Hotter than the raging SUN

Dear Seekers of Truth

You may think that proximity to a powerful Avadhoota like Atmananda meant that we got to discuss deeper levels of spirituality all the time. On the contrary, we hardly spoke spiritual matters. I found the same when Atmananda met other powerful masters. They discussed nothing – literally nothing spiritual. To me, the meeting of two masters felt like two suns merging to give more light. No words (medium) were needed. Whenever you get a chance to stay with liberated masters, make sure that you observe, but not imitate them. Imitating them will only give us certain character traits or habits. Observing them will give us detachment and awareness of perfect love in action.

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It is beautiful to watch someone who wants nothing from earth, walking the earth. We start to look with total detachment and even indifference towards every desire of every person who we see around us, or who have come to our Guruji for blessing them with a quick fix solution for some of their favourite dimensions of “glorious” lusts such as money, name, fame, possessions etc. Guruji, detached as he was from himself, would sometimes look at them, sometimes ignore them. He deliberately wore the robe of a powerless, often eccentric, ordinary sadhu. This must have saved him from various greedy bodies.

Rarely, we get to speak something spiritual with Guruji. Usually, it happened as a reflection of someone’s visit. Here are a few glimpses. Once he said. “Buddha has said ‘Human tongue is more dangerous than a sword. It leaves lasting wounds. It injures people more than a sword. The injuries that tongues create are hard to heal.’ ” We could understand that most calamities of life are created by relative truths or partial truths translated by prejudiced and speculative minds and articulated by our boneless tongues. This reminds me of various beautiful things that Buddha has said which perfectly suited our Guruji’s level of existence.

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“The most distant place for us is our past. No amount of money or time can take us there.”

“The biggest, highest and tallest mountain in this world is human lust. Nothing is more difficult to conquer for the human mind than lust.”

“The hardest thing to keep in this world is a tiny promise. Things are easier said than done. If promises are not delivered, man takes more lives too, to complete it. Hence promises are quite detrimental. If unfulfilled, it increases karmic weight.”

“The quality that makes one feel lightest in this world is humility which comes out of maturity and awareness. There is nothing lighter to mind than humility. When man chases name, fame and fortune, this is lost.”

“The closest to us is death. Death is closer to us than any human relationship and is the only unavoidable relationship.”

“The easiest thing to do for liberating oneself in this world is to spread the message of our loving Guru while spreading love with our very existence unconditionally. Your personal wealth has nothing to do with it. If you are afraid to talk about your Guru who gave you himself, you are a hypocrite. Grace will not enter your doorway. Hypocrisy prevents grace.”

One “holy day”, after he spent time with a seemingly aloof wandering sadhu, Guruji said. “We all are liars. We are lying all the time. Whenever I say I am Atmananda, I am lying. This body is called Atmananda. I am not. Whenever people talk with identifications, which are all temporary, they are lying because whatever is temporary is not the ultimate truth. Look around, no animals will tell you that they are a bull or a monkey. They are unbound by their incarnations. We are so eager to maintain our ego and identifications. Whenever we begin to articulate who we are in terms of terrestrial existence, we are further and further detaching from the original truth. Hence, we must realise that we are all liars. Glorious liars who love to maintain those lies and are even proud of it. I am not an Avadhoota or even Atmananda. These are all identifications that the society has given me for their sake about my state and form. This is their need and not mine. I am free.” He continued “Likewise, we identify ourselves with fleeting emotions and make them ours. We are not the emotions either. We are free. Unless this is understood, there are will be pains.

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“Desires are traps. One spontaneously leads to the other. They also change forms and nature. Desires cause illusions and hallucinations. It takes us further and further away from liberation”.

This story is about some of Guruji’s followers like Ramappa, Srinath and my own self as well as some experiences of Guruji that I would like to share that provide a window into his glorious stature. Guruji was like a flowing river. Before joining Guruji, each disciple had traveled a good distance on their spiritual journey along their own paths based on their constitution. Guruji facilitated their orientations – bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, etc – and, subsequently, they moved on and carried forward in their chosen path.

Once a middle-aged person named Ramappa walked with us while we walked with Gurudeva. Gurudeva did not have the habit of acknowledging, welcoming or receiving anybody who chose to walk with him. He probably would not even notice.

Guruji did not like conversations. We have seen Guruji watching cows or other animals intently for hours on. We used to say amongst ourselves that Guruji is liberating them through his eyes. In fact, he looked at animals with more attention than he ever looked at people. One such occasion, which is about a week after Ramappa joined us, Guruji was witnessing a pack of cows in a field. Ramappa went close to him and told him “Gurudeva, my desire of this life is higher levels of Samadhi. Bless me and help me”. Guruji did not answer for some time. Later, he said, “Watch and witness cows.” That was it. He said nothing else. He got up and started walking. Ramappa sat there and continued what Gurudeva was doing and had asked him to do. When we were leaving with Gurudeva who walked quite fast, we saw Ramappa totally absorbed in observing cows.

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Many years later, after Guruji attained his mahasamadhi, (a saint’s conscious exit from the body), I had the good fortune of seeing Ramappa, quite unknowingly, who by that time had attained great spiritual heights. I did not recognise him. I was coming back with a few companions towards my abode from the north of Bharat, after our annual dips in Ganga during Kumbh Mela. We happened to spend the evening and night at the ashram of a saint whom we had not known before. Most ashrams host people going or returning from Kumbh Mela without expectations. This is still the tradition. The chief of that ashram had a flowing white beard and bald head. He hosted us with kindness and elegance.

In the evening, after dinner at sunset, he gave a discourse to his disciples. It flowed somewhat like this, “Gurudeva asked me to observe cows and walked away. (this is when I felt he could be Ramappa) I considered this as a diksha (initiation) and sat at the same place that Gurudeva sat and started practicing. In the beginning, I saw only the bodies of cows. I saw only their activities. Every day, I did this one practice which Gurudeva had initiated me with. A few days later, I could recognise each and every cow that grazed in that field. Soon, I started seeing their character and the difference between them. I started noticing how they behaved. I saw their behavioural differences as well as their hierarchies and mannerisms.

They showed no hurry at any time. They were peaceful always. They ate only what they needed. They were very patient. They never complained or even made an unnecessary sound. They accepted the surroundings and realities without any complaints. They were tolerant. They never complained of rain or sunshine. They were consistent in what they did. They never got bored with the environment. I learned many things from them. Concentration, Acceptance, Consistency, Commitment, No anxiety or comparisons, No complaints, and more than anything stable mind, peaceful to the core. I realised that samadhi states need these qualities. Samadhi itself is a stillness of mind. And these animals taught me that.

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Day and night, I sat near that grazing ground and as these gentle beings wandered, I followed them. They became my gurus. I learned the great secrets of life from them. Everything begins with acceptance. I understood why my Gurudeva always watched animals and sat in meditative state. He was witnessing the states of samadhi that nature displays through every plant, tree, leaves, and all beings of nature. I also realised that they do not eat after sunset and will start eating only after sunrise. They followed the sun. I also surrendered myself to the sun and the sun became my guru too. Ramappa continued.

Ramappa’s explanation ascertained to me that he was referring to my Guru too – Avadhoota Atmananda Chaitanya! He has given enlightenment to many through a casual word or sentence which became a piercing command that time proved later. Here I would like you to understand one important point. My Gurudeva in his usual unassuming way, taught Ramappa and through Ramappa to all of us, one important practice – Practicing Awareness. Usually all gurus initiated their disciples into contemplation (manana) or Meditation (dhyana) or some rituals to reach levels of samadhi. Here, Atmananda taught “Awareness” through observing the cows which is neither manana or dhyana. Cows had no anxiety over future nor much visible hang ups over past. No prejudices and fears as explained by Ramappa. They were in the present always, in tune with their body as well as nature in total acceptance. This is an important lesson in spirituality. Being in NOW. Being in awareness. This is a space between manana and dhyana.

When Ramappa paused his narration, I introduced myself to him and told the audience that I was there when this incident happened. Ramappa could not contain his tears. He got up and tried to prostrate at my feet in deep reverence for my Guru. I did not allow that. Instead, I embraced him. We both could not contain our tears of happiness. We held each other for some time. Then I spoke “Ramappa, I am so happy to see you not only because you have attained higher levels of Samadhi as per your wish, with the grace of our Gurudeva, but because you are imparting and explaining the unorthodox methods of our Gurudeva to your students too. You are keeping his memories alive.

Not many understood our Gurudeva. He has given such guidance to thousands. Perhaps a word, a glance, a sentence or physical demonstration through his own life. But not even five percent of people who came to him understood it or caught that thread and moved on in life as you did. He gave the rope to everybody in a casual way.

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Our Guru has left his body and he insisted that his body should not become a burden to earth. He was formally cremated. (Hearing about the death of Atmananda, Ramappa’s smile vanished and tears filled his eyes.) Also, He has written nothing except what he wrote in our hearts and minds. Ramappa, today I am happy. When I hear our Guru’s words through you, I feel so happy and proud. He allowed us to walk with him and through his own life, he taught us invaluable lessons. A perfect Avadhoota. He had no emotions. He never complained. He never cried. He existed without existing. He lived without living. He was always and is always with us.”

Ramappa said with tears “I just wish that I will not fall again into the lures of this world.”

I said, “When you are under the protection of a master like Atmananda, you never need to worry about any fall in spirituality. There won’t be a state of Yoga Bhrashta (fall from grace). Atmananda as a guru will never permit that. Our Guru was seldom understood because he hardly expressed himself. His life was his message. If people did not understand his life, they did not understand his message also. I have always observed his habit of observing animals keenly. He spent lots of time doing just that. He often forgot his own body, time, hunger, weather and sat watching animals and birds. Now, with your narration, I got a clear insight as to why he was observing them as well as what he was seeing with such interest. He was teaching us the greatest of philosophies, of acceptance and surrender. Thank you”. We embraced each other again with deep and heartfelt emotions.

I was genuinely happy to see Ramappa, especially because of the stage in spirituality that he had achieved and also was grateful towards our Guruji who made all this possible. We stayed the night and left after consuming the fresh breakfast that Ramappa’s disciples served to us. Ramappa did not consume anything after sunset or before sunrise. We did the same and we decided that we will not consume any food after sunset hereafter. We decided to follow the teachings of the sun.

We bid good bye to Ramappa with this comforting thought, “A true teacher never dies. He stays as a thought, teaching or reminder through various minds well beyond his death”.

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Another disciple of Guruji was Srinath who was like a shadow to Guruji. He joined Gurudeva before my time and was with Guruji until his mahasamadhi. He never mentioned about his past but someone had mentioned that one of his parents remarried and his step parent was not very happy with him. He would be stting quiet all the time, not doing any work and always in a meditative state. His parents thought that he was wasting his life and will have no food to eat after their death. So they threw him out of the house so he could find a job and support himself. Having left the house, he did not really care much and would be sitting by the side of a shop or in the park or in some other place in isolation.

Sometime later, an avadhoota passed him by and told him only one thing, “Your path is the sky!” Since he did not have any initiation, he would keep sitting and staring at the sky. His whole meditation was being the sky, nothing else! He only needed one sentence as a means to connect. His mind was connecting to the sky continously. Sky means full of expansion – blue sky, cloudless sky. Over time, he spontaneously shifted into shyambhavi mudra and he expanded beyond the body.

