by Vijay Ramanaidoo, UK
My journey to Mohanji began in September 2010 when my wife Ranjana and I met up in London with a couple who were old friends of ours from our time in Muscat, Oman. They told us about a Spiritual Master called Mohanji, the managing director of three companies, married to a Serbian lady, and living in a villa in Muscat. They had written some blogs of their spiritual experiences with Mohanji, and they encouraged us to read them as well as Mohanji’s blogs. They also gave us a picture of Mohanji’s eyes and asked us to connect to Mohanji through the eye card.
Although a little sceptical, I read some of the blogs and wrote back to our friends saying how much I had enjoyed reading the blogs and thanked them for introducing us to Mohanji’s writings. I then forgot about Mohanji for some time until I had a very significant dream. In this dream, I was in a hall that had a wall with long glass windows. On the other side of the window was a corridor. Through the window, I saw an Indian man with a beard and a white kurta walk purposefully down the corridor together with a few followers and enter into the hall. I followed him into an adjoining kitchen where he held me by the shoulders, pressed down hard on one shoulder to bend me backwards on one side, pressed on the other shoulder to bend me backwards on the other side. Then with both hands around my chest area, he grabbed what seemed to be a subtle body (mine or someone else’s, I do not know) and threw this out of my physical body. He then struck me hard on the third eye area with the flat bottom of his hand. I lost consciousness in the dream, and it seems physically too. When I woke up, I remembered the dream very clearly. The person in the dream resembled Mohanji!
My curiosity was aroused. I tried the Power of Purity meditation early one morning while sitting at my computer and continued to read his blogs. I bought the Power of Purity book from Amazon, which made a huge impression on me. The clarity in writing with clear explanations on various spiritual topics enlightened and resonated very strongly with me. It all seemed to make a great deal of sense.
In October 2011, our friend from Oman contacted me again to say that Mohanji was coming to London for a shipping conference! She said that we could perhaps organise a meditation session while he was there if we wanted to. I replied that I would be delighted to organise the meditation sessions, and if Mohanji wanted to, he could stay at our house instead of staying in a hotel. Mohanji very kindly agreed to this suggestion. I contacted Mohanji directly by email, and we made arrangements for his visit.
Mohanji arrived in London on the 4th of November 2011. It was a very significant moment for me as this first meeting was the start of a life-changing journey! We held a Power of Purity meditation session in my house during this trip, followed by a public meditation and Satsang programme with about 65 attendees. Many of the attendees had amazing spiritual experiences, which was the start of an amazing journey for some of them. We also made time to visit Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare and did some sightseeing around London.
Mohanji’s first trip to the UK was a wonderful and unique opportunity for me. I was able to be with Mohanji while he was still working in the worldly sense, and I was able to see him in multiple modes of existence; as the MD of a company, as a tourist and as a Spiritual Master. Our discussions were very easy-going; it felt like I was speaking to an old friend.
After five hectic days, it was time for Mohanji to leave for Shanghai. As I drove Mohanji to the airport, he said that if anyone wanted to conduct meditation sessions, I could give them the Power of Purity Meditation CD. Furthermore, he said that helping people to reduce their karma (through conducting these meditation sessions) was one of the best service activities that we could do.
Following Mohanji’s visit, we started conducting the Power of Purity meditation sessions weekly, rotating the sessions between different people’s homes. These meditation sessions were to kick-start Mohanji’s activities in the UK. A seed of activity was planted, which subsequently grew into a young tree with many blossoms.
Soon after meeting Mohanji, I went to visit him in Serbia, where I met him at a satsang in Belgrade. After the satsang, he asked me if I would like to join him and Devi to stay at Devi’s parent’s house in Novi Sad for the night. I hesitated and told him I had already checked into my hotel in Belgrade, and all my belongings were there. He said, “No problem, we’ll go to the hotel and wait for you while you pack.” So after packing, I travelled to Novi Sad with Mohanji, Devi, and Biljana. The next day, Mohanji gave me a long Shaktipat and said that he may initiate me into giving Shaktipat (now called Mohanji energy transfer) at a satsang that evening. I was astonished and very hesitant as I did not feel worthy of such a responsibility, and neither did I know how to give Shaktipat.
