As his mother lightly remarked, Mohanji was born smiling on February 23rd, 1965. Possibly, a knowing of his chosen purpose with a stoic acceptance of a life full of trials and tribulations. He aimlessly ambled along from childhood to adolescence and then onto early youth. Though he did not fail any class, he did not excel either. He says, “I can’t say what I learnt from education, because I bunked classes and watched movies during most of my student life.” His seemingly care-free attitude and non-conformist thinking was a constant source of worry for his parents and relatives.
In a nutshell, my life, like everyone else’s, had distinct stages – an impressionable, explorative childhood, the regular confused state of youth trying to understand my purpose on earth, and the auto-positioned adulthood that made me realize that nothing was in my control and hence nothing mattered anymore. The only essence from these stages was that everything was temporary; Had it. Felt it. Left it. My biggest challenge was positioning myself in a society conditioned and structured by concepts – expected to conform to and imprisoned by “approved and permissible” boundaries of expressions, a state I considered equal to death.
Black Sheep in my Family
A teacher’s question, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” received a response, “I want to be alone” from a five year old Mohanji. A furious call to his parents followed, questioning his intelligence along with a request to place him in a school for special needs. Mohanji’s maternal grandfather, a great astrologer and a spiritually evolved soul, chided his anxious and worried mother to leave the boy alone and presciently said, “Mark my words. One day, our entire family will be known because of him.” A pre-teen Mohanji once told his friend, “We make our own destiny and call it fate” which made his friend think he was crazy. While these keen insights came naturally to him, he often wondered why people got upset and failed to grasp the deeper meaning. In his words, “I was clearly a black sheep in my family and friends, but a possibility in the wide world of mysteries.”
In his teenage years, Mohanji explored the full extent of his physical, mental and intellectual capabilities. Always the experimenter, he tested his physical endurance with cricket, mountaineering, martial arts, boxing, cycling and so on, dabbled with the arts (poetry and drama) and experimented with intellectual pursuits through books, psychology and new age cinema. After a postgraduate degree in literature, Mohanji made a career in the shipping industry as a dynamic leader with twenty four years of senior management experience in the Middle East. Mohanji got married to Saritha in 1992. A daughter Ammu came into their life in November, 1995. A loving family, a successful career, financial security – life couldn’t have been better.
Real success is when a person handles life successfully, by being contented in every moment in life. No academic examination can replace the value of real experience. Being practical helps. As for everyone, life taught me many valuable lessons, which, of course, my education could never give.
The Inflection Point
His journey of transformation began with the passing away of Ammu in a tragic road accident on August 23rd, 2000. The loss of his only child left a huge void in his life. Mohanji says, “Ammu was a divine soul. Despite her age, her relationship with me was that of a companion and friend. In those four years, she taught me many things. Firstly, she made me experience fatherhood. She gave me immense love and affection, often even scolding or chiding me like an elder. Her nature was one of love. She made me aware of the possibility of deeper love, beyond all man-made barriers. She loved every being. Little wonder that hundreds of people of various age groups came to pay respects at the funeral of this four-year-old child! Her abrupt demise left me totally empty and devastated. We were completely shattered.”
Lose a lot to gain somewhat
Ammu’s demise precipitated a series of encounters with compulsive destiny. Mohanji separated from his wife, Saritha, his belongings were stolen, he lost his earnings, his investments went sour and eventually he also lost his job. He was literally stranded with no family, money, property or job. To add to his woes, he first developed kidney stones and later a painful skin infection which was unbearable in the hot desert climate of the Middle East. Literally forsaken by friends and family, Mohanji experienced human suffering at its worst. Despite this, he refused to let these events define him. In his words, “One by one, God removed everything that I was probably attached to, and placed me firmly on the path of freedom and liberation. We must lose a lot to gain somewhat.”
My exploration of my subtler aspects intensified and became a priority by the year 2000. Every day between 3AM to 8 AM. I used to withdraw myself into the shell (a room) that I had created like a cave in my house, with just a lamp and nothing else in that space. The flame of that lamp used to be my path, destination for concentration. I used to burn every aspect of myself as oil in that lamp, just like we perform fire ceremonies. Thus, I used to sit in a dissolved state of total insignificance. Days and months, I concentrated on burning every aspect of myself. Offering all my stored materials such as feelings, emotions, pains, sorrows, concepts, likes, dislikes, insecurities, ownerships, loves and prejudices including personal boundaries into the fire. As the fire swallowed more and more, I started experiencing a concept-free empty space within which I lost all compulsions to think, talk or act. Freedom and silence started blossoming. Thus eventually, Mohanji was born – beyond and without boundaries.
The Inner Shift
noises are temporary...
His isolation, agony, pain and suffering eventually led him into a deep inner exploration and a genuine search for the very meaning and purpose of life. After completing Ammu’s final rituals, he immediately left for the Himalayas which eventually became his second home. He longed to find the peace of silence and get away from the world of noises that he was involved in through relationships, business, society and so on. In this context, the world of noises means an active mind with active thoughts – the source of all noise. The Himalayas were a welcome change where he found solace in the wisdom and unconditional love of the Masters, and peace and silence in its remote spaces. However, when he returned from the Himalayas, he found himself back in the world of noises. He realised that the silence found in tranquil solitude is temporary and he must seek silence in the midst of noise. Thus ended his incessant search for silence in the Himalayas.
