Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Devotee Feeds the Guru, and the Guru Feeds the Devotee

Chris Tong has been a devotee of Adi Da Samraj since 1989. He is one of the founders of this website. You can read his biographical information in the About Us section.

My earliest Darshan

My mother was a true pioneer. After spending ten years in a Catholic convent as a nun, she decided that it wasn't truly the spiritual life she had longed for . . . she hadn't found God there, just a group of well-intentioned but rather ordinary women, and the egos that tend to butt up against each other whenever communal living is attempted. So she left the convent and entered the graduate program in mathematics at Columbia University, where she met — and then married — my father, who was a brilliant young professor of mathematics there.[7] With his help, she completed her Ph.D. and became the first woman professor of mathematics at Columbia University in the late 1950's.

Her specialty, which she taught undergraduate students in her classes, was "transfinite numbers" — the study of different kinds of infinities.[1] Little did she know that an Infinity of a very different kind would enter her classroom! Many years later, she would tell me she had a student named Franklin Jones, who stood out in her memory because, after class, He would always be down at the front of the classroom with a crowd of students gathered around Him. In 1988, Franklin — Adi Da — would give a talk that drew upon this curious notion of "different kinds of infinities" that my mother taught, and, as was His way, turned it into a profound lesson about Realization:

Infinity is a convenience of mathematics. Some "wag" mathematician suggested some time ago that there are a number of different kinds of infinities. . . . You think you're working toward infinity as if it's an end number, having begun with zero. . . . . You are under the illusion that you can be "infinite", you can be "nothing", and you can be "much". . . . This is your apelike illusion! . . . Infinity is simply a sign of the indefinite — in other words, there is no number, "infinity". There's always "one more". . . . The Totality exceeds all limitation, and you are a participant in That, absolutely identified with It.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, One More Monkey [4]

I was born in June, 1957, while my mother was teaching at Columbia. She would sometimes take me with her into class during my first year of life, which was rather unusual for the time — but, as I said, my mother was a true pioneer. Adi Da began His studies at Columbia in September, 1957. When I asked her about it years later, my mother said she certainly would have brought me into the class He took with her.

So, even though I cannot remember it directly (and even though I will never know the full nature of its impact on my life and its course), any story about me finding my Guru must begin with the earliest time He Graced me with His Darshan!

The happiest moment of my early life

The happiest moment of my early life occurred in 1970, when I was thirteen. My family had just moved into a new house in a new town. I was setting up and cleaning my new room, and was listening to a song on the radio, when an overwhelming Revelation of the inherent Happiness of Reality washed over me. I was incredibly happy! And that moment was imprinted on me, to the point where, whenever I would hear that song in later years (even now), I would reconnect with that moment and that Happiness. Naturally, having no greater understanding at the time, I attributed the experience to the circumstance itself. But, these many years later, I can look back and know (with much more life experience under my belt) that just being in a new house and listening to a particular song can be pleasurable, but it doesn't send me into an overwhelming state of ecstasy!

It would only be years later that I would make the connection that the day I had that Revelation, September 10, 1970, was the day my Spiritual Master, Adi Da Samraj, re-Awakened to Divine Self-Realization. And it was clear in retrospect that His Realization washed over me and many other beings on that day, like an immense explosion spreading outward across the entire cosmos. I was not yet His devotee, of course — He would not begin formally accepting devotees until 1972. But from that moment on, He began meditating His future devotees, and so I'm very happy to be able to describe what it was like to be on the receiving end of that Great Meditation that He described in His autobiography, The Knee Of Listening:

In this most perfect Realization of Non-separateness [on September 10, 1970], many extraordinary Divine Siddhis suddenly, spontaneously appeared. . . I spontaneously began to "meditate" countless other people, and also countless non-human beings, and countless places and worlds and realms, both high and low in the scale of Reality. I observed and responded to all that was required for the Awakening and the true (and the Ultimate) well-being of each and all. And, each time I did this (and, in fact, the process quickly became the underlying constant of all my hours and days), I would continue the "meditating" of any (and each) one until I felt a release take place, such that his or her suffering and seeking was vanished (or, at least, significantly relaxed and set aside). Whenever that occurred, I Knew my "meditating" of that one was, for the moment, done. By such means, my now and forever Divine Work (by Which I must Teach, and Bless, and Awaken all and All) began.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Knee Of Listening

Adi Da once said that His impact on His devotees' lives was so profound that it could even change their past. I wonder a little about that possibility as I write this story of "finding" Him in this lifetime, and see these various moments that suggest He was in my life long before I ever "knew" of Him! But perhaps it is just as He once said to another devotee: "When are you going to learn that our relationship doesn't depend on time and space?"

Whatever may be the case, it certainly makes writing this story much easier! — since it is not merely a story about "my life", but the story of Adi Da entering my life from the very start. . . and then over and over again.

