Salona Surjoo (Ladysmith, South Africa)
There are masters who come into this world purely for the purpose to help all beings. I personally, my family, people within our local Mohanji Ladysmith centre, within the country and globally, have had many beautiful, divine experiences with Brahmarishi Mohanji. Some may argue or question these connections and experiences. And as adults, we cannot make people feel the way we do or understand the path we have taken. But, the experiences and love shared between a master and an innocent baby, can certainly not be taken for granted. Babies are pure souls who have the capability to feel energies around them. They are playful and giggle at divinity and divine people, and are uncomfortable when subjected to negativity. Many may question the path, experiences and spiritual choices that followers have taken, but there is no doubt that when a baby expresses love and happiness for the same reason, it is definitely more than just ideas conceived by the human mind.
“I fulfill desires”, Brahmarishi Mohanji often says.
Those are not just mere words, but life experiences that I have come to experience even before meeting my Guru.
I have always loved babies. Their purity, innocence, and ability to express happiness at any moment brings a soothing sense of love and joy to my heart. I have been yearning to hold a baby close to my heart, to feel a soft tiny body in my arms and to play with tiny finger and toes. This feeling grew rapidly over the past years until the desire to cuddle with an infant grew so much that I found myself in tears. I had actually held a teddy bear close to my heart, eyes filled with tears and looked at a photo of Mohanji and said, “Please send a baby that I can play with.” Seconds later I had withdrawn from the teddy, dried my tears and asked myself, “Guru is the sun that lights a million suns. How can I ask him for such a wish?” Perhaps it was the ego or the mind over analyzing the wish, but regardless of what it was, Mohanji answered…
A little baby was born in the same month that I had made my wish. One who I would soon meet after some months. Magnificent is the timing of Guru!
Before getting into how Mohanji had fulfilled my wish to play with a baby, I would like to share with you baby Ariv’s story…
After 14 years of endless fasts, prayers, and wishes, a beautiful baby boy was born to Jayshree and Ashil Mangal in Ladysmith, South Africa. This bundle of joy came into the world, bright, bubbly and in perfect health on the sunny morning of 23rd February 2017. A coincidence that baby Ariv Mangal was born on Brahmarishi Mohanji’s birthday? This special date was unknown to his parents as they were yet to meet us and hear about Mohanji until a few months later, but it was certainly not a coincidence that they shared the same birthday; as Ariv showed strong connections to Mohanji from a very early age.
Divine will – Meeting Ariv
Ariv and his parents moved next door in June 2017. Again, it was no coincidence that the place they had chosen to live for the next 6 months, was in fact next to a home where Mohanji was so greatly loved – our home. My parents head the Mohanji Ladysmith Centre, His name is taken daily in our home, and Mohanji’s pictures are carefully place all over the house. Soon baby Ariv who was only four months old at the time was in and out of our home.
He was still so tiny, only being able to move his tiny hands and feet, and turn his head. Soon we realised that he used to turn his head in the direction of Mohanji’s photos in the lounge. And at first, I brushed it off. But this became more visible when we carried him upright and he would bobble his tiny head in the direction of Mohanji’s photo and give a big smile. At this age, Ariv should hardly smile. In fact, I used to ‘work hard’ to make him smile or laugh (the joy of hearing a baby laugh is so blissful). But just the sight of Mohanji’s photo brought a smile to his face. I had kept remembering the wish I had made in earlier months, and a few months later Guru had sent this cutest bundle of joy that I get to play with, feed and see too!
Not long after meeting him and his parents, things worked out for me and my sister to join the Badrinath Yatra in 2017. One day I was carrying baby Ariv and we were talking about the Badrinath trip. Upon hearing the name ‘Badrinath’, Ariv gave us a huge smile and baby giggle. It was so funny that we started calling him Badrinath. Just before the trip, while Sholane and I were still in Ladysmith, Ariv was playing in the room with my father. He started laughing and called us to see what Ariv was up to. The baby was still just four-months-old at this time. When we got to the room, we see that my father was carrying Ariv next to a photo of Brahmarishi Mohanji in their room and Ariv was leaning forward to kiss Mohanji’s photo.
My father had said that while carrying him, Ariv pointed to the photo and when he took the baby near it, he leaned forward to kiss it, and touch Mohanji’s hand in the photo.
Baby’s special gift
We were all so touched and I said I will definitely tell Mohanji this when I meet Him in Badrinath. While in Badrinath, Sholane and I were shopping for little gifts to give people back home as a token from the beautiful town of Badrinath. While shopping we spotted a cute baby bangle which we bought for Ariv. Soon after we were given the opportunity to speak to Mohanji. I had conveyed baby Ariv’s story to Mohanji, showed Him Ariv’s photo and also gave Him the bangle to bless.
Mohanji said, “Look at his eyes, we have been connected from many births,”
He then added, “I give him grace and he knows it, that is why he does that.” I smiled and conveyed the message to his mum as soon as possible.
It then hit me. Ariv who was then just 6-months-old, was born on our Guru’s birthday, attracted to staying near a family who was connected to Mohanji, and received a gift from Badrinath which was blessed by Brahmarishi Mohanji himself, AND Mohanji had said that they were already connected from the past! He was definitely no ordinary shishu (Hindi for an infant).
The Badrinath team gifted all of us a picture of the group with Mohanji, in front of the Badrinarayan Temple. I had stuck this photo on the fridge in the kitchen as the lounge was already filled with Mohanji’s pictures. My brother, Sayijal had taken notice that sometimes while carrying Ariv, he would squeal (for no apparent reason known to adults), and when Sayijal had walked with him near that specific photo, he would just stop squealing and stare at the photo. Again, we found this cute but hilarious. Ariv’s baby tricks were becoming cuter and funnier each day.
