The Law is Absolute


A Talk by Da Free
John – 1982

ADI DA SAMRAJ: When one looks at this great world of
problems, this complex and secular world of political,
economic, and military forces with all of their potential
threats, one feels that something ought to be done, that
something great should be in power and bring an end to all
of this difficulty. It is an ordinary enough desire, but it
is not very profound. It does not really offer the solution.
The world as a whole is not going to change until humanity
as a whole is responding differently to the circumstance of
existence. Until then, there will be no great benign world.
Our conflicts will continue. So long as people do not
respond to the highest wisdom, they remain reactive and
conventional. It will continue to be so in our world, and
all kinds of problems will result, until there is a
universal response to higher Wisdom. Such a response is
certainly not likely in the near future, and so there will
continue to be problems in the world.

Thus, the world appears to be in a terrible condition.
Even total destruction seems to be imminent. That has always
been so, because there has never been a universal response
to the Wisdom-Influence, the Divine Influence, the
Transcendental Reality. Some have responded, but most have
not. You cannot expect, therefore, that something will occur
in our lifetime to eliminate all the difficulties that are
the daily news. It is just not going to happen. To work
agitatedly toward diverting that possibility is fruitless
and a waste of human energy. We must respond to the Divine
Influence directly, whether or not great masses of people so
respond and whether or not the world in part or in its
entirety is destroyed in our lifetime. The Truth is simply
the Truth. If the world is going to be destroyed, it is
simply because people do not universally respond to the
Truth. The destruction of the world does not invalidate the
Truth. We must be able to practice real life in response to
the Divine offering, regardless of what the world picture
looks like and regardless of what happens. We are mortal

Many powerful influences have sought to bring order in
the world, but the level of responsiveness in people has
been limited to the ordinary desire for conventional
fulfillment. No higher human disposition has awakened among
the mass of humanity. Thus the populace that any state has
had to deal with has always been a childish, adolescent,
reactive, unpredictable, and ultimately dangerous force. The
world has never been under the domination of a single power.
It has always been fragmented, and many ideologies have
tried to acquire power. Even if one ideology had the power
to bring order to the entire Earth, to snuff you out or let
you live depending on how you played the game, the
fundamental human situation will not have changed. People
will still be unillumined, ordinary, self-based, identified
with their instincts in their functional capacity and

The Wisdom Influence is another process in the world —
other than the effort of power to work out the conventional
solutions to human problems. The state in its various forms
around the world is attempting to provide what everybody in
their childishness, seeing how difficult life is
disposition, wants. We want a political messiah, we want a
state, we want a great influence to bring an end to the
threat of war. And the state is trying to fulfill our
childish desires. But that child-parent-state relationship
has nothing whatever to do with Wisdom, Truth, and
happiness. Another level in us responds to Wisdom. And our
response and the process of life to which it leads us has
fundamentally nothing whatever to do with the conventional
game of power nor even the conventional game of ordinary
human fulfillment. We confront all kinds of limitations and
difficulties in our intimate, personal, and social lives. We
tend to think that because our circumstances are not
perfect, we must react and be weakened. Thus, as long as
there is no great, all-powerful state to bring order, we are
threatened by war and all of life’s difficulties. Such
vulnerability justifies a certain fear and sulkiness.
Likewise, we become similarly sulky when we confront the
limitations in our ordinary lives, when our circumstance is
not quite right, our health is not quite right. All that
impinges upon us and justifies a reactive, fearful,
depressed sense of existence.

Over against such negativity there is the Divine Reality
and its appeal to us to enter into the process of true
existence. The process of existence that is generated when
we respond to the Divine transforms every single aspect of
our lives, all of our childish and adolescent justifications
for self possession, fear, reactivity, despair, and
depression. To take up the Way of life that is founded in
Divine Wisdom is to enjoy a totally different disposition,
no longer dependent upon conditions for happiness, able to
transcend conditions even in their moment of arising, no
longer dependent upon living to a ripe old age, no longer
dependent on a benign politics, no longer dependent on the
perfection of the circumstances of personal life.

Until every fraction of light responds totally to the
Divine, there will be all kinds of limitations. The machine
of limitations is the structure of contraction, which
operates not only at the level of you as a presumed
individual but at the level of every fraction of existence.
It is operative in the atom, in the molecule, in the cell,
in the elements, in all processes, in the weather, and
throughout the total cosmos. As the fraction of the cosmos
that is each being contracted upon a point, a conjunction, a
play of confrontations occurs in which things change, come
to an end, interfere with one another. This chaos of motions
produces the process of causes and effects, destinies,
worlds, everything.

The Divine is not merely present as a parental Cause or
Creator in charge of all of this. The Divine is Present
relative to all of this in a way that we do not suspect
until we Awaken. Until we Awaken, we are rather resentful
toward the Divine, insofar as we think about it at all. Why
didn’t God take charge of all This? God created me, so let
God take care of me. Why doesn’t God take care of it? Well,
God is not taking care of it, so screw God! This is the
usual man or woman’s childish notion about God because God
is not doing what they expect God to do in their
childishness. They feel they are justified in their atheism
or punkishness, their neurosis, their lovelessness, their
weakness. But there is no justification for any recoil from
the Divine except in conditions. One can find justification
for self limitations, self-possession, and despair in the
conditions of life, which seem to justify the mood of
despair, because they are generated by processes of living
that are contracted upon themselves and that do not
represent the Divine Fullness at all.

Humanity is not responding to God, and therefore humanity
is living as it is and suffering a great deal of difficulty.
But the solution is not that some parental force or God
State must arise and straighten everything out. That is not
going to happen. The response to the Divine must occur at
the level of every fraction of the cosmos, at the level of
every individual. The coming of a force from without to
change everyone is not going to happen. Neither can you wait
until everybody responds and conditions change before it is
the right time for you to respond. The Divine Influence is
here, now, obliging you to respond.

