The Dreaded Gomboo or The Imaginary Disease That
Religion Seeks To Cure.
A Collection of Essays and Talks on the “Direct”
Process of Enlightenment.
By Da Free John.
Compiled and edited with an introduction and commentary
by the Renunciate Hermitage Order.
The God Don’t Eat the
By Annie Rogers ( 1983 )
Bhagavan Adi Da’s Hermitage
Sanctuary in Kauai was a beautiful place until Tumomama 1 , the fierce aspect of the Divine as Goddess,
cloaked in the guise of Hurricane Iwa, struck, exposed her
fangs, stuck out her tongue, snorted, screamed, hissed, and
blew out the Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary spreads gracefully
across six acres of rolling lawn spotted in places with
groupings of two or three beautiful old koa trees. The
entire property is cloistered by a surrounding jungle and a
natural barrier of very, very tall, old trees shrouded in
vines. A sacred river cuts its ragged path through the
jungle and rocks, and embraces one side of the property.
From Grace Leans, the sacred banyan tree that marks the
highest point on the property, one can look across the
rolling lawn to the Heart-Master’s house, and beyond that
past the river to open fields of sugarcane and the sacred
mountain [Mt. Waiaileale] that is the wettest place
in the world.
Despite the apparently peaceful look
of the Sanctuary, it was once the site of ceremonial worship
by the ancient Hawaiian warrior class. It had been shrouded
by the evil forces of black magic. Bhagavan Adi Da has said
many times that this very spot was the most evil place on
Earth. But after years of Bhagavan’s Work on this property,
it has been transformed into a place of Divine Force.
Nevertheless, the Nature-Power associated with the place is
wild and fierce. In honor of this Goddess-Force, Bhagavan
renamed the Sanctuary “Tumomama,” which means “fierce
We were unsuspecting when we woke on
the morning of November 23, 1982. It was windy outside, but
we were used to this. Unusual weather has always been
associated with our Beloved Adi Da’s Work. We had not yet
heard about the approach of Hurricane Iwa! At 10:00 A.M.,
before Beloved came out of His quarters, Tom Closser phoned
to tell us that a hurricane had suddenly developed in the
Pacific and was heading straight for Kauai. The mayor had
just closed all public buildings on the island. At noon, Tom
phoned with another report: The hurricane was a bad one. We
could feel her coming. We began to prepare.
The men were already busy all over
the Sanctuary, tying things down, taping windows, covering
screened areas in plastic, bracing trees, when Heart-Master
Adi Da came out of his quarters at 12:30. Usually He sits in
the gathering room for Darshan 2 at this hour.
Today he stood in the kitchen, which was already becoming
the communications center.
The first thing Beloved did was to
ask for a storm report. The hurricane was still heading
straight for Kauai and was expected to arrive in full force
around 8:00 P.M. Wind velocities were expected to reach over
100 miles per hour!
Beloved’s attitude became very
practical. Every precaution had to be taken to protect the
property. He roamed about the house looking out the windows,
sent messages to remind the men of things that had to be
handled, made sure the generator had been readied (we would
surely lose our electricity!), and thought of every possible
detail that might be forgotten.
Outside, the wind was really picking
up. Already it was howling. Leaves were ripping off the
trees. They darkened the sky in a chaotic flight like a
swarm of locusts. A light rain was being blown to earth. The
men were beginning to have trouble maneuvering in the storm.
Inside, the chaos of Hurricane Iwa
was beginning to invade the house. The lights went out. No
electricity! Our intercom was no longer functioning, so we
had no communication to Frog Mound, the building where most
of the Renunciate Hermitage Order lives, or Unshaken, the
building where the security and communications staff is
centered. Daji Evam, one of the renunciates who lives at
Frog Mound, sat in wet clothes on the floor in the pantry
waiting to convey the Beloved’s messages to the outer
Bhagavan Adi Da sat cross-legged on
the low chair in the gathering room. Many members of the
Renunciate Hermitage Order were already gathered around Him
while others finished preparing to endure the hurricane.
Suddenly we heard a loud crack, then a thud, and the house
shook. Bhagavan walked to the kitchen window to see where
the noise came from. Men were running around outside. We
could see their mouths move as they yelled to one another,
but we could not hear them over the roar of the wind. The
large old lychee tree that stood outside the kitchen window
had lost one of its main branches. The tree was sixty feet
tall and sheltered perhaps half the house with a perfect
umbrella of green glossy leaves. It was a monument on the
property, stately and so perfect it looked like a painting.
