Shlloka: We are kick starting, Ask the Masters. It was a long time coming. And it is such a privilege to have all of you here. I am Shlloka, your host and with a lot of pleasure, I introduce my co-host, Dr. Nidhi Kumar.
Dr. Nidhi Kumar is the lead anchor for Doordarshan. She’s a rubicon of journalism, very iconic and she has been championing various social causes and spiritual emancipation at many levels. And this is one such initiative. I would also like to mention our co-host “Mystics of India”. Mystics of India is a platform which endorses spirituality. And it talks about the tales of mystics through their platform. Finally, I’d like to acknowledge our partners for this episode – Mohanji Foundation. It’s truly a blessing to have you associated with us through this medium and with our first episode. So thank you to all of you for joining…
Dr. Nidhi Kumar: Thank you, Shlloka. And before we introduce Mohanji, it’s time to greet all our viewers here. Namaste, Sairam and welcome, as we kick start the first episode of ‘Ask The Masters’ and go inwards.
By the way, a few questions. Did you know?
- 70% of the content online is pornographic
- India is the hub of student suicide in the world.
- You know what is trending on Google these days? How to cope with anxiety, depression and stress!
These rates are off the roofs. The initiative is to challenge the strength. We can do better and we will do better. The intention is to shift people from ill-being to well-being at the touch of a button. And hopefully, by the end of the series, you would have the solutions that you need to have, to have a happier, healthier life. I now request Shlloka to introduce Mohanji.
Shlloka: So who is Mohanji? This is my first time hosting any event, so I was reading a little bit about him on his website. The core of who he is, is that he is a renowned humanitarian who is focusing on positive human values that we can add in this world and without expectation, through our existence.
But what struck me the most was that Mohanji does not exist. This really caught me because the description that I read was him being an everyday man. So what is it about Mohanji that makes so many people gravitate towards him? It is the fact that he does not exist! And whenever anything does not exist, it doesn’t have a frame, it doesn’t have dimensions, it doesn’t have personalities, it doesn’t have qualities. It is empty, there is nothingness. And because of this emptiness, Mohanji becomes a doorway for something bigger and larger to happen through him.
Mohanji, it is such a pleasure and privilege for a seeker to be associated with you and be in your midst. So thank you for gracing the occasion.
Mohanji: Thank you so much.
Shlloka: We have people joining in from all across the globe. And the first thing that I would like to ask you is about your spiritual journey. What led you to this? What got you started, can you talk a little bit about that?
Mohanji: Well, after going through all phases of life – the different phases, physical, emotional, intellectual, the many phases that we go through, right from childhood, (and mostly unconsciously, because we don’t know we have shifted to various levels), at some point in time, this question comes to you. What exactly are you looking for? Since I had been working in the shipping industry earlier, I could taste whatever money could buy. But it wasn’t happiness. So I was literally searching for happiness for a long period of time. I used to go to the Himalayas often. Whenever I used to get leave, I flew to the Himalayas. But the problem was that when I went back, I couldn’t carry the Himalayas with me!
So at one point in time, I started asking myself, “Is this really what you want to do?” When you have time you’re going to a place and that place has peace. But you’re not carrying that peace with you. So you need to find peace amongst all activities or amidst everything. So that’s when I literally started focusing on myself. And it continued for a long time, about five or six years of deep penetration. My path was very simple. I didn’t have a guru. So I was literally connecting to my spine and just switching off from the front-orientedness.
We are generally front-oriented, because all our sensors are in the front and we tend to go to the front and hence everything is front-oriented. That is how we are made. Usually we don’t even think about our spine in our daily life because we don’t have to, unless there is back pain. I simply tried to connect to my spine, started feeling my spine and that literally took me inside – meaning I used to connect to my spine and breathe through the spine, etc.
Even if you just remember your spine, you will know that your connection has gone to your third eye. This was my practice and it took some time. From the world of sounds which I was totally involved in, like everybody else, I started going into the core of sounds which is silence. Like the ocean, from where the waves are coming out and going back to the ocean, all noises come out of silence and they go back to silence. So I could go down deeper and deeper after a lot of effort. Don’t think it’s easy, because it takes time, and because we are used to sounds. We are used to noises. And we think it’s natural for us to be in the noises. I was one of the noises in the world of noises.
But then 3 am to 8 am was my time. The rest of the time I had sold for money because I was working. So from 3am to 8am, I used to focus on myself, on the spine, and then go deeper. Silence used to be in the form of less thoughts initially, and no thoughts eventually. Once I touched silence, I realised I didn’t need to go anywhere. So in the midst of activity, I could penetrate to the world of silence. Then later I came back to the world of noises as silence. That was the difference. That’s why Shlloka said a little bit earlier that I don’t exist, because I don’t exist as a noise. I exist as silence which is probably not so visible. You have got to have the ‘eyes’ to really see that, but that was fine with me. Everybody need not connect because many people connect to the world of noises easily but silence is very difficult. From the world of noises to the world of silence was the transition for me. And that created Mohanji.
