COMMENTS: Hallo, My name is Harald. I am not a devotee. My first contact to devotees of Adidam and the teaching (I read the book “Knee of Listening”) was 1996. I had the possibility to see Adi Da in August 2005 at Mountain of Attention Sanctuary. It was a gift. I have read several books of Adi Da. I am currently reading “The Method of the Siddhas” (1992 edition). My questions: 1. Can anyone explain the difference between Listening and Hearing to me in simple, understandable terms? Or may I find text passages in one of His books where it is well described? 2. Are there devotees who have reached the “Hearing” level ? Kind regards, Harald

Dear Harald,

This is James Steinberg. Chris Tong, who administers the Adi Da Up Close site referred your query to me.

I wonder if we have met, since you came to the Mountain of Attention in 2005. I was also there.

Listening and hearing are of course technical terms in a progression that Adi Da has given specific meanings in the language of Adidam.

The progression is listening, hearing, and then seeing… finally entrance into the Perfect Practice–all leading to eventual Divine Self- Realization

Listening is the process of applying oneself to study of Adi Da’s Teaching and allowing its points to be made in one’s own life. In other words, it is not intellectual study or just comprehending the arguments made, but allowing the points in the teaching to become various moments of insight into one’s own activity–and specifically the activity of the avoidance of relationship or the enactment of the self-contraction. It is a process of coming to insight or more and more self-understanding. There is insight relative to this way that one may be enacting the self-contraction, and then this way.

When that process of listening becomes “summary self-understanding” in an individual, then that is point when listening has become “hearing of the Teaching”

It is, when used technically in Adidam, a specific moment of the progression of various insights into one’s own activity in which one understands that even at one’s best or at one’s worst, or when one is mediocre, one is always enacting the self-contraction. There is a relaxation of the “search” at this point, because it is also seen as simply just another form of self-contraction.

Hearing clears the way for seeing, or the availability of the individual for Spiritual Baptism that occurs with that. Because no longer is the individual so self-absorbed in trying to figure it all out.

Of course, insight continues after hearing, and more is revealed and hearing is deepened or brought to more aspects or dimensions of the esoteric anatomy of the body-mind. But the point of what is called “hearing” is a summary moment in the process.

(One could say that the fullest “hearing” relative to the self-contraction is only with Divine Self-Realization itself, where there is insight into difference or attention itself. And Adi Da has made this point. Yet ordinary hearing is a summary point, and represents a stability of insight relative to the activity of the self-contraction.)

Now in terms of the levels of practice of Adidam, the listening-hearing process is called level one of practice

The would-be seeing practice is level two

and the already seeing practice is level three

Now relative to where devotees within Adidam are practicing presently, with Adi Da’s Mahasamadhi in Adidam, He had not acknowledged anyone who had moved beyond the listening-hearing process

There had been many times in the past when various devotees had been acknowledged in higher levels of practice than this–personally I practiced for many years in practicing stage or level three, and for several months at level six, etc. But my understanding is that this was a gift from Adi Da and was not something that I had truly realized on my own. And so when that gift was “withdrawn” or the influence of Adi Da was not so actively given in my life, I reverted back to where I was really at, which was still an involvement in the listening hearing process

And this was the case with all of Adi Da’s devotees–at the time of His Mahasamadhi He did not acknowledge anyone as having moved beyond this listening-hearing stage–including the two members of the Ruchira Sannyasin Order.

This does not mean that I have not had numerous insights or intuitions or momentary experiences of Spiritual Infusion and insight. But it means that hearing has not occurred with even the stability that occurs at what is called the 1.3 level or the listening hearing process.

Does this mean that the Way itself does not work? Or that Adi Da’s Work was a failure? I do not believe so. Even though, it is stark reality.

I have seen the Truth of the Teaching itself. And I know that the practice which Adi Da has given is inherently the best thing that I can do with my life and my attention. When I first became a devotee I hoped to Divinely Self-Realized in a finite period, and it was very important to me. As time passed, the search for Realization in this lifetime or not eased. I realized that it would take whatever time it took.

Another aspect of this is that whatever level of practice that one is in, the context of practice is ultimately not about any level, but always “devotional recognition-response” to Adi Da directly. In other words, in this moment, in recognition of Bhagavan Adi Da, all the levels and stages of practice are transcended or bypassed, in direct relationship to Him. At the end of His Life, Adi Da was stressing this very strongly. To use His language, His Way was the Seventh Stage Way, that begins and is enacted in recognition-response to Him, not the search or any problem consciousness about one’s present stage of practice. He wanted the way itself to be disentangled from this kind of seeking language, or involvement with the stages of life as well. Stressing the moment-to-moment recognition-response to Him, in which already there is a Liberation just to be in relationship to the Adept. I have used the term “recognition-response” several times in this paragraph. This is because this was Adi Da’s language at the end of His Life, saying essentially what He used to say when He spoke of Satsang, or the relationship to the Guru, as the essence of the Way. When He said in The Knee of Listening, “I do not offer you a method, but a relationship”.

In terms of the time that might be required to truly progress in the stage of the way, in September, 2004 Adi Da spoke of this in a talk.. Allow me to put those words here. I believe that they are unpublished

September 26, 2004

The teachers within the Great Tradition need to be understood in the context of timelessness or vast time. It’s not merely that life is no good, so go to a master and get realized and it’s all over with, you see. Life is what it is, and going to a master is something that occurs again and again and again, life after life, or in whatever circumstances occur in the transition from human life. Again and again, there’s the opportunity to do sadhana. It is something that comes to perfection in due course. It’s not merely a trick, and it doesn’t have to happen in this lifetime. It is simply that there is right life and it bears perfect fruit in due course. And the best thing to do in the midst of right life is to spend your time, as much as possible, in the company of your master.

And how much you are purified or transformed or advanced in that company depends on many factors. Everything to do with the character and practice of the individual devotee, and it also has to do with the state of the master himself or herself, the stage of realization, qualities manifested by that master that are effective in the case of those who come to the master, and so on.

So, all the traditions are fundamentally built upon a timelessness, an eternal opportunity. Some traditions are stated differently, and promoted differently, but that’s essentially the circumstance in which teachings have been given and in which teachers have taught.

All of you who are devotees of Mine take an Eternal Vow of devotion to Me, not limited to this lifetime, and that’s for good reason. [Laughter]

DEVOTEES: Thank You, Beloved.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: On the other hand, My Manifestation here is Unique. This Way is Unique. I employ means that are Unique. My Teaching is Unique. And so you all have a unique potential in coming into My Company

Now it may very well be that since Adi Da’s Mahasamadhi some devotees have in fact “heard”. There is no one being so promoted or acknowledged within formal Adidam at this point. But certainly this is the intent of the practice of all devotees, and it is my firm conviction that all the Gifts have been given to make this possible. But what you have within the Adidam community is a group of devotees mightily gifted and Blessed who are happily and gratefully practicing within the listening-hearing context.

Harald, I will leave this discussion there.

with best regards to you

James