Interview (2023) | Mohanji
Originally published on The POV: https://www.the-pov.com/mohanji
Mohanji’s ‘Shiva’ experience
Usha Akella: Namaskaram. Thank you sincerely, Mohanji, for this conversation. For some reason, an image that I saw on the internet comes to mind—you are in meditation with ash covering your head and face. I’d like to understand the process ‘scientifically’ or biologically, that generated this because meditation is taking place in the body, and spiritual states are said to be aligned with biochemical transformations.
Mohanji: Thank you for the question. I cannot explain this scientifically because I don’t know. I’ll tell you what happened that day. This was probably a day before my birthday or one or two days before my birthday in 2008.
I had a similar experience where there was some ash coming from my head or ash-like things coming from my head. That was a few months ago, and I was with one Swami*, one spiritual Master, and he told me, “Don’t cut your hair. There’s something substantial going to happen.” That was a few months before this incident.
That particular day, I had gone from my house to this Swami’s place in Kerala, and there was some program going on. I can’t remember fully, well, what exactly the program was, but it was a children’s program performed in front of this saint, this Swami. He was watching, and he told me, “You sit next to me.” So, I sat with him, but at that time, I was feeling very dizzy, blurry, a kind of flow feeling.
I was feeling unwell. My mind was clogged, and I couldn’t see well. I felt nauseous. I told Swami, “I can’t sit here; I can’t even see the program well.” Because it was almost blurred, my eyes were blurred. I told the Swami, “I can’t sit here. I must go.” He said, “No, let’s go together. Let’s have some fresh air.”
So, we both got out of that particular space, and we were walking, and Swami was telling me something, but I was feeling very nauseous and unwell. Then I told him, “I’m not feeling too well.” He said, “Don’t worry, come with me.”
He took me to one of those houses where his devotees used to stay at, like a cottage, a small house. I only remember me entering there, and I sat on a chair which was in the front room. As soon as I entered, I sat on a chair at the table. That’s all I remember.
Then I felt very expanded. I was feeling complete brightness. I didn’t feel the body. High-density brightness – actually, I was only light and very soothing, very, very mild, like a flowing light. I was spread all over the place like it wasn’t just the room. I couldn’t even feel the room.
It was all over the place, and it was almost like I spread on the entire universe. I was spread on the entire universe. I could feel the planets, the galaxies, everything inside me like it was all moving inside me. The Sun looked like just a lamp – that small. I was feeling so expanded and so beautiful. I can’t even explain the experience.
Completely unbound, completely free and expanded, and it’s not easy to translate that state into words. Then, what I remember – a few hours later, I don’t know how much time passed, but easily three or four hours, I feel.
Later, I could vaguely hear this Swami’s voice calling people outside. There are other cottages around. “Hey, come over, come over; Shiva has appeared! Shiva appeared!” Or “Shiva happened”- rough translation from Malayalam. “Shiva is here!” or something like that.
People were coming, and then I could actually start feeling my body, and there were flashbulbs. There were flashing lights, and I could feel the body at that time. Then when I opened my eyes, there were a few people around me, and they were clicking.
They said that that’s the time when one of the pictures when pictures were taken where you can see ash flowing from the head. I’ve no clue how the ash happened. I’ve no clue whether such experiences produce ash. There’s no explanation for this because I don’t know.
That was the state the picture was in, and apparently, a lot of ash came. Then they collected the entire ash from my head. They said this is Shiva’s ash – very, very pure, and it was taken out, and many people took it. I also got a bit of it, and we took it home. That was the experience.
*(Swami’s name and place not revealed.)
Science and spirituality
You cannot explain many things in spirituality in terms of science because science hasn’t reached there. See, first of all, the gross and the subtle; this is the thing. Science usually connects to the gross. Life is a marriage between the gross and the subtle.
The gross and the subtle – subtle is the soul and the energy aspect, the soul aspect, the mind aspect. That’s the subtle, and gross is the physical aspect, which is tangible. So, this coming together is what we call life, and when they detach or when they come out, when the subtle leaves the body, leaves the gross, that’s what we call death.
