Spiritual Recognition of Adi Da > Adi Da as First, Last, and Only Seventh Stage Adept

Adi Da as First, Last, and Only Seventh Stage Adept

Chris Tong, Ph.D.

Adi Da

This article has the following sections:
  1. Spiritual Uniqueness Statements
  2. Comparative Spirituality: The Real Differences Between Religions and their Spiritual Realizations
  3. Adi Da's Search for Another Seventh Stage Realizer as Historical Precedent
  4. Adi Da as the First Seventh Stage Realizer
  5. Adi Da as the First, Last, and Only Seventh Stage Adept
  6. Summary

1. Spiritual Uniqueness Statements

Probably no communication from Adi Da has sparked more reaction than His Revelation that He is "the First, Last, and Only Seventh Stage Adept" (which He began communicating in 1993). Such a reaction is not terribly surprising: if anyone says something of the form, "I am the first, last, and only X", it wouldn't even matter what "X" was — the tendency of most of us would be to interpret the communication as self-promotional (like Muhammad Ali's "I am the greatest!") and probably egotistical as well.

When "X" is a claim to spiritual uniqueness, that just adds oil to the fire. Most of us automatically have a negative reaction to people who claim to be "holier-than-thou" . . . even though there are a rare few — the great Spiritual Realizers — who truly are "holier-than-thou", and are thereby able to serve and awaken greater holiness in everybody.

We also live in a time when any kind of uniqueness proclamation about a religion (e.g., "Catholicism is the one, true faith") is suspect,[9] and only an egalitarian communication about all religions (such as "all spiritual paths lead to the same goal") is "spiritually correct" (analogous to "political correctness"). And there is some merit to our suspicions — many religions making uniqueness claims about themselves or their founders were only able to do so because of religious provincialism: the reality that these religions used to exist largely in isolation from each other (even geographical isolation: e.g., Christianity largely in Europe and Islam largely in the Middle East). But now, in the 21st century, with the globalization of religion (which places all religions side by side and makes voluminous amounts of information about each religion easily available), many such claims feel like historical leftovers that no longer hold up very well under scrutiny.

Another reason we react negatively to uniqueness claims made by religions is the long, bloody history of conflict fueled in part by such claims: from the Crusades of the Middle Ages (which pitted the Christians of the "one, true faith" against the Muslims who viewed all non-Muslims as "infidels" — the "unfaithful") to the more contemporary "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Middle East, the Shia-Sunni conflicts in Iraq, etc. Religious uniqueness claims tend to lead to righteousness ("God is on our side", "we are the chosen people", etc.), and righteousness tends to lead to righteously-justified aggression (of the "faithful" against the "infidel", the "chosen" against those who are not, etc.)

But not all spiritual uniqueness claims come out of egotistical self-promotion or religious provincialism. In the rest of this article, we will explore how Adi Da's communications of His spiritual uniqueness are the exact opposite of "provincial", being based on His comprehensive exploration of all religious and spiritual traditions throughout history (and all Spiritual Realizers and Spiritual Masters associated with those religious and spiritual traditions), as well as an in-depth examination (and firsthand experience) of what exactly is meant by a "seventh stage Realizer" and a "seventh stage Adept".

Because the seventh stage Realization is the greatest possible spiritual destiny for human beings, the question, "how many seventh stage Realizers have there been throughout history?" is a serious matter for consideration — there could be large numbers of seventh stage Realizers, there could a rare few, or there could be just one. As a seventh stage Realizer, Adi Da explored all of those possibilities, and concluded that He was the first seventh stage Realizer in history only after decades of consideration. His further conclusion that He was the only such Adept (first Realizer of many; but only Adept, i.e. Spiritual Master who can enable others to realize the seventh stage of life) that could ever be (past, present, and future) was not based on some extreme degree of megalomania, but on an understanding that the appearance of the seventh-stage Adept is a once-in-the-history-of-the-universe breakthrough of the Divine into the conditional universe; such a breakthrough occurs once — and, once accomplished, it need not (and cannot) recur because, from then on, the Divine is already Eternally Present in the conditional universe. All beings can Realize the seventh stage of life from then on, because of that Eternal Availability of the Divine.

* * *

"Adi Da is the first, last, and only seventh stage Adept" was not a statement made out of the blue, in isolation. Rather, it is a conclusion which, stated by itself (as it usually is by Adi Da's critics), is removed from its context. The full context is a decades-long consideration by Adi Da, and the only right and fair way to present such a conclusion is alongside the full consideration that led to that conclusion (and alongside other important conclusions from the consideration as well).

Thus, this article will now lay out Adi Da's decades-long exploration of the question, "How many seventh stage Realizers have there been throughout history?" (in sections 3 through 5). But first (in section 2) we will provide some necessary background concepts.

