Authority, Certainty, Growth, and Freedom – In an Age of Uncertainty and Doubt – Adi Da Samraj



Authority, Certainty, and Freedom

a talk by Heart-Master Da

April 6, 1987


From The Way of The Heart Student Text Series, Vol 1, No


HEART-MASTER DA: Much of our discussion the other
evening was associated with theories about the origin of the
universe. Obviously we did not exhaust the subject in fact
there were some outstanding areas that we never even touched
on. For instance, when I asked you about a few scientific
theories, what you felt about each one, whether you thought
them believable, a few of you raised objections or expressed
the feeling that you were not quite satisfied. You made a
few remarks, and the general expression was that scientific
theories – whatever limitations they may have – at least
relate to real observations and are worthy of tentative
affirmation. You all tended to agree that perhaps they
provide a better basis for thinking about conditional
existence than some traditional mythology.

But we did not engage a detailed discussion about what
the limitations might be in the theories associated with
scientific cosmology. Those of you who thought there may be
limitations – what do you think the limitations are?

PRACTITIONER: I thought about the sound recorded
by scientists and presumed to be the direct result of the
“Big Bang”. How do they know that is the source of all that
is created? Isn’t sound just an inherent part of the

HEART-MASTER DA: To call it sound is perhaps not
completely proper. It is an energy effect that can perhaps
be detected audibly, but it can be detected otherwise. This
energy fluctuation, or energy disturbance, a background
sound, is behind all the other kinds of sounds for which
scientists have identified a source.

The theory is based not only on this sound but also on
many other observations. Scientists have observed, for
instance, that all objects in space are moving as if from a
center. The universe is expanding, in other words, and
specific observations are the basis for this idea. These
observations have occurred in the context of a worldwide
scientific enterprise, which perhaps had its most dramatic
beginnings with Einstein’s theories, which predicted certain
physical laws. Others then made observations that seemed to
prove him correct. His predictions were true, based on not
only one observation, but on repeated observations.

This is how scientific theories develop. Scientists often
begin with a theoretical presumption, perhaps worked out
mathematically, and then they look to physical evidence,
trying to design ways of looking at physical evidence that
will eliminate as much as possible the interference of the
observer and the theory. They look at what the evidence
itself suggests.

The Big Bang theory has achieved a common, but tentative,
agreement, which is how it is in the world of science. The
theory is expressed more or less dogmatically by some
people, but as a scientific theory it is tentative. It is
based on current knowledge, current observations. Theories
frequently change. If you wrote a book today summarizing
everything that seems to be known, that seems affirmable
based on observation, ten years from now you might have to
revise that book dramatically. In fact, a decade is quite a
long period of time in the world of science now with so many
new developments occurring.

The Big Bang theory is a description of the origin of the
physical universe that seems to correspond to physical
observations. Scientists are not making an arbitrary
judgment that the noise they have recorded is the residual
sound of the beginnings of the universe. They have many
reasons for presuming that it is. I have selected a few
books on this subject for The Basket Of Tolerance so you can
see how scientists think on this matter, and new literature
is constantly appearing. I don’t think I could satisfy you
on why exactly scientists feel that the background noise is
associated with the Big Bang rather than something else. You
would have to study the scientific literature. But I think
we can agree that the reasons are not arbitrary. They are
considered reasons, based on physical observations. But
apart from that, presuming integrity to their affirmation,
what do you think are the limitations in viewing the origins
of things in this fashion?

PRACTITIONER: The cyclic view of the universe does
not really describe a beginning as such.

HEART-MASTER DA: Not an ultimate beginning
perhaps. It depends on your point of view, doesn’t it? The
Indian theories of cycles of appearance and disappearance do
not suggest there is no such thing as a beginning. It is
just that beginnings are like endings – moments in an
endless cycle of rise and fall and appearance and
disappearance. Thus, some Indian cosmological systems see
the appearance of the conditional universe in terms of grand
cycles and fluctuations and unique epochs within the
sequence of continuation, at the end of which there is a
universal dissolution. But re-creation inevitably follows.
Indian thinking tends to be characterized by this idea of
cycles, which is also expressed in the idea of the human
being. In some sense the human being begins at birth, yet
there is presumably a history before that birth, and there
are events following death that are explained by
reincarnation theories.

