Born from FIRE

Mohanji Fire
Be one with the elements when you are in your body and you will remain in equanimity with the nature.

Atmananda Chaithanya was taking bath in a river with disciples. Standing completely naked facing the river, he was washing his few terrestrial possessions – a loincloth and a towel like cloth. He had nothing beyond that apart from a vessel and a small cloth bag. He usually tied the cloth around his waist. One of his five disciples who was next to him said to him, “Maharaj, others are watching you.” Atmananda turned around, looked and laughed, “To see what?” and as if to himself, muttered “Foolish people. Senses drag their mind and total slaves of senses. What can they see? Nothing.” Unaffected, he washed his clothes, tied the wet clothes around his waist and climbed up to the river bank. He sat down on a stone, away from people facing the rising sun and meditated, totally absorbed and oblivious of the movements around him. Time went by. Atmamanda continued to meditate. The rock started to get hot.

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Atmananda Chaithanya was taking bath in a river with disciples

Atmananda was still absorbed in his state of Samadhi. His disciples stood around him until the external heat became unbearable and the fire of hunger started heating them from inside. Finally, one of the disciples named Panduranga gently came close to Atmananda and whispered in his right ear, “Deva, the rock is burning hot. It may affect your body. Please get up”. Slowly Atmananda opened his eyes and looked at his disciples struggling to stand barefooted next to him because of the heated up rocks upon which they were standing.

“If you are born from fire, no sun can burn you. I am born from fire”
“If you are born from fire, no sun can burn you. I am born from fire”

He smiled, “If you are born from fire, no sun can burn you. I am born from fire”. Then he stood up, and started walking. A few steps later, he turned to Panduranga and said, “Be FIRE. That is the secret. Nothing can ever burn you. Nothing in life can dampen you. This is the unquenchable fire of the spirit. This is the fire of our tradition. The white fire.” Panduranga could not clearly understand. He humbly requested his Gurudeva to explain it further. Atmananda did not explain, but casually said, “Your body is made out of elements. Be one with the elements when you are in your body and you will remain in equanimity with the nature. Be one with all elements and they cannot hurt you. Only when you alienate yourself from the very elements that you are made of, your body suffers. Imbalance in elements causes diseases. Beware.”

Atmananda was a wandering monk and the 5 disciples always moved with him. Many others came and joined his group and left him after some time. He never cared about who came and who left. When people came, he shared “food” with them. That was his only sign of approval of anyone’s company. No other approval or disapproval. He just flowed and others flowed with him in absolute faith and surrender.

Atmananda was a wandering monk and the 5 disciples always moved with him.
Atmananda was a wandering monk and the 5 disciples always moved with him.

Once, while wandering, Atmananda was sitting at a village park. The park was in front of a row of shops and one among them was a sweet shop. Panduranga loved sweets and his eyes constantly wandered towards the decorated stalls displaying colorful sweets. Atmananda was sitting with his back towards the shops. Yet, he said, “When the eyes have focused with the mind on an object, the man is lost to temptations.” None, including Panduranga knew the depth or purpose of this statement and nor did Atmananda explain it in detail. And spontaneously, he took out some coins from his cloth sack and asked his disciple Aruna to fetch him some sweets from that shop. Aruna was surprised. In his experience, he has never seen Gurudeva using money, especially for the sake of a sensory pleasure. Yet, he always never asked his Guru “WHY”, so he immediately got up and left for the shop while the others sat around the Guru.

Aruna reached the shop and asked the shopkeeper to pack some sweets that he thought will suit his Gurudeva. The elderly shopkeeper was a very pious Brahmin. He saw the attire of his customer and presumed that Aruna is a wandering monk. While packing the sweets, he asked a few details about him and Aruna explained about himself and his Gurudeva in a few sentences, sufficient for the shopkeeper to get an idea. The shopkeeper handed over the sweets, which were more in quantity than the value of the money that Aruna had in hand. After receiving the packet, Aruna tried to give the shopkeeper the money, which was refused by the latter. He said, “Please allow me this opportunity to surrender my humble offerings at the feet of a great soul, your Gurudeva.” He called his teenaged granddaughter and asked her to handle the shop and set forth to meet the Guru along with Aruna.

When Aruna and the shopkeeper came near the shade of the tree where Atmananda and his disciples were sitting, as soon as he saw Atmananda, a strange kind of recognition dawned in him and the shopkeeper prostrated at the feet of Atmananda in complete humility. He said, “Deva, my life is complete today. You are Lord Dattatreya Himself. I am ready to leave my life at your feet this moment”. Atmananda blessed him and said, “Rama, (His disciples were surprised that their Guru knew the name of this shopkeeper), two steps above and two steps below. One step in the center. This is all you have. When you leave the five steps, you will become me. Nine steps above and eight steps below. One step in the middle. When you complete the 18 steps, then you will become my father. I and my father are one.” Rama started crying like a baby. This is exactly what his Guru had taught him when he was a child. Atmananda’s disciples did not fully understand the meaning. Yet, they kept quiet. Atmananda hugged the sobbing Rama. Aruna and others had never seen their Guru involving so much with anyone. They were surprised and wanted to know their past connection. Yet, they were afraid to ask Atmananda.