2. Comparative Spirituality: The Real Differences Between Religions and their Spiritual Realizations

Most of us have been born in, raised in, and programmed by a culture that is thoroughly materialistic. Thus, on the scale of spiritual awareness, most of us are relatively spiritually insensitive, immature, and ignorant. We have no (or little) direct awareness of (or sensitivity to) a greater-than-material reality in most moments of our lives. So our judgements about spiritual matters — including our reactions to Adi Da's communications about His spiritual uniqueness — are made largely in ignorance; we are not experts on the subject (no matter how many spiritual books we may have read), because we are not Spiritual Realizers ourselves.[3]

In our spiritual ignorance, most of us tend to think of "religion" in conventional, materialistic terms: a religion is something that provides a belief system that consoles the believer, and a moral order that helps keep societies orderly. (This "social religiosity" view of religion characterizes not only how the average person understands religion, but how comparative religion departments understand religion as well.) And if that was all religions were, then in a real sense, they all would be equal: it doesn't matter which one you pick, as long as you are consoled by it and it keeps your behavior in check. As providers of consolation, no religion would be justified in calling itself "unique", since any one of them is capable of providing consolation.

But for spiritual seekers engaging in comparative spirituality, examining and comparing religions from the greater-than-material standpoint of genuine Spiritual Realization (and from the viewpoint of a religion or spiritual path as a means to that end), obviously they can't all be "equal", unless the various states of Spiritual Realization these religions claim their adherents can realize ("heaven", "nirvana", etc.) are all the same — and these states certainly are not all the same, for anyone who has studied them. (For example, the Christian "heaven" and the Buddhist "nirvana" are profoundly different states.) So for those who view a religion merely as a consolation, it hardly matters which religion they choose, or indeed whether they choose to be "religious" at all, if they can find non-religious ways of being consoled. But for those who view a religion esoterically as a practice capable of Spiritual Realization, then obviously religions can be different depending on the Spiritual Realization that can be attained through that religion's spiritual practice.

Now let's consider the role of the Spiritual Master. From the conventional (exoteric) point of view, the Spiritual Master — whether Jesus, Gautama Buddha, Krishna, etc. — is the founder of the religion, and the one who gave the original teachings, practices, and rituals associated with the religion. The religion may also ascribe certain extraordinary characteristics to the Master: for example, Gautama Buddha as "Awakened" or "Enlightened"; or Jesus as "Divine" or "the Son of God".

But these are merely exoteric views of the Spiritual Master. The esoteric view is that the Spiritual Master plays a specific functional role in the salvation or liberation of His (or Her) devotees: He (or She) has Realized a great Spiritual State. But He (or She) is also a Spiritual Transmission Master: having Realized the great Spiritual State, He (or She) is capable of transmitting that State to His (or Her) devotees. Over time, through devotional contemplation of the Master's State, the devotee more and more duplicates the State of the Master, and ultimately, Realizes it himself or herself. The great spiritual principle in operation here is: "You become what you meditate on."

This is the great secret behind Spiritual Realization and the functional reason for the Guru-devotee relationship. Devotees don't gather around Gurus merely because the Guru is a charismatic (but otherwise ordinary) human being. They are attracted to the Guru because the Guru literally Transmits an extraordinary spiritual State, which they themselves can Realize over time, by "tuning in" on that Transmission from the Master over and over again. The Spiritual Transmission Master is the very means by which the devotee Awakens spiritually.

Even now your relationship to Me depends on your ability to be attuned to Me in the invisible domain, the vertical dimension of life, the force-fields personal and beyond the personal and beyond the human, beyond the conditional realm into the Force of God Itself. You must tune in to this Force just like an ordinary character turns on his TV set. Be attuned to the great Force of God and enjoy the Glory of Light, the Happiness, the Effulgence, the Radiance of Living Being.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Chapter One, The Dreaded Gom-Boo

This is very different from the exoteric views of the Spiritual Master! In the exoteric view, you merely have to believe in Jesus (the Spiritual Master) and be a good person, and that's enough to get you into heaven. It is a kind of "vicarious salvation", where Jesus (through his sacrifice) is presumed to have already done most of the work. But in the esoteric view (reflected in the actual lives of the Christian saints, rather than the churchgoers), much more is involved. The Spiritual Master also must be a Spiritual Transmission Master. You need to engage in "mystical communion" with Jesus (by meditating on his Transmission) and take as many years or lifetimes as is required to duplicate the Master's State — and at long last, realize (or "enter") "Heaven".

This esoteric view is a functional view of Spiritual Reality, human destiny, what is possible to realize spiritually, and how the process of Spiritual Realization actually works (via the Spiritual Master's Transmission). The notion of the "Spiritual Transmission Master" is virtually unknown in the conventional understanding of religious traditions; just so, the fact that the process leading to Spiritual Realization depends implicitly on the Transmission of the Spiritual Master is virtually unknown — it is the great secret at the root of all the world's spiritual traditions.