Since then every morning, he connected deeply within himself to feel the peace of silence within the noise – the silence between two breaths, the silence between two heartbeats, the silence between two thoughts. He focused on the space between the noise (breath, heartbeat, thought), went there and felt that silence. Mohanji explains, “When the noise ends, there is silence. The noises are temporary, silence is permanent. Our focus determines what we perceive. Usually, we focus only on the noise and miss the silence. When we focus on the silence, we don’t hear the noise. It starts separating and the silence gradually expands. Eventually, we only see silence, realise that silence is the core and live that all the time. Then, whatever noises happen inside or around, we are unaffected and are always in a deep state of peace and silence. But we are not used to silence since it is unnatural for us. We are used to the world of noises which pulls us back all the time.” It took him ten years to stabilize and establish himself in that world of silence and eventually become one with it.
Despite all this, Mohanji remained introverted and unassuming, easily approachable and one amongst the many. Life is not without a sense of irony. Once he had established himself in silence, he was asked by the Guru Mandala (the Masters of the Tradition) to come forward and speak again in the world of noises. Mohanji says, “Earlier, I was a man of noises called Mohan who rushed into the world of noises as another noise, to either add my noise or take from the world of noises. Now, I went to the world of noises as silence. That is where Mohanji began and what I am delivering to the world is an aspect of that inner silence.” A deep urge to serve society took shape within that empty space devoid of the weeds and clutter of noisy thoughts. A saint inspired Mohanji with these words, Relieve the suffering of Mother Earth’s children and you will find peace. In response, Mohanji started ACT (Ammucare Charitable TrustTM) in 2003 as a platform for selfless service beyond all man-made barriers, to support the helpless and needy. He envisaged creating a slim volunteer only organization with no overheads, membership fees or compulsory payments of any kind.
The usual naysayers suggested it wouldn’t work. They asked, “You don’t have deep pockets. Who will support you? Who is backing you?” Mohanji answered, “No one.” They asked, “Then, what is your contribution to Ammucare?” Mohanji responded, “Myself.” Mohanji explains, “I always give myself to everything. That is my strength. I always invest myself, be it people, organization, situations, initiatives or the world.” Today, his message of unconditional love and selfless service is expressed through Ammucare and ACT Foundation which deliver humanitarian work globally.
Selfless service is our responsibility and a signature of our refinement. It helps to clean our inner world. True wealth comes from what we can give to this earth, not from what we take.
Spreading The message
In the depth of silence, he received the Power of Purity and 360° meditations at different times. With the meditations came Shaktipat – a transfer of the energies from higher realms of consciousness to the recipient. Devi Mohan appeared in his rather grim but surreal life in 2007 and was instrumental in bringing him into the limelight. She encouraged Mohanji to share his inner wealth so the world could benefit from his knowledge. Mohanji believes that she was chosen by the Guru Mandala to pull him out of his introversion and help him deliver the knowledge and wisdom imparted by them so abundantly. The first meditations started in Dubai in early 2007, combined with spiritual discourses (satsang) were offered to all unconditionally and free of cost. The experiences were powerful and varied – heavy cleansing, communions with the Masters, and life-transforming experiences. Word about the Mohanji and his life-changing messages spread rapidly.
Devi and Mohanji married in April 2010 and were blessed with a wonderful daughter Mila in April 2011. Their marriage was a spiritual union of two people brought together for a higher purpose. Eventually, Mohanji quit his job to dedicate his life towards the sole purpose of adding value to society with the firm conviction that the world must improve because of our presence in it. More meditations and techniques (Link to practices page) followed. The meditations were eventually translated into many languages and are now conducted across the globe individually and in groups. Today there are hundreds of thousands of people worldwide experiencing positive transformation from his presence, teachings and techniques – from celebrities, athletes, businessmen, professionals, entrepreneurs to prisoners and those suffering from poor mental health. His teachings have now spread across the globe through institutions registered in 15+ countries and additional volunteer chapters in 30+ countries.
Many contemporary Masters have conferred titles on Mohanji as a mark of respect and honor for his spiritual stature. Shri Shri Vittalananda Saraswati (Vittal Babaji) with Raja Yogi or Raja Rishi, Thyagananda Sharma with Vishwa Kalyananda Bharati (the one who works for the welfare of the universe), Avadhoota Nadananda with Brahmarishi (the highest class of rishis or sages in Hinduism) and Sage Agastya through Devi Amma with Jagat-mitra (friend of the world) and then Vishwa-mitra (friend of the universe).
Of these, Mohanji identifies most with Jagat-mitra – the friend of the world. Even with thes huge growth over these years, he still continues to remain simple and humble, staying unbound by society’s frames or concepts, available and accessible to all those who wish to live free and liberated, giving his maximum in every situation, and adding value to world unconditionally sans expectations with every moment of his existence.