Shlloka: The iconic Mohanji as we say.
Nidhi: Absolutely! We resonate with your views. Because the purpose of ‘Ask the Masters’ is to go inwards and introspect, especially in these quarantined times/ lockdown times. However a lot of people are very stressed because of the current situation and there’s a lot of anxiety in their minds.
In the present times people are suffering both on macro and micro levels. On the macro level, people are losing their jobs. They are starving. And on the mental level, some of them are going through a lot of hell. There’s a lot of mental abuse happening as we speak and the statistics are quite alarming. Then there is domestic violence also on a different front. On a micro level, people are stressed, angered and their relationships are actually getting strained. How do we tackle this suffering?
Mohanji: I would say don’t try to tackle situations, instead tackle yourself. That’s the right thing to tackle. Because externally, we do not have control over various things since we are only participants. However, internally we can control everything. This is a God-given time, to be ourselves; to really penetrate within and understand this thing called ‘us’.
You have got to really take time and look at your structure and try to segregate yourself and say, “Okay, this anger, agitation, confusion, insecurity etc. is not me.” You can take various aspects like, “I’m not the anger, I’m not the hatred. I’m not the comparison” etc. and start detaching yourself from all that you are not. All these emotions are connected to the world outside.
In actuality, the world for us is only after we wake up. There is no world for us when we sleep. So the world that we are talking about i.e the people, materials, time, space etc. is only when we are awake. When we are sleeping or when we are dreaming, we don’t have that world. Hence we should understand “What are WE amongst or amidst this world?” We should then try to understand yourselves in that context. The moment you start recognising who you are, you will start witnessing yourself in the whole situation. You will not be JUST a participant, you will be a reliable or a relevant participant – meaning, you will actually tend to add value to the situation.
Many times I feel we don’t have to speak. Silence is a good idea. We don’t have to react, speak or get involved every time, but we do it habitually. It’s our habit. If somebody calls us by a bad name or bad thing, we react immediately. But we don’t have to. We can just watch that person venting the anger and becoming calm after that. So in many places, we don’t need interference. If we are able to see that in ourselves, and we look at the world, like a mirror, I think most of these things can be sorted out.
Second point, we should try not to analyse situations. In general, we have a deep wish to know why something happened. We always try to put the blame on somebody or blame the situation. And it costs us a lot of time, stress and also spoils our mind. But as human beings we do have our (limited) life – if we live 80 years, it’s only 29,200 days, it’s not a lot of days. By the time we realise we have lived, we are (almost) dead. So in this lifetime, we have the right to be happy and content. We can’t and we should not give that possibility or that key to somebody. WE should keep that key.
That’s why I say, “Any situations in life are only a reminder that they exist and that’s an experience.” So apart from the experience point of view, we should not interfere. I’m not saying that you need to be an escapist. You be there. But be there as stillness or an icon of peace, where you do not have to react. You say, “Okay, this is the situation. We’ll talk about it, let’s sort it out”. Then, we try to help them come out of it. Just as we clear a roadblock. This is possible for us. We can all be policemen sometime, but non-interfering policemen.
Dr. Nidhi Kumar: Yes, like you said we need to handle these kinds of situations with a lot more equanimity.
Question: How to be positive, healthy, stable, peaceful and relaxed in such challenging times like the one currently? What is going to be the duration of this situation? How long do we need to stay stressed and why are we stressed? How do we be positive?
Mohanji: Being stressed is our choice, but being observant and being calm in any situation is our right. We can be very easy and non-stressed. But have we observed what brings this stress? Number one is expectation. We have a lot of expectations everyday – from the time we wake up in the morning.
Today I heard something – the time between when you wake up and when you get out of the bed is your amount of success; that means if you wake up and still lie down without getting up, it means you have earned laziness – meaning your success rate is affected. So this is something to think about. I would say, “Be purposeful”.
Also understand that situations are probably not engineered by us. A situation happened – it was given to us. What can we do in this peripheral? We have time, space, certain awareness, certain intelligence and certain people involved. In this context, we have to act. You can actually imagine that you are an actor playing a role. You can really play the role very well. So, this is your option.
In the current condition, Nature has told you: “You have no control”. An invisible particle has created a lot of havoc amongst us (the visible particle, for we are visible in this world). An invisible thing (we don’t even know what a virus looks like) has actually created a scare in the whole world. And it put everybody indoors. In this context, we need to spend time to understand and assimilate ourselves. It’s a very good time for us to know how we react to situations. Because this kind of thing has not happened in the last 200 years as far as I know, or probably ever since mankind started. We have a God-given opportunity.
There is a lot of stress connected to finances, stress connected to activity, stress connected to choices, we can’t travel (movement) etc. All the stresses have come together. And secondly, we may have to live together with people we really do not like, for example: our relatives and friends etc. in one space and being forced to see them. So this is something which is giving added stress.