Once we start exploring religious and spiritual traditions from this esoteric view — which has the Spiritual Transmission Master at its core — certain further questions naturally arise. These are the core questions of "Comparative Spirituality":

  1. What kinds of Spiritual States are Realizable?

  2. Which Spiritual Masters Realized which Spiritual States, and (therefore) which religions offer the practitioner an esoteric means for Realizing the State of the Master associated with that tradition?

3. Adi Da's Search for Another Seventh Stage Realizer as Historical Precedent

When Adi Da was born in November, 1939, He was born Enlightened. He already was a Realizer of the Divine State: the Ultimate, Enlightened State. For the sake of uncovering a spiritual way by which all human beings could realize that same Divine State, He intentionally sacrificed that State, "becoming" an ordinary human ego, and suffering all that that entailed, until He finally Re-Awakened to the Divine State in September, 1970.

The process He went through to Re-Awaken (which involved associations with other Spiritual Masters, and practicing in their Spiritual Company, to the point of duplicating their States) provided Him with a very comprehensive answer to the first question of Comparative Spirituality: "What kinds of Spiritual States are Realizable?"

That process of Re-Awakening also gave Him a very comprehensive answer (with one great exception) to the second question of Comparative Spirituality: "Which Spiritual Masters Realized which States, and (therefore) which religions offer the practitioner an esoteric means for Realizing the State of the Master associated with that tradition?" Ultimately, He would create His "Seven Stages of Life" framework, and based on it, would associate certain Spiritual Masters and their spiritual traditions with what He called the fourth and fifth stages of life,[4] and still others with the sixth stage of life.[5]

Adi Da was a realizer of the seventh stage of life. The one, huge, open question of "Comparative Spirituality" left for Adi Da was this: had any other Spiritual Masters throughout the Great Tradition of religious and spiritual traditions ever Realized the seventh stage of life — Divine Enlightenment Itself? Adi Da's initial thinking was that surely there must have been other seventh stage Realizers that came before Him. As He put it:

I was naive and uninformed about such matters. I naively assumed that My [Seventh Stage] Realization was accounted for [in the Great Tradition].

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

For His part, Adi Da would have been perfectly happy to have discovered that there were many seventh stage Realizers — "Avatars all over the yard, you know!", as He once humorously put it.[1] And indeed, early on, He actively sought historical confirmation of His Realization through finding a precedent: someone else who had also realized the seventh stage of life.[2]

Practically speaking, it would have been much easier for Him to communicate Himself to the world as the latest in a tradition of seventh stage Realizers, rather than having to make the far more provocative communication that He was the first. This was especially true relative to traditions like Christianity and Buddhism, where the members of those religions revered their religion's founders (Jesus and Gautama Buddha) as the greatest of all Spiritual Masters. For Adi Da to suggest He was the first seventh stage Realizer meant that neither Jesus nor Gauatama Buddha were Realizers of the ultimate Spiritual Realization — a statement that would profoundly offend many Christians and Buddhists, as well as any spiritual seekers who looked at great Spiritual Masters like Jesus and Guatama Buddha as the epitome of Spiritual Realization.

And so for many years (from His Re-Awakening to the seventh stage Realization in 1970, to 1993), Adi Da remained ambiguous in His talks and writings about how unique His Own Realization was, for three reasons:

  • Adi Da had not yet completed His own consideration of whether there had been any preceding seventh stage Realizers. (For example, He would not fully develop His model of the four phases of the seventh stage of life until the mid-1970's.)

  • Any communication about the uniqueness of Adi Da's Realization would be very provocative, having implications about the Realizations of highly revered past Masters like Jesus and Gautama Buddha.

    In the past, the Divine has apparently Appeared. Apparently — therefore conditionally, merely. People have had all kinds of experiences, visions, visitations, and on and on and on. In the ordinary sense, many of these things could be called "Divine". But not from the seventh stage "Point of View", not from the Ultimate "Point of View". It is not correct to say, then, to people involved in the traditions, that there have been no God-Realizers, no Divine experiences. They would react to such a statement, and it is also not true. If you are making such statements, you must be careful to describe the point of view from which you are saying this and not say it in some hypercritical sense with any bad intentions or just make blanket statements that other people would react to.

    It is simply that in the greatest sense, in the Ultimate sense, all those Realizations are incomplete — good, but incomplete.

    Avatar Adi Da Samraj
    "Your Heart Must Be Moved" (The Heart Conversation Series)

  • Adi Da's Own devotees did not yet have the spiritual maturity to be able to confirm His Communication with great strength. Adi Da wanted the Communication about His Realization to be not just His Word out there alone, but His Word supported by the testimonials of a large number of devotees who could also attest to His Seventh Stage Revelation.

