Handling Business – On Love

On Tolerance

Excerpts from recent talks by Heart-Master Da (Adi Da

Originally published in Crazy Wisdom magazine, Vol 6, No
6, Nov/Dec 1987.

“Only when people transcend
themselves in response to wise men and Realizers will the
work of the wise men and Realizers make any


HEART-MASTER DA: Conflict among religions has for a long
time been a cause of stress and struggle and war all over
the world. Ramakrishna was a voice for tolerance in his own
time. He hoped that by speaking ecstatically as a wise man
he could influence people to be more tolerant of one
another. Shirdi Sai Baba tried to reduce the conflict
between Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi continued that tradition
by demonstrating and constantly vocalizing the attitude of
tolerance, expecting people would see the reasonableness of
it and change, or tolerate one another. Except for those who
were already disposed to do so, people did nothing of the

I likewise speak for the disposition of tolerance. But my
mere speaking is not going to change anybody. You must not
be naive. My speaking is not even changing anything in you,
unless you are disposed to change and not merely disposed to
agree with what I say. You should feel criticized by the
demand for tolerance. Observe and understand yourself, and
transcend your limits and your intolerance. Only when people
transcend themselves in response to wise men and Realizers
will the work of the wise men and Realizers make any
difference. Wise men and Realizers naturally talk about
tolerance, because tolerance is inherent to Realization, but
they are speaking to people who are not Realized. There will
be no grand transformation of humanity, no matter how many
Realizers appear and speak of tolerance, or communicate
Realization, until human beings in their ordinariness grasp
the logic of it.

No difference has ever been made by any Realizer relative
to the matter of tolerance. The difference must be made by
everybody else. Realizers are simply Realizers. They are
inherently tolerant. They are not the problem – everybody
else is the problem. You are the problem. The ego is not
tolerant. The ego is clinging, dependent, self-indulgent,
resistive, reactive, adolescent, reactively moved toward
independence, wanting to affirm without intelligence,
wanting to believe without inspection, wanting to be
religious without self-knowledge and self-overcoming.

Religious institutions have therefore tended historically
to be the circumstance of egos dramatizing even intolerance.
Many millions, even billions, of people on Earth think of
themselves as religious, yet how many of them are Realized?
How many of them are even tolerant of one another, even
though in every tradition there are Realizers, or virtuous
spokesmen, who speak of tolerance, love, goodwill, and
forgiveness? These virtues are supposed to be fundamental to
all religious traditions, and yet there are people all over
the Earth who call themselves religious and who do not
exhibit these signs.

Nations, and politics itself, must not be based on mere
idealism. The realities of human life and the immaturity of
human beings must be taken into account. Therefore, even
though you may be of a virtuous opinion, tolerant in your’
attitude toward other practitioners, other forms of
practice, and other religious views, you must be very
practical about what you do to preserve the Communion and
this Way of life. You must not be naive and expect that
simply because you speak virtuously or stand for virtuous
opinion, everybody, merely by listening to you, will
likewise be made virtuous, or is already so by virtue of
religious practice.

Thus, be tolerant, yes, and do not be reactive. But on
the other hand, as a practical matter, do what you must do
to survive, to help others to survive, to help your
community to survive, to help this Way of life to survive.
In doing so you may have to struggle with the negative
limitations and the intolerance of others. You cannot be
merely naive or idealistic you must be realistic. But in
principle and at heart you must be free of intolerance even
to be realistic and to survive and to help your own
community to survive.

Tolerance can be communicated, but tolerance must also be
exhibited through very practical efforts that effectively
help human beings to grow and to survive and that help the
community to grow and to survive. You cannot afford to be
idealistic if your way of life is to survive.

Therefore, even though you voice tolerant views and have
no bad intentions in the world, you must take into account
the realities of the world and the realities of others. You
must survive, you must defend yourselves, you must be
strong, and you must also be good in heart. (August 22,

HEART-MASTER DA: Because people generally presume that to
abuse every religious organization other than their own is
acceptable, the norm all over the world is religious war and
endless conflicts. People of goodwill are trying to create a
circumstance of tolerance, particularly in this day and age
when all the traditions are standing right next to one
another, when people write books and fly all over the world
to communicate their tradition to everybody. Obviously an
atmosphere of tolerance must be created in the domain of
religion, just as it must be created in the domain of
politics, in the domain of relations between nations of
different political persuasions. There must be tolerance,
but in being tolerant you must not lose the integrity of
your own point of view.

