When I was about 18 years old, my step-mom's brother gave me the six-volume book set called Life
And Teaching of the Masters of the Far East.
After reading those books, I felt a longing to learn from Masters — to live in the company of spiritual adepts. It seemed to me that the only way to participate in the fullness of Existence was to be around others who were also participating in the fullness of Existence — otherwise, how would I become sensitive to the Truth? I wondered WHY I had been born in a place and time where real spiritual masters were practically unheard of.
I always have been one to ask many questions and lean toward skepticism and analysis of whatever is claimed to be "truth", "fact", etc. I never liked to simply believe things, but I did like to learn. I enjoyed learning about different cultures, and intuited a sense of undeniable unity with all people, regardless of apparent differences. The interconnectedness of everything really intrigued me.
One night, I walked about outside in a huge green field by myself and suddenly found myself crying in a sort of inexplicable despair. I had nothing to be sad about. . . it was, by all ordinarily observable signs, an ordinarily peaceful and uneventful night. Yet I felt utterly inconsolable. The entire quest for experiencing higher states of being, or somehow "knowing" Truth, or "becoming one with God" by means of any kind of exploration or strategic discipline seemed exhausting and unnecessary. I felt heartbroken and disillusioned with everything I had ever learned. The techniques and methods proposed by various cultures and schools as means to understand or improve myself or Realize God seemed pointless.
Some time passed. It was now almost the end of the Fall semester of my junior year at the University of Alabama. While in my friend Max’s room, I noticed he had a photograph on the wall of an unusual looking man. It was Avatar Adi Da. I had never seen Him before, so I asked Max, "who is this?"
I had heard of
spiritual masters but was not aware of the unique nature of the guru-devotee relationship.
I was under the impression at the time that the Truth is within me; God is within.
It was always a big paradox and mystery to me. Max did not say anything in explanation,
but excitedly showed me a five-minute Darshan video on YouTube. (Darshan is an occasion
where Beloved Adi Da sits with devotees and Transmits His Own State Wordlessly.)
I didn’t even watch one minute of it. When it became clear to me that He was not
going to say anything, I just turned it off. Max and I did not speak much about
Soon after that, I randomly started to watch videos of Adi
Da on YouTube before going to bed and in between classes.
There were videos online of Adi Da responding to devotees’ questions, sitting
in silence, laughing, etc. I did not really think about or question why I wanted
to watch close-up videos of Him. He was inexplicably attractive to me.
was my relationship with Adi Da for a while: just watching YouTube videos of Him.
I was inspired to write a book of poetry about Him for a Creativity class that
semester. It felt like falling in love; literally like free-falling while standing
still. I knew that He was immensely distracting to me, but I did not care.
summer, I got a hold of a few books by Adi Da via Max and Amazon.com, including
the Deeper Land and Radical
Transcendentalism. I started reading. It felt like the floor fell out
from under me as I read His Words. His Words hit me as though my own heart was
shouting them already. The clarity and profundity being expressed caught me off
guard and I became completely ecstatic for no explainable reason. I knew with
certainty that there would never be a day of clouded despair in my heart again
because Adi Da is here.
That’s when I realized I was already His devotee.
Even when I wasn't looking at a photograph of Him or reading His Books,
I’d be driving around or doing ordinary things by myself or with my family, and
I’d suddenly feel Him. I’d be completely stressed out about something, and suddenly
I’d feel Him and nothing in the past would matter one iota — there was sudden
freedom from whatever seemed to be binding me before, and I’d laugh out loud at
the utter feeling of refreshment, wondering why I ever allow myself to feel less
than That. I’d find myself saying His name aloud spontaneously. It was so pleasurable
to feel Him Present, regardless of what was going on with me otherwise. It was
simply a graceful gift from Adi Da that I did not bother trying to explain.
summer ended, I was at University again for the fall semester of my senior year.
There was the constant intuition of something significant going on below the surface
of everything that I could not articulate or perceive directly. While continuing
to watch His Darshan and read His Books, I discovered the gift of Leelas, which
are stories about Adi Da told from the perspective of someone else, usually a
devotee. I assumed that in order to tell a Leela of Beloved Adi Da, you had to
be there with Him while His Bodily Human Form was alive. It pained me to think
that I would never be able to tell a Leela of Beloved Adi Da because I never met
Him in person.
