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




THE
KNEE OF LISTENING

The Life and Understanding of Franklin
Jones

Copyright 1971 By
Franklin Jones

All rights reserved


Chapter 7:

The Meeting and the “Work”  

The long night of almost sleepless
excitement that passed until the next day was to be the last
night of my undisciplined wilderness. From the next day, the
day of meeting with my teacher, I would be unable to live as
liberally as before. The doubts I had formed about my lack
of discipline would be consummated in the will of my
teacher. There would be a practical, moral revolution in my
way of life. But at the time I merely swooned in
expectation, in the joy of my discovery. And I went to meet
my teacher as if I were to be given some sweet free gift of
miracles and love, and coddled home like some eternal loved
– one of the gods.

When the morning came I bathed and
dressed very ceremoniously. My long hair and beard were
combed and trimmed. There was to be no offense in me. I
walked to the store in the bright sun and wondered what
incredible miracles I was to see before evening. From works
like Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi I had learned to
expect some kind of priceless love – meeting and a dear
touch of the teacher’s hand that would shake my mind loose
in a vision of lights and blessed peace. I walked to the
store with the same excitement in which I used to follow a
whore. I went to grasp all the miracles hidden in the secret
parts of this mystery.

When I neared the store I carefully
hid myself on the other side of the street. I wanted to be
certain that the teacher was there before I made my
entrance. After a while I saw several men come out of the
store. One of them was apparently directing the others. He
was a heavy fat man in his mid-thirties. He wore a T-shirt
and a baggy pair of corduroys. The others appeared to be
doing some sort of work for him.

I watched them move in and out of
the store for some time. Finally, all of them left, except
the fat man. As I watched him, I perceived a seriousness in
him, the same kind of all-business attitude I found in the
woman the day before. I supposed that he was alone, and I
crossed the street, filled with embarrassment and
expectation, self-consciousness and anxiety.

I walked into the store as directly
and upright as I could. One should not approach a teacher
with weaknesses hanging out! The man was sitting in a chair
by the desk at the rear of the store. His mother was
standing behind him in a small doorway making a sandwich.
She recognized me and very animatedly told the man that I
had been in the day before and bought a piece of sculpture.

The man stood up and approached me.
He seemed to make it a point to shake my hand. He introduced
himself as Rudi, and I told him I was Franklin Jones. “Your
mother told me that you are a teacher.” He looked around at
her as if displeased, and then he said, “She tells that to
anybody who comes in here. She really ought to keep her
mouth shut.”

I was already very uncomfortable,
and now I felt foolish, but I was determined. “What do you
teach?” “Kundalini Yoga.” “Are you an adept at this yoga?”
He looked at me very sternly and a little bothered. “You
don’t teach it if you can’t do it.” I told him I was looking
for a teacher and I felt that I had been directed to him. He
asked me what I did. I said that I wrote and had just moved
from California. “No, what do you do spiritually?” “Oh, well
I relax and direct myself toward the top of the head.” He
smiled a little. “Do you work?” “No, I have just been
writing, and I live with my girl friend. She works.” He drew
away from me a little. “This yoga requires great discipline
and surrender, and I can’t teach anybody who doesn’t accept
the discipline and work. You go out and get a job and come
back in about six months or a year. We’ll talk about it
then.”

That was apparently the end of the
interview! He made it a point to shake my hand again, and he
turned away, so that I felt I was supposed to leave. As I
left the store I felt a tremendous relief that I had been
able to manage the meeting at all. I was disappointed, to be
sure. There was no sublime love meeting, no miracles, no
immediate recognition of me as the long awaited disciple.
But I had been received at least conditionally. Six months
or a year was not an unbearable length of time. Unpleasant
as the prospect was, I was willing to get a job if that was
the kind of test required of me. I felt a kind of certainty
in the man himself. He was by his own admission adept in the
teaching and practice of the highest and most miraculous
kind of yoga. I had met him, and I was certain that I was
willing to meet the conditions.

