FAQs about Adi Da & Adidam > The Need For a Spiritual Master > Techniques & Realization

3. Why No Self-Applied Technique
is Capable of Realizing the Divine

Chris Tong, Ph.D.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

This is Part 3 of Chris Tong's six-part article, Why Great Spiritual Realization Requires a Spiritual Master.

I now see how a moment of Revelation is not the same thing as a permanent Realization. And I understand how the Spiritual Transmission Master is a means by which one can duplicate the Master's Realization with time and practice. But what about a technique I can do by myself as an alternate means? A friend gave me an extremely simple method for falling into egoless liberation that doesn't require turning to a Spiritual Master.

Answer: There are many extraordinary states possible (in the first six stages of life) that can be realized through self-effort and egoic seeking, and no doubt what you refer to as "egoless liberation" is one such conditional state. (Whatever state you are describing is certainly not egoless liberation. There is no method the "ego" can apply for becoming "egoless" — can you see the contradiction?)

Divine Enlightenment — Most Perfect God-Realization, complete Awakening from the dream of conditional existence and limited "self" — cannot be accomplished by "oneself". The Divine Itself accomplishes the process, and the process requires the complete transcendence and dissolution of the egoic self, through surrender to the Divine.

3.1. The "Ego" Can't Wake Up "Itself". The "Ego" Can't Wake Up.

You want the Way of the Heart, you want the Divine Way, to be about you. The Divine Way is about the Divine. It is not about you, except that it requires your surrender, your self-transcendence.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"The Crashing Down of My Divine Grace", February 12, 1993

You must give up your life of egoic "self"-identification with the rhythm, the contraction, the recoil that defines you. And how do you give it up? It is impossible. It cannot be done by the one who would do it. No one can transcend the rhythmic contraction of the heart, which defines one’s individual consciousness, except by means of the most perfect and absolute "self"-sacrifice, Given by My Divine Avataric Transcendental Spiritual Grace.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "The Rhythmic Incident of Separate self"

You can't Wake "yourself" Up.

More than that. . . you can't Wake Up.

"You" — the egoic self — is not present in the Awakened State.

Egoic selves only (apparently) exist in the dream.

The Awakened State is egoless.

There is only God in the Awakened State.

(In Truth, there is only God in the dream as well. Separate beings only "apparently" exist in the dream.)

The ego-"I" must be completely transcended in order for Waking Up to occur. Because there is no "self" in the Awakened State, it is not possible for a "do it yourself" technique to result in Awakening.

Most Perfect Realization of Reality Itself utterly destroys your egoic life — so watch out! The "trouble" with seventh stage Divine Self-Realization is that there is no "one" left over to enjoy "It"!

Adi Da Samraj, The Way of Zero Bargaining
Part 17, The Aletheon

You must be willing to vanish completely, to be completely obliterated. You will become capable of that sacrifice only by degrees, because your fear is profound. The frigidity of feeling-attention is most profound in you, because of your experience, your adaptation. Therefore, the process of God-Realization is a matter of time and practice.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, 1978

As Adi Da has put it humorously, "You can't get There from here!"

It is literally true of the "self". The "self" can't get to God. "You" can't get to God. You can develop a religious feeling for God, associate religiously with God. You can develop a spiritual life, in which various phenomena will arise, mystical internal phenomena, or just the ordinary phenomena of the gross [material] experience. In their arising, they may somehow seem to you to "be" God, to be signs of God, to be the manifestation of God, the Revelation of God. But you can't get to God as this "self".

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, You Can't Get There From Here (1980)

So one can't "Wake oneself up", because "oneself" is not allowed in the "door" of the Divine Domain.

The human individual is nothing more than a peripheral and temporary modification of Conscious Light, appearing to surround, and emanate from, a central core of Light (or Self-Illuminated Space).

In Truth, the human "individual" (or ego-"I") is non-necessary — not even an emanation, but only a conventional appearance, without Divine "Cause".

Divine (or seventh stage) Enlightenment Is the Realization of Inherent and Always Prior Self-Identification with the Divine Conscious Light, in Which the body-mind-complex is arising.

Divine (or seventh stage) Enlightenment is not an "experience", not a state of the personal body-mind-complex in and of itself, but the Intrinsic Self-Realization of the Divine Transcendental Spiritual Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State of Reality Itself, in Which there is no "difference", no "other", no "self", no mind, no body, and no "world".

