still in college and quite by chance I came
across a footnote in the Shvetashvatara
Upanishad: "The Atman, or the individual
soul, and Brahman, the Universal Soul, are
One." I was immediately lifted, in awe, out
of the ordinary dimension of the mundane.
There was an influx of bliss, followed by
the reaction which would recur in many forms
over many years: the impulse to re-experience
that transcendental sense, that special quality
of illumination. I did not realize it then,
but the Search had consciously begun.
years, inheritances, mansion parties, trips
to Europe, and a Jaguar later, my indulgence
of the good and affluent life met its Waterloo
in the form of a "talk" by Swami Prabhavananda
in the Santa Barbara temple of the Vedanta
Society. Even though I was uncomfortable with
the accent of Bengal, the heavy incense, saris,
and orange robes, and even annoyed, initially,
by the palpable atmosphere of Peace, the message
and the ancient Vedic formula got to me once
again. "Tat tvam asi, thou art That," the
retold Ramakrishna's story of the Guru who
held a disciple's head under Ganges water
for some minutes. After he was allowed to
emerge, the disciple was asked what he had
been thinking of. His next breath, of course.
And the Guru told him that when his desire
to know God was so strong that it remained
even under the threat of death, then only
would he be worthy of Realization. Although
the word "kundalini" was not yet part of my
vocabulary, I watched waves of energy discharge
themselves from the lower part of the spine
and undulate in delicious electric rhythm
toward the chest, where they disappeared,
leaving me in a state of mild catatonic enjoyment
and total ineptitude for the after-church
handshake-conversation at the door.
idea of intense devotion to God was still
a source of peculiar embarrassment to me.
I knew I was not ready to embrace the uncertainty
of renunciation or celibacy, referred to even
in the literature of India as "the dreaded
vow." I certainly dreaded it. My fascination
for the archetypal holy man brought me back
to the Swami off and on for two years, but
he would not compromise renunciation and celibacy
in my case. My most dramatic moves in these
directions were resigning from the Unitarian
Church and deciding to sleep with only one
woman at a time.
suffered through two years of army service,
consoling myself by studying opera, reading
Shankara, the Bhagavad Gita, and
the Upanishads. I fell in love with
Shankara's conceptualization of Maya as the
illusory world-movie being played on the screen
of the Real. I then became obsessed with "the
Self" of the Upanishads. For days
at a time I pondered the symbols: butter in
cream, the thread of a necklace, the bubble
becoming the ocean. The year was 1955. Not
a single person I knew was remotely interested
in mysticism or India, and I became quite
introverted in the face of a growing reputation
as a peculiar nut.
three years of reading and experimentation
with second hand spiritual knowledge, I was
led, in San Francisco, to the one I thought
was to be my guru. In the years following
that meeting, I lived as a relatively passive
and obedient disciple, working with the traditional
forms of yoga in a westernized context, entranced
by the charisma of my guru.
this time I was given a series of yogic techniques
and practices, each of which served as a fascination
as well as a motivator to renewed effort.
The goal of this practice was to have them
merge in the clear white light. Self-realization
was coincident with the rising of the kundalini
force to the sahasrar, the terminal point
and Absolute Source above.
always the success of the sadhana depended
on a total and unquestioning responsiveness
to the guru. And the eventual goal, constantly
to be held in view, was the realization of
the Self that was beyond the mind, that in
fact had nothing to do with the mind, but
that guaranteed release from karma and reincarnation.
the grace of the guru who pushed from the
outside and pulled from the inside, one was
supposed to develop the capacity to dive progressively
ever deeper within or to ascend ever higher
on the spinal ladder, until finally the Self
was perfectly realized above.
sixteen years of struggling to dump a recalcitrant
ego, it had become obvious that the long-sought
transformation and transcendence were apparently
no nearer than at the beginning of the effort.
this state of mind I stumbled across the Teaching
of Master Adi Da Samraj in late October of
1974. I eagerly read his books and the issues
of The Dawn Horse magazine, speaking
to no one of my discovery. My perspective
on every aspect of traditional spirituality
and sadhana was intractably making a 180-degree
turn. Most disturbingly hopeful was the discovery
that my conception of the nature, function,
and identity of the guru was being shattered
and simultaneously replaced by an increasingly
penetrating intuition of Master Da as true
Guru. My thoughts were turned to him constantly
when on the bus, walking, and eating. I read
the Teaching while others slept and at every
other available private moment. And I would
fall asleep exulting in the perfection, clarity,
relevance and availability of the Teaching.
sixteen years of yoga, traditional meditation,
and monastic life, I was now a candidate for
the pre-student sadhana of The Johannine Daist
first days in the community allowed, for the
first time in years, a genuine relaxation
of previously manufactured self-concern. I
discovered persons again in relationship without
preconditioned boundaries. The Oneness previously
sought was found genuinely to pre-exist in
common touch. I dared to know again what I
had suspected all along, that the Divine was
not removed from the World, nor was it some
special attainment that superseded a happy
and commonly shared humanity. The ancient
search for the exclusive revelation had collapsed,
and I began to feel the real possibility of
being nothing in God.
so it was that the total collapse of all the
formulas of the yogic search coincided with
the discovery of the Teaching of radical understanding.
One day I was still numbly attempting the
practice of seeing oneself everywhere and
in all persons. The next I was simply observing
the motivated, contracted activity of my continuous
seeking. I began to understand the dilemma
of the seeker who would resort to such a formula
in order to prevent the very awakening in
consciousness, in relationship, that would
make this practice a real event.
I look back now on my sixteen years of monastic
life and yogic seeking, I see that one characteristic
mood seemed to pervade my life during that
time. I was in despair of Happiness. Although
I always searched for Happiness as an alternative
state, even in false meditation, or absorption
in non-being, I neither attained Happiness
nor felt it to be truly realizable. I even
erroneously assumed over time that un-Happiness
was something of a sober prerequisite for
a result, I never understood or confronted
the fact that I was always "avoiding relationship,"
that I was creating my un-Happy state in each
moment by seeking for immunity from the intrusions
of life. The "spiritual" search was deviously
selfish, and only reinforced my sense of self
in complacent and artificial forms.
the years since I left the monastery to offer
myself in relationship and service to Master
Adi Da Samraj, I have understood, through
his Graceful Presence and the Teaching, how
"I" contract in the field of consciousness
in every moment. I have "heard" the Teaching
that there is no separate one who needs to
be returned to a separate Divinity. I have
understood that this kaleidoscope of appearances
is a play of the Divine, and that Happiness
is the Condition in which this body-mind always
rests and adapts to the Living Spirit Presence,
Who paradoxically accomplishes everything
while "doing" nothing.
it has become obvious that my years of seeking
for the inner self were only an extension
of my childish need to be consoled by and
absorbed in the great illusory parent deity
and my adolescent reactions to the threat
or imposition of the world on my autonomous
self, which I wished to preserve through detachment
and controlled isolation.
no such method or program achieved Happiness.
The current or condition of unqualified Happiness
that has been transmitted to me and my friends
in the Company of Master Da is Truth. All
understanding arises in it. It is not dependent
on, nor is it qualified by, any state or condition.
The fundamental and necessary truths he has
gracefully shown to me are:
must understand the action of self-reference
must transcend the illusion of a separate
must Realize the Reality and Power and
Presence of God, or perfect Happiness.
am eternally grateful to the Radiant Master
Adi Da Samraj.