The show ended abruptly. Rama left. Aruna handed over the packet and the money that he could not spend to Atmananda and Atmananda immediately opened the parcel and started distributing the sweets to everyone except Panduranga. Panduranga was the one who craved for the sweets and he was the only one who got nothing! Panduranga craved in his mind at least for a crumb. Atmananda ignored him totally and did not even look at him. Atmananda and the four others completed the whole box. When Aruna tried to hand over one piece to Panduranga, Atmananda turned and said, “Yours for yourself.” (This statement was karmically perfect.) One of the disciples whom Atmananda called Kali had tremendous suppressed anger even like a volcano inside him. Atmananda kept him close to himself without permitting any eruption! He never liked sweets. Even he was given more and more. Only the one who wanted the most got nothing.

None of the disciples understood the strange behavior pattern of Atmananda. But, since devotion towards their Gurudeva was absolute, they were never concerned about it. Yet, mind always wanted answers.

Panduranga had joined Atmananda’s group when they visited a temple in the middle part of India.
Panduranga had joined Atmananda’s group when they visited a temple in the middle part of India.

Panduranga had joined Atmananda’s group when they visited a temple in the middle part of India. When Panduranga met him for the first time ever, Atmananda looked at him and called his name. He said, “I have eight years and you have eight years. Come with me and go before me.” Panduranga, as if hypnotized by Atmananda, left what he was doing at the temple and followed Atmananda without even a spare cloth in his hand. His faith took root and grew into a giant banyan tree in moments. It became unshakeable in no time.

As they walked out of the temple, a businessman came, prostrated at the feet of Atmananda and offered him two clothes, one for below the waist and one for above, a few coins and some fruit. He blessed the businessman, gave the clothes to Panduranga, kept the coins in his bag and distributed the fruits among his disciples.

They travelled together just below eight years before they reached this place. They travelled through many parts of India. Atmananda taught them nothing specific. Yet, the disciples picked up many jewels of wisdom from the way he lived his life which transformed them day by day. Simplicity was his style and total unpredictability of the master kept them grounded in the present. This also helped them to stay fluid and flexible.

Atmananda was always on the move...
Atmananda was always on the move…

Three days was the maximum Atmananda stayed at any place. At this place, near the river, Atmananda stayed for almost four days. Each day morning, the elderly shopkeeper brought fresh sweets and some food to Atmananda. And Atmananda distributed the sweets to everyone except Panduranga. Food he shared equally with everyone. And there was always sufficient to appease the hunger of all. They ate only one time a day, as true Yogis did.

Regarding the distribution of sweets, this is not the first or second time such a distribution has happened. In the whole eight years they were together, Atmananda never gave a bit of sweets to the desiring disciple Panduranga. And it was not many times that they received sweets too, except sometimes from temples as offering, which everyone got, including Panduranga. But, his craving was for sweets of the sweet shop, the colorful ones. Panduranga was disappointed to his worst extent by the seeming discrimination of Atmananda.

On the third day, Atmananda sent Aruna to the shop again early in the afternoon, with the same coins that he had given earlier to him. Aruna hesitated to accept the coins as he knew that the shopkeeper Rama would not accept them. Moreover, he has been delivering sweets and food to Atmananda and the group every morning without any cost. Yet, beloved Gurudeva’s words cannot be and should not be questioned. There has to be a higher purpose, behind his every words and actions. Aruna walked towards the shop. The shop was open and the elderly shopkeeper was missing. He called out, “Anyone inside?” The granddaughter of the shopkeeper came out. Aruna asked for her grandfather. She told him that all her relatives including him have gone for a wedding in the village. She also said that most of the sweets have been sold at the wedding to fulfill a commitment order from the bride’s family.

The shop had very little sweets left. For a moment, Aruna admired the devotion of the elderly businessman whom Atmananda called Rama in offering fresh sweets to Atmananda that very morning despite his commitment to provide sweets for the wedding which was his business. He also wondered despite getting the regular quota of sweets in the morning and consuming them as before, why did Gurudeva send him back to the shop to buy more, and that too by paying money? Anyway, some questions need no answers. All you need is absolute faith beyond questions. And in the tradition, the question “WHY” itself signifies disconnection from one’s Guru and fall from the golden tradition of total nullification. “WHY” always happens out of mind, intellect and ego and never out of devotion.

