Mohanji’s presence brings such divine grace on everyone around that makes them experience supreme bliss and joy while innumerable blockages from life times get cleared off. Such is a powerful experience that Loshini Naidoo was blessed with over the few days in the ‘Anchored in Love’ retreat with Mohanji, in South Africa – November 2018.
Return to Calderwood Hall
The venue for the South African 2015 retreat – Calderwood Hall – was where I met Mohanji for the first time; so, returning to Calderwood Hall this year (2018) was extra special.
I had planned to drive to my parents’ home, stay there for a few days, then make my way to the retreat on 12 November as required. My parents live 2.5 hours away from the retreat venue. Since I tend to overthink and stress about travel plans, this seemed like a good idea as it would also give me some time to rest after driving for 625 kilometres from Johannesburg. The morning to depart arrived quickly and as “luck would have it,” I over slept. Nevertheless, I was well rested, so I packed my luggage and all that I would need into the car and off we went – myself and my trusty co-pilot, who answers to the name, Kayla. She’s a true, loving soul.
This weird and wacky travel-mate (a little Boston terrier) manages her travelling by dry fasting. No food, not even a sip of water from the time she wakes up in the morning until we arrive at our destination. During long journeys, I usually experience migraine headaches and body aches but not this time. The drive was smooth and serene. Even Kayla was well behaved at the toll gates – no aggressive barking and getting ready to pounce when I paid the cashiers!
I realised that I had not felt the long distance because the drive seemed effortless, as if I had just been a passenger throughout the journey.
(After sharing this experience at the retreat, Jim mentioned that he did not feel stressed like he usually does when he’s being chauffeured. I had the pleasure of Jim’s company while driving to the retreat from my parents’ house).
Kriya initiation was scheduled for the day before the retreat could start at Datta Tapovan ashram in Durban. I planned to attend the initiation and was looking forward to it. I woke up early and was ready to leave ahead of the anticipated time. The invitation was sent out three weeks prior, with a scheduled start time of 10H00. I knew that the drive to the ashram from my parents’ home takes 1.5 hours. I planned to leave at 07H30 and was ready to go, but somehow decided to check my WhatsApp messages. The first message I saw was from Swami on the group chat, sent at 06H48. He apologised for having to start the initiation early due to Rahu Kaal (an inauspicious time for new beginning). The start time was now 1.5 hours earlier and we were asked to be at the ashram by 08H00! My first thought was that it will be impossible for me to reach the ashram by 08H00 and that I should stay at home and practice kriya (while the initiation would be happening). My parents had left to go enjoy their spiritual activities, so I had the house to myself, or not really since Kayla was also hanging-out inside. We went outside for a bit and I noticed that the weather looked gloomy with dark grey clouds.
I silently thanked Mohanji for His benevolence and protection then went back indoors.
I had not practiced kriya in a while but on that day my practice went smoothly and very quick. After kriya, Kayla and I spent some time together for about an hour. I suddenly felt extremely tired and thought that a nap is in order. Kayla, who usually does not allow me to even sit on my bed during the day, was placid and relaxed. She jumped onto her bed and curled up for a nap. I fell asleep swiftly and easily. The nap turned into a sleep, which lasted two hours. I recall waking up from deep sleep and instantly remembered the dream I had.
I was on a cruise ship which was sailing through an incredibly violent storm. I also remembered that the person sitting with me and watching the storm was an acquaintance, whom I had not been in contact with since finishing high school 17 years ago.
While recollecting this dream, I thought of the pictures I saw on social media three days earlier. It was of Mohanji going shark cage diving. I thought how exciting it must have been for those who were with Mohanji (as well as the sharks) to be in the ocean together.
I have had an immense, inexplicable fear of the shear force of the ocean for as long as I can remember but looking at those pictures and thinking about that dream did not invoke and fear/ anxiety whatsoever.
At the retreat, Mohanji said that in the dream state we experience things not within the waking mind – deep sleep is a death state (no mind); and that the dream state is also a state to fulfil karma.