The fallen branch had grazed the house and lay on the
driveway. Daji Udi ran into the kitchen dripping wet and
told us we had to evacuate that end of the house. It looked
like the tree was going to go, and if it did, it might smash
the roof. We fled into another room to another window’s
The Heart-Master, instead of
offering his protective gaze to the lychee tree, stood for a
long while regarding Grace Leans. Grace Leans is the banyan
tree that Beloved Himself had empowered by putting holy ash
and flowers beneath its roots when the tree was placed into
the ground in 1981. We all hoped the Sanctuary’s holy tree
would survive the storm!
Crack! We heard it again above the
roar of the wind, and then a thud as another section of the
Iychee tree fell to the ground. Within a few minutes the
entire tree was wrecked. Only a three-foot stub remained
standing. The tree lay in pieces on the driveway.
Beloved called for the renunciate
children to come from their Brahmacharya school nearby. 3 He asked everyone in the support group 4 to come from their home about five miles away and to stay at
the Sanctuary until the storm was over. The children were
wet and excited and fearful when they arrived. They kissed
Beloved and then sat close to Him.
The wind was picking up speed
rapidly, shrieking now. It was too dangerous for the men to
work outside any longer. More trees came down. Besides the
Iychee tree we mourned, we had lost three paperbark
eucalyptus trees, the tallest trees on the main part of the
property. From Beloved’s library window we could see them
Iying on the ground like fallen giants. Daji Udi reported
that many more trees were down.
After hearing the damage report,
Bhagavan’s mood changed. He became playful, almost as if he
was enjoying the tumult of the storm. In a lull, Bhagavan
looked outside and said to the storm, “Go, Tumo, come on,
Tumo. You call this a storm, Baby? Show us your cheeks. I
wouldn’t even have bothered if this was all I was going to
do. Big deal!” 5
The winds were now steady at 50
miles per hour, and gusting to 75 or more. When the group of
devotees arrived from the support house, they were wet and
shaken and had a wild tale to tell Beloved. Heather Lupa
recounts the story:
I was among the group of eight or so
people who were trying to reach the Sanctuary, at Beloved’s
urgent request and graceful invitation, before the storm
worsened. It was the most harrowing experience of my life.
It was very much like what I would imagine a war would be.
When we found we could drive no
farther, we stopped at one of the houses along the road,
thinking that we would be able to phone the Sanctuary, just
to let everyone know we were all right and to ask what the
tree situation” looked like closer to the Sanctuary. The
young couple who took us into their home—we must have
been a sight as all eight of us climbed out of one car had
been boarding up their windows to protect them from the
winds. Across the width of their large sliding glass door
the man had nailed a narrow strip of wood about an inch and
a half thick. We had made our phone call and were relieved
that Frank Marrero and Mark Travis were going to drive as
far as they could to meet us.
We thanked the couple and started on
our way again. I was one of the last to leave. When I looked
ahead at the others, they were screaming and running toward
the car. Not knowing why they were screaming, I simply began
to run. In my excitement I ran at full speed right into the
board across the door. The board caught me across the neck,
and I choked. The blow was incredibly painful, but I forgot
it as I saw what was causing the others’ excitement. The
force of the wind had peeled a tin roof off a building. The
huge piece of corrugated tin was flying right toward us.
Some of the group, fearing decapitation, flattened
themselves on the muddy ground. Others ran for the car. The
flying roof barely missed our car, and Crane Kirkbride was
just able to hide behind a metal fence before the tin was
hurled against the railings. It blew away, and we were
We began on foot toward the
Sanctuary. We were literally running for our lives! Huge
trees had fallen across the road—so wide that their
fallen trunks lay about four feet high. Their branches stuck
out in every direction like broken arms, and it often took
us five minutes to pass one tree. Already many of these huge
trees lay along the road, and many more were crashing down
around us. We could very easily have been killed.
Live electrical cables whipped free
in the wind. The rain pounded, the wind was driving, there
was mud everywhere, and all the while we were trying to
carry bags of supplies for our Thanksgiving dinner! What a
sight we were laughing and screaming and absolutely
terrified but knowing that Beloved had asked us to come to
the Sanctuary for a reason, and we couldn’t think of any
place in the world we would rather be than in his Company.
