Adi Da Samraj in Fiji in 2008.
“The Spiritual Process is a transformation of the whole body-mind, or psycho-physical entity, through the disposition of sacrifice to Infinity or into the Absolute Intensity of Which manifestations are stepped-down intensities, modifications. Through the Process of sacrificial release into Absolute Intensity, Divine Realization occurs, and it is the Enlightenment of the whole body. It is not a subjective, or internal, matter.”
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Yet another (even graver) disclaimer
This little “Intro to Adi Da and Adidam” is just my take and has been formally approved by precisely nobody in Adidam leadership, and, due to its content—to borrow the disclaimer from South Park—it should not be viewed by anyone.
Also, it reflects my understanding today. Intro to Adidam stuff that I wrote even a few years ago now seems clunky, embarrassing and abstract to me and makes me want to claw my eyes out with a woodland animal. So this Intro to Adi Da and Adidam is a “work-in-progress,” something I always tinker with.
The Way of Adidam 101
The practice in Adidam is to commune, whole-bodily, with quiet luminous joy in every moment. You fall into this communion by turning your attention and feeling-heart to Avatar Adi Da Samraj, because, to you, He shines with a Spiritual sublimity that draws your whole crazy being into glowey happiness. Quiet luminous joy are just some words I made up, because that’s what it often feels like to me. It would definitely be more accurate to say that you commune with the Transcendental Spiritual Reality, through the “point of contact” of Adi Da Samraj.
Communion with Adi Da Samraj transforms and awakens you. In Tibetan Buddhism they call this process Guru Yoga. The principle is that a true Guru has awakened (to whatever degree) from egoity, from the dream of being a separate entity. Consequently, only the God Light – the Blissful Force of Consciousness Itself – shines through Him or Her. That is what the devotee is devoted to.
“The devotee is the devotee of Real (Acausal) God. This Body is simply the Means Given to you for your Divine Communion. I Am the Radiant Field of Being in Which you are arising. This Is My Consciousness, My State, and It never ends.”
“The State that is Communicating to you through this Body, in My Person, as Me, is the Divine Self-Condition, the “Bright”. That’s it. There is nothing else that characterizes It. It is not, therefore, limited or bound by human characteristics. What is human is simply an element of appearance given for the sake of devotees. It does not characterize the State that is actually operative and present in My Person in association with this bodily Incarnation.”
In Adi Da’s words, an authentic Guru is, “a laser-like focusing mechanism” of the Divine Power. By communing with the Guru’s state you meditate on that living Spirit Radiance. And as Adi Da summarizes the ancient formulation:
“There is one Law: You become what you meditate on. This Law summarizes the process whereby I become your unique advantage.”
As a devotee, this means that as I go about my day, I turn my feeling-attention, as best I can, to my Guru, Adi Da Samraj, and feel that quiet luminous joy with my whole body. I breathe it, participate in it. The Way of Adidam, then, is a relationship, not a technique.
“The Way is relationship to Me. It is not simply a technique you practice in yourself, on yourself. This understanding is fundamental to the Way of Adidam…”
This can sound spooky to Westerners until you really get it, down to your toes, that when He says “relationship to Me,” He is speaking unequivocally about relationship to the One Living Divine Reality, known as such in your direct experience. Then it is the opposite of spooky.
“The Divine Self-Condition is Revealed through the Divine Function traditionally called Guru, which is manifesting uniquely in and as My Avatarically-Born Person, this Avataric Incarnation appearing as the Divine Guru Function — Self-Manifested, Avatarically Incarnated, Self-Revealed in apparent form…”
“The human Spiritual Master is Divine Help to the advantage of those in like form. When one enters into right relationship with the Spiritual Master, changes happen in the literal physics of one’s existence. I am not just talking about ideas. I am talking about literal transformations at the level of energy, at the level of the higher light of physics, at the level of mind beyond the physical limitations you now presume, at the level of the absolute Speed of ultimate Light. The transforming process is enacted in devotees in and through the Living company of the Spiritual Master. The relationship between the Spiritual Master and the devotee is not a matter of conceptual symbolisms or emotional attachment to some extraordinary person. The true Guru-devotee relationship is real physics.”
