Lessons living with Mohanji – Days 135 & 136

Christopher Greenwood

Day 135 Lesson – Making a change 

Good morning everybody. I hope that you’re doing well. 

Awareness is increasing about the blatant racism incident that happened to Mohanji at Frankfurt Airport, and more people are coming forward to support it. Momentum is building, and we are exploring all avenues to bring this incident to those who can make a change. The reason we are doing this is to change the pattern of injustice that is systemic at Frankfurt Airport and others across the world. We want people to be treated with respect regardless of their race, nationality or skin colour. 

Since my post on FB, many people have now come forward to share their experiences of outright discrimination under the pretext of “security checks”; through my research, I read about many such incidents. This change is needed so no one else has to experience this harassment. People are now afraid to travel through airports and security screening, which is terrible when you think about it. You’re making legitimate travel somewhere, but you’re extremely concerned as you’re going through that security check-in about what’s going to happen to you, how you’re going to be treated and if you’re going to be subjected to abuse. 

 This is the change we want to make so nobody else has to suffer. It can be practical steps in what that change is about, namely:

  1. The right training for the people in these positions of power is to handle people with respect, good ethics, and good behaviour.
  2. Not to treat people as suspects when they’re moving through these airports. People who have experienced this can give feedback so there can be a learning for the airport authorities – a system where they can recognize what’s happening, maybe even a ranking. Things can be done, and this is what we’re pushing for. 

Yesterday, I was pondering on the usual responses, which can happen in a situation like this as the profile has been raised to quite a level. What are the typical things that people will do? What will people say? I think the usual way, which is being experienced now is usually as below:

  1. It didn’t happen – minimizing it, trivializing it, which is sheer avoidance.
  2. Then the next one will be – “Well, that’s obviously just a routine check. That happens to everybody. The police and guards were doing their job; the world is dangerous. Those checks are important.” So basically, trying to justify the situation and the actions. Again, altogether avoiding it, escapism. 
  3. If they can’t handle what’s coming, can’t accept any mistakes, or can’t find any other way to avoid it, then what could happen is that they look to slander the person involved. They talk bad about the person. They make them look like a demon so that whatever happened to them is justified, “Okay, he was a bad guy, so what you did was right anyway.” And they can even pay people for this. 

I was thinking on these lines because, under pressure to attempt to save themselves and face, they could resort to many options, trying to make a diversion from the actual issue at hand. They can shame a person into justifying their actions.

 I remember someone telling me about an incident that happened in Pakistan. One man was working for a bank, and he killed his boss. This was because he had asked for a salary increase or a promotion, and the boss hadn’t given it to him. He wasn’t happy with that and killed the boss. 

When the police handled this person, he said his boss had spoken badly about the Quran and defamed the Prophet, speaking all sorts of bad things. So straight away, this became a huge thing, and this person became a hero as he had taken revenge on someone who spoke badly about the Quran and the Prophet. It completely eclipsed the fact that he’d murdered someone, and then the court should have meted out the justice he deserved for committing murder in the country. 

I thought that there might even be a paid slander or smear campaign so that the whole issue could be eclipsed and avoided. But we keep going because we have a clear purpose now: to bring a change to this pattern of injustice. 

Hope you have a great day ahead.

Day 136 Lesson – Ahimsa 

Good morning everybody. 

Today, I wanted to start with a quote I shared some weeks back that has enduring relevance. Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Yesterday Mohanji gave a compelling talk and clarification about why we’ve decided to take a stand against racism, racial profiling, and the harassment people are subjected to at the airport security checks. Especially in Frankfurt Airport, where he was harassed, which happened once before. 

In this meeting with the country heads, the leaders of the teams, and the advisors, Mohanji clarified the incident at Frankfurt and the reason for taking a stand. This is not personal; it’s to bring a change in the world so that no one else has to suffer that harassment, racism and outright discrimination. Since the incident, all the activities have been happening to make sure that things are visible to people; the right people and higher authorities are being contacted. 

Over the past days, some people had worries, concerns and confusion about whether our activities to raise the visibility of this issue were in line with Ahimsa or non-violence, one of our core principles. So Mohanji clarified Ahimsa really well. 

He said that Ahimsa is not creating violence in thoughts, words or actions. It’s ensuring that no one is harmed because of our thoughts, words and actions. So it’s about our interaction with the world. But that doesn’t mean that we lie down and become a doormat for everybody. We also have to protect ourselves and take action based on the merits of the issue at hand. So not that we outwardly go out and attack somebody, but we assess what it is and then take the appropriate action. 

After the meeting yesterday, we spoke some more. Mohanji explained it in a way that sometimes you have to act. For example, what would you do if somebody is coming to you with a knife, intending to harm you or kill you? You can’t ask them to sit down and meditate and think about what they’re doing. You have to handle it as it is. Or, if a mosquito is coming and biting, you can’t calmly sit, chant and hope it will go away. You have to do something about it. 

The incident with Frankfurt is not personal. It’s for a much larger good where many people have experienced this traumatic treatment, and probably all across the world, something similar is happening. These people don’t have the platform, the voice, or outreach, which we do.

He shared some more clarifications or illustrations about Ahimsa to further my understanding. We spoke about Krishna, and he said that, like Krishna, he likes to be practical. Krishna waged many wars, and many people died in those battles. Pretty much all the kings at the time were wiped out. The act of war, fighting, and death could be seen as violence, and there would have been some. But it was done for a much larger purpose; for Dharma, for a greater good. So like that, each action can be taking on what it’s doing for others.

Something else which I liked from Mohanji’s briefing yesterday with all of the country heads and team leaders is that he reiterated that we should speak when we can, when we have the time, when we have the opportunity, and when we have a voice. He said that’s especially important because if we don’t, if we’re passive, then this is the example we are setting for the next generation to come. And we leave them also the burden of what we had to carry. 

I hope you have a great day ahead and will speak to you soon.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is chris-with-m.jpeg


Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 19th June 2022


The views, opinions, and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of Mohanji, Mohanji Foundation, it’s members, employees or any other individual or entity associated with Mohanji or Mohanji Foundation. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

We reserve the right to delete, edit, or alter in any manner we see fit blog entries or comments that we, in our sole discretion, deem to be obscene, offensive, defamatory, threatening, in violation of trademark, copyright or other laws, of an express commercial nature, or otherwise unacceptable.

Mohanji Testimonials team

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-13.png

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts
Scroll to Top