“WE INVITE MEN TO BE MOTHERS”
Project Mauli, led by Siddha Naad Yogi Vibhushri Rivesh Vade, the founder of Bodh Marga Foundation, is encouraging men and women to awaken feminine consciousness in individuals, families, workplaces, and societies for a more stable, joyful, and creatively abundant world, says Satish Purohit
Vibhushri Rivesh Vade’s spiritual journey began in the 90s when he began visiting several elevated masters to satisfy his spiritual curiosity. It was only when he met with a road accident in 2012, which nearly killed him, that he truly entered spiritual life. He was the national manager of a leading IT company and drew a salary that was four times what most others at his age with his qualifications were earning. “I was happily married, appreciated by my bosses, and respected by my subordinates. My family and my relatives agreed that I had made it in life. In hindsight, I was way too comfortable, or even complacent, in my bed of thorns to realise that I had a larger destiny, a mission to serve people,” says Vibhushri.
It is said that when the devotee refuses to claim his higher destiny, Hari, the Lord, sends great sorrows his way to destroy his illusion that stability, happiness, and abundance can come from any source other than the Lord. In a spiritual sense, every crisis is an opportunity to break out of the bonds of worldly existence to explore higher possibilities. “In my case, my body was badly mangled. I felt in particular that my navel had been held by claws of iron and ripped away from my body. I could have utilised this time to read, which I have always enjoyed, or used it to listen to good music, watching videos, or upgrading myself by acquiring more knowledge. These are all masculine traits. Instead, all I found myself doing was sensing my body at all times,” says Vibhushri. “After the grace of several gurus, teachers, and spiritual facilitators, I know that this was nature’s hand working on my navel centre, which is, in my opinion, the first condition for the awakening of ‘the stree’ or the woman in every man.”
As he lay on the bed for four months, he began to sense every sensation that coursed through his body. His body was in pain, but his consciousness was expanding. Being with one’s self and becoming aware of sensations in the body is a sure way of connecting with one’s feminine consciousness.
The navel is the centre of the human body. If you put one end of a huge compass on a person’s belly and the other end touching the top of the crown of his head and rotate it, the circle thus made forms a perfect enclosure that contains the edges of the splayed feet and the extended arms of the person—an image of the Vitruvian man.
Vibhushri says he was fortunate to be guided by several teachers of Kriya Yoga, Siddha Yoga, and the Sant Parampara of Maharashtra. This culminated in his decision to quit corporate life forever.
“The path cleared for humanity by Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj is one of effortless ease, which is free from struggle for the seeker and one of quick, or even instant, awakening through the gift of bodh or awakening from the masters of the lineage. It is, therefore, the path not of effort, but of grace, which is only attracted through unconditional surrender,” he says.
All one should ‘do,’ in the words of the Bhagavad Gita, is ‘maam anusmara yudh chh,’ meaning ‘hold on to your true nature (be centred) and engage in the battle of dharma’ (The battle is in the meeting of challenges of daily living/ business/ working/ dealing). “These realisations came with the dawning of bodh upon me with the grace of my gurus. I realised that I had been removed from the rat race and my old life in the corporate world had ended forever,” he smiles.
The word ‘mauli’ means ‘mother’ in old Prakrit Marathi. Project Mauli is an attempt to awaken the inner mother in all human beings. In his work Dnyaneshwari, Sant Dnyaneshwar salutes the infinite: ‘Om Namoji Adya. Veda Pratipadya. Jai Jai Swa-samvedha Atmarupa,’ which translates into ‘I salute the ‘first being’ who has been called Om, the one who expounded the Veda. Salutations to the Self-Aware/ Self-Sentient one who has manifested in the world in the form of the individual soul.’
Self-awareness is a feminine trait. Masculine energy seeks to explore the world outside. Becoming aware of the sensations in the body and the movement of breath and thoughts in the mind is the road to Self-realisation of the one who has been called ‘Om’ by the Vedas.
Says Sucheta Shanbag, a homemaker, of the gift of the awakening of the divine feminine within. “I had a persistent arthritis problem. My knees pained acutely. I had tried reiki, naturopathy, and various other modalities. However, the problem refused to go. Vibhushri’s presence healed me of my problem.”
On being asked how do men awaken the divine feminine or the ‘mother’ within themselves, Vibhushri says that even those born with masculine bodies have their female side, just as women have a masculine side to them. One can be biologically a woman and yet remain unconnected to one’s deeper feminity. All humans have the potential to turn into a mauli. Such a mauli need not be a woman, but biological motherhood, when it is aligned with the ‘flow of nature,’ ‘the Tao,’ or ‘Prakriti’ or ‘dharma,’ results in a spontaneous awakening of this inner mother nature. In the Nath-Bhakta-Vaishnav tradition centred around devotion to Lord Vitthala or Panduranga, who is said to be Parabrahma Lingam or the Symbol of the Transcendent Brahman/God, Sant Dnyaneshwar as well as the deity, who is Lord Krishna, are addressed as mauli or mother.
Project Mauli is an invitation to men, women, girls, boys, and all other genders there are, to become more feminine, more motherly. ‘Maa’ is a common word for mother in several Indian languages. ‘Mauli’ is motherliness beyond ordinary mother nature.
“It is a divine motherliness that does not confine its love to one child but exudes it unconditionally to all beings,” says Vibhushri. It is a sangha that invites the woman in all beings to claim her centrality in all matters of the world.