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The power of recognition
In actual practice, what’s happening is simply this: you see the Guru and the core of your being spontaneously opens. Your mind quiets. You feel unutterably sublimed. Your heart responds to the state of the God Realized being. Adi Da calls this recognition. Recognition is the heart’s native attraction to the Spiritual radiance that shines from the Guru. It is a primal response of the whole body, as mindless as a plant turning toward the sun. Recognition is a transformation of state, and it is the singular essence of Adidam.
“The Devotional Recognition-Response To Me Is The Divine Flowering Of the body-mind. Therefore, Your Heart Must Recognize Me and Choose Me–and Not merely believe Me–If I Am To “Brighten” You.
“Faith Is A Flower, and Not a mind’s idea, or a body’s satisfaction. Likewise, The Insight That Flowers the body-mind Is Made Of Heart…”
In the beginning, one’s recognition of Adi Da Samraj might be subtle and sporadic; in the later stages it becomes the mover and the delight of one’s life.
The Ancient Walk-About Way
Adi Da says that recognition of the profound state of the Illumined Master has been the Way of Spiritual awakening since the most ancient days of humankind, calling it “the ancient walk-about way.” And in fact, you see this principle everywhere in the Spiritual traditions of the world. The Gopis’ ecstatic love-response to Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. In the Bible, Peter and Andrew, two simple fishermen, basically take one look at the Radiant God man, Jesus of Galilee, and instantly drop their entire lives to become His devotees. That’s recognition.
In 1897, a man named Venkatachala Modaliar was walking down the street in Tiruvannamalai, India, when he came across the young sage Ramana Maharshi, sitting under a tree, lost in samadhi (spiritual absorption). He tacitly recognized the luminous state of the Being before him and right there, on the spot, devoted his entire life and all that he owned to serving Maharishi. Again: That’s recognition.
“The fundamental and ancient Way is absorption in the Spiritual Master’s State. All the rest of the Great Tradition is mere philosophy.”
—Adi Da Samraj
The Way of No-Seeking
What makes this state of recognition of Adi Da Samraj so different from most meditative and spiritual techniques is that it’s not based on self-effort. In other words, it’s not based on seeking.
“All seeking is the expression, the method, and the practice of un-Happiness.”
Since his first public talk in 1972, Adi Da’s work has been a penetrating criticism of seeking in all forms – including spiritual seeking. Spiritual seeking, he points out, is an effort of the separate ego itself. This “I” critter wants to “acquire” awakening, happiness, wholeness, liberation, transformation, or whatever. Hence seeking is an exercise of—and a reinforcement of—the separate-self principle—the ego.
Recognition is a different animal entirely, because it’s a free and spontaneous response. The response comes from depths of the being that have nothing to do with the strategizing, discursive intellect. That’s what makes it not seeking.
Adi Da Samraj has also called this the principle of Divine Distraction. Divine Distraction means you are distracted from your own self-obsessed bullshit by the sheer Spiritual beauty and attractiveness of the God-Realized Being.
“The Way of Truth is the Way of complete distraction from the tendencies that produced your birth and that now produce the drama of your existence from day to day. Only when there is complete distraction by the Guru, by the Divine, from the way of life that is producing your experiential destiny, do your tendencies become obsolete. They do not become obsolete when you direct effort against them. It is only when that distraction appears in the midst of the affair of your life that another principle, another process, is established.”
“It is simply loving attachment to Me…When you become attached to Me, then all your conventional relations will become ordinary, happy, human, superficial, nothing—just a discipline, a discipline of happiness, of pleasure. Your attachment to Me will become overwhelming, without any goal whatsoever, just a motive of happiness, an indelible simplicity. You will simply Commune with Me.”
Not An “Other”
Here’s the supremely trippy esoteric secret: the radiant state of the Guru is so attractive to devotees because it’s also their true state (and yours and everyones’). We simply haven’t realizedthat it’s our true state.
In fact – according to Adi Da Samraj, and countless other Realized Beings – there is only the One Indivisible Divine Reality. All the seemingly separate “stuff” – you, me, worlds, universes – is just an “apparent modification” of the One Divine Reality. That means that, paradoxically, the Guru is not “an other” at all. The felt-intuition that the Guru is actually only one’s own true Divine condition is the context within which one practices Guru devotion.
