- By a few devotees who travelled with Mohanji to Arunachala
Many devotees have received the blessed opportunity to travel with Mohanji on various pilgrimages. During such pilgrimages they get to witness and experience the divine dimensions of Mohanji. Such experiences are transformational for the devotees who are travelling with Mohanji. When these experiences are told with sincerity and honesty, anyone who reads those testimonials with utmost reverence also gets the benefit of the same experience. Mohanji has also clarified this for the benefit and awareness of all.
“Honest testimonials serve the tradition because all true Masters and their lives are nothing but representations of the tradition of liberation. When you write honestly what you experienced, if it is true experiences expressed truthfully, it becomes service to the tradition. Hiding it thinking about how people will take you for telling it – is ego complex or ignorance; and it amounts to lost opportunities to serve the tradition as well as lost opportunity to express one’s gratitude for the tradition. Lying or telling partial truth or telling imaginary things means illusion, confusion and hypocrisy. So, true testimonials should be delivered truthfully without adulteration. It should always be truth, not opinions”. – Mohanji
We are glad to present you this testimonial which has been told with such honesty and simplicity, by a devotee who was blessed to be with Mohanji on a pilgrimage to the ‘Thiruvanmalai’ Temple, famously known as ‘Arunachala’.
Narration by the devotee as below:
This is to express our experiences of a few days with Mohanji at Arunachala. Even though I am typing, I am not writing this alone – a few of us are writing together. So no names are used. We have Mohanji’s permission to do that.
October 2018. Arunachala. Most of us had arrived before Mohanji came with His parents. We eagerly waited to see Him. While waiting, I remembered the words of one of those who were with us quoting an old saint who showed a picture of Mohanji to his disciples and said “Do you want to know how a modern Avadhoota looks like? Here it is!” Mohanji is indeed an Avadhoota, an accomplished Master. Even though He has nothing to do on earth, He is ‘playing’ His existence. Avadhootas are perfect mirrors and embodiment of detachment. They need nothing from earth and give everything they can to the earth. Their very presence itself is their message – message in detachment, perfect dharmic existence and existence in a dissolved state, the state of Shiva. They have no pattern and they have no do’s and don’ts. They lead a life of perfect innocence – the state of being Shiva (Bholenath). This was in my mind when I waited for Him. I was curious to see how He operates in life.
The car arrived. Mohanji came out smiling and enthusiastic as ever. No tiredness of the journey and no fatigue. I have never seen Him tired, ever. His presence is soothing and powerful. Instead of coming straight away into our waiting arms, He opened the backdoor of His car and helped His mother to alight from the car with utmost care. His father came out from the other side of the car. Mohanji personally helped His mother to walk, as she obviously had difficulty in walking. Caring for His parents was more important for Mohanji at that time than greeting His devotees. He smiled at all of us and acknowledged our presence while walking with His mother. After He seated His mother comfortably, He turned to us and hugged or shook hands with each one of us. I learned an important lesson. Parents first, before everything else. Subtle teaching. Well understood. Tradition says, “Mother – Father – Guru – God.” This is the line of priority in the tradition of liberation!
The presence of the parents of Mohanji was the highlight of this trip. First of all, Mohanji’s humility and commitment along with respect towards His parents. Secondly, their seamless mingling without any trace of ego, with a group of strangers who assembled there only because of their son. They became part of us and we felt like their children. Their love and graceful demeanour cannot be explained in words. We expressed our gratitude to them for bringing such an illustrious son to the earth, who is transforming lives of thousands in the most modest and quiet way. They humbly smiled and expressed extreme humility. Just humility. Mohanji is living and teaching humility. Zero ego. Grateful. This makes Him our friend rather than a Guru.
I feel very sad and almost inappropriate when people force Him to be a Guru on a high pedestal when He loves to be a close friend, a loving son to His parents and a child like father to His daughter Mila. Above all the forms that His devotees see Him as, He is a dependable friend who has no hypocrisy and pretensions. His love is sincere and unconditional. He would do anything for everyone alike without discrimination. He gives anything and everything truthfully and honestly as per what our needs are.
The rest is the story of how we experienced Arunachala with the parents of Mohanji rather than Mohanji. Everyone would be eager to talk about their precious time with Mohanji. I see this as a rare opportunity that we got, to spend time with the parents of Mohanji.
We went to the Samadhi temple of a saint from many centuries ago where Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi spent many years of his youth in blissful union with himself. Mohanji loves this space. It is one of His personal favourites.
Here also Mohanji was taking care of His mother. We were all ready to help her, but, Mohanji said it is His duty and responsibility to take care of His ageing mother, who brought Him into this world.
