Adidam Celebrations > The Establishment of Adidam > Opening Night

Opening Night

Gerald Sheinfeld

Gerald Sheinfeld has been a devotee of Adi Da for many years. He accompanied Adi Da on His 1973 trip to India. For more, visit his website, Stories of the Spiritual Master or listen to his album, At The Feet Of The Spiritual Master.

This story is from Gerald's forthcoming book, At the Feet of the Spiritual Master. Gerald originally posted it on Facebook. In Gerald's story, he refers to Adi Da as "Franklin". "Franklin Jones" was Adi Da's birth name, and He was still using that name at the time of the opening of the Ashram (on April 25, 1972).

Gerald Sheinfeld

In preparation for the opening of the Melrose Ashram, Franklin had two signs placed on the front of the building. The main sign read “Sri Hridayam Siddhashram”, which was the Sanskrit name He gave to His ashram. Roughly translated it meant “Ashram of the Divine Realizer of the Heart”, or “Ashram of the Siddha Master, Awakener of the Heart’s Divine Love-Bliss”. The second sign said “The Ashram Books”.

Establishment of the Way of Adidam

Before the ashram opened that evening, Franklin allowed His friends to be with Him in the back room. He joked about what He called “Opening Night”. He said, “Maybe we shouldn’t go through with it. Maybe we’ve made a mistake and should call the whole thing off? We were originally considering opening a restaurant!” Playing along with His Divine Humor, we responded, “Yeah, maybe we should call it off and open a restaurant!” Then He said, “No, I guess we’ve gone too far. We’d better continue with our plans.”

Playfully, we all agreed and applauded His “decision”.

At some point, Franklin left the ashram to prepare for the evening, and a group of us stayed to prepare for the event. As evening approached, we finished cleaning. Flowers were placed around Franklin’s seat and on the altars in the meditation hall. Incense was lit and finally everything came to rest. That was when we especially noticed the meditation hall had a feeling of fullness and balance in it. It was a familiar feeling around Franklin’ personally, the feeling of His Presence. But now the meditation hall had His fullness, His equanimity, and His profound Spiritual stillness in it, even when He wasn’t physically sitting there.

Just before the guests arrived, our Beloved Guru allowed us to visit with Him in the back room. Finally He asked, “Are you ready?” We all answered with a strong “Yes!” He smiled and sent us to greet the guests.

About twenty-five guests arrived. Most of them stopped in the bookstore to check out the books, and some directly entered the meditation hall. Soon everyone was invited into the meditation hall, where Franklin would soon be seated. He allowed time for everyone to settle before He entered. He came into the hall through His curtain doorway from the back room and took His seat. He was clean shaven, handsome, and young (thirty-two years old). Franklin seemed pleased to be formally beginning His Work. He looked as relaxed and happy as always—His Divine Freedom wasn’t changed by anything.

Adi Da

Once seated, He looked around the room and made eye contact with everyone. He then closed His eyes.

After about forty-five minutes of sitting silently, He looked again at everyone and asked, almost under His breath, “Who will cast the first stone?”

Very few in the room heard Him, and no one said anything.

I was sitting very close to Franklin, and I was a little surprised by His question. I was expecting a beautiful, happy event of people coming to meet Him! I wasn’t raised Christian, so I didn’t relate to “casting the first stone” in terms of the stories of Jesus. But the vulnerability of Franklin’s tone, along with His relaxed manner altogether, suggested that He somehow knew all about, and was totally accepting of, everything that would unfold from His gesture of beginning to Teach.

Franklin then asked, in a louder voice, “Are there any questions?”

Again no one answered.

He asked, “So everyone has understood?”

One man then said, “I don’t understand.”

“What don’t you understand?” Franklin asked.

The man responded, “Well, you can start with the word ‘understanding’.”

Franklin said, “Yes”—and then, with perfect clarity, He spoke about the Way of Understanding. When the questioner showed he was getting disturbed by something being said, his disturbance was exactly what the Way of Understanding addressed. Franklin explained that our True Condition is without conflict. Understanding is about noticing that when we dramatize conflict we are not resting in our True Condition.

Adi Da

When Franklin finished speaking, He again gave each one His Blessing Regard, then left through His doorway into the back room.

The Siddha Guru had formally begun His Blessing Work!

Afterward, He sat in the back room waiting for His friends and anyone else who was moved to join Him. We joined Him as soon as the guests had left; we praised and thanked our Guru for the evening.

Someone started criticizing the man who had spoken out but Franklin said not to criticize him. He said, “It was a good night and it was appropriate the way it all happened. There’s a great tradition of confrontation in esoteric spirituality.”

He asked about the other people who came. Who were they? Who among us knew any of them? We told Him what we knew. He seemed pleased that the night went the way it did. We thanked our great Guru again for the night, to which He responded “Tcha”, a word of acknowledgment that He used over all the years when He was pleased. Before Franklin left, He gave each of us a huge hug and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

In reflecting on this historic event, three principal Gifts from Heart-Master Adi Da Samraj stand out.

His first Gift was the establishment of His Spiritual Heart-Presence within the ashram, an empowerment felt by all.

The second Gift was sitting silently with Him to receive His Darshan. (In the Hindu tradition “Darshan” means the sighting of an Enlightened Being, or Completed One. It is understood that Darshan alone is enough to awaken the heart. What made this event historic is that it was the first Darshan ever given by the Divine Avatar to a gathering of public people.)

The third Gift was His Discourse about the Way of Understanding, His Teaching that enables the transcendence of separation from Eternal Divine Happiness. The entire Discourse (titled “Understanding”) was published in Beloved Adi Da’s second book, The Method of the Siddhas, now published as My “Bright” Word. The full talk is also available on the CD, Understanding.

By these three great Gifts, Avatar Adi Da Samraj formally began His Teaching and Awakening Work at “Sri Hridayam Siddhashram”.

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Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
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