I was elated! I felt I had been
successful. Strong and complicated feelings went through my
mind as I moved up the block beyond the store. By the time I
reached the corner I had gained my composure, and even my
doubts had turned to elation and certainty. Then I became
aware of a very strange sensation. A current of very strong
energy was rising up my arm from my right hand, the hand
Rudi had made it so much a point to shake when I arrived and
as left.

As I became aware of this energy, it
quickly passed into the rest of my body and filled me with a
profound and thrilling fulness. My heart seemed to strain in
a vibrant joy, and my head felt swollen, as if my mind were
contained in an aura that extended around my skull several
inches: As I walked I began to run. I felt on fire with a
joyous energy, and I had become incredibly light!

When Nina returned home from
teaching school I told her all about my experience. I told
her about the mysterious energy, about my muted reception,
and the condition that I get a job for six months or a year
before I could go back for any teaching. She was a little
puzzled by this condition. She had only known me as a writer
and a wild man, and she wasn’t sure that she really wanted
it any other way. As the evening passed I also began to
wonder about these things. My writing and my way of life
were very real to me. They were even the necessary
preliminary to spiritual effort. I began to think about the
writings of Sri Aurobindo, and how he justified creative
work, even writing and other forms of art, as a usable and
even necessary means for spiritual opening. And even if I
did get a job, should I continue to write? And what about
all of my other habits? What does this teacher think about
drugs, and sex? Should I leave Nina? Do I have to become a
vegetarian?

The whole matter was much more
complicated than it had originally seemed. So I sat down to
write Rudi a long letter about all of my questions. I
intended to have Nina deliver it to him the next day and
return to me with his answers. “The young girl who brings
this letter to you is my girl friend. We are not married,
but we have been living together for two or three years.”
Etc. Etc. I wrote about all of my questions. I wanted to be
certain I made as complete a transformation in myself as
necessary, so that when I returned to him I should be fully
able to use his teaching. I asked about creative work and
drugs, sex and diet. I told him about the experience of his
energy. And I made it clear that I was willing to undergo
all the conditions.

The next day Nina went to see Rudi
after work. She returned very amused with me. Rudi had
received her very warmly, in contrast to his brusque and
almost rude reception of me. Nina hadn’t asked him to teach
her. He told her that I had a lot of work to do, but he
would be glad to take her as a student right away! Anyway,
he appreciated my letter, and I should come and see him the
next day.

I was happy for this news. Of course
I insisted that Nina take advantage of his offer to teach
her. But I was confounded at how he could take her as a
student offhand, while I, who had such a long history of
seeking, trial and experience, should have to go begging
even for an interview! As it happened, this pattern of
offense and testing was to be the basic form of my
experience with Rudi over the coming years.

When I went to Rudi the following
day his manner was much more familiar and friendly. He told
me that he really loved Nina and that she was a very open
person who could easily receive the Shakti or the “Force,”
as he called it.

On the other hand, he certainly did
mean that I would have to begin to work on myself before he
would allow me to come to his classes. “What about my
writing?” “How much do you write or want to write? A serious
writer works constantly, out of great need.” “Well I write
but more or less spontaneously. It is a different thing.
Well, yes, I am not disciplined. A job wouldn’t interfere
with that work.”

His one answer to all of my
questions was work. Discipline and effort are necessary to
provide an instrument that can contain this “Force.” It
isn’t necessary to give up sex or life or go on any special
diet. Only work, be intelligent with these things, take
proper care of yourself.

My life with Nina was a particular
focus of his. He wondered why we weren’t married, and he
knew that my undisciplined way of life must draw me into
myself more than anything else. Thus, his teaching required
a drastic turning of my attention outward. Work, love Nina,
become more loving. Your life with Nina is your yoga.

And so he sent me away again with
one of those electronic handshakes. But he told me that as
soon as I got a job I would be welcome to come to his
classes.

