By Chakradhar Yakkala, Switzerland
I had planned to go to Kailash in 2018, but it didn’t work out for technical reasons. Mohanji said that you were meant to go with me next year and instead sent me to Muktinath. Muktinath is a Vishnu temple located in a remote region of Nepal.
This year, during our Satsang in Kathmandu with Mohanji, he asked me to speak briefly about my journey and experience at Muktinath. He also mentioned that the journey to Muktinath is far more difficult than the Kailash pilgrimage. At that moment, a thought crossed my mind, “If that’s so, then the Kailash pilgrimage is going to be a cakewalk for me.” Contrary to what I had thought, the Kailash pilgrimage was the most intense roller coaster ride of my life, yet it was fulfilling and liberating at the same time.
To briefly put things in perspective, Mohanji informed all of us that most people (in yoga) talk only about the functional pranas (life energies – prana, apana, samana, udana and vyana) but not the structural pranas. Dhananjaya is one of the structural pranas that comes from your ancestral lineage. It’s one of the first to enter immediately post-conception and the last one to leave after death.
This prana is an ancestral thread that binds us to the lineage and rules over our daily actions and the flow of life until our death. His plan during this pilgrimage was to cleanse this structural prana, so a huge transformation could be brought upon the recipient. He warned and prepared all of us beforehand that no matter what hurdles or obstacles came our way during the pilgrimage, we needed to understand that it was all part of the cleansing process.
As we embarked on our journey, everything was fine. However, upon reaching Saga, a city in Tibet (4640 meters altitude), I started experiencing altitude sickness. I had chosen not to take Diamox, which prevents altitude sickness, so I could experience the pilgrimage exactly the way it is. High altitude brought in physical weakness, indigestion, severe bloating and headache.
The next day, we left for Manasarovar in the morning, and before boarding the bus, I vomited several times, but the feeling of bloatedness remained the same. At Manasarovar, I had become extremely weak due to excessive loss of bodily fluids and electrolytes. In that state, I also accepted that the headache had married me permanently.
On the second night at Manasarovar, just the day before the planned Nandi Shraadh (ancestral cleansing) and Lagu-Rudra Yagna (fire ceremony), my headache got to an unbearable intensity. I struggled so much that night that I welcomed death over the suffering. The next morning, Mohanji asked me how I was feeling. I mentioned that I was in a recovery phase. He responded by saying that he was awake the whole night working on all of us.
I couldn’t wrap my head around his statement because if I had suffered so much pain in the night and couldn’t bear the intensity, how much pain and suffering he took upon himself for all of us? Yet, there he was in front of me, smiling, embracing, and energizing everybody around him.
Still in a state of unbearable headache and weakness, I saw Sulakhe Maharaj, the chief priest of Shirdi. It was only because of my deep connection with Sai Baba of Shirdi that I met Mohanji. I bowed down to touch Maharaj’s feet and prayed to Baba internally to help me find the strength to go and finish the journey.
After receiving his blessings, I went back to my room and sat on my bed, feeling exhausted and powerless. While resting, out of the blue, one of my roommates, Rajkumar Aylam Sundareswaran, asked me if I wanted to have vibhuti (sacred ash) from Shirdi. Feeling surprised, I asked him why he felt he should give the vibhuti to me at that moment.
He replied that when I was sitting on my bed exhausted, he saw Sai Baba standing next to the bed and looking at me. Therefore, he felt like offering the vibhuti to me. Hearing his words, I felt very good despite my miserable state, knowing that both Baba and Mohanji’s powers were always with me to help me through this situation regardless of my strength.
Four nights passed, from the time we reached Saga till we set off for Kailash parikrama (circumambulation). I hardly slept during that time due to health issues, and this weakened me further. However, despite all this, I wanted to do the entire Kailash parikrama on foot.
At the beginning of day one, I met my Tibetan porter and pony caretaker. Both being women, I felt blessed and lucky since they were so gentle and caring. The porter woman carried her two or three-year-old child on her back, whereas the pony caretaker’s child was eight to ten years old and walked alongside. I walked slowly on day one and had to sit now and then to regain energy.
During the journey, when I would get tired, the porter’s kid would say hello to me and would ask for my hand and pull my fingers to walk along with his mom. That little kid’s presence throughout the parikrama, his smile, his hellos, and holding my hand whenever I needed strength or whenever he felt like holding, created an entirely different ambience and a unique flavour of experience for me.
