The cellphone starts ringing at 3:45am and I am all awake because it is a call from Avadhoota Nadanandaji (respectfully and affectionately addressed as Guruji by Mohanji). When He calls, you are wide awake. A gentle but firm voice (like a General informing his troops) instructs me that we have to get ready and assemble before 5:00am. Then with the affection and caring of a mother, tells me to ensure that we have our coffee and something to eat before we leave.
The usual not so brief background: Guruji had informed Mohanji that He could not join us for the retreat in Shirdi as originally planned due to ill health. Hence, soon after Mohanji came back from Europe, He decided to spend some time with Guruji in Kurnool before the retreat. We started from Gurgaon in our ashram car literally traveling thousands of kilometers to reach Kurnool. Our hearts that were afire with the anticipation of basking in the divine motherly love of our beloved Guruji, and experiencing the cool breeze of indescribable love at His sight and presence.
Mohanji always says, “Each time we meet Guruji, it is difficult to say goodbye to Him when it is time to part.” This is absolutely true. His palpable love not only makes us feel at home, but establishes us in the feeling of “homecoming”, making us wonder if we have already found the destination. Home is where our heart loves to be. And Guruji fills our heart with gentle love. As Mohanji says “He gives us all that we can take. In some cases, He even builds the capacity to take more and then gives more.”
The unfathomable love of an Avadhoota is difficult to explain. Mohanji gave me much clarity on the mode of operation of Guruji and Masters of his stature so that I could feel, (rather than see) the unconditional love and beauty of a mind-less being walking like a baby in the illusory jungle of local insensitivity. Every true master has the mindset of an innocent child. In His or Her eagerness to serve the “unconscious” minds of the world, they burn themselves out. They give all they can, even (often) to undeserving hands. They keep giving unconditionally, and effortlessly walk away to their world of non-dual existence, without complaints or regrets. A true Guru is a sight to behold indeed!
As soon as Mohanji saw Guruji, he prostrated at His lotus feet and Guruji blessed him. It was late afternoon and as always, the motherly affection of Guruji saw us being dispatched to have “food first” to ensure that our physical hunger was appeased after the long trip. Ramesh Garu escorted us to our rooms and then to lunch, while ensuring that our baggage reached our rooms. The food, needless to say, was sumptuous with mouth-watering varieties served with dollops of affection and love. After the mandatory and gluttonous overeating of delicious food, we met Guruji again, basked in his energy, listened to his words of love and rested for some time. This was more or less the nature of our days with Guruji during this trip which began on the 18th and lasted until the 24th, after which Mohanji and I left Guruji at Bangalore and travelled to Shirdi (via Pune) on 25th to attend the marriage of the son of Sulakhe Maharaj, the chief priest of Sai Baba temple in Shirdi, on 26th evening. This whole trip was like a fairy tale.
Guruji told us that 20th was the day He had set for awakening his people with a day-long program in a quiet and beautiful place near the river in Kurnool in close proximity to the forests which was 3kms away from his ashram, Siddhaganj. It was titled “Vana Satsang” (a discourse in the forests) and would have talks by Mohanji, Guruji, etc with aarati, bhajans (devotional singing), chanting, etc. Guruji was meticulously planning it for some time and was expecting 150-200 people for this event. People from different parts of India – Jammu, Bengaluru, Dhar, Hyderabad, Kurnool, etc – were to attend this event.
In spite of his failing health, Guruji was involved, as usual, in planning and executing this to the last detail – the program schedule, the speakers and their topics, the venue setup, the food arrangements, the route map and transportation (down to the number of cars and people in each car), the musical instruments and audio equipment, the volunteer detail, ensuring continuity of service activities in Kurnool, etc. Within the blink of an eye, it became 20
Within the blink of an eye, it became 20th – the day of the program. It is also time for us to return to our main story. 🙂
Continuing from where we left off: As we scrambled to get ready, Guruji had taken up His position by the tree in front the gates of Siddhaganj ashram. That was His vantage point to monitor and direct the proceedings – in this case shepherding and herding the flock into the cars and to the location. As we got closer to the estimated time of departure, the decibels and Guruji’s booming voice and the frequency of His exhortations to the flock to get moving started getting higher. 🙂 Guruji is very strict on punctuality and does not allow any deviation. His programs have to start on time – there is no other option. Guruji, as always pushed us to get going before time. He is always prompt and seemingly impatient. I quickly gathered that his seeming impatience is his medicine to cure our native laziness. If accepted, or left unattended, our laziness grows without us being aware. Gurus throw fire on us and make us run. Some scold, some push, some shout, but everyone burns tamas unceremoniously. So as we got closer to the due time, a steady stream of people came to “check” on us requesting us to get ready soon as it was time to leave.
