An Open Letter in Praise
and Testimony of Adi Da Samraj
D. B. Sleeth, Ph.D.
The following is correspondence directed toward a
particular individual who expressed concern over my welfare because of spiritual
practices attributed to devotees taking place in the company of Adi Da:
So, we have both had dreams of Adi Da, pursued our own spiritual paths, and have
had encounters with many of Adi Da’s devotees, past and present. Yet, we have
each come to diametrically opposed conclusions about Adi Da based on these
At best, I can
only hope to paint the picture of my own story. To help serve this purpose, I
have attached a file describing my first meeting with Adi Da, in which I became
convinced of his enlightened state, as well as another incident in which I was
the beneficiary of a miraculous healing at his hands. These stories go a long
way toward explaining my gratitude and deeply heart-felt appreciation of this
remarkable Guru. As you will see when you read them, I have good reasons.
Since you have challenged me to make the case that Adi Da is someone who should
be taken seriously, I will do my best to explain at least why I do. I think it
best to take the tiger by the tail and directly address the issue underlying
your challenge: some do not take him seriously.
Let me start with
my mother. First of all, I must say that she has passed away, about ten years
ago. For some time, unbeknownst to our family, cancer had developed in her lungs
from a life-time of smoking. Ironically enough, she had recently quit. From
there, it spread through her body, ultimately penetrating her brain and
impregnating it with a slew of tumors.
As is always the
case with cancer, they insidiously replaced living tissue with their own.
Finally, she had to give up her last-ditch efforts toward treatment with chemo
and radiation. Surprisingly easefully, she resigned herself to the fact that it
had been a good life, and it was now her time.
One of the remarkable, certainly unexpected side-effects of this process was a
sudden personality change right before her passing. As the brain atrophies, so
do certain of its functions. It was as if she had adopted a shocking mantra of
honesty: “Out of the mouth of babes.” That is, she no longer possessed any kind
of filter to the remarks she made.
in her mind quickly came out through her mouth, often to the humor, or more
likely horror, of an unsuspecting audience. As I sat with her on her bed during
our last visit together, having come from out of town, we reminisced over our
life together. I had brought a recent picture of Adi Da that was noticeable for
a particular quality: given the lighting and the angle of his face in this
particular photograph, he was the spitting image of my father! I found it really
parents had divorced a long time ago, under acrimonious circumstances that had
never fully healed. In pointing out the similarity to her, she held the
photograph in her hands and pondered it for many moments. Finally, she announced
her recognition of my comment, offering this insight: “They’re both bastards!”
Of course, critics of Adi Da do not know my father, still, I’d say this pretty
well sums up their sentiments toward Adi Da. As you might expect, I was quite
taken aback, as is usually the case with conclusions so contrary to my own. As
things turned out, this was to be the last coherent statement I ever heard from
my mother, for I was literally on my way out the door.
this is a bitter-sweet memory. Although the innocence she had fallen into made
her comment amusing and endearing, even so, it went through me like a knife.
Unfortunately, we never had a chance for closure on this matter.
However, there has
been no shortage of similar incidents over the years, indeed, not unlike the
encounter we are having now. Consequently, I would like to use this as an
opportunity to address her concerns at last, and, hopefully, put her mind at
ease. You could think of this exercise as a catharsis for me, whereby I exorcise
some of my demons. I hope you don’t mind.
In considering my reasons why Adi Da should be taken seriously, it was
surprising to discover how simple they are to state. Given the acrimony
appearing on the internet, I had expected the matter to be far more complicated.
But the legitimacy of Adi Da’s work can be summarized rather easily, in three
1. the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth;
2. the truth that sets the heart free; and
3. the truth that explains every aspect of reality.
If you were to stop right now, you would have all you need to understand why I
hold Adi Da dear. But, in that case, you would never know the reasons why I came
to these conclusions.
I have been a devotee for nearly twenty-five years, starting in the early
eighties. At that time I was a returning student, flush with the effort to
finish college, as you can see from the attached story of my first meeting with
Adi Da. Since that time, I have competed two master’s degrees and a doctorate
degree in the field of clinical psychology.
I have also
studied seriously in the area of comparative religion in between these bouts of
academia, while engaged in my spiritual practice with Adi Da. Over this period I
have read hundreds of books, many of which steeped in their respective spiritual
or psychological tradition, as well as scholarly rigor.
As a result of
this study, I have come to the conclusion that even the best books are mostly
untrue. Unfortunately, conventional wisdom is inevitably compromised by a
triumvirate of attributes, which limit it in this way: redundant, erroneous, or
Even on its own, the first of the three propositions of truth mentioned above
establishes that Adi Da is someone to take seriously. I have yet to find a
single sentence in his astoundingly vast corpus of work either erroneous or
irrelevant. Redundant, yes! (I’ll get back to that in a moment.)
But in no way
either of the other two. More to the point, the nature of his work makes this
accomplishment that much more astounding, for he is not speaking of relatively
simple matters, as might be said of one’s hobbies or current events. Rather, his
work addresses the most sublime and profound nature of existence possible, such
as nondual reality.
Indeed, his work
is utterly confirmed in the most eminent scriptures and doctrines mentioned
throughout the history of the nondual spiritual traditions. Especially early in
my study of his work, I have not always understood everything he says.
everything that I have understood has in each case been confirmed in my own
experience and by my studies. I’ll never understand why this alone is not
sufficient to impress his critics. Truth is held in the highest regard in the
sanctum of the courtroom, the standard by which testimony is considered both
admissible and meaningful. It ought to have at least as much significance in
discussions such as ours.
In fact, the only legitimate complaint in this regard that I can see is the
redundancy of his writing. Virtually every paragraph says the same thing! And it
can all be boiled down to essentially a single statement: there is only God, and
Adi Da is that One.
Some people find
this claim narcissistic and egoic, which is certainly ironic, given his
relentless criticism of exactly these qualities. I’ll return to the topic of his
divinity again later. As for redundancy, I have finally come to realize how
important it is. After all, the ego is a formidable aspect of our nature. It
simply won’t go away.
In my clinical
practice, I work with people with mental disorders and find that most people
don’t change very much, even despite years of constant, sincere effort. You find
that you have to repeat yourself over and over again. It seems like you are
always talking about the same old issues—and you are!
And so is Adi Da,
precisely because we, too, are geniuses of resistance. Indeed, the ego can make
even our greatest help look like evil. It is often said that the greatest evil
ever done by the Devil was to make it appear he doesn’t exist. But this is not
The greatest evil
was to make it appear that God doesn’t exist—especially in human form. To my
mind, the crux of our discussion comes down to this: Is Adi Da really God? If
so, then drawing attention to himself as he does makes perfect sense—such is
simply the nature of worshiping God.
