Note: This article contains edited excerpts from a panel discussion between the heads of various organizations founded by Mohanji. The discussion was hosted on Mohanji Official Facebook page and moderated by Bimal Nair.
Bimal: We are talking to the heads of organizations which Mohanji has founded. We’re going to discuss where they are and how they came to be and talk about Mohanji's contribution to the world and why people see him as the Friend of the Universe. Everybody sees a different aspect of him, everybody connects to him in a different way. We bring you different perspectives from: Madhusudan Rajagopalan - CEO of Mohanji Foundation, Devi Mohan - Global President of ACT Foundation, Soma Seal - President of Ammucare and Andra Baylus - President of World Consciousness Alliance (WCA).
Bimal: Many people see Mohanji in different ways, how would you describe him in 3 words, based on your experience with him so far?
Andra: The first word that comes to mind is ‘humble’. He and I were having a conversation and he made a suggestion and then asked, ‘Is that okay with you, Andra?’ And I thought, ‘Okay with me? You’re the founder of WCA! You tour the world, you speak everywhere. You’re looked at as a great humanitarian and a spiritual teacher and you’re asking me if something is okay!’ That shows you how great he is and how humble. ‘Wise’? Absolutely. For the first year of making contact with him, I listened to him on YouTube every single night. He seemed to know exactly what the cog in the wheel was for every human being and covered so many topics and that’s wisdom, to be able to help people out of their situations, to help people deal with life, understand themselves a little bit more. I would also say ‘compassion’. That’s one of the main things: his heart is a compassionate heart, we all feel that way when we talk to him and see the great work that he does.
Soma: ‘Unconditional Love’. That’s what he spreads and that’s what he keeps inspiring us to do. Devi Amma has given him the title, Jagat Mitra, Universal friend and I feel this. And, as Andra pointed out; ‘humility’ and ‘compassion’.
Madhu: ‘Visionary’ is the first word that comes to my mind. He is probably the epitome of unconstrained thinking. We could have zero rupees in our pocket, but his vision is something which can conquer the whole universe, he thinks really huge. In sharp contrast to that, he’s also the most practical man I’ve seen. In that he dreams extremely big, but he always says, ‘You start from where you stand’. So, you keep moving by taking small steps, even though your vision is universe encompassing. The third word I’d use is ‘leader’. Leadership is a very big word, you have to behave differently at different times in order to guide. Sometimes he’s friendly, sometimes he’s stern, sometimes he’s holding your hand and telling you what to do next and sometimes he’s just pushing you out of your comfort zone. I’ve never seen him in a situation wherein he fumbles for what to do next and that is because of the first two words, he’s very clear about his end goal, the mark he wants to leave as far as his legacy and impact on the world is concerned.
Devi: My first word is ‘fountain’. He’s like an ever-fresh fountain. You can only remain inspired if you’re sourcing from the source, the pure source. That’s the only way you can bring something that is always applicable to the present time, never stale, never too difficult for us to handle. Mohanji leads by his own example and that is what I find the most touching. When I asked myself what was missing from my life, it was the factor of social service and I said that if I were ever to marry, it should be to a Master who is unassuming. So, you have all described exactly what Mohanji is. He intentionally makes it all look so simple, he never makes a big story out of anything and it’s only when we look back that we release how big a thing is. I feel so honoured that I was there at the very beginning, when it all started as an idea. What is most beautiful is that it all grew organically; there was no sponsor, no established organization, it was all from scratch. Many people think that they can do it too, but to remain inspired in the face of adversity, heaviness, disappointments, betrayals and obstacles of various sorts, is much more difficult than one would imagine. To do constant selfless, positive action no matter what, unless you have the blessing from above, unless you really expand in consciousness, you will get exhausted. That battery is never exhausted with Mohanji and through him we also feel that huge energy, continuously coming and coming. When you serve selflessly, then you realize that your meditation is much deeper that day, you feel light and joyous and you realize that love is not an emotion; it’s the force that runs the universe. It’s so easy for us to become connected through positive action. Very simple. Many know this intellectually, but don’t feel inspired enough to practice consistently, so only when you have a Master who leads by example and brings all that profound knowledge into everyday reality. If Mohanji was sitting in a cave and conveying his knowledge to us through some telephone or telepathy, it would be one thing, but he’s right here in the midst of all the storms, he is with us, where it really counts. He says, ‘If you have achieved anything in life, it will show when you can bring that connection, that silence, that presence in the midst of the noise. Then you’ve really got it.’ Mohanji is somebody who inspires people from all walks of life. He is also a husband and a father; he used to be a business professional. He has seen it all and gone through all of these experiences and everything he teaches is very practical and simple and yet so profound. People who have mastered the mind speak in very simple terms. People who are trying to prove themselves from the aspect of ego want to impress with many words, many diplomas. Masters don’t need that, they just speak and you are touched.
