Self Contraction and Hearing



The Yajna Discourses of Santosha Adi Da (1995-1996)

Originally titled, There’s
No Escape, There’s Only Realization

This talk is edited from the above original talk and


Self Contraction and


A Gathering “Consideration” with Beloved Bhagavan Adi Da
In The Manner of Flowers On January 5, 1995

AVATARA ADI DA: ..did you find out that you can Realize
What everything is? [silence]

Is anybody Realizing It now?

[long pause]

DEVOTEE: That was it.

DEVOTEE D: I think we should keep considering that .


DEVOTEE: It feels as though, Beloved, that when you relax
the conceptual mind, the perceptual mind is felt at

AVATARA ADI DA: Mm? And thats a perception.

DEVOTEE: But it also shows you the deepest place to relax

AVATARA ADI DA: Yes, well, what if you do that?

What if you relax that perception, too? In other words,
where there is no contraction whatsoever.

If theres no contraction, then youre not merely
experiencing but in some inherent sense Realizing What Is ,
because youre not adding anything. Theres no “you” in the
active sense affecting What Is. So youre not experiencing
What Is through any kind of medium of thought or

Its just It.

If you feel It utterly, then the perceptual mind that is
even aware of your own physical form relaxes and there are
no boundaries. And no separate self. [pause]

There are levels of emotion in it that follow, rather
formless-positive emotions, negative emotions. Thats just
another modification of Energy.

Feel through each of those.

Add absolutely nothing to What Is. [pause]

Theres a kind of anxiety at the root of it. Thats the ego
knot. Feel through it.

[very long pause, several minutes]

Now do you see how much further youd have to go to allow
it completely? [Devotees answer that they do.]

So you have to do the sadhana, you see. [long

DEVOTEE: Beloved, that was a very extraordinary
experience, because I felt like it began with the conceptual
mind relaxing to begin with, as we have talked about.


DEVOTEE: And now all kinds of perceptions when we were
just silent there. And then even those perceptions kind of
all being just eliminated down to what felt like was the
contraction at the core here. And at the same time I was
seeing You, just Witnessing You. It was like I could simply
see Who You Are. And I felt like there were moments when I
would just evaporate into That in some sense, that this knot
was forgotten for a split second, but then it was right


DEVOTEE: It was so strongly there. And I felt, apart from
conceptions and perceptions and so on, that that was simply
going to be there until completely purified by sadhana.
There was no way of thinking it through or perceiving it
through. It was simply there. And I felt what needed to be
surrendered in order for that to be transcended.

AVATARA ADI DA: Yes, if you really feel that knot, you
dont want to feel it. Hm? But it is the ground of your
ordinary life. You try to distract yourself from it
constantly, through seeking and self-indulgence and whatnot.
But if you really find out about yourself, find this knot,
find what your real experience is, then you won’t want to
put up with that. It will oblige you to do sadhana, to feel
constantly more and more beyond it.

DEVOTEE: Beloved, I feel this. I feel this need to go
beyond that, what this illusion is, very strongly now. Its
something that You Gave me this year.


DEVOTEE: I feel that its such a profound vision to see
life as an illusion. The Beauty of What is other than that,
you know, is just Shining more and more to me.


But to Realize It you must utterly relinquish your
self-position. So that doesnt make life a negative. That
just means that thats what life is about. Life is
inherently, by Law, sadhana, God-wardness, going beyond
separate self.

Generally, people dont seem to know anything about that.
So by Grace you may become aware of it, and no longer be
willing to be distracted by your cover-up, to keep yourself
somehow or other unaware of it and becoming very, then,
superficial, peripheral, in your mind, your body, your
feelings. But all the time youre motivated by it. Youre
always seeking something or other. You even forget what the
hell youre seeking. Or in one moment or other its this,
that, or the other particular thing, but always avoiding the
knowledge, the discovery, of your own action that is
producing all of that.

So it is a Grace to find it out. But it is not in itself
Graceful. In other words, its not a mere pleasure to find
this knot, you see, if, having found It out, you must do
sadhana. Otherwise, well, maybe youll forget a little bit
again by getting very superficial, but youll give up the
opportunity to deal with it.

