The Way Out of Pleasure and
February 19, 1994
ADI DA SAMRAJ (SRI DA AVABHASA): You make the
choices. I Make the Revelation. I can Call you to greater
understanding and more profound practice, I can urge you on,
but you make the choices. If you want What is Ultimate and
Most Profound, you must be changed likewise, in your
choices, in your understanding, and in your involvement in
everything. Such transformation requires a profound
discipline and a great ordeal.
Sooner or later, any kind of self-indulgence whatsoever
reaches the point where discomfort is greater than pleasure.
So it is with the world and with everything karmic, with
every indulgence of attention in conditions. There is some
pleasure in your indulgence, but as you repeat the
indulgence, you reach a point after a while when the
pleasure is greatly reduced and you are mostly suffering the
results. Sex, intimate feelings, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol,
TV, foodabsolutely everything you can do in the domain
of conditional existence produces the same result in due
course, which is that at some point the pleasure is greatly
reduced and you are mainly suffering ill effects. Such is
DEVOTEE: I think you are talking about sex.
SRI DA AVABHASA: Sex is certainly a major form of it, but
all indulgence in conditionality is the same. There is no
difference in effect. This is just how conditional existence
works. Conditional existence is a play of opposites. If you
work on the pleasure side, the opposite comes into play
sooner or later and, like any addict, you continue to seek
for pleasure, but now to relieve yourself of some pain
rather than to magnify the enjoyment. Most of the time, you
are just suffering, and the pattern is repeating itself
automatically. You do not quite know what to do about it.
You are just stuck with it, and you think, “Well, that is
the way it is supposed to be.” You are basically just
feeling the pain of it and trying to get rid of the pain.
your whole life feels like a dilemma of disease.
This understanding about conditional existence is one
dimension of life in My Company that makes you a renunciate.
The other dimension is your devotion to Me. The more
profoundly your devotion to Me is magnified, the less
consistently attention moves toward pleasure, or
conditionality, or addictive patterns. This is the primary
dimension of life in My Company that makes you a renunciate.
When these two dimensions of your practice of the Way of the
Heart become most profoundly consequential, then you are
fully and truly a renunciate, or one who is not moved in
attention toward conditionality but whose attention and
entire body-mind are moved in submission to Me, in Divine
The way out of the cycle of pleasure and pain, the cure
for your addiction, is also painful, to some degree. There
is tapas in it. However, when you understand the
reasonableness of the cure and its purpose, you become
willing to endure it. Having so thoroughly adapted to what
is inherently painful, you must understand, like a five
hundred-pound man or woman committed to losing weight, that
you must endure a process of purification. Therefore, a part
of self-discipline is that you become willing to endure it,
because of your intelligence, your understanding.
Participation in conditional existence ends in pain. In
the meantime it shows all the signs of the addictive cycle,
eventually becoming the endurance of pain and the search for
release. Everything associated with conditional existence is
just this cycle. If you are noticing this truth about some
things and not others, you have more to learn about your
desires and your bargaining. You must find out that every
indulgence in conditions is the same: It becomes the
addictive cycle, and it ends in pain.
If you could make a truly summary and most profound
estimate of the nature of conditional existence and the
option of true devotion, what would you do? You would do no
more bargaining. You can be My devotee without having come
to the great estimate about everything yet, but your destiny
is dependent on the tendencies of attention you have not yet
understood and relinquished. Because you have not understood
most fundamentally yet, because you have not gotten the
lesson yet, attention makes repetition. It keeps you
continuous with your limitations, until you understand and
are not moved toward them any more. When you come to that
point, you are not strategically renouncing, without
understanding, but it is obvious that you just do not do
If people who drink or smoke day after day are honest
with themselves, they find that eventually drinking or
smoking does not feel good. It toxifies you more and more
and makes you more and more uncomfortable. Eventually, the
only motive left is to grasp something of the original
pleasure, but you are only being sick and poisoned. You
enjoy a few moments of pleasure, then the indulgence
degrades you, you feel uncomfortable and sick, you must
endure the aftereffects the next day, and then struggle with
the process of purification, however long it takes.
Everything is like this. Everything! To understand this
point transforms a life. You seem to be waiting to reach
that point. What about it? What about everything? What about
the habit of granting attention to conditional matters that
eventually end in the pain of the addictive cycle? There is
fun in it at the beginning, and then immediately you feel
the results of the toxins and it is not so much fun any
more. You are unsteady physically, emotionally, mentally,
and in your breath. Instead of Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga, then,
there is bodily unsteadiness, emotional unsteadiness, mental
unsteadiness, unsteadiness of attention, unsteadiness of
breath, and you must endure these results and take actions
that will purify you and restore your equanimityand
then you will do Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga.
