Finding Adi Da > Bill Worden

My First Years with Adi Da

Bill Worden

Bill Worden has been a devotee since 1997. Previous to becoming a devotee Bill had been a ski instructor, a commercial fisherman in Alaska and California, co-owner of an art nouveau / art deco company, and a poker dealer at casinos in both South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and San Pablo, California.

Bill WordenThe year was 1997. I was 45 years old. I owned a nice house in an upscale section of the East Bay of San Francisco. I had lots of money and a good paying job — but I was miserable. My father had just passed away. I was in the process of chalking up another failed love-life event. There was nothing that brought happiness or was satisfying in life. I thought that I understood life and yet it was failing. I contemplated this suffering, it had become a daily contemplation. I summarized my life one morning and had the thought that if I was a Christian, I would think that I was being punished for all of my sins. Then a form appeared in my mind, viewed by my mind’s eye. It was in the shape of an “S”.* It had qualities that appeared to be like smoke and electricity. The mind-form spoke in very clearly heard words. “It isn’t about you, it’s about Me.” I felt offended and resentful. I knew it was Adi Da. I had been told that Adi Da was a spiritual master by the woman I was trying to have an intimate relationship with. She had told me that Adi Da was the only primary relationship that she could have. I was jealous.

Sometime later. I wanted to know about the philosophy that Adi Da taught. I asked a couple of His followers and never got an understandable explanation of what it was all about, exactly. One of them gave me a couple of books. He told me that it was all there in Chapter One of The Method Of The Siddhas. I got home and opened the book. I found Chapter One and started reading. Adi Da spoke about a fundamental feeling of dilemma that motivates a “search”. A search to satisfy this feeling. He said that all of human life is one form or another of this search.

These pages struck me deeply as Truth — so deep that an event started to occur. Everything that I had read about as enlightenment started to happen. Forces deep within me started moving. A sense of understanding came forth. Everything made sense. I felt lifted, expanded. Emotionally I was beyond joy. I felt that I was being taken beyond mortal existence. Then I saw that in order for this event to continue. I would have to die. That set off something akin to a psychic domino effect. The moment of enlightenment went into reverse. I felt that enlightenment wasn’t possible. I collapsed into a dismal state both of emotion and mind.

The next day I was receiving an acupuncture treatment. As I lay alone face down on the table I felt a distinct presence. Then the most incredible thing happened. It felt as if an actual physical hand was firmly pressing down on me. Then I went into fear. I had only seen such things in horror movies. I felt that I had opened the door to something that I knew nothing of, and it scared me. This obviously had something to do with Adi Da. I felt vulnerable and afraid. My knowledge of what to do was limited, but I went home and wrote a letter to Adi Da.

Then I needed an address to mail it to. I got a phone number and had my first conversation with a formal institutional member of Adi Da's organization, a “devotee”. I tried to explain that I had written Adi Da a letter and it was important. I was told that he won’t be receiving such a letter. I went on to explain again how important it was and was hit again with “no”. The conversation ended with the idea that I should read more. Then I called another number. I spoke with a woman who gave me a comforting reality. When I told her what had happened she laughed, gently saying, “don’t worry about it, you’re not even a devotee”. She made me feel that I was safe.

I read some more out of The Method Of The Siddhas. It became clear that Adi Da was a living spiritual master. This was news! I had only read about dead enlightened beings. The emotional/psychic reaction went away. Then for the next two weeks, I had very profound experiences. After two weeks I went to a place called The Danda in San Rafael, California. I took an introductory course, then another course.

One time when I was first experimenting with the practice, this marvel occurred: an energy started to descend into me. The energy seemed conscious. It was intelligent. It moved steadily. It wasn’t affected by anything I did. It must have taken about thirty seconds to go all the way down my body. It was the most amazing thing to feel. I felt love as I have never experienced it. It was pure love. It was not being loved by someone. Nor was it being in love with someone. It was simply that LOVE was all there was — all of reality was LOVE.

