There Is Nothing Left But the Ash – Adi Da Samraj – 1988


My Unique Gesture

The following is an essay taken from a number of writings
of Adi Da Samraj and some of his devotees describing His
movement from being a Teacher to Transmitter, called His

Excerpted from
There Is
Nothing Left But the Ash

a talk by
Adi Da Samraj entitled,


Avataric Revelation and the Restoration of Spiritual
Culture: On the Life, Work and Passing of Adi Da Samraj and
the preservation of his Spiritual Legacy

Michael (Anthony) Costabile


HEART MASTER DA: A great Urge appeared that
produced the whole adventure leading to the Vedanta

But that was not the end of it. That simply was a sign
that the work with these vehicles had gone on long enough
that Teaching Work could begin. A sufficient transformation
of these vehicles had occurred for the Confession of
Awakening to be made in the context of this body-mind, gross
and subtle, or deep. But it was just the beginning of the
Work for which I had taken birth. It was the beginning of my
taking on and transforming the qualities of others through
this vehicle.

That is what I did for all those years of Teaching Work,
until the Great Event in 1986 in which all that was
accomplished by a unique Gesture, a Demonstration about
which all of you have heard something. Some of you were
around me at the time, heard me say things, observed me in
one way or another. And I have talked about it on a variety
of occasions over the last two and a half years or so, said
things about it that were intended to be revealing about it.
But I also called upon you all to consider it, show me your
response, show me your sign, indicate your understanding to
me. And there has been almost nothing in response. Just an
amazing creation of chaos has been going on here and no
response whatsoever, really.

Looking at this gathering as a whole, it seems to be in
many ways living in the past, in terms of being stuck in a
negative withdrawal over the last few years, and living in
the past in the sense of wanting to go back and do it all
over again or resume the quality of relationship that you
had to me in past years during my Teaching time when I was
trying to help you come to the point of being able to do
this sadhana fully. But neither one of those tendencies is

You all may be lingering in the reactivity and withdrawal
of the last few years, and I am here trying to work with you
on the basis of this Great Event in 1986, which you hardly
had the attention even to observe. You all want to associate
with me as you did in the past, and I am not even here
anymore in that form. Yet you persist, approaching me as if
I were, and dramatizing all your reluctance and
amateurishness, as if I am going to respond by Teaching
again, I suppose, or by letting you off the hook, or by
associating with you on some other basis than the demand for
real practice. And I am not going to do that. It is not
there to be done. It is not there to be repeated once and
for all with grand changes even in my own Sign. It is not
something than can be repeated, but it would not be fruitful
to repeat either.



Avataric Revelation and the Restoration of Spiritual
Culture: On the Life, Work and Passing of Adi Da Samraj and
the preservation of his Spiritual Legacy

“In that Great Event, I spontaneously Made a different
kind of Gesture toward all, which was (in some fundamental
sense) the equivalent of the Bodily Embrace that I would
Give to all human beings, and even to all who are
self-conscious and dying in this place – by Fully Assuming
This Body, in the apparent likeness of all, and Accepting
the sorrow of mortality, without the slightest reservation.”
(Knee of Listening, p. 618).


The Years of Extrication – Michael

In that Great Event, Adi Da writes that the
spiritual energies animating his body-mind underwent a
radical shift. It was imperative that he extricate himself
from his previous mode of teaching. This, he says, was
essential to preserve the physical body, but also to create
the undisturbed psycho-physical environment required for his
work of silent transmission and blessing. To this end, he
called devotees to transform their relationship to him: no
longer would he submit to them as he had done for so many
years in order to reflect (and urge them beyond) their egoic
limitations. Rather, on the basis of their devotional
recognition, devotees were to reverse the pattern of their
relationship to him. The time had come for them to submit
and conform themselves to him-a calling Adi Da would
reiterate relentlessly, even while devotees continued to
resist for many years to come.

But the die was cast in the yogic event that Adi Da came
to describe as the initiation of his “Divine Avataric
Self-‘Emergence’”. It was, he says, his
complete descent into the human body, “down to the
toes”, but also into the entire cosmic domain of
conditional manifestation:

Through that effortless, will-less Integration with human
suffering, something about My Divine Avataric Work became
more profoundly Accomplished and more Auspicious than ever
before. I have not dissociated from My Native (or Inherent)
Divine State of Being. Rather, I have Accomplished your
state completely, more profoundly than you (yourself) are
sensitive to it. On January 11, 1986, I Became this
Body-Utterly. And My Mood is different. My face is sad, but
not without Illumination. Now I Am the Murti, the Icon-Full
of My Own Avatarically Self-Transmitted Divine Spiritual
Force, but also completely what you are, Suffered
constantly. I have no distance whatsoever from this
suffering anymore (Knee 619).