Therefore, paradoxically, in the Context of Divine (or seventh stage) Enlightenment, the conventions of "experience" — of "difference", "other", "self", mind, body, and "world" — are Divinely Self-Recognized as merely apparent and non-necessary patterns, arising as mere appearances from and As the "Root"-Space of Conscious Light, and (Thus) as merely apparent modifications of Self-Existing and Self-Radiant and Never-changing Conscious Light Itself.

In the Context of Divine (or seventh stage) Enlightenment, the conventions of "experience" arise only in Transcendental Spiritual Love-Bliss-Fullness.

In the Context of Divine (or seventh stage) Enlightenment, the conventions of "experience" communicate only That Self-Evidently Divine Love-Bliss-Fullness.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Divine, or Seventh Stage, Enlightenment"
Part 2, The Aletheon

How then does Awakening occur? The Awakening must be initiated from the Awakened State Itself, like an alarm clock ringing in the waking world (while we are still dreaming), or the sun outside our bedroom window rising and casting light on our sleeping eyes, disturbing our dreaming. The Divine initiates the process, by incarnating and making the Divine directly available to us.

Since the Awakened State is God, the process of Awakening is all about God, and not at all about "self" or "self-effort". Indeed, "self" must be entirely forgotten (and outgrown), along with "self"'s obsession with "do it yourself" techniques.

No one can Wake Up Most Perfectly without My Divine Avataric Intervention. . . . I Am The One To Be Realized.

Adi Da Samraj, Part 24, The Aletheon

What is required to Wake Up? What can you do within the dream to Wake Up? Nothing. There is only the Waking Itself. All actions within the dream are forms of the dream itself. Waking is another process, and it occurs by other means, by already conscious means. I am not a symbol, a condition of the dream itself. No mere symbol, no mere condition of the dream, can Wake you Up. I Am the Light of Consciousness, the Real Self, already Awake, Functioning Alive. I Appear in human Form within the dream of life — not to console you, but to Awaken you through the Real crisis in consciousness. I am a frustration to the unconscious condition of the dream.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Gorilla Sermon
in The Ancient Walk-About Way

Lesser Spiritual Realizations can be the result of profound self-effort. But God-Realization — the seventh stage Realization — requires the Incarnation of God here, and one's relationship with and response to that Incarnation.

I am like the sunlight in the morning. I intensify the light of morning until you Awaken. Until then, you continue to dream, try to survive within the dream, pursue all kinds of goals, searches, none of which Awakens you. I, Myself, the One Who would Awaken you, am not an individual within the dream. I Am the Conscious Light, the True Divine Heart — Breaking Through the force of dreaming. I Am your own Most Prior Self-Nature Appearing within the dream in order to Awaken you.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Gorilla Sermon
in The Ancient Walk-About Way

Waking Up does not occur through application of a technique. We simply surrender ourselves to the Divine. But to do that, we must be able to find the Divine in every moment, which is the primary purpose of a Divine Incarnation: to make God present here, so God can be located in every moment. Since we can't get from "here" (ego land) to the (egoless) Divine Domain, God must come to "here" for God-Realization to be possible for us. Speaking as the Divine to be Realized, Adi Da elaborates:

By seeking, you could potentially achieve the realization of everything — except Me.

I cannot be Realized by seeking — cannot be.

Everything else can be.

I cannot.

The Condition That Is Always Already The Case cannot be Realized by seeking, but only by the transcending of the "root" of seeking. Thus, you cannot Realize Me by diversion from the Source-Position, or by seeking. Nor can you Realize Me on the basis of egoity.

I am Realized only in the transcending of egoity. And egoity is not transcended except in its surrender to the Condition That Transcends it. That is called "prapatti" in the traditions.

That is "radical" devotion to Me in the Reality-Way of Adidam.

That is Communing with Me, devotion to Me, ego-forgetting surrender of separate "self", such that it becomes truly ego-transcending.

The direct process, the only process that is direct, is the one I have Given to you in Communion with Me. It is the direct and "Radical" Way of Realizing the Inherent Truth, the "Bright", the Self-Existing and Self-Radiant Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State of all apparent conditions.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, July 15, 1995 (Adi Da Samrajashram)

In short, the Way of Adidam is the Way of God-Realization via God-Possession. As Adi Da puts it: "I Establish Myself As My devotee". One recognizes Adi Da as the Divine from the beginning, and, on that basis, surrenders increasingly more of the ego to Him, until at last the ego is completely transcended and there is only God.

