Ganesh Venkatachalam: Namaskaar and Good Afternoon. We are delighted to welcome Mohanji to the United States. Mohanji is well-known for his impactful writings, meditation programs, and retreats that are conducted all over the world. He has a growing followership of 300,000 worldwide, including USA where people read his blogs and practise his meditations. We welcome Mohanji for his first interaction with the US audience.
I would like to begin with your recent visit to the Himalayas in Uttarakhand where you witnessed the enormous damage caused by nature. Could you talk a little bit about that experience and how it is being addressed?
Mohanji: Our group of five travellers happened to be there during the cloudburst, in a place called Joshimath about 30 km from our destination, Badrinath. When the roads were swept away, we were stranded but safe at the India Tibetan Border Police camp. The devastation was terrible – the fatalities have been under-reported in the media. My conservative estimate is that 20,000-50,000 may have perished .We couldn’t do much then since roads behind and ahead of us were non-existent. We had to stay put there till the skies cleared and helicopters arrived. We returned by road five days later after the skies cleared and roads became pliable.
Now our charity organization, Ammucare is adopting the villages. Most of the public aid and support relief has reached only the tourist locations. The villages that were deeply affected and previously reachable only through miles of walking, remain stranded. So we are trying to provide them with basic necessities, medical care for the sick and wounded, and education for the children.
GV: So how can people from the US help and participate in rebuilding efforts?
M: I presume that people in the US can work with ACT Foundation USA and coordinate with Ammucare activities there. We work with various organizations that provide food packets and medicines. It is also possible to work directly with Ammucare in India but our platform in the US may be more convenient.
GV: More information is available on the website http://www.mohanji.org and the email address for ACT Foundation USA is firstname.lastname@example.org.
My next question is regarding the theme of your teachings which is unconditional love and peace.
M: The basic nature of every being is unconditional love. Nature expresses herself as unconditional love. You can observe examples of such expression in trees that provide oxygen, shade and shelter to all impartially (even to those who cut them down) and in the sun that nourishes the earth everyday, rising and setting unfailingly.
We forget our own true unconditional nature, getting caught up in competition and one-upmanship in the everyday rush of life. The dualities of failure and success push us to behave in transactional ways, leading to misery. When we start being selfless and expressing unconditional love spontaneously, bindings will disappear and we will discover a peace within – a peace not available outside. We may go to the Himalayas in search for that peace, or to other places conducive for meditation but the mind may still waver. Accept that it is in the very nature of the mind to waver and observe it without participating. Observe all its pluses and minuses, the good, bad and ugly sides. Persevering in that journey of observation, you may notice yourself gradually becoming more powerful – because you are no longer being dragged along by the mind. Then peace will descend.
For peace to settle in, unconditionality is a necessity. And for unconditionality to happen, we must decondition ourselves. We must dissolve the frames that we keep creating all the time. People are even framing happiness levels that they think they ought to enjoy – imagining and pre-deciding what happiness is! And if something higher than anticipated does come along, they are unable to enjoy. We create frames for people too, expecting them to conform to those frames, refusing to accept them for who they are. We do however show some unconditionality in life where our own children or pets are concerned.
So it is all relative. The absolute truth is not accepted because the mind is afraid of losing its stance. But if we opt to link the mind with the intellect, we will respond instead of reacting. Peace will naturally result.
By observation, just being, understanding yourself before trying to understand anything, a lot of peace can be gained. Unconditionality then becomes your nature. You have to work on cultivating it, it cannot be bought.
Awareness is the key
GV: So would you say – to nurture unconditional love is really to be aware?
M: Yes, awareness is the key. Being aware of who you are, of every thought, word and action. It is not about regression, past lives or visiting places or gurus. Understand who you really are at this point in time, the true hardcore you- without adding pepper or salt. Everything else will just flow. You will understand and accept- “This is me, these are my weaknesses and strengths, but they are all part of me. There is nothing apart from me.” You will then understand the universe that you are- every cell of your body contains your characteristics. If you think about it, your body did start off as a single cell once.