Aruna asked the girl at the shop to pack whatever was available, paid the money and left with the packet. The girl had no problem in accepting money. She looked at him just as another customer. This was around 5PM, almost time for Atmananda and his disciples to go for their bath and evening meditations. When Aruna brought the box of sweets and handed it to Atmananda, he immediately transferred the full box of sweets to Panduranga and said, “It is all yours. No more desires unfulfilled”. Receiving this precious gift from his Gurudeva, Panduranga cried like a baby. He fell at the feet of Atmananda and begged his pardon for nurturing thoughts of hatred against his beloved guru. He apologized over and over again for considering him as partial and cruel. Atmananda smiled and said, “Have your sweets. It is all yours.” Panduranga ate a lot, and when he wanted to give some to others, most of them denied saying “you deserve the whole”. Panduranga was deeply satisfied. It was a feast for him. He could not eat it all. He ate almost half of the packet and saved the rest for another time!

If you flow with time, time is your friend. If you do not, time is your foe.
If you flow with time, time is your friend. If you do not, time is your foe.

After the evening prayers, Atmananda called Panduranga and said, “If you flow with time, time is your friend. If you do not, time is your foe. Have you kept time? Now release time. Time cannot not be held by man. Only immortality can hold time. Remain Blessed. Be Immortal”. He asked Panduranga not to sleep that night and meditate facing the north.
At the time of subtlety, the time of Brahma (Brahma Muhurtha), when they woke up, they saw Panduranga still meditating in lotus posture. When they tried to wake him, he fell backwards. His body had frozen. His soul had left!

The elderly businessman Rama Shastri arranged for a proper funeral of Panduranga on the fourth day. At the funeral Atmananda said to Rama, “His only desire on earth was sweets. He had transcended all other desires. If this last desire was also fulfilled, he would have left his abode (body) much earlier. He had to serve me for 8 years and hence I kept him in his abode. Now, he has to leave ahead of me. His last wish is fulfilled and has attained immortality”. It was only then his disciples understood the reason behind this whole drama.

Even though slightly perturbed with the dynamism of these events, when they were securing materials for the cremation of Panduranga, Aruna asked Rama, the elderly businessman, what Atmananda meant by “two steps above and two steps below. One step in the center. This is all you have. When you leave the five steps, you will come to me. Nine steps above and eight steps below. One step in the middle. When you complete the 18 steps, then you will become my father. I and my father are one”.

Rama replied, “I do not know if I have the eligibility to explain this code which the Maha Guru, great saint who walks with you told me. He is Supreme Datta himself. He is verily Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva themselves. I shall explain according to my understanding. Pardon me if I fall short. Our physical body is controlled by the 5. Five praanaas, five koshas (sheaths), five senses, five elements, five chakras of color apart from the higher colorless ones so on and so forth. He told me that I am staying at the fire, the middle. The step in the middle is the space of fire. I have to burn my ego and samskaaras as well as all identities and go higher. I have to nullify everything. I have reached half way. I am lucky. With the blessing of our Maha Guru, I would effortlessly cross over the air and space also and would attain fulfillment in this life and merge with him.”

Progressing into the path of complete dissolution...
Progressing into the path of complete dissolution…

“He also reminded me that in my path of complete dissolution, I have to travel 9 more steps. We are operating from the outside nature and our own inherent nature. Nature stays in various aspects. Every organ has its own nature. Nature of the eyes is different from that of ears. Likewise, every organ has its own unique nature. Every feeling has its own nature and flavor. Mind has its own nature. Each person has a different mindset. Likewise, intellect, ego, emotions, feelings, pain, happiness, have their own nature. Collectively each man has one unique nature. All of us base ourselves on this multiple nature as well as one nature. This is where we are progressing from – into the path of pathless.

In our tradition, 18 signifies completion. Beginning from the first birth until the last body we ever take on earth, the total completion of various aspects of various lifetimes attains its ultimate completion when soul merges with the supreme Parabrahma. 18 also signifies our inclinations, various aspects of vasanas. We have to cross over even the minutest of Vasanas to attain Brahma. 18 is also 8+1 = 9. It also signifies Nine avatars of Maha Vishnu and then comes Kalki, Kalki being a state and phenomenon, it signifies the dissolution with the 10th. Ten = 1+0 which means one, unity or back to the original form. Thus, I may take another 9 births or with the grace of our beloved Bhagawan who has come as Guru to us, much lesser births. I am not worried. As long as I have His grace, I am ready to take another million births too.” Aruna admired the wisdom and understanding of this elderly businessman. He had truly recognized Atmananda. Exactly 8 months after this, Atmananda also left his body and thus fulfilled his initial words to Panduranga.

