A dialogue with Adi Da Samraj
Devotee: Can one lose his or her realization while alive or in death?
Adi Da: Realization isnt something that happens to you. Its a direct expression of your own consciousness. Why should you therefore knowing that, participate in either life or death in such a way that it would be lost?
Devotee: But what about distractions and seductions?
Adi Da Samraj: Well if you allow them to be distracting and to confound your realization, you would likely continue to do the same thing after death wouldnt you?
Devotee: So, loss can occur at death?
Adi Da Samraj: Why should you want to do that? Youre asking about death as if its something that happens to you or things just happen to you after death. They dont just happen to you anymore than things just happen to you while you live. Were discussing the Great Way, the Conscious Process, which is the only process or the only way whereby conditions or apparent happenings are transcended.
Youre called to awaken to that very process while alive and persist in that disposition then. That is the means while alive and after death as well. So why would we continue to discuss the after death possibilities merely in the framework of things that just happened to you?
These questions comes from bewilderment itself. It comes from personality that stress is rather weak in its responsibility. Youre projecting that weakness onto future possibilities even while alive. You might as well ask if something could happen to me this evening. Could something happen to me next week. Could something happen to me in ten years.
That would be so distracting that I would be even more bewildered than I am now unless I realize Im not going to lose everything even that Im gaining now or have gained by that. Its the same kind of a question. So what is it a reflection of then? Its a reflection of that disposition then. Its not a reflection of things themselves or conditions.
They are only as bewildering as you are bewilderable. Theres no limit to your possible bewilderment while alive or after death. What is the great matter to be considered then? Your participation in conditional existence which obviously must be transformed or there only is bewilderment, yes, and that bewilderment will not be canceled merely by your death.
Things can appear to happen to you after death just as they can appear to happen to you before death and so?
Bewilderment is the relinquishment of this responsibility that we consider. Bewilderment is what makes conditions seem to happen to you, merely seem to be happening to you, seem to be controlling your state, seem to be determining your condition, seem to be determining your state of realization or non-realization.
This is in itself an illusion, a self-created form of bondage which requires self-observation, self-understanding such that you come to a point of new responsibility in the midst of conditions. So thats what we are considering. Thats what must be realized otherwise bewilderment will continue. Theres nothing inherently more bewildering than by anything happening after death.
Its all modifications of the same condition that is present. So what is your relationship to conditions? Thats the real question then. Your ability to be bewildered depends entirely on your orientation to conditions and not on whether or not youre alive or dead or what in fact seems to be happening. Those do not determine bewilderment.
Conditions are not inherently distracting. They are only distracting to you if you are disposed to be distracted. Conditions can be difficult after death. They can be difficult before death. You have the same kind of psychic capability, same ability to be disturbed if you like and so forth presently that you could potentially have after death. Its all a play upon the same condition. It requires for its transcendence then exactly the same capacity that is a possibility for you presently.
If you like you can think of it this way. While you live you create mind. You determine by your reaction, your disposition, your responsibility, the tendency of mind and if you like you can think of after death as a time where mind makes you. In other words, where those tendencies persist you determine further experience.
On the other hand, the same option is given to you, the same capacity to understand, to transcend. To awaken to the real condition is also persistent. Its not lost by dying. Just so youve already created much mind, much tendency, much bewilderment and so forth and those things are tending to reinforce themselves, persist and you are being apparently played upon by them.
But you do have the option even presently to consider the matter, to observe yourself and transcend all of that which you have already accumulated and are tending to reinforce. The same is true after death as before it. And after death its not merely the waking state continuing after death. There is the continuation of all the varieties of states, potential and the living condition, the life condition.
You not only are awake in the life condition of the body, you dream and sleep and variations on these, unconsciousness, reverie, hallucination. The waking state is not just one thing either.
There are a variety of tendencies, experiences, reactions, states of mind, states of feeling, states of body. So theres a very wide range of possibilities associated with the born condition in the body, likewise after death.
All the states and all the variations on them persist by tendency in the context of certain other conditions which in their time and place will seem given or normal to you just as conditions now seem to you. Nonetheless, there still is the fundamental call of reality itself to observe, to understand, to transcend, to assume responsibility, to outgrow, to awaken altogether.
After death you will persist by tendency in the context of certain other conditions which in their time and place will seem given or normal to you just as conditions seem now to you. Nonetheless there still is the fundamental call of reality itself to observe, to understand, to transcend, to assume responsibility, to outgrow, to awaken altogether.
Will you or wont you? The question that comes to you now is will you or wont you now? What will you enforce or reinforce while continuing in this body? That is a real question that comes to you presently because what you do about that in the present and at all future moments will of course determine what occurs after death.