Bimal: All of you are heads of organizations founded by Mohanji, and I’d like to go more into the organizations themselves. Devi what brought you to the role of being the head of the ACT Foundation and what is the mission of the foundation?
Devi: I joined Ammucare Charitable Trust, which was active at that time, when I first met Mohanji in 2007. The idea of ‘selfless service beyond all man-made barriers’ including the species barrier, started spreading internationally in 2012 and that’s when we divided the platform between Ammucare Charitable Trust in India, now headed by Soma Seal and I became in charge of the international side. We started some beautiful initiatives in South Africa, then it spread to the UK and in 2013, it was USA and Serbia, where I come from. Then it spread to different countries in the Balkans region, now Canada and Australia… There are no membership fees, no big procedures, people are simply joining together. One inspires another and then slowly activities start and slowly it grows to another level. It’s amazing to see on the one hand how we touch people’s lives and on the other hand, the transformation of the people who are members of ACT Foundation. As president I feel honoured to communicate with the teams and get to know the stories and be there to add a bit of a boost.
We have 5 fingers in ACT which are food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare and it’s always very practical. If you have children with speech and hearing impairments, then you’ll teach them yoga or bring them food. If you have children who are invalids, restricted, unable to walk then you’ll boost them by inspiring them to live a life of higher purpose, to use their intellectual abilities to support others. It’s not just giving aid. It has that human touch which is very important for us. We always deliver our donations and aid hand to hand. We meet the recipients of aid, we do a little bit extra, like a little dance or shoulder massage or a meditation or just talking to them and establishing that human contact.
Our teams have gone beyond the Corona virus scare, and have gone out there and reached out to people. The time of crisis is the time of transformation, we just need to change our perspective and be the ones who express love and connect to vibrational fullness through that service and be immediately transformed through that. So, the vision of ACT Foundation is transforming the world by adding value. When you express positivity at the action level, it trickles down to words and thoughts and intentions. We are multidimensional beings, not just this body and mind and when we express the highest vibration of selfless, pure unconditional love through action, it goes very deep within and our whole energy changes. We start experiencing what we radiate and our life changes. It’s that simple.
Bimal: Andra can you tell us more about WCA?
Andra: The World Consciousness Alliance was founded by Mohanji with a very ambitious mission: to change the world, to move beyond self-centeredness. Mohanji has given many talks on the state of the world and he has been very concerned about what humanity has done to devastate the world. That’s one of the reasons he created WCA. There seems to be a negative paradigm that is very pervasive in the world that Mohanji’s very aware of. He wants to completely transform that negative paradigm into a positive one. His word, ‘positivity’ sounds like a new word, but I think it’s going to be a part of our vocabulary. Under our logo we have written: Uplifting humanity, inspiring benevolence and promoting harmony. From our mission statement: WCA is a global initiative that brings together people from all walks of life, cultures, religions. Inspired to use the medium of the performing and visual arts and other diverse platforms to raise awareness of responsible stewardship of the earth and all life forms and to encourage the expression of our gifts, skills and talents to promote the cause of benevolent actions, selflessness and non-violence in thoughts words and deeds, thus forging a more conscious, compassionate and harmonious humanity.
WCA started in 2018 with Mohanji’s vision that there can be a better world, that we have to remind people of the goodness within them and that the way to do that would be to draw the young people as the torch bearers of the future, to do what Ammucare and ACT and Mohanji Foundation are doing. The WCA was founded in Durban, South Africa on the centennial anniversary of the ending of World War 1. WCA is a public platform, because it goes beyond borders and religions and cultures. It is meant to spread throughout the world. It’s not just an organization, it’s a movement which is meant to bring people together to help, Ammucare, ACT, Mohanji Foundation and every other kind of foundation that’s doing good work in the world.
If we all contributed our own gifts and took the time to give back to the world, we would have a more beautiful world. We talk about Mohanji being the friend of the universe; he cares about every species, he cares about every life form, he cares about the earth and the plants and the vegetation and he is our friend as well.
Bimal: Can you briefly tell us how you got involved in all this?
