The Dreaded Gom-Boo – Introduction

“The Evolution of an Esoteric Spiritual Culture in America”

From The Dreaded Gom-Boo

Author(s): William Tsiknas



The Evolution of an Esoteric Spiritual Culture in America

by Daji Bodha

(William Tsiknas)

As tempting as it is to offer a word of explanation about the “Dreaded Gom-Boo,” I will refrain. Let it be enough to say that whatever the “Gom-Boo” is, you probably think you have it. Fortunately Master Da Free Johns message herein tells you the Way whereby you may pass beyond the “Dreaded Gom-Boo.”

This book, like all of Master Das Teaching, is the result of his “samyama yoga” or spiritual “consideration.” It is compiled mainly from his talks and written essays to a small gathering of aspirants who met with the Adept from late August 1982 through January 1983. Because many were in the earlier stages of spiritual practice, this circumstance provided a useful forum for Master Das elaboration of the three subjects discussed in this book-understanding, renunciation, and Spiritual Transmission.

While it would be misleading to imply that the book is for beginners only, it would be accurate to say that it thoroughly addresses the beginners “problem.” And, because of the unusual process of consideration, it seems appropriate to say something about the spirit of consideration, in which Master Da conducts his Teaching.

I have called my own Teaching method “consideration.” Whenever a particular area of life, or experience, or spiritual and bodily Enlightenment has been given to me as a clearly necessary matter or subject of instruction for the sake of devotees, I have entered into “consideration” with them. Such “considerations” were never only or merely a matter of thinking and talking. They always involved a period in which individuals were permitted to live through the whole matter and to be tested to the point of change. Those who entered into any “consideration” with me were obliged to commit themselves to their own elaborate and concentrated play of life in those particular terms, until the whole matter was clarified and the Truth became clear in terms of the subject.

Such “considerations” required a willingness on the part of each individual to engage and explore many very ordinary areas of human experience, and also to understand and adapt to each new level of revealed responsibility as it was clarified, so that the “consideration” would develop as concrete change and growth (rather than as a mere “change of mind”). Only a “consideration” entered as such a concrete discipline can proceed all the way to its true end, which is right adaptation and freedom, or natural transcendence, relative to its functional subject.

For more than thirty years, Master Da lived without notice, hardly revealing his unusual life to anyone. He rested in the fire of his own Transformation until, when he was thirty-one, the Purpose for which he had been born suddenly began to fulfill itself. In meditation Master Da experienced pre-visions of countless numbers of people, many of whom would come to him seeking spiritual guidance in the following years. He was not just looking at them, he was “Working” with them, meditating them, and serving them through Spiritual Transmission. Some he had seen in visions soon arrived at his doorstep, having heard about the “Western” Teacher in Hollywood and professing they felt him to be their spiritual guide. Others claimed to have received instructions from Master Da in dreams, and, with the publishing of his spiritual writings, many felt drawn by the photographs and the powerful Wisdom communicated in his written Teaching. Now, as people began to arrive, he occupied his life with a most daring experiment-the Enlightenment of ordinary people.

Scattered throughout history we find precedents here and there of Adepts embarking on the spiritual experiment of relieving others from the spell of un-Enlightenment, or what Master Da refers to throughout this book as the “Dreaded Gom-Boo.” The nature of such a task is necessarily paradoxical. The Adept must subject himself to, and also endure, the difficult process of associating with people in order to dissolve their karmas and the disease of the ego-bound personality.

Traditionally, if such a feat was undertaken at all, it was only with the most highly prepared and evolved beings, already cleansed from the soil of “worldliness.” Even under the most ideal circumstances, such an heroic undertaking was usually done in secret. The Work of Enlightenment requires the Adept to identify, through subtle means, with the total karma of the aspirants. To Work with impure people and in large numbers is unheard of. But this was precisely the destiny of the first Adept to be born in the West, where no spiritual culture or precedent for Enlightenment had existed before.