We were all literally rushed into the cars and took the short drive to reach the location. We quickly reached the location, got out of the car and entered the gates. We walked passed the open space surrounded by trees and soon reached a cobbled walkway that led to the program area. On the left side was the garden with an idol of Lord Krishna in the center. A tall lamp had been placed next to the idol along with incense, oil, smudge sticks, etc. On the right side, the program area was set up on the open ground with carpets on the ground and chairs along the periphery (for those unable to sit on the floor). There were two chairs placed in the front for Guruji and Mohanji. The walkway led to a makeshift dining area where tea and coffee were being served. Beyond the waiting area was the only accommodation on the site. The open space of the porch was being used for cooking and one room was made available for the Masters to rest.
We had reached a bit earlier than Guruji. Hence, we ambled around surveying the surroundings and sipping on some nice milky tea. Since it was early in the morning (before 5:30am), it was still a little dark. Soon, Guruji’s car reached the location. Guruji stepped out wearing a saffron dhoti (waistcloth covering the legs) and a saffron cloth tied around his head, like Sai Baba. As soon as he entered the gates, the people filed along on both sides of the walkway and bowed to Him. As He entered inside, Guruji had a very serious expression and was walking in a very determined fashion like He was on a mission. He looked very clear on the immense transformation He had planned for us throughout the day ahead. He glanced at the people that had assembled like a General surveying his troops. The way Guruji walked in, with confidence and grandeur, a rank outsider would have found it hard to believe if we told him that he is suffering from 5th stage cancer. His internal freedom was displaying itself in His outward expressions.
As He walked past us, His expression softened and He winked at Mohanji with a soft smile. He loves Mohanji like a son rather than a brother and He never hides his feelings. Mohanji also loves the fatherly affection and lets Himself go in Guruji’s presence. Even though Guruji insists that His relationship with Mohanji is brotherly, everyone around feels a father-son relationship, especially after Mohanji inherited the powers of Guruji. There is an invisible oneness between Them. And Their love for each other is a sight to see.
Mohanji constantly thinks about Guruji and does His best to ensure Guruji is well taken care of. The same intensity of love and concern towards Mohanji is always visible in Guruji’s eyes and words as well. He ensures, both physically and metaphysically, that Mohanji is well looked after and does not leave any options unturned for that. He wants Mohanji to be happy always and wants Mohanji to be not only comfortable but also well provided for. The events that took place since Their first meeting in December 2015 gave me clarity that Gyanganj was the real wire puller behind this “celestial” meeting and transfer. Every thought, word and action that transpired between Them seemed purposeful and aimed at the larger good of the world. They are two selfless people and Their union has to be for the good of the world. This is how the Heavens work.
Back to the story again. Vana Satsang started with lighting the lamp. Guruji walked towards the lamp and asked for Mohanji to join Him. He asked Mohanji to light the lamp to inaugurate the function as He chanted Om Jatavedase Sunavama from the Sri Durga Suktam in His beautiful divine voice. Some from the group joined in the chorus. Guruji asked Mohanji to light the lamp even though Mohanji’s presence on 20th was not exactly pre-planned. Mohanji lit the lamp and thus the program was inaugurated. Guruji stood by Mohanji, as a loving father, making sure His son did it right. We all felt that this “hand-holding” of Mohanji by masters of Gyanganj through Avadhoota Nadananda will ensure that a lot of good things are seamlessly delivered to the world through Mohanji in the future. This “lighting the lamp” ceremony was perhaps the beginning of something rich and celestial or beginning of a new world of light and harmony, led by the energy of Mohanji – a new beginning if the Brahmarishi title ceremony on October 10th can be considered a coronation.
After the lamp was lit, Guruji requested everyone to have tea and biscuits and then get seated. He walked around and enquired on how everyone was doing, cracking jokes and lightening the mood displaying His usual casual self. Soon it was time for the program to start and Guruji had everyone seated quickly. He asked Mohanji to sit next to Him and beckoned the whole group to sit closer to Him. The morning aarati that is done in the Siddhaganj ashram at 6:30am had to be done at this location since the entire Siddhaganj team was in attendance here.
