The View That Must Be Tested – Budda Free John (Adi Da Samraj)

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The Four Dharmas

(orig. The Three Dharmas)

a talk by

Sri Adi Da Samraj

November, 1973

There is a Great Process, and all of
this is its manifestation. From time to time, men have
appeared whose function it was to communicate the nature of
this process and its various functions. Each of these
individuals appeared in a particular time and place under
particular conditions. In each case their function was to
communicate an aspect of this Great Process and to
demonstrate one of the possible ways of realizing its

All of those who have appeared were
and are essentially agents, instruments, servants. The
process itself is beginningless, endless, eternal, absolute,
perfect. And in truth the communicator of that process is
also beginningless, endless, eternal, absolute, perfect, and
that one is the Maha-Siddha, the Eternally Completed One,
the Divine. All those who have appeared among men, as well
as among all other beings and in other worlds, for the sake
of the communication or clarification of this process are
servants of the Divine.

Just so, these servants or agents,
all of whom had a particular function at a particular time
and place, can be classified according to their function and
the fullness of their communication. Among them have
appeared certain ones whom I have called the Great Siddhas,
the great completed Spiritual Masters. These were men such
as Jesus the Christ, Gautama the Buddha, and Krishna the
Avatar. Men such as these have been the principal agents of
the Maha-Siddha in this world. They have communicated the
principal dharmas or paths and have had the greatest
historical effect. Their function has been

I call Jesus, Krishna, and Gautama
Great Siddhas because they so uniquely and with such
historical force represented the dharmas that pertain to the
fundamental conditions of suffering. There have been many
Siddhas, men who in one form or another lived the function
of the yogi, the saint, the sage, or the prophet, but who
transcended the limitations of their particular function.

These Siddhas, while enjoying in a
very real sense the same perfect, Divine realization as the
Great Siddhas, either served one of the existing great
dharmas or else taught a lesser dharma, a lesser path, or a
path that had certain historical limitations. There have
been countless yogis, saints, sages, and prophets,
extraordinary men who nonetheless did not represent the
function, the great function of all the Siddhas. These men
not only represented lesser dharmas or historical
limitations, forms of the way of experience, but they were
also seekers, not perfectly founded in the absolute
enjoyment of the Siddhas, who are eternally non-separate
from God.

The three Great Siddhas have
represented to mankind the three principal dharmas as they
have been understood to this time. Jesus represented the
dharma of the sacrifice of self, Krishna the dharma of the
sacrifice of mind, and Gautama the dharma of the sacrifice
of desire. Separated self (or ego), limited mind, and
limiting desire are the three principal conditions of
suffering or contraction in man. Thus, the three principal
dharmas that have been known among men have been attempts to
undo these forms of contraction through the deliberate or
motivated sacrifice of these three: ego, mind, and

The three conditions of ego, mind,
and desire are the three fundamental conditions of the usual
life. These are the three principles or conditions of
suffering. They are the three manifestations of Narcissus,
the self-enjoyer, the eternally recurring mortal. In fact
men are all seeking through the various strategies of life
to undo the force of these conditions and their effects. And
men seek release from suffering by many means. But the
common means are devoted either to the exploitation of the
life functions for the sake of pleasure and the avoidance of
pain, or to the exploitation of the inner life for the sake
of so-called spiritual attainment.

All men strategically, whether or
not with full and conscious intention, are pursuing release
from these three conditions while at the same time only
living them. Even the search to overcome the conditions of
ego, mind, and desire is itself founded in these three.
While men strategically, arbitrarily, and with various
degrees of consciousness pursue release from these
conditions, the spiritual instructors of mankind, the
various men of experience, the various Siddhas, and the
various Great Siddhas have created dharmas or paths which
very consciously and methodically pursue release from these

Gautama was the Great Siddha of the
navel. He taught and demonstrated the dharma of the
sacrifice of desire. His whole teaching essentially
consisted of methods for achieving the condition of nirvana,
or the great quenching of the principle of desire. And the
center of the principle of desire is the great region of the
navel, the great life center.