In the West the traditional idea is that there was just a
beginning. God started all this, and it continues in a kind
of linear fashion. God reveals more and more until there is
an ending, which, in Western thinking, is not so much a
universal dissolution as it is a judgment, wherein
everything that has appeared is judged on its merits, and
whatever has received good merits is honored by prosperity,
heaven, and immortality, and what has not received good
merits is not merely destroyed but tormented forever. What
is in between? It’s hard to say. It depends on how God feels
that day. (Laughter.) Or on what you think God is like. If
God is the really terrible, tough character, then you either
receive good merits or you don’t. You cannot have something
in between. You would simply end up with the bad guys. Or if
God is loving and compassionate in your view, then that
would suggest to you that at the judgment God blinks here
and there and gives people the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps
in the meantime, until the judgment, he is always purifying
people, giving them more chances. But such ideas are all in
the realm of exoteric mythology.

Much of Indian thinking is also expressed through
exoteric mythology, but the Indian system is associated with
an esoteric tradition. Presumably, then, much Indian
thinking is the expression of the realization of individuals
in the past. Human cultures in general, until very recently,
have functioned on the basis of the presumption that there
is authority, an authoritative view, an existing revelation
about the universe, existence itself, about what is
happening, what is going on here. In the Indian system, the
Vedas are the traditional something that is pointed to as
authoritative. In the West it is usually the Bible. In the
Islamic tradition it is the Koran. Each social or cultural
system has its basis of authority.

Now, in the twentieth century, authority is disappearing,
if it has not already disappeared altogether. Yes, of
course, there are still religious people who want to believe
in the old ways, in the old doctrines, in the old books, but
people’s ability to affirm authority is decreasing. Society
as a whole is no longer based on it, or only tentatively
associated with it, and thus authority is rather ambiguous.
Authority has become less desirable. It is even becoming
taboo, so that the prevailing mood is one of anti-authority.
Nothing is “written”. There is no fixed revelation now. We
are all supposed to investigate everything and discover the
Truth for ourselves. We may thus progressively learn more
and more, but we do not have an authority. Therefore, we
have no right to certainty, no cultural norm that tells us
we can be certain about such and such.

Even a scientific theory like the Big Bang theory of the
origin of the universe, though it is commonly believed, is
not affirmed as absolute doctrine. Maybe the Big Bang theory
will turn out not to be true after a few more observations,
or will disappear completely in a few decades. Or maybe it
will be given more support from continued research. In any
case, it will still have the status of a theory, rather than
the status of authority.

In this sense, you are not like people who lived even in
the nineteenth century in the West, you see, or in centuries
previous. If you had been born in those centuries, not only
would you have grown up believing that there was an
authoritative revelation about nearly everything, but you
would have lived with that same point of view as an adult.
Science has achieved its present status through a long
period of struggling with the institutions and the human
state of mind associated with the old authorities, such as
the church, the Bible, and so on.

The great concepts that have influenced the twentieth
century-like evolution through Darwin, or the
psychoanalytical understanding of the human being through
Freud, or Einstein’s views about the nature of physical
reality-have had to struggle even to be heard within the
context of a previously existing culture of authority that
did not believe it, that even felt threatened by these
scientific investigations.

The struggle between science and existing authority dates
back to science’s beginnings as a grand cultural influence
in the Renaissance. The early Renaissance was characterized
by grand dramatic confrontations between the new and growing
approach to existence represented by science, and the old
authority represented by institutions and books like the
Bible. You all know about Galileo and his struggles, for

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Darwin’s
writings about the origin of species and his theory of
evolution through natural selection were reacted to most
profoundly by people who affirmed the authority of the Bible
and the church. You know about the “monkey trial”, the
Scopes trial. Even now, the argument rages between
fundamentalist creationists and scientific cosmologists.

Yet science is becoming more or less the normative source
of ideas for twentieth century society. In doing so it is
struggling with and to one or another degree eliminating the
force of previous authority. The struggle continues, but now
science is on top, whereas previously it was the “new kid on
the block”, having to defend itself. In past decades, even
scientists themselves evaluated their new scientific
discoveries in relation to their religious beliefs. Even now
when scientific cosmologists write about how the physical
universe must have begun and how human beings must have
evolved, particularly if they are writing as Westerners
among Westerners, they typically refer to the previous
authoritative state of mind. They rather automatically refer
to the book of Genesis. They could refer to any of thousands
of creation myths and religious points of view about the
origins of the universe, but they tend to want to tussle
with how science relates to, or threatens, the authoritative
point of view of Christianity.