At that time I was about twenty-four
years old. I had never taken a job other than the purely
menial labor of waiting in restaurants and the like.
Consequently, I was at a disadvantage when I went looking
for work. I still considered that my basic work was writing
and a kind of spiritual process in consciousness. Thus, I
did not feel particularly motivated to any kind of career.
But I felt constrained to find some kind of productive work
that would not only allow me to reserve some creative energy
but also provide sufficient means to support Nina and me.

The reaction of any and all agencies
and employers that I first contacted was that I had a bad
employment history and was educationally overqualified for
most kinds of work. Their experience showed that
overqualified persons with similar backgrounds to my own
tended to leave unchallenging forms of work after a
relatively short period. Finally, in order simply to have
work to do, I volunteered my services to WBAI, a nonprofit,
listener-sponsored radio station in New York. I worked at
soliciting and addressing in the subscription department.
After a few weeks, I was hired at a limited salary to do the
work part-time.

In the meantime Nina began to go to
Rudi’s classes. She said it was a very strange and exciting
experience. The classes were held in a large room on the
around floor of a building Rudi owned on Hudson Street, a
few blocks from our apartment. She said the room was
surrounded with huge oriental sculptures. There were
approximately twenty or thirty people at each class. And the
classes were held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at eight,
Saturday morning at ten, and Sunday at eleven or
noon.

Rudi’s students were made up mostly
of young people in their twenties or early thirties. Most of
them were former professional “freaks,” like myself, with
very little history of dramatic accomplishment. They
required disciplining, like myself, and probably many of
them were really working for the first time in their lives.
Some of course were older people, professionals or
businessmen. Many were fairly successful and had met Rudi in
the course of his business.

I would frequently go to Rudi’s
store to talk or enjoy the aura that permeated the place.
The store was never empty. There was a constant stream of
visitors and patrons. His mother was usually preparing food
for people, and we would crowd around the rear of the store
or sit in rows of funeral parlor folding chairs by the curb.

Rudi’s attention was constantly
directed toward someone or something. There was rarely any
stillness around him, and this was another characteristic
that was unexpected. There was no kind of distant, mystical,
airy mood of quiet, none of the usual “spiritual” atmosphere
peculiar to churches and religious or spiritual books. There
was a constant activity that was even annoying at times.

Rudi was always animated in
conversation, either with students and friends or with
customers. His conversation was a constant stream of
forceful moods, alternating between talk of spiritual life,
his experiences in India, his spiritual experience and
visions, or the perpetual absorption with business. For
Rudi, life and work were yoga. His business was his highest
yoga. And if you didn’t know or accept this about him you
could become angry at what appeared to be his perpetual
concern with business and the store.

After a while I learned that I
couldn’t expect to visit Rudi and pass a pleasant hour
conversing about spiritual life. More often than not there
would be a brief handshake or a hug, and then he would spend
his time talking to somebody else as if I weren’t there.
Then he might suddenly shake my hand and tell me to leave.

As the weeks passed and I became an
accustomed regular at the store, I found that I would be
given some work to do when I arrived. There was always some
sculpture to be moved around, some windows to wash.
Gradually it became clear that only casual visitors or
friends got to sit and talk. Any student that came was given
work to do.

As Rudi’s business increased the
work increased, so that I was called upon to come and work
in my spare time. Rudi always generated work around him.
Even if you stopped by to say hello at the house he would
hand you a bag of garbage to take to the corner. And if you
dropped by the store casually, you might be asked to go home
and change, and then come back and wash the floor.

This “dharma” of work awakened
tremendous resistance in me and most of Rudi’s other
students. But that was also the teaching. We would often
wish it were otherwise, and we always suckered ourselves
into a casual visit, hoping he would be in the mood to let
us sit and entertain us with stories of miracles and all of
the glory we were going to gain in the future by the aid of
the “Force.” The more we suffered, the more we communicated
our resistance and discomfort, the more he would tell us to
surrender. He said that we should “be like smoke.” You can
cut through smoke with a knife, but it is not disturbed.

