As we returned to the Siddha Ashram camp, with deep impressions of mighty Avadhoota still fresh in our heart and mind, another interesting experience awaited us. We noticed a young man with very pleasant vibes and glowing eyes, chatting casually with the French guests at Siddha Ashram – Mohanji and I both had a same thought: “What a radiant man. He somehow resembles Osho.”
We approached him and a sweet, bubbly conversation ensued. I could tell that he loved Mohanji’s energy instantly. He told us his name – Swami Yogananda, disciple of Swami Paramananda Giri, a great Master whose ashram happens to be right across the street from Siddha Ashram. Yogananda told us we should definitely meet his Master who comes to Haridwar only twice a year and that too for only three days (this time due to Kumbha Mela). He spends most of his time in their other ashrams and abroad, since they have a very big following in Russia.
He told us: “Why don’t you come and meet my Master. He is a Self-realized being.” Mohanji said: “OK, no delays. Let us then go right now.” Two other ladies from France, Elisabeth and her daughter Marie, who both connected with Mohanji and myself deeply as soon as we first spoke, were happy to join us as well.
Within two minutes, we reached the area of the ashram where the enlightened Master Paramananda sat on a small stage, with many people seated at his feet. As soon as we arrived, Swami pointed out to the people in front of him to make space for us – we thus got to sit right in front of him! That indeed was a great honor, so unexpected. Surprisingly enough, nobody complained about giving up their precious ‘front row seat’ and all seemed very happy. As soon as we bowed to Swamiji seeking his blessings, I felt that my whole being was smiling – great joy was bubbling out of me for no apparent reason. With folded hands I requested Swamiji to bless us to do greater, more effective Seva for humanity.
I told him that, at present, Mohanji is teaching meditation, that we are doing whatever charity work we can in our free time, but feel that is not enough. He gave me a very warm smile and blessings, paused for a while with eyes half closed, and I could tell that he is ‘scanning’ us through his third eye.
At one point he shifted his gaze towards Mohanji. He started asking him questions in Hindi (like: “What is the difference between desire and necessity?”; “Do you have faith in Kumbha Mela?”) and I was amazed to see Mohanji answering all those questions with ease, in what sounded like FLUENT Hindi. I knew very well that his command of Hindi is very basic. Besides, I could not really figure out what was the point of this sudden Q&A session. It was then that I understood – he was testing Mohanji to gauge whether he has any ‘mettle’ or is just pretending. After Mohanji answered five or six such questions, Swamiji smiled and said: “Good, I am pleased with your knowledge. I bless you. You will become very famous.”
The atmosphere was all charged up and we couldn’t get enough of this loving Swamiji’s vibes. However, we didn’t want to be selfish as there were many other people who waited for their turn. We thus left with a final blessing.
Swami Yogananda took a few photos for us (shared above) and was beaming with joy because we got to see his beloved Master. He spoke to us about his Yoga teaching and the fulfilling life in service of his Master, which was what he consciously chose to do in his life. I was enjoying the glow in his eyes and his bubblyness – deep inside I knew this is not the first time we meet…
There was something so exciting and liberating about being in a place filled with so many Self-realized Masters, approaching them in the most unassuming way. I loved the fact that Mohanji and I had nothing to prove and that, while being 100% natural, things were just unfolding on their own. I now understood experientially the point he explained to me earlier – we are in unconditional service of the Guru Tatwa, the very Guru principle that we all carry within us. Therefore, those who have ‘the eyes to see’, the Self-realized beings, will naturally appreciate the unconditionality and innocence of our approach. There is no pattern, no role play, no reputation to protect – we are simply flowing like a river, open to the grace. This is what I always wanted my spiritual path to be like – my heart, indeed, was full!
We returned to Siddha Ashram right on time for a delicious dinner – what a day! Before retiring to sleep, Mohanji told me that his connectivity with the Avadhoota still continues. At one point, I witnessed him entering into telepathic communion with the mighty Avadhoota.
I was overjoyed to note down the profound message he gave us:
“Look at the world, how busy everybody is. All people have so many things to do, things to prove. Who is waiting for you? No situation is waiting for you. Whatever you think is waiting for you HAS BEEN CREATED BY YOURSELF. Your inevitability is Maya, it’s unreal. Whether you exist or not, the world will go on. The same stars will shine tomorrow, whether you are here or not. Relax and realize that.”