Of course, one could dismiss Adi Da’s utterly profound utterances on nondualism
as merely abstract formulations, inapplicable to ordinary human life, or perhaps
even derivative of other sages and of no great consequence. But this would
represent a false reading, especially in the case of the latter statement, for
his work is remarkably original and innovative within spiritual literature.
Indeed, the scope
of his revelation on the seventh stage of life and “Radical” Non-Dualism is
unprecedented. (For more information on the seven stages of life, visit
Adidam.org.) Although the language of certain premonitory texts, such as the
Lankavatara Sutra, Avadhoota Gita, and Tripura Rahasya, sound similar, they can
be distinguished from the revelation of Adi Da in three significant ways:
1. no historical text mentions all aspects of the seventh stage realization,
2. certain aspects
of the seventh stage realization appear in no historical texts at all, and
3. no historical
text mentions only the realization of the seventh stage.
Again, this alone sets Adi Da apart as someone to take seriously. Existing texts
represent primarily what Adi Da calls the sixth stage point of view of “Ultimate
Non-Dualism”—with only certain passages within them suggestive of the more
profound and all-pervasive realization of seventh stage “Radical” Non-Dualism.
Adi Da explains the difference between his unique revelation of the seventh
stage of life and the seventh stage intuitions of these premonitory texts this
[N]one of the traditional texts communicate the full developmental and Yogic
details of the progressive seventh stage Demonstration (of Divine
Transfiguration, Divine Transformation, and Divine Indifference). Nor do they
ever indicate (nor has any traditional Realizer ever Demonstrated) the Most
Ultimate (or Final) Demonstration of the seventh stage of life (Which End-Sign
Is Divine Translation). Therefore, it is only by Means of My own Avataric Divine
Work and Avataric Divine Word that the truly seventh stage Revelation and
Demonstration has Appeared, to Complete the Great Tradition of mankind.
To this point, all spiritual masters have necessarily worked within the cultural
constraints imposed by their particular time and place. Only in the last half of
the twentieth century has technology and affluence allowed for the creation of a
true world community.
conditions have only recently occurred whereby the provincialism of local
customs and loyalties could be overcome, and the world’s great spiritual
literature completed in a single and all-inclusive revelation. A world teacher
could not have appeared before this time—the conditions simply were not right
Adi Da has
incarnated precisely for the fulfillment of this purpose, to be the greatest
possible aid to humanity. His revelation of seventh stage wisdom is not intended
to fulfill the objectives of any particular sect or denomination. Rather, it is
intended to be a comprehensive culmination of the entire Great Tradition of the
world’s religions. To my mind, this too is more than enough reason to take Adi
Of course, one could simply disagree with Adi Da’s assessment of his role
relative to humanity and the Great Tradition, and in that case remain
unimpressed. But to do so would be to discount the objectively measurable nature
of his spoken and written word, as well as his more recent enlightened
expressions in the form of photographic art. Indeed, not everyone is willing to
overlook him this way. For example, despite being an uncompromising critic, Ken
Wilber has always maintained that the nature of Adi Da’s spiritual revelation is
Do I believe that Master Adi Da is the greatest Realizer of all time? I
certainly believe he is the greatest living Realizer.… And I have always
said—and still say publicly—that not a single person can afford not to be at
least a student of the Written Teaching.… I affirm my own love and devotion to
the living Sat-Guru, and I hope my work will continue to bring students to the
Way of the Heart.… I send my best wishes and love to the Community [of Adidam],
and a deep bow to Master Adi Da.
Yes, in a word, Adi Da is to be taken seriously. But, as you say, this is not
what very many of his critics are doing. Consequently, I can only conclude the
issue is being adjudicated elsewhere—that is to say, in the domain where the
measure of Adi Da is not objective, but subjective.
To my mind,
two of the above propositions can be addressed objectively: the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth; and the truth that explains every aspect of
reality. It is the second proposition that is troublesome in this regard: the
truth that sets the heart free. That is, whereas the objective is about beliefs
and essentially intellectual, the subjective tends to be emotional, pertaining
to one’s deepest values. It is precisely in this latter domain that the sparks
begin to fly.
All things considered, given the overwhelming evidence in Adi Da’s favor, I can
draw only one conclusion: the real question is not whether Adi Da should be
taken seriously at all, but rather another—why was this legitimacy ever called
into doubt? What would possess anyone to do so?
Clues to the
answer, as might be obvious, come not from the teaching, but the teacher.
Unfortunately, it is at this point that the water gets particularly murky. Bear
with me as I sort out the issues, for the undercurrents we are about to enter
are rarely what they seem.
To begin with, Adi Da is thought by some to have crossed the line as a Guru,
thereby wrecking a kind of spiritual havoc. Objections to Adi Da come down to
this, a two-fold account of the teacher:
1. claims on his part to be the incarnation of God, and
2. claims by
others that he abuses his devotees.
The latter especially is thought to detract from his credibility, which I’ll get
back to momentarily. The former, on the other hand, will probably never be
resolved except as a matter of faith, although being the author of such a
profound and scintillating teaching certainly suggests something similar of the
Indeed, I have to
express my great surprise in this regard. After all, the teaching did not fall
from the sky. How could such a profound and superlative teaching possibly occur
if not for an equally profound and superlative teacher? As with us all, his
words are a product of his own being, an expression of his own nature.
But therein lies a major clue to the mystery: if his words suggest divinity,
then he must be divine. Surely this captures the objection to him perfectly—his
critics simply don’t like the idea of him being divine. Consequently, the
underlying issue of our discussion can be spelled out like this: if Adi Da is
God incarnated in human form, all criticisms are pretty much rendered moot, for
who is in a position to question the acts of God?
the very notion sticks in the craw of most critics, who are not inclined to
worship Adi Da. On the other hand, if Adi Da is not taken to be God, than
nothing he says or does will ever make any sense. All of his work relies
explicitly on the fact of his divinity. There’s no getting around it; this
conundrum represents the heart of the dispute.
In Western society, the idea of a human being claiming to be God is anathema to
prevailing spiritual sensibilities, indeed, even blasphemy in certain quarters.