Among the things we could point to in that struggle is
that obviously the previous authority is diminishing and a
new kind of authority is increasing. Science, as that new
kind of authority, does not want to call itself authority.
It does not even like authority particularly, but
nonetheless it is creating a normative culture, a point of
view that is the norm, or the more or less obligatory way of
thinking, way of living, way of progressing. Scientific
theories are always tentative, because science itself is
supposed to be a form of investigation and not a

Nonetheless, science itself as a kind of world view, or
as an attitude, is becoming normative, and the theories and
also the observations themselves, as well as their
extensions in the form of technology, are achieving such
magnitude that it is becoming very difficult, if not
impossible, for the old authority to defend itself. The
result is that authority itself is disappearing. We live in
a normative culture that imposes a sort of obligatory demand
or a limit relative to what we can say we know, and that
also limits what we can want and associate ourselves with as
human beings. On the other hand, authority itself is not
really allowed, and the old authority is disappearing.

The culture into which we have all been born, therefore,
is a culture of doubt, not a culture based on authority or
certainty. Authority is taboo, and certainty is taboo. It is
difficult, then, for anyone to come to a truly balanced
state of mind, because balance depends on a kind of
certainty, integrity, freedom from doubt and fear. But if it
is culturally taboo to be certain, and if authority, or
authoritativeness, is inherently in doubt and culturally
taboo, then you cannot come to a point of certainty. You
cannot come to a point of no doubt. And you cannot affirm
something “without doubt”.

You all clearly reflect that attitude. Nobody sat down
with you and told you this is the way you are supposed to
be, but you happened to turn out that way. You are the
result of the cultural and social forces of our time. You
were largely unconscious of their influence. You just
absorbed it. You adapted to that point of view. You came to
your doubt progressively because of the influences around
you. Being full of doubt and uncertainty does not feel good,
but you still are motivated by doubt, by uncertainty, by a
lack of authority to try to regain your balance, to try to
regain integrity. You are doing it in your own particular
way, and other people try to do it in their way.

What do you think? Is authority necessary? It is taboo
now, but is it necessary? Is it a good thing? Is it another
one of the things you need to regain in your quest? Or is it
something toward which human beings should be
psychologically indisposed? Should you be psychologically
indisposed toward authority? I use the word “authority”
because I do not know what other word to use for the moment.
I hope you do not think I am talking about a parental,
negative, and suppressive force. I am talking about a
normative understanding or expression of knowledge that is
presumed to be so, to be true. Is this a need? Or is it
really something that adult humanity no longer needs and
should in fact eschew or abandon?

PRACTITIONER: It seems to me that the certainty
people have had in the past is very limited in terms of the
capacity to perceive reality, to really grow beyond the
first three stages of life. My grandparents, for example,
were born in the last century, and my grandmother is very
fixed in her ideas about religion. A number of times in The
Knee of Listening You said, “Of this I am perfectly
certain.” Then You say, “I am that One”, affirming
certainty. But that seems to be different from the kind of
certainty of the past centuries-except for the few who have
moved beyond the limits, whether they were cultural or

HEART-MASTER DA: Relative to uncertainty, for
instance, there is no doubt that certain kinds of
uncertainty are totally appropriate. Until you precisely
know how a particular something happens-for example, when a
certain kind of atomic particle meets another kind of atomic
particle-until you have truly learned about that through
real observation, it is totally appropriate to be uncertain
about how that works. It is therefore not necessary that
human beings be absolutely certain about everything. I do
not perceive that human beings need such certainty, which is
a kind of closed-mindedness, no-life, no-movement, no
ability to grow.

On the other hand, uncertainty in the most primal sense,
at the level of existence or being itself, seems to be more
a kind of disease. It is a lack of integrity, a lack of
wholeness. That kind of uncertainty, it would seem, one
needs to transcend. People tend to want to transcend the
primal uncertainty by feeling absolutely and inappropriately
certain about what nobody is at all certain about and should
not be certain about, since neither they nor anyone else has
investigated it.

People tend to affirm a great deal of nonsense to achieve
primal certainty, whereas primal certainty ought to be
achieved on the basis of Truth, or Realization. If you truly
examined your grandmother’s affirmations, you could not be
certain of the things she affirms. The certainty she feels
somehow gives her a kind of security, but in your feeling,
at any rate, she is getting her primal certainty by
believing in nonsense.

PRACTITIONER: Right. That’s obvious.

HEART-MASTER DA: Unfortunately, human beings tend
to seek certainty in the wrong place. They assign authority
to the wrong things. For example, during World War II many
people gave Hitler authority, and I think that almost
universally people nowadays would say that it was the wrong
thing to do and we should not do anything like that again.
On the other hand, the doubt that human beings have
developed about affirming anything is perhaps also affecting
their ability to realize primal certainty.