4. Adi Da as the First Seventh Stage Realizer

So for many years, Adi Da held off saying anything about the uniqueness of His Realization. But the longer He lived as a seventh stage Realizer, the more clear it became to Adi Da that there are distinguishing signs that occur in the lifetime of someone who has realized the seventh stage of life; and it was equally clear that there simply were no other Spiritual Realizers who had preceded Him in the religious and spiritual traditions whose life demonstrated those signs.

When He began His exploration of whether there were any other seventh stage Realizers before Him, he focused much of His consideration on the Teaching of those Realizers: did the Teaching communicate the ultimate Nature of Reality (or not)? So nondual statements like Jesus's "I and the Father are One" are potentially the communications of a seventh stage Realizer. Similarly, a small number of ancient spiritual texts (the Lankavatara Sutra, the Avadhoota Gita, the Tripura Rahasya, the Ashtavakra Gita, etc.) appeared to be written (at least in parts) from the viewpoint of the seventh stage of life, so one could wonder whether the authors of those books were seventh stage Realizers.

But over time, Adi Da realized that a seventh stage Realizer would not only "talk the talk" (communicating a "seventh stage" viewpoint in their Teaching) but also "walk the walk", displaying certain very distinct signs over the course of their human lifetime.

From the very beginning of His consideration (in 1970), Adi Da looked for one hallmark event in the life story of a Spiritual Realizer: the regeneration of Amrita Nadi from the right side of the heart to the sahasrar infinitely above the head (see right). This was the distinguishing sign that signalled the transition to the seventh stage of life, so any seventh stage Realizer would have that event in his or her life story.

But the regeneration of Amrita Nadi only signals the very start of the seventh stage life demonstration. As Adi Da's own seventh stage life progressed, it became clear to Him that a lifelong seventh-stage process unfolds in the body-mind of the Realizer, as the longterm consequence of the regeneration of Amrita Nadi. After awakening to the seventh stage Realization, the human life of a seventh stage Realizer would necessarily go through four phases, as the seventh stage Realization increasingly dissolved the body-mind of the Realizer over time, to the point of finally Outshining it completely:

  1. Divine Transfiguration — In the phase of Divine Transfiguration, the physical body of the seventh stage Realizer is Infused by Love-Bliss, and he or she radiantly demonstrates active Love, serving the Awakening of others.

  2. Divine Transformation — In the following phase of Divine Transformation, the subtle or psychic dimension of the body-mind is fully Illumined, which may result in extraordinary powers of healing, longevity, and the ability to release obstacles from the world and the lives of others.

  3. Divine Indifference — Eventually, Divine Indifference ensues. Divine Indifference is a spontaneous and profound Resting in the "Deep" of Consciousness, Blessing the world directly from the Heart-Place, rather than Working outwardly to effect benign changes.

  4. Divine Translation — Divine Translation is the ultimate phase of the entire seventh stage process — the Outshining of all noticing of objective conditions through the infinitely magnified Force of Consciousness Itself. Divine Translation is the Destiny beyond all mortal destinies, from Which in general there is no return to the conditional realms — Divine Translation coincides with the death of the body. However, in the case of Adi Da Samraj, in an extraordinary Yogic Event in April, 2000, He passed into the Divine Translation phase, but did not die — He re-established the connection with His human bodily form for another eight years, while remaining Divinely Translated.

Adi Da realized that certain Realizers of the sixth stage of life could still have enough of a resonance with the seventh stage Realization that they could write entire books which communicated something like the seventh stage view of Reality, without yet having Realized the seventh stage of life:

The traditional premonitorily "seventh stage" texts are advanced sixth stage literatures that express a few philosophical conceptions, or yet limited and incomplete intuitions, that sympathetically resemble the characteristic seventh stage Disposition (in and of Itself), and thus somehow foreshadow (rather than directly reflect, or directly express) the Truly Most Ultimate (or Transcendental, inherently Spiritual, and necessarily Divine) "Point of View". Such texts communicate a "Point of View" in which discriminative intelligence and the effects of discriminative mind are completely discounted, and even made fun of, along with the practices that belong to the developmental stages of life and practice. However, none of the traditional texts otherwise communicate the truly and wholly seventh stage "Point of View" and Sign, in a form that is not mixed with or otherwise limited by the characteristic sixth stage point of view and orientation. And none of the traditional texts communicate the full developmental and Yogic details of the progressive seventh stage Demonstration (of Divine Transfiguration, Divine Transformation, and Divine Indifference). Nor do they ever indicate (or has any traditional Realizer ever Demonstrated) the Most Ultimate (or Final) Demonstration of the seventh stage of life (Which End-Sign Is Divine Translation). Therefore, it is only by Means of My own Avataric Divine Work and Avataric Divine Word that the truly seventh stage Revelation and Demonstration has Appeared, to Complete the Great Tradition of mankind.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"The Unique Sixth Stage Foreshadowings
of the Only-By-Me Revealed Seventh Stage of Life"
from The Basket Of Tolerance

So to truly distinguish actual seventh stage Realizers from Realizers of lesser stages of life whose Teaching might now and then resonate with the seventh stage viewpoint, one would necessarily look for evidence of the regeneration of Amrita Nadi and the ensuing four phases in the lifetime of a seventh stage Realizer, as distinguishing signs of the seventh stage Realizer.[7][8]

After He developed this more comprehensive understanding of the seventh stage of life, it became crystal clear to Adi Da that there were no historical precedents for the seventh stage Realization, even among the most widely revered Spiritual Masters (such as Jesus and Gautama Buddha) — simply because their life story did not include the evidence of these four necessary phases of the seventh stage of life.