We were driven by our strong urge to be with him!
But when we arrived at the Sanctuary
at last, I found that the pain in my neck was much worse. It
was very difficult to swallow, and I had a huge bruise on
the front of my neck.
Heather did not mention her wounded
neck to Beloved, but after all the stories had been told,
the Heart-Master asked if there had been any injuries.
Heather told him about running into the board. She said she
was in great pain and having trouble swallowing and
breathing. Adi Da motioned her to come up to his chair. He
examined her neck. There was a huge, dark bruise across her
throat. Beloved placed his hand on her throat and held it
there as he asked her many detailed questions about her
injury. How did she get it? Where did it hurt? What did it
It seemed as he questioned me that
he was calling my attention to the injury, but remarkably my
attention was being removed from it. The whole time he
spoke, he kept his hand on my neck, and my attention was so
gracefully moved from the neck, the problem, the pain, and
the inability to swallow, to him. It was a time of
meditation. There was so much love and energy communicated
by Beloved in those few minutes that I could only try to be
coherent in answering his questions and receive his Blessing
in whatever way I could. But the mood of the moment was for
me profound meditation.
As he held his hand on me, the pain
subsided. I could swallow painlessly and my breathing was
normal. I bowed to the Bhagavan Adi Da in gratitude. My
husband, Neil, looked at the bruise afterward, and all but a
little speck of it was gone! Bhagavan Adi Da had healed
By this time the storm was awesome.
The sky was dark, not only with flying leaves, but now even
with branches of trees and all kinds of debris. They swirled
and twisted, rose and fell, helplessly through the air. To
walk even a few steps outside was a battle. Life itself
seemed fragle in the hurricane’s power. We looked out across
the river and watched as denuded trees were ravaged by the
wind. Loud cracks sounded constantly and then white scars
showed where limbs had broken off.
Tumomama. The Great Woman shows
Herself in a benign form at The Mountain of Attention
Sanctuary 6 , but here she was Tumomama, fierce
woman. “She is a growling, murderous, fanged, bloodthirsty
bitch,” Adi Da had recently told us. Although we did not
know her intimately, he had told us a lot about her in
recent days and we knew who she was and what she was about:
I have seen the Goddess here in the
form that she is showing in this place. She is nothing like
a friendly, motherly type. She is a very strange person.
That is why I call this place Tumomama, which means fierce
woman. And I have seen her on many occasions here. She is
dark-skinned, long-limbed, emaciated with long, wild
mussed-up hair, a crazy face, a very weird sense of humor,
and very playful, even painfully playful in some sense. She
creates much discomfort. At times she wears a strange, dead
expression. At other times her face is wild and weird and
bloodthirsty, with strange teeth and a very fierce and
The Living God is a wild,
indescribable character, a living personality, and I have
seen Her many times in this form I just described to you. I
saw Her dead, too, I saw Her as a corpse. Death and change
are what She is about and what this world is about. She is
what this world is about because She demands sacrifice. She
is completely indifferent to the survival of
As we looked out at her devastating
and threatening force, we all felt the truth of what
Bhagavan Adi Da had said.
Adi Da stood up and walked to the
large sliding glass doors that open to a patio on the edge
of the jungle. He looked down upon the sacred river. The
river, which everyone who lives at the Sanctuary recognizes
as a form of the Goddess, was wildness itself. We could see
the river well, because the jungle and trees that usually
hide it had been torn away by the wind. It was swollen, much
wider than usual. The water, which is usually clear and
inviting, was muddy and churning, boiling and chaotic. The
rock platform known as “Strong Knees”, which normally rises
twelve feet above the river, was completely covered by the
There was a lull in the storm.
Bhagavan, with His hands on His hips in a challenging pose,
said, “Do it, Tumo!” in a taunting voice. And She responded!
In the next moment the wind struck back more fiercely than
ever. This happened over and over. He would talk to Her,
threaten Her, tease, taunt Her, and the wind would respond.
Tumomama and Bhagavan Adi Da were having a conversation. We
could literally feel their intimacy, feel Her response to
It was 4:30 P.M. Bhagavan Adi Da
asked for another storm report. We listened to the radio.