The Hindu cultural system was founded on the authority of
the Vedas. Eventually dependence on that authority became a
kind of fundamentalism. What is the source of the
affirmation of the authoritativeness of the Vedas? It was
not originally fundamentalist thinking, or the misplaced
granting of authority to something arbitrary. It was
originally understood that those who developed the essential
content of the Vedas were beings of great integrity and true
Wisdom, who submitted themselves to and fulfilled a rather
commonly known process of Realization, without in any way
trying to be deceptive, and the Wisdom of their Realization
was recorded in the form of the Vedas and other

The Hindus, in founding their cultural system on the
authority of the Vedas, acknowledge the integrity of the
Adepts, or the great individuals who truly submit themselves
to the ordeal of Realization. They affirm that there were
such individuals, and that those individuals communicated
great Wisdom. It was therefore appropriate and worthwhile
for everyone who had not yet really entered into the process
of Ultimate Realisation to be governed to some significant
degree by alignment with the point of view of those
individuals. The Realizers and their utterances thus
acquired a kind of authority.

The individuals who are the source of the Islamic and
Judeo-Christian traditions were generally of the type called
prophets, people who had visions and significant dreams,
people who saw reflected in their own psyches ideas and
images that they affirmed to be Divine. These ideas were
then recorded, and eventually, through the politics or the
social striving of the culture, the records became
authoritative, much as the books of the Vedas became

Were those prophets authoritative in the same sense as
perfectly Realized Adepts? What is the stage of life or the
orientation to existence of a prophet as compared to an
Adept of the highest type? There is a significant difference
in degree. In the Indian system, at any rate, there is a
notion that authority belongs to those whose Realization is
of the highest type, and that lesser revelations or
individuals and their expressions and experiences are also
significant, perhaps not as authoritative, but significant,
worthy of discriminative attention and comparison to the
utterances or point of view of the Great Adepts, or those
who are truly possessed of authority.

Therefore, an experimental attitude within the Indian
system recognizes different types of revelations, while also
recognizing the highest type and the highest authority.
Fundamentalism exists in the Indian system, too, as in the
belief that when a certain word is uttered or a certain
ceremonial gesture performed a certain result must
inevitably happen. However, there is also a very creative
orientation to the whole affair of Spiritual life, a
fundamental sense that Spiritual life itself is true, and
that one can affirm certain principles wholeheartedly, with
true and doubtless certainty, because these principles are
confessions of people who should not be doubted, expressions
of a Reality that cannot be doubted.

Traditionally a kind of authority has been assigned to
exoteric principles and practices, as well as to more
esoteric and ultimate principles and practices. In the
twentieth century, the exoteric movements, institutions, and
books that have been traditionally authoritative are clearly
coming into doubt, truly are threatened by the culture of
science and scientism. Many traditional creation myths, for
example, are clearly in doubt, because they are
fundamentally exoteric expressions, full of convention and
antiquity that does not translate to the present time.

On the other hand, it seems to me that the esoteric
tradition is not coming into doubt and is not threatened by
the point of view or the discoveries of science. I suggested
to you the other evening that if we can, in some tentative
sense, affirm the Big Bang theory and other such theories of
modern science, they do not contradict fundamental esoteric
truth, nor are they threatened by esoteric truth. They can
be considered in terms of it. In some sense they even speak
the same language.

The authority of the esoteric tradition is not in doubt.
It is not being threatened by advances in human
understanding or human learning. The esoteric tradition
never has been threatened or in doubt in any epoch, even
though there have always been changes and new exoteric
authorities. Although scientism is itself a kind of exoteric
authority, at least some of its considerations reach into
the domain of esotericism.

If the fundamental tradition of esotericism is not
threatened no matter how much more we may come to know, this
fact suggests that there is something authoritative still
extant, appearing through time, appearing in the form of its
present-day exponents, and this fact further suggests that
there is a tradition with which one can associate
intelligently that can rightfully be part of one’s regaining
of integrity, or one’s realization of certainty.

Human existence, if it is enabled or allowed to continue
to grow, transforms its point of view progressively, through
stages, to the point of ultimate Realization. At any moment,
any given individual, by virtue of his or her point of view,
is really involved in limited understanding, limited
development, limited growth. Even whole societies tend to be
more or less characterized by a limit. For example, as I
have pointed out, human societies in general tend to be
characterized by the first three stages of life.

When human beings in general tend to be characterized by
a certain point of view, a certain understanding, a certain
stage of life, that point of view, that understanding, that
stage of life tends to become the norm and thus tends to
limit everybody’s understanding and growth. If that same
society were associated with an authoritative source or
tradition expressive of a disposition much more advanced
than is commonly achieved, that authoritative presence,
because it is acceptable to people, would be the principle
by which everybody continues to grow. If there is no such
authority, then people will, in their collective non-wisdom,
tend to suppress one another and make taboo the very thing
that must not be taboo if people are to grow.

