha avatar to save his devotee, Bhakta Prahlada, from the demon Hiranyakashipu who was Prahlada’s father. The demon had secured a special boon from Lord Brahma that detailed a very complex set of criteria and circumstances that had to be met for his death. Hence, Lord Vishnu had to take a very peculiar avatar to meet those complex requirements. The place is unique in that all aspects of the avatar’s life happened within Ahobilam itself. A famous shloka (verse) that explains the name is – “aho veeryam aho shouryam aho bahu parakrame, naarsimhah param devam ahobilam ahobalam” (Oh what bravery! Oh what valor! Oh the powerful arms of the Supreme Lord Narasimha! Oh what a cave! Oh what strength”) Hence, the name refers to the powerful energy of this place as well as to the caves where the svayambhu (self-manifested) deities reside. This place is also known as Nava Narasimha Kshetram signifying the nine temples of Lord Narasimha. A visit to Ahobilam involves a visit to these nine temples which usually takes a couple of days. Legend has it that the nine planets that determine human fate worshipped these nine Lord Narasimhas. Hence, anyone who takes darshan of these nine Narasimhas is exempt from the evil effects of planetary malefactions.
The police party and the priest arrived early in the morning to escort us for the temple visits. We headed to the first of these temples and the main one – the Ahobila Narasimha Swami temple. Bhakta Prahlada had meditated here and Lord Narasimha, pleased with his devotion, had appeared in front of him. We passed through winding mountainous roads with picturesque surroundings as we drove to the main temple. Once we reached the temple, we had a splendid breakfast at the Brahmin canteen outside the temple. These canteens provide free meals to the general public. Mohanji gave money to the people serving in the canteen and they prostrated before him and took his blessings. Mohanji also donated money to the canteen for annadana. Mohanji asked us to buy a lot of biscuits to perform annadana along our journey.
We then headed for the temple. We took a small tour of the temple before entering the sanctum sanctorum. There are small temples of various Vaishnavite (worshippers of Vishnu) saints and deities all around in the temple complex with the main temple in the center. In one corner, you can see the chariot that is used for taking the Lord out on the Rath Yatra (ritual procession of the Lord). The main temple is a beautiful ancient structure replete with intricate carvings and sculptures on the stone pillars, walls and ceilings. We were told that the idol of Lord Narasimha in the main temple was installed by Lord Srinivasa Balaji (the presiding deity of Tirupati) himself. There were some obstacles to his marriage and he was asked to visit Ahobilam to take Lord Narasimha’s blessings. There is a mandapam (platform) in the temple precinct where Lord Balaji’s wedding took place. While we were taking our tour, a group of local women accosted  Mohanji, prostrated in front of him and took his blessings. An interesting fact of this temple is that there is a Shiva linga within the temple. This is supposed to have been installed by the sage Adi Shankara himself. This is a unique one of its kind feature since Shiva is generally never worshipped alongside Vishnu by Vaishnavites.

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Temple complex

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IMG_20141230_071936 aTemple complex 3

Vaishnav Saints

Vaishnav Saints

Local women

Local women

Mohanji meditating in the temle

Mohanji meditating in the temple

We headed towards the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The sanctum sanctorum was a small cave where 8-10 people can stand. Since Mohanji had VIP protocol, the police party proceeded to clear the place and make way for us to enter without any wait. Mohanji asked the police party not to stop the worshippers from praying. So the worshippers were allowed to finish their prayers and the place was gently cleared so we could enter.

Mohanji with the police party and priest

Mohanji with the police party and priest

Mohanji in the temple

Mohanji in the temple

Lord NarasimhaLord Narasimha 2

There was a man already in the sanctum sanctorum standing next to Mohanji in the left corner near a metal barrier. He offered pranams to Mohanji and asked Mohanji if it was OK for him to stand there since the police were nudging him to leave. Mohanji told him that he could stay there with him for the ritual offering. All of us felt that he had an uncanny resemblance to the Narasimha idol in front of us and he and Mohanji were respecting each other. In the sanctum sanctorum, we gave our offerings to the priest and he made a ritual offering to the deity. Then the priest blessed us and garlanded Mohanji and our group with the garlands and shawls that were on the deity. Mohanji asked the man, “Are you happy?” He said, “I am very happy”. Then he told Mohanji, “I want to speak to you”. Mohanji said, “Come with me”. After our offerings, he offered his prayers along with us and followed Mohanji outside the sanctum sanctorum. From there, we proceeded to the place where the Sudarshan Chakra was installed and then on to the Devi temple.
As we got outside the main temple, he got into a conversation with Mohanji and started telling him and our group the story of the Narasimha avatar and the different locations in Ahobilam that mapped to each part of the story. He explained that Lord Narasimha emerged from the Ugra Stambha and pointed to the stony structure at the top of a distant mountain which housed the spot. Lord Narasimha then challenged the demon Hiranyakashipu to a duel at a point which is the site of the Jwala Narasimha temple. They had a fierce duel using various weapons which finally ended in a hand-to-hand combat. In the end, Lord Narasimha defeated the demon, placed him on his thighs, ripped his entrails with his long sharp nails and drank his blood without spilling a drop. Even after killing the demon, Lord Narasimha’s anger was still raging and he roamed through the forests in a mad fury. His anger frightened the Gods and they begged Goddess Lakshmi (the wife of Vishnu) to pacify his anger. She appeared before Lord Narasimha in the forests and appeased him.

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Ugra Stambha

We felt as if Lord Narasimha was relating his story to us through this person and letting us know about the important points of Ahobilam. The interesting part was that this person’s story had a strong resemblance to the story of Lord Narasimha. He told Mohanji that he was from out of town. He had come down to Ahobilam and had been living there for quite some time. He said that he had performed austerities here and had been roaming with a restless and uneasy mind for a long while in these forests by himself until he settled down. He resembles Lord Narasimha in the temple, honors Mohanji, comes out with us, and explains the story of Lord Narasimha and the associated places. Who exactly was he? Was he a tour guide or Lord Narasimha himself? These are the miracles associated with Mohanji to any sacred place.
Finally, the person embraced Mohanji and took his leave. Mohanji gave him a packet of biscuits and some money. He said that this was not necessary but accepted it on Mohanji’s insistence. There were a row of beggars outside the temple. Mohanji asked us to distribute the biscuits to all the people there and to feed the dogs and monkeys around the temple precinct. Mohanji then asked us to get a particular oil for the temple lamps and donate it to the temple. As a result of this detour, our cab driver, who had not accompanied us, also got a chance to come down and had a great darshan of Lord Narasimha. He mentioned that Lord Narasimha was his family deity which made it all the more special.

