Adi Da > Alex Grey
Only the Divine Presence
Alex Grey is an American visionary artist, author, teacher, and Vajrayana practitioner. His body of work spans a variety of forms including performance art, process art, installation art, sculpture, visionary art, and painting. Grey is a member of the Integral Institute. He is also on the board of advisors for the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, and is the Chair of Wisdom University's Sacred Art Department. He and his wife Allyson Grey are the co-founders of The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM), a non-profit church supporting Visionary Culture in Wappingers Falls, New York.
Talat Phillips (in The
Huffington Post) writes this about Alex Grey:
"Among the many talented visionary
artists of the global spiritual counterculture, one name
rises to the top of nearly every list: Alex Grey. He and
his wife Allyson (who is also a painter) relentlessly travel
the world, headlining large-scale festivals, consciousness
parties and packed gallery shows. . . Watkins Review listed
Alex as one of the top 20 'Most Spiritually Influential
Living People' the last two years running, and the band
Tool, 'America’s #1 cult band', featured Alex’s art on their
most recent platinum album, winning a Grammy for its unusual
packaging. Grey’s work features a rare alchemy of science
and spirituality, where anatomically precise human bodies
interweave with profound kaleidoscopic mystical experiences."
[From a testimonial by Alex Grey:]
I've been inspired by Adi Da's writings for many years. He is a contemporary spiritual Hero, offering his transcendental gifts to a culture without a tradition for or even "taste" for Avatars . . . yet he bears the burdens of sagehood with persistence and love.
[Reprinted from Alex
Grey's official website:]
Seeing the Master, or glimpsing an enlightened being, is
called darshan, during which a subtle transmission can occur
to bless or empower an aspirant’s spiritual development.
It was during such a circumstance that I met the heart master,
One of the remarkable things about this spiritual meeting
was that afterward I realized that no thoughts or concepts
had occurred in my mind during the entire time Da was present.
There is only the Divine Presence that he is and all of
us potentially are. He seemed silently to become every individual
in the room, and as this happened, people swooned in devotional
My one encounter with Adi Da was profound. I am not a formal
devotee, but I have tremendous respect for Da’s writings
Based on his Darshan of Adi Da, Alex Grey created a painting
of Adi Da. He writes about that painting below.
© Alex Grey
In my painting Adi Da, the guru is portrayed as a
totally transfigured being. His heart is the dawning sun,
source of illumination outwardly and inwardly symbolic of
Da's transparency to Divine Radiance. Since Da mean "the
giver", the right hand is making an offering of teachings
that contain the same light as the heart. A lineage of masters
from various wisdom paths are receding translucently into
the horizon of the top row of heads; the heads in the bottom
row are the various faces of Adi Da, from childhood up to
the present. The sky meets the ocean at heart level, and
a pillar of light connects the heavens and earthly realms
through the central channel. The Dawn Horse in the central
channel symbolizes the force that powers Adi Da's teachings.
There are many devotees inside the body. The flowers are
an offering to the Master. A large translucent face hovers
over his physical form. The large head rests on a central
channel of light coming from the bottom of the composition,
suggesting the shape of a simple grail-type drinking cup.
The potion in the cup is amrita, nectar of the heart
united with an ocean of love, the God intoxication that
the guru provides and for which humanity thirsts. The bright
"Godhead" has large eyes and its mouth is placed
at the shoulders, shouldering the mouth of God, and Da’s
head becomes the God nose/knows.
[Adi Da's] way of teaching was simply to be present for
his devotees' contemplation. This is why images of deities
and avatars are important to some religious cultures. One
of the most important Tantric spiritual practices is called
Guru-Yoga. Guru-Yoga is a method of visualization in which
the aspirant imaginatively works with an image of a spiritual
master as a crystallization of spiritual potential, a psychic
"attractor" from which one receives specific empowerment.
This process draws on the powerful inner archetype of the
"master", one who has gone beyond the normal human
limitations and achieved transcendent greatness or enlightenment.
For most people this is a suppressed archetype, so bringing
it to full consciousness and being empowered by its presence
establishes an important bonding and reinforcement of one's
identity with an internal spiritual reality. By clearly
representing a spiritual archetype, artworks can serve and
catalyze the viewer's own realization. Throughout the history
of art, a similar principle has been used to transmit the
power of religious people through their portraiture.