By Soma Seal, Ammucare President, India
Annadaan – feeding hungry stomachs is beyond any boundaries of species, caste and creed. When one feeds hungry beings, purification happens. This is why Annadaan is considered as Mahadaan – a donation of the highest stature. Especially when done on certain auspicious occasions, Annadaan brings immense fulfilment.
In my role as President of Ammucare, I have been fortunate to be in the middle of continuous Annadaan for a long time. Especially since the onset of the Covid pandemic, I have witnessed and observed several miracles. I would like to share one such amazing incident that happened yesterday (19/4/2021) in Haridwar, the venue for this year’s Kumbh Mela festival.
With Mohanji’s guidance, Ammucare has organised daily feeding for the Sadhus (wandering saints) at the Kumbh Mela as this is a divine opportunity to serve. Especially with the challenges due to the Covid situation, doing this seva consistently has been a challenge; several hurdles have come up. However, our determination to continue this seva (service) has been strong since Mohanji explained the purpose of this seva in clear terms. The Kumbh Mela is a special occasion when several elevated saints, otherwise deep in their sadhana in the Himalayas and elsewhere, come down to mingle with the common folk and shower their blessings.
Mohanji also guided us on the right attitude to conduct this seva – “Serve everyone like you are serving a Royal or God. The food should be of the highest quality. The attitude should be of complete reverence and respect. You never know who could be receiving your food – it could be Sai Baba, Mahavatar Babaji or any other deity. Don’t be deceived by outward appearances. Thank everyone you are serving from the bottom of your heart.”
Thanks to the dedication of our local volunteers and our generous donors, we have been serving food to people for almost ten days now. I must especially call out the contributions of Savitri Chitrapu, our Ammucare coordinator, and Mr Vasudev Sharma (Sharmaji), the Ammucare coordinator on the ground in Haridwar, in enabling this noble seva. Whenever we have not been able to serve, we have arranged for food packets to be made and distributed to people at various locations in Haridwar. Within a week, our team had managed to serve over 1000 meals.
Once we started our Annadaan at Kumbh, Mohanji advised us to serve the Sadhus at Har Ki Pauri, the most auspicious bathing Ghat in Haridwar. He guided us that saints of the highest stature would tend to congregate there, and we should not miss the opportunity to serve them. However, as we started working on this, the government imposed a weekend lockdown, and our activities were delayed.
Yesterday (on 19th April 2021), it became possible for us to arrange for this Annadaan at Har Ki Pauri. Sharmaji and a few other volunteers prepared around 100 food packets and took an auto-rickshaw (three-wheeler) to deliver this to the Sadhus at Har Ki Pauri. Sharmaji narrates his experience below.
“It was about 6 pm and getting dark. Shortly before we were about to reach the Ghat, on a quiet and dark road, we spotted a Naga Sadhu by the roadside, next to a forest area; he was calling out to us ‘Hey, where are you taking the food; bring it to us. This food is for us.’ Not taking him seriously, we turned a deaf ear and continued on our journey. However, a few moments later, our auto-rickshaw stopped, and even when we tried to push it, it would not start again. We noticed that the Naga Sadhu had come close to our auto-rickshaw and was repeating what he said earlier, “Your auto will not move forward. Food which has been sent for us cannot go to Har Ki Pauri!”
By now, we realised that this call was not to be ignored. There was something electrifying about that person. So we parked the auto-rickshaw by the side of the road, took the food packets out and followed the Naga Sadhu into the forest. As we walked deeper into the jungle, it became darker, and suddenly, the few street lights went off too. Soon we saw a group of 11 Naga Sadhus gathered there! They were waiting for the feast! They were chanting and singing songs on Lord Shiva and Lord Dattatreya.
We were totally mesmerised to witness this divine atmosphere. After offering prayers, we quickly served the food packets to all the Naga Sadhus there. We took care to offer the food with respect, and the sadhus blessed us as they accepted the food. Some of them even had second servings! While serving the food, I just mentioned to them that this Annadaan was happening with the guidance and advice of Guru Mohanji.
One of the Sadhus said, “He is an Avadhoota. You will never understand him. He is beyond your comprehension and understanding. You do not know his grandeur. We know your Guru is far away, but wherever you look, you will see him. He is everywhere. Yes, he will come to Haridwar next year. Good that the food has reached us.”