I started to have experiences that I had never imagined. I became affected emotionally and even physically in seeing pictures of Adi Da. In the fall of 1997, when I was first considering becoming a devotee, I went to the Mountain Of Attention in California. They were going to show a Darshan video. It was shown on a large projection screen. When the image of Adi Da was projected on to the screen I had this intense physical response. It was as if I was being breathed. Then my breathing spontaneously became like bellows! I wasn’t doing this — it was happening under some other control.

I took my first vow in December of 1997. This is another thing that is unusual to an American — vows. There are wedding vows that seem to not mean too much, but there isn’t much in the way of a spiritual commitment for the ordinary person on the street. I understood vows to be an important point in eastern spiritual practice. A vow establishes a psychic bond. That bond became active from the start. I felt drawn to Adi Da. I had an opening of a depth of feeling. Just feeling more of all of life.

Adi Da lived at times on an island in Fiji called Naitauba. I went on retreat on Naitauba in the spring of 1998. I was new, but I had to go. The first time that I saw Him is a memory ingrained in me. You are taken by skiff to a beach. You prostrate there. I lay my face down in the sand and could immediately feel the spiritual energy that is unique to Adi Da. Then someone said “Beloved is coming. Come quickly for Darshan.” He was being driven in a small SUV-like car and looked briefly at those lined up as He went by. Our eyes met. The look in His eyes in a moment became one of total recognition. I felt completely known. Everything about who I am was known by Him. He had driven by and we walked away. Then there was this unbridled happiness — completely unreasonable and unfounded happiness. This became the usual feeling being around Him. Happiness.

A few days later I received the first formal Darshan from Adi Da. I hadn’t been a devotee very long, and wasn’t really educated on what to do. I had some thought about an upright posture and resting the tongue on the roof of my mouth. I was seated directly in front of Him, about ten feet away. It wasn’t too long into the event that something miraculous started to happen. His face started to change into the faces of others. This had the sense of an optical illusion, as if my eyes were playing tricks on me. So I tried to shake it off by looking away and blinking. The thing would start to happen immediately when I looked back at Him. It seemed to me that these were the faces of other spiritually enlightened beings, not that I would know what any of them actually looked like. There were Oriental, Middle Eastern, Indian, Caucasian, every continent, every race, until He became a vision of a golden being emanating rays of energy. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel that I was being fooled. The next day I was at the location where the Darshan had occurred. It was on a veranda. It was all cement. I looked for a possible way that there could have been a holographic image making device, or some such. It wasn’t at all possible.

In the Spring of 2000, I became a part of the group of devotees who traveled with Adi Da. He was in California. While Adi Da traveled He did not stop doing what He always did. He worked. He did His artistic photography. He wrote. He communicated His Revelation. He granted Darshan. He lived. On the road an RV was taken along. I became the RV driver. I started in Marin, California.

Adi Da had started again doing photography while He was at the “Outshining Brightness”, during the period of the Kosovo War. I remember the first time I looked at the photos He took. One was simply a chair yet I was drawn deep into feeling. It was both profound and tranquil. He had said that He combines Himself with what He is photographing and therefore to look at one of His photographs is a form of His Darshan.

During one of the trips I took with Adi Da, He was photographing in the sand dunes of that area. We were all staying out of sight so as to not interfere with the natural look. I was laying in tall grass behind the crest of one of the dunes and I peeked through the tall grass. I saw Adi Da. He was facing the ocean. Maybe twenty to fifty yards away. As I lay there I was taken by the reality that I was looking at The Enlightened One — who had no sense of separate self. He then abruptly spun the tripod around and pointed the camera straight towards the sand dune that I was on. I slunk down making sure that I was in the shadow of the grass. Then the space became something out of a science fiction or fantasy movie. It was if a powerful form of energy moved the structure of the space. The sand and grass started to undulate. It felt as if my body was doing the same thing. It felt incredible.