In short, he immensely assisted me during my parikrama, and his innocent smiles brought such sweet emotions within me that gave me a certain level of ease despite my tiredness. After the end of day one, I was exhausted and fell on the bed, but I couldn’t sleep at all despite my exhaustion. One more night of sleeplessness.
I just sat up on the bed for an hour or so doing Mohanji’s Gayatri mantra, trying to tap into his energy. While doing that mantra japa, I experienced a subtle cooling touch on my back. I understood that Mohanji was assuring me that he was with me always. Finally, in the moments of sleep at night, I woke up several times because I felt extremely dry, accompanied by severe headache and breathlessness.
Early morning of day two, during breakfast, I struggled to even lift my spoon. This was my weakest point where I felt I was so close to crashing. Our dear Mamuji (Narinder Rohmetra) observed my state and said, “It’s my strict instruction that you are going to sit on the pony, and I’m not going to have any discussion with you on this matter!” I obeyed his command and sat on the pony, but I didn’t like it at all. It hurt me from within to break my original intention.
I truly wanted to walk the entire Kailash parikrama on foot like a penance, no matter what the cost. After a kilometre or less, I got down from the pony and tried to walk as slowly as possible. During that time, a string of thoughts arose within me. A couple of days before the parikrama, I had a small chat with Mohanji.
I said, “Father, I experienced a state of absolute stillness in your presence last year (at Bosnian pyramids), a few days after you initiated me, but I couldn’t stay in that state. I want that state forever!” He replied, saying, “Yes, I’ve given you the taste of honey. It’ll come to you. You just have to integrate.” I got reminded of that conversation during my walk to Dolma La Pass.
My original agenda for visiting Kailash and doing the parikrama was to achieve an absolute stillness of mind, which is synonymous with liberation from the mind. However, here I was at Kailash, struggling to achieve that state. During that moment, I also felt that Mohanji always provides abstract answers to my questions. On top of it, he often asks me to drop my mind as if I could do that myself.
If I could do that, I would have done that a long time ago. There would be no need for me to come to him. I also thought that all the Gurus were alike. Despite being capable of transmitting a permanent state of stillness, they don’t give it despite perceiving an intense yearning for that state in a disciple.
With these questions running wild, the seeker of stillness within me was raging, and it transformed me like a ball of fire. As Kailash is the abode of Shiva and many other exalted beings, I submitted to them my request in an absolutely fiery state, “All you people, I know you can liberate me from my mind, but if you’ve no intention of giving me that state despite knowing how much I yearn for it, at least liberate me from my body, and today itself!”
My hunger for that state of stillness became so strong that I felt it was better to die rather than to be in the body and not to have that state. So, in two hours, I was catapulted from a state where I couldn’t even lift my spoon (due to lack of strength) to a state where I became a ball of fire with enormous momentum. Because my anger touched its peak where I didn’t care if I lived or died, there was a different kind of strength to me that was alien-like, definitely not from my body.
In that fireball mode, I walked with such power and intensity (like never) towards Dolma La pass (5630 meters altitude), the highest point in our parikrama. My speed was such that my porter and pony caretaker couldn’t catch my pace. I rushed up to Dolma La Pass and sat there for some time, soaking in the energy, waiting for them to join me.
After they reached me, their faces showed their surprised expression, especially after witnessing my struggle on day one of the parikrama. I informed them of my decision to go to Gauri Kund (the lake of the Divine Mother) and be back shortly. I went to the Kund and drank the most amazing water, which gave me an extra boost and momentum. Later, I got back to the parikrama track effortlessly.
From Dolma La Pass, there’s a descent of a few kilometres and then a flat walk of 10-12 km. With newfound strength, I was sometimes running while descending. One Sherpa observed me and tried to compete. He ran alongside, and while he surpassed me, he looked at me and joined his hands (as a sign of respect) and gave me a kind of expression like, “Man, there’s no match between your size and speed.”
After the descent, there was no anger or fiery mode left in me. I was happy and elated that despite all the sickness I had experienced in the past five days, I could do the toughest part of the parikrama on foot. Ironically, it was the easiest for me because that fiery energy carried me forward during that time.
In the excitement of finishing the toughest part effortlessly, I ate so much in Tibetan tents I could hardly walk later, haha! It was a never-ending flat walk where my gait was like a snail. Once I finished day two on foot, I lay on my bed for a short nap. After the nap, I realized all the health issues I had faced until that day had completely left me. I felt rejuvenated, and I was jumping around throughout the evening without any problem. After five days of sleeplessness, I slept happily after day two of the parikrama. On day three, it was a short walk, which felt like a breeze.