Only one station was still broadcasting. The winds were
supposed to begin to build at 6:00 P.M. At 9:00 P.M. they
would reach their peak and stay strong until midnight. At
midnight the eye of the storm was expected to pass right
over the Sanctuary. At 3:00 in the morning the storm would
begin to decrease. At their peak, the winds would be 100
miles per hour, gusting to 120.
A soberness came across the room. We
had already lost many, many trees on the Sanctuary and the
report indicated that the wind would nearly double in
velocity! Everyone was struck by the possibility of real
disaster. This no longer was a game. Our neighbor’s roof had
already been blown off. Would anything be left standing when
it was over?
We were quiet for several minutes.
The Heart-Master gazed at some distant point outside the
window, his eyes wide, his attention obviously elsewhere. In
a moment his joking mood returned. “Do you all want to see
real destruction? One hundred mile an hour winds and roofs
coming off and all the rest of it?”
“No!” It was unanimous.
“All right, then,” Adi Da said. He
got up abruptly and went to the Hermitage library. He was
gone for a while. It was unusual that he would leave in the
midst of a gathering. Bhagavan Adi Da returned with a book
of poems by Ramprasad, 7 written as worship to
Kali, the “terrifying” Hindu Goddess of death.
Bhagavan seemed almost meditative.
Even with the deafening roar outside, there was a sense of
quiet in the room. He began to read:
O Mother, who really
Knows Your magic?
You’re a crazy girl.
Driving us all crazy with these
No one knows anyone else
In a world of Your illusions.
Kali’s tricks are so deft,
We act on what we see.
And what suffering
All because of a crazy girl!
What She truly is?
Ramprasad says: If She decides
To be kind, this misery will pass. ( 8 )
Bhagavan Adi Da read poem after
poem. We listened attentively. At one point a large branch
from a tree crashed into the patio beside us. Anyone who had
been beneath it would have been killed. Then the wind
grabbed it again and hurled it into the jungle. Adi Da paid
no attention. He just kept reading those poems to the
It was getting dark outside. Finally
the Bhagavan Adi Da closed the book and set it on the floor
next to his chair. He had finished reading Ramprasad. “She
has done it,” he said. “We have seen the worst of it now.”
According to all weather reports, we were still hours away
from the full force of the storm. But as Master Da spoke,
the gathering sensed that the worst was over. “She ruins you
and then she wants to be worshipped. Do it, Tumo!”
“It’s a wonderful puja 9 , Beloved.”
“You’ve done it again, Beloved!”
There was an obvious relief in the
“The bloody bitch,” Adi Da said. “A
pool of Nature, a dark pool of Nature, Nature itself, which
seems temporarily to be about birthing and surviving and
enjoying. But the work of Nature is obliteration, death,
dissolution, as we are witnessing here today. This storm is
the great picture. This is life capsulized. Life is
obliteration, not birth and survival and glorification. It
is death! The Goddess is the sign of Nature, the word of
Nature, the Person of Nature, Kali, the bloody Goddess with
long teeth and blood pouring out of her mouth. You poor men
are deceived by Nature.”
After Bhagavan returned the poetry
book to his library, his mood was light. We decided to have
a hurricane party. Beers were passed around. “Let the wild
rumpus start!” Adi Da said. We began a celebration that was
to last for several days. That night we danced and we talked
and we sang by candlelight, and afterward everyone slept on
the floor in Beloved’s house. There were perhaps thirty-five
people. Even the meditation halls were covered with blankets
The next morning everyone took a
walk with Bhagavan to survey the damage. The Sanctuary was
in ruins. Debris covered the property. A fence had been
blown away. The main trees on the property were down. There
was little foliage left on the plants, and what was left was
in shreds. The barrier of trees that had surrounded and
secluded the property was bald, and about half of those
trees were down. Yesterday flowers had bloomed all over the
Sanctuary. Today the flowers were gone—not one was
left anywhere. Grace Leans, however, had not only survived
but looked almost untouched. It still had its leaves!
Bhagavan Adi Da said that everything
was in shock. The grass and all the plants and trees were
giving off a very disturbed, psychic vibration. We could all
feel it. Everything seemed disturbed and strange and unreal.
What had once been a paradisiacal Sanctuary was in a
The next few days were an adventure.