Just so, Krishna was the Great
Siddha of the sahasrar or the subtle epitome, the subtle
region above the head. He taught and demonstrated the dharma
of the sacrifice of mind, the merging of the mind in

Jesus was the Great Siddha of the
region of the heart. Just as the mind has its seat in the
upper regions of the head, and desire has its seat in the
great vital region of the navel, the ego or separate self
and its dissolution are seated in the heart. Jesus taught
and demonstrated the dharma of self-sacrifice, the dharma of
the surrender of the ego in life terms, in functional and
human terms. And so the dharma of the sacrifice of self is
the dharma of the heart.

But the three principal dharmas are
themselves forms of seeking, reactions to the fundamental
dilemma which motivates the usual man. The three Great
Siddhas, along with all the other Siddhas, and all the
yogis, saints, sages, and prophets, and all the men of
experience, including the whole range of human individuals,
themselves represent a limitation, a form of seeking founded
in dilemma. The principle of the search remains intact in
the great work of all the Siddhas to now. And the effort of
all the dharmas, including the three great traditional
dharmas, has been to strategically overcome separate self,
limited mind, and the force of limiting desire.

In response to every communicator of
the Great Process, whether he was a Great Siddha, Siddha,
transcendent yogi, saint, prophet, sage, or teacher of some
kind, a cult has always grown. There is a cult around Jesus
as Christ, a cult around Gautama as Buddha, a cult around
Krishna as the Divine Avatar. There is a cult that develops
around each Siddha that appears-there are cults around
Nityananda, Ramakrishna, Shirdi Sai Baba, Ramana

There are cults around all the
yogis, saints, prophets, sages, and teachers. Every limited
communication has tended to have been taken in some
tradition or other to be absolute, to be perfect. The world
is full of cults, great cults and lesser cults, all of which
have the same fundamental structure as the limited life of
Narcissus, the egoic life of obsessive mentality and
peculiar desires. The world is full of cults, all of which
are in conflict with all other cults because they each
represent a fundamental limitation of the Great

My own work is not separate from the
great work of the Siddhas and Great Siddhas. But my work is
a new performance of the dharma of the Maha-Siddha, and
represents a new teaching from a new point of view. Just as
the three great dharmas are essentially efforts to overcome
the limitations of separate self, limited mind, and the
force of limiting desire, the Way of Understanding is
utterly free of the whole principle of seeking. At the same
time, the Way of Understanding effectively undermines the
three principles of suffering, not by deliberately acting
upon those three principles or conditions themselves, but by
undermining in the process of understanding the fundamental
or principal activity which is suffering, the principle of
contraction or dilemma, the avoidance of

The Way of Understanding is founded
upon insight into that dilemma and the fundamental action
which creates and supports that sense of dilemma. That
fundamental or self-limiting activity is the avoidance of
relationship. When that binding principle is understood,
then already or spontaneously the three common conditions of
suffering are undone.

The separate self, limited mind, and
force of limiting desire are all expressions of this
principal contraction, the avoidance of relationship. So if
this principal contraction is undone in the process of
understanding in living relationship with the Man of
Understanding, then the force of the three common principles
is already undermined.

In a living and natural relationship
with the Man of Understanding this principal contraction is
undone, entirely apart from the whole adventure of seeking
in dilemma. The process involves simple, motiveless
understanding of one’s own activity, not the effort to
suppress or transcend the ego-sense, the force of the mind,
or the force of desire. When there is radical understanding,
these three conditions are brought to rest, returned to the
natural stream of existence.

All there has been up to now is the
tradition of the dharmas that arose within the great search.
So all of those who come to me are continually tending to
take on these traditional paths, these traditional
approaches. People are always getting upset about their
desires, always getting crazy with their minds, and always
suffering their limited self-existence, their egoic life.
And they are always wanting to do something about it. They
always urge themselves either simply to give in and exploit
the tendencies that are arising or else to use some strategy
or other to get free of their condition.

The Way of Understanding is entirely
apart from that whole traditional activity. The instrument
for this dharma of understanding is the same instrument that
has been used throughout human time, the same instrument
used by the Great Siddhas and all the Siddhas. And that is
Satsang, or the relationship between the devotee and the
Spiritual Master who is complete and powerful in God. The
Great Siddhas such as Jesus, Gautama, and Krishna all
entered into sacrificial relationship with devotees. That
was the fundamental instrument for the communication of
their dharmas and their spiritual influence.

