Interview by Usha Akella (2023)
Mohanji was born in India, and after completing a postgraduate in literature, he embarked on a
career in the shipping industry in the Middle East that lasted 22 years. In 2000, the tragic loss of his
daughter, and other personal blows prompted him on a journey to know himself. His inner journey
resulted in the dedication of his life to the welfare and service of the world full-time since 2012.
Mohanji has founded various global platforms for people to express themselves through acts of
compassion and kindness that add value to society. His core teaching is simply “Be You” - accept,
understand, recognize and express your uniqueness in the world. Mohanji firmly believes that
humanity is the best religion for humans, and the best practice is ahimsa, or non-violence in
thoughts, words or actions towards fellow beings across all species. His organizations have a clear
focus on the upliftment of society at large: ammucare.org, actfoundation.org, act4hunger.org ,earlybirdsclub.org, fruittreeplantation.org, and himalayanschool.org. He has won many awards for
his work in global peacemaking and travels the world as a speaker and teacher
I moved from the world of noise; I was actually one of the noises in the world of noises. And from there, I found silence.
And then I came back to the world of noises as silence.
Frequency. Frequency connection. We cannot choose based on our eyes, ears, nose, or any of the senses, nor the mind,
nor the acquired knowledge… There are many Masters, but we can't connect to all of them… We don’t understand
any Master, but our frequency, the feeling, we can trust frequency matching. You feel like connecting, you like meeting,
you feel like meeting, you will feel like being with that person.
You need to have discipline, and don’t look at anybody outside because at the end of the day, it’s a communion with
yourself that takes you to the highest point. So, you are communing with yourself, you’re connecting with yourself
through acceptance. Acceptance is the path; personal acceptance, personal respect, personal love—this you have to
nurture, solidify and cultivate further.
Usha Akella: Namaskaram. Thank you sincerely, Mohanji, for this conversation. For some reason, an image that I saw on the internet comes to mind—you are in meditation with ash covering your head and face. I'd like to understand the process ‘scientifically’ or biologically, that generated this, because meditation is taking place in the body, and spiritual states are said to be aligned with biochemical transformations.
Mohanji: Thank you for the question. I cannot explain this scientifically because I do not know. I’ll tell you what happened that day. This was probably a day before my birthday or one or two days before my birthday in 2008. I had a similar experience where there was some ash coming from my head or ash-like things coming from my head. So that was a few months ago, and I was with one Swami* one spiritual Master, and he told me, ‘Don’t cut your hair. There is something substantial going to happen.’ That was a few months before this incident.
And I was—that particular day, I had gone from my house to this Swami’s place in Kerala, and there was some program going on. I can’t remember fully, well, what exactly was the program, but it was a children’s program performed in front of this saint, this Swami. And he was watching, and he told me, ‘You sit next to me.’ So, I sat with him, but at that time, I was feeling very dizzy, blurry, a kind of flow feeling. I was feeling unwell. My mind was clogged, and I could not see well. And I felt like—nausea. I told the Swami, ‘I can't sit here, even I can’t see the program well.’ Because it was almost like blurred, my eyes were blurred. And I told the Swami, ‘I can't sit here. I must go.’ And so, he said, ‘No, let’s go together. Let’s have some fresh air.’
So, we both got out of that particular space, and we were walking, and Swami was telling me something, but I was feeling very nauseous and unwell. So, then I told him, ‘I'm not feeling too well.’ So, he said, ‘Don’t worry, come with me.’ And he took me to one of those houses where his devotees used to stay at, like a cottage, small house. And I only remember me entering there, and I
sat on a chair, which was in the front room. As soon as I entered, I sat on a chair at the table. And that’s all I remember.
Then I felt very expanded. I was feeling myself as complete brightness. I didn’t feel the body. High density brightness means actually I was only light and very soothing, very, very mild, very—like a flowing light. And I was spread all over the place, like it was not just the room—I couldn’t even feel the room. It was all over the place, and it was almost like I spread on the entire universe. I was spread on the entire universe. And I could feel the planets, the galaxies, everything inside me, like it’s all moving inside me. And the Sun looked like just a lamp, that small. And so, I was feeling so expanded and so beautiful—I can’t even explain the experience. Completely unbound, completely free and expanded, and it’s not easy to translate that state into words. Then, what I remember—it’s a few hours later, I don't know how much time passed but easily three or four hours I feel. Later, I could vaguely hear this Swami’s voice calling people outside—there are other cottages around—‘Hey, come over, come over, Shiva has—Shiva appeared! Shiva appeared!’ Or ‘Shiva happened—rough translation from Malayalam. ‘Shiva is here!’, or something like that.