5. Adi Da as the First, Last, and Only Seventh Stage Adept

Adi Da's consideration of His Own Spiritual Uniqueness went one further, final step: He realized that He was not only the first seventh stage Realizer, but He was also the first, last and only seventh stage Adept (or Spiritual Master) — the only Spiritual Transmission Master Who would be the means by which future human beings would Realize the seventh stage of life. There would be many seventh stage Realizers to come, but they would all Realize the seventh stage of life by virtue of being His devotees.

Not only did Adi Da not find any seventh stage predecessors in His exploration of the Great Tradition to date; He also realized that He wasn't going to find any seventh stage predecessors no matter how long He looked, because there was a functional reason why there could be only one seventh stage "Adept" (Spiritual Master):

The Avataric Great Sage, Adi Da Samraj then said, "Understand further, I am not the first seventh stage Adept in the sense that there will be other seventh stage Adepts. The great Work that I do is once and for all time. There will be other seventh stage Realizers. My devotees will be Realizers of the seventh stage, but it is neither necessary nor possible for there to be another seventh stage Adept." In other words, as He said, by His birth, by His Appearance, by His Revelation, by His Divine Re-Awakening and Work, He had brought into the earth and the conditional realm altogether the Spiritual Powers and Divine Grace that now makes possible the seventh stage Awakening in the case of all others. And He went on to say that the completion and fulfillment of His great Work, His Divine Work, will be the Divine Translation of all beings.

Donald Webley
A Conversation with Adi Da Samraj about
His uniqueness as a Seventh Stage Adept Realizer

Understand, it is not that I am the first Seventh Stage Adept-Realizer in the sense that there could possibly be more. There has never been one before and there never will be another. It is not necessary for there to be another. Now, there can be seventh stage Realizers. My devotees will have the capability of Realizing the seventh stage of life. There will not be another Seventh Stage Adept-Realizer. Such a Great Work is once and for all. How can it be done again? What is there about it to be done again? It is Universally and Forever Effective.

That is why you must understand the profound nature of your own work, and the need to rightly perpetuate the Reality-Way of Adidam, not lose It, not throw It away, not discard It because of your own obstinacy and mediocrity. You must perpetuate the Reality-Way of Adidam for the sake of all who will come, for the sake of all those present, including yourselves, and all those who will come in the future. Otherwise, the Work is lost, forgotten, and the Means, therefore, for seventh stage Realization, Most Perfect Realization, will disappear in the mayhem of ordinary human suffering.

It is not only that My Revelation of the Dharma, of the Teaching of the Reality-Way of Adidam, the seventh stage Teaching, is complete and for the first time Given, it is that the Siddhis of My Divine Avataric Manifestation make it possible. The Siddhis of My Divine Avataric Work have made that Realization possible. Those Siddhis will be eternally Effective, may be resorted to eternally. I may be resorted to eternally, and My Siddhis are eternally Operative.

So I have made the Way of Most Perfect Realization possible. That having been Done, that Work having been Done, the Siddhis of That Accomplishment having been Established, there need not be any other, there cannot be another. The Work has been Done.

There can be seventh stage Realizers, but not Seventh Stage Adept-Realizers. There need only be One such Revealer, Full of the Siddhis to Accomplish that Work that makes such Realization possible. That One Is the Divine Person. The seventh stage Realization is the Realization of the Divine Person. Only that One can make that Revelation, Accomplish such Work.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, March 6, 1993

In short: seventh stage Realization of the Divine is functionally impossible without the Divine Itself entering into conditional existence (via an Incarnation) and creating a "hole in the universe" that bridges the otherwise insurmountable "barrier" between conditional existence and Unconditional Existence [bold ours]:

My Sign set all of it straight, actually Accomplished it, by virtue of Divine Siddhis. My Divine Self-Realization is not a bit of poetry. I am not merely using symbolic language, as if it was just the same before and the Vedanta Temple [Event] was just a bit of poetry. It is not that at all. It was an actual Event — not just the Event of My Divine Re-Awakening but the Event of the utter submission of the entire Cosmic Mandala to the Very Divine Condition by virtue of the Divine Siddhis snapping the barrier that the Cosmic Mandala has represented for beings until now.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"Your Heart Must Be Moved", March 21, 1993

Creating the "hole in the universe" is a one-time event. Once a Divine Incarnation has accomplished that work, no future seventh stage Adept would be necessary, because the work has already been done. All spiritual practitioners in the future would be able to Realize the seventh stage of life by meditating on the now eternally present Transmission of that (first, last, and only) Divine Incarnation (Adi Da). Not only would another seventh stage Adept not be necessary, but another such Adept could not appear, because a Divine Incarnation is only manifested on the basis of need. And once such a Divine Incarnation has accomplished that work, all beings can realize the seventh stage of life — but not before.