The idea that was infused in us was
the simple attitude of work. Work forced us to encounter
resistance and obstacles in ourselves, and perseverance in
work gradually wore away resistance and created a state of
openness or surrender. The constant practice of work and
surrender opened the instrument of the body and the internal
mechanism that was a channel for the “Force,” the spiritual
energy of Shakti that was Rudi’s gift, and the continuation
of work strengthened the instrument in its openness and
allowed the “Force” to expand and create ever higher
realizations and capacities. He often said that work was
endless and always created more work, so that life was
pictured as a fruitful effort in constant relation to the
“Force” that had no other goal than continual growth.

Two or three weeks after Nina began
to go to “class” Rudi gave me permission to begin also. The
work I had managed to acquire was not completely
satisfactory from his point of view, but it was a “job” and
I had managed to adapt myself to the basic conditions for
his teaching. I had even shaved and gotten a haircut. I put
more attention to discipline and cleanliness. And I had
temporarily stopped using even marijuana to relax.

I decided to begin classes on my
birthday, thinking this was auspicious. Rudi’s classes
always followed the same pattern. We would begin to arrive
in the classroom about 7:30. Someone would light incense
next to Rudi’s chair, which was a large metal trunk covered
with a bearskin. His seat was placed on a higher level of
the room, about three or four steps above the rest of us.
Most of us sat in folding chairs set in rows, with an aisle
down the middle. Some would sit in yogic postures on the
floor in front of him, but my legs did not grow accustomed
to such sitting for a year or two.

Before my first class I was told to
go to the store for instruction. Rudi told me that the
“Force” was the real subject of the class. It came into
contact with us through his eyes. I was simply to sit
comfortably and relax and try to open myself or surrender to
the Force. If I felt the Force enter me I should simply
relax more and allow it to go down through the chest and
belly into the sex organs. When it got there I should relax
at the base of the spine and let it travel upwards to the
head. If I wanted, I could silently say “So” with each
inhalation and “Ham” with each exhalation. “So-Ham” meant “I
am That,” or “I am the Force, or God,” whichever concept was
meaningful to me. But the important thing was surrender and
opening to the Force, so that it could carry the exercise.
Sometimes, as he spoke of these things in class, he would
also recommend that we feel a part of ourselves going way
out into space, beyond all the universes.

With these instructions, I went on
to class. The room was not particularly decorative. It was
about twenty-five by fifty feet. There was a plain oriental
folding screen behind his seat, to keep our eyes from
distraction. And there were many large oriental figures
along the sides of the room, as well as great numbers of
smaller objects or paintings here and there. Rudi often said
that this wasn’t for “effect,” but he simply kept them
stored there for his business.

By the time class was to begin
everyone was supposed to be seated and quiet and “into the
exercise.” The Force was not only supposed to be given by
Rudi, in or out of class, but was always working in us.
Therefore, surrender and work was to be our constant
attitude, and class was merely a special exercise of the
same work. In addition to class we were to spend up to an
hour a day at home doing the same exercise. But we should
not spend more than an hour a day at meditation. Such only
creates illusions. It was a creative exercise, to awaken
capability, not to produce effects like quietness. Apart
from the exercise, we should only work and live
intelligently.

When I went to class the first night
I was again full of expectations. Nina had been urged not to
tell me all the specifics of what went on, but to let me
find out for myself. I had experienced the Force many times
through Rudi’s handshake, or when I chanced to look in his
eyes. But, for all I knew, that might only be a taste! I
truly didn’t know what to expect, but I was ready for
visions and miracles.

Shortly after eight o’clock Rudi
came in and sat down. At the beginning of class he would
sometimes speak for a short time about the Force and about
work and surrender. Or else he would describe some
experiences of the Force that he was having. He would often
have visions of opening lotuses fantastic creatures, other
worlds, or the presence of his teachers. His teachers were
the two men whose pictures I had seen that first day in the
store. The first and heavier one was Swami Nityananda, a
powerful saint he had met in 1959 or 1960. After Swami
Nityananda’s death or “mahasamadhi” in 1961, Rudi became the
disciple of the other man, Baba, or Swami Muktananda, who
was Swami Nityananda’s chief disciple.

