Shirdi Pilgrimage – PART 1

By Linda Abrol, Netherlands

After the Empowerment 5 retreat in Zlatibor in October 2022, I was curious and a little anxious to see how my life would unfold. As I wrote in an earlier testimonial, I had been graced with the opportunity to walk two circles around Mohanji during the retreat: one symbolising the Outer Kora and one for the Inner Kora.

With that, I surrendered my life at His feet, and my intention was: If I have this Kailash experience personally, I will be better equipped and more eligible to finish the translation of ‘The Inner Kora, Kailash with Mohanji’ in the best possible and authentic way. If He is everything – and I might never be able to walk the Kailash Yatra in this lifetime – I don’t need to wait for ‘the real thing’, for there is nothing to be gained outside, what is not here with Him right now.’ 

He graciously agreed and let me finish my rounds with His blessings, after which my teeth were chattering, and my body was shaking uncontrollably for half an hour as if I came walking straight from the ice-cold mountain. The experience of shaking stayed with me for another two days every time I looked directly at Mohanji.

After this unforgettable experience, I came home and found my already strained marriage in even more rough waters. I have written about this in more detail in my Skanda Vale and Scotland experience, which is actually a later testimonial of June 2023, published in Mohanji Chronicles one month later, in July.

When the situation became unbearable for me at home, I prayed to Mohanji sincerely. May everyone be happy, and may there be only winners! The very next day, by Mohanji’s grace, the possibility occurred to stay in my sister’s house while she was away for six months! Perhaps this solution could give a breather for both of us. I moved in with my sister in the first week of December 2022. We were mature enough to have an equally enjoyable Christmas with our family.

In January 2023, we decided to spend quality time together. Maanish had a promise to fulfil to Shirdi Sai Baba. In 2018 he told me that he would go to Shirdi to thank Him personally when our business plan of running a vegetarian/vegan Indian restaurant would prove a success, and I reminded him of his promise.

Once we decided to go ahead with our Shirdi journey, everything seemed to rapidly fall into place. Tickets were booked in less than 15 minutes at a very low price! We could almost cover the costs with the gifted money from our 30th wedding anniversary when it had initially seemed to be hardly enough for one ticket! Preeti Duggal offered to arrange things for us – and Aditya, who was in Shirdi at the time, executed the details by booking our hotel rooms and buying our first darshan tickets.

It so happened that our stay coincided with his parents’ pilgrimage to Shirdi, so he offered to arrange temple visits and rituals for the four of us! I gratefully agreed. Maanish and I saw the number 333 (nine stands for Parabrahma Tatwa and for Sai Baba) every time we decided on any of the travel details. It felt like Mohanji-Sai had picked us up and was planning to carry us in His arms to Shirdi.

Surprise visit

The only thing that was not pre-planned was our taxi from Mumbai to Shirdi. But even that got arranged for us by dear friends from Mumbai who were happy to make every detail of our short stay in their house in Mumbai comfortable and memorable. Preeti had advised us to definitely visit the Nityananda Samadhi Mandir in Ganeshpuri on our way to Shirdi, but we were not able to fit a visit into our tight schedule. I had been a bit sad about it, but Vinay, who took us on a temple tour in the afternoon of our first and only day in Mumbai, asked us what else we wanted to see.

Ignorant about my secret desire, he casually mentioned that Ganeshpuri was not far, and if we so liked, we could visit the Nityananda Samadhi Mandir! We fed many dogs near the temple, and since we saw the state of an emaciated dog with puppies, Vijay made financial arrangements for the dog to be fed by a local. Needless to say, I made a prayer of thanks to Mohanji for fulfilling my wish! 

First darshan in Shirdi

After a safe and comfortable journey, we arrived in Shirdi the next day. We had just enough time to freshen up, eat some crackers and meet Aditya before our first darshan. Aditya had bought the tickets and showed us the way to the entrance gates and through the narrow lanes, up until the Samadhi, from where we could see not only the Shirdi statue but also his padukas. 

We received Baba’s vibhuti and went outside into the Samadhi premises. We saw the Gurusthan (place of the Guru), where Sai Baba had spent most of his time when he first came to Shirdi as a sixteen-year-old boy and where his own Guru’s tomb lies by the old neem tree.

What an incredible feeling to encircle the tree where Sai used to sit, which we had seen so many times in the television series (Shraddha aur Saburi) that we watched regularly for years in a row. This tree carried such huge importance for Sai Baba himself. For some strange reason, for me, the realisation that this same tree had seen and sheltered Sai was even more powerful than seeing his own Samadhi. 

We visited all the other important places on the premises, like the meditation hall, the library where we read one chapter in the famous Sri Sai Satcharitra, the Samadhi of Baba’s close followers of which some were known to us from the television series, like Sri Tatya Kote and Abdul. That made it even more special. We did our pranams and took blessings from each and every sacred spot.