Aghora Babaji – Rama Shastri’s story

Aruna and Kali were deeply interested to know about the shop keeper Rama Shastri’s Guru. While preparing for the cremation of Panduranga, Rama Shastri narrated. “Our Guru Maharaj Atmananda knows him. It is HIMSELF. Nobody knew his name. He was called Aghora Baba by the villagers because he was mostly naked and sometimes wore bizarre clothes on him. He used to carry a skull in his hand and people were afraid of him. He had many spiritual powers.

He was not exactly my guru, as I was just a small boy of 5 or 6 years when he was walking on this land. I believe he left his physical body, some say he just disappeared along with his disciples, when I was 13 or 14 years old. One day he and his group just disappeared from this place. Nobody has seen them ever again. Physically our Gurudeva Atmananda is much younger to me. So, there is no way that he has seen Aghora Babaji.

“If Babaji commands that the sun shall not rise again, the sun will obey. He is an avatar. Do not fear him. Worship him. He is our protector”.
“If Babaji commands that the sun shall not rise again, the sun will obey. He is an avatar. Do not fear him. Worship him. He is our protector”.


Babaji was my grandfather’s and also my father’s Guru. I was afraid of him and always avoided him whenever he was close by. He lived in this burial ground; people say that he brewed and drank alcohol, smoked and also slept with many women. There used to be almost 25 people with him all the time and many were women of various ages. His eyes always used to be blood red, and looked as if under the spell of alcohol. I even heard that he did many bizarre rituals in the night, where he performed fire ceremonies stark naked in the funeral fire. People say that they have seen him dancing in the fire too. He had a small thatched hut right here where he slept” He pointed at a space at the burial ground.

My mother’s younger brother – my uncle – hated him. I have heard him telling my mother, “He is creating prostitutes here in our village. He sleeps with many women and all men and women do naked rituals in the night with him. He drinks alcohol and uses other intoxicants too. He is immoral. He should not be worshipped. Do you want our young Rama to follow these bizarre habits? You should make your husband and your father-in-law understand. He is not a good guru to be with.” And hearing all these, my mother used to get terribly worried.


When I started recognizing Babaji, he was already perhaps in his 60s. He wore dreadlocks, a scar on his chest, unkempt hair and beard. I have often seen food particles stuck on his beard. Fierce eyes, a bit athletic in structure of his body and reasonably muscular – was his physical form. There used to be many women with him, and most of them wore saffron. And the men who walked with him also looked doped and almost always wore nothing except a shawl around them. This was a strange group. The way to my teacher’s house (gurukul) passed near this land – the burial ground of our village. I had to go via this way every day. No choice. I and my friends used to shiver in fear whenever we heard some sounds from here. We used to have bad dreams about Babaji coming and killing all of us and eating our flesh. Later I realized that even my mother used to have such dreams, which I came to know when I overheard her explaining it to my father. My father laughed and said, “If Babaji commands that the sun shall not rise again, the sun will obey. He is an avatar. Do not fear him. Worship him. He is our protector”.

His blood shot eyes made us shiver...
His blood shot eyes made us shiver…

“One day, I was perhaps 10 or 12 years of age, I and my friends were walking by the burial ground, we landed up right in front of Babaji. His bloodshot eyes made us shiver. One of my friends even relieved urine in his cloth. We tried to sneak past him. He said, “STOP”. We shivered and stopped. He was alone. He called me near him. With trembling knees, I went close to him. He gently took my hand with a lot of love and kindness and instead of the stench of unkempt body that I had expected considering his looks, it was the fragrance of celestial flowers that oozed out of him. His eyes penetrated me with compassion. I lost all my fears. He held my hand and told me the same words our Gurudev told me – which you heard. Exactly the same words! “Rama, two steps above and two steps below. One step in the center. This is all you have. When you leave the five steps, you will become me. Nine steps above and eight steps below. One step in the middle. When you complete the 18 steps, then you will become my father. I and my father are one.” Even though I did not fully comprehend the meaning of these words, it stuck firmly in my memory. He made that possible.

Now, I truly pity my uncle and others who criticized him and despised him publicly and privately. They missed the chance of many lifetimes. They were too absorbed in the superficial incompatibilities, pretentious morality and non-comformities based on their mental notions. They were in the cages of their own mind. Self-created cages of numerous conditioning. Babaji’s aim was perhaps to shatter these conditionings. Total ignorance made them miss it in this lifetime. When will they get another chance? I clearly understood from my father that if we cannot develop the eyes to see beyond the superficial obvious, we miss the opportunity. Especially with Lord Dattatreya, the supreme Parabrahma.

The journey from being mankind to the state of a kind man is not difficult. Awareness is the key.
The journey from being mankind to the state of a kind man is not difficult. Awareness is the key.