We had no water for three days, and the electrical power was
out for more than a week. A generator gave us minimal
electricity. We bathed and washed our hair in the ice-cold
water of the sacred river. The support group lived on the
Sanctuary for three days. They had nowhere to go. At their
house (and it would have been a struggle to get there on
foot since the roads were covered with fallen trees) there
was neither electricity nor water nor food. Even if they had
been able to get into town, the markets weren’t open.
But our time together was a Grace.
Although we had already spent three months together,
gathering frequently with Bhagavan , having meetings,
discussing his lilas 10 , never had we felt so
intimate, so loving, or so dependent on one another.
Because of our Beloved’s insistence
on self-sufficiency, and because of our sense of community,
also insisted upon by Beloved , we managed quite well. We
had food, we had water to drink, and we had one another.
November 25, two days after the
storm, was certainly the most oddly humorous Thanksgiving
we’ve ever had with Beloved. The island had been devastated
by the storm. Iwa was the worst storm in twenty-three years—over
$225 million in damage. Many hotels and houses were
destroyed. Thousands of people on the island were homeless
and living in churches and schools, but the spirit of
community they were forced to enjoy gave them something to
be thankful for on the holiday. As for us, because of
Bhagavan’s Presence and Teaching, we celebrated. The support
group was homeless. Outside everything was wrecked. Inside
we had a Thanksgiving feast. Many of our neighbors were not
so fortunate. We went around to all of them, offering the
Thanksgiving turkeys we had received as gifts.
We all knew Bhagavan had dealt with
the storm. We had felt his puja when he read the poems. We
had seen his conversation with the storm. And even the
newspapers declared it was a miracle that no one had been
David Forsythe, head of the
“Forsythe Committee” for investigating and documenting
unusual phenomena within the Communion, gave the following
report, which corroborates what we already knew was true:
Sometime after the storm, I was able
to make contact with meteorologists in the U.S. Weather
Service who are responsible for tracking and predicting the
behavior of hurricanes and other tropical storms.
Hurricane Iwa, as it moved toward
Kauai, seems to have suddenly accelerated in its course,
moving along its path at speeds of over 40 miles per hour,
whereas hurricanes usually move at about 17 miles per hour.
It went through changes in shape and structure that normally
occur only as a hurricane grows old and passes out of the
tropics. The reports and photographs I studied showed that
Hurricane Iwa began to pick up speed right at the hour the
Heart-Master began to talk to Tumo and do his puja! These
changes reduced the time that Kauai was subjected to the
pounding of wind and surf and undoubtedly prevented greater
devastation and damage to the island.
On Thanksgiving Bhagavan Adi Da
finally told us what he had done with the storm. “Of course
I did not create the storm, but I could have worked to
divert it if you had told me about it earlier. When you did
tell me about it, I worked on it. I talked to the storm, and
it responded. I told her to get her ass out, and the poems
by Ramprasad, who was a devotee of Kali, made her lose a
little face.” Bhagavan acknowledged that “it was a miracle.”
At the same time he warned us that
we could not lose the vision we had seen. “Such force will
inevitably create devastation in this world. Everything we
generally find attractive in this Sanctuary was destroyed.
This same force, this force of Nature will ultimately
destroy everything that we find attractive. This is a part
Thanksgiving Day turned into
Thanksgiving night. We sang and danced together. Opera,
Simon and Garfunkel, rock music, and reggae. Beloved
animated everyone and everything in the room from his chair.
He danced, he coached us to sing, he quipped, he roared, he
mused, and finally in an ecstatic moment, he gave us a final
message about the destiny all men face who are born in the
realm of Nature and about the Realization that transcends
the play of Nature, or the Mother-Power. As a popular reggae
song beat through the room, he spontaneously put to song the
lesson of the hurricane.
She eat those folks when they don’t
When they don’t meditate then, She
She eat them alive when they don’t
If you don’t meditate, She put you
on a mashed potato.
Oh! You get a fever. If you don’t
love Her, you get hot.
Oh yeah! You burn up your fatty.
Burn your toes to crisp.
Oh, your ears. Oh, your ears. They
look like pig knuckles.
She eat them right then.
Oh! Oh! Ah! Ah! The whole damn
thing, She eat.
No respect of Her persons.
