Shift from violence to love

From irreverence to reverence, Mohan Lal Banerjee armed himself with love and compassion as opposed to guns and bombs

‘Inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help’ - Sri Sri

The one who metamorphosed from being destructive and hateful to calm and joyful. Mohan Lal Banerjee walked into the world of violence and destruction straight after high-school and stayed till everything around him become ugly and cumbersome, explains Mohan, “From the beginning, I was a quiet child, though academically, I was extremely bright. But because I was so quiet, I would get bullied a lot in high-school. One day a bunch of bullies beat me up, after which a friend of mine asked me, ‘How long would keep getting beaten up by others? Why don’t you retaliate once and this will all come to an end’. That’s where the switch happened. And suddenly, the next time I was bothered by those bullies, I removed my belt and started beating them up. And ever since, I went on hurting others because no one else had the nerve to hurt me. Earlier, I used to be scared of others, but later, everyone else was scared of me. And that went on for years.”

 
 

“But when I did my second long (Sudarshan) kriya, I felt something opened up inside me. After that, my anger almost evaporated and I don’t even know when and how I quit alcohol. I somehow didn’t feel the need for it anymore,” beams Mohan.

 
 

By the time he was 19, his parents got him married, hoping marriage and family life would bring a positive change in his lifestyle, “But there was no change because I joined the underworld in Jamshedpur (largest urban conglomeration in the state of Jharkhand, India) and my life went on like that. And my adorable, young daughter was really scared of me. But after she grew up a little, she started questioning me about why I was hurting others. And that’s when I decided to give this way of life a break,” shares Mohan, sitting next to me, with a gentle smile on his face that’s almost contagious, discussing his life without any regret or embarrassment. He continues, “After that, I started a construction business. But when I entered that world, I realized that here again you have to be powerful - I’d give a quotation for a tender and it would go to someone else. So, I started putting pressure there too.”

Soon after, he met Shivji Pandey, who told him about The Art of Living and asked him to go for it, says Mohan, “But I said no to it, after which Pandeyji really started pushing me to do it. It got to a point when I could either keep the construction job he gave me or lose it completely if I didn’t go for the course. So, I quit the job. Later, he contacted all the builders in Jamshedpur, but none of them picked up his job because I’d left it halfway. Then, he came to my house and told my wife about the entire situation. And that night, my daughter came to me and asked me to do the course. She said, ‘You anyway spend so much money on alcohol each day - why don’t you do the course with the same money?’ So, I finally sat for the course in 2001.”

 
 

"Earlier, I used to hide in those same villages to run away from the cops. Now, I go there and take courses and help people find their path towards liberation."

 
 

After he did his first Sudarshan Kriya, he didn’t say anything, “But when I did my second long kriya, I felt something opened up inside of me and I started laughing and dancing. And when I got home, I called all my friends and they saw a big change in me.

After that, my anger almost evaporated and I don’t even know when and how I quit alcohol. I somehow didn’t feel the need for it anymore,” beams Mohan, dressed in white with a thick beard and warm eyes, “Later, I decided to do seva (voluntary service) and traveled to Dongarpuria (naxal-infested area, managed by a Maoist Communist group in India that has been declared as a terrorist organization under the Unlawful Activities {Prevention} Act) for Guruji’s project. There, while I was waiting by a well, a voice told me that I am really needed here. I didn’t understand what that meant but I spoke to Pandeyji about it and he smiled and said, ‘That’s Guruji’s voice’. And I started spending each Sunday doing seva, before getting involved with it on a full-time basis and becoming the Youth Leadership Training Program Coordinator after handing my business to my son. And from the start, my team and I focused on the naxal belt to work with them and even today, each time we drive down to the naxal area, I feel that Guruji is sitting right next to me and protecting me and I have nothing to worry about.”

For him, the truth is, “That I haven’t done anything - it’s all Guruji’s setting and he picked us to do this work. Earlier, I used to hide in those same villages to run away from the cops. Now, I go there and take courses and help people find their path towards liberation.”