On this beautiful, auspicious day of Diwali 2020, we are happy to be share with you the journey through 2020 of Mohanji Acharyas, as they continuously strive to be the light, in this world of darkness. Mohanji Acharyas have committed themselves to representing Mohanji and his teachings and adding value to society. Compassion, kindness and selflessness are the pillars on which the Acharyas lead a non-violent existence in thought, word and action.
Preethi from India, Subhasree from the UK, Biljana from Serbia, Lakshmi from South Africa share their journey with Maheshwari The Awakening Times editor and Mohanji Acharya.
Can you describe your journey through 2020 in one sentence?
Lakshmi: I would describe this year as a year of inner transformation, faith and trust in the guru. He has given us the theory and 2020 has been the practical application of finding that inner stability and stillness in the middle of a difficult time and a difficult storm.
Biljana: This was really a situation where we could show what we have learned. This was the time where I, in real life, could demonstrate what I knew, theoretically working on myself and showing it first to myself and then around me as well. This is the stability: Whatever happens outside, we can still be peaceful, stable and calm, with a smile on our face and a positive attitude and daily routine. So this is really, really a situation and opportunity to show it in my real life.
Preethi: This year the faith has been tested and an opportunity for your spiritual growth and endurance was given. The only thing that really helped me is inner stability and if you'd asked me how I developed inner stability, I’d answer that it was through platforms like the Early Bird Club. Waking up early in the morning and actually working on myself, right in the beginning of the day, where I could actually sit down and do my practices. That time was only for me; where I could sit down and work on specific aspects, whether it was my mental health, my physical health or my emotional health. Whatever it is, each of us have our own likes and dislikes. So, use that early morning time to actually stabilise ourselves.
The second thing that helped is having looked at the purpose, rather than working ad hoc. The purpose was important. Purpose came first. These two things together helped tied me through 2020.
We all had difficult moments in 2020. Can you share with us which had motivated you to be light in that darkness?
Subhashree: Today where we are talking about Diwali, which is a very auspicious day, the famous Festival of Lights. Here we are sitting and talking about, what light is; how we have seen that light inside us through stability, through purpose, through inner transformation; the light that is inside us and how it is reflected outside. It's like nature. It's not always day, there is darkness, there is night. Life is not always full of rose petals. We have thorns with it. Especially people like us, who are very blessed to have a living master in our life, who is guiding us every moment, we say it's all nice, but the true test comes when there is darkness. When there is a big fall, does your faith remains intact? Does your conviction, still remain intact? I think these are the times when we are tested. Is our light true or is that light superficial? Throughout these eight months of Corona pandemic lockdown, all of us have gone through many, many things.
While we started on the Corona things, we were all very positive and spreading positivity. Just amidst that, few weeks after Corona had just started, lightning struck in my life. One of my brothers, who was quite young, healthy and had a young family, suddenly fell down, because of cardiac arrest. He had lunch, he was sitting and watching television, talking and then he just fell down and 2 minutes later, he was no more. How do you accept such things? Young children, old parents and I'm so far away, with all the borders closed and with no flights. What can you do for the family, what can you do for the parents and what can you do for the young children? This is extreme helplessness. The pain is immense. Everybody will understand the pain of losing somebody. In such darkness, for a moment I just had no idea what to do. I could feel the extreme pain of my family members, my mother, my father, my sister-in-law. I just did not know what do. A thought came, ‘Should I reach out to Mohanji?’ He guided me, which at that particular point in time was like a big fire was put out with a bucket load of water. That momentary helplessness was replaced with the feeling of conviction that whatever happens, there will be light. When such an event comes, this is where our true conviction is tested, our true faith is tested.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. What advice can we give to people who are struggling to overcome darkness?
Lakshmi: Subhashree’s story gives us so much hope and her message itself is the advice that people can have for overcoming the struggle with darkness. Darkness and light are two sides of the same thing. There's never going to be a time when only good things happen in life. We have a mixed bag with difficult situations, good situations and painful, heartfelt situations. We can't say that these things are just going to disappear, but we are so lucky to have Mohanji who has been a pillar of strength through absolutely everything. Mohanji is there with us in our good times and he's the one who's carrying us in difficult times.
I can also say that, in these difficult times, we should not react to the situations. Many people had financial losses and people lost family members, people were going through depression and committed suicide. There were so many negative emotions that were coming up for so many people. The whole world was going through this. We need more awareness of our thoughts, words and actions. Even if we are facing a difficult time, our thoughts should be positive. Our words should be kind and compassionate, because we don't know what somebody else is going through in this difficult time. We give can a beautiful smile, or just a shoulder, or we can just listen. We can also express love, kindness and compassion to everyone around us. While expressing these beautiful attributes we also start feeling that kindness inside of us. We start realising that although it's a difficult time with so much darkness, that maybe we are not so badly off. Maybe there is hope. There is light. As we overcome this darkness, we start feeling and seeing that light within us. Darkness, not only physical darkness, but also the darkness of our negative thoughts and emotions will change. If we change our thoughts, words and actions to positivity, we can create a positive life, a positive world, not only for ourselves, but for all those people around us as well.
With so much darkness, us hearing about some new negativity every day, how can we be a pillar of strength in our community or in your family?