Aghora Baba and Gurudeva are one and the same. He came back in this form to bless me and my family again and I got the good fortune of serving food to Him. Before my grandfather died, he had said, “Babaji will never leave your hand. He will watch over you through time. You will meet him again before you leave your body too.” I knew at the bottom of my heart it is true. I experienced the same fragrance when Gurudeva touched me. It is all one. All are verily Datta. Babaji came to destroy our concepts and mind and take us to higher awareness and now Gurudeva is doing the same. I understood that the bizarre lifestyle was to protect him as well as those who followed him. I even feel that the women and men who lived with him naked in the burial ground were not humans. They could be celestial beings. I believe this was Lord Datta and His followers enjoying a terrestrial existence, just like our Gurudev. The fragrance that emanated from his body was unmistakable and totally celestial. Jai Gurudeva Datta. I hope some day, I will have inner eyes to see the glory of my Lord and all the small doubts of my silly mind will vanish for good. It is never easy to understand a Datta Guru, unless they choose to reveal their true stature. In that way, I have not been lucky to see beyond the physical dimension. Unfortunately, our eyes can only see the superficial substance. But, I am satisfied with this confirmation that Babaji has appeared again to touch me and love me. My life is fulfilled. One more thing which you may already know. There were no sweets in our shop yesterday. We had taken everything for the marriage. What you bought had appeared miraculously which my granddaughter does not know. What she gave you happened there just because of the will of our Gurudeva. It was a miracle for sure. That way, what Panduranga consumed before his death were no ordinary sweets. They were celestial sweets. Such is the love of our tradition which provides for us to the minutest detail. All we need are eyes to see and a non-judgmental mind at all times”.

When he said that Rama Shastri had tears in his eyes. Glory be to Lord Datta and His many avatars.

Soul is one. Manifestations are many. When soul manifests in many, normal eyes will see it as many. This is the illusion that binds us and makes us suffer. This is the ignorance that stands as a tall wall between us and the supreme brahma. One soul manifests through all beings because each body helps a different experience.

Take care of the sick, the old, the abused and the abandoned of all species. This will elevate your awareness. Let there be no gender and species differentiation in your mind. Lack of differentiation means Freedom!

Love Unlimited to All of You
M

Soul is one. Manifestations are many.
Soul is one. Manifestations are many.

Disclaimer:

Atmananda is a fictional character created by Mohanji to explain the Tradition. Any resemblance to the living or dead is purely coincidental.

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Sai and “I” – Shirdi Sai Baba