“I am like the sunlight in the morning. I intensify the light of morning until you awaken. Until the light awakens a person, even the Light of Consciousness Itself, the person continues to dream, tries to survive within the dream, manipulates himself or herself within the dream, pursues all kinds of goals, searches, none of which Awaken the person. All ordinary means only console a person and distract him or her within the dream. I My Self, the One Who would awaken you, am not a person, not an individual within the dream. I Am your Very Consciousness. I Am the Real, the Light, the True Waking State, the Heart, Breaking Through the force of dreaming. It is not that you are some poor person who needs some other poor person to help you out. It may appear to be so within the dream, but essentially it is your own Ultimate self-Nature Appearing within the dream to Awaken you. I Am your Awakening, and your always already Conscious State.”
Adi Da Samraj’s Divine Crashing Down
In the depths of communion with Adi Da Samraj, He transmits a tangible Spiritual Power. It moves down into you whenever you create a link through this devotional feeling-contemplation of Him. It’s kind of a wild thing. He says that, once the foundation of the process is established,
“…the Way of Adidam is a matter of ego-transcending participation in the Crashing Down of My Avataric Divine Grace, the Overwhelming Intrusion of My Avataric Divine Spirit-Blessing, Descending into the open vessel of body-mind As Love-Bliss.”
Wilder yet, He transmits this same Spirit Force even though He “dropped the body” in 2008 and will transmit it forever. Images of His body, His Teaching Word, recordings of His voice, can link us up just as potently as His actual living body once did.
“I have thoroughly Transcended all of the artifacts of individuation. Therefore, I am simply and directly present as the Force of Divine Influence. That Influence is Radiant throughout all space-time without limitation.”
To your standard-issue, Western, scientific-materialistic mind, things like Gurus’ Spiritual transmissions sound ridiculous. Especially after said Gurus have physically died. But when you experience this transmission you have no doubt about it. You can only think it’s imagination, the power of suggestion, placebo, or whatever until you actually feel it washing through your body. Ultimately, this force does everything. Your job is to get the fuck out of the way, to allow it to do it’s work in your bodymind.
“What you have on your mind is boring and unsatisfactory. Your thoughts and your self-manipulations are fruitless and disheartening, regardless of their content. To be fallen upon by the Self-Evident Divine “Brightness” is the only Satisfaction. It is the only Cure for doubt and fear and all the sorrow of all of this — this heart-murdering meeting here, that is unrelieved suffering without the Divine Invasion.
In and of itself, this is a horror, a terrible place of endings. You cannot think your way out of it — talkety-talkety-talk — when you are lying there trying to catch the breath and feeling it going. There is no thought you can have in mind that will give you peace — none. Only the sheer and absolute Divine Presence solves the heart.”
Learning to conduct Adi Da’s Spiritual Presence
The art of allowing this Spirit Force to move through the bodymind and do its work is called conductivity, and it’s another major dimension of the Way of Adidam. When your practice has grown deep the Spirit Force transmitted by Adi Da Samraj courses through your body, purifying and transforming you, and drawing you into the mature stages of the Way.
“When the life is only open, when this incredible force is flowing through, it churns you, it purifies the life. Then there is nothing at last to be unhappy about, nothing to think about. The flood of enjoyment rushes through the body, dissolves the mind, overwhelms the life. The real intelligence of conscious life begins to intensify and function in place of ignorance.”
When your practice is all about turning your feeling-attention toward the heart of happiness, and all about allowing yourself to fall into that joy, and all about getting the fuck out of the way of the God Force, the first thing you find out is that there are huge parts of yourself that don’t want to do any of that. At all.
You discover that vast domains of your being are intensely addicted to self-obsession, craven distractions, and just all-around suffering. There are gargantuan parts of you that basically hateboundless unreasonable joy. The more you intensify your practice, the more your own refusal of happiness gets reflected back to you. And, according to Adi Da Samraj, this is a crucial process. He calls it self-observation and self-understanding.
