The Life of Understanding – Franklin Jones – The Knee of Listening Lessons

The Life of Understanding Series

A twelve week course
taught by Bubba Free John – January – April/May


The Knee Of Listening
Tapes/transcribed discourses entitled the Life of Understand
took place in Los Angeles in 1973. The following is from an
early (and present) devotee, Tom Riley about the classes

The classes were held from
January – April or so, 1973. I was fortunate to have been
part of a small group invited by Beloved up to His Home @
2509 Thames Place, Laurel Canyon, Hollywood, CA atop the
Hollywood Hills. (In hindsight and thus appropriately
enough, that particular section,where Beloved Resided, atop
these Laurel Canyon Hills was formally named Mt.Olympus). He
was otherwise not present physically at His Ashram on
Melrose Ave. and we implemented, for the first time, some
basic life disciplines as per his instructions to us during
these every – Wednesday Night Sit – Silent Satsang, Life
Discipline Instruction and The audio taped Knee Of Listening
Elaboration/Discourses. The blessings, instruction and
fruits of our formal spiritually – intimate time with
Beloved (still Franklin Jones at this time) were
communicated and brought into the general community of
devotees by those of us in weekly attendence with Beloved in
the living room of His Home.Each and every Wednesday evening
for approximately 12 consecutive we would arrive at 7:00
p.m. sharp. Each Wednesday evening with Him consisted of
Sitting In Silence with Beloved, for approximately one hour.
Beloved would then instruct us on some fundamentals of Right
Life Disciplines including diet, hygiene, etc and He
discoursed and elaborated (the one and only time He’s ever
done this w/The Knee of Listening to my knowledge) on The
Knee Of Listening; His Early Life Spiritual Autobiography.
The handful of us would arrive at 7:00 p.m. and leave His
Residence generally somewhere between midnight and 2:00 a.m.
All of this took place between January of 1973 and into
April or so of same year prior to His Pilgrimmage to India
in August 1973,returning to The Melrose Ashram as Bubba Free
John in September 1973.


THE COSMOS – The Appearance of
the Siddha

by Bubba Free John (Franklin


this is the purpose of such Siddhas, to appear in the
conditional worlds and live the real condition in the midst
of those worlds for those who turn to them.

Now such beings have appeared since
beginningless time in all the worlds, and in all forms.
They’ve appeared not just as human beings among human
beings; they’ve appeared as every kind of form or creature,
in every kind of dimension. It Is the Divine work. But the
form of the Siddha that we are specifically concerned with
and that can become apparent to us and to this human
condition is the human Siddha, and the particular work of
the human Siddhas is, first of all, after taking birth, to
transform the psycho-physical entity, or function, in which
they are manifest. So you usually see in the lifetime of
such a One, a period of time of very difficult struggle,
because they must transform or evolve the psycho-physical
life that they are animating in a very brief period of time;
they must do in a very short time what all other beings by
tendency would take eons to do. So the apparent life of such
an individual is usually very dramatic, very intense. The
sadhana of such individuals is very intense, usually under
difficult circumstances, or very often is, at any

But In any case, their work is to
transform the psycho-physical entity, because when such a
Being manifests in the world, the levels on which He or She
is conscious, fully conscious of the function and perfect
condition they’ve come to demonstrate, that consciousness is
on a higher level, above the mind. What is gained by such an
entity coming into the human plane is all of the faculties,
beginning with the conscious mind down through the gross
physical existence, and those qualities are not in
themselves enlightened, full, unobstructed. They are karmic
in nature. So the same thing is required in such a One
that’s required in anyone else: transformation of this
obstructed, karmic, condition. It is just that such an
entity brings with it, latently, spontaneously, at the
profoundest level, the true movement that makes it possible
for this work to be realized, and so it generally does take
place in a relatively short time. Commonly it takes place in
some time in what would ordinarily be the first half of
life, and so many such individuals emerge to carry on the
next phase of their work about middle age, or in their
thirties. This is common, although it’s n not an inflexible
rule. Many have begun their peculiar work very early in
life; others much later in life, This is just a common

What the Siddha has become once this
period is done, this period of purification and
transformation of the psycho-physical entity, what he has
become at that point functionally is simply what all beings
should be, use has become truly ordinary he has become the
function in human terms, alive, with full consciousness as a
living instrument or function of the Divine life, and then
at that point the next phase of his work begins.

The first phase of his life is this
purification and demonstration actually of the process of
transformation. The early life of such an individual then
acts as a symbol and a guide to those that the individual
teaches later in life., But after this first phase of
transformation then comes the phase in which the Siddha
presents himself outwardly as teacher, Guru, master, to
others. So in a sense the individual announces his presence,
announces his work in some form or other and then lives that
process in relationship to beings who turn to

So such Siddhas, these are the true
Siddhas, are the manifest expressions of the Divine work,
the Divine process, and this work is going on endlessly.
It’s coincident with the other work of creation or
reflection itself. It’s coexistent with it always. It’s not
a once-and-for-all process, there’s not just one Siddha, one
event of the Divine work. It’s continuous activity, and all
beings actually serve this activity, it’s just that there
are periodically and randomly the appearance of Siddha has
who assist the affair in a particular way.

