No Remedy – Bubba Free John – An Introduction to the life and practices of the spiritual community of Bubba Free John


No Remedy
An Introduction to the Life and Practices
of the Spiritual Community of Bubba Free John.

Compiled & edited by Bonnie Beavan
and Nina Jones in collaboration with Bubba Free John.
First edition: 6/75 – Revised edition 1976


Of course, we do not always appreciate this theatre of
the relationship with the Guru in its true terms, so there
are very natural and automatic liabilities that we must take
into account in the midst of our lives in Satsang with
Bubba. Each of Krishnas gopis was at some point convinced
that he loved her, her alone, and her absolutely, but each
in turn also had to be weaned of that notion. Just so, the
sadhana of life in the Company of Bubba Free John very often
will entail that necessary weaning process for you, when you
begin suspecting and hoping that you, personally, are the
“beloved one,” the chosen devotee, the hidden true
companion. Anyone who gets even the least attention from
Bubba cannot help but feel such thoughts and impulses arise.
What is necessary is to do sadhana relative to this
obsession, which means that you must act on another basis
entirely rather than these rising, exclusive, and limiting
emotions, which are actually ways of denying the Gurus real
Nature and Work. Rather than expecting attention from the
Guru, you must sacrifice your attention to the Guru

The opposite impulse is what Bubba refers to as the
“bhakti cult.” This is the tendency to make a cultic figure
of the Guru, to very deliberately or intentionally behave
toward Bubba as if he were literally some kind of spiritual

The Guru knows very well that individuals will, by
tendency, try to create this cult around him which will make
him essentially obsolete in his Real function. But he doesnt
make a law, bring down ten commandments and say, “Dont do
that anymore.” It is not fruitful to make a law. He creates
a demand, a condition over against which this tendency in
individuals is reflected, and that serves life in
consciousness, in which there arises not the bhakti cult,
not this cultic exploitation of the Guru, but the genuine
relationship to the Guru via sacrifice. So the relationship
between the true devotee and the Guru is quite a different
thing from the cultic bhakti relationship, which does not
include any understanding whatsoever, which is just an
expression of the need of the individual to become ecstatic
through means, to change his state, to exploit his
functional life processes to the point of absorption, of
self-forgetting. That is only a temporary affair and it
doesnt represent the process of Truth at all. It is a lie.
It is a form of ignorance.17

There are signs by which you may know your own tendency
toward this kind of distraction from Satsang. One of these
signs is overt emotionalism in the Gurus presence, which,
because it is extreme, distracts you from Satsang. Because
these feelings of love for the Guru are so pleasurable and
consoling, you may begin to feel that love for the human
Guru is equivalent to sadhana, and you may righteously
abandon the disciplines of the Gurus demands. The bhakti
cult also manifests in the enthusiastic “selling” of the
Guru as a cultic figure when talking to others about this
work, rather than making Satsang available to them in
natural, ordinary conversation. Or you may find yourself
acquiring rituals to invoke the blissful feelings of love
for the Gurus human form, by staring at his body or at his
picture, for example, or by obsessively concentrating on his
human form through secret methods which seem

It is natural for these tendencies to arise in Satsang.
But, like everything else that arises, they must be
understood. If you indulge these tendencies toward the cult,
then you will be forever distracted by your search, even in
the Gurus presence. But if you observe them as they arise
and surrender them through real attention and service to the
Guru, you will enjoy the true relationship with the Guru
which is Satsang, Divine Communion.

It is not a matter of taking on some discipline or other
and cutting it all out. It is a matter of doing sadhana. So
in the midst of all those qualities arising in you, you must
study the work, live these conditions, literally serve
individuals, and continually return to the position of the
Teaching. All of that will act as an offense to your
tendencies, and it will produce real symptoms—emotional
symptoms, physical symptoms, psychological symptoms, all
kinds of symptoms. At the same time that these symptoms are
arising, they are themselves representations of
self-reflection in consciousness, so they serve the
breakdown of the usual trend of conscious life