Just as it is associated with tolerance and cooperation,
freedom is naturally associated with authority-not
suppressive authority, not the so-called true-believer’s
fundamentalism, not cultism. The exercise of true
intelligence and freedom, in other words, naturally or
natively associates itself with true authority, honors and
makes good use of the signs and representations,
demonstrations, and Blessings of true Realizers. Such
authority has traditionally been the context of human
culture, but it has unfortunately been adulterated, and
almost eliminated, made taboo even in the twentieth century.
This has produced a process of subhuman acculturation
wherein everybody as an ego is presumed to be a
self-sufficient authority, anti-authority is the accepted
disposition, and rebellion is considered to be the basis of
freedom or liberty.

In the face of this subhuman orientation to freedom, the
State’s efforts to control and suppress and demand
conformity have increased. In other words, freedom is not
increasing with all this so-called liberty. Rather,
non-freedom is becoming more and more the norm, because when
people become free in that self-possessed rebellious sense,
the State must make more dramatic efforts to control them.
The normative, non-Realized disposition is thus enforced
more and more tangibly. I think this is the unfortunate
state of mankind at the present time.

A fundamental characteristic of true authority is
universalism, the opportunity to function on the basis of
the highest possible concept, the most inclusive
orientation, rather than suppression, or the demand for
conformity to a certain point of view. False authority
localizes and polarizes. I do not advocate that at all. But
true authority promotes a universal disposition, and
therefore tolerance and cooperation. That is what I mean by
authority. Don’t misunderstand me-true authority supports
and educates people in a great disposition, one that is
truly human, not subhuman, but greater than ordinary-human,
a true ideal if you will. It makes a true ideal the basis of
human activity. It is therefore necessarily cooperative and
tolerant and not suppressive, and it transcends

One of the functions of true authority, therefore-not
arbitrary, suppressive authority, but true authority, an
authoritative tradition of Truth-if it remains extant or
culturally presumed, is to give people a resource for their
fundamental integrity or certainty. True authority also
keeps the collective non-wisdom from becoming suppressive to
the point that people cannot grow anymore.

The next stage of growth for human beings in general is
the leap to the fourth stage of life. That leap requires
true self-understanding and transcendence of the egoic
disposition associated with the first three stages of life.
How will people make that transition if they do not come
into association with an authority, a source of Truth, about
which they can be certain or in relation to which they can
be moved beyond themselves? It is not possible while they
are guided by their own mentality and the collective
mentality of non-wisdom with which they are associated. If
anyone is to grow, there must be a breakthrough of something
authoritative, convincing, certainty-creating, awakening.
Such has been the function of the great traditions of
ultimate Realization, even of religion in general.

Human existence, as I have suggested to you, develops
through a structure of seven stages. The first three stages
of life represent a period of adaptation and growth that we
could call human in the most fundamental sense. The
body-mind, the emotional being, the ordinary human psyche,
and all the social expressions associated with the human
being are developed in the context of the first three stages
of life.

We could say that the fourth stage of life is the
terrestrial stage of development. Although certainly human
life in its first three stages is terrestrial, growth or
development or adaptation in the context of the first three
stages is toward those things which are specifically human.
In the context of the fourth stage of life, at least until
its advanced developments, growth takes place not merely in
the context of human individuality but also in the context
of human existence or descended being itself in its
terrestrial or earthly form. The process in the fourth stage
of life, therefore, until its advanced or ascending form
develops, is self-transcending receptivity to the Divine, or
the Spiritual Reality, in descent, down through the frontal

The authoritativeness of Realization in the context of
the fourth stage must somehow break through if you are to
pass beyond the merely human stages to the terrestrial
stage. But that stage is not the end either. Doctrines
associated with bhakti and devotional existence and
Spiritual receptivity are not sufficient, and eventually you
must grow beyond them. Therefore, even greater authority
becomes necessary.

We could call the advanced dimension of the fourth stage
of life and the fifth stage of life as a whole the cosmic
stage of development, wherein human beings continue the self
transcending process or the process of adaptation. All
adaptation is in a sense self transcending, since you must
move beyond a self-limit to a greater dimension of
awareness. In the context of the ascending process,
beginning in the advanced phase of the fourth stage of life,
human beings transcend themselves by adapting to the cosmic
frame through psychic ascent, or ascending participation in
the Spiritual Reality. This process leads to Cosmic
Consciousness and Conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi, including
various great and lesser realizations. These realizations,
however, are also a limit. Yogic doctrine and the doctrine
of the saints is not sufficient. They must be passed beyond

The domain of the prophets, by the way, belongs to the
fourth stage of life, even to the third stage of life,
because so much of their influence and motive was to
regenerate the moral or social disposition of human beings
by associating them with Divinity. The prophets, therefore,
belong to religion in the human, rather than the fully
terrestrial, context. Greater devotees, direct
God-Realizers, go on to serve the process in the fullest
context of the fourth stage of life.