Mohanji was invited into the temple and He did aarati to the Shivalinga and the Samadhi of the saint. The temple trustees honoured Mohanji with a garland, shawl and a book. Mohanji also ensured we all gave dakshina (money) to the temple with reverence. While coming out, I heard Mohanji speaking to Preeti Duggal quietly, “The priest is wearing torn clothes. Please get him good clothes.” (I gathered that Preeti was handling Mohanji’s money). Something, which none of us noticed, He saw and acted on upon. He also ensured that oil for the lamp and some other materials used in the temple were promptly delivered. I learned an important lesson – keen observation with utmost benevolence with the all-important question – what else can I do here? He even gave food with His own hands to a stray dog wandering in the temple premises. Another lesson – No beings are less important.
I do not want to elaborate. I shall speed up. We visited the resting place of Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi. Mohanji was helping His mother (Amma). We were walking behind them. As soon as they came into the Samadhi hall, someone brought a chair and helped Amma to sit down! We do not know who it was. Amma could witness the aarati and pooja without any hindrance. After the aarati, one man (stranger) came and helped Amma to do circumambulation of the Samadhi of Maharishi. Mohanji and His father went around the Samadhi thrice while Amma did one circumambulation and sat in a chair. Mohanji sat leaning against a wall, eyes fixed on the wall on the opposite side. I was curious to see what He was doing. I went near Him. Without looking at me, He said,
“Sit down. Sit with your back leaning against the wall. Fix your eyes looking ahead on the wall opposite to you. Above the heads of the people walking, look at the wall on the other side above 8 feet. Keep your eyes steady. All the people will be walking below your gaze. People are just moving. You are not identifying anyone. Keep your eyes steady. The movement is our everyday life. If you do not get attached to those movements, forms and their corresponding characteristics such as male or female, black or white, fat or slim, you will start tasting stillness. That stillness is your true nature. That stillness is Ramana. When movements do not attract your attention anymore, you are progressing in the path of liberation.”
I sat like He said for some time and I realised my thoughts were becoming insignificant and I was feeling more and more freedom.
“When noises of the mind (thoughts) drop, the associated attachments also get dropped. Noises maintain the mind. Noises are the oxygen to habitual attachments and corresponding ownership. Lack of it is detachment.”
Mohanji explained sometime later.
Later, Mohanji asked us to go for prasadam (consecrated food) and we all received some. We brought some for Amma also. Mohanji did not move from His place. We gave Him a bit of prasadam, which He received with gratitude. Then, we walked towards the bookstore and Mohanji literally bought almost everything that was available in English and His mother tongue. I don’t know why He bought all that. He does not read anything, as far as I know.
We did circumambulation of the great mountain Arunachala. Mohanji told us an experience He had, which goes something like this. It happened during one of His previous visits to Arunachala.
“I was in my hotel room here in Arunachala. Suddenly, I saw myself travelling without the body towards the great Arunachala Hills. It was involuntary. Something was taking me there. Something like a magnet was pulling me there. I walked and reached the foot of the mountain. There, I saw a very dark-skinned saintly figure who wore only an orange dhoti and nothing on his upper body. He beckoned me with his hand and said, “Come here.” I walked towards him. He started climbing up and I followed him. We must have climbed about two hundred steps, when we reached a small opening (something like the mouth of a cave) and he stopped. He said, “Go in.” I walked in. He was behind me now. I walked a few steps and stopped as it was getting darker inside. He said, “Keep walking.” I walked. The entrance became narrow and I started fearing that this could be a path of no returns. He kept telling me, “keep walking,” and this assured me that my guide was right behind me. I walked on through that narrow dark way into the mountain. It had barely space for my size to move. Whenever I stopped, I heard his voice asking me to keep moving. After walking about hundred steps more, I started experiencing a kind of brightness slowly happening in the path. This means I started seeing where I was going. It was a relief for me. There is light at the end of the tunnel! I thought that I had crossed the mountain through a secret internal tunnel and reached the other side. The brightness slowly increased, dazed by it, I kept walking and I could feel that my guide was right behind me. The brightness increased steadily, and it eventually became a blinding, golden brightness. Everything was golden. I entered that space completely filled with golden light. Another world. For a moment I thought – Have I transcended into the Sathya Yuga, the Golden Age? I cannot explain in words what I saw. I stood there in awe and watched a vast expanse of space like the inside of a huge cave. There were many platforms/seats (smooth rock platforms that served as seats) scattered over the space, each apart from the other with a reasonable distance. On each such platform a saint with flowing beard and hair, lean and in golden colour sat in deep meditation. Nobody moved. Everything was still. The whole space was still. Peaceful. Tranquil. Still. I looked up for the source of light. The light did not have a source like the sun. It was a natural light from within, not above. The space was self-lit. Golden light. Then I realised that the colour of the meditating saints was not perhaps golden, but the golden light that filled that space made everything looked golden. Is this the Golden Age? Suddenly I got a feeling – this is Siddha loka, the world of Siddhas. This is a world that few get to see. This is a world that is possible to visit only by special invitation. And this is timeless space. Time does not exist here. If I had come with my physical body, I would not have returned back in the same time as some centuries would have lapsed between the entry and exit. While having this realisation, my guide told me, “come with me” and asked me to follow him. He took me through the same way he had brought me and guided me to the world outside. The sun was shining bright. The midday sun felt just like a candle light to me compared to the golden light that I had experienced inside the mountain! I understood – This is the real Arunachala. This is the womb of Arunachala. We are only seeing the shell outside which hides the Siddha Loka, not knowing what is inside. I also felt that Ramana Maharishi had come out from there for the sake of taking people into the stillness of the core of the mountain. I felt that he came out of this world and returned back into this world. I also felt that the Arunachala Shiva (Shivalinga of the temple) – the fire of awareness – is an extension of this world or has its roots in this golden world. When we worship the Shivalinga, we are connecting to this world.”