That evening, during the meditation session, Mohanji called me over, pressed on various chakra points and gave me Shaktipat again. After the meditation session ended, he informed me that I have now been initiated to deliver Energy Transfer! Although I felt very blessed, I was extremely hesitant to deliver Energy Transfer to others even though Mohanji had given clear instructions and guidance. I still did not think I was worthy of being given this responsibility.
I returned to the UK and eventually started delivering Mohanji Energy Transfer (MET) to the participants at our meditation sessions. Many people had the most amazing experiences whilst receiving MET. Once, when I stopped giving MET temporarily (because of feelings of unworthiness), we had a meditation session after which one of the participants remarked that someone had given them a very powerful MET, much more potent than normal, even though no one had done so! This was obviously Mohanji in subtle form. During that period, some of the other participants complained about not receiving MET as they had found it very beneficial. Those complaints convinced me that I should never allow my thoughts of unworthiness to interfere with my new duty. To this day, I am astounded at the impact of energy transfer and the amazing experiences people have had, which can manifest as heat, light, vibration, messages, and visions. I am in awe of Mohanji’s power and humbled that he continues to use me as his instrument.
Registration of Mohanji ACT Foundation and Mohanji Foundation UK
During his first trip to the UK, Mohanji mentioned that he and Biba (Devi) had set up Ammucare for service activities in India and ACT Foundation for service activities in the rest of the world as a platform to serve the needy. He mentioned that they had set up ACT Foundation in Dubai, but the registration costs were so expensive that they could not continue, and he was looking to see if it was possible to set it up in another country. I said nothing at the time as I had no idea how to set up a charity and did not feel like taking on such a big responsibility. However, the seed for Mohanji ACT Foundation was sown there and then. I started my enquiries and with his grace, about a year and a half later, in 2012, a UK registered charity constituted by a Trust deed was set up with Mohanji, Devi, myself, Rajshree Gohil and Ranjan Premachandra as the first Trustees.
Setting up Mohanji ACT Foundation gave me opportunities to do seva on a much larger scale. Being a small charity, we managed to leverage our work by reaching out and working with other charities and organisations. We first started by working with Mother Teresa homes in London to buy, cook and serve food to the homeless. We also initiated a Food Aid service activity with the Skanda Vale Ashram in South Wales, who have an excess of food donated to them by pilgrims (over 60 tonnes per year!). They agreed for Mohanji ACT Foundation to be one of their food aid partners. Every couple of months or so, we hire a van and make the 5 hour trip (10 hour round trip) to the ashram to collect 1500 kilos of food at a time, mainly rice, pulses, lentils, oil, flour, tea, coffee, and vegetables. About half of this food is donated to Mother Teresa homes to feed the homeless/poor families. The other half was given to other charities that support refugees and the world’s poorest people. Over the past few years, we have collected and donated in excess of 9,000 kilos of food each year. The food we have collected has gone to refugee camps and poor communities in Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Moldova, Serbia, Ghana amongst others.
We also collected and distributed some of the hundreds of sarees and dhotis donated to Skanda Vale by the pilgrims every year. Skanda Vale does not currently have the facility to send and distribute this clothing abroad. So, we stepped in and have shipped them to refugee camps and poor communities in Sri Lanka and India, where we work with the local organisations such as the Sathya Sai organisation of Sri Lanka to distribute clothes to the neediest villagers and refugees. We have supported many overseas projects financially and given aid to areas struck by natural disasters, e.g. Serbia during the huge floods in Eastern Europe, the Philippines after a devastating tycoon, Jammu in North India, the coastal areas of South India during floods, Haiti, South Africa and many countries in Eastern Europe. We have also helped to support animal shelters and build wells for clean water in Sri Lanka.
