Interview with Dirk van de Wijngaard
No encounter happens by chance, each one changes us, and at least for a bit, awakens something better in us. But this one moved us from our roots! We are honored to bring you The Untold Story of Baba’s Boy – an incredible and touching interview with a man who, despite a brutal and broken childhood, alcoholism, betrayals, and diseases, instead of giving up on life, managed to find a way into a world of selfless service. Almost in a state of alcoholic delirium, he trusted his inner guidance about the visions of one saint, who used to appear in his dreams, and decided to follow it.
In 33 years, Dirk van de Wijngaard saved thousands of children from human trafficking in India and Nepal, opened many orphanages and schools, and inspired others to join his brave selfless mission. He sold his property and went all in for the poor, helpless, and needy.
In this issue, we bring you the first part of the interview. Enjoy!
TAT: Dear Dirk, thank you for this opportunity. It is a true blessing to have you with us today.
DW: Thank you for the invitation. Before we start, I would like to do a pranam to the Lotus Feet of my Guru Mohanji, my guardian, guide, and goal. After 33 years of selfless service, we finally met when Mohanji came in August 2021 to Holland. Like a magnet attracts iron, a pure heart attracts Guru.
TAT: Beautifully said. Thank you for sharing this, we hope to speak more on how you met Mohanji a bit later. But for a start, let’s introduce you to our audience. Please tell us about yourself.
DW: (Laughter) I don’t own anything. I don’t own a house. I have a 20-year-old car, which my daughter paid for. I have a small pension from the government and my house is also rented from the government. So, when I leave this world, nothing will be there, and nothing is left. Only my gratitude and my selfless service towards the poor, helpless, and needy, as my Teachers (in the form of Mohanji, Sai Baba, Krishna, Rama, Jesus, and Mother Mary) instructed me to do so.
TAT: You’ve said that you spent 33 years doing only selfless service and we know about your connection with Satya Sai Baba, but could you please tell us about your life before you landed at Baba’s feet? What was your childhood like and what preceded this meeting?
DW: I was born on 31 July, 1956, and my mother was a very good person. We were very poor, but she taught me to share whatever I have. My father was an alcoholic. He used to beat my mother and me. I was an unwanted child – he told me that many times. I remember he would beat me until blood came out of my ears. He was a drunkard, and he would beat me whenever I came home from outside. Like every mother, my mother wanted to protect me, so we developed a secret code or sign. She would put a plant on a window, which meant father was sleeping, and it was safe to come into the house. It was that horrible. So, most of the time I was outside, in the streets.
When I was 8 years old, my mother was raped and strangled to death by other drunken men. And, from that point onwards I started visualizing her inside my heart. It was hard. Sometimes I would see a lady in the street, with beautiful, long, blond hair, and I would run to her, crying “Mom! Mom!”. When she would turn my way, I saw that it was not my mother. And every time it happened, I was shocked.
I was searching for her everywhere and I strongly felt her presence all the time. Death was so close to me. So, one day, I decided to join her. I jumped into the water and said: “Mom, I’m coming.”
That was the first moment that I wanted to go after my mother. That means that love, pure love is essential. It is the essence of life. I will come back to that later and explain how Baba (Satya Sai Baba) appeared in my dream and what He told me.
So, when I jumped into the water, I wanted to die. But, you know how it goes, you start fighting with that water. I tried to come up, towards the light, but I went down, and down… All my body was filled with this dirty water. I sank about six meters deep. What I remember next is that everything became black and very heavy. I felt like I was down, on the ground. At that moment, a beautiful flash of light came, a transparent white light. I never saw something similar on Earth again, but I can see that light in Mohanji’s eyes now. There is that light.
At that moment, at the bottom, I felt so much love. Like I was in my mother’s arms. That feeling left me in complete awe. This transparent white light was beautiful, perfect. I told my daughter many times that this type of light is not possible for us to see on Earth.
At that moment, when the light appeared, I heard the sound Om (Omkara). The sound was very protective and comforting. It felt like I was home again. The next moment, what I remember is that some man, with a beard, wearing a raincoat (because it was raining heavily), was pumping water out my chest. When the water came out of my mouth, and I started coughing, I opened my eyes fully and realized (I mean, now I realize) that it was Swami Mohanji. That face I recognized. I remembered this only one week ago, and I was completely shocked!