Annadana

Annadana

Mohanji then went to the mandapam where the marriage of Lord Balaji took place and meditated there for a while. The police party was with him along with some members of our group. As he sat down to meditate, a group of monkeys descended and sat around him. Mohanji fed them biscuits. Soon he was joined again by the Lord Narasimha look alike. He came with a banana that had been offered to Lord Narasimha in the temple and told Mohanji that you deserve to have it. Mohanji took one piece, gave him one piece and the rest was distributed amongst our group. We felt like Lord Narasimha wanted Mohanji to have prasad from his temple.

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Mohanji meditating in the mandapam

Mohanji meditating in the mandapam

Feeding the monkeys

Feeding the monkeys

The person then started detailing his wish of seeing Lord Vishnu installed in the four directions of India. He mentioned that Lord Vishnu was present in Puri (East), Dwaraka (West) and Ahobilam (South). Now he wanted Ayodhya (the seat of Lord Ram in the North) to regain its past glory and its rightful place as Lord Vishnu’s place in the North. He drew an intricate picture of a throne that he wanted installed in Ayodhya for Lord Ram and explained its significance. He discussed his plans in this regard and requested for Mohanji’s assistance in this noble intention. Mohanji promised him all help in this regard and gave him the contact details of his secretary. After that, he thanked Mohanji and left.

Narasimha look-alike sharing his vision

Narasimha look-alike sharing his vision

In discussion with the priests

In discussion with the priests

We then moved on to our next temple visit. The trek to the nine temple shrines is very scenic since they are located in the Nallamalla forest range. It is a thick forest with beautiful rivulets and mountain streams flowing through it. The place is still pristine probably because it is inaccessible to modern transportation and most of the temples can only be reached after a strenuous trek. We were taken by the natural beauty of the place. However, the place also gets quite hot and the trek can be sapping.
We walked by some old mountain trails and through an old wooden bridge. We passed by some ancient ruins that were inns built in ancient times by kings of lore but were now in a state of dilapidation. A few more scenic routes and we found ourselves at the Krodaswamy (Varaha) Narasimha Swamy temple. The place was swarming with school kids who were out on an excursion and having a lot of fun. The police party got us into the temple and we had a very nice darshan with the priest conducting the ritual offerings for us.

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Krodaswamy (Varaha) Narasimha Swamy temple

Krodaswamy (Varaha) Narasimha Swamy temple

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Inns of days past

Inns of days past

At that point, we realized that a child in the group was not wearing footwear. Mohanji thought that it would not be wise for her to continue forward since the mountain trails would be painful on bare feet. So it was decided that I and Mohanji would continue ahead with the priest while the rest of the group would walk back and wait for us at the Ahobila Narasimha Swamy temple (much against the child’s wishes who wanted to continue on ). We did the grueling walk up to the Jwala Narasimha Swamy temple. It was a very beautiful and pristine route but the heat and the gradient made it tiring. At one point, the road forked with one leading to the Jwala Narasimha temple and the other going upwards to the Ugra Stambha. The priest told us that anyone who does a circumambulation of the Ugra Stambha is freed from the birth and death cycle. He said that most people don’t do the circumambulation the right way but he could tell us how to do it right to get the desired result. However when we told him we wanted to go there, he didn’t look too enthusiastic in taking us up to the Ugra Stambha. He tried to dissuade us by telling us that the walk up to the temple was strenuous, the circumambulation was treacherous and the trail was only a foot wide at some points with a steep drop on the other side. Mohanji finally decided that we skip the Ugra Stambha trek since he did not want to tax himself especially with the amount of travelling that he had done prior to this trip and his failing health. The thought of release from the birth death cycle was tempting so I told Mohanji that I was ready to skip provided he ensures that I get liberated. 

stene 1,2 Ugra StambhaAs we approached the Jwala Narasimha temple, we saw water streams trickling from the mountain rock faces. It is said that Lord Narasimha washed the blood off his hands here after killing the demon. Even today, the rocks are tinged with red. We slaked our thirst by drinking as much water as we could and also filled our bottles with it. The water was cool and pure and tasted like nectar compared to the bottled water that we had been drinking so far. We fed the monkeys and dogs along the way. We finally came to the Jwala Narasimha temple but the temple was closed since it was noon time. The priest brought the key and opened the door for Mohanji and our group. Few people who walked with us also got the darshan. The monkeys here were more aggressive but thankfully the dogs kept them at bay allowing us to enter the temple safely. The priest explained to us the salient points of the temple and the history associated with it. He also explained the significance of the different idols associated with the Narasimha avatar inside the sanctum sanctorum. Then he performed a ritual offering to the deity, blessed us and offered us prasad. Mohanji fed some dogs and monkeys in the temple. One of the monkeys came and asked to be fed in the mouth to which Mohanji obliged.

Walk to Jwala Narasimha

Walk to Jwala Narasimha

Puja at Jwala Narasimha

Puja at Jwala Narasimha

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Feeding the dogs

Feeding the dogs

We then headed back to the Ahobilam Narasimha Swamy temple. As we walked back, we explored the forest route along the way. The priest showed us some trees that were oozing sap that is used in making incense. The sun was at its peak and made for a beautiful spectacle as it shone high above in the mountain range. A cool breeze was flowing through that made the heat bearable. We took a lot of pictures along the route and the light around Mohanji made some of them look other worldly. We made a brief stop at the Malola Narasimha Swamy temple. The temple was closed since it was noon time. The priest called upon the local administration and got the temple open for Mohanji and our group. As we took the darshan, the priest performed a ritual offering to the deity, blessed us and offered us prasad.

Mohanji along the way

Mohanji along the way

Mohanji along the way

Mohanji along the way

Malola Narasimha Swamy temple

Malola Narasimha Swamy temple

We then headed back to the Ahobilam Narasimha Swamy temple. As we reunited with our group, there were a couple of people waiting for Mohanji back at the temple. One of them was a well known homeopathic doctor from Bangalore who supposedly cures even incurable lifestyle diseases like diabetes with his treatments. The other one was one of his patrons from Bangalore. These two happened to strike a conversation with the child’s mother and find out about Mohanji. They were intrigued and waited for almost two to three hours to meet Mohanji.
So the innocuous return of part of the group was not just accidental but had a specific divine purpose. I have been witness to similar synchronicities when someone is destined to meet Mohanji. They had a long, engaging conversation with Mohanji on several metaphysical points and on sadhana. I can’t elaborate much on the details of the discussion because my mind was focused on my hunger pangs and glossed over the specifics. Finally with their spiritual hunger satisfied, they took leave of Mohanji after taking his secretary’s contact details and the contact details of the people associated with Mohanji in Bangalore. We then proceeded to satisfy our terrestrial hunger in the Brahmin canteen. The food tasted divine especially after all that physical work. I packed a lot of extra food testing the tensile strength of my digestive system. Mohanji donated money for annadana in this canteen as well. Our group then left for the hotel.

