Adi Da > Karen Richardson
Karen Richardson has been a devotee of Adi Da since 1996. She is an editor, researcher, feminist, social activist and adult educator, and lives in a small town in cottage country, in Eastern Ontario.
This story was originally published on the Adidam Canada website.
I grew up in a typical middle class, liberal family in the suburbs of Toronto in the 1950's. There was no religious upbringing, but as a young girl, one day I found myself looking up at the sunny spring sky and just "knowing" that Something Wonderful is going to happen in my lifetime — not only to me, but to the whole world.
However, as a young adult in the 1960's, I was depressed and anxious. Already, life seemed a dead end to me, without meaning or purpose, so I wondered what "Gurus" and "Enlightenment" were really all about. Thus began my search: the usual recreational, spiritual tour of occult teachings, new age philosophy and psychology that we take when we are questioning.
Around 1986, I saw a poster entitled "Where is Happiness?" in a Toronto health food store, with a photo of Master Da Free John (as Adi Da was then known). Laughing His head off in a truly amazing, larger-than-life way, He captured me.
Soon, I attended an introductory night at the home of some long time devotees. That evening I learned a great deal about Adi Da's Wisdom-Teaching and found myself deeply drawn to what I heard. Afterwards, we were invited to watch a video and I couldn't wait to see it, although I didn't know what to expect. . . and what I saw was incredible.
There was Adi Da deep in contemplation, looking into the vast beyond with His eyes wide open, like a searchlight on the universe and a gentle tear rolling down His face, as if wounded by love. I was riveted by His spiritual state and presence. . . something I'd never seen before. But it was instantly recognizable, and I wanted to stay there gazing upon His countenance forever.
This was what I had been looking for all my life, without being able to name it. Now I tacitly knew that Enlightenment was indeed real and I had found my Guru! It was one of the most significant moments in my life.
I was soon attending chanting nights where it took my breath away to fall into Adi Da's limitless eyes in videos. It was subtly evident that there was no ego in Him, "no one present" to bounce my attention off and I would sometimes fall forward in a swoon.
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After my formal initiation as Adi Da's devotee in 1996, I felt everything was right with the world. I could feel the naked, supernal reality present in Adi Da's photos.
Since then, just reading Adi Da's books and reading or listening to the always amazing, ecstatic confessions of His devotees has sustained me through the despair of divorce and the death of my father.
I was finally fortunate enough to actually see Adi Da in person at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary in Lake County, California in January, 2006. I could ill afford the trip, but tears of joy filled my eyes as I went to the airport.
Amidst hundreds in the communion hall, meditating on Adi Da's "spiritual form, presence and state" in His actual company was like being with an ancient Hindu god, in a timeless realm.
He gazed upon each person individually. As His attention came to me, I tangibly felt his Blessing Transmission "touch" the right side of my heart internally, as if pressing me gently by fingertip, although He was many yards away. This is where He says Divine Consciousness is seated in the human body.
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Reading Adi Da's vast and profound Teaching is always a grand feast for me; studying His lineage of Masters, and how He rapidly attained the highest realizations; the spiritual structure of the universe (the "Cosmic Mandala" of lights) and the esoteric spiritual anatomy of the body-mind; His Wisdom about the real process of dying and how to serve the transition of loved ones.
Adi Da's detailed schema of the seven stages of life makes clear sense of the confusing maze of errors and partial realizations in every religious and spiritual path worldwide, throughout history! And he has revealed the four phases of the Enlightened life, never before known or described by any other Adept. All my spiritual questions have been answered, beyond, beyond.
Today, given the awful state of the world, I would be in great despair without Adi Da's great wisdom and blessing intervention. I am no longer seeking the meaning of life. Whenever I see Adi Da's videos I am instantly happy and so thankful He is here in this dark period of human history.
To paraphrase Alan Watts' endorsement, "Adi Da is the real thing." I know that I have found an authentic spiritual Master of the first magnitude. I never dreamed I would find such a One.