So when we get something like a true devotee, we dont
see somebody who is just fascinated with the human form of
the Guru or involved in an emotionalistic game in which he
becomes absorbed in various functions of the life-process.
In a devotee we see one who has truly yielded what appears
in the form of all his functions to the point of the
dissolution of that common principle, of that ordinary
activity. One who understands, in other words, is the
devotee. And his self-sacrifice or surrender is spontaneous,
coincident with his conscious life from moment to moment.
That is a very different thing from the mere ecstatic, who
does not represent the principle of consciousness in his

The phenomena of bhakti, like the phenomena of yoga,
and all things that arise in the process of this sadhana are
valued from the point of view of the spiritual traditions as
somehow the fruits of sadhana, somehow its attainment. These
phenomena represent in some sense the acquisition of the
phenomena that are equated with Truth. But in the way of
sadhana communicated in this Ashram they are not seen in
that way at all. They are seen as symptoms, as
representations of this crisis. They are a condition in
which understanding is appropriate, and that is what makes
the sadhana of this Dharma quite another matter than the
usual traditional approach to spiritual life

Those kinds of attachments that originate with ones
first approach, ones ordinary human fascinated approach to
the Guru, are of the same nature as ones attachments to the
aberrated forms of ones functional life in general. So the
demand for insight into this simple bhakti movement that has
no involvement with consciousness at all, the demand for the
understanding of that, the dissolution of that as the
principle of ones spiritual life, is not really different
from the demand that you enforce dietary restrictions, that
you have a job, that you limit your sexual life to a
relational condition. All these conditions are of the same
nature as this demand to understand the mere and transient
impulse to this bhakti cult of the Guru. It is of the same
nature. That original and psychological attachment to the
Guru is not the spiritual relationship to the Guru at all.
It is a form of self-indulgence. It is of the same nature as
love of some movie star or sports figure or your parents. It
is a form of enthusiasm. It has nothing whatever to do with
consciousness. It has nothing whatever to do with real
spiritual life or life in

Bubba has said that there are some who could not realize
their sadhana without the grace of an intimate, personal
relationship with him. Others, and these are more numerous
since he can be intimate with only a few, have not the
capacity to tolerate the fire of that personal contact, nor
does the realization of their sadhana require it

The theatre of Bubbas play with his intimates serves to
intensify everyones attachment to him, no matter how much
personal contact you may have with Bubba. That play is a
living demonstration and enactment of the relationship Bubba
offers everyone and of the demands that relationship
represents to both the eager and the fearful. So the
disciplines and gestures of friendship that Bubba bestows on
those close to him intensify the sadhana not only of those
to whom they are directed but also of those who may be
witness to that special theatre or who even hear about it
later. No matter how central a participant you may be, in
that theatre you experience the undermining of everything
conventional in you that is an obstruction to Satsang, or
the enjoyment of your true and spiritual relationship to
Bubba. You will find yourself becoming jealous, disdainful,
superior, full of self-doubt, fawning, and so on, obsessed
in one way or another with the extent of your intimacy with
Bubba. Thus the play between Bubba and his friends reflects
the quality of your own sadhana and serves the realization
in you of your prior, fundamental, and always happy
relationship with him

Intimate contact with Bubba is itself a condition for
sadhana. It is not merely a conventional pleasure to be
enjoyed for its own sake. Bubba has provided specific
instructions relative to the sadhana of those who live in
his personal presence.

Any individual whose relationship to me involves
personal intimacy, who spends time in the relatively
conventional atmosphere of my personal company, is obliged
to realize that intimacy as one of the conditions of
sadhana. The special circumstances of his or her
relationship to me must not be grasped for their own sake.
It must all be lived in Satsang, as sadhana. If it is not
so, then the individuals relationship to me, at least
relative to our intimate circumstances, becomes a
conventional and karmic occasion. Then, while living in my
company most intimately and personally, that individual will
inevitably become distracted by intense and arbitrary vital,
emotional, and gross level patterns of desire and
opportunity. Such people become self-meditative and
offensive in my company, and they vacillate between the
pursuit and the rejection of me in a constant theatre of
desires. Others who, because of their functional obligations
to our community, must spend time in my ordinary company,
but who engage that company as a conventional occasion,
become similarly distracted, self-indulgent, and
irresponsible in their relations with me, and the whole of
their lives becomes aberrated to that degree. In the end,
all of these apparent intimates begin to adapt to a life in
the Ashram that skirts the fundamental Condition and
conditions of sadhana. Some may even leave the Ashram.
Others must be established in conditions of life in the
community that are more ordinary, and which allow a formal
but not an intimate approach to me