The doctor and his patient

The doctor and his patient

Donation at the Brahmin Canteen

Donation at the Brahmin Canteen

Mohanji wasn’t feeling good and suggested that he would rest at the hotel. He asked us to continue and visit as many of the remaining Narasimha temples as we could and return back by early evening. The priest then took us to the Yogananda Narasimha Swamy and the Chatravata Narasimha Swamy temples. We also went across to a temple that had idols of all the nine Narasimha temples in a single place along with the significant planet for each idol. Since the priest accompanied us, he helped us in getting beautiful darshans and arranging for the ritual offerings and pujas (worship) to the deity. After the darshans, we returned to the hotel but we were a bit late in coming back. Mohanji was not feeling well and we realized that we forgot to arrange for his dinner. We quickly scrambled to get his dinner. After we had dinner, we offered the surplus food to the monkeys on the terrace. Then, the police party came in the room to take Mohanji’s blessings. The priest also came down to take leave of Mohanji. Mohanji asked us to tip them well for their sincere and diligent services. After they left, we retired for the night. In the morning, we had our breakfast and headed for Puttaparthi
[To be continued]

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Conscious Walking™ – a powerful dynamic meditation technique by Raja Yogi Mohanji

On June 21st 2015, for the first time in history, the world was observing International Yoga Day. It was declared by the UN General Assembly and suggested by the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to be on June 21st as it is the longest day of the year (Summer Solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere. From Yoga perspective, Summer Solstice marks the transition to Dakshinayana which is considered a time when the Nature is most supportive for doing Spiritual practices. Also, the first full moon after Sumer Solstice is known as Guru Poornima, a day when Lord Shiva (Adi Guru) is said to have started imparting the knowledge of Yoga to the world.

In order to commemorate this occasion worldwide, Raja Yogi Mohanji’s followers assembled across the globe to practice the powerful dynamic meditation technique called The Conscious Walking. Conscious Walking is a newly created technique by Raja Yogi Mohanji. This simple yet very transformative technique is free of charge, and has multiple benefits:

– It is good for health, metabolism, digestion, circulation and Life,
– It helps self control,
– It reduces anxieties, anger, insecurities and fears,
– It increases concentration.
– It increases togetherness and oneness.
What follows are some of the accounts of Mohanji’s followers regarding the Conscious Walking events that took place across the many cities through the world.

INDIA

Conscious Walking in Mumbai

“Meditative walk in the lungs of Mumbai — we conducted Conscious Walk in Aarey this morning. 13 people joined us and enjoyed a refreshing meditative walk in a nature park in the middle of Mumbai metropole. The monsoon graced us with a gentle break, rain stopped exactly for the entire period of our walk and allowed us to breath in fresh air while fully going within.”

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Conscious Walking in Pune

“Our first Conscious Walking in Pune was an interesting and new experience for many. Although it was raining heavily and we couldn’t go out in nature, we carried on with our walk indoors. Some could practice very well, some wanted to practise it regularly to get the hang of it. People who have learned the technique found it useful as a daily tool to practice everyday. A nice start on the International World Yoga Day.”

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Conscious Walking in Delhi

As the world celebrated the 1st Yoga Day, about 50 souls stepped out early morning to do the first Conscious Walk with Grace of Shri Rajyogi Mohanji. The Conscious Walk was organised at three locations in Delhi and its suburb Gurgaon. Some of the locations also did chanting, humming and breathing exercise before doing the Conscious Walk. People at Nizamuddin location also did yoga after the Conscious Walk. Every person who took part felt the immediate meditative calm after doing the Conscious Walk as this was completely different from morning walks while chatting with friends. In fact, some of the people have already got hooked on this and want to do Conscious Walk every day!

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Conscious Walking in Gurgaon

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Conscious Walking in Nizamuddin

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UAE

Conscious Walking in Dubai

At 7 o’clock, we gathered at Zabeel Park, Dubai for our first conscious walk in UAE. After a brief about the conscious walk, which is designed by our beloved Mohanji for the betterment of the world, we started with deep breathing to calm ourselves from the day’s hectic activities. Then, we rotated our neck clockwise and anticlockwise three times, to relax our neck and shoulders. Afterwards, we started our walk. 

It was almost 40 degrees outside and over 50% humidity. But, once we started walking, we didn’t realize anything. We all had Mohanji filled within us. After around 20 minutes walking, we all shared our experiences. Rajeev said he constantly heard Mohanji’s voice, saying, “Concentrate on your spine”! Iliana said she felt a real calmness beaming out from within. Goolcher felt as if she was getting aligned, both bodily and mentally. Jay was walking quietly and slowly, enjoying the bliss!

Thank you, Mohanji, for this wonderful gift!

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South Africa

Conscious Walking in Durban

Today marked an auspicious day in the lives of all these connected to Mohanji. As a gift to the whole world, on this day the international Yoga day, Mohanji introduces Conscious walking. It is a dynamic mediation at allows one to be in the present and expand awareness.

We had our first conscious walking session during our visit to the retreat venue. It was amazing. Even the retreat manager joined us and had after the experience asked if she could join us for meditations to experience more.

Thank you for this blessing on this wonderful day. To have you introduce this mediation and come to South Africa on fathers day, is such a blessing. Thank you Babaji. Thank you.”

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Serbia

Conscious Walking in Novi Sad

“CONSCIOUS WALK on the first summer day – After the cold and windy sunrise we had a really chilly morning for the last day of spring. The energy flow was high both from the fresh air and because there is no distraction on secondary things, all attention is on the inside and breathing. Mind is cleansed and energy spared and accumulated. After meditative conscious walk, feeling we spontaneously wished to meditate so we ended the conscious walk with a short meditation.”

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UK

Conscious Walking in Watford

“The Conscious Walking was done at the Hare Krishna temple in Watford, UK. There were 17 walkers in total, no doubt Mohanji was with us which would make 18.”

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Macedonia

Conscious Walking in Skopje

Today in the City park in Skopje, we practiced the technique for dynamic meditation “Conscious Walking” developed by Mohanji. Though the heavily rainy day wanted to dishearten us from practicing, the rain stopped right on start off time so we could consciously walk for half an hour. In the end we practiced the powerful technique “Inverted Pyramid” which was a full jackpot since each one of the present reported experiencing Oneness and Expanded Consciousness.”

11113259_491429114347543_8773734170215077787_n111065910_491429191014202_8408364233455041362_nInterested groups across the world who would like to learn, practice and spread conscious walking may kindly write to consciouswalking@mohanji.org – Even though this program is free of cost, commitment for consistency and periodic updates from your region to the central office is essential to be part of our worldwide movement. Your details will be represented in our directory.

