Mohanji always speaks about a powerful vedic adage “Mata Pita Guru Deva”. It’s a way I try to live my life. There are many meanings to this powerful statement. But to me one intrepretation is a statement reminding you of gratitude and growth. Your mum and dad (mata pita) prepares you to meet your Guru. Your Guru prepares you to meet God. This is how it happened in my life. My mum was the one that taught me how to love unconditionally. She taught me what it means to be spiritual and how to dive deep into Sadhana. My mum was a Shri Vidya upasaka. It did not matter what she was doing or who was visiting or even how sick she was, but first thing in the morning and at 6pm every evening was her sadhana time. She never missed her sadhana time for anything, except if it was to serve someone. My mum taught me to see the world beyond the physical expression of Maya. She unknowingly cultivated the idea of serving others through sanyasa.
That burning desire was there for as long as I can remember thanks to her, but I was thrown into the “normal world” of paying bills. I could not spend as much time as I would in the pursuit of the spiritual things I love. To be honest, I’m not sure that I can live in that world. I have such great respect for people that flow seamlessly in that space. That’s where my dad stepped in. He took care of me at every turn. He gave me the financial freedom I needed to do what I love. He helped me every month not only to pay bills but reminding me if certain things were done. He cashed policies so that we could build the extension to the Mohanji Dattatapovan Ashram in South Africa. It is because of my Dad that the ashram is what it is today. When I was driving often to help with sevas and programs, he bought me a new car so that we would be safer on the roads. He even chose a care with a bigger boot so that we could pack more seva offerings.
It is because of both my parents, that my heart was open to Mohanji. It is because of them, I could surrender to Mohanji and let my Babaji into my heart and soul. So I am forever grateful to my parents for preparing me for the single most important aspect of my life….serving Mohanjis devotees. Without Mohanji am I nothing.
Trips to Pietermaritzburg
Because of my parent’s medical aid, my mum had to go to a hospital in a city called Pietermaritzburg. Normally I take about 45 to 50 minutes to drive to the city from Durban. But during lockdown it took more than 1hour 15 minute one way, because of the road blocks. I would drive every single day for the first one and a half months and then every second day for month and then again everyday for about three weeks. My dad and Ajay would alternate coming with me. My dad would visit mum one day and I would visit the next day. Visiting mum was pure grace from Mohanji and the tradition. The hospital went into a shutdown because of Covid, and no one was allowed to visit patients. But somehow the hospital gave us permission to see mum. Although for some weeks, we had to drive all the way to the hospital to see mum literally for 3min. They would allow us into the ward, see her long enough just to say “Love you mum” and we had to leave. But all other patients did not even get to that. This is only Mohanjis blessing and grace.
After the stent was successfully inserted, mums condition was not stable. Each day more and more drips and other medications were being pumped into her. It was heart-breaking to see my mum who was so independent and elegant, in a cabbage-like condition. She lay there motionless, machines keeping her alive. There was no improvement for a long time, until Narashima Jayanti. The night before I dreamed of Mohanji and he said that we should do abhishekam for mum’s health. So for Narashima Jayanti we decided to do a bigger abhishekam than was planned and in literally a few hours we bought and prepared everything. The abhishekam was so powerful and so much of energy was generated.
The next day my dad and I went to the hospital as usual. But this time, he walked out of the hospital with a big smile. He hurriedly go into the car and said that mum opened her eyes. It was a miracle only with the blessings of Mohanji and our divine tradition. Over the next few days mum improved. Her heart became stronger and began to function without the heart pump, adrenaline and blood pressure medication. Her heart completely healed. She was still on the ventilator, but she was getting stronger and stronger each day. She became completely aware of what was happening around her.
When we visited her, she would move her lips and speak to us. On the days I got to see mum, she would ask me how things are going at the ashram and how Mohanji is. She would ask how the pujas are going at ashram and if my dad is fasting and praying. She was always brave. My mum developed water around her heart. But the doctors managed to get that under control. They tried to reduce the ventilator, but she had difficulty breathing. She started picking up hospital infections all the time, and even more antibiotics needed to be pumped into her. But she was completely aware of everything.
