An Interview with Mohanji for Serbian Magazine ONA – part 1
You can read it in Serbian here.
Q: What was the key situation that made you realize you’re going to become a spiritual master? Who is a person you consider a spiritual teacher?
A: My basic path or the path which I am following is called Datta tradition. So, the Guru is Lord Dattatreya and we live as per his teachings.
The Guru led by Dattatreya has empowered lots of people and one of the major paths which Guru Dattatreya has created is the Nath tradition. Nath tradition has a structure. It’s derived out of the nature of Shiva, the stature of Shiva. The stature of Shiva in one word is TOTAL LIBERATION, a liberated existence. So, Nath tradition is rooted in liberated existence. This path happened to me. I used to visit Himalayas, I used to meet people, saints, people of knowledge… and the path came to me. I can’t say one person was my inspiration at that time. That was from 2000 onwards I have been visiting Himalayas. So, the first and foremost change or the shift or the question that happened to me, when my daughter Ammu passed away, was that I started asking the question “Why not me, why she? Why did she go before me?” She was only four and a half years old. I was thinking why this happened to her and that question developed into a kind of quest. The question became a quest. And that took me to Himalayas to find the answers. Later on, I realized the answers are sitting within me. That was also spontaneous awareness.
At that time I didn’t have a proper master to guide me. But later on when I was already known in the world as Mohanji, when I started talking, or started doing programs in the world, people started coming to me, that’s the time when I happened to meet Vittal Babaji. Vittal Babaji or Vittalananda Saraswati Maharaj was the Pontiff of Sripada Srivallabha Samsthanam at that time. This was in 2012. I met him first in December 19th, 2012. I did not know about him at that time, but when he met me at the first glance itself, he kind of exclaimed, he said, “Ah, precious diamond, come and sit next to me.” That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship until he left his body in July 2014. We had a relationship which lasted for almost two years or so but I did not meet him many times because I did not visit the Sri Vallabhapuram many times during that time. However, each time when we met the intensity was strong. So, I would consider him as a father figure in this tradition. (Watch Tribute to Vittal Babaji)
Sripada Srivallabha is the first avatar of Lord Dattatreya, first incarnation. He used to live in Sri Vallabhapuram, Kuruvapuram, that area. So, that is reassurance or conformation of my tradition.
Then I met various saints and various people who kind of guided me or influenced on me. This was all later but in the beginning there was no particular master who initiated me into tradition. It also came to me that in Nath tradition the initiation is your decision to follow the path of LIBERATION, there is no other initiation. When I say LIBERATION it is a detachment during existence. That means you have everything but you are not bound by anything, nothing binds you. That is detachment in existence and the detachment while exiting, i.e. leaving, that means you have less baggage to carry. Baggage is desires. Desires create new lives. You have fewer desires to carry to another life. If you are exhausting all that you came for in this life and you do not carry anything forward for the next life, you are in the path of liberation. That is what we talk about. This is the stature of Shiva. Shiva represents a liberated existence. Based on Shiva’s stature, or Shiva’s method or Shiva’s constitution Lord Dattatreya created Nath tradition. And there are various famous Nath masters which we already know like Machindranath, Gorakhnath, Kanifnath… quite a lot of Nath gurus. So, we are aware of all these masters with extraordinary powers, with great detachment… and that’s our tradition, that’s the tradition which I follow. I do not explicitly tell about tradition because it doesn’t need a lot of explanation, because people who have eyes to see will see and follow the tradition by themselves, you don’t have to explain quite a bit. If you are leading a liberated existence your life is your highest message, and that message travels, it shows. The way you live, it shows. So, the people who have eyes to see and are resonating with your lifestyle will come. And that’s how it’s spread. I did not make any conscious decision to become something. I’ve just lived it. It became a message, a method. And that led to what it is today. All the places where people connected to me, they continue to connect to me and they come to me. Some people come in and then feel that they need more activity or that they do not resonate well with the path of Nath, they leave. So, it is up to the people to stay or to leave. We do not bind anybody because if you bind somebody, you are also bound. This is against the tradition of liberation.
I want to be alone
Q: Were there any signs during your childhood that Shiva was going to choose as one of many?
A: I do not know whether anybody chose me to be in this path. I do not want to make any hype about my childhood. Only one thing I remember, when I was in the first class, fifth or sixth year (I do not remember), when teacher asked me to write: “What would you like to be when you grow up?” I wrote: “I would like to be alone.” I do not have any conscious thought about that answer, it spontaneously happened to me. So, probably it’s a response from the subconscious. It actually surprised the teacher and he asked me: “Why did you write like this?” So, I said: “I don’t know. I mean, this is what suits me.” Everybody writes: a doctor, an engineer, a scientist, a pilot… quite lot of stuff, but I wrote, “I would like to be alone.” This was probably a sign of craving for liberation at that time but I do not want to hype this. I would like to tell honestly that I did not have any particular reason for writing like this. Probably it happened spontaneously from the subconscious.