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Serbian Retreat with Mohanji

Experience sharing originally published in The Awakening Times Magazine  here.

Written by Jay Vasu

Mohanji satsang - audience asking question

Retreat….. “Words are often meaningless and they can’t express the true feelings”. These were Mohanji’s words at one of the Satsangs. Retreat is a very shallow word for those four and a half days spent in Andeveljia, and I can’t find the right words for the experiences I had.

Deep cleansing, detox, healthy living, relaxation for the mind, aligning of the body-mind-intellect trio, Yoga, breathing techniques, Satsangs, conscious walking, gap-breathing, Mantras, or, in totality, an absolute awareness building in the subtle level. This is how I would like to explain the whole program in a nutshell!

The most discussed subjects were Mind and Ego. Mohanji always says, Man – Ego = God, and he emphasized it even more, showing us the intricate and complicated structure of the human mind through many stories from the Hindu Mythology. For many, the explanations would have seemed like being taken through a road which was like the central market, with both sides of the roads filled with various toys, beautiful flowers and plants. You might stop anywhere and take a break. You would be mesmerized by the beauty of the place and the comfort it offered. You might stay longer till the time you realized that those were not real. They were illusions. They were mirages. The longer you stayed, the more you would want them. They are filled with emotions: both negative and positive. Fear based and love based. If you got stuck in fear based emotions, you would have stayed longer and got sucked into the illusions even further. It would have taken you further deep inside like a whirlwind. We all were in awe of the simplicity of Mohanji’s explanations and how easily He came up with answers for our questions and doubts!

If we are able to anchor ourselves in love-based emotions while we take a break, we may be able to come out of this illusion sooner. As Mohanji explained, emotions are like weeds. They grow endlessly. If we energise emotions, they will grow faster. It can even influence our destiny. Among the weeds, there is a strong sandalwood tree. That is our intellect. If we train ourselves to use the intellect more often, we give rest to our restless mind and start taking the right steps to reach our goals in the market place called the world! But, beware of the parasites that creep up the sandalwood tree: they can be collectively termed as Ego. The feeling of “I, Me, Myself” that creeps in…. If we energise them, they grow and finally kill the sandalwood tree.

Mohanji signing the book "Power of Purity"

Mohanji signing the book “Power of Purity”

“Be Here Now”, Mohanji said in three simple words. This is meditation, this is being spiritual. Be present. Be fully aware of your consciousness. Most of us could understand what he meant. The reason was simple: we were witnessing someone who was practicing it! Mohanji himself. I remember one of my mates telling me “I saw the angry face of Mohanji today, which I had never seen before. He had that Shaivic vigor and the fire in him!”

Yes, we all saw that face when some indiscipline prevailed in the crowd for a while. But the very next minute he would be back to his ever-smiling, ever-loving peaceful state. Even his expression of anger is based in love. He was so spontaneous that we could never imagine being that natural in this world of illusion! The beauty was that he wasn’t keeping his anger against anyone, nor was he judging anyone for a mistake that they made at that moment in time. He showed that life is fun when we can be as flexible as he is!! And, most importantly, He was ever present within us all the time!

The masters show us the way. They teach us the way. It is up to us to choose. Are we choosing the path? The right path showed by them? Mohanji shows us the path of pathlessness where the basis is Unconditional Love. We need to move ahead selflessly. We have a Master who literally shows us how to walk this path. He is an epitome of selfless and unconditional love. He is like a child. He is like us. He is living like an ordinary man, but He is by no means an ordinary man!! Now, it is up to us to decide. We are on planet earth and we are travelling. We may have to take breaks in between, beside the beautiful road. That is our Karma. We need to exhaust our Karmas. When we do that, remember that we have to come back to the path and continue the journey to reach the destination. We forget that we have a destination and we get involved in the illusion. As per our choices we decide how long we will stay in this illusion. If we stay longer, we create more Karmas, which will take more time to exhaust. Since the journey is long and hard, just by thinking it is hard, we get tired. To simplify this, Mohanji introduced the conscious walks. This taught us how to walk the path…. One step at a time… Being conscious… Being aware… Being in the present…. Not thinking about the destination and worrying about it…. Aligning ourselves to our central meridian: our spine…

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Morning Yoga class

Being with the Master, we learned the importance of flexibility. When you are full of love, spontaneous and selfless, you automatically become flexible. We felt that Mohanji was much more flexible than any of us even though his schedule was much more tedious than ours! When we were sleeping, he was meeting many of us one-to-one! The one-to-one meetings with Mohanji changed many! Being subtle, at the same time, being in a physical form is a very difficult proposition. Hence, to understand such a personality is also a tough ask. No one could really see him in totality. We saw what we wanted to see in him. Some saw the flexibility part of Him, others saw Unconditional Love and a few of us could see the fire of his anger too! As He always says, “I am what you make of me”! And He “does his job” all the time tirelessly, by imparting knowledge and transmitting energy!!

During the journey, do we have any control? Can we change the environment? Do we have any control over others? No. Can we even change the way our heart beats, or our internal organ function? No. The only thing we can control is our own breath: The Prana that goes into our system. The gap breathing helped us in understanding how we breathe. Mohanji taught us the importance of time, by observing that small little gap between breaths. We could ask the mind to stay put while doing this exercise and concentrate on ourselves. Moreover, we also did a breathing exercise before and after yoga. This was an improvised Pranayama, designed by Mohanji, who received it telepathically from higher consciousness. We all were totally filled with an abundance of positive energy each time we did it. Those who have been initiated to Kriya know how important breathing is. It can change you and lead you to total liberation.

Our body is like a temple which is the abode for our soul. It is our duty to look after our body as well. We clean the exterior by taking bath. How about our inside? Yoga did that for us each morning. There were many parts of the body that we didn’t know about. There were many aspects of our organs that we took for granted. Yoga made us aware of all those. Though they were just hour and a half sessions, they taught us a great deal. In life, we aspire to balance. If we become out of balance, we fall prey to many negativities. Yoga teaches balance. Many of us were struggling to do some of the Asanas, but we all loved the experience. As Biba said whenever we had a difficult Asana: “Breathe Through The Pain”…. This is applicable in life too… During painful moments in life, just accept the situation, breathe through the pain and we can definitely come out with ease!!