DEVOTEE: Beloved, I feel that everything in the world is
about that. That is all its about, is avoiding that.

AVATARA ADI DA: Avoiding this knowledge of this knot. The
whole worlds avoiding this knowledge of the knot.

DEVOTEE: Everything that Ive done, even in Your Company
and the practice that Youve Given us, Ive had to come to see
that everything I do, everything I do, everything I do,


DEVOTEE: … is intentionally keeping me from feeling
that and going beyond that.

AVATARA ADI DA: Well, truly, youre only willing to feel
that knot that motivates you when you simultaneously,
Gracefully, discover What Transcends it and are Given a
Wisdom that communicates itself to you so that you know how
to go beyond it. In other words, individuals will
automatically dissociate from this depth unless they can
somehow come to terms with it through the Graceful discovery
of What Transcends it and the finding of Wisdom to deal with

So when all those things coincide, and all of a sudden
you find youre able to feel this thing that motivates you,
this knot, this disturbance, because you know that theres
something you can do about it, then there is the What to
Realize thats beyond it.

But still the sadhana is a matter of actually dealing
with this dis-ease. In other words, the religious life, this
Way in particular, is not about consolation merely and
distraction and so forth, in the conventional sense, or
ego-supporting sense. The process, moment to moment, goes
beyond the self-contraction, particularly as hearing
awakens. Thats when there is most profound understanding,
knowing of this self-contraction, and that it is your own
activity. But even the sadhana from the beginning is about
going beyond this knot and not avoiding it through
conventional-mindedness and consolation and such.

So the actual process is to stay in place, in this place
of separate self, surrendering to Me, to the point of
self-forgetting Communion with Me, true going beyond it. Its
that from the beginning, not merely after hearing. Even from
the beginning it is so. But you have to understand that
thats what the sadhana is about, or you will miss the point
and think the religious life is about consolation or mere
behavior and so forth.

You are to stand in that position of that knot, feeling
your own dis-ease, motivation.

DEVOTEE: Its so painful just to feel that, though.

AVATARA ADI DA: But its there anyway. [CARL:
Yeah.] So you must embrace this Way and actually go
beyond it.

But that means you have to endure it over the period of
your sadhana. Theres not only the fundamental knot itself.
There are all of its reflections in the body-mind,
tendencies of one kind or another, and so on. You have to
endure the purification of these things by standing in the
knot-position, sensitive to all the limitations of your
disposition, and surrender to Me to the point of forgetting
it, relinquishing it, keeping the faculties all focused in
Me, in this Communion Only then do you make this knot

You initially go through a process of purification where
the resultant knots, the different kinds of behaviors,
attitudes, and so forth, that bind you appear. These must be
purified through the initial stages of sadhana, even up to
the “Perfect Practice”. So the initial sadhana is purifying,
and its necessarily, then, a matter of being in touch with
this knot in life-difficulties and so on, all tendencies
that would make life difficult. Instead of dramatizing them,
maintain the discipline of this Way and practice this
Communion every moment.

In this manner you will be purified by this Communion
with Me in all those areas that are relaxed, forgotten,
disciplined. So that more and more the practice becomes
extraordinarily concentrated, not in peripheral matters of
experiencing and so on but in the root itself. And then the
“Perfect Practice” can begin. So, once sufficient
purification has occurred, that there is this extraordinary
concentration, then suddenly My Instruction about the
Witness becomes inherently Obvious and is thereafter not
something that can be forgotten.

Its not a something that can be forgotten. Its not merely
a thought. Its a noticing that you never forget. Its a
noticing even beyond the mind.

Now, you can notice it, of course, for a moment, if I
Call you to.

[Beloved Adi Das Voice becomes quiet.] I mean,
isnt it true, right now? No matter what is arising, you are
the Witness of it? [Quiet assent from devotees.]

But to Stand in the Witness-Position Itself, truly,
requires purification of attention, and therefore of the
bondage signs in the body-mind altogether, and in life,

So sadhana is tapas. You must be in the place of the
knot, sensitive to the limitations in your own disposition,
but in every moment-instead of dramatizing that-disciplining
it, surrendering it to Me, entering into Communion with Me
by forgetting the content that is simply the garbage result
of not living in Truth in the past. So it has to be made
obsolete. All the modifications of the fundamental Reality
must be purified and transcended. What there is to Realize
is the Unconditional Reality, the Reality that is Always
Already the case, even now.