According to Adi Da Samraj, the ego is not a “thing,” not an actual discrete entity. Rather, the ego is an activity. It is our own moment-by-moment act of contraction from the Sea of Conscious Light into the illusory separate self. For that reason, He often refers to the ego as the self-contraction. It is our muscular – though entirely unconscious – recoil from the formless, unutterable Bliss of God – “crunching down into the meat body,” as He once put it.
Responsibility for this activity of contraction grows, by His Grace. We get the realization, at ever more visceral levels, that we are pro-actively dissociating from the One Blissful Divine Reality, our only true nature and identity. When this self-understanding is summary, granting us fullest responsibility for that contraction, Adi Da calls this Hearing.
Right Life Discipline
Devotees in Adidam also take on a gamut of self-disciplines that Adi Da calls Right Life Disciplines. They align and conform your whole life to the God Realizing Way.
“All the disciplines in the sphere of the physical life simply turn the mechanism of the body mind to Me and connect it to me, so that a means of conductivity is established. That is how you are able to receive Me Spiritually…”
The Right Life Disciplines also create a stable base of purification and equanimity in the bodymind that allows your practice to blossom and to be fully embodied. Additionally, Right Life Disciplines intensify your self-understanding, because by thwarting your addictive habits and distractions, the pain that drives them is laid bare and reflected back to you.
Right Life Disciplines given by Adi Da include the dietary discipline of a 100% raw vegan diet (unless you have a legit medical reason that you can’t); sexual disciplines around heart-based non-promiscuity, no solitary porn, and restriction of sex to a committed monogamous relationship (unless you choose celibate renunciate practice, which some do); disciplines around participating in cooperative community; financial disciplines including full-time work (parenting counts), unless you’re a student or a retiree, plus regular tithing and not getting into any unsecured debt; daily yoga and conscious exercise; abstaining from drugs or alcohol; regular retreats, plus a bunch of self-disciplines that are customized to you.
Devotees also live a daily form, including study, service, Puja (a sacramental occasion of worship of the Guru), yoga, and two periods of meditation. Also, Sundays are retreat days. Lastly, devotees participate in weekly Devotional Groups where they discuss and refine their practice with their fellow students. It is a comprehensive Way of life.
“To live the Way itself, you must change your life. It is required. You take a vow to do so. You do not just become a club member, and sort of piecemeal, gradually, over decades, make some minor little lifestyle changes. If that is all you want to do, then go and be involved in conventional religion, because that is what those religions are for. That is what they do. They are for everyman. They are kind of a consoling environment and message for ordinary people that allow them to belong without having to change much. Such is a conventional accommodation found in societies all over the world. That is not the pattern of Adidam.”
But that doesn’t mean the life of sadhana is a suppressive life. Quite the opposite:
“The fullness of Spiritual life is not a suppressed life in any sense. It is not a diminution of function. It is fully alive, it is ecstatic, so that even the cells are orgasmic all the time. . . . Everybody talks in such awesome terms about love, but God is True Love. True Love is an expression of that same Light. True Love is not a celibate, sort of platonic, I-like-you feeling. It is the intensity of life, communicated without obstruction, relationship without contraction. It is of the same nature as true sexuality. . . . True Yogis are living, forceful beings. They are mad beings, absolutely mad and absolutely dangerous.”
The Maturing and Advanced Stages of the Way of Adidam
There are mature and advanced stages of practice in Adidam, but since I have no direct experience of them, I’m only going to touch on them here very briefly.
When your devotional practice ripens profoundly, so that you are founded in this communion with the Heart – in, as, and through Adi Da Samraj – in every moment of your life, and when your bodymind is grounded in deep equanimity (supported by all the Right Life Disciplines), you will find yourself, more and more, in what Adi Da calls searchless beholding of Him. That means you are truly just abiding in the Silence and Joy of your Guru, without seeking anything whatsoever.
At that point, your bodymind is becoming steadily available to His fullest Spiritual Transmission. This Blissful Force initiates many extraordinary changes. Among them is a stage of practice called Hearing. Hearing, as I mentioned earlier, is when the Guru’s Grace draws you into a profound responsibility for your own whole-body contraction from the Divine Radiance of Reality Itself.