One day when I visited, one of the nurses was having a fight with his girlfriend. He was standing far away, but my mum heard it and smiled to me. When he walked passed her, she gave him a smile and asked to hold his hand. So she was completely cognisant of everything. Even though she was in such a precarious situation, she still thought about comforting others.
Her temperature spiked very high one day and she complained of extreme pain. She was coughing. Our worst nightmare became a reality. My mum picked up covid-19 from one of the nurses or doctors. How we found out was also so hurtful. Just a lack of human connection found at health care institutions. It was during a time we kept on hearing how many people were dying. The hospital said that we could not see her anymore. That was a huge blow for us. I messaged Mohanji, and Mohanji said that he is protecting her. As long as my mum wanted to live he would take care of her. Mohanji said we should do Maitri for mum. Amazingly, the day after the healing her temperature broke. In three days a second test came back negative. The doctors were amazed. They did the test again and she was negative. After just three days we got the go ahead to visit mum again.
After a week or so, mum’s condition deteriorated very fast. Her lungs filled with water. She was given so much of drips that the pressure inside her veins increased because of the huge amounts of fluid pumped into her. To stabilize itself, water moved from her blood into her lungs. No matter what medication she was given she was not responding. She had to be sedated. Her kidneys began to fail and she had to be put onto dialysis. The doctors initially said that it would most likely be for life. She was unconscious and on dialysis for three weeks. Each day she looked worse than the day before. I again spoke to Mohanji, who again said that as long as she wants to live he can do something. The next day she began responding and the water inside her lungs reduced. Within that week she was off the dialysis machine and the doctors said that there is no need for future dialysis because her kidneys started working normally. Mohanji interceded again.
After that mum began to improve. Soon she was conscious again and she started to move her hands a little. She was in a good space and always smiling each time we saw her. However, being cooped up in a hospital bed not being able to move started to take its toll. She wanted to come home….home to Durban. My parents wanted to move to Durban. Both my parents changed their minds. That really was such a blessing. Slowly the doctors began to reduce the ventilator till she was almost breathing on her own. She was improving so well, that the doctors said she would be discharged by next week Monday into a rehabilitation hospital to help with the ICU-induced muscle weakness i.e. her paraplegia. My dad was so happy and there was an instant change in his mood. She was moving her hands, talking by moving her lips, aware of everything, siting up on a chair herself etc.
Although Covid caused so many issues in terms of visiting mum, it had one big advantage…. It forced Dad to spend three whole months with me. This really is a balm to my aching heart. If my parents passed away while in Newcastle it would be more devastating to me. But instead, Grace allowed my dad to spend three happy, wonderful months with me. I got to really reconnect with my father and my dad’s whole outlook of life changed.
Every single day was filled with a regimen that my dad enjoyed. We would wake up early and make sure he had his breakfast and medication. I started buying him multivitamins and dissolved it every morning for him. That simple act of love and concern, moved my dad which was so visible on his smile each time I gave it to him. After that, my dad would walk in the garden and poke around there. My dad was never the gardening type, although he would mow the lawn and keep the garden neat. Here, he really connected to nature and had so many plans for the garden. He wanted to fill the garden with color and told me many times that when he moves here, he will look after the garden.
Dad also joined us every night for homas, pujas and meditation. That really changed him. He became so considerate and loving. He was actually articulating verbally how much he loved us. He was fasting and praying everyday. Every single morning he used to offer an abishekam to a Narmada Shiva Linga, which was not what my dad normally was. He joined us for a group healing one night and had an amazing experience. During that experience he had a vision that he was going to have a heart attack that week. He said he felt how much of pain he was going to be in and began to cry. He said now that mum is so much better and aware of everything, if he got sick it will bring a set back to her. Now I realise that this was indeed grace from Mohanji and Tradition. They delayed my dad’s heart attack. If dad had the heart attack as planned by destiny, my mum would have known because she was fully conscious. If dad suddenly did not show up to hospital she would have known something happened. That would have killed my mum is the most excruciating way possible. She would have blamed herself for my Dads death. Who can bear that burden.
