Travel with Sonia Gandhi on a magical pilgrimage, where Grace showers her with the fulfilment of her smallest desires.
By Sonia Gandhi
It was only by Mohanji’s grace that the Badrinath-Kedarnath trip happened for me in September 2018.
Flashback to March 2018: On the last day of the Machu Picchu trip, I had this weird dream early in the morning, where I saw Mohanji going away from me. I was a bit disturbed by this dream and ended up speaking to Mohanji and requesting him never to leave me.
He said to me, “I’ll never leave you.” Then after a pause, he said, “Come to Badrinath.”
With my eyes wide open, I was thinking, ‘How will I manage this?’ I had just taken 15 days off work to come to Machu Picchu, and I was about to change jobs. I did not think that I would have enough leave left to travel again in September, as I was to join my new job in June.
Fast forward to August 2018: My boss approved my leave as it was the start of the financial year for us. However, I had to work from India for a few days to enable me to travel during the weekend. Since I live out of India, a trip to India was an opportunity to meet my family as well. I thought there would be nothing better than getting my whole family together on the Badrinath-Kedarnath pilgrimage. As my mom was a bit low (following my Dad’s passing away), this would be a good change for her and we could all spend time together at a holy place, in the presence of Mohanji.
It so happened that seven members of our family were part of a group of 33 to Badrinath and Kedarnath, beautifully managed by Mamuji, Preeti Velekar & all the lovely volunteers! It was a joyous journey and full of unexpected events, as you will read.
Our family got lucky and were able to attend the public Satsang that happened in Rishikesh, the very day we reached Haridwar. (The towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh are at a distance of approximately 25km from each other- Ed.) We spent time in the bus singing and chanting in bliss, although we were stuck in traffic for a while and thought we would be late.
As the bus stopped and I stepped down, the first thing I saw was Mohanji, who was stepping out of his car at the exact same time! We rushed to meet him, filled with so much joy at seeing him and taking his blessings. It’s always special meeting Mohanji although we know he is always with us, guiding us.
The next morning was scheduled for the Homa- a ritual with offerings to a consecrated fire. This was something I had always wanted to attend, ever since I first read about a Homa in Canada in 2014, and had learnt about the amount of cleansing that had happened during that event. We were fortunate enough that Mohanji decided to do the Homa himself in Rishikesh.
Mohanji told the group that he likes to start on time, as all the deities are present, once the start time has been announced, and it is not good to make them wait.
The energy was so intense from the start. Mohanji’s face shone like the sun and the heat from the rising sun made him shine even more brightly. He did not move until the Homa was finished, which took around 4 -5 hours. The intensity of the Homa was such that the presence of Masters was strongly felt.
Towards the end, each of us had to offer a dry coconut to the fire, which kept burning till late night and did not easily urn into ashes. It’s unheard of that a dry coconut does not burn, with so much of ghee (clarified butter), wood etc. added to the fire as an offering. We understood that this was due to heavy karmic baggage that would not let the coconut burn!
We were also asked us to write what we would like to offer to the fire and put that paper into the burning flames, lit separately from the Homa fire, in a place a little distance from it (after the Homa was completed). Mohanji was personally standing there till everyone put their papers into the fire. Some of the papers refused to burn in the fire: yet another unheard or unseen event! The heaviness it was meant to be clearing from people was so intense, that it took ages for all the papers to burn! I have so much gratitude to our beloved Guru Mohanji, who works tirelessly and unconditionally for uplifting all beings.
We then started our journey by visiting Neem Karoli Baba’s Ashram and Shri Lahiri Mahasaya’s Ashram. Both places are very powerful with amazing energy!
While visiting Lahiri Mahasaya’s Ashram, we got a chance to go inside the cave where he did Tapas (spiritual practices that often involves a high degree of self-discipline, solitude and periods of deep meditation – Ed).
I was sitting with some other group members, in silence, in a small room, in front of the cave, waiting for the others to come out. There were a few pictures in that room, one of them was of Mahavatar Babaji. I looked at the picture and felt intense energy coming from it. I sat there silently praying to Babaji to give me a glimpse of him in a physical form. ‘I may not be eligible, but you are ever merciful. Please give me your Darshan (Divine sight)’ I thought, and cried.
I had never prayed to Mahavatar Babaji this way before, and I wasn’t sure, why I was doing it, as I am usually deeply in love with Sai Baba and believe he is my best friend, my Divine Father. I realised what the link was later while entering the Kedarnath temple.
En route to Badrinath, our group was stuck on the road due to a landslide, which is common in that region, when it rains heavily. We had to find a place to stay for the night. With Mohanji’s grace and Mamuji’s tenacity, we got two hotels to stay in, for our group.
The next day, we met the rest of the group.