Read the rest of this story here

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Way of the Bone: The Addict's Revision of Adidam vs. the True Way

One of the most remarkable signs of Adi Da's human lifetime was His role as Da: the great Giver of Gifts to His devotees and the world. Adi Da spent many hours of each day creating extraordinarily potent spiritual Gifts: His books, His Image-Art, His essays and talks, the Hermitage Sanctuaries and Sacred Places, His daily "notes", His Darshan. From the beginning of His work with devotees in 1972 to the time of His passing in 2008, His Gifts to us were a ceaseless torrent, even overwhelming in a sense. For instance, we hardly had time to "digest" or "assimilate" His Wisdom on one topic, before He gifted us with another essay or talk on a different topic.

With our Beloved Master's passing, that stream of humanly manifested gifts has ceased, even as (at the same time) we are assured of the eternally available Gift of His Divine Presence — which is sufficient for Divine Realization. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the stream has slowed rather than ceased, insofar as there is an immense backlog of His humanly manifested gifts. It will take years before all that He gave His devotees and the world is released in an accessible form. Even in the next few years alone, we will see the publication of The Aletheon, The Gnosticon, The Pneumaton, and (at long last! for those of us who have been waiting for it for years) The Basket of Tolerance. But this is not to mention the thousands of works of Image-Art yet to be released or fabricated, the tens of thousands of hours of unreleased recordings in the Adidam Archives, etc.

Even so, in the relative quiet after Adi Da's passing, His devotees may finally have the space to feel a fundamental error that many of us may have been making in our practice of the Way of Adidam, that is keeping us from growing in the practice. The purpose of this article is to identify that error, so that those of us who are making it can correct it immediately. (For non-devotee readers, consider this a glimpse into the extraordinary challenges that must be surmounted in creating a new and enduring spiritual tradition in general, and Adidam in particular. Prospective devotees are being invited not only to a personal Spiritual practice, but to a collective "house-raising".)

Since 1986, Adi Da has criticized us for continuing the "Teaching Years" disposition in relation to Him. Fundamentally, His criticism has been a reference to our not "making the switch" (after the initiation of His Divine Emergence, on January 11, 1986) to a practice based on submitting to Him, rather than on Him submitting to us. During the Teaching Years, the forms of His submission to us were extraordinary: from uninhibited, Crazy Wise play and consideration with us in every area of human life; to miraculous displays of higher-stage phenomena and transport into higher states. But there were three key lessons Adi Da drew for us during that period:

  1. No matter how incredible a particular experience, it was not God-Realization.

  2. Any state He gifted us with (by virtue of His Spiritual Realization) was temporary, because it was His Gift, not our Realization, and no such state could possibly last without our taking responsibility for realizing it. It was like the scene in one of Christopher Reeve's Superman movies, where Superman is flying with Lois Lane, and is holding her only by a single finger — to the point where she gets the (mistaken) sense that she is flying: until he (accidentally) lets go, and she instantly plummets downward. (He catches her, of course.)

  3. The actual principle for Realization — the one at the core of the ancient Guru-devotee relationship — is the one Adi Da introduced at the beginning of His Teaching Work: You become what you meditate on. Hence the practice is to contemplate the Master's State, in order to Realize it. This process of our submitting to our Guru rather than Him submitting to us is what leads to permanent Realization, rather than temporary shifts of state that are essentially just "riding on the Master's coattails".

Over the years, Adi Da criticised us repeatedly for creating revisions of the Way of Adidam. In some sense, one of the easiest (and therefore, most common) revisions to fall into during Adi Da's human lifetime — given His prolific, non-stop, Gift-Giving — was to equate "the practice of Adidam" with showing up to receive the next Gift: the next essay, the next set of Notes from Him, the next Image-Art presentation, the next Internet Darshan, or the next retreat to Naitauba to see Adi Da in person and be "rejuiced" in one's practice. It certainly was easy to mistake all this for "the practice", since it occupied all of us to such a degree: the Gifts were so frequent, so potent, and (to the unsubmitted ego) so addictive. We could call this alternative version of the Way of Adidam the "addict's revision", since it was all about receiving the next spiritually (or intellectually, or emotionally) stimulating "hit" from our Beloved Guru.

The ego is an addict. Ego is itself addiction to the body-mind. So the transcending of the body-mind point of view is the transcending of addiction. Everything that leads up to the Perfect Practice is a process whereby modes of addiction are transcended — in some cases, are transcended in a process of outgrowing, and in other cases, it requires a rather immediate, early understanding of certain things, particularly the grossest kinds of addictive behaviors, and you drop it. That's it. It's right there at the beginning.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, April 24, 2005

Many devotees are aware (in some general sense) of our Master's Teaching about the ego-"I" as an addict, but we may not have considered how that applies even to our relationship with Him: how we revise the Way of Adidam itself into an addiction, by taking His Spiritual Transmission to body or mind, as an egoically self-fulfilling experience. In contrast, true "Divine Distraction" is about transcending self by submitting whole bodily to our Master.

So the important thing to notice about all of this "Gift reception" — including the retreats to Naitauba to get "rejuiced" — is that the "flow" is all one way: from Adi Da to us. For any of us for whom this receiving of Gifts has been the sum total of our "practice", we most definitely have been continuing the "Teaching Years" error, making our Master submit to us, without doing much submission to Him in return. We have been using Him to satisfy, rather than transcend, ourselves.

