By Linda Abrol, Netherlands
My thirty-five-day stay at the Ayurvedic hospital Vedasudha had come to an end. On the day of my departure, I heard that Mohanji was still in India and found it hard to bear being so close and unable to meet him. My stopover would be in Bangalore, of all places! I had talked to several people about the possibility of getting out during a stopover and getting back in a few days later. But we finally agreed that it was not possible.
One suitcase was checked in at Kochi and labelled to Amsterdam. You are supposed to check in at Kochi, and if you were to book a separate domestic flight, you would be considered a ‘no-show’ in Bangalore because you did not board at Kochi, and they could resell your ticket. A whole new flight was unaffordable, especially with fuel prices rising so much.
I decided to simply travel to Bangalore and see what would happen. Actually, I was curious to see how it would happen. Since I was supposed to take absolute rest for seven days after the treatment, staying in busy Bangalore was not a smart idea. Besides, the home front had been looking forward to my homecoming and had made plans to pick me up. I would disappoint them if I didn’t come. And I noticed that my bank card and credit card did not work everywhere.
I did not know if the Ganesh Chaturthi event with Mohanji I wanted to attend was sold out. I didn’t know where to sleep in the middle of the night. Or what would happen to the suitcase I had checked in for Amsterdam. And also very important: could I change my flight ticket at such short notice, and when would I be able to return home? I had logged in on the KLM website but saw that I could rebook up until the moment my first flight left, but that had already happened. And that I was referred to Cheaptickets, where I had booked my flight, but they were unreachable by phone.
Before midnight, I arrived at Bengaluru International Airport, but there was no KLM staff yet. Air France appeared to be arranging the flight but had not arrived yet. At one o’clock in the morning, the friendly Air France manager offered to cancel my check-in to Amsterdam and have my suitcase searched and collected. ‘Are you sure you don’t want to fly? Once I have arranged this, it cannot be reversed.’ Sweat broke out on me, and yet I said yes!
‘KLM customer service staff will probably help you rebook tomorrow because I have noted that you have been here, so you will not be considered a ‘no-show’. You will have to pay extra costs and rebooking costs if the ticket is more expensive. That could never be so much, I thought snidely and ignorantly. But I booked via Cheaptickets. ‘Will they help me? The website showed they won’t.’ ‘Yes, they will,’ the friendly man assured me. I had a hard time accepting this, but I set it aside for the time being. My suitcase arrived.
With great difficulty and unintelligible directions, I got forty-five minutes of WiFi on a screen and sent a message to Rajesh to inquire about the place availability at the event. If he was already asleep, I would hear about it the next day, but at least I had taken action. He was still awake and sent the link to reserve a seat for the Ganesh Chaturthi. It was fully booked!
All the pent-up heat in my body sank into my shoes along with my heart and rose again to my head, where it became full and hot. Oh no! I just cancelled my flight ticket to Amsterdam’, I wrote to Rajesh. And in a last twitch of the head: ‘Maybe I can help in the kitchen or something?’ I decided to spend the night at the airport because I had nowhere to go.
At seven in the morning – the flight to Amsterdam had already left, and the staff had gone home – I could use WhatsApp to call my old friends Harish and Neetha, whom I had not seen for more than ten years. They immediately and enthusiastically opened their home to me.
By now, I was wide awake. And of all the disaster scenarios that shot through my head to which I kept responding with: come on, Lin, maybe this was indeed the very stupidest choice you have ever made; maybe Mohanji thinks it is very stupid too because it is completely illogical, maybe you are indeed disappointing Manish and Prashanti, maybe there is no room at the event, and maybe you are nothing but a burden to everyone, and you only think of yourself.
It was courageous, and what have you got to lose? Stay aligned with Mohanji. An overactive mind does not help anyone. Stay in tune. I tried my best to stay vertically connected and out of the disaster scenario and self-criticism by being a witness, but it took all the effort. And just when fatigue and despair really kicked in, I got a message (I had managed to arrange WiFi for another 45 minutes, lugging my bags back and forth in the departure hall) from Rajesh that he had informed Preeti, the hostess, of my arrival. I was welcome!
