THE AWAKENING TIMES (TAT): Today, we are honored to have Devi Mohan, the global president of the ACT Foundation, with us as we reflect on the power of compassionate action and its profound impact over the past two decades. Devi, thank you for joining us and graciously sharing your insights. Before we delve into the transformative work of the foundation, could you please take a moment to share a bit about your personal journey and how and when you became involved with ACT Foundation?
DEVI MOHAN (DM): It is been a huge blessing since I joined this path, actively in 2014 when I left the corporate world and joined Mohanji on the spiritual path. We call it the path of pathlesness. You make it, as you walk it. ACT Foundation has been, I have to say the greatest blessing on my path because this is what brought me to Mohanji.
I always strived to explain to people, just how much your life changes when you choose consciously selfless service. It is way beyond our imagination. And that is why we say when you pray to God or whichever way you call Divine, sometimes you don’t know what is best for you, you have a general idea, but I feel when you do selfless service, and you are just simply aware, things come to you. People, contacts, opportunities, ideas… And your life takes the highest possible trajectory and you just need to remain consistent, and there is a bit of churning also, but for me, my wish was always to do a hands-on selfless service, not like in the big machinery, big organization. I wanted to be hands-on. I like to get my hands into dust, I hand over the aid, and I travel and immerse myself into it fully. And from A to Z being involved in the projects. That was my wish. It was no but a promise that I made to myself when I was hungry when I was humiliated when I was in the position of the one who receives the aid. That is when I saw how sensitive people who are at the receiving end, really become. When you are helpless, you become very sensitive to insults, but also sensitive to grace. And Divine grace comes to you through other people who just extend their hand. It is not the amount of food you give, or the amount of whatever, it is about you being available there for someone. That human touch. I have no words for how much it means at that moment to someone. And because I saw it, because I was there, when I was 14, I promised myself, if I survive this war and craziness I was going through, I’m going to do that for other people.
And then, I got busy with my life, studies, and everything, and once I completed my master’s degree and when I found a job, I stopped and asked myself, hey, what are you doing? Where is the stuff you promised? It wasn’t there. I did something, but it was more like marketing services to another spiritual organization. I did not feel this is what I wanted.
So, that is how I came to Mohanji. And he did it, really, like hands-on, fully from the heart. He had a very small team of seven-eight people, but they did amazing stuff. And I came to know about him from one Indian guy, in my office. I was working for an Australian company at that time, and it was just an intuition. And when I got to meet him, the full details are in my autobiography, I will not go into the details here, but it was magical.
And the link to how I met him, was charity, his Ammucare Charitable Trust, which later became globally known as ACT Foundation. At that time, when I started, it was just a small thing. Like, somebody in India did blanket distribution, and I volunteered because of my knowledge of English. I edited the blogs, cropped the photos, and posted things on social media… These are just small things you do.
TAT: Those initial contributions, it wasn’t anything that was beyond what you had in hands at that time? You used only your creativity and what you had?
DM: Yeah, we were doing some activities in the Middle East as well, where we lived, but at that time more activities were happening in India. And I started with blogs and writeups, these kinds of small things. It does not matter what exactly you do. As you see, now, I’m a global president. It all starts with you taking those small steps. And having that desire to serve from your heart. And then, with time, you feel when you can, you immerse yourself, you travel, you do various initiatives.
And if you are at all aware if you practice any daily meditation, or do any spiritual practice, you will notice a clear jump in your frequency when you do any act of social service, and you come back home, and you just sit, your mind will be naturally calm, your heart will naturally expand, and it will be so much easier to attain those higher levels of consciousness that we read or fantasize about. And it all comes spontaneously. It is not like you do it to attain certain results, but by default, your life changes, your meditation deepens, and your connection to yourself deepens a hundred times over. And, the whole life changes. That is the whole thing. That is why we say in ACT Foundation, we are each other’s inspiration. Our volunteers are the heart of the ACT Foundation. Because they speak for the Foundation. You are that. You as a volunteer are there to transform, and you are also transforming the lives of people who are receiving the aid, and in the end, everybody gains. This is a win-win situation for everyone. And it is far more inspiring when you have a group, than when you do it by yourself. Because we all get busy with life, and that nudge happens when you are part of a group. And you also reach many more people. That is why I always recommend if you want to be serious about it, join a team. Don’t just do it yourself, because it is so easy to get busy with other stuff.