Andra: Before I retired, I taught English to speakers of other languages. I taught in the school system, in middle school, in high school and young adults. Education was what I was focusing on. One day just a few years ago, Mohanji had a retreat in Virginia in the US and we were walking together, he’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt, it’s so lovely, and he begins to share. He says, ‘Andra. We have to get the young to be a part of what we’re doing, to change the world for the better and if we use music, if we use the performing arts, we can do that’. I thought, ‘Oh gosh that’s wonderful, that’s something that I would love to do because I was a teacher.’ I said, ‘If you ever get something like that started, please remember me. I’ll help you in any way that I can.’ Not long after that Madhu’ gives me a call and says, ‘Mohanji really wants to get WCA started and he wants you to lead the way in the US. He had the plan already and it has moved beyond just the US. We have people on our board from different parts in the world. It’s really WORLD consciousness alliance.
Bimal: We’re going to talk a little bit more about who Mohanji is and also about what role these individuals play in their organizations and how that transformed their life.
Madhu: I’ve often wondered how I ended up in this role. (Laughter). It was an organic evolution. I met Mohanji 6 years ago, in 2014. I went to a retreat and really connected with him, with what he was teaching, with what he practiced. I started volunteering, I started with transcriptions. That evolved into small events, then I had the opportunity and privilege to travel with him a few times on a few programs. That grew into organizing larger events; retreats and so on… It was in August of 2018 Mohanji said, ‘Somebody has to represent the organization, internally, within the organization. Externally developments and outreach.’ I don’t know what got into me, but I ended the conversation by saying, ’Okay, I’m going to commit to this.’ He had two questions: ‘Are you sure? Because you have to be sure that you have to drop your patterns and come out of your comfort zones and you have to drop your fears.’ This was my commitment; to serve the mission and serve the foundation. One thing led to another and soon enough I found myself as the CEO.
As Devi mentioned, there was no global umbrella Mohanji Foundation organization when we started. Mohanji started teaching, conducting satsangs, he offered the meditations that came through him to people. Over time, various groups popped up around the world. As the organization grew, the functions grew because we are not just various geographies, we are various functions. There are people managing our social media, there are people managing the different blogs, our YouTube channel and other social media. Nobody has gone and hired or recruited, these are all volunteers who have committed their time. Around two-three years ago, it began to take the shape of an organization and we had our first global summit in 2018, in Shirdi, the home of Sai Baba.
My role is to help our teams transmit the vision. Mohanji likes to make things very simple. No great philosophy… He said that our job is “adding value to people”. As simple as that. How can we add value to people, to the world? The effect should be that they are transformed internally for the better and start looking at higher things rather than lower things. We have different ways and that’s the other nice thing that he said, ‘You do what suits the other person.’ People connect to him in various ways: Some are very devotion oriented, so for them you have chanting, bhajans and songs. There are others who are extremely intellectually oriented, for them he has books and blogs and YouTube videos. Much content on which you can think and ruminate, contemplate, analyse... There are people who are very work-oriented and they can volunteer and they find their purpose through work. That’s the Karma Yoga path. There are others who just want to dissolve and become Mohanji, or become one with the universe, the Masters. That’s the Raja Yoga path. He says, ‘All of these kinds of people exist and I’m available to provide for them what they need.’ He’s the same, but everybody has their own preference and orientation of what they would like to do. What he’s created in the Mohanji Foundation is all these techniques and tools which allow you to connect to him in the way that suits you. There is complete freedom for everybody to do what they want to do. There is no imposition.
In the time of Corona, he has come up with a new slogan, because of all the distress and delusions, he said, ‘Our slogan is: One World. One Family.’ Everything we do should lead us towards that. Make them strong inside so that there is less dependency on what is outside.
One of the problems that many people have is that he’s Indian, he is seen with Sai Baba quite often, so they think, ‘This is all very Hindu, I don’t want to connect to it.’ While he says, ‘I’m your friend, you connect to me any way you want’, people have biases and perceptions. So he created a new platform called the ‘Early Birds Club’, which has no spiritual sheen and is simply about helping people spend time with themselves early in the morning before the world wakes up and try and use that internal strength to be better and more purposeful.
We are in the process of getting some of our ashrams and other things in place so that they can become places of peace and contemplation and stability. Making all of this happen is, of course, the work of the masters, we just like little ants and squirrels trying to move the whole thing along.
Bimal: How has the organization affected you as an individual, your personal growth and transformation and how is Mohanji related to this?