Adi Da elaborates on the esoteric secrets of how the Divine "gets to here" and how the Divine actually enlightens beings, during and after the lifetime of the human Incarnation of the Divine:

The Circle of "conductivity" that I Deal with is the Circle of the cosmic domain, entire. As a secondary, rather peripheral matter, there is an association with This (apparent) Body here, similarly. So, when I Do "conductivity" Demonstration, I Do it in your body, too. All bodies.

Of course, this Works most profoundly in the case of those who turn to Me, who make the devotional surrender to Me, who are My devotees. But I Work overall as well, and with all, even before they become My devotees. This is how people get to become My devotees.

I Told you this Process began immediately with (and after) the Vedanta Temple Event. I Described it as "Meditating others". This is what I Mean, altogether. All bodies are My Body. All beings are My Very Self. So I Do the Universal "Practice" (if you will), "Practice" of the Whole, and every part within It, every being within It. This is the foundation of the Reality-Way of Adidam, this Accomplishing-Power of "Meditating" all, of Enlightening all. By Being all. Not merely by giving speeches! Talking, that is part of it. It is all part of it. But the foundation is this unique Divine Avataric Accomplishing-Power of Being all. Actually, Really.

And Atma Nadi is just how I get "here". And the "here" that I "get to", the cosmic domain, is through the Star-Form, into the Circle of the total cosmic domain. My Work is in That Totality. And, therefore, it is in every place and every being, until the Divine Translation of all, and of the entire cosmic domain. Because of the nature of beings and the complexity of this cosmic domain, this Work will not be completed — that particular Work, that Result, will not be effective in the Lifetime of this Body. But it does not have to be.

This Body is My Agent for Divine Avataric Revelation, the original Work to make Myself known to you, so that you will get to know Me better, know Me altogether. And having got to know Me, then, you understand how I will continue to Work after the Lifetime of this Body. And I Will. This is My Promise to you. You need not directly understand or observe how I Do That. But the more you grow in My Divine Avataric Company, the more you Awaken to Me, the more you will understand something about It.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, July 12, 1995 (Adi Da Samrajashram)

So the process of Awakening is one that God enacts, through meditating all beings. But we must cooperate with that process, in order for it to be effective in our case. As Adi Da has put it, the Horse takes us — but we must grasp the tail of the Horse.

An ancient text says: "Mankind does not know. Only the Horse knows". Therefore, you must grasp the tail of the Horse, or the God-Realizer. Grasping the tail of the Horse is your devotional, self-surrendering, feeling-Contemplation of Me. The Horse takes you (I take you) Where there is to go. The Horse knows. I know. You do not know.

Your devotional feeling-Contemplation of Me is not an end in itself, and it is not the means of your Liberation. It is simply your responsibility, your connection to Me, whereby My Grace comes to you and makes the Way of the Heart for You. This Guru-Yoga, this Ishta-Guru-Bhakti, this Realization by My Blessing, is the great esoteric secret of the Great Tradition.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"The Master Is the Means", Ishta

An important point worth noting — We live in a time and culture when all of us are profoundly programmed into a "do it yourself", anti-authoritarian mentality about everything. Even when one intellectually grasps that one can't "do" great Spiritual Realization oneself, the "do it yourself" tendency may still be so profound that we feel compelled to act out a period of resisting our own Help, until at last, through enough painful experience, we grasp the futility of that route.

I tried "doing it myself" for most of my life, until I fully felt the futility of all of my seeking. Even after finding Adi Da and refusing Him, it took me several years to come back to the necessity of the Guru. Still "I" refuses, but the revelation has been given and revealed and can never be forgotten. The undermining of the sense of separation is all that is occurring now.

