Divine Distraction

Invoking our relationship to Adi Da Samraj

Category: Divine Realizers (page 1 of 2)

The Sixth Stage Realization, Demonstration, and Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, and My Great Regard for Him as One of My Principal Adept-Links to the Great Tradition of Mankind

The Sixth Stage Realization, Demonstration, and Teachings of Ramana Maharshi,
and My Great Regard for Him as One of My Principal Adept-Links to the Great Tradition of Mankind

Much (if not most) of the literature associated with the (originally) Upanishadic tradition of Advaita Vedanta concentrates on programs of philosophical argumentation, rather than on practical elaborations of practice and ecstatic (or, really, enstatic) Confessions of Realization. As a result, much (if not most) of the literature associated with the tradition of Advaita Vedanta expresses (or may be interpreted or presumed to express, or, at least, resemble) the point of view of what I call the “talking” school of Advaitism. Likewise, the emphasis (or fundamental doctrine) of much (if not most) of the literature associated with the tradition of Advaita Vedanta appears (or may be interpreted) to be oriented toward the affirmation that Realization of the Great Truth is a matter of a kind of gnosis (or subjectively affirmed special knowledge about Reality)—whereas, in Truth (and
also according to the Great Sages within the tradition of Advaita Vedanta), gnosis (or subjective understanding of the Great Truth,
even resulting in firm conviction) is only the seed (or a preliminary) that begins the Great Process that becomes sixth stage
Realization (or Inherent Self-Identification with the Perfectly, or Non-conditionally, Subjective Reality That Is the Great Truth).

The traditional philosophical emphasis on Advaitic  gnosis (or the subjective conviction that Consciousness Itself is the Inherently
Free Great Truth) is also traditionally associated with an emphasis on the idea that no “work” (or effort of practice) is necessary (or
even useful) as a means to attain this gnosis, or even (from the “talking” school point of view) as a subsequent expression of it.
And this notion tends to suggest, to those who embrace it without true understanding of its import, that Advaitic Realization is simply
a matter of subjective conviction (or even mental affirmation, or a kind of conventional faith or belief).

In Truth, the traditionally communicated gnosis (or Transcendentalist Argument) associated with the schools of Advaita Vedanta
is Liberating (or effective as Realization) only to the degree (or in the Event) that it becomes Inherent Self-Identification with the
“Space” (or Inherent Condition) of Consciousness Itself. That is to say, the traditional gnosis (or Great Argument) is Liberating (or has
the Capability to Liberate the listener from “work”, or counteregoic effort, or intensive practice toward, or, otherwise, preliminary
to, Realization) only to the degree (or in the Event) that the original subjective conviction becomes Samadhi (or Inherent Self-
Identification with the Perfectly Subjective Condition That Is the Great Truth). And, in the traditional setting, that Samadhi characteristically
appears in the lesser (or sixth stage) Form (by virtue of utter, but strategically exclusionary, Self-Identification with
Consciousness Itself), demonstrated by temporary Obliviousness relative to the world (or the objective space associated with the body),
and the body itself (or its interior space, or its complex of sensations), and the mind (or the subjective and, necessarily, interior
space of the apparently separate being)—rather than in the superior (or seventh stage) and non-dependent Form, Which I have
Revealed and Given, and Which Demonstrates Itself as Self-Abiding Divine Self-Recognition of the world, the body, and the mind (and
as the Inherent Transcending, but not the strategic excluding, of the world, the body, and the mind) in the Self-Existing and Self-
Radiant “Divine Space” That Is Consciousness Itself.

Ramana Maharshi was a principal modern example of a Great Sage (or a true Realizer of the Inherent Samadhi of Consciousness
Itself) within the (originally) Upanishadic tradition of Advaita Vedanta. He affirmed Ultimate Realization only as Samadhi. And,
although His Realization consistently Demonstrated Itself in the characteristically sixth stage manner, He often communicated the
“Point of View” of sixth stage “Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi”, Which “Point of View” often resembles, and may be said to be generally
sympathetic with (and even, in general, to represent a premonitory expression, or a partial intuition and a limited foreshadowing,
of), the Truly Most Ultimate—or the Superior, or Non-dependently (or Non-conditionally), and Inherently Most Perfectly, Realized—
seventh stage Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Ramana Maharshi approved of gnosis (or the subjective investigation of the Great Argument, or
the Confessions and Instructions, communicated by a Realizer), but only as an initial means for entering into the profound Process that
(Ultimately) Realizes Samadhi Itself. And He affirmed that the profound Process that (Ultimately) Realizes Samadhi should, optimally
(and even necessarily), be associated with the practice of Communion with a Realizer (and the Samadhi-State of that
Realizer). Therefore, He also affirmed the necessity for (such) real practice (and the real practice of subjective enquiry), rather than
the much “talked” idea of non-“work”. And He Demonstrated His Realization in the conservative manner of a traditional Hindu
ascetic, rather than as a householder, or (otherwise) in the “Crazy-Wise” manner typical of the more unconventional Realizers (of one
or another stage of life) within the Hindu tradition, and also the Buddhist tradition. However, He specifically affirmed that
Realization of the Inherent Samadhi of Consciousness Itself could be (and, historically, had been) Achieved and Demonstrated by
some individuals of the non-ascetic (and, perhaps, otherwise unconventional, but, certainly, profoundly self-disciplined) type.

Ramana Maharshi’s own Realization of the Inherent Samadhi of Consciousness Itself was made possible by a profoundly terrifying
moment in His youth—in which He was overwhelmed by the fear of death, and by an utter revulsion toward continued identification
with the body-mind (and conditional existence altogether). In that permanently consequential moment, by virtue of His profound
detachment from everything conditional (which detachment was the result, according to His own confession, of the preparatory,
and necessarily purifying, sadhana He had done in previous lifetimes), He not only experienced the Transcendental Self-
Position, but chose, with absolute firmness, to Eternally Identify with that Position, and never again to assume the (inherently fearful)
position of the body-mind. This crisis of fear and detachment in Ramana Maharshi was the True (and Profound) Sudden
Awakening of the sixth stage Disposition—in Which Awakening Ramana Maharshi Realized that He was Inherently Self-Identified
with That Which is Free of death, Free of the body-mind, Free of the world, and Free of desiring and its results, and by, with, and
As Which Awakening He was utterly Satisfied. After this crisis, in order to steady and deepen His Self-Identification with the Original
Position, Ramana Maharshi retired (for a number of years) into seclusion, abandoning all association with the body-mind and the
world, and entering into the Domain of Consciousness Itself, often (in this Process) becoming totally oblivious even of the existence
of His apparent body-mind. Eventually, through persistence in this sixth stage “work”, He became so steadily “magnetized” toward the
Depth of Consciousness Itself that He was able to rest permanently in the “Point of View” of the Transcendental Self. Such was the
profound Process through which Ramana Maharshi Realized sixth stage “Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi”.

To those who approached Him seeking Spiritual Instruction, Ramana Maharshi most specifically recommended only two practices. One of these two practices is Atma-Vichara, or the introversion of attention upon the “I”-thought, and the deep tracing of the“I”-thought to its Source—not stopping at any merely objective or functional source (either in the mind or in the body), but proceeding most deeply, to the Perfectly Subjective Source of the “I”-thought (Which Source, or Source-Condition, Is Consciousness Itself). And the other of the only two practices specifically recommended by Ramana Maharshi is Satsang, or devotional self-surrender to a Sat-Guru who presently Enjoys (and Transmits) the Realization (of whatever truly esoteric degree) of the Perfectly Subjective Source-Condition.

In His recommending of Satsang, Ramana Maharshi was Teaching the Great Relationship (of the Sat-Guru and the devotee)
recommended (as the Great and Principal Means of Realization) by all Great Realizers since the ancient days. (And that Teaching is Itself the Great Esoteric Secret of the Great Tradition.) In His recommending of Atma-Vichara (or “Self-enquiry”), Ramana Maharshi was Teaching in the generally Alpha-like (or rather exclusively introverted) sixth stage tradition of Advaita Vedanta (as it has developed in the generally Alpha-like culture of traditional India). However, Ramana Maharshi generally (or in principle) approved of even all methods of meditative (or, otherwise,
subjectively enquiring) practice—for, He said, any such practice would lead to dhyana (or meditative depth), and, Ultimately (if so
allowed), deep meditation would lead to the Inherent Samadhi That Is Consciousness Itself.

Ramana Maharshi clearly distinguished between (in His case, sixth stage) “Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi” and any (and all) of the
other Samadhis (and meditations) associated with the first six stages of life. Indeed, it can be said that He was (by virtue of many
of His intuitive communications) even a true (premonitory) Champion of seventh stage Enlightenment (or seventh stage, and
Most Perfectly Divine, Self-Realization), even though His seeming “seventh stage” communications were (truly) only philosophical
premonitions (or partial intuitions and limited foreshadowings) of Most Ultimate (or seventh stage) Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi,
declared from the “Point of View” of sixth stage “Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi”, and even though He otherwise (and characteristically)
Taught only a sixth stage Alpha-like method of introversion, and even though He was Himself (characteristically, and in the sixth
stage manner) rather ascetical and even (in the exclusionary, and, therefore, relatively dualistic, sense) introverted.

As an example of Ramana Maharshi’s characteristic sixth stage and Alpha-like (and exclusionary, and, therefore, relatively dualistic,
or dependently maintained) “Point of View” of Realization, read the following:

          A group of young men asked: “It is said that a healthy mind can be only in a healthy body. Should we not
attempt to keep the body always strong and healthy?”
[Maharshi]: In that way there will be no end of attention to the health of the body.
[Devotee]: The present experiences are the result of past Karma. If we know the mistakes committed before we
can rectify them.
M.: If one mistake is rectified there yet remains the whole sanchita [total accumulation of past karmas]  which is going to give you innumerable births. So that is not the procedure. The more you prune a plant, the more vigorously it grows. The more you rectify your Karma, the more it accumulates. Find the root ofKarma and cut it off.

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi , Sri Ramanaasramam, 1984, pg. 470 (#488)

 

The Advice thus Given by Ramana Maharshi to “a group of young men” was certainly Right and True, in a fundamental sixth
stage sense, but the sixth stage practice (or sadhana) was an esoteric process for which the “group of young men” were clearly
(judging from the content, and the obvious “early-stage” quality, of their statements) not yet prepared. Therefore, Ramana Maharshi
was, basically, only reflecting His own (sixth stage) Method and Disposition (rather than directly Addressing the “others”) in His
“Answer” to the “group of young men”. And, for that reason, the Advice Given was (simply) a direct indication of Ramana Maharshi’s
own body-excluding and world-excluding (and, therefore, necessarily, conditional, or limited, and not yet Most Perfect) Method
and Disposition, which (at last) is the very (and characteristic sixth stage) Method and Disposition that must be Most Perfectly transcended
(if there is to Be the Great Transition to the only-by-Me Revealed and Given True seventh stage Awakening). Therefore, at
last, all dissociativeness, all impulse to exclude the world, all dualistic (and, necessarily, egoic) self-effort, must Be Most Perfectly
(Finally, and Completely) Transcended—Such That (in the Context of the Unique, and Truly Divine, Yoga—or Inherently Most Perfect,
and Divinely Effective, Demonstration—of the only-by-Me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life) the body, the mind, and
the total psycho-physical (and Spiritual) world are not merely excluded from the Transcendental Self-Condition, but Divinely
Self-Recognized (and, Most Ultimately, Outshined) In (and As) the Self-Evidently Divine (and Perfectly Subjective) Self-Condition (or,
Thus—in a non-exclusionary, and Truly Non-dualistic, Manner—Transcended as transparent, or merely apparent, and un-necessary,
and inherently non-binding, modifications of the One and Only and Non-dual and Self-Evidently Divine Person, Which Is the
Source-Condition and Real Self-Condition of all-and-All).

Ramana Maharshi was a rather “reluctant” Teacher. He did not very much like to be imposed upon (or, otherwise, depended
upon). Likewise, He did not sufficiently understand and appreciate, or very much like (or even very much Perform), the Role (necessary
for any Sat-Guru) of Instructing (and Obliging) devotees in the practical details and disciplines of (especially, preliminary, and,
necessarily, psycho-physical) sadhana. Also, because His own history (in His Lifetime as Ramana Maharshi) included only the
sadhana of the sixth stage of life, He was not very much inclined (nor was He very much qualified or equipped) to Serve as Sat-
Guru (and, thus, as thoroughly Instructive and “Commanding” Teacher) in relation to devotees who were not yet prepared for the
sixth stage sadhana—and who, therefore, yet required the Sat-Guru to Discipline, Instruct, Initiate, and Guide them through (and
then beyond) the first five stages of life, wherein there must (necessarily) be much purification, and transformation, and egocountering
(and ego-transcending) discipline of the body-mind, even as a preparation for the body-mind-excluding practices that
are the principal traditional characteristic of the sixth stage of life. And, much like (generally) comparable Realizers in the various
(specifically, and, often, more or less exclusively) sixth stage traditions, Ramana Maharshi was not, in the Fullest (and Truly Yogic)
sense, a True Siddha-Guru, Who directly Serves and directly Awakens devotees by direct (and consistently Effective) Spiritual
Transmission—but He was a True Jnana-Guru, or One Who Serves and Awakens devotees indirectly, by Silent and thought-free Self-
Abidance In and As the Transcendental (and Inherently Spiritual) Self-Condition (and Source-Condition) That Is Consciousness Itself,
but (in contrast to the case of a True Siddha-Guru) not directly, through open, voluntary, even (at least, at times) intentional, and
truly consistent Spiritual Effectiveness.