I once worked for a foster family agency and was looking around for a suitable
place to host our annual dinner. One possibility was a church nearby in the
community. To secure the facility, I interviewed with the pastor, who was a
personable and outgoing advocate of his faith.
listened to his praise of Jesus and unabashed devotion, I became more and more
impressed by a commonality between us: I love my Guru too! Finally, I could
stand it no more and announced how wonderful it was to meet someone so
similar—we each loved a Guru as our Lord and Savior, the very presence of God
alive in human form!
did not share my enthusiasm. Indeed, he was aghast by my confession, to the
point it appeared he might even leap across the desk and throttle me. Slowly,
painstakingly, he pointed out how inappropriate the comparison was, for no human
being could possibly be God. Nevermind the obvious contradiction, there can be
only one exception. Indeed, he ensured me I was in the grip of the Devil and
should take care, for the sake of my soul, as you likewise appear to be doing.
To me, this is bald-faced discrimination, pure and simple. Why Jesus but not Adi
Da? Or any other spiritual masters, for that matter? No incompatibility exists
in this at all. Even worse, in my mind, was the destruction of something loving
and wonderful taking place between us.
Whenever I go home
for the holidays, a similar pattern invariably occurs. I know my family worries
about me. My father is a devout Christian and cannot for his life figure out my
conviction that Adi Da is the incarnation of God, although he does accept and
appreciate the fact that I love God.
understand God in very different ways: in his case, a discrete being, however
extraordinary and immense; and in mine, the very nature of reality, which
includes us all. This is the heart of nondualism—not only is there no separation
between self and others, but no difference between self and God either. So long
as this conviction is in doubt, much will remain inexplicable.
One thing I know
for sure: my father wants his God dead; it is too much for him to face God
alive. And I don’t blame him. The confrontation from a living God is a demand
for love and intimacy far beyond anything any other human being will ever ask.
To paraphrase a great existential theologian, it not only takes courage to be,
but it takes courage to love unconditionally. Probably no other axiom more
succinctly summarizes spiritual practice than this.
Again, this brings up a crux point in our discussion: the vision of Adi Da that
his critics paint is a caricature, created solely for the purpose of a straw man
argument. It bears no resemblance to the loving, caring, deeply sacrificial
spiritual being that I know.
Indeed, when it
comes to truth setting the heart free and taking Adi Da seriously, I can think
of no better way to put it than the old homily—the proof is in the pudding. I
have practiced the way of life he recommends for nearly twenty-five years. How
could such a wealth of testimony be discounted?
I have also sat in
his company numerous times, including occasions in which he has carried on
lengthy discourses with others, a principle means by which I have come to know
him personally. At no time have I ever observed him to be other than utterly
brilliant spiritually, often uproariously disposed toward humor and mirth, and
never without deeply moving compassion, even at times in which discipline and
honesty are dispensed uncompromisingly. This suggests that the character of Adi
Da is impeccable, certainly admirable.
In reading the various accounts of Adi Da’s critics, on the other hand, I find
little in the way of positive attributes to extol. Instead, they are routinely
sensational, exaggerated, and lacking any sense of a loving or forgiving tone
(in particular, the website by Elias, for example).
I think of an
elderly woman, unsophisticated in spiritual matters, sitting slumped at the edge
of her bed, at the edge of her life, really, speaking bluntly for no better
reason than her own mental incapacity—yet, even so, with love for me; the words
intended, ultimately, for my own good. I can find precious little to suggest the
same with most of Adi Da’s critics.
The tone of their
words is not loving, but often merely bitter and mean. My mother was
disappointed in love, the reasons for which I know only too well. I imagine
something similar must be the case for many of the critics of Adi Da. In fact, I
know this to be true. As a result, their response is essentially unwarranted and
over-reactive, at times even guided by ulterior motives.
As far as claims of impropriety are concerned, my mother summed up her take on
it this way: “He’s living the life of Riley, living off the fat of the land.”
I’m not sure that this technically even makes sense, but it was always clear to
me what she meant.
In her mind, Adi
Da was guilty of exploiting devotees for his own gain. Yet, even this is only
one side of the coin of the impropriety. Lurking on the darker side is the abuse
claimed to be heaped on his devotees, whereby they have not merely sustained
losses but even been injured along the way. However, as it turns out, these
claims do not actually say anything about Adi Da at all.
contrary, in fact. Indeed, a perhaps surprising culprit is implicated: devotees
themselves. Although this appraisal can be hard to accept—I assure you, speaking
on my own behalf!—nonetheless, I must acknowledge it is true. In fact, the
nature of this appraisal takes two parts overall:
1. personal: devotees failing to take responsibility for the excesses and
liabilities of their own egos; and
devotees imposing these excesses and liabilities on each other.
There is no question that some ex-members of Adidam are disgruntled, upset over
the way they have been treated—in certain cases with good reason. Yet, these
reasons go both ways. That is to say, the whole purpose of spiritual life is to
transcend the ego and, thereby, reside in the native rapture of the divine. But
doing so is no easy matter. Indeed, it is fraught with perils of all kinds, not
least of which the devotee’s own egoic nature. According to Adi Da:
The crisis [the Guru] serves in the individual does not negate. It
illuminates, perfects…. I have often used this image of the sunlight over the
well. When the sun shines directly into the well, all of the creeps that hang
around deep under the water start coming up the sides. Then a few minutes after
noon they quiet down again. As soon as they can find a little shade, they quiet
down again. The time you spend in Satsang [the company of the Guru] is like time
spent with the sun directly over the well. The more time you live in Satsang,
the more these slithering things arise, the more you see of your egoic self, the
more you must pass through the crisis of personal self-understanding.
However, the irony is this: whereas it is true that the creepy-crawlies only
emerge in the presence of sunlight, and their emergence thereby thought of as
caused by the sunlight, the sunlight did not create their existence—they were
there the whole time. To put it somewhat differently, the accusations and
complaints brought against Adi Da are partly true and partly false.
In the presence of
the sublime, spiritual sunlight of Adi Da, creepy-crawlies are, indeed, stirred
noticeably into life. That much is true; and an extremely unpleasant truth it
is, too. Yet, that is the whole point of spiritual practice in the company of a
Guru. Devotees bring their creepy-crawlies with them into the Guru’s presence,
as part of who they are—for the purpose of being purified.
But the presence
of these creepy-crawlies is not the Guru’s fault, nor is the excitation that
brings them to the surface. To blame the Guru is to be ignorant of the true
nature of the spiritual process, and irresponsible for the role you play in it.
Truly responsible men and women own up to this. It’s as simple as that.
