Finding Adi Da > Donald Webley

Beyond All Doubt

Donald Webley

Donald Webley currently resides in California. He has been a devotee of Adi Da Samraj since 1980. He works as a medical negligence consultant (working with lawyers on medical malpractice cases) and travels frequently in service to Avatar Adi Da's Work. He has six grown children.

This story first appeared in The Adidam Revelation Magazine in May, 2010.

The Search for Truth and Fulfillment

Donald WebleyAll my life, from the earliest childhood, I have been aware that there was something missing, something that life required for its fulfillment, something that seemed always outside my grasp.

It is difficult to say much more about this, except that even in my best and happiest moments, I knew that there was something lacking, something without which real happiness was not possible.

I very early discovered that no one around me seemed to notice this. Of course, all of this was pre-verbal I could not have explained it as a child. Nevertheless, this perplexity was the enduring constant of my life.

I devoted myself to my studies, because it seemed clear to me that this was the way to get to understand something that I did not understand.

That was how I would find the answer to the fundamental questions or so I presumed. And even in the midst of the most painful moments of my young life, I was completely certain that there was a Perfect Answer.

The problem, of course, was that I did not really even know what the question was! But since science is the dominant paradigm of the day, it seemed to me that that was where the answers presumably would be found.

Throughout high school, therefore, I dedicated myself to physics, the fundamental science. I wanted to be sure to get into the very best college, where, I was certain, the eminent professors in the physics department would have all the mysteries of life neatly solved.

In September 1969, full of hope and anticipation, I left my native Jamaica for the United States and one of its most prestigious institutions of learning, Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut.

I was soon disappointed. True enough, there were very, very bright people in the physics department, as there were everywhere at Yale. But it quickly became obvious that they did not know anything more about life itself than did my relatives or high school companions.

I had nowhere to turn and was plunged into despair. I began reading even more voraciously and widely, but all to no avail. At the end of the day, I stood at the dead-end of my search, with nowhere to go.

One evening in October or November 1970, I was alone in my room when I was suddenly moved beyond body and mind and dissolved in Bliss beyond words.

It was a complete dissolution. I have no memory of the event itself, and I remember its Perfect Bliss only as it faded and as I returned to my "normal" state.

But a lifetime of accumulated mind had fallen away in a moment, and I knew that I had glimpsed and been touched by the answer to my question.

And even though I had read nothing about the esoteric spiritual traditions of the world, I somehow knew that my life's purpose was to find a spiritual teacher who would make this glimpse my stable realization.

From this event, I understood that the intellectual edifice that I had constructed and over which I had obsessed all my life was irrelevant. The "answer" was not to be found in classrooms, in laboratories, or in books.

I stayed at Yale until the end of the semester, but thereafter left to begin my search. I was first attracted to Zen Buddhism because, as I understood it, in that tradition there is "no reliance on books or letters". I had read enough.

Suspending All Disbelief

It was some fifteen years later that I realized what had happened that night at Yale. After I had been a devotee of Avatar Adi Da Samraj for some time, I came to understand that moment as my first contact with Him.

Across the apparent barriers of space, I had been touched by the One who was to be my Guru. Thus began the long, only partially conscious process of finding and approaching Him.

I left Yale and headed for California, with my only direction a vague, but yet also strong, desire to study Zen Buddhism. I was drawn to Zen because, by that school's own self-description, it is a direct transmission outside of the scriptures, and beyond books and words.

My experience had made it dramatically clear to me that what I was seeking was not to be found in books, and I did not feel drawn to a spiritual practice where I would have to spend a lot of time studying spiritual teachings. In fact, for two years or so, I read almost nothing.

Then in 1973, while managing a small bookstore in Rochester, New York, I received a flyer from the Dawn Horse Press, the publisher of Avatar Adi Da's Teaching-Word, advertising The Knee of Listening, Avatar Adi Da's Spiritual Autobiography, and The Method of the Siddhas, a compilation of some of His earliest talks to devotees.

I was struck by the most beautiful picture of Him on the cover. I immediately knew that He was an "Enlightened Man", whatever that meant to me at the time. This was not something I thought about. Rather, His Beauty, Love, and Happiness were perfectly evident in the photograph.