The highlight of my work with ACT Foundation was in October 2015 when Jay Jeyaseelan (the current Mohanji ACT Foundation President) and I, along with Branco and Milos from ACT Foundation in Serbia, supported an aid trip organised by Hope and Aid direct (the UK registered charity that has been helping refugees in various parts of the world) to Kosovo with a cargo of 40 tonnes of food and clothing transported by 4 lorries. Mohanji ACT Foundation contributed many tonnes of food and toiletries for this aid project. This was primarily a trip to see where the aid we were giving was being distributed. Many of the people we visited were living in dilapidated, crowded accommodation and had to suffer the extremely cold temperatures in winter, which could reach as low as -20 degrees centigrade. We experienced the immense joy of giving the boxes of food, clothing, educational materials, and toiletries to poor families. Watching the smiles on their faces was such a humbling experience.
After setting up Mohanji ACT Foundation, Mohanji asked me whether we could set up Mohanji Foundation in the UK. This charity was to take forward the spiritual aspects of Mohanji’s work such as the meditations, retreats, Kriya, Mai-Tri Method, pilgrimages, etc. and annadaan in ashrams, while Mohanji ACT Foundation would focus on social service. After spending a lot of time to get the objectives right, the charity was finally registered as a UK charity in February 2018 with Mohanji, myself, Subhasree Thottungal, Hemant Panda and Ranjan Premachandra as the first trustees. Since then, with the hard work of the trustees and the help of a number of dedicated core team members, the work of the charity has increased substantially.
Mohanji has blessed me twice by allowing me to go on Kailash pilgrimages with him in 2014 and 2016. The first pilgrimage was the Outer Kora trip in July 2014. This was a momentous trip full of divine grace, which helped us to overcome the many immense obstacles we faced. On the morning of the day we were going to cross into Tibet from Nepal, there was a massive landslide ahead of us on the route we were about to take with huge loss of life. Grace protected us and amazingly, we were able to continue our journey using helicopters. I had the unique opportunity to travel in the first helicopter with Mohanji and Devi, landing on the border in Kodari before crossing into Tibet. While up in the air on the helicopter with Mohanji, I was in bliss and thought to myself that if I were to die right now, I would die happy!
I suffered very badly from altitude sickness on this trip and wasn’t sure I could make it. However, before starting the parikrama, I bowed down to Mohanji and took his blessings. He said to me, “You will do well.“ Surprised, I decided to start by walking together with him. Incredibly, with his blessing, I managed to walk the whole parikrama over the three days without using a pony! This was surely only possible with his grace. After completing the parikrama and leaving Kailash by coach, I looked up at the sky through the coach window and to my astonishment, there was an incredibly clear figure of Shiva in cloud formation! Mohanji had given me the perfect end to the pilgrimage by giving me the darshan of Lord Shiva.
The second Kailash trip in 2016 was the Inner Kora trip, which was one of the most challenging things I had ever done in my life. There were 18 of us. The Inner Kora group had to walk, as ponies cannot be used for the more difficult Inner Kora trek. Again, same as the last trip, I suffered severely from altitude sickness and even fell unconscious on the morning of the parikrama!
The second day of the parikrama was one of the most memorable days of my life. In the morning, we trekked to Charan Sparsh, a very auspicious spot where we would touch what is considered to be the feet of mount Kailash (although Kailash is many kilometres away from that point). Mohanji then turned to me and said that those who were feeling tired could rest here, but whoever wanted to could climb up onto the glacier and trek further along to get a better view of the North face of Kailash. The sherpas made a makeshift rope up which Mohanji climbed. Of course, the rest of us followed suit and climbed up too. He led the way, and we trekked, further along, to see magnificent views of Kailash in the distance, the ice and snow melting in places to form rivulets which trickled down to form larger streams. After trekking for a while, Mohanji asked us to say a prayer for merging with the consciousness of Shiva and turn around 360 degrees on the spot. After doing this, we all sat down, and Mohanji chanted the holy Shiva Kavach – the prayer for protection to ensure our safety for the dangerous trip ahead.
