By a Mohanji follower
I took my seat in the hall and began waiting for Mohanji. I was happy and excited. My mind, however, was oddly quiet and vacant. But it had been more silent than usual from the time I had signed up for the retreat. Also, though this retreat was a dream come true for me, I’d not arrived with any particular expectations. My biggest wish was to be in Mohanji’s physical presence finally. Something in me was just not interested in thinking of anything beyond that.
I vividly remember the moment Mohanji walked into the hall. I was asked later how it felt to see Mohanji for the first time, and I couldn’t think of anything to say – and even now, I am drawing a blank while trying to think of the best way to describe how I’d felt in that instant. Was it joy? Peace and calmness? Excitement? Yes, it was a mixture of those emotions, but it was also much more…
I was completely elated and overwhelmed. My eyes were full of tears, and I was smiling. I felt intense vibrations in my feet and calves as if the floor was pulsating with energy as Mohanji walked past the rows of seekers. There were no thoughts of the past or future in my mind. I felt very present and in the moment, fully aware that I was experiencing something extraordinary. That’s the best I can do to describe my state of mind. During Mohanji’s talk, tears kept filling up my eyes now and then for no particular reason.
Then the Kriya initiation began. The atmosphere in the entire hall changed once the initiation started, and the very air seemed to be vibrating with sacred power. As I took out my dakshina, my mind began to behave like its usual self and started to tell me about all the things I had done wrong and was going to go wrong.
Was the dakshina appropriate? Was it enough? When I would walk up to Mohanji, would I stumble and fall and drop everything and ruin the divine atmosphere? This last concern was not baseless since I have a hard-earned reputation for being as graceful as a drunk bull in a china shop.
A gaze divine
Soon, I was walking to the side of the stage with my dakshina in hand. As I stood there while waiting for my turn, the worries eased, and a quietness fell within me. As I walked onto the stage and approached Mohanji, he looked at me. Mohanji’s eyes looked red, and at that moment, I felt as though I’d received a glimpse of something incomprehensible to my mundane brain. I’m not capable of describing it further.
During the initiation, Mohanji’s fingers on my forehead felt abnormally hot, and though my mind was empty, there was a feeling of being in the presence of an immense power. Later, when I was standing for the group photograph, I realized I was swaying like standing on a boat. I tried to control it since I was standing with everyone for the picture, but the swaying continued. I tried again with more determination, and it finally ceased.
The following day, I woke up early and went to the Samadhi Mandir for darshan with some wonderful new friends. I had carried my Sai Satcharitra with me in my bag, and as we began moving towards the main hall, I took out the book and held it with no particular intention. Then I thought – it would be nice to get a leaf or petal from Baba to keep in the Satcharitra.
After darshan, we left the hall and went towards the neem tree. At that point, a member of our group kneeled down and reached through the steel bars to pick up some fallen leaves, and she gave me one too, which I accepted with great happiness and love, and felt very moved that such a small wish of mine too had been fulfilled by Baba. Then we visited the Chavadi too and stood outside on the road outside Dwarkamai for some moments. Overall, my wishes related to Sai Baba were all fulfilled that morning.
The day began with a group Mai-Tri session, which was really powerful. I felt wonderful internally by the end of it, but there was a crushing pain in both my shoulders. I’ve had pain in my shoulders for years now, but it usually afflicted one shoulder at a time. And the pain had never been this severe. It actually felt like my shoulders were breaking. Also, my head felt very heavy, and extreme drowsiness overcame me. It wasn’t ordinary sleepiness. It felt as though I’d taken a powerful medicine and was dealing with its effect. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and was almost afraid that I would fall off the chair and cause a small planet-sized dent in the floor.
