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