This radical, moment-by-moment understanding of your refusal of—and recoil from—God, allows the next great transformation to unfold, which Adi Da calls Seeing. Seeing is a root conversion of the heart, a revolution in one’s ground-experience of existence itself. Reality itself is now self-evidently a play of the Living Spirit Power, and your Guru, Adi Da Samraj, is only That.
Hearing—and even more so Seeing—are such transfiguring events that they require the devotee to live a way of life that is entirely focused in Spiritual practice. The usual life games, searches, distractions, entanglements, and addictions have for the most part fallen away. At this point, you must live in Spiritual community with your fellow devotees.
In these stages of practice you are basically in and out of the meditation hall all day, chanting, serving, studying Adi Da’s Teaching. You have become seriously disinterested in your alleged “self” and its cheesy searches and desires. You are participating in a wild, formless, alchemical process, tending a great and passionate fire of Awakening in your Guru’s Blessing Company. You may still have a fully engaged intimate relationship, a job, and so forth, but your primary involvement, in every moment, is the Sea of Conscious Light.
After some unknowable time practicing in the Hearing and Seeing stages, Adi Da’s Spiritual Blessing Power draws you into the witness consciousness itself – the most advanced stage of practice short of fullest God Realization. He calls this the Perfect Practice. It is to abide in the witness consciousness itself.
The witness consciousness has nothing whatever to do with the separate body mind self, with any subject-object conventions, or with any separate anything. It is perfectly, intrinsically “prior to” the antics of separate selves, prior to mind, prior even to the quaint conventions of time and space. All the earlier stages of practice are preparation for this unspeakable profundity of the Perfect Practice.
“The True Witness is not ‘you’. It is not the ‘I’ that refers to it when speaking of it in the context of the body-mind, you see. That Which Is the Witness is Self-Existing and Self-Radiant, the Divine Self-Condition Itself. There is no ‘difference’ in it, no separate person in the conditionally manifested sense. To Realize the Divine Self-Condition is to be ‘non-different’ from it. It is to Realize Happiness Itself, not merely to refer to it, or have an intuition of it. It is to be Satisfied Utterly. It is to Realize that there is Only Me. It is to Realize that there is Only Love-Bliss Itself, never diminished.”
What meditation is like for me
I try – with varying degrees of success – to commune with Adi Da Samraj in every moment, while walking around the lake with my wife, while watching Agents of SHIELD, while writing in hipster coffee shops. But also, two times a day, I engage this communion in formal meditation. I have a big beautiful photograph of my Guru set up on a special altar. To me, as a devotee, he looks unutterably sublime, resplendent. Before I begin to meditate, I offer a small gift – a flower, a coin – and prostrate on the floor. The maverick psychoanalyst Bert Hellinger wrote that it is “healing to the soul” to bow before what is truly profound and great, and he is right.
In describing my meditation, I won’t cherry pick my best, most rapturous ones (are those ultimately the “best” ones, anyway?), because that would be tacky. Plus they can’t be described anyway and it makes for atrocious writing whenever I try. Nor, however, will I describe my shittiest meditations, the ones where I just sit there for the whole hour thinking about my boring neurotic struggles. So shooting roughly down the middle, my meditations commonly go something like this:
For the first 10 – 30 minutes, my mind spazzes around like a coke fiend and I keep bringing it back to my Guru. But then at some point something happens and I notice I am feeling Adi Da’s effulgence, a sort of quiet spiritual sweetness. I still have thoughts, but they’re way in the background now. My breath has become soft and slow. My Guru seems inexpressibly beautiful—his thick brow, the tilt of his head, the gesture of his great bearpaw hands—and I bask in the gentlest shine of simple joy.
A warm glow of devotion for Him fills my body. I have forgotten all about my woes. There is only the present moment and my life seems like an indelible simplicity. Often there are pleasant energy sensations in my head, throat, and sometimes in my heart – sensations of melting, pressure, tingling, heat, but they are irrelevent. Often the air will seem strangely nectarous, almost like there’s some rich, earthy incense burning, but there’s not. I can say all this honestly enough, but, on the other hand, every meditation is mysteriously different from every other.
