Non Dual Teachings, Talking Schools and Spiritual Transmission – Adi Da Samraj

Adi Da Samraj
“Non-dual” Teachings, Talking Schools

and Spiritual Transmission 

Excerpts from talks on
What Is The Conscious



“The understanding of the relationship between the
devotee and the Spiritual Master is of great importance
since is the basis of all spiritual traditions, prophecies
and teachings.

If people didn’t fully study my Teaching on this
matter they might tend to associate and even identify it
with some of the traditional exercises … in such
traditions as the Advaitic tradition. And there’s a tendency
in the Advaitic tradition to develop this kind of talking
school approach to Realization. And therefore it tends also
to legitimize the point of view of certain kinds of
advocates who can be read, and even heard in public. Who
preach to people about consciousness and call them to
identify…merely to identify with it. They try to talk
people into identifying with consciousness, or merely to
relax their minds and so forth, and settle into a conscious
state, that doesn’t have any particular reference to the
body-mind, although its still associated with it

There are many such advocates. I’ve spoken about
Krishnamurti from time to time, he’s just one. There are
many such people these days. They have in common, call to
people to do something like the exercise…logical
…exercise of logic recommended in the Advaitic talking
school. They call upon them to identify with Consciousness,
presently, to believe and affirm that the essence of the
being, the consciousness behind thoughts and actions is
presently and always already identical to Brahman or the
Transcendental Condition. Therefore merely by involving
yourself in this kind of analytical exercise, you can
presume that you are enlightened, or that you have achieved
Jnana. That’s not at all true. The same kinds of advocates
are also busy telling people that there is no real purpose
for a Spiritual Master, except to bind yourself to another
ego and so on.

The reason they can so easily dismiss the Spiritual
Master is because they have already dismissed the whole
process of spiritual practice. And all that’s necessary for
them is this kind of analytical effort of identifying with
Consciousness. It is true that our own consciousness, that
which is at the root of attention is ultimately, even
inherently identical to the Transcendental Being. But must
be Realized to be so. And it cannot be realized to be so
until energy and attention are free for that most profound
and radical intuition. Its not merely factually so. Its not
factually so that Atman and Paramatman or Brahman are
identical. Its not factual so that Nirvana and samsara are
the same. By definition these are opposites. Nirvana and
samsara are actual or an absolute opposites of one another.
That’s how the two terms arose in traditions. They indicate
two entirely different states of existence, one
Transcendental and the other conditional.

Well, in the Buddhist tradition, this formula
developed eventually, that states that Nirvana and samsara
are the same. Well, this is a confession of Adepts. This is
a confession of Realization. In the case of Realization it
is true. In some profound paradoxical sense. But it is not
factually true. Its true only in the case of

Likewise in the Advaitic tradition, in many places in
the Hindu tradition, we hear the proclamation that Atman and
Paramatman, or Atman and Brahman are identical. This is not
factually true in the original development of these terms.
They were meant to indicate complete opposites. They are
Realized to be true by Adepts. Or the equation is Realized
to be true, or the Truth in the case of an Adept. But not
otherwise. The equation is not factually true, its only true
by virtue of Realization. So you cannot merely, by inverting
upon the self essence, identify with the Transcendental
Being. To invert upon the self essence is merely to continue
the act of Narcissus. It is to meditate upon the
self-essence, the essence of the ego, the root consciousness
of the ego. Until the ego is transcended, that’s all that’s
at the base of the “I” thought.

We may have some sense, some intuition of that which
goes beyond the limit of self-contracted consciousness, but
we cannot realize our identity with it, apart from the
fullest development of spiritual practice. In fact,
therefore, it is a heresy to claim that Atman and Paramatman
are the same, or that Atman and Brahman are the same, until
you have Realized it. It is a heresy to declare that Nirvana
and samsara are the same. Its a ridiculous claim except in
the case of Realization.