It is fair to say that devotees were stunned and
uncomprehending of the profound changes in Adi Da after that
fateful event. He began a fast that was to continue for four
months. He traveled to California and gathered with devotees
there, dressed in fiery orange (the traditional color of
renunciation) and emanating a fierce intensity and presence.
He described himself as “an ascetic on fire”,
making the demand for renunciation his passionate calling.
For a time, devotees outwardly conformed to his renunciate
requirements: raw diet, celibacy, intensive service, and the
esoteric practices described in what is now his Lion Sutra.
But their responsiveness was again short-lived, and over the
months devotees felt they could not sustain the radical
practices in life or consciousness that Adi Da enjoined.

The process of extricating himself from his
teaching-submission began to unfold in painstaking cycles:
Adi Da would continually call his devotees to respond to him
by subordinating their own egoic impulses and fully
embracing the way of life he was giving. This, he made
clear, was the inevitable demonstration-response of their
devotional recognition of him. And it was the means for
their liberation. However, seeing their lack of
responsiveness yet again, he would engage them anew in
various reality-considerations as ever before. All the
while, he was working to free himself from this pattern and
to stand “Simply Divinely Self-Revealed As I Am, In and
As Reality Itself”.

Even though Adi Da stated and re-stated his need for
devotees to understand what had occurred in January of 1986,
it would be another fourteen years before he himself was
compelled by a continuing series of profound yogic crises to
end his self-submission work firmly and finally.

Throughout those fourteen years (and remarkably, even
beyond), Adi Da recapitulated his entire teaching several
times over. Each time, beginning essentially from scratch,
he presented his basic arguments about seeking, the
self-contraction, the root-error of egoity and
“point-of-view”, while also revealing anew the
self-existing, self-radiant nature of consciousness and
truth and the means of devotional recognition and responsive
communion with him that are the essence of the Reality-Way
of Adidam. He also enumerated the complex details of
reality-practice and the transcendental spiritual process at
every level, including its divinely self-realizing
fulfillment in the “Perfect Practice”.28

Since the Great Event of January, 1986, My Divine
Avataric Process has Been an Extrication from the patterns
with which I had Become Conjoined. That Process of
Extrication (rather than dissociation or detachment) has
Been a Process of Purification (or “Tapas”, of the
“Heat of Purifying fire”). That Process of
Extrication has Been not only the Purification of the
Combined Vehicle of My Divine Avataric birth, but also the
Purification of all of Its associations and relations. By
Means of the Process of My Divine Avataric Renunciate
Demonstration, all-and-All have Been Purified by Me. . . .
That Purification of all-and-All Began with the Great Event
of January 1986 and Culminated fourteen years later, in the
Ruchira Dham Event of April 2000.



Excerpted from
There Is
Nothing Left But the Ash


Because of the
accomplishment of this Great Work, a great opportunity
exists for you, for anyone who will practice, but there is
really nothing much that has been done about it to date. I
have indicated to you some very basic things that would have
to change. I am simply here to do the one do thing that I

I am looking for those who can, who do, understand my
Work, those whose acknowledgement is true, those whose
relationship to me is right, those whose practice is
exemplary, to those who understand all these matters and can
therefore rightly commnicate it to others and align them to
me rightly so they can make use of me, even as


Deep Personality


DEVOTEE: Love-Ananda I wasn’t completely clear on
the distinction You were making between the in Awakening
into Sahaj Samadhi at Vedanta Temple and the Death Event in
Fiji in 1986, particularly in relation to what You are
referring to as the gross personality and the deeper
personality and how the sadhana changed, and how the sadhana
developed through the end of Your Teaching Work.

HEART-MASTER DA: I wouldn’t call it sadhana. I
didn’t do sadhana after Vedanta Temple Event. I did my Work
after the Vedanta Temple Event.

All aspects of this manifest personality, gross and
subtle, became capable of the great Confession in the
Vedanta Temple Event. That was full Awakening in the context
of this body-mind, gross, subtle, and causal. It wasn’t my
Enlightenment, so to speak. It was the product of my work
with this vehicle, all those thirty years, so that this
Awakening could be brought into the context of the body-mind
rather than simply be Prior to it.

After that Event my Teaching Work began. That Event
initiated the Teaching Work. It initiated a process. So did
the Death Event two and a half years ago. The Death Event
also initiated a process, which has been going on since, but
a different kind of process. From the time of the Vedanta
Temple Event until the Event in 1986 there was all that
Teaching Work, which was submission to others in order to
Teach. I used all the ordinary and extraordinary signs in
this vehicle, all the ordinary signs of the gross
personality, all the extraordinary signs of the deeper
personality, in a Play with others to Instruct and Awaken
them. I used my capacity to assume the likeness of others
for all those years to reflect them to themselves.