I was talking to someone, sharing one of my experiences in Machu Picchu. Mohanji was talking to someone else, but he looked at me and suddenly said, “I told you to get in the bus!” I was puzzled. He said again, “I told you earlier too, to get in the bus”, and said to the person next to me, “She (me- Sonia) knows what I’m talking about, she will tell you later.”
I stood there even more puzzled and started thinking about what it signified. It was only later that day that I realised what Mohanji meant. This explanation has two parts: one part that happened in Machu Picchu in March 2018, and another part in Oct 2010 in the form of a dream.
I will narrate the dream first. In Oct 2010, before I physically met Mohanji, Sai Baba had been my best friend and protector. While I was going through a tough phase in my life, I saw this vivid dream at about 3.00 am.
In the dream, someone was harassing me and I was asking this person to let me go. Suddenly my mom appeared, together with my (deceased) grandparents, who came to rescue me. I went with them and we were waiting for a bus. I was getting impatient in my dream, as it was taking a while for the bus to arrive, but they told me the bus would arrive soon. So it did. A white bus arrived, which had white chairs outside and inside, and all the interiors were white too.
As it seemed full from the outside, I complained that I might not get a seat, and my mom said, ‘You will get one, don’t worry, get into the bus’.
A few people got off and I climbed up the steps of the bus. I looked at the driver’s side of the bus and the driver was wearing white clothes too, with a white turban. As I looked at the driver, he turned his head and looked at me – it was Baba! My beloved Sai Baba!
At this point, I woke up, with so much joy in my heart and went to Baba’s picture to talk to him, and saw him smiling in his full glory that made my heart expand so much, during those tough days.
Now to March 2018, Machu Picchu:
While walking near our hotel in Machu Picchu, Mohanji, who was ahead of me with some others, suddenly turned around and asked me to go and click the picture of a bus!
This was a bus that looked like a toy bus, which was on a small bridge, in the small town of Machu Picchu. I rushed to the bus, clicked a picture quickly and returned, but he pointed again, and said, “You didn’t click it properly- go and do it again.”
So I went again, knowing in my heart that I had rushed it. Later on, when I saw the picture, it had four dogs with the bus, which were missing in the first picture.
Four dogs represent the four Vedas and are always seen in representations of Lord Dattatreya.
So this is what Mohanji was asking me to do: to “Get in the bus”, i.e. to completely surrender my words, thoughts and actions, to the Tradition and let them take care of my journey onward. This was such a beautiful message, in the most subtle way linking the dots from 2010 to March 2018 and finally to Badri-Kedar in Sept 2018!
I felt so sad for taking so much time to understand Mohanji’s message. I surrender to him to give me Buddhi (intelligence) to understand the message, quicker.
Yes, I believe that Mohanji knows the past, present and future, and can see things which we fail to see with our human minds and limited awareness.
Back on the road, while waiting for the roads to clear, we were enjoying Mohanji’s company. We started singing, and I took up the song that goes: Om Jai Sainath, Jai Sainath, Aadi na anth tumhara, tumhe shraddha naman hamara, Dharti par rahkar prabhu tumne tan ambar tak vistaara. Translated, this means: O beloved Sai, there is no beginning and no end to you! I bow down to you with faith. Living on Earth, you have expanded into the Sky and beyond!
The roads did not open that day and a few members left on foot to walk towards Badrinath, while the rest of us decided to stay back. My mother was with us, so all our family decided to stay back.
We had a beautiful satsang that evening, with Mohanji talking about the manifest and the un-manifested universe, and many other deeper topics. I was not feeling well but attended the satsang as it always lifts my spirits.
The next day we started our journey again, as we were told that the roads would be open that day.
We packed our bags and were on the road again, but we had to stop on the way as they were sending traffic through from another side, before letting us go up. While we were waiting, there was a beautiful waterfall next to where we had stopped. After spending some time with the group, I decided to go up by myself near the source of the waterfall where I sat down to do my Kriya practice. Within 7-8 minutes of Kriya, I felt expanded.
Suddenly, I saw myself inside Mohanji’s consciousness. I became part of him and I could see myself expanded to the extent that everywhere I looked, everything was Mohanji: not just the earth plane, but outside too – the manifest and un-manifested Universe. It is hard to explain, but there was no sense of ‘I’, as I became part of him and part of the Universe.
He made me experience the expansion I sang for him just the day before and that he had talked about in Satsang the evening before! This little mind is not capable of knowing how Masters operate, but I believe that it was through sheer Grace that I was able to experience this.
Then suddenly, someone came up to take my picture and I came back to normal consciousness, and back onto the rock that I was sitting on. I went down to the road after a while and was told that Mohanji was asking about me.
I went to see him and offered my pranaams (salutations), and he enquired, “Ah! Sonia Gandhi! Where were you?” I said ‘Father I went up near the waterfall’ to which he replied, “Yes! I know! I was there, I came to meet you, but other people came. I feel shy when there are other people, so I came back, you see! I’m very shy!”