In late April 1972, Master Das Teaching years began. The revolutions of the sixties had rattled America. The sexual revolution shook the old religious and moral foundation. The human potential movement offered new alternatives. Eastern spiritual and philosophical teachings and their guides had successfully migrated to the West. The Vietnam War signalled a new sense of our moral obligation. Science had emerged as the new cultural leader of Man, while the older established religious institutions lagged behind the rapidly changing times.

The people who came to Master Da during those early years, like the people present while this book was made and like people all over the world, were ordinary people-professionals and street people, rich and poor, the educated and socially deviant. Some had been yogis, others scholars, still others politicians, nuns, and prostitutes. They were ordinary people, meaning they were bound by egoic existence, lacking in spiritual wisdom. They came seeking, looking for answers to their problems. In Hollywood, in a small, humble bookstore, they found an unusual man with a mind like crystal and a marvelous ability to transmit a tangible spiritual Force that he called “the Siddhi of the Heart.”

The special Work of an Adept is not typical even in the setting of the spiritual traditions of the East. It differs greatly in form and intention from the work of shamans and conventionally evolved yogis or saints. About this unique Spiritual Transmission, his Heart-Siddhi, Master Da has said:

The Divine Blessing, the Divine Influence, the Divine Transmission, is Eternal, Omnipresent, Constant, always already Given. It does not even move. It just is. It merely exists. It is the case. Even so, that It is the case does not mean that people in general are aware of It or can use It. There are unique forms of Agency and Beings that incarnate that Agency and magnify It in time and space and regenerate It in the real experience of living beings. Such is the Function of Adepts. They are simply an Incarnation of the Transmission or Agency that is always already Given.

Adepts come and go, but the Transmission never ceases, although the ability of people to relate to It may cease. Even though the Transmission is eternally given, it is necessary, because we are mechanisms merely associated with the Divine Influence, that unique individuals appear who are fully adapted to that Influence and Eternal Force and who therefore have the functional means of intruding upon others with that Transmission, guiding others to It, Awakening them to It, magnifying It to them, regenerating their awareness of It, influencing others in a unique fashion as only a mechanism like your own can influence you with its eternal Transmission.

In addition to the mere fact of this eternal Transmission, therefore, it is useful that there be Siddha-Agency, Adept Agency, not only for the sake of regenerating the Teaching and the true culture of Divine Association, but to do this unique Work with others. This is my Function in my lifetime, but this is also why I consider it useful to develop a community of Enlightened practitioners, individuals in the seventh stage of life, who will continue and who will also duplicate themselves in future generations so that this unique activity will also continue. Of course, the best Agents of that kind are those who are fully Awake, fully Enlightened, fully, yogically capable, who can do the same Work that I do or at least provide a vehicle for that Work of Divine Transmission.

Even now, devotees in my Company are vehicles of this Transmission, but without Adeptship, without Realization. They are simply vehicles to one or another degree for the yoga of this great Process. More and more over time individuals will appear who never give up their Enlightened alignment to the Spiritual Master, not the Spiritual Master as separate individual but the Spiritual Master as he truly is, as none other than the Divine Person. They will always relate to the Spiritual Master in future generations as that One, but they will enjoy in their own functional being the unique yogic capacity to serve the Transmission in others.

I hope such people will appear in my lifetime to serve our community in the future. At the present time at least a level of Agency exists of the kind I have just described, and that Agency must become a matter of responsibility among devotees so that I may be free to serve the development of the higher form of Agency in fully mature, truly Realized practitioners. That such people do not appear during my lifetime does not mean they will never appear. They might appear and continue to practice in right alignment to me as I am after my lifetime, but it would obviously be best if they could appear during my lifetime. [January 16, 1983]

Those who arrived in the early years were attracted by the possibility of a spiritual future with Master Da, but they had not the slightest clue to the right approach to the Adept who had appeared among them. Simply stated, they were unprepared for the relationship to the Adept, which requires a unique course of rigorous testing, self-generated practice, esoteric instruction, and spiritual maturity. Only when one willingly enters into the “hard school” of self-knowledge, self-understanding, and renunciation can the Enlightening Force of the Adepts Spiritual Transmission be fruitful.