His first words
One evening I was carrying Ariv and trying to get him to sleep, while my mum was praying and reciting the Hanuman Chalisa. He was comfortable in my arms but didn’t want to sleep. So I took him to see my mum praying as I thought he may fall off to sleep. What happened next completely shocked us both. My mum was almost at the end of the Hanuman Chalisa when I took him to see her. She was at the concluding part – Pawan Suta Hanuman… And at the EXACT same time, Ariv in his baby voice said “Ki Jai”. I was shocked, so was my mum. She concluded her prayer and turned around with the biggest smile and repeated his words, “Ki Jai! Baby said Ki Jai!” It was then I realised that I was not dreaming. She heard him utter the same words at the exact same time. He was still very small and had not even uttered anything else like Mama, Papa, nothing. So, Ariv’s first words were literally, “Ki Jai”. We were so shocked but started to piece together that Ariv’s connection to Baba is indeed very deep, beyond what we can even understand or realise.
Repeating the divine name
As he was growing up and was able to sit and play with his toys (and random household items) he would continuously repeat the word, “Ithi”. He would repeat the word when smiling and playing or eating, and he would repeat it when crying or squealing to change his clothes. We could not understand why he is continuously repeating the same word and thought it was just a baby word or something. Soon I realized that Lord Shiva’s 652nd name in the Shiva Sahasaranaam is “Ityai” which means, “the Lord is Lakshmi” or auspiciousness. I was so happy to think that Ariv is repeatedly calling out to Shiva.
Celebrating two beautiful birthdays
I had moved back to Pretoria in January 2018 with Sholane, and we were driving home on 23rd February to celebrate Mohanji’s birthday with everyone at the Mohanji Centre and celebrate Ariv’s first birthday.
We commenced with the formalities, chanting and bhajans, Ariv and his parents were also present and he celebrated his birthday by cutting a vegan cake, next to Mohanji’s photo at the Ladysmith Centre. He was not interested in the cake, but rather, he sat down on the cushion we keep for Mohanji’s feet and took one of the fruit Prasad to eat. Indeed a cute sight.
Matching the puzzle pieces
Ariv was uncomfortable and crying a lot and our hearts felt sore to hear his soft baby cries. Wishing there was something more we could do to stop it or make him happy again. I went to the lamp to pray while carrying him and got a thought to play the Devi Kavacham. At that very moment, before I expressed my thought, Sholane said, “Play the Devi Kavacham it will help soothe him.” I gave him to Sholane to carry while we all sat to meditate on the Kavacham. Ariv was still very crabby. As soon as Mohanji’s voice came on and the baby heard it, his face changed completely. I will try my best to describe this visually…
He gasped, his eyes changed from fear to happiness, he turned his head, (jumping over Sholane’s shoulder) all the way to look at where the music was coming from, he looked directly at the music box and said, “Haaawwh, Ithi!” We then realized that Ithi that baby plays with, complains to and just loves so dearly is, in fact, Brahmarishi Mohanji. I then remembered Mohanji’s words in Badrinath, “I give him grace, and he knows it.”
We meditated on the Devi Kavacham 3 times. Ariv was still crabby but with each time we repeated it, he cried less and less and by the end, he was back to his bubbly happy, playful self.
That afternoon, we took him to my grandparents home, where he played with everyone as normal. I had taken him into my grandparents’ room, where he kept pointing to papers in the room. Repeating the word, ‘that’. He very clearly says the words, ‘this, that and there’. I pointed to a few things which he didn’t want, but when I pointed to a copy of the Bhagavad Gita that my grandmother reads, he got happy and stretched his arms to hold it.
Kissing Mohanji’s photo
Sholane and I travel back and forth from Pretoria to Ladysmith so we only see Ariv whenever we are home. On one of the trips home, Ariv had got a hold of Mohanji’s picture (the same one he used to turn his head to stare at when he was a baby). And he pulled it to his face to kiss it. He looked at the photo of Mohanji, directly into His eyes, and kissed Him, repeatedly saying, “Baaa”. When we ask Ariv, where is Ithi? He gives a huge smile, points to Mohanji’s photo on the wall at home and says, “Thereee”.
I personally feel that the way a baby, uncontaminated by this material world, free from doubt, worry and skepticism, can so openly and undoubtedly connect with a master such as Mohanji, speaks volumes of the stature of such a Guru as well as the purity of such a baby. Ariv has not yet met Mohanji in the physical form and according to us, Ariv has only seen Mohanji’s pictures in our home, ‘unknowing’ to the mind, that Mohanji is a Guru or spiritual person. Yet, Ariv has connected so strongly to Him, recognizing Mohanji’s voice in the Devi Kavacham, to calling out to his ‘Ithi’ in happiness and sorrow.
May we all, including myself, be able to let go of the contamination created by society and become as free and delightful as a little baby, to be able to recognize and connect with the Divine without doubt and negative thinking.
Thank you, Father, Gurudev, and Friend, for giving me this beautiful opportunity to witness this divine love between you and baby Ariv and for the ability to write about it and inspire all who read it.
Love and gratitude for being able to write this beautiful, divine story between an innocent baby and a loving Master. And also being able to experience the joy of playing with a baby who is not only a joy but one who is so deeply connected to my Guru.
Mohanji with children and as a child
Just as baby Ariv, all babies are attracted to Mohanji every time they come in the proximity of Mohanji. Children love Mohanji. To see the instant bonding that gets created between Mohanji and the babies/children is to watch the divine Leela.
All children are the true reflection of Divine! We leave you to cherish the divinity in this childhood photo of Mohanji.
||JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI||
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