The situation for this aspect of the criticism reminds me of the years I have
spent working with abused children in group homes and in my clinical practice,
early in my career ages four through twelve, more recently adolescents and young
adults. The elements of the kinds of situations about which they complain come
down to this: the nature of the incident, over against the purpose to which it
In a word,
children scream bloody murder at bedtime, or when they are asked to clean their
room, or share their toys, or even wait their turn—especially under certain
conditions: whenever they don’t want to. Getting ready for bedtime is
disappointing for any child, almost always eliciting gripes and ungracious
But for a child
who feels unloved, the demand appears particularly arbitrary and unreasonable.
And for the child whose abuse actually took place in their bed, well, the idea
is practically unbearable.
As can be seen, the nature of the incident is wildly different in each case,
along a continuum of ever increasing frustration and threat. Perhaps I have been
jaded by my experience with children who have been the subject of real
atrocities, that I find the disgruntlement of Adi Da’s critics so particularly
Although I know it
is politically incorrect, what his critics call heinous and exploitive hardly
raises any hackles for me at all. The reason for this is simple: interpreting
the intentions and behavior of Adi Da in this way is mistaken. And this point is
pivotal, for explaining why Adi Da should be taken seriously has a surprising,
and perhaps unwelcome, collateral effect: his critics cannot be taken seriously,
or at least taken at face value.
The situation is
far different from what they represent it to be. In a word, the spiritual master
is a sacrifice for the sake of their devotees. In return, the devotee is
required to sacrifice to the spiritual master—which the devotee is, generally,
only too happy to comply. It is a profound love, going both ways. It is obvious
to me that the Guru/devotee relationship is the single most auspicious intimacy
that a human being can have.
Members of Adidam sometimes speak of the improprieties attributed to Adi Da
euphemistically as “spiritual theater.” However, a better analogy would be
“spiritual therapy,” for these gestures on Adi Da’s part are direct
interventions into the devotee’s own unenlightened state, simply occurring in
the form of what is known clinically as confrontative technique.
times, devotees receive supportive technique, or perhaps even interpretive
technique, as when they study his spiritual instruction. Although not what you
might expect, the interactions of which Adi Da’s critics complain are always
intended for their most auspicious benefit. In fact, there are spiritual
traditions, referred to as “Crazy Wisdom,” in which practices such as these are
revered. (For more information on Crazy Wisdom, visit Adidam.org.)
traditions put the situation this way: suffering can be likened to burning
coals, scorching in the depths of one’s being. If they are kept buried deep
enough, perhaps one only feels the sizzle remotely, or else coughs and gags on
the smoke, merely suggesting the presence of fire.
However, to be
truly relieved of the coals, one must reach down and grab them. To throw them
out, one must pick them up first. Although being shocked, even dismayed at the
touch is easy to appreciate, nonetheless, it only serves to abort the healing.
More to the point, it represents poor understanding.
Adi Da is extraordinarily gifted as a Guru, wielding interventions perfectly
suited for each person. He knows them far better than they know themselves, and
even has more concern for their spiritual well-being than they usually have for
Yet, his divine
intervention is easily misunderstood. This is because the ego lives for only one
purpose: self-fulfillment, driven to insane proportions in the West by affluence
and leisure. Certainly, some members of Adidam have been subjected to intensely
difficult and trying circumstances—I among them.
But I know about
the continuum. I know one size does not fit all, and circumstances are
experienced very differently in each case.
I also know
something even more pertinent to the issue: more than anything, the ego feels
unloved and is desperate for someone to feel sorry for them because of it. But
this only creates a difficult and unenviable situation: as long as you retain
any sympathy for the ego, Adi Da will inevitably offend you—precisely because
everything about him exists for a single reason: obliterate the ego!
No matter what the experiences underlying the criticism against Adi Da, the
larger context in which they have taken place is almost always overlooked. But
the purpose toward which incidents are put makes all the difference.
The whole point of
spiritual practice is to relieve one of egoic attachment. If it is clearly
understood that the manifest world is no more than an illusion, it loses the
luster of its deluding power—replaced by the joyful and sustaining splendor of
Yet, it is easy to
get confused. No one is denying the circumstances of the grievances brought
against Adi Da but, rather, this: that they warrant grievance. Perhaps better
said, the issue is not so much whether the circumstances are true, as the whole
Consider a surgeon
operating on an arm, using local anesthetic so that the patient is awake during
surgery. Suppose the patient looks over and notices their arm, suddenly aware of
the open wound, the severed tissue, the blood leaking out. That they should be
shocked by the sight is understandable.
But nobody in
their right mind would leap up from the table and bolt from the room, in the
middle of surgery, leaving not only the wound undressed but even the original
injury intact. Unfortunately, this is precisely the case for certain former
members of Adidam. That their wounds are terrible is not the issue. Of far
greater concern, they have not finished the healing.
Spiritual practice is serious business, requiring real commitment and
perseverance throughout the entire course of its process. Further, it is truly
No one who has
ever received a hug from an abused child at bedtime—about to enter what should
be their sanctum, but so often the site of the worst atrocities—and felt the
welcoming, grateful squeeze of their little arms will ever doubt that, today,
you have done your job. It still brings tears to my eyes to think of a child who
can go to bed without incident, not because they are docile or obedient, but
because they feel loved and safe, finally—and you are the reason why.
No one can ever
take that memory away from me. Nor can they take it away that I freely and
happily embrace Adi Da the same way. The only crime of which Adi Da can rightly
be accused is this: loving his devotees enough to set some limits—even when they
scream bloody murder. There is no doubt. I know intimately, incontrovertibly,
the loving compassion within which I live my life.
It seems that the confusion surrounding the criticism of Adi Da stems from the
fact that the Guru/devotee relationship is so difficult for people, both to
accept and to understand. Overall, it can be summarized this way:
1. it is difficult and demanding beyond belief to be in the Guru’s direct
2. all the
difficulty and demand is done for a single purpose: awaken the devotee to the
same spiritual realization as the Guru.
This is a good thing! At no point in my twenty-five years as a devotee have I
ever attributed fault or blame to Adi Da for the exercise of his skillful
means—except, of course, those times in which I have been overwhelmed by my own
at no time while a member of the community of Adidam have I ever been abused or
exploited by Adi Da. Quite the contrary, in fact! Having been abused growing up,
believe me, I would know. And my saying this means something.
To ask why Adi Da
should be taken seriously but dismiss or refuse to accept the accounts of
current members who are thriving in Adi Da’s company—especially because their
praise is thought to indicate something slavish about their devotion, or perhaps
even more sinister, like brainwashing—is simply misguided and improper. This
gives no respect to the capacity of honest people to make intelligent decisions,
based on their own discrimination and sensitivity. No one has the right to take
that away from them.