If you really understand this then you will become serious and life and death and after death and so on will stop being merely some mechanical event that is just sort of happening to you.
That is sort of a given in a form that you get from conversations with others or inherit culturally or whatever. Instead of that, instead of all that sort of stuff, just sort of letting it all happen and doing it be rote you see, instead of that youll become seriously involved in whats going on.
Observe yourself. Understand yourself, but realize the capacity to grow beyond, to be awake, to stand free. Youll become devoted to the truth then and not merely mechanically involved in destiny or karma. The after death states are really karmic conditions just as the states of the body are states experienced in the context of bodily birth.
Its all karmic or in other words, products of the universal display, the energies or fields of display associated with the cosmic design and the possibilities are not only numerous, in some sense you could say they are infinite. In any case they are all built upon to basic trends of energy, one which you might call positive and the other you might call negative. Theres just as much potential positive and negative both to death as there is during bodily life.
So you must understand this through right participation and practice of the law that is based on real understanding and the fundamental law is the law of self-transcendence awakening to that which is ultimately.
As I pointed out to you the other evening, no matter whether or not there is survival after death is not important in the sense that if you could find out that, yes, indeed there is survival after death and it is also inevitable or that that would become a kind of reason to feel consoled or feel good or relax fear of death and so forth, its not that at all.
Thats not the significance or the importance of coming to some sort of basic certainty about this matter. Rather as I pointed out to you, there is a reason for coming to some basic certainty about this. It is so you will come to an understanding of the nature of existence and whichever of the two decisions you might make about the matter, yes, there is survival and, no, there is not, you see, each of those two propositions determines a view of reality, a view of life, a view of existence and enforces a habit relative to it all.
There isnt anything fundamentally consoling about the reality of survival of death if you understand what that entire process entails basically. Its not consoling and in any case the events will happen in your own case and not knowable altogether in advance, but they will be determined altogether by your habit while alive.
That is certainly true if you understand all of this truly. So the question about survival of death is very important relative to the matter of practice altogether because to come to a certainty about it in the affirmative suggests something about the nature of existence that makes real practice, serious practice, a necessity.
It will make you serious in other words, rather than just a gleeful believer. Some teachers respond to questions about death. Very often teachers are asked, What will happen to me after death? Will I survive death, and so forth and theyll say, Why are you concerned about the future? Why dont you deal with whats happening right now, and so forth.
Thats true enough. You must deal ultimately with existence in the present but all of your considerations must improve that capacity. On the other hand, its not frivolous to consider this matter of survival of death. It is worthy of serious consideration and the reason why it is worthy of serious consideration is because an understanding of that matter will indicate to you the nature of existence and will, therefore, if the matter is rightly understood, lead you to serious practice.
It is one among many factors that can do this. So I dont see any reason to dismiss such a discussion. It is not an oblique question that cant be answered. One can come to an understanding about all this. Added to that whole consideration of course is your own life, your own experience, so it is important to come to an understanding of this, a point of view about it, because its really about your point of view about life, about existence. What is it about? What is if for? How are you purposed, really?
If it is a serious question such as this matter, never answered by you, you give as little doubt about it, amused by the possibilities on both sides, you will never come to a presumption about it and you will also never come to a presumption about life itself, about existence altogether and will never become serious then, never become purposed.
You will never transcend yourself in that case; will never become involved in the process that is most fundamental to existence itself. So it is right and appropriate and basically necessary to come to a real considered position about this matter for the sake of practice, not for the sake of consolation, not for the sake of mere believing. Practice is not merely about improving your estate while alive and then who knows what happens after that you see.
Practice is about participation in existence itself, that which is most fundamental and therefore that which ultimately even transcends your present lifetime, which transcends your apparent individuality, which transcends this appearance and all other possibilities as well. So even while alive you must participate in that which is ultimate.
This means you must come to a real understanding about that which is the case altogether and that which is true about conditional existence altogether. Now you do know that you can suffer greatly while bodily alive and there really is no limit on the definition on how profoundly you can suffer while there is nothing about dying that is going to eliminate that possibility. This is true.
Mere death is further projection into a scheme of things that is full of positives and negatives. Some basic factors of the death process and the after death process can be presumed on the basis of serious consideration. On the other hand, much of it remains a mystery because it is not merely predetermined. It is something in some basic sense you are creating by the form of your participation in existence even presently.
If you have a serious consideration of the nature of possibility even while alive in the body, you will no longer frivolously, merely frivolously or mechanically, being indulging in life in the life process. You will rather submit that process to the law, to the greater purpose, the ultimate purpose, to the process of submission to happiness.
