The Books of Adidam > Related Books by Devotees > Toni Vidor

Related Books by Toni Vidor

Toni Vidor has been a devotee of Adi Da since 1974. She is also the author of a story on this site, An Immense Burden Had Been Lifted from Me.
Toni Vidor

Beyond The Illusion

Beyond the Illusion: A Spiritual Autobiography

By Antonia Vidor

paperback: February, 2012
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eBook (Kindle): August, 2011
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Read some excerpts:

To read more book excerpts, click here.
For more about this book, visit Toni's website.

As the eldest child of film director King Vidor and actress Eleanor Boardman, Toni Vidor grew up amidst the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Era. After college, she rejected the life offered by her parents’ wealth and fame. From the late 1940's to the early seventies, she was an equestrian, healer, as well as a pioneer of alternative living. During this time, a process awakened in her that triggered a steady stream of psychic phenomena, some ecstatic, others terrifying. She became a spiritual seeker and met a dazzling array of teachers, none of whom satisfied her thirst for spiritual truth.

By 1974, her children were grown and her tumultuous search had exhausted itself. Just as her inner crisis peaked, Toni met the American-born spiritual master, Adi Da Samraj. She spent the next thirty-five years as his devotee, on the wild ride of his dramatic, revelatory teaching work until his passing in 2008.

With remarkable honesty and insight, Toni tells of her life as the devotee of an indescribably potent spiritual master. She recounts in vivid terms the miraculous phenomena in Adi Da’s company, as well the ordeals of the beginning spiritual practitioner. Versed in the traditions of esotericism, she describes the inner workings of the relationship between the disciple and a true adept-realizer — the hard realities and personal trials as well as the ecstasies and profound revelations that come with a life dedicated to the genuine spiritual process.

TONI: "Although I may never in this lifetime as Antonia Vidor surrender the ego to the point of permanent enlightenment, the realities of old age and the prospect of death have lost their sting for me. I accept my inevitable death with contentment. How great is the threat of losing the life, losing the mind, losing all relations, when one has a daily practice of drowning in the mindless ecstasy of Divine Love and knowing its eternal presence? . . . I know for certain that the long dream of my life has mysteriously moved me through a thirty-five-year love affair with Bhagavan Adi Da so that I might learn the ecstasy of surrender to a Divine Being, the One beyond birth and death. Prior to meeting Bhagavan, I had no possibility of attaining such real happiness, which sometimes causes me to break out in dance with abandon and joy — at the age of 82."

I highly recommend it. The title is perfect. Toni was born into fame and riches but felt the need to go beyond the illusion of that life to find real and lasting happiness and fulfillment. She became a serious spiritual practitioner under the guidance and blessing of her guru and is very honest about the struggles with her egoic tendencies. Her transformation over time is very impressive. Her life is a fascinating story as well as very inspiring.

Judy Wendling

This book could have been solely about the glitz and glamour of life as a child of two powerful pioneers of Hollywood, but instead (thankfully), most of the book is about Antonia's spiritual journey with her spiritual master. When I first started reading, I was thinking, "what relevance is this old biddy going to have with my life?" — but that is one of the charms of the book. Even though many of the ordeals that the author goes through are personal, they are also universal, part of the human condition. No magic tricks are offered, no secret formulas, no ancient prayers to help through life's ordeals except for one: resort the the spiritual master, give everything to him. Antonia is an amazing person with more energy in her 70's than I have in my 40's. Any serious spiritual seeker, anyone on their own spiritual journey, must read this book at least once.


Why does any Westerner look for a Guru and stay with Him for 35 years when she has had just about anything one could imagine in the way of glamour, riches, adventure and different lifestyles? What could have been lacking? That is the question Toni Vidor asked herself. Her father was a director, King Vidor, her mother a silent film star. Although she seemed never to lack for anything, deep inside she knew something was missing. Like many of us, she searched here and there, trying different Teachers, different Teachings, but they all ended at some point. She was still alone. And then she found Adi Da Samraj, an American-born God Realized Teacher. She had prepared for this meeting, longed for it, and after she discovered His Teaching, she struck the match and was with Him to the end of His life on earth.

You have to be "there" to understand, and Toni has given us a complete picture of her ordeal and difficulties and her utter happiness and wonder and joy, and the acceptance that this was where she belonged. The only place she belonged.

I think we want our spiritual teacher to be "beautiful" and "benign", only bestowing "love" as we imagine it should be. In truth, growth in our life is about getting rid of the barriers we have built to protect ourselves. Toni's journey so honestly teaches us that the journey is anything but easy or even always happy. She went through many challenges and difficulties that tore down her barriers to happiness. We spend our lives distracting ourselves from our pain. Without a Teacher like Adi Da Samraj, we continue to suffer in ignorance. Two of the important things she learned were that we become what we meditate upon; and we are already happy. This sounds so simple but it is not.

She meditated upon her Teacher, did service of so many kinds, including travel to India, to London. At the end of her life, she finally surrendered to the Gift Adi Da offered her in every moment. I recommend this book to anyone, who finds that "something" is missing in their lives, even though they have "everything" — read this book and understand what is actually missing, and how to uncover it though the Teachings of Adi Da Samraj. Toni's book leads the way. Her truth and the generous sharing of it is a true gift to us. And even if you are not looking for spiritual guidance, it is great reading!

Ginger Blymyer


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