So if you are Adi Da, a seventh stage Adept, and you have just created this "hole in the universe" linking conditional existence with the Divine Domain, and you have come to the understanding I have just described about the unique function of the seventh stage Adept, then you know you are not going to find any seventh stage predecessors when you search the history of the Great Tradition, because — for functional reasons — there can't have been any seventh stage Realizers before you yourself opened — for the first time and for all time — that "hole in the universe".

Saying there is only one seventh stage Adept in the history of the universe is just another way of saying the Emergence of the Divine into the conditional universe is a one-time breakthrough — once it has happened (by means of a specific Adept, Adi Da) — it need not and cannot happen again, because the breakthrough has already occurred: the Divine is already here (and cannot "leave" or be "removed").

Understanding this, the key feature that distinguishes the lifetime of the (first, last, and only) seventh stage Adept from all other Spiritual Masters and Spiritual Realizers is the sign that He was an Avatar: born already Enlightened. Thus, the very first page of Adi Da's autobiography, The Knee Of Listening, communicates His Revelation that He is the first, last, and only seventh stage Adept because it is the Communication that He is the human Incarnation of the Divine — born already Enlightened:[6]

Even as a baby, I remember only crawling around inquisitively with a boundless Feeling of Joy, Light, and Freedom in the middle of my head that was bathed in Energy moving unobstructed in a Circle — down from above, all the way down, then up, all the way up, and around again — and always Shining from my heart.

It was an Expanding Sphere of Joy from the heart. And I was a Radiant Form — the Source of Energy, Love-Bliss, and Light in the midst of a world that is entirely Energy, Love-Bliss, and Light. I was the Power of Reality, a direct Enjoyment and Communication of the One Reality. I was the Heart Itself, Who Lightens the mind and all things.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Knee Of Listening

[On the difference between an ordinary incarnation and an Avataric Incarnation:] My True Story is the Divine Avataric Leela — the Leela of the One Who is Realized from Birth, Transcendentally Spiritually Fully Awake from Birth. That is a Unique Situation — because not only Is It Full Transcendental Spiritual awakening, but I am not born. Karmic entities are born, and they seek Realization — and, then, if they achieve It (to some Real degree), they die. Full Realization does not come into birth except through an Avatar. Only in Such a Case can there be bodily survival of a Fully Realized birth. Otherwise, there would not be any bodily conjunction to begin with, because it would not be viable.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, February 2008
"Tell Everyone My Leela Everywhere"
Adi Da Samrajashram Magazine, Vol. 1, #1

Even the core of His Teaching was already developed by Adi Da as an infant:

I Am The “Bright” — Itself.
This “Brightness” Speaks.
The “Bright” Is Born As This, My Avataric Body-Mind.
My Divine Spiritual Descent Upon the body-mind Of My Devotee — As The “Thumbs” — Is My Avataric Divine Means.
All This Was Given From The Avataric Birth Of This, My Bodily (Human) Form.
Indeed, These Words — The “Bright” and The “Thumbs” — Were Generated By Me As An Infant.
I Am Uttering To You The Revelation That Was Present At My Birth and In My Infancy — and Nothing Whatsoever Has Been Added To It or Taken Away From It.
Nothing In The Human Experience Of This, My Avataric Body-Mind, Has Modified My Revelation or limited It In The Slightest.
My Avatarically-Given Revelation Is A Divine Spiritual Revelation For The Sake Of all beings.
Therefore, Heart-Recognize Me, and Heart-Respond To Me.
Turn To Me, Receive Me.
Constantly Know Me.
If You Do this, You Will Be Certain Of The Truth I Am Telling You.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Dawn Horse Testament

The full implication of the one-time Incarnation of the Divine here is that there are only two ways one can Realize the seventh stage of life:

  • You have to be Adi Da — born as the one-time, complete Incarnation of the Divine, already Enlightened in the seventh stage of life.

  • You have to be a devotee of Adi Da (the one-time, complete Incarnation of the Divine), and realize the seventh stage Realization by meditating on Adi Da's Enlightened State.

Any life story of a Spiritual Realizer that begins with not being Enlightened, and not having a seventh stage Spiritual Master (Adi Da), cannot be — even in principle — the life story of someone who ultimately Realizes the seventh stage of life, because "you can't get There from here". To Realize the Divine, you must either already be the Divine, or you must be in direct relationship with the Divine by means of the one, complete human Incarnation of the Divine, Adi Da.