But I felt that I had already found my spiritual place in Zen. The raw desperation of my college years had subsided and been replaced by the beginnings of equanimity.

I was less desperate because I now knew that there was a tradition of people who felt the same yearning that I did and of people who seemed to have Realized That which resolved the attendant perplexity.

There are many stories in Zen Buddhism of the lives of authentic spiritual Realizers. So I didn't drop everything to run back to California where Avatar Adi Da resided at the time, but neither could I resist reading His Teaching, which touched and moved me with its clarity and obvious Truth.

From time to time I would read Avatar Adi Da's books. I was like the proverbial dog before the vat of hot oil, neither able to walk away nor to drink it. I alternated between trying to explain Avatar Adi Da away by equating Him with Zen Buddhism and confronting my growing yearning to see Him.

Eventually, I could no longer ignore my heart's impulse: I had to see for myself who Adi Da Samraj was. At that time, Avatar Adi Da sometimes made Himself available to sit in meditation with interested public people. I was invited to such an occasion.

The Face of Realization

The first time that I saw Avatar Adi Da was at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary, His Empowered Sanctuary in northern California, on May 31, 1980. We were in a covered, open-air building called Land Bridge Pavilion, where He sat silently for about an hour with devotees.

I was instantly struck as He sat there before us, that when I looked at Him it seemed to me that there was "no one there". When we look at someone, we can feel the "person" behind the face, with all his or her qualities and character. There was no such person behind Avatar Adi Da's face. He was simply there.

Donald receiving Avatar Adi Da's glance at Adi Da Samrajashram in 2006
Donald receiving Avatar Adi Da's glance at Adi Da Samrajashram in 2006

At the same time there was a quality that I can only describe as Bliss or Happiness that radiated from Him.

In the next moment, however, my mind intervened, "Well, after all, He does have two arms and two legs, so maybe He is an ordinary person." But, in the following moment, my heart would be overwhelmed by His obvious Divinity.

While I could not explain it, and even though it made no sense to the thinking mind, there was a direct communication that spoke loudly to the core of my being.

The dialogue between my thinking mind, over against my feeling heart, continued throughout the entire event.

But at a certain point, Avatar Adi Da began taking questions, and I was completely struck by His embrace of every devotee who arose to speak to Him. He presumed no difference, and demonstrated and revealed only Love in relation to each one.

I approached the microphone and thanked Him for the unexpected opportunity to receive His Darshan, and I thanked Him for having guided my life to that point. I then corrected myself, and thanked Him for having lived my life.

Although I did not think about it at the time, my use of that term was significant the intuition had been granted, even in that early moment of my relationship to Him, that He is not just a potent Source of Blessing, but that He Is far more than that. He Is, in fact, the Very Divine Person, Who has always been my Spiritual Master, and Who Is, in Person, That Which I had always longed for.

I knew that here, before me, in Living Flesh, was That Which I had always known to be the case, even in the midst of my doubts. It would be many years before I could articulate what was, in that moment, made completely obvious to me.

But His Divine Heart touched my human heart, and I understood Him to be much more than even a very Great Man. His mere Presence communicated something of His Divine and All-Pervading Nature to my thirsting heart.

I was the last person to speak, and shortly afterwards, Adi Da Samraj rose from His seat and strode out of the room. Just after He passed by, I broke into loud, racking sobs. It was so unexpected, and so uncharacteristic of me, that I almost looked around to see who was making the noise.

At the time, I had no idea what had happened, but this was the beginning of my life in Avatar Adi Da's Company.

Avatar Adi Da's Gift to All

As the years have passed, I understand a little more about that first sighting of Avatar Adi Da.

Even as the mind continued to puzzle itself about who Avatar Adi Da was or was not, my heart, the core of my being, had no such dilemma it recognized that the answer to all my questions and all my heart's yearning sat before me.

I saw, in person, the living demonstration of that for which I had longed all my life. I have never been the same since that moment. I had been transformed as suddenly and as irrevocably as Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning.