In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna is
made to say that whenever there is a decline in the dharma,
in other words a decline in the understanding of the true
way of life, He, meaning Krishna, is God, alive, a true
Siddha, an incarnation. Whenever this condition appears in
the world then he takes birth, He takes form in the world,
in order to Instruct men again to restore the dharma, to
restore the way.

The next thing that should be talked
about, is the way In relation to such a One, the path or the
form of life that is generated in relationship to such a
Siddha. The individual, rather than simply resorting to the
teaching, has begun to resort to the Guru. He’s begun to
resort to the Guru as the man of understanding, and in this
process takes on more and more qualities of intensity, and
perceives more and more of the subtlety of the process of
Satsang. So as the student resorts to the teaching, a member
of the Ashram resorts to the teacher.

Now at some point this individual
becomes a disciple, and his resort to the Guru has become
intense; the purifying sadhana, the humanizing sadhana has
become fruitful. He’s become sensitive to the subtle
activities within himself and within the Guru, within
Satsang. So you might say that as the student resorts to the
teaching and a member of the Ashram resorts to the teacher
or the man of understanding, the disciple resorts to the
Guru or spiritual master. So a member of the Ashram resorts
to the Guru as the man of understanding, this paradoxical
individual. The disciple resorts to the Guru as the
spiritual master, the one whose mere presence performs the
unique spiritual activity.

But then there’s a stage beyond that
of the disciple. The disciple becomes involved in the
comprehension of subtle life, and all of the levels of the
manifest life, the processes that they involve, but when he
becomes a devotee, all of these processes in which he was
randomly involved as a disciple have begun to become second
nature to him, conscious and active, without necessary acts
of attention and of learning, and he’s begun to resort to
the true form of the Guru. He’s begun to resort to the Guru
in himself, as himself, for himself. So he resorts to the
Guru in his perfect form, the Guru as the Divine Form, and
the devotee also begins to demonstrate more and more of the
active qualities of the Divine activity in

Now the three major sections of this
book are not all written, communicated, from the same point
of view, The section on meditation, the Meditation of
Understanding and the Wisdom of Understanding, are both
written from one point of view, and the autobiography is
written from another point of view, because the purpose of
the autobiography is different from the purpose of the
teaching sections of the book.

So the autobiographical section is
written from an experiential point of view, the point of the
experience of one who is making this claim. But the “I” that
appears continually throughout this autobiographical section
is the “ego”, the personal “I”. Franklin, who has gone
through all of these experiences, this Franklin showing
himself as a character, as an individual, who went through
various states, experiences, and learns lessons. He’s an
ordinary “I” a person , and therefore he can be identified
with. He’s understandable, comprehensible, visible, natural.
And all of this was done because the purpose of presenting
the life of Franklin Jones here is in order to write a moral
tale, to write a story that has a moral. It’s the life of an
Individual in the form of lessons that have a specific
import. It’s my life in the form of an argument. It’s not
Franklin’s life itself. How could it be? That’s already been

So this is the use of that life, the
communication about that life, in a form that is intended to
be useful to others. It’s not intended to fascinate people
with Franklin life. It’s intended to make Franklin’s life
usable as a lesson, to make it useful, then, beyond its own

The “I” of the rest of the book, and
it rarely appears, it appears in a few places, but the
assumed communicator of the rest of the book is not this
personal “I”, this Franklin, this one who is learning
lessons. It’s the “I” of one in whom the lessons are always
already fruitful, one in whom the ordinary round or
extraordinary adventure is transcended in real meditation.
So the point of view of the latter part of the book is
without person as a medium, as a limitation. In the first
part of the book the person as a limitation or medium is
assumed and used, because only in that sense could it be
communicated. Otherwise the writing of the life, perhaps,
couldn’t have been done at all, or it would have just been
in the form of aphoristic assertions without any life. The
lessons themselves just would have been written up in sort
of holy terms. There would have been no life to show; there
would have been no way to use the life, to make it a

Now this first chapter, pages 9 to
11, are important. It contains another claim; there’s the
claim that this Franklin was born already conscious of
illumination, already conscious of that function and
structure and realization and enjoyment that this whole life
that’s about to be described is intended to demonstrate
piece by piece. It’s this whole life that appears, from
November 3, 1939, here intended to be a working out,a
visible demonstration, of something that already existed at
the moment of birth. Complications were thrown into that
life in order that it be a demonstration. And that’s the
purpose of the complications. It’s meant to be, this life
was intended to be, a working out within present conditions,
a demonstration within conditions that disciples themselves
will encounter, of the process of spiritual life that is
then the purpose of the second half of the book to teach.