Now you have every chance to re-wind yourself, recycle yourself, reset yourself. This chance should be well used. This is what I feel. And then there are so many methods and practices which great masters have given us including pranayama, the hyper-ventilations, connecting to yourself through certain meditations etc. But contemplation (manana) is very good. Manana makes a Maanav – this means that one who is able to think and contemplate, is a human being (man).
So we have a lot of opportunities to penetrate and contemplate: “Is that me?” Like Adi Shankara said….
Mano buddhi ahankara chittani naaham
Na cha shrotra jihve na cha ghraana netre
Na cha vyoma bhumir na tejo na vaayuhu
Chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham
But the point is that you can actually think, “Am I the body? Am I the intellect? Am I the ego? Am I the Spirit? What are we?”
So this will really make you fully collected and composed. And the moment you start realising you are very powerful, that you’re completely the universe, you will stop looking at the whole world through a keyhole. You will realise that you have the opportunity to see the whole universe. The moment you understand this, there ends the story. Then there is no stress for you anymore. There is no confusion, there is no agony, anxiety, anger, etc. It will all leave because you very well know that we are the universe and that nothing outside can touch us actually. Unless we are only external, then we get beaten up. In other words, we give the remote control of our happiness in somebody else’s hands, like neighbours or friends or relatives. Keep the remote control with you and use it wisely.
Question: I get scared very easily. I am scared of death basically or scared of what could happen to me.
Mohanji: Faith is the antidote for fear. Whenever we have fear, we understand that faith is lacking. So firstly, it should be the faith in ourselves; faith, not on something outside because your own personal Guru is inside. When you connect to yourself and assimilate yourself; when you understand that body, mind, intellect, ego, spirit, it is all within and that our body is just a case (shell), we start connecting to ourselves. Then we will feel peaceful.
As I said, first you have to have faith in yourself. You are born and you have a space here, you have relevance here. So in this relevance and space, you do what you can, within your given capacity. You don’t have to compare, you don’t have to compete. There is nothing to compete or to compare with. You are being yourself and that is exactly your contribution to this world. So whenever you feel fear, understand that fear has no basis. Fear is like a shadow where light exists. So connect to the light, which is you. Then you can connect to any guru, any master, any god which you like to follow.
But essentially, it’s all about you. The whole spirituality is about you. “Tat Tvam Asi – You Are That”. That is exactly what the great masters have said. Over a period of time, you have been trying to find yourself. This is the only point here. If we understand this, there is no confusion. But if you are chasing something and if you don’t get it, there is disappointment. Please remember that when we have found ourselves, there is nothing anymore to find. This finding ourselves needs time, and we have to accept ourselves. Acceptance is very important. Most of the time, we don’t accept ourselves even if others accept us. That’s where the problem lies. If somebody has an opinion about us, we buy it and think it is real, and that it is true, then we have stopped accepting ourselves.
We all have weaknesses, we all have strengths. We all have everything. We are a mixture. Nobody is higher or lower, not even equal. We are all unique. We should remember that we are a unique creation and this uniqueness is what we are giving to this world. The world may accept it or reject it. That is not our problem. We are existing today. This is the real celebration – that we are alive. This life is the celebration and this presence is the celebration. When you remember this, there will be no fear. Fear cannot exist together with light. Darkness cannot exist together with light. Fear cannot exist together with faith.
Dr. Nidhi Kumar: As you said, I’d like to reiterate the same thing….O Light of Exceptional Glory, enlighten the darkness of our minds, for dark is the path and you hold this light. The next question is..
“I am a stay at home mom and I wish to work again. I do not know what career to choose and do not know how to figure it out. My mind is in a quandary.”
When we were speaking yesterday, you told me that you’re getting so many calls from the US where people are losing jobs. It’s the same kind of apprehension.
Mohanji: I feel that the job loss situation will be all over the world because of the economic meltdown. But my answer to that is – let us not focus on the negatives. If you focus on negatives, there are plenty. Let us focus on the positives. First and foremost, how do we know what’s good for us? It’s very simple. It depends on our nature. What is our nature? We all have our unique nature. Some people have a nature for being a doctor. Some people like that profession, because their nature suits that kind of profession. Some people like to be a lawyer. Some people like to be in the sports field. Hence all these are connected to one’s individual nature. If your nature is not suiting that profession, you won’t be successful there.
So first and foremost, sit down and understand which profession suits you. That’s the first right step. Then you go towards the profession with full confidence. I would first say, “If you really want to be successful, you have to really apply yourself”. There’s no other way. Working smart is accepting yourself and applying yourself fully and doing only what you have to do. You don’t have to do the whole variety of things. Don’t try to multi-task and spoil your entire career. Instead focus on something which really suits you and dig deeper and deeper until you finally see water.
What suits you is what you can do effortlessly. That means if you like something and if you’re effortless about it, that shows that the profession/work suits you very well. That’s a sign of it. It is very easy to understand. If you are feeling stressed to even get up in the morning and if it is a pain or pressure to go towards your work, implies that you are doing something which you do not like to do or doing something which does not suit you. It’s like wearing a shirt which is not your size.