Sai and “I”
There is nothing apart from Sai. I cannot be separate from Sai. You cannot be separate from Sai either. Sai is pure consciousness. Sai cannot be contained in a form, any form.
I must write this from the angle of an ordinary humble devotee of Bhagawan Shree Shirdi Sai Baba. Baba is an avatar. We mere mortals cannot ever understand the consciousness of such a powerful entity. He is beyond time and space. He gives experience to every true devotee of his, day and night, if the devotee is open to receive it. Most of the time, a miracle is prevented only by lack of faith. Baba is available for any devotee around the clock. But, mostly, people call him only when they need something. This is a sad misuse or under utilization of a great avatar. Inner purity is all you need for materializing miracles. Inner emptiness is all it takes for filling the essence of Sai, the Sai consciousness, into our vessel of existence.
Sai is pure consciousness and cannot be contained in any form, any form. Omniscent, omnipotent and omnipresent.
Sai is pure consciousness and cannot be contained in any one form. Omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
It was towards the end of 2004 when I had left my job in Iraq and was back in India literally cooling my heels which were quite worn out due to extreme situations that I had faced from almost 1998. I was invited for an interview on the subject of Spirituality and Management. This is way before the meditations came to me and I became known as Mohanji. Those days, I was more recognized in the field of management. The video was shot at a beach in India. And the filming began from the door step of a Sai Temple, close to the beach. That time, even though I had heard the name Sai Baba, I did not quite know anything about Baba, who He was, or where He was or even where Shirdi is. It is my habit to bow down and pay respects to the idols or pictures of any spiritual masters irrespective of religious barriers. That way, I bowed down and touched the feet of the big idol of Baba before I started the interview.
That was the turning point of my life. Soon after the filming, I visited Mumbai. When I visited a book shop, I found myself asking for a Sai Satcharitha. I did not know why I asked for this book. It was not a conscious, pre-planned purchase. Two weeks after I bought the story of Sai, I reached Shirdi. This was indeed His grace, His call.
My first step into the Samadhi Mandir is still like a dream. When we arrived, the night arathi was about to begin. This was in 2004 and the crowd was far less than now. I was not aware of the rituals of Shirdi nor had I heard the Sai Arathi until then. The bells were ringing and I was told the temple will close for public after the night poojas. I ran and reached the samadhi mandir. The arathi had begun. I sat down, looking at the captivating, beautiful statue of Sai.
“Sai, all these people came for your blessings. Please bless everyone!”
It was like a home coming! I felt totally at home, as if I was there always or at least many times in the past. My body started to have a mild tremor. Goose bumps erupted all over. I felt wave after wave of soothing, mild energy flowing over me and into me. I slipped into a trance. Thoughts vanished. Mind became blank. Just one thought appeared in my mind as a prayer. In my mind I said “Baba, all these people have come for your blessing. Please bless everyone”. I could not ask for anything else.
Almost a month later, I came back to Mumbai. A group of people decided to set up a logistic company in Dubai and they asked me to join in as its CEO. The meeting was set in Mumbai. I was living with my parents in India at that time and had not taken up any job after I left the job in Iraq. I had some savings. But, since Ammucare charity activities gained momentum during my stay in India, my entire savings drained rapidly. I was determined to continue with the charity activities, even if I had to work hard more. Almost all that I ever earned, was spent on charity. Fortunately, since I did not have much expenses of my own, since personal requirements were less, it was easier.
I did not have sufficient money to take the flight and arrange a stay in Mumbai. One of the investing partners knew about this and arranged that. I arrived to Mumbai and they received me at the airport. The friend who arranged my travel and stay had arrived from Bahrain. He had changed his foreign currency and was carrying the Indian rupees in a packet. It was inconvenient for him to carry it in hand. So, he asked me if he could put that in my cabin bag. I handed over my bag to him, which contained my passport, a cheque for Rs.100,000/- which I owed to a property dealer, plus my clothes and the Sai Satcharitha. He kept his money on top of everything and we went to a suitable location to sit down and have the preliminary discussion.
We arrived at a hotel, almost 30 minutes away from the airport. We sat in the lounge and had our preliminary discussion. Since I had to meet other people, I left early. My friend who carried my bag promised to deliver the bag, later in the evening because we were staying at the same place. He left with my bag. He told me, he hired a taxi from the road, kept the bag in the boot, reached the destination, forgot the bag in the car and reached his room. He did not remember the face of the taxi driver as he was sitting in the back seat, nor did he notice the number of the car. He called me and told about this incident. It was a bizarre situation. A real test. My passport and everything else lost. It will take some time before we could make another travel document. In the night, we met for dinner. All were perturbed as my travel to Dubai depended on my passport and my passport is lost. Our plan reached a spontaneous snag. But, the place where we sat and discussed, there was a statue of Sai Baba and I felt that he is looking at me and smiling in a meaningful way. It could be a sign that I should not take up this employment? That was indeed the reason which came out true as one of the partners spoiled the broth and the group eventually got scattered. Anyways, that is besides the point.
After dinner, I thought of calling a friend who is a psychic, not because of the lost bag, but one of the group members wanted to talk to him. He asked me “You seem to be perturbed a bit. What is the problem?” I said “Yeah. I lost my bag”. “Is there a picture book of Bhagawan Sai in it?” He asked. I said “Yes. I have Sai Satcharitha in it”. He said “Don’t worry. Sai will bring it back to you”. I thought, ‘Where will I find the taxi in a colossal concrete quagmire like Mumbai? The taxi driver does not know me, nor do we know the taxi driver. How can we file a complaint with the police station without any details?’