She eat everybody!
O Mother we worship you for so many
thousands of years.
All we get is this trouble, all this
eating, all this disturbance
All this disturbance. What is the
use of all this worship?
It’s better to be eaten! Give up
your worship! Ah yes.
This Goddess She going to love you a
Stand firm. Stand firm. She eat your
She eat your knee. She eat your leg,
She eat your palms, eat your belly
Ah yes! Right up your solar plexus.
I love it. The whole damn thing, She
You’re all as good as dead. She
going to get you.
Mark my words. You’d better love
Love to be eaten by the Lady.
Mark my words. No meditation, just
Any moment now, She’s gonna eat you
You’re going to feel Her anyway.
She gonna make you feel Her.
She gonna love to eat you.
Ah! The war in the forehead.
Ah! The war in the poor head.
The war between the eyes, between
Ah! The two hemispheres, they don’t
like one another.
Ah! Each hand, they want to kill
Ah! The feet, they want to stomp on
The one thing you got, between your
legs. That’s the only one thing you got.
You don’t need that!
Why you so lively with the sexing
You are poor people.
You don’t eat it the Mother, she’ll
Ah! She’s nibbling on my elbow.
Yes, what a Mother. Oh!
Ah the Woman eat you, but I eat the
I have no fear of the Woman. I take
care of the Woman, you take care of me.
Ah! What a silly Lady. She’s so
ugly, so ugly. Hey, such an ugly Lady. Ah! This bloody
Ah! This is so silly.
Ah! You are all so unconcerned.
You never saw this Woman.
You never saw me in my big place.
If I can eat the Lady that eats you,
I don’t think you need to worry
about the Lady.
I think you need to worry about me!
I be eating you next, baby!
I may be eating you right now!
I could eat the Andrew. 11
I could eat the Tricky. I eat the
Bodha! I’ll eat Donut. Ah! And I’ll eat David, and eat Udi
there, ‘cept Bill. Ah! I’ll eat Groot, no sweat! I eat
everybody. Ah! The Lupa. Ya, I’ll ask for our universe.
Ah! The Crane. I try the
suppository! No good. I eat him anyway. Ah! There’s nothing
but the ladies left. They all think they are super-power
lady, you know. All they do is move the hips, and you are
altogether fascinated. I eat them in one gulp. I got the
very big teeth, babies. You never seen no one babble at my
feet. I would love to sink these teeth into these flesh
Let’s nobody remember, I’m not going
to remember either. I don’t know why I love you! But I love
you! You may not care, I eat you alive, and devour your
pleasures. But I cannot treat you brute-ally. Well, I
consort in your poorness. Ah! So what. I’m going to eat your
bodies. Ah! No fixed time for your poor lives, only eating.
Pupupup, Joanne sandwich! Judith’s flesh, you see.
Ah, no breading, no sorrow, just eat
these, just eat these people, just eat those people. The God
eats the people. Oh, no! The God don’t eat the people!
That’s what I was telling you about, the God don’t eat the
people! Ah! The Nature eat the people. I have to say, the
God don’t eat the people. The God looooove the people! Ah!
Nature eat the God, too. Ah! We all get eaten sooner or
later. Ah, so what! To hell with Nature! Just remember,
babies: The God . . . loves the people. All right! Eh! Ah!
Uh! Oh! I don’t know what I do. I don’t know why I do it.
Ah! The poor soul love the God!13
I’m going to distract Mother Nature,
And all of you are going to slip out. That’s my Plan. That’s
what I gonna do. I’m gonna do it, I’m already doing it! So,
you take advantage of it. You betcha, she’s occupied with me
right now. You know what I’m talkie’ about, don’t ye? That’s
my sadhana. 12 And that’s been no damn plan at all.
The rest of it is just results.
Fortunately, I intervened. I’m going to distract Mother
Nature. While I do it, you beat it out of here. And I’ll be
right behind ye.
This is the only Plan there
HURRICANE IWA. This close-up
satellite photo of Hurricane lwa was taken at 2:15 P.M. on
November 23, 1982. It was the last photo taken before the
satellite relay station on Kauai was destroyed by the
hurricane. The dotted line shows Iwa’s path. The black dots
indicate where the center of the storm was at various times
For more on Sri Adi Da and the
Goddess; see Shiva-Shakti.