Nothing mattered to him anymore and that was when he met his Guru, Atmananda. He was sitting by the side of a shop staring at the sky, as was his usual practice, when Atmananda was walking past him. Atmananda just looked at him, didn’t say a word and gestured with his eyes to join him. Srinath immediately followed Atmananda and never left him. He saw the sky in Atmananda i.e., his Guru had the form of the sky (his body was as vast as the sky). All his life, Atmananda, except for his presence, did not give him anything – no guidance. When he found the Master, he realized that his Master was the sky i.e., he had no boundaries. That was what the avadhoota meant when he told him that his path was the sky.

He would be sitting like a statue almost like Guruji. He was an introverted person and hardly spoke. Whenever somebody asked him something like,”When would Guruji wake up? Is there something you can do?”, he would just stare back blankly at them. Hence, he was completely ignored by people since there was no point in talking to him. People would tease him and make fun of him. But that never bothered him. Whatever Guruji said, he immediately did blindly without thinking whether it is right time, right place, right situation, etc. No questions asked and absolutely no thinking or reasoning before carrying out the command – that kind of attitude. If Guruji had asked him to jump off a mountain, he would jump. That kind of perfect obedience.

Guruji usually never did rituals for the most part. However, sometimes he would light a fire and make some offerings to the fire. It would be for somebody probably in some  part of the world (or universe) but he would never explain why he was doing it. Like he would take food in his hand and offer it to the fire because someone was probably hungry somewhere or something was meant to happen elsewhere. Once, during the rare occasions that Guruji was doing some ritual, he asked Srinath to take a bath in the river and come back immediately. The river was overflowing and it was extremely dangerous to enter the river since one would just get swept away by the swelling waters.

That did not deter him at all. He just jumped into the river and was pulled into the river by the gushing waters. The river dragged him a a couple of kilometers away before he could manage to swim and somehow get to the river bank. From there, he ran all the way to reach Atmananda just in time as he was finishing his ritual. People asked him if he was gone mad to jump into a river in spate. He did not answer and just smiled.

When Atmananda was sitting under the tree before taking mahasamadhi, he was also sitting under the tree. Their consciousness merged and he became like a shadow of Atmananda by the time Atmananda left the body. Atmananda had taken over, removed whatever karma was left in balance and dissolved him. Soon after Atmananda took mahasamadhi, he also left his body in about two weeks. Just as Atmananda had done before taking samadhi, he also sat under the tree and stopped eating and drinking. By that time, he must have reached high levels of samadhi. But no one knows. Since he never articulated. He never displayed himself. He never tried to prove.

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Atmananda neither had any kind of habits nor was he concerned about food. He mostly ate whatever he got in hand. Otherwise he never cared. He never went in search of food or to gather bhiksha (alms). There are some places where bhiksha was provided, but he would just say, “Let’s walk”. Some of his followers would want to stay back and have bhiksha. For e.g., like there were certain places pockets where the king used to ensure  bhiksha. Atmananda never cared so people seldom brought food for him. Even if they brought food, he would take a look at it and then just feed birds or cows – he will feed whoever is around and not take the food himself. There was nothing much to do for Atmananda. He didn’t need any service. Basically, we can’t serve a Master.

My Gurudeva, Atmananda, was an epitome of freedom. Listen to him in deep silence. You will hear his words echoing from deep within us.

“When you think you are something, it is ridiculous. When you say you are nothing, it is ridiculous too. When you realise you are NO THING, you start experiencing FREEDOM.”
“Beyond personal identifications and frames lies the TRUTH of existence.”

Atmananda said, “No hearts connected to consciousness will starve for presence.” I have experienced this many times. One time, before I started wandering with my Gurudeva, I was stuck in an argument with a group of people over a small matter, I was about to get beaten up because of my aggression. I had only met Guruji once or twice at that time, that too within a few years gap. As usual, He had shown indifference to me. My ego considered it as “indifference”, instead of a test of endurance, and decided to not to meet him anymore.

When this incident happened, the young ruffians was almost getting ready to beat me up. Suddenly, I saw Guruji walking in and with a firm voice said “Stop. He is my follower. Leave him alone.” The people who were trying to beat me froze and then retreated. Guruji looked into my eyes and said, “Mahendra, come”. I have no idea how he knew my real name. We never spoke let alone give details of where I was from. Anyway, he started walking and I followed him. That is the beginning of my journey with him. I never left him ever again. And it surprises me to no ends when I wonder how he reached the spot that I was at during that moment of crisis. Later, I realised that his seeming indifference is only a mask. He is well aware and well in control of everything that is happening around him and beyond him, especially in the lives of people who connect with him with love and honesty.

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I shall conclude this by one more narration. Some glimpses of his stature or state. As I mentioned earlier, he was unbound and free; he was not attached to anything nor detached from anything. He was in everything. He treated a human and non-human with equal respect. He had command over weather and the elements which he seldom displayed. He would walk in rain and thunder while we know that he could either choose a shelter or stop the frenzy of rain. When we pester him to stop until the weather clears, he would say “Do not disturb the elements”. I later realised that we should not interfere in the eternal flow of nature even if we have the power as well as we should keep our internal elements in harmony for a good life without excesses.

I looked upon Gurudeva as the likeness of the water element – always going with the flow. After his mahasamadhi, I endeavoured to create a likeness of his image to allow me to keep him in memory. My sincere love and respect for him created this unselfish desire. However,  I was mindful of the fact that Gurudeva had clearly told us that he did not want any trace of his existnce to remain on earth. That prompted his final wish to be cremated and the ashes to be dispersed in the holy rivers. Despite the doubts, I used all of my sculpting skills to create the statue and installed it on the bathing ghat where I used to take my daily bath. This allowed me to be in his presence and worship him every day. A few years later, the river was in spate and the flooding waters came by and took the statue away leaving no traces of my Gurudeva’s existence as he had desired.

Following this incident, I consecrated a set of padukas (holy sandals) in his name and installed them at the ghat. My Gurudeva’s power was evident by the fact that the water from the river would gently touch the padukas and recede. The same river that washed away the much taller statue never flown over the padukas. In hindsight, I feel that my doubts relating to his final wish while creating the statue resulted in it being washed away. If my unselfish desire was resolute, I would still have had the good fortune to worship his physical form in the form of the statue. Doubts shake the foundation that is cemented strongly by faith.

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I was also very fortunate to get a glimpse that he existed well beyond the boundaries of earth. That left me in awe. One evening at a sanctuary near a forest clearing, when all were asleep, I had left Gurudeva near the fire that he always kept burning whenever we could. He would sit there the whole night looking into the fire. Fire is a symbol of existence in nonexistence as it easily converts any matter into ash. It was a mild fire. Where Gurudeva was sitting there, I saw that it was just fire. There was no form of my beloved Gurudeva. Just fire. I realised at that moment that Gurudeva is definitely not the finite body that we are used to. He could easily convert himself into any of the elements that constituted the body. That time he had dissolved all elements and became just fire to talk to the external fire.

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On another occasion, when a village head came to see him with some dakshina (offerings), he asked him to talk about his Guru. Guruji just looked blankly at the sky and said, “How can I ever praise the glory of my Guru? I can never fathom him. Nobody can know him. My limited intellect cannot measure his dimensions. It is only his grace that gets revealed within me as an awareness of his presence, let alone his stature. I am far too small to know his stature. Nothing can describe him. He is truly unfathomable.”

He stopped, thought for a while and continued “He is hotter than the raging fire. Cooler than the coolest breeze. Brighter than a million suns. Faster than the swords of lightning. Louder than the drums of a thousand thunder. He is more innocent than a newborn child. He is purer than the purest. He is action in inaction. He is my mother and father and all relatives put together. He has no father, mother, beginning or end. The whole manifested universe is nothing but a mole on his glorious face. He is unfathomable. He is free. He is not bound by the universe and the universe is not bound by him. He is freedom. He is bliss. He is myself.”

That sums up the stature of my Gurudeva. I humbly submit this at His lotus feet.

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Yours

Mahendra Manu

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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​Memories of Manu (Story of Atmananda)

When I look back to my time with Atmananda, I can never boast that I really understood him. Initially, he seemed to be a bundle of contradictions, absurdities, and inconsistencies. But, when I started accepting it all as part of his character and stature, he started to make sense to me.

Zamisljeni MohanjiPrimarily, he displayed no insecurities. I started seeing his uncanny authenticity, uncompromising conviction, and inconceivable profundity when I started accepting him as he was. Acceptance without conditions made a drastic difference in my thinking process. He told me to focus on myself instead of focusing on him. And it was intriguing. He used to say “Form might lead to delusions. The same applies to expectations”. I was beginning to be aware of that. So, I stuck with his recommendations or teachings rather than his form or personality. Nevertheless, his actions and activities were unignorably influencing my character. Detachment from all things around me was settling in without my being aware of it. And fears, as well as insecurities rapidly vanished too. Looking back, in a way, I was possibly imitating him, quite unconsciously. In this context, I would like to quote a few of his teachings. Perhaps they could be considered as silent initiations too.

While walking through a forest area, when we cautioned him of the possible attack of wild animals, He said “If this ‘dead’ body becomes useful for the survival of a fellow being, why not? Consider it a better use of the body than using it for indiscriminate consumption of the wealth of mother (earth). (Atmananda always considered his body as “dead” and spirit as life. And he used to say “My life is not the body. It is now in the body but not affected by the body or even the existence of it. Being unconditionally available is the initiation in the path of liberation. Conviction is the dhuni (fire).”

His explanation of Purushartha, the essence of human existence, was truly profound.

“Purushartha (the essence of existence) or the tapestry (DNA) of human existence consists of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha,” explained Atmananda. “Dharma is the basis of the existence of everything. Dharma is righteousness. The right method of existence provides guidance even to the mind-oriented people. Being natural. Being with nature. Truthful. Rightful. Righteous. Righteous living means living in tune with nature; the nature within and outside, without disturbing and destroying anything in and around us. Universe operates on Dharma. Birth is dharma. Life is dharma. Death is also dharma. Every breath is dharma. Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, Space and Ether function based on Dharma. Dharma is inevitable. Dharma operates the whole universe. When we are in tune with dharma, without resistance, we have a complete, unfluctuating life. Dharma protects the dharmic.


Artha is material. Regular karmic existence needs material assistance. Materials include food, clothing, and shelter. Artha is important for existence. Artha also demands maturity. Immature handling, possession, and control of Artha lead to imbalance and eventual destruction of oneself and the wealth. Artha belongs to nature. Nature alone can own nature. No being within nature can own it forever.

Kama is desire. The desire for food, shelter, clothing and every aspect of human existence, which is created by destiny is kama. Kama is the fire that keeps life going. Even desire for liberation is kama in a sense.

Moksha is dissolution which is beyond enlightenment. Moksha is total liberation.

Dharma, Artha, and Kama exists in all parts of this world, amongst human and non-human beings. Moksha – the thought and sincere conviction for liberation from the karmic cycle of birth and death – exists only in Bharat. This makes this land sacred.” Atmananda used to say “Do not take this land that you walk on for granted. Great sages walked this land.” (Masters like Agastya, Vishwamitra, Dattatreya, Vyasa, Valmiki, Sapta Rishis, Nava Naths, Lord Rama, Hanuman, Krishna, Parashurama, Adi Shankaracharya, Buddha, Patanjali, Varahamihira, Bharata, Charaka, Narada, and so many others). “Respect this soil. No other soil in the whole world has mothered so many great masters, traditions, and religions.”