To submit to happiness one cannot merely choose the positive of possibilities you see because the negatives are all part and parcel of anything that may be positive at some moment or another. To submit to happiness one must submit to that which transcends positive and negative.
Therefore to submit to happiness one must submit to the process of self-transcendence of transcendence altogether.
So submission to happiness requires profound seriousness, freedom from frivolousness, mechanical tendency, mere conventionality, and one must become involved in a profound investigation of ones self, the results of activities, immediate results, long-term results, even results that pass beyond the death of the body.
So why should one organize ones self relative to existence presently and potentially in the future in such a way that that could become unhappiness and bewilderment and unenlightenment and non-realization. Why should one make such a choice? Can you justify making such a choice? Then dont do it.
Make the choice of happiness itself and realize it and do that which is realization. Be realization. Realize the power of it and you will also lose your fear of possibly, losing that power or that capacity under some circumstances that you cant account for presently, such as something or other that may appear after death. You lose that fear the more you realize the power of self-transcendence, inherent power of it.
Having said that however I get the demonstration you all made as a gathering for the last fifteen years or so after all that time, and many of you here for most of that time, you still are by your own estimation a sheer beginner. And what did you do with five, ten or fifteen years then when you were given the opportunity to respond to this offering.
It seems you see that you didnt take it seriously, you were not serious. You preferred consolations, illusions, mechanical gestures, even your own bewilderment, your weakness. You have this idea on how the time is going to take care of everything, that time takes care of it or it will be taken care of.
You must understand the mechanics of conditional existence do not merely lead you toward happiness. They dont do anything of the kind. Happiness is a matter of understanding and transcending all of that. This of course is something you must come to understand and realize. But this is what is understood or realized when one makes a serious investigation of existence.
And if you become serious you will also not be planning to devote any great lot of time to being a beginner or to wheel spinning or creating a foundation for practice and so forth. You will be moved with great intensity in every moment. You will accomplish the foundation directly and therefore as quickly as possible.
Likewise, your participation in all of the stages will be profound, most intense and serious and for real and what there is to be transcended in the context of any stage will be transcended in your case directly and therefore as quickly as possible.
Just as the choice of anything but happiness is unreasonable truly, therefore the choice of anything but that serious and most intense and quickening disposition is unreasonable.
What you see by tendency you seem to propose an alternative to what is only reasonable and therefore you are just blinking into your karmas, submitting to changes and consoling yourself by imagining that it has something to do with religion.
Religion doesnt have anything to do with unconsciousness. True religion has everything and most fundamentally only to do with a conscious process, in other words, responsibility for participation and transcendence. Nothing else is true religion. It is also something you must come to understand and realize. All of this therefore belongs to the foundation of the way.
It belongs to the beginnings of the way. The more you mature even in the beginning stages, the more you will demonstrate this seriousness, this intensity, this reasonableness, this intelligence. It is not intelligent merely to submit to time, merely to submit to changes, merely to submit to possibility and conventional hopes. A real and intelligent investigation of the things of nature or conditional existence ought to dissuade you of that kind of casualness.
Human beings seem to be creating a fantasy version of reality always and then closing themselves in it through all kinds of social and cultural instruments so that they dont have to come in touch with real reality or real nature constantly going on otherwise.
How does nature work? How does conditional existence work? Take a look at it. Its not leading any being toward immortality or happiness and even by stealth or strategy you cannot accomplish immortality or happiness by manipulating conditional possibilities. All that is ultimately confounded by events in nature including death. While alive you may constantly enforce certain kinds of experience that you find pleasurable.
You may try to enclose yourself in those things, friendship, sex, food, entertainment as if that were a kind of immortality, or as if that were going to continue, but death comes anyway. Suffering happens anyway. Frustration happens anyway. Loss happens anyway.
Last week several well known entertainers died, they were popular and successful. They represent to everyone signs of evident self-fulfillment; being artful, being entertaining, being famous, being wealthy, being amused and amusing, and basically all you know of those people are their moments of entertainment, their ceremonies of entertaining you in the movies, on television. Then last week you all heard that those people died. How much did you know about them apart from their ceremonies of entertaining you?
Did you know anything about their lives otherwise? Did you know anything about their lives in their later years? Did you know anything about their experiences about dying, their experiences in the death process? They remain as these kind of archetypes Mickey Mouse archetypes of happiness that suggest that human life is ultimately an entertainment or civilization wins or whatever.
The pleasures of life are self-sufficient and what they are otherwise is not projected to you. You see you get entertainers shown to you. Theyre shown to you through their species or the ceremonies of their entertaining of you.