So many things connect to the subtle. We don’t know scientifically, but we can experience it. That experience cannot usually be translated into words. So, there are various things – this Swami explained that my entire karma was over. All that was remaining had become ash, and everything has gone now.
That’s all, his explanation. We don’t have to take any explanations. The effect was this, and ever after, it never happened. There were only two times it happened. One was before, and one was this time.
Life is a marriage between the gross and the subtle. When the subtle leaves the body, leaves the gross, that’s what we call death.
After that, I didn’t cut my hair. I mean, I trimmed my hair many times, but I started growing my hair because that’s what he told me. It was important for my grounding and for my balance to have this hair growing. So, I just followed what he said; I didn’t ask questions.
Usually, I don’t ask ‘why’ to any Master. When they say something, I just follow it because they know better than me; they can see better. I don’t think; I just follow. This is my usual habit because many times when we ask ‘why’, we are stopping in time; time doesn’t stop for us.
Time keeps moving. When we stop in time to analyze, we miss something very precious. That’s what my experience is. So, I keep moving. This is my answer.
Usha: This is utterly beautiful. Did this happen during your sadhana, or was it a spontaneous occurrence?
Mohanji: It was during the sadhana, but this was a spontaneous occurrence. I used to do serious sadhana during those times. Every day I used to get up at 2:30 a.m. I used to do meditations until 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, or sometimes up to 9:00 continuously.
I was seriously connecting to myself, seriously dipping into the silent zone – it means no thought state. This was happening at that time, and I think it was a culmination of all that. It means you dig a lot in the ground. After a lot of digging, you get water. So, it’s like that.
I was digging and digging and digging every day for a long period of time, almost six years, from 2000 to 2006. Or this happened in seven; I think, 2007. So, until then, it was digging, digging, digging – all the time.
Spiritual transformation and keeping the faith
Usha: What was the main transformation as a result of your spiritual life?
Mohanji: I moved from the world of noise; I was actually one of the noises in the world of noises, and from there, I found silence. Then I came back to the world of noises as silence. That was the main transformation or the point which made Mohanji a factor in the world. That, I think, is the most important thing as far as I can say.
Usha: Can you please share some words of encouragement for practitioners because many of us lose heart on the path and give up on daily practices? We are trying to reach what is invisible, as we are so dominated by the senses, and therefore yearning for proof or wanting some tangibility. How does one keep the faith on the path to God-realization?
Mohanji: We cannot keep faith in anything apart from us. What we need to do is to keep faith in us. We keep asking for proof and for answers, etc., which sometimes only satisfies the mind. It doesn’t satisfy our spiritual urges.
Many times, what you cannot say or what you cannot be is what cannot be explained, or what you cannot explain is what the truth is. The truth is omnipresence, and for that, you can’t really have any kind of conditioning.
You can ask the relevant question for your progress, “What next? Or how to go further?” That’s good because then you’re taking a step forward with that answer. But asking for the sake of questioning slows you down automatically, retards your journey. It kind of paralyses you. Many people are only operating on the mind level. They keep asking questions, but they don’t take a step.
Usha: I think that’s the difficulty I mention. Many of us are not functioning beyond the mind but have to keep faith in that which is beyond it, to keep ‘faith in us’ as you say, without experiencing it yet.
Mohanji: Now, how do you maintain your craving for liberation? That’s very simple. You need to create a real purpose in life. What do you want to achieve with this life? There’s always a struggle with the patterns. Everybody has it; each person goes through it.
We all have our inherent patterns, which produce desires, inclinations, tendencies, and karma, and that keep coming back to us. That keeps reminding us, pulling us back. That can’t be avoided; we cannot avoid them. It’s important that we need to keep our purpose on experiencing something larger and more beautiful and more permanent.
If you focus on that, if you keep your focus clearly on that aspect, then the lower drops off and the need to ask questions itself gets dissolved. Otherwise, we keep asking questions, but we don’t move forward. The analysis leads to paralysis.