What could I say to this? Our beloved Parabramha, who is One with the whole universe, after showing me the glimpse of it, says “I’m very shy!” I burst into laughter and Mohanji gave me a big smile.
I love you to eternity Mohanji! Only gratitude at your lotus feet.
We had a blissful darshan at Badrinath. The first sight itself was mesmerising, the beautiful main entry with vibrant colours. The view is a sight to behold and enough to melt the heart!
The next day, we had a dip in the hot water spring and got ready to go for a morning Darshan at the temple. If I tell you that I had no idea that it was a Narayana temple, you might laugh at me! Yes, I thought it was a Shiva temple, going by the name. I later came to know that it actually had been, until Lord Narayana came there for tapas and made it his abode.
We went inside & witnessed the whole shringar ( dressing up) of Lord Narayana. There were around 40 people in the temple. Apart from us, there was another group. We started chanting, and the other group began to respond so that they would sing one chant, and then we would sing another. I sang to my heart’s content and loved every minute of it.
After the blissful darshan, we resumed our travels and I was back in the car. We stopped at a small dhaba (roadside eatery) after a while. While we were waiting, we saw Mohanji’s car arriving. He too decided to eat at that dhaba with us. I was seated next to him with gratitude in my heart for this wonderful opportunity! I began to feel energy swirling inside me and felt my mind begin to go blank.
While eating, Mohanji said, “You know I’m eating spicy, because I’m …. cutting Karma.” I couldn’t hear the full sentence and just nodded. He said again, “Tell Kamath what I just told you.” I repeated the part sentence to Kamath who completed the sentence, ‘Cutting your Karma’. I sat there in complete shock. Within seconds, Rajesh and Sanya took the remaining spicy food from Mohanji’s plate and ate it.
I just sat there in shock processing what I had just heard! How does our beloved Avadhoota in jeans work? No, the mind cannot understand his subtle ways of working.
Only gratitude & surrender.
We reached Kedarnath very late and stayed overnight in a beautiful resort.
While I was in the queue for Darshan & silently chanting, like a flash, appeared a very vibrant and young (around 16-17-year-old) yogi, coming out of the Kedarnath Temple, in just a dhoti. His appearance was similar to Mahavatar Babaji as in the portraits I had seen, and he had a very bright face. Just then, a lady behind me said something to me, and as I turned to the lady and then looked back in the yogi’s direction, he had disappeared! It was all an open area, but I could not see him anywhere!
Was it that my wish (that I made in Lahiri Mahasaya’s Ashram) was granted?
I do not know, but it was a most beautiful sight and I can only bow my head in gratitude.
As I took the first step inside the temple, something shifted inside so strongly, that I could not hold back my tears, and I actually cried out & sobbed loudly!
I felt I belonged to this place, and energy and a strong sense of love enveloped me. It felt like a homecoming after lifetimes. I was sobbing and the guards were looking worried, thinking I was getting altitude sickness and breathing heavily.
I could not really tell them that I was completely fine; it was strong energy, the connection and feeling of belonging to the place.
They left me alone in one corner for a while, and I ended up standing sobbing there for almost 15 minutes with so much bliss & love that my heart could not contain it! So I was standing there in the inner sanctum without being disturbed for almost 10 minutes and was able to offer my prayers and gratitude, whilst others were hurried out of the sanctum.
The next morning, Mohanji was talking to someone about the Kumbh Mela and its significance, while I was standing at some distance, listening. I felt it was a message for me and it turned out that I ended up going to Kumbh in Feb 2019, which is for another blog that I am writing!
While driving back from Kedarnath, we had to stop on the way due to the road being blocked at one point in the journey. We got out of our vehicles and were taking pictures. I saw a beautiful waterfall, and my heart expanded. I started visualising the waterfall doing abhishekam (ritual pouring of water or other offerings) to Mohanji. Lo and behold, in less than 5 minutes, I saw Mohanji walking out of his car and he stood near the waterfall and I was able to capture exactly what I had visualised a few minutes previously.
I had no words to say anything. I just felt so blessed to have such a compassionate Father, Master, Guru and friend in the form of Mohanji in my life. He knows every wish and fulfils it without a delay if it is from the core of one’s heart.
The last day of the pilgrimage arrived all too soon, and it is always hard to bid goodbye to Mohanji. When my turn came to offer my Pranaams, I had only one question in my heart, ‘When are we meeting again, Father?’ Before I could say anything, Mohanji looked at me and asked me the very same question, “So, Sonia Gandhi, when are we meeting again?” What can I say, he knows my every thought and wish!
So I asked him, ‘Please call me to Kumbh, Father’. He gave me a big smile and said, “Come.”
There are many more subtle instances that touched my heart, but it’s hard to list everything. Yes, he knows my every little wish & fulfils it.
I have only gratitude and more gratitude to our beloved Mohanji.
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI||
Compiled, Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 26th December 2019
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