by Cathy Johnston, UK
Having gone through 30 years of various gynaecological procedures (and subsequent total hysterectomy 10 years ago) following the respective births of my two giant-sized babies (10 lb each), I had become used to living under the governance of my ever-increasing bladder alerts. Wherever I travelled I’d automatically, mentally calculate my liquid intake and the very real prospect of a cross-legged stagger to the nearest bush (in the face of a commonplace lack of public conveniences).
Most often, my decision was a toss-up between remaining hydrated, and taking the risk, or deciding to dehydrate to avoid a crisis. The latter usually prevailed. Day times weren’t the only problem, this was a 24/7 vigil with sleep disturbances a ‘normal’ for me. Aeroplane and coach journeys were the things of nightmares. Careful consideration and planning beforehand were extremely necessary for me.
When the opportunity to attend Mohanji’s Serbian retreat (October 2019) came up, the first considerations that came to mind were all of the above.
(A couple of months before the planning of the travel for the retreat, I had had the dawning that my next birthday would be the big six zero. I had then decided, once and for all, that the time was right to get my problem sorted before I began my 6th decade and duly made an appointment to visit a female gynaecologist in Manchester. Unsurprisingly, it was confirmed that I had a prolapsed bladder and required one of two surgeries. Another appointment – for the investigation to decide which one of the two operations I needed – was planned for the Wednesday after I’d arrive home from Mohanji’s Serbian retreat.)
I have to admit I was sorely tempted not to attend with the thought of flying 2 hours to Zurich followed by a 5-hour coach ride (did it have an onboard loo?) was too much to contemplate. I was traveling with my younger son via a stop-over with him in Switzerland, and who, by sheer and ruthless pester-power (and a lack of real empathy or knowledge about the debilitating and restrictive condition I lived with) convinced me there would be a loo on board the coach and that all would be well.
Mentally, I decided I’d abstain from all liquid refreshments and be prepared to arrive at the retreat feeling like a prune. I could re-hydrate in the comfort of my room with my lovely private en-suite. (Just as well I’d planned ahead as there wasn’t a loo on board the coach – we did, however, stop halfway at a service where I made 3 trips to their ladies room).
Before booking, I had also noted the ‘code of conduct’ sentence that prompted those who needed to leave the room regularly (speaking directly to me!) during satsang, would be best advised to sit at the rear of the hall to avoid interrupting Mohanji’s flow, etc. The first satsang arrived during our first evening together with around 200 other attendees, so I made sure I arrived early to pick my seat at the back, not wanting to have to elbow other, like-bladdered women out of the way.
(Incidentally, all of this particular retreat’s events/words/language was entirely alien to me – not to my son of course who had occasionally uttered these Indian sounding words in my presence – so my expectations were basically, zero!)
The evening of the first satsang arrived (satsang – what does this mean?), and I duly sat at the end of a back-row seat. Unfortunately, as fate would have it, the blonde lady in front of me had rather big, fuzzy hair and my views were so restricted that I found myself constantly bobbing up and down as I became more and more drawn to the truth this Mohanji person was speaking. I became very frustrated (also a little exhausted after such a long journey) but cannily spotted the next seat for the following day that I would nab. I’d get there early once again to avoid any drama!
The following day’s satsang arrived with me smugly seated at the end of a curved middle row, close to another exit door. I settled in and was so happy with my perfect view. I’d monitored my liquid intake and knew I could last about an hour before having to ‘nip to the loo’.
About halfway through, my mind became distracted by my usual obsession as I wondered when a good time would be to duck out invisibly, not wanting to draw attention to myself or disrupt the flow. I was also beginning to cross my legs and in all honesty, didn’t want to miss a trick of what was going on. I was totally captivated by this person. He spoke to my own heart, directly, speaking my truth and reassuring me about myself. I was transfixed and also uncomfortable with the increasing knowledge of an imminent dash becoming quite necessary.
Suddenly, out of the blue, Mohanji stopped speaking and asked aloud ‘does somebody need to go to the toilet?’ My heart stopped and skipped a beat as I shrank down into my seat and averted my gaze, praying to God no-one would recognise my body language and realise it was me!! God only knows how I managed to sit through the next half of the satsang, but I was really puzzled. I wondered, “Did this person read my mind? How can this be? This has to be a coincidence,” blah blah, as I raced out at the end.
At some stage later that day, we all toddled off for our ‘Conscious walking’ session in the glorious sunshine on the beautiful Serbian mountainside. Sitting quietly on a rocky outcrop at our mountain top destination, my son and I were discussing the experience so far when I felt a gentle hand on my head as someone navigated the bumps of the hill around where we were sitting. I thought absolutely nothing of it and looked up and smiled at Mohanji as he gently ambled on with the group he was walking with.
My son, looking wide-eyed and directly at me, was gasping; “Mum, Mum, Mohanji has just blessed you! Do you realise what this means?” I was smiling but really, in total ignorance of the whole shaboodle so far. Nothing was normal to me. The whole experience so far was a million miles away from my everyday life. All of these people talking so freely about their emotions and problems and this wonderfully wise guy walking casually amongst us all. (I was trying really hard to process but as the days wore on, my mind was becoming more and more mushed.)
I can’t remember the exact sequence of events but at some stage, we were informed that the timetable for the following day was to begin an hour earlier at 6 am and we were to go directly to the dining hall to drink a litre and a half of water followed by 12 almonds. Really? Why would this be? How was I going to cope with the two-hour yoga session afterward? (In truth, yoga was the deciding factor for attending this retreat and if it hadn’t been on the agenda, I definitely could have resisted the power of pestering!)