Since there was still some time for the aarati to start, Guruji decided to start the program with a bhajan (devotional song). The accompanying musicians were Swami Ajayananda on tabla, Anand Kumar on the dholak, Mohanji on cymbals 🙂 and the rest of the group providing the chorus. Guruji sang a medley of bhajans that were an ode to the Guru principle. He varied the tempo and teased the audience into participation that got them out of their morning stupor. Guruji, with His forceful yet playful energy, very soon had all the people singing in unison. At one point during the singing, Guruji explained the Krishna avatar. He said that Lord Krishna is none other than Bhagawathi (The Divine Mother) herself who once desired to take a male body and manifested herself as Krishna. Where Bhagawathi is, there is Bhagavan. After He had sufficiently pumped up the group with a lot of energy, Guruji kickstarted the program by asking the group to perform the morning aarati.
The group from Siddhaganj, Kurnool led the recitation of the aarati which involved several bhajans (devotional songs) for the Guru, shlokas like the Dattatreya Kavacham, and mantra chanting. The other people who were conversant with the aarati chanted in unison. The rest of us meditated in the atmosphere sanctified by the presence of the Masters and the beautiful recitations. It was a truly surreal experience.
Guruji then led the group through a rousing bhajan on the different excuses that householders have that prevents them from entering the path of unconditional love. He poked fun at His disciples which, though playful in nature, unequivocally brought out the pitfalls, the attachments, etc., in the way of the householder.
Mohanji spoke about Grihasta Dharma – the spiritual path of the householder. He related the topic from the depth of His own experiences. Mohanji explained that we play various roles as we live our life daily each of which is relevant to our existence in a particular context. Mohanji mentioned that if there is clear purpose for existence then the relationship is a burden. He recounted an anecdote of Lahiri Mahasaya wherein His wife ‘momentarily’ forgot His stature and purpose due to familiarity. Mohanji mentioned about doing seva to pay their debts to Mother Earth else they have to take another life to pay off the death.He also mentioned that celibacy or marriage are equally acceptable alternatives based on the orientation of the individual. Guruji concluded the session with a beautiful bhajan on the fickleness of human attachments and relationships and the need to anchor oneself only with the Guru and the Divine. Like all the bhajans that would happen through the day, it was a mix of singing, satsang (spiritual discourse) and chanting.
Guruji complemented Mohanji’s talk by highlighting the need for taking care of parents in their old age. He mentioned that Grihastha Dharma includes not just taking care of one’s spouse and children, it also includes our dependent parents as well. He recounted a story from His past when He would go to an old age home to spread love and cheer. One day, He noticed an old couple waiting in the morning and looking at the gates of the old age home. When Guruji enquired, the lady said that it was her grandson’s birthday and she was waiting for her son to get him along so she could see the grandson and celebrate his birthday. Later in the day in the evening, he noticed that the lady was still waiting with hope. She was convinced that her son would come with her grandson. This was too much for the kind and compassionate heart of Guruji. He went out and bought a cake and went to the lady. He told her, “I am sorry but your son and grandson are not coming. Would you please consider me your grandson for a few moments and celebrate the birthday?” She did celebrate her grandson’s birthday with Guruji. When Guruji related this incident, he was moved to tears. He said that leaving one’s parents all alone in an old age home is one of the greatest sins a person can commit.
All the chanting and singing had made us very hungry. We were treated to a yummy breakfast. This was followed by a session on Kaivalya Upanishad by Sri Venkata Subbaiahgaru. This was in Telegu so I did not understand the content much. One fact he shared shed some light on the operating level of an Avadhoota. Guruji usually avoids entering the sanctum sanctorum of a temple. Venkata Subbaiahgaru told him that the deity of the temple gets up from their seat to welcome an Avadhoota. Hence, Guruji avoids entering the sanctum sanctorum of a temple out of respect and to avoid inconveniencing the resident deity.
Also, He revealed that various deities come to worship an Avadhoota before Brahma Muhurta. During our first trip to Dhar, Guruji had told us that he had to set aside time early in the morning for this purpose. During this time, He is usually sequestered in His room. Close disciples attending to Guruji will see flowers on the path used by the deities to Guruji’s room. I also recall reading that the hot water spring tank in Ganeshpuri was reserved for use of Bhagavan Nithyananda an hour before it was open to the public. One of Baba’s close disciples, an old lady, ventured in by mistake and was overawed seeing Bhagavan in the water with various deities and divine beings levitating in the air around Him and worshipping Him. She fell unconscious on seeing this divine sight. Bhagavan scolded her for entering in since the high energy as it could have been detrimental to her life.