Master Mohanji

Master Mohanji

Time was short. Four full days and one half day were all that we had. Mohanji had to intensify the program. From the second day onwards, we all could feel the energy becoming stronger and many of us could not take it. None complained however. We needed it from the Master. I had a headache on the penultimate day. But thanks to the love of my friends from Serbia, I recovered fast. The most intensive of all was the Shiva Kavacha Mantra. This Mantra is very, very strong. It has deep meanings. It exemplifies the intriguing and unfathomable sides of Shiva. In fact, it takes us through all the fascinating faces of Shiva. What became more powerful for all of us, even for those who didn’t understand a word, was the the way the Mantra was recited by Mohanji. The briskness and crispness of the recitation, along with the power of his voice, as well as the stress on each word made it extremely energizing. We were spellbound whenever we heard the Mantra. Each time I could not resist my tears, though I wasn’t crying. My hands automatically went to the folding posture and I felt as if I was merging into Shiva. The sense of fearlessness it gave was incomprehensible.

I bow to you Maha Deva! I surrender to you, Maha Shiva!!

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At the end, when we left the resort, we all had our hearts filled with emotions….”Clarified Emotions”…. or in simple words, devotion. Devotion to the Master. Along with devotion, we all had immense gratitude too. This gratitude will not end in the magical two words of  “Thank You”…. As I mentioned Mohanji’s words in the beginning, words are shallow! Many have had their lives totally changed within these four and a half days! A devotee felt that it was like a big voice saying, “Wake Up”!!! Most of us had that inner transformation that shook the sheer existence of our being in this world and redirected us to the right path! The path of pathlessness where we need to flow like a river. In Mohanji’s own words, “The concepts bind us. Move out of concepts and liberate.” Mohanji himself is the best example for this: a married man with a child and people expected a serious man, having worldly chains holding him to the ground. But we saw a liberated man, living life in a simple way, becoming a father, brother, friend or a master to many!

Namaste, Mohanji, our beloved Guru! You are taking all of us with you on this beautiful journey called Life!

As they say, “anything money can buy is cheap”. What we received during the retreat was priceless! So, the gratitude that we all have for the Master and the organizers is immense and will last for a lifetime!

Before ending this note, I have to express my gratitude to all the fellow participants in the retreat. You all loved me and treated me like a king! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! Many of you proved time and again that love doesn’t have any language: You communicated love even though you didn’t know English. As Mohanji says, gratitude is the biggest asset that you can possess. I truly, deeply and honestly am grateful to all of you!! Love always!

 

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Miraculous Days with Mohanji – Part 1

Written by Rajesh Kamath

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My name is Rajesh Kamath and I work as a Principal Enterprise Architect for Oracle India. My master’s degree in Physics and 19+ years of work in the information technology industry have resulted in a brain that veers overtly to the left and is used to structure, organization and analysis paralysis. In this narration, I am unimportant, insignificant and irrelevant but choose to mention my background only to point out the fact that my writings are not the product of an infatuated mind. Far from it, these are the observations of an overly skeptical mind that grudgingly accepts things out of the ordinary only after rigorous analysis has failed. And more often than not, it takes repeated observations to drive the message home and hammer it in place.  We all know that Mohanji used to travel with a lot of people in the past. But his recent decision to travel alone has given a few of us a great opportunity to exclusively be with him. This also gives us a chance to witness him up close and personal. His interactions in a large group always get diluted from an individual’s perspective since there are a lot of group dynamics in play. But there is no escape from the full heat and speed when you pitch yourself alone with any Master connected to the Source. While it is wonderful to watch the spontaneity and unfolding of events as we move on, it is very taxing to an organized mind recalculating the next turn at almost every point in time. A Master destroys the expectations and plans and keeps us fluid as well as flexible at all times. There is no choice here. Perhaps, the only choice is whether to travel and face the uncertainties of being with a master or stay on the beaten track of familiarities and predictabilities that our conditioned mind is used to. Thankfully, I chose the former option because I was well used to and bored with the mundane existence where the predictability was chewing on my bones. The comfort zones of daily life are traps. Predictability is a trap. Stagnation is a trap that we do not even know exists in our life. This is the tragedy of human existence. There is no evolution possible unless we take the plunge. It’s always safer to take the plunge in the sea under the watchful eyes of the Coast Guard. Hence if you choose to destroy your predictability and comfort zones, it might be a good idea to take the walk on the wild side with a master expecting the unexpected. After the Rishikesh retreat in October last year, Mohanji asked me to spend more time with him during my one-on-one with him. When I found out from my “sources”  that Mohanji would be in Dharamshala around New Year’s Eve, I relished the thought of spending some time with him. I checked with him and he accepted my request. Even though you may feel that it is so easy to get to travel with Mohanji, my experience is to the contrary. I had spoken to his P.A., Sandeep Mishra, and booked tickets for Dharamshala to be in his presence at least for a few days. Suddenly, I was informed that Mohanji was going to the south of India at the same time. While this communication was going on, I came to know that a group from Germany had come to Delhi to meet Mohanji but could not meet him due to his changed plans. This made me realize that it takes much more than an appointment to be with a true Master. I understood that Mohanji is not deliberately shifting the goalpost. He is just flowing with the need of the time. Later experiences during travel were a clear realization that he was at the right place, at the right time for the right purpose. He could not have been elsewhere at that time. There was such perfection. And those who could join him had something to do with it. One important factor is that there is a clear aspect of fulfillment with every move for someone throughout the journey. Before traveling with Mohanji and while traveling with Mohanji, this realization got strengthened. That Mohanji is spontaneous. There is no concrete plan. At the same time, each movement has perfection. He wouldn’t perhaps do that when he is with a group because the group’s emotions are taken into consideration. I had decided that I wanted to spend some time with Mohanji irrespective of whether he is alone or with a group. I had absolutely no visibility in the last 10 days leading to the start of my vacation. There was quite a lot of uncertainty on where Mohanji is going, whether he is going and whether I would be allowed to join. It was as if my resolve was being tested. Since I had decided to be with Mohanji, I didn’t want to take a step backwards and decided to hang in there and go with the flow. Finally, a few days before the start of my vacation, I got the green signal that I could join him in Bangalore. What started as a few days with Mohanji ended up getting extended to three whole weeks. What I have realized over these three weeks is that a true Master who is connected to the Source has no insecurities and fears. The questions like “What next? Why? How?” have no value in their life. They live in the moment and make you live in the moment. They could fool you with their expressions of seeming anxiety, anger and such emotions. But they never stay. It’s like a flash in the pan and it is usually a reflection of the constitution of who they are interacting with. They do not have any set emotions stored and repeated like ordinary people. They are not judgmental. They allow you your freedom and easily forgive your follies with a slight tease or joke. More often than not, they work as removals of bugs, gaps or constraints in our constitution. A seeming ordinary word or movement could be a surgery of removal of tumor from the past. Their seeming anger is almost always for the sake of removal of hard blockages, an inherent negativity or a distracting entity or even a hardened habit based on karma. To understand the operating levels of a true Master, a true seeker should transcend the seeming contradictions in their expressions and connect to the spontaneity, flexibility and detachment in every moment. Nothing is stored. Everything is distributed. They always remain an empty vessel. If you imitate them, it affects your progress. If you flow with them, you will attain the highest. If you are witnessing contradictions, you have miles to go. If you are witnessing spontaneity, flexibility and consistency with the unity of consciousness, then you are on the path of progress. Even their seeming inaction could be a delusion masking a dynamic action elsewhere in the realms of consciousness. It takes divine eyes to see and a rich heart to perceive. Another big learning was inculcating the spirit of giving. Mohanji says, “By acquiring, we become more and more entangled with this world. Detachment becomes difficult as positions increase. Possessions also lead to possessiveness. Greed takes over. The more we have the more we need. We then withdraw into a cage created by ourselves for ourselves with walls of fear. The stronger the cages, the more lives we take. Man is a bundle of concepts. Concepts become the cement for the wall of fear. Insecurity is its coating. Intolerance is its expression. Soon, life becomes out of control. Instead, be good, do good. Be and let be”. Through giving, we are liberated. Mohanji expresses the culture of giving. He likes to feed more than eat. He told us that feeding the hungry (annadana) is one the greatest sevas we can do to alleviate the suffering of mankind. He reminded us throughout our journey to feed as many stray dogs, animals and people as we could and get the merit of annadana. Dogs have a special significance in the Nath tradition with dogs portrayed around Lord Dattatreya and several Nath saints. The four dogs portrayed around Lord Dattatreya signify the four Vedas with Lord Dattatreya as the protector guarding the dharma. He asked us to carry biscuits or bananas to feed monkeys, dogs and other animals, and birds along the way. There was always a spontaneous feeding happening which was not planned. For people who were begging, we were giving food. Mohanji emphasized that giving is the best way to develop richness of heart. Without further ado, I relate a summary of my experiences on this trip.