Adi Da went to Lopez Island, Washington State. I stayed in a rented house with other devotees. The talk among devotees was that Adi Da was having an enjoyable time. Then a call came that Adi Da was having the same symptoms that had initiated His Divine Emergence, on January 11, 1986. This is when He goes into death. No one knows what will happen. We were called to His House and were asked to chant. The house was thick with the same spiritual energy that I felt on Naitauba the year earlier. For me, it has a searing and piercing quality and my chest swells and gets real warm, my throat chokes, and I am often moved to an uncontrollable weeping. I was sitting next to a woman devotee who was having a very intense kriya. She was laid flat on her back. Jerking uncontrollably. Later she told me of a very profound vision that she was having during the kriya. After some hours Adi Da was taken by ambulance to a medical facility. He started to recover. I understand this now to have been and continue to be a most profound yogic event. The Divine is coming into our reality in a way that we can relate to.

In the years that followed (until 2007), I lived close to Adi Da all the time. I was part of the staff that attended Him: His life, His work, and His comings and goings. This was sadhana. Normally we would view spiritual practice in terms of technique. One would perform specific meditations, rites, different exercises in whatever genre they had adhered to. Sadhana lived by practitioners of the Adidam Revelation is done by being in relationship with Adi Da. This is true yoga, meaning ‘yoke’: you are hooked up with the enlightened condition.

These years could be summarized as follows: I received the Revelation of the Divine. In itself, that Revelation doesn’t amount to enlightenment. Yet the path to enlightenment is clear to me. Adi Da showed me that being a separate self is the unenlightened state. He did this by setting the stage where I could see this fact very clearly. He brought the Divine Condition into my awareness over and over. The Divine Condition is the One True Self. It is Love-Bliss. It is Consciousness. It is God. The Divine Self is the essence of everything that we see and that we are. Adi Da calls this the “Bright”.

The year of 2007 began, and I was on Naitauba. I was doing a puja at Da Ashvamedhanath Bhavan, a very sacred place, and I had a seizure. I knew that something heavy was happening to me. My family has a history of heart disease and that has always been hanging over my head. I thought that this might be IT. Fear arose. Then I was able to commune with Beloved Adi Da and the fear went away. I went to Suva (the main island in Fiji), and then to the United States, for medical testing. It was found out that I had a tumor inside my skull impacting the brain stem. One surgeon said the tumor was in “pricey neighborhood”. I had it operated on. I almost died.

Bhagavan Blessed a shawl that I kept next to the pillow of my hospital bed. I came out of the operation with the entire right side of my body paralyzed yet I felt comforted by His Blessing Presence which I felt tangibly via the shawl. Bhagavan’s Blessing from the outset of this major turning point in my life yielded a feeling of “No Problem”.

Adi Da was there for me. He guided and moved me in His Sphere through very difficult times. He still does. The Miracle of Parama-Sapta-Na Adi Da Samraj manifested in this life from mundane things like getting expert medical care to His drawing my awareness to what is beyond the mortal condition. This miracle continues to this day.

Adi Da and Bill Worden
I knelt down and melted into His arms. All my feeling-attention flowed to Him. It was the most wonderful feeling. With my eyes closed I lay my head to His Chest — Words fall short in description. I didn’t feel that I was holding onto a body. I felt that I was falling into a sea of Love-Bliss, Formless with infinite depth.

I still have some negative after-effects, and in some ways I am handicapped. Yet I am happy. And I feel freer and happier than I ever have felt. I understand what I have always wanted to know about God and Enlightenment. I feel Adi Da’s Spiritual Presence and Energy bringing me beyond the mortal condition. I have a handle on the path. There are no words that can express the gratitude that I feel for receiving Adi Da’s Divine Intervention. I feel the deepest heart-love for Adi Da Samraj.


*Bill possibly was having a vision of Amrita Nadi, the structure in esoteric anatomy that extends from the right side of the heart (as its "lower terminal") through the chest, throat, and head, and then to the Source–Matrix of Divine Light infinitely above (as its "upper terminal"). Adi Da describes this structure as having the shape of the letter "S".

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