1. “Tumomama” means “fierce woman.”
Traditionally the Goddess has at times been characterized by
her all-consuming, all-devouring nature. However, we need to
appreciate the fierceness of the Goddess in a spiritual
light. The word comes from the Tibetan:
“The meaning of the word gtum-mo.
The syllable gtum (‘fierce’) signifies the direct overcoming
of all that is not conducive to enlightenment, that is, all
that has to be given up; the syllable mo (‘mother’)
indicates motherhood as producing spontaneously all the good
in virtues, that is, all that has to be attained . . .
‘The ultimate one is gtum-mo in the
true sense of the word. It is gtum because it dispels the
darkness of unawareness and mo because it is the mother who
bears (her child) awareness as the noetic act.” (Herbert V.
Guenther, trans., The Life and Teaching of Naropa
[London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963] , p. 59)
The fierce aspect of the Goddess has
been valued highly by those most intent in their quest for
spiritual freedom. The Goddess is not merely a metaphor,
symbol, or superstition. For the Adept the Goddess is real,
and to not observe, understand, and transcend Her is to
remain bound to a life of suffering and delusion. In the
Hindu tradition, the fierce aspect of the Goddess is
represented by Kali, and the taming of Kali in the Indian
Tantric tradition is said to be a most dangerous course of
spiritual practice, but one that carries the possibility of
liberation in a single lifetime, if the difficult path can
“Kali is tamed in Tantric sadhana by
another kind of hero—the adept who willingly meets her
on her own terms and in her own sanctuary, who confronts her
in the dead of night in the cremation ground. In confronting
the terrible, black goddess, the adept confronts the
‘forbidden’ dimensions of reality by partaking of them. He
puts the spotlight, as it were, on those darker, murkier
dimensions of his own being. He lets the ghosts and
frightening monsters of his instinctual subconscious being
emerge into the light, where they are aired, studied,
consciously accepted, and hence stripped of their power to
bind him. He conquers these hidden monsters by ritually
forcing himself to end that instinctual, perpetual
censorship that insists on blinding him to the realities of
death and pain. By meditating on Kali in the cremation
ground, by surrounding himself with the dead in the place of
death, he overcomes the crippling fear that is the real
wrath of the Goddess. He wins Her boon of fearlessness by
confronting Her heroically in a rirual context that insists
on an acceptance of the forbidden.” (David R. Kinsly, The
Sword and the Flute [Berkeley: Univ. of California
Press, 1975] , pp. 147.)
2. “Darshan” is literally “seeing”,
or “sight or vision of”. The term commonly implies the
spontaneous blessings granted by the Adept or Spiritual
Master and the Radiant Divine Being. The Adept gives his
blessings by allowing himself to be seen, meditated upon, or
3. “Brahmacharya” is a Sanskrit word
meaning literally “conduct in consonance with Brahman or the
Truth.” In the Hindu spiritual traditions, it has widely
been equated with the lifelong practice of intentional or
motivated celibacy by spiritual aspirants. But this Sanskrit
term originally referred to the student stage of life,
generally conceived to occupy the first twenty-five years of
life. During those years, the growing individual (or
brahmacharin) was formally trained in the Way and Truth of
existence. This period generally involved strict celibacy
until marriage, or entrance into the householder’s stage of
life. Over time, the term “brahmacharya” has become
synonymous with celibacy itself, even though the ancient
practice of brahmacharya encompassed all of the common areas
of life, induding academic studies, music, art, diet, work,
the Scriptures and so forth.
4. The Renunciate Hermitage is
served by a small community of practitioners, called the
“support group,” who live nearby.
5. Adi Da’s ecstatic speech about
the Goddess Tumomama is an expression of his uncommon
subtle-psychic capacity. Although uncommon, there are
sufficient reports of Adepts whose involvement with the
Universal Life-Energy, the Mother-Shakti, or Spirit-Power is
so profound and constant that the Spirit-Power manifests as
a living personality. The well-known Indian Saint Sri
Ramakrishna, for example, while serving as a temple priest,
was once accused of insanity for feeding a cat the
consecrated food intended as an offering. He explained to
his devotees that:
“The Divine Mother revealed to me in
the Kali temple that it was She who had become everything.