Who Adi Da Samraj Is
“Extraordinary lifetimes in combination, and in stress of effort, and of accumulated Divine Grace, were required to make this Great Vehicle of Salvation and Liberation. And the Secret of this Labor is the Love of beings, and the utter Inability to accept the sorrow in beings, the suffering and the death of beings, the binding illusions of beings, the ego-possessed nature of beings. Only that Impulse of Love allows this Complexity, Manifested through many Vehicles, to Make (in Their Conglomeration) a Great Sign, an All-Completing Incarnation.”
Saints, Sages, Siddhas, Masters, and mystics throughout time have spoken of the universe as being pure God Light, pure Consciousness – inconceivable, indescribable, incomprehensible. Absolute living mystery. And many Traditions have taught that, on rare occasions, the Divine Matrix of the universe incarnates directly to help and to liberate suffering beings. These are the Avatars, the Divine Incarnations, the Purushas, the God Men and Women.
Ordinary beings are propelled helplessly into life after life, over and over, driven by vast chains of mechanical karmas stretching back countless lifetimes. That is the wheeel of samsara, in Buddhist terminology. By contrast, Avatars or Divine Incarnations take birth directly from the God Light. They are spontaneous responses of the Divine Reality to suffering beings. Over the years, as His devotees grew into a fuller and fuller recognition of Who He Is, Adi Da Samraj gradually revealed that He Himself is such an Avatar.
“Real (Acausal) God, Who Is One, is now Born and Living in your company, and has Work to Do. That One is Responding not only to human needs but to the craving of the molecules, the atoms, the constituents of this plane of conditional manifestation. This Mighty Work is Showing Its Signs in your time, to your face—in your generation and in all future generations.
“I am not Telling you this so that it will become a matter of belief. I am Telling you this so that, some day, you will know that today I Spoke That Truth. You must heart-recognize Me and heart-respond to Me, and take on the practice of this Way. If My devotees do this (now, and forever hereafter), then the Great Motion that has occurred with My Birth will be able, at some point in the future, to be acknowledged by many.
Everyone—no matter what his or her notion-of-mind is—can respond to My Blessing That Pours through time and space, Pours into the places of present humankind. This is My Divine Avataric Work. This Is What I am Doing, What I have always been Doing.”
And He spoke of how, just as the Traditions have always taught, it was the suffering of beings that called His Incarnation into human birth:
“What I do all day requires an extraordinary sensitivity to countless beings, which I suffer without limitations. I could not do the Work I do if I were not suffering it. My Blessing Regard is moved by this suffering, by this complete absence of illusions. To be most profoundly Awake intensifies your awareness of the suffering nature of the world to a virtually unbearable degree—if there were not the Awakening that accompanies it. You could not even look at what I see. You could not bear it. It is an exquisite suffering, an unlimited suffering that spreads Me all over the earth.”
Eventually He revealed that not only is He a direct Divine Incarnation, but He is the consummate, all-completing, fullest Revelation of the Divine in human form ever to walk the planet, in fact ever to appear in any conditional realm, dimension, or domain—that He is the culmination, completion and the fulfillment of the entire Great Tradition of human religious and spiritual endeavor.
Adi Da’s descriptions of existence echo ancient ones of reality having, in a sense, two aspects: Consciousness Itself (or “Shiva, “ in traditional Vedic terms)—the Unmanifest Field of Pure Being—and Its “Radiance,” the Spirit Energy that manifests as all the worlds (“Shakti”).
But He goes on to describe that the relationship of Consciousness and Its Radiance is somehow shifting. The very nature of “Shiva and Shakti” is fundamentally changing in some utterly unimaginable way. The Divine Conscious Light is “bleeding through” (totally my words…) or “Emerging” into the phenomenal, conditional worlds in a way it never has before. And the manifest sign (again, totally my words) of this incomprehensible Divine Emergence here, in this realm, is Adi Da Samraj himself. In this context, He has metaphorically referred to His Incarnation as, “a hole in the universe.”
“To Register every where, My Avataric Appearance had to be Extended into the grossest domain. To Appear in the grossest domain, I had to Proceed from the cosmic Source-Point at the core. Therefore, you must understand that, fundamentally, My Avataric Appearance is simply the Magnification of My Divine Self-“Brightness”. That Magnification is a Universal Event—Universal to the entire cosmic domain. My Intervention could not be thus Universal if I had not Made This Submission to Appear in grossest form.”
