Jayashree Mukund Shinde, USA
Jai Gurudev Datta. Guru Mohanaya Namaha.
Surrendering at the lotus feet of Lord Datta, who is also known as “Girnar Raja” – the king of the Mountain Girnar, I am beginning my story of “Journey to Girnar with Mohanji”.
More ancient than the Himalayas is Mount Girnar – the mountain that symbolizes “a Guru is always on top of the world”. Lord Dattatreya, the Adi Guru of Dattatreya Tradition, is believed to have meditated at the peak of this mountain for over 12,000 years. Many devotees of Lord Datta climb up Mount Girnar throughout the year to get a glimpse of the benevolent Guru, Dattatreya. It is said that to reach the peak of the mountain and to have the darshan of his (Lord Dattatreya) holy footprints, one should have a lot of determination, dedication, surrender, and utmost faith. One should follow the same path as his Guru, in the same direction, and only then can he reach the destination. Lord Dattatreya is present here protecting all his devotees.
I had travelled to India in Jan 2020 to attend a retreat with Mohanji, spend some time with my parents, and to attend a cousin’s wedding. I was going to be in India for some more time, and while I was there, I tried to spend as much time as I could, being around Mohanji. In late January 2020, the Bhumi Puja of the ‘Home for Seniors’ land was happening in Thiruvannamalai, and I was so fortunate to attend the ceremony and to be able to meet Mohanji there.
A few days after returning from Thiruvannamalai, I heard about a short trip that Mohanji was making to Mount Girnar, to the temple of Lord Datta. I had not heard about this mountain and Lord Datta’s temple before. I had no idea what it takes to go there! But as soon as I heard about it, a calling from my heart came to travel with Mohanji to Mount Girnar. A wet blanket was soon thrown over my excitement when I heard that going to Lord Datta’s temple on top of the mountain means climbing up 9999 steps and down the same too!
I shivered with the reality check. I didn’t think I could do this as I am not very fit physically. I gave up the idea. That’s when I got a message from Rajesh saying “You are coming to Girnar. Jo Dar Gaya Samjho Woh Mar Gaya.” (The one who is scared, is dead). His words were motivating enough, and I felt as if these words were coming from Mohanji! So, I decided to take the journey! On top of that, Rajesh assured me about the possibility of using the doli service, where you can be carried up rather than walk. I decided I would go to Girnar and take a doli.
I reached Junagadh in the afternoon of February 11th. Several people from Mohanji family had already arrived there, and I was taken to the beautiful Gorakhnath Ashram overlooking Mount Girnar. After lunch, Ruchika and I went around feeding cows around the Gorakhnath Ashram Later, after Mohanji arrived, all of us gathered in his room. Mohanji was very happy to see all of us. I noticed that the swelling on Mohanji’s left foot had not reduced (which was there since the Thiruvannamalai event). Seeing all of us worrying about his foot pain, Mohanji very lovingly told us, “You are all Mai-Tri Practitioners. So why don’t you do Mai-Tri to this body? To the body only, not to Mohanji!” It’s beyond our imagination to heal Mohanji’s body, but we realized that to keep our worrying mind at rest, Mohanji was giving us this opportunity. In my heart, I was praying to Datta to relieve this physical pain from Mohanji’s foot.
We had a small satsang with Mohanji about Girnar and the plan to climb in the night so as to reach the top by early morning for aarati at 5:30 am. Rajesh Kamath mentioned that I wanted to take a doli as it was difficult for me to climb. Mohanji immediately said, “Shinde has to climb, she will climb, it’s her sadhana”. This was a command from my Guru, and I bowed down to this and said, “Yes Baba, all your grace, your will”.
As Mohanji reminded us all, “A visit to Girnar is not an ordinary journey. It is a surrender and commitment to the Tradition. Unless you have deep commitment and conviction, you may not be in this land. In fact, there is no better place, more powerful and more relevant than Girnar for a true spiritualist in the path of the Avadhootas (total dissolution). We aren’t talking about enlightenment or even the Path of the Siddhas here – this is much beyond human realms or thinking. Even today, the nine Naths and 84 Siddhas visit Girnar in sookshma form, chant and pray for the darshan of Lord Dattatreya who continues to guide them. Grace alone can bring an individual to this land. Grace and surrender alone will help one complete this holy pilgrimage. Jai Gurudev Datta!”
After the empowering satsang with Mohanji, we got ready to start our climb to Mount Girnar. Along with me, Ruchika, Sonia, Hemkant and his wife Shilpa were ready too. After attending the aarati at Gorakhnath temple and dinner, we started our walk around 9 pm. We took blessings from the idols of Lord Datta and Hanuman at the bottom of Girnar and started climbing from there.