Thus, from 1972 to 1973 Master Da placed minimal conditions on associating with him, and all were welcome. People were asked to abandon the use of drugs and to abandon exaggerated sociopathic and psychopathic behavior. The Knee of Listening guided the practice of meditation, while the frequent occasions of sitting meditation with Master Da provided formal access to his Spiritual Transmission.

Through his discourses, Master Da argued his seventh stage Teaching to all who came. The Blessing of his Transmission was showered on all. And for anyone serious about spiritual life there were opportunities to ask questions and to receive the Spiritual Masters personal guidance. But, as Master Da observed over time, the people who came to him were simply not sufficiently prepared to use the Teaching as it was communicated. They were generally incapable of ordinary discipline and inclined to self-indulgence, and they phased between commitment to spiritual life and the persuasions of worldly life. Everyone was a beginner spiritually, with beginners aspirations and beginners problems. None were ready, nor, I would venture to suggest, did anyone even suspect the magnitude of the Adept who had appeared.

He was intelligent, handsome, compassionate, blissful, and strong. He was ready to Teach. However, after two years of waiting for the signs of spiritual maturity, he concluded that he was being used as the “local yogi pastor.” There were signs in his body of literal burning of the spiritual Force that was backing up in him for lack of use. He had not come to create a nominal following or religion. He had come to Transform, and the Transforming process was not what his hearers believed it to be or were prepared to engage with him.

Quite unexpectedly, Master Da abandoned his simple privacy and accepted the obligation to live with devotees, to confront and instruct them until they were sufficiently prepared for what he had to offer. Thus began the unique theatre of consideration that would characterize his Way of Teaching for the next ten years. It was a necessary evolution in the Sacred History of his Teaching Work. It would continue for a finite period, during which he would dedicate himself to helping devotees become stably founded in the process of understanding.

From the beginning Master Da made it clear that his intention was to help people become independently responsible for their spiritual life and to help them create a community with one another and a means for making the Teaching available to others that did not depend upon cultic association with the Adept. When the period of consideration was finished, Master Da would reserve himself for the Spiritual Function he was born to serve.

The traditions have always warned against the prolonged keeping of “worldly” company, which is profoundly dangerous and life threatening. Master Das experiment would certainly lend support to this caution. It is in just such times as ours, however, that we find the Work of the Adept manifesting in this dramatic way. He entered boldly into our preferences, amusements, problems, absurdities, obsessiveness, and excesses, all the while Teaching, testing, and Blessing those before him.

My life is a little bit like going into the world of enemies and dragons to liberate somebody who has been captured. You cannot just sit down and tell a dragon the Truth. You must confront a dragon. You must engage in heroic effort to release the captive from the dragon. This is how I worked in the theatre of my way of relating to people, particularly in the earlier years, and in the unusual involvements of my life and Teaching. You could characterize it as the heroic way of Teaching, the way of identifying with devotees and entering into consideration in that context and bringing them out of the enemy territory, gradually waking them up.

The Teaching years from 1972 to 1983 will always be remembered as a time of marvels and very difficult struggling. Master Da wrote of this period:

There are so many who have come to me and moved on to what they were before. There has been so much betrayal by the self-possessed. With all the nonsense hype of the “new age” and the “fullness of time,” there is universal and righteous rejection of Truth and the Way of Truth. The stupidities and common insanity of the usual man bear upon this body with a sulk of futility, and yet I am obliged and moved to persist in Communion with devotees. It is the Destiny of this time that the Teaching of Truth be present with all the rest. It is opposed by every body-mind, even by devotees, but the wrestling in the Fire will purify and transform them in spite of all vestigial commitments to the Lie. I am neither consoled nor served by devotees. I am a servant, an offering, a casual meal that lovers eat while noticing only one another. This too is Sahaj Samadhi. The native Bliss is Sacrifice, or liberation from all the consolations of this birth. Bliss is disenchantment. Love is freedom in the very act of life. When both withdrawal and illusions cease, there is Bhava, the Mood and Domain that is the Real.