And people were coming, and then I could actually start feeling my body, and there were flashbulbs. There were flashing lights, and I could feel the body at that time. And then when I opened my eyes, there were a few people around me, and they were clicking. So, they said that that’s the time when one of the pictures, when a few pictures were taken where you can see ash flowing from the head. I have no clue how the ash happened. I have no clue whether such experiences produce ash. There’s no explanation or this because I don’t know. That was the state the picture was, and apparently a lot of ash came. And then they collected the entire ash from my head they said this is Shiva’s ash. So, like very, very pure, and it was taken out and many people took it, and I also got a bit of it and we took it home. That was the experience.
And you cannot explain many things in spirituality in terms of science because science hasn’t reached there. See first of all, the gross and the subtle, this is the thing: science usually connects to the gross. Life is a marriage between gross and the subtle. The gross and the subtle, subtle is the soul and the energy aspect, the soul aspect, the mind aspect, that’s the subtle, and gross is the physical aspect, which is tangible. So, this coming together is what we call life. And when they detach or when they come out, when the subtle leaves the body, leaves the gross, that’s what we call as death. So many things connect to the subtle, we don’t know, scientifically, but we can experience. That experience cannot usually be translated in words. So, there are various things—this Swami explained that my entire karma was over, all that was remaining has become ash, and everything has gone now. That’s all, his explanation. We don’t have to take any explanations. The effect was this and ever after it never happened. There were only two times it happened. One was before, and one was this time.
And after that, I did not cut my hair. I mean, I trimmed my hair many times, but I started growing my hair because that’s what he told me that this is. It’s important that for your grounding and for your balance, you need to have this hair growing. So, I just followed what he said, I didn’t ask questions. Usually, I don’t ask why to any Masters. When they say something, I just follow it because they know better than me, they can see better. So, I don’t think; I just follow. This is my usual habit. Because many times when you ask why we are stopping in time—time doesn’t stop for us. Time keeps moving. So, when we stop in time to analyze, we miss something very precious. That’s what my experience is. So, I keep moving. This is my answer.
*(Swami’s name and place not revealed.)
UA: This is utterly beautiful. Did this happen during your sadhana or was it a spontaneous occurrence?
M: It was during the sadhana, but this was a spontaneous occurrence. But I used to do serious sadhana during those times. Every day I used to get up at 2:30 [a.m.]. I used to do meditations until 7:30. 8:00, 8:30, sometimes up to 9:00 continuously. And I was seriously connecting to myself, seriously dipping into the silent zone—it means no thought state. And like this was happening at that time, and I think it's a culmination of all that. It means you dig a lot on the ground; after a lot of digging, you get water. So, it's like that. I was digging and digging and digging every day for a long period of time, almost six years from 2000 to 2006. Or this happened in seven I think, 2007. So, until then, it was digging, digging, digging—all the time.
UA: What was the main transformation as a result of your spiritual life?
M: I moved from the world of noise; I was actually one of the noises in the world of noises. And from there, I found silence. And then I came back to the world of noises as silence. That was the main transformation or the point which made Mohanji as a factor in the world. That, I think, is the most important thing as far as I can say.
UA: Can you please share some words of encouragement for practitioners because many of us lose heart on the path and give up on daily practices. We are trying to reach what is invisible, as we are so dominated by the senses, and therefore yearning for proof or wanting some tangibility. How does one keep the faith on the path to God-realization?