Beyond the cosmic stage is the sixth stage of life, the
stage of transcendental Realization, Realization of That
which transcends the ordinary or manifest human frame,
transcends the terrestrial or descending frame, transcends
the cosmic or ascending frame, transcends the psyche,
transcends conditionality, particularly the subjective and
subtle psychic manifestation. Of course, you must be
prepared to move into the framework of the sixth stage of
life, but you must also be attracted to it through the
demonstration and the authoritative expression of the sixth
stage Realizers.

The seventh stage of life is itself summarized or
ultimately fulfilled in perfect Translation. You must
understand that there is a unique difference between the
sixth stage of life and the seventh. The seventh stage of
life is the Divine stage, the sixth is the transcendental
stage, and there is a profound difference between them.

There is a profound difference between each of the stages
or great sequences. The passage from the sixth to the
seventh is actually the completion or fulfillment of the
total passage through and beyond the conditional point of
view of egoity. It is passage beyond the separate point of
view. It is Realization of the Divine point of view,
so-called, which is without limits, although it may
apparently be associated, if we can use the word
“associated”, with any form of limitation, just as it may be
associated with no limitations whatsoever. It carries no
obligation to appear in one way or the other.

The sixth stage of life is about identification with the
transcendental state, Consciousness Itself, ultimately to
the exclusion of phenomena. Just as the fifth stage of life
is involved in the subtlest reaches of objectivity, the
sixth stage of life is immersion in the ultimate domain of
subjectivity, beyond the psyche. It is identification with
Consciousness prior to objects, as if the limits on
Consciousness had been released by passing beyond the
context of space-time, and you had brought yourself to stand
prior to the Big Bang, before there was space or space-time,
before there were objects, before there were mind, body, and
conditionality in any form. That is transcendental
Realization, but it is simply another stage.

The highest stage is the Divine stage, the stage of the
Realization of the Divine Nature of Consciousness. That
Realization carries with it the native capacity to
“Recognize” whatever apparently arises, even if space does
arise, even if space-time arises, even if conditions arise,
the body arises, psyche arises, others arise. The arising of
anything does not limit the Divine. Likewise, it does not
limit the Realizer of the Divine Condition.

The seventh stage of life is not merely a kind of
dramatization or demonstration of the sixth stage
Realization. It is actually a great transition to a
completely different Disposition and Realization that no
longer depends at all on any process of inversion or
dissociation and is not about the separate psyche, the
separate being, the separate soul, the separate entity,
although the Realizer of the Divine Condition may be
apparently associated with conditional existence and
conditional beings of all kinds.

The seventh stage of life is characterized not only by
identification with the Transcendental Reality That is
Consciousness Itself, but by the true Realization of the
Transcendental Reality to the point of recollecting its
Siddhi, its native Power, which is Recognition, its native
or fundamental identity with its own inherent Radiance, of
Which everything conditional is simply an appearance, an
apparent modification.

The seventh stage Disposition is utterly free of
self-contraction. It is infinitely Radiant and it Recognizes
everything in that Radiance. The seventh stage Demonstration
is therefore unique. It is the ultimate Demonstration. That
Demonstration may appear through a variety of signs
associated with the phases of Transfiguration,
Transformation, Indifference, and the ultimate Demonstration
of Translation.

Now I am here calling you to that Realization. Yet you
are called to truly Realize it, which means you must take
into account, or really associate yourself with, whatever
limitations are associated with your point of view in the
present moment. You must outgrow yourself, or transcend
yourself, to Realize that ultimate Realization. Nonetheless,
the Wisdom Teaching and the Mere Presence of the True
Heart-Master are given to you even as a beginner. That
Presence and that Teaching are the means whereby you can be
drawn beyond yourself to the ultimate point of view. You are
not being called and drawn to a lesser realization.