Mohanji sat on a rock and sent some of us forward to trek all the way to touch Kailash. He sat and watched us like a divine guard, ensuring we were protected while we endeavoured to go on the extremely dangerous trek. We trekked on for many more hours, frequently stopping to catch our breath. Eventually, the terrain changed from rock covered glacier to ice and then snow. As we got closer to Kailash, we realised that it was not easy to touch it as there was a deep gorge with long icicles next to Kailash preventing us from reaching it. But at one place, there was a natural bridge of ice and snow that allowed us to cross the gap and reach a small ledge on Kailash where we could stand. I slowly made my way up to this snowy bridge. I removed my hat and very carefully walked across the bridge, and stepped onto the ledge of Mount Kailash. I removed my gloves and put my hands and forehead onto the face of Kailash. As I touched Kailash, it felt like touching an energy field that was cool and vibrant. It was welcoming and loving energy. My head, hands, and body drank in that wonderful vibration and energy for a few minutes. I thought of Mohanji, whose grace and blessings had enabled me to reach this point. I also thought of Sathya Sai Baba and Lord Shiva, whose bountiful grace had allowed me to reach this point. I thought of my family, my ancestors and my whole lineage on behalf of which I was doing this pilgrimage. Friends, relations and the rest of the group came to my memory and everyone else that I could think of so that as many people as possible could get the benefit of me touching Kailash. I was elated. I had touched Kailash! At this point, I felt that I needed nothing more. I had reached the ultimate. If the trip finished now, I would be happy.
As we turned back and walked back down, the weather started changing. The blue skies disappeared like a fog of cloud quickly descended on us. Small hailstones were showered upon us, and the atmosphere became dark, cold and clammy. We could hardly see the ground ahead. With Mohanji’s grace, Lord Shiva had bestowed the most amazing grace on us. Right up to the point where we were able to touch Kailash, the weather was absolutely beautiful with clear skies so we could reach safely and see Kailash in full glory. If the bad weather had come upon us earlier, we might well have had to turn back without touching Kailash. The hail turned to rain, and we got soaked through. The ground became more slippery, and we had to watch our steps more carefully. We carried on down as night descended, slowly making our way back to camp and headed straight to Mohanji’s room, where we offered our love and gratitude. We had walked for 13 hours through a dangerous landscape, and his grace had protected us.
The third day of the Inner Kora trip was just as tough, made more difficult due to fatigue and even higher altitude. It was on this day that I received great teaching from Mohanji. It was at a point where we had to climb up a steep glacier using ropes. However, only one person could go up at a time. It was extremely dangerous and scary. Rocks were falling on us from above as the others climbed up, and we did not have hard hats on. We had to sit on the frozen glacier, waiting our turn to climb up, getting colder and wetter. The glacier was at an angle of almost 45 degrees. One slip, and we would go rolling down the mountain to our deaths. I was very scared, as were all the others. I kept on shifting my position to sit on the stable ground, so I didn’t slip down the mountain. Phaneendar and Mohanji were just behind me. Phaneender was extremely scared of slipping to his death (as we all were!). As he shouted out in fear, I heard Mohanji shout loudly to him,
‘If you have fear, you have no faith’.Mohanji
Those words were meant for me, too; I reflected on those words and relaxed a little. What did it matter if I slipped and fell to my death? If this is what the divine had in store for me, so be it. Mohanji’s teaching or Mahavakya (divine utterance) that day on the icy, cold, treacherous mountain slope filled me with courage and faith. His divine utterance on that day helped me and the rest of the group complete the Inner Kora trip successfully and stood me in good stead for further challenges in my life ahead.
Ahimsa The Vegan café
The next major event was almost as challenging as the Inner Kora trip and touching Kailash. This was setting up Ahimsa The Vegan Cafe in London. Mohanji first raised this idea with me while I was on the first pilgrimage to Kailash in July 2014. We had travelled by helicopter after a landslide and had stopped at Kodari in Nepal, which was on the border of Tibet. While we were waiting to have dinner that evening, Mohanji spoke to the UK group about promoting vegan food and veganism as an expression of Ahimsa (Non-Violence). He was promoting veganism out of compassion for all the voiceless animals that are helpless and are suffering unspeakable cruelty, abuse, torture and slaughter at the hands of humans.