Mohanji arrived soon, and when he remarked that everyone looked sleepy, I felt a little relieved that I wasn’t the only one struggling to be awake. Mohanji asked everyone to do the five-speed breathing to get rid of the drowsiness. Preethi Gopalaratnam guided us through the process. It helped me feel more alert, but the sense of drowsiness continued during Mohanji’s morning satsang. When there was a lunch break, I was worried that I would feel even more drowsy after a meal. Instead, as soon as I’d finished my lunch, all the drowsiness vanished, and I felt refreshed. A Mai-Tri Practioner confirmed later that the session had been very powerful, and the drowsiness and pains were indicative of the energies working in me.
The devotion of Hanuman
During Mohanji’s second satsang that day, I listened with full alertness, and tears continued to flow out of my eyes frequently. When he began speaking of Hanuman’s devotion to Shri Ram and how Hanuman would not tolerate even a word spoken against his Lord, I couldn’t control my tears. His words had reminded me of an argument I’d had with someone close to me about the Shirdi retreat. They knew very little about Mohanji, and their only intention had been to make sure that I would be safe during the trip.
While they had not expressed anything hurtful, the doubts that I had sensed in their questions had upset me, and I had responded harshly. I had felt astonished later at the rage and hurt I’d felt in those moments. And I realized that the incident had helped me understand just how much devotion and faith I had in Mohanji, and my lingering irritation towards that person turned into gratitude.
After the powerful satsang, Mohanji gave Shaktipat to several people in the hall, and I was fortunate to be one of them. During Shaktipat, an almost unearthly peace and silence filled up my insides. As I stood with my eyes closed and hands joined, a white light appeared in my vision towards the left. The inner peacefulness and stillness lasted for a long time afterwards.
Later, many people queued up with books, crystal bracelets and malas to get them blessed by Mohanji. They talked to him about their doubts or problems or just conversed with him happily. I decided to get my purchases blessed the next day and just sat watching Mohanji for some time, trying to think about what I could say to him when I finally got the chance. And as has been my experience during the Empowered classes, I couldn’t think of anything to ask him or tell him. I only wanted to be in his presence.
When we were returning to the hotel after the programme, it struck me that I wasn’t feeling tired at all, and I hadn’t felt tired on the previous day too despite the long road journey to Shirdi. And that was astonishing, considering even a 20-minute walk is usually enough to make me think I have earned two full days of rest. I realized Mohanji’s energy and blessing were keeping all exhaustion at bay. That night, I got my periods. I walked to the photograph of Sai Baba in my hotel room and thanked him happily for having permitted me to take his darshan that morning.
The next morning, Mohanji’s satsang was yet again powerful, profound, and also full of humour and warmth. Laughter rang out through the hall again and again. I had all my usual periods-related aches and pains, and shoulder pain from the previous day had not subsided fully, but I was oblivious to all of it. When it was time for Mohanji to sign and bless books and other articles, I quickly joined the queue with a book and two bracelets in a pouch.
I was also carrying a coin that I had received (along with other prasad) via courier from the Sripada Srivallabha Mahasamsthanam in Pithapuram after registering for a puja online. I had become a devotee of Sripada Srivallabha Swami ever since I’d read his charitamrutam at the end-2020 and had also accepted him as my Guru. And strangely, it was after that turn in my life that more and more of Mohanji’s teachings began to come my way, and an inner transformation began. And I’ve felt since then that Sripada Srivallabha Swami guided me to Mohanji.
Coming back to that morning in the retreat, I had a brief confusion if I should ask Mohanji to bless the coin too. Then I decided to go ahead and keep the coin in the pouch. Instantly, the song that was being played in the hall changed to “Digambara Digambara Sripada Vallabha Digambara”. I think it played for a couple of minutes, and then the previous song returned. I almost laughed in a burst of exhilaration.
As I moved closer to the stage, I tried to think of something I could ask or share with Mohanji. But nothing crossed my mind. The contentment of being in Mohanji’s presence continued to overrule everything else in my head. And ultimately, I remained silent and just smiled happily as Mohanji signed the book and blessed the bracelets and the coin, and I felt intense gratitude as I touched my head to his feet.