We had no idea about what the climbing path would be like, or how long it will take. We all carried a stick, a bottle of water, and chanting Lord Datta’s name, we kept on climbing. As we picked up our pace, a couple of people fell behind. As I was walking, I felt that there were Masters from above looking at us. I could feel their energy around us.
Walking up the steep steps wasn’t easy for me. My knees hurt, and my legs felt weak to move. I had to take frequent stops to sit down and then kept on walking. At some point, all of us met up again, and we sat down at that point to meditate for a few minutes and then continued walking. As we were walking, another elderly couple joined us. As we were climbing, I spoke to them about Mohanji, Mohanji’s mission, liberation and gave a brief of his teachings, too.
At some point during our walk, we noticed that George had arrived. He was walking very fast, chanting “Jai Gurudeva Datta, Hari Om Tat-Sat” loudly. When he saw us, he hugged us and kept on walking. Seeing the energetic George walking with such speed, chanting loudly, I felt a sudden surge of energy in my own body. He reminded me of Lord Hanuman, who was empowered because of his faith and devotion. Hemkant started walking fast, ahead with George. The rest of us were walking at our own pace, Shilpa and I were together, walking, talking, resting. It was not so easy, and the body would give up. In those moments, I thought of Mohanji and Lord Datta and reminded myself that this is my path; this is my destination; this is the goal – to reach Datta, I have to do it.
Surrendering each step to Lord Datta, I kept walking. Something in me started telling me, “keep walking.” Slowly, the energy started flowing and I could climb with lesser effort.
After some time, I saw that Hemkant was resting because of severe pain in his knee, and Shilpa was with him. George went ahead. I could not wait with Hemkant because the inner voice said, “keep walking”. I kept walking, and another old couple were walking along too. We sent a balm for Hemkant that the couple had with them through some people going down, and we kept on walking ahead.
After 3000 steps, we reached the Neminath Tirthankar temple along with the elderly couple.
Following a brief rest, I started climbing up again alone. It was pitch dark. I had no torch. The couple were still resting behind, but I kept walking even in the darkness. I could feel the pull of some divine energy which was making me walk. I didn’t know the path, but I kept on walking. When I felt tired, I would feel a sudden surge of energy as soon as I surrendered to Mohanji and Dattatreya. After a while, I heard Mohanji and his group coming behind us, Mohanji in a doli. I looked back at them, and I wanted to go towards Mohanji. Mohanji saw me and said, “Shinde don’t come back, keep walking, and go ahead”. Now, I was walking with even more energy and joy knowing that Mohanji and the group are walking just behind me. I had no more fear, no more pain; I started climbing higher and higher. With each step, I was surrendering and climbing.
It was dark everywhere and pin-drop silence. Not a single soul to be seen. I was just taking each step slowly and going up with complete faith. After the 5000th step, I reached Ambaji’s temple. The doors of the temple were closed, and I did not know what to do. Mohanji’s words “keep walking” were always ringing in my head. So, I got up from the temple and started climbing again. Through ups and downs, amidst the dark in the silent path, walking continuously, finally I reached the Gorakhnath temple at around 7000 steps. At this point, the only sound was the sound of the wind blowing; hard-hitting, strong and cold. I also knew there were wild animals in those mountains, which I could not see or hear. I felt the presence of some Masters above me, walking along with me. It was not that I was walking alone. Datta Guru Mohanji was watching over me and that was the reason for this huge surge of energy coursing through my body, making me walk. I remembered only these two things while walking.
At one point, the steps go down, and then they take off to go to the ultimate, Guru Shikhar – the peak. Climbing these steep steps towards the peak, I suddenly felt there were no thoughts. There was only emptiness. I had only two thoughts in my mind, to reach Guru Shikhar and be at the Datta temple before the aarati and to keep walking.
I was walking like a daredevil, without any fear of the solitude or darkness. Suddenly at one point, my stick slipped from my hand and went down somewhere in the dark. It can be quite a discomfort being without a stick in the darkness. I started chanting and climbing down slowly. Maybe after 50 steps or so, I saw my stick! It was stuck to something, and I had spotted it even in the dark. I picked up the stick, thanked Mohanji and Datta and started walking again with focus. At times, the fear of walking alone came to mind, but at those times, I felt the Masters watching over me and Mohanji’s presence with me, protecting me. My fear vanished with this understanding. I remembered Mohanji’s words, “keep walking” and so I kept walking.
The final part of climbing was very steep, but I didn’t even realize how I climbed that part. Finally, I saw a flag and the top of Guru Shikhar, the top of the temple and I started climbing further. It was getting even windier at the top, and I felt that I might fall. After climbing carefully, I reached the top, and I saw George sitting just below the Datta temple. He guided me to go further up near the temple, and when I reached there, I saw Rajesh Kamath and DB. It was 4 am (Brahma Muhurtha) when I reached the Datta temple.