No realization, no stage along the Way is the ultimate or
Divine Realization. You are not kissed and fondled and
congratulated and given badges for practicing stages two or
three. These are just phases of your growth and outgrowing.
They are not ultimate achievements. Nor are visions. No
phenomenal signs are ultimate achievements. No limitations

Your practice is therefore governed by this ultimate
Teaching and Presence, which is the instrument whereby you
can grow even ultimately, just as it is the instrument
whereby you can grow in the context of your present limits.
Such is the basis of the Way that you practice, at whatever
stage you may be practicing-even those at the human stage
can consider this Wisdom-Teaching, you see. You may be
practicing at the terrestrial stage or the cosmic stage or
the transcendental stage. Whatever your stage of practice,
you are practicing in response to That which is communicated
ultimately. Therefore, you as practitioners of the Way of
the Heart are associated with an authoritative revelation, a
revelation you take to be authoritative in the traditional
sense, not in any sense that is limiting or negative. The
Way should function for you as such authority. You should
thoroughly examine it with true discrimination, but
ultimately it should function for you as authoritative
Revelation. It is intended to. It is intended to serve your
integrity and to attract and draw you from the very

What if there were no such authority? You might, as
people ordinarily do, settle into the struggles of the first
three stages. Or you might be attracted to some teacher or
tradition or book that represented to you the very next
stage, or some stage higher than your present stage. You
might even try to imitate the higher stages, but you would
not have the clarity associated with ultimate authority,
perfect Revelation, nor would you be associated in your
present-time practice with the Grace of the Revealed
Presence. Therefore, for you to practice this Way of the
Heart, you must necessarily be associated with its ultimate
authority, its ultimate Revelation, which is not only in the
form of a Wisdom-Teaching, but in the form of a Presence, a
Transmitted Grace.

In fact, then, you have rediscovered a source of
authority, just as people traditionally were associated with
an authoritative source, a governing principle and reality.
You have discovered it in the context of being a
practitioner in a particular, yet rather small, community.
You should be able to see, then, how important it is that
there be such a Revelation, such an authority, and how it
should be intelligently approached, but ultimately honored.
And, likewise, you should expect that it be honored. You
should not be calling for cultism, indiscriminate
fascination, and affirmation, but for right honoring and
intelligent consideration of the Revelation that is the Way
of the Heart.

In addition to serving that very Realization in you, one
of the things I am doing, especially in The Basket Of
Tolerance, is communicating a reasonable justification for
reaccepting a certain kind of authority and making it part
of the cultural life of humanity in general. I am calling
people specifically to the Way of the Heart in my Spiritual
Company, that is true, but even prior to that, through The
Basket Of Tolerance I am calling people to the authority
represented by the Great Tradition as a whole, not any
particular sect or exoteric version of it, but the Great
Tradition as a total history of revelation epitomized not
only by certain great individuals but by certain great
Realizations, which we should be able to affirm as
authoritative based on a most intelligent examination of all
the realities of the Great Tradition.

Christianity is the traditional authority in the Western
world, although it is diminishing in its influence as an
institution. Science is, in fact, already more dominant than
Christianity. Even so, I do not think science is a good
authority, certainly not an ultimate authority, but a local
or provincial authority.

In fact, science-I use the word “science” rather than
“scientism”, since “scientism” is a rather negative or
pejorative term that indicates the cult of
materialism-science itself is part of the Great Tradition of
human consideration of reality, just as are all religions,
including Christianity and all of the religions in the West
and all the other religions of the world, great and small.
We are no longer Americans or Australians or Hollanders or
Japanese or Indians or Saudi-Arabians. In some sense, we are
nationals by virtue of our birth and the political realities
of where we live. But nobody is defined as a human being by
nationalism anymore, for the world is globally
intercommunicative. Everyone is receiving everything, and
not just what they may receive provincially or locally or
for the time being. Everyone receives, or at least is
rightfully in the position to receive, the total tradition
of human existence, human realization, human struggle. That
total tradition is what I call the Great Tradition. That
tradition is many things, but in its ultimate expression, as
a whole, rather than as parts, it is authoritative, or
significant, or worthy of being taken seriously.

The Great Tradition, including science, is not an
alternative to science. It is not prescientific. Religion is
not prescientific. Religion is simply another orientation,
and it is senior to the orientation of science, because the
orientation of science is inherently analytical or
nonparticipatory. Science is a technique of observation. It
is not a way of life, or should not be. Although it is
becoming a way of life through technology and political
influence, it is not worthy of being accepted as a way of
life. You might as well say that materialism is worthy of
being a way of life. Very few people in human history who
have been serious about great matters would say that
materialism is an ultimately worthy philosophy. Some people
want to argue for it, of course, as people want to argue for
all kinds of things, but great Realizers, truly serious
individuals who overcame themselves, did not affirm
materialism in any single case. None of them did.
Materialism is an expression of a certain point of view that
basically belongs to the human sequence, or the first three
stages of life.