In that process of assuming the likeness of others in my
submission to them, the vehicle, gross and subtle, took on
all those karmas, absorbing all that likeness and ultimately
forcing the crisis of the Death Event in 1986, when the Work
ceased to be one of submitting to others, and my life in its
appearance ceased to be one of assuming the likenesses of
the grosser and deeper personality associated with this
birth. Whatever qualities there may be in this body through
its inheritance, and in the deeper psyche by virtue of its
inheritance, are no longer animated in any sense on their
own, so to speak. Such things are inherently karmic
entities. Their karmas are purified.

But in the Death Event in which, as I have said, all of
this was assumed by me to the toes, all that had been
inherited in this body-mind in this lifetime and previously
was likewise submitted, providing a unique vehicle for the
service of others, a unique nakedness of Siddhi, which only
devotees can confess. Find it out then. How much more do you
want me to tell you? If you come to me as a devotee and do
the practice in my Company, you receive the Gift. You tell
me what it is. You tell one another what it is. You find out
what it is.


“I have done what I can do and
said what I have to say”


But instead of doing that, you see, human beings
ordinarily are submitting to their own apparent mechanisms.
They are deluded by their own energies, their own Shaktis,
so to speak, their own tendencies, their own vehicles of
manifestation. They are deluded by the gross personality,
and then if they break that up a little bit, they start
becoming deluded by the deeper personality, you see. They
move from being little egos to being bigger egos, and still
it is all the egoic process. It is all a matter of the
illusions of the cosmic display. What must be Realized is
the Divine Condition Itself, the secret of Which is Prior to
the body-mind, Prior to the gross and deeper aspects of
manifestation. It is Consciousness Itself, yes, but
Consciousness Realizing Its Inherent Condition.

I am here to serve that Process, to establish that
Process, to Awaken others if they approach me understanding
Who I Am and what my Work is, and if they are able to
seriously enter into the real and Great Process. If you will
not do that, then there is really nothing more I can do, you
see. I have done what I can do and said what I have to say,
and now it is completely up to every individual to make a
decision about the matter.

Do you have any more questions about the difference
between these two events?


“Now a new Work continues as a


DEVOTEE: I think You clarified it. Thank You.

HEART-MASTER DA: The Vedanta Temple Event
initiated the Teaching Work or the Work of submission to
others. The Death Event brought an end to the process of
submission to others. It initiated that time of my Work in
which it is required, obligatory, that people enter into the
traditional Guru-devotee relationship, that they make their
submission, that they respond to me and no longer require me
to respond to them as I did as Teacher. All that submission
to others became summarized in the Death Event in 1986 and
was brought to an end there, and now a new Work continues as
a potential, if people will make use of my Company. If they
will not, there is no Work going on. It is not that there
was one kind of Enlightenment in 1970 and another kind of
Enlightenment in 1986. I am not talking about my
Enlightenment! I am talking about your Enlightenment, Work
done for your sake, which appeared in different forms,
stages of Work for your sake at various points in my
apparent lifetime.

At the time of the Vedanta Temple Event that Work
produced one particular Sign, the Teaching Work. After the
Death Event another particular Sign appeared. Is there
anything about it that is not clear?

DEVOTEE: One of the things You said that was
clarifying for me was that the Process is revealed over
time. I was just thinking of Your own Teaching Work, how it
began after the Vedanta Temple Event. It took a few years
for Your Teaching Work to really take hold and then a period
where it became very animated and instructive, and You drew
all of us to You very directly and concretely. It was very
useful for me today to hear You talk about the Death Event
as a process also. It is a process, I feel, of Revelation
for us because there had been such a reluctance on our part
to really understand it and feel the significance of it so
that we can allow You to actually animate that Sign in its

HEART MASTER DA: You won’t be able to understand
it really until what it requires of you becomes acceptable
to you. It carries with it an inherent demand, if you
understand it. If you say you understand it, you must do
what it requires. But you would rather put some mind in
between and not understand it, so that you can pretend you
are a beginner and do not really have to practice very much
yet and all the rest of it.

The psychology of not wanting to be obliged has a great
deal to do with it. More than anything else, I think, that
is it. You want things to be as they were and you want to be
let off the hook relative to sadhana. When sadhana becomes
the point and you become serious about it, then my Sign
becomes comprehensible to you.

As we just pointed out again, this Event in 1986
initiated a process, the first aspect of which was the sign
of penance, or “tapas”. Just as the Event itself was
associated with a death, or a giving up, its continued sign
for some period of time is the sign in some exaggerated
sense of tapas, or penance, beginning with the “sannyas”
time. All that had been accumulated was naturally, not
through some kind of effort, but quite naturally and
spontaneously, released, purified. The initial sign took the
form, then, of extreme detachment, and over time that
detachment became more normalized. It has not gone away,
obviously, but something about it has been absorbed,
understood, accommodated by you.