In principle nothing associated with maintaining the
integrity of your point of view should work against the
great purpose of being tolerant. To become tolerant does not
mean you must become mediocre, in other words adapting to
every other point of view. What would be the need for
tolerance then? Tolerance is a sign you must manifest in the
circumstance of difference. Yes, maintain the integrity of
your point of view and do the necessary and happy things you
must do to survive as a gathering, but also be tolerant.
Make gestures of friendship to all other beings and all
traditions, all schools, all Teachers, all Masters,

Unfortunately, the norm in religion today is politics,
rivalry, offense. As long as you are speaking within your
own cult, you are bright and shiny and fascinating to the
members of your cult. But as soon as you address others, you
must be very wary, put them down, make politics, assume they
are opponents, exhibit no tolerance.

Betrayal is the norm between opposites, or others, in
religion as in daily life. For the most part in the Great
Tradition, religion is a part of politics. Religious
organizations thus tend to function politically. Very little
tolerance is exhibited among religious organizations, just
as very little tolerance is exhibited among political
entities. Religion and politics are considered circumstances
of rivalry. To use all the strategies you can to make
nothing out of your opponent is the norm in politics, is it

It is the same in religion, among the great religions and
among the small religions, as it is among individuals.
Rivalry is a demonstration of egoity. It is an intention to
allow egos or the egoic principle, even represented
collectively, to survive in the face of opposition, or
others. Tolerance is therefore not the norm in the world of

DEVOTEE: Love-Ananda, You have called us to inspect our
conventional religious orientation to the Way of the Heart,
and I have been feeling in myself a great relief in letting
go of the intolerance I might represent in relationship to
the Great Tradition. And as You say, of course, You are
calling us to discriminate.

HEART-MASTER DA: Discrimination is not intolerance.
Discrimination is totally benign, and most profoundly and
rightly tolerant. So to merely invest yourself in study of
The Basket Of Tolerance without discrimination is not
tolerance. Merely to read it, believe it, think it, adapt to
it, synthesize a new way out of the great Way of the Heart
from that reading-that is not tolerance. Tolerance requires
discrimination. Without discrimination there is no
tolerance. You must know the difference between the Way that
you practice and the practice of some other. Knowing that
difference, you should love one another, tolerate one
another, bless one another.

You must also guarantee the survival of our own Way, our
own Communion, and that requires discrimination. It requires
reality consideration, not an idealistic, bright-eyed glance
at the Great Tradition-“It’s all the same, and it’s all
beautiful.” How beautiful is the Great Tradition, anyway? It
is not full of tolerance. It is not full of absolute
Realization. It is not full of love. It is full of argument,
conflict, death even, politics, stress, illusion, delusion,
egoity. It is also full of expressions of various forms of
Realization, great statements, great confessions, and great
ideals. But in fact, or in reality, how many of even great
ideals have been practiced?

Effectively, the history of religion or the history of
the Great Tradition is the same as the history of human
politics. It is a great affair of conflict and death, full
of male games primarily and female games secondarily at the
center of the hive. As in daily life, as in politics, so in
religion. Yet the Great Tradition is also a source of Wisdom
if we discriminate and understand it rightly. Even so, there
is no True or Ultimate Source of Wisdom other than the
Realizer. The Great Tradition, in all of its forms, made
generation by generation, is in Realizers only – Realizers
in various stages. Realizers are the source of this Great
Tradition. And they have been bastardized, manipulated,
used, transformed, and cultified by followers and thinkers
and talkers.

To even understand the Great Tradition requires great
discrimination and great purity. It requires profound tools
of consideration and discrimination. Even to read the Great
Tradition without suffering insult and illusion requires a
great heart-force of practice. Just so, it requires great
love and tolerance to live. But to be full of love and
tolerance and survive, even bodily, you must also be very
canny, very real, very practical. Therefore, this Communion
must manifest that sign. You must be canny, real, and
practical, as well as full of tolerance and love and wisdom.
(August 18, 1987)