Even in spirituality, what suits you is your path. Some people like devotion. They like to sing, chant, praise etc. Some people like intellectual stuff. They would like to listen, analyse, understand and only then they accept. Some people like Karma Yoga. They go out and they serve the world. Some people are a mixture of all this, but there will be some predominance and that is your path. Whatever is predominant in us; that’s exactly what we are. That’s our path.
Dr. Nidhi Kumar: That answers our question. I would like to add a little thing to it that it’s good to be rooted to your values. Let us move on to our next question.
Shloka: In extension to the career question, there are many individuals who talk about or who write about being compelled to be on a career path because of certain constraints. The constraints could be like financial constraints or it is too late in life to change career, or have a family to take care etc. So how would you advise those people to go through a career and the profession effortlessly?
Mohanji: The Upanishad says, “The food that came to you today is the medicine for you, even if that’s the food you never chose.” This means the food was delivered to you. Sometimes you are compelled to do something just for survival. In that situation, I would suggest you to always do the work with full dedication, but at the same time, have a hobby on the side, which you would like to do. So it compensates. For example, a person likes to be a photographer, but instead he is working as a government servant. So be a government servant fully for the sake of earning but at the same time practice photography as a hobby, so you don’t really miss it. And that gives equilibrium.
Sometimes life provides us with things which we may not have vocally asked for (but probably we may have been ‘eligible’ for that, we don’t know). If such a thing lands on your lap, accept it, then deliver your best. When you get something, you should do justice to it. Otherwise it’s not worth it. By rejecting or by resisting, it stays further. But by accepting it and by fully involving in it, maybe you will start liking it. Actually, the dislike starts with resistance. We keep pushing it away to an extent that it becomes painful. Then, we suffer. We don’t have to really suffer. Through acceptance, we can remove the suffering. We do not really have to cope with it – instead we dive into it and say, “Okay, what best can I do about it?” Plus, we take up a hobby which develops our other side, which blooms us through doing our chosen activity.
Question: How do we effectively use our time during this period amidst the stress and fear?
Mohanji: Go online…(laughter). Very simple. We can’t go outside the house, right?
Question: How do we motivate ourselves in this situation to begin and continue daily meditation and practices, especially early in the morning despite our busy schedule with family and work?
Mohanji: We have an Early Birds Club now. That’s the reason why I started this club recently. We have to start early in the morning at 4 am. Then have a pattern of activity until 6 am. By the time you reach the usual waking time, you have actually covered a lot of distance. It’s not easy to just start the day early and do nothing, because then the usual habits pull us back to bed. So we have started the Early Birds Club for that purpose. And this is really creating a difference in people’s lives. Now people have actually written back saying that they now have a lot of time and there is a lot of peace, contentment, etc.
To start early, you need a bit of effort initially, but eventually it becomes a pleasure. You will feel quite good because you’re not just wasting time sleeping, procrastinating and then being lazy and feeling wasted. Instead you wake up early then do something. Some people have started writing their own stories. People say that it looks like another life or feels like another life. You can do so many things in this time; you can be very creative. As said in the beginning, there are so many domestic issues going on. I would like everybody to inspire people. It’s not the prerogative of spiritual teachers alone to do that.
All of us have our stories, have our history. We have a lot of wealth inside. We are not short or small. We can always share some insights with people, with the world outside and give some kind of a consolation or solace to people outside. It need not always be the teachers and the masters. Sometimes people get bored with these spiritual people (laughs) Normal people in the world can also talk. I always inspire people to share their experiences. You share your story, it might resonate with some because some people have actually survived total hardships like displacements, wars, etc. Many people who follow me around the world have gone through wars, they have been displaced, lost their houses, family members, etc. So I tell them to share it, even if it is painful to remember. Maybe it will be purgatory sometimes, and you may get purified through it. And that happens. People can be natural and be themselves in this time because you cannot go anywhere. You can use the online facility and communicate, which will help people. I feel that we all have a great potential. All we have to do is accept ourselves, and then we’ll realise that we can do a lot in this world.
Dr. Nidhi Kumar: Absolutely. Now we take the viewers to the next segment, which is on emotion. One of the greatest forms of suffering is to deal with death. So we have a lot of questions on this. How does one deal with death because it becomes an overwhelming and imaginable sense of grief, to deal with death.
Question: How to overcome the anxiety and the debilitating feeling that happens after some loved one passes away. How do you deal with that?
Mohanji: This is a traditional fear – the fear of death. For all the 7.5 billion people in the world, the biggest of fears is the fear of death. And the next fear is usually the fear of failure and society, fear of failure etc. But the fear of death is a part of us.
The driving factor of all species is instinct – that’s the driving factor. While for human beings, the driving factor is usually the inclination or vasanas, and of course desires. But the instinct part which is common across all species is the main instinct for survival. So this fear of death is connected to survival instinct, because we like to survive. Every being likes to survive, and the other side of survival is death. So we fear something which we do not want to happen, but it’s true and inevitable that we will die.