Some more events from the life of Atmananda.

Once sitting by the side of the fire, I saw Master staring at the fire intensely as if speaking to it. Suddenly, he uttered as if to someone unseen to our eyes, staring into the fire. “I have no more incarnations.” We heard that. We waited for further words. For a long time, he kept staring at the fire. Then we heard him speak again “My next incarnation would be sophisticated. I would hide behind garbs of that time. I would confuse the world with my attire. I would shake minds with my character, style, nature, methods and habits.” He spoke no further. When we asked about his next incarnation at a convenient time, he did not bother to answer. We gathered that he was talking to someone in the fire or through the fire, or that perhaps he was participating in a discussion with masters. An Avadhoota always remains unfathomable.

I heard this story from a follower of the master. One day, after lunch, we were sitting under a tree. Guruji and others were seated under other trees nearby. This follower told me about an incident in Atmananda’s life: “Our Guruji used to meditate in the neighbouring forest alone for many months, if not years. He would abstain from food and water. As you know, this forest has many wild animals – tigers, snakes, elephants, and so on. One day, our Guruji was sitting in meditation at the mouth of a cave about 900 feet above this forest, on the other side. A tigress came to the cave. Guruji was unaware. Perhaps she wanted to enter the cave. Guruji was blocking it. The tigress produced a scary spine-chilling cry. It was very near the face of Guruji. He opened his eyes and saw the tigress. He looked straight into her eyes and they understood each other. He moved away, and the tigress entered the cave. In the same cave, there was a huge serpent as well. It never bothered the presence of Guruji. Neither did Guruji bother the serpent’s presence. Now that the tigress also occupied the cave, the chance for a conflict was inevitable. Yet, perhaps due to the presence of Guruji, the two beings existed peacefully in the cave.

Soon enough, the tigress who was pregnant, delivered four cubs. The cave family thus started growing. While Guruji is meditating, the cubs would climb over him and play in his lap. The mother tigress would go out to fetch some food for herself and also refresh herself. So did the serpent. Guruji was almost always fasting or ate some leaves or fruit which naturally came to his doorstep. Thus, Guruji stayed with this strange family of beings for a few months and then went on with his wandering.” This gave me a clear picture about the unity of consciousness which Guruji used to mention. All beings are one in consciousness and there is no separation. All other species know it except humans. Guruji always respected all lives on earth and always ensured that his existence never interrupted or disturbed any other lives.

Atmananda often spoke to himself or beings that we cannot see. He used to stare at something and speak as if it’s a human being. Once I saw him speaking to a “fallen dry wood!” What I heard was “I have to come back. So, it is better to leave quickly to come back. Is it painful? Oh, no. Pain is only in the association. I am the consciousness of an atom and this mountain. No shell can give me pain. Pain is with the shell. I am not my shell. I must give myself. I must stop being I. I have kept this body and all that is connected to this body away from the marketplace. Now, I must keep all of them in the marketplace. I will give my next body for the lions (worldly people) to feed on. If that is the command. I will.”

I often wondered, who is this “I” this perfect Avadhoota is talking about? Later on, I understood, he is referring to a state of his, perhaps his human dimension that we get to see or a certain aspect of his state but never the personality that we usually refer to as I.

“I am the consciousness that existed in the atom. Then I expanded to become a cell. Then I became a fish. I came in everything that walks, crawls, swims and flies. I am also the medium (elements) they thrive on. I am the non-attachment that exists inside every shell. I have taken millions of lives. I felt and experienced the pain of separation from each mind from its body identification, each time. I felt the pleasure of liberation after each body too. When each bird comes to liberate a worm, when each tiger comes to liberate an incarnation, each time when death comes to liberate an existence, I shed the garb of illusion and become complete consciousness. I am the consciousness of the eater and the eaten, yet I have no birth or death. Birth and death happen as ripples within my consciousness. I remain complete and immortal always.”

brahmarishimohanji-Mohanji and the Guru Mandala

One day he said “There is no use in following me. You are wasting your time with me. Even I do not know where I am going. And I know I have nowhere to go. You are not like me. You have places to go to. So, do not waste your time with this mad wanderer.” Even though we were perplexed by these words, we understood the meaning after some time. Initially, we thought that our Guru is asking us to leave. But, his later actions revealed that he wants us to think and be aware. Places to go to are our desires of material gratification. He has no desires. He has no place to go to as well as every “place” is him. We still have desires. This means, if we choose to follow him, let it be without other desires and with only one aim, liberation. A liberated being becomes everything visible and invisible. For my master, He is the final home. His journeys, if at all, are all inside the home of his consciousness. There is no outer journey through the senses and mind for him. This was a strong reminder for all of us.

Mohanji walking, from the backAt one point in time, Atmananda slowed down and started showing signs of detachment from everyone, as if preparing to leave his body. He did not leave the shade of a banyan a tree for a week, and was staring at the sky day and night without eating, drinking or sleeping. All of us decided that he will leave his body soon and that was a tough thought for us. Our anxiety grew day by day. One day, Atmananda spoke: “You fools! Why are you so anxious, upset and crying? You are upset because I may leave this “dead” body? I am ashamed that you have understood nothing by walking with me all these years. Death is inevitable for anybody and not the soul. The Soul never dies. I never die because I am never born. All that is born will die. This is the truth and there is no tragedy in it.

When my work is over with this body, I will leave it. I am not the body and nobody can hold me. You will also leave your respective bodies just like I will someday. Crying over a dead body is the silliest and stupidest thing one can ever do. When I die, do not keep my body in a pit (samadhi). Burn it and give the ash to the rivers that bathed it and nurtured it all these years. There should be no visible trace of Atmananda. I will come back again in another body to fulfill every wish of everyone who connects with me. When I come back, I will come back only for the sake of Dharma and will have no boundaries or barriers. It will have nothing to do with this body that people call Atmananda.” Atmananda made this very clear and started his wandering pattern again. We understood that he wanted to give us an important lesson in life.

M in whiteWe rarely saw any emotion in him. He always existed in his own world. One day, as we were walking past a small-town market, we heard one local leader giving a speech attended by an audience of about a hundred people. Guruji did not wait to hear the speech. He abruptly walked past them without paying any attention. Acharya Shankar, who was with us for a few months, was from that town. When we sat down after a short while, Shankar told Atmananda: “Guruji, the man whom we saw speaking to a crowd is a popular leader of my place. He is doing many things for the poor. But, he is intolerant about saints and always speaks of saints and monks as lazy, useless people. He even tries to prevent temples from giving them food or shelter. On one side, he is serving the poor, while on the other side, he is abusing the harmless monks.”

Atmananda abruptly intervened, “He is serving himself and nobody else. All his moves are calculated for his advantage. When he pretends to serve the poor, he is looking for their support for his own popularity. He is keeping them poor that way. Monks have no value for him. He pretends to be secular, but when it comes to the defenseless monks who do not rally for him, they are useless for his personal agenda. Only a subtle heart will see the peace these monks are spreading on earth. By not needing anything, they are leaving a message of contentment in this world of greed and political supremacy.” Atmananda was emphatic and seemed a bit angry about what is happening in the hypocritical world around him.

Various quotes from my master Atmananda:

“Experiences die when the experiencer dissolves”

“I am not here to experience anything. I am here to prove that experience is nothing but a projection of the experiencer, just like the waking state reality is a projection of consciousness which has nothing to do with any of the three states”

“Desires maintain thoughts. Thoughts maintain mind. Liberation is a state of no thoughts and hence no mind, let alone desires”

“My existence is a reminder that you are unbound and hence you are freedom. You are free.”

“Just like fire uses materials to express itself, the Source uses matter (bodies) to express itself”

“As long as thoughts exist, you exist; Only if thoughts exist, you exist”

“Prejudices make the good look bad while love makes the bad look good. Our world is as we are and not what it is.”

Pic 16 - Mohanji and Thea, into the Light

“Acceptance is the first step towards liberation. Seed of liberation starts sprouting only from the nirvitarka samadhi state. Yet,states are not stable unless carefully nurtured”

“You are a complete incarnation like any other. You are not creating or uncreating anybody’s destiny. All are complete incarnations that came here for experiences and expressions. Their only bonding and binding factor would be emotions”

“Life is all flavors. Life must be taken in its totality. Nothing is absolutely right or absolutely wrong. Karma dwells on relative truth, experiences and expressions. Karma carves destiny from nothingness.”

“Understand you are a unique expression of the divine and you need to do nothing about it”

“Events are impermanent, and emotions are experiences for the mind. Consciousness has nothing to do with it”

“If you consider consciousness as spirit, it is beyond mind and emotions. Soul is beyond consciousness too.”

“You as consciousness are not the doer nor the experiencer. Unattached, you are witnessing both. And soul is witnessing the witness.

“What have I got to do with you? And what have you got to do with me? Minds made us. Truth will dissolve us.”

M from the back

“My only experience is that I do not exist”

“My love is absolute because I am love”

“Those who invoke and maintain emotions are enemies of liberation”

“Truth can only be found in silence”

“Connection between minds is the lowest possible connection. Awareness of unity in consciousness is one of the highest possible connections”

“Expectations maintain mind. Expectations distort truth”

“Every rejection, every denial has its positive side – Strength. If you swap your natural despair and dejection from these into your strength, you will become invincible in life”

“Friends who put prejudices into your mind should be considered as your enemies”

“Those who love you unconditionally will not judge you ever”

“Those who stay with you against all odds should never be abandoned”


“Doubts, like gossip, is deadly poison. Even a drop of it can kill faith and push the seeker backwards in evolution of awareness. Doubts reverse spiritual progress.”

“Compassion does not mean you accept negativity, pessimism and prejudices from the world around you. Compassion means their mind becomes free from it all because of their interaction with you”

“Do not be afraid of friends becoming enemies and enemies becoming friends. Both are bound by illusions of mind. Truth is that everyone is oneself.”

“Those who pretend, criticize, judge, scandalize and condemn others are usually hypocrites. They are either afraid to be authentic or are jealous of authentic people. They are even afraid or ignorant about their originality or the law of karma. Deficiency creates anger, jealousy and prejudices. Society is full of such hypocrites. They only see what they are programmed to see. Absolute truth is not accessible to them. They cling on to relative truth and form their opinions. Do not waste your time on them. They keep you prejudiced and bound with their ignorance of reality”

“No karmic being has the right to criticize, judge or condemn another. All are same in the law of karma”

“If you fear criticism, you will be a compromiser. You will not have growth and evolution. If you have no fears, you will have growth in awareness. Those with firm conviction on eternal truth will never consort hypocrisy. They will not fear enemies”

“Greed breeds crime”.

“Every bit of darkness is afraid of brightness. Even a tiny spark of light means death for darkness. Hence, darkness will try its best to avoid all kinds of light. Extreme conviction and focus are required to bring light to life and to keep it alive always.”

“Fire symbolizes heat and light. Fire symbolizes life”

M sun in the hair

I shall conclude this with a few one-word answers of Guruji.