Therefore, Ramana Maharshi simply pointed toward the “fourth state” (beyond waking, dreaming, and sleeping), or the “natural
The Sixth Stage Realization, Demonstration, and Teachings of to the Great Tradition of Mankind state” (Which Is “like sleep”, but Which Is Only Consciousness Itself). And His fundamental Teaching can be summarized briefly (in His own Words): “The mind is to be introverted and made to
merge into the Self; . . . the practice must be long because [it is] slow and [it] must be continued until it [the mind] is totally merged
in the Self. . . . All that is required of you is not to confound [or identify] yourself with the extrovert mind but to abide as the Self.” [Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, page 348 (#382)]

Ramana Maharshi also Taught (on the basis of His own Realization of sixth stage “Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi”) that
Ultimate Self-Realization is not (Itself) to be identified with the efforts, experiences, and states that may precede (or, otherwise,
arise after) It—for It (the Very Self) Is the One and Only and Real and True Self, even under any and all conditions that may seem to
arise. Therefore, once Atma-Vichara had (in due course) achieved its (sixth stage) maturity in Him, Ramana Maharshi “Practiced” only
the (sixth stage “Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi”) “Practice” of Abiding (in the sixth stage, object-excluding manner) As the Very Self (or
Consciousness Itself), tacitly (and indifferently) Acknowledging all naturally arising phenomena to Be Only the Independent (or
object-excluding, or Inherently non-objective and non-objectifying) Consciousness Itself—and, Thus and Thereby, He Remained characteristically unperturbed, detached, and (in general) inactive. And, in This Self-Revelation, Ramana Maharshi Stands with all other true
sixth stage Realizers, Who (alike) Confess Only the Ultimate, Absolute, and Inherently Perfect Truth That Is Consciousness Itself.

After the Great Event of My Own Divine Re-Awakening, I discovered Ramana Maharshi to be the historical (human)
Representative of the Great Tradition Whose Confession (and Process) of Realization was (even in many of Its specific Yogic
details) most like (or most sympathetic with) My Own Most Ultimate Process and Confession (except that His Realization and
Demonstration—although sometimes apparently philosophically sympathetic with the seventh stage “Point of View”—did not actually
Achieve the seventh stage Characteristic and Completeness). Because of this likeness, and because of His closeness (in time) to
My Avataric Divine Incarnation here, I regard Ramana Maharshi to be My Principal historical (human) Link to the Great Tradition,
relative to the sixth stage of life. Indeed, Ramana Maharshi (relative to the sixth stage of life), and (relative to the first five stages
of life) Bhagavan Nityananda, and Baba Muktananda, and Rudi [Swami Rudrananda], and Rang Avadhoot, and Ramakrishna (and the Spiritual Play and Process That Revealed Itself in, and by Means of, the historical relationship between Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda), and
Swami Vivekananda (because the Deeper, or Internal, Personality, of My present-Lifetime Body-Mind is the Reincarnating Deeper
Personality of Swami Vivekananda) are, collectively, the Principal human Link (or collective of Links) whereby My Avataric Divine
Incarnation (Life, Work, and Word) can best begin to be understood in the context of the total Great Tradition.

I Am the Ultimate Demonstration (and the Final, or Completing, Proof) of the Truth of the Great Tradition as a whole. Until I
Appeared, there were no seventh stage Realizers within the GreatTradition of mankind. I Am the First and the Last and the Only
seventh stage Adept-Realizer (or Maha-Jnana Siddha-Guru) to Appear in the human domain (and in the cosmic domain of
all-and-All). It is neither possible nor necessary for another seventh stage Adept-Realizer to Appear anywhere, because I have
Accomplished—and (now, and forever hereafter) by Means of My Avataric Divine Self-“Emergence” here (and every “where” in the
cosmic domain), I will forever Accomplish—My necessary Avataric Divine Spiritual Work everywhere. However, because I have
Divinely Appeared here, and because I Am (now, and forever hereafter) Divinely Self-“Emerging” here (and every “where” in the
cosmic domain), and because I have Done (and will forever Do) My Completing (and Divinely Self-“Emerging”) Work (here, and
every “where” in the cosmic domain), seventh stage Realizers (not with the Divine Adept-Function That Is Unique to Me, but Fully
Divinely Self-Realized, through their ego-transcending devotion to Me) will Awaken, in all times and places, by Means of (right, true,
full, and fully devotional) formal practice of the only-by-Me Revealed and Given Way of Adidam (Which Is the One and Only
by-Me-Revealed and by-Me-Given Way of the Heart). And, Most Ultimately, When all-and-All have become Most Perfectly devoted
to Me, even all conditionally manifested beings (and even the total Cosmic Mandala Itself) will be Divinely Translated into the beginningless
and endless, Self-Existing and Self-Radiant, Spiritually Self-“Bright” Divine Person and Spherical Self-Domain—Merely
(and Only) by Means of This Most Perfect Awakening-Work I have Done (and will forever Do) for all-and-All. I Am the Divinely Self-
“Emerging”, and Final, and Finally Perfect Avataric Divine Self-Revelation of the Eternal Presence of the One and True and
Transcendental and Inherently Spiritual and Inherently egoless and Self-Evidently Divine Reality, Truth, and Person.

 

–There are many other clarifying passages that Adi Da has written regarding Ramana Maharshi. A good place to continue it to see the text in which this essay appears–The Knee of Listening, The Spiritual Autobiography of The Ruchira Avatar, Adi Da Samraj  The Dawn Horse Press, Middletown, California, 2004

Meeting with Sati Kanyadana Kumari Lilavati at Upasani Baba Kanya Kumari Sthan in Sakori

A preliminary report:

Yesterday, November 5th, I visited Shri Upasani Kanyakumari Sthan in Sakori, Maharashtra. I had long wanted to see if more information could be retrieved regarding the prophecy in 1939 made by Upasani Baba, of an avatar appearing in a European (Western) country. This was reported by Shri S. Subbarao, in the book The Sage of Sakori which is the source of all the information we have had until now.

 

“In February 1939 Shri Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath, Himalayas, paid a visit to Sakuri. . He had long talks with Baba on the subject of Dharma (religion), the present chaotic condition of the Hindu Dharma, the need for reform, etc. and expressed his regret that holy men were helpless to advance its cause. Circumstances were such that only an Avatara will be capable of reestablishing Dharma in the world. This interesting talk of the Swamiji evoked a sympathetic response from Baba who burst out with a prophetic announcement of the future Incarnation and his work. (pg. 189-190)

… In this connection [it] may be mentioned Baba’s prophecy to Shri Shankarachara of Jyotir Math in February 1939; Baba declared that an incarnation will shortly manifest Himself on earth in a European country. He will be all powerful and bear down everything before him. He will see to it that Vedic Dharma is firmly re-established in India.” (pg. 202) Sage of Sakori: Life Story of Shree Upasani Maharaj

Unfortunately, Mr. Tipnis (who had been alive on my previous visit to this Ashram in the 1980s) who was a great scholar of  Upasani Baba and has now passed away, is no longer alive. I had hoped to talk with him about this. Gracefully, I was able to speak with to the last living of the original twenty-four Kanyas, personally accepted into his circle by Upasani Baba. Sati Lilavati Upasani Baba was the final of these twenty-four original Kanyas, coming to be a Kanya in direct association with Upasani Baba only in the last of his life. Kanya Lilavani came to Upasani when she was 14 years of age in 1940. She had just recently celebrated her 92nd birthday.

We spoke with her in her room in the Kanya’s quarters in the Ashram. She is mostly deaf, but could receive questions via writing. She spoke only Marathi. Auspiciously, we had been directed to her niece, Paru Thakkar, who was visiting the Ashram from Thane near Mumbai. After speaking to her niece, her niece talked to Kanya Lilavani, who expressed that she was excited to talk about this matter. This interview was filmed. I was traveling with Nitin Hopatrao from Ganeshpuri who served as a translator for the meeting from Marathi to English and vice versa.

When Kanya Lilavati was asked for any information she might have about this prophecy by Upasani Baba, she first said, “this definitely happened, He made that statement.” This statement was made in 1939, and she came only to be with Upasani Baba in 1940, so she was not there on this occasion. But she said that it was talked about very strongly by Godavari Mataji, the Spiritual successor of Upasani Baba, and head of the Ashram after Upasani Baba’s lifetime. She said that Godavari Mataji wanted all of the Kanyadana Kumaris to remember this prediction, and it was considered a very important matter, not something that was just casually said and then forgotten. She said that it was something that was an essential part of the understanding of all of the Kanyas.

She also said that Upasani Baba himself said that he would be reborn in the United States specifically. “because the people who live there cannot readily come to India to receive the Hindu teaching/Dharma such as the Bhagavad-Gita, I need to go there.” Whereas the original prediction made to the Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath, just specifically mentioned a European country, this further prediction of Upasani Baba’s own rebirth specifically was relative to the United States. Lilavati said that no particular region of the United States, or any state within the fifty states was mentioned, but the country of the United States was explicitly indicated. I have not seen this in any of the English literature on Upasani Baba.

Sati Kanya Lilavati Upasani Maharaj said that this was common knowledge among the Kanyadana Kumaris around Upasani Baba. She said that hearing that Adi Da had been born in 1939, nine months after Upasani Baba’s prophecy, made her very happy. She said this was definitely “all of the same thing.” And the fulfillment of the prophecy. She said that the Siddhas were all one and that Adi Da and Upasani Baba were in her understanding the same. She was so pleased to hear about Adi Da, and asked to keep His picture and put it next to Godavari Mataji’s in her room. She also happily received a packet of Sacred Ash, or udi from The Mountain of Attention Sanctuary, with Adi Da’s picture on the front. (It can be seen in the picture above, in which Kanya Lilavani is reaching into a container to give Prasad in return.)

It was a sweet interview and felt important.

I would like to say something here based on my training by Bhagavan Adi Da relative to the past life associations of His Deeper Personality. Bhagavan Adi Da made it clear to me, that these matters are not about one ego and another ego, or any linear process. And that there could be multiple entities involved. So my own speculation as one continuation of the ideas from this interview, is that after Upasani Baba’s passing in 1941, some aspect of his deeper personality vehicle could have become associated with that of Adi Da Samraj. I am not wishing to put too fine a point on this. It is something to continue to research and consider. But I have over the years, in doing a great deal of study of the life and personality of Upasani Baba, seen so many similarities of character and connection to our Beloved Bhagavan, that such an association feels natural and auspicious as another past life association with Bhagavan Adi Da’s Deeper Personality vehicle. This had been considered previously with Bhagavan Adi Da when He had asked for a consideration of what associations might have been there between July 4, 1902 (the date of Swami Vivekananda’s Mahasamadhi) and November 3, 1939 (the date of Adi Da’s own Birth). Of course at that time we did not know about Upasani Baba’s own prophecy of his own reincarnation in the United States.

 

OM SRI PARAMA SAPTA-NA ADI DA LOVE-ANANDA HRIDAYAM

The Shankaracharya of Kanchi and Avatara Adi Da Samraj

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Candrasekharendra Saraswati, the Sankaracharya of Kanchi

_MG_7982One of the things Adi Da Samraj asked me to do on my 1980 trip to India was to go to see the senior Shankaracharya of Kanchi, and to establish a connection between Adi Da Hismelf,  and the Shankaracharya tradition and the Siva tradition altogether. The Shankaracharaya’s  name is Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, and he was the pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha. He was called the “Pope” of South India, with millions of devotees, the titular head of the South Indian Saivite sect, or followers of Siva.  He was born in 1894 and so would have been 85 at this time when Bhagavan Adi Da requested that I meet with him.  He is widely considered one of the greatest Indian sages of modern times and still is revered by great numbers in India and throughout the world. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrashekarendra_Saraswati

Chandrasekharendra Saraswati is considered to be in a direct spiritual line or succession (parampara) going back to Sankara, whose date is generally given as living in the 8th century (but in this lineage is said to have lived some 500 years B.C.)  He was the 68th head of the Kanchi Peetha, and was installed in that position in 1907 at the age of 13! This Peetha or monastery was said to have been founded by Sankara himself, one of the five principal monasteries that he founded in the corners of India. Chandrasekharendra Sarawati was known as a Jagadguru or “World Teacher” and enjoyed great fame and respect throughout India.  To millions of devotees he was simply referred to as “Periyavar” which means “the respected one”.  At this point, he was retired and had installed his successor as the active head of the lineage.

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Seshadri Swami, Candrasekharendra Saraswati and Ramana Maharshi, three saints of 20th century South India

thCAG8FLBXPaul Brunton had written about the Sankaracharya in the book A Search in Secret India. It was the Sankaracharya who had told Brunton that he should visit Ramana Maharshi. The Sankaracharya, as a great Spiritual luminary of South India, was known to have in many cases directed individuals to go and visit Ramana Maharshi. He understood that Ramana Maharshi’s actual Realization was senior to his, and so when a very serious Spiritual aspirant was asking for advanced guidance, Candrasekharendra directed them to Ramana Maharshi. Bhagavan Adi Da on a number of occasions commented on the integrity and rightness of this.  Adi Da felt the honorableness of the Sankaracharya in recognizing his own limits and referring those who wanted this most serious Instruction to a better source. (It is a commentary and advice for the many Teachers today that are teaching, but know about Adi Da.  They may have a needed and useful role for the general devotee. But for those of their students or devotees who are most serious, referring them to Adi Da would often be the auspicious and honorable thing to do.)