The intellect cannot encompass mysteries of this magnitude. It’s like trying to wrap your head around questions like, “What was before the Big Bang?”, “Where did the Big Bang happen?”, “Whydid it happen? “or “Why is there something rather than nothing?”
Adi Da in no sense expected or even wanted people to merely “believe” any of these mind-blowing descriptions. He was fierce and emphatic that devotees “find Him out,” that we prove the Truth of his communications in our direct experience, through the revolution of our own spiritual transmutation. These are great esoteric mysteries that can only be intuited and known by the heart; by direct, tacit revelation. And that can come only through your own radical Spiritual Awakening.
“People can always experience a little yoga, a little psychism, a little internal energy, a little insight. But when the Total Representation of Divine Realization is demonstrated in the literal human form of one individual, people must make use of it. It is an advantage that is unique in human time. “
How I personally relate to the great Avataric Revelations of Adi Da Samraj
People sometimes ask me if I personally “believe” these great Avataric Revelations. Asking me this question is like asking a three-year-old if he or she believes in quantum string theory. Meaning: I am far too much of a beginner to even really have much of an opinion. So here’s what I do know:
When I turn my feeling-attention to him, remarkable things often unfold, including – my personal favorite – boundless unreasonable joy. Also a lot of really uncomfortable shit – purification, brutally humbling self-observation, etc. – but it’s all very real. I know that His Grace moves in me and heals and washes my heart and soul. I tangibly experience these things – a lot.
I know that I find His Teachings dazzlingly brilliant, diamond -like in their perfection, and that, for me, they have muscular authenticity, unparalleled lucidity, and ever-new life. I know that He is, as they say, “the real deal.” Is He, then, the consummate, all-completing Avatar? Like I said, I have no idea. But here’s what I can say: It doesn’t seem unlikely.
I’ve had a number of experiences where I was shattered by the Revelation of Him as absolute unspeakable Divine Love. In those experiences, my whole being tacitly knew, with overwhelming obviousness, that He is not “some guy” at all, but pure God Light, shattering Love-Bliss Itself. Of course, so was I and everything and everyone else, the whole universe, but the Revelation of this blazed from Him, as plainly as sunlight comes from the sun.
Obviously such experiences don’t present themselves in any sort of conceptual terms, “comparing” Him to other previous Avatars or Divine Incarnations of whom I’ve had no experience. But later, as the verbal mind “comes back online,” I find myself feeling that, as far as his great confessions of Who and What He is, yeah, they don’t seem at all unlikely. So I hold His great Avataric revelations as something like hypotheses. We will see what my practice continues to reveal.
In the meantime, to be perfectly honest, I don’t really give a shit one way or the other. All I know, all I need to know, is he is my Guru, and practicing as His devotee has made me immeasurably freer, happier, and better at loving people, and that for me, this Way of life is good and true and real. And that my greatest joy is to commune with Him and surrender my ridiculous head at His Grace Giving Lotus Feet. And that’s enough.
How I became a devotee of Adi Samraj
I began devouring spirituality books at the age of 11 or 12 and, sometime around the age of 14 or 15, I came across Adi Da’s first two books on – of all places – my parents’ bookshelves. Both books were a little beat up, plainly gotten at a used bookstore or garage sale, because my parents told me they had never read either one. But I was completely beguiled by these books.
As an American, I hated all the stuff about Guru devotion. I would flip past those parts. Yuck. But I found the rest of His Teachings dazzling – the most brilliant Spiritual Wisdom I’d ever come across. Most of all, I always got the unshakable sense that He was not full of shit. That He really told it like it was. That He was for real. This was very important to me.
Here’s the funny thing. Like I said, I disdained the idea of Guru devotion. But His books were so shiny and attractive to me. I just found myself wanting to read them, almost like they glowed, from across the room. And often times, after reading one of them, I’d feel this light, spacious ease and simplicity inside.
It was not until I became a devotee, many years later, that I realized: that feeling was Him! And that feeling was devotion! That mysterious attraction to His books, that funny shine I felt from His Words, the quiet joy and interior lightness I often felt after reading His books – that was devotion. I had simply held a bunch of fixed preconceptions of what devotion was – that it meant being giddy, emotionalistic, gleeful. Who knows what the hell I thought. I had images of glassy-eyed people in goofy robes dancing around excitedly—images probably gotten from features on 60 Minutes about cults, the Moonies or whatever.