Scott B.
Greenfield, Massachusetts

It is also important to understand that "waking up" is the very same process as "ego-death"; and no matter how much one may say one wants to "Wake up", no ego ever wants to die. Something greater than the ego — with more Grace, greater Being, and using the Power of Attraction to what is Greater than "self" and into which "self" must surrender — has to exceed the resistance of the ego to its own death in order for "Waking up" to actually occur:

In the Reality-Way of Adidam, you have all kinds of "experiences" — interesting and unusual, even often extraordinary "experiences" — but they are not the phenomena of Realization, if you could even call Realization a phenomenon. Realization requires Absolute Renunciation, the most extraordinary commitment and persistence, burning out all of your limits. Absolutely. It is an extraordinary suffering, this renunciation, but Sublime. And then — and you cannot even account for it — there is the Great Event of Awakening, Given by Grace. It is Incomparable and Obvious. But it has nothing to do with these various subtle and extraordinary and interesting "experiences" you all have. It has nothing to do with any of that.

The seventh stage Realization is Incomparable and Beyond measure, and requires absolute death. Absolute Death. That is why it cannot be chosen. It cannot be encountered. It cannot be strategically approached. One would not. No one wants to die. You do not want the body to die. You do not want the body to die! You do not want the mind to die. You do not want it to die — your consciousness, to die! Your consciousness must die for this Great Transition.

And how can I explain it? It is a paradox beyond measure. It is Absolute Surrender. But you must do the ego-transcending practice. You must return to the renunciation. The "experiences" ultimately mean nothing. You must discard them like crap. And, therefore, in due course you become indifferent to your "experiences". They mean absolutely nothing. They don't distract you. Your capability for renunciation gets magnified, to the point of this Death that cannot even be measured, that no one would have, except when It Happens.

It is the one thing that should be chosen. It is not a death. It is a Birth. But one cannot even choose it. One simply has to do the ego-transcending practice. All of so-called "you" must be burned out, must die in the process. That is it. And it will happen by Grace, not by your trying to do "suicide" to yourself. No, just do the ego-transcending practice. Do not "do yourself in". Just do the ego-transcending practice. And then, by Grace, it will be Given to you.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
from a gathering with devotees in February, 1988

3.2. Sixth Stage Methods are Still Ego-Based

Question: So not even sixth stage techniques can be used to Awaken?

Answer: Not even.

Writing specifically about such sixth stage practices as Ramana Maharshi's "self-inquiry" (for locating the root of the "I"-thought), Adi Da elaborates this more technically in the following passage, distinguishing the "Perfect Practice" (the most advanced form of practice in the Way of Adidam) — in which He Himself, as the Divine Person, "does the Divine Work" that liberates His devotee — from what He refers to as conditionally based sixth stage practices, i.e., practices that are initiated from the conditional side of the "divide" between the Divine and conditional existence, and which therefore cannot realize the Divine:

The Process of the "Perfect Practice" of "Perfect Knowledge" [in the Way of Adidam] is associated with the transcending of the ego knot in the right side of the heart as a total psycho-physical process of transcending egoity — not merely a process of "locating" the feeling-sense (or the Consciousness) that appears to be at the root of the "I"-thought. . . .

Even sixth stage forms of practice which are an address to the causal body (or anandamayakosha) are still conditionally based activities (which exercise even the gross and subtle bodies). Exclusively (or traditionally) sixth stage practices may exercise the mind or the physical body in some manner or another — even though the fundamental address is to the root-disposition (or causal being). Indeed, traditional (or conventional) forms of sixth stage practice presume that the Divine Reality can be Realized by "doing something" to the causal body, or by becoming established as the causal body, or merely by some sensation of energy in the right side of the chest, or by whatever kind of conditional "experiencing" or conditional "knowing" may be suggested (in any particular tradition) to be associated with Realization. All such effort is conditional activity — conditionally based, and ego-based. Therefore, no such effort can Realize the Divine Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State. . . .

From the beginning of the only-by-Me Revealed and Given Way of Adidam, the ego-forgetting process is made possible by the Acausally-Enabling Divine Process That I Am. The practice of the Way of Adidam is entirely the devotional recognition-response to Me. That practice opens My devotee to Me, because that practice is ego-forgetting. Ultimately, that practice is ego-forgetting in relation to all of the sheaths, all of the conditional dimensions of egoic "self"-presumption — such that (Ultimately) only My (Inherently egoless and Self-Evidently Divine) State (Itself) is "Located" (by My Transcendental Spiritual Means, by Means of the Force of My Inherently Perfect State Itself). . . .