Science is therefore not worthy of being the authority,
or the source of certainty, in human societies. First of
all, it is not about certainty. It is about uncertainty and
dissociation, or nonparticipation, rather than
participation. Human existence must be fundamentally
participatory, or it is self-bound, self-contracted, not
free. Science is perhaps a worthy enterprise when entered
into intelligently, but it is not worthy of being the
authoritative revelation in human society. It must be seen
in its right context, in its place. It must be seen as it is
in terms of the seven stages of life. And it must not be
made much of beyond that.

What should be authoritative is the Great Tradition as a
whole. In other words, we should not be provincial. We must
take seriously the greater aspects of the Great Tradition
and not be localized or diminished in our humanity by
identification with merely exoteric things, or a lower order
of existence. But if we use the Great Tradition as our
tradition, we will inherit, you see, even the greatest of
considerations through to the seventh stage.

If humankind could reassociate itself with the Great
Tradition as an authoritative revelation, then the great
traditional principle of authority would be reintroduced
into human society. This is not at all the conventional,
political authority of domination and suppression, which has
nothing to do with the great matters considered in the Great

If you understand me rightly, you will acknowledge that
the reassertion of the true, great, traditional principle of
authority is essential for human well-being, and it can be
reintroduced into human societies by our acknowledging the
Great Tradition, which relieves us of provincialism,
relieves us of the point of view of merely the first three
stages of life. This would be good.

Now, you all are certainly examples of people who have
reconnected with authority as it has been acknowledged in
the Great Tradition. You therefore have a governor or a
source of certainty, of balance, of integrity, which, of
course, you must approach intelligently, not at all as true
believers or as cultists.

By virtue of your affirming the principle of certainty,
balance, and integrity, you are suggesting that you have
found a resolution to a fundamental human need. I suggest,
then, that the Great Tradition is worthy of being reaffirmed
as the tradition of all humanity, and of being reasserted,
therefore, in the context of human societies. If it were so
asserted the edge of all kinds of social, political,
cultural, and economic difficulties would certainly be
softened. Mankind would see a progressive education, a
progressive process of growth, an opening to growth on the
part of people everywhere.

I think this is a good idea, and you, by virtue of what
you are doing, are suggesting it is a good idea. The
question is: Is it possible? And I would say that in
principle, it is possible in the longest term. Through my
Spiritual Work I am providing a seed for the possibility.
However, I do not feel it is truly possible at the present
time. It is always possible in principle, but I do not think
it is at all likely now. The political and social realities,
the cultural realities, the reality of scientism as it is,
economic realities, the continued residual dominance of
exoteric institutions, religious and otherwise-all of that
would obviously prevent such a global cultural

This is another reason I playfully suggest to you that I
am talking to people who will appear a long time into the
future. I am. I am also talking to you all, but I am talking
to people yet to come and trying to introduce a seed of
possibility. The fullest Realization of what I am presenting
to human beings through my Work is not likely for some time
to come. But if this institution continues, and
authentically, then it will be an instrument for this
possibility. It will communicate this possibility, and if it
is successful in its communications, it will find
intelligent responses. Obviously, in principle, this is
something that should be done.

The success I look forward to in my lifetime is, of
course, the actual communication of my Teaching Revelation,
and that has been done to some significant degree already.
But beyond that, I look for the gathering of devotees to be
authentic and for the Communion to establish itself and show
all the signs that it can not only survive in the present
context but perpetuate itself and be a living seed, an
instrument, for the accomplishment of good things for
humanity in the future. Of course, those good things include
people entering into greater and greater stages of growth
and realization, and also being an influence at the level of
humanity at large. This Communion functions on many levels.
It provides a culture for people who grow through the
stages, but it also maintains its work with the public,
friends, and beginners. Likewise, its influence in the
future will be effective at many levels.

You see the reason for my urgency, then, in ensuring the
success of the response that is this Communion. Among other
things, the Communion is purposed to reestablish a
fundamental authority for human beings-to help humanity
become grounded once again, associated with the great
Realisation that permits that authority to be effective
through various cultural means, even at the beginning level
of human adaptation. Human beings would not thereby become
Spiritualizing robots-nothing of the kind. Uncertainty in
the ordinary sense remains, and there are still things to
learn. The lower levels of adaptation or growth remain part
of human existence, and all kinds of limitations must still
be dealt with creatively, but there is a grand difference
between dealing with all those things in the context of
sheer doubt and no understanding of the great matter at all
and confronting them in the context of a real, living
culture of ultimate, perfect Realization.

end of part 1

  Part 1
Part II

Authority, Certainty, and Freedom

a talk by Heart-Master Da

April 6, 1987