After finishing the three-day parikrama almost entirely by foot (except that one km on a pony), we returned to Darchen. I was so relaxed that it felt as if the mountains of bliss and gratitude were sitting within me. Once in Darchen, I desperately wanted to meet Mohanji the same day, but he didn’t come out of the hotel room. During the time when we all were performing the outer kora parikrama, Rajesh Bhai, Dhritiman Biswas (DB) and Riana Gasper from our group went to the inner Kora path to perform a ritual for the wellbeing of the entire Mohanji family.
I also realized that DB was my roommate, and I had an important message for him. I went out looking for him and was informed that he was with Mohanji in his room. Mamuji sent me there to convey the message to DB. Once I reached Mohanji’s room, I was lucky to hear some of the unbelievable stories narrated by Rajesh bhai and DB to Mohanji. They both narrated the dangers they faced during the inner Kora path.
I’ll mention a few points from that conversation. Rajesh bhai narrated how a Sherpa who accompanied them wasn’t willing to help them at all until a certain point. His attitude changed suddenly, and he became extremely helpful. Mohanji responded, “That was because Mohanji entered him”. Upon hearing Mohanji, Madhu informed us of his confusion when ‘Father’ said bye at 8 PM on the first day of the parikrama and went inside his room that evening.
Mohanji simply said, “I cannot be in the body if I’ve to work on all those people.” He then asked me, “Yakkala, do I look tired?” I said, “No, Father, you don’t.” I profusely thanked him for invisibly being with me, cleansing me, and supporting me throughout the journey. He asked me if I was happy, and I replied affirmatively. Then he asked me again the same question he had asked a few times before, “Did you drop the mind?” I said, “I tried but couldn’t; you, please do it for me.” He didn’t say anything to my statement, so I left it at that.
Two days after leaving Darchen, we reached Timure, a small village in Nepal next to the Tibetan/Chinese border. There I laughed almost non-stop for half a day. Preeti Duggal and Sonia Gandhi were witnesses to that phenomenon. It was a lovely bonding that happened with many people in our group; it truly felt like a family reunion. The next day we returned to Kathmandu, and I had a huge smile spread on my face.
Mohanji saw me and asked again, “Are you happy?” I replied in the affirmative, and he told me that I was shining and should remain like that always. During our evening and last satsang, Mohanji mentioned the night before the ceremonies for ancestral cleansing, some of us were close to death. At that moment, I clearly understood I was one of them because, as mentioned earlier, that night death was better than living since the pain was unbearable.
My journey didn’t stop after the Kailash pilgrimage. I wanted to visit Tiruvannamalai, which is regarded as the Kailash of the South. I mentioned this to Mohanji, and he said, “People usually go to Tiruvannamalai and then come to Kailash. You are doing it in reverse.” I told him that I had done many things in my life in reverse order, and this was just one more addition to that. Luckily, my flight for departure from Kathmandu was at the same time as Mohanji’s, and I had a chance at the airport to sit near him while waiting for the boarding call.
Just a few minutes before leaving him to board the flight, I asked, “I want to achieve liberation from the mind (absolute stillness of the mind). Could you please make that happen for me?” He said, “Tathastu”, which means “wish granted” or “so be it.” That response from him settled me for good, and I was convinced that I would reach that state I’d longed for. My elation had no bounds as my purpose of coming to Kailash had been fulfilled and granted by Mohanji. In other words, by saying “Tathastu”, he promised to elevate me to that state of stillness, and I was extremely happy about it.
While in Tiruvannamalai, I got in touch with a seeker who lives there with the help of my dear friend Judith (from our Kailash group). I was told he could help and be my guide. After I met him, he informed me that he could take me to the top of the Arunachala mountain. Many Siddhas (ascetics who have achieved enlightenment) reside in their subtle form inside this mountain. We decided to start the climb in the evening to avoid any problems since it is prohibited to reach the top nowadays.
I saw him going up the mountain barefoot effortlessly, so I thought maybe I should also remove my footwear and go like him, as the mountain is sacred, after all. I also took off my footwear and walked along with him. I got hurt a bit from the stones and rocks but managed to reach the mountain top by 6 PM. He showed me a place on the mountain top considered the feet of Shiva, and asked me to bow down there. He then lit a lamp at a nearby place, explaining to me that it was his Gurusthan (place of his Guru).