6. Summary

Immediately after Re-Awakening to the seventh stage of life in September, 1970, Adi Da began a consideration that would take more than two decades to reach its conclusion, focused on the question, "Were there any other seventh stage Realizers before Adi Da?"

In the course of that consideration, Adi Da focused on three criteria, as He examined the stories of the human lifetimes of each and every great Spiritual Master:

  • Criterion 1. Did their Teaching reflect the viewpoint of the seventh stage of life, regarding the nature of Reality and the process of Spiritual Realization?

  • Criterion 2. Did the story of their human lifetime include evidence of the event signalling the transition to the seventh stage of life: the regeneration of Amrita Nadi from the right side of the heart to the sahasrar infinitely above the head? Did the story of their human lifetime include evidence of the longterm process that resulted from that regeneration of Amrita Nadi, comprised of four necessary phases of the seventh stage of life: Divine Transfiguration, Divine Transformation, Divine Indifference, and Divine Translation?

  • Criterion 3. Did the story of their human lifetime begin with concrete signs that they had been born Enlightened — in other words, the signs of an Avataric Incarnation?

Adi Da would conclude that criteria (1) and (2) are necessary signs of a seventh stage Realizer; and criterion (3) is the further distinguishing sign of the one and only seventh stage Adept — an Avataric Incarnation — who would enable the Realization of all other seventh stage Realizers to come.

Based on these three criteria, the conclusion of Adi Da's decades-long consideration was twofold:

  • There were no Realizers of the seventh stage of life before Him, because the lifetime of all Spiritual Masters before Him did not match both criteria (1) and (2).

  • There would be no other seventh stage Spiritual Masters after Him, because His appearance here was a one-time breakthrough (in the history of the universe) of the Divine into conditional existence. Once the Divine was made complete and Eternally Available through Adi Da's Avataric Incarnation, there would be no need for another such Adept in the future — all future seventh stage Realizers would realize the seventh stage of life by virtue of the Divine made Eternally Present and Available through Adi Da's Incarnation.

* * *

Usually, the communication of a statement like "Adi Da is the first, last, and only seventh stage Adept" — completely removed from Adi Da's decades-long, voluminous consideration that led to that conclusion — is done maliciously by the critics of Adi Da, as a deliberate attempt to reduce Him to a caricature, and make Him look as megalomanical and self-promotional as possible. (The same approach is used in political ads attacking politicians, where words are taken out of context and lampooned.) Such intentional misrepresentation usually is accompanied by further provocative comments like, "Can you believe that? He actually believes He's greater than Jesus and Buddha!"

All of this is completely unfair to Adi Da, and fails to reflect the actual, comprehensive, decades-long consideration He went through to arrive at these conclusions.

This article is intended to provide the missing context, and to highlight Adi Da's ruthless integrity in pursuing the truth, wherever it might lead Him — He was completely open to any of the possible outcomes of His consideration: that there were many seventh stage Realizers; that there were relatively few; that He was the only one. Furthermore, His early explorations — where He actively sought confirmation that there were other seventh stage Realizers — made it clear that in some sense, He even would have preferred that discovery (of many earlier seventh stage Realizers), as it would have been far easier to communicate Himself as the latest in a long line of seventh stage Realizers, than to have to communicate His uniqueness, and draw all the reactivity that naturally accompanies such uniqueness claims (which we described in section 1). And indeed, for this reason, the language He used in the books published from 1970 through 1993 left it ambiguous as to whether there were many previous seventh stage Realizers, or just Him.

* * *

Having explicitly laid out Adi Da's criteria for assessing whether a Realizer is a seventh Stage Realizer (criterion 1 and criterion 2) or whether a seventh stage Realizer is also a seventh stage Adept (criterion 3 in addition), any readers of this article who fully understand these criteria are now in a position where they can duplicate Adi Da's consideration. They can go through all the Spiritual Realizers in the Great Tradition, one by one, apply Adi Da's criteria to the teaching and life story of each Realizer, and confirm Adi Da's conclusions for themselves. Adi Da's conclusions can be confirmed by others, in much the same way that a scientific theory can be tested, or scientific experiments can be replicated in other laboratories.



in the talk, "I Will Do Everything", in The Way That I Teach.


And at first, Adi Da thought He had found just such a "seventh stage" historical precedent in Ramana Maharshi — read our article to understand the full story of how He originally thought that, but also how His understanding of Ramana Maharshi's realization changed over time and why.


Our article, Spiritual Recognition of Adi Da:Some Initial Stories provides stories of spiritual realizers or spiritually sensitive people (from a variety of cultural traditions) who have recognized Adi Da in spiritual terms.


Adi Da's Pneumaton is the best reference for learning more about the fourth and fifth stages of life, and the spiritual traditions associated with those stages.


