Introduction to Adi Da's "Crazy Wisdom"

You should not approach me unless you are willing to be undone. The Guru is only interested in utter, radical dissolution of that whole limitation that appears as his disciple.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, My "Bright" Word

If you think I have anything to gain by this, you tell Me what it is. There is nothing to be gained by what I Am Doing. It Is Self-Sacrifice. It Is a Gesture Made out of Unobstructed Sympathy with suffering beings — an Inclination of Absolute Immensity and Absolute Power to Relieve all suffering beings. My Self-Sacrifice Is a Commitment to Relieve all suffering beings, and, therefore, It cannot come to an end. It can only be fulfilled Perfectly.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, August 19, 2004

For Me, There Was Never Any Other Possibility Than The “Reckless” (or Divinely “Crazy” and Divinely “Heroic”) Course Of All-and-all-Embrace — and I Began This Uniquely “Crazy” and “Heroic” Sadhana, Most Intensively, At The Beginning Of My Adult Life.

Indeed, I Have Always Functioned, and Will Always Function, In This Divinely “Crazy” and Divinely “Heroic” Manner. The Inherently egoless “Crazy” and “Heroic” Manner Is One Of My Principal Divine Characteristics — Whereby I Can (Always, and Now, and Forever Hereafter) Be Identified.

Therefore, I (Characteristically) Functioned In This “Crazy” and “Heroic” Manner Throughout All Of My “Sadhana Years”, and Throughout All The Years Of My Avatarically Self-Manifested Divine Teaching-Work and My Avatarically Self-Manifested Divine Revelation-Work — and I Have Done So (and Will Forever Continue To Do So) Throughout All The Divine-Self-“Emergence” Years Of My Avatarically Self-Manifested Divine Blessing-Work (Both During, and Forever After, My Avataric Physical Human Lifetime).

All My Avatarically Self-Manifested Divine Work Is A Divinely “Crazy” and Divinely “Heroic” Effort That Avoids Not anything or any one — but Which Always Divinely Blesses Everything and Everyone.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Truly Human New World-Culture
Of Unbroken Real-God-Man

"Crazy Wisdom" refers to the unconventional means (also traditionally referred to as "skillful means" in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition) employed by the Master to serve the Spiritual liberation of His or Her devotee. Adi Da is sometimes referred to as a "controversial teacher", and there is no doubt that most of the "controversy" stems from a misinterpretation of the period of His Teaching Work when He used "Crazy Wisdom" means extensively with all His devotees interested in participating. Because of such misunderstandings, we have put together this section on Adi Da's "Crazy Wisdom", to clarify the principles behind it and to illustrate the benefits derived from His "Crazy Wisdom" Work through firsthand stories from devotees.

Overview — Chris Tong's introductory article includes the following key points: the longstanding spiritual tradition of Crazy Wisdom; how "Crazy Wisdom" is often misunderstood from a conventional viewpoint; how participation in Adi Da's Crazy Wisdom has always been completely voluntary; Adi Da's unique form of Crazy Wisdom, which He called "the Way That I Teach"; why Adi Da's "Teaching Years" were necessary and what historical period the "Teaching Years" covered; and why the useful consideration for prospective devotees is not "Did He or didn't He?" but "Is He or isn't He?"

Chris Tong

Drukpa Kunley

Wisdom and Advice from the Great Tradition of Crazy Wisdom — On choosing or judging a Spiritual Master: excerpts from the Dalai Lama, Ramakrishna, and Swami Sivananda; on the "Crazy Wise" dance of Guru and devotee: excerpts from Irina Tweedie, the tantric traditions, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Rinzai, D. T. Suzuki, the Hasidic tradition, Karlfried Graf Durckheim, St. Teresa of Avila, and Ramana Maharshi; and Sufi poet Hafiz on how God "sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out."

The Way That I Teach

Adi Da's Current Teaching on Emotional-Sexual Relationships, Sex, and Celibacy — Includes the essays: A Call to Freedom of Choice in Religion and in Sexual Practice; and Right sexual self-Discipline Is Yogic, ego-Transcending, and Happy.

Stories of Adi Da's "Crazy Wisdom"

"Crazy-Wise" Emotional-Sexual Work. This first group of stories focuses on Adi Da's work with devotees in the emotional-sexual dimension of life. Because the "radical", "Crazy Wise" means that Adi Da has employed to address this area of life in His devotees have prompted challenges to His Work and questions about His integrity as a Realized Spiritual Master, we provide stories that help make sense of Adi Da's Work.