Anyway, I continued to read His books – and continued to hate all the talk of Guru devotion – until I was almost thirty. I read a vast tonnage of other spiritual books, too – Zen, Tibetan Buddhist, Sufi, Christian mystic, Taoist, Advaita Vedanta, anthroposophy, Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti. I meditated, went on all sorts of retreats, attended workshops. Did a bunch of therapy (read mountains of psychology, too).
Then, at one point, I noticed something had shifted in the subterranean dimensions of my being: I simply knew that it was time. After fifteen years of reading Adi Da’s books and, as it were, dancing around the flame, it was time – no matter how allergic I was to the idea of Guru devotion – to become His formal devotee, and take up the whole way of life He Teaches.
If you want to explore the possibility of becoming a devotee of Adi Da
I’ve met people with wild (to me) stories of how they became devotees of Adi Da’s—people who saw one picture of Him on a flyer somewhere and knew – instantly, intuitively – that he was their Guru. People who had visions or powerful dreams of Him before ever having actually seen or heard of Him, so that, once they finally did come across one of His books or a picture of Him, they were like, “Holy shit! That’s the guy in my visions/dreams!” There’s a lot of these stories and they’re always fun to hear.
But, from what I can figure out, those are people with unique karmas. The majority of people become devotees of Adi Da’s in more (ostensibly) ordinary ways. In fact, for most, the way you become a devotee of Adi Da’s and take up the Way He offers has some things in common with the way you become a good friend or intimate partner of someone. In other words, it’s a gradual, organic, natural and simple process. You take the usual little exploratory steps. And each little step you take either proves itself—confirms something in your experience—or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you don’t take any more steps.
So you might simply read a book by Adi Da. If you like it, if it “resonates” with you (which doesn’t mean parts of it might not rub you the wrong way!), if your intuition somehow says, “yes,” then read another one. And/or listen to some audio or watch some video of Him. If it keeps feeling right, real, and true, or even just engaging and fascinating, or even aggravating and infuriating but in a good way, explore (read, listen, wash) more. If it doesn’t, don’t. Easy. Trust yourself.
At some point, if your exploration continues to feel like the thing to do, you’ll want to find a way to connect with a real live devotee or two. There are a lot of regional Adidam centers, in Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, LA, Hawaii, New York City, Auckland, Berlin. These centers often have events, workshops, presentations, retreats. Check one out. See what you think.
There are also many more regions where there are maybe just two or three devotees. At the least, you could get a cup of coffee with one of them. At any time, you could jump into an online study course or webinar. Structured reading or study (like in a class or course), in dynamic relationship with other living, breathing people, has a different kind of force and seriousness.
Eventually – after a few weeks or a few months or few years – you may decide that Adi Da is your Guru and the Way He offers is right for you. If so, then you begin the process of “formal approach” to becoming His devotee. That basically means you take a guided course in which you study every aspect of what devotee life is and what it entails, making sure it’s what you want. There are a couple of interviews in which people make sure you’re very serious and ready to take up this rigorous way of life. Adidam is, after all – in Adi Da’s Words – “a hard school but a happy way of life.”
If, after all of that, you’re still hot to trot, you participate in a beautiful sacramental ceremony in which you take the eternal vow as Adi Da’s devotee. Then you are His devotee, and you begin to adapt to all the Right Life Disciplines He Gives. The great, difficult, ecstatic odyssey has begun. I’ll end this page with one of my favorite quotes of Adi Da’s:
“If I am loved, then the entire body-mind of My devotee is Filled by My Love-Bliss. If My devotee is Filled by Me through Love-Communion, the voice often falters and chokes with the emotion of love. Because My true devotee always dwells in Contemplation of Me at the heart, there is often joyous weeping, and suddenly laughing—for no reason but the Fullness of Me. My true devotee freely sings aloud of Me. My true devotee always speaks of Me, to one and all, and often dances with casual joy, in the unending always of Remembering Me. Even all the movements of My true devotee are a dance of joy in love of Me.”