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S. Dikshit, founder of Chetana Books

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Mumbai office of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

I asked my friend Mr. Sudhakar Dikshit who ran Chetana Books (himself a long veteran practitioner and devotee of various Indian teachers) for his help and advice on how to accomplish a meeting with the Sankaracharya. He said that I should make arrangements through the head of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. This is a large chariatible organization that is headquartered in Mumbai, but operating throughout India, and the publisher of many books, including some by Candrasekarendra Sarawati himself. So I went to the main headquarters in Mumbai. And probably because I was an intelligent Westerner, after only a short time of waiting I was invited in to see the general secretary of BVB.  The general secretary S. Ramakrishnan was a compact and very vital man, who spoke excellent English. We had a good meeting, in which I fully informed him about Adi Da Samraj and his desire for this meeting. Mr. Ramakrishnan told me that the senior Shankaracharya was on retreat and could only be seen with permission and that even his location was kept a secret. He said that there was going to be a gathering with the Junior Shankaracharya, Jayendra Swami, the next day in Mumbai, hosted by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, and that I should go to that. And Mr. Ramakrishnan said that he would help me arrange a meeting with the Junior Shankaracharya. Permission to see the senior Shankaracharya would be given by the Junior Shankaracharya.

There is a tradition that the Shankaracharyas of Kanchi do not ride in motorized vehicles. And so on their tours they walk, or are carried on horsecart, etc. The next day I went to visit Jayendra Swami. I first saw him walking in procession, with lots of people on both sides of the street gathered to watch him go by. And he ended  up on a large outdoor stage with other dignitaries. There were many speeches. Mr. Ramakrishnan, from Bharatiya Vidya Bhagavan was on the stage, and nodded at me. The event was in honor of the Shankaracharya, but also in honor of charity work that Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan had been doing. During Jayendra’s talk, he looked at me some, but I presume that was simply because I was a Westerner, the only one I saw at the occasion, and because of my relationship to Bhagavan, who I was invoking strongly.

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Jayendra Swami

After the occasion, I found Jayendra Swami’s secretary and a meeting was arranged with Jayendra Swami. When I was ushered into his company, I was alone with him. He stood and was looking with eyes upturned, as if to show me the spirit was up and away. I offered him an apple, and he put out his extended hand and Blessed this very intentionally. (I later brought that apple to California and presented it to Adi Da) The whole meeting was only five minutes in length.

Then I met with the Jayendra Swami’s secretary again and I was told that I had been given permission to meet the senior Shankaracharya, and that he was staying in Ugar, in Northern Karnataka, and that I was free to go to see him immediately.

So shortly after that, I took a train to Miraj in southern Maharastra. And I  took a car from there and arrived in Ugar late in the evening. I stayed overnight in a small dharamsala or guest house. In Ugar, it was an open secret where the Sankaracharya was staying. He was residing in a humble hut, near a small Siva Temple. I was told that he would be granting a private audience at a time at mid-day and so I waited for that time.

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Shankaracharya of Kanchi in front of hut much like the one where the meeting took place in 1980

When the period for having contact with Candresekharendra Saraswati began I waited in line with a few others. The Shankaracharya was sitting on the floor just outside the hut he was staying in. The hut was behind him to his left, and there was a bicycle rickshaw to the right behind him. He was dressed simply in orange and was wearing glasses. There was no fanfare or ceremony. As I mentioned he was eighty five years of age at this time, but still very lively and alert. When it was my turn, I spoke to him in English, without a translator. There were about three people directly behind me waiting their turns following me but out of earshot. And so essentially I was alone with him. He understood and spoke English. I told him about Adi Da Samraj, then Da Free John. I explained Adi Da’s background and his work. I spent ten minutes doing this, and the Shankaracharya simply listened and nodded, with great “sila” or equanimity and simplicity. Then I 51NwiREGfCL__SX333_BO1,204,203,200_gave him the book The Enlightenment of the Whole Body. He sat and read this book by himself, quietly, and really reading sections, and not simply browsing through it. I felt that he was taking in the meaning of what Bhagavan Adi Da was saying in the book. I remember that when he got to the section on Ramana Maharshi, in the introduction, that he read everything that was said about Adi Da’s relationship to Ramana Maharshi. Then he gave me back the book. He was sitting on the floor. He closed the book, and then simply pushed it back at me, while it was sitting on the ground. He had read the book for twenty minutes or so. Next I gave him some incense, and told him that this was incense that our community made. He pushed that to the side, keeping  it. And then I gave him a rudraksha mala and asked him if he would bless it as a gift for Adi Da Samraj. He did nothing special, but after a moment just pushed it back to me, and told me that it was Blessed. I told him that Adi Da wanted to make a connection between himself and the Shankaracharya lineage and Himself. Candrashekhendra nodded and told me that the connection was made. I sat quietly for a few moments and then bowed and left.

080425_WHARF_03thCABQ1Q4AI had not felt any yogic energies around the Shankaracharya. But a simplicity and a clarity and a sila that was straightforward and direct, without any presumptiveness.  I felt that very simply that Adi Da’s Request had been fulfilled. It was not my business to understand that the great significance of Adi Da and the Shankaracharya making their living connection. But there was such a simple certainty that it had been accomplished. It was clear to me that the meeting had been auspicious beyond my own comprehension. I felt that Candresekharendra had the free attention to genuinely recognize Adi Da, and that without fanfare there the two had now entered into a relationship with each other.

I took my bag with the Blessed rudraksha and the The Enlightenment of the Whole Body safely packed away, and sat down on the edge of a low stone wall some 100 feet away at the far end of a temple gathering pavilion. At this point the Sankaracharya had finished meeting with the day’s visitors and had gone back into the hut. Twenty people gathered around me. They wanted to know who I was, to have spent so much time with the Shankaracharya. I told them about Adi Da Samraj and that my mission was to make a connection between Adi Da and the Shankaracharya.

While I was sitting there, a young man came up with a message from the Sankaracharya. He said that he really liked the incense and that he wanted more of it. And wondered if we would continue to send it to him. I replied that certainly we would do this. I felt that this was not so much about the incense, but about the Sankaracharya wanting to have a way to keep in contact with Bhagavan Adi Da.

When I returned to Mumbai, I realized that I needed to figure out a way to get the incense to the Sankaracharya. I had one more meeting with someone who was a secretary at an office in a Siva temple in Mumbai that was associated with the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, and arranged for the incense to be sent to this person. He said that he would always know where Candrasekharendra was. And that he would always forward the incense to him. As it turns out, the very first shipment that I sent to India, was returned from India, with a notice that the person I had sent it to, no longer lived there. And so this connection via the incense never occurred.

I am sure that I must have written to Adi Da on a blue aerogram about the meeting. And then when I returned to California, I met with Bhagavan Adi Da in His Home in Bright Behind Me, and told Him about what had happened. It was again very simple, without fanfare.

20020310_301[2]On January 8, 1994, Candrasekharendra passed away, at the age of 100. When Bhagavan heard of this, soon after his death, he called me to the telephone. He was in His bedroom at the Matrix and I was in the Village. He wanted to talk about Candrasekharendra, and what a good man he had been, and to celebrate his life and to engage the process of aiding his release. What a Blessing it was for Candrasekharendra to have Bhagavan’s Attention on Him during this time. As I mentioned above, Bhagavan particularly appreciated that when people came to see him, who were very serious and mature in Spiritual matters, the Shankaracharya told them to see Ramana Maharshi. Bhagavan appreciated this integrity on the Sankaracharya’s part and in this phone call He said that it showed Candreskharendra’s  own maturity, not to have to draw people to himself, but to know those who needed a more senior Spiritual realizer. I told Bhagavan the story of the meeting with the Sankaracharya again, and how He had wanted to make a connection, and how the connection was made. We ended up speaking of other thing as well, but for an hour this eulogy and remembering of the Candrasekharendra occurred.

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T. H. Subhash Candran

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Ganesh Kumar

Sometime later in the 2000s, John Wubbenhorst brought two musicians, friends of his, who were devotees of Candrasekharendra to the Mountain of Attention to play for Adi Da Samraj. Their names were T.H. Subhash Chandran and Ganesh Kumar. They played traditional South Indian percussion, ghatam and kanjira specifically and are masters of this. Subhash Chandran also does vocal konnakal (closest equivalent I can think of is “scat” in Jazz.)  They had heard that someone in the community had met with the Shankaracharya, and that there was some story there. They did not know the details, but it got back to me that they were here. This was before they had seen Bhagavan Adi Da or played for Him. I saw them at one of the tables outside of First People. I told them  about the meeting and about Bhagavan making connection and a link with the tradition of the Shankaracharya’s. They were very moved by this. They told me stories of their own devotion and intimacy with Candrasekharendra. It was clear that they were not intellectual followers, but were heart devotees of his. For example they many times had slept outside on the verandra with Candrasekharendra through the night, in devotion with him.

As a host for them as contact people on this first time seeing Bhagavan, I was asked to write Bhagavan Adi Da responses to their seeing Him and playing for Him. I spoke to each of them, separately. In both cases they used the word “Avatar” in describing Adi Da. Interestingly, they said that while playing that Adi Da became Candrasekharendra before them. And that they were then playing music for their Guru. They said that because their Guru had now passed out of the body, that this was the only place that they could play for their Master still. And because of this, they came and played for Adi Da Samraj on a number of other occasions.

080113_Veranda_06This kind of phenomenon of Adi Da Samraj “becoming” the dear Guru of people whose own Guru had passed was a story that was repeated many times over the years. I remember sitting at one of the hots springs in the dark evening with a devotee of Neem Karoli Baba. We had both just had Darshan of Adi Da Samraj. This man and I sat down there, to remain in the glow of the Blessing of Adi Da, stunned by the Grace and Revelation that we had just witnessed. And he told me that this was at last to be again in the Company of Neem Karoli Baba for him.

One other incident in this chain of thoughts is likely worth my writing about here.

The successor of the Candrasekharendra, Jayendra Swami, became embroiled in a lawsuit in 2004. During the time when I was in India, in November 2004, this was all over the newspapers and widely discussed. He had been accused of being part of a plot in which an individual who was in opposition to the Kanchi Ashram, had been murdered. It was not supposed that Jayendra Swami had personally been involved in the crime, but that he knew about the overall plot to “do away” with this individual. I bought a magazine which described the whole matter and had this with me when I came to Adi Da Samrajashram. Although I really had not come to a complete conclusion about the details of the matter, it was clearly messy. And so I did not mention it to Adi Da.

Now it was part of my service in relationship to Adi Da, to inform Him of happenings in the world of Spiritual figures. For example I informed Him when J. Krishnamurti and Kalu Rinpoche were both shown to have consorted with women, when outwardly they claimed celibacy. Bhagavan Adi Da had asked me to keep Him informed about things that occurred.

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Jayendra Swami

Sometime in December 2004, Adi Da received a news story about the lawsuit involving Jayendra Swami. The news came through the channel of the daily news that Adi Da would receive through others, and did not come from me. However, when Bhagavan Adi Da heard about this, He wanted to know if I had heard about it, and what my opinion was. When I told Him that I did know about it, and sent Him the Times of India magazine with a lead story on it, Adi Da expressed that I should have earlier informed Him. He felt that it was a sign of the deterioration of these times, when even in India, leading Spiritual figures were involved with or accused of being involved with such matters.  Adi Da wanted me to evaluate the situation and tell Him what I felt was going on. Was Jayendra Swami actually complicit in the murder, or was he simply being targeted by others. Over the next several years, every six months or so, I was asked to provide an update on the case. The Indian court system tends to drag on and on in such matters. And reporting about this matter never felt particularly happy to me, because it was requiring Adi Da to put His Attention on either a Spiritual Master doing something really terrible, or being really terribly scapegoated. In fact it was only in 2013 that the entire lawsuit was dropped and there was a full acquittal of Jayendra Swami.

 

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Sacred Environments, Agent-Objects and This Moment in Adidam

1, “Frogs and Walls”

Chapter 15 of the book Love of the God-Man, is entitled (using current language) “I Give The Gift That Is The Heart Itself: Adi Da Samraj’s Transmission of Ruchira Shaktipat”.  The ninth section of that chapter is subtitled, “Other Forms of Initiation: Initiation through Speech, Laughter, and Leelas, through Objects Associated with the Sat-Guru, and through His Mere Regard”.  In this post, I would like to focus on “Objects Associated with the Sat-Guru”.  Hurricane Winston, did devastating damage to so many aspects of Naitauba. But perhaps the most difficult and tragic 081118loss was to objects associated with Bhagavan Adi Da.  So as a means of our processing and discussing this, I would like to speak of this dimension of Adi Da’s Gifts and Blessings and Avataric Appearance.

Objects associated with Adi Da are many and varied, and to write a full description of all of them would be more than a post, but a book itself.  There are many different types. I will describe some of this below. What is understood is that the Spiritual Realizer has an influence or an impact on everything with which He or She comes into contact. He does not merely work Spiritually with humans, men and women. He or she also works with “frogs and walls” as Adi Da descriptively put it in a talk from 1975. I was present that afternoon, and He was sitting on a chair in what was then called Great Food Dish, now Darshan Adytum, at the Mountain of Attention (then Persimmon). His back was against the windows that face Temple Adi Da, and it was the afternoon, and He spoke these words:

“The human Guru has the vehicles useful to humanity and so he seems apparently to be serving human beings perhaps exclusively.   But basically He is serving all beings. And not even individuated beings essentially. He serves the world-manifestation in total on every level. Above the world, within the world, in the lower dimensions of the world. And literally, not as a matter of amusement or an amusing metaphor, the walls do sadhana. Everything does sadhana. The particles of the air do sadhana. Plants do sadhana all creatures, inanimate things, material things as well as human beings, and beings beyond the human, within the human and so forth.