TAT: I wanted to ask you how you feel now, with over a decade with ACT Foundation, and 20 years of ACT celebration happening this year.
DM: I joined the moment I met Mohanji, and I met him in 2007. So, it is been 16 years now, but the Foundation itself existed before me, so this year, in November, we are celebrating 20 years of ACT Foundation and Ammucare. It is an amazing journey, and I feel when the day comes for my soul to leave the body, ACT Foundation will be the number one thing I will be proud of. I will know that I did something worthwhile. Because it has a life of its own. Every day, as a global president I get messages from so many places. Like now we are registering ACT Foundation in Mexico for example. Then, there is something going on in Thailand. One of our volunteers just went there and interacted with sex slaves, women who were abused and completely worn out till they were in their 40s. So, like this, there are all sorts of ideas, and the expansion of horizons is all the time happening. Because there are so many countries and so many activities. And I feel so happy whenever I hear about any new initiative, even in the most impossible places like Iran right now, where due to their regime you can’t get to people, but through our contacts, we can. Earthquakes in Turkiye, our people drove from Serbia in our minivan, went there… It is like an insane amount of connection.
TAT: We would like to touch on some of the projects that are in the pipeline, but before we get there, to what do you attribute the longevity of ACT Foundation and Ammucare?
DM: I feel everything starts with that initial impetus of energy from the heart center and the purity of intention. I feel that the reason ACT became so big was Mohanji’s pure intention and the inspiration that his daughter, the power of the soul of Ammu left this world and left such a powerful vacuum with her absence, that that vacuum prompted Mohanji to fill it up with this global expression of love.
So, it was definitely Ammu, and then Mohanji, and then the people who joined in. But the base of ACT Foundation and Ammucare was that pure expression of love, and the fact that there were no membership fees, and there was no kind of “must” rules within the organization, but only that purity of intention. And I feel that touched people, they connected with the frequency of that energy, that is something that is behind of visible that makes it so powerful.
TAT: We know that ACT has no corporate or governmental sponsorship, so how is it that resources somehow just come when they are needed?
DM: That is the part that is the most magical, how things happen. We don’t have a sponsor, we don’t have any big organization as a partner, and as I said, I feel that it is Divine grace. Those are the only words that I could find. That invisible whirlpool. Behind every expression of love is always Divine, and that is beautiful. And that is what makes ACT beautiful, you know. Selfless service is at the heart of all religions, and we, as a platform, are uniting people from different paths, from different religions, and different believes, and everybody comes together on this platform. So, that is why it is non-religious. We recognize that you just need to make yourself available, and the ideas will come. Just recently I was in Texas, and I was inspired by the ideas these people came up with. And it was only using the resources they had and the knowledge they had. They just came up with innovative ideas, and that is what takes things forward. Money is just a form of energy. It exists. It flows. And you just need to connect and offer yourself. Make yourself available. And use the recourses available.
We also have a system of 50% of our donations from the Mai-Tri method, which is a form of energy balancing, clearing, cleansing, and healing, that brings the person into the mode of self-healing. It is very deep, it is like an in-depth subtle body operation. It is very profound. And that was given to us by Mohanji, and this method, people who do those sessions, 50% of it goes to charity.
So, I make it a point, wherever I go, I do as many Mai-Tri sessions as I can, and then, half of that money I give locally, to that country, as my contribution. And it just feels so good.
Aside from Mai-Tri, it is volunteers who come up with ideas or inspire people to join in. So, we have individual donors, and sometimes we also partner up with some organizations. For example, I have to mention UK and Skandavale ashram. It is an ashram that receives a lot of donations, and they know who we are, they love us and trust us, and they know that everything goes 100% to charities. So, for example, when the war in Ukraine started, we organized a big truck, a Lorrie, and they had tons of food loaded in there and brought to the border of Ukraine and Romania. So, it is like that, as per need, volunteers come together, other people find out, they join in, and this is how it all happens.
TAT: In that whole process of how things happen, and the right people come, what is the prime duty of someone participating in that seva (selfless service)? Is it to make it as visible as possible?