For example, Adi Da has always said that we should return to see Him on Naitauba only after we had made much good use of the last retreat with Him, and showed the signs of further growth — that, in fact, it was spiritually unlawful to be given access to Him otherwise. But the whole notion of going on retreat to get "rejuiced" typically reflected the fact that we had largely squandered the Gifts He gave us the last time, and had gone back to square one.

We may find the same thing in our daily practice: going to the meditation hall each morning to get "rejuiced", but then dissipating that reinvigorating Communion with Adi Da throughout the rest of the day by our failure to engage moment-to-moment practice in all the various circumstances of life, work, relationship, and so on — hence, back to square one again, the next morning. (As our Master has put it, we tend to think we are giving Him a gift when we "require" ourselves to go and sit in the meditation hall, where we are quickly sublimed by His Transmission.)

Meditation is the "easy street" of the daily practice, where Adi Da's Transmission is most readily connected with. It is a "tithing" of our total day, a mere fraction of it. It is in the rest of the moments of the day — where we spend the bulk of our time — that the real sacrifice of self in practice is enacted (or not). It is when there is competition for our attention that we get to see how fiercely our attention and energy are bound by the longterm habits we have indulged. Money, food, and sex have been our very fixed "center of gravity" for many lifetimes, and that is why we have incarnated here again in this lifetime.

Understanding this engenders a certain humility about what Realization is really going to require of us, and deflates fantasies of our Master serving as a kind of "Pied Piper" who easily distracts us from all of this, as we are led, dancing ecstatically, into another Dimension. There is certainly an aspect of practice that is like that (and which grants us the humor to endure the real heat of practice) — but it's not all "easy street"! The principle of our Way is indeed Divine Distraction; but the ego is a five-hundred pound person, the doorway into the Divine Domain is very narrow, and a whole lot of "weight loss" has to occur first before we can follow our Master through the hole in the universe.

Practiced rightly, Adidam is both "a hard school and a happy Way of life." Thus, as Adi Da puts it, the practice of Adidam must be even "muscularly" engaged in the beginning (responsively, but with a real will), when one's egoic "flabbiness" is at its greatest, and one's "center of gravity" is still (by karma, i.e., force of habit) very much "money, food, and sex", not God. As He has said, we must "live to God" for a significant length of time before the heat of practice turns to Light, the joy of God-Communion exceeds the pleasure of sex, and the Godward orientation becomes second nature.

A man went to his Master and said, "Master, I feel like there are two dogs fighting inside me, a good dog and a bad dog. Which one is going to win?" The Master said, "The one that you feed the most."

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

The Realization associated with this Way . . . is a great Siddhi, a profound Realization. It is not something you can enter into based on mere reading and superficial attention to the possibility. You must enter into the exercise most profoundly, even muscularly and bodily. You must really do this Work and provide a vehicle for the Living Current, provide a Domain for It. Then the shell cracks and the heart awakens and the Bliss-Being expands to Infinity, but only when this Work is done, when all the knots are undone. And that is a literal, practical Work. It can occupy you for lifetimes, but you have been given the intelligence for It directly, completely. You are given all Help for It, so that the Process can be fulfilled in one lifetime, if you are devoted to It completely.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"The Great Bird That Flies to the Heart", in The Dreaded Gom-Boo

Because of a personal practice that is always tending to go back to "square one" (contrasting with a practice focused on continuity and "strength training"), we have remained largely a "student-beginner" culture.

What exactly is missing from this "addict's revision" of the Way of Adidam? What does the true Way of Adidam look like, in contrast?

Many so-called "Spiritual" seekers are just "Narcissus" in drag! They do not have enough gut for Spiritual life. They are not interested in the demand that is the True Guru. They are "dogs" who come to their master only for a "bone". A dog whose mind is set on the bone his master has will do any ridiculous thing to acquire it. The dog rolls on the ground and whines and barks and jumps through hoops. He does whatever he must, until his master gives him the bone. Then the dog runs away with the bone. He does not want to see anybody. He does not want anybody around him when he is chewing his bone. He does not want to be touched. He does not want to be approached. He makes a vital circle around himself, and he just works on his bone. And if it is a good, big bone, such that he cannot eat it all in one sitting, he usually hides it somewhere, to protect it, after he has finished his chew.

The dog does not go back to his master again until he is out of bone. He does not go to his master in order to be with the master, to delight in the master, to be mastered by the master. He only goes for another bone. Such is the ordinary "Spiritual seeker". "Give me Initiation into your Yoga. Give me the secret mantra. Give me the breathing exercise. Teach me the 'Kriya Yoga'. Give me Shaktipat. Give me the Divine Vision." The guy always asks for the "bone"!

Should he actually be granted one of those things (any one of the traditional forms of Initiation will do — mantras, energies, beliefs, and so on), the guy goes. He leaves to play his game with that technique or consolation. He consumes it in solitude. He does not want to be touched. He does not want to be interrupted. He does not want to be reminded of what is "outside" himself, that would require him to be in relationship.

