By Zoran Stefanovski
This is an account, a recollection of the recent experiences that I had during and after the Retreat in Andrevlje, Serbia. I will try to keep it brief and to the point, leaving out the unnecessary details and narrate the essence of it. This might be of help to someone at some point in time when passing through the dark night of the mind. Hopefully.
The story begins at the Retreat in Andrevlje, Serbia over a month ago.
ANDREVLJE – THE CLEANSING STARTS
I arrived in Andrevlje late, when most of the people were already asleep. So, I unpacked and went straight to bed. Woke up in the middle of the night in panic and huge fear. I was not sure what was the source of this fear and I couldn’t describe it. All I know is that it was too strong of an emotion having a tight grip on my body and mind. I felt as if Mohanji has placed me on an oven, and turned the heater on the max. My mind was racing. Why these fears now? I came to the Retreat in good spirits. I didn’t expect to be thrown directly into the fire and burn. My identity was shaken and put to test. I was so restless, but somehow I managed to go to sleep at some point.
Some of my fears started clarifying. One fear was that I wouldn’t be accepted by the society if I lived Mohanji’s Teachings, and openly talk about the Dattatreya or Nath Tradition. The bhajans, the ceremonial fires, the touching of Guru’s feet… – all these these concepts are not accepted in the society where Christianity is the mainstream religion. A fear of being left behind, abandoned and lonely surfaced. I was feeling as a scared little kid left alone in the woods. I felt weak. I felt powerless.
I told Mohanji that I feel strong fears. He said, “I see your head is steaming. But, you are safe here. Just let go, and stay aware of what’s coming out. ”
5 days in Andrevlje were dedicated to burning our negativities stored in the mind. All the fears, anxieties, doubts, etc had to be registered, acknowledged, written down on a piece of paper and put into a cardboard box. The box was then put into the ceremonial fire while we chanted specific mantras for destroying the negativities stored in the mind and written on our little pieces of paper.
A lot of my stored negativities were burnt in the fire that day. But more lingered on. I was only half way through my cleansing process.
Fast forward, the Retreat ended and everybody went back to their homes. I went with Mohanji and Biba to Novi Sad, to Biba’s parents’ home. As soon as we exited Andrevlje, the floods started. Floods that Serbia haven’t seen for over 80 years. Few hours later all the roads were blocked and the country was in an emergency situation. However, we arrived safely to Novi Sad.
NOVI SAD – THE CONFUSION STAGE
I had pending questions, doubts and fears to share with Mohanji. I waited for the right setting/moment to bring them up and clear my inner space. I really needed help. All the heaviness was provoked and brought onto the surface at the Retreat. It had to pass through the waking consciousness and be set free and let go. Not an easy task. I was struggling a lot to keep all the garbage inside and act normal and holier than thou 🙂 But for how long could I keep the stuff when I share the space with Shiva, the destroyer of minds and basher of egos – with Mohanji. The stuff had to come out sooner or later. Better sooner, so I tried to open up and share my doubts.
We didn’t have enough privacy to talk, so Mohanji invited me to his room for a discussion. When I started sharing the doubts I was expecting to be understood. However, I didn’t get to be understood. To my dismay, what I got was objectivity and a strict response from Mohanji. I felt as if my ego was in a boxing arena and ambushed into an angle. I had nowhere to escape. There he was, Mohanji, in front of me, ready to destroy the impurity, doubts, fears – head on. I struggled to keep everything. But, no, he was persisting, “Come on, vent it out” he was saying.
I had all sorts of doubts and fears and they all came out, alas, in one go. As if the Pandora’s box was opened and all the demons broke loose in one go. It was too much to bear. If they came one by one, I may have tackled them more easily.
One doubt I had was that I’m giving everything to Mohanji, doing so much seva (selfless work), and I am neglecting my family as a result of that – my mind’s presumption was that he knew that but didn’t care. I was giving all my energy and time to Mohanji and my family was deprived of my attention and presence. When I told this to Mohanji, he simply said: “Then prioritize – family first, then everything else. Family should not suffer. Best is to balance all aspects of life. I can filter the tasks you get.”