Finally, at midnight, all of us decided to go back to the hotel where we sat and discussed first, when we arrived from the airport. My friend had taken the cab from outside that hotel. But, then again, the cab did not belong to the hotel. As expected, the receptionist was blank when we asked if anyone had delivered a bag there. We came out, quite dejected. As we came to the gate, the watchman of the hotel asked “Sir, is there no room?” I said “We did not come here for the room. We lost our bag. We came in search of it”. He asked “what is the color and make of your bag?” I explained the details. He replied “Sir, please see if this is your bag!” He produced my bag from his cabin! We opened and looked inside hoping that we have lost nothing. Everything was intact! And on top of everything was the Sai Satcharitha! In fact the Sai Satcharitha was kept at the very bottom of the bag. Who put it on top, above the money? Baba’s grace is indeed above all material wealth. Quite symbolic indeed. This was Baba’s way of conveying who the wire puller was! He had orchestrated the show. Imagine, if the car driver had not checked the boot of his car! Imagine if he had not delivered the bag at this hotel itself! There are many hotels on both sides of the road. How did he bring the bag to this hotel itself! So many probabilities and questions. Once again, Baba proved his presence in my life in the most emphatic way.
Baba's grace is indeed above all material wealth. He orchestrates the show. He is the wirepuller of all events.
Baba’s grace is indeed above all material wealth. He orchestrates the show. He is the wire puller of all events.
Evolution happens in body, mind, intellect and even spiritual stature of an individual each moment. Each one has the potential to transform overnight. So, when we say we know this person or that person, be careful. The person with the level of awareness that you thought you knew would have transformed into a totally different individual overnight. Hence, we must consider each person as totally different each day. This would also take care of most of our agonies related to expectations. This is the truth of existence.
I have been in corporate world for too long and too much. I have worked from a sales executive to the General Manager, Country Manager and CEO in corporate business for close to 24 years in the Middle East. I always had a problem in dealing with treacherous individuals, those who lie, cheat and make everyone’s life miserable. I always believed in truthfulness and straight-forwardness. Many times, I entered into traps of treachery and somehow got out of it without many wounds. This also is true with relationships. Falling in is easy, falling out is painful. The snares of terrestrial relationships have always been difficult for me to handle – being connected to the truthful relationships with the higher. This is also why I could easily see through the core of pseudo spiritualists and could run away from them as fast as I could. I would like to attribute all the effective escapes to the grace of Sai Baba. He has been looking after the formation years of my life and even now. Formation years are times of extreme vulnerability. When you cross over, since visibility is much better, the vulnerability is much lesser, even though the possibility cannot be completely discounted. Often, I found it better to play dumb and totally ignorant in egoistic groups where the pseudo intellectual discussions had no aim and value except pampering someone’s ego. Here, the hand of a higher master becomes very helpful. And Baba is always available to help and guide any sincere devotee. But, who goes to him for the highest?! Most go to Him seeking terrestrial favors! This is the tragedy of human existence. We do not know what we need and what to seek. We do not know what we are and where we are going! We cannot understand a true master from a pseudo master. We worship the priest instead of the God. We think that material richness can make us happy. With material richness, many become spiritually weak. They become mere watchmen of their own wealth and shun even God, developing insecurities of losing the matter! Matter has validity and specific longevity; ignorance makes us crave for permanence. Contamination of existence is nothing else. Great masters of high repute were ridiculed time and again. Those with pomposity and higher visibility were respected. Money became the criterion for respect even in the terrestrial spiritual world. People respect those who spoke well and not those who existed in silence. Again, the higher the noise, the better the acceptance. All masters who existed in silence found it difficult to “speak”. The same was with Baba. Hence Baba was also ridiculed by many during his physical times.
I always wonder about the state of people who steal others’ wealth and possessions and live without any qualms. I have also seen many people who refused to re-pay or pay back their debts, suffering huge losses in life. Many such matters of human existence including cheating, stealing, hoarding, killing, harming helpless beings, victimization – including production of meat, affected me and compelled me from detaching myself from these aspects of the world. What can a super subtle man who only knew to love do in a gross world of in-sensitiveness and deceit? But, as if to test and transform, I was put back into the commercial world, either due to lack of money or due to compulsion from friends which I could not deny. Many times I declared myself as a misfit in the commercial world even though the organizations that I managed achieved good success. I felt that my vulnerability – being in subtlety was increasing day by day.
Many times in between, I left employment and went through situations of no money, no shelter and no food. All these strengthened my faith in God. I never complained. I found the deeper purpose of heating the iron into melting point and also beating it when most vulnerable. A powerful spiritual sword was taking shape. Will of steel probably needed tough hammering indeed to become! During those times of test, even relatives stay away and criticize So, indirectly, it helped me to shed all expectations from everyone. It also helped me to stand on my own feet especially during crisis and also it removed the fears of having to walk alone. The will was perhaps more from the side of God than this puny, highly perishable individual, I suppose. 🙂 I realized that the capacity for people to see the truth is limited to their senses and predominantly mind. The highest is probably the intellect – the analyzing capacity. These faculties could only deliver relative truths and not real truth. I wanted nothing except the real truth. And I was willing to give anything for that. Nothing else satisfied me. Hence, when I started conducting meditation programs, I used to dedicate them to Baba and use His name as the source. People who could not understand my reason behind this action blamed me of trying to become another “Baba” or claiming that I am Him. Then, in one of the communions, Baba asked me to stop the dedication and use my own name. A saint also said, during the same time “You will be known in your own name.” I attribute this message also to Bhagawan. I would like to believe that He orchestrated everything so that nothing remains mine and I can enjoy my emptiness to the fullest.