Vallabhapuram

On 28th December 2014 we headed for Vallabhapuram early in the morning. Mohanji had to be in Kuruvapuram to attend the engagement ceremony of a devotee’s son, whose family had been closely associated with Vittal Babaji. As we were driving down to Vallabhapuram, one amongst our group wanted to connect with Mohanji to get a feel of his energy and consciousness. She closed her eyes and meditated while holding Mohanji’s hand. After a while, when she came around, she mentioned that she had the experience of unity through a vision of the universe within a single atom. Her daughter, who is very connected to Mohanji, also had a similar experience. I felt a tad jealous at being left out of the divine experience and made peace with myself (with a lot of effort) that it would be bestowed when it was my time to come. We had an impromptu satsang in the car with Mohanji answering questions that were posed to him. We finally reached the Vallabhapuram ashram around noon. The ashram has been built in a typical south Indian architecture. The entrance has a beautiful statue of Lord Vishnu standing on a lotus with a canopy of Shesha Naga over him. We walked through the entrance to an open area where we were welcomed by the Vittal Babaji ashram trustees along with the pontiffs and mendicants associated with Vittal Babaji. Everyone was very happy to see Mohanji. They hugged him and prostrated in front of him. As we walked towards the ashram building, we came to a swing in front of the building where Vittal Babaji used to sit. Behind the swing is a beautiful statue of Sai Baba seated on a high throne and a statue of Lord Hanuman kneeling beside him. The walls behind the statue are adorned with murals of Lord Dattatreya and Sai Baba on either side. Mohanji prostrated in front of the swing and offered his pranams to Vittal Babaji.

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The swing where Vittal Babaji used to sit

The swing where Vittal Babaji used to sit

After that, the people assembled there took us on a brief tour of the Vallabhapuram ashram. The various temples are housed in a building in front of the ashram building and there is a temple of Lord Dattatreya towards the right. We visited the place where Shreepad SriVallabh meditated, conducted discourses and held his durbar (public court). As we came out, Mohanji fed the ducks in the ashram out of his hand including a white duck that we were told was wailing since the samadhi of Vittal Babaji.

The wailing duck

The wailing duck

Mohanji feeding the ducksThe devotee had waited so that Mohanji could be present during the engagement. So we had to curtail our tour of the ashram and head out to the other side of the Krishna River to Kuruvapuram. The Shreepad SriVallabh temple in Kuruvapuram was where the engagement was supposed to take place. The devotee had arranged for boats to ferry us across the river. At the banks of the river, Mohanji was greeted by the dog that he had blessed and healed in the past. I had been told earlier by Preeti Duggal about the miracle regarding this dog. On a previous occasion when Mohanji visited Vallabhapuram, this dog was partially burnt by tar. He came towards Mohanji and looked him in the eye as if asking for help. Mohanji blessed him with healing. Since then, he had completely healed with Mohanji’s grace. Ever since, the dog came to Mohanji whenever he visited Vallabhapuram and walked with him wherever he could. Mohanji fed the dog some biscuits and blessed him. The dog followed Mohanji along the banks and basked in his blessings and bliss.

Blessing the dog

Blessing the dog

At the shores

At the shores

As we got onto the boats, Mohanji became our tour guide and gave us an overview of the entire place including certain spots in the river. A beautiful day and a gentle breeze made it a truly pleasurable experience for us as the saucer shaped boats gently rocked by the Krishna River. Unfortunately, we could not have the darshan of the blessed stone, where Shreepad SriVallabh performed suryanamaskar (sun salutations), which was submerged due to the high water levels.

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Leaving the shores of the ashram

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IMG_20141228_120805After reaching the other bank of the river (Kuruvapuram), Mohanji led us to the 1000+ years old holy banyan tree under which Shreepad SriVallabh gave discourses to the celestial beings in the night. The tree is a tall imposing structure with clusters of thick long roots hanging all around it all the way to the ground. There is a small shrine at the base of the tree. Mohanji spent a few thoughtful moments in communion under the tree. He then asked the lady who was with us to touch her third eye to the roots of the banyan tree. She got a similar experience of Mohanji’s consciousness (as was experienced while holding his hand) from the banyan tree. We then offered our prayers under the banyan tree and headed out to the temple annexe where the engagement ceremony was scheduled.

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The Banyan tree where Shreepad SriVallabh gave discourses to celestial beings

The devotee and his family welcomed Mohanji and took his blessings. The engagement was a low key affair with only the immediate families in attendance. Mohanji was asked to take the seat alongside the priest conducting the ceremony. He was informed and consulted upon the specifics of the ceremony by the priest and the devotee. Mohanji meditated for a while bestowing blessings on the couple. The engagement ceremony continued for a while and our group decided to take leave of Mohanji to meditate in the holy place. Once the engagement rituals were completed, the devotee and his family again took Mohanji’s blessings. The devotee’s son thanked Mohanji for coming down and said that he was deeply touched that Mohanji took the time out of his busy schedule to attend the engagement. We were told that the devotee’s son was deeply connected to Vittal Babaji and Babaji treated him like his own grandson. He made it a point to spend time in Vallabhapuram with Vittal Babaji during his college vacations. He had since moved to Germany but always went to Vallabhapuram to meet Babaji when he came back to India on leave. With a hint of emotion, he told Mohanji that our family doesn’t feel Vittal Babaji’s absence because we feel that Vittal Babaji left Mohanji in his place.