I started talking stuff, some of it I didn’t even mean anything, but it was all coming up…
“I have no friends, why don’t you help me have friends.” He answered, “ I gave you a worldwide family, do you know how much they love and respect you?”
“I don’t love myself. You’re not helping me love myself.” He said, “Do selfless service, and see your self-love and self-esteem rising through the rooftop.”
“I’m afraid that you will eventually leave me.”, I said.
For each doubt and fear I had, he was giving me an objective solution. Straight-to-the point instant solutions.
Mind stuff just kept coming up with more stuff. I was attacking and pointing to the shadows of the mind all along, to this or that issue, failing to identify mind itself as the problem. While all this was happening, the mind was projecting all kinds of things. My mind never turned the finger around to point on itself. It judged others, criticized, and found faults.
I felt so unloved by Mohanji all the while. I was surprised by this feeling. I was hurt. I wanted the discussion to end so that I can go out of the room and close up again into my hell shell. I was seriously considering leaving Mohanji. I felt betrayed.
He said, “You know, in 5 days time, all of this will probably mean nothing.” Little did I know at that time that he was right. It was meaningless within 2 days, but at the moment it felt as a harsh disillusionment, coupled with a huge pain in the chest. I was talking stuff that didn’t make any sense. They were just coming out of my mouth.
Mohanji looked like a big poisonous snake. His eyes were fuming with fire. I saw him as a Demon. He was a demon all right, but to my mind. My mind was not safe with him at all, and feeling highly endangered. When mind is under attack surrender seams impossible. And, surrender is the only cure.
Finally, conversation ended, and as we were exiting the room Mohanji said, “I will never leave you, we are from the same Path.”
THE TRIP – EXITING THE DARKNESS OF MIND
It was early, next morning. I woke up with what felt as a closed aura. I was disappointed and didn’t want to talk. I was shut down. I was not satisfied with the answers Mohanji gave me, I was still in the big illusion stage, and mind was playing heavily.
We packed and left for Macedonia Retreat. I was driving. What awaited us was an approx. 7 hours drive from Novi Sad to Macedonia. Mohanji was sitting next to me, and Biba in the back seat. Mohanji didn’t speak anything. He was keeping silent and looked as if he was producing inner heat. I felt him as an erupting volcano from the inside, but silent on the outside. I was full of doubts. He knew that. I was deeply in the darkness, in a deep hole, and I didn’t want out. I was clinging to this state stubbornly, and I was angry with Mohanji, not knowing exactly why but quite angry.
Biba intuited and felt what was happening inside of me. She spontaneously started talking in our language about things that in turn triggered myself talking about my deeply buried traumas and disappointments from the last 15 years. With each word I uttered, the content of those words was thrown into the fire that Mohanji was churning, and then that content was gone forever. All the karmas, all the traumas, disappointments, depressions, all of these were sucked into Mohanji and burned. I was liberated from so much garbage just by talking about it. Bit by bit, Biba talked me into the light. Step by step, she was digging me out of my mind’s rut, held me by the hand and walked me towards the Truth of the matter. She was the light bearer. My savior.
Halfway through the trip I was good as new. The storm was over. What was left was deep love and gratitude as I survived the dark night of my mind with huge help from Biba. And Mohanji did his job again. He always does.
Then I knew, I was exaggerating things all along. I was everything but not objective. Emotions were working on me big time. There’s a little chance I would have come out of it by myself. It was sheer Grace I walked out of it at all. Mohanji’s Grace working through Biba. Biba was probably not even aware what she was doing. It was just flowing though her. She was just an open vessel for the Master’s Grace to work on me. It was just like an operation, or a surgery being performed on me.
Some of Biba’s key points that I remember, which brought me from darkness to light, were the following:
The key thing that Biba said, which tilted me out of the mind hypnosis, and made me aware of what was happening – she said that people are leaving Mohanji for the stupidest things like, because he wears glasses, a watch, or he uses perfumes, he wears jeans, uses etheric oil for Shaktipat, etc. And the doubt comes in a split of a second. People have huge faith and devotion for a long time, but in a split second they change their minds, find stupid faults in him, and leave him.