Either you will or you won’t. If you will, you will enter
into the Divine Process, but even so the circumstances of
life will not necessarily change. They are there to be
observed, but what can we see about them? They appear to be
negative because of an activity to which beings and all the
levels of functional existence are devoted — not the
response to submission and inherence in the Divine — but
rather the reaction of self possession and dissociation,
cause and effect games in and of themselves in their own

Only this response to the Divine Process makes a
difference, nothing else. Nothing from outside can make a
difference. No order can be brought from without to make any
ultimate difference. Therefore we can appeal only to this
response in ourselves. We can resort only to our capacity to
make this response. And then we must live in this manly
fashion, male or female; the life of that response in the
face of all apparent difficulties. Then it is obvious that
those difficulties exist not because you are or are not
responding, but because everything else is not responding,
even if you respond. And it is obvious that difficulties
will continue as long as the responses of all others are
absent. You can, through the force of your responding, your
life in God, generate the attractive Influence of the Divine
and thereby somehow help to bring about these responses. You
can do positive work in the world, but you cannot expect
thereby to generate changes. In any case, change does not
justify your own response. Only the Divine, to Whom you
respond, justifies your response, whether or not anything
changes at all in your intimate life or in the world.

The situation in the world is dreadful — but why?
Because of what has traditionally been called sin or
ignorance, the absence of response to the Living Reality.
Where there is no such response, where in fact there is only
this contraction, there also are all kinds of problems, all
kinds of limitations, all kinds of cause and effect motions
established by contraction and thereby creating limitation
and suffering. We can observe what causes suffering–the
actions of contracted people.   But the ultimate and
fundamental cause, which so often does not influence
conditions directly in a play of cause and effect, the
ultimate and fundamental cause, is the lack of surrender to
the Divine. The force of contraction moves and causes
effects of all kinds; in its bewilderment finding itself
trapped in a great machine in which everything and everyone
are similarly reacting rather than responding, contracting
rather than surrendering.  

Therefore, we must respond and enter into the Divine
Process whether anybody else does or not, whether the world
changes or not. We cannot in any case presume that our
lifetime will be long or that we will continue together
relatively undisturbed for decades. Many disturbances may
very well interfere with our personal lives and our
relations, even soon. Our practice must not depend on long
life. Once you hear the Wisdom Teaching and respond, then
you must continue that response even through death,
regardless of what occurs in the world.  

Such response is the realized pratyahara of the
traditions. The strategy of dissociation, asceticism,
hiding, separating from common society is based on a
reactive, self-possessed character — out of sympathy with
life. That is all there is to it. We must respond to the
Divine. In doing so, we do not lose our sympathy with life.
On the contrary, our sympathy is intensified. But we are
also liberated from the limiting process of the world that
can uncreate or suppress our response to the Divine.  
Therefore, the highest form of detachment is life-positive,
not dissociated, but understanding very well why things go
on as they do, seeing clearly that what arises in the world
does not have the power to destroy or suppress one’s
spiritual response, one’s spiritual practice. That is true
detachment. It is not the conventional detachment of turning
away and withdrawing sympathy. Contractions do not appear as
limitations to the Enlightened person.

In the Enlightened disposition one sees through all
apparent limitations, sees that there is nothing but
nonbinding modifications of the Divine. On the other hand,
one also sees things as they are. It is just that seeing
things as they are does not limit the force of Realization.
One continues to see through everything and to see
everything, everyone, in God, even presently. At the same
time one sees things as they are, sees that people are
suffering, sees why they are suffering, sees what one’s own
suffering amounts to and transcends it without losing
sympathy. Therefore, such a one remains capable of
sympathetic activity both in relation to other people and to
personal human existence. In Enlightenment, we do not lose
sympathy with existence and want to dissociate from it. We
remain creatively involved in the living process of
surrender, of self- transcendence. It is still difficult at
the level of the mechanics of one’s existence. But
Realization is never qualified.

God can be Realized. Thus, God seems somehow to become
effective in the world because God acquires agency through
our responses. But where there is no response, there is no
agency. Now, there is always some level of responding. In
all the bits and processes of the universe, of the cosmos,
and of all beings, there is a level of responding.
Therefore, the Divine always has agency of some kind and is
therefore also changing things somehow in the midst of this
Mystery. Yet the response is not sufficient to create great
and wholly positive agency. Only when the response is great
does the Divine seem to be creative and active in a very
positive way. The Divine can become very active and creative
in the lives of individuals who do respond and yet seem to
be wholly, profoundly absent from the world otherwise,
because it is the response that gives the Divine agency.
Without the response, it can seem as if there is no God or
as if God is impotent. Thus, we develop all kinds of
childish views about God in the absence of our own response
and the response of others to the Divine.

What is the seventh stage? It is simply that disposition
in which our response to the Divine is complete. What are
the stages previous to that? They are just stages of less
than complete response, wherein certain dimensions of our
existence are still somehow locked, contracted, unopened.
There is only one Way, and that is to surrender and respond
completely to the Divine, depend absolutely on the Divine,
inhere completely in God without any concerns whatsoever.
Through our complete surrender every aspect of ourselves
becomes an agent, a place of Divine Activity and Divine
  Influence. Therefore, surrender itself is sufficient.
Everything else is done by Grace. Until we respond and give
the Divine agency, nothing seems to be happening, everything
seems to be difficult, and God is in doubt. But
as soon as the Divine acquires agency, it does all the

Also see: Peace
– Adi Da’s Open
Letter to Everyone
and Doubt
– An Essay by Adi
Da on politics and freedom
for Men and Women
– Talk by
Adi Da on politics