Ever since then, I can freely confess from my own experience that the Divine Being, the inmost Heart of all beings and of all manifestation, does exist, and was, beyond all comprehension, and human understanding, shown alive in the Person of Avatar Adi Da Samraj.

That certainty was imparted directly to my heart, beyond the possibility of doubt.

I can likewise confess that the Transcendental Spiritual Blessing that is freely given in Avatar Adi Da's Company is the cool water that fully quenches the burning human heart's anguished thirst.

I write this story as an invitation to you to likewise consider the possibility of this Liberating relationship, of taking up, in other words, the Way of Perfect and True Happiness that Avatar Adi Da Samraj Reveals, and, in fact, Is.


On November 27, 2008, on the Fijian island of Naitauba, Avatar Adi Da Samraj suddenly abandoned the Body.[1] The relationship between the Divine Avatar's devotees and Avatar Adi Da has always been paradoxical.

The purpose of His Birth, Life, and Work, as He never ceased to remind us, was to Establish the Means for direct Communion with Him, the One Who utterly Transcends everything, including the mortal Form of His human body. Simultaneously, the Revelation of His Eternal Form was accomplished through and as His own human Form.

Thus, in the Reality-Way of Adidam in common with ancient esoteric tradition Darshan, or sighting of the Guru, is prized above all else. And like all devotees who are thus Blessed, I have experienced such sightings of Avatar Adi Da as moments of joy and happiness without any equal whatsoever.

During the years of Avatar Adi Da's human Life, I was graced to spend considerable time in His Presence outside of such formal or "set-apart" occasions of Darshan. It is my experience and testimony that, even while apparently engaged in "ordinary" activity, Adi Da was always the same Perfect Presence of the Divine, and that the same happiness and joy were as fully Transmitted by Him then as in the "formal" occasions of Darshan.

The conjunction of Divinity and a human form is a constant Mystery of limitless Depth, that always moves His devotees into Communion with Him.

Avatar Adi Da had always said that He would take His Divine Mahasamadhi the instant His Work was done, neither a moment before nor a moment later, and that it would be sudden, that He would not foretell it, and that the time would not be foreseeable by devotees. So it was.

At the moment of His Passing, I was meditating in the Communion Hall of His Ashram on the northern California coast. I felt such a remarkable invasion of His very characteristic Blessing-Force that I determined to write to Him after the meditation.

Adi Da Samrajashram - Naitauba, Fiji
Adi Da Samrajashram - Naitauba, Fiji

Of course, that was not to be. I left for His Hermitage Island of Naitauba on the earliest flight that was available to me, in a whirlwind of conflicting feelings. Even though I continued to feel His Presence very strongly in meditation and daily life, there was an open wound of loss and sadness.

My pilgrimage to Naitauba was, in my feeling, a necessary, but unwelcome obligation. I expected to be overwhelmed with sadness, and to be around others, likewise, drowning in sorrow. I wanted my visit to be brief. It was not to be so.

It was clear as I stepped off the boat that His Divine Presence continued to Pervade His Island of Naitauba as It always had. This was the experience of my fellow devotees as well.

So, while there was great sadness, it was commingled with great joy the happiness of knowing that, yes, Avatar Adi Da's Divine Blessing utterly transcends and is victorious over death, as He had always Said It Is and would be.

It was also useful to me, in confirming His utter Mastery of all things manifest, to discover that even though, as He had always warned us, He would leave without a word to us He did leave many clear signs that, after His death, were, in retrospect, clear pointers that His Divine Mahasamadhi would follow shortly.

In the months that have followed, what was revealed on that pilgrimage to Naitauba has been confirmed: even though I catch myself looking at Avatar Adi Da's photograph, and realizing that I will never see Him in the flesh again, my intimacy with Him and the immediate availability of His Divine Blessing have not changed.

When I allow myself to feel the depth and profundity of His Gifts and of His Revelation, my heart breaks in gratitude that I am graced to have been granted a relationship to that One that is unthreatened by anything whatsoever, certainly not by death.

This story appears in the sections,
Finding Adi Da
and Spiritual Recognition of Adi Da

[1] For much more about Adi Da's passing, visit our section on Adi Da's Divine Mahasamadhi.

Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.

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