Guruji then asked the group to mentally chant the mantra given by their Guru (or Hreem if they did not have one) for 30min. The energetic environment and the shift in frequencies that Guruji had created was palpable. Our spines were literally buzzing with energy. It was an amazing experience to just chant and let go. When the chanting period was over, the group from Kurnool chanted the Siddha Kunjika Stotram from the Durga Saptashati. This elevated the experience to an entirely different level. We just had to close our eyes and float on the words of the chants.
Guruji followed this session with a sweet bhajan satsang outlining a Guru’s often thankless job of carrying the burden of His disciples and relieving them of their pain. He mentioned the anecdote of a disciple who walks on the beach doing his sadhana and sees four footsteps behind him signifying the presence of his Guru. However, one day when severe troubles beset him, he noticed that there were only one set of footsteps. Thinking that his Guru had also abandoned him, he wailed in despair calling to his Guru to explain the reason. The Guru then explains that he is carrying the disciple on his shoulder and that the single set of footprints are those of the Guru (and not of the disciple). Guruji mentioned that he was carrying everyone’s load on his shoulders. At times, the load became unbearable but He would not give up and do whatever it took without expecting anything in return. For this is the purpose of a Guru – to take people to liberation without giving any thought to their own comforts.
After this wonderful satsang, it was time for lunch. The food, as usual, was exceedingly delicious. It was hard to resist the urge to overeat bearing in mind the need to stay awake for the afternoon session. We were to assemble at 2pm and people had about an hour to rest. We found out that Guruji has fallen in the garden – probably due to the karmic stock that He was burning through his body. He decided to rest a bit longer. Mohanji also chose to rest a while.
When we reassembled, it was Guruji’s show from that point on. He continued with his delightful bhajan satsangs that had everyone lapping every word. Guruji also mentioned that he had not had any food since morning. He said that a mother feeds her children first and then has food. There was one person amongst the crowd who hadn’t taken food for some reason. Guruji said that He would also not have food until that person had food. (Guruji did not have any food till evening until after that person ate food).
He told us a story of Lord Siva to explain this incident. Mother Parvathi (Lord Shiva’s consort) requests Lord Shiva to have some food. Lord Siva tells her that unless every being of Kailash is not fed, he cannot have food. Mother Parvathi insists that everyone has eaten. Lord Siva asks her to get the bowl of sugar and she spots an ant trying hard to hold onto a grain of sugar. Only after Lord Shiva sees the ant having the sugar, he accepts food. The next session was the Q&A section with Guruji and Mohanji firing away answers to a long list of questions. After this, there were several bhajans from Guruji. The Vana Satsang concluded soon after sunset with a dance from our beloved Guruji.
We were served a delicious dinner. Guruji was practically fasting more or less the whole of that day and ate with the volunteers and the cleaners after most people had left. The way Guruji honours the serving people is a sight to watch. He has deep respect and love for the poor and needy. He is always considered of their well-being more than his own.
I cannot even begin to explain what all happened in that space on that day. About 150 people sang, danced and dipped themselves in divine awareness in the presence of Guruji and Mohanji. Guruji insisted on Mohanji sitting next to him. It was kind of a handing over. As Mohanji later said, “It was remarkable to see how Guruji is cleaning up the karmic junk of people through his invisible and unorthodox way of singing and dancing. Everybody returned home as better individuals, much lighter and quieter.”
My level of subtlety did not allow me to see much deeper stuff that happened beyond eyes can perceive. Yet, I could see a transformation and spontaneous gratitude in the eyes of people. It was interesting to see how Guruji made a positive difference in the inner world of people within one sunrise and sunset. Lots to learn for everyone! He sits like the typical authoritative head of a family, shouts at people, birds and animals. He chases away people’s inertia. He is sensitive, yet matter-of-fact. No nonsense anywhere, anytime. No time to waste. Work is worship.
What changes happened within, I do not know. But, I know that positive changes do happen in the presence of true Masters. It does. It did. Mohanji and Avadhoota Nadananda are one. There was no visible separation between them, as each was concerned about the well-being of the other. There is no separation between them in spirit and energy too. Guruji told Mohanji as soon as we came in “Be prepared to go to Gyanganj.” Mohanji is travelling fast in his path. We all are travelling with him. Gyanganj through Guruji has gifted to the world a substantial inheritor, as Gyanganj did many times earlier.
Guruji never spared any opportunity to kick egos and hypocrisy of people. He did that spontaneously. At the same time, when it is time to love, it has the same or more intensity. No emotion is stable. In the case of a true Master, you can see the changing moods, purely based on purpose much more distinctly, as they are empty vessels unbound by human space, time or emotions. They display only to teach. Each Master has his own unique style which makes them distinct and inimitable. Mohanji’s approach is totally different from that of Guruji, perhaps because he is working with people abroad more than India. His way is more subtle and quiet, yet effective which we know by the increasing number of people trying to reach him every single day.