The Call To Be Love (And To Live As Love In All Relations) — Michael Costabile's article about the ordeal necessary to earn emotional-sexual self-understanding. Includes stories from Frank Marrero (about knowing how to have sex, but not how to love), Katsu (about having a body-negative, sex-negative, fearful, and self-suppressed point of view), and Eileen McCarthy (how, as an emotional-sexual being, she was self-suppressed and hidden), where each devotee describes how Adi Da gifted them with self-understanding in these areas.

Michael Costabile

Dan Sleeth

An Open Letter in Praise and Testimony of Adi Da Samraj — In his correspondence with an adamant critic of Adi Da, Dan Sleeth first lays out why Adi Da should be taken seriously. He then brings to light his correspondent's predilection for "kinder and gentler Gurus", and his dismissal of challenging Gurus as inherently evil or to be avoided. Finally he explores allegations of exploitation, and the suggestion that Adi Da is a "taker" rather than the very Hero of Giving.

The Emotional-Sexual Dimension of Life — Dr. Sally Taylor is an Australian-trained physician who became a devotee of Adi Da Samraj in 1976. She has participated during Adi Da's Teaching Years in many of the emotional-sexual "reality considerations".
Sally Taylor

James Steinberg

The First Celibacy Consideration — In the summer of 1979, Adi Da began to talk about celibacy. He suggested that if we cut out our “middle class indulgence” in coupling, perhaps we would be able to really get down to the spiritual practice. James Steinberg describes where the consideration went from there.

"Try the Suppository" — Much of the Work Adi Da does with His devotees involves their emotional character alone (without involving their sexuality). Da-vid Forysthe's story is a beautiful illustration of how Adi Da works with some common male character liabilities that negatively impact Spiritual growth.

Da-vid Forsythe
Fighting the Spiritual Master — This story illustrates the degree to which Adi Da was willing to do anything to serve His devotees' self-understanding, for the sake of their Realization.
Dennis Bumstead

Divine Love Heals Everything — Dennis Bumstead's story about gathering with Adi Da on Naitauba in 1992, the Divine Love poured out endlessly by Adi Da, and how that Divine Love healed Dennis at a profound level.


"Crazy-Wise" Work Through Music and Dancing. Next are several stories about how Adi Da Samraj used the context of music and dancing as a creative circumstance for communicating lessons. (The first three stories have been adapted from the book, The Master Dancer.)

Kathleen Ewart

"Just Happy and Free" — Kathleen Ewart describes how Adi Da used the circumstance of dancing to instruct her in the Master-devotee relationship and the inherent ecstasy of surrender to the Guru.

Exactly That Same Embrace — Jane Attardi tells how Adi Da used the circumstance of dancing to reveal to her a lifelong pattern of "masculine" aggressiveness that she used to prevent herself from being vulnerable as a woman.

Jane Attardi

Emily Grinnell

Extraordinary Eyes — Emily Grinnell describes how Adi Da used the circumstance of His own dancing to reveal Himself as the Divine Person to her.

Club Rat — Chris Tong tells the story of how Adi Da created a most unusual evening, and how He used music to open Chris's heart.

Club Rat
Antonina Randazzo

Devotional Singing: "The Focus Is On The Divine" — Antonina Randazzo describes how Adi Da taught her the sacred art of devotional singing.

Singing as a Mindless and Ecstatic Contemplative — Crane Kirkbride tells how, using skillful means, Adi Da drew on Crane's two lifelong passions — singer and spiritual seeker — and transformed Crane into an ecstatic devotee of the Divine.

Crane Kirkbride

Unusual Forms of Blessing. Over the last several decades, Adi Da has used a wide variety of circumstances and means (including unconventional ones) to transmit His Blessing to His devotees and the world altogether.

“Be Kind To All the Non-humans, Or Else!” — William Tsiknas tells the story of Adi Da's Graceful play with manta rays on Kalapaki Beach, in Kauai, Hawaii.

William Tsiknas
Connie Mantas

Crazy Wisdom and a Pregnant Woman — Connie Mantas tells how Adi Da Samraj infused her with Spiritual Force by forcefully pressing her belly when she was seven months pregnant.


Further Perspectives

Some concluding thoughts on Adi Da's use of Crazy Wisdom.

Mulund Wood

The Teaching Years Were "Fruitless" — Mulund presents Adi Da's communication about how His "Teaching Years" [the period of His early Work with His devotees] were "fruitless": They demonstrated the fruitlessness of all the different forms of human seeking, both conventional and unconventional.


Why Adi Da Worked with Us the Way He Did — "Because of us" writes Lynne Wagner, and she elaborates.
Lynne Wagner

Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
© Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.

Technical problems with our site? Let our webmaster know.