Spiritual understanding in our discussion is not to be
equated with a kind of talking school conceits, or the
presumptions of the ego, that want to be realized
immediately without having to go through the hard school of
purification, liberation, and awakening. Spiritual
understanding involves the transcendence of the ego, or
conditional attention and this develops by stages–it has a
number of forms. From the beginning it may simply have the
form of prayer. It may become some form of enquiry or it may
take on more esoteric practices.

The reason for this is that the ego is not merely some
superficial notion. The ego applies to every single aspect,
every part, function, state, relation, and condition of the
self. There is no part of the manifest self that is not
characterized by the ego or self-contraction. It’s not
merely a superficial part of you, underneath which there is
this eternally free essence which you should identify with.
Even that essence underneath it all, that fundamental sense
of self-consciousness, is a fraction of this total character
that is the ego or seperate self. This total character must
be understood and transcended. In every feature, function,
part, relation, state – waking, dreaming, and sleeping –
this consciousness that is identified with in the talking
school is nothing but the bare consciousness of the waking
state, or attention apart from objects. It is not in any
sense a practice of enlighenment or enlighened
understanding; it is simply egoic consciousness. That egoic
consciousness in all of its forms must be transcended for
any spiritual understanding to awaken.


“Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the
Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No
effort can reach it.”
Maharshi – S.S. Cohen


The Spiritual path is not merely some kind of self
generated discipline, some effort made by the ego, that
ultimately winds up being Enlightenment. Spiritual
understanding and the spiritual path is one of
transcendence, transcendence of the ego, not the way of the
efforts of the ego. Spiritual practice is the submission of
the ego to that which transcends it. It is not supression of
the ego or ignoring it. It is understanding it’s false and
fearful orign.

It is also about the individual entering into
understanding with his or her own help. It is that help or
understanding that permits the spiritual path to be
fruitful. Otherwise it’s about self generated

It is necessary for the individual who enters into a
spiritual path to understand how that great relationship

Real spiritual understanding requires a practice and
discipline and is a hard school, well as being a life of
Grace, a life in which there is Great Help. This Help
transcends the limits that you would bring to practice
ordinarily, it is also a hard school or a difficult affair.
it requires great responsibility, great attention for this
exercise. But if you enter into it truly and seriously, then
all of these kinds of changes or effects that are generated
over time, will amount to a purification of attention from
its habits, on every level, in every state, in all
relations, under all conditions, in every function.
Psycho-physical equanimity, responsibility for energy and
attention, will be the result of that. And on the basis of
such equanimity, there will be free energy and attention,
energy free of this ego-bond, energy free of the character
of the false identication of the separate one. That free
energy and attention is the ultimate arms or means at the
level of the individual whereby Spiritual understanding can
be fulfilled. Only when energy and attention are literally
free from the ego illusion and bind at every level can this
process of awakening can be fulfilled.

In the traditions there is a call that “You are That”
which is a summary of enlightenment. It is not a call that
can be fulfilled instantly by anyone who hears it. You can
sympathize with it to the degree that you can enjoy a level
of self understanding and begin some form of practice, but
you cannot fulfill it perfectly because energy and attention
are not free, because the Atman cannot be equated with
Paramatman or Brahman, it is too self involved. It is
contracted upon itself. It doesn’t enjoy the freedom where
by it may enter into the native equation of individual
consciousness and Transcendental Consciousness. For this
understanding to occur you must endure the process, you must
go through the hard school of purification, rebalancing,
whereby energy and attention are set free of the ego

As I have always indicated, the fulfillment of the
Conscious Process requires, as a matter of preparation, the
significant development of truly free energy and attention.
This means that, for the Conscious Process to fulfill itself
in the terms I quoted earlier from The Liberator, energy and
attention must be truly and stably free from bondage to the
self-contraction in every kind of functional and relational

Many spiritual paths today are reduced to a kind of
“talking school”. Many people read and even write books and
give lectures about the primacy and freedom of
consciousness, as if they could, merely by analyzing
consciousness out from the mass of thinking, knowing, and
experiencing, achieve the incomparable State of “Jnana,”
Enlightenment, or Transcendental Realization. But all such
talk is the mediocre chat of the waking mind. In order to
Realize the Transcendental Truth that Is Consciousness, the
entire process of attention must be liberated from
functional bondage to the states and functions and emotions
and thoughts and relations of the egoic or self-contracted

Therefore, I call you not only to consider my
Arguments and understand, but to practice that consideration
in the form of real disciplines that restore psycho-physical
equanimity and liberate energy and attention for the
ultimate affair of radical intuition.