Somehow, I knew all along: my choices were absolutely not smart. I would not advise them to anyone. But the universe (read: Mohanji) is not smart; he is a genius. All the mental toiling was mind-matter.
When I finally decided to take a taxi, I was not allowed to exit the building and was sent back into the departure hall. ‘Without the accompaniment of ground staff who can explain why you want out of the departure hall, I am not allowed to let you through.’ But the ground staff had already gone home! And there was no Air France or KLM counter in sight. After a lot of lugging around new pillars and posts and growing tiredness, I arrived at another counter that was completely unknown to me, where ground staff wanted to escort me out. I was released!
Harish and Neetha and their son Sai Datta welcomed me warmly after more than twenty years. I was given a vegan breakfast and a room to rest. With the help of Sai Datta’s telephone, we managed to reach the Indian KLM Customer Care and what I feared happened. ‘The plane was not delayed, and you did not cancel on time, so there is no reason why we should change your ticket.’ I told the whole story of my Guru, my impulse, the friendly Air France employee who assured me that KLM would help me, and the note he had made on the computer. In the end, she offered to change my ticket to Sunday, 4 September, but I had to pay the price difference myself: 1250 euros!
This was so much that I decided it was too much to worry about. I had other concerns. The payment did not work out. How was I ever going to get back to the Netherlands? ‘Stay plugged in, Lin!’ I said to myself. At a clear moment, I decided to call Sita. How many times had she had to deal with this kind of situation and solve it successfully in all those years she was in India or elsewhere? She had become an expert, and I needed a reassuring voice because, after this night, my already sluggish head was not working at all. Sita offered to call KLM in the Netherlands, and she arranged for a new mail to arrive, but this time, with an ideal payment option.
Before that mail arrived, I had to leave for the event, so I temporarily put the payment stress aside. I wanted to give my undivided attention this evening for which I had taken such trouble.
Harish and Neetha were kind enough to take me to the Duggals that afternoon, and they went shopping with their son. I received a very warm welcome from Mohanji’s devotees, followers and newcomers who had gathered in Preeti and Rajiv’s living room in anticipation of Mohanji’s arrival. Everything looked immaculate. The ladies who were to sing were uniformly dressed in orange and red. The two adorable girls who were to dance were beautifully dressed and made up in colourful Bharata Natyam style with all the accompanying ornaments.
Mohanji arrived and was greeted with a garland of flowers and a double row of longing and loving people. When he saw me standing further away in the living room, he said, ‘You have come,’ and smiled kindly. He sat down and enjoyed the beautiful mantra and dance performances together with us. In his speech, he elaborated on the meaning of Ganesha’s origin: from the dust on her body, he was created as a human being by his mother Parvathi, but because he was given an elephant’s head by Shiva, he was elevated to a deity. The elephant head symbolised the consciousness of the supreme. A bigger head does not exist in the world of land animals.
Mohanji’s aarati was unique to me. Anyone who wanted to could join in the flame waving. It was a wonderful experience to be able to perform aarati, not in one’s own house temple but to Mohanji himself!
After the programme, everyone went to get food at the buffet outside. I saw Preeti standing next to Mohanji and asked if she wanted to be photographed with Mohanji. Preeti said, ‘I will take a picture of you with Mohanji instead!’ I didn’t see that one coming, but I was elated. With his permission, I knelt down next to Mohanji, and he put his hand on my arm.
I was so surprised that I put my head on top of it without thinking. All my tensions and doubts about whether I had done the right thing in this adventure fell away at once. It is the crowning glory of a decision to follow my heart and my feelings, whatever the consequences might be – an enormous step for me.
At my request, Mohanji gave permission to my friends Harish and Neetha to receive his blessing after the programme, but Harish and Neetha had gone home and lived quite a distance away. When they arrived, Mohanji had just left five minutes before. He had, however, on my request, given permission for them to visit him in his own house the next day. Harish and Neeta then understood that the disappointment of missing him hid a greater blessing!
Herewith, part 3 of this testimonial comes to an end. This whole wondrous experience was staged and guided by Mohanji’s grace from the initial shock of the very beginning to the wonderful and surprising end of an adventurous and unexpected extra journey. The final and biggest divine surprise follows in Part 4.
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI ||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 27th October 2022
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