As human beings, we have the capacity to understand and assimilate the idea that we are deathless. That is only for us because we have that capacity to connect to something which is permanent. So we have that thing inbuilt in us, we have that capacity. So what is the antidote to fear of the inevitable death? The death that we are walking towards every day, even at this point in time when we are speaking, after our conversation, we are closer to death. It goes like that, right? Every moment we are taking one more step towards death that is supposed to happen.
So how do we come to terms with it, with the inevitability? It’s very simple – we must understand that we have something within us which is deathless. And that’s the reality. The shell that we carry, the form that we carry, the name, the position and the positions that we have, are all temporary; while there is something which is bright and brilliant, which is real and that’s hiding behind this whole paraphernalia or this structure. So we start looking at it and we say, “Oh, this guy doesn’t want anything. He has no interest in life. He has no interest in death. He is deathless. He is a time rider. For him, time is like a horse. He rides time.” Because time doesn’t ride him, time only rides the body, the body, the mind, intellect, ego. But the thing which is bright within us, it’s beyond time. So, the moment you start connecting to that, then death is just a phase.
In fact, every day we are dying for a few hours. That is the deep sleep state, where we do not know whether we are a man or a woman, time or space, whether we are a guru or a disciple, we know nothing. Then when we wake up again, we realise that this is the garb which we have been born in. We are born in this life and we come to know and then we start behaving like this particular role, this personality. So every day we are experiencing that and every day we are coming back to life in the morning. That’s why it’s a new life every day. So what happens in actual death is that we come back in another body, or we don’t come back at all – we dissolve. So this is the option. When we have awareness, awareness is the antidote – it is the antidote to the fear of death. This is the way it is.
Nidhi: How do we free ourselves from the bondages of emotions and become mentally strong? How to overcome negative emotions like fear and negative energy?
Mohanji: We have three processors in our system which are mind (processing emotions), intellect (processing, information), ego (processing personality matters like positions and possessions, role in society etc.). So this together is what we call as mind-matter. Actually it’s one material or one processor, but we segregate them so we can understand. The body has three processors and these three processors need food. The food of mind is emotion, but when we have so many emotions to handle, the mind has obesity. When we have so much information to handle, intellect has obesity. When we have so many positions, possessions and ego stuff to handle, then ego has obesity. If you eat a lot of food, the body has obesity. So obesity is part of our existence and the 7.5 billion people around the world have some obesity in some way.
So what do we need to do? How do we handle these emotions etc.? Emotions are coming in all the time. But we need to understand – like our stomach for example, we need to know how much we should eat, what we should eat, and what quantity etc., so that we are in control of our food consumption. Like that, we should be in control of our emotions, and emotional consumption as well. Emotions are available outside; this is all coming from outside. We need to control what comes inside and don’t just get involved in emotions habitually, because that’s what we do normally. And the same with information, so much information is coming that is mostly negative in nature – like 200,000 people died, so many people are in quarantine, this country closed the doors, that country closed the doors; so many people lost their jobs. This is what we hear from television.
What we need to do – we need to have an antidote. We go and search for something positive and read that, basically the life of great masters. In India we have a great tradition with the tradition of liberation – moksha. If you look at the whole world, the purushartha (dharma, artha, kama, moksha), these four aspects out of which moksha is defined only in this country, and that’s well-defined. And out of this many religions came out like Sikhism, Buddhism, all these came out of one aspect called moksha. So we have that big, huge tradition and depth of wealth. So if we read or assimilate materials or things connected to moksha, the highest potential, we can superimpose that moksha on mind, intellect, ego everywhere. And with the benchmark of conscience – our own conscience, which is like a guard, like a firewall, which protects us from all the impacts. So we do not compromise our conscience, and we use the potential for liberation for all of us. We all have it as the benchmark. And if we don’t get involved in things which we don’t want to get involved in, we will always be safe.
Suffering is in the mind. It’s only a waking state thing. Pain can be in the body. Like what Ramana Maharshi said when somebody asked him, when he had cancer, “Swami, do you have pain?” He said, “I have pain, but I have no suffering. I choose not to suffer.” Suffering is always connected to resistance. We try to say, “Oh, why did this happen to me? Why am I such a good man? Why are bad things happening?” All these confusions leave us with a lot of junk and suffering. So this we can definitely avoid – self-pity, sympathy all these things should be plucked out and thrown away. Life is happening. Take life as it comes. And when emotions are coming, which you don’t want….. like when we go to vendors or vendors coming home (when there is no Corona situation). When they come home to sell things, what do we buy? We buy only what we need in the house. We don’t buy everything. When we go to the supermarket, what do we buy? We only buy what we like to consume, otherwise we don’t buy. So this is what we should do all of our life. Whenever we are awake, we should be controlling our consumption. We should not indiscriminately consume, because if you do that – obesity happens. And this is a continuous thing, and sometimes we are so helplessly involved in it, and that’s a big trauma for us.
So as a general answer, I can say to control your consumption: physical consumption, emotional consumption, intellectual consumption, and also ego things like pride. Don’t try to consume everything that you get.