Biljana: It is definitely important to first be stable and bring light to ourselves. This is the first key point that I was always keeping in mind and in that way, it spreads around, consciously or unconsciously. With the people around me and my family, I’ve kept my integrity. What is integrity? To behave the same way, like you behave in front of the others when you want to show what beautiful, good or disciplined you are. To behave the same way, even when nobody's watching. This is the key point. A lot of families went through bundles of violence; home violence, family violence. There was a lot of frustration within families and at work, in job-related financial crises, etc. How do you behave when nobody's watching you? That what guided to me as well. I kept my clean lifestyle; a neat and tidy lifestyle. The environment was perfect for that in a way because I could go to bed when I wanted and get up when I wanted and I managed to get up early at 4 am or 5 am. This was not disturbed by my daily going to work or from outside in the lockdown. I was keeping it at home and working online. That's the challenge. Are you able to have integrity and behave in the way you would like to behave when nobody's watching? That was the first one, then responsibility. I felt a responsibility not to be stuck in my own flat, so I reached out to others online. That was perfectly possible. I was giving live programmes during this time in Serbia daily and they were intense. A lot of Mai Tri online sessions where people said how beautiful they feel, how it made them calm, peaceful, it brought them to themselves. It brought out something which is within themselves: Unconditional love for themselves.
There is always duality. The point is that in the middle of pain, can you really be that pillar of strength? Not to cry with those who cry, not to shout with those who shout, not to be frustrated with those who are frustrated, not to allow fear in your heart when everybody else creates fear and absorbs fear. The point is to be stable and make everybody aware that this is just a feeling, a temporary feeling of fear spreading around. We don't need to succumb to that. We don't need to be overwhelmed and pulled down spiritually with that. It actually makes us stronger. To me, it was a beautiful opportunity to become stronger and better than ever before.
Preethi: Very recently, just before the lockdown, my parents came to Bombay. We've been talking about them settling down here, because they have become old now. Both of them have their own set of physical ailments. Before the lockdown, they went through a period of a lot of personal anguish and personal difficulty. Miraculously, we found somebody who was a friend of my brother-in-law and who offered to buy the space and give us all the time for the formalities. He was like, ‘I'll give you one year, take your time, slowly, do the shifting and all of that.’ Who finds such people? I don't know. Unfortunately what happened to us was, after we went through the illness and settling them, the lockdown happened. I had to go with my parents who are going in a wheelchair. I had to do the entire shifting activity, clearing out of the house and everything, on my own. I had no idea. I had no plan. A lot of people asked if I have a plan. Do you know what you want to do? And I said, “No”. I'm just surrendering and I'm going. A lot of people thought I was crazy. People who genuinely believed and understood Mohanji know that however much we plan, things never work out. Sometimes, it's better to just say, ‘Okay I'm going to go with the flow and see what Mohanji has in store for me.’ In each instance, I've been surrendering and doing whatever is coming my way. Miraculously, in six days, we've not only cleaned the house, but we've also scrapped almost most of the stuff, we've packed what was to be sent and we got the packers and movers who got everything and sent it back on the final day. We even managed to contact the owner, who was in the US. He was there on that day. We gave him the keys. My parents got closure. Nowadays when things like this happen to me and there are multiple situations that come, know I need to just keep walking and things will happen miraculously. It's difficult to explain to people who don't know Mohanji, who have not volunteered with the Mohanji Foundation. The kind of strength that you get is unimaginable.
It's like this huge powerhouse of invisible strength that is backing you up. You feel invincible. Just today somebody called me and asked, ‘Are you still in Chennai? Do you want my help for anything?’ I said, ‘We're back in Bombay. We finished everything’, and they're like, ‘What, how?’ That is the beauty of being a pillar of strength in your family. When we want to have strength, we need to understand where the strength is coming from. It's coming from that huge powerhouse which is backing us up. When you realise where the strength is coming from, there's nothing for you to do except just march on. You have nothing to lose, you have backup.
What is the best life lesson that you've learned so far in 2020?
Subhashree: I think, it is an easy question yet very difficult. So many things happened in this time. For me, the whole message from this is that, life is like this; ups and downs. That's the reality. Nothing is ever permanent in this life; neither light nor darkness. We just have to accept it. This something that Mohanji always talks about: Acceptance, whatever the situation, accept it. With our faith, with our conviction, just march on and just flow with it. My understanding and lesson is that life is not always going to be hunky-dory. Whatever it is, we will march, because Mohanji is carrying us. When we move, when we flow through life, let us spread that light to others. Let us not be selfish, thinking about ourselves. Mohanji spreads light to all of us and we can join in that light. We can be that another small lamp.
How would you say, being light in these dark times has motivated you?
Preethi: For me, the single takeaway has been: Be the light yourself and automatically you will spread light, because that is the commitment of anyone and everyone who's connected to this tradition. Whether you're a volunteer, whether you're an Acharya or whether you're just connected to somebody with the stature of Mohanji. If each and every one of us can work on our own inner light, I think there's going to be a lot of brightness in this world.
Subhashree: Our number one weakness or the darkness inside us is what we think of ourselves and fears of what people will think. I definitely had that fear, which as Mohanji has said, comes from ego.
I remember, just few days before the pandemic, I had written to Mohanji; one day I just felt that I just don't speak well, I can't speak well, I can't speak in front of people. I wrote to Mohanji that I think I should do some training that will increase my public speaking ability. He had said, “You just speak from your heart. You don't need anything, when you speak from your heart, you speak the truth. People will like it. It will impact people.” When we first burnt and dropped our darkness, that's when we became Mohanji’s instrument or the candle to spread light. That was a beautiful realisation, through this whole process.
What would be the final message and advice for all the people reading this?
Lakshmi: The candles, represented by this beautiful occasion, the Festival of Lights, Diwali, actually represents our inner light; our inner soul. During this time of Diwali, let the negative emotions and feelings be destroyed from within us. Let the mind be filled with brightness. Let our heart be filled with love for all beings around us. Let us remember the beauty that exists within us. That is the divine, bright, white light shining within us and shining to all beings. With that, I would like to wish you happy and blessed Diwali. Namaste.
Subhashree: Keep shining as light and spread this light, give a lot of joy. Stay bright, stay happy, stay healthy and spread that smile to everybody.
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