DM: This is what Mohanji explained to us, and I have to admit because I come from a Christian background, I was initially a bit shy to put everything I do out on social media. Initially, it did not feel right. It looked like I’m showing off with my social service, but then Mohanji made us understand the concept of activation karma. We know that karma is energy law, and it works. What you radiate out of you, comes back to you. But there is this other aspect behind your activities, with your own example, when you inspire others and activate others, then, you get even more positive karma. And if you keep silent about everything you do, activation karma is not going to happen. So, that is one side of the story which I never understood before. And it is a very profound insight. That is why, the great Master Sai Baba said: „My life is my message“. I am simply transparent, this is what I do.
I share what I do, I don’t manipulate in any way. And we have seen with social media, that people are more attracted to negative news than they are to positive stuff. It does not attract the attention that much. But the key is not to lose the inspiration to share, and to always be happy to share this stuff, because we all know that the weed grows easily, and to cultivate something, it takes effort and time. So, this is the perfect example.
To cultivate any charity, to expand it, it is sometimes close to impossible if you have even the slightest selfish attention. If you do it for your fame, exertional it will just wither away. That is why I say it was the pure power of the soul of Ammu and Mohanji’s pure sankalpa (the intention) to do this no matter what. There were many hurdles initially, but he kept going, he kept pushing, and it happened. And as his wife, they say that women enhance men’s intention, and I can say that I definitely supported it with my feminine energy, other volunteers joined in… Everybody who joins in realizes that it is not about them, it is about something far greater than them, and they find joy in that.
TAT: To me, it looks like the ACT Foundation has become like a real living entity, which is active and moving in all corners of the world, and what I’m confused with is, can you, as a global president, track all the activities that are happening at every moment everywhere in the world?
DM: We have a joke in ACT, „We are on all continents, except Antarctica “.
So, I’m thinking, I’m going to make some nice ACT hats and we will go and find those penguins. For us to be present on all continents, we need to organize some ACT expeditions and go and feed some animals there 🙂
To come back to your question, we have a system where every newly registered ACT Foundation, every new team, and country, opens an FB page, and then they share activities on our global page. So, generally, everybody is supposed to share on the same page, and then we can all follow what is happening, and we have bi-monthly, semi-annual, and annual reporting.
TAT: Where can our readers look, if they want to know more about this?
DM: The main hub is the actfoundation.org website, there you can check all our teams. Or if you prefer Facebook, you can check the ACT Foundation Global page, where everybody is posting and sharing. And also, you can visit our ACT Foundation Global Instagram page.
So, all important information is on actfoundation.org and our social channels.
TAT: I remember one of your experiences sharing, I think it was food sharing. You said that you’ve met an old lady who was suffering from leprosy, and you’ve said when you looked into her eyes, that it was like you looked into the eyes of God.
DM: It was really powerful. They were worst than the untouchables. They were completely customized by people. Because leprosy makes, your face starts to rot. Parts of your body start to fall off. It is one of the most dreaded illnesses one can get. And in the old days, in the time of Jesus, we all know there was a lot of leprosy. And somehow, I did not know that it still exists. So, when I came there, for me, it was such a contrast, because I came from Maldives, where I was blessed to be, free of cost for 20 days in a seven-star hotel environment, and from that azure blue sea, and white beaches, and complete luxury, I went straight into the village near Hyderabad in India, straight among leprosy people.
And, I think it also has to do with the fact that I’m white skin, they probably never saw a person of white skin before, and I was serving them. And it was so shocking for them, they were just zapped. That woman, that you were mentioning, had one eye popping out, so only one eye was working. Because with leprosy, eyes start to pop up. It is horrible. And many of them had no fingertips, they were already worn out, rotten, and fallen off. But, that one eye that was alive, it had this immense radiance, and I just found that photo in my phone the other day, and I can share it with you.
It was so amazing. I sat next to her, and I did not know how to express that sudden rush of joy. I remember that and delivering Mila. These were the two moments in my life when I experienced this unbearable joy. It was beaming out of every pore of my body, through my eyes, through my smile. And that lady also, we were just engulfed with this energy, and it’s really like I saw that brightness of Divine in her eyes. And at that moment something happened, I can’t explain it, but I’m so happy that someone took that photo.