I wait for My true devotee to come and surrender to Me. Satsang with Me is the relationship between My devotee and Me — not between the "dog" and His "bone". The relationship to Me is Satsang. That is the discovery. That is the process. That relationship is the Yoga.

The relationship between Guru and devotee is the Secret pointed to by the Great Siddhas. It is the esoteric Universal Process. It is the Single Means. It is Very Truth. Everything else — all "bone"-chewing — is only a ritual re-enactment of the process that occurs spontaneously and is alive only in relationship to the Guru. At best, it is a ritual re-enactment. Therefore, True Spiritual life is not the activity of Spiritual seekers. It is the activity of those who discover their Spiritual search is false, fruitless, founded in dilemma — a manifestation of the same suffering that other human beings are suffering. True Spiritual life begins when the Spiritual search is abandoned and Satsang with Me is begun. . . .

When you live that Condition, the relationship to Me, when you actually live Satsang with Me, it becomes pleasurable. It becomes easy, spontaneous. But as long as you resist that Condition, My Company and its implicit demand will make you darker, heavier, more obsessed with self-enclosure and the strategies of "Narcissus". . . .

I will never give the seeker a "bone". Those who have come to Me for "bones" are waiting in vain, because what they are hoping for is not going to happen. All of that drama of seeking has nothing whatsoever to do with Truth. . . . I have not come to satisfy My devotees. A satisfied devotee is still the same one he or she was to begin with. I am only interested in the utter dissolution of the entire limitation that appears as My devotee.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
from "Walking the Dog" in My "Bright" Word

The Way of Adidam is each devotee's relationship with Adi Da. True relationships are two-way, "give and take" affairs. In essence, what has been largely missing is our response (and, altogether, the responsive disposition that is a natural part of a loving relationship). What has been lacking (or insufficient) is the "giving back" part of that relationship, our gifts back to Adi Da: responsibility for the moment-to-moment practice of submission to Him (through Ruchira Avatara Bhakti Yoga) throughout the day; responsibility for closing all our personal "loopholes" in that practice; endurance of the associated tapas to the point of growth; and serving His Great Calling to the point where the survival (and flourishing) of Adidam and our Master's Work here for the liberation all beings has been ensured for centuries to come.

So this is what we must all correct now. Not fully playing our part in the relationship with our Guru is certainly the primary reason why we have remained largely a student-beginner culture. But most importantly, our self-understanding about this is urgently needed if we are to ensure the survival of Adidam in perpetuity. Even as our Master gave His lifetime to us, it is now our turn to give back to our Beloved Guru in a big way, with the rest of our human lifetimes, if we are to ensure that this first generation of Adidam is not also to be its last.

The worst mistake we could make now — in this "quiet" period that has opened up after our Master's passing — is to continue playing out the "addict's revision" of the Way of Adidam: by being childishly disappointed (or even angry) that the "hits" from Him have stopped (or slowed) or that our Guru's activities are no longer keeping us constantly "busy" or "contented". And then, in reaction: dropping out; or trying to find our "hits" somewhere else in typical "addict" fashion (whether with another Guru or through some "lesser samadhi" of food, money, and sex); or just retreating into a kind of longterm "sulk". It's important to distinguish the disappointment or anger of the frustrated addict in ourselves from our natural mourning at the passing of the human form of our Divine Guru — these are two very different things! (The former is self-possessed; the latter, relational.)

This "addict's revision" of the Way of Adidam has consequences beyond those of mere human immaturity, in that practice of the Way of Adidam is subject to spiritual laws, including the Sacrament of Universal Sacrifice (to which Adi Da is referring in the following passage):

If you enter into spiritual relationship with an Adept [a Spiritual Master], you must enter into His service. When the great gift of Spiritual Transmission is what you are receiving [twenty-four hours a day], your obligation for service is effective twenty-four hours a day. It is a lifelong obligation, a total obligation even as the Spiritual Master lives His entire life in obligation to devotees. People who do not express that consciousness cannot use [My Transmission]. They become guilty and build up too much residual self-energy through their non-service and non-surrender. Eventually they stop practicing because they can no longer justify taking the Gift of Spiritual Help. Then they just sit around with glazed looks on their faces.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, “I” is the Body of Life

If we are not growing in practice, the fault lies not in the Way of Adidam, but in ourselves. The Horse will take us to God Knows Where, but only if we grasp His Tail responsively (in response to recognizing Him as the Divine Person) in every moment of every day. This time after our Master's passing is a wonderful opportunity for feeling how much our Beloved Guru has given all of us (and each of us) altogether over the years; how much we owe Him in return (not out of mere obligation — although that is certainly true too — but out of love, and resonance with His great Work of liberating all beings); how much we'd really like to engage this Way to the point of real growth and Realization; and how much we want to make sure Adidam is always available to all future generations (including our reincarnated selves).

