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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Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Eternal Vow that accompanies becoming a devotee

Question: There is a strong all or nothing quality and a rigidity to the culture of Adidam which reminds me of orthodoxy. You either totally surrender or you don't, you either vow for eternity or you don't. What has so attracted me to other Eastern paths has been the open access to Dharma and Sangha. With Adidam the goods, so to speak, are held back (until one commits for eternity) which, for me and possibly others, increases resistance. I can appreciate that the guidelines were clearly laid out by Adi Da. I just think they are counterproductive to attracting participation in the community. I also realize that it is my issue that only I can resolve. I appreciate your willingness to continue to clarify and support this neurotic middle aged Jewish guy in making sense of all of this.

Answer: Actually, there is much more to it! It is exactly not a matter of one day getting up the courage or the will to go beyond one's resistance and sign the vow.

Adidam is a Revelation-based Way. This means (amazingly enough!) that you are not to become a devotee until a miracle occurs: the direct Revelation that Adi Da is the Divine Person. It is the exact opposite of getting up the will to do it. In some sense, you don't choose It; It chooses you. It doesn't "choose you" in the sense that the Divine Person is deciding when to give you this Revelation, and "holding back" until then. No, the Blessing for enabling this Revelation is constant. And as Adi Da has said for years (and spells out the "why" more precisely in the above passage), it is His "meditation" of us (not anything we do per se) that is consequential in terms of actual Realization, and even becoming a devotee.

But even though it is not sufficient or the core of what transforms us, our meditation on Him is essential, to allow Him to do His Work with us. (To use another metaphor of Adi Da's about the "division of labor" between Adi Da and His devotee: Grasp the tail of the Horse; the Horse will then take you — but you must be grasping the tail of the Horse.) So your receiving this always-given Revelation (and becoming a devotee of Adi Da on that basis) depends on It catching you in a moment of sufficient heart-openness, and in the presence of the means for transmitting this Revelation. And when exactly that will happen is a matter of Grace. But just as "chance favors the prepared mind", so Grace favors the person who is steadily immersing themselves in the means for transmitting this Revelation. It is a relationship from the beginning. The Revelation depends on you being open enough to Him that Adi Da can reveal Himself to you.

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