By a Mohanji follower, H
I wasn’t looking for a Guru. I just wanted that elusive road map to the heart. To that wide, split-open channel through which the source charges. Forcefully. Endlessly. Lovingly. Shining upon every conceivable thing and being. The source of love. God. I wanted that. It was a place I had briefly, powerfully experienced in a dream.
I was 19 then. I’m 46 now. Through the years, the desire for this map waxed and waned but never quite dissipated. Lately, it was pulsating like a deep point of pain. Especially now that I was a parent.
I had always assumed I would be a loving parent.
But along with love, what I didn’t realize I would also cultivate was a blossoming field of expectations. There’s nothing unconditional about love in the relationships we’re accustomed to in our daily lives. Love holds them together, no doubt, but what it holds turns from desire to expectation to disappointment to resentment in predictable ways, in predictable cycles, repeatedly. And the deepest disappointment, the deepest resentment, is continually, steadily, pointed inward and expressed outward. We judge ourselves harshly and condemn others for it.
But I didn’t know this then. All I knew is, I was tired of being angry. Of being disappointed. Of being furious in love. I tried all manner of meditations and esoteric studies. Each attempt, each avenue I had explored so far, felt like a little vein bearing the pulse of something familiar, something essential. But where was the heart?
In early Autumn 2021, I caught sight of a poster on social media in a language I couldn’t read – someone had written a brief English translation. Two words caught my attention: Self Realization. A person named Mohanji was going to guide folks through 11 days of transformation online. It struck me instantly: this is just what I’m looking for.
But who was Mohanji?
The beloved relative on whose social media page I had seen the poster was a follower, but I had never discussed their engagement with their spiritual mentor. I toyed with the idea. Let it rest. Toyed some more. Before I knew it, the workshop was beginning the next morning. I called my relative, but I couldn’t get through. Not that evening. Not the next day. This was unusual. (Now, as I think back, I chuckle. The leela, the leela.)
By the next evening, I left an urgent message. Finally, I had a response. Calls were made, payments dashed off, and on the third day, I sat at the computer, listening to this bearded man exuding love, humility, and patience. So much love. So, so much love.
It was clear. He was there. In that Godspace. He was channeling pure love. He was Love.
Empowered 1 changed me. It caused me to drop some things easily and overnight for good. Some things were temporary, but the change was palpable.
Several months and a couple of more Empowered workshops later, I recall telling my sister over the phone, “You know, I feel happy for the first time. Truly happy.” Depression is a secret that courses quietly through my family. We don’t talk about it. We just cry silently behind closed doors and ache deeply under broad smiles.
More than a year later, I can say for sure that this happiness is real. That being happy is possible. Even when other emotions rise as they do every day – irritation, disappointment, anger, frustration, the deep undercurrent is one of satisfaction and happiness. Life feels bearable. Enjoyable even. And most significantly, it feels meaningful.
But the anger. It was still there. Nothing had diminished it. It rose as frequently, as powerfully as before. And it swept me off my grounding each time. I was still far from even a glimpse of that place saturated with peace and love.
By the end of Empowered 4, I felt I understood exactly what Mohanji was trying to ingrain in us. If you’d ask me to explain it, I could. Easily. I could see the map now. Clearly, but I hadn’t walked it yet. I didn’t know how to walk it. The practices so far had brought me to a point of deep insight, no doubt – but that subtle shift into actually experiencing the Self, even momentarily, beyond mind, body and ego was proving to be elusive.
Months ago, my local Acharya had reached out as part of an initiative to make a video on how practitioners felt transformed through the practice of Consciousness Kriya. I told her then, “Ever since meeting Mohanji (virtually), I definitely feel transformed. But I don’t notice a shift through Kriya specifically. And I can’t bring myself to make an exaggerated claim – that would feel like a lie.” I respectfully bowed out of submitting a testimonial.
Cue Empowered 5. I couldn’t make it to Serbia to attend the retreat in person. But I committed fully and wholly to participating online. Arrangements were made. People were informed. My partner took full responsibility for everything in our home. I switched off my phone and entered my cave. Doors shut. Ears shut. Eyes shut. The only thing I kept on was the zoom call. I let it stream through all 8 hours each day. Even though there was mostly silence, keeping it on brought in a shared energy with the satsang and a sense of being in Mohanji’s presence.
Day 1 ended. I didn’t feel particularly successful with the practice. I had kept my eyes covered, my ears plugged, and I did the breathing as instructed. But nothing. I felt nothing. No shift.
That night the dreams arose. Vivid. Incisive. Showing me a clear mirror to the things that drive this person called me. Hidden things. Unacknowledged little traits of vanity and pride, desires, and the subconscious projection of a carefully cultivated personality.