A few years ago, Adi Da made a useful analogy between His dog, M (then new, untrained, and not yet living with Him on Naitauba), and devotees at the "student-beginner" level, who are playing out the "addict's revision" of the Way of Adidam, which (drawing on Adi Da's imagery of the dog with his bone) we might also refer to as "The Way of the Bone":

M is not ready to live in My House yet, altogether. She's not prepared to just be there. It's the same with devotees. They can't come into My House yet. They're "wild" [like M]. They haven't been disciplined. They haven't embraced Me altogether and My Instruction, the practice, the collective responsibilities. They have no gifts. . .

So, it's something like with M. She'll go to school for a while. Hopefully, it will just be a few months, and she'll come over to Fiji. That's the way the gathering [of devotees] should be. But you've all been wasting My time, just repeating your error on Me over and over again, and trying to deceive Me by making minimal gestures and so forth. That's not going to school. That's not getting the training. That's not changing your act. And all of that is required...

The traditional sages would just make that measure of people. Various qualifications were looked for that essentially had to do with: you've gone through the school of the culture, the larger culture, and you're prepared with the necessary prerequisites for the great, Transcendental Divine Process. And if you don't have those characteristics, you shouldn't come. You would be dismissed from the sage's company. You wouldn't even get close to a sage personally. The measure would be made in advance. . .

Hearing [the first major milestone in the practice of the Way of Adidam] is not a mountain for those who are truly prepared for 1.1 approach [the level of practice just beyond the beginner's practice] to Me. It's right there on the tip of your tongue, so to speak. It is further established through Spiritual Communion with Me, but it's right there, because you've already established all the discipline and the practice, and so forth. True Hearing is right there to be confirmed in your life. . .

People who move beyond student-beginner have dealt with themselves in those terms. That's why it's like M, you see. She's got to deal with some real "behavior" things. She's been a puppy, that's good; now, she's got to start to grow up, and she needs schooling to do that.

The same with the whole gathering [of devotees]: You've got to grow up. You've got to deal with your aberrations and incorporate your relationship to Me — in other words, incarnate it, bring it into your life and grow up. Get out of your dramatizations, your adolescent disposition, not wanting discipline — your not wanting [the obligation of] devotion, your not wanting obligation [altogether]. You don't want to be accountable. . .

Nothing about this Way is about taking huge time [to advance in practice], unless people make it so.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, February 12, 2006

Those who have advanced in the practice of this Way (including the milestone of "Hearing" to which Adi Da refers in the above passage) can confirm that, central to that growth, is the understanding that Spiritual Realization requires genuine self-transcendence:

The Life-Force that is felt within the presumed-to-be-personal body-mind-complex is moved by willful or desiring acts to create circumstances of would-be ego-fulfillment. However, in Reality, That Life-Force Is Truly Universal (or Indivisible and all-and-All-Pervading) — not “inward” and personal (or ego-bound, or “point-of-view”-bound). Therefore, if That Life-Force is manipulated by “inward” motives to satisfy personal desires of all kinds, not only will the resulting satisfaction be only occasional and at most partial, but the Life-Force will Itself be always frustrated, since It cannot, by becoming subordinate to any patterns of personal desires, Fulfill Its Universal (or Indivisible and all-and-All-Pervading) Function As Prior Unity and (Thus and Thereby) Realize Its Intrinsic Divine Freedom in the conditionally arising world.

The human individual is immature — and always dissatisfied — until he or she out-grows mere personal desire (or even any search for ego-based “self”-indulgence), and, instead, lives on the basis of ego-transcending love (or the moment to moment transcending of ego-based desirepatterning), and thereby constantly demonstrates the Universal Moral Disposition of Prior Unity and the responsible intrinsic (or “root”) management of all functional and relational conditions of experience and action.

The truly mature human individual is, characteristically, free of all the intrinsically and inevitably frustrating limitations of conditional reality and the personal and collective relationship-politics of social egoity.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"The ego-Culture of Desire and The ego-Transcending Culture of Love"
from Not-Two Is Peace

Self-transcendence necessarily takes the form of the surrender of one's "personal" preferences; the relinquishment of concern about (or fixation with) one's "own" state (emotional, physical, mental, etc.) through practice of Ruchira Avatara Bhakti Yoga; and the giving over of one's "own" life to one's True Self: to the Viewpoint of the Divine and to serving Adi Da's Work of liberating all beings. One cannot realize God (or Prior Unity) without animating God's Viewpoint, without acting as though God's Needs were "one's own", and without ceasing to animate (or "be") the "limited self" or ego (by ceasing to indulge all its needs, preferences, and addictions).

In the following passage, Ruchiradama Quandra Sukhapur Rani (one of Adi Da's devotees who has advanced in the practice of Adidam) makes these points in the context of her own process of realizing the "hearing" capability. The key to her growth was her shift in focus: to Adi Da's Work and Instructions, and away from her "own" preferences.

Ruchiradama Quandra Sukhapur Rani serving Avatar Adi Da Samraj as He Blesses a Holy Site at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary. Now in direct relationship to my Beloved Guru, I went through a profound and extended reinvestigation and direct testing of the entire egoic structure of my life and consciousness. . . .