* * *
me digress for a moment and say that before actually finding Adi Da, I had dreams
and visions of egoic suffering, and of the world condition. Some were almost humorous
cartoons of life — of what I was doing all the time by presuming myself to be
a separate person living in the world and bumping into all these other separate
In one of these dreams, there was a colossal stadium — a huge arena
— and there was a thick crowd of countless people: billions and billions of people
within it. They were SCREAMING. It felt like a big pep rally. People were frantically
rejoicing and awaiting some very exciting thing. Everyone was awaiting something
BIG. There were celebrities running around holding microphones. They would put
the microphones up to people’s faces so that they could call out their name. So,
everyone was in this huge stadium screaming out their own name!
around, I did not know where I was and I did not even know my name, so I asked
people around me “What is my name?” so that I would know what to say into the
microphone if the celebrity came up to me.
This seemed to be going on for
a long time and I began to wonder what everyone was waiting for. Very suddenly,
these big sterile-looking doors with a red EXIT sign over them (that no one had
noticed before) opened up. Everyone poured out of the stadium through these doors
very suddenly, and that was it.
There was no big thing to be waiting for.
That was it. Looking beyond the EXIT doors, I saw a hospital wing. The bodies
left on stretchers, dead.
I saw that Max, my friend who originally showed
me Darshan of Adi Da, was standing next to me. We were the only ones left, and
he said “I’m going to California”. Bhagavan Adi Da has a sanctuary in northern
California, and now we have come to California to spend time on Adi Da Samraj’s
Ashram, so it was sort of a prophetic dream.
* * *
during the fall of my senior year (2009), after I was aware of this devotional
relationship to Adi Da, I began to be aware of doubt in my self — of myself, of
Adi Da, of everything. I could feel the doubt coming up.
night during this period, I fell asleep and dreamt that Beloved Adi Da was sitting
before me. I was praising him as a Guru superficially. Suddenly, the quality of
my feeling within the dream significantly changed. Something altered, and I spontaneously
turned around and Avatar Adi Da WALKED IN. I turned back around to look at where
the Guru was sitting, because he was already sitting there in front of me, right?
The guru sitting before me started to wrinkle and disintegrate, like he was a
mirage. I recognized in that moment that I was dreaming, and that there was this
dream-character guru that I was actually making up. I knew instantly that I was
actually self-guruing within the dream. It became obvious that this is not a true
guru, this is ME. I was not taking into account my own activity of self-guruing
So I turn back around and Adi Da is Here. He
was surrounded by some devotees, and one of His devotees came and took me by the
arm gently to sit in front of Him. When I sat across from Avatar Adi Da, He looked
at me. I instantaneously felt the tendency to collapse energy and attention away
from Him. I felt myself as merely the tendency to collapse away from Him. I wanted
to contract into some limited ball of being.
But Avatar Adi
Da said the word: “slippery”. I looked at His face and He locked me with His gaze
so I could look at Him instead of turning away. Every cell in my body, even at
an atomic level, started vibrating and expanding. I was aware of a pressure on
the top of my head. Suddenly, my entire sense of separate self-hood felt like
nothing more than a tissue paper on the crown of my head. It dissolved instantaneously
under what could be described as a down-crashing, torrential waterfall force falling
through the top of my head, down into my whole body.
simply gone. Simultaneously, my body was expanding and I lost all vision of His
Bodily Human Divine Form. It was just Bright Radiant Light that went on and on
and on without bounds of time or space or anything whatsoever.
don’t even know how long that lasted. There was no time to sense, there was no
one left who could tell. The next thing I was aware of was that Adi Da had stood up and started
to walk away. I got up and ran to Him, fell at His feet, and asked, “What can
I do to serve you? All I want IS YOU.”
Avatar Adi Da gave a
look of profoundest love, and said, “Tell everyone I am here”.
He said, “Don’t make this a memory. This is not a memory for you to keep.”
made it clear that the practice of Adidam is based on heart-attraction to Him;
it grows in the process of feeling, invoking, and serving Him with the integrity
of the entire body and mind in the present moment. The practice of Adidam does
not involve relating to Adi Da superficially as some type of memory, or deity,
or person that gave a teaching once upon a time. It is an ecstatic falling into
Him, which IS Undefineable.
What He Offers is only Himself.
What He Offers is always Actually Present.
actually IS the Eternal One beyond all possible limited states of being!
is Adi — THE FIRST, or SOURCE, and DA — THE GIVER.
story appears in the sections,
Finding Adi Da and
and Young People in Adidam