I do not want to make any claims that Shiva chose me personally etc., because then it would all sound like propaganda. We do not want to make any propaganda. I am what I am, and if people accept me as I am, then we have something to do in the world. Otherwise, I am what I am, as any other people, any of this 7.5 billion people. If people accept me and they are benefited by my presence, it makes me happy. My relevance is what I can contribute to this world. That’s only relevance. So, I hope that I am able to do that. I do not like to or want to make any claims of any divine order interfering in my life, etc. If people see a divine order at this point in time of my life or if they see the hand of God in this point of life, I think this is the perception of the individual who’s watching, I feel so. I do not personally have any kind of divine communion which is telling me do this today, do this tomorrow, or those kinds of things. I think I’m being carried by the waves of the water, of the river. I flow.
My only feeling or what I normally do is that I make myself available. Making yourself available is the highest gift, a highest order of practice you can ever produce in a life time. Making yourself available for the people, for the society, for yourself, for the gurus, for the tradition, that’s all you can do. The rest is all done by or carried out by the tradition, tradition of liberation. So, your presence is your highest practice. Presence itself is the highest practice. There cannot be any other practice than presence. This is something which is very important to understand. It’s not that a divine being comes and chooses you, and then you transform and then you perform a certain deed, etc. So many miracles are happening, and that is also because we are allowing miracles to take place by not putting your mind in between. When you question everything and when you are analyzing everything, we lose subtleties also.
So, I don’t analyze many things, I accept. I accept myself as I am with all my weaknesses and strengths. I accept other people as they are with all their weaknesses and strengths. And I see myself in everybody, so we are the same with all weaknesses and strengths. This is possibly why people get connected to me. I don’t claim to be a perfect individual. I have a lot of weaknesses. Nobody is a perfect individual. There is no point in judging anybody, no point in criticizing anybody, no point in gossiping. Your inner space is kept clean. Divinity dwells in the inner space. Divinity will be there because the space is available. That is the highest practice you can ever do.
All People Are the Same
Q: What is your motivation to help people without asking anything in return?
A: My motivation is the purpose. You know, the motivation of Jesus to face the fire of wrath of the established priests of his time was the purpose that he was standing for. He believed in it. He believed in Himself. He believed in the purpose. That belief itself is the motivational factor in anybody’s life, not only mine. A person who believes in helping people will find strength within themselves. They don’t anybody to give them strength. A person who has decided that he’ll dedicate his life for the world is empowered by himself from within. So, my motivation is from within. I do not look at anybody to motivate me, nor I get affected by criticism. Of course you feel sad when close people stab you from behind but again I always feel, “Ok, this is prerogative. They want to have an experience of stabbing me from behind, let them have it.” It doesn’t affect me so much. I mean it would affect me temporarily but not enough or it would not affect me so much that I stop working.
I look at the whole world as my arena, all people are the same. All being are the same. All species are the same. Everybody wants peace of mind, everybody wants to be happy. Every being in this world wants to be happy. So, as long as my purpose is clear I will function and there is no age restriction or a barrier, or a time barrier, or age barrier, or a situation barrier, or a concept barrier in this.
The conviction is that I will do things as long as I have breath for the world, for the benefit of the beings outside. How much will they be benefited I don’t know and I do not have to know. What I am delivering to the world as long as my inner purity intact it has to be pure stuff. If I am pure inside, I can only give purity. My practice and sadhana is to maintain that purity inside. So, I become like a spotless mirror. You know, the spotlessness, that itself is enough for the rest of the things.
So, the source of inspiration or motivation is inside me, and I maintain that in a particular way through inner practice of cleansing, like you wipe the floor of your house, the living room and you dust it away, you do vacuum cleaning… Like that, I leave all my stuff away as it happens. I do not carry burden of the past, nor have I anxiety of the future, I do not keep great agendas for myself. If I said I have a plan, I would like to include all the people who are following me in the plan, not that I’m making something for myself. I do not ask for a better food for me, or better clothing, better places for sleeping. This is not important. I must have a place where it’s peaceful and food which is non-violent, and the people who are coming to me should be served as I am served. So, I look at the whole structure of life as something which is universal for everybody. Whenever I’m making any plans, I always think, “What will my people do?” “My people” are the people who are connected to me with love. Those who connect to me with a lot of love and a lot of attachment to me, I take care of them. I have to look after them. So, it’s like a grand fatherhood or I can say friendship. See, God is considered not only as God, God has various aspects. Guru has various aspects, masters have various aspects. People connect to a master, God or a person of spiritual background, or a person of philanthropic background. A lot of people connect to me in various ways: as a father, a mother, a friend, sometimes even a lover… in various levels, it depends on the people and how they look at it.