The show has just begun. The show will continue. The show can never stop. Those who have eyes to see will see. Those who have hearts will perceive. Those who understand the value will never leave this celestial satsang that flows unhindered through various mouths, aimed at clearing the forest of dark ignorance and ego. Masters are gifts of God. Not understanding a Master is our handicap. Only surrender will help in such times. Mohanji always says “Those who have eyes to see will see. The rest have chosen blindness. Let them be. Bless them so that in some life, they will remove their veil of ego and start seeing the truth. We have no agenda. Like the eternal sun, we provide light to see and heat to burn inertia. Those who choose to use it will be benefitted. Those who ignore it will have to come back and use it someday because nobody can enjoy darkness for long. Sooner or later, everybody will crave for the light of truth.”
The Vana Satsang in Mohanji’s words
The Vana Satsang that happened on 20th November with Avadhoota Nandananda at Kurnool was actually a great event. I do not think we can even begin to understand the depth of the activity that happened, the depth of the cleansing that happened. Also, I don’t think that we can fathom the size of the activity in terms of the cleansing or elevation of awareness that happened. Guruji was in a different mood. He was unwell in the night and was vomiting blood. However, in the morning, He was chanting and dancing like nothing happened. He was trying to give everybody something or the other. I do not think anybody has gone home empty handed. They have all got something. From what I could see, Guruji was cleansing a lot of people at different levels, layers, etc.
Since I was also getting into a kind of trance state, I was trying to sit at a distance and watch the show. I did not want to have to bother about the function or effect Guruji’s flow. So I tried to sit slightly away but Guruji insisted that I should sit next to Him. So I sat next to Him. I also had a functional role there since I had to talk about Grihastha Ashram. But I was in a different mood that day. Guruji asked Me to light the lamp to inaugurate the function. Right from the time I lit the lamp in the morning, I was in a different state from then onwards. I was sitting next to Guruji but it was not helping me. In fact, sitting next to Guruji was triggering my expansion whenever Guruji was going into expansion. So, in a way, I am 100% sure Guruji understood that I may go into trance, because this is like two fires merging or like a fire igniting some dried wood, it catches fire very fast. So now and then when the program was on, he was either tapping me on my knee or He was holding my hand. Those were the times when I was actually on the verge of moving further or going into trance. So, He kept me grounded more or less and He asked me to speak, and speaking was very difficult because I was getting internalized. But then, I tried to crack jokes to make the situation as light as possible. Also, the excellent food helped a bit in grounding. Sujatagaru told me to lie down a little bit which I did. Even though it was 15 or 20 minutes, it was quite a substantial help.
Layer by layer, changes were happening in me after the transfer of powers to me by Guruji on October 10th. So this event helped to solidify that process or to make it more clear and concrete. I asked Him later and He confirmed. One other thing Guruji had said was that it will take time for cleansing due to the Sanskaras of the past. So it is going away slowly, it is getting washed away, but it will take time. Often, when we come in contact with a Master of the stature of Guruji, we cannot even begin to understand the level from which He operates. He plays it very cool and He is always humble by nature. So we begin to feel, “Oh, He is just an ordinary man.” But that is not the truth. He is very, very, very high, and we cannot even begin to understand how high or how deep.
He told me that I am taken care of, before the transfer and even after the transfer and it will all be fine and well guided. So there is nothing to worry about. He said that it is important to know that it is one family. Everybody is together, all people are together and once you are in the family and especially when Gyanganj takes over, there is nothing more to worry. They have taken over. So it is just a question of time before things will be revealed. I think Guruji played a major role in grounding me when the function was happening. I think the function was just an opportunity to be together with Him in close proximity. Even though the function was happening on one side, there was something else happening within me. I was getting cleansed, or I was getting grounded or whatever you want to call it. There was something going on inside and Guruji said, “Don’t analyze, just don’t analyze, just be.” So I don’t analyze it, but the bottom line is that something has happened for sure.
So further to the October 10th transfer, 20th of November was the second stage. This is what I felt. Of course, the function went well and Guruji did huge cleansing for many people, which all of them will experience in the days to come. I also saw how much work He is doing for the sake of people, those who were present there and also those who were not present there. There is so much happening, so much that He is doing. It is unbelievably great. There are no words to explain, and all that remains is extreme gratitude to Gyanganj as well as to Guruji and to all the Masters who are orchestrating this. Just gratitude. I do not exist. Only the tradition exists.