“If there is a true mauli in the family, the family changes. If a mauli exists in an office, the office changes. A mauli in a leadership role transforms the entire organisation. A mauli in a powerful political position can transform the entire nation. A mauli exudes the power of unconditional love to all. In the absence of a mauli’s love, discontentment sets in, and this lack of motherly love drives people to overeat, seek sensual pleasures, talk excessively, hoard, and adopt obsessive and addictive behaviour patterns. These patterns may even be positive like reading or exercising that bring positive benefits but are poor substitutes for the lack of love. To awaken our mauli nature within is to awaken to our highest human potential,” explains Vibhushri. “In the presence of such a mother, everything is refreshed, renewed, and invigorated. She calms the mind, heals the body, and awakens the soul to its higher purpose. Her love fulfils us and therefore stops us from seeking fulfilment in things of the world. Much of human suffering comes from seeking fulfilment in anything other than divine love. This lack of love is the root cause of the sad state in which we find humanity, and awakening our mauli nature is the key to filling the dark hole within us caused by the lack of love. A mauli is a channel of divine grace that possesses the power to touch, move, and transform. A social worker or philanthropist gives much to the world through their efforts. A mauli gives more by just her presence.”
Sant Dnyaneshwar or Dnyaneshwar Mauli spread love wherever he went. It was said that people ceased to argue or fight wherever he went. Just as a mother feeds her child milk from her breast, a mauli feeds the milk of bodh.
How it is done
Project Mauli conducts expositions of Sant Dnyaneshwar’s work Hari Path, which is a collection of 28 poems of deep spiritual import that reveal the path to God beyond name and form, through the worship of God with name and form—Vitthala Panduranga. Hari Path combines music, dance, chanting, and the presence of Vibhushri Rivesh Vade, which aims to facilitate an intense awakening of bodh in the participants. Vibhushri says, “It is not the ‘doing’ of any of these activities that awaken bodh but merely the act of surrendering to the inner guru with the help of the grace of the Nath parampara. Hari Path is not so much about the sharing of knowledge as it is a passing of the fire handed from guru to disciple over hundreds of years. This is the fire that awakens what Vibhushri refers to as the inner mother or Mauli. Being a Nada Yogi, he interprets Hari Path as a manual on the subject of divine vibration, which shows the path to fulfilment of all desires.
Music, poetry, and dance play a great role in uplifting people spiritually. Hari Path shivirs (camps) organised by Project Mauli use all these mediums to awaken feminity in spiritual seekers. Participants are invited to listen to the songs of Hari Path. “Listening is a feminine quality. It helps one take in spiritual influences. Kirtan or devotional singing, which combines song, poetry, dance, and music helps excessively logical (masculine) people enter a state of surrender. There is no hope for those caught in the mundane world to experience the higher if they do not enter the state of surrender,” explains Vibhushri.
Teresa Yang, the founder of Yang’s Chinese beauty parlour, Mumbai, explains how this gift of bodh impacted her life. “I was suffering from a variety of medical conditions. In Vibhushri’s presence, my body enters into various asanas (yogic postures) on its own, without any conscious attempt on my part. This is a feature of the path of the Siddhas that Vibhushri teaches. I have been healed considerably and have also experienced a complete transformation in my relationships. I am a much calmer, happier, and more rooted person, thanks to him.”
Vibhushri says, “This supreme knowledge is only available in Prakrit Marathi and is hardly known even to people who speak modern Marathi. I have been tasked by my guru who belongs to the Siddha Yoga lineage to take this liberating knowledge to the world so that the suffering humanity can reconnect with higher consciousness, which is, in reality, our true nature and ultimate destiny.”
Project Mauli was started first in 2015 at Govardhan eco-village, Manor, with merely 35 people attending it. It has grown beautifully into a movement where every month, one or two shivirs happens, where around 300 people come to attend. So far nine thousand plus people have attended and around six thousand of them have found harmony in physical and mental health. Many have sensed expanded consciousness after attending it. Initially, when it started, it was in and around Mumbai but Vibhushri has taken this to cities and countries such as London, Manchester, Muscat, Thailand, Nagpur, Bangalore and Delhi.
The first step
According to Vibhushri, the first step to awaken feminine qualities is to surrender the ego to the inner guru. This act of surrendering to the inner guru, whose nature is essentially feminine, introduces us to the outer guru who is masculine. “As long as the ego is not surrendered, the divine feminine cannot be aroused. Once the surrender is deep, the inner guru leads the seeker to the outer guru or gurus who will point to the road ahead.”
In today’s world—which is a man’s world created, sustained, and even destroyed by men—women are forced into structures that demand that they behave like men.
Vibhushri says that no man can be successful without a woman. The women in a man’s life are a reflection of his own inner woman. His relationship with the women in his life is a reflection of his relationship with his inner woman. Men who are surrounded by unhappy, angry, upset, or dissatisfied women cannot expect to be truly happy or successful. To make peace with women, to give them space, and to honour them is, therefore, a good place to start. The benefits of awakening feminine consciousness are not confined to healing in the body.
Suresh Rigali, an 82-year-old retired pilot, is a case in point. Rigali came to Vibhushri with certain heaviness in his thighs after his knees were operated upon to remedy a persistent pain. “Not only did the heaviness disappear in my thighs; my personality has changed too. I feel much more open in life and more energetic than I used to be,” he says.
“The mind is useful for operating in the world but it is also the reason for our bondage to set thought patterns and objects of the world. Music uses the mind to touch the heart and prepare it for surrender. It is somewhat like using the water of the Ganga to worship Mother Ganga. Sound or naad is a powerful spiritual tool that transforms not just by conveying a message to the mind but by transforming every cell in our DNA with divine vibrations,” says Vibhushri.
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