Beloved Adi Da asked me to begin to serve Him by passing on His Communications to His devotees. Beloved Adi Da's Instructions to His devotees encompass every aspect of human existence and everything required for the establishment of His Work in the world. And so, in this new service, I had to begin to do profound sadhana [spiritual practice] for the sake of others in a manner I had never done before. I had to relinquish my self-based concentration on my "own" relationship to Beloved Adi Da and in the simpler forms of service — such as cleaning, cooking, and caring for [Adi Da's children] — that, until then, I had been used to doing in His Intimate Sphere. Now I had to devote my life to His Work. This marked a profound turning point in me, a surrender of all personal preference.

Apart from passing on Beloved Adi Da's Instructions, He expected me to serve others in the right devotional understanding and reception of the Instructions given. This service obliged me to move out of self-meditation and obsession with my own emotion, and that is how the intensive listening-hearing process began for me.

During this time, I saw that, no matter how positive or negative or easeful or difficult any moment was, I was always doing the same thing. Through my Beloved Guru's Divine Siddhi [Blessing-Power], I saw that my body-mind was only self-contraction and that it was my own activity. I also saw that my Divine Heart-Master Stands eternally Prior to that activity of mine. And I felt a profound Liberation in being able to effectively resort to Him beyond the mechanism of self-contraction. This was not a mental process — it was a Revelation, a Gift, an Initiation into Communion with Him.

Thus, the Grace of hearing was awakened in me.

Ruchiradama Quandra Sukhapur Rani
in Carolyn Lee, The Promised God-Man Is Here

* * *

In one sense, Adi Da's passing represents an opportunity: it is much harder for us to engage "the Way of the Bone", now that our Beloved Guru is no longer showering us with physically tangible gifts that we can turn into "bones". In some sense, it is easier to practice the Way of Adidam in its true form now that He is no longer alive, because circumstances require us to learn how to "cultivate a sheerly spiritual relationship" with Him (as Adi Da once put it):

Grief is good — it is a way of being attentive. But you must allow yourself to be transformed, by my apparent absence, into a community of devotees most fully far beyond any realization of your common life that existed during the lifetime of [My] appearance. That is what I am telling you. And I expect you to remember this when this one finally goes.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Death and Birth Of the God-Man

Read more here

Monday, July 20, 2009

Be Kind to All the Non-Humans, Or Else!

Let's start with a quote from the Avadhoot Gita:

"The Avadhoot (is one) who has realized the Mystery of mysteries, and has risen to the state of unceasing and perfect bliss, moves about in the world unconcerned, radiating bliss and higher knowledge."

Adi Da was residing at Da Love-Ananda Mahal, His Spiritual Hermitage on the island of Kauai.

He had been in retreat for several months when one morning He asked to be taken to Kalapaki Beach.

It was one of those beautiful Hawaiian days. The green hills west of the harbor shown on the waters of the bay. The beach was already crowded with vacationing tourists. And the locals had come down by the ocean to escape from the heat.

Adi Da Avadhoot was sitting quietly on the beach watching the water, when a small party of vacationers came walking through the sand with their shoes on. The sunburned vacationers were drinking beer and talking loudly. And one of the couples stopped to have an argument in the sand.

"He worked all year to come on vacation for a week," said Adi Da. "Now it's not measuring up to his expectation of the ultimate Hawaiian vacation. He would have been happier on retreat."

He observed the vacationers walk down the beach. They had not noticed the hills or the sunlight on the water. Adi Da closed His eyes and sat still in the sun for some time.

Adi Da loves the ocean. He had always been a strong swimmer and a member of the swimming team at Columbia in His freshman year. He was a certified scuba diver, and liked to body surf in the waves. But His favorite ocean sport was floating.

He liked to swim out past the breakers and float on the waves. I always accompanied my Master on these swims. He used to swim to the deep water, roll on His back, and fill His body with life-energy. He could hold His breath for long periods of time in yogic kumbak (or breath retention), causing His navel to expand so that most of His head and body were comfortably above the water. And the great Avadhoot floated serenely in samadhi on the ocean waves for long periods of time.

The ocean currents in Hawaiian waters can be strong and it was my service to swim alongside the great Samraj to keep Him from drifting out to sea. I would take Him by the foot or hand and gently swim Him back towards shore.

On one occasion on the west side of the island, at a beach called Polihale, the Avadhoot was floating on His back when He asked, "Why don't you float?"

"I'm too thin, my Lord," I said, "I sink." "You have to become more whale-like," said the Avadhoot, "like me."

He described yogis floating down the Ganges in India, in meditation. He said they viewed the river as holy so they abandon outward awareness of the world, and let the river take them as it pleased. The sublime Master Yogi was still floating on His back, when He laughed and said, "They got a lot of skinny guys over there! They float all right."

He then instructed me to put my legs in the full lotus position, lay my head back and relax in the water. He gave me instruction in yogic conductivity, saying to inhale deeply to the navel and retain the life-force at the bodily base. He then gave me instructions on circulating the life force, saying "stay full." And I found myself floating effortlessly over the waves like a tube.