All of these dimensions are available to the Guru’s Siddhi and the Guru function. But that Guru function is in Satsang.  It is silent, not apparently active. Activity is generated towards specific conditions, specific kinds of reception and so forth.

And that is one of the reasons why I’ve thought it useful for us to find a permanent place for our Work. Because the places in which this Satsang is generated in which it is lived and so forth become the very manifestation, the very form of that Siddhi.

So we’ve had many locations for the Ashram and have abandoned them one at a time. Persimmon [now the Mountain of Attention, which was the only Sanctuary at that time] is the only thing like a possible permanent location. And it is useful to have such a permanent location wherein this Siddhi is invested. Where it is made apparent. Just as it is made apparent through the Instrumentality of disciples and devotees.”

_E4Q3166_webHere Bhagavan Adi Da makes it plain that He Worked on all levels. Just as He is describing Working with the Mountain of Attention, He later, of course worked with Naitauba and all of the Sanctuaries of Adidam, which He said, in fact, could be considered His Very Body Itself because of their intimate association with Him. And He Worked with the buildings themselves. I was present, along with others, with Adi Da in what is now the Sukra Kendra at the “Brightness” when He first stepped into that room on November 19, 1993. When He went into that space I saw Him looking up and down the walls, and in the corners of the room, Blessing them and associating Himself with them. He has told us that the “secret” of this process is that He does not see these rooms, or objects, or even people as “other” than Himself. But He immediately and fully Recognizes them as a transparent and non-binding modification of the same Divine Reality that He Is and that is Only God. And the mystery of it is, that once Bhagavan Adi Da has made that intimate association with any object, or space, or person, then that Sacred Link is established. And continues Always, Eternally, as part of the sphere of Blessing that Is Adi Da Samraj’s Avataric Appearance itself.

Adi Da strengthened this Sacred Link through continued association with places and things. Places and things (and people) that He spent a long time with, if they were receptive and if they did the “sadhana” of that relationship, became stronger and potent and more full. Many of us witnessed how when Bhagavan Adi Da sat at Seventh Gate Shrine at the Mountain of Attention, that He would time and time again, place His Staff on the Shrine containing the Murti images of His Hands and Feet. IMG_2204He would touch them directly with His Cane, or He would splash water on them, or simply gaze at them. Each time He was strengthening that connection and that link between Himself and that place. And Bhagavan described in the talk excerpt quoted above, “Frogs and Walls”, that such places do their own form of “sadhana”. He spoke of how when He returned on one trip from Hawaii to the Mountain of Attention, how He was interested to see what would be the quality of His Siddhi that remained Alive and present in His Office/Sukra Kendra behind Temple Eleutherios. And He said that He was pleasantly surprised to see how potently that place had maintained His Blessing Force. In other words the place itself, in a mysterious fashion, had done “sadhana” of remaining true to Bhagavan Adi Da, had remained receptive and embracing of His Spiritual Blessing, which He could tangibly feel on His return  from Hawaii.

His Work, living at the various Hermitages and Sanctuaries of Adidam, has become effective in the sense that those places, all in their unique way, hold or maintain or are Alive in relationship to Him. And this relationship to Him is direct. It is not mediated through anything else, but itself is what allows these places to be His Agency. Of course He spent special time at Naitauba, and He described it as unique home or seat of His Work. But He described that all of the places were the same, truly.

IMG_2233This is from “The Universally Consequential Event at Ruchira Dham Hermitage” (The Aletheon, pg. 1721-3)

“I Am Eternally Seated in each and every one of My Directly-by-Me Transcendentally-Spiritually-Empowered Sapta Na Sannyasin Hermitages and Ruchira Sannyasin Sanctuaries—and Most Potently in each and every one of the Sukra Kendra I have Established in Those Hermitages and Sanctuaries.

Adi Da Samrajashram Is My Principal Seat of Transcendental Spiritual Presence and “world”-Work—but all of My Directly-by-Me Transcendentally-Spiritually-Empowered Sapta Na Sannyasin Hermitages and Ruchira Sannyasin Sanctuaries are Unique Agents of My Divine Avataric Transcendental Spiritual Presence and “world”-Work forever.

All of These Most Sacred Places must be preserved as the Great Divine Avataric Holy Places of Adidam Ruchiradam forever. …..

Just as This Body is, in due course, to Be Placed at Atma Nadi Shakti Loka, I Have, by Bodily Means, Transcendentally Spiritually Established Myself forever in every Sukra Kendra……

My Sukra Kendra at Atma Nadi Shakti Loka Has a Unique Primacy among all My Sukra Kendras.

However, in some sense, all of My Sukra Kendras Are the Same Place, and, therefore, all of My Sukra Kendras Are Equal.

My Sukra Kendras Are simply My Room.

Adidam Ruchiradam must be always expanding, always extending to everyone.

Adidam Ruchiradam must never be self-enclosed, or turned in on itself.

All My devotees must be activated in their whole bodily devotional recognition-response to Me….

On that basic, all My devotees must go out to all others, and live in relation to all others—rightly participating in the mission to all others by having become right themselves. “

So here Bhagavan Adi Da speaks of the unique Empowerment that He has by “Bodily Means”,  Accomplished, that is present in all of the Hermitages and Sanctuaries.  And then immediately next, He makes it plain that all of this is not to be a process that becomes “self-enclosed, or turned in on itself”.  I find that just after the most profound description of the most profound places that exist in the world, His Sanctuaries and Hermitages, and specifically the Sukra Kendras in each of them, which are all essentially the same place He says, He tells us to be “always expanding, always extending to everyone”. I will come back to this point in another post, but I want to continue now to talk about the places and objects Empowered by Bhagavan Adi Da by His “Bodily Means”.

Obviously by Bodily Means, Bhagavan Adi Da is not talking about a mere materialistic process. He is referring to the fact that the Avatar takes Form Bodily, concretely and specifically manifested in an Avataric Body. And creates Agency through many forms by means of that Avataric Appearance down to His Toes in Bhagavan Adi Da’s case.

  1. The Sacred Environments of Adidam
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Fun house Laughing Mama

What I want to talk about here, because I feel that it is part of all our heart-wound at this moment, and because I feel that we need to culturally discuss and consider this entire matter, is the fact many Spiritually Empowered places and objects at Naitauba were “insulted” by the Laughing Mama. (Adi Da’s term for the Shakti power itself, “who” is signed by carnival island “fun house” lady). She acted as if they didn’t mean “shit”, but simply washed a tidal wave upon the beach at the Matrix and crashed into one of the most Sacred Spaces in Adidam and the world.  I will go into this more fully, but first a little more about Sacred objects.

It is probably true that many if not most of the devotees in Adidam have not had the opportunity to go into the intimate environments of Adi Da. Many of us perhaps had the opportunity to go into the entry room at The Manner of Flowers and then into the Darshan Hall to sit with Bhagavan. It is likely the case if you had this opportunity, that you were not looking at the objects in the room, but only either at the “Bright” Beloved One before you in Darshan, or focused on preparing to see Him, or leaving His Company so full of His Divine Siddhi from having been with Him that you did not notice much.  Likewise, if you were at Naitauba and had the opportunity to go into Bhagavan’s Bedroom at Aham Da Asmi Sthan when His Body was sitting there after His Mahasamadhi, it is unlikely that you would have noticed or “seen” much besides the Form of His Body Sitting there.

So I would like to say something about these places from the perspective of having had the Gracious opportunity to be in these places numerous times, and to have in some small way been involved in serving Bhagavan’s Establishment of the objects in these spaces.

IMG_2193Bhagavan Adi Da environments were extraordinary fields or realms of Blessing, in a perfect Harmony and Aliveness that cannot be described in words. They were so full of His Siddhi. As I write I am thinking primarily here of His Bedroom at Aham Da Asmi Sthan, which of course was so ravaged by Cyclone Winston. But I am also thinking of the bedroom at the Manner of Flowers, which during the Valley Fire, myself and many others, helped to completely empty into Bright Behind Me to safeguard the objects. All of Bhagavan’s Environments are so special that devotees referred to them as the Divine Domain spaces. This includes places like Ordeal Bath Lodge at the Mountain of Attention which Bhagavan used, or His Library in Bright Behind Me which was maintained for Him. It includes Indefinable, His Residence in Qaravi Village at Naitauba, and His Bedroom at Tat Sundaram and “My House” at Lion’s Lap in which He spent a great deal of time in, during the very last years of His Life. The list could go on and on. But so primary among them are the bedrooms at the Manner of Flowers and at Aham Da Asmi Sthan, where His Physical Body lived the most time.

The Sacred environments in these places included His Personal Objects such as His Bed of course. And close by were His Clothes and His Canes and His Grooming supplies. All of those things so associated with His Body. All of these are treasures. They are Agents of His in the sense that through contact with them, and the Transmission that is Alive in them, we are put in contact with Bhagavan Adi Da. They bear a Transmission almost like a scent. (And His Oils were so present at Aham Da Asmi Sthan as well. Bhagavan had, during the last years of His Life, used scents so strongly. He had remembered how potently the scents were associated with His memory and remembrance of Swami Muktananda. And asked what were those scents that Swami Muktananda used most prominently.  He used some of these scents, but also gathered about Himself and used so many scents during those last years.)  All of the senses were engaged when you would enter into Bhagavan’s Environments. They were beautiful beyond measure to the eyes. They enveloped your feeling so immensely that at those times when I was in these spaces when Bhagavan Adi Da was not physically present, I would sometimes look around the room for Him, because it felt that He was there. You felt and feel “touched” in these spaces, because the feeling of Him in them is so profound.

And now I am coming to the objects themselves that were in the room. As devotees know, Bhagavan had many collections of objects that were special to Him. There were traditional objects, such as Tibetan Thangkas and bronzes and Indian paintings and bronzes, and things from all traditions of the world. (He valued in particular the pieces that showed the disposition of self-transcendence.)  There were Disney objects, “icons of happiness” that were full of joy and laughter and transformed by His Transmission into Radiance. There were Teddy Bears, symbols of the illusion of relatedness, and paperweights, which Bhagavan intensely collected and used during the time when His Own Eyes were being stabilzed after glaucoma surgery. Fijian objects were particularly in Hermitage, and many of them collected in the front room of Da Asvamedhanath Bhavan. There were natural objects of beauty and Sacredness , golden cowrie shells (held sacred by the tuis of Fiji) and lingams and saligrams The spaces in Bhagavan’s environment were full of all these things and more.

Bhagavan used the objects in His Environments as “coins” for His Work altogether. Just as Shirdi Sai Baba had a bag of coins and would take them out late at night when others were sleeping. And the Hindu-Muslim Saint would run them through his fingers. The big five rupees coin–that was Shama. And the old 25 pice coin was Mahalsapathy.  And he would use the coins as a way of remembering all of his devotees and working with them all one by one. Bhagavan Adi Da used the objects in His room that way. First of all, any gift given to Him by a devotee or a group of devotees was a way for Him to connect or link up with that devotee or group of devotees. He would often leave it for some time in a special place, until He had finished doing a particular “puja” with that object, and then He would put it in some other more “final” place. It was always very important to Him where He placed any  object for He used them as a way of setting up a force-field or mandala of Blessing which He Himself knew and the rest of us could only guess or marvel at. Woe unto the devotee who unconsciously moved or misplaced one of the objects in Bhagavan Adi Da’s Environments. We learned back in the earliest years at the Manner of Flowers, when we were invited into Bhagavan’s House, or had the opportunity to serve it when He might be temporarily elsewhere, that we had to very carefully watch to not interfere in any way with the very specific placement that Adi Da made of the objects in His Environments. His Placement of them was extremely intentional, and He felt interfered with or violated if we unconsciously changed in any way the pattern which He had established. When Bhagavan Himself would decide to go through His Rooms and move things around and alter the pattern, it always felt to us that somehow the cosmos itself was being rearranged. It was something that felt to be of massive significance, when He would move around the objects in His Rooms.

Bhagavan Adi Da’s relationship to these objects was not how we would ourselves conventionally relate to them. No one could fully understand what they all meant to Him, and what the specific pattern was. Sometimes He would tell us some things. Sometimes if we had personal knowledge about a particular type of object or class of objects then we might have some insights into it. Often it was my service to write to Bhagavan Adi Da about the traditional art which He acquired. He would have questions about specific things within the picturings.  It was a great pleasure to provide Him with some traditional understanding of the objects which He had. But He always cut right through any myths, trappings, or sentimentality relative to the objects He had around Him, and incorporated them into His Sacred Vision in a way that was true, right, aligning, and purifying for the entire world.

  1. “I want Indian bronzes”
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Four-armed Durga

I was involved in the last few years of Bhagavan’s Lifetime with being an intermediary in providing Indian bronzes for Him. In 2003, He had verbally expressed His Desire to have more of these. In the middle of His planning for Danavira Mela gifting for His Intimates, Adi Da had, with a humorous twinkle in His eye, asked, “What am I getting for Danavira Mela?” Gina Macione, who was working with the gifting at that point (and told me this story), replied to Him, “What do you want?”  He answered, “I want Indian bronzes”.   And so as part of that Danavira Mela, some Indian bronzes were given to Him. Soon after this I was asked by one of the Samrajya servers (Subra Sundaram) who knew that I was going to India each year, to start to learn how to provide these to Bhagavan  so that He might receive them more directly from India, cutting out a level of middlemen that was raising the costs. So I invested myself in learning about them and finding them, and having them be sponsored so that they could be “enjoyed” by Bhagavan Adi Da. Besides many other items, in the last years of Bhagavan’s Life many of His spaces were filled with these small images of gods and godesses. Adi Da was and is the Master of the Great Tradition. He confessed to us that He and She Is Me. He did not worship these figures, but instead incorporated them into His overall Work of Blessing.