When I was 18 years old, I went to the hospital and asked to see the records of this event, because I wanted to know who saved my life. And they confirmed what happened, and told me that I stayed in the hospital for a week after, but they did not have a record of the man who saved me. I feel this is important to share, for you to understand that my Guru was there for me, even if that incident happened in 1964.
After that, I ended up with nuns. They took me in and explained that my mother did not want me to die. They were happy nuns, and I learned a lot from them. The only problem I had at that time was with eating. I did not want to eat, I couldn’t, because my mind was always with my mother. That intense was my longing for her. I was so thin that you could play drums with sticks on my ribs.
After some time, the nuns sent me to my aunty, where life continued. I met one lady, fell in love, got married, and had two beautiful children with her. Later she ran with my best friend and took the children with her.
This left me completely devastated. I felt trapped and did not know what to do, or how to accept what had happened. After all I’ve been through in life, I found myself again in a position of losing everything. Because of that, I started drinking. My mother was gone, my wife was gone, and I had to wait for two weeks to see my children. I wanted to commit suicide again, but I couldn’t do it. I could not do that to my children. I knew the pain that would come with it because I’ve experienced it. I felt like God trapped me in this position, like in a patt position in chess – you can not move right, left, up, or down. You can’t do anything. I started drinking 12 liters of beer daily. 24 bottles of a half liter of beer and one liter of cognac or whiskey per day!
TAT: How was this even possible, to survive on so much alcohol? And how did you learn about Satya Sai Baba, considering the state you were in? Did you know about him before, or did someone tell you about him? How did this communion happen?
DW: In my 5th year of a deep alcoholic state, when I was 33 years old (in 1989), a strange, weird man came into my dream. I thought it was a Turkish man, with African black hair, a mark on the left side of his cheek, in an orange robe and sitting in a flower (laughter). It was a very unusual scene for me because I had never traveled outside of Holland. This strange figure came into my dream very clearly, like we are watching each other now, and he addressed me in a motherly voice. He said: “Now the time has come to tell you about the love of life, and life of love. Come to me, and I will give you a mission.” The message and the tone of the voice were so pure and wonderful, but at that time, my mother was gone, my wife was gone, and I just wanted to die, nothing else. But this experience was so strange to me, and I started thinking that I’m losing my mind. After a while, I went to see a doctor.
While I was at the doctor’s office, they did some check-ups on me, and when the doctor came in, he said, “Your liver does not look good, you are coughing blood, which means that the liver is destroyed. You might have from six to nine months of life left.” Then I said, “Doctor, may I ask you something? Am I already getting delusional? Because I’m seeing a Turkish man with African black hair in orange robe, talking to me!” Without an explanation, he left the office. He came back carrying a book with a photo of a man and asked me, “Is this the man you are seeing in your dream?” That was the book Sai Baba Avatar, and he was indeed the one I saw.
Later the doctor explained to me that the man was not from Turkey, or Africa (laughter), but Sathya Sai Baba, a saint from India. I remember my thoughts at that very moment, I was like, “Oh my God, now I’ll end up singing Hare Krishna and selling flowers on the streets (laughter) and they will wash my brain. My mind was playing tricks on me, and I was very scared and full of prejudices. My mind kept telling me don’t pay attention to it, this is all nonsense. But his visits in my dream kept repeating.
After a while, in one of the next appointments with my doctor, he was very straightforward with me and said: “There is nothing I can do for you anymore. You should go to Satya Sai Baba, maybe he will be able to help you.” So, I went to India, to see Baba with two bottles of whiskey (laughter).
After finishing one bottle, I was in a space with 500 people at that time, laying on the ground in Puttaparthi. Later I meditated and it came to me that the meaning behind Puttaparthi is Put-apart-I. So, we have to get rid of our egos. My body, my this, my that… We have to understand that the body, as everything, is just rented. Like a rental car, it is just there for some purpose. That is exactly how we come to the main question: What am I doing here? Where am I going?