The practices of conductivity and the Conscious
Process are the responsibility of each individual devotee.
But the Way is not merely a matter of self-generating these
disciplines. The Way that I Teach (in both its preparatory
and mature or ultimate forms) is the Way of “Satsang,” or
Transcendental Spiritual Communion with the Adept in God (or
Reality). The practices of conductivity and the Conscious
Process are simply the means whereby individuals enter into
that Communion moment to moment. The Adept Spiritual Master
provides the Ultimate Means whereby the practices of
conductivity and the Conscious Process become

It is in the “talking school” of heady non
practitioners (or self-contained egos) that we hear so much
nonsense about the non-necessity of a Spiritual Master. Of
course, the Adept is of no use (except perhaps to write
books to feed the ego minds) for those who are self-bound
and not interested in the real fulfillment of the Great Way.
And there are also many kinds of ego-based, childish,
adolescent, merely cultic, and false kinds of approach or
attachment to the Adept–and I criticize those inappropriate
approaches and attachments more than any of those who merely
damn and anathematize the Great Relationship between the
devotee and the Adept Spiritual Master. But when the Way is
fully understood, valued, and practiced, then-and only
then–the Great Relationship is seen to be the Primary
Principle of the Way itself.

The Adept Spiritual Master is not merely an
independent Realizer of the Truth. The true Adept is a
“Siddha,” or a Living Agent of Help and Awakening. Thus,
beyond the Work of Communicating the Arguments of the Way,
the Adept is Present to Transmit the Power of


Ramana Maharshi


I mention him at the end of this essay,
“The mere “I” though is not now an indicator of the Great
One”. The “I” is Narcissus, more than a thought, but a
profoundly complex pattern of destiny. Now perhaps this
would remind you of the teaching of Ramana Maharshi, who
recommended to people, simply to concentrate on the “I”
thought and observe and intuit the consciousness, or the
condition in which that is arising. Well, for him, this made
complete sense. For him the whole force of egoity, the whole
force of the “I” had been transcended. And from the Advaitic
point of view, the “I” thought is a pointer to the Atman,
which is ultimately identical to the Paramatman, or

In the case of lesser teachers, the recommendation to
concentrate upon the source of the “I” thought would be
considered to be a perfectly and sufficient recommendation,
sufficient for instant enlightenment, Maharshi was not a
fool, you see. He knew full well that the ordinary
individual, concentrating on the “I” thought, feeling into,
or intuiting its source, was still ego bound. So therefore
he presumed that this method was a sadhana, a lifetime
practice, that would gradually dissolve the force of the
ego. In other words he didn’t belong to the talking school.
He didn’t mean to concentrate on the “I” thought, see that
consciousness underneath that and realize that’s Atman,
that’s Puja Brahman, that’s Brahman and now you’re
enlightened, now go and be enlightened, you see. No. That
wasn’t his sense of teaching. But rather he followed the
traditional Advaitic approach in the general structuring of
his philosophy. He knew full well that the ego is a great
force, and that the “I” is the ego.

But from his Advaitic point of view, he thought a good
technique for people, instead of fulfilling the motivations
of the ego, the motivations of the “I”, to constantly fall
back from the activity, and rest in the Atman. Doing this
over time, would purify the “I”, undermine the ego, dissolve
the ego. And eventually this meditation would become
self-realization. So it is implicit in his teaching that the
ego must be transcended. He’s not a representative of the
talking school.