M: We cannot keep faith on anything apart from us. So, what we need to do is to keep faith on us. And we keep asking for proof and for answers, etc., which sometimes only satisfies the mind. It doesn't satisfy our spiritual urge. Many times, what you cannot say or what you cannot be is what cannot be explained, or what you cannot explain is what the truth is. So, the truth is omnipresence. Truth is omnipresence. And for that you can’t really have any kind of conditioning. See the questions, you can ask the relevant question for your progress, ‘What next?’ Or how to go further. That’s good, because then you're taking a step forward with that answer. But asking for the sake of questioning, that automatically slows you down, retards your journey—it kind of paralyses you. Many people are only operating on the mind level. They keep asking questions, but they don't take a step.
UA: I think that is the difficulty I mention, many of us are not functioning beyond mind, but have to keep faith in that which is beyond it… to keep ‘faith in us’ as you say, without experiencing it yet…
M: Now, how do you maintain your craving for liberation? That’s very simple. You need to create a real purpose in life. What do you want to achieve with this life? There is always a struggle with the patterns. Everybody has it, each person goes through it. We all have our inherent patterns, which produce desires, inclinations, tendencies, karma, and that keeps coming back to us, that keeps reminding us, pulling us back. And that can’t be avoided, we cannot avoid them. So, it's important that we need to keep our purpose on experiencing something larger and more beautiful and more permanent. If you focus on that, if you keep your focus clearly on that aspect, then the lower drops off and the need to ask questions itself gets dissolved. Otherwise, we keep asking questions, but we don’t move forward. Analysis leads to paralysis.
So, mainly what we need to follow or what we need to concentrate on is the experience part, which is a silent spot. Silence is inside, happiness is inside, feeling is inside. So, we have to connect to the feelings, to the happiness, to the silence inside. And silence simply means lack of thoughts, less thoughts—that will lead to more and more happiness. When desires are gone, we are completely happy. When desires are there, we have to satisfy them, and again another desire comes again, satisfy them—like that it keeps going. But when you’re fully connected to yourself, and you don’t need much from outside apart from the basic needs, you are already free, you are already liberated. So, you can actually experience that liberation by living.
These kinds of things will inspire you. But for that you need to have discipline—it means every day you should conduct yourself, meditate, even if you’re sleeping in the middle of the night, you should get up early. Use the Brahma muhurta well, 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Meditate properly. Meditate simply—it means connect to yourself, feel yourself, love yourself, respect yourself, accept yourself and always maintain your conscience intact. These things will help you to stabilize, practicing in the morning especially. Keep asking questions: ‘Is this me? Is my anger me? Are my frustrations me, my disappointments? Uncertainty, it is me?’ Keep asking such questions, and the answer will come as ‘No. No. No,’ each time, then ‘What am I?’ Then you will realize that you are that which produces all these things.
Until you reach there, keep digging, keep going inside. This is possible. But that discipline and determination, they are very vital in the beginning. After a while, when you have already achieved, when you have reached that state, then you don’t have to really worry, the state takes you forward. So, this is my answer. You need to have discipline, and don’t look at anybody outside because at the end of the day, it’s a communion with yourself that takes you to the highest point. So, you are communing with yourself, you’re connecting with yourself through acceptance. Acceptance is the path; personal acceptance, personal respect, personal love—this you have to nurture, solidify and cultivate further.
UA: Recently, many of your discourses have been on Shirdi Baba due to your own numerous experiences with him. Though a repeat question perhaps, how would you understand his personality? He cautioned against regarding him as a mere physical entity.
M: How do you know when somebody is relevant in your life? When they start making an effect in your life. So, it is very important that we have people— tangible people living with us, relations —who make an effect in our life, who create effect in our life. And the tangible, or sometimes not so tangible, beings who create an effect in life. All the Masters of the past are like that: Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Jesus, Shirdi Sai Baba, and all these Masters, Babaji and many Masters are there, they all still create impact in people's lives, they guide people, they touch their lives positively, they take them out of problems, troubles, they give them guidance, and they also nurture love and kindness in the hearts of people. So, the relevance of any being, whether they are tangible or intangible, is the effect they create in our life. That is the only criteria we need to follow.