And also, you do not have to prove anything in life. Because people who love you will accept you; people who do not love you will not accept you. That’s how the world is. Not everybody will accept you. Those who have eyes to see will see you; those who do not have eyes to see, can’t see you. That’s fine, because that’s the way creation has happened. So let us be realistic. And let us say that we don’t have to prove to anybody. We are living our life without violating or without violence. We are not trying to harm anybody so that we are on safe ground. We contribute what we can contribute. And we always ask the question, “Can I do something for you?” so that our purity is always maintained. If you focus on what you can deliver and not what you consume, you will feel peaceful. This is the right time for understanding that.
Nidhi: To add a little bit to that question, there is societal judgement that comes in, you know. You say to live in the moment, but sometimes society kind of judges you on a lot of things, and a lot of you (viewers) have been writing to us: “My mother-in-law or my so-and-so..” You have to get over that judgement somehow by realising that it’s your life and you can live it whichever way you want to, because God ultimately wants you to be happy. So what may be a sin in say, the eyes of society or your friend circle, may not be a sin in your own eyes.
Mohanji: Well, the minds of the other people are in their own bodies or their own systems. We do not have much control over it. But I would say that if we have not been affected at all for a period of time, then the impact becomes less. If we’re reacting to everything, it will be increasing because then there is a pleasure on the other side. Like if somebody is abusing us, or judging us, criticising us, which I have experienced many times. I don’t respond, and say to myself: “okay, this is their opinion, my reality is totally different.”
So we must have trust in ourselves, faith in ourselves. We don’t buy things which we don’t agree with. Because we can’t change people, change other people’s minds. We interact with many types of people every day, right? And we don’t have many choices for it, because society has a variety of different types of people. We have to interact with them consistently. We don’t have any choice. So while we’re doing it, make sure that we remain clean and unaffected. Unaffected means – let them say whatever they want. If they have pleasure, it’s okay. I believe in that. If somebody abuses me, I think: “okay, maybe because of me, he has that pleasure.” So this is okay. He has the right to have pleasure, like everybody. So even if he is abusing me, it’s fine. As long as I don’t buy it, it stays with him. You know, I normally say this to people: when people try to gossip about others to me, I say, “You must have done a lot of hard work to get this information. This is precious for you. Keep it with you. Don’t give it to me.” So they don’t tell me again.
Q: Can you kindly share with us at what stage of your sadhana (with regard to the number of months or years) you first started experiencing the state of blissful existence? As someone who has recently started to meditate, I would like to know more about it so that I can be not immediately bothered about such expectations hindering the entire process.
Mohanji: Yes, I would say that, first of all, we should not keep any expectation. This is the first point. Second is that the experience is usually individualistic, because we all have our own constitution. We can’t say that another person had this experience, so I should have it. It may not happen that way. Third is that for me personally, I did not know what I was looking for. Because as I told you, I was working in a company and I was practising.
So one thing I would always say is that you have the same place for meditation or practice every day. Don’t change locations. Because what happens is the mind gets occupied with it. So I used to keep one room and I had covered the whole room – I made it like a cave, so that there was no light entering from anywhere. And I only had one lamp, no pictures, nothing in that room, so that the distraction level was less. Initially there’ll be a lot of distraction because we have habitual thoughts coming in, and things like the pleasures, which we like to indulge in. That comes like, “I need to have coffee or tea”, or, “it is time to check the mail”, things like that. But for that I used to start at 3 am every day, but I don’t recommend that because that was my own style. I used to have my time, my own personal time and that was 3 am to 8 am every day. That is when I was practising – means I was actually trying to explore myself. I’m not asking you to replicate anything – I’m just telling you in a broad spectrum, one space, always. One space, one kind of environment and one lamp (with flame) or one thing to connect to. Plus one practice – same practice. Sometimes it’s so boring but you still do the same practice. If it’s a mantra, chant the same mantra again and again and again. So what happens is the mind finally breaks up. Mind can’t hold it anymore. Mind likes variety. The repetition kills the mind, and that moment when it breaks is when your whole identity is broken.
So for me, it was consistently about six months before there was a slight change in the whole thing – where I could assess the difference by not getting affected with the world outside. That means whether a thing is there or not, I’m not affected. Earlier, I used to have certain requirements every day. If I get up in the morning, I take a bath and once I’m done, then I do my prayers. But then after that, I need to have a coffee or something. But all those needs became optional. So that was the first step. So like that, eventually, tremendous detachment happened with the world outside. When you start touching the silence deeper, at that time, the world of noises is somewhere far away. You can hear the noises, but that’s not yours – so far away. Then you feel totally separated from it. If you want to go to the noises you can go. But again, you are not affected. It’s like with some people who smoke a lot, who can’t handle being without cigarettes. Then after the moment they decide to stop smoking, after a long period of time, even if somebody smokes, it doesn’t matter, because they have overcome that – like that. The world of noises is probably a temptation for some time, and then the temptation also goes. So, I would say it took six months before I could actually start connecting to myself by crossing over the tendency for searching for noises, because that was my world like everybody else’s. This is the world of noises. We are used to it and we think that’s natural for us, but it’s not. We think it’s natural.