1. What is the reason for poverty? “Inner Poverty”

2. What is the reason for ailments? “Suppression”

3. What hinders liberation? “Ignorance”

4. What causes sorrows? “Inner darkness”

5. What is success? “Contentment”

6. What is the highest human expression? “Compassion”

7. What is the sign of a true seeker? “Patience”

8. What is downfall in spiritual journey? “Desires”

9. What is being absolute? “No Mind”

10. What is the ultimate? “Nir Beeja – No Seed state”

Until some other time –

I bow down to my divine master and re-enter my silence.

M in peace

Disclaimer:

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

​Divine Designs of Life (Story of Atmananda)

“I cannot believe that I am so limited! I cannot feel I have a body. Bhagawan, (Lord) What is this?”, Manu asked Atmananda. Atmananda paid no attention to his words. There are many such exclamations from his followers that he is used to; and he knows the cause of such surprises – Mind. He was never impressed with anything that minds ever produced. Why should he? Mind is all that he saw around him. Walking, talking, sleeping and dreaming minds. Heavy minds laden with concepts, prejudices, fears, memories and desires. Nothing else.

Mohanji - za Atmananda blog
Manu had experienced a trance state by simply connecting his mind to the heart centre of the ever meditating Atmananda. Manu sat a few feet away and just concentrated on the heart centre of Atmananda. At that moment, a melting, dissolving feeling enveloped his mind as his heart centre merged with that of Atmananda. He has been doing that ever since he started following Atmananda. Finally, on that day, he saw, or rather felt, in his inner eye the fathomless, unlimited vast sky of Atmananda’s heart centre. The whole universe seemed to be resting there. That glimpse pushed him into a blissful trance state and he stayed like that for a few hours.

Atmananda never guided him into this state nor did he pay any attention to it. He knew that one can only feed minds. Consciousness needs no food. His very presence was his highest teaching. To the eligible ones, he delivered the unasked just by his presence. Eligibility was in inner emptiness, unshakeable faith, lack of doubts, surrender and clear purpose of liberation. On the tree of liberation, healthy leaves seeking the ultimate remained on the tree, while the leaves that are dry, confused, prejudiced and decayed with heavy emotions, kept falling off periodically. Every breeze, let alone storm, was a reason enough for those leaves to fall off. Whenever this happened, and someone commented or asked about it, Atmananda would reply calmly, “They are not ready for liberation. It is not their time yet.”

Sun had set. Atmananda stood up and started walking. He moved a few steps towards the path that led to the river bank. Obviously, his intention was to take a dip and meditate at the nearby temple. The local temple priest always gave him and his followers some food whenever this wandering monk came that way, even though they never asked or expected anything from anybody, anytime.

On the way, they met an old woman. She was limping and walking with the help of a stick. She was rheumatic and seemed to have a frozen leg. Atmananda would always ask “Have you eaten?” to every old and sick person he met on his way. He asked the same question to this lady. She said “No. It has been 2 days.” This place was away from the city and sparsely populated. Hence, it was not a favorite place for wandering monks and helpless old people. Atmananda turned to one of his followers called Ramakrishna and said “I gave you three fruits in the afternoon to keep. Do you still have them?” This was given to Atmananda by a fruit vendor as Dakshina. Ramakrishna said “Yes Gurudeva.” Atmananda said “Give it to her.”

Ramakrishna hesitated for a moment because that was the only food that this group had at that time. Atmananda repeated without any emotions, “Give it to her.” Ramakrishna did not think again. By that time, Atmananda had already started walking ahead. Ramakrishna rushed to hand over the fruits to the old woman and then catch pace with the usually fast and agile Atmananda. In fact, all of them were quite hungry and there was no assured food source at hand. Yet, while walking with Atmananda who never ever stayed at one place for more than three days, nothing was assured. This was a test for most disciples. Atmananda never cared who dropped off and who stayed. He continued wandering.

After bathing and performing the “Sandhya Vandan” (prayer/meditation ritual during sunrise and sunset), they walked to the village temple. Lord Krishna was the principle deity there, the sweet scent of basil (Tulsi) garlands that adorned the beautiful idol of Lord Krishna greeted them. The idol shone in the light of the ghee lamps.

Atmananda always had a clear reason for taking his followers to temples – purification. It was never for his sake. Purification has multiple aspects. First the senses, then the mind. Senses have no meaning or existence without the mind. Eyes capture the bright, shining, decorated positive glory of the idol, which is nothing but the representation of an ideal. Every idol in the Sanatana Dharma path is the representation of a particular ideal or dimension of our existence, such as action, will power, abundance, wealth, love, knowledge, peace, etc. Ears are awakened through mantras, bells, drums, conch and other sounds of the temple. Nose is awakened by the fragrance of basil leaves, flowers, incense sticks, camphor, and perfumes used on the idol. Skin is awakened by the application of sacred ash, turmeric paste, sandalwood or vermillion. Tongue is awakened by the sacred water, offered fruits or other offerings. Sound of conch which supposedly is as powerful as a thousand Om, powerful enough to ward off all negative elements and awaken the human nadis. Finally, the mind is awakened through all these senses as well as the vibrations of chants and songs, which detach the mind from the outside world and keep it steady in the present. Thus, the whole body is awakened. This helps inner and outer purification. Apart from that, the offering the devotees give at the temple signifies sacrifice and surrender. Humility is the most important aspect of human existence that brings forth grace in abundance.

M in white giving Shaktipat

Humility has four aspects. The feeling of insignificance in a positive way is one aspect. If one feels lower than the lowest, it’s a clear sign of established humility. This is also why people prostrate with full body at the feet of the idol or spiritual master. Total surrender, making oneself insignificant, so that ego is brought down to the lowest possible level. Man minus ego is equal to God. Second aspect is being tolerant, nurturing high level of acceptance, without judgement of oneself and the world around us. Acceptance of oneself and the world around keeps our mind steady and calm. Resistance, judgement, prejudices, hatred and anger towards everything is the opposite of this. In that case, mind remains turbulent. Third aspect is acceptance and respect of all beings, human and non-human. Respect them as you would like to be respected or more. Fourth is no expectation. Do not expect respect, acknowledgement or anything at all while giving forth our best. This is symbolized by offering variety of stuff to the temple or idol. Idol represents an ideal and each deity is representation of different dimensions of human existence or different ideals. All these put together becomes the experience called Humility. Humility ensures grace in life.

And of course, temples are meeting places for sharing and caring as well as nurturing and expressing our innate goodness and kindness. Rejuvenation, purification and nurturing goodness are the reasons why Atmananda took people to the temples. He never encouraged prayers of requests for material and even spiritual benefits from the deities. He used to say, “Increase your inner space – you will carry more grace.” Whenever people asked Atmananda “What can we do to get the state of God?”, Atmananda always answered “By doing you only get more karma. Only though non-doing or detached existence from actions and the results of action, while in action, you can realize God. You cannot “get” God. God can only be realized. God is always there. Godhood has to be earned through emptiness. In silence, you become aware of it. Actions and expressions often take that opportunity away.

There were hardly any devotees in the temple that day. It was a village temple and away from the city crowd. An old woman and her teenage granddaughter walked around the temple in circumambulation chanting “Aum Namo Bhagawate Vaasudevaaya,” the sacred mantra of Lord Vishnu. When he saw Atmananda and his entourage, the priest had came out of the temple and handed out some flowers, sandal paste and two bananas which were offered to Lord Krishna earlier by some devotee. The priest said “Don’t go. Let me complete the rituals and close the temple. I would like to share some more food with you.” He went into the temple to complete the evening poojas (rituals). Atmananda gave one banana to the old woman with the girl, who came near him to touch his feet. He did not allow her to touch his feet. Instead, he touched the ground near her feet. She howled, “Oh no Swamiji, your touching my feet will bring me a big sin!” Atmananda smiled and said, “If I am the cause of your sin, I shall take it away too. Bless this son, mother. I am touching my mother’s feet.” This episode ended there because Atmananda is a man of few words and almost no emotions. He lived the life of a perfect Avadhoota.

Mohanji blessing, sight

Atmananda and his group of 9 at that time sat outside the temple expecting the priest to close the temple and join them. The priest lived about 100 feet from the temple. He usually carried the rice and fruits that devotees offered to Lord to his house after every daily ritual. With that his family of five people survived. They never complained of poverty nor worried about their sorrows. He came to Atmananda, brought some broad leaves from a tree which served as disposable plates, spread them on a flat stone seat near a banyan tree, and with his hand, started serving rice. He served almost half of what he had got on the leaves. The rest he kept for his family. From a smaller vessel, using a spoon created out of a leaf folded in a particular manner and pinned together with a twig of a plant, he poured some ghee on the rice. Atmananda was sitting quiet watching this. The priest looked at Atmananda apologetically and said, “This is all I have. Please accept my humble offering and bless me.” Atmananda held the hand of the priest in gratitude, which still had remnants of the rice on it, and said “Great embodiment of unconditional love, your generations will not know what is hunger.” The priest’s eyes welled up. Atmananda said, “You have hungry mouths waiting for this food. You gave half of it to us. They may sleep hungry because the food you have is insufficient for five people. I will not allow that.” He took a plantain leaf and covered the vessel that the priest held in his hands, tapped the vessel thrice and told the priest “Do not open this leaf until it is time to serve. There will be sufficient food for all.” By then the priest was already overwhelmed. He tried to prostrate at Atmananda’s feet. He did not permit that. He held him and said, “You are taking good care of the beloved Lord Krishna without any demands and expectations. You are a pure and selfless man. You never care about you and your family while sharing food with any stranger who wanders this way. Your family is also good and pious. Only goodness and blessings will come to you. You may be materially poor. But you have a rich heart. You will never be short of anything from this moment. Your next seven generations will experience the goodness of your actions.” He sent the priest off with tears of gratitude in his eyes.

He closed his eyes, chanted some mantra and touched the food left on the leaf plate by the priest. Nobody knows how that little food became sufficient food. Everybody ate rice with ghee to their hearts full and nobody realized the original quantity was not even sufficient for one person, let alone nine. Same thing happened at the house of the priest. Everybody ate sufficient food and still there was more. {And the vessel that Atmananda touched stayed with that family for five generations. Their house never had any dearth of food.} All assembled were amazed how the most unassuming Atmananda performed an act of miracle. While they witnessed it, they did not think of it as a miracle because of their terrible hunger. Later, it hit them and all of them realized that they really did not know Atmananda, nor how he operates at any time.

They left the temple premises the same evening and settled in a school veranda about an hour away from the temple. Atmananda always walked at least an hour after the evening meal even though there was no dearth of walking ever because they were walking almost the whole day, every single day. Before the break of dawn, Atmananda set out to take bath and do the morning rituals. This school was away from the river bank. So, they took bath by drawing water from the well. Atmananda did his rituals a few yards away from the well, sitting on a stone. When the neighboring village women started to come towards the well to draw water, Atmananda got up and started to walk away. His team of nine followed him.

It was still dark. They walked for an hour in dark. There was a root of a huge tree on the walk way which was not so clearly visible. Atmananda who was walking ahead of everybody, tripped on it, fell and had a bad injury on his right leg. He could not get up or walk. His followers lifted him up and carried him to the clear space, to a flat stone on which various travelers used to rest when they were tired. This stone was near to the village path way. He was bleeding. They did not know what to do. Atmananda asked them to get some leaves of a very common wild plant. They brought the leaves. Atmananda crushed those leaves and fixed the paste thus made on his injury. There was no cloth to tie it. He removed his own towel, which was his only cloth except his loin cloth, and tied it over the crushed leaves.