Devi: My life has completely changed. Mohanji has fulfilled all of my dreams and it was something that I prayed for. Something that I thought was an ideal, a fantasy: I call this a huge global spiritual family. I don’t consider this as an organization. There is so much happening within this spiritual family. People are free to leave and free to join and it’s beautiful to witness how those who deeply connect move along this ‘Path of Pathlessness’ and transform together. One of my ‘heads’ within the foundation has been the Mai-Tri Method. Connecting to Mohanji’s consciousness and being fully protected, sending energy for the purpose of alignment and self-healing. There have been profound insights. For the first time I started seeing things through my third eye. I started understanding how karma works, I started perceiving parallel realities and our multi-dimensional existence. Something you could never find in a book. I’ve witnessed around Mohanji a grand collaboration of Masters; how they all work together, how this has been backed by this ancient, grand Tradition. As I said, this would not be possible for an ego-based, human being’s ambition.
The speed with which Mohanji moves is so great and through all these methods where I connected to the consciousness; I started to get glimpses of how he operates. I see him more and more moving from this great activity into silence and us becoming his extended arms and legs. At some point, a Master becomes a powerful conduit of energy, vertically and then we spread it out into the world horizontally. We have more than 100 Mohanji Acharyas who are instruments of his teachings, beautiful transformative programs, Himalayan School of Traditional Yoga, Traditional Dancing; so many different platforms. Everybody can find something for themselves.
You can see a global trend toward experiential spirituality where they start going within and aligning with nature and with inner truth; going deeper and deeper into discovering the inner universe. It’s connected with nature and being natural. We say in the yoga school: ‘Being a yogi means being natural.’ It sounds like just a phrase, but it’s actually very profound, because, as we said, love is not an emotion, it’s the force that holds the entire universe, entire universes; entire creation together. If we start connecting deeper with nature, with ourselves; we realize that we don’t need any chemicals, we don’t need any weapons. We have everything within ourselves and within nature to sustain ourselves and live in heaven on earth. We are here to take the responsibility to create that heaven on earth, for our future generations and for all of us living now. The aim is to show that it’s possible and to live that truth no matter what.
We are continuously inspired and all of us contribute in our own ways. Through the different platforms within the foundation, we invite people to join us, to experience the transformation within, to contribute through your own talents. This is a golden path, because the gold is within, the gold is when you feel that you have everything and you need nothing. It’s not a path of proving anything to others, accumulating wealth, accumulating fame or anything to be grabbed, no competition. It’s simply about realizing that truth and continuously being a fountain that spreads that, spontaneously.
Andra: Working with WCA and aligning myself with the vision that Mohanji has for it moves me to a higher realm of thinking. I’ve become more disciplined which is something I never had before.
The most amazing thing is happening, which is kind of private, but I feel that people should know about it too. When I look at Mohanji’s eyes throughout the day, I’m getting internal communication; I’m getting advice, guidance, helping me through my day and I know I’m getting that help because I want to serve. I want to help WCA do the fullest of what it’s able to do.
I look at WCA as a catalyst, to speed up the shift we’ve all heard about and of course, as anyone who has worked with Mohanji knows, he speeds up the action for everybody. He’s moving us forward, in a very gentle way, but we know that’s his vision. When you find out why, you find you have a purpose. Every human being has a purpose, every species, every life form has a purpose and can teach us something.
I have become more conscientious. My life is filled with joy in an unusual way, because these are the times of the pandemic and there’s a lot of depression. For me personally it’s a time of internal reflection and there is a silence that’s powerful and when you have that silence and there’s less on the outside, you tune in again to a higher way of being and to guidance within you that can help direct you and your life.
I love the idea of one world, one family. That’s the beauty of WCA; it doesn’t have division of any sort. It’s meant to be neutral and meant to give the idea that we human beings have the power to change the world, through what we’re able to give, in our particular life.
Soma Seal: When I look back at what I was 5 years ago and what I am now, my attitude has completely changed. The way I perceive things is very different. Having done spiritual courses and having read a lot of books; I knew about these concepts of unconditional love, compassion, accepting people as they are, being non-judgmental, but I used to wonder if it’s really possible to imbibe these qualities.
When I first met Mohanji in 2014 and got initiated into Kriya and practicing Kriya, it made a difference. Then Mohanji inspired me to get into service in a big way and visit old homes and orphanages in the beginning and the first thing that I realized is that whenever I spent time with these people, I used to feel very happy. Something within me expanded and it was as though my heart chakra was completely open.
I majorly resisted when I was asked to take over Ammucare in 2018. I’m a good follower, I’ll do my work, I’m responsible, but I’m not the kind to take that kind leadership responsibility. I gave in though because it was coming from Mohanji. I asked him to bless me and empower me and he said, ‘Why are you even worried? This is because you feel that you are doing everything.’