He used to reach that mountain top every day to serve his Guru, who used to consume just one small glass of milk and one glass of tea per day. His Guru stayed at the same place for seventeen years until people started to throng to him. His Guru had left his body just last year, and he was a little upset about it. This man was a real devotee. He either talked about his Guru, his teachings or his work and nothing much beyond. Once at the mountain top, I meditated, and the experience was like being on fire. I guess anybody would feel the same in that space if they were subtle enough.
In India, there are five temples that represent the five elements of nature (earth, water, fire, air and space), and the Tiruvannamalai temple represents the element of fire. During meditation, it rained, and after I came out of my dhyana (meditation), it was dark. I walked down the mountain alongside my guide barefoot. In the darkness, I stepped on sharp rocks now and then, and since it rained, so many small stones were sticking to my feet. At every step, these small stones would press against my feet so badly that I screamed out of pain every few steps. After I came down the mountain, my dear guide gave me a stick for support.
He walked effortlessly up and down the mountain barefoot and told me that his feet were used to it. I used the stick and walked towards my hotel limping. Surprisingly, upon reaching the hotel, I looked at my feet and couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a single cut or a bruise.
Two days later, my guide took me to a Vishnu temple in the nearby village. There he took out a beautiful idol of Mahavatar Babaji and requested the temple’s priest to consecrate the idol of Babaji by touching it to the deity in the sanctum sanctorum. Later, he offered that idol of Babaji to me and said that he got it custom-made for somebody else but felt like offering it to me. I was so touched and overwhelmed at that moment.
Out of curiosity, I casually asked him when he gave an order to the sculptor to make the idol. The date he gave me was exactly the time when we were all performing ceremonies at Manasarovar. It felt like all the cleansing during Kailash and Tiruvannamalai had given me the eligibility to receive Babaji.
On my last night in Tiruvannamalai, I wanted to perform a parikrama of the auspicious mountain. As I was walking, my guide asked me to stay at a certain place and wait for him until he finished drinking his tea. As I waited, I saw there was a saint with a long beard who was completely absorbed in another world. A few people were serving food close by as prasad (consecrated food), one guy was prostrating at him, and one lady was cleaning the place, but he seemed not to care about anything or anybody.
He didn’t even glance at them. I wanted to go and touch him, but someone there prevented me from doing so. I sat down in front of him and tried to gain his attention, but he wouldn’t look at me. I finally gave up and decided to leave. While I was getting up to leave, it felt as if somebody spoke to me telepathically, and it was more like a command. The message was, “Aye, bow down and leave!”
I then prostrated full length to this saint and prayed to him to bless me for achieving stillness of the mind. When I raised my head after prostration, he was looking at me. He raised his hand in a blessing position and gently nodded his head in a manner to make me understand that he gave his blessing for what I had asked. After that nod, he again looked up and entered into the otherworldly state. I was curious, so I went to the people that were serving prasad and enquired about this saint. They told me that he had been in silence, at least for the past seven years. I felt so privileged to have received his blessings.
Wherever I went, I’ve just asked for the stillness of the mind because Mohanji gave me a strong taste of it last year (for a brief period) at the Bosnian pyramids. There was an extraordinary intoxication in that stillness. In that state, I experienced an upsurge of awareness and perception to a phenomenal scale that I’d never imagined possible. Later, when I returned to my previous, noisy state of mind, it felt terrible.
If I had never known stillness, I would have been just fine, but one taste of it left me craving to return and remain eternally in that state. Stillness empowers you to ride any waves and situations of life. If you are devoid of that stillness (a state which most of us are in), you cannot ride life but will only remain vulnerable to various situations of life. I wish and hope that every person who is reading this is blessed by an experience of absolute stillness so that you’ll incessantly crave it later, just like I do.
Finally, I would like to thank Mohanji immensely for all his blessings and the cleansing work he did on me. It washed away layers of dirt I had unconsciously accumulated. Only a Guru whose love knows no bounds can do what Mohanji did for me. I would also like to thank all the people that worked for the Foundation tirelessly, making this pilgrimage possible for people like me. A special thanks to our Mamuji, the two brothers Krishnan Aylam and Rajkumar Aylam, Nikita, George, Rajesh bhai and Judith for helping me at different points in this journey.
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI ||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 8th June 2023
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