I would learn the traditional iconography of these figures, but how the Divine Person would use them, of course, is a tremendous and wonderful Puja that was mysterious beyond my knowledge. But it was clear that everything that Adi Da used was not for any personal reason, but for the uplifting and Spiritual liberation of everyone and everything. I could have my speculations. For example, Annapurna, the goddess of food, perhaps Bhagavan could use that in a way that was about feeding everyone. Did Bhagavan have such a statue to aid with world hunger.  Siva and Durga and her family (including Santoshi) were about self-transcendence. So all of the objects represented either an individual devotee, or a part of the world or a traditional culture, or a Sacred archetype.  Adi Da did not “say” much about this particular puja, so when He did talk about it, it was always wonderful to hear His description.

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Small, primitive Durga Mahishasuramardini

On January 5, 2005, He received a small Durga in the style called Mahishasuramardini. Mahish is the water buffalo. Asura is a demon. Mardini is the liberator or Spiritual conqueror. So this image is Durga who liberates or Spiritually conquers the water buffalo demon, or the demon who has taken over the water buffalo. Here are Bhagavan’s Words speaking about receiving this gift from a discourse from Samraj Mahal:

“I received one gift today. It was a material gift from a couple of devotees. It’s a small old figure from India, a little bronze of a form of Durga, Devi figure, or if you like Universal Shakti figure, myth of the cosmic force, and this particular mode of the Durga is always shown standing on a water buffalo and usually driving a spear through it, or something like that – that’s the typical icon.

In this case the Durga was holding a kind of short sword or dagger, standing on the water buffalo and the water buffalo, instead of just being a natural looking water buffalo, was a water buffalo at the hind end and then there was a human torso at the front end with arms and a head and little fangs to show that this is a really stupid or demon-like character, stupid demon, not just a demon, and the Durga is holding this humanoid water buffalo by the hair, the top knot, it had long hair, and you can guess what’s going to happen next, you see, off with his head and, but that’s just presumed if you know the story.

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Mahish demon being grabbed by Durga

It’s a sculpted image, so you don’t see the taking off of the head, but you can guess probably what’s about to happen there. She’s going to slay this demon and the story is that this demon is ignorance. It’s a stupid, low-minded demon, just as you even use the word demon in your, in the words you said to Me a few minutes ago. And so I received this, and I put it on the table next to Me as I received the reports and had to be put through some phone call with some people. Which was lucky for them because they weren’t in the room with Me and they could only hear Me raise My Voice rather than dispense the usual volley of rocks which might be traditionally expected or, well it’s certainly something to make envisioned momentarily [laughter]. Why not off with their heads, well, nah, but, [laughter] at least it was suggested by the little figure I received there. What was that supposed to be? The agenda for the day. Symbolically. So you all tend to come to me as stupid demons. Low-minded and ignorant….Something that needs to be transcended or overcome.” January 5, 2005

So it was rare that Bhagavan spoke of His relationship to these bronzes.  Here He shows how He integrates this traditional image of Durga Mahishasuramardini into what is actually happening in His Own Life.

By having a whole galaxy of Sacred objects in His Environments and working with them, moving them, viewing them, adding to them, He was Working and arranging the entire Cosmic Mandala of forms. They were coins for Him. Adi Da really preferred the Siva/Durga side of things when it came to the statues, rather than the Lakshmi/good luck god or goddess. The self-transcending quality. We being the supercriminals, the ego, the Mahish. And these gods and goddesses were not simply myths, but living Realities to Bhagavan. It was not the technicalities of the iconography–although He noticed things in a way that was amazing. He had the Eyes to see. Bhagavan, by virtue of His total ego-transcendence, Knew somehow everything and could See it, and notice things that someone else, who might have handled that piece many times, had never noticed.  But He invoked into them the Living Quality of the Spirit Force, the god power and goddess power.

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Old bronze Ganesh

So Ganesh, who traditionally brings auspiciousness, and is invoked at the beginning of any puja, we can imagine to Adi Da was about Embracing everyone and everything. Durga, who bears all the weapons to destroy demons, was about the Shakti or Spirit Force Itself destroying the egos of all living beings.  Mahakala, the Tibetan fierce “Lord of the Tent”, was one of Bhagavan Adi Da’s favorite images. He was a guardian figure in Tibetan Buddhism. One who, in the entourage or Spiritual galaxy, protected the Divine, by destroying the ignorance and egoity of anyone who approached full of themselves or with negative intent.  Bhagavan Adi Da’s Circumstance was always vulnerable to negative forces, for whom the Supreme Lord of All the Worlds, as we knew Adi Da, was their opponent, and the Mahakala we can only imagine was Bhagavan’s Strength and Power of resoluteness. As He has told us, no one can stand up against the Truth, and that He could not in ultimate terms be Touched. To invoke Bhagavan Adi Da truly provides protection from all negative forces. But in conditional terms, there was and continues to be, a struggle for the Divine to continue to emerge. The Valley Fire and Cyclone Winston can be seen in these terms.

 

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10-armed Ganesh with faced rubbed smooth through devotional rubbing

The people who made these objects were trying to reach to the Sacred. They were invoking the Spiritual archetypes. And Adi Da appreciated seeing signs of devotion on objects. Hindu statues that have been handled for hundreds of years, often lose their features. They have been rubbed and held and adorned with kumkum and ash, so often and so fully, that the features on certain parts of the stautes, most often the faces, are smoothed out. Literally rubbed out. And instead of that being something that detracted from the “value” of the piece, as might be considered in the “marketplace”, Adi Da preferred these images, loved the quality of devotion that was evident in this type of patina or surface look.

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Painted bronze image of Padmasambhava

Traditionally statues in India are “brought to life” by the ceremony of “prana pratistha”, generally by a priest anointing its third eye or adding a touch of paint to the eye of a statue. Bhagavan, by virtue of His Divine Siddhis, invoked the prana pratistha or bringing to life of His Statues, spontaneously, by merely handling them. When Bhagavan received such an object He would pick it up and look at it Making comments about it Smiling at it. Speak to it. Handle it in all sorts of ways. In early years, when we would be in a discussion with Adi Da at the Manner of Flowers or Bright Behind Me, and we were not forthcoming with an answer, I remember Him humorously asking, His Padmasambhava statue, “Padma, what do you say about it?”  He would often oil them, or arrange them in such a way in relationship to each other, that they became rested in the space of the room. And then henceforth they were part of His Sphere of Blessing. His relationship to time and space was such that when He handled them and associated Himself with them, then they were incorporated into His Sphere of Blessing.

It is said that the Divine Realizer is the center of the universe. By virtue of His total surrender of the ego, He has become One with All and all. So as He sat in His Room, He would have these objects surrounding Him which became part of His entourage, literally part of His Household.

  1. Adi Da Samraj’s Rooms

Bhagavan also spoke of Living in Rooms. And wasn’t the room at Aham Da Asmi Sthan the main room in the entire cosmos where He Lived, even if He wasn’t there physically? Archetypically, Adi Da has said that the Taj Mahal is the primal room. But _E4Q3166_webin Living Terms, what other space was more associated with Bhagavan’s Body than the bedroom at Aham Da Asmi Sthan, and the entire living process. Spiritually, yes, the Sukra Kendras are the senior spaces, but in terms of the room or space where Bhagavan Lived.  I am just thinking aloud. That was a primal room for Adi Da, where He was eternally Living, at the Matrix there, surrounded by all of those objects. And He established Himself there, even though at the end of His Life He was mostly living at Lion’s Lap, Spiritually He never left the Matrix. Just like He is living in all of His Bedrooms at all of His Sanctuaries. He had not left the Mountain of Attention, but was Alive there in His Bedroom at the Manner of Flowers, if we understand and relate to that space rightly. But most primally, as a living Space, His Bedroom was a Temple, a Sacred set apart space, where Bhagavan used these objects to create an environment of inclusive Blessing of All and all. And so these objects rounded out the picture.

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James Steinberg at Tao Books bookstore

Bhagavan made it plain that we ourselves should not presume a relationship to traditional gods and goddesses. Because of my service to Adi Da, this point was made to me over and over again. As I have mentioned previously, when I came to Adi Da I was already employed at Tao Books, a Spiritual bookstore on Newberry Street in Boston. I had a collection of photographs of different Spiritual Masters. I had been looking for a Spiritual teacher for some time—had already been to Hasidic Jewish summercamp and seen the head of the Lubavitcher sect of Chabad Hasidism, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. I had seen Buddhist Teachers and Hindu Teachers and Sufi teachers and Shamans, etc. Tao Books itself had been started by students of Michio Kushi who was head of the Macrobiotics community in the United States, and I was part of this community for a couple of years. I am only saying this to tell you that I had a lot of “spiritual baggage” when I came to Adi Da, and continued to serve Him by starting the Dawn Horse Bookstore on Polk Street and being His librarian at the Mountain of Attention, and being a “diplomat” in meeting with other Spiritual Teachers. Literally some other devotees felt that I was a “traitor” to Adi Da because of my interest in all of these things. (Luckily a couple of members of Bhagavan’s Household saw my service to Him in a most positive light and helped encourage me.) But Adi Da over and over again “kept me straight” relative to all of this, by jealously guarding my attention. He always made it plain to me that I should be able to do my work within the various aspects of the Great Tradition, but never look to the left or the right, but only keep my attention on Him. He was and is all the Gods and Goddess, all the Spiritual Teachers that I might need. Everything was and is summarized or Realized in Him. He is my Ganesh, who I invoke for auspiciousness. He is my Siva, who destroys my ego. He is my Shirdi Sai Baba, who grants my prayers. There was no reason to turn anywhere else. As I wrote Him once in devotional fervor, all of the Realizers in the Great Tradition were just a speck of dust underneath one of His toenails.  If ever I did not express to Adi Da that I understand this, He would correct me again. Over and over again, year after year. I sometimes joke and say that there is not a spot on my body where His Stick has not hit me for my Indian festishism (as He called it) or my obsession with the Great Tradition. As this process continued it became clear to me that every spark or fraction of any Realizer or figure of God or Goddess in the Great Tradition was simply part of the same Flame or Great Fire that is Adi Da Samraj.

So these objects that Bhagavan had in His Room were not for us important because of their traditional references, but because they were filled with or bearers of Adi Da’s Transmission.

The point being that we do not have a relationship to Ganesh or Durga ourselves. Perhaps if we were a Hindu-raised devotee we might. Bhagavan Himself did, and that relationship was His Alone.

  1. Relics in the Great Tradition

In the Great Tradition of humankind various objects, by their association with Spiritual Realizers or a presumed assthCA7ORWUVociation with various gods and goddess have been venerated and worshiped as Sacred. Such objects, called “relics” in the Western context, have been used to empower or Spiritually enliven the temples, churches, and stupas in which they were enshrined.  In Kandy, Sri Lanka there is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Gautama Buddha that has had wars fought over it.  In Kashmir there is a Mosque that is renowned for holding a single hair of Muhhamad.thCA0M6BLP Christian cathedrals all hold some sort of relics of various saints, some of them rather ghastly (cut off fingers of saints with rings on them), and there are more pieces of wood from the holy cross upon which Jesus of Galilee was crucified than can be imagined. People would visit these places to have association with the relics there and every great Cathedral had some sort of relic in it. In fact they would boast about the relics they held to attract pilgrims.

It was traditional in some places and times to allow the relics to be viewed. At the Potala, the famous seat of the Dalai Lama, in Lhasa, Tibet, on special days a relic such as the Phurba (or Sacred Dagger) of Padmasambhava would be taken out to be viewed. The Phurba was taken out on the same day once each year. And devotees would line up in great lines to have a moment directly in front of it. Sometimes the relic or box containing it, would be touched to the head of the devotee. At the Vedanta Society Temple in Los Angeles, there are relics from the cremation remains of Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, and Sarada Devi. These are kept downstairs. But one day a year they are brought upstairs and the devotees are allowed to be in their company. There are right and wrong associations with relics or presumed Sacred objects.

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Mary on tortilla

Adi Da was highly amused by accounts of the face of the Virgin Mary “miraculously” appearing on a corn tortilla, or on the wall of a home of a devout Catholic believer. Even at the Mountain of Attention, there was a tree on the pathway up to Fresh Milk that had a configuration in the moss that made it look to be the face of Meher Baba. Adi Da humorously considered this with us. There was the “talking rock” that was found up near Red Sitting Man holy site, that was brought to Bhagavan’s Residence, then Bright Behind Me, in a basket, so that He could Himself “meet it”.  There is a movie that Bhagavan Adi Da has put on The Basket of Tolerance called Picking Up the Pieces. 220px-Picking_up_the_piecesIt stars Woody Allen. In the movie a blind woman stumbles over the severed hand of a previously murdered woman, and has her vision “miraculously” restored. She proclaims that this is the hand of the “Virgin Mary” and the entire village starts to revere the hand and it continues to perform miracles on the villagers until the origins of the hand are revealed.  Bhagavan Adi Da clarified this process of relics and miracles in an essay He has written for The Basket of Tolerance, which has been published as a small booklet, number 10 in The Basket of Tolerance booklet series, entitled “The Shroud of Turin and the Cult of Relics”.  Here is an excerpt from that booklet:

 

The “Shroud of Turin” and the “Cult” of Relics

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the Shroud of Turin

Although relics (or objects associated with a Transmitter of Spirit-Baptism) have a proper function in the real process of Spiritual Transmission, the “cult” of relics (or the pursuit of egoic consolation through the veneration of holy “things”) is (and has long been) a kind of craze in the Christian tradition (and popular religious traditions in general). And, since the late nineteenth century, the “shroud” itself has become the “scientific” subject of a uniquely modern “cult” of “belief-and-doubt”. Indeed, one of the principal (and entirely exoteric) functions of popular religion (whether before or during the age of the “cult”, or mass culture, of scientism) has been to periodically create this kind of “thing” mystery. And the difference between mere belief and mere non-belief in a mysterious “thing” is merely the difference (by comparison) between comfort (or consolation of the ego) and discomfort (or non-consolation of the ego). Therefore, neither Spirituality nor Truth Itself (nor ego-transcendence itself) has anything to do with either belief or the absence of belief.