I had a lot of doubts about how well it would go and how long it would last, but Mohanji has the big picture and he believed in it and now I understand that I am absolutely doing what I was meant to be doing. I have shed my own insecurities and fears, there’s a lot of acceptance and today I’m very grateful that he pushed me into it, pushed me out of my comfort zone, to take up this responsibility.
Bimal: We call it ‘M Power’, that energy that stands behind us. He says all the time that he empowers anybody who has the conviction to do well for others.
Madhu: I might not see much difference myself, but I think that other people see that there is something different. I think I’m much lighter and one of Mohanji’s pet lines stays with me, ‘What you gain is actually what you lose.’ What I’ve lost are a lot of insecurities, a lot of emotions that are not required. I find that I’m very energetic. There are very few times that I’m listless or at a loss for energy, because you are connected to a much higher purpose and if ever there is a chance that your energy is dipping, there is a call from Mohanji or there is some message from him and suddenly you start thinking, ‘What are you doing? Why are you wasting time?’ Some of that purpose that drives him, rubs off on you when you work with him, or when you listen to what he is saying and follow what he’s practicing. That boost in energy because you are doing something for the world and not to fill your own pockets, which happens as a side effect professionally, is probably the biggest change.
Bimal: Where do you see your organization in the coming months and what are your plans.
Soma: Ammucare is now taking care of 60 old people in Thiruvanamalai and very soon construction will begin, because it’s Mohanji’s vision that we provide a permanent shelter. We are planning to open more Aangans across India focusing mostly in the rural areas so that we can reach out to children and women. We are planning to link up with other organizations to organize regular kitchens under the ACT4Hunger banner. We are going to expand regular annadaan activities into more cities. I would love to see Ammucare become a movement, to inspire people to serve selflessly and evolve as human beings. The key thing is that as you serve and as you grow, your life transforms.
Devi: For ACT I see greater outreach and long term projects; orphanages, shelters, soup kitchens and empowerment through skill development. It’s about inspiring people to come out of slumber and inactivity and the wasting of whatever free time we have in a lethargic mode of living; to rise up and contribute. That way we create many more safe havens for those who are most vulnerable and most helpless among us: The elderly, those who have disabilities and animals. This is the moment of non-violence and we support a plant-based diet, we even have Mohanji Vegan Club. We support the thriving of all species, we don’t think that we deserve to enjoy it here, at the expense of others. The greatest illusion is to think that you can enjoy something at somebody else’s expense. We can only rise up and awaken when we expand in loving consciousness and realize this. Connecting with unity consciousness is the aim here, it has to be reflected in what we do and say and intend.
Andra: Many years ago I thought about creating a culture of compassion and I believe that WCA is the vehicle to do that. We have to acknowledge that not only do parents raise children, but our culture, wherever it is in the world, is also raising our children. Our children are being raised by films, by music, by television, by video games and that has to change. The only way to change that is to go to those sectors of society and ask them questions about how they can use their particular medium to add value to the world; that’s the thing that Mohanji is constantly saying. We saw through WCA that Mohanji is multi-talented. He just recently wrote a song. The song is so magnificent because he’s setting before everyone the vision: Re-imagine the world. How will it be? How can it be?
Madhu: We have various organizations and schools and clubs. Each of them is a different avenue for expression, creativity and work which allows somebody to connect to his teachings. It all seems to be speeding up and the key element is more people coming to work for the mission because more people feel that this is something they should commit their time to. The second thing I feel will happen at a rapid pace are our centers, like Slovenia and other parts of the world, those will become magnets for more people to connect and reach out. We have the Acharya base as well now, which is a group of people empowered by Mohanji to go out and transform people and the world.
We have offerings for literally every community and constituency in the world. We spoke about the spiritual side, the seva side, but one thing which we didn’t touch upon was a big community of people that are stressed and are possibly huge catalysts in changing how things can work is the corporate sector. If you affect and transform the leaders; the number of lives you’re going to transform, because of how they conduct business and they conduct work, is going to be huge. We have a new program called ‘Invest in Awareness’, which is based on his teachings, which I believe has immense potential and is going to explode in a way that we can’t imagine.
I think that as our organization grows, people will see Mohanji for who he really is. We say Mohanji is the universal friend because of his vision and the way he has something to do with every aspect of humanity and the world. Mohanji’s journey has not been easy, it has been extremely challenging, but his purpose and energy are relentless.
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