Because of the excruciating pain Atmananda could not walk. His followers offered to carry him, which he refused. He sat on that stone from morning till evening. Atmananda and his followers had no food. They managed to get some water from a neighboring well. There were no houses in the neighborhood and the path had only a few travelers. If they walk a few miles backwards, they will reach the school and the village where they spent the previous night. Yet, Atmananda was stubborn. He never cared about hunger, but his followers were not so. Some of them expected Atmananda to do some magic and get them some food as he did before. Nothing happened. One by one the followers started protesting among themselves, standing away from Atmananda, started talking into receptive and sympathetic ears. They said “If Gurudev could materialize food for a priest, why can’t he do that again for us?” One of them said “My sight is blurred with hunger. I cannot even see a thing.” Another mused “Is the guru testing us?” The third said “Are you sure he materialized food the other day or did we imagine it?” One remarked “No way. He did. We all ate.” Another said “I am pretty much sure he has no such powers. It is probably the temple, Lord Krishna and the priest that made it possible. If he had such powers, he would not allow us to starve. Why can’t he do that now?” “If he has power to know our minds, he should be knowing that we are hungry. Why is he not doing anything about it?” Another person said “Is he sleeping, pretending sleep to fool us, or actually meditating? One of them said “He never asked us to follow him. He will never ask us to leave also. It is entirely up to us to stay or to leave.” Another one replied “What is his plan? Is he going to sit on this rock until he is healed which may take weeks?”  That was a scary thought for everyone.

It was almost midnight. None of them had eaten anything. There was a village if they travel backwards. There was no clue about what lied in the way ahead. Some decided to go back towards the school. They took a few steps but the forest pathway was dark and scary. They feared snakes and nocturnal animals. They stopped and returned. Atmananda seemed to be sleeping unaware of all this. Manu and Ramakrishna sat on both sides of him focusing on their Guru seated in their heart center and they did not feel any hunger. The other seven people were in total confusion. Some of them tried to lie down and sleep, but the bizarre sounds of the jungle, piercing hunger and the fear of prowling animals were seriously affecting their sleep. Finally, it was a few hours to sunrise. Atmananda woke up. He asked Manu for two sticks. He used them as crutches and walked forward. His hungry, confused, sleep-deprived followers reluctantly followed him. Atmananda was not wearing anything except a loin cloth because his towel became his bandage, covering his newly acquired wound.

Luckily, after they walked forward about an hour, they found a water well, made by the king for the comfort of the travelers. They drew water, washed themselves, drank from it, some washed their clothes while taking bath, while Atmananda cleared his wound, applied more leaves and tied them with the same cloth again. There was no food in the neighborhood. It was a long starvation. After doing his morning rituals, Atmananda started walking. As always, he never told anyone where he was going and how long he will walk. He just started walking. Seven of his followers had only one thought in their minds – FOOD. Sunrise brought out colorful birds from their nests, flowers bloomed, and the forest pathway looked pretty and heavenly with various flowers and dew drops decorating them with sun rays. Only Manu and Ramakrishna could enjoy this. The others were looking for fruits, leaves, roots or even seeds that they could eat and quell their hunger. Atmananda walked on with his crutches. He never asked or cared how his followers felt. He never asked anyone to follow him in the first place. And he was an Avadhoota, very introverted and a perfect loner too.

Finally, it was noon time. All the seven people were tired. By that time, they reached a stream coming down through the forest and flowing towards the river. They washed their tired feet and faces and drank a lot of water. Atmananda sat under a tree and closed his eyes. Manu and Ramakrishna sat next to him and connected to his heart centre and dissolved themselves into it. The seven confused followers moved away from them and started taking decisions. The leader of the group and perhaps the hungriest of them all named Amara said “I am leaving. I cannot see any end to this journey. I cannot sit like Manu with empty stomach. And I am convinced that Atmananda has no divine powers. He is an ordinary wandering monk.” Another one said “I agree. He has no spiritual powers. At the temple, I am sure, it was Lord Krishna who performed that seeming miracle.” Third one said “I too cannot exist this way. He is not concerned about us. He is too much into himself. And, after all, what exactly did we learn from him so far?” Fourth said “This is true. Why are we walking with him? It is always uncertainty and no training. He is teaching nothing. And he is confusing me to the level of frustration of all kinds. I am leaving.” Another one said “I am leaving too. This uncertainty is not worth it.” Amara said “Friends, he is an ordinary man. He fell and got himself injured. He cannot heal himself. He cannot feed himself or others. He is so helpless. Can’t you see? He is an ordinary man. We are deluded.”

 

 

M walking, from the back

Finally, they all agreed that Atmananda is just an ordinary wandering monk with no extraordinary powers or knowledge and prepared themselves to leave him. They decided to go to him and bid good bye. When they approached him, they saw the three of them sitting with their eyes closed in meditation. They did not have the patience to wait until they opened their eyes. They just walked away. About half an hour after they left Atmananda, they saw a tree with some delicious fruits. They ate as much as they could and packed a few for the rest of their journey. After eating and resting for a while, Amara said “See, Atmananda does not even have luck on his side. Only after we left him, we found food. We starved the whole day and even night, looking at him and hoping that he will move. We made the right decision. We are free now and luck has favored us in the form of food.” Everyone agreed. Atmananda, Manu and Ramakrishna came back to terrestrial reality soon after the group left them. Atmananda tried to get up. Manu held his hand and helped him. Atmananda got his sticks and started walking. Ramakrishna said “Gurudeva, I shall fetch the others. They might be sleeping somewhere around. Please kindly wait for a while.” Without looking, Atmananda said without any emotion or concern, “They have left us. Let us move on.”

After walking for hardly 10 minutes, they found a small farmer residence. When they came close to it, the farmer’s wife, a young lady, came out of the house, invited them and asked them to be seated. She offered them water and freshly cooked food. They all ate well. Atmananda blessed her “Anna daata Sukhi Bhava” (May the one who served food always be happy and be in abundance). She became happy. She told Atmananda that she is pregnant and sought his blessings for a good and healthy child who will make their lineage proud. Atmananda blessed her “Tathasthu” (So be it). Even though she requested them to stay back and have the evening meal and stay the night over accepting their limited facilities, Atmananda politely refused that offer and decided to walk on. The farmer’s wife also offered some plant medicine for his wound. He politely refused that also. They started walking. The lady was at the gate with hands in position of deep reverence for Atmananda.

Before the road turned, Manu looked back to say a final goodbye to the woman. When he looked back to see if the lady was still there, he did not see the lady, the house or cattle. There was no trace of any habitats. It was only thick forest which blocked even the rays of sun. He could only see the village path behind him, as far as his eyes could go. As usual, Atmananda never looked back. He kept walking. And both Ramakrishna and Manu noticed that Atmananda was walking without sticks and there was no trace of an injury on his leg! They wondered the reason for this divine drama and concluded that it was to shake the tree and shed the dry leaves, dry of spiritual conviction. Atmananda always said “Conviction is essential when one chooses to walk the path of liberation. Perhaps conviction is more essential than faith. Passion and fearlessness are just by-products of it.

One leaf from the life of Atmananda ends… here.

Disclaimer:

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

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.

https://brahmarishimohanji.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2365&action=edit
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.

A Siddha of Himalayas and A Farmer’s Son

Atmananda’s Memoirs – The story of Mooli Baba

Mohanji - A Siddha from Himalayas blog
“When I came back to the usual waking state, I realized, what a powerful avadhoota this Mooli Baba is. I went back to him immediately.”

It was many years ago. During one of my journeys to the Kumaon region of Himalayas, I happened to meet an interesting saint whom the villagers called Mooli Baba. Mooli means radish. (the whitish vegetable which is used as part of the green salad in the Northern part of India.) When I met him, Mooli Baba looked close to 60 years of age. I was curious and I asked one of the villagers, as to why he named after a vegetable? He replied, “We do not know where he came from and what his name is. He suddenly appeared in the village and started wandering up and down, sleeping at various odd places, ignoring rain and sun. First, he was thought to be a mad beggar. But then we realized that he is not begging at all. Instead, he is buying only one particular vegetable – radish – with the money that he dished out from his own rough shoulder sack. We used to wonder how he had the money. None dared to ask him. Soon, he settled down close to the jungle trail, by erecting a shelter for himself with bamboo, sticks and raw clothes. It was not sufficient to contain the constant rain. But, he seemed to be satisfied. Soon, people started recognizing his stature and began visiting him.

Since we saw him eating only the vegetable Mooli, everyone brought Mooli to him as their offering. And as remedy or cure, he always gave everyone Mooli. Once, for a patient with throat cancer, he made him open his mouth and pushed a mooli inside and pulled it out thrice. He screamed in pain, but was instantly cured. His methods were strange. One lady drank the juice of the Mooli that he gave and it cured her stomach ulcer. His Mooli cured all illnesses spontaneously. But, some days, he will never come out of his tent or meet anyone. And on those days, if anyone comes near, he will throw Mooli at them and drive them away. And if the Mooli hit them, it healed them instantaneously. He was so powerful. The strangest thing I ever heard was his pushing a mooli up the anus of an old man suffering from piles and it healed him! They say that blood poured out of him and became a pool around his feet and people were frightened that he may die. He cried aloud in fear and confusion too. Soon, he became normal and he left on his own, fully healed!”

“Mooli Baba only articulates one word – AUM which sounds like Hmm from his mouth. He never asks anyone anything and whenever he needs something, money just appears in his hands and he pays for everything with cash.”

Mohanji - A Siddha from Himalayas blog, pic2
Unfathomable are the powers of Siddhas. Masters walked the earth to wake the mankind from it’s deep inertia and bring forth their full potential.

I had to meet Mooli Baba. The pull was so strong that I could not imagine moving away from that village without meeting him. I spent seven days and seven nights in this remote village, repeatedly visiting the make-shift abode of Mooli Baba. There always used to be a small crowd in front of his tent. I always waited because patients have to be given preference. And as if to test my patience, he always went inside and drew the curtain of the tent, ignoring me, as soon as the last patient left the tent. Seven days later, one day, he threw a Mooli at me. I took it and walked to my accommodation. That evening, I ate only that. And something shifted in me. I fell into a deep trance which lasted for a few days. I did not leave my room; neither did I eat, sleep or use the toilet. I did not even consume water. When I came back to the usual waking state, I realized, what a powerful avadhoota this Mooli Baba was. I did not waste a minute. I went back to him immediately.