Rudi spoke briefly on this first
night, and I believe he introduced me to the group either at
the beginning or the end of the exercise. Then he sat up
straight in the lotus posture and closed his eyes. All of us
also made an effort to relax and surrender. Then he opened
his eyes. They appeared to be deep set and very wide. His
eyes moved from person to person in the room. He
concentrated on each one for a minute or two, or perhaps
only a few seconds, depending on the needs of the person.

I could feel a certain relaxation as
I tried to surrender, open and empty my mind. And I waited
intensely for Rudi to look at me. When my turn finally came
I felt a little foolish. Looking deep into a person’s eyes,
particularly under such circumstances, requires a certain
relaxation from the usual armor we wear. But, gradually, I
loosened up, and accepted my position of vulnerability. I
tried to deepen my surrender as he described. I concentrated
on his eyes. We remained that way for perhaps a minute, and
then he passed on to another. I continued to try and deepen
the surrender while concentrating on his form. He would
often tell us not to close our eyes unless there was a very
strong impulse from the Force to do so. Then, suddenly, the
class was over. As was customary, we lined up to leave, and
each received a big bear-hug from Rudi. He told me that it
was a good class for me. The Force would begin to work for
me very soon.

Apart from a certain relaxation
during the class and an exhilaration afterwards, which I
usually felt after a meeting with Rudi, I had not
experienced anything unusual. This was somewhat
disappointing to me. I realized that this work was not going
to be simply a matter of free miracles and visions but a
gradual process requiring great effort.

As the weeks passed, I became more
accustomed to this exercise, and going to class became a
matter of course The work of surrender became more natural
to me, and I began to become sensitive to levels of
resistance programmed into my being. At times they seemed to
fall away, as if by the work of the Force, just as at other
times they could only be removed by the active effort or
surrender. But there were many times when I felt unable so
much as to touch the resistance in myself. Indeed, the more
I tried to surrender the more the resistance grew.

The activity of the mind also
fluctuated in this same manner. I began to acquire a certain
anxiety and frustration about my own limitations, and I
would often go to Rudi desperately demanding some kind of
help to remove the obstacles in my life. But there was only
a sort of chiding humor to ease me up, and then the
admonition to more work and deeper surrender.

This is a common experience among
those who deliberately perform various kinds of work in
consciousness. The more you try to do it, the more obstacles
arise. There is probably no more confounding and frustrating
admonition than the simple order to relax. And one of the
greatest lessons I would learn from all my years of
spiritual effort was how spiritual seeking not only
reinforces or makes more conscious the very things it seeks
to remove, but it is for that very reason founded in the
same mechanisms and motives that are our problems and
suffering. I would come to resolve these dilemmas on the
basis of a radically different understanding, but for now I
discipled myself to conscious effort with tremendous force
and need.

Rudi would often talk about the kind
of effort to surrender that he felt was required. He
compared it to “tearing your guts out.” I found that my life
was becoming a terrible ordeal of surrender, and the depth
of my work never satisfied him. He worked on me by
frustrating me and minimizing my efforts or accomplishments,
so that most of the time I was in a positive fever. I felt
the incredible weight of all I needed to surrender. Real
spiritual work must amount to nothing less than a wholesale
cutting away of all that I am. It must amount to an infinite
depth, an absolute surrender. And when I would examine the
littleness of my depth, I would become awed and frustrated.
I was burdened with the need for an impossible purification
and self-abnegation.

This surrender was not merely a
physical opening or relaxation of the nervous system. Nor
was it simply a purifying and disciplining of life. It was a
profound internal opening in every part. Rudi sometimes said
we should concentrate on surrendering three things:
self-pity, negativity, and self-imagery. Surrender was a
perfect letting go of the ego, the learned identity and
drama. As my experience grew I also became critically aware
of the work, its effects, its value, and its sources. I
acquired these things in my own intelligence, and thus I
gradually became aware of differences between Rudi and
myself.