So, mainly what we need to follow or what we need to concentrate on is the experience part, which is a silent spot. Silence is inside; happiness is inside; feeling is inside. We’ve to connect to the feelings, to the happiness, to the silence inside. Silence simply means a lack of thoughts, fewer thoughts, that’ll lead to more and more happiness.
When desires are gone, we are completely happy. When desires are there, we’ve to satisfy them, and again another desire comes again, satisfy it – like that, it keeps going. But when you’re fully connected to yourself, and you don’t need much from the outside apart from the basic needs, you are already free; you are already liberated. You can actually experience that liberation by living.
These kinds of things will inspire you, but for that, you need to have discipline. It means every day you should conduct yourself and meditate. Even if you’re sleeping in the middle of the night, you should get up early. Use the Brahma muhurta well – 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Meditate properly.
Meditate simply – it means to connect to yourself, feel yourself, love yourself, respect yourself, accept yourself and always maintain your conscience intact. These things will help you to stabilize, practising in the morning especially.
Keep asking questions: “Is this me? Is my anger me? Are my frustrations me, my disappointments? Uncertainty, is it me?” Keep asking such questions, and the answer will come as “No. No. No,” each time. Then “What am I?” Then you’ll realize that you are that which produces all these things.
Until you reach there, keep digging; keep going inside. This is possible, but that discipline and determination are very vital in the beginning. After a while, when you’ve already achieved, when you’ve reached that state, then you don’t have to really worry; the state takes you forward. So, this is my answer.
You need to have discipline and don’t look at anybody outside because, at the end of the day, it’s a communion with yourself that takes you to the highest point. You are communing with yourself; you’re connecting with yourself through acceptance. Acceptance is the path; personal acceptance, personal respect, personal love – this you’ve to nurture, solidify and cultivate further.
The Effect of Masters on our lives
Usha: Recently, many of your discourses have been on Shirdi Baba due to your own numerous experiences with him. Though a repeat question, perhaps, how would you understand his personality? He cautioned against regarding him as a merely physical entity.
Mohanji: How do you know when somebody is relevant in your life? When they start making an effect in your life. So, it’s very important that we have people – tangible people, living with us, relations who make an effect in our life, who create an effect in our life. The tangible, or sometimes not-so-tangible beings who create an effect in life.
All the Masters of the past are like that: Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Jesus, Shirdi Sai Baba, and all these Masters, Babaji and many Masters are there. They all still create an impact on people’s lives. They guide people, they touch their lives positively, they take them out of problems and troubles, they give them guidance, and they also nurture love and kindness in the hearts of people.
The relevance of any being, whether they are tangible or intangible, is the effect they create in our life. That’s the only criteria we need to follow.
Every Master, every teacher, every guide, every friend, or every relative has created some effect and is creating an effect in our life.– Mohanji
Why are thousands and thousands of people coming to Shirdi? Why are thousands and thousands of people going to Sabarimala? To Lord Guruvayurappan, to Vaishno Devi, and various places which attract people – why do they go there? Because there’s a tangible result. These beings or those energies sitting there or operating out of that place are making a deep impact and a result in your life.
That’s the reason why they go. We don’t have to analyse; we don’t have to know how they operate. It doesn’t matter; how is not important. Is it making an impact? Or is this particular connection creating an impact in a positive way or a negative way? But negative is not what we are discussing now – in a positive way in our life.
If yes, that’s true for us; every Master, every teacher, every guide, every friend, or every relative has created some effect and is creating an effect in our life. Their relevance, or each and everyone’s relevance, is based on their impact, effect or presence in our lives, what their presence makes in our life.
That way, we can consider Baba as a close relative, ally, father, mother, or anything because he’s walking with us or his energy is supporting us, making us function, and protecting us. So, he is indeed a part of our household or system, especially mine.