Now you are preoccupied with the modifications of that
Reality, that Divine Reality, distracted by them and
dissociated from the fundamental Reality by this very knot.
You must enter into depth, no superficiality, as you did in
the first part of this consideration. Ordinarily you are not
doing so in the fullest or stable sense, you see. And so as
soon as you relax into your just fundamental feeling, you
feel a knot there. You dont simply feel the inherent
Love-Bliss of Reality-but you do feel It, Flowing through
it, but youre experiencing this knot in the midst of It. To
Realize the Divine Self-Condition, you have to go beyond
that knot.

So its not really a matter of thinking, accumulating
experience, and so on. Its a matter of being established in
that place, surrendering to Me to the point of
self-forgetting. And this allows a course of purification
and development that becomes the “Perfect Practice” and
ultimately the seventh stage Demonstration. It is truly an
inevitable process, able to go by its appropriate stages and
so forth, unless you step outside the process itself and
become superficial again. But if you stay with the process
itself, as I have Given it to you altogether, then the
development is inevitable.

So if your development in this Way is slow, its because
youre stepping outside the process. Its not that the process
itself is retarded.

This is why the hearing matter is so profound and
fundamental to this Way. Its the foundation of the process
that must develop, because its about finding the self-knot,
the self-contraction, finding it as your own activity,
feeling its disturbed, ill-at-ease characteristic but also
even in every moment of such sensitivity enjoying the
capability to feel beyond it in this Communion with Me.

So hearing is the first great step beyond the initiation
of Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga. In other words, the first
dimension of the process is concentrated in the awakening of
hearing, because you must enjoy and suffer this capability
to stand in the egoic position and feel beyond it. If you
dont do that, then if you faked your way on to level 2 and
then beyond and so forth, youd simply be involved in a kind
of evolutionary or developmental ego-game. Whereas the Way
of the Heart is about the transcendence of egoity.


Sadhana is tapas. It is a profound ordeal. At the same
time, it is full of absorptive Communion with Me and all the
things associated with right life.

You must constantly be dealing directly with this
self-contraction. And if you are in touch with it, then you
dont like it. You want only this Communion with Me. You dont
want this self-contraction, but youre having to feel it
every moment. And its your doing, you see. Its kind of in a
spasm. Youve got to do the sadhana to relax it and be full
of Me, so that My “Brightness” Radiates through it and
releases it quickly.

So if you have heard Me, you dont want to spend a lot of
time getting beyond that knot, because its not comfortable
at all. You become profoundly sensitized to it if youve
heard Me, and likewise profoundly sensitized to Me. Thats
why seeing is next.

But the knot is there, and its unavoidable, and you dont
like it. It is pain. It is fear. This is what makes a
renunciate out of people, the discovery of Me and the
self-contraction at the same time. In full hearing and
seeing, thats what makes people renunciates, because it is
pain. Its extraordinary pain, at the same time extraordinary
bliss but the pain is where you sit, and you are moved to
feel out of it, and be relieved of that enclosure, that
divorce from the Divine, that sinfulness. You dislike it so
much, you dislike that knot so much, that you become utterly
concentrated in going beyond it. Its not that you have to
just sit in a room all the time, but youre just all the time
feeling beyond it, practicing the exercise of going beyond
self-contraction into the state of Radiance, Love-Bliss,
Energy, Light. And you would not be distracted from It,
because you do not want to be simply sitting in that pain of

This is basically what Rudi was referring to, not really
knowing altogether what He was talking about. He just wanted
to deal with this incredible stress, frontal stress. But its
the ego-knot. You cant bust it from outside. You cant relax
the body that much. You have to deal with the root of egoity
itself-its in the conscious domain-and in Communion with Me
move beyond it. You cant just work on the body-mind. You
have to find out the ego-act, and exercise the flower
constantly, every moment.