I did that initial work to the point that it was finished
and no longer necessary. The next stage came, which was the
stage of dealing with your neglect and abuse of this one.
That was last year, during the “Indoor Yajna” period, and to
this day I have endured your continued neglect and abuse,
and your apparent lack of understanding of what I am about,
what my Work is about, what the relationship to me is for,
and the reluctance on the part of practitioners to seriously
accept their responsibilities for the practice and for
everything that relates to the Treasures and for the
institution, the culture, and the community. There is a kind
of tapas I must endure by standing firm and raising my voice
as necessary, to simply make it clear that this is something
you are going to have to deal with, something you are going
to have to understand. I am not here to take a step back to
do the past again. The Way is here for you now as a demand,
a Calling, and if you want to respond to that Calling, you
must accept the responsibilities that come with it.

Is there anything more about that?

DEVOTEE: No. Thank You.

DEVOTEE: I realize that part of my reluctance has
been a misunderstanding of the process itself, which You
have made very clear, yet I have held out, in a sense,
hoping that somehow the past could be repeated. In fact what
You are now for us is merely Present. I realize that You
have altogether stopped making that gesture, that what
actually died was that gesture rather than a person. And I
realize that what we have to do is make a sacrifice…

HEART MASTER DA: It wasn’t that I decided not to
make the gesture anymore. I made it completely. The gesture
was submission to devotees, submission to practitioners,
submission to others, submission to the world. That does not
come to an end until death. Submission to death is such a
process. I didn’t decide to not do it anymore. I did it
completely, and my doing it completely forced another sign,
another demonstration, of this Siddhi that changed the Work
itself, changed the stage of my Demonstration and my Work
with others.

DEVOTEE: I realized that similarly we must die to
the gesture we have been making, or refusing to make.

HEART-MASTER DA: The gesture you have been making
is submission to yourself. So you have to have a “death
event” to submit to the Divine, submit to the Sat-Guru. You
have to change the course your life – which you have done
not done up until now. You all as a gathering have not done
this until now. You have been indulging in my submitting to
you for as long as you have known me. You figure that is
just something I do, it is just there, it is the way it is
supposed to and you all go on remaining rather superficial
and unresponsive. That has nothing to do with sadhana. That
has nothing to do with Liberation. That is foolishness, see,
worldliness. To do sadhana you must die to yourself in some
sense. You enter into the process of such dying submitting
your own body-mind to Divine, submitting your own body to
the Sat-Guru through the practice sadhana, submitting these
conditional mechanisms to the Condition that is Free of
limitation, to the Samadhi of the Realizer Himself, Which is
nothing but Samadhi. This is the ancient offering, the
ancient means.

But yes, you are right. A death, then, a throwing off of
your own egoity as the principle of existence and accepting
sadhana as your destiny. This is a great gesture. Each
person making this gesture may say it is an act of faith or
it is based on understanding. It is always both. Both the
heart-response and some intelligent consideration are
required in any case. It is just that some people, because
of the quality of the personality, say it is more the act of
faith, and some others say it is more the act of
understanding. This quality you read in yourself is
responsible for the choice later on of which of the two
basic approaches to practice you take up. But both of those
approaches are fundamentally the same, with just a somewhat
different emphasis.

Everyone who goes through this death makes this gesture,
makes it on the basis of faith and understanding,
spontaneous response and considered response, both. But in
doing so you submit yourself. You turn yourself in a greater
direction. You stop submitting to yourself, just as I
stopped submitting to you two and a half years ago. You have
to stop submitting to yourself if you are going to truly
live this practice in my Company.

What else about it?

DEVOTEE: I just want to say how grateful I am and what a
great gesture it is. I remember when I first saw You after
the Death Event in 1986, how absolutely beautiful and
wonderful You looked and how something obviously had
profoundly changed. It was a great sign and revelation to
me. And You continue to make that sign to us and make it
possible for us to make this gesture.

HEART MASTER DA: The one thing you may be observing is
that this body is not so much showing the signs of the
company it keeps anymore. [Laughter.] Or it is not
keeping bad company anymore, let us say. It doesn’t have to
endure that absorption. On the other hand, because you will
not use me rightly, I am basically living in isolation. You
are not using my Company. I am not interested in being
accessible to you if you are not going to rightly use my
Company. I am not here to absorb your limitations and
abuses, but I am here to be available to real practitioners,
people who are seriously here to do the sadhana.

You have to find such people and create the circumstance
of our association. All of that is your business, you see.
Until you do that, all I can do is wait and stay confined to
my quarters – which is what I am doing.

end of part one.

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