A day with Mohan Swami (Sogal)

Note: All views are entirely the personal views of the author and is an open expression of sharing the journey with those who enjoy similar experiences. Reader’s discretion is advised.

On the auspicious day of Guru Purnima, me and my friend decided to meet a guru whom we had met long before coming into ShivYog.  A swami who looks after the ashram in Sogal, about 75 kms from where I stay in Belgaum. A person who does not make any disciples and prefers ta silent life in his ashram and farm. A yogi who wears only a lungi (a long piece of clothing around the waist that runs down the leg and can be folded up to the knees) and he wears it in all seasons. A yogi who has wandered all his life since childhood and been trained in Siddha medicine in Siddhashram, Kerala.

I learnt many things earlier from this yogi and this was a place where two siddhas had taken Jeeva Samadhi earlier. This place has a very peaceful and blissful vibration being amidst rocks and greenery all around with water flowing here and there.  The temple you see on the left is the samadhi site of Swami Maathanand and right above on the top most part of the hill is a natural cave in the rocks where he did his sadhana.

In those days there were no people around and it was a dense forest where robbers frequented. This time we could not meditate in the cave because it takes a lot of time to climb up and down the hill and we had to return home by same day. We had meditated for sometime here last time we visited (to read more on earlier visit click here). On the right, is the picture of Shriguru Maathanand Maharaj and his asana.

I somehow always had the feeling that all my gurus are connected strongly, which I had mentioned previous blog of my mystical experiences with Mohan Swami and how I was guided to meet him and learn things from him.

We were always in confusion as to what to give Swamiji everytime we went there because he was so aloof of worldly attachments. So this time we framed a photo for him which was modified from the photographs of previous visits there.  He was happy to see it and so were we. Image is below.
I couldn’t be with Babaji for the Gurupurnima celebration in Mumbai and so thought I must spend some time with this beautiful great soul who very, very few know.  Me and Shashikant had informed Swamiji that we are coming and we took a bus to this ashram.  We reached there at 12 p.m. and as soon as we reached his hut, we saw Swamiji coming there from probably the farms.  His farms had all kinds of herbal medicines.  Swami has wandered all his life, since his adolescence age and has been associated with Siddasrham in Kerala from where he learnt all about ayurvedic healing.  Many people come to him for treatment of their various ailments to which Swamiji offers a solution with these herbal medicines.

Quite as usual, our Babaji often says that we should not judge a holy person by his looks and this is where I had failed when I met him first.  My impression used to be that any holy person should “look” holy and do all things that were “holy” but then again later realized that they were my definitions which were bitterly wrong.  Once I started noticing my experiences with him, I understood that he was not what he looked. (mentioned in the earlier article)

It was raining lightly when we reached his small hut and he came from behind his hut outside with no protection over him from the rains.  He greeted us and invited us in.  There was an old woman who was always in seva of swamiji and they all lovingly called him “ajja” (in Kannada means grandfather). Swamiji immediately with total humility pulled up the steel chairs for us to sit and after bowing down at his feet we sat in front of him.  In no time, the lady (whom we called “auvva” meaning mother in Kannada) brought us tea and as we sipped it, Swami started answering our queries.  I told him about my visit to Bhagawan Nityananda’s ashram and caves in Kanhangad and also about my sadhana in ShivYog.  He was pleased and smiled acknowledging it.  He spoke a few things about Bade Baba (Bhagawan Nityananda) and also about Swami Shivananda Paramahamsa a great siddha who was also during the time of Bade Baba in Kerala and asked me if I had gone to Anand ashram in Kanhangad, to which I answered yes.

Soon, it was 2:15 p.m. and Swami got up and told us it was time to have lunch.  As two of his other sevaks served us food in the plate, Swamiji made sure that he too served us something with his hands (He does this every time we go there) and does it with so much of humility and affection.  We saw that semiya payasam (kheer) was served and intuitively I thought this sweet dish must be for us.  I assumed and did not want to think twice if it really was :).  After that the sevak served us  rice and sambar with some vegetable and pickles.  I have lately seen that the most simplest food in the most simplest places by the most simplest people are the most tastiest! 