Also you should understand the Maharshi did not
presume the role of a teacher. People asked him what he had
realized, and what was it all about, and how could they
realize it and so forth. And he spoke in the terms he did.
He didn’t elaborate beyond that, all of the kinds of
associated means and processes and so on, which would have
to be communicated to people, if your going to presume the
role of a Siddha in their company, or counteract a total
teaching for their benefit.

Now I’m aware of the fundamental truth associated with
Advaitism, and the teaching of Ramana Maharshi. I’m also
aware of the implicit realities that are behind this
Advaitic recommendation. Those implicit realities or
realities of the ego, are there to be undone, there to be
overcome. They can’t be overlooked. You cannot reduce the
Advaitic recommendation to the academic or logical exercise
of the talking school. And therefore I have elaborated a
complete teaching, that involves all of the kinds of
disciplines that must necessarily be associated with life
and practice if the ego, the force of “I”, the force of
Narcissus is to be transcended. And I have established this
practice in my company, and have accepted the role of the
Siddha in your company. So this produces a much more
elaborate culture of practice that is suggested in
Mararashi’s company, and is altogether outside the kind of
mediocrity that belongs to the talking school.

But to consider further the implications of this
notion that you can trace the “I” thought back to its source
– in the case of the beginner, the ego-bound individual, as
I’ve said here, the “I” thought is not merely a thought. It
is the name for a whole complex of existence. The “I”
thought exists only in the plane of waking consciousness.
What about the rest of it? It exists subconscious,
unconscious, walking, dreaming and sleeping, bodily,
emotionally, and so on.

Merely to trace the “I” thought and feel the
consciousness behind it, is not to be self-realized,
transcendentally self-realized it is perhaps in Advaitic
terms, to begin a kind of exercise that should be associated
with a whole life of disciplines and profound practice, in
which everything that is “I” would be transcended, and the
Atman would cease to be merely this individuated

What you must enter into through this conscious
process, is not merely the consciousness behind thought.
That is simply attention. And attention is the fundamental,
or ground mechanism of Narcissus or the ego, as it says at
the beginning of this essay, quoting from The Liberator:
Consciousness as the feeling of Being, and Realize that it
is Radiant Happiness.
” This ultimate intuition
breaks beyond the framework of manifest consciousness. It
breaks beyond the framework of attention, mere attention. It
is associated with the most profound intuition. It is not
like a thought in any sense then. And it is not like
attention standing off here, next to objects, viewing
whatever may seem to be arising, witnessing whatever may
seem to be arising. It is more to be likened to feeling. It
is formless, centerless. It is not something separate, or
separable from objects. It is not interior. It is not
self-conscious in the conventional sense. What’s behind the
“I” thought is merely attention. What must be realized that
is far beyond the “I”, is the feeling or Condition of

Transcendental Consciousness is the consciousness of
this feeling of Being, mere Being, Being without
qualification. The Being that is the Condition, not only of
the conscious self, but of all of its objects, all of
nature. When we’ve entered into that condition of Being,
when our consciousness is that fullness of being, then we
realize that it is Happiness, Self-Radiant Love-Bliss. It is
the Substance of the universe. It is That to which Maharshi
points in his considerations. It is That to which the
Advaitic tradition ultimately points. It is That to which
the Buddhist tradition points. In fact, it is That toward
which all traditions are pointing. But apart from the
Realization of it, all kinds of lesser conceptions and
perceptions and senses of it may substitute for

And so you cannot take heaven by storm. There is no
method of immediate self-analysis that is equivalent to
Enlightenment. Self-observation, self-knowing,
self-transcendence is a lifelong exercise. It never comes to
an end. It is always going on, always developing, there’s
nothing instant about it.

The ego that is behind the “I” thought. Its not the
Transcendental Self. The Self is Realized.

Maharshi really enquired of everyone, “Who, who, who,
who?” Well, he said yes, “concentrate on the ‘I’ thought.
Well, who is aware of the ‘I’ thought?” Well, its the ego
that’s aware of the “I” thought. Its the individual
consciousness. That’s not the end of it. He would again say:
“Who? Find out who.” Well; if you persist in that, that
becomes a whole life of discipline. It even becomes the life
of submission to the influence of the Adept, quite
naturally, quite spontaneously.

