Author: Shyama Jeyaseelan, UK
As Mohanji says, “If you are sure the world must change its ways, the only way to make it happen is to start with changing your ways. Transformation is essentially individualistic before it becomes collective. And the world is what we have made of it through generations of insensitive existence.”
I would like to share a transformation that took place within me with Mohanji’s love and grace. Year 2016 was very special for me. It was the year when the sacred pilgrimage to Kailash became a reality, Mohanji was in the UK for Guru Poornima and the UK retreat, I received Kriya initiation from Mohanji and the year when I had the privilege of being at the Skanda Vale temple in Switzerland for the inauguration ceremony of the Somaskanda Moorthi while Mohanji was present. It was also the year Ahimsa the Vegan Café, a dream inspired by Mohanji, opened in London!
On Guru Poornima day, an evening programme with Mohanji was organised in central London. I had the blessed opportunity to cook and serve food to Mohanji that evening. It was a simple meal but Mohanji’s kind “Thank you” made me very joyful inside. During the meal, I shared a feeling that had been bothering me for a while.
I mentioned that when our cats are unwell, I feel very sad and do my best to take care of them to make them better. However, even knowing how much cows and calves are suffering in dairy farms to provide us with milk, I was still unable to give up eating dairy! It made me sad how insensitive I was being towards the suffering of other beings. Mohanji simply said, “Don’t worry, it will happen.”
My family had been vegetarian for many years, but ate eggs and dairy products. Until meeting Mohanji I had been unaware of the horrors of dairy farming. As I read articles or watched videos of the dairy industry, I prayed that things would change in the industry. I also realised that by becoming vegan, along with many others, I would be able to contribute towards positive changes in society. Although the intellect knew what was the right thing to do, the mind always won with many excuses. I didn’t want to give up my cakes and coffees! That summer, after the retreat and being treated to beautiful vegan food for 4 days, I came home determined to stop eating dairy. Disappointingly, for various reasons it did not happen. Then the 2017 retreat took place and I was thinking again on the way home if I was going to be strong enough to do it this time.
The next day I was cooking paneer and two things happened simultaneously. I remembered Mohanji saying at some point during the retreat that the Guru we are seeking is within us. At that moment, I had the amazing feeling of Mohanji’s presence filling up my body. As Guru and God merged into one, the decision of becoming vegan was one of the easiest choices to make. How can I give the most compassionate Guru something obtained by means of cruelty and suffering? That moment was the turning point for me to change.
The 1st week after I stopped eating dairy products, I felt very light physically. Emotionally and mentally, it was joyful to know that I was contributing in some small way to make positive changes to society. Approximately 542,000 people in UK are vegan now! When I say Brahmarpanam, the food prayer before my meals, I have the happiness and satisfaction that I am offering sattvic food to my Guru and God.
Looking back, I realise whatever sadhana I do on a daily and weekly basis had started the change in me, but the process was accelerated by Mohanji’s love, grace and blessings. My heart is full of love and gratitude to Mohanji for giving me the strength to change. The bhajan below is sung by one of the children at the Sai centre. The words are so beautiful that it melts my heart every time I hear it. I also had the privilege of offering it to Mohanji during the retreat last year.
“You are my heart, my soul, my own
You are my own eternal guide
You are the one I adore
You are the sun, the moon in the sky
You are the stars that shine at night”
You are my all, my beloved Mohanji.
With eternal love and gratitude,
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