The appearance of an exalted Adept is rare. Even among the oldest traditions of the East, an Adepts Incarnation was considered extraordinary. The great Adepts have always served as a reservoir of spiritual Benediction and wisdom for the many or few in any generation with the impulse to liberation. Yet in our time the tradition of the Free Adepts and the Great Way of Communion with the Living God are virtually unknown. We are a bewildered humanity, who, in the face of our present world crises, have allowed ourselves to become spiritually naive and weak of will. In our weakness we have replaced ecstasy, tolerance, wisdom, cooperation, renunciation, and love of God and men with doubt, righteousness, talk, egoity, and attachment to the survival of the body-mind. Our religious institutions are as much at fault for our present state as our materially oriented politics and scientifically reinforced doubt of the Living Spiritual Reality.

Master Da Free Johns Work stands as a courageous effort to resurrect a Wisdom-Culture or “school” of Spiritual Realization in our generation, but it should not be confused with the conventional mystical or inward path nor the programs of worldwide salvation of popular religion. Rather, his Work has been to create an authentic spiritual culture in which serious persons can learn, practice, and grow.

The Knee of Listening is an esoteric textbook of the highest type. It is a Transcendental manual. If you studied it truly, considered it fully, you would bypass all of the first six stages of life and enter directly into the seventh. If you were truly intelligent, merely one reading would be sufficient to move directly into the seventh stage of life, not merely into the play of the origins of the seventh stage of life but into the Translation stage. But I understand fully where I am and where you are and what your stage of preparation represents. That is why I am here, to develop a culture of association with the possibility of Translation and account for all the motives of mankind, all the stages of transition toward Enlightenment and Translation.

I know full well that it is not mankind as a whole that will respond to me and practice this Way and make use of me in my private domain. Therefore, I have established this culture through tussling with you in the last decade or more, a culture of consideration and real practice that, if you participated in it truly, would Awaken you within a finite period of time into the characteristic disposition of the seventh stage of life. It will certainly demonstrate itself as such in the case of a few individuals, and this is the most that could be expected in any generation at this stage on Earth. But all others can be involved in the process, the Way itself, and will reconnect with it in future lives and after death and will not be divorced from it, if they will give me, as I Am, their attention.

Certainly we hope that a few people in my generation or within my lifetime will have responded to me to the degree of Perfect Awakening so that I can be useful to them in the Translation stage of life. I will leave behind me a community of such people and a gathering of the culture of the “yoga of consideration.” We are here to establish the culture of Ultimate Enlightenment, a community of Enlightened individuals practicing in the seventh stage of life. This entire culture and that Enlightened community should perpetuate themselves for future generations, and if we are successful-and it is a very difficult task, as you can imagine-if we are successful, that precisely will be the result of my lifetime. If we are not successful, then my lifetime will just be part of the trash of the human past that has failed to generate this culture. It will have to be done again, by me or someone else similarly capable, until such a culture or link is established and becomes generally available in the world.

Who is to know how it will turn out? In any case, the only thing that is happening is a bright, shining Light in the middle of space and a little room at the periphery, the mechanical artifices changing shape, changing color, shaking and shifting, talking and thinking and acting, being themselves sometimes for a while, passing on, melting into the Light again, transiting and transitioning moment after moment, with no time at all to the point of true hearing, true seeing, sublime practice, and ultimate Translation. And after it is all done, after all beings, without one left behind, are Translated, it will seem as if not one moment has passed, and so nothing will have been lost in the eons and universes of time and bang after bang of bigness, time after time again, yuga after yuga, life after life. Maybe it will take that long or be that complicated. It does not need to be, but it may be like that. Well, we will see!