On day 2, the breathing was slower and longer. I struggled with it a bit. But I practiced steadfastly – again, with little sense of success. There was no conscious, waking breakthrough. I hadn’t seen my family in two full days. I hadn’t checked my phone in 48 hours. I didn’t know what I was doing. It all seemed a bit pointless. I was weepy and exhausted. And I wanted something to hold on to, something familiar. Again, that night, more dreams. More hidden desires and traits revealed.
Day 3, by now, the dreams were arising during daytime naps as well. (I was waking up at 2:30 am in my time zone to catch the start of the program, so I was quite drowsy by 6 am). For the first time, I felt I was getting the hang of it. Don’t expect any breakthroughs. Just power on. Breathe. Just breathe. No expectations. Just put in the work and connect with Mohanji. The breathing was even longer and slower. At some point, without realizing it, I switched to doing Kriya because it somehow made the breath less laboured. It felt natural.
At some point, I dozed off again, and there they were. More dreams. This time bringing to light issues of shame around certain aspects of my life. Interestingly enough, there was time travel. Beings that existed outside of time (a Master) and from other timelines (some friendly, several hostile) made appearances.
That evening I had every intention of getting to bed, falling asleep, and receiving more insight through my dreams. But I tossed and turned. And every little sound in the house brought me out of my effort to sleep. At some point, the agitation was so high I directed it at my children and partner, accusing them mentally of sabotaging my ‘great spiritual effort’ by walking loudly, resenting them for willfully being in the way of my big awakening with their clumsy footsteps.
There it was. The trap of expectation. Followed immediately by its beloved bedfellow, guilt. This time, during the brief couple of hours of fitful sleep, the dreams revealed some of my hidden fears. This was getting more and more unpleasant.
Day 4, during the morning satsang, I learned that many people hadn’t been able to sleep the previous night. Mohanji smiled mischievously and said, “Me neither”. Aha! (A stab of guilt resurfaced for my resentment towards my family).
Mohanji explained, “What happens is, this whole thing is churning you. Your usual patterns, habits are changed… the toxins are leaving. It’s all connected to the expulsion of toxins”. Mental apologies were beamed off to my beloved family immediately. It wasn’t them; it was me. It always is. The flavour of every experience originates in one’s own mental state. Of course. Didn’t I already know this?
The breathing was even longer and slower. And again, Kriya did the magic. By now, it was dawning on me that there really was something to the cleansing powers of Kriya. Earlier, I had to drag myself to go through the preparatory steps of Kriya – now, I couldn’t wait to do them.
By the end of the day, the first waking realization occurred. Everything had quietened down a fair bit. The inside of my body felt like a vast dark emptiness. Everything else was outside it. Every sound, every physical thing. The only sound that lay within was my heartbeat, pulsing loudly. Boom. Boom. Boom. And further inward was the dot of awareness that was noticing this. Noticing everything.
That’s it. Then it was gone. The briefest moment of cognition.
The whole day, my head felt strange, and my eyesight felt different. Like I was looking out through several layers of reality. This was likely due to wearing an eye mask for most of the day. Sudden re-exposure to light was perception-bending. A potent reminder that one mustn’t always trust in sensory perception or rest in the comfort of seeing things only in certain accustomed conditions. It was incredible how each aspect of Empowered 5 brought in so much insight!
That night I went to bed with fewer expectations. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was also excited at the prospect of being reunited with my family soon – it was the last day of isolation. I felt so much love and gratitude for them. I missed them. I felt their preciousness so intensely. But I also felt a familiar pain at the imminence of not being in satsang with Mohanji after the next day. Though this time, the tears were not so much from the pain of separation but from gratitude. This time, I was able to fully trust in the ever-present knowing that my Guru, the Guru Tattva, is ALWAYS available in the spiritual heart; that I can access it anytime, anywhere.
This realization has a lot to do with Devi’s group Mai-Tri sessions during Empowered 5. In the past, whenever I had been part of group Mai-Tri sessions, I would eventually feel completely disengaged because of my intellectual discomfort with the heightened emotionality of parts of the practice. The moment I’d hear emotion rising in the instructor’s voice, I’d be jolted out of the experience by a snarky voice in my head. “WHAT?! This is so dramatic! How can this be spiritual practice?!” the voice would say unkindly. That’s it. I’d sit there, eyes closed, fully in judgement mode.
This time, just as I was beginning to feel discomfort from hearing deep emotion in Devi’s voice, something urgently asked me to trust. Just trust the process. That’s all it took. The snarky voice in my head was quietened by the revelation that drama IS the very nature of existence. Of the Divine Mother. Isn’t ALL of it drama? Aren’t we all here, mired in Maya because of the Mother? This is all the play of Shakti, and if She’s sitting here, guiding me Herself, then sit back and bask in it. Feel each bit of the instruction. My deepest gratitude to Devi for her sessions and for bringing the grace of the Divine Mother to our practice during Empowered 5.