So the means for this activity is
the ancient means, but the process, the dharma itself, is
new. It does not exploit the individual’s motivation to be
free of the ego, the mind, and desires. It does not yield to
his willful intentions to exploit those tendencies or to
believe them. It simply enforces the condition of Truth,
which is Satsang itself, the relationship to the Guru in

There is only one Siddhi or
transforming Spiritual Power active in this work, and that
Siddhi is God, the Power of the Divine Person. It is not a
secondary siddhi, not magic, not a mere influence. Only the
Divine is active in this work. The Lord is the fundamental
condition communicated in Satsang with the Man of
Understanding. From the beginning, not merely at the end,
Truth is the condition of this process. It is pressed on
devotees with more and more intensity, always to the degree
which is just a little bit beyond their preferred

The given methods which are
determined to help you overcome your desires, your
mentality, or your self-obsession do not in fact affect the
principle on which they rest. So naturally your desires,
your mentality, and your self-obsessions continue to arise.
You are always wanting to exploit them, to believe them, or
to get some method or other that will help you to undo

But I see no value in merely
preventing the appearance of ego, mind, and desire, since
one of the fundamental functions of the Divine Siddhi is to
awaken those things for the sake of purification and
transformation. Why should I give you a method to suppress
them, since everything I am doing is bringing them up in
you? I would have you become intelligent in relation to the
conditions of your suffering, but as long as you seek you
are only moved to suppress them without understanding their

The Guru is that Divine Siddhi. The
only thing that will allow you to remain in this Satsang, to
remain in this fundamental condition that is Truth, is the
life of a devotee. If you remain in the condition of a
devotee in relation to the Man of Understanding as Guru,
then you will be able to pass with humor through the
appearance of your own qualities. And they will disappear,
not hecause you happen to perform some activity on them,
recite some mantra, do some sort of inward trick, but simply
because another principle is being lived, which is

By remaining a devotee, you will
pass through the long appearance and the long reappearance
of your own tendencies. But the minute you turn away, the
minute you become resistive, the minute your occupation
becomes one of resistance to the Guru and to the process of
this Siddhi, you will be tending to hold on to the revealed
products of this Siddhi. You will become addicted to the
principle of your own desires, the force of your own
mentality, and the intense vibration of your own separate
self sense. The possibility of separation always exists in
every individual. Therefore, every day the devotee is
tested, and the test is whether he will choose to live
simply as a devotee or to return to the principle of his
desires, the principle of his limited mind, the principle of
his separated or Narcissistic existence.

So this Siddhi lives you and does
the meditating and performs the sadhana or spiritual
practice. The Siddhi active in Satsang is the fundamental
instrument of this work, and not any secondary method or
technical affair given to you to perform. In this Satsang,
by virtue of this Siddhi, the process of understanding
begins. The force of Satsang, which yields self-observation,
insight, and real meditation, arises on the basis of hearing
the Guru, living as the devotee of the Guru, responsibly
maintaining the conditions communicated by the

Whereas the ancient dharmas involved
specific attention, strategic attention to desire, mind, and
ego, the dharma of understanding does not involve such
strategic attention. It involves Satsang itself, simply,
without concern for the manifestation of desires that occur
at any moment, the manifestation of thought, or the
manifestation of separate self sense. These manifestations
are continually appearing, but it is not the business of the
devotee to bind himself with concerns over these
manifestations. Satsang is his condition. Satsang is his
meditation. Satsang is his sadhana or eternal spiritual

The Man of Understanding only offers
this Satsang, and he demands that those who come to him come
in the form of the devotee, not in the form of the seeker.
They will not be satisfied as seekers. He will never give
them what seekers require. The Man of Understanding does not
give methods, he does not exploit the search, he does not
satisfy the seeker.

Those who come as seekers will only
be frustrated, and so the Man of Understanding regards only
those who come in the form of the devotee. He is continually
mindful of the state of his devotee, and through various
means continually returns him to the principle of his
sadhana, which is Satsang, rather than to those things
toward which the devotee himself is always tending: his
desires, his mind, and his ego.