We got up and washed our own plates and kept them back and I was eagerly waiting to sit with him and talk since we had to leave back home the same evening.  We sat there with him for a few more hours and he patiently, smiling and very humbly and politely answered everything we asked him.  I noticed that during the conversation, even if we said something which was not something that he wanted to tell or something that was not in alignment to what he was speaking, he would always agree with it.  He never said it was wrong or correct it.  After agreeing with what we said in between the conversations, he would politely convey again in a different way what he wanted to convey.  What I am trying to say here is that he never corrected us or said it was wrong or incorrect or disagreed with us in any way even if we were wrong!  It showed how nonjudgemental, noncritical and humble he was. 

As we were conversing, we could hear the peacocks cry out in the wilderness behind the hut. It is a wonderful sight to see monkeys and peacocks moving around.

Finally, it was 4:45 p.m. and we had to leave since the bus was be downhill at 5:15 p.m.  It was at least a 15-minute walk all down the hill.  We took his blessings and took leave of him.  Before we left we requested him for a photograph with us to which he readily came with us stood, let us take the snap and finally bid us. Soon we were walking downhill and on the way stopped to look at the deer park.  The dear deer there was more keen on snatching the plastic bag in my hand than the leaves I was trying to feed it with. Soon we were in the bus and by 8:15 p.m. I was home amidst the lashing rains. I immediately pulled out my laptop to enter the notes before my memory was lashed out of what Swamiji spoke on this day.

More importantly Swamiji shared some few divine things with us that I would like to put up here. Swamiji never takes anyone as his disciples but always is ready to help and share with what he can help. He only speaks of what he is asked about and never talks more than the subject in hand.

Here are some pearls that spilled from him during the 3+ hours we spent with him:

  • Swami is always in nonduality and does not favor anything that goes with the dual form of nature.  He gives no importance to temples and pujas and anything that is done external for he says that all is within.
  • The breath is everything and even you are born from it.
  • The guru disciple relationship is more valuable than it is usually seen.  The disciple should have an undying faith in the guru.
  • Whatever the guru’s words (guru vaakyam param vaakyam) should be taken as binding without wanting to think any further.
  • One should never judge a guru in any form even if the guru is not right.
  • The disciple may be more smarter than the guru but still should obey his guru.
  • Even if the guru has 100 wives or does wrong one should have total humility and obedience to his master and then even if the guru is wrong, the disciple will always rise in his practice due to his guru bhakthi.
  • Total surrender comes with obeying whatever the guru instructs.  If he says jump in the water one should just jump and if he says “Never show your face again.” this instruction also should be carried out with respect and faith.  This is when the disciple has totally overcome the ahankaar (ego).
  • It may be difficult for a seeker to keeping falling back to old ways due to karma but then it is only dhyaan (contemplation/meditation/sadhana) that will help one burn the karmas.  It is like a flowing water through a channel that has lot of dirt.  As the dirt (karma) keeps accumulating on and often the continuous flowing water (regular sadhana) keeps cleansing it.
  • Breath is agni (fire) that burns thoughts (karma) in the sushumna.
  • One has to gain mastery over his/her breath.  When breath is controlled the mind is controlled and when mind is controlled the entire world can be controlled.
  • If the gati (rhythm) of your breath matches its natural form then it automatically matches the nature and Universe and you can control even Tsunamis with that.
  • The breathing should be practiced in groups in such a way that over a period of time everyone’s breath should become one. There were 18 siddhas in Tamilnadu who used to practice this in group until their breaths became one. Even when there were spread out kilometers apart from each other, what one thought the other could perceive it. In simple words all their thoughts became one. This can be achieved by anyone if practiced.
  • One should learn to withdraw the prana from other parts of the body and bring it to the third eye and that is when one ceases to have physical sensations in the body. This is what yogis master – they master how to withdraw and pull up the prana and exit through the sahasrar which is then known as samadhi.(It is obvious from swamiji that no external situations or climate can affect him because he remains half nude throughout all seasons and I know how cold it is in this area in winter.)
  • Yogis are always withdrawn from their senses and thus have no sensations to the body and things around. It is only when the prana is let to flow back that sensations begin and awareness happens.
  • People say how do great yogis die from disease.  The disease is something that afflicts the body not the yogi.  He is beyond the pain and sufferings of the body.  He knows how to withdraw his senses and thus remain unaffected by it.
  • As one does the sushumna breathing the breathing starts getting more subtler and the movement of prana up and down the sushumna reduces as it slows down and at one point it just flickers at the third eye.  This is the time when one loses all body consciousness.  This moment when expanded for a longer period one gets all the wisdom and knowledge of the Universe.
  • Siddhi is something that distracts one from the main goal and if one goes behind it then gets into all kind of troubles with it.
  • There should be no discrimination between male and female.  In Siddhasram we all used to be together as a part of the training.  All wore same kind of dress, all had to do all kind of jobs equally without discrimination like washing, cooking, cleaning, etc.  Even one could transcend lust here with such kind of training.  If one did not match with such an environment he would leave within days never to return back.  Thus who really were the right kind of people, stayed back.  When one returned back home from here, they would find it difficult to stay in the world as what he/she learnt in practicality in the ashram would not meet the world’s way of functioning.
  • When asked further how then would one adjust in family life, he answered, “There are many ways.  One best way is that the husband and wife surrender to each other.  If one person is following spirituality and the other is opposite, then both should take turns to listen completely to each other, whatever it is, for every three months.  First three months the husband listens completely to the wife and the next three months the wife listens completely to the husband.  Slowly the desired changes would come in”  Now a spiritual person will know truly how to handle this situation.
  • The entire world is your reflection.  If you are seeing or observing any bad deeds in others then those bad deeds are within you.  Basavanna and his wife were once at home when the thief entered to rob of their valuables.  On discovering the thief, Basvanna could see nothing but goodness in him.  He asked his wife to hand over her valuables that the thief was seeking.  She was shocked as she was instead expecting her husband to catch and tie up the thief. She denied.  Basavanna said she had to do it if he was truly her husband and she could not do anything but hand it over to the thief who left hurriedly.  But after sometime the thief’s consciousness could not take it anymore and he came back and returned everything. Now, Basavanna could see nothing wrong in that thief also and saw only goodness in him because he himself was pure.
  • All diseases happen due to wrong breathing.  One can master this art of breathing by regular practice.  First this will have to be done with effort and awareness at all times and then a time will come when the “right” breathing automatically starts happening without any effort.
  • When asked if Swamiji tells the people who come to him for medicines all this, he replied, “All do not understand these things and everyone’s intentions are not the same.  We should share and help but only where we should.  People say ‘What have I to do with all these things?  Please give me some good medicine to heal this problem.” and he laughed out loud.
  • One has to do physical work also for a living.  Do hard work for your meals.  Then your body also will remain fit.  Not just eat and sleep.
  • The body can be conditioned in anyway.  New things might look and feel hard for it for a few days but it will soon adapt to it. There is nothing it cannot adapt to. You have to train it.
  • The eyes are our outlet to the world.  Wherever our eyes run similar thoughts are generated in the mind and the other way, whenever thoughts arise in the mind the eyes try to run to similar directions.  Hence we close our eyes in dhyana to shut out this door and also turn our eyes upwards to the third eye towards anthardristhi (inner vision).
  • There are five pranas – Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana & Samana. (He talked more on how they work on different functions of the body, but I could not grasp much.
  • There is nothing apart from you in this creation.  You are everywhere.
  • People are more interested in business than listening to these things, but they would surely listen if I tell them how to make more business with these things. (This reminds me of our Babaji where he says, “If I put the scriptures and wisdom to you in the raw form, you will not like it and say this Baba is boring and run away. But I am offering you it in your scientific way and the way you understand.)
  • All rituals are outer reflection of what is internal.  The fire in the havan is also there within us, into which one burns one’s karmas or past impressions.  The prana is the fire which moves up and down in the sushumna thus burning all karmas that come in contact with it.  The ahuthi is act of surrendering or releasing our bad deeds into the fire of prana and the draviya indicate our worldly attachments that we offer into the fire.  What remains is the ash which people smear it on their forehead as a symbolic expression of burning all their vices and attachments.
  • You do not have to worry much on diseases and life problems if you just be natural and allow yourself to be natural. Then you automatically tune in the natural rhythm of the Universe and everything goes fine. It is only when you interrupt this natural process with thoughts that the balance goes off and problems are invited.
  • A child is very divine. It cannot differentiate between good and bad and everything is one to it.  You have to be like a child that is natural and free of discrimination. The child can only see and identify but does not imagine/visualize. With visualization (mental pictures) begin the thought process and all other complications.
  • You have all the powers within you that you are not aware of. It only has to be activated.

To read about my previous stay with him and mystical experiences click here