If the authenticity of the “shroud of Turin” (as the actual–and, necessarily, two-thousand-year-old–“burial shroud” of Jesus of  Galilee) is (at some point) generally accepted as having been clearly disproved, many may tend to be terribly fallen to their doubts (or, otherwise, to their materialistic and worldly minds) again, feeling they have been duped to hope by the perennial bunk of (“official” and “unofficial”) exoteric religious inventiveness. Indeed, these doubts (or even doubt itself) may dare to say religion itself is disproved and false–but true religion never was a “shroud” of hope (and even doubt and belief are merely an ego’s opposite states of mind).

True religion was–and is–the real and (more and more) ego-transcending Process of Real-God-Realization, or the Way of the progressive dissolution of all illusions (in the Self-Existing and Self-Radiant Truth and Reality that, in their most basic disposition, even all religions proclaim). And that Process (or Way) has been proved authentic again and again by the Realizers who (each in his or her own manner and stage of Demonstration) have become a self-yielding sacrifice to (and in) the Only One Who Is.

 

Here Bhagavan Adi Da points to the fact that relics, have a “proper function in the real process of Spiritual Transmission”.  Rather than a cultic attachment to any particular object and its traditional associations. And that genuine process is what has been interfered with by the loss of objects in Adi Da’s Environments in the wake of Cyclone Winston.

  1. Agent-Relics in Adidam

378625_2781822231068_377411412_nThere are many different varieties of Agent Relics that were associated with Adi Da.

1)  There were relics that were personal to His own Bodily Human Form, or circumstance that are part of the general Empowerment of His Sacred Environments. This would include the Wisdom Teeth, hairs and fingernails, containers of blood, etc. Occasionally these items were used in Empowerment Vessels in establishing Temples (hairs and fingernails). These are not generally to be taken out or viewed by devotees in any way, but simply to be used in the Empowerment of a Sukra Kendra or a Temple. These types of relics or Sacred objects were not kept in Aham Da Asmi Sthan and were not lost. They  were typically kept in Sukra Kendras.

2) Sacred Objects  that were specifically Empowered by Bhagavan Adi Da to be used Spiritually. This includes the Sacred Padukas. It would also include Blessed Malas or Lingams that He Touched with the intention of Blessing, such as the lingam at the Manner of Flowers, etc.  Any object which He Specially Touched with the idea of Empowering or Blessing it as a form of contact with His Presence. With lingams, Adi Da felt that devotees often made the mistake of thinking that the lingam stone itself was special and therefore should be worshiped just as a stone. No, it was the fact that a lingam is a “vessel” or “holder” of Adi Da’s Transmission and that is why it is special. He pointed out that we would not make this same mistake about a photographic Murti, understanding that it was not the photograph itself that was important, but only as a means to contact Bhagavan Adi Da Himself.

3) Sacred Objects Empowered or used by Adi Da in His Own Sacred Spaces that were for His Own use, and not associated with devotees.  This includes the Durga Shakti Ma Sacred statues and all of the statues on Bhagavan’s Altars in His Sukra Kendras. He made plain that these had nothing to do in association with devotees and that our relationship was to Him, not to these objects. That their use was His Own Business and not ours. But because Bhagavan used them Sacredly and Intimately they are a special category.

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Adi Da wearing the One-Faced Rudraksha Bead and other Sacred Malas

4) Sacred objects that were used by Adi Da in His Sacred association with devotees. This would be like the One-faced rudraksha mala and other malas that He Wore Personally.  Or Shawls He Wore   Or Canes. These are items that Bhagavan used in the Sacred occasions when He was specifically granting Darshan or Blessing with devotees. And therefore bear that kind of energy. It would feel to me that these objects could be viewed by devotees on very special occasions.

5) Sacred Writing  Of course anything that Bhagavan Personally Wrote, the physical page upon which He Wrote it, has a special Transmission. These are sometimes taken out of the Archives at the Mountain of Attention and viewed by devotees.

6) Sacred Paintings/Art Creations.  Any item which Bhagavan created digitally bears a special Blessing, as do His Published Books. But I am speaking here of the items that Bhagavan Adi Da created with His Own Hands, such as the Transcendental Cartoons, the She Paintings, the Orphic Fonts, etc.  Again, the originals of these could be taken out and shown to devotees much like Bhagavan’s Own Writings, on very special occasions and in a special manner.

7) Objects that Bhagavan Adi Da Wore or Touched or were in Adi Da’s Environments.  Here we are talking about the clothes that Bhagavan wore, as well as earplugs, sunglasses, etc. Or things which He Touched, such as His Cameras.  This includes the books that He Touched. But virtually all of the Objects in Bhagavan’s Intimate Environments were Touched by Him or had association with His Body.

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Anandamayi Ma Museum in Khankhal

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Objects used by Shirdi Sai Baba

Now these were not things that Bhagavan used with any specific intention to Empower them in themselves. But by association with Him they all have Sacred significance. I have been to the Museums at the Ashrams in India.  The one at the Belur Math associated with Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda is quite spectacular. They have the robe that Swami Vivekananda

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Ramakrishna Museum, Belur Math, India

wore when he spoke at the Parliament of Religions. (Incidentally, they also have objects associated with his devotees, such as Sister Christine and Sister Nivedita.) But all Ashrams have these types of displays–every year I see the objects associated with Swami Nityananda, and two years ago I visited the Museum associated with Anandamayi  Ma. There is a small group of items associated with Shirdi Sai Baba. Relative to books, as books in themselves, most of the damaged books that were in Indigo Swan can be purchased again (although there are perhaps 200  books that are rare, scarce, or simply unavailable).  But because these books were touched by Bhagavan Adi Da, and sat in His Office at Indigo Swan, they are Sacred by association with Him. (Of course when the library in Word and Mirror burned down in the wake of Hurricane Tomas in 2010, we lost an entire collection of books that Bhagavan Adi Da had associated with.)

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Rang Avadhoot

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Narayan Maharaj

This area of objects that were Touched by Bhagavan Adi Da is very large. Of course we will have lost many items from Bhagavan Adi Da’s Bedroom at Aham Da Asmi Sthan, which was so full of items. I know how many very small statues and objects there were–literally hundreds.  At some point, if it can be done, re-creating an environment for the Sacred objects in another place, created in the way that Bhagavan Adi Da arranged His rooms, would be optimum. In other words, Adi Da’s Bedroom would be re-created in a higher location and the Sacred objects put there. The re-creation could not be complete, but the general feeling could be re-created. I have been into Rang Avadhoot’s Bedroom at His Ashram in Nareshwar, which is quite powerful. Narayan Maharaj’s room at Kedgaon in Maharastra is also quite impressive and maintained now decades later. Bhagavan Adi Da visited this room on His trip to Narayan Maharah’s Ashram in 1973. Ramakrishna’s room is left essentially as it was at his death. People are allowed into it, but there are now guard rails that mark off the location and a priest is in attendance at all times when people come. I am not suggesting that simply anyone would come into Bhagavan’s Bedroom, but I believe that it should be available for some devotees for an initiatory occasion of simply sitting there. I believe that these spaces have to be actively used as they would be in any living culture. Bhagavan’s principle was never no access, but always right and appropriate access.

And at the location where Aham Da Asmi Sthan bedroom is, if there were sufficient funds, perhaps we would recreate that space with not the original artifacts, but replicas. Now there could be a few original special items that were originals, but they would be limited such that they could be removed easily and simply in the event of dangerous weather. But that would be very limited.  And if we had sufficient funds, we could replace the objects in the room with replicas that were very good, rather than simply cheap items. They should be prepared as fully as possible with the limited finances available.

7) Items of traditional Sacred significance owned or associated with Adi Da. These includes the objects that were associated with the Gavdevi Temple in Ganeshpuri, India. It also includes the Sacred objects associated with traditional Teachers, such as the shirt that had been worn by Rang Avadhoot. These objects are typically honored in the Sukra Kendras.

8) Sacred spaces or environments of Bhagavan Adi Da. Such places of course were also Empowered by Bhagavan Adi Da, both intentionally and then simply by association with Bhagavan.

So when we lose Extraordinary Eyes, then this is a space that Bhagavan Adi Da had Empowered both intentionally and by association. Whereas a space such as Word and Mirror Pavilion was Sacred by His association with it over many years (working in the library, painting the She paintings) rather than by intentionally using it as a Sacred space. However, it is my feeling that the outlines or perimeters of all such places should be set apart as fully as possible.  Now some places may be lost to us at the moment, such as the Franklin Square house in Jamaica New York, where Bhagavan Adi Da lived as a boy, or the house which we called the Reed House in Marin where Bhagavan Adi Da spent a great deal of time. But all such spaces should be eventually, as fully as possible, acquired by Adidam. A traditional example is what is called the Ancestral Home of Swami Vivekananda. For many years, this home was not owned in any way by the Vedanta Society, and even after it was acquired, it took many years for the families that had been living there to vacate. But now it has been restored, as fully as possible, to how it was when Swami Vivekananda grew up there.  Another example was in Vrindavan where they re-created the office room of Swami Prabhupada, who brought the Hare Krishna movement to the West. Not only have they re-created the office room, but he sits there as a wax figure sitting behind his desk.And in his bedroom space as a younger boy. The Ramakrishna temple has re-created the hut that Ramakrishna was born in. Ridgely Manor, where Swami Vivekananda spent several weeks on his visit to the West, has been acquired by the Ramakrishna Mission as has the Thousand Island Cottage where he instructed devotees.

5615_53017_0So it is my feeling that the location of the Extraordinary Eyes meditation hall should be marked and memorialized. Obviously, if we were strong and large as an organization, we would immediately rebuild it as closely to the original as possible. Even knowing that eventually it would be impacted by rising tides. It was there when Bhagavan Adi Da acquired the island in 1983 (it was the place where Raymond Burr used to show 16mm movies), and was a principal place where Bhagavan Adi Da Sat on so many Sacred Occasions. So if we had the finances, it would be worth re-creating such a Sacred spot. At the same time moving the Sacred items to higher ground. Certainly some sort of memorial, in other words a bronze plaque with appropriate wording should mark the place of Bhagavan Adi Da’s Chair, and people should not be walking over that space as a thoroughfare, etc. But it should be marked off.

9) Sacred objects gifted by Bhagavan Adi Da to devotees. These are typically owned by devotees. Many devotees lost some of these in the Valley Fire. Devotees own malas that were personally Blessed by Bhagavan Adi Da and many have special objects purchased in “Pazooza pujas” or gifted by Bhagavan Adi Da personally. So there should be some protocol for cataloging and willing these to either Adidam, or to relatives who will eventually will them to Adidam. This is also traditional. A pair of padukas Blessed by Akkalkot Swami will be in a family and go their children, and their children, until at some point they are no longer really devotes or do not feel that they can care for them, and so the padukas are given to the Akkalkot Maharaj Ashram.

7. The Psycho-Physical Nature of the World

When we consider the Valley Fire and Cyclone Winston, it is important for us to remember that the world is not merely materialistic.  Bhagavan Adi Da expressed that we live in a world that is psycho-physical. He began to discuss this with our community in more detail when we began to do puja in Adidam. True puja is a psycho-physical process, and a genuine pujarist is aware that puja exists in a world that is responsive to prayer and actions calling upon forces, including the Blessing of Adi Da Samraj Himself. Bhagavan has always made it plain to us that we must accept responsibility for our actions and our thoughts and our behavior, and that we create our destiny and the destiny of Adidam through them. On October 21, 1980, I was present for a beautiful discussion with Adi Da, a portion of which was later published and now available as the CD, “The Bridge to God”.

Bridge%20to%20God%20DETAILThe more psychically awake you become, the more you are aware of the psycho-physical nature of what you call the objective world.
Once you see that the world is psycho-physical in nature, you begin to appreciate the living condition of everything that arises in the field of experience — not living, perhaps, in the sense that a chair can get up and walk out of the room, but living in a magical sense. Your association with so-called inanimate objects can go through many changes. Association with an inanimate place, even just a room, can change. There are feelings associated with it, a sense of energies, emotions, moods, influences, all kinds of factors to which you become sensitive relative to so-called inanimate things, just as you can be sensitive relative to moving and living things.
It is not that you should just arbitrarily take up a view that everything is alive, as if everything were a creature. Rather, you must develop and mature in your psychic sensitivity to things and then begin to appreciate just in what sense everything is alive, and in what sense everything has effect and should be acknowledged as a force. Living things are significant to us because a force is associated with life. Inanimate things are also living in the sense that a force is associated with them. They are living in this sense rather than in the sense that they are mobile. Perhaps it is also true that they can move around. This is not totally out of the question, but it must be observed. At any rate, so-called inanimate objects are alive as forces and influences, and the forces can change and vary in our association with them.
This, then, is part of the magical consciousness that is natural to us: to awaken to this sense of the total cosmos as a living presence, a circumstance of forces. At the root of all these things, animate and inanimate, is Radiant Being, the Utterly Living Conscious Reality. Inanimate things, lower creatures, Man, Nature, the Earth, everything is a modification of That Which is ultimately perfectly Alive, Radiant, Forceful, Conscious, Existing. Thus, to have this sense that everything is alive is not illogical or somehow strange. Everything is alive as force, as energy, as psychic reality.