Adi Da's Gnosticon is the best reference for learning more about the sixth stage of life, and the spiritual traditions associated with that stage.


With this in mind, one can go through the lives of each and every one of the great Spiritual Realizers, from ancient times to modern times, and ask, "Is it the story of someone who was born Enlightened?" and you will not find a single life story that meets this measure — apart from Adi Da's life story. For example, we discuss elsewhere how the story of Ramana Maharshi's early lifetime had all kinds of signs indicating a sixth stage Realizer, or someone who was about to realize the sixth stage of life. Similarly, Meher Baba was someone who had the title, "Avatar", associated with him — but the details of his early life do not reflect someone born Enlightened. Rather, his early youth did not contain any spiritual or transcendental signs or experiences, and it was only after he came into contact with a number of Spiritual Transmission Masters that he began to lead a spiritual life and communicate as a Spiritual Realizer himself.

There are a number of ancient, mythic Spiritual Realizers who are associated with titles like "Divine Incarnation" (such as Jesus of Nazareth) or "Avatar" (such as Krishna) — in other words, "Divinity" or "Avatarhood" was ascribed to them by their devotees — but these mythic proclamations were not accompanied by any concrete, technical details of being "born Enlightened" (the kind Adi Da included in the first pages of His autobiography), and the rest of the myth of their human lifetime does not include the four phases of the seventh stage of life.


Adi Da's convergence on these four phases as an inevitable consequence of the initial regeneration of Amrita Nadi (and therefore a distinguishing sign of a seventh stage Realizer) was not immediate, but took place over the course of several years. Even though His own seventh stage life was clearly demonstrating these phases as an inevitable, unfolding process, Adi Da did consider the possibility that not all seventh stage lives would take that exact form. Ramana Maharshi's life story was the major question mark. As recounted in detail elsewhere, upon visiting Ramana Maharshi's tomb in 1973, Adi Da had an experience in which it seemed that Ramana was confirming to Adi Da that the regeneration of Amrita Nadi had occurred in his own case. At the time (1973), Adi Da had not yet developed the "four phases" as a distinguishing characteristic of the seventh stage of life, so it was natural for Him to interpret that experience in Ramana's tomb as a demonstration that Ramana was a seventh stage Realizer. But by 1977, Adi Da had developed the "four phases" model, and Ramana was a "question mark" in need of resolution, because his life story did not demonstrate any of the four phases. For a time, Adi Da considered the possibility that there could be a seventh stage Realizer — someone in whom Amrita Nadi had been regenerated — in whom the four phases did not follow as an inevitability. In this unusually worded quote (where Adi Da refers to Himself in the third person as "Bubba"), Adi Da elaborates:

Bubba has been shown that Ramana Realized the Truth in Jnana Samadhi and then passed to Sahaj Samadhi with "open eyes." [i.e. Ramana was a seventh stage Realizer.] However, [Ramana's] function was not to demonstrate the ultimate developments of the Sacrifice in Sahaj Samadhi. He did not, while alive, pass fully into the Transfiguration stage via the regeneration of Amrita Nadi.

Bubba's present and future work is to conceive, demonstrate, and communicate the Process in Sahaj Samadhi leading to the Transfiguration and Translation of the whole body-being into the Divine.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"The Demonstration of Grace Has Entered a New Phase"
Vision Mound Magazine, Vol. 1 No. 5, 1977

In esoteric terms, it would be as though, in the regeneration of Amrita Nadi, the Force had indeed risen from the heart to the sahasrar infinitely above the head, but then had gotten "stuck" up there, never descending into the human body, and producing the inevitable four-stage process that a human body-mind goes through when that Force descends. Over time, Adi Da rejected this as impossible, given the nature of esoteric anatomy. Since the four phases follow inevitably from the regeneration of Amrita Nadi, the absence of the four phases in Ramana's life story ultimately forced Adi Da to reconsider His experience in Ramana's tomb, and ultimately to conclude that it had not been a demonstration by Ramana of the regeneration of Amrita Nadi in Ramana's case after all — and therefore Ramana must not be a seventh stage Realizer after all. For more details of Adi Da's consideration of Ramana's Realization (from 1970 to 1993), read this article. It is quite a detective story, with many twists and turns!


Even though the lifetime of every seventh stage Realizer would include the regeneration of Amrita Nadi, and the ensuing four phases of the seventh stage of life, the regeneration was an internal event that would not necessarily be known or observed by others, whereas the four phases would demonstrate themselves in outwardly observable changes in the behavior of the Realizer. Thus, for those of us scouring the life stories of the great Spiritual Realizers for distinguishing signs of the seventh stage of life, only if the Realizer Himself (or Herself) happened to mention it would we read about the regeneration of Amrita Nadi; in general, the key signs we would be looking for are the evidence of the four phases of the seventh stage of life in the life story of the Realizer.

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