She showed me that everything was full of Consciousness. The
image was Consciousness, the altar was Consciousness, the
water-vessels were Consciousness, the door-sill was
marble floor was Consciousness—all
was Consciousness I found everything inside the room soaked,
as it were, in Bliss—the Bliss of God. I saw a wicked
man in front of the Kali temple; but in him also I saw the
power of the Divine Morher vibrating. That was why I fed a
cat with the food that was to be offered to the Divine
Mother. I clearly perceved that all this was the Divine
Mother—even the cat.” (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,
trans. Swami Nikhilananda [New York:
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1977] , p. 15)
For the sake of better understanding
Adi Da’s relationship to the Goddess Tumomama, it is useful
to point out that there are two basic attitudes presumed in
relationship to the Universal Life-Energy, the
Mother-Shakti, Spirit-Power, or Goddess. The ascetical
schools often develop a negative association with the
Goddess-Power, naming Her “Maya,” “Cosmic Veiling Power,” or
the Creative Force of the universe. Everything created by
Maya is subject to a bewildering and unfathomable display of
appearance, change, and disappearance. Association with
manifest existence thus causes the individual soul to become
deluded, trapped in the illusion of appearances, and thus
bound to the subject-object, or egoic, consciousness. The
second and more radical understanding attained by the Adepts
is the Realization of the Universal Life-Energy, the
Mother-Power, or Maha-Shakti, as the Liberating Power.
Master Da’s ecstatic references to “the Great Woman” should
be understood in these transcendental terms. The Adept
recognizes Her as the Servant or Consort of the Divine
Person, the Maha-Purusha , Siva, the Pure Consciousness of
“The Living God is always Present.
The Living God is a wild, indescribable Character, a Person
ultimately without qualities and without differences. But in
the Play of Nature, God is evident as a Living Personality.
Everything that arises in Nature, not all of which is
beautiful, sublime, or desirable, is evidence of that
Personality. The Play of Nature is a kind of Madness that is
not comprehensible to the ego, which seeks its own survival
and the survival of the things to which it wants to attach
itself. Nature is a Great Sacrifice, a Fire Sacrifice, a
Sacrifice of selves, not merely a place of selves who should
be permitted to live forever.”— The Fire Gospel.
6. The Mountain of Attention is a
Renunciate Sanctuary and Meditation Retreat of Adidam in
Lake County, California.
7. Ramprasad (1718-75) was an Indian
Saint whose devotion to the Goodess Kali is reflected in the
many poems and songs of devotion he composed throughout his
life, His inspirational writings, still sung today, were
favorites of Sri Ramakrishna, who was also a devotee of
8. Ramprasad Sen, Grace and Mercy in
Her Wild Hair: Selected Poems to the Mother Goddess,
translated by Leonard Nathan and Clinton Seely (Boulder,
Colo.: Great Eastern Book Co., 1982), p. 40. (see above
9 Puja is ritual worship,
traditionally performed by priests, in which offerings are
made to the Divine and the Grace of God is petitioned and
received. This offering or yielding to the Divine and
receiving of Divine Grace is the principle of God-Communion.
In true spiritual practice every action must become this
puja. In the case of an Adept such as Sri Adi Da Samraj, all
action is inherently and spontaneously a form of puja or
active sacrifice to and in the Divine. In some instances,
such as Bhagavan’s magical transformation of the hurricane,
the Adept performs a very visible—if sometimes
paradoxical or incomprehensible—ritual of activities
whereby the Divine Influence is forcefully brought to bear
on the course of human and natural events and destinies.
10. Literally meaning “play,” lila
is used here to refer to stories about the Divine Play of
11. Adi Da refers to the devotees
who had witnessed the storm and who now sat clapping and
swaying to His song: Andrew Johnson, Charles Seage, Daji
Bodha, Mark Travis, David Forsythe Daji Udi, Bill Roesler,
Tom Closser, Neil Lupa, Crane Kirkbride, Joanne Mied, Judith
Mazur. He calIs many of them by the affectionate and
humorous names He had given them.
12 Right or true action appropriate
to real or spiritual life. The term commonly or
traditionally refers to practices directed toward the goal
of spiritual and religious attainment. Adi Da uses the term
without the implication of a goal, to mean appropriate
action generated not as a means to Truth but on the basis of
prior understanding and Divine Realization.