Much of the wonderful history of the Adepts paradoxical behavior, unorthodox Teachings, and miraculous powers has either been reduced to myth and legend or preserved only within esoteric circles. Alan Watts, who made a lifelong study of the worlds esoteric cultures, found Master Da Free Johns being and Teaching unique. In his foreword to Master Das The Knee of Listening , Watts wrote:

As I read Franklin Jones-especially the Epilogue, which is worth the price of the book-he has simply realized that he himself as he is, like a star, like a dolphin, like an iris, is a perfect and authentic manifestation of the eternal energy of the universe, and thus is no longer disposed to be in conflict with himself. Dangerous wisdom-and yet fire, electricity, and technical knowledge are also dangerous.

It is a sign of our times that we must heed the caution that Supreme Happiness is “dangerous wisdom.” Yet it is true that the ultimate fulfillment of Man is also the most unacceptable of accomplishments. Master Da writes: “In all times and places, the most profound and conventionally unacceptable act is to understand and freely transcend self and all others and the total world.” He calls the Way he Teaches “the Lions Way.”

To live the Lions Way requires that we live differently. It is a Way of life that not only presumes but actually Realizes Unity with the universal Life-Energy, the “Spirit” and Consciousness that Master Da refers to as Radiant Transcendental Being. It is not at all common even among religious people to take seriously the possibility of spiritual Liberation that Master Da Free John suggests in his writings. Many people would even deny the existence of a Living Spiritual Reality, rejecting its manifestation as irrational. But a tension has always existed between the esoteric traditions, which value human incarnation as an opportunity to evolve spiritually and ultimately to be Liberated, and the less serious, less demanding conventional religious and cultural institutions. The Lions Way is a calling to Man to fulfill his human and spiritual potential and, like the Lion, to live freely and thus Divinely while alive.

All men and women long for freedom and happiness, but most of us fall short of attaining anything like Divine Happiness. Ordinarily people do not even imagine that an exalted state of spiritual Happiness is a possibility, yet we admire the gesture toward ultimate Happiness made by our heroes who overcome limitations-the “elephant man” whose wretched ugliness masks a heart of love, the artist who abandons social conventions for the sake of ultimate expression, the fool whose naive behavior hides an inner life of wisdom and compassion. We venerate the tradition-breakers because they keep alive in us the hope that we might transcend our limits. The Adepts have dared to break the oldest taboo of Man-the cult of the ego, the barrier of Mans presumed separation from God and Nature. Thus, the Adept is the consummate artist, the genius of life, who, sacrificing himself as the ego, Realizes ecstatic Unity with the Divine.

The epilogue of The Knee of Listening , to which Alan Watts referred, provides a fascinating description of the spiritual genius of our time, Master Das “man of understanding.”

The man of understanding is not entranced. He is not elsewhere. He is not having an experience. He is not passionless and inoffensive. He is awake. He is present. He knows no obstruction in the form of mind, identity, differentiation, and desire. He uses mind, identity, differentiation, and desire. He is passionate. His quality is an offense to those who are entranced, elsewhere, contained in the mechanics of experience, asleep, living as various forms of identity, separation, and dependence. He is acceptable only to those who understand.

He may appear no different from any other man. How could he appear otherwise? There is nothing by which to appear except the qualities of life. He may appear to have learned nothing. He may seem to be addicted to every kind of foolishness and error. How could it be otherwise? Understanding is not a different communication than the ordinary. There is only the ordinary. There is no special and exclusive communication that is the Truth. There is no exclusive state of Truth. But there is the understanding of the ordinary.