Mohanji- A Siddha from Himalayas - pic3
“Something shifted in me”

Rain was pouring from the dense skies. Thunder and rain. There was none on the village path. I did not have an umbrella. I was determined to see Mooli Baba or at least be in His presence. Water was flowing knee deep through the village path and it was difficult for me to walk. I cared for nothing else. Nothing could stop me from going to the abode of Mooli Baba. I waded through the water and reached the forest clearing near the tent of Mooli Baba. The cloth shutter was drenched and swayed in the rain and wind. It was cold. I was shivering. When I came close, I saw a hole in the cloth through which I looked inside. Mooli Baba was sitting there, with his eyes raised to the heavens, totally still and motionless, while the rain poured over him through various holes of the sack roof of his hut! He was totally unaffected by the weather! I stood looking at him for some time. I also could not move. I was standing outside his tent in rain while Mooli Baba was sitting inside his tent in rain. The same rain covered both of us. I felt as if both of us are under one umbrella of the nature called rain! When this thought occurred in my mind, Mooli Baba looked in my direction. He threw one Mooli at the cloth, which hit the cloth and fell back inside his tent. With his eyes, he motioned me to enter. I entered. He uttered “Hmm”. I replied “AUM”. He looked into my eyes. I bowed down at his feet, making sure I did not touch his feet, but I touched his feet in my mind. He again said “Hmm” as if acknowledging my intention. He hit the back of my head with a Mooli. I went into a trance again. I do not know how many days or nights I stayed like this on my knees with my head touching the ground. When I came back to my terrestrial consciousness, Mooli Baba was not there. I was alone. Me or the villagers never saw Mooli Baba ever again. All I could see when I looked around was a small pile of mooli near the entrance of the tent. And it is true that those who chose to keep those Moolis, which I distributed to the villagers a few days later, saw that they never decayed even after years. They always remained as fresh as ever. Pieces of those Mooli cured many diseases too.

Mohanji - A Siddha from Himalayas blog - pic4
” I left the body…There was no pain or fear in this plane. There was no ego or loss. There was no duality or oneness. There was nothing. It was like a hallucination. When I returned from this plane, my vision had changed. I could see through things around me.”

The two times that I went into trance, I had different experiences. The first time, I had left my body and was roaming in a plane of existence where there were only white bubbles all around. Totally naked men and women floated like fairies in the bubbles. I could see myself as if I am looking at myself from outside. I could see myself through others too. Everything was transparent. Then I realized that white conglomerates all colors. All colors came together to create white. So, in fact, this world is multi-colored! There was no pain or fear in this plane. There was no ego or loss. There was no duality or oneness. There was nothing. It was like a hallucination. When I returned from this plane, my vision had changed. I could see through things around me.

Immediately, despite the rain, I went towards Mooli Baba’s abode. The second time, when Mooli Baba hit my head with the mooli, I became like a splash of light. Everything gross dissolved. I became light. Just light. I saw many like me, but, they were all essentially me. I could not understand if they were within me or outside of me. The light was blinding, yet soothing. The body was well beyond earth and stars. I was light and there was nothing else apart from me. I am the creator, maintainer and destroyer. I am the witness too. I am everything and I am nothing! There was nothing neither created nor destroyed. There was a thin veil between my earlier identity and now, which was now fully torn to extinction. Nothing existed anymore.
When I came back to my body, I realized that I cannot be this body. As a reminder of my shift, or as a witness to it, only a few moolis were on the floor. There was none else. And Mooli Baba disappeared forever. Did he really exist? Or, did he exist only for me? Or did I visit this village for Him? Questions which need no answer. Questions that do not matter! The current state is the only reality!
I stayed in the same village, in the same tent curing people for three years, as my humble offering to the great saint, Mooli Baba, as my Guru Dakshina. I fulfilled his tasks as best as I could, in my own humble way. The people whom I gave mooli got relieved of their nagging afflictions. When the divine call came for me to leave the place, I took my bag and left.  As soon as I walked out of the tent, it collapsed completely and merged with the earth!. No sign of its existence! It had miraculously stayed on all these years until I decided to leave the village. I faintly realized that I and Mooli Baba were in fact one. And I did not exist.

Mohanji - A Siddha from Himalayas blog - pic5
” I became like a splash of light. Everything gross dissolved. I became light. Just light. I saw many like me, but, they were all essentially me. I could not understand if they were within me or outside of me. The light was blinding, yet soothing. The body was well beyond earth and stars. I was light and there was nothing else apart from me. I am the creator, maintainer and destroyer. There was nothing neither created nor destroyed. There was a thin veil between my earlier identity and now, which was now fully torn. Nothing existed anymore.”

Atmananda and the farmer’s son

While I was wandering further north from Kumaon, I stopped for a meal at a small way-side hut owned by a farmer. He had a tiny farmland. He grew seasonal crops there. He took care of his wife and a son with his income. He also served refreshments to the stray wanderers who traversed through the village path in front of his house, for a reasonable cost. There were no restaurants anywhere close by that place. Thus, that afternoon, I became his guest.

He was a selfless man and always served fresh food. When I told him that I am a wandering monk and I would like to have some food, he asked me to sit on a cot which he had kept outside his hut and went inside. I heard him conveying the arrival of a customer and also that he is a monk from whom money cannot be collected, to his wife. Then I heard his wife asking him if it is fine to give me the remnants (left-over) of their lunch since it is charity. He objected to her idea and insisted that to monks and saints’ old food should never be offered. The obedient wife silently went out of the house to the nearby well to fetch water for cooking. I sat observing the last rays of the setting sun casting a golden halo over the forest. It was a clear afternoon.
As the husband and his wife were busy cooking a meal for me, I saw his teenager son entering the house. He looked at me and bowed slightly, with a ritualistic, obligatory air, without any reverence and went inside. He asked his parents what they are doing and if they are cooking their supper. They said that they are cooking a meal for me. I heard the boy objecting. “He is a wandering monk. He has no money. He will not pay. Just give him the remnants of our lunch or a banana and some water and send him off before sunset. Otherwise, he will creep in for supper, too.” And as a continuation, he told his mother “Ma, my father does not have any concern for our tomorrow. At least you should guide him not to be so extravagant”. Quickly, his father intervened in a hushed voice,  “Hush! silence my son. Not so loud. Do you want the sadness of a hungry saint to affect our family? Keep quiet. It is our dharma to feed the hungry monks. Their blessings will keep us free from illness and poverty.” As his wife was cooking, perhaps to take him away from the periphery of my audibility, he took his son to the back side of his hut. I could still hear their conversation; perhaps it was even more audible to me.

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“My son, never ridicule saints and monks. God can appear in their form…”

The farmer said “Son, have you heard the story of Adi Shankara? While wandering, once he reached a house and called out for alms. The householder was away hunting for work and daily sustenance and his wife opened the door and saw a young monk calling out for alms. She told him with deep humility, “Pardon me Maharaj, there is not even one grain in this house. How can I serve you?” Adi Shankara looked at her and said, “Kind mother, I am very hungry. There will be something in the household. Please check all vessels and bottles.” The lady of the house searched and found one gooseberry in brine in one of the bottles kept in the kitchen. She gave that to Shankaracharya and he consumed it as if it is a delicious full meal. He was happy. He blessed her with the famous Kanakadhara Stotra. And golden gooseberries started falling from the skies and rolled on the ground. It goes without saying that the family became very rich and lived happily ever after.”

He continued “My son, never ridicule saints and monks. God can appear in their form. Lord Shiva has appeared to many, as monks, saints, and beggars! He appeared to Adi Shankara as a cobbler, to Sage Narada as a boatman! So, never count the money that you spent for their food. God will reward you with much more. If you scandalize a saint, as the scriptures say – eternal damnation will happen to you and your succeeding generations. Never bring wrath on yourself and your family, my son. God has given us sufficient food, water, clothes, this modest shelter as well as good health. Why not we share a bit of our food with a noble, wandering saint?”

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“We may not understand the stature of a holy man nor do we understand their method and action. We accept them, we respect them. They will shower grace on us.”

There was silence. The farmer’s son thought for a while and asked his father “As you said, it is a deep sin to scandalize saints. What if they are not saints and they are just lazy people pretending to be saints to enjoy free meals where ever they go from people like us who work hard day and night in the field?” The farmer said “Everyone will enjoy the fruits of their action, my son. You will get what you deserve and they will get what they deserve. Pretensions often become costly bargains and pretenders suffer terrible damnation. Nobody can fool the world forever. This should not be our concern, but that of the just God Almighty”. He added “My dear son, scriptures say that all the 68 places of pilgrimage reside at the feet of the holy saints. And one who abuses a holy man will be cursed with spiritual blindness or be spiritually crippled without any progress in lifetimes and also will be in the hell of suffering – life after life.

We may not understand the stature of a holy man nor do we understand their method and action. We accept them, we respect them. They will shower grace on us. What is material richness worth, if the inheritance is deep suffering? And liberation will be taken away from him and his kin, if saints are abused! And the cursed ones will roam in the 8.5 crore types of wombs available on earth including worms and insects and suffer agonies in each existence. Why my son, if a bit of kindness can ensure our liberation,  should we be rude, and have unkind words tilt the whole equilibrium of our entire family and the generations to come? Let us honor saints and let us be rich within which is the true richness.”

Mohanji - A Siddha from Himalayas blog - pic7
“Everyone will enjoy the fruits of their action, my son. You will get what you deserve and they will get what they deserve. Pretensions often become costly bargains and pretenders suffer terrible damnation. Nobody can fool the world forever. This should not be our concern, but that of the just God Almighty”

Soon, they brought a hot meal outside to me and both the farmer and the son served me wholeheartedly. After the tasty meal, I prepared to leave. They requested me to stay the night over and leave in the next morning, as there were no places to stay anywhere nearby, ahead of their abode. I could not accept their further hospitality as I had to reach further north and decided to be on my way. Before I left, I gave them three moolis and I told them. “Farm these moolis in your yard before Brahma muhurtha (day break) tomorrow. You will have no dearth of wealth.” The whole family came and prostrated at my feet and I left them and walked away into the moonlit village path, towards the north.
I love YOU
M

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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“… and decided to be on my way”

 

In Search of The Precious – 4

A Day in the Life of Atmananda

Swami Atmananda Chaitanya was a wandering monk who lived in India a few centuries ago. He never cared about any of his identities and corresponding details such as date of birth, place of birth, name and stature. Many people followed him in his seemingly aimless  journeys – some out of curiosity, some out of faith. He never stayed at one place for more than 3 nights and, irrespective of the climate, he always continued his journeys without fail.

During one of his journeys, he reached a city close to a great river revered by many. He and his entourage stayed near a big Shiva temple. In those days, usually outside the temples, there used to be shelters for wandering monks, provided by the local rulers free of cost. They also provided two meals a day.

Gratitude and Surrender Get Expressed as Temples. Deities Happen…

Many people knew Atmananda because of his constant journeys and presence in many places. So, naturally, many people came to see him to take his blessings. That day, the local magistrate and his wife were visiting the temple for worship. They saw an unusual crowd in front of the temple. The magistrate sent his attendant to check what is going on there. He came back and said “there is a famous saint sitting at the pillar. People have assembled to take his darsan and blessings.” The magistrate and his wife decided to take the blessing of the saint, as it is customary in India to respect saints, even though one may not know their identity or the system they follow. This tradition continues to some extent, even today (This could also be the reason why so many criminals and “un-saintly” people wear the robe of saints and cheat the authorities and people even now. Those who fail in every other areas of life, escape into saffron (the color of the clothes that denote renunciation) too. Many seeming saints are escapists. This is the truth of our society. You may not agree with this point. It does not matter. Kindly read on…) 🙂 .

The magistrate and his wife came to where Atmananda was sitting, and prostrated at his feet. Atmananda blessed the official and said: “You have prostrated at my feet today. Next year this time, you will come to the same temple with a baby boy.” The magistrate and his wife were surprised at how this Swamiji knew that they were childless, even though they have been married for more than 12 years!!! The magistrate was overwhelmed by this spontaneous prediction. He went and explained that day’s event to the Collector of the City, a British man called Stephen Howard. The top position of the city was that of the Collector. Stephen was a good and kind man. Well educated and full of respect for his foster country and its culture. He wanted to meet the saint and took off to do that, without further ado.