Later, when I came back to my room, I realized that this experience completely outshined my 20 days in the Maldives. And I never thought this could be possible. I’m so happy that I had that contrast. Because we think that we are happy, when we are comfortable, when we have luxury, but this is the thing with the senses, how much can you enjoy? No matter which pleasure, or which sense, at some moment you reach a level, a plato, and you start taking it for granted, it is no longer that interesting. But when it comes to Divine, it is ever new joy, ever new ripples, it is greater than any physical experience one can ever have. And that is proof of that.
TAT: Is there a message that you would like to share with our audience, but primarily with other ACT Foundation volunteers, old and new ones?
DM: My message is always, come join us, and discover the joy of selfless service. It is not a job, it is not about the activity, in the end, it is about this immeasurable joy and the lightness that you will experientially witness in your life. So, come and taste it. Join us, and be a part of it. I am so looking forward to our 20th anniversary, in my vision, it is going to be a real celebration of the beauty of humanity, and people from different parts of the world will gather at our energized land in Serbia, Obrenovac, Mohanji Peace Center. I am so looking forward to that. It is a big deal. 20 years of doing something consistently is a huge milestone. And it gives you that greater vision of what can be done, individually in one way, but also collectively in the sphere of teamwork. What kind of beauty we can create together. It is immense. So, I feel the time is coming now that ACT will join hands with more organizations.
A part of the vision was involving more children. And today I heard about the incident in Serbia, where one boy shot several of his classmates and the school guard. If we would have more ACT initiatives in schools, encountering that pressure children are put under, the violence and negativity they are exposed to through media…
We also need to be in the media, we need to spread our message of hope, and children need to join ACT more. That is my wish and my vision. And this year especially, we will do more work involved with children and we will do more sports and stuff.
We have a mini-marathon happening in Varaždin in Croatia soon and…
TAT: Will you be running it?
DM: Yes, I will.
DM: Yeah, I’m preparing for that. I walk my dog up and down the hill. I have not been running for a while, but I want to do this. It is a lead-by-example thing.
TAT: For me, one of the most beautiful things about ACT Foundation is that anyone can come and propose a project, and be there, take a lead, or see it being executed.
DM: I am someone whose life was transformed by two huge scholarships. It was mainly the war, but also my good grades, and my social service that made me eligible for this scholarship. And I really feel if children understand this, when you serve you get these brownie points from Divine, but also you get opportunities to get a higher education possibilities, like scholarships and stuff.
So many things open up in your life when you choose that path.
TAT: Future projects that you are excited about?
DM: We have so many projects, and it would take a long time to list out everything that we do. But what I’m most excited about is to create sustainable solutions. I’m envisioning the flourishing of our greenhouses, as a food source. We already have that in Peru. Then, spreading educational initiatives, like we have this „English Helper“ app, that is good. And again it was Peru where we started this. But I want to see this globally. Then, as I said, a lot of initiatives for children. And, I’m very fond of this idea of gatherings of orphan children and older people in elderly homes. So, organize places where they can interact, and maybe even live together. That is close to my heart and I’m never going to give up on this idea.
TAT: Is there something you would like to add for the end?
DM: Yes, I would like to share with our volunteers and our future volunteers that this year we really want to make it count. Because this is our 20th anniversary. And we would like people to plan to come to Serbia in November. Because that day will be a day of special energy and special celebration. And to be there physically is of great importance. It is simply to, with your presence show I value this. I value the story behind this.
We all can do many things with our time, but, we are making this international event, inviting people from all over the world, especially because we want to see this beauty of humanity, and diversity, celebrating the Unity of Consciousness and Purity of Intention behind selfless service. So, this event, I feel, will be a real highlight of this year, and we are gearing up for it, preparing for it, and this is just my humble invitation. There will be other beautiful programs also happening the next day. This event is planned for Saturday 4th of November, then on 5th of November we will have one day program with Mohanji and also we are planning a beautiful surprise by the Festival of Womanhood team. Overall, it will be a really special weekend and something to remember for years to come. So, come and be a part of this event, bringing your loving presence and energy and experiencing how it feels when we all come together for something greater than ourselves.
TAT: Thank you, Devi. We enjoyed this interview very much.
DM: Thank you, guys. I’m very, very happy that we did it.