Why are thousands and thousands of people coming to Shirdi? Why are thousands and thousands of people going to Sabarimala? To Lord Guruvayurappan, to Vaishno Devi, and various places which attract people —Why do they go there? Because there is a tangible result. These beings or those energies sitting there or operating out of that place are making a deep impact and result in your life. That’s the reason why they go. So, we don’t have to analyze, we don’t have to know how they operate, it doesn't matter, how is not important—is it making an impact? Or is this particular connection creating an impact in a positive way or negative way? But negative is not what we are discussing now—in a positive way in our life. If yes, that’s true for us, every Master, every teacher, every guide, every friend, every relative has created some effect and is creating an effect in our life. So, their relevance, or each and every one’s relevance, is based on their impact, effect or presence in our life, what their presence makes in our life. So that way we can consider the Baba as a close relative, ally, father, mother, anything—because he's walking with us or his energy is supporting us, making us function, protecting us. So, he is indeed a part of our household or system, especially mine.
UA: And on my life too due to his blessings and experiences that have taken my life forward in a certain direction unexpectedly. Please share your most outstanding experience with Baba. Do you consider Baba to be your guru?
M: The most outstanding experience, as far as I can say—there are many, but one of the things, which was in 2014, a group of people turned against me, and scandalized me, tried to paralyzed my entire activity. That time I was taking a flight to Toronto, and I was at the airport. I was actually getting to the gate to board, and I got a message saying that the people who are supposed to receive
me in Toronto are not doing that anymore because they decided not to support me. I had only one choice: to move forward or backward. I decided to go further. And a few people, three or four people, came to pick me up whom I did not know. I did not know them before they came to pick me up, and they took me to their house—and very kind people, very good people, they took me to their house, and then the next day they took me to the Shirdi Sai temple.
So, there I met one lady, and Baba apparently spoke to her saying that Mohanji is coming to take care of him. So, Baba was doing his work. And he provided that platform for me because when I had nobody, Baba was there for me. And then I went to the temple, had darshan of Baba, and the first Satsang ever in Toronto was in the temple of Shirdi Sai. Today we have our own Shirdi Sai temple in Toronto. So, from 2014 to 2018 or now, we already have our space and our temple. So, Baba provided everything. So, when there is nobody with you, or even people whom you trusted walk away and show their back towards you, then still Baba held my hand. So that was a big one, you can’t even explain the kind of relief and the comfort I got when—after reading the message that the people who are supposed to receive me are not coming anymore, and then you realize that you’re actually walking into darkness. And then you get such a welcome and such a support from Baba. Baba arranged the people to take care of me, and then the rest is history.
UA: Yes, you have shared and continuing to share so many beautiful experiences that help to instill faith. How does alignment and choice happen with a certain Master? So many paths and Masters are available to people —how to be certain of a fit?
M: Frequency. Frequency connection. We cannot choose based on our eyes, ears, nose, or any of the senses, nor the mind, nor the acquired knowledge. We do not understand the Master using our acquired knowledge, the knowledge which we collected from schools, from teachers, from religion, etc. We don’t understand any Master, but our frequency, the feeling, we can trust frequency matching. You feel like connecting, you like meeting, you feel like meeting, you will feel like being with that person. And please remember, there are no Masters in a real sense, there are only people who are operating from a different frequency which might suit you. And that you call a Master—if that person’s operating level is your aspiration, he’s your Master. If that person’s operating level is not your aspiration, he means nothing to you.
So, everything is connected to us, our frequency, and the other frequency which suits this frequency. Every connection is based on frequency. There are many Masters, but we can't connect to all of them. And we don’t have to connect to all of them because they are all different frequencies; we connect to only those frequencies which suit us, which—we will feel good, we will feel great, we will feel the purpose completed, or we will feel that we are on the right track. That feeling is what you can trust. But you should take time; don’t be in a hurry to connect to any Master. Never ever connect to any Master based on somebody’s recommendation. You can go test taste and come back. Unless you feel that connection, that’s not yours.
UA: I have watched another segment on youtube wherein you speak of the same thing i.e., frequency and vibration, as a fundamental principle of life, so the nest question that arises is how to keep frequency positive and high?
