Written by Deloshni Govender (President MFSA)
“When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.”- Vietnamese Proverb
It has been a difficult trek to get to the fruit, but as we enjoy the sweet nectar of the fruit as a team, we have immense gratitude for all those who helped us plant the tree.
MFSA’s (Mohanji Foundation South Africa’s) journey to find land started in June 2016.
Our beloved Guru who is the inspiration, driving force and power behind our every action, visited South Africa in June 2016. He gifted us a substantial sum of cash which was a seed donation for this project. Thus, the seed was planted.
Sulosh Pillay and Roy Naidoo were a few of our very first benefactors for this project, each giving us a substantial sum of money to give our fundraising some momentum. Their donations inspired us and we were able to start fundraising in earnest. Maheshwari Mohanji and her family led a wonderful “Buy a Brick” fundraiser which also brought in funds and motivated us even further.
It was with much excitement and huge hearts that we reached for the heavens. We viewed many properties way out of our price range from Knysna to Limpopo, hoping and praying that some huge benefactor would believe in our mission. Yugen Naidoo drove across the country to view properties and submit proposal after proposal to the team.
In 2016 we had a team consisting of Keshnie Pillay, Sulosh Pillay, Yugen Naidoo, Dineshran Naidoo and Nishal Mahadeo who all flew to Port Elizabeth at their own expense to view the property. Over 3 days, they drove the length and breadth of the Eastern Cape looking for property.
Their sheer dedication was inspiring. Swaami Bhakthananda went to many different prominent business people to canvas our project. Each time he would come back dejected but he would start again the very next day with even more determination.
It was not meant to be as the Universe meant for us to work really hard, feel the pinch of every cent which was earned. We had to squeeze our egos into place and go out to ask sponsors and devotees for money. Many of you reached deep into your pockets to help us with whatever you could spare. Many of you worked tirelessly to support this project in kind and with your blessings. Each cent and each blessing has brought us to this point where we can call a piece of land our own.
Our Shirdi Sai Murthi arrived in SA in February 2019. We were super excited and He was stored at Swaami Bhakthananda’s home which is also the Dattatapovan Ashram in Westville. Swaamiji had sleepless nights worrying about keeping Shirdi Sai in a box and went out of his way to look at land for constructing the Temple for Sai. Dozens of prospective sites were viewed by Swamiji and his team consisting of Nameshri Maharaj, Dhiren Naidoo, Prathiba Singh, Bhavika Amrathlall, Nazeema Botha and Ajay Singh. Many others also helped search and it will probably take us a few pages to name them all. This shows the power of what can happen when a group of like-minded and focused people come together for a higher cause. They not only looked for land, they also spent endless hours raising funds. Each step they took led us closer to this goal we achieve today.
In June 2019, we discovered an abandoned Temple site in Northdene. We were convinced that this was the one!!! We visited the site, did prayers and Swaami Bhakthananda spent many days clearing the area around the temple site. We followed all channels to see how we could purchase the property but we found that the land was now in the hands of the Government. We applied through the correct channels to acquire the land and were disillusioned when it was held up in claims lodged for the land. This went on for many years and we still held hope.
In February 2021, we were given an ultimatum at the Global Summit. Get your act together, or else Shirdi Sai has to move to another location where He can be installed. We all got onto the project with full force. Ami Hughes, Lakshmi Mohanananda, Shaloshini Naidoo, Keshnie Pillay, together with Swaami Bhakthananda spent hours online together searching for property while Swaami Bhakthananda and his team would view the property for suitability. Shaloshini spent many hours documenting all the sites searched and included a feasibility analysis. After many searches, we found a great piece of land in the Stanger area. Swaamiji was ill but still made the trip to view the land with his team. This land was not easily accessible and he didn’t like the access roads which were very bad. He was very disappointed but light flooded in and Grace flowed. The estate agent said, he may have something else for us. We dared hope that this would be the right one, and it was. Despite viewing a few more properties (one lovingly arranged by Keshnie Pillay), we decided on the 12-hectare piece of land which we now call our own.
Once the team made the decision to purchase on 17 March 2021, it was a back and forth for Swaamiji to get the paperwork all done. He followed up on every document and made sure that it was submitted on time. The paperwork was thus completed and the first payment was made on 14 April 2021.
With scarcely enough to pay for the first payment, we were now back to worrying as the second payment was due by July 2021. A few generous donors came through, one from our board itself and we managed to get the funds for the second and final payment.
On 03 June 2021 the second payment was made and we breathed a sigh of relief. We were almost there. On 06 July 2021, the transfer was lodged and on 09 July 2021 the transfer was final. This was pure Grace as anyone who lives in SA would tell you that this usually takes months. The lawyer had also told us that this will take up to 3 months. Its only Mohanji’s grace which flowed and fast tracked it all.
We now could not wait to have the title deed in our hands. It was on the blessed occasion of Ganesha Chathurthi and the birthday of Sri Pada Sri Vallabha that we got the news that the title deed was ready for collection.
We had a time frame of a week to collect the title deed and Swaamiji was away for the week so he asked that the team collect the title deed. This was done on 16 September 2021.
After collecting the Title Deed we went to visit our land again and we were surprised to see that a once fully dried up stream was now actively flowing, although quite small, through the entire property. We looked at this as even more Grace flowing into our project.
This project could not be possible without the efforts of every team member of MFSA, Swaamiji and his team at Dattatapovan Ashram and every single one of you. This collective power is what got us here and we bow in gratitude to each of you.
We wish to thank all who have contributed to this project. We wish to also thank all those nationally and internationally who support our programs. Our success is due to your consistent efforts.
We wish to also place on record our thanks to all our global teams, especially our Global Management Team and CEO office for their support and guidance.
To all our Acharyas in SA and abroad, we express our gratitude for your love, the consistent programs and the value that you add to SA and the world.
We still have a long and exciting journey to complete. To the incoming board and project team, we bless you with strength and empowerment to see this project to final completion. We express our thanks to Mr. Duggal and the global management team for all the guidance and advice over the past weeks which has enabled us to maintain our momentum.
Through our many storms and trials, we have made it past a huge hurdle. When the power of intention is strong and there is purity in our actions, we can achieve more than we anticipated. Please do keep connected with us for more developments with this project.
We lay this project and all its successes at the feet of our Guru Mohanji.