But, of course, this is merely the personal side of the abuse issue. Those you
come into contact with will have creepy-crawlies of their own, and many
atrocities are committed for their sake. Of all the accusations and complaints
of Adi Da’s critics, this is the only issue that has any validity, as far as I
can see: some things have been handled poorly.
Yet, even the
legitimacy of this criticism is exaggerated, for his critics go too far in
wrongly accusing Adidam of being a cult—and even more absurdly, accusing Adi Da
of being a cult figure. Although newspaper headlines can get away with
malfeasance, reducing entire communities and their way of life to a single word,
reasonable men and women are unable to be so callously dismissive.
are too simplistic. The situation is far more complex than this. More to the
point, Adi Da is without doubt the most fervent, dogged, uncompromising critic
of cultism taking place within Adidam. From the very beginning, Adi Da has
warned of the dangers and inevitability of cultism among any gathering of human
Over the years you have all heard me speak about cultism in negative terms. I
have criticized the cult of the Spiritual Master, as well as the cultic
attachments that people create with one another…. In other words, when there
exists a certain hyped enthusiasm to which people are attracted, and when those
people accept all the dogmas with which that particular group makes itself
enthusiastic, they maintain themselves as opponents of the world and lose
communication with the world in general and with the processes of life…. I have
seen you all do it. To me, that enthusiasm is bizarre. There is something about
the capacity of individuals for that kind of enthusiasm that makes my back
tingle. It is a kind of madness. It is a tolerable neurosis as long as people do
not become destructive…. I have had to spend a great deal of time and energy
over the years trying to break down this form of approach.
Simply put, the worst that anyone can rightly say about Adidam in this regard is
this: members of Adidam have tried to make it into a cult—but Adi Da has
prevented them from succeeding. For that, we own him everything. Unfortunately,
Adidam members have not always been sophisticated and graceful in their
interpersonal relations, being in a steep learning curve involving the spiritual
subtleties of love and intimacy.
Indeed, the whole
point of spiritual practice is to induce crisis, for the sake of purification
and transcendence. To be sure, it can get the best of you. A little forgiveness
is not unreasonable in this context, for a sincere effort is being made.
Besides, precious little exists to suggest greater accomplishment in society at
large, if one were to gauge the display offered by TV, movies, internet, and
Adi Da goes on to say: “This [cultic] tendency is present in everyone, not
only in you and members of other religious groups, but in the form of every
group that exists, from political organizations to begonia fanciers.”
Obviously, this humorous aside is meant to include even the cult of Adi Da
The essence of the
problem with cults is we are taught to assign the truth, and the realization of
it, exclusively to certain individuals, often a particular individual. The
center of the cult—whether a worshipped person, image, or idea—is considered of
ultimate value, possessing a status that no one else can attain. People are then
encouraged to be in awe of that one, perhaps even worship them, usually in order
to receive benefits of one kind or another. In this way, you can kill two birds
with one stone: feel superior to everyone else, while getting your deepest needs
it means you can criticize others, while remaining immune in return—and,
thereby, above learning anything in return either. But this is a childish
orientation to life, common as it is, which Adi Da goes out of his way to
criticize, instructing us to avoid. He admonishes: “You must not believe in
me.” Rather, we are encouraged to find out the truth of reality for
ourselves—even as we use his instruction and example for a guide.
No other spiritual tradition embodies these benevolent ideals so explicitly, at
least as far as I can see. Indeed, quite the contrary usually. Even nondual
spiritual traditions, espousing no separation between self and other, often
espouse segregation among different nondual spiritual traditions—thereby
necessitating the need for Adi Da’s work.
In every talk,
essay, book, poem, photograph, and work of art that Adi Da has ever produced, a
common thread of tolerance and compassion for all living beings is present,
human and nonhuman, and a lively admonishment to transcend the limitations of
the egoic condition that prevents nondual God-Realization.
Not only is every
point of view on wisdom included in his vast oeuvre, but also the means whereby
ordinary individuals might share in the same divine rapture that he continually
enjoys. Adi Da calls his work of commentary on the history of spiritual ideas
The Basket of Tolerance, precisely because this is his orientation toward the
Great Tradition of spiritual practices.
In conclusion, I have one final comment to make. When I heard my mother for the
last time, I reached over and held her in my arms. It wasn’t so much that no
words were necessary for our parting embrace; no words were possible. We simply,
When I was
younger, I approached her once to resolve something in our relationship whereby
I felt unloved. But it was, as it turned out, a part of her nature to which she
was committed, and answered this way: “Do not try to change me! I am going to my
grave just the way I am.” And so it happened.
Yet, we loved each
other anyway. It is a mystery. If for no other reason to take Adi Da seriously,
consider this: only because of his instruction and spiritual presence am I
capable of loving through rejection—indeed, even that of my mother. No simple
feat, as you might imagine. And why should I not do his critics the same?
I see no reason to
let discord come between us. In my mind, there is only one way to end this
testimonial: the presence of love is the reason to take Adi Da seriously—for He
Is that Very One. Interestingly, the crux of the discussion seems to come down
to this: everything can be taken two ways, depending on whether you understand
Adi Da to be God or not.
In the end, only
the heart can decide. For me, the matter is resolved this way: I am attracted to
Adi Da like a flower moving toward the light, for the simple reason that love
recognizes its own source. What else is there to say?
Our correspondence continues:
Again, I can feel compassion and regard in your words, despite, as you say, “the
apparently very harsh tone” of them. However, some of your reply is based on
mistaking what I said, so we actually agree on more than you might realize.
But there’s no
point in addressing any of that, so I will focus on the areas in which we are
really at odds. Of course, your time constraints require that my comments be
brief, so I will only address what seems essential.
I would like to note upfront the extraordinary polarity of our positions. How
odd that we have come to wildly divergent conclusions from exactly the same
conditions. Surely something is amiss.
Of course, your
comments are quite unsparing in this regard: Adi Da has “used every trick in the
book” to blindside his devotees in the pursuit of their exploitation, making him
“an abusive, scheming, strategizing, manipulative, narcissistic megalomaniac,”
as you put it. But, in my mind, this kind of language could only be intended for
rhetorical effect, for such an assessment is grossly exaggerated and cannot be
It is as if we are
not even talking about the same person. Indeed, in nearly 25 years of being in
Adi Da’s company, as well as the company of many of those whose testimony you
are drawing on, I can find no evidence to corroborate the claim you are making.
Therefore, I can draw only one conclusion: you are skewing the evidence for some
reason, unfortunately, in the direction of damning Adi Da.