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The Engagement Ceremony

JpegIMG_20141228_122931The priest who conducted the ceremonies, Swami Ashwath Narayan, was all love and respect for Mohanji. He hugged him and related some of his experiences in Kuruvapuram. He told Mohanji that he had the blessings of receiving visions of Shreepad SriVallabh in this very temple several times. The other people who were assembled for the ceremony also took Mohanji’s darshan. One amongst them was particularly attracted to Mohanji. He looked at Mohanji with intense devotion and prostrated at his feet. He introduced himself as a senior official serving at Puttaparthi. He deeply connected with Mohanji and was emotional about meeting him even though he had never met Mohanji before. He requested Mohanji to visit Puttaparthi. Mohanji considered the presence and invitation of this pious gentleman as an invitation from Bhagavan and accepted the gentleman’s request. The gentleman said that he would personally take care of our group’s arrangements in Puttaparthi.

Swami Ashwath Narayan and Mohanji

Swami Ashwath Narayan and Mohanji

The gentleman from Puttaparthi

The gentleman from Puttaparthi

The priest then took us to partake of the prasad served during lunchtime in the temple. He was personally taking care of Mohanji’s needs. By the time we finished lunch, the temple had already closed down. But the priest took us along and got the administration to open the temple. Since admission to the sanctum sanctorum required traditional clothes, the priest arranged for dhotis for our group. Our entire group had a lovely darshan. Of particular note is a strikingly beautiful and lifelike photograph of Shreepad SriVallabh in the temple courtyard.

The photo of Shreepad SriVallabh in the templeWe decided to head back to the ashram and started walking back towards the river bank. Mohanji asked us to do annadana and feed the children and old people. We again took the darshan of the holy banyan tree. From there, we went to Tembe Swami’s cave. Tembe Swami (Sri Vasudevananda Saraswathy) is a prominent master from the Nath tradition. Outside the cave, it was written that Tembe Swami rediscovered the spiritual significance of the Datta Kshetra (place). He entered this cave and ordered the snake in residence to leave the cave and did penance in the cave. We entered the cave with a lot of reverence and meditated in there for a while. The vibrations in the cave were very intense and it was a beautiful experience. After our meditation session, we hung outside the cave for a while taking pictures of Mohanji. A guy in a lungi (casual loincloth) came out of a small room near the cave. He approached Mohanji and told him that an avadhoota had told him in a vision to come down to Kuruvapuram and he would meet his guru there. He had been living there since a couple of months and meditating in these parts. Mohanji told him to stay completely rooted and connected to the spine. This would help him to make the desired progress.

Mohanji IMG_20141228_150437

Tembe Swami’s cave

Mohanji then took us to the place where Shreepad SriVallabh carved 12 mini-Shiva lingams in the stone with his toe. Mohanji asked the lady to touch her third eye on each of the mini-Shiva lingas to get a similar experience of consciousness (as was experienced while holding his hand). Mohanji mentioned to her that the intent of doing the exercise with different mediums was to demonstrate the common thread of consciousness flowing through everything. He asked her to henceforth try and experience this consciousness everywhere.

The 12 mini Shiva lingams

The 12 mini Shiva lingams

Finally, we made it back to the river bank and got into our boats to head back to the ashram. Along the way, we saw a big snake slithering through the water. Mohanji related the experience of a devotee who had seen a naga devata in the form of a snake in these waters. After we reached the ashram, Mohanji met with the trustees and pontiffs. We used this time to visit the beautiful temples in the ashram. On an earlier visit, a devotee had requested Lord Dattatreya’s grace for successful completion of the Kailash Yatra with Mohanji. In return, she promised to do 108 pradakshinas (circumambulations) of Lord Dattatreya. She tasked me to complete the 108 pradakshinas around the Dattatreya temple to fulfill the promise on her behalf. I had a beautiful experience while circumambulating the temple. The rest of the group meditated in the temple. A child from within the group had a beautiful vision of Lord Dattatreya and was moved to blissful tears.

The temple of Lord Dattatreya

The temple of Lord Dattatreya

We then went to the apartment in the ashram that had been gifted to Mohanji by Vittal Babaji. The apartment was still in the process of being constructed. We ventured into the balcony and saw the amazing view against the backdrop of the Krishna River. From there, Mohanji went to the samadhi temple of Vittal Babaji. Since the temple was closed at that time, the trustees opened the temple to allow Mohanji to take darshan. Mohanji prostrated and offered his pranams at Vittal Babaji’s samadhi. We then went to the Naga Devata temple outside the ashram. This is quite an interesting sight. There are several stone idols and images of naga devatas on a stone platform. In addition, there are several anthills surrounding the place. The idols, the platform and the surrounding areas have a yellow ochre tinge like turmeric. We were told that this place is considered to be a portal to Nagaloka (the abode of the Naga Devatas). Mohanji and our group offered our pranams to the Naga Devatas.

Finally, it was time for us to leave Vallabhapuram. The ashramites closely associated with Vittal Babaji were emotionally moved when it was time for Mohanji to go. With heavy hearts, the trustees, the pontiffs and the others bid Mohanji goodbye. Our next stop was to meet a swami, Swami Thyagananda, who had specially travelled all the way overnight from Hyderabad to meet Mohanji even though he was recuperating from an accident. He had arrived there in Vallabhapuram with his small group and was staying close to the ashram. We reached the place very soon and were taken to the room where Swami Thyagananda was waiting for us. Swami Thyagananda spoke very little English and mostly conversed in Telegu. When he saw Mohanji, he looked at him and said “powerful eyes”. He kept trying to say something but was choked with emotion. He then closed his eyes and went within. When he came around, he looked at Mohanji and told him that your ajna chakra (third eye) is very powerful. He touched Mohanji’s heart and told everyone around that he is Shiva Tattva (the essence of Shiva). He then made a request in Telegu to allow him to transfer his siddhis (divine powers) and Mother Durga’s shakti (power) to Mohanji. He asked people to translate his request to Mohanji and get his permission. Mohanji accepted his request and kneeled before him in reverence.