So it is with everything! Real Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga is
delayed, or certainly diminished, by your concessions to
your addictive tendency, as if you do not understand.
Understand this and change your life. Such understanding
does not make the ideal life or utopia here, but it grants
you the ability to give Me the faculties of the body-mind
through true self-surrender and self-forgetting, the body
not just feeling good but under your control and able to be
given to Me. It is the same with emotion, the same with
attention, the same with the breath. The reason for right
discipline is not just to feel good as a human being and
live an ideal, utopian life but to be in a position to make
this sacrifice to Me in every moment, because you are able
to be responsible for these faculties. As an addict,
however, distracted by attention not merely to toxins but to
everything else you do conditionally, you are not
responsible for these faculties. You cannot give them
directly to Me in every moment. You always have something
else to do with them, some distraction, some leftover from
previous indulgence. It is so!
Everything about your life-action, your life-process,
your life-circumstance is a result of the concessions you
have made and, therefore, everything you do is the picture
of the degree to which you are living in the practice of
Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga in this moment. Various
life-arrangements may be compatible with profound
understanding and the renunciate disposition, but you must
answer for your life. You must notice what you are doing: Is
it the addictive cycle in any moment, or is it really free
devotion to Me?
You must “consider” this, examine your life with true
understanding, and make choices. Whatever your choice,
whatever your circumstance, make it truly compatible with
Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga. If Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga is your
understanding and disposition, then do whatever you must do.
It is your business, and there is no bargaining with Me
Yes, ultimately, the Way of the Heart is about renouncing
every aspect of conditional existence, not for the sake of
renouncing but as Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga. Renunciation in
the Way of the Heart is a disposition that enters into
Communion with Me in every moment, that chooses the Divine
Person, the Divine Condition, the Divine Self-Domain in
every moment. You must make the measure. You must come to
the understanding. You must respond to Me. You must change
your life, however it must be changed, on this basis.
No matter how much longer you do what you have been doing
all your life, you are not going to feel as good as you did
when you started. You are only going to feel worse.
Appreciate this, and then make the choices.
What if, on the basis of most profound examination of
your involvement in emotional-sexual life and the most
difficult choices, you become a celibate renunciate or a
celibate in intimacy, with no consolations, no addictive
behaviors anymore? So what! God will direct youfresh,
awake, free at heart, most profoundly engaging the
God-Communing disposition. So what if there is no
significant consolation in it! So what if you must give up
everything for God! Whatever it takes, that is what you must
do if you are serious about Most Perfectly self-transcending
God-Realization. Whatever is binding youyour intimacy,
sexuality, toxic substances, social life, daily life, food,
moneywhatever it is, it is your business to deal with
it. Find your addiction, and cut it off. Then see what is
left over that is compatible with the Way of the Heart. It
is for you to discover, and it is different in every case,
even a different process in some sense, but at last it is
the same process fundamentally, the same requirement: Either
you are given up to the tendencies of your attention and
their results, or you are giving yourself with full
attention to Me.
It is commonly said that you must give up the world for
God, and it is true. Wherever your attention goes is your
destiny. If your attention goes to Me, to Divine Communion,
then your destiny becomes Divine. If it goes only to Me to
some degree and also goes to many other things, then those
other things become your destiny, while yet, perhaps, you
remain My devotee in some sense. Divine Self-Realization,
however, requires the abandonment of everything but the
Divine. All other thoughts, all other dispositions, all
other plans, all other activities of attention are not
Godward or God-Realizing.
DEVOTEE: Beloved Heart, when attention moves with
sympathy, if I am sympathetic with something I focus my
attention on . . .
SRI DA AVABHASA: You would not put your attention on it
if you were not sympathetic with it. Even if you are
revolted, there is also a sympathy there, because your
attention goes there.
DEVOTEE: The sympathy is the ego expressing itself.
SRI DA AVABHASA: It is not only egoity, not just the
self-contraction, but it is the patterning of egoity, the
adaptations of egoity, and they must be dealt with. If you
weigh five hundred pounds, losing weight does not depend
just on what you do with your attention! Yes, give your
attention to Me, practice Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga, but you
must also handle the business of straightening out the body
and losing a great deal of poundage.
The tapas of real self-discipline is an essential,
necessary part of right practice of the Way of the Heart.
Yes, it can be said that the basis of self-discipline is
devotion to Me, giving Me your attention with feeling,
directing the whole body to Me, surrendering with every
breathyes, that is so. Yet self-discipline bears an
obligation for all your adaptations. Everything that has
occurred as a result of your addiction, everything that has
occurred as a result of your granting of attention to
conditional matters, must be purified. Such purification
requires real tapas, real devotion of attention to Me. In
the process, you are losing those five hundred pounds and
getting down to normal weight, meaning that you are
relinquishing all the tendencies of your attention.