In my original correspondence, the focus was on why Adi Da should be taken
seriously, at least why I take him seriously, at any rate. Disappointedly, you
did not find my confession particularly compelling. However, it seems to me it
was not the testimonial that produced your response so much as the way in which
you are related to it.
I know the
possibility of this is not likely to entice you to read further, but since it
appears to be true, I must comment on it. To begin with, I believe my
testimonial correctly identified the crux of the matter: the dispute comes down
to whether or not Adi Da is best regarded to be God—and can be augmented
further: whether or not Adi Da is best thought of as being a good Guru.
It would seem that
the latter is contingent upon the former. That is, you really can’t have the
former without the latter. So, the question remains: is Adi Da really God? And
the answer could be put this way: it all depends on the criteria. In other
words, according to your criteria, the answer is a resounding “No!”
Consequently, the discussion must now shift to a new focus: how valid the
criteria you’re using actually are.
It is apparent to me that you employ a double standard in the selection of your
criteria, in fact, in two different, but similar ways. First of all, despite the
generosity with which you have expressed appreciation for the benefits I have
received at the hands of Adi Da, it is hard to believe your comments are
After all, my
testimony does not merely report that my state has improved, even thrived. More
to the point, it has done so precisely because of Adi Da’s direct intervention.
In other words, you seem willing to accept the former, but not the latter.
are not validating my entire confession, and not giving Adi Da proper credit
therefore. Rather, you are filtering the evidence, indeed, skewing it in the
direction of accusation and complaint. This is the first double
standard—accepting only some testimony, but not others.
Literally thousands of people are devotees of Adi Da, and many thousands more
support his work in some demonstrable way, even if they elect not to practice
the spiritual life he has given. But they are all marginalized, given short
shrift by your comments.
The disparity can
be put this way: their testimony in behalf of Adi Da is found inadmissible,
because of incapacity in their judgment; but this incapacity is held to result
precisely because of their high regard for Adi Da. Clearly, this is circular
reasoning. If presence on the internet is any indicator, I can count serious
critics of Adi Da on two hands.
for those who have decided against appearing on the internet, or elsewhere in
the media, the numbers for and against are in no way comparable. To put it
bluntly, you are fudging the data—emphasizing one, at the expense of the other.
And the manner in which you are filtering this data is not arbitrary, but
appears directly related to the two fundamental aspects of any Guru: what Adi Da
calls the beauty foot and the power foot—or more commonly, the nurturing,
mothering force and the challenging, father force. I’m sure you must be familiar
with these two concepts, and how both are necessary for growth and development,
employed in concert as a kind of dance.
With this in mind,
your comments appear to filter the data toward a specific purpose: favoring one
foot over the other. In other words, the second double-standard could be put
this way: whereas good Gurus are those who employ a high percentage of nurture
and beauty foot, bad Gurus are the exact opposite—those employing a high
percentage of challenge and power foot.
That you should prefer kinder, gentler Gurus over challenging ones is certainly
your prerogative. God bless! After all, one size does not fit all. Gurus who are
confrontive are not for everyone—by any means! However, you cross a line of
impropriety when you go beyond labeling Gurus merely those you don’t like, to
inherently evil or to be avoided.
This suggests an
agenda. Besides, not only is such an assessment pejorative and prejudicial, it
isn’t even true. Confrontive Gurus are not the same as bad Gurus. They simply
reside at the high-end of the spectrum of demand.
In other words,
all Gurus are demanding—that’s their job. It’s just a question of how much.
Given this, the second double-standard could be rephrased as follows: the
unwillingness to acknowledge that high-end demanding Gurus are just as
legitimate as low-end demanding Gurus.
Further, your assessment of Adi Da isn’t true in another, equally revealing way:
you are not correctly identifying the percentage of his beauty to power foot
ratio in any event. As mentioned earlier, and which can also be seen in
countless leelas, the presence of his beauty foot is extraordinary, even
There are endless
accounts of the compassionate, caring, purely sacrificial nature of Adi Da’s
love for his devotees—for all beings, really. It is just a matter of whether
you’re willing to acknowledge it or not. This is why I question the sincerity of
your appreciation of the benefits I have received in his company, for you are
not giving any credence to the fact that Adi Da is the source of those
benefits—which, obviously, makes all the difference. You are simply not willing
to give him his due.
Of course, it is your prerogative to refuse to recommend Adi Da to others
because of your concerns. But I am asking you to reconsider. This seems
appropriate, especially in light of a particular aspect of life in Adidam rarely
mentioned. That is, there are many different ways to live in Adidam, very few of
which actually in Adi Da’s personal company.
opportunity of living in his personal company requires one to forcefully assert
themself, literally solicit an invitation. This is why alarm or warnings strike
me as so absurd. To put it simply, if you find the kitchen too hot, you can
always stay in the living room. It is entirely up to you. Or, to put it somewhat
differently, you don’t have to have your arm operated on right away. You could
put it off until you feel more ready; unless, of course, the deteriorating
nature of your injury forces the issue.
Indeed, the metaphor of a surgeon operating on someone’s arm, producing a wound
in the process, is not nearly so trite or cliché as you let on. Although it is
true that a sociopath could use surgery as an opportunity to slice people up, as
you say, this is a disingenuous way of talking about what typically goes on
Frankly, in saying
this, you are playing the maybe game. Maybe Adi Da is a sociopath. Maybe Adi Da
is a skilled surgeon. Who can say? As long as you remain hypothetical, you can
play it any way you want—which is common enough among critics. However, reality
is actually one way or the other.
That is why honest
men and women take responsibility and submit to the difficult ordeal of
determining which possibility is true. And not in a superficial or prejudicial
manner, picking and choosing the evidence they prefer. Rather, they entertain
all the evidence. Issues as important as this can be rightly adjudicated only
under certain conditions: not just truth, but the whole truth.
Another crucial point must be made in regard to the medical metaphor: not
everyone survives chemo. Look at my mother. But does such a grim prognosis
reflect against the competency of the doctors? Or even against the patient for
taking their advice, for that matter?
outcome is simply not their fault. Sometimes the cure has a cost. However
desirable, you can’t always have it one way, but not the other. It is not fair
to say that a Guru has zero legitimacy, just because it turns out that not
everyone realizes the same benefits in their company.
That is all
or nothing thinking. The metaphor of surgery is far more profound than this,
indeed, even provides a means for resolving the matter: if it actually turns out
that Adi Da is a skilled surgeon, then his critics must be misunderstanding and
over-reacting to the sight of the wound, thereby aborting the healing process.