And that in fact is what occurred in the case of his
true devotees. And that is a form of the ultimate question.
Who is it ultimately that you are? Who are you arising
within? In whom is all of this arising, you see. But its not
a question with an immediate answer. Its not really a
problem to find this out. It is a process. It is found out
through a process of self-transcendence. His questions are
indicators of it. They are queries to help people become
oriented toward the profundity of self-transcendence. And he
had his peculiar way of doing these things. And as I said,
did not presume the role of the teacher in the fullest
sense, did not feel obliged to communicate a total

He appeared within the context of traditional Indian
society. For those who weren’t ready to be awakened very
directly in his company, he presumed they would just go
elsewhere, they’d find countless numbers of teachings, and
teachers and means and so forth. He was simply certain that
ultimately, all these ways would fulfill themselves in
Transcendental Self-Realization. So his considerations are
limited to this fundamental query, this fundamental
suggestion that what you must discover is the Condition in
which the self is arising. But to discover that condition,
you must transcend the self, not merely ask yourself a
question, not merely invert upon attention itself, because
attention is the ego. The “I” thought like any other thought
arises to the ego. The ego is what must be transcended.
Merely to put attention on the consciousness in which the
“I” thought is arising, is not to realize the Transcendental
Being. It is to make a gesture toward realization. If you
made that gesture those means, ultimately you would break
through the egoic limit, the illusion that’s associated with
attention. That is a profound complete, if if occupied the
whole of your life, then by all of process. Now we do not
… we consider the same truth, this Realization, we do not
consider it in the context of a traditional society, with a
long history of involvement with the quest for
Transcendental Realization.

And I have accepted the role of Teacher, the role of
the Siddha in the company of devotees. So I have assumed the
obligation to communicate the Way fully, and to communicate
its in the company of those who will practice it, you see.
So there is a difference between my historical role and the
historical role of Maharshi and many others, as there was a
difference between Maharshi and his historical role and all
kinds of other teachers.

The same ultimate truth is realized by all free
Adepts, and they communicate it in a particular fashion in
their time and place. Some aren’t very communicative, some
communicate in part only, some assume the role of the Adept
or Siddha in relation to devotees, and some do not. Some
function as the Siddha without accepting the role of the
Siddha. They are the Siddha by virtue of Realization, and
for those who somehow or other develop a real practice, they
make use of that though the Adept assumes no personal
responsibility. In your case there’s no ambiguity about it
however. I make this Teaching plain, I’ve communicated all
the details of its practice, I accept this role in
relationship to you, I’ve explained to you all of the
aspects of the process that takes place in my company, and
therefore its up to you, without any ambiguity, to practice
it as you will. If you will, then the kind of process that
I’ve just described in this
will develop in your case, and you will see all the signs of
it. If you will not take it on, in the forms indicated in
this essay and elsewhere, then you may in some fashion be
attached to this Institution and this community, even have
some familiarity with me, but this does not necessarily mean
that the process described here will take place. The process
required your responsibility, for hearing and developing the
means of practice, which constantly, moment to moment bring
you into the sphere of my Influence. And you must maintain
that responsibility always, not merely occasionally when I
happen to be sitting with you, or when you happen to be in
my company, or when your in meditation or when you feel
good, or when you feel bad, but always you must develop the
full force of this profound practice.