I walked up and touched the temple; now was the time to sit down! At that point, I had an immense surge of energy in me, and I wasn’t feeling cold or wind beat. Rajesh forced me to wear my jacket and then I sat down. It was as if Mohanji acted like my mother, making sure I was protected from the cold wind. As soon as I put on my jacket and sat, intense pain started in my stomach centre near the navel, going back to my spine, like some pull, it was very painful. I didn’t know what it was and I started crying out to Datta. Rajesh helped me lie down and to rest completely, and soon I felt better. Datta’s healing energy had taken my pain away in minutes!
After about half an hour, Mohanji and the rest of the group arrived too. As soon as Mohanji saw me, he said, “Ah, Shinde, you are already there”. I said “Baba, all your love and grace” and I bowed down to him.
We were waiting for the temple to open at 5:30 am for the aarati. While the slight delay was happening, Sonia and Ruchika arrived. Then after the temple opened, while we were going inside, Hemkant and Shilpa arrived too. The entire Mohanji family was inside the temple just in time for the aarati. Mohanji ensured that everyone was there together with him.
This was the great divine grace of Datta.
Just before the aarati, while I was standing behind Mohanji, he said to Ananth who was there in the front, “You know this Shinde, she can talk about liberation in three minutes”. I blushed because I realized that Mohanji heard my conversation with the couple while we were walking about our Tradition, Masters, liberation etc. Mohanji reminded me once again that he is always listening to us.
Soon aarati started. It was such a powerful and divine moment to attend the Datta aarati in the physical presence of Mohanji. I couldn’t believe myself; I was physically there receiving this grace!!! I was speechless, completely merged with the divine grace of Mohanji and Datta. Time had stopped for me at that moment. So far, it was one of the greatest moments of my life.
After aarati, we went around the Lord Dattatreya’s idol inside the temple, had a good darshan and came out.
After the 7-8 hours long sadhana of climbing up, the descent was joyful. Yes, Mohanji ensured that the descent was joyful. Sonia, Ruchika and I started climbing down together, talking laughing, eating, our legs were flying with joy! Such satisfaction, such contentment!
We had many interesting incidents during our walk down, like meeting some strange people. We went to Gorakhnath temple, heard the inspiring story of the priest there who had left his banker job to serve in the temple. We then reached the Ambaji temple where we had darshan of the divine Mother and finally decided to sit down for some time to take rest. We were feeling as if we were flying, and we felt so light. We laughed at small things. On our way down, we met an old man looking like a yogi. He told us so many stories of Mount Girnar. We kept walking down, enjoying our journey together. After a while, we saw some monkeys and gave them watermelon. Then, from nowhere, a person started walking with us even after we said we didn’t need any help; he just wanted to accompany us. In between an old mother wanted some food for her children and we bought some food for her. Finally, in the mix of laughing, sitting, and walking, we reached the bottom of Mount Girnar and arrived at the Gorakhnath ashram. We offered food and some money to the person who had been walking with us all this time.
The next day, before leaving Girnar, we met Mohanji to express our gratitude and take his blessings. Again, Mohanji said to me, “Why do you need a doli, when you have this body?” He explained to me what a beautiful gift we have as this body and its importance. I was in deep gratitude, and tears rolled down my cheeks. Everything that happened the day before was only by the grace of my Datta, Guru Mohanji.
After returning from Girnar, I felt Mohanji was Lord Datta and daily did the Swami Samarth Datta aarati. However, Mohanji fulfilled every desire of mine within a few days. Mahesh Bhalero sang a new Girnar Datta aarati to Mohanji. I was overjoyed and now I do the Mohanji datta aarati every day.
On my return to Bangalore, I also visited Devi Amma to give her Ganga water from Varanasi and some tamil books and spoke about the Girnar trip with Mohanji. Devi Amma said, “You have shed many lifetimes karmic baggage by climbing Girnar with Mohanji.” Then I understood what Mohanji had meant when he said, “It’s your sadhana.” It meant shedding karmic baggage.
Visiting Girnar had not been on my bucket list. Not even a thought had been there, at least not in my conscious mind. But it all just happened with the grace of Datta and the miracle of my Guru Mohanji. Even today, when I look back, I get goose bumps. How did it happen?
The truth is that the journey to Girnar happens only with complete faith and devotion, the grace of Dattatreya, and Datta Guru Mohanji, who carries you ahead.
This yatra (pilgrimage) to Girnar with Mohanji will remain close to my heart forever.
At the lotus feet of GURUDEVADATTA MOHANJI!
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 7th January 2021
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