Mohanji’s eyes and cheeks were glowing and I just did not know what to do with all the joy I felt – I was too energized to sleep and basked in the nectar of all the blessings for quite some time more…
The Maha Kumbha Mela – Shivaratri Day, 12 Feb, 2010
50 Million people were expected to flood the banks of holy river Ganges on this day to take the most auspicious ‘snan’, dip in Ganges. We felt very excited and energized by the very thought that, yes, we are here, blessed to experience Shivaratri at this most amazing spiritual gathering!
Since we were told by the main Sidha Ashramite that there won’t be any program before breakfast at 8.30am, we took it easy and decided to get up only around 8am. Luckily, due to the sharpness of Mohanji’s sixth sense, he peeked out of the tent just on time to see the last person leaving the compound. He ran to ask how come all are gone, and was told that there was a change of plan and the whole group from Siddha Ashram just left for Kumbha Mela!
I got ready within 1 min. and ran out of the tent in my slippers, unaware that 22km of walking was awaiting us that day.
The walk towards the main area of Kumbha Mela was glorious – initially I felt a bit cold, but due to the brisk walk the body became warm very soon. The energy was oozing out of the body as we all sang and marched forward with radiant smiles.
I was amazed by the multitude of posters of so many Masters – aside from Pilot Baba, I have never heard of any of them. I was like a child in a candy store – so overwhelmed, did not know where to look first! 🙂
As we were passing by the gigantic statue of Lord Shiva, I could feel immense joy welling inside me – I had to pinch myself, the scenery was just so unreal. (Due to warnings of pick-pocketing, I did not bring my photo camera with me, so you’ll have to rely on my words and a few images borrowed from the net…)
Haridwar has a very special flavor – especially the main bridge across Ganges and the main snan area. Such powerful vibrations! Rivers of people were flooding from all the directions, but somehow the experience was not as bad as I imagined it to be – hats off to the organizers! There was only one point when there was a lot of squeezing, pushing and shoving, but mainly all went smoothly.
Seeing the Naga Babas, fully naked, smeared with Vibhooti, was quite a scene. One of them was climbing a big rod in order to hoist their flag, after which all of them were scheduled to go for the snan, and others could follow only then. Naga Babas were so innocent, like children. I was amused. Mohanji told me that they are revered, respected and feared at the same time because, if objected/interfered, they could become violent and dangerous. I smiled and thought to myself – “Only in India” 🙂
After some time, we witnessed a truly glorious spectacle – there was a long procession of Masters, all in chariots covered with flowers, with their disciples walking behind them in utmost humility. That was a sight to behold. At one point, our sweet Swami Yogananda suddenly appeared in front of us, clearly overjoyed to see us, especially Mohanji. We felt the same. He said that the chariot with his Master is soon to come. We all stood at the same spot on a side of that road when the beaming face of Swami Paramananda Giri became visible. At one moment he noticed Mohanji and myself and reacted so beautifully, with a delight of a child – even after his chariot passed us, he kept turning his head, smiling at us and blessing us profusely. We were simply overwhelmed!
Mohanji advised me to establish eye contact with each Master, if possible, express respect, and be open to receive blessings – Shaktipat through eye contact is common with very high Masters. I soon experienced one such sacred moment – there was one Master (still don’t know his name) who looked at us and clearly saw something. He looked for a few seconds with razor-like sharpness and I could feel something happening within me, a great surge of energy. He then threw 3 candies right at us. I caught one and the other two were fought over by the people around me. What a blessing! I don’t think I was breathing throughout that entire procession – the experience was so wonderful, unforgettable.
The Snan -the coolest ever cleansing bath
It was already mid afternoon when our snan time came. Our friend Krishna, who connected with Mohanji very deeply, told us about the best spot for snan that he discovered during the last four Kumbha Melas he attended. The water was clean and current not so strong, so one could even swim. I was overjoyed upon hearing that.
Mohanji told me that during snan one should take minimum three full dips (with head under the water) in order to get the cleansing effect – however, the more dips, the better. Sure enough, the water was ICE COLD, but luckily at that point sun emerged behind the clouds and, as soon as I started swimming, the water temperature became bearable. While swimming, I took more than 20 dips and enjoyed the experience thoroughly!