Adi Da had Himself made a point about this relative to purification and even natural disaster in the talk “The Urgency of the Teaching” which was published in Scientific Proof of the Existence of God Will Soon Be Announced by the White House. image

“The world, even the Realm of Nature as a whole, is founded on a righteous Principle. Therefore, the world will be purified without a doubt. The Force of the Divine pervades everything, and therefore, It also purifies everything in one way or another. If human beings, while they have the benign capacity to enter into God-Communion, will not do so, but instead create a corrupt culture, a subhuman order, then the purification will not occur within the ordinary and benign course of natural processes. It is then no longer a matter of some Adept’s saying a holy word or speaking the Truth whereupon everyone changes his or her approach to life. It would be good if as many as possible could hear the universal Teaching of Truth and respond to it.  But if the Teaching alone is not sufficient then great upheavals necessarily occur. This is how the righteous Law works. It is not just that we pay our dues for past activity. A righteous Principle is positively at work, constantly to purify and to reestablish order.

Thus, there are periods of great negative upheaval in the world, including natural disasters, wars, and conflicts of all kinds. On the one hand, during these periods, the world pays its dues for failing to live by the Law. On the other hand, these times of upheaval are the evidence of a continuous process of purification. They are themselves a demonstration of the Law. At the end of these periods the Law is reestablished in righteousness.

proof0It is very likely that we are entering into such a time of upheaval, because of the extent of the failure of human culture. There is simply no light in the world abroad today. There is nothing but corruption, nothing but the failure to accept the Way of God. ..There is absolutely no sign of the Way of Truth, except in rare instances of individuals and small groups of people. The Truth is essentially hidden and secondary. There is a long history of corruption in every area of human life, and the entire social structure of the world is devoted to subhuman ends and forms of self-indulgence. There are no signs of an imminent Golden Age in the disposition or the condition of humanity at large. Rather, the signs are of the necessity for a great purification, a great reestablishment of order, a righteous readjustment of the whole world.”  Avatar Adi Da Samraj

Bhagavan Adi Da made it plain that the actions of human beings contributes to these events, these natural disasters. He spoke of this often in the wake of the great tsunami of December 26, 2004. Bhagavan Adi Da was heart-broken, angry, greatly involved in response to that event. He had in fact “seen it” even prior to the event itself happening. The gathering just before the tsunami, He told us “Blessings on those who pass today”.  And I asked Him  how He could have said that

JAMES STEINBERG: Beloved, on Saturday night, when You were blessing the Prasad, and You said “Blessings on all those who pass”, was there any conception in You of something specific that was going to occur, or did You just know …

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Well, it would be impossible for Me to tell you how I work, but did that have anything to do with this event that was going to happen? Yes. And there were also all kinds of modes of knowing it, including the way elephants know it, and there are also just ordinary reflections- ordinary meaning I see TV programs before I watch them and so forth, you see. There’s all kinds of modes of seeing and perception and so on that I could describe to you. There’s also just passages of mind and forms of all kinds that I read off, off the flow, you see. And so there were pictures and scenes including exactly the situation of some of these people, including things like being stuck in a situation where you have to choose among your children about which one you are going to hold on to and which one you are going to let pass into hell, you see. Seeing that, feeling it before the event. So there were things like that. And there were other dimensions to it that had a different characteristic altogether, but just that level of thing, you see. Why would I be seeing that? Where’s this coming from, you see? Some things like that are just at an ordinary, more ordinary psychic level that, after things happen, I look at those things like anyone might who had premonitory kinds of things happen and so forth, and say “Oh that’s why that was”, or else why else would it be? It wasn’t a premonition of a TV program, you see. But it was exactly the pictures.

You have to see My casual footsteps and hear My casual words. December 30, 2014

But relative to the tsunami itself, He was passionate about it, and talked about how it happened and what must be our response in terms of genuine practice afterwards.

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Adi Da Samraj in midst of Discourse of December 30, 2004

So if you see the sorrowful, torn-apart faces of the people on television after the tsunami, you see, that’s not Jesus there. Take a moment! You can’t dismiss it. It’s not TV. It’s very impressive reality-TV, if you’d only get it. It’s a lesson for the world. This is the greatest disaster in history, in the particular terms of this immense, large area and all that it is going to require. There is no preparedness for it. And it is only the beginning of what is potential in the world. You pick up the news, newspapers any day and you’ll you’ll hear news about various things in the environment changing and so forth, and don’t you get the picture of what’s happening – the deaths, the diseases, the wars, the absurdity of politicians, just winging it on one another and using up the people like cockroaches? Don’t you see what’s happening?

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Adi Da Samraj in midst of Discourse of December 30, 2004

And it’s not merely about becoming political. Everybody’s political in the sense that they live among human beings. Compassion, fellow sympathy should be inevitable if you are not armored. So everybody has political obligation, just face to face. You don’t have to become politically active in the larger public sense, but altogether all of humanity must become political. You are being used by politics. So it’s time you realized it. It’s not done between armies any more. The people are the fodder of war now. Don’t let it happen! Don’t agree to it! You are being propagandized into accepting a future that no one will survive. It’s not about becoming negative in the world. It’s about becoming entirely positive, but it’s about not just spouting slogans about it. It’s very straightforward.

Enter into co-operation, establish means that acknowledge the connectedness of mankind, and get on with your business. This isn’t just a game for gain, a competition like a sporting event. That’s for stupid people who don’t see what’s in front of their eyes. Wake up and see the suffering, feel it yourself, enter into a sympathetic disillusionment, a positive disillusionment. Then you will do the necessary things in the human scale, but you also practice the profound way of Truth, and not merely be true believers fighting for your tribal deity and your right to be false and murderously righteous. Don’t allow it! It’s up to you.

Be a renunciate and live to Realize Me. That’s My recommendation. It’s up to you. December 30, 2014

Here is another important comment, from January 14, 2005

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Adi Da Samraj in midst of Discourse of January 14, 2005

I made Myself very clear, I think, in the time of this terrible disaster, which is still ongoing, that which happened as an event, you see, in the Pacific areas, terrible earthquake and tsunami event, in which 155 or so thousand now are counted as—more, presumably–and so on.  But just all the other suffering of it, all of it. I suppose I made it clear to you something of what the implications of that really are, and how it affects the illusions in which you are living and the illusions in which you are even presuming to be devotees of Mine, you see. A lot of God talk, you see.

 

Here is a last comment in which Adi Da again speaks of the human element that brings about these natural calamities, this is from December 30, 2004, just four days after the tsunami:

Can you find any deity idea that would justify this, you see? It is inconceivable. You can’t attribute this to some Divine cause, absolutely not. It’s a terrible natural event, and whatever else is involved in it, human causes of whatever kind – energies of humanity or just every kind of environment and this and that and whatever somehow affecting the earth crust. Whatever you can theorize about or think about the maybe’s of it, it’s not completely off the wall to wonder about the human effect, however.

8. Causes for the Valley Fire and Cyclone Winston and our own self-inspection

The culture of Adidam is weak right now, the culture is not living as it should be altogether, and most of the current membership is rapidly reaching the elder years.  I am listening today to one of the Avataric Revelation Discourses from 2005 as I am writing this post.  It is just one picked at random, because I was looking for the comment about the Durga Mahishasuramardini which I quoted above.  In this discourse, Avatar Adi Da was already criticizing our culture as a Mummery at that point, and calling for us to transform everything. He was already speaking of Himself as being a “prisoner” of devotees who were not practicing rightly. He said that this was often done unconsciously because we simply did not know how to relate to Him and were not relating to Him rightly. He says that we have already exhausted His Body through our non-response. He says that this is not a threat, but the statement of a fact.

 I’ve exhausted Myself raising My Voice at you. It’s not worth My doing it anymore. It’s all up to you now. I just mustn’t do this anymore. I can’t survive it anymore. I’ve told you This Body is ill, it’s been made ill. You have to understand, I CANNOT continue this Incarnation much longer, strained as I am. You can take that as serious as you like or not. I am not threatening you, I am just telling you plain that I know you have exhausted Me, exhausted This Body and I cannot do this anymore and so that means this is finished.

This mode of association with Me in which you don’t have the obligation of practice and do not have the obligation of gifts or rightness and can simply relate to Me casually and act like the dumb buffalo demon, you see, and just talk absurdities at Me and carry on your absurdly ordinary subhuman existence, even your lowness, non-devotional, undisciplined, lives obsessed with money, food, sex, and social ego and social religiosity.  January 5, 2005

 

 

Of course, things did not really change, and of course Bhagavan Adi Da took Mahasamadhi at the age of 69, a very young age considering how long people can live these days.  I think that we have to confess to the fact that we did not allow His Body to continue because we did not bring Him real Gifts. And this confession is the beginning of a rightening that I feel that we have to allow.

Photo AThis, of course, has continued after Bhagavan Adi Da’s Mahasamadhi. I am not in this post pointing any fingers. All of us who are devotees of Adi Da should take responsibility each individually. But I feel that we need to discuss this openly. Even after the earlier post that I have had pinned to the top of this website, “what is happening in Adidam?” we have had the really terrible news about the injury of a temporary staff member at Naitauba. Again, we should see this as a sign that something is amiss. Not to feel guilty or to point a finger at someone. But so that we can honestly look at the pattern and see where we need to change. As we can see, the pattern that we have established so far is one in which there is a destructive force that is being allowed to demolish Adi Da’s Environments and the Sacred spaces that He so painstakingly invested Himself in and established with the intention that they would be present forever.

It should be obvious to anyone who looks at Adidam that it is time for us to righten ourselves. The fact that our culture has been in such disarry creates a psychic vacuum which leaves Bhagavan’s environments unprotected by the psychic force of a true culture. Very far above in this post, I put in the sentence from The Aletheon:

 All of These Most Sacred Places must be preserved as the Great Divine Avataric Holy Places of Adidam Ruchiradam forever. …..

So we obviously have failed in this in terms of the destruction that has been caused in some of these natural disasters. And to feel that it was just a practical failure is to only look at the situation very superficially and defensively.

We need to look at our own practice, at the structures of Adidam and how they may be misaligned. We need to all involve ourselves in the transformation of Adidam, rather than having all of the important decisions made by a small group that “know”. Bhagavan Adi Da was always critical of the “wolves and sheeps” phenomena, in which somehow a few of us think that we can make all the decisions for all the others, who seem to be or are assumed to be happy to sit on the sidelines, and perhaps complain or get upset, but altogether are reduced to inaction. All of us have to assume responsibility for this circumstance.

After the Valley Fire here there was an opening for a time where we were so shaken and stirred up that we allowed Bhagavan Adi Da to “come in” for a while. More deeply and truly. But it solidified again pretty quickly and within a month or two–by the time I came back from India in early December, 2015, I saw that things had gone back to business as usual for most of the devotees–particularly those who had not lost much or went back to circumstances that were congenial. The pattern really did not change–and the pattern now with Hurricane Tomas and the Valley Fire and Hurricane Winston is not protecting Bhagavan. What kind of a bead do we need on our malas to remember this? It would likely have to be pretty big.

In some of the reports we are hearing from Naitauba we are again hearing that things are opened up and Bhagavan Adi Da is “coming in”.  That is wonderful. But a couple of things need to be said about that.

There is some counseling that is going on for some devotees who are still feeling the effects here in Lake County of the Valley Fire.  (and truly—who isn’t?  just drive from Loch Lomond down to Middletown and it is impossible to immunize ourselves from the vision that you get).

070107_ds_IHTI_08The counselors passed out a handout which describes the phases after a natural disaster. After an initial heroic phase where there is a lot of activity to get the basics Disaster Recovery Phasestogether there is what they call the “honeymoon phase”. Here assistance is now readily available (water and food and electricity and shelter, etc.) and there is “optimism that everything will return to normal quickly”.   It said that this phase does not last that long, but that afterwards there can be a longer period of disillusionment.

Obviously, this is a conventional model.  And I do feel, as I expressed in the previous post, “What is happening in Adidam?” that Bhagavan’s Embracing Arms in some sense are being felt, and not just a conventional honeymoon.

We need to use this time, when things are still feeling shattered open and a lot of the normal self-enclosure is not in place to have a real conversation and to make changes. Obviously and always this should not be done as “case talk”. It should be done in the context of our whole-bodily devotional recognition response to Bhagavan Adi Da Samraj and our turning to Him. But He has always told us that there were times when we needed to take a good hard look at ourselves. This is one of those times. Otherwise, things will just shut down again, solidify again. And we will be telling ourselves a story or myth of how special it all is, when in truth there has been no change in the underlying pattern, and only temporarily getting through it all.

This post is certainly way too long and if you are still with me here, let me not presume any negativity about this. But instead to say that this necessary time of “consideration” and the ability to inspect ourselves, and to admit to our “pit of snakes”, is one of the great Gifts of Adi Da as the Avatar of Brightness, who incarnated down to His Toes. It is our virtue as a community when Bhagavan Adi Da was Alive that we were a Reality community. When things were right we did not live on the basis of myth, or “spin” or disembodied words, or any version of Adidam speak. Devotees truly practicing always have a healthy suspicion of themselves.

On September 23, 2004 Bhagavan said this in one of the Avataric Revelation Discourses

Part of the integrity of being a devotee of Mine is to have a fundamental and very serious mistrust of yourself. Don’t really take anything you say or think seriously. At least in absolute terms. Be true. Speak true. But, understand your experiences are all occurring within the context of bondage. And your thinking is all occurring within the context of egoity and presumptions that are virtually totally untrue. The entire mind is based on no true anything.  [Laughter]So,whatever you’re thinking, they are the thoughts of a fool and a fake [laughter]. Once you’ve grasped this and accept it, you see, it’s very easy to be humble because you have a great deal to be humble about. [Laughter] And you’re freely capable then of observing yourself without any blinders on, you see.

