Finding Adi Da > Scott Campbell

Truth Alive in Human Form

An Interview with Scott Campbell (Excerpt)

Scott Campbell is a longtime devotee of Adi Da. He has been the Director of the Sacred Archives of Adidam for 22 years. The Sacred Archives encompasses a vast collection of artifacts that Avatar Adi Da generated during His lifetime, including photographs, audio recordings, video footage, handwritten pages, Adi Da’s art and His personal effects. Over the years, Scott has overseen the gathering and preservation of these treasures that are so precious to Avatar Adi Da’s devotees. He also received a great deal of personal instruction from Adi Da on how these materials should be preserved and used by devotees for all time.

The full version of this interview originally appeared on the Sacred Archives of Adidam website.

Scott Campbell

I first saw Bhagavan Adi Da in late August of 1975. Leading up to that, I'd spent a lot of years in an agonized search, which my family would attest to. I was a very intense kind of person who was clearly dissatisfied with everything. I got involved in college in the 1960s in political demonstrations, and underground newspapers, and developing an alternative natural foods bakery that was a collective — all that kind of thing. I got into, “we're going to create a whole new kind of society, because clearly the one we're living in is broken”. So that's kind of where I started my adult life.

But soon I began to really see that there was no solution in that, because it became clear we weren't going to have a political-social revolution that was really going to change anything at a fundamental level. It was a youthful and naive idea.

And when I clearly saw that, I had a moment of real despair where I just gave up everything. We had a weekly meeting in our bakery, where we would have a discussion about what we were as an organization, and how we wanted to represent ourselves as a vehicle for social change, and so on. I remember going to what ended up being my final meeting. I was feeling the futility of it all. I was one of the founding members of the group, but I decided, right then and there, to resign. I remember walking out of that meeting and sitting down on the curb outside and just crying, because I realized that I'd invested everything in this thing and there was nothing in it at all, it was empty.

So I'd come to a real moment of despair. And that moment lead me to seriously begin to investigate what I began to describe as the "other half of life": There's the grounded physical life, but what about the psychic and spiritual dimensions of life, the emotional and the feeling side of life? What about all of that? That's another part of existence. And none of my friends were seriously addressing that. They felt that if socio-political change would happen, it would change everything, and I had begun to see that that was not at all the case.

So I began by investigating my own history. I had grown up as a Christian Scientist, and there was always a mystery as to why I never got sick, why prayer seemed to work. All my friends growing up had colds and illnesses, and I had measles, but beyond that nothing ever happened to me, or anyone in my family. So it was always a mystery, and at that point I began to really investigate it. I researched all kinds of things — philosophies and different kinds of scientific explanations about reality, hypnosis, Silva Mind control, as well as delving into all the ancient Eastern spiritual traditions. And I began to really feel like there was something else that was missing, but no one was addressing it. And that began a long search on my part.

What I began to notice in all my searches, was that I was like an addict, looking for the next “hit” of experience that would finally relieve me altogether of my unhappiness. As Adi Da would put it, I was in every moment seeking for happiness, rather than being happiness.

Well, this all went on for a couple of years until I had exhausted my seeking. I didn’t know what else to do. It seemed to me that I had investigated every possibility and nothing availed. I was still fundamentally unhappy. So I resigned myself to just living my life, not knowing what if anything would ever change.

I had this habit (in the evenings after work) of pulling out a book from my bookcase, which itself was a virtual map of my search, and rereading something. So one evening, I pulled out The Knee Of Listening by Adi Da. I had read the first few pages and the Epilogue a year before, because a local spiritual bookstore owner had pointed it out, saying, "You gotta read the Epilogue, it's fantastic." So I had read the Epilogue and thought it was pretty good, but I couldn’t relate to the rest of the book at that time. I had put it down and it remained untouched in my bookcase until this one particular evening at the seeming end of my search. I pulled it off the shelf and opened it up to "The Meditation of Understanding" chapter and I completely understood what He was saying for the first time. I got completely ecstatic. I was out of my mind with ecstasy and happiness. This state of unabashed joy went on for hours. I effortlessly devoured everything in that book.

On that occasion, Bhagavan Gifted me with a kind of “samadhi”, where I realized that He understood fully what Reality was about. He comprehended it, and He was the only one I had ever found who could talk about it, write about it, explain it, Transmit it. And it was True. So it was the greatest relief one could ever imagine. I was happy for months. I went back to that bookstore and got an audio tape of Bhagavan Speaking called "Guru, Faith, and Satsang" and I'd listen to it every night, and go to sleep to it.

A few months later there was a spiritual fair happening in Ann Arbor which was an hour and a half from where I was living. At the entrance to the fair there was a telephone pole with a poster for the movie "A Difficult Man" (the first film about Adi Da) playing that evening at the university. I knew I had to see this film.

So I went to the auditorium and when the movie started, as soon as I saw Bhagavan, I knew that was it. I knew my life as I had known it was over. As soon as I saw His living physical form, that was enough for me. Everything came together. I knew that I was just going to simply tie up my life and go out to California to be with Him.

So I basically did that. In fact, within a few weeks there was a flood right where I lived and it wiped out everything I owned. So I didn't really have all that much to take care of in that sense. All I needed to do was make a little money. So in a couple of months, I moved out to San Francisco, and after a few weeks, I went up to the Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary for my first Darshan of Avatar Adi Da.

In those days, in 1975, we would make the two-hour drive up to the Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary every Friday night after work. And Bhagavan would sit with us and Grant Darshan that evening. And there would be other sittings during the weekend, as well as Discourses that He would Give.

I remember that first time, this was in August in 1975, I remember coming up to the Sanctuary. . . it had a magical feeling to it. It had this live, living presence about it, like nothing I had ever experienced. It was 10 o’clock, the crickets were sounding, and it was a warm summer evening. I remember meeting with devotees who prepared us for our first Darshan. As new people, we were supposed to sit way at the back of the Darshan Hall (Land Bridge Pavilion). So I sat in the very back.

But the one advantage was that I was sitting right by where Bhagavan's entrance was. I was sitting right next to His pathway, so when He came in, we bowed our heads to the floor, but I could feel the floorboards move and see His feet pass within inches from my head as He walked by. And it was a really amazing night to first see Bhagavan, to actually feel Him directly. It was just an amazing time to finally find my Guru and connect with Him and realize there was something I could actually live in relationship to Him.

Adi Da's entrance to Land Bridge Pavilion
Adi Da's entrance to Land Bridge Pavilion

Adi Da's entrance to Land Bridge Pavilion
(click to enlarge)

It was no longer my search. There is nothing to compare to the relief when you can finally let that search go. Of course, you learn later on that there are many more levels to all that. But that basic search, to find Reality, to actually find out that there is Truth Alive in human form in the world — that discovery was like no other.

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