Our Past Creates our Present. Memories get erased. We fail to see the eternal lineage and swing between happiness and sorrow…

When Stephen reached the temple premises, the crowd had already increased. Being the ruler of the city, he was given way and thus soon arrived in front of the saint. Atmananda looked at Stephen and said: ” Your color belies your inherent nature. An Indian born in England!!!” Stephen did not understand anything. Atmananda explained about Stephen’s past birth in India and his lineage from his past family(the family he was born to in his last life)  till the current generation who are alive in the family of his last life. And incidentally, Stephen had met these people whom Atmananda was talking about, after he came to India. And surprisingly, he had felt a strange familiarity and affection towards them, as if he knew them from the past. He gave some of them jobs in government departments and thus ensured their proximity to him. Now, everything made sense to him!!! He was indeed an Indian!!! He still has a heart full of love for India. This was his home!!! He was so fascinated with the British and their ways in his past life, that he took birth in England in this life, but, came back to India with the heart of an Indian. He felt at home in India.

Atmananda asked, with a knowing smile:  “Who are you?” (Stephen had not disclosed his identity as yet)

Stephen replied with extreme humility: “My name is Stephen Howard.”

A: “That is your name. My question is who you are.”

S: I am the Collector of the city. Mine is the highest position in the governance of this city.”

A: “That is your job. My question is, who you are!!!”

S: (Confused) “Well, as you know, I am from England and on deputation to this city, by Her Majesty’s orders.”

Atmananda laughed aloud: “You still do not know who you are!!!”

S: (More Confused) “Well, I am a lawyer by profession. I have B.A in Administration as my qualification. I am the second son of my parents who live in England. I have two brothers and a sister.”

Atmananda laughed until tears came from his eyes:” HA HA HA HA……… You still did not tell me who you are!!!”

Stephen surrendered. He bowed down and requested Atmananda to save him from this embarrassment and give him the answer to the question.

Atmananda said: “You are neither your name, nor your position, nor your qualifications. Neither are you the relationships that you mentioned just now. All these add up in defining your existence in this life. You are beyond all these. Most of the things that you mentioned are transitory and temporary. They are all relative terms. You are trying to understand your existence in relative terms. But, your existence is not that. You are beyond your nationality, color, qualification and position. You are an eternal soul!!! That is what you are!!! You are eternally flowing through many bodies that you have assumed over life times. You are what you are, during your waking time, dreaming time and time during your deep sleep. All that you assume is in relation to something. While in the waking state, you are a husband in relation to your wife, a son in relation to your father, a brother in relation to your sister, etc. All these identifications dissolve completely when you enter your deep sleep state. You are everything and you are nothing. Your whole existence is in relation to something. You have come to me for this understanding. I bless you. Go in Peace.”

Stephen was spellbound. He stood there, literally spell-bound. He felt that something exploded in his spine. A kind of awakening that he had been waiting for, since birth!! Deep gratefulness welled inside him. Tears flowed from his eyes.

When Man Walls Himself from Nature, When He Stops Listening to The Heartbeat of Mother Nature, Calamities Take Place…

Atmananda then turned towards a group of farmers who had come to see him, completely ignoring Stephen. Atmananda had no fancy for power or people of power and position. He had nothing to do with terrestrial hierarchies. He addressed the farmers.

“Ignorance is not a virtue. Learn the ways of the earth. Apply that knowledge for the benefit of all. Respect nature and her subtle expressions, but never timidly surrender to it. Never surrender to silly emotions, nor exploitation. Surrender to the will of God expressed through mother nature. Accept the will of God with extreme humility. Share selflessly with others and survive during tough times. Sow when the climate is favorable. Reap when the fruits are ripe and ready. Follow the seasons. Never cut a tree that has not fully completed its life and willingly ready for the axe. Worship trees as they are great saints. Never destroy them insensitively. They are benevolent to the whole world. Leave the forests alone and do not farm in the forests. Forests are for the birds and animals who inhabit them. Stay away from forests and do not disturb the wildlife. Co-exist in peace and harmony with all the birds and animals. Build your house with matured stones. They can weather storms. Live in peace and harmony and never disturb the nature – ever.”

Many people had offered Atamananda fruits and he distributed some of them to the poor farmers. They departed with a deep feeling of fulfillment. Stephen watched this with amazement.

To the Police officer who had accompanied Stephen, Atmananda said: ” Thieves and robbers should be punished, otherwise, society will move in the path of anarchy and lawlessness. No violence should be entertained. No contamination should be allowed or accepted. Destruction of public property should never be allowed. Nobody has the right to destroy anything. If the law is enforced, without violence towards the people, this country will prosper. Any country or ruler that exploits the helplessness of its people will undoubtedly perish. Exploiting helplessness is a serious crime. Society will crumble. Children will rebel. Prevention of crime as well as preservation of law are serious matters, which require a lot of sensitiveness and dare. It takes a heart of compassion to enforce law. It takes humility and conviction. I bless you with that.” The officer bowed down in extreme humility.

Laws Should Breed Peace and Liberation in the Society, Not Slavery and Bondage…Society Living in Fear Will Collapse by Itself…

To a prostitute who was in the crowd, Atmananda said: ” Divine woman, you are serving the society. Because of you, your sisters of this city are enjoying peace and security. Because of women like you, other women can walk freely, without fear even at midnight. You are like a candle. You are burning yourself for the society’s well-being. Because of you, lonely men are satisfied. The society trapped you and pushed you into this. You have been sold by your own kin. You are burning inside and you crave for a normal life of a woman, which you cannot. No woman will want to be in your position of such helplessness. Yet, your heart is pure. You mean no harm to anyone. You have no hatred and feeling of revenge against anyone. Your heart brims with kindness and love. I Bless You.

And, the society is satisfied. Because you remove the frustrations of lonely men, the society is cleaner. I bow to you, Divine Woman.”  Many could not contain their surprise at these words. Stephen, who was listening to this told to himself:  “How true. The age old profession and how much it is contributing to the balance of the society!!! Mental balance of people will certainly reflect in the balance of the society because society consists of people. This saint is calling a prostitute “Divine” !!! It is time I change my perspectives. Everything in the society is Divine!!!”

Everyone Serves the Society in their own way. Some Burn themselves to give Light to others..But, They are never remembered!!!….

A businessman came and prostrated at the feet of Atmananda. While he was getting up, he saw Stephen standing there and naturally gravitated towards him. He tried to bow down to Stephen, who avoided him in embarrassment. Stephen thought: “Even in the presence of the holy man, this fool is commercial-minded. He is trying to make bridges with me, not caring about the saint and His blessings.” Atmananda, as if reading the mind of Stephen, addressed the rich businessman: ” My beloved watchman, I believe you have reached a wrong destination. Are you sure you are at the right place?” Suddenly the rich man pulled his attention from Stephen, looked at the smiling saint and prostrated at his feet again. “Dear Watchman, these feet have no commercial value. I believe you are wasting your time.” The businessman felt embarrassed. He thought that Swamiji has mistaken him for a mere watchman. He told Atmananda: “Swamiji, I am not a watchman. I own the biggest jewelery, restaurant, garment shop ………. and I also feed the poor in the temple.” Atmananda laughed aloud. He laughed and laughed. The businessman became completely white with embarrassment.  All people watched with amusement. Laughter brought tears in the eyes of the saint.

Greed Breeds Corruption. It contaminates the entire society, shakes its integrity and leads it to doom…

Laughter is contagious. It spreads like wild fire. The whole crowd except the businessman started laughing. Even Stephen could not hold his laughter. When the laughter subsided, Atmananda asked the businessman to sit down. “My friend, you have come here because your servants told you that Stephen has come to see me. You have not come out of faith in me. You have come to get closer to Stephen which may increase your business prospects. Then, why are you pretending? You think you can fool me? I can see through you. You are a watchman of your own wealth. You have no freedom. You are over-possessive. You do not give any freedom to your workers either. You are treating everyone as slaves, including your own family members. Even though you have a lot of wealth, you never pay your staff on time. Not only on time, you always deduct from their salaries, blaming them falsely for some mistakes.

You do not enjoy your life. You have no peace in heart. You are constantly worried about thieves. Your heart is filled with fear and anxiety. You do not sleep. Money has given you sleeplessness. Even the chicken in your house sleeps better than you, despite the threat that you may kill them any day!!!. You greedy man, your children are also suffering because of you. Your whole family suffers because of you. You think that by paying money to God, by conducting elaborate rituals every year, you can relieve yourself from all the sins that you commit everyday. NEVER. God has nothing to do with your lifestyle. You have alienated yourself from God. You are making your own life miserable and your family is also in chains. They will suffer further.

You can get nothing from me. You are a filled-up cup. Empty yourself from your ego and attitude and come to me. I will fill you up with wisdom and understanding. When you empty yourself, your life will begin there and then. You will stop being a watchman of your own wealth and family. Remember, all that you consider as yours will come with you only till your death. You will depart alone. Death will forcefully detach you from everything. The fire will burn your body into ashes. Then, you will be just a handful of ash. A life of greed will ensure an end in grief. Greed, envy, Jealousy, ego and all such terrestrial emotions will lead to sorrows and diseases. Beware.”

After a short pause, while all the others remained speechless, Atmananda continued: “Oh, foolish man. You believe that all are respecting you out of love. Nonsense!! People pretend their respect towards you out of fear, because through money, you have gained connections in high places. NOBODY loves you, including your own family members. They fear you. They pretend love. They are suffering. Even your children will rejoice when you die. They will definitely squander the wealth that you have accumulated through your selfishness, as liberation will create corresponding expressions, which are most likely to be wild expressions of freedom from tyranny!!!

Sometimes, people who are chained do not know how to enjoy freedom when they get it. This will be the case with your family members. You will suffer more and more through your family members. Your eldest son is already squandering your hard earned money on prostitutes. Your daughter has many lovers. You will see that happening more and more, unless you shed your ego and attitude, and shift to benevolence and sincere, unconditional love. Move away, I have nothing to give you. Even if I give anything to you, you will not be able to hold it, let alone carry it. What I could possibly give you, is more precious than your whole wealth put together. You will not be able to buy it.

This poor woman here is wealthier than you (He pointed towards the young prostitute). She has a rich heart, filled with compassion. She just took home a new born baby girl found abandoned in the waste bin, by her unknown glorious parents. Even though she is poor, she is taking care of this new soul too. Have you ever bought a meal to a poor man? Have you even thought about such an act of kindness? Haven’t you abused beggars and poured hot water on them, and drove them away? Haven’t you let your fearsome dogs on poor garbage pickers? Man, Your money cannot buy what I can offer. Do not waste my time, go away.”

Everyone watched this in pin drop silence. Nobody dared to move. The businessman sat there in awe as if he just saw a fearsome ghost. He was stripped completely in front of the crowd. His ego was annihilated unceremoniously. He fell at the feet of the saint and wept uncontrollably. The saint stood up. It was time for him to take bath and get into worship and meditation. It was already well past the afternoon and close to sunset. It was time to move on. Atmananda distributed all that he received to everyone assembled, and he walked towards the nearby river to take bath. Many followed him to the river. He quietly took bath and went into the temple for worship. A typical day in the life of Atmananda. Live in Peace!!!

Remain Blessed.