If you are leading something, you have to consider everybody as a part of your family. I always tell people, “Your real relatives are who are with you at every point in time. They may change, don’t cry.” You know, it’s not where you started from. You may have started from a few people, but then you eventually gathered a lot more people. They are all your relatives. You have to consider them as your relatives. The equation of relationships might be different but you can’t deny anybody. You have to consider everybody. There will be different flavours, there will be different styles, there will be different expectations, but still they are all your relatives. At every point in time who’s with you, you have to look at them as your relatives. Those that are blood relations and other things are all secondary that way. So, this is my motivation. When I take care of a lot of people, I am responsible, I do what I can. This is exactly what motivates me and I do not judge anybody, I do not like to judge anybody. Everybody has their weaknesses and strengths, so do I, I also have the same. I look at everybody with all these things, so let us live peaceful life together and if it’s spread in the world, in the same manner, then we have a great world, the world full of peace and happiness. Spirituality is spontaneous then. This is my motivation.
I am a Mirror
Q: For which people in the world you are always available? Do you sometimes sneak out of ‘Mohanji’ organization to spend some time for yourself and those people?
A: I like to be alone, this is my nature because I am naturally introverted but I do not sneak out of anything because for me purpose is important, the activities are important, and I do not do anything for myself that way. It would be a lie if I said that I do not do anything, of course, I eat food, I sleep, I do so many things for myself J but, that’s not exactly like craving, I can even avoid food or avoid sleep or do so many things for the sake of other people. I am available for everybody. Technically speaking, I never deny any people but sometimes it becomes a bit too difficult because of time, space, location, climate, various factors which are not the same because I travel quite a bit, I am in different places, different times, different time zones. So, sometimes it’s difficult to maintain all these contacts and I am not so good at communication by email or I don’t really spend a lot of time talking through Facebook. So, that way, I probably am detaching a little bit from a common world.
But, as a matter of principle, I never make myself unavailable, I don’t do that. I am always available. Then it is not easy to give your phone number to the whole world and say, “Ok, you can call me at any time.” Then, I’ll only be sitting and attending calls. But, I do not have preferences this way. All those people who love me have me. This is the bottom line. It doesn’t matter the gender, the time, space, any place. When people love me, I love back. I’m like a mirror, what is given to me I spontaneously respond without thinking. There is no mind in it. There is no mind factor. Everybody who is connected to me, they are my relatives and I am available for all of them in whichever capacity it’s possible. Sometimes it’s difficult to be everything physically because physical body has limitations but, energetically I make sure I deliver in every capacity possible. So, I am available to everybody, I do not discriminate. I do not even discriminate between my followers and another guru’s followers, I don’t do that. I look at everybody as human beings. They are all existing in my time, as well and those who come to me, I feel they are sent to me by the tradition. I respect them. The highest you can give or at least the least you can give is respect. I do that.
Q: If you would have to choose just one spiritual phrase just to share with people who still haven’t found the way to You, which one would it be?
A: I would say one phrase which we all need to understand and follow is LIBERATION. You are by birth liberated, at death you are liberated. In between while we are having a thing called life or existence, we must always remember, “We are born alone and we will die alone.” So, be kindness, be compassion, be love and express liberation during existence. When I say “express liberation during your existence”, it only means , you can have anything in the world which is given to you without guilt, and also you can experience them without guilt. At the same time, remembering that they are temporary, nothing belongs to you forever. Whatever is given to you is given by destiny and destiny will take it away. Whatever time creates, time will erase. So, if you have clear awareness about the way the time operates, time even erases us at certain point in time. Whatever you see outside and inside, everything changes and keeps changing. This should be clearly understood and stick and stay with the understanding of liberation. When I say liberation, again I am telling you, be aware that everything is temporary: all your relationships, all your materials, all your wishes, all your desires… everything is temporary. If you are clear and you are aware of it, you will be feeling peaceful every moment. Otherwise, you will be controlled by the desires, controlled by various situations around you and then you will feel stuck. This is opposite of liberation.
So, if I chose one world, I would say LIBERATION. Contemplate on liberation, stay with liberation, understand liberation, occupy your mind with liberation and see what happens in life. You will have a beautiful life.
Transcribed by Stasa Misic