Instead of praying, I simply opened my being to whatever blessings the sacred places had in store for me, and most of the time, a different mantra would come up spontaneously, which I repeated nine times. I intentionally took long darshans since I had heard Mohanji say that full blessings were given after a certain amount of seconds. I forgot the details, but Aditya mentioned that it was between 14 and 40 seconds. Most certainly, my nine mantras gave me enough time to receive the maximum energy. 

We visited Dwarakamai, which, like the neem tree, made a huge impression on me, knowing that Sai spent most of his life serving humanity from this humble place, which looked very familiar, thanks to the television series. Strangely, I couldn’t discover the huge black stone on which Sai used to sit in his signature pose, with one leg on the other knee, holding his foot with his hand.

Next to Dwarakamai was the Chavadi, where Baba had slept on alternate days. Hereafter we went to Abdul Baba’s cottage, which was in its original state. Inside we received blessings from Abdul Baba’s great-grandson, who was present. This also impacted me greatly, for it was now as if the stories about Sai, which previously seemed like stories only, came alive – a divine soap. 

Start of a cleansing process

On our way to the hotel, Maanish developed a spontaneous fever that was rapidly rising. I gave vibhuti and homeopathic medicines, but when the fever was not subsiding at the end of the second day, Maanish asked for a doctor. Unfortunately, no doctor was prepared to come, and he felt too weak to go to the hospital. That night I felt desperate. Normally Maanish’s fevers leave after one day. Why not now?

My body developed headaches, diarrhoea and stomach ache. Was I next in line? Who would take care of him when I fell ill, and what if he had to go to hospital? His skin looked white like a corpse despite the high fever. I didn’t even feel fit enough to worry. We both took vibhuti, and I surrendered our case to Shirdi and Mohanji. They would know best. 

On the third day, when Maanish’s fever would still not subside, Aditya addressed the hotel owner directly. It worked! A doctor came immediately and gave a strong injection, causing the fever to subside finally. Thank you, Mohanji!

With Maanish’s fever aside, Aditya advised me not to stay in the hotel any longer but to come along with him and his parents and visit holy places. I hesitated, but Maanish told me he wanted me to have a good time, and all he needed was sleep. After looking at the pitch-black wallpaper with a pattern of dead branches in the hotel room for three days, I was convinced that going out would do me good and Maanish wouldn’t miss me.

We drove with the rickshaw (two huge pans with plain rice, channa dal and bananas in the back) to two small villages and helped serve food as annadaan. Long rows of villagers waited patiently in line with a plate and a bowl to receive their evening meals. It made me very happy to help with the servings. “Mohanji tells us to serve generous portions,” Aditya told me when I was too prudent.

Then we went to the Veerbhadra Temple, where Sai Baba lived for some time when he pretended to be the devotee of Dilawar, a Guru (with a big ego). We visited the Samadhi Temple of Upasani Maharaj, with an ashram which was inhabited only by unmarried women, his disciples. Sakori is the name of the peaceful temple of Upasani Maharaj, who was a devotee of Sai Baba before he attained enlightenment. It was a very powerful and wonderful experience to be there. His first devotee died in 1990, and her picture was shown on an altar in the temple where she was now worshipped. In her energy, I felt immense strength.

‘Aao Sai’

In the evening, Aditya and his dear parents took me along to Chavadi and Dwarakamai. Then to the Khandoba Mandir, where Mahalsapati (Baba’s greatest and one of the most famous devotees) had been the priest and gave him the name Sai by uttering the famous words ‘Aao Sai’. His grandson, who is presently in charge of the mandir, was present. We offered oil in a fire that was kept burning continuously. 

We were allowed to do a small puja in the mandir with incense, coconut and rice. Again, I had an experience of feeling great power. We took a rickshaw to visit another Khandoba Mandir at four kilometres distance, which also turned out to be a tremendously powerful place. Below the temple was a floor where an old Shivalingam was worshipped. Sai Baba used to come to this place. Here we meditated briefly, and I got a chance to do my Kriya at this power place. 

A small adjoining temple, on the left side of the main temple, was the abode for a very special Shivalingam that actually consisted of five lingams that were melted together as one. Here too, the power was very palpable. But since Aditya and his parents had yet to eat, we did not stay for a long meditation. We picked up Maanish at the hotel and went to a dosa restaurant a few buildings away on the same street, his first dinner outside the hotel. 

Aditya gave Mai-Tri to Maanish to give him strength and found that his illness was a huge cleansing process, and he said that Maanish didn’t need any more Mai-Tri sessions.

Part 2 to be continued…


Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 24th August 2023


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

Leave a Comment

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

Recent Posts
Scroll to Top