by Ulla Bernholdt, Denmark
It seems like a wonder that I embarked on a trip to India to meet Mohanji in Shirdi at the end of December 2021. What a huge blessing of a lifetime it was to celebrate Datta Jayanti with him at the feet of Sai Baba and the Dattatreya tradition! Not only that, but I was also graced soon to go to Nepal to introduce Mohanji and his teachings.
Let me first tell you about the rather miraculous background for the travel.
In June 2021, I received an e-mail from a person named Rabi who inquired if any Mohanji activities were going on in Denmark. He told me that he had experienced a vision while meditating in which two unknown persons appeared. The first man was an elderly, poor-looking man who pointed his finger at a younger man with long hair and a beard. The younger man spoke, but the words were not audible.
When I read this, pictures of Sai Baba and Mohanji immediately came to my mind.
Rabi continued that when he opened Instagram the following day, the first photo he saw was that of Shirdi Sai Baba. He now recognised the man from his vision and came to know his name. Curious, he searched YouTube for material upon Baba and found Mohanji’s videos about him. He recognised Mohanji as the other person, and now he had found both.
We arranged to meet the next day, and I was excited, especially because when I’d read his LinkedIn profile, I’d realised that his real name was Gurudatta! Rabi was just a name he had chosen for the sake of convenience. This must be some guidance from the Tradition, I thought. What will happen next?
Gurudatta told me he was from Nepal, and he wanted to visit his home country the following autumn to do seva. I asked if I could join him. We teamed up and started doing ACT4Hunger annadan from Denmark remotely through our volunteers in Nepal.
Our plan to go to Nepal was postponed a couple of times, but when we suddenly got the news that Mohanji’s Dattatreya Jayanti retreat in Shirdi was happening within three weeks, we purchased tickets.
At the retreat, I met up with Gurudatta and his mother. Before leaving Shirdi, we took Mohanji’s blessings plus his instructions and advice regarding visiting Nepal, doing annadan and T-shirt donations for protection and visibility in the country.
We had flight tickets from Delhi to Kathmandu, but unexpectedly, we were both denied access to the aeroplane due to positive Corona tests! Usually, at home, I would go for a second test to confirm, but now we had to make our minds up quickly because my Indian visa was about to expire.
We agreed to go by bus to Nepal in the afternoon and quarantine if needed in Nepal. It was a ride of nearly 900 km to the Nepali border in Sonauli.
Arriving at the border, we found out that I needed to travel another 100 km to do my new PCR-test in Gorakhpur, the place of the grand Gorakhnath mandir.
After taking the blessings of Gorakhnath, who is the incarnation of Shiva himself and is the patron deity of Nepal and the one who decides who can enter the country, I received a negative covid test, and I was ready to cross the border.
Back at the Indian immigration office, they told me to come again the next morning. The same officers said they could not allow me to exit early the next day because my Indian visa had expired the previous day. And here, the calamities started.
Gurudatta was able to leave. Being a Nepali citizen, he stayed with his relatives just across the border. We stayed in touch online.
I had to stay back and go to many different offices far from the town, but with no outcome. We made a lot of phone calls to the different authorities in India, Nepal, and even Denmark, but nobody could help me get an exit permit. In the process, I had to go through an online application, and there was no time limit set to it.
I now stayed at one of the only available hotels at the border, waiting to leave India. What are the normal living conditions for many people in Asia became a severe challenge for a western conditioned mind.
It was a cold hotel with muggy walls and no hot water if there was water at all. There was no electricity during the daytime—no places to eat except a sweetshop that served snacks only. Very poor internet connectivity made telephone calls a challenge. On top of it all, I also found that people would ignore me when I asked them about something or that people would make fun of me when I walked the street, being the only foreigner in town. Communication was not easy either, as practically no one spoke English in that area.
I must admit I had previously carried a romantic fantasy that if I had to isolate, I would only be happy to deepen my practice, meditate and chant. But this situation was so unexpected that I could not find peace of mind to practice seriously.
I remember Mohanji saying that he creates situations and circumstances for people to test them. Or rather, the Tradition tests you.
And I was tested!
My SIM card expired, and the internet was not working.
It seemed like there would be a new issue on top of the other each day. I thought to myself, is this a bad joke? But it was real, and I started to feel the heat and pressure within as the situation escalated.
One week passed, but I still did not receive permission to leave. I observed my mind becoming more unstable as my expectations of going to Nepal were not met.
We had announced our arrival in Nepal beforehand, and people were waiting to meet us and participate in Mohanji events. I could even peek over the border, but I could not go.
My mind questioned if I would be able to go at all? Maybe I was not eligible to go? I felt desperation creeping in.
I would pray to Mohanji and Gorakhnath to hold my hand throughout this experience. Not at one point in time did Mohanji leave me. I asked Mohanji to please help me to be able to go and serve in Nepal.
This seemed like a big-time test. Did I have enough determination and clarity of purpose needed to go to Nepal?
Would I give up? Would I quit? Would I turn back?
I felt I had no choice but to stay put despite all the obstacles. Going to Nepal was what I really wanted. Keeping in mind that all situations and experiences, good or bad, will pass, and having come this far, I waited rather impatiently for the obstacles to dissolve by the grace of Mohanji and time.
Now that I was in exile, deprived of comfort, I had to face all my addictions, dependencies, and patterns of insecurity. There was nothing to do but feel it.
I cherish this experience today because there is so much relevance and authenticity in observing your mind when under pressure. A mind full of constant craving, never satisfied and filled with endless desires.
Sitting in my room, the mind itself felt like a prison, and I felt I was here on a life sentence. This is a simple truth that we would normally avoid facing.
It was not that I missed the comforts a lot. What I longed for was a peaceful mind. I longed to be in Mohanji’s state of freedom, need nothing, go beyond the mind, and not be dependent on the outside world.
While connecting consciously to Mohanji, there were moments of causeless happiness in the middle of this agony. Mohanji is like the calm centre in the eye of a hurricane. He carried me all the way through like a silent companion.
As the days passed, my state of mind slowly started changing, and a transformation happened.
From feeling totally helpless, I wondered what else I could do when I could not change my situation. I longed to do something purposeful, so I started feeding the many stray dogs living outside of the hotel. I felt how it cleansed me and brought me new positivity and stability. Next, I tried to plan for a bigger annadan for people in the town. I had noticed that many of them looked very poor, pushing heavily loaded bicycle rickshaws all day.
I looked for people who could help me cook food, but suddenly, my application for the exit permit went through, and that was the end of 14 days of staying in an unknown place.
As if a dark spell had lifted, the people at the immigration office suddenly started to act friendly and humane. It was like being in a play that had all the ingredients of a drama, even a happy ending. One police officer listened to my story and kindly offered to take me in a rickshaw to the next town to sort out the complicated online payment for the exit permit, which I could not do with a foreign card, and help me prepare to leave the next morning. He said he saw his daughter in me and that it was his moral responsibility to help me. I had no other option than to trust him and Mohanji that his intention was pure. The policeman was indeed very helpful, and trusting him helped me get out of my situation.
Overall, it has been a fantastic experience. We often forget to be grateful for what we have and remember that things we take for granted can leave us in a split second.
Only the hand of Mohanji helped me get through these challenges. He inspired me and encouraged me to keep walking, not to give up, and keep the focus on my purpose. Through his own example, he reminded me that we can always do something for others even when we cannot do much for ourselves.
I thank him for the experience that made me once again realise the raw power we have inside to rise above the situation and our need for grace from the Master and God, without whom we are absolutely nothing.
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI ||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 24th March 2022
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