After changing into dry clothes, each one of us prayed and blessed Mother Ganga with a flower, imagining we are decorating her flowing hair with that rose. The sacredness and subtlety of this moment really touched my heart. Moreover, Krishna surprized us with Sai Baba’s vibhoothi which he offered to us to smear the forehead.
What followed was even more unexpected and intense – Krishna then arranged for us to perform Pooja to Shiva Linga with Ganga gel (water) and Bilwa leaves.
Mohanji told me that it is believed that each Bilwa leaf we offer to Shiva, reduces the sins/bad karmas of three lives. I really felt like a new person after the Snan – so much lighter, so energized and yet so calm. What a blessing!
After performing the pooja, the poojari of that small ashram gave each one of us a special Prasad – a green fruit, similar to dates in shape and size, which is said to be the favorite fruit of Shiva. I have never seen or tasted this fruit before. We were so happy that we spontaneously fasted the whole day and this was the first food we consumed on this special Shivaratri – “All Divine plan”, said Mohanji.
As we explored this small ashram on the banks of Ganges, we noticed a lovely statue of Dattatreya – Mohanji was overwhelmed.
By that point, the Poojari seems to have developed a special liking for us and invited us to see the Swayambhoo Lingam (appeared by itself) and the special statue of Kali at their Shakti Peetam (the power centre of the ashram) – he offered to perform pooja for us at this special place, with prayers for each one of us (seven in total – for most of the French guests, lunch was more important than the Snan…).
What divine experiences, all so unexpected!
Upon return to the Siddha Ashram, we relished the taste of the best dinner ever (after a whole day of fasting and walking more than 22km, anything would have tasted just perfect!) and spent some time chatting with the French guests of the ashram.
Some of them were very connected with Native Americans and were trained how to perform certain rituals. There was a special tent for that purpose only and we were surprised with the beauty of one image of eagle on the floor made out of grains.
Mohanji then noticed the image of Shirdi Baba on the wall of the tent – we looked at each other and smiled. He then asked the French guests whether they know who that Master is – not only did they not know who that was, but also did not know how it came there. The magic of Shirdi Sai soon spread all over the tent. Mohanji started explaining them the stature of Baba and shared with them some of his experiences with Baba. They were completely glued to Mohanji from that point onwards and could not stop asking questions. One French gentleman said: “I have seen the image of that Master several times till now, and always wondered who he is. Am so happy that I finally got my answer.”
The crowning event of the evening was the unexpected Pooja to Shiva Linga that Swami Nardanand, with all of us participating actively, conducted in his tent around 10pm. What was even more unexpected was the sublime musical performance of our friend Krishna, who blew us off our feet with his voice and music.
And then another huge surprize – Swami Nardanand sang one kirtan and started playing tabla! That was just too much. I knew that again we’ll be too energized to sleep :-).
Leaving Haridwar, Train Back to Delhi
We could not leave Haridwar without seeing Mohanji’s spiritual mother, Vanamali Amma, one more time – at sunrise time, we packed our bags quickly and left to Vanamali Ashram (in nearby Rishikesh). A few hours with Amma and Swami Mohanji were so precious – her ashram is on a small hilltop, overlooking Ganga and foothills of Himalayas. The view from her terrace and yard is breathtaking. I felt fully expanded basking in the light of the morning sun and enjoying this view.
Everything about Amma is so pure and satwic that one can’t but be touched by her mere presence. She personally cooked a divine lunch for us, which we enjoyed as the most precious gift from the Almighty. Refreshed, we were ready for the 6-hour-long train ride back to Delhi, where two BTW meditations awaited us the following day.
A radiant tall man welcomed us at the train station in Delhi around 11pm. Initially I did not know who he was, but after 30 min. or so understood finally that the person is Dipak Haksar himself – I was deeply touched by his humility. This was the last thing one would expect out of a top official of a successful establishment. He really put his heart and soul into organizing two BTW meditations (in Delhi and Gurgaon) on Feb 14th.
Moreover, all of this was done out of a ‘gut feeling’ since he never met Mohanji before, but, due to his previous sadhana and high sensitivity level, was able to recognize Mohanji’s stature from the moment he first saw his photo on mohanji.org website.
All Divine leela… 🙂