Mohanji also mentioned that He did not go the next day with the group for the darshan (prayer) of Shiva because He could not collect Himself for a long time after this experience. And when He later reached Bangalore, a saint called Him out of nowhere and said “You did not meet Arunachala Shiva. He is waiting for you.” Mohanji immediately made another trip to Arunachala to fulfill that call. When He reached there, a priest, as if Lord Himself had arranged, received Mohanji and His team. The priest ushered Him in and He had a great darshan of the Lord, right from the door of the sanctum.
The whole narration took me to a different level of awareness. I felt grateful. I felt at home or being in the right place.
We were at the temple of Arunachala Shiva. Mohanji’s parents were sitting. Suddenly I saw a saint with matted hair coming and prostrating at Mohanji’s feet. Mohanji exclaimed at this as He did not see him coming and when he stood up, Mohanji hugged him. Later I came to know that he is called Madurai Siddhar who lives in Arunachala. What I understood is that Madurai Siddhar considers Mohanji as a great Siddha and has great respect for Him. This is why he prostrated at His feet. We know Mohanji is totally unassuming. So, nothing is displayed as usual. But to our surprise, as if sent by the Siddha world inside the mountain, he took hold of Amma’s hands and escorted her and all of us for darshan. We had super quick darshan despite long queues. And along with the priest who joined us, he accompanied us until the whole worship of both Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati was completed. He continued to be with us and escorted us around.
Something was going on between Mohanji and him, some silent communication, which I could not understand. I could only see mutual respect. Mohanji invited him to come for lunch and dinner, and almost everyday until Mohanji was there, he came as well. He was treating Mohanji’s parents with utmost respect and he told us that they are a “blessed couple to have brought a ‘reluctant’ great Siddha to earth.”
Mohanji does not eat much. He was more interested in feeding everyone. Seeing this he said “He is the eternal producer and enjoyer. Mohanji is in fact eating everything in everybody’s plate. We are only eating the leftover from Mohanji.” Madurai Siddhar was with us on most of our tour and he also helped Amma walk the entire parikrama path at Yogi Ram Surat Kumar ashram, which is equal to five parikramas of the Arunachala mountain. So, in effect, supported by Siddhar, Mohanji’s mother performed five parikramas! Mohanji was indeed fulfilling a son’s duty in the most effective way.
One day, while Mohanji’s parents were having breakfast and Mohanji was attending to them at the restaurant, a young monk in a turban walked in and wanted Mohanji’s audience. We were walking out after the breakfast when this happened. Mohanji was also supposed to leave the restaurant. He stayed back and offered food to the visiting monk and sat with him at another table. He does not leave anyone empty-handed. This monk who came without an appointment was later brought to His accommodation and Mohanji answered all his questions. He was apparently sent to Mohanji by his own Guru who lives somewhere in the state of Andhra Pradesh. When this monk expressed his wish to visit Aruncahala, his Guru told him about a few things which needed to be done there and finally said “Mohanji is visiting Arunachala at this time. Do not miss this rare chance of getting His blessings. Such Masters rarely come to earth.” Mohanji blessed him and also patiently answered all his questions after offering him food. The most interesting part was that Mohanji has never seen or heard about his Guru in this life!
Mohanji also took His parents by car around the mountain and completed the parikrama that way also as both parents cannot walk. We were not with Him then. While doing that, we came to know that He also visited the Sai temple in the girivalam path and offered His prayers at Baba’s feet. The temple priests did not recognise Him as He was in jeans and T-shirt, to deliberately avoid attention. When someone told them that “He is Mohanji,” they honoured Him.