Nidhi: There was a question regarding the sadhana, is it traataka by any chance?
Mohanji: So, one technique as I said, I was looking at the lamp but I was not looking – my eyes were open and connecting to the lamp but I was connecting to my spine. I didn’t practice traataka.
Nidhi: Shlloka, let’s take the next question and then move on to the next segment liberation.
Shlloka: The next question, as you’ve touched upon it earlier in your segment as well. You know, it’s a very natural tendency for people to want to tide over suffering and reach a state of pleasantness, pleasure, enjoyment, whatever you may want to call it. You have stressed upon awareness as being that seat of pleasantness and enjoyment. You’ve also spoken about how presence is the highest practice. So if you can tell our viewers who are watching you for the first time as to what is the importance of awareness and why so much stress on it?
Mohanji: Yes, awareness starts with very small things like for example, we are talking. Just be aware of every word you utter. That means no absent-mindness, first of all. Then we are moving our hand or we are doing something – be aware. In other words, let the mind be present with everything, every word, every action so that your mind is right here in the present. This is the number one thing. Then you can go deeper and deeper in awareness and eventually you are aware of your heartbeat, you are aware of your breath, you are aware of your aura; you can be aware of everything. You know, it’s very interesting if you start connecting to yourself and start assimilating and you will know that the heart has a particular frequency; that the liver has a particular frequency, that every aspect of you has a different frequency. And it’s like an orchestra inside. You know, every organ is playing in the orchestra, that’s a synchronisation – it’s like a huge beautiful melody. So you start connecting to yourself and then you realise, “Oh my God, I’m a big universe, what I was looking at outside is nothing compared to what I am or what I can see inside”. So awareness takes us there. Awareness is so important. Now, in daily life, what happens is that we get so involved that we lose that awareness a little bit – because we forget that we are the actor. We forget that we are not the role. We are the actors but we forget that thing. So, what happens is – we get involved with the role and we believe that we are the role, not the actor at that point in time. We get affected and that’s where suffering happens. Because the role has suffering, you also have suffering. Otherwise, if we always remember: “I’m an actor and this is just a role I’m playing and this is temporary”, then there is no suffering. So, suffering is connected to our deep involvement – then we tend to blame the other actors. We are in these role plays every morning till evening.
Nidhi: I am reminded of Shakespeare’s saying, Mohanji. He said that famous line, “Today, we have our exits and our entrances. So each of us is a player and it will be curtains down soon for everybody. That’s what he said.
Mohanji: Yeah. So this awareness is that, but consciousness is different; awareness and consciousness are different. Consciousness is our driving mechanism which has three distinct aspects every day: the waking state, the dream state and the deep sleep state. So the same consciousness operates in three dimensions each day in 24 hours. But awareness is that we stay over all that’s happening to us – like a view from above. So you can see all the role plays, but at the same time you remember you are always the actor. So that gives you that immunity as well as power. That makes you powerful.
Shlloka: So we have a question from someone – you just spoke a while back about sadhana. And you mentioned that there is so much resistance. As a spiritual practitioner myself, I experience that as well – how every day, one doesn’t want to get up and do sadhana – there’s so many things to do, don’t do it. There is so much resistance and one sometimes succumbs to the mind. So the question is being asked:
How does one conquer the fear of limitations in the way of one’s sadhana?
Mohanji : That’s only in the initial stages. In fact, after a while you will not even feel anything if you avoid expectations, if you avoid agenda. For example: “My friend who was doing sadhana achieved a level of silence. So I should also do that.” Don’t do that. You just be yourself, don’t compare, don’t compete and just follow. I never used to tell anybody what I used to practice – that’s a very good idea. Because if you try to share with people, then they would all have opinions and sometimes they derail us. So I would say that keep your own practice close to you, do it as quietly and consistently as you can, and after a while, this becomes a usual thing.
See, the subconscious mind reproduces what you do repeatedly – like for example, if you do 21 days or 41 days. That is the point of the Early Birds Club that I spoke about earlier. That means people wake up at a certain time and do a particular sadhana. After a few days, they automatically wake up because they can’t sleep. Then that becomes enjoyable. And if you’re not competing and comparing, you will have no sorrows connected to it. So I would always say that you must consider that you are not the mind, you are not the intellect, you’re not the ego and don’t analyze and don’t keep on digging the seed out to see if the roots have formed. The root will happen at its own time – everything has its time. But I always believe that everyone has the clear potential, like everyone else, to touch the highest consciousness or to touch the state which is consciousness. So, all of us have that power and we are never higher or lower than anybody.
Shlloka: Mohanji, in connection with this, can talk about the importance of sadhana, what are the benefits of sadhana or yoga for that matter? You know, there’s so many people who are non-practitioners who have written to ask :
Why should one be pursuing the path of sadhana? Are there any other ways to achieve the ultimate, or is sadhana the only way? If it is the only way, what is the benefit?