But at Kalapaki Bay that day, the sublime Master seemed content to sit on the sand with His eyes closed or gaze on the water in silence.

A muscular man came running down the beach with his dog racing along the water. We often saw them here at the Bay, running in front of the old Westin hotel. And he would always look for the Avadhoot. Often the Avadhoot would smile and nod His head to the stranger. The man's dog was very playful and Sri Da Avadhoot always enjoyed watching the dog frolic in the waves, and swim out to fetch a stick. Sometimes Da Avadhoot would send me down to greet the man and his dog. We would talk briefly as he jogged in place, and he always asked me to "Please give my regards to the King."

But today, as the man and his dog ran by, the Avadhoot's eyes were closed. I was watching the Master, whose hands were in blessing mudras (yogic gestures) and whose feet were flexing in their characteristic flow of silent blessings. The muscle man waved as he and the dog ran by. I looked at the Avadhoot whose eyes were still closed; and I waved back to the man who continued on his way.

Da Avadhoot was an impressive sight sitting on the beach at Kalapaki Bay in full yogic asana (posture) with His long hair flowing in the breeze and the blissful "scowl" of renunciation on His face. People passing the serene Avadhoot often stopped to look, but the invisible field of yogic force that surrounds Him kept curious people-watchers at some distance.

Was that our friend?" I heard the Master ask. I noticed that His eyes were still closed. "Yes, my Lord," I said. "He waved to you, as usual."

"Tcha", said the Master softly.

Then the Avadhoot suddenly stood up and was walking towards the water, when I caught up with him. As I came along beside him, He pointed to the water at the end of the Bay.

"Can you see them?" He asked. No one else had seen the fins cutting through the water yet, but the fins were dangerously close to shore when I too spotted them. They were also nearing the rocks where my wife and another devotee were swimming and enjoying the sun in the water. Then the fins turned and were headed straight for the two women.

"My Lord," I said, "that's Patricia and Anne in the water, near the rocks."

"I know," said Da Avadhoot.

Then from the beach, someone screamed, "SHARKS!" And the whole beach panicked. People ran along the shore yelling at their kids to get out of the water! Swimmers were shouting at each other and jumping out of the water. A boat-full of tourists in an outrigger canoe were paddling into shore, when eight large fins went cruising by. Some of the men raised the paddles over-head to strike the sharks and nearly tipped the canoe overboard.

At the other end of the beach, Sri Da Avadhoot was slowly entering the water. Distracted by the sight of their Master, the two women began to swim in His direction, and never even saw the fins pass by them. But the Avadhoot had His eyes fixed like radar on them.

The school of fins turned and headed out to sea.

But they were only circling and came through the bay now with greater speed and closer to the shore. No one had ever seen creatures this large inside the Bay.

Tourists with cameras snapped photographs and hotel beach attendants blew whistles, while a brave local man had waded knee deep into the water and was splashing water and shouting to a lone snorkler; who finally heard him and came tumbling over his flippers onto shore.

Da Avadhoot had swam out in the ocean and I had nervously accompanied him. He had picked up the pace now and was swimming ahead of me.

He was intentionally swimming out to greet them, almost like He was waiting for them.

From the moment he'd seen them, Sri Da Avadhoot had carefully observed the synchronized pattern of the fins, which looked like they were swimming in pairs. He had also known what they were. "Manta rays," He said smiling. "Big ones!"

From the shore what appeared as shark fins were actually the wing tips of four great manta rays.

Da Avadhoot came in line with the coming manta rays now, and the lead manta ray made a sudden leap from the sea exposing its tail and great hood. From the shore came a cheer, and the people marveled at the grace and power of the black creature and instead of regarding them with fear, began to praise the rays. Da Avadhoot dove under water and came up in the middle of the flying rays. They were enormous, beautiful, deep ocean mantas with powerful pectoral wings and tails that left subtle currents where they swam.

I saw the Avadhoot swim with the manta rays; saw the underwater shadows on the ocean floor where the massive forms blocked the sun, and saw the economy of motion of the swimming Avadhoot and His graceful likeness to the rays. He was not unlike them in a more poignant way also, for the life of the true Avadhoot is as rare as any endangered species in the world of man. This I remember well, that when that great manta ray dove from the sea he had passed over the swimming Avadhoot, and that when the other manta rays came next to him, I would say that when they exchanged energies and mysteries with one another, those non-humans from the sea had received Him like one of their own. There had been no difference. In that pacific "no difference" there were hidden many signs that were simply conveyed—perhaps a mutual recognition, perhaps the mutual empathy of their plights.

Like giant spirit guardians appearing with powerful wings they circled out to sea with dizzying speed.

On the beach friendly strangers talked story with one another. When people went back into the water, so they too might tell the story of how they swam with the great mantas of Hawaii, they went with a little more awareness. Their reactions of threat were transformed into feelings of respect and wonder towards the manta rays. They too had had the rare sighting of the true Avadhoot. And when they left the bay, that day, many made a point of walking past the long-haired Avadhoot. He regarded them with a smile as they passed, but from behind sunglasses I saw Him bless each person with those extraordinary eyes, with those blessing hands and those wide feet from which the Hridaya Shakti (Divine Radiance of the Heart) of the Avadhoot flows to the world. And I thought about how great is my Heart-Master who works in mysterious ways, whose Spiritual gifts are not limited by the events of time and space.