Each cell has the potential to add on to the character of our being. Each cell has contained or maintained a certain aspect of you. If you could image a person assigning various colors to anger, jealousy, hatred, happiness, love etc, you would see different colors to your cells. A conglomeration of all those aspects is the real you. When you say you know someone, you are really viewing them as a collective being of numerous characteristics.
In this mode, you can understand that you symbolize the universe you had been searching for all these years. Then you will easily see yourself in the whole world. When your personality is understood well, it overflows and merges with the personalities of the world and you see your own reflection in other people’s eyes.
Spirituality is You
GV: A lot of people consider spirituality too abstract and wonder if it practically impacts daily life and whether it can help them become more effective in all facets of life…
M: Spirituality can never be apart from you!
(Not referring here to any religions or roadmaps to the one God).
Spirituality is something that is your very nature – it is what you really truly are, your origin. Remove the skin, conditionings, body – everything temporary and removable – and you will discover a side beyond all dualities, from where you began your journey and from where you have progressed. That Me plus religion equals completion. Sometimes not. It is the usage of the mind that creates divisions, barriers, and ideologies. These creations will further provoke various thoughts, actions, and words. We then start to believe and “buy” into them.
Away from all this, you are complete. Away from a guru, away from a path, completely self-sufficient within you – that is the spiritual side. True spirituality liberates and keeps you unbound. You can measure the degree to which you are liberated or spiritual by asking yourself if you feel bound by any ritual or philosophy or person. Are you fine the way you are, are you joyful and happy with or without a thing? When that is clear, fearlessness happens. Is there really anything to be afraid of? We have taken this body only for some duration – we are going to shed it anyway. In a hundred years from now, it will be a completely new generation. So we must spread unconditional love today- love every being, love every object, animate or inanimate. And whatever we are here for, we must deliver well. That will automatically lead to liberation.
If spirituality does not lead to liberation, it is not worth it. We already have plenty of habits. Do not add on another habit and say you cannot exist without it. Anything has the potential to bind you. Perhaps you are attached to the image you see in the mirror today – tomorrow if that image changes, you may become sad. Some days you win and some days you lose but you must still flow on like a river. Spontaneity elevates and spirituality liberates you. These are the signs of the white path, the path of liberation.
GV: Tell us about your meditations.
M: Both meditations are free to download from mohanji.org.
Power of Purity meditation is basically a communion with yourself. You are forgiving, unhooking, releasing and liberating yourself. It is like a daily bath. If you practice this everyday, huge changes can happen within your consciousness. Circumstances may not be fine but you will be fine. Dependencies on external situations, objects, and people will reduce.
The 360 degrees meditation is for rooting yourself in your spine. The spine is your stairway to heaven – the more you root yourself in it, the less you associate yourself with the usual 120 degree ear-to-ear operating level. When remainder of the 240 degrees that we miss everyday is added on, we operate in the 360 degree mode wherein we become immune to the usual drama of emotions and egoistic arguments. If we operate in this absolute level, we will no longer be vulnerable as we were in the usual front-footed way. The intellect will be in charge and we will respond more than react. Balance, peace and equanimity prevail and the operating platform changes to unconditional love. Arguments, fights and anxiety reduce, and as a result energy is preserved.
Most importantly, be aware of every thought, word, and action on a daily basis. Decide that no thought will pass in an unconscious way, no words will be uttered without your mind being present, and that no actions will be performed without conscious participation. If this is done consistently, you will not have much sorrow and will grow to become more powerful and successful.
Be aware, be in the now, be in the beingness. A lot of doingness never gives peace, it merely entertains the restless mind. Mind may be happy but it doesn’t promise any elevation.
Transcribed by Geeta Iyer
Proof-read by Aviral Srivastava