A fundamental aspect of the Way is the progressive
recognition of the Spiritual Master. In other words entering
into that Company, the sphere of the Spiritual Master’s
Influence more and more profoundly. By entering into more
and more profound levels of recognition of the Spiritual
Master, beginning with obvious acknowledgment of the
Spiritual Master, as a Living Master, but then going on to
recognize and locate the Spiritual Master as Siddha, as
Siddhi, as that Influence, which is directly present to
every practicing devotee, in every moment, not merely in
occasions of being in the Spiritual master’s human company,
or being in meditation, of being in an empowered place, or
being in the community and so on, but always. Those who
truly practice begin to locate and recognize and acknowledge
this Influence in every moment of life and meditation. it is
always available. It is a matter of turning to it, of
acknowledging it, recognizing it, locating it, making your
practice into communion with that Influence. Therefore
allowing that Influence to transform the conditions of
existence that are arising from hour to hour, moment to
moment, not only in meditation, but in daily life. In daily
life all kinds of changes occur, all kinds of moods, all
kinds of circumstances, physical, emotional and mental
states, relations, changes in relations and so forth. Those
are just as much within the sphere of Transcendental
Influence, as any of the activities that occur in the
subjective realm of meditation. Therefore these also, you
will discover, remarkably, are constantly being changed, in
various ways by this influence.

The Influence, or Siddhi that you have entered into is
the Power and Being in which all of nature is arising. And
therefore it has its effect on all of the apparently
objective conditions of your existence, just as it has an
effect upon the subjective conditions. So in daily life, you
notice this influence making changes, if your sensitive and
really practicing in this company, in both the subjective
and objective levels of your existence. In meditation, you
notice this influence more in terms of the subjective
changes and the effects this Influence has on you immediate
personal experience, you physical, emotional, mental states,
and those kinds of states that may arise in

You should also begin to notice how this Influence is
operative beyond the waking state, in dreams, in sleeping,
in every moment of existence. There is a tradition in which
Adepts have asked devotees, usually advanced devotees, to to
to sleep at night, with the intention of entering into the
Spiritual Master’s company. Sometimes this instruction is
given in very specific detail, to go to sleep with the
intention in the astral or dream form, to go to a specific
location, usually the Communion Hall, or the place of
residence of the Spiritual Master, with full visual
expression and so on, during the dreaming time. Also with
the intention in the sleep state, to be entered into
communion with the Transcendental Condition and presence of
the Spiritual Master, or the Consciousness, or Being that is
the Adept and the Divine.

Well, devotees over the years, frequently report
random, unintentional experiences of this kind. Similar
experiences in fact occur even during waking hours, various
kinds of visionary experiences, of seeing me in the
meditation hall, or having some vision of me and so forth,
in a moment of activity. These are reported by people. they
also report all kinds of extraordinary dreams. Now these
dreams in general do not have anything to do with me in the
sense that I am personally, at the level of my human mind
and so on, aware that you are having these dreams, although
I very often am aware of them. But the fact that somebody
has a dream in which I appear to them, does not necessarily
mean that I would be able to tell them the next day that I
was aware of it. I may or may not be aware of it. Or I may
be aware of it in a difference form. Or I may be aware of it
in the same form. But most of the time I wouldn’t be aware
of it, there would be no reflection in my waking mind of it.
But this does not mean that the experience if false. It can
be falsified by the individual who just uses it for his own
self-glamouriation, to console him or herself so they can
feel they’re had some profound experience. But generally the
essential content of such dreams is a feeling of entering
into this communion, and something about the meaning of the
dream, will generally have some pertinence, some
significance that is real and appropriate enough, worth
remembering, worth allowing to have some effect on you
whenever it will.

Therefore since this possibility exists, some people
might try this. You should feel free to try this. These
gatherings we have on celebration occasions are something
like this. People gather in Centers and various parts of the
world, at the same time I’m sitting here with you all. And
they prepare themselves through the devotional occasion, and
use my photograph as a way of associating with me. They are
literally tuning into me, allowing themselves to enter into
the sphere of my Influence, personally. During meditation,
or perhaps in dreams, or some other visions afterwards, they
may have some sense of coming to some place where I’m
sitting with them and so forth. During that time of
meditation, they may have visions of it, of my being in the
room with them, or them being in a room some place or other
with me.

In other words the psyche may function automatically
to create some sort of association with me that’s tangible.
Whether or not that tangible association has anything
directly to do with my actual physical location or not. It
is simply a, it is simply something that adds a dimension to
the whole force of their alignment to me.”


See ‘worksheet’ on ‘The
Conscious Process’