But youre not simultaneously shown their real lives. You dont see a Fred Astaire movie and then see another film recounting his real life experiences in between making of his dancing movies. You see Jackie Gleason and the Honeymooners on some old reruns of his TV programs but you werent also shown his real personal life and sufferings and doubts and disturbances and all the rest of it.
So who died? Well, Jackie Gleason on the Honeymooners and Ralph Cramdon didnt die. Fred Astaire as some elegant dancer didnt die. Those programs still exist. Those movies still exist. You still watch them. But Fred Astaire was a real human being and Geraldine Page also and Jackie Gleason. These real people died and they really suffered and they were really bewildered, unrealized very likely.
Just as these professional entertainers were projected to you only through their archetypes, through their ceremonies of entertainment, likewise you are tending to do the same thing for one another.
You are all playing a civilized role, an archetype, a ceremony of self-presentation that is suppose to continue the daily lie or to make life into a ceremony that stands over against reality, real nature, real happenings, the underworld of real processes so you can keep amused. In some sense you use me as a kind of local entertainer. Everybody presents himself or herself as a persona in a civilized game where youre supposed to give certain signals that say, yes, life is self-fulfilling.
It is supposed to be purposed for its own sake and so forth and the other aspects of yourself are supposed to be kept hidden, kept very personal, kept in a certain sphere of people you will consider it with, engage in a more personal way, while the ceremony goes on, while you continue to play your part.
So thats one major obligation people feel they have, that human beings feel they have, this obligation to be a kind of archetypal participant in the human ceremony and not to digress from, not to renounce, not to step aside, not to step back, not to examine it as a totality, not to transcend it, not to fail to be an archetype of one kind or another to support the conventional flow of things from a conventional allusion that everything merely by going on is getting better and better.
Well this intention then to be a civilized archetype is a very basic motive in your life which you must examine. You falsify yourself or make yourself into a persona constantly. You make yourself into a mask constantly for this purpose, for this reason but nonetheless youre going to die.
You suffer. You are bewildered. You have your doubts. Youre going to suffer. You can lose. Youre wondering about it all and so on. When will that other part of you be taken seriously? When will you deal with it? Where will you deal with it? Under what circumstances? Is there a place for it downtown, in your childhood family situation, in your local churches, with your psychiatrist. Is there a place for it?
Or does it require a different kind of seriousness, unconventional seriousness and involvement in the process of existence that is not the enemy of civilized living but nonetheless is something much greater, more profound and will make you more serious than conventionally civilized persona.
Now in your time when you came into my company looking for who knows what at this point, but I would suppose that some basic aspect of it was some sort of motive in yourself to break out of this civilized world of mere convention and mere continuation and not only to realize that which is great and which is happiness but to become a participant in its very process and of course thats my word to you, yes, there is the absolute which may be realized and is happiness itself but its not merely a truth to be believed.
It requires a great process, a different kind of living. It requires great seriousness, profound self-understanding and real discipline. Of course its that element of it that is the controversy in you. Its a matter of controversy in you. Am I serious enough to do that? Can I get into that? Am I up to that? Do I still doubt this or that? Am I ready for it? Would I rather just live an ordinary life; all those kinds of mediocre arguments that you present to yourself.
Theres never been any controversy about whether you would like to be realized or happy in the ultimate sense. Thats never really been a matter of controversy with you. The controversy is a matter of whether you will or not submit yourself to the real process that it requires.
If you could agree to that, these beginning stages would not be taking so much time, would not already have taken so much time. The reason they seem to be taking time, seem to have been taking so much time so far, is that you were not able to agree to commit yourself to the process required and therefore you have bewildered yourself. You have weakened yourself. You have distracted and dissuaded yourself.
You persuaded yourself otherwise. You bought time. You let your wheels spin. You indulged yourself in conventional self-fulfillment and playing the ordinary games of humanity. You used up time. You used up life really to no advantage. You made your doubt into your karma. You made your self-possession into your destiny. You submitted yourself to mediocrity.
So your question to get back to it suggests that you are still in a position of such weakness that you can doubt yourself in the context of possibilities that you dont even know yet beyond this lifetime. So youre not really asking a question. Youre just describing yourself. Youre letting your own weakness describe you and therefore determine the quality and character of your existence altogether. You must observe this and allow it to make you serious.
So how equipped are you? So on what basis are you making your life then? Are you building your life on the hope that things are going to turn out okay? Are you betting that things are always going to be okay?
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"The perfect among the sages is identical with Me. There is absolutely no difference between us"
Tripura Rahasya, Chap XX, 128-133
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