Your tendencies will be fighting back, because of your
adaptation. Therefore, the fundamental principle of
Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga is simple to understand, even to do,
if you bring yourself to it every moment, but you must go
through the purification, or the reorientation. It is not
fun, but it can be interestingyou can allow yourself
an intelligent participation in the purification.
All of your karmas, all the results of your attention,
all the tendencies of your attention must be redirected to
Me. There is a necessary tapas in that process, in every
moment and along the course. If you do this practice most
profoundly, Most Perfectly, then all the movements of
attention, all the results of attention, and all the destiny
of attention are relinquished, gone, and all that is left is
the Source of attention, the Domain of attention, the Origin
of attention, the Divine Person, the Divine Self-Domain.
Realization of the Ultimate requires the conversion of
attention and the purifying process, the tapas, the
understanding, the change of life, the discipline, the
continuous moment to moment devotion, the profound work.
You are making more lifetimes, either here in this
yellow-red place or somewhere else, on the basis of the same
tendencies, adaptations, addictions. A summary word from the
traditions for the cycle in which you are caught is
“samsara”. It is an irreducible cycle of suffering. The
secret of renunciation is to comprehend it whole, in one
glance, and be disposed unlike that, not making karma
anymore but instead given up to Divine Communion with all of
your faculties, moment to moment. Everything is purified in
the heat of such constant practice. It is the Circumstance
of Most Ultimate Realization.
The Principle of Communion with the Divine Person has
been understood within the Great Tradition, certainly, but
always with some imposition of limitation within it, so that
the Realization develops only to some degree, only within
the first six stages of life. The egoic exception is not
inspected beyond the Realization presumed by the stage of
life. I have Given you the Great Way of the Heart, which
leads to Most Ultimate Realization, to Divine Translation,
and which inspects and accounts for, in due course,
everything, summarily, even the fine points of the sixth
stage of life, for instance.
The Great Way of the Heart is a Great Matter, beyond
Wonderful. You must get on with it, with no bargaining, or
you stop at one place or another. You can see even now that
all kinds of things that relate to your present stage of
life-demonstration are no longer addictive, not of interest,
not binding you, and you do not have any attention for them.
Yet just one fraction, one part, one element, one function,
one kind of association can bind you to the entire stage of
DEVOTEE: Sri Gurudev, I felt just a moment ago the
consolation of the ocean, the air, the sand, drawing me so
that I wanted to lie down in it.
SRI DA AVABHASA: You have the faculties to enjoy it, but
you could be in another state, the body profoundly diseased
and in pain, wherein the rustling of the waves would be
profoundly disturbing to you.
The conditional realm is only Me. It is only the Divine
Person. Why fasten onto it? Why luxuriate in it? Why be an
odalisque, oblivious to the Place Where you Are, oblivious
to the Person in Whom all of this is arising? You should
devote your life to the Person in Whom all of this is
arising, rather than clinging like an addict to such
Come to Me in every moment. How profoundly you will do
that coming to Me in every moment, that Ishta-Guru-Bhakti
Yoga, depends on your understanding of all of your uses of
attention. I Call you to devote your attention to Me
utterly, your feeling to Me utterly, your entire bodily
existence to Me utterly, your breath, altogether, in every
moment, utterly. Yet you have adaptations, tendencies,
justifications in mind for doing something else with your
faculties, and you bargain with Me. This is what is yet to
be more profoundly inspected and understood and converted to
Me. It is the circumstance of your sadhana, stage by stage,
in My Company.
Your choices change, through right sadhana. The
understanding develops, fine, but you must take your
understanding seriously. You must take My Revelation
seriously, and truly respond to Me, as a serious person. My
Revelation is not serious if you are not a serious person.
You cannot worship Me, surrender to Me, in this bodily
(human) Form in limitation. You must be continuous with the
DEVOTEE: Sri Gurudev, my attraction to You is beyond Your
bodily (human) Form, because You are the Divine Person. This
is really my understanding and confession of You, Beloved,
because You are not an ordinary being, and You Communicate
that Truth to me.
SRI DA AVABHASA: Nor is this an ordinary world. It is My
Very Person, to be recognized as such and acknowledged as
such, so that your submission to Me, your worship of Me,
becomes most profound, not merely a token gesture of a part
Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga is an expression of your impulse
to Divine Communion and Divine Self-Realization.
Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga is worship of the Divine Person. If
you choose Me as your Ishta, you choose the Divine