While doing girivalam, circumambulation in the car with His parents, I was told that Mohanji was distributing fruits to wandering monks and some animals. I also came to know about an incident during this trip. Mohanji saw an old couple walking while they were travelling in the car. The old man was blind. The old woman was leading the old man. Both of them were lean and almost bones and skin. Mohanji asked to stop the car, took some money out and asked the driver to give it to them. He went to the other side of the road and gave the money that Mohanji had offered to the old man. The old man asked, “Who gave this?” The car driver said “Mohanji.” The old man said, “Tell Him that He, His family and all those He loves and who love Him will always have the blessings of myself – Vedanta Maharishi.”
I had goosebumps listening to this story. In Arunachala, we cannot underestimate anybody. There could be great Masters walking that soil as unassuming ordinary people. Anybody could be somebody. Another big lesson – Do not take anybody for granted. Of course, I do not have the eyes of Mohanji to recognise Masters and seekers. But, I decided that I will not deny anyone anything within my capacity in Arunachala.
We could not have asked for a better trip to Arunachala. Let me sum up my memories.
- Being with the parents of Mohanji, spending quality time and enjoying the hospitality at Yogi Ramsurat Kumar ashram in the company of the great saint Devaki Amma, who Mohanji respects a lot was also unforgettable. Mohanji told us that coming to this ashram is like homecoming for Him.
2. Meeting the lady Avadhoota who keeps wandering around the Arunachala mountain, and who comes to Yogi Ramsurat Kumar ashram each time Mohanji comes there. She never accepts anything from Mohanji. Their invisible mutual respect was palpable.
3. Spending time at Ramana ashram and learning a great technique from Mohanji. Having great darshans at the Shiva and Devi temple.
4. Mohanji’s time with various animals. He attends to them with equal or even more enthusiasm as He attends to people. A monkey coming to meet Mohanji at the temple premises and holding His dhoti and did not want to let Him go was a great memory. It taught me the great lesson that despite the form or species, divine beings can appear in any form to meet a Master.
5. Mohanji has no differentiation between any species, or even people, their hierarchies, positions in society or any other social criterion. He loved a Siddhar and also a common person alike and always ensured all people have eaten well.
6. Mohanji also took His parents to an old age home run by a young man called Ramana. I understood that apart from food and medical assistance, a lot of materials were delivered by Mohanji’s organisation (Ammucare) there. Mohanji kept His promise to serve the old and abandoned people at Arunachala. The follow-up after Mohanji’s visit was remarkable. This also means totally walking the talk and going the extra mile. We must mean every action and expression and take it to its completion.
7. Great lesson learned indeed. There is not an inch of hypocrisy anywhere. There is only a desire to add more value in every being’s life that comes across Mohanji. Mohanji’s parents serving the old people with good food, with love, was also a message to all of us – another dimension in helping the helpless. Young or old, live to serve selflessly.
8. Meeting the great Master Mookkuppodi Siddhar at close quarters was icing on the cake. Totally unexpected and utmost grace. One thing was absolutely clear, getting special treatment, warm reception and getting blessings at all the places we visited were just because we are Mohanji’s people. This was a great message for all of us that the platform that Mohanji has created in this world is for all of us and it is our individual responsibility to keep it, maintain it, and enhance it many fold for the benefit of all of us and those beyond us.
This was the first trip to Arunachala for the parents of Mohanji. They had never visited Arunachala in their life before. What a trip they had! And their son who the whole world craves for, took time off from everything and brought them there Himself!
By the time our journey was coming to an end, I received the answer to the question that my mind was wondering when we began the journey, “How does Mohanji operate in life?” The answer from what we witnessed was – Whatever Mohanji does, He does it hundred percent, with complete attention. His total presence in every sense.
Every moment with Mohanji is a blessing in disguise and a true miracle. We need thousand eyes and not even a blink to witness the divine play in its fullness. His unassuming life is a huge mask that He deliberately keeps to avoid ‘flies and insects’ of life. He deliberately plays the fool or plays dumb to get away from unworthy or egoistic people. If we really want to get the best out of Him for our own highest benefit, we must make Him our top most priority, extremely essential ingredient. We must never let Him slip off from our lives nor should we slip off from His life, come what may.
This is all for now.
Mookupodi Siddhar, one of the Siddhas who walked the streets of Tiruvannamalai.
Yesterday on 8th December, 2018 he attained Maha Samadhi.
Exactly two months back, Mohanji and all the pilgrims who were on the Arunachala trip in October 2018, had the blessed opportunity to have darshan of this great siddha. This is completely the blessing of Siddha Loka and our prampara gurus. This grace of having His darsan in this lifetime is a great thing.
Usually everyone could have his darshan from a distance but nobody was allowed to go near him. However, it was indeed Gurumandala’s grace that Barbara was allowed to go closer and took some amazing pictures of the Siddha. The advent of such a powerful Siddha on the earth will remain preserved with these memorable photographs.
We leave you with some of these memories!
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI ||
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