It was through Baba that I also came into the roots of the Datta tradition. I also understood the relevance of my gothra when I became aware of the Datta path. This body is born in Bharadwaja Gothra. The same gothra (clan) of almost all the Datta Avatars. I again felt the hands of Baba for putting this soul in this Gothra. Bhagawan Datta, Shiva, Babaji, and Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba are all one. I cannot see any difference in them. In fact I cannot see any difference in anyone.
Mohanji (1)
I shall conclude this with one more incident which provoked a real shift in my consciousness. I was working as the General Manager of a Logistic Company in Dubai in 2006. I had to attend a conference in Mumbai. Since I had to fly to Mumbai, I decided to also visit Shirdi – quickly before the conference and come back to Mumbai in time for the conference. While waiting for the flight, I thought of calling a friend of mine in India who has psychic abilities. It was late at night. When he picked up my call he smiled and said “Another trip! Eternal journey continues.” I also laughed at the truth in his joke. He asked “This time to see the God?” I said “yes, going to Shirdi as well”. He said “expect a big and life changing miracle. This conference is organized by Him to get you there to give you something precious. He knows that you have no money in your pocket, O man of charity!, with this conference, your company will pay.” I laughed at his good-hearted tease.
When such a thought is put in your mind, that would dominate our thought process. This happened to me too. I started looking for miracles. I had hired a cab to take me from Mumbai airport to Shirdi and bring me back. When I reached Shirdi, after the darshan at Samadhi Mandir, I always like to sit and meditate at Dwarakamai. I love Dwarakamai. It feels like old times always even though I would not want to think about me in another body and my connection with Baba while in that body, if at all. Baba always warns “The urge to know the past in order to re-inforce the present is a clear sign of insecurity. No true devotee should have that. If the past has to be revealed, it will be”. I also wanted to offer some quality materials to the Dhuni of Baba inside Dwarakamai. I requested the taxi driver to get me some good material for the fire place, and waited outside Dwarakamai. When he brought the materials, we went inside. The entry and exit were demarcated and guards watched both the doors. Once entered, one has to keep moving. Crowd was huge. I decided that I will not be able to sit inside and meditate in this trip, which made me a bit sad. We offered the materials to the fire and started to come out. The driver of cab was behind me. As I moved closer to the door, an old man came through the exit entrance with a child, grabbed my hand over my biceps and commanded “Sar idhar rakho” (Put your head here) and pointed at a small pillar. Baba used to sit leaning against that pillar when he used to live in Dwarakamai. I spontaneously obeyed. I was already in a thoughtless state. I knelt down and touched my head on the pillar and got up. There were many people behind me, in the queue. I was worried that the guards will shove us out. But, none seemed to notice the incident. Even the cab driver went past me. Then I got up. The old man patted on my back and said “Abhi Jao” (Go now). I obeyed without thinking. I came out and was a bit disturbed because I could not sit and meditate in Dwarakamai. Nevertheless, we started on our return journey to Mumbai and I called my psychic friend. As soon as he got my call, he asked “So, Bhagawan came and met you! Isn’t it a BIG Miracle?”. You could imagine my situation. “Oh my God. In that confusion, I forgot about the miracle and also did not think it would be Baba himself. He also had a child with him and then I realized that it was Ammu, my daughter whom I lost in 2000 in a tragic road accident. I did not look at the child at all. So many people and confusions and the setting was well made by Baba to avoid all my distractions and thoughts! I told my friend “Oh, I should not touch His feet”. He said “Oh you did. When you touched your head on the pillar at His command, you have touched the feet of the tradition. Good enough. Go on now. Life will never be the same again.”
Further to this, I have had many experiences and many of my followers also had many experiences, which I would presume that they themselves would narrate and share with you, if they liked to do so. I cannot and should not do that on their behalf. I would like to conclude this humble narration with my most humble prostrations at the Lotus feet of the Great Avatar Sai Baba. I can write a book about Him. I have done three blogs about Him and no words can ever explain Him.
I would also like to thank Swami Govindananda of Himalayas who gave me a picture of Baba from his altar and said “Mohan, Sai Baba lives in your third eye”. And to Bala Sai who delivered Baba’s message to me to return back to India and His promise that He will live with me! I consider this as a priceless message and confirmation. Sai temple will come up in Datta Tapovan if He so wills. The late Sri Balachandran, while coming back after Darsan at Shirdi and while entering his car, a man came and delivered a heavy packet and said “This is for the Sai temple that will be built. Sai sent this for you”. He turned to offer some money to the messenger of Baba, he had already vanished. He opened the packet and saw that they were marble feet of Baba. We were getting ready to build a Sai temple at Ammucare village site in Kerala. Due to financial deficiency, it did not happen. Now, most probably, the feet of Baba will decorate Datta Tapovan.

My humble prostrations at the feet of the grand Datta Tradition and the glorious gothra of Sage Bharadwaja to which I am lucky to belong.

My only prayer to Baba is “Bless All, Baba, for all are seeking your grace, knowingly or unknowingly.”
Aum Sai Ram
M
There is no existence apart from Sai. Sai Protect All the beings who walk on Earth. AUM SAI RAM.
There is no existence apart from Sai. Sai Protect All the beings who walk on Earth. AUM SAI RAM.