But it is a pain, and its associated with lots of
adaptations that keep producing results somehow. So youre
always going to have to feel beyond egoity itself, but also
all of its results. So that makes it an ordeal of pain, of
tapas, which you endure because youre also in Communion with
Me and have My Wisdom. But its still pain. Hm? But you
become intelligent with it. You know what youre doing and
can make this exercise of going beyond the contraction, the

In the process, there are things to be endured and felt
beyond, and thats a purifying process. But you would not-if
you really truly have heard Me and are sensitive
altogether-you would not have that take a long time.

No Escape, There’s Only Realization

AVATARA ADI DA: But the profound transitions in practice
are about being inside, or at the Source-Position.

The exercise of hearing, then, is to be sensitive to it
as contraction itself, to be in the position of the pain,
not outside it or avoiding it but actually in that position.
It is not comfortable at all, not likable. It has all kinds
of artifacts-physical, emotional, mental, and so forth, even
in the breath. So the self-contraction itself is fundamental
pain altogether, disturbance altogether, and ordinary life
is motivated by it, because it is so profound, and it is
detached from the fundamental Reality, the Divine Reality.
It is lost in maya, in appearances, presumptions, even
imagining that you are seeing the room, whereas in fact
youre just seeing one little view.

So its confusing. Youre not seeing Reality, then. Youre
seeing an appearance associated with your own egoity. You
cant be in another position. You cant be in the position of
the totality of the room. What position are you in? Some
self-enclosure of thoughts and perceptions.

So its very uncomfortable to make this discovery of
egoity. But as I said to you earlier, its not truly
profoundly discovered except in the condition of Grace, of
Communion with Me, and reception of My Teaching, and then,
its in that total context that the ego is located also.
Thats hearing, the true discovery of the self-knot,
coincident with this whole process of Communion with Me,
full of the Wisdom of Instruction that you apply.

What about that?

DEVOTEE: I think Youre talking about the matter of
hearing includes, then, this reception of You.

AVATARA ADI DA: Mm-hm. I know what we were talking about!
[Laughter.] I wanted to know if you had a response
to it.

DEVOTEE: Beloved, I feel, like Youve always Said,
feeling-Contemplation of You is primary. The first thing you
have to do is “Locate” You before you can even become
sensitive to the self-contraction.


DEVOTEE: It seems the whole listening process is just
staying with that feeling-Contemplation of You, but along
with whatever the body-mind goes through.

AVATARA ADI DA: But always give Me the leading faculties.
Dont be played upon by these natural arisings. Even the
intensity of converting life to sadhana can sometimes
produce more arisings, reveal more things, that require to
be purified or made “Bright”, which is what purification is
really all about.

Once you dare to allow yourself to hear Me, then the
process becomes intensive and profound. Maybe you have some
sense of that, those of you who are taking a long time to
get to that point. And thats why youre taking vacations. Its
even a kind of fear of the self-contraction, a fear of
becoming aware of the limited nature of your experiencing,
and then the mortality that youre locked into because of
that. Youre afraid of it. Youre not merely afraid of it. It
is fear.

DEVOTEE: It is fear.

AVATARA ADI DA: You dont want to be afraid, so you
distract yourself and minimize your awareness of this. But
you must stand in that position. That doesnt mean to go
insane with fear or anything like that. Its about being in
that place where you make this knot, this fundamental
discomfort. Yes, it has the characteristic of fear, but you
basically experience that fear as a kind of anxiety in the
pit of your stomach or something.

If you are but really-in touch with the self-contraction,
you do experience the anxiety that is the constant
underlying everyones behavior, everyones moment to moment
existence. They just build all kinds of stuff on top of it
and desensitize themselves, but the self-contraction is the
quality of anxiety, stressful anxiety, and so on.

So, as I Said, you may want to forestall that
realization, because you cant get rid of it once you got it.
Once you get bit, thats it. Unless you find yourself out,
you cant escape it. And so thats when the sadhana really
begins, you see. Thats when it starts becoming effective at
a profound level. Before then, there are life-improvements
and so on, fine. But this is how the sadhana gets
intensified, quickened, full of light, full of heat,

And it should then be quick to the “Perfect Practice”.
But it requires the Spiritual transition So there is the
basic minimum of the level 2 and level 3 process, as the
means for moving on to the “Perfect Practice”.