Meeting Swamy Thyagananda

Meeting Swamy Thyagananda

Swami Thyagananda then proceeded to recite mantras in his booming voice. The whole place was soon charged with divine energy. It was so palpable that you could feel it in the air. Our group was really blessed to be there to witness this divine play. My hair stood on end as I could feel the mantras and the corresponding energy coursing through my being. When the ritual finally ended, Thyagananda Swamy anointed Mohanji with red sindoor on the third eye all the way up the forehead. He said that, “I work in a small corner of the universe. These powers are not of much use to me. But you have a lot of work to do in the world and this will help you in your divine mission”. Mohanji’s eyes were so intense after this and the red sindoor tikka (mark) on his forehead made him look like Shiva ready to burn up the world. Love was pouring from Thyagananda Swamy’s being for Mohanji like a mother. He kept caressing him and patting him. He touched Mohanji’s heart and told us that this heart has only pure love. He then took out a long rudraksha mala (string of prayer beads) and put it around Mohanji’s neck. Then he narrated the story of the mala. This mala was worn by his Guru’s Guru Swamy Poornananda. He said that Swamy Poornananda had done 100s of millions of japa (chanting) on this very mala. Swamy Poornananda attained mahasamadhi (the act of shedding the body) on April 6th 2000. Before his mahasamadhi, Swamy Poornananda told Swamy Thyagananda, “One day you will meet Mohanji and you need to give this mala to him”. Swamy Thyagananda asked Swamy Poornananda, “How will I recognize him?” Swamy Poornananda said, “You will recognize him by his third eye. Mohanji will have a third eye which will be bright like the blazing sun”. Swamy Thyagananda told us that he had doubts about Mohanji when he left from Hyderabad – whether Mohanji was a real Guru and whether Mohanji was the person he was supposed to hand over the mala. But now that he had met Mohanji, he was convinced that he had to come here to accomplish the task, of handing over the mala, entrusted to him by his Guru’s Guru fourteen years ago.

Mohanji wearing Poornananda Swamy’s mala

Mohanji wearing Poornananda Swamy’s mala

Our entire group prostrated in front of Thyagananda Swamy and took his blessings. He requested Mohanji to come down and spend the night in his ashram in Hyderabad to which Mohanji agreed. He also said that Mohanji now has a second home in Hyderabad (his ashram) and he should come down there whenever he finds time. Our group then headed along with Thyagananda Swamy’s group towards his ashram in Hyderabad. [To be continued]

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Retreat Murmuring and Echoes

After the Serbian retreat, people on their own initiative started sending their feedback. Here are some impressions which they shared:

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Group 3a“If there is one thing I remember about Mohanji (I do remember many things) after this retreat, it is his unconditional love. His care and love has no expectations and judgements. He is like a child. He just loves and with his genuine love he makes us completely free. On the first day, I thought he was a very serious man, married, and probably having many boundaries around him. I was wrong. He is just love. He never judges or hates anyone. What he wants to say, he says directly and without expectations. He is eager to give more and more but, unfortunately, we have no capacity for more. He never pretends or tries to prove himself as a great personality. When I realized that he is indeed one of the most influential spiritual masters of our time, I was amazed at his humility and passion. He is much more ordinary than any of us. But I know HE IS NOT ORDINARY.”

Mohanji 2a“I can’t thank him enough. He changed my life in five days. Will I ever be able to understand his consciousness? I wonder. What a man!”

“How can we live without expectations? You are a walking example. Thank You.”

“Mohanji belongs to nobody. He is a free spirit. Mohanji is in everybody.”

Group 2a
“Money cannot buy this relief. The inner transformation was unbelievable.”

“ Mohanji is a walking encyclopaedia of selflessness. He was available all the time to listen to our woes and help us overcome them. I have never seen such energy and dedication in anyone until now. There have been many workshops. However, every moment in the presence of Mohanji cannot be compared with anything on earth. This is my first meeting with Mohanji. Everything I had heard was true.”

Group 1a
“I was well bound by my cancer memories. Mohanji just lifted me effortlessly to another mind set. I understood that being open to grace is the main thing.”

“Mohanji said “WAKE UP”. I guess the whole retreat can be summed up by these words “WAKE UP”. I hope I have.”

“I have started quoting Mohanji and people around me have started improving in their relationships. This is very interesting for me. His energy is really strong.”

Mohanji 5a

“To me, Mohanji is sometimes like a father, a brother, a close friend, a child and he fits into every role effortlessly. He is such a fresh breeze for us. I thought the spiritual path was very serious. That is how we have been taught. I realized with Mohanji that it is not. It is fun. It is love.”

“Mohanji can become very strict and disciplined in a moment. And in the next, he is totally relaxed and loving. There is no trace of past moods in him. He moves from moment to moment and it is so visible.”

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Sunday Sadhana

Mohanji’s interview at the Grasmere Sai Ashram aired on Sunday 17th November on SABC 2, on a program called “Sunday Sadhana”:

Mohanji: The whole search man does is external, but god is internal. When the search becomes internal, you can connect with the divine. The only property that we own is our inner space. Just like the temple, if you keep the space clean, god dwells here.

Yashik Singh: This is one of the principle or fundamental teachings of Mohanji, that if you want to live a spiritual life, there is no need to run away from anything. There is no need to live in the mountain or a cave and occlude yourself from what is happening around you. True spirituality comes from inside. And that is how we should live our life. We should live in the world, but don’t let the world live in us.

Mohanji: Inner transformation happens. If you are surrendered, 100%. There is no doubt about it. There are many magicians in the world, they just entertain you. But other ones transform you.

Vishal Mothilall: Many people are looking for something more in their general lives. Many people just tend to go to work, go back home, eat, sleep and that is just the daily cycle. There must be something more and these spiritual masters are definitely attracted to a place where they are most needed.

Mohanji: We have two meditations, one is Power of Purity, and the other is called “360 degrees”.
Power of Purity is basically a cleansing meditation, it cleanses you like taking an internal bath. Our body is moving parallel to time. From one o clock, to two o clock, to three o’ clock, or to 2012 to 2013 to 2014. We are moving like that. Mind is not travelling at that speed. Mind is getting stuck with events, people, situations, with many things at each time. Since you cannot extract the mind and take it further, we bring forth the agonies in life. We bring forth diseases. So unhooking is very important. Unhooking from events, unhooking from the past, unhooking from people, so this meditation is especially programmed for unhooking.

Yashik Singh: If you want to lead a spiritual life, you need to surround yourself with spiritual people because they encourage you all the time. As soon as you sit in the presence of people that have a spiritual attitude, the clearing happens, the cleansing happens. Even if you have negative thoughts, these thoughts eventually go.

Mohanji: If mind is always operating in the present through thoughts, words and action; accumulation of karma stops. Then you will go through the process in surrender. Ok, this was supposed to happen. As the Upanishad says, “The food that came to your table today is the medicine for you.” It may not be the food you chose, but this is exactly what you wanted. And that helps you.

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