The second session with Devi revealed the biggest gift of all. It removed the veil of duality between all the beloved Gurus empanelled in my heart. During one of the early Empowered workshops long ago, I had asked Mohanji, “What if you hold more than one Guru dear in your heart?” and he said, “That’s fine, as long as you’re not connecting to the form.” I couldn’t fully comprehend it then. When Devi guided us to connect with the Tradition during Mai-Tri, even though not all of my beloved Gurus belong to the Datta tradition, I felt each one’s energy melded inextricably with that of the Tradition.
The Tradition was a gateway to my Gurus, and my Gurus were a gateway to the Tradition. I truly felt what it means for all Gurus to be an expression of one Consciousness. Now Mohanji doesn’t just sit with Babaji and Baba in my heart; they transform into one another playfully, one speaking lovingly through the words of the other. They still have their forms, but they are one in love.
That night, the dream was hazy. I was hovering above the ground (not walking on it) with a group of others who, like me, were dressed in white. We were all connected, and there was uniformity in our appearance. I wasn’t even in my current form or body anymore. There was a sense that we were upholding the very fabric of order. Fighting an ancient fight, not with weapons, but with an indwelling strength that was inherently loving. But it wasn’t a happy dream or a victorious one. There was uncertainty and strife on the ground.
It wasn’t surprising when, the next day, Mohanji reiterated the need to create a strong community of brightness and positivity in each region to prepare for an uncertain future. During Mohanji’s satsang that day, I noticed a feeling of agitation rising. The online participants couldn’t have many of their questions read out and answered. Though I didn’t type any questions for Mohanji in the chatbox, many others did. And most of them seemed to be going unasked. Were the onliners being overlooked?
This feeling was short-lived. It soon became clear that this was another instance of Mohanji’s leela. Even though he would occasionally ask if there were any online questions, he didn’t need this drama of physical-world engagement. He was meeting each one of us exactly where we were in our hearts, in our homes, through every channel available to our senses. However, we still needed the drama. And so, he played along, turning to the online coordinator every now and then to check, “Any online questions?”
How could I even entertain a doubt? Of course, I know he knows every heart. On my best days, he’s the one beaming out of mine.
I found EACH of my questions was answered. The moment I felt I needed an answer, someone in the audience in Serbia would raise their hand and out trotted the very words that were in my head, followed by his loving answers. A few weeks later, when I met one of the in-person participants, I grinned and thanked her for asking my question. She laughed, “So it was you! I was wondering who prompted that question because I’m usually too shy to speak in front of Mohanji, but at that moment, I don’t know how the urge to raise my hand took over.”
When Empowered 5 ended, even though I hadn’t yet experienced what I’d been looking for all these years (through lifetimes, likely), I did have the deep conviction that I had placed my first foot forward. Beyond all ideas and notions I had gathered along the way on the ‘how’ and ‘why’, I had taken my first step into actually experiencing this ineffable realm in my waking hours in a way that only this set of mental lenses called me could truly appreciate or comprehend.
A lot of fundamental things became clear in a tangible way during those hours of seclusion and silence. Witnesshood is one such biggie. Thanks to Empowered 5, it isn’t just limited to the times I practice Mohanji’s Feel-the-Feelings process. I find I’m being able to cultivate it in my daily life – with shorter and shorter gaps between occurrence and witnessing.
I’m able to see the cycles and patterns of unlove and closed-heartedness in tense interactions. I’ve become quicker at accepting the role of personality and conditioned defensiveness at these moments. Because of this, I’m also quicker to seek the ever-outheld hand and love-drenched embrace of my beloved Guru at such times to make a rapid recovery and to make amends that were beyond the reach of my ego earlier.
I’m deeply flawed, but I’m beginning to get past the frustration of its endless drag. Because when the weight of the ego gets too heavy to carry, there it is, my beloved Guru’s grace, love, and acceptance. All I need is to let go, allow grace to take over, and retire Sisyphus for a moment.
To briefly loosen the suffocating grip of this karmic garb and let the cool breeze of grace waft in for respite, lightness, and a whiff of what it could mean to be free.
Most significantly, very slowly, I’m beginning to allow others their own perfection. To reduce the distance between my resistance (and consequent suffering), and their roles in being instruments of grace through their karma-garbed perfect presences. I see this now, clearly, though mostly still in hindsight. I’m yet to learn to be present to this Truth in the moment.
I’m not an accomplished cartographer of the heart by far yet, but with my Guru’s infinite grace, I’ve made my first firm step into an arterial inroad.
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI ||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 23rd February 2023
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