We reached the venue at 13H30. After checking in, there was not much time to rest and by this time I could feel my mind racing. I offloaded my luggage at the room then went to meet my fellow retreatants. We learned that satsang was scheduled at 15H00. Excitement was building as I could not wait to see Mohanji! The introduction satsang was delightfully serendipitous as Mohanji explained what it means to be “anchored in love” – stable through any situation/ living with integrity while being a consistent expression of love. I have had inner battles for many months, where I questioned my responses (and reactions) to various situations to determine whether I am being an expression of love or not. Although this satsang was of short duration, it cleared many doubts that I previously had.
Catching the Wild Monkey
At the beginning of the retreat, Swami mentioned that he had asked Mohanji to reduce the intensity. I felt an unnecessary disappointment, like a child not being able to go on her favourite outing. I was eager to calm the monkey mind. By the morning of the second day, the regular monkey mind was now spinning out of control – it was a complete circus with the most random and repetitive thoughts. One thought that fortunately did not bother me was about a dream I had the night before. While falling off to sleep, I had felt and saw (as if I was watching a scene in a movie), a hand lightly punch my back on the area between the throat and heart. Immediately after this I remember having a feeling as if I was falling from a height, I turned on my side and fell off to sleep again. It was not the best sleep, considering the full day we had, yet my body had rested.
During the morning satsang on the second day, I lost concentration while Mohanji was speaking. It happened for a split second. In His booming voice, Mohanji called my name and said: “Loshini! Where is your mind?” At that moment my mind was blank. I then felt something being drawn out from my chest centre, Mohanji explained that a thought travels extremely fast. In a few seconds, “one could be thinking of America.” By addressing me loudly, He had caught the thought and stopped my mind from wandering before I was even aware of it.
“When the mind is scattered, you are not a unit. Then there is no freedom. You will be bound to all those thoughts. How to become a unit? Be here now.”
Mohanji also asked what freedom means to me? He made me speak that day as I usually do not speak in front of lot of people. Impromptu speaking in public is not easy for me but by the end of the retreat, I was able to share my experience with everyone (at the front near the stage and with a microphone) as if it was the easiest thing to do. There was no anxiety or fumbling for words.
Mohanji emphasised that we are nature and explained how nature can heal itself. We do not connect to the frequency of nature hence do not have that natural ability to heal ourselves. After conscious walking in the beautiful natural surroundings of Calderwood Hall, Mohanji graciously guided us to connect to the Earth. In the beginning my senses were being bombarded by all kinds of sensations. I could feel every blade of grass poking me were I sat, I heard every insect, bird song, Hadedas (Ibis, known for its distinctively loud calls in flight) squawking, ducks splashing, water lapping, and even the sound of vehicles travelling on the road a few hundred meters away. Once Mohanji asked us to place our palms down and feel the Earth. While doing so, I could feel the energy from the ground circulating within me, and nothing else mattered. A day earlier, the group did Conscious Walking and Power of Purity meditation near the lake. Here I experienced headache, fatigue and a general feeling of heaviness being relieved.
Many leelas were experienced at the retreat which confirmed Mohanji’s teachings as well as His state of being an Avadhoota.
We spent our days at the retreat in beautiful surroundings and calm, sunny weather. However, one afternoon as we stepped out for Conscious Walk, heavy dark clouds hung above the guesthouse grounds. A few people insisted on still going for a walk. Mohanji looked up and said: “Let’s go!” The dark clouds mysteriously cleared enough for us to complete the walk and it rained just as we went indoors.
Throughout the walk, the Hadedas squawked and circled above Mohanji. While speaking about nature’s healing ability and everything being connected, Mohanji told us that the Hadedas were keeping the indigenous spirits away from the retreatants.
Bees were building a hive near the room that Mohanji occupied. Swami stated that these bees were working to protect the retreatants who were occupying the rooms nearby. When Mohanji was leaving the venue, I pointed out that the beehive was white with a strange powdery substance near it. The picture below does not do justice to the real live hive as it was clicked from a phone – it was a pure white, oval shape with the honeycomb structures clearly visible from ground level.
Warren asked Mohanji if it’s vibhuti (holy ash), to which He casually replied while looking up: “It’s possible.” Sadly, as the retreat ended, we noticed that many bees were dead on the walkway below the hive. How incredibly blessed were we, to have nature protecting us?