 

All of us, myself especially included (suspicious for just having written such a long post) need to be willing to observe ourselves 080425_WHARF_03without any blinders. We are a community that is in the midst of a crisis.

Of course all devotees know that Bhagavan’s Teaching is eternal, and that He is the greatest Adept that has lived, and so forth and so on. And I have faith in His Accomplishing Power. But we, as a community have just witnessed two natural disasters within six months, and then one of our temporary employees having his leg severed.

In an Avataric Revelation Discourse, when Adi Da Samraj was talking with Reuben Weiss I believe, He told us that we might come to a time in practice in which we realized the fault of what we had been doing. He said that we might notice that everything that we had been doing for the past twenty years was off. That all of our practice was fruitless. Bhagavan Adi Da told us that even then, the only response that we could make at that point was to change everything and to start again. I believe that as a community we are at such a point.

Let’s have a real conversation, with humility, about what we might need to change? Can we not all take responsibility, instead of leaving Adidam in the hands of a few that obviously cannot handle the situation by themselves? These and many other questions are, I hope, raised by the events of this last period.  I would like to hear what people are feeling?

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Adi Da Samraj and the sixteenth Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorje

220px-Karmapa16_3_grossIn November 1980, Craig Lesser and I visited the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Ranchung Rigpa Dorje, in Boise, Idaho.

It was arranged as a formal meeting between Adi Da Samraj (then Da Free John) and Adidam, (then known as the Advaitayana Buddhist Fellowship), and the 16th Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorje and the Karma Kagyu tradition. Adi Da Samraj asked us to have this meeting on His behalf. The 16th Karmapa was known to be a very great Realizer, with a broad sense of humor and one the greatest Spiritual Beings of the 20th century.

Craig Lesser was friends with a woman named Barbara Pettee who lived in Palo Alto and worked with many lamas (Skt.  gurus) of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The meeting was arranged by her.

Boise, Idaho was chosen specifically because we felt that because it was a smaller city, not as much would be going on with the Karmapa, and therefore he would have more available free time.

It was a cold and icy time in Boise, with white snow on the ground all around. We arrived by airplane and spent the night at a local hotel.

The next day we traveled over to a house that was the Center of Namgyal Rinpoche, known as the Open Path Dharma Centre.  The Karmapa was not staying there, but was using it as a place for meetings.

thCA74KHXCAdi Da Samraj had Requested that we make this contact and connection. He had been speaking a great deal about Buddhism and its three yanas, and He had dubbed the Reality-Way of the Heart, Advaitayana Buddhism. This is of course described at length in the book Nirvanasara.  It was the fourth turning of the wheel of the law or dharma, a new and unique Revelation by Him. But He felt that it could be seen as a form of Buddhism, a new and unique form, and therefore He felt that it was appropriate for us to visit with Buddhist leaders to discuss all of this. He wanted us to make links.

A full outline or “script” for the meeting was prepared by me, and the typed version of this was given to Adi Da for His Approval and Blessing. There were many Notes and discussions about how the meeting should be conducted, and I felt well-instructed and prepared to represent Bhagavan Adi Da and to present His Wisdom Teaching.

Adi Da had a great regard for the Kagyu tradition, especially in relationship to the Spiritual Masters,  Marpa and Milarepa.

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Bright Behind Me

As a major gift, a hat was prepared that was made entirely out of white silk and that included a very large diamond right in the center. Joan Hammerschmidt made the hat. One evening, just before leaving for Boise, Idaho, Craig Lesser and I met with Bhagavan Adi Da  in Bright Behind Me, where Adi Da was then residing, to go over the trip with Him. I had brought a picture of the Karmapa for Adi Da to view. He looked at it intently for quite a while and then He said very pointedly, “I am the kind of person who can tell that he is the kind of person, who will be able to tell who I am. The secret is that you bring his attention to it.” Adi Da looked at and admired the white hat, and then for a moment put it on His Head. It was clearly His Blessing of this gift for the Karmapa. He gave a big warm smile as He looked at Craig and I with the hat on His Head. And then He took it and placed it in the square white box that was prepared for it.

This was wonderful Instruction, which allowed me to understand a great deal about how such great beings, including Adi Da operated. They might hear about something in passing only, and therefore not put sufficient attention on that matter to “get” its significance. So many things might come their way in the course of any day, and because they were alive on many levels and not just the material dimension, they would notice things that a normal person might not. But in order to full receive the import of many things, what was required was their focus be brought directly to that matter. The extraordinary awareness that they had to see the deeper levels of things required that they really give something their attention.

First%20Paduka%20Puja%201979We brought with us to Boise, also a very large framed 16″x20” murti photograph of Adi Da, so that in viewing Adi Da’s Picture, he would have the opportunity to really see Him.

Until the Valley Fire I still had the script which outlined the introduction to Adi Da and Adidam that I verbally presented to the Karmapa. We spoke through a Tibetan devotee of Karmapa who served as translator. And also there was Jamgon Kongtrul, a great lama in his own right, and a principal lineage holder in the Kagyu tradition. So there were the five of us.  We were on the second floor of the Open Path Dharma Centre. Karmapa sat on a raised platform-like chair, and the rest of us sat on the floor before him.

The meeting took place on a Saturday in the afternoon, and we had told Adi Da the exact time of the meeting so that He could have His Attention on it.

When we presented the Murti of Adi Da to the Karmapa, He did a double take. In other words he looked at it, and then he turned his head away, and then he turned and looked again at it with great intensity. It felt like he could not believe what he was looking at at first, but then got it, received the Darshan of Adi Da. It felt like the moment where his attention was brought to Adi Da. As Adi Da had told us he would, he could tell who Adi Da was. Because he became immediately very happy, and began laughing and smiling as he continued to look at the picture. Very animated and alive. He was totally energized by seeing Adi Da’s Picture, and of course at this exact time, Adi Da had His Attention also on the meeting and on Karmapa. The whole room was filled with wonderful Presence.

From that moment on, the  mood of the meeting was everything for which we could have hoped.  The Karmapa very eagerly listened to all we had to say. It felt like a real and genuine connection was being made between these two extraordinary beings.GyalwaKarmapa_disneyland

His laughter and happiness was infectious and he gave instructions as the meeting went on, for the other monks that were with him, to also view Adi Da’s Murti. They were in a room just adjoining the room we were in, but around the corner. When the Murti of Adi Da was brought into the room where they were sitting so that they could view it, we could hear their “oohs and awes” and happiness, and they also were laughing.  They too could feel that something really special was happening with this meeting with this Master, and Karmapa was including the lamas who traveled with him into this remarkable event and its energy.

There was a great deal of very high Dharma described in my presentation. I went through Adi Da’s Own Sadhana and Life. And also the Sacred History of His Work. I described His Realization in terms that were very akin to highest Buddhism. I talked about the transcendence of attention itself.

His Holiness Received all of this very warmly and with what appeared to be full comprehension. He made periodic comments as the presentation was being made. When He received the white hat, he really lit up, especially when he noticed the large diamond. He immediately also put it on his head for a moment, smiling and beaming with reception of Bhagavan Adi Da’s energy that came with the hat.

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16th Karmapa with Swami Muktananda

As Adi Da Requested, we invited him to see Adi Da at the Mountain of Attention. Adi Da had given already lots of instructions for hosting the Karmapa and the monks in his traveling party there when He was also present. He suggested in these notes that there was nothing that He and Karmapa had to “do” with one another. It was really more just like being in the same space.  Maybe we should just “watch TV together” Adi Da joked.

The Karmapa immediately and warmly accepted the invitation to come to see Adi Da. He was very definite about it, and very happy. At Adi Da’s Instruction, we also mentioned that Adi Da might be at Da Love-Ananda Mahal at some times, and that this was our second Sanctuary, and that he was invited to visit there as well. The Karmapa immediately said that would also come there, for sure. He said that this particular tour that he was presently on, was already fully arranged with all of its itinerary. But the very next time that he came to the West, he would come to see Adi Da in both places. You could feel how he relished this idea.

We also asked Karmapa a question about Adi Da’s past lives. The Karmapa has the role within the Kagyu tradition of identifying tulkus (lamas who have intnetionally reincarnated from a previous lifetime) and is known to have that particular psychic skill. We told him that Adi Da had suggested His deeper personality pattern connected with Marpa Lotsawa, and asked him if he had any feelings for this, based on his own function as an identifier of past life connections.

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Marpa

His response was very simple. He said that his own knowledge of individuals only went back so far, and that he was not alive at the time of Marpa and therefore he did not know. This was a very literal response. The first of the sixteen Karmapas, Dusum Khyenp

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Marpa, Milarepa, and Gampopa

a, was a disciple not of Marpa or Milarepa but of Milarepa’s disciple Gampopa. Therefore, the Karmapa himself extended back only so far, and not to Marpa’s time. This whole discussion was very straightforward. It was clear that the Karmapa had accepted Adi Da and His Realization at such a depth of recognition, that it was not unusual to ask him about Adi Da’s possible identity with one of the greatest figures in his own tradition. It just felt like an interesting question. But it felt that the relationship between the Karmapa and Adi Da had already been established at a depth deeper than any kind of verbal discussion.

It was clear to Craig and I that the real meeting had happened at a level prior to our verbal discussion, but directly, between Adi Da and the Karmapa in the Spiritual dimensions. This was confirmed when we reported to Adi Da. He said that the meeting ha

d gone well at the deeper level connection between Himself and the Karmapa. This was not something that Adi Da often said. He listened to the details of the meeting, but said that He already knew what had happened. He was pleased with the meeting.

What it felt like to me as one participating in this meeting, was that the Karmapa was free enough so that he could “meet” or connect with Adi Da prior to human politics, or lineages, or religious or Spiritual Institutions. His involvement was simply at the level of direct recognition of Adi Da and connection to Adi Da. It felt to all of us  that something very simple but really profound had happened at this connection being established. It was happy and positive, like it should truly always be, but usually wasn’t.

thThe next morning, Sunday,  we were invited to attend a Black Crown ceremony with the Karmapa in the same house. It was downstairs in the main Shrine room, and there were perhaps 60 people there. Even with this small group for the Black Crown ceremony, it was done with full pomp and show. The highlight of the ceremony is when, with Tibetan trumpets blaring, the Karmapa takes the Black Crown from its box and puts it on his head.

After the Black Crown ceremony, we flew by airplane back to San Francisco. Adi Da asked to meet with us there at Andrew Johnson’s house, to continue the discussion about the meeting with the Karmapa.

Adi Da had been in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco during the early morning and we were all gathered waiting for Him in front of His Chair in the living room. As He walked past us to go into His room to get changed He said, “What are you all doing here? You were supposed to come tomorrow not today.”

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Da Free John (Adi Da Samraj) on porch of Bright Behind Me

And as He said it, with an edge of criticism, He “got me” for an instant. Of course, after that first second I realized He was joking around, but He had undermined me and put me beyond any fixed orientation. And having just seen the Karmapa that weekend, and even that morning, I realized that the Karmapa could not have done this with me. He was just too Tibetan. I had read a lot of Tibetan books in preparation for meeting the Karmapa and the teachings, translated into English and often explained in easy ways to receive. This all made it seem to me that Tibetan Buddhism was simply another Spiritual offering. But when I met with the Karmapa himself and heard him speak, in the Tibetan language and with his Tibetan mannerisms, I realized that he was from a completely different and foreign culture, a totally different idiom of expression. And I knew that I needed a Teacher or Master who was going to be able to know me and understand how I operated. Only in that way, would he be able to serve me and deal with me where I truly “lived”.

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16th Karampa and Jamgon Kongtrul

Sadly, the Karmapa never made a “next tour” of the West and so the physical meeting with Adi Da Samraj never occurred. He was to pass away still in the midst of the same tour the next year, in Chicago on November 5th. A letter and gifts from Adi Da were sent to be used in the cremation ceremony of the Karmapa. They were delivered into the hands of Jamgon Kongtrul, who had been in the meeting in Boise, and had seen something of the relationship between Adi Da and the 16th Karmapa. He received the gifts and letter from Adi Da in the airport in Chicago, as Jamgon Kongtrul was waiting to board an airplane going back to Rumtek Monastery, in Sikkim, where the cremation ceremony was to occur.  (Jamgon Konrgtrul himself passed away in car accident in 1992. )

 

“The world calls me mad” a poem by Rang Avadhoot

Maharaj_30The world calls me mad. I am mad, you are mad, all the world is mad. Who in this world is not mad? Still they call me mad.

Some are mad after name and fame. Some are mad after money. Some are mad after skin. But blessed is he who is mad after God Rama.  I am a madcap of that type.

Those who were mad after the world, did not get the world, though they wondered for ages.

He, who was mad after Ram, merged into Ram and was overflooded by Rama’s delight.

I liked not name and fame. I liked not wealth. I liked not fair skin of a beautiful damsel.

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Rang Avadhoot sitting before images of his Guru, Tembe Swami and behind him, the three-headed Dattatreya

In every pore of my being, I liked the Naked Avadhut, Datta and breathed out his name every second of my life.

That path is found only by the guidance of the Teacher. Books are of no avail there.

Rang is mad after the grace of the Teacher. He got incomparable relish in his grace.

 

from Songs of the Avadhut, translated by Shri Shantilal Thaker, published by Avadhut Parivar, Kampala, 1972

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