Another key point – she shared a story about a woman that was attacked by entities. These entities were talking in her ears stuff that she thought were hers and thus believed it to be true. They were hissing it in her ears and she was feeling powerless. She was too weak to fight it. She was having strange doubts, and lack of faith all of a sudden. And then, by sheer grace she met a healer who did some healing work on her and saved her from the entities. In an instant she came back to her true self. She was back. No doubts, no judgments, nothing, just understanding the facts of the matter. Entities do exist, and can’t be seen with naked eye. They come from the back door and enter our mind and stay there. When they inhabit our space, they whisper in our ear stuff that weren’t there before, they breed doubt, fear, and anxiety, they feed on these emotions.
Next key point – Spirituality is not a feel good affair. We have to deal with our negativities, and go through them. True spirituality is a hard work on our deepest shadows.
Yet another key point – When a Guru accepts a disciple it is for eternity. He accepts responsibility for that soul forever and ever. It’s not a one-lifetime affair. This is huge. The Guru is responsible for liberating that soul until it indeed reaches the final Liberation.
Mohanji also said one thing that left a big mark on me. He said: “Always be like a bird sitting on a dry branch. The branch could break at any time. So, one should be super vigilant and live always in this way.”
As I’m looking back at this experience, I learned that we should never make decisions when under strong emotions. Never, ever. Know that mind is playing all the time so be like a bird sitting on a dry branch. Mind will play many tricks. Mind resists changes, it thrives on patterns and concepts. Instead of looking straight in the eye of the fears and releasing them it was easier for me to attack, blame and judge the source of the fears and try to escape the whole scene that was bringing up those fears. Escaping always feels so easy. Facing fears seams so hard to the ego-mind.
It will be a little small negligible thing that will cause the fall from Grace. We will not even see it coming through the back door. Small thing will lead to bigger doubts, until it snowballs into a huge lack of faith. And eventually- a downfall. So, we blame the Guru for it. Doubts are like weeds in the garden. Once they come they must be cleared out immediately or they take root and it’s even harder to get rid of them later on.
When the negativities are brought up from the subconscious reservoir they must go through the waking consciousness to be released. There is no other way. Just letting go, and keeping the faith alive is the way. If Mohanji is attacking our mind stuff, then it’s for our own good. He’s attacking the negativity to destroy it and liberate us. He destroys the false so that only the True will remain. This process is very hard to bear while it lasts. But when it’s over, you will be happy that it happened. Mohanji is the greatest blessing ever. We were given a golden chance for Liberation in this lifetime. However, it’s easy to miss it… – so let us be like a bird sitting on a dry branch.
When this whole event was over, I had zero alienation in my mind and everything seamed so funny from that post-event perspective. Mohanji’s objectivity and behavior was untouched throughout the whole happening. He spontaneously addressed and eradicated all these insignificant matters (which indeed seamed so significant while happening) and moved on with elegance. He dealt so patiently and non-pretentiously with my doubts and fears. I learned then and there, on the spot, how to address a problem, let go and move on with life without guilt or alienation. Mohanji’s impeccable objectivity did the magic and liberated me from a lot of negativity baggage.
Every emotion leaves behind an ugly residue, and the post-emotional outburst drama is usually worse than the actual situation of the outburst. I learned that when events like this are handled with objectivity, maturity and witnesshood, there is no residue of the outbursts and their corresponding trauma. This is the beauty of being with a true spiritual Master such as Mohanji, who is perpetually connected to the source.
Unlike our outbursts, Master’s outbursts (which are usually to eradicate huge blockages in the disciples) leave back no residue. They are smooth and clean always. It is our stupidity to detach from a true Master. He could be terribly unorthodox and his style may often confuse us, but he is purely purpose-bound and totally benevolent.
Always at the Lotus Feet of my Beloved Master Mohanji