Now the essential complication that
arises at birth, in this case, is that of birth itself. This
one who is apparently born is already conscious of this
illumination, this enjoyment, but he is born. In other
words, he has come alive under karmic circumstances, the
karmas of the lower nature for one thing, and the karmas of
the world in which this lower nature is a karmic
manifestation, and the karmas of all the other beings who
appear within that world, so this is the complication. This
is what makes this life that is here born a form of
adventure, a transformation. And the essential import of
this life from the point of view of this person, is that in
the midst of this adventure that is now about to be
described, there is a transformation of the lower vehicles:
mental, emotional-astral, vital, and gross physical. But the
assertion is made in this first chapter that even though
this adventure is about to begin, even though this
transforming process, transformation of the psycho-physical
life is about to begin, there was this prior enjoyment of
the very thing that is, on the last page, going to be also
the realization.

So in the midst of this life, the
various, peculiar functions of the reflected condition are
open to be purified, transformed, their obstructions
removed, so that this prior consciousness can be openly
lived and actually lived in these vehicles, in these
functions. And this will be the difference that is created
in this person; that will be the difference between this
first page, this first moment of life, and the end of the
autobiography. At the end of the autobiography this prior
knowledge and enjoyment will have become fitted to all of
the lower vehicles, so it can be communicated, and lived,
and demonstrated and enjoyed, also in the karmic condition,
without the karmic condition tending to exclude the
realization. So the whole descending, ascending, circuit of
life and all of its functions, gross, subtle, causal,
super-causal, all of that had to be transformed and fitted
to the Divine Knowledge which always exists.

Before I get into commenting on some
of the aspects of the first part of this autobiography, I
want to say something about the teachers who were net at
various stages in this process. Of course the ones that
stand out most obviously, seem to have the most obvious
importance, would be Rudi and then Muktananda, Nityananda,
and Maharshi, And each of these represents a particular
stage in this demonstration that is going on in this life.
In relation to Rudi, the sadhana that was done was the
sadhana of the descending force, and of the descended life,
the functional life. It was truly the most difficult stage,
because it deals with the most heavy, functional, life-level
sort of thing, so it’s the most obviously difficult stage of
sadhana. But it was in that period of living and performing
sadhana in relation to Rudi that all of this work in the
lower life was performed, essentially work in the vital, and
in the vital gross-physical mechanism and its emotional
components, But essentially in this descending functional
order of life that sadhana was performed in Rudi’s

When this had become fruitful and
the next stage of the process was indicated, I went and
began to work with Muktananda. And with Muktananda the
ascending aspect of the circuit was lived, demonstrated, It
was in relation to Muktananda that the ascending or subtle
aspects of the spiritual process were generated end lived.
The culmination of the ascending process is the “bright”,
the illuminated consciousness, the spiritual light of

This aspect of the spiritual
process, this goal of the ascending life as well as source
of the descending life, the sadhana of that aspect of the
process was lived in relation to Nityananda and to other
subtle entities, influences that manifested during that
period; the Mother Shakti, many, many, many experiences, and
they’re certainly not all indicated there. But Nityananda’s
perhaps the primary Guru figure in relation to that aspect
of the process,

In Maharshi’s case, there was the
sadhana of the causal being, You must begin to see something
about the sadhana in each of these cases as well. The
sadhana in relation to Rudi was very difficult, aggressive,
muscular, active. In relation to Muktananda the ascending
process required certainly a certain amount of difficult
sadhana, but it’s already easier, it’s already more fluid,
simpler. In relation to Nityananda and the subtler
influences of the “bright” of consciousness, the sadhana and
the enjoyment were taking place at the same time. So nothing
was attained in the confrontation with Nityananda; the
confrontation was itself the enjoyment. So at this point the
sadhana has become so rapid that it’s coincident with the
experience itself. And Maharshi didn’t enter into the
picture in the path of the opening of the causal being, did
not enter into the picture as a form of sadhana at the time.
I don’t even talk about Maharshi in this book until after
the events occur, of which Maharshi is an example. But in
any case, Maharshi represents that aspect of the process,
descriptively, he represents that aspect of the process
which is the realization of the Heart, the prior nature, the
intuition of Real-God.

So what you see in the process of
the life of this one is a duplication of the spiritual
process, of the great process of the manifest world,
descending and ascending and fallen in the Heart. This is
also a recapitulation of all of the traditions of spiritual
life; religious, spiritual, philosophical, occult, esoteric,
but this was not the end. Beyond this falling into the
heart, there was another spontaneous realization, which was
the resurrection of Amrita Nadi, the Intuition of the

And in this stage of Sadhana which
is the least available to description perhaps, the Divine
was the Guru, directly. From the beginning of this One’s
life, the Divine was the Guru, and the Guru took on apparent
functional forma at various stages in the sadhana of this
One. But then another instrument appeared, relative to the
sadhana of the next stage. So there was no single human
Guru, or manifest Guru from beginning to end for this One.
There was the most directly manifest, perfect Guru from the
beginning, the Divine. So God is the Guru.


Knee of Listening and Study Chapters – Table of