We visited mum on Monday, but something in my heart made me feel that dad needs to see mum the next day. At this point, we were only allowed to see mum every second day. The hospital was very strict and even turned us away when we tried to visit her on consecutive days. But something in my heart said that dad needs to visit mum. That morning my dad helped pack groceries for 30 families and was in such a playful mood. He called Ajay and insisted he come with us to the hospital. That was very strange because only two people are allowed to travel in the car and we were stopped almost every morning on the way to the hospital. I think that Mohanji made my dad realise that this was his last day. We were not stopped at the road block that day.
At the hospital, I insisted my dad go to see mum. He said that it was my turn to see mum and I should go. But I made an excuse and said that the nurses like him and they will only let him in. It was purely the blessings of the divine, that they allowed my dad to see my mum. He spent at least two hours with her which was very unusual. He came out of the hospital with a big smile saying that mum is doing so well and they turning the ventilator off for hours and then putting it back on for a short time. We just drove a few kilometres and suddenly I felt something was wrong. I put my hand on my dad’s chest and asked him if he is ok. As usual he said he is fine, but a second latter he grabbed his chest and was falling forward. Ajay caught him from the back and I drove back to the hospital.
My dad had a massive cardiac episode. The main artery had ripped open and his blood pressure dropped. The cardiologist said that they are preparing for open heart surgery. We were sitting outside the ICU and just chanting. I was forcing my mind to say that he will be ok. My dad is so strong and never had any health issues. In a short while, the doctors came out. They sat near me and said “He did not make it” and said that they tried resuscitating my dad but he was gone. They could do nothing else. I was in absolute shock. Those word “He did not make it” just kept ring in my head. I could not process anything, not even those 4 words. I could not even cry. My dad had apparently had heart attacks before, but he did not know. It was silent heart attacks that do not hurt and eases quickly.
When we got home, we called family and friends. When I walked into my dad’s room, I noticed that may dad left both his rings and chain near the altar in him room. My dad never took off the ring I bought him for his 50h birthday. He would rather take off his wedding ring, but not that ring I gave him. It was the first time ever that he took of that ring. I think this was another sign of grace. My dad knew what was going to happen and he accepted it. This is when I broke down. Tears flowed, my heart ached and I felt so cold. Not a body cold, but as if my heart was becoming ice. But this passed while connecting to Mohanjis eyes, and I finally fell asleep for one or two hours.
As painful as it is too loose a dad, I am very grateful to Mohanji and the tradition. I got to spend time with my dad and he got to be in intense spiritual energy. He did seva before he passed and importantly for him he got to see mum seconds before he passed away. Mum was really the last person he spoke to. I am so grateful to have been near him when he had the cardiac episode and we got him to hospital quickly. I would have been devastated if dad passed away while he was at home and I was out shopping or running an errand. That was normally what we did. Normally the day after visiting mum, I would go shopping and get essentials. He would have been at home and I in town when he would have passed away. He heard Mohanjis gayatri mantra while having his cardiac episode. All this eases the pain in heart. This is nothing by grace and blessings.
One of the best memories I have of my dad happened a few days before his death. I took a chair out during a sunset, just to connect with Mohanji as the evening drew in. My dad then came to sit with me. I brought him a nice comfortable chair and a blanket. We sat together for hours. We did not speak much, but just watched the sun set and stars at night. I’ll never forget the child like look on his face and the complete satisfaction he had. He ate a whole plate of bara (a savoury snack he loved) and chose a movie to watch. My dad was not really a movie person, but he grew to love watching movies with us. I think it was more spending time with us. He began to love watching foreign arty, martial arts and religious films and ofcousce horror films.
So in spite there is deep paining losing my dad, I am so grateful. Mohanji and tradition did so much for me to ensure I am protected and that my heart heals. I am leaving this blog here. Thinking of my Dad makes me want to go outside and just sit watching the stars. Till next time.