I had goosebumps after I heard the Sadhus speak such high praise about Mohanji! The Sadhu then asked, ‘Where is the dakshina?’ We immediately offered dakshina (respectful offering of money) to all the Sadhus. Then one of the Sadhus said, “Child, you give us dakshina today but remember it would reach someone by tomorrow. Hmm, the food was meant for us.”
After feeding the Sadhus, we walked back to our auto-rickshaw on the road. It was very dark by now, but we were in a different world altogether, still trying to assimilate this miraculous and divine experience. The experience was not yet over, though! As soon as we started the auto-rickshaw, it started immediately, without any further push or effort. The same auto had refused to move sometime back when we were in a hurry to reach Har ki Pauri! Just as it had stopped automatically, it started automatically too!
With absolute awe and contentment, we returned home safely with just one expression – Thank you, Mohanji, for giving us this opportunity.”
When Sharmaji narrated this incident to Savitri and me, I had goosebumps too. This place is not unknown to Sharmaji or the others, but no one had spotted these Naga Sadhus there before! In fact, Sharmaji and the team went to the same location today (20/4/21) to serve the Naga Sadhus again, but there was no trace of anyone there, just a few dogs in the vicinity.
I could only then think back to several other occasions where grace has made the toughest of sevas possible – be it Annadaan or disaster relief or clothing drives or so many other activities of Ammucare. It also served to remind me of a couple of important lessons:
- Like many others, I may not recognise or fathom Mohanji’s stature. However, statements about his stature and grandeur from a Naga Sadhu are a timely reminder that there is much that my eyes can’t see or my mind can’t process. After all, this saint has never met us before, and neither are we likely to see him again. He is a renunciate with no interest in the material world. So what motive could he have in describing Mohanji? Perhaps it was just to open our eyes to higher dimensions and piece together facets of Mohanji’s grand plan to raise the entire Earth’s vibrations.
- It gave me greater clarity as to why Mohanji gives certain directions. Time and again, I have seen that his directives often seem extremely challenging at the outset. But when we take the right steps with full faith, doors open, and the road ahead becomes clearer. After all, if I had not persevered with the effort to serve at Har Ki Pauri, this entire experience might have been lost to us. This additional clarity not only helps us serve better but, more importantly, helps us receive much more grace and blessings. Before I conclude, I would like to pose a few questions for your contemplation:
- Why was the Naga sadhu waiting by the road, just when our vehicle was to pass by?
- Why did he stop just our vehicle? How did he know us?
- How did the Sadhu know that food was being taken in the auto (when it was not visible from outside, and certainly not from a distance)?
- How did he say, “This food is not meant to go to Har Ki Pauri”, when we had not told him our plans
- Why did the auto not move at that moment but moved easily later in the evening from that same spot?
- How did the Sadhus recognise Mohanji? Or that he is far away? (Our coordinators had not told them that Mohanji was currently in Europe)
- What made them describe Mohanji as an Avadhoota? Was it sheer chance that they were singing songs on Lord Dattatreya, the Tradition that Mohanji represents?
- What did he mean by saying the dakshina would reach someone by tomorrow?
- Who were these Masters? Where did they come from?
- Why was nobody there today? Did they go somewhere else? Or did they vanish?
I have been thinking about this since yesterday. I came to the conclusion that these Sadhus were divine for sure, however unbelievable it might seem to my thinking mind. We have heard and seen that all the great Masters come for Kumbh ever since it began. I have experienced this in earlier Kumbh Melas (Nashik in 2015 and Prayagraj in 2019), and this experience was another confirmation of that experience. It was also a reminder that Mohanji is at the Kumbh Mela through us, and he is doing his work.
Do contemplate a little, and you will understand what we witnessed, and you will experience it too.
My deepest gratitude to Mohanji, for giving us this eye-opening experience.
PS: If anyone would like to contribute to the Annadaan at Kumbh Mela, you can do so at bit.ly/ammucare or contribute via Paytm https://paytm.com/helpinghand/ammucare-charitable-trust. For any other questions, please write to us at donations @ammucare.org.
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 20th April 2021
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