Mohanji’s relationship with Shirdi Sai Baba
Usha: In my life, too, due to his blessings and experiences that have taken my life forward in a certain direction unexpectedly. Please share your most outstanding experience with Baba. Do you consider Baba to be your guru?
Mohanji: The most outstanding experience, as far as I can say, there are many, but one of the things was in 2014 – a group of people turned against me and scandalized me, trying to paralyze my entire activity. That time I was taking a flight to Toronto, and I was at the airport.
I was actually getting to the gate to board, and I got a message saying that the people who were supposed to receive me in Toronto weren’t doing that anymore because they decided not to support me. I had only one choice – to move forward or backwards. I decided to go further, and a few people, three or four people, came to pick me up whom I didn’t know.
I didn’t know them before they came to pick me up, and they took me to their house. Very kind people, very good people; they took me to their house, and then the next day, they took me to the Shirdi Sai temple.
There I met one lady, and Baba apparently spoke to her, saying that Mohanji was coming to take care of him. So, Baba was doing his work, and he provided that platform for me because when I had nobody, Baba was there for me. Then I went to the temple, took the darshan of Baba, and the first Satsang ever in Toronto was in the temple of Shirdi Sai.
Today we have our own Shirdi Sai temple in Toronto. From 2014 to 2018 or now, we already have our space and our temple. So, Baba provided everything. When there’s nobody with you, or even people whom you trusted, walk away and show their back towards you, then still Baba holds your hand.
So, that was a big one. You can’t even explain the kind of relief and comfort I got when after reading the message that the people who were supposed to receive me weren’t coming anymore, and then I realized that I was actually walking into darkness. Then you get such a welcome and such support from Baba. Baba arranged for the people to take care of me, and then the rest is history.
Connection to a Master
Usha: Yes, you’ve shared and continue to share so many beautiful experiences that help to instil faith. How do alignment and choice happen with a certain Master? So many paths and Masters are available to people. How to be certain of a fit?
Mohanji: Frequency; frequency connection. We cannot choose based on our eyes, ears, nose, or any of the senses, nor the mind, nor the acquired knowledge. We don’t understand the Master using our acquired knowledge, the knowledge which we collected from schools, from teachers, from religion, etc.
We don’t understand any Master, but our frequency, the feeling – we can trust frequency matching. You feel like connecting; you feel like meeting; you’ll feel like being with that person.
Please remember, there are no Masters in a real sense. There are only people who are operating from a different frequency which might suit you and that you call a Master. If that person’s operating level is your aspiration, he’s your Master. If that person’s operating level is not your aspiration, he means nothing to you.
Everything is connected to us, our frequency and the other frequency which suits this frequency. Every connection is based on frequency. There are many Masters, but we can’t connect to all of them, and we don’t have to connect to all of them because they are all different frequencies.
We connect to only those frequencies which suit us, which we’ll feel good, we’ll feel great, we’ll feel the purpose completed, or we’ll feel that we are on the right track.
That feeling is what you can trust, but you should take time. Don’t be in a hurry to connect to any Master. Never ever connect to any Master based on somebody’s recommendation. You can go test and come back. Unless you feel that connection, that’s not yours.
Making a stable connection
Usha: I’ve watched another segment on YouTube wherein you speak of the same thing, i.e., frequency and vibration, as a fundamental principle of life. So, the next question that arises is: how to keep frequency positive and high?
Mohanji: Connect. Number one – connect to those with higher frequencies. Connect to stable people and stable minds, and always connect. It may not be easy because we’re a fluctuating mind. Connecting to a stable mind isn’t easy because there’s a lack of compatibility. So, the fluctuating mind should take extra effort to connect to the stable mind.
A stable mind is steady; It’s like a pillar. You’ve to hold on to the pillar and keep connecting; that’s number one. Second, connect to yourself more. It means not what you are in the world outside. Instead, what you are essence–wise, that you connect more.
For that, you need to do contemplation. You need to ask questions – am I the fluctuating mind? Am I the emotions? Am I the notions, the thoughts? Am I the requirements, desires, inclinations, tendencies, or inhibitions? Am I all this?