Therefore, those who are presently or at any time in
the future involved in any kind or circumstance of personal
intimacy with me should constantly inspect the quality of
their living in my company. The Law is fulfilled only if
they accept and presently live the special conditions of
their intimacy with me as the spiritual discipline and
obligation of service to me in person. They, like all others
who come to me more formally, must realize their lives as
service to me. If it is not so, their relationship to me
becomes conventional and obsessive, driving them into forms
of karmic theatre, either toward me or away from me. And I
will not tolerate their company

Those who live or at any time work in my intimate or
personal company must do so as service to me personally. In
that case, they will all the while remain turned to me,
under all ordinary conditions, and the glamour of their
conventional and born existence will have no force in them.
Neither will theatrical circumstances that arise awaken
conflicts in their personal relations with me. Such
individuals may live with me and serve me without end. They
will entirely cease to make demands upon me, or to commit
offenses to me, based on the conventional or karmic patterns
of their desires. I am the only destiny of those who love
and serve me

Those who truly serve me while engaged in most
intimate contact with me will not demand or require personal
attention from me. Nor will they become aberrated and
confused with frustrations if I do not give them such
attention, now or ever. Their attention is in service to me,
not to their own circumstances, desires, and the subjective
complexes of their minds and lives

If anyone fails to do such sadhana in my intimate
company, I will send him away. I will no longer keep anyone
close to me who is not doing this sadhana of personal
service to me. Only those who demonstrate the real maturity
of sadhana are permitted to fulfill the functions that
require even the least personal contact with me. In the
past, I kept many immature and irresponsible individuals
near me in order to serve, test, and instruct them. Now I
expect the Ashram to serve such individuals, and I will
tolerate intimacy only with those whose sadhana is founded
in service to me, those whose spiritual relationship to me
is secure and conscious, who no longer look for me within
themselves or anywhere in all the worlds, who find me always
in Satsang and serve me with their life of love

There is a fire in my Company that you will come to
know. The Teaching, the Community, and the formalities of a
right spiritual approach to me are the way for all who would
do this sadhana. Let no one come to me in any fashion that
does not conform to this. Let no one approach me in the
common way again, for I have renounced the common life, even
in this Ashram, to tend my fire in secret. My fire consumes
the man, and even, in Truth, the soul. My devotee is
enlightened by my fire. The fool and his beloveds are only

Bubba makes himself available to us under all kinds of
circumstances in the Ashram, both formal and intimate, for
one purpose: to test and perfect the quality of our approach
to him. Every occasion in his Company serves that purpose.
The Guru is always offering his gift of Prasad, which is
himself, fully and openly. Therefore he is always extremely
sensitive to the quality of the approach we make to him. And
he demands that we be responsible in our relationship to him
under all conditions.

All devotees should approach me formally, whether in
the Satsang Hall or in any moment of the day. Everyone
should be mindful not to assume an irresponsibly familiar
attitude toward my company. No one should touch my physical
body unless I indicate the familiarity first. And no one
should approach me, verbally or physically, all of a sudden,
but approach calmly and direct themselves to my attention in
a conscious and self-controlled manner.20


15. Bubba Free John, “Divine Distraction,” an unpublished
talk given to the Ashram, December 16, 1975

16. Ibid

17. Bubba Free John, “The Bhakti Cult,” an unpublished
talk given to the Ashram, October 29, 1974

18. Ibid

19. Bubbas written instructions to the Ashram, November
29, 1975

20. Ibid.

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Adi Da, Ramana Maharshi, Nityananda, Shridi Sai Baba, Upasani Baba,  Seshadri Swamigal , Meher Baba, Sivananda, Ramsuratkumar
“The perfect
among the sages is identical with Me. There is absolutely no
difference between us”
Chap XX,

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