Just so, the characteristic Siddhi
of the Man of Understanding is not one that is exclusively
involved with any one of the three primary centers of our
psycho-physical form, any more than it is exclusively
involved with the strategic attempt to undo any one of the
three common principles of suffering. The Siddhi of the Man
of Understanding involves the three principal centers
inclusively, without making any one of them the fixed or
primary focus of attention.

Yogis seek the merging of the
life-force in God, because they see the dilemma of their
existence in the forms of life. Thus, their activity
originates in the great life-region of the navel, and
proceeds upward from that point (if the goal is above the
world). Some, who conceive an evolutionary goal in the
world, also draw the life-energy down to the life-center.
The yogis enjoy exclusive mastery over desire and

The great bhaktas or lovers of God
are always turned upward through thought, feeling, word, and
deed. Practitioners of the yoga of the inner sound current
listen to the sound behind the eyes and above the ears in
order to be drawn up by it into the Condition of the Light.
These are the ways of saints, who seek the exclusive merging
of the mind in God, because they know the mind to be the
root of the permutations of life. Thus, their seats of
activity are in the ajna chakra, the sahasrar, and above.
The saints master mind, just as yogis master desire and

The sages or jnanis seek the
realization of Self, prior to ego, and thus also to mind and
desire, because they know the ego to be the root of mind and
life. Their activity originates in the heart, the seat of
the limited self, of mind, and of desire, on the right side
of the chest. This seat, or the potent Silence, the mere
Presence of the Heart or RealGod which is intuited therein,
is the root of all thoughts, as well as the life current,
and the internally audible sound stream. The Self is even
the Root or Source of the very Light or Mind which is above
the body, the mind, and the world, and of the Life which
always proceeds from it as bodies, minds, and worlds. Sages
enjoy principal but exclusive mastery over the illusion of
separate self, without interest in transcendent Mind or
Divine World.

The three centers, the navel, the
head, and the heart, are, properly, the seats of the
inclusive intuition of the Divine in man. But they are
realized in Truth only in the spontaneous, already selfless
revelation of Satsang. Those who concentrate upon them
wilfully and exclusively with sophisticated techniques, as
if to find God at last, are like Narcissus. They only
meditate upon their own reflections in waters that lie on
holy ground.

But the Man of Understanding enjoys
mastery of the ego, mind, and desire without exclusion. He
enjoys Realization of Self, Mind, and Life, which are the
World. He is Guru in the three seats of Realization, the
seat of Life (the great region of the navel), the seat of
Light (the ajna chakra, the sahasrar, and above), and the
seat of Self (the heart, on the right). He enjoys this
Realized Mastery entirely apart from all dilemma and
seeking, and he awakens it also in others apart from all
exploitation of seeking in dilemma.

Therefore, this sadhana is new and
great, and perhaps it is difficult to grasp for those who
have only the traditions to which they would resort. In
fact, apart from what is newly being communicated here, only
the traditions of seeking can be found. But the work and the
realization of the Man of Understanding are not fixed in any
one of the traditional centers or dharmas or approaches.
Just so, his point of view is not the point of view of the
Divine qualities represented by any of the three great
traditional paths and the exclusive seats of their knowing
within man. His point of view is That which is prior to the
three great dharmas. His point of view is the Divine

1. Men have long
sought to undo the three fundamental contractions or roots
of suffering that underlie the usual life, and to realize
certain aspects of the Divine Process that are apparently
prevented by those contractions. Some have attained
extraordinary Success, and have taught others through the
various ways of experience.

Those who are primarily concemed
with undoing the vital contraction at the great region of
the navel in order to enjoy the bliss or fullness of
unobstructed movement of the life-force are called “Yogis”
by Adi Da.

“Saints,” in his terminology, seek
chiefly to relax the subtle contractions at the region of
the sahasrar, and they are devoted to the Divine as the
transcendent Light above the world, body, and

“Sages” strive primarily to undo the
contraction associated with the causal heart, and to realize
the Self-nature, Real-God, which has its psycho-physical
seat at that point.

Other men have functioned as critics
of the usual life from the point of view of transcendent
knowledge, and Adi Da calls them “prophets”.