Besides, you cannot simply make the assertion that Adi Da is a sociopath and
leave it at that. Clearly, the appeal of this kind of assessment only exists by
stacking the deck against him, admitting certain kinds of evidence—those that
support kinder, gentler Gurus—while excluding the Guru that Adi Da happens to
To cut through the
rhetoric, Adi Da is not a sociopath; he’s just more demanding than you would
like him to be. And the nature of the demand is exaggerated in any event,
precisely by virtue of reducing him to a single foot. Although I can only guess
at the reasons why you are doing this, I am definitely in a position to observe
it: you are doing this. But, for having done so, you only end up with a straw
man. Such is a tremendous loss, and so unnecessary.
It is true that Adidam is a difficult spiritual path, and Adi Da a high-end
demanding Guru, but to go on from there and undercut his legitimacy because of
it is unfair and inappropriate. It has been said that Adi Da’s manner is
hyper-masculine. But the truth is actually far more formidable than this: Adi
Da’s feet are each hyper, masculine and feminine.
That is, they are
extremely intense. And rightly so, for he is God incarnate—not merely human. In
a funny kind of way, you could think of spiritual life in Adi Da’s company like
boot camp. Perhaps you prefer meditation retreats or workshops to boot camp. But
preference isn’t the same as legitimacy. Either approach is legitimate, all
depending on the individual.
However, you don’t
merely issue the warning, “If he’s not right for you, stay away,” which, in my
mind, would be honorable. Rather, you go on to condemn, “Stay away, whether he’s
right for you or not.” I can see no propriety in this appraisal.
Again, I am asking
you to reconsider. Perhaps whether or not Adi Da is a good Guru isn’t as
appropriate a way to put the issue as this: good for whom? I am certainly one.
And there are others. Even if you feel that you cannot recommend him to most
spiritual aspirants, surely you can recommend him to at least some—those for
whom he happens to be the right one.
Again, our correspondence continues:
Once more, I’ve found your correspondence both challenging and compassionate.
Although the conclusions we’ve reached are diametrically opposed, I find your
thought process remarkable for its honesty and intelligence, especially given
the type of harangues that usually attenuate criticisms of Adi Da.
But, as you say,
we are starting to go around in circles. Yet, one or two new points have
emerged, keeping the dialogue enlivened. The first is your objection to my
characterization that you are engaging in a double standard—accepting the
testimony of critics over advocates of Adi Da.
You point out that
you have repeatedly stated something along these lines: “Da helps some people,
and you are obviously one of them. How much help is given, and to what degree of
authentic spiritual liberation, is another question.” Another comment goes like
So Daniel, why don’t you actually present some detailed stories on how Da has
actually compassionately sacrificed and given to others in such beautiful ways?
I have now, through others’ testimony, so many stories telling of how Da has
manipulated, abused and taken from other people. Why don’t you balance the scale
here with specific stories?
Comments such as these make me wonder if my interpretation of your remarks
pegged you right. Perhaps you are not actually engaging in a double standard
after all, despite what your remarks seem to indicate. Perhaps you simply have
not heard the leelas of Adi Da’s devotees and are relying too heavily on his
critics as a base for your conclusions.
This thought did
not occur to me before because your original correspondence warned me up-front:
“Please know, Daniel, that I always like to be fair and i myself remain quite
open-minded to hearing some good things from the ‘pro-Da’ camp, but it better be
coming from a place of real integrity and honesty, not slavish devotion, heavy
conditioning and brainwashing—like some of the unconvincing stuff i’ve heard
from Daists over the years.”
See, to me, this is the crux of the double standard: it is so easy for one
person’s heart-felt devotion to be another person’s slavish brainwashing. That
is why I mentioned my mother so prominently in my original testimonial. She
didn’t believe me either.
You say you are
open-minded, yet, I can’t help but wonder—after all, my own mother wasn’t!
However, your repeated comments in behalf of acknowledging that I’ve benefited
from Adi Da certainly seem sincere, and I am grateful for your willingness to
If it is true your
research doesn’t include significant data from the advocacy side of the ledger,
I suggest this sampling of material to consider: Love and Blessings: The Divine
Compassionate Miracles of Avatar Adi Da Samraj and The Master Dancer are both
books of leelas pertaining to Adi Da’s work with devotees. These are all
available at our internet bookstore at Adidam.org, if you would like to take a
look. Likewise, there is a website devoted to leelas by Adi Da’s devotees:
Adidaupclose.org. In addition, Beezone.com has considerable commentary on Adi
Da, including many leelas.
One final remark is necessary, I think. You also made this series of comments:
But what are legitimate demands? I can think of some: That disciples love
everyone and be as fully present and available and accountable and responsible
as they can in their relationships. And that they try to clearly intuit, feel
and open up to the Transcendent-Immanent Divine Reality in all situations at all
times. And that they engage in “right livelihood” as well as right bodily, vocal
and mental conduct for the sake of upholding Dharma in all facets of life.
Around Da, one gets some of the above demands but one also, by contrast, gets
all these other demands: that one worship, love and serve the personality of Da,
that one give most or all of one’s time, energy and money toward Da and his
organization, that one be obedient to Da and to higher-echelon members of his
organization. And also, from the documented evidence, it seems that one is at
the whim of Da and his cohorts so that one must do things like procure women or
expensive drugs or paperweights or Disney toys for him, etc.
It seems to me this summarizes the abuse issue pretty clearly. Hopefully, the
material I mentioned above will indicate sufficiently that the legitimate
demands of Adi Da are in ample supply! If not, I could easily show you thousands
of pages of transcripts of talks and gatherings in which he demonstrates
precisely these qualities, in spades, many of which I have attended personally.
Again, many of
these talks are available on video or DVD at our internet bookstore, so that you
can see for yourself. By the way, if you’ll notice, the first sentence in the
second paragraph already undermines this legitimacy by stating: “one gets some
of the above demands…” On the contrary: one gets all of these demands—and in
every single encounter. Of that I can speak with authority, based on each and
every experience I have had with Adi Da over 25 years.
As for the second paragraph, of course, here things get a little sticky. All I
can say is in 35 years there has only been one incident, involving two court
cases, in which anyone has ever come forward with any kind of formal complaint
That incident took
place 20 years ago, was settled out of court, and no further incidents of this
kind have occurred since. You make the following statement: “You yourself have
demonstrated over and over a remarkable incapacity to admit or consider any of
the deeply concerned testimony from longtime former devotees of Da about a wide
range of abusive behavior.