Mohanji: Well, sadhana is nothing but a systematic practice. That means something which you’re committing to. And anything you are committing to, you should have conviction about it, you should believe in it. Not because somebody else said or is doing or not doing. We should check whether it suits our nature, whether it is natural for us or whether it is suitable for us, and then we follow that. For example, a person who’s devotional by nature cannot follow a guru or path of knowledge or jnana yoga. This person can only follow bhakti, and that’s what suits a person of that type. So this is the first point – that when you practice something, make sure it suits you. Don’t just follow like a cow; a cow’s tendency is that if a cow goes in one direction, every cow goes in that direction too. So we should not do that because we are human beings. We should not have herd instinct. Instead, we should look at what suits us and choose. If something doesn’t suit us, we should be happy to say that’s not our cup of tea. That is the first thing about sadhana.
Secondly, consistency as I said earlier. Then the question about why one should have sadhana – it’s very simple, otherwise you miss a great personality!! Instead you will be immersed in the world outside, a world of noises with so many things, varieties, colours etc. And it is never ending because you will always have more and more desires. And finally get tired because all this while you’ve been running after so many things and materials, you got so many things but are not still happy.
So, how do we find happiness instead of going for various pleasures? We come to ourselves and then we realise, “Oh my God, I never needed anything, I am happy otherwise.” So, for understanding this you need to have practice. I always say two D’s — one is Discipline and the second is Determination. The other side is distraction. So to overcome distraction, you need to have discipline and determination. Determination is to connect to yourself. As I said earlier, the whole spiritual path can be crushed and the essence of it can be said as — “You are that. You are what you’re looking for.” So this ‘You’ is a great story. We know that we only connect to ourselves as incidents based on what we have experienced. That’s not us. We have so many other things, other faculties and factors. We are a conglomeration of all that. So if you do not connect to yourself, you miss that great opportunity.
Nidhi: Mohanji, we are completely out of time now. I’m just going to take two more questions. One person said that she’s been praying to Sai Baba and she’s been seeing your face. There are many more questions like that. Another one is:
Why is Sai not answering my prayers? What should I do? It’s been a decade. What would you like to say to such people who’ve been asking plenty of such questions?
Mohanji: How can I say why Sai is not answering? But I would say that Sai always answers. We have living Masters and we have had great Masters who have lived here as beacons of light and power. And they always respond, I believe so. Because the thing is that we are probably asking for something which can’t be delivered, something personal or selfish. They don’t cater to it.
Or secondly, they would have delivered something which we fail to see because we are focusing on something else. This happens many times. What we got, we may not see. But what we don’t have or what we thought we should have, we will see. It is the same with the gurus, you know. The tradition says or the scriptures say, “The one who has appeared in front of you is your Guru. Connect to him completely.” But then we have probably an image of Babaji, an image of Sai Baba and we say, “Oh, that form did not come to me. So I don’t accept it.” So you miss it. This happens in our life.
I would say that no master ever denies anybody. This is my experience. All true masters are here to serve. They’re not here to earn or eat and eat more etc. They are here to serve. If you stop asking, maybe you get much more, maybe you are supposed to get a Mercedes but you asked only for a Maruti!
Nidhi: How lovely! How beautifully you summed it all up, Mohanji. And I think we’re going to have many more sessions with you. It’s almost time now to wrap up. It’s truly been a very insightful, incredible journey packed with so much wisdom and this intersection with you has been wonderful to begin with. We have many, many more questions, which will not go unanswered I’m sure. To wrap up, I’d like to give special thanks to you, Mohanji for gracing us, to my team Union, for producing and marketing this show headed by our volunteer Ajay. Thank you so much. Thank you to the Mohanji Foundation. We thank you for making it see the beautiful light of day. Now, I leave it to Shlloka to end this session for today.
Mohanji: Thank you. Thank you. Thanks to all of you.
Shlloka: It’s been a pleasure. And you know, the viewers have flooded us with questions.
Nidhi: I think even ten sessions with you will not be enough. There were hundreds of questions, and you have thousands and millions of followers. So we have to have this again very soon. That’s a promise to our viewers.
Shlloka: Mohanji, people have written to us, of course with their questions, but you know, it’s also just amazing to see the kind of profound gratitude that they have for you. For example, we have an individual who talks about and thanks you for your protection and for your grace – and many more messages.
We wish to have Mohanji back once again, so please keep your questions coming, viewers. And in the meantime, we would urge you if you have more questions, you can always visit Mohanji’s website, Mohanji’s Facebook page, it’s flashing on the screens. You can always stay connected and be answered to the best possible way, until we meet again. Thank you Mohanji once again, see you in the next one.
Shlloka and Nidhi: (To the viewers) We hope you would take all the answers and implement them in your life and we do hope you’ve liked Ask the Masters.
Transcribed by Nada Rakovic and Rakshitha Ananth
Proofread by Geetha Iyer