Just as Mohanji was concluding the programme on Thursday evening, a storm occurred with heavy rain, lightning and thunder. To me it felt as if the intense weather was a validation of all the inner cleansing and healing that took place during the week.
The drive back to the airport from the retreat I had to exclude doer ship entirely. I was worried about the Friday traffic from Pietermaritzburg, road works in the area and my travel mates’ relaxed approach to departing the venue. I knew that the trip from the airport on Monday, would take 2 hours. Naz had a flight to catch at 17H00 and it was already 14H00. Usually my mind and heart would be racing, but I calmly went to look for Jim and Naz and we left the venue at 14H10. “Being driven by purpose, all personality complexes go away.” We made it to the airport just in time, maybe even with a few minutes to spare. All I can say is that I never drive the way I did that day with passengers in the car; yet no anxiety was experienced. As Mohanji said: “When you think of me, I work inside you.”
After the retreat, Mohanji went to Cape Town. A few people made plans, months in advance, to join Mohanji in Cape Town. I declined due to a course I was meant to attend, the week after the retreat. I woke up early, and while getting ready, I could not help but shake the feeling that I should stay home. However, I put it out of my mind and prepared to leave. The venue was 17 kilometres away and was scheduled to start at 08H15. Knowing Johannesburg traffic, I left home at 06H40. It took an hour to navigate through the streams of cars and taxis and I eventually arrived at the venue. Anyone who knows South Africa will know how much fun taxis are during peak hour traffic. Taxi drivers disregard the rules of the road which, in the past, would prompt reactions of irritation and swearing from my part. Not this time though… I went with the flow (of traffic). As I stepped into the venue, the facilitator greeted me and asked if I was there for the course by Terra Firma, since I did not attend the day before. I told him which course I had booked for and showed him the email confirming the course logistics. He decided to assist by calling the coordinator to find out if there were any changes. Turns out the course was cancelled, and the coordinator mistakenly omitted to communicate the changes to me. While speaking to the coordinator over the phone, I only experienced a cool feeling of acceptance and responded in a congenial manner (inside and out). “Acceptance leads to surrender.”
The drive back to my home went against traffic so I reached in 20 minutes. While driving I thought – okay Mohanji, what should I do today? Instantly I thought of the experience-sharing write up that was planned to be typed out during the weekend. I scheduled it for the weekend as I anticipated homework from the course since there’s an exam for accreditation purposes. Since I have never written about my experiences, it seemed like a difficult task to express it in words. I switched on my laptop, read through my notes from the retreat and began typing. After what I believed to be a final draft, I clicked “send” on my email and my laptop went off. I had noticed that the battery needed charging but ignored it as I was too engrossed in typing to be bothered with fetching the charger and plugging it in. The warning icon was still green when the laptop went off. Generally, there would be some time from the green-icon-stage until it goes to amber/ red before switching off.
For some reason, I felt oddly tired and decided to nap (yeah, that happened again! All this sleep after not being able to sleep properly this year. On average, I was sleeping lightly for about 3 hours at night. In June, I could not manage and consulted a doctor who prescribed sleeping pills as well as anxiety medication. The sleeping pills worked for 3 nights – after that the rest of the medication when into the garbage bin). I fell into a deep sleep soon after getting into bed. I dreamt that I was staying at a huge house, together with Mohanji, Devi and a few other people. It seemed like an idyllic, beautiful place where we spent time just relaxing and practicing a strange yoga-like posture. The challenge was to keep one’s shoes on while practicing, a feat not easily achieved. In this dream, I got to spend time with someone very dear to me although we went our separate ways 13 years ago. My heart expanded with love for this dear one, and I was filled with joy with the opportunity to enjoy their presence. Toward the end of the dream, while I was explaining how best to do the yoga-like posture, in which Mohanji also joined the conversation. I was raising my heels off the ground to stand on tiptoe, while reaching my arms up as high as possible. Mohanji smiled and said: “You will reach very high if you continue like that.” I was awoken by Kayla running into the room and showing (i.e.: asking) in her own cute and comical way that I must dish up her dinner. It was 17H30 and I had been asleep for 3 hours.
All these experiences and changes are only due to the grace of being in the presence of a great Master.
Jai Brahmarishi Mohanji!
— Loshini Naidoo, South Africa
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