You simply ignore
all of this.” To be honest, what I know about any of this is what I read on the
internet. After all, it’s not as if these individuals and I travel in the same
circles, especially now that they are pursuing lives outside of Adidam.
However, what I have read on the internet is so overwrought and exaggerated that
it smacks of sensationalism, even mean-spirited gossip in some cases.
Significantly, despite certain legendary claims making the rounds, the
“documented evidence” you refer to is not substantial enough to prompt anyone to
actually act on it.
This ought to give
you pause. In my mind, if any legitimate cases of real exploitation had ever
taken place—as opposed to situations in which one is simply confronted with more
demand than they expected or wanted—much more would have been made of it after
all this time. Of course, you say that coming forward in this way represents a
difficulty for any victim, as they must relive the trauma in order to address
much like this happens in the case of rape victims, who literally get blamed for
the crime while they are on the witness stand. Yet, I also know something about
emotionally disturbed children who routinely accuse their counselors and
providers of sexual abuse, when nothing of the kind ever happened—simply because
they’re mad and want payback, using whoever happens to be near at hand.
experience, people genuinely pursuing a therapeutic course of action are humbled
by their trauma, desperate for only one thing: healing, not revenge. In all
honesty, I find no evidence of the former in anything I’ve seen on the internet.
As for claims that Adi Da is getting rich off of his devotees, my mother used to
call this “living the life of Riley.” This is perhaps the most difficult issue,
for more than anything else, understanding the relationship between the Guru and
liberation from our attachment to money, food, and sex requires a difficult
acknowledgement: it is all our choice.
understanding, it is easy to get confused. To put the matter bluntly, nobody has
to give a dime to Adi Da if they don’t want to. Or give themself in any other
way either, for that matter.
So they have no
reason to complain if they do. Being in the exact same situation, I believe I am
in a good position to say this. It is hard to take such complaints seriously,
when I am involved in the very same process myself, and find it absolutely
necessary for healing and liberation—even if difficult and demanding.
Besides, I have better reasons than this for withholding sympathy, which I
learned while being a child care provider working at a group home. I began this
job with no past experience working with emotionally disturbed children.
The set-up of the
group home was to emulate a normal home life—a man and woman providing care for
up to six children at once, ages four to twelve. The woman I worked with turned
out to be an exceptional child care provider, from whom I learned the ropes. On
an outing with the children to a nearby state park, we were climbing a hillside
on our way back to the van. As it was a pretty steep climb, some of the children
struggled a little bit.
One of the girls,
an adorable, bespectacled tomboy who would sometimes hide under a table or sofa
whenever she got really overwhelmed, heard that there was poison ivy along the
path. Almost instantly, she began complaining of itches and stinging on her
legs. I assisted her as best I could, lifting her by one arm over some of the
undergrowth, all the while trying to maintain my own balance.
At the top of the hill, desperate and frustrated, she plopped down in a heap,
announcing angrily that she had had enough and refused to take another step.
Feeling bad about her plight, I looked toward my partner, who called out over
her shoulder: “Leave her! She’ll catch up.”
Stunned, I watched
my partner from behind, casually walking away. I was beside myself, thoughts
racing through my head. I could barely believe what a heartless bitch she was!
So I turned to the little girl, who suddenly began to wail at the top of her
lungs, hurling accusations and invectives toward me, seemingly imitating for all
her worth Linda Blair from the Exorcist.
People who had
been milling around, enjoying the view from the hilltop, began to turn and stare
in our direction. I didn’t know what to do. Every attempt at consolation was
rebuffed, indeed, seemingly incited further incrimination. Clearly, I was in way
over my head.
At last, I realized I had to trust my partner and throw in with her judgment.
Acting purely on faith, against all my instincts, I stood up, told the girl how
to follow the path back to the van, and left her sitting on her rear-end,
fitfully throwing handfuls of dirt in my direction.
As you might have
guessed, as I turned the bend in the path and reached a long flight of wooden
stairs on the backside of the hill, I could hear her footsteps racing up from
behind. She was laughing merrily, full of exuberance, happy to join our group
again. Needless-to-say, this is an example of tough love. More to the point,
especially for this little girl, it was real love.
It was the
love she needed. Sweet, gentle love was of absolutely no use to her—in fact, an
insult and detriment in her case, precisely because of being no use. Obviously,
this tactic is not going to work for everyone, much less under all
circumstances. A good clinician knows to have proficiency in both of their
feet—beauty and power. However, when power is needed, no other foot will do.
Indeed, some people need a whole lot of power foot! That’s just the way it is.
It is for this reason that I refuse to feel sorry for anyone, under any
circumstances. I know something utterly pertinent at issue: more than anything,
the ego feels unloved, and is desperate for someone to feel sorry for them
because of it. But why do that? Haven’t they suffered enough!? Without imposing
that on them too?
Besides, there are
good reasons to make the kinds of sacrifice in the direction of Adi Da we are
talking about, rendering the complaints against him all the more untenable. What
makes all the generosity perfectly reasonable is the prior giving that Adi Da
does, in which he is involved at all times.
You do not appear
to be aware of or else appreciate this prior giving, the dramatic exercise of
his beauty foot, involving the transmission of darshan and hridaya-shakti, the
scintillating nature of his teaching and dharma, the way of life designed
specifically for spiritual growth and practice, even his work with the world on
subtle levels of spiritual reality we can only guess at. Of course, it is easy
to dismiss this latter claim, especially if you are not conversant with these
levels of spiritual reality such that you can see it for yourself.
Needless-to-say, few people are.
You repeatedly state Adi Da is a taker, not a giver. But, once again, the double
standard rests on stacking the deck against him, not allowing the giving he
actually does admission to the conversation. Perhaps reading the leelas I
mention above will change that.
Devotees stay in
his company precisely because of the extraordinary gifts they continually
receive from him. Indeed, out of love, his devotees are utterly grateful for the
opportunity to gift him in return—and in all kinds of ways: personal service, as
well as financial contributions to support his great work liberating all beings.
What often gets
overlooked in criticisms of Adi Da is an obvious financial reality: it costs a
lot of money to do this kind of work! And it takes considerable sacrifice to pry
ourselves loose from our egos, which only one as strong and persistent in his
demand as Adi Da could possibly be effective in serving.
Perhaps the entire
dispute comes down to a single confusion: not realizing the altruistic nature of
the work Adi Da actually does. In the end, I believe the proper closing remains
the same as before: if you truly believe that some people have benefited from
being in Adi Da’s company, it only seems honorable to encourage similar people
to find their way into his company—precisely so that they might benefit too.