The dance of the Ganas
As Mohanji left the hall, I felt sad, but there was also a strong feeling that I had gained something miraculous that would not be lost. And needless to say, I was extremely grateful for the grace that had allowed me to be in his presence for three consecutive days.
However, once Mohanji left, I became conscious of all my physical discomforts. I felt listless and tired and had considerable pain in my shoulders from the previous day. I struggled to sit through the Power of Purity meditation. Mentally and physically, I felt very reluctant to participate in Conscious Dancing, which was scheduled as the day’s last event. I even wondered if I ought to go back to my hotel room after lunch and leave for Mumbai.
But there was a strong instinctive reluctance to leave, so I found myself sitting in the hall when it was time for Conscious Dancing. But the whole process was explained so beautifully and with such wonderful energy by Monica Nedic that I rose to participate with considerable interest and enthusiasm. It was very intense and brought up a lot of emotions, but it was also powerfully healing. And I’m so glad and thankful that I was given a chance to experience it.
Towards the end, we had the choice to either sit with our eyes closed in meditation or dance. I sat down with my eyes closed. The floor was reverberating with the energetic footsteps of those who were dancing.
A thought of Lord Shiva’s Ganas flitted through my head. And my imagination showed me a picture of the Ganas dancing exuberantly in joyous abandon around their beloved Lord.
Then Mohanji appeared in place of Lord Shiva, and all those who loved him and devoted to him became the Ganas. The thought and imagery caused a wave of emotions to engulf me, and tears flowed down my face.
I was on an emotional high for days after my return to Mumbai. And then, by the grace of Sai Baba and Mohanji, I was granted the opportunity to revisit Shirdi in January 2022. I was able to take darshan in the Samadhi Mandir thrice over two days. During the first two visits, I was preoccupied with anxieties and could not pray peacefully.
During the third darshan, I was still thinking of some issues rather than praying while walking towards the hall. But as I moved ahead in the line and began to come closer to Baba’s samadhi, I was suddenly hit by a strong feeling of Baba’s presence pervading everything around me. It was a very intense, emotional, blissful feeling that ‘Baba is everywhere’. It overpowered me wholly, and I forgot all my worries. The feeling persisted after I left the Mandir and began to walk to the exit. It was as if I could sense Baba’s presence all around me at every step. Baba was in the air itself. It was a very intense experience, and I had a hard time concealing my tears from my family.
This was the first time I had such an indescribably beautiful experience. And I know without a shred of doubt that it happened only because of Mohanji’s grace and blessings. I love visiting temples and have had the good fortune to visit many shrines over the years, including the Samadhi Mandir. I have often felt exhilarated and moved by the power in holy places. But this had been unlike anything I’d felt before. And not only did it grant me a tiny insight into the eternal truth that divine consciousness pervades everything, but it also helped me understand how transformational the presence of the Guru can be in our lives.
A resetting of the inner self
Over the next week, my parents and aunt developed fever and cold, and they tested positive for covid, and so did I. But despite the chaos and general anxiety, I instinctively felt that the situation was a blessing from Sai Baba in a way that couldn’t be grasped logically and that Mohanji and Baba were with my family throughout and taking care of all of us. There was a constant sense of being held carefully by loving hands.
I also believe the powerful teachings and techniques imparted by Mohanji through the Empowered programmes helped me handle the tension and worries with much more stability and calmness than usual. It enabled me to do whatever I could to take care of my family without being too disturbed by all that was happening.
On the whole, after the Shirdi retreat, I’ve felt as though my inner self has hit the reset button and that I’ve finally reached a major turn in the road that I’d been travelling towards for ages.
I offer my humble pranams, filled with deep devotion and gratitude, to my Guru, Mohanji, for his divine grace and presence that has blessed my entire being and pray for eternal refuge at his holy feet.
Shirdi experiences – part 1
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI ||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 10th February 2022
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