These questions should be normally asked when you sit down early in the morning. You ask these questions and try to contemplate on them; contemplate more.
You get to know who you are; that’ll give you stability. So, the two ways I said – one is connected to somebody who’s very stable. That takes time; you need to spend time; you need to connect sincerely and consistently for a long period of time. You’ll not know whether the person is consistent immediately.
Consistent means stable immediately. Consistencies may change, and sometimes they just respond spontaneously. In your own house, you can see consistent, stable minds – children. When they’re very small, they’re very consistent and very stable, you know? When they grow older, when they develop their ego, then they are inconsistent and unstable because they gather a lot of input from outside.
Rather you gather input from inside. Feel your body; feel your vibrations. Feel your breath circulations, breathing, and your thought processes – feel everything. That’ll make you more stable. One is external stability – connecting to a stable master. One is internal connectivity – a stable connection inside, which’ll give you stability.
Signs of spiritual progress
Usha: What are the signs of true progress on the spiritual path?
Mohanji: Inner silence. Inner silence you cannot mistake, or you cannot miss because when thoughts are getting reduced, and when your connection with yourself is more and more, the deep love and respect you feel for yourself, you cannot miss it.
When the inner connection is very strong, and the only purpose becomes God, and thoughts or desires start aligning towards that particular requirement or particular desire, and the thoughts of a terrestrial nature start dropping off, dissolving, those signs you cannot miss.
There are so many things inside which tell you if you’re on the right track. It’s nothing to do with the Guru, nothing to do with the place, or nothing to do with activity. It has nothing to do with anything except the connection with you.
Total acceptance, connection, conviction, and the Guru – the beacon of the light, the point of contact, the aspiration, and the personification of aspiration; that’s where you walk, and you’ll realize you are on the right track.
The source of our thoughts
Usha: So, a sign that spiritual practices are working is that thoughts decrease, which brings me to ‘thought’ itself. We are utterly at the mercy of ‘thoughts’ many times, believing every thought to be a reality without any separation from them.
Thoughts seem to be an expression of our noblest selves, our most creative and positive selves, and thoughts can instigate wars, and all that is awful in the world. Do thoughts come from the outside or inside?
If it’s from outside, what’s the mechanism within that receives and translates it into language? Are these waves? If from inside, how are they generated and customized for every individual?
Mohanji: Thoughts happen from inside, predominantly from memories. All the thoughts have their source from memories, from experiences. We gather memories, we store them, and we bring thoughts out of them. All that we do in the world – every interaction, every decision – they all have a background of memories with us.
Memories also include fears and knowledge that you receive from the outside world. All these things are memories; they produce our thoughts. That’s number one. Then when we are very receptive, we can also feel the thoughts of others, or vibrations of others, frequencies of others, that can be migrating thoughts. They migrate into you, or you can probably connect them.
That’s why sometimes when you sit with a lot of angry people, you also tend to get angry. When you sit with a lot of people who are pessimistic, you also tend to get pessimistic because you try to collect or you spontaneously collect their frequencies into you. However, naturally, mainly, or predominantly, all the thoughts come from memories.
Usha: All spiritual places are becoming more and more commercial, whether Tirupati or Shirdi. Greed, product selling, commercialization, etc., have been on the rise, but the deity or saint remains above it. How can we navigate between these two?
Mohanji: We have to completely ignore the aspects which are not our frequency and completely connect to the frequency which is suitable for us. There are so many things happening around us, and they may affect us, but we should always take that as one more step towards overcoming our own minds.
What we need to do is we should go through the process. We should go through all these troubles and tribulations, but at the same time, keep our focus on the truth that we are pursuing, and the truth stays waiting for us.
Usha: What’s your spiritual mission in this lifetime?
Mohanji: Raising the awareness of the people around me as much as I can and giving them stability and contentment – complete fulfilment in this life so that they don’t have to take any more lives.
Originally published on The POV: https://www.the-pov.com/mohanji
Proofread by Yogesh Pandit