Love Always, M

The Boon of Deep Inner Silence is Hard-Earned, through Lifetimes

Disclaimer:

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

In Search of The Precious – 3

In Search of LIFE – 2

Even Maha Kali leaves Karma Alone...

True Dilemma of a Goddess

Once upon a time, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, lived an avadhoota. As with all avadhootas, he was also dis interested in his bodily well-being and it gave him the status of a “mad man” in a society which believes in accumulation of wealth, corresponding social status and physical well-being. To mock the superficial society, and to teach them the futility of the repeated terrestrial existence, every day, this avadhoota used to push a big round stone up the hill and with great effort, before sunset, he would bring the stone to the top of the hill. Then, he would push the stone downhill and laugh at it rolling down. This action gave him the title “MAD”. While people were in a hurry to categorize him as a “Mad Man”, they did not understand the method in his “madness”. He was teaching the ignorant society a precious lesson about life. The stone represented human life. People work hard from birth till death to accumulate wealth and “secure” their life; and death takes it all away. At death, everyone leaves empty handed. All that they accumulate from birth till death, including wealth, status, rewards, qualification, emotions and relationships, gets annihilated and left behind. Nobody carries anything when they depart. The stone was a symbolic representation of life itself. The grave effort of building it up is lost in a second, when death happens. Everything gets undone, with physical death. The avadhoota spent his whole life doing the same thing and giving the same message to people. Unfortunately, as always, people only saw the obvious – the action, and not the precious message within.

The avadhoota had no house of his own and he lived in the village burial ground. Dogs and foxes appeared every night to devour unburnt flesh from dead bodies. They never bothered him. Like aghoris, he cooked his meal in the funeral fire or with the fire from the funeral (in India, dead bodies are customarily burnt, not buried). And after eating, he would sleep on the burial ground. He also did not have any work that earned him his daily bread, and yet, by “working hard” everyday by pushing the stone up the neighboring hill and then dropping it, he demonstrated the need to be active, for a larger purpose. He found his food through begging. If nobody gave him anything, without complaints, he would sleep with an empty stomach. Having food or lack of it never bothered him. A true renunciate indeed!!!

Kali Dances with the Souls of the Burial Ground...

The story goes like this. Goddess Kali and her entourage (which consists of fearsome Demons, Ghosts and Vampires) used to visit this burial ground on specific nights, such as Fridays or Tuesdays, to dance in the funeral fire along with the souls of the departed. This dance also signifies victory of death over life, i.e. the temporariness of human existence. So, when Kali and her dancing troop came to the burial ground, they saw a “human” sleeping there. Goddess cannot dance in front of humans. Human beings are of gross and  inferior existence, according to them. And, till then, no human being has survived seeing such fearsome spirits and Kali. People who have seen them have died out of fear. So, they decided to frighten the sleeping avadhoota. They made all sorts of sounds to wake him up. He did not even open his eyes. He was not enjoying the normal sleep, he was in samadhi state. Finally, he opened his eyes and got up. He sat there, watching the efforts of Kali and her team of ghosts, trying to put fear into him and drive him away. He watched their show like a movie and sometimes clapped his hands. Kali and her team got tired of this. Finally, Kali came to him and said. “Oh Man, I am pleased with you. No ordinary human can see us, witness our dance, and still be sane. You are no ordinary human. I am pleased with you. I want to give you a boon.” The avadhoota smiled and said “Thank You for your kindness. You and your team really entertained me. I am really happy. I do not need another boon. I am fine. If you are finished with your dance, please leave the place and let me sleep a bit more, before the day break. I have heavy work to do when the sun rises.” (Pushing the stone uphill and watching it roll down at sunset). But the mighty Kali insisted: “I have decided to give you this boon. You should tell me what you wish for.” After a lot of persuasion, he asked Kali: ” When will I die?” Kali gave him the exact date, place and time of his death. He said: “I want to live one more year.” Kali explained: “When a human takes birth, his longevity of life is pre-determined. He comes with the full karmic agenda. Nobody can tamper with it, including me. So, I cannot give you this boon.” He laughed, then thought for a while and said “OK. Then subtract a year from my life – give me one year less.” Kali said “I cannot tamper with your karmic life. Nobody can. Your destiny is well defined. Everything happens accordingly. The time, space, and the faculties are chosen and the experience is inevitable. You cannot cut it short and leave early. You have to move with time and complete everything that you came here for, before you exit.” The Avadhoota laughed aloud and teased Kali: “This means you do not have much power as you pretend to have. I do not need anything else. You may go.” Kali explained “Even the God Almighty does not interfere with the karmic agenda, created by existence. Existence creates karma, using the faculties. Unit souls that represent existence, aid it. So, units creates karma individually and collectively as they come together. The unit experiences singularly and collectively. Karma gets lead by itself. Bodies and minds happen based on Karma. The underlying factor is karma. Nobody interferes with Karma. It is the Dharma of Gods to allow Karma to happen…. I cannot leave without giving you a boon because I have offered you one. I am Goddess Kali and I have to keep my word.” Again the Avadhoota teased Kali: “Can’t you give me just one day of life more?” She said “NO”. “One day less”. Again she said “NO”. He laughed at her helplessness. The avadhoota humbled the Goddess. Finally,out of sympathy and not out of requirement, he pointed to his swollen left leg. He was suffering from a disease called “Elephantiasis”. His left leg was swollen and heavy. He told Kali “Did you see my left leg, swollen and heavy?” She said “Yes”. “OK, Shift it to my right leg and relieve my left leg. It has taken pain for long. Now, let the other share it.” Kali shifted his disease to his right leg, blessed him and disappeared with her entourage.

Remember, he did not ask Kali to remove his disease. He was not resisting anything that life gave him. He was just ridiculing the pomposity and resistance attached to our everyday existence. We become proud and egoistic with the feeling that we are doing everything and it is us, who move the world. The world is moving. Our powers are quite limited. Moreover, the avadhoota himself had the power to change anything, including his disease, if he wanted to. But, a real Siddha will never use any of His siddhis for self satisfaction or selfish needs. He uses it only for dire necessities and sometimes as an eye opener, to install or re-install faith in people. The detached life of an avadhoota is a true message to man-kind that is running after fleeting glories and paltry pleasures.

Burial Ground is a great place of complete justice. The rich and poor, the prince and pauper, all are alike in the burial ground. The eventual residue of the very rich and very poor is the same – a handful of ash!!! We apply ash on our forehead, as a reminder to others that eventually, we will become nothing but ASH.  This is meant to annihilate our ego, by reminding us of the eternal truth of perishability and unity.

Fire does not discriminate. It burns everything alike and still does not get contaminated. It stays clean. Water purifies, but gets contaminated. Air purifies and takes on the negativity. Earth also purifies, but gets contaminated. Fire purifies, burns everything into ashes, but, stays pure always.

Greed is Blinding

Who Will Share My Karma???

Karan was born poor. His parents were poor. They lived in a small town in the suburbs of the city. They could not provide him good education or even food and clothes. As soon as he completed his 12th class, his paternal uncle took him to the city. He stayed with his benevolent uncle, found a job and started earning even while he was a teenager. He was good at work and was quite loyal. He even skipped his lunch and worked to complete his tasks. His employer liked him, a silent performer, and thus he grew in his career, quite rapidly. A few years later, when he became well established in his work and was earning a good salary, his parents found him a native girl, and got him married. He was very happy with his marriage. His wife was a quiet and loving woman, who took care of his household chores without any complaints. They were a good match. Everyone loved them.

Years went by and they were blessed with three children, two boys and a girl. Meanwhile, he got an opportunity to go abroad and get into a job, which paid him many times more salary than his current job. He and his family settled down and again, he grew in his career, as well financially, rapidly. He became very rich. Meanwhile his father expired. He looked after his mother well. He invested in land, buildings and owned many establishments along with his best friends as partners and became one of the richest men in his home town. A smooth life of glory. He was happy and people were happy with him.

When he was 55 years old, he decided to return back and enjoy the fruits of his toil. He came back and started living in his home town. He had left his home town many years ago and he felt a bit alienated. But, money attracted people to him. He made many friends. Slowly, sycophants started spoiling his mind. He started getting into arguments with his partners and slowly took over most of the companies to himself. He used various methods to achieve this end. He became a completely different man.

The peer pressures of his home town made him a ruthless businessman. He took over all the distributed shares, by force, through threats or, in some occasions,  by paying off. Thus, he strengthened his position in the town. He stood for the local elections and also gained political clout. He became invincible. Along with politics, he entered into many corruption practices, bribery and “handling” of people who opposed them. Thus, a once clean employee became a totally corrupt  and dictatorial employer. People feared him, more than respected him. It was a path of “no return”. He kept walking unconsciously and in a way, helplessly.

One day, while he was leaving his office, late at night, he was beaten up by some people. He did have his driver and body guards. It was like an ambush, just outside his office, which was totally unexpected. They stabbed him in his stomach, broke his collar bone and ran away. He was immediately hospitalized. He had lost a lot of blood and was in intensive care for almost a week. Slowly he recovered and his state frightened and shocked his family and friends. One thing was clear – some people were affected by him so much that they want him dead. There was a big threat to his life.

When he was out of the hospital, when he could travel on his own, his brother-in-law took him to an old saint. His aim was to calm his agitated and shaken up mind. The saint looked at him and said: “You came empty handed. You will leave empty handed. What have you conquered?” Karan said: “I was a poor man. I became rich with my own hard work. Everything is hard-earned. I had to secure what I earned for my family and children.” The saint smiled. “Did the place, time and environment happen to you, or you created it?” Karan said “It happened to me. I used it.” Saint replied: “Good. Good understanding. What about your corresponding actions, which harmed many?” Karan said“I had to do whatever I did. The message had to be delivered loud and clear.” Saint: “What about the affected?” Karan was silent. There was no answer. The saint said: “They also decided to give their message loud and clear. That is what you are suffering from now.” The saint then said: “One more question. You are responsible for all your actions, even if the guidance was from others. Right?” Karan said “Yes”. Saint: “Just tell me, who will share your fruits of action, you may call it SINS?” Karan was shaken again. “Do you think your wife or children will share any of your sins? If you are doing everything for them, they should also share your sins, right? Will they?” Karan started crying. The saint consoled him: “Remember my son, Mind means dissatisfaction. Wisdom gives satisfaction. Depend on your wisdom. Mind means Greed. It always remains dissatisfied. It wants more. It wants more money, more power, more positions, status, food, wine, women, control….so on and so forth. If you get carried away, you will hurt others and you will harm yourself. Nobody can suffer your fruits of action on your behalf, except in a larger collective way. So, please share with others and sharing will bring you happiness. Hoarding will give you more anxiety. Go home in deep peace.” The Saint blessed him.

He came home and contemplated on the words of the Saint. He realized that nobody can share his burden and nobody will. He has to run his own life. He was born alone and will die alone. All that he accumulated cannot be taken with him. He cried for a long time. He distributed a lot of his wealth to poor people of his town. He started free schools for the education of poor children. Irrespective of caste and creed, he provided meals to anyone who came to his estate, any time of the day. He relieved himself from politics, distributed his business to his children, and plunged himself into charity.

Life gives rude shocks to make us understand certain inevitable truths. Those who understand will evolve. Those who resist, will perish further. This is the nature of life.

Believe it or Not...We Write Our Own Destiny!!!...

Love YOU Always

M