Rudi claimed to have had visitations
from certain “Tibetans” when a little boy. They told him his
life would be very difficult, but it would bring him to a
very high state. They also told him he would have thousands
of students. His life has tended to bear this out. The size
of his influence has expanded greatly, and every step of his
life appears, at least to him, to require almost absolute
sacrifices and work on his cart.

He described himself constantly as a
poor Jewish boy whose father abandoned him and his mother
when he was young. His mother apparently treated him to huge
doses of violence, for whatever reasons, and he had to
surmount terrible obstacles and resistance on his part in
order to improve his life.

He was obviously a man of great
passions and appetites, a figure of gargantuan energy and
huge pleasures. He would often give himself as the perfect
example of the need for great effort and surrender. In him
all the passions of self-indulgence were active, and he
would often say that when he indulged them he had to pay a
terrible price to regain himself. Thus, he was not an
example of religiously motivated purity. Even so, he
recommended to his students that they achieve as great
control as possible over their various desires.

I was quite overweight at the time.
I weighed over 230 pounds and looked like a ball of fat,
although I was not nearly as large as Rudi! He insisted that
I watch my diet and lose weight. I took all of his
admonitions very seriously, and I observed everything in him
as the direct communication of God. Thus, I lost a lot of
weight, to my great benefit. But Rudi, even though he
protested himself, only grew larger and larger.

Finally, he would only say that his
size and weight were the result of the activity of the
Force, and we allowed him that. After all, Nityananda was
also a huge fat man, and he more than anyone else was Rudi’s
ideal figure of the “God- Force.” It was always Nityananda’s
example and image that Rudi held before himself. Thus, Rudi
expanded in size like Nityananda, whatever the reasons.

During a trip to India some time
later I was told that Nityananda had always been an ascetic,
and his early photographs show a figure of skeletal
thinness. Even in later life he ate only the very little he
could be forced to take, but his body expanded hugely due to
the influx of higher power, so that he was also called
Ganesh, the “elephant god.” When he died, his body suddenly
contracted. I have seen photographs of his corpse that prove
this.

I considered that Rudi’s case was a
combination of several factors. Certainly he was the
instrument and bearer of a tremendous force that was not the
ordinary gift of a human being. But he was also more
complicated than the traditional Indian saint, and he was
hearty enough to accept the psychology of the expansive,
devouring fat man as part of the structure of his life. I
mention the whole matter here only to show an example of the
kind of conflict of differences between him and me that
eventually caused me to leave him. His size and manner were
otherwise quite charming and seemed to present no perfect
obstacle to his growth. In India, a man told me that many
may gossip about Rudi’s unascetic tendencies, but when he
arrives they all go to him to get “charged up” by his
presence.

I never quarreled with the
appropriateness of Rudi’s philosophy and practice for his
own case. It was only that I gradually began to understand
that his emphasis on effort, work and surrender was a
distinct characteristic of his peculiar need and experience.
My own tendencies at that time were indeed destructive, and
his teaching was almost entirely beneficial to me while I
remained with him. But, for myself, such a machine of
effort, once it had achieved its earliest benefits in my
general well-being, began only to reveal its own
impossibility, so that I was drawn to another understanding.

Rudi’s way was obviously not
entirely or even basically founded in Indian yoga. Indeed, I
was to discover years later that his methods and aims were
quite different from those of Swami Muktananda, his Guru.
Even before he went to India and met his present teachers he
had first been a student of Gurdjieff work in New York. And
he had graduated from there to the practices instituted by
Pak Subuh in the Subud movement here and abroad.

Rudi never spoke much in detail
about his experiences in those movements, but the manner of
his teaching, his philosophy and practice, can be seen as a
direct reflection of the leading motives of Gurdjieff and
Pak Subuh.