I was genuinely distraught, my body was craving for some yoga but I knew, deep down, that my whole week of yoga was in jeopardy with this ridiculous new instruction and the subsequent million dashes I’d have to make during yoga, in every session, disrupting the others, etc. and causing embarrassment to myself. Darn it! I felt that this week was going to be ruined for me and that I’d return home as unfit as I’d arrived.
The first session of yoga, following our new water and nut regime, was amazing. Yoga like I’d never experienced and from the word go, we were totally immersed in the feelings within. Starting with the gapless breathing (again something new for me) followed by the traditional full-body workout yoga session.
I hadn’t anticipated the overwhelming emotions at the commencement of ‘Shavasana’ when a wonderful guitar sprang to life and the most mournful voice began to sing its tune. I was unsure if this was a live or recorded performance and longed to know if it was live.
Upon rousing, I saw it was the beautiful Natesh, but my taps by this time were already on full-flow and thankfully, from my eyes. I couldn’t control my sorrowful weeping and was very confused as to what was happening to me. (Luckily, my Son was there to console me but I was growing more and more puzzled with all of these new sensations and feelings that were overwhelming me.)
The following day was almost the same, if not, more tears and it was only during the second half of this second day, during the afternoon, that it suddenly dawned on me that ‘Hold on! What’s going on here? I haven’t been dashing out to the loo, this can’t be right, I’ve seen so many people nipping in and out of the yoga sessions and not ONCE have I had to leave the room, this is bizarre, maybe I have soaked up all of the water because of the long dehydrating journey?’
I tried hard to fathom it all and maybe, after the 3rd day, I began to mention this to some of the other women I had made friends with. Each one of them smiled knowingly, some even giggled and I was totally dumbfounded. ‘How could anyone heal someone else’s bladder without surgery? What is happening to me? Who is this person?’
Words are so feeble a tool to try to convey the atmosphere during this event and I kept thinking to myself; ‘being here is believing, there are no words adequate enough to encapsulate the feelings and emotions bubbling up so frequently unannounced’.
More and more, I had the overwhelming feeling that I was witnessing something truly sacred and divine and I felt genuinely humbled to be enveloped by the grace of this person and his beautifully natural and unassuming family.
One particular word (Mohanji used more often than any other) tickled me and brought to mind a Beatles tune ‘All you need is Love’. It was Mohanji’s pronunciation of the English word, ‘Love’ that sounded like ‘low’ which made me smile every time he spoke it and this tune became cemented, on a permanent loop within my mind.
I became convinced throughout the remainder of the retreat that I had been touched by the grace of God and had even had a flesh-hug from the same. How could I possibly explain this to the people back home? Where would I begin to describe the goings-on and wonderfulness of it all? I then began to dread the prospect of being without these people, this new, spiritual family I had found.
I also had the prospect of my second gynaecological exploratory appointment looming on the Wednesday after my return home at the weekend. ‘Would it be prudent to go along? Would this be an insult to Mohanji and maybe reverse my ‘miracle cure?’ What was I to do? Who would know the answer? Would attending this second consultation back home cast doubt upon my faith?’ I was in a quandary and towards the last day, I began to ask the advice of one or two people. My son was adamant and quite assertive in that I had to keep my faith and cancel the consultant’s appointment. Someone else told me the answer was within me. Turmoil!
The final evening dawned and it was my time to have a one to one, 3 minutes with Mohanji. I was more troubled with thoughts about my elder son and his future life and the recent near-fatal accident of my husband to think about using these precious minutes to ask about my personal, troubling decision. So I nervously blathered on to Mohanji about my husband and our life of striving together, ignoring the ‘Elephant in the room’ question.
After Mohanji had delivered his reassurances regarding my spoken troubles, I thanked him but just as I was about to open the door to leave him, I turned around and asked him outright, “Did you heal my bladder?” to which he responded, in his gentle, half-smiling way,
“I am always at work.”
My journey homeward bound was to stay two nights with my son in Switzerland, before flying back to the UK. During the first day out in Switzerland, I was dismayed to notice a slight return in my need to find the nearest ladies’ room and on my return to Geneva airport for my trip back to the UK, I glumly noted the frequency was increasing.
My 21:30 flight was delayed by two hours which meant a dismal hanging around a half-empty airport and once past security I found myself dashing towards the nearest loo. Typical of my pre-Mohanji cure, once inside the cubicle I had a frantic dash to prevent an accident and I felt utterly despondent and really confused as to all that had just occurred, in the space of a week. Did my indecision to cancel my consultant’s upcoming appointment reveal my lack of faith and put doubt into my mind regarding the healing?
I was at a complete and utter loss, with no-one to help or support me, so I looked up from the cubicle and asked Mohanji out loud, “Please Mohanji, tell me what to do, am I being punished for doubting or lacking in faith and by keeping my appointment will this undo all of the work you have done? Please help me.” I was feeling very sad and unhappy and so unsure of myself and the decision I had to make.
As I walked towards the washbasin and pressed for the soap, I looked into the mirror and suddenly noted that the song coming from the piped music was none other than ‘All you need is Love!’ I literally laughed out loud and smiled at myself and spoke out loud to Mohanji in complete and utter thanks.
My answer had arrived, and he’d known all along that I had had that tune in my head, throughout the whole week. How funny! God has got a great sense of humour and does work in the most surprising ways.
Needless to say, I duly cancelled my consultant’s appointment for the Wednesday ahead and have never looked back (or have had to keep my eyes peeled for the nearest convenience!).
Once again, words cannot begin to convey my gratitude for the whole, surreal and ultimately, humbling experience but most of all for my reintroduction to the God within. Mohanji, (I’m smiling now, typing his name) the world will indeed be healed. All we need is Love.
Please read Divine call of nature – 2!
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI||
Compiled, Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 8th December 2019
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