My (Inherently egoless and Self-Evidently Divine) State is Self-Existing and Self-Radiant, and Does the Divine Work That I have just Indicated — but not in the sense of an effort. I Do this Work Acausally — by Merely Being (As I Am). . . . I Establish Myself As My devotee. My devotee does not do something in order to attain Me, or to attain My State, or to imitate Me, or to manipulate "self" in its structures in order to (somehow or other, by that method) achieve My Likeness, or to achieve union with Me. Divine Self-Realization is a Grace. Divine Self-Realization is Given directly, by Me, and As Me.. . . I Draw My devotee into My Own Acausal Divine Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State by a Transcendental Spiritual process that is effective in the context of the body-mind. You may see various signs in the body-mind — but, fundamentally, the process is simply this: You become Established As That Which Is Always Already The Case (rather than merely being changed in and as the body-mind).

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Radical" Transcendentalism

3.3. Summary

As an earlier quote from Adi Da mentions, all conditional Realizations in the dream are possible through self-effort. It may require an extraordinary self-effort that only a rare few are capable of making, but it is nonetheless possible in principle. For such conditional Realizations in the dream, the "Guru's Grace" — in other words, the Transmission of the Spiritual Master — can make the difference between easeful, Graceful, and relatively quick Realization (through surrender to the Guru, and duplication of His or Her Realization by meditating on That), and lifetimes of effort (trying to achieve the same result on our own). Adi Da has used the phrase "tearing your guts out" for this latter approach of self-effort, and contrasts it with simply surrendering to Grace, through attraction and response to the Guru's State of Realization.

But for God-Realization the unconditional, seventh-stage Realization, the complete Awakening from the egoic dream the Divine Guru doesn't just save us lifetimes of self-effort. Divine Realization is not even possible through self-effort. Only surrender to the Divine made possible by the human Incarnation of the Divine makes possible the process of God-Realization. And then it is the meditation of the Divine on us that Awakens us.

Nothing in [the devotee] is one with God. So the Divine Activity is generated to make that person one with God. The Divine does the Yoga. The Divine Assumes His Oneness with the devotee. He does not create means, methods to be generated in dilemma, experiential paths by which to realize that Oneness — He simply Establishes It.

The way for such a devotee, then, is simply to be a devotee: to simply live that relationship as the Principle and Condition of his life. And if he does that, then the conscious and formal Qualities that are native to the Divine Condition are generated spontaneously and intelligently within him.

The apparent (or conditional) instrument of that Divine Work is the human Guru and the human devotee — they are a single instrument. The relationship between them makes them a single instrument. The reason there must be a relationship created — a mutuality — is so that there will be constant connection and communication on many levels.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"The Divine Does the Yoga" (1973)

Human beings, in and of themselves, do not—and cannot—“Know” the Way to the Divine Self-Domain. Only the Horse “Knows”. Only the Divine Person “Knows”. Therefore, devotionally recognize Me, devotionally respond to Me, and practice wholebodily-true Communion with Me in formal devotional relationship to Me.

Such is the Way of My Divine Avataric Ashvamedha, and Such is the Essence of the only-by-Me Revealed and Given “Radical” Reality-Way of Adidam, from the beginning, and at every stage—now, and forever hereafter.

You are not able (or, otherwise, obliged) to Accomplish the Great Divine (and Divinely Transcendental Spiritual) Work (of Divine En-Light-enment and Divine Translation) by means of your own and mere ego-effort.

However, you are able (and Divinely Called) to responsively (and, thus, by means of the responsive transcending of egoity) participate in My Great (and “Brightly” All- Accomplishing) Divine Avataric (and Divinely Transcendental Spiritual, and Divinely En-Light-ening, and Divinely Translating) Work.

Therefore, follow Me—by taking hold of My Revelation-“Tail”. And, Thus, be Gracefully Carried—by Me Alone—to My Divine “Bright” Spherical Self-Domain.

I have Revealed and Given the Divinely Perfect and Complete Means—and I have Addressed this generation, and all generations to come, relative to every detail of the Great Me-Realizing Process.

Now you must Realize What I have Revealed.

I Am the Revelation, the Gift, the Means, the Process, and the Realization!

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The True Dawn Horse Is The Only Way To Me
from The Dawn Horse Testament


Part 4: Truth Is Always Already the Case,
But the Spiritual Master is Still Required for Realizing the Truth

Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
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