However, vegan food options were limited. He described an incident in the USA when he and Sumit had to travel for a long time to find a place that served vegan food. When they did find one, it was extremely expensive. He thought to himself that there was no point in preaching to people about veganism when there were very few options of vegan food available. At this time, he came up with the idea of inspiring the creation of affordable, healthy, fast food vegan outlets across the world. The impact of this would be tremendous, saving the lives of millions of animals, improving our health and making positive changes in the environment. Mohanji went on to say that Sumit (who was the main organiser of the Kailash trip and a restauranteur) had done a lot of research into this and was taking this forward. A name for the restaurant had already been decided, Ahimsa Vegan.
I was fascinated to hear this. I had first turned to a vegan diet in 2002 when I came to realise that although I followed a vegetarian diet, there was immense cruelty and pain inflicted on cows and their offspring in the dairy industry. I bought into the idea of Ahimsa Vegan immediately, and a desire grew within me to play a small part in taking this forward. When I got back to the UK, I started thinking about the task at hand. I have a scientific background and have never set up a company before, never run a business, nor did I have an interest or experience in cooking or catering.
I started my research on this project by visiting various vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the UK. At Mohanji’s suggestion, I approached a friend of mine called Neeshal, who was a chef at the Hilton and had cooked at one of our retreats for menu ideas. We got a team together, including Rajshree (my sister-in-law), Mita and Hemant, who were all happy to invest their time, energy and funds to take this project forward. This team worked extremely hard and sacrificed a lot of time and energy to bring this to fruition. Each one of us had different strengths, and together, we made a strong team. Grace flowed like a waterfall. A wonderful example of this was when we were getting frustrated, trying to find a suitable location. One day, we all got together in a car and visited lots of different areas to see which one would be most suitable and decided on Pinner (North West London) but could not see any ‘For sale’ signs for suitable premises.
When I went to work a couple of days later on Monday, I searched the internet on my phone for suitable premises and found a place in Eastcote that was about a mile away from Pinner. When I phoned the agent to enquire about the Eastcote property, he said that he does not have one in Eastcote, but he has one for lease that has just come on the market in Pinner! The road sign immediately outside this property was ‘Love Lane’!
We put together a business plan and started negotiations with the vendor. Eventually, after nearly eight months, we signed the lease and started the building work in October 2016. On Mohanji’s advice, we removed the whole shopfront to change the position of the door and improve energy flow, stripped out the shop and completely revamped the place with modern décor, furnishings, and new equipment.
On the 16th of December 2016, Mohanji came to inaugurate Ahimsa, The Vegan Café in Pinner! He came for three days all the way from India, despite a hectic schedule! We were blessed, and we had a highly emotional opening with supporters and friends. After so much hard work, Mohanji’s dream was coming true. We were indebted to Sumit and sister Anuradha, who came from India to give advice and support the launch. Their input was invaluable as they had set up the first restaurant in Shirdi. We noticed that whenever we had any difficulties and challenges, grace would descend, and a solution found. Mohanji has constantly been guiding us and giving our wonderful team energy, grace and blessings. His speech on the opening day was truly inspiring. The Café is a statement to the world that vegan food can be healthy, tasty, ethical and cruelty-free.
Since opening the Café, there have been many challenges, but we have overcome them one by one with his grace. We have now celebrated the second anniversary of our opening on the 20th of December 2018. I cannot deny that this has been a tough challenge. The teaching given by Mohanji that day on the Inner Kora trip in August 2016 while I was sitting on the icy glacier waiting to climb up the mountain has sustained us. “If you have fear, you have no faith.” Thank you, Mohanji!
As I sit down in Ahimsa The Vegan Café today on the 22nd of December 2018 (Datta Jayanti) finishing off this article on my laptop, with Mohanji’s picture up on the wall of the Café in front of me, I can’t help but reflect on that day over seven years ago, the 4th of November 2011. On that fateful day, I was waiting anxiously at Heathrow airport terminal 3 with my 10-year-old son Vivek and a bunch of bright orange roses in my hand to meet Mohanji for the first time. Little did I know how he was to change my life and what experiences lay ahead of me! This was the start of an amazing new journey in my life. What a journey it has been so far!
I offer my love and gratitude to Mohanji, Sathya Sai Baba and all the Masters of the Tradition for helping me and my family sanctify our lives by serving in so many different ways. I bow down to you all with immense love and gratitude in my heart. Thank you!
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 18th March 2021
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