So, in the morning I woke up and went to see this man who talked so nice to me. My mother and father were not religious. They were atheists. Sorry for going on and off the topic, but I love to mention things as they come to me. So, after finishing this bottle of whiskey, I went for darshan (blessing of a saint), and when I saw these people wearing all white clothes, I remember thinking, “Oh, these people are holy.” And it left me with a very bad feeling because I felt dirty and very ashamed in comparison to them. I was thinking they do not smoke or drink and look at me… So, my original thought was to see this man only this one time and return to Holland. But that was not Baba’s plan.
At one point they were distributing prasad (blessed food), and one man came close to me and was giving it to me, and I felt so dirty, and just nodded my head, like no, no.
But the man( Seva Dal) looked at Baba, who, with a gesture, confirmed that I should take it. So this man was persistent. At that moment Baba asked him to bring me to the interview room. I did not want to go, because I did not feel clean enough. Of course, it was all mind playing with me, and as soon as they brought me into Sai Baba’s interview room, the moment I sat in front of him, he asked me: “How is your mind?” and I replied: “Good” (laughter). But Baba said: “No, no, no.” And kept repeating “Mother pain, mother pain, mother pain.” And he tapped me three times, hard, on my chest. This flashed back to my mother and tears started falling like a waterfall.
Later, Baba put vibhuti (sacred ash) in my mouth, and I left for the place where we slept.
By the time I reached the open-space dormitory, I felt seriously sick. I had a fever and couldn’t stand on my feet, so I laid down and fell asleep. I must have slept over 20 hours or something like that. What is strange, when I woke up, I felt that my left foot was wet. I noticed 3 holes had appeared in my left foot and PUS flowed constantly out of it! All of this lasted for seven days or so. In the end, one American doctor came to see me, asked me about my problems with alcohol, and explained to me that Satya Sai Baba is cleaning my liver completely. Two days later I felt fresh as a newborn and the wish for alcohol was gone.
That day I wanted to see Swami again, and I went for darshan again. When the Seva Dals saw me, he told me that Sai Baba called me again for an Interview, but my mind started playing tricks with me again. I started doubting if he is the ‘real deal or not. So, I approached and asked him, “Swami, how can we honor God?” Again, with his beautiful, motherly voice, he replied, “No need for honoring God. Selfless service towards the poor, helpless, and needy is the only way to serve and please God.” I tried to ‘tackle’ him, but he tackled me.
TAT: Was that the trigger for your life of selfless service? How did it all open up for you?
DW: In the next part we can go more in-depth with this topic. And hours will not be enough to cover just a small portion of it. Baba said that he will give me a mission, and that is what he did. Things unfolded in the most unusual ways, and through some people, which I will tell you about later, I got in touch with Harijan children (lowest caste children, also called Children of God). After my first sevas (selfless service) of buying food and clothes for them, I returned home to Holland, sold all my property, came back to India, and opened the first orphanage for them. This was in Bangalore. It was incredible. Those children, the poorest of the poorest, became my family. They called me Mama Ji. We started with 80 children, but the number grew to ten thousand. And it was so funny because they all expected me to know their names. And to know ten thousand names by heart is impossible. So, I had to make jokes with them all the time. They would come and ask me: “Mama Ji, what is my name?” and at that moment I would scream: “Look, there is an elephant there!”, just to turn their attention to something else, avoiding letting them know that I can’t remember each name (laughter). I loved making jokes with them all the time because I was aware of everything they’d been through. And this exactly is a mother’s way of love. Who is your mother? The one who takes care of you, who makes you safe, who smiles with you. In a way, I was that for those children, and Baba was that for me. He knew everything about me, but he never judged me, he was always there for me, 100%. Now Sai Baba Guided me to my MOHANJI who also proved to me in dreams, meditation, and even in Mohanji’s presence that He knows all about ” my” past, coming, and present lives. and Mohanji will be my Best Friend, to Guide me ( us) to my ( our) Destination. It all depends on the Purity and Sincerity of our devotion. It is important to become a FULL-TIME devotee. Jai Mohanji Ki Jai
My selfless service throughout these 33 years continued in 26 villages in India and 14-16 villages in Nepal.
TAT: We can’t wait to hear the rest of the story, and we have to admit that we are completely blown away with this, and could listen to you for hours more. But, let us make a break here, and give our readers the chance to process this amazing story. Thank you, Dirk, for sharing this with us. It is a true blessing to meet you.
DW: It was my pleasure. Thank you. Bless you.