Each December, around my birthday, I witness a new synchronicity which appears in relation with some changed circumstances in my life. As if some new birth takes place. The death of one identity, the loss, so I would learn a lesson about detachment, or as gamers would say, I so I would move to the next level of this game called life. The last December, in 2019, in just 24 hours, I experienced once again how the cosmos functions. My daily job was bothering me because I had the urge to dedicate myself more to my purpose of adding value to society and helping people progress spiritually. Ever since I completed the intensive Mohanji Acharya training in October 2019, along with 100 other people from all over the world, I swore to life which assumes adding value to society, I have learnt not to waste my time but to keep asking at every moment what else I can do, how else I can help. As our thoughts and energy always flawlessly create just what we want, even if don’t say it, a few days after my birthdays I was faced with the news that the company I was working for would no longer need my services. On the same day at my office, I received the book “Life and Teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba”, one of the greatest masters and enlightened people who belongs to the same tradition as Mohanji, my spiritual teacher who has brought me closer to myself and to my life purpose.
While I was packing my things from the office, I looked at the book which was smiling at me from the desk and felt it was time for the next adventure. The next day, I received the news that someone had anonymously donated the money for me to attend the one-month course for the certified Yoga teacher of the Himalayan School of Traditional Yoga in India, which I would otherwise not be able to attend: if I had kept my job, I couldn’t attend it due to the lack of time, and I could not afford it without the job.
So, the cosmos miraculously arranged everything for me and helped me skip both obstacles, temporal and financial, in just 24 hours. I made a plan with a couple of friends who are also Mohanji Acharyas (those who spread and live Mohanji’s teachings about adding value to society, unconditional love and non-violence), to visit the temple in Shirdi after the Yoga course. I felt that Shirdi Sai Baba has invited us to India through his book Sai Satcharita.
Since a few of us who have travelled to India to the Yoga training are also volunteers of the charity organization ACT Serbia Foundation, after arriving in Bangalore we organized three charity actions in the centers for elderly people, as well as the centers for very poor children. Part of the teachings of the traditional Yoga also encompasses Karma Yoga or philosophy stating that we cannot progress spiritually until we start being unselfish, generous and modest. That would mean we should share all that we have, share from the heart and not allow our ego to take any credit for these generous acts.
It’s been over one month since I arrived in hot India and I’m laughing out loud to my plans. Life teaches us that the plans’ purpose is to fail and thus teach us flexibility and acceptance of the current situation. Within the Himalayan School of Traditional Yoga, we have learned not just about asanas, but also about pranayama (breathing exercises), Yoga philosophy, ancient wisdom, Ayurveda, anatomy, Sanskrit and a true Yogi’s way of life. A real Yogi strives to conquer not just the body, but the mind as well. The fundamental teaching is ahimsa or non-violence in thoughts, words and actions. Our life should be such that we do not hurt or do not even have the intention of hurting anyone, not even in our thoughts. The goal of every Yogi is to liberate the mind in order to merge with the universal divine consciousness which is the source of everything. The mind is considered a beautiful instrument which enables us to experience the universe. We have come to this world to have certain experiences. When we are ready to get rid of the mind’s impurities and all the patterns we have accumulated through lifetimes, a master or a teacher whose purpose is to direct us toward the final destination appears in our life. That is why great masters often say that the clear sign of spiritual progress is having fewer thoughts per second. Until we completely liberate our mind. That is exactly what the people are striving towards by practising meditation. Yoga helps us with that.
Yoga unifies body, mind and spirit.
The day before was supposed to be the last day of the training for Traditional Yoga teachers, and twenty or so of us from different countries, cultural and religious backgrounds were looking forward to the final results and to the successful completion of our training. For days we were bombed by the news of Coronavirus and its consequences around the world. Our flights were cancelled. We were trying to book the new tickets and return home, but we kept receiving different news every moment. At first, the websites were showing three times higher prices of the tickets which we were not even able to book. After that, we were able to book the tickets but the payments wouldn’t go through since even the bank systems started glitching. When we finally managed to book the tickets, we were informed that the Serbian airports were closed. Very soon after that, the Indian government declared the complete lockdown which should last for 21 days. A very loud silence ensued. At one moment, we could only hear mosquitos, crickets and frogs.
All the textbooks about the body, as well as mind detox state the period of 21 days is ideal if we want to cleanse our organism, leave a bad habit, have a transformation. During this period the cells in our organism are renewing as well. They say that Coronavirus attacks the heart and the lungs. The feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt and helplessness are the emotions which additionally attack these organs on the physical level and additionally weaken our immune system, which makes us even more susceptible to viruses like Corona. Out of twenty-something people who were “stuck” in Bangalore, ten of us were Mohanji Acharyas. We quickly became aware that it is no coincidence the ten of us ended up together in isolation. In the couple of previous weeks, we were learning what it means to be a true Yogi through philosophy and theory, and now was the time to check how much of it we actually apply in our lives. Americans have the saying “walk the talk” implying we need to live in accordance with what preach. We realized we didn’t want to spend a single hour panicking and allowing self-pity, panic and anger to take over. We organized a meeting to which we invited everyone present to make the plan about the structure of our day and organize programs both for us here, as well as record the content and techniques to share with the whole world and contribute to the overall stability and positivity. The morning starts with yoga and breathing exercises, during the day we organize meditations, conscious dancing and group Mai-Tri energy treatments, and the evenings are ideal for singing bhajans or chanting mantras. Mantras as well as prayers rise the vibration of our organism and do not allow the negative energies to reach us.
Considering most of the staff which were helping us so far had been sent home, we split into teams and assigned tasks: Cooking Team, Cleaning and Washing Team, Changing the Sheets Team. One day we change the sheets, the next we peel vegetables and prepare the pastry for chapati (yes, we have learned some Indian recipes), the third day we clean the rooms. This reminded me of the scene from the novel Eat, Pray, Love where Elisabeth Gilbert describes how she went through experiences of cleaning an ashram in India. She visited a few countries in order to experience the transformation through extremes, and we got three in one through this isolation.
What will happen tomorrow? I don’t know. I know I have scheduled recording of the video about emotional stability for our Mohanji Acharyas YouTube Channel with the purpose of empowering as many people as possible in this period of instability.
Tomorrow I may conduct a meditation or help in the kitchen. Or both things consecutively. There is no true spirituality without flexibility. I think the Yogi within me has finally stopped resisting the unexpected. Even the monkeys stopped entering the room and destroying things, now they are waiting for me to go outside and give them biscuits. I guess they can see the benefits of our isolation too. There is also something good in it.
When we realize there is no point in resisting or expecting anything from the outside; we just grow silent. And then we feel the gentle breeze of transformation.
Author: Sanja Stanković
Sanja is a Sociologist with a career in Human Resources. Her hobby is empowering people through many humanitarian actions that she's conducting with her volunteer team from the ACT Foundation. In the business environment, she strives to raise awareness of people on the importance of mindfulness, well-being and kindness. She believes in the power of personal responsibility as well as the possibility of changing environment by providing personal examples.