Who Is a Master?"
A conversation between
Avatar Adi Da Samraj and Crane Kirkbride
March 8, 1984
Crane Kirkbride is a long-time devotee and patron of Adi
Da Samraj. When this conversation took place, Adi Da had returned to Northern
California from Fiji for the first time since being provided with Hermitage on
Naitauba Island. On this occasion, He invited a group of devotees
to the Manner of Flowers, His residence at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary,
and offered to respond to their questions. After an initial silent sitting with
Avatar Adi Da, Crane asks the first question. This conversation was published
in Crazy Wisdom magazine in 1984.
Master, what happens more and more when we speak about You in the public is that
we meet people who are seeing You in visions and having dreams of You. They are
speaking about the tangible transmission of Your Presence, even on first contact
with a video or a book. One of the questions we sometimes get has to do with the
distinction between Your characteristically felt personal Presence, Spiritual
Presence, and the Presence of God, as Brother Lawrence would use that phrase.
[Crane is referring to the Eastern Orthodox monk, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection,
who was written about and whose conversations and letters appear in the book called
The Practice of the Presence of God.]
Da: What is the distinction?
Is there a distinction that is worth making?
What do you think?
Crane: There is none
for me.Adi Da: And how do you think I could make a distinction?
Crane: That's the answer.
Da: What else about it?
I think what was behind that question for a couple of people asking recently is
that they are wondering if some aspect of your personal attribute or characteristic
is what we feel rather than feeling the Divine directly.
Da: Most of what people perceive they do not identify with the Divine. Therefore,
any perception they may have of Me may be dissociated from the Divine. Any perception
they have of the Divine may be dissociated from the Divine. Clearly, then, it's
a matter of the consciousness of the perceiver. If that one is dissociated from
the Divine or tends to dissociate, to perceive phenomena apart from the Divine,
then everything is a vision of separation, even extraordinary things. Perhaps
someone would see Me walking down the street and they might not tend to think
that they were seeing the Divine. Yet, if they became a practitioner and recognized
Me, transcended themselves in My company, their view might be entirely different.
Then they would see Me differently, including every aspect of Me or every possible
kind of experience they may have of Me. Such an individual might also continue
to grow and begin to recognize the Divine in everything.
If such an individual became utterly Awakened in this seventh stage sense
that I discuss with you, then everything would be Recognized as nothing but the
Divine. There isn't in reality any distinction between Me and the Divine or between
any particle of the universe and the Divine. What people perceive depends on their
state of consciousness, their state of realization. Someone who is more responsive
may recognize the unique character of the Spiritual Master as Divine and yet still
suffer the vision of differences in relation to others. So what are these people
experiencing? They are experiencing Me or signs of Me or facsimiles of Me and
so on and appreciating that in some fashion, but I don't think you would say that
every one of these people having these experiences is having an experience of
the Divine, because they are not recognizing their experience as such.
may recognize Me as a teacher. Some may recognize Me in the Spiritual sense and
find My Presence everywhere. Some may recognize Me more profoundly and find Me
in place. Some may find Me as the root of the cosmos, you see. I've talked to
you all in the past about these stages of recognition of Me. In the phenomenal
world things seem according to your state of consciousness. Ordinarily people
don't see God at all. At the beginning, it may be good to get interested in God
and have a vision of Me or a dream of me, but it doesn't necessarily mean that
they are realizing God in that vision.
Maybe someday they'll
have another vision and it will be a matter of God-Realization. Maybe some of
them are recognizing Me in the Spiritual and Divine sense. Maybe others are simply
being awakened to their first response to Me and as a result will study My Teaching
more, become involved with this practice and so on. That's enough of a burden
to put on the first vision of an utterly inexperienced person, don't you think?
Even if they are having experiences of Me, how would they
know if they were Divine? What is a Divine experience? Who is God that God could
be identified over against anything whatsoever? And who is a Master if he can
find himself apart from God such that he could say this piece is Me and some other
piece is God? How could there be Divine Realization if such distinctions continue
in the consciousness of a Realizer?
So the distinctions are
to be made by others if they are to be made at all. And they are simply a reflection
of their stage of realization. Many people can see Me and each one would say they
were seeing something different than the others. It's not a matter of who I am.
I'm all of the things that they are perceiving. When they are free to recognize
Me, then that realization will also be true. Let them settle for the fact that
they are starting to respond to Me. That's what these visions are indicating.
you have something more about that?
No, Master. Thank You.
Adi Da: Tcha.