The Gurdjieff work emphasizes the
necessity for profound effort, the absolute and conscious
work of evolution. Like Rudi, it doesn’t emphasize such work
for the sake of “enlightenment” or some single, perfect and
liberating perception that is the ultimate goal of striving.
It posits the endlessness of that work in the direction of
an ever higher evolution of abilities, knowledge and
perception that will have direct consequences in human life.

Rudi’s way of work and effort in an
endless progress of growth was generated by his own needs in
the presence of his peculiar tendencies. But it is clear
that he acquired much of the technology and reinforcement
for that path in the Gurdjieff movement. Even so, the
Gurdjieff work was basically a pattern of philosophy and
technique. He acquired the first evidence of what he called
the “Force” from Pak Subuh.

Pak Subuh is an Indonesian teacher
who experienced a spontaneous awakening sometime early in
his life. It was the awakening of a certain power or
spiritual force that came to him miraculously and thereafter
remained always available to him. He found that he could
also initiate this force in others, if they were even a
little open to it. Rudi apparently experienced his first
conscious initiation in this Force while involved in the
Subud movement and later from Pak Subuh himself.

But Pak Subuh was not aware that
there was any previous tradition of this same power. He
thought it was an entirely new spiritual influence that he
was to communicate to the world. He knew nothing of the
tradition of Kundalini Shakti in India, nor the already
traditional process of initiation by touch, thought, look or
the giving of a mantra known in India as “Shaktipat.”

Therefore, Pak Subuh interpreted
this Force and its value along lines peculiar to his own
experience. He saw that once this Force was activated in a
person it could be developed into various purifying and
creative life abilities through a spontaneous exercise he
called the “latihan.” Again, this energy was not promoted as
a means to an absolute higher knowledge, which is its
radical purpose in the Indian sources. It was interpreted as
a kind of creative God-Force whose significance was in the
evolution and expansion of creative life processes.

Thus, the work of Subud also has the
kind of endlessness and nonspecific purpose characteristic
of Rudi’s teaching. However, in my own case, spiritual life
always had a radically specific purpose. It was to realize
the highest knowledge, the knowledge of fundamental reality
that makes all the difference and ends the search. For this
reason, I was also chronically disturbed by the notion of
perpetual, evolutionary work which Rudi advocated. And,
again, this difference in our tendencies or aims also helped
to generate the break between us in later years.

Rudi apparently possessed the
fundamentals of his path, both its philosophy and its
activating “Force,” even before he arrived in India in the
late fifties. What he received from Nityananda and
Muktananda was that Force in its most direct and powerful
form. He saw his Indian teachers as an endless source, a
fountain that he could always tap and thereby discover even
greater depth, greater experiences, and greater power.

Thus, ever since Swami Nityananda’s
mahasamadhi, Rudi has made at least two trips a year to Baba
Muktananda’s ashram. He would always return claiming greater
power and higher levels of experience. He always demanded
recognition of himself as a unique source or instrument for
this Force. His personal claims and the forceful manner in
which he directed attention to himself tended also to turn
me away from him in time. I greatly desired such gifts for
myself, for reasons that were at times as unenlightened or
as genuine as his own. And Rudi’s tendency to command an
exclusive right for himself to such power became a source of
conflict between us, although I never outwardly manifested
that conflict until the day I left him.

I felt that the great benefits of
such Force must be available to all. And I was not so sure I
could recognize tremendous growth in any visible measure in
Rudi’s students. Even where there was practical evidence of
a partial improvement of life, I sought an utterly radical
reversal and transformation of existence. Thus, I became
hungry for direct contact with Rudi’s sources. And it was
only a matter of time before the burden of effort and Rudi’s
philosophy would reach their limit in me.

I had embraced that path totally,
absolutely committed to the ends I sought. I was willing to
do whatever necessary to attain them. Such fanatical
intensity is characteristically required of those who devote
themselves to conscious evolution by various efforts. The
first effects of that commitment were wholly beneficial to
me. But in time I began to learn profound lessons in secret.
And the entire process began to become more degrading than
enlightened. However, it would be three and one half years
before I would have strength enough to wander into India on
my own.    

Chapter
8

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