We stayed at the beach until every person had gone home that day. We watched the sun set behind the green hills. And it was dark by the time we arrived back at the great Avadhoot's Hermitage. He was quiet most of the day. He had said a few words to the children about the rays being "auamakua's" or spirit-guardians.

There have been other days, and other stories of the great Adi Da Samraj's work with His non-human companions, some of which will make you laugh, others which will break your heart. But the simple lesson and advice from Sri Adi Da Samraj, in regards to all non-humans, of which the Avadhoot includes trees, plants, rocks, water and everything else non-human, is expressed in a sign that hangs in the home of the precious Avadhoot of Da Love-Ananda Mahal (Adi Da's Sanctuary in Hawaii), that reads: "Be Kind To All The Non-Humans, or Else!"

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Knew He Was the Divine Being in Human Bodily Form

Catherine Dames became a devotee of Adi Da in 1985. She has had a particular interest in animal welfare, and was the founder of and national organizer for Animal Aid in England. She was active in animal welfare projects from 1977 to 1984. As a devotee, Catherine has served as a priest and educator.

Catherine: "At a certain point into the video I felt a strange but very pleasant feeling between my eyebrows, as if an electric charge was plugged into that spot. When I looked at the Guru, I felt completely overwhelmed with Joy. His bodily expression of total Happiness and Freedom were such as I had never seen before in any man or woman."

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recognition of the Master

Victor Lagasse has been a devotee of Bhagavan Adi Da since 1975. He is a professional arborist and landscaper. He has lived and served for extended periods on three principal Sanctuaries: Adi Da Samrajashram in Fiji, Da Love-Ananda Mahal in Hawaii, and the Mountain Of Attention in northern California.

From Victor Lagasse's story: "I saw Bubba alternatively become Swami Nityananda, Swami Muktananda, and Ramana Maharshi. ... I remember feeling very deeply that this was a relationship that had gone on for aeons of time. He had been my Master, and I his devotee for aeons of time."

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On testing the Way before taking it up

Question: Can anyone here recommend me how to do sadhana [spiritual practice]? I want to test the Way of Adi Da, please.

Response: Adi Da has given an immense body of detail about the practice of the Way of Adidam. For a simple introduction, click here.

In fact, though, the Way of Adidam is not a technique. It is all about developing a devotional and spiritual relationship with Adi Da. Because the Way of Adidam is all about cultivating and deepening the devotional and spiritual relationship with Adi Da (based on recognition of Him as incarnation of the Divine Person, our own Native State), in some sense it is a like a marriage. And to speak of "testing" the Way of Adidam makes sense only to the degree to which the notion of "testing" a marriage makes sense. First: you can't "test" a marriage unless and until you get married! Second, any test of a marriage is as much a test of oneself as it is of one's spouse.

But a marriage isn't fundamentally about "testing". It's about falling in love. It doesn't make sense to talk about testing a marriage if the "falling in love" part hasn't happened. In the context of a marriage (or a potential marriage), the only purpose to talking about "testing" (or "trial marriages", or living together first) is to just to get a sense of whether this relationship is going to endure, weathering the ups and downs of daily life, beyond the initial attraction and the initial expression of love.

But that's where the analogy between "becoming a devotee" and "getting married" breaks down. "Falling in love" is analogous to receiving the Revelation that Adi Da is the Divine Person. But once you get that Revelation, you also instantly realize that the only limit on the Revalation and the relationship is you, not the Divine Person, into Whose Person and State you are surrendering. God is that which is Perfect, Unlimited, Eternal, and Perfectly Happy. Ego is the limit. This "marriage" is all about surrendering a limited identity into the One Identity, the Divine Person. It is not a relationship or marriage in the ordinary sense — a marriage of "equals". It is a total surrender of "self", the lesser identity, the mortal, suffering identity, for the sake of Realizing the Perfect, Unlimited Identity. The "test" is always only on one side of the relationship! Am "I" going to surrender "me" in any moment. . . or not.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Question about disciplines in the Way of Adidam

Question: I honestly think that there would be a more vibrant and active Adidam community if there were fewer strict disciplines and expectations. I find that people are generally more amenable to a new direction when they feel there is flexibility. I am not sure that makes sense, but I think that imposition of rules kind of feeds resistance. So that is my current struggle.

Response: The first thing to say about disciplines in the Way of Adidam: growth in the Way of Adidam is completely voluntary. That having been said, Adidam is not a "social club", purposed toward being "a vibrant and active community". Adidam is simply and solely for those who want Spiritual Realization. Is that what you want? Then: You get what you pay for! No pain no gain. One must understand that the disciplines in Adidam are as necessary for Realization as having to engage in the exertion of climbing is necessary to get to the top of a mountain.

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