M: Connect. Connect to—number one, connect to those with higher frequencies. Connect to stable people, stable minds, and always connect. It may not be easy because we're fluctuating mind connecting to a stable mind is not easy, because there is a lack of compatibility. So, the fluctuating mind should take extra effort to connect to the stable mind. Stable mind is steady; it's like a pillar, you have to hold on to the pillar and keep connecting, that is number one. Second, connect to yourself more. It means not what you are in the world outside. Instead, what you are essentially, essence–wise, that you connect more. For which you need to do contemplation; you need to ask questions: am I the fluctuating mind? Am I the emotions? Am I the notions, the thoughts? Am I the requirements, desires, inclinations, tendencies, inhibitions? Am I all this? These questions should be normally asked when you sit down early in the morning, you ask these questions and try to contemplate on it, contemplate more. So, you get to know who you are, that will give you stability. So, the two ways I said, one is connected to somebody who's very stable—that takes time, you need to spend time, you need to connect sincerely, consistently for a long period of time. And you will not know whether the person is consistent immediately. Consistent means stable immediately. Consistencies may change. And sometimes they just respond spontaneously. See in your own house, you can see consistent, stable minds—children, when they'e very small, they';re very consistent, very stable, you know? When they grow older, when they develop their ego, then they are inconsistent and unstable. So—because they gather a lot of input from outside; rather you gather input from inside—feel your body, feel your vibrations, feel your breath circulations, breathing, your thought processes—feel everything, that will make you more stable. So, one is external stability, connecting to a stable master. One is internal connectivity, a stable connection inside, which will give you stability.
UA: What are the signs of true progress on the spiritual path?
M: Inner silence. Inner silence you cannot mistake or you cannot miss because when thoughts are getting reduced, when your connection with yourself is more and more, the deep love and respect you feel for yourself, you cannot miss it. When the inner connection is very strong, and the only purpose becomes God, and thoughts or desires start aligning towards that particular requirement or particular desire, and the thoughts of the terrestrial nature start dropping off, dissolving, those signs you cannot miss. So, there are so many things inside which tell you you’re on the right track. It’s nothing to do with the Guru, nothing to do with the place, nothing to do with an activity. It has nothing to do with anything except connection with you. Total acceptance, connection, conviction, and the Guru is the beacon of the light, the point of contact, the aspiration, the personification of aspiration. And that’s where you walk, and you’ll realize you are on the right track.
UA: So, a sign that spiritual practices are working is that thoughts decrease. Which brings me to ‘thought’ itself. We are utterly at the mercy of ‘thoughts’ many times believing every thought to be reality without any separation from them. Thoughts seems to be an expression of our noblest selves, our most creative and positive selves, and thoughts can instigate wars and all that is awful in the world. Do thoughts come from the outside, or inside? If it is from outside what is the mechanism within that receives and translates it into
language? Are these waves? And if from inside, how are they generated and customized for every individual?
M: Thoughts happen from inside, predominantly from memories. All the thoughts have their source from memories, from experiences. We gather memories, we stored them, and we bring thoughts out of them. All that we do in the world—every interaction, every decision—they all have a background of memories with us. Memories also include fears, knowledge that you receive from the outside world—all these things are memories, they produce our thoughts. So that's number one. Then when we are very receptive, we can also feel the thoughts of others, or vibrations of others, frequencies of others, that can be migrating thoughts, they migrate into you. Or you can probably connect them. That's why sometimes when you sit with a lot of angry people, you also tend to get angry. When you sit with a lot of people who are pessimistic, you also tend to get pessimistic because you try to collect, or you spontaneously collect, their frequencies into you. But naturally, or mainly, or predominantly, all the thoughts are coming from memories.
UA: All spiritual places are becoming more and more commercial, whether Tirupati or Shirdi. Greed, product selling, commercialization, etc., have been on the rise but the deity or saint remains above it. How can we navigate between these two?
M: We have to completely ignore the aspects which are not our frequency and completely connect to the frequency which is suitable for us. There are so many things happening around us, and it may affect us, but we should always take that as one more step towards overcoming our own mind. So, what we need to do is that we should go through the process, we should go through all these troubles and tribulations, but at the same time, keep our focus on the truth that we are pursuing, and the truth stays waiting for us.
UA: What is your spiritual mission in this lifetime?
M: Raising the awareness of the people around me as much as I can and giving them stability and contentment—complete fulfilment in this life so that they don’t have to take any more lives.