Therefore, the man of understanding cannot be found. He cannot be followed. He can only be understood as the ordinary. He is not spiritual. He is not religious. He is not philosophical. He is not moral. He is not fastidious, lean, and lawful. He always appears to be the opposite of what you are. He always seems to sympathize with what you deny. Therefore, at times and over time he appears as every kind of persuasion. He is not consistent. He has no image. At times he denies. At times he asserts. At times he asserts what he has already denied. At times he denies what he has already asserted. He is not useful. His Teaching is every kind of nonsense. His wisdom is vanished. Altogether, that is his wisdom.

At last he represents no truth at all. Therefore, his living coaxes everyone only to understand. His existence denies every truth, every path by which men depend on certain truths, certain experiences, certain simulations of freedom and enjoyment. He is a seducer, a madman, a hoax, a libertine, a fool, a moralist, a sayer of truths, a bearer of all experience, a righteous knave, a prince, a child, an old one, an ascetic, a god. He demonstrates the futility of all things. Therefore, he makes understanding the only possibility. And understanding makes no difference at all. Except it is reality, which was already the case.

Heartless one, Narcissus, friend, loved one, he weeps for you to understand. After all of this, why havent you understood? The only thing you have not done is understanding. You have seen everything, but you do not understand. Therefore, the man of understanding leaps for joy that you have already understood. He looks at the world and sees that everyone and everything has always understood. He sees that there is only understanding. Thus, the man of understanding is constantly Happy with you. He is overwhelmed with Happiness. He says to you: See how there is only this world of perfect Enjoyment, where everyone is Happy, and everything is Blissful. His heart is always tearful with the endless Happiness of the world.

He has grasped it, but no one is interested. He is of interest to no one. He is fascinating. He is unnoticed. Since no one understands, how could they notice him? Because there is only understanding, he is beloved, and no one comes to see him. Because there is only Truth, he is likely to become famous. Since there is only joy, he will not be remembered. Because you have already understood, you find it necessary to touch his hand. Since you love so much and are not understood, you find it possible to touch his ears. He smiles at you. You notice it. Everything has already died. This is the other world.

The drama between the Adepts and sincere devotees has always been characterized by rigorous testing, paradoxical Teaching, “sudden blows,” and dramatic transformation. Because the impulse of Divine Ecstasy is at the root of the Adepts service, the tradition of the Adept is sometimes referred to as the “Mad Work” or “Crazy Wisdom.” Only the most prepared and serious candidates were traditionally accepted as students. Adept and aspirant fully understood that the single purpose of their meeting was spiritual Liberation. What mankind in every generation should rightfully hail as the most glorious and sacrificial of all human endeavors is, in our time as in times past, often scorned and made the subject of unreasonable skepticism. It should be the goal of humankind to outgrow its history of reaction toward our pioneers of freedom and create a place for the Adepts Work.

George B. Leonard describes the mystic as an unconventional personality, a “rogue” in fact, who, if we understand rightly, is a most useful Teacher, but one we have tended to misunderstand and unfortunately betray.

. . . the mystic can be the most dangerous of all, since he is a technologist of the inner being. His works do not always upset traditions. Revelation has been buttressed with hierarchy as rigid as any known to Civilization. Mystical practices have helped, as in India, to perpetuate structured societies. But beware. At any moment, the mystical impulse can bring the structure down. For mysticism admits no boundaries whatever, not even the minimal interface between self and other. Logic, knowledge, proportion all may fall. The Upanishads hold that Enlightenment lies beyond the Golden Orb, that is, the very best of conventional wisdom.

For us of the West, there is no better example of the mystic as rogue than Jesus. He followed his vision all the way, though the changes he preached would have unglued the entire reinforcement structure of Civilization, replacing law with love. He formulated perhaps the most revolutionary educational prescription ever known: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Any respectable citizen would have to be far removed, in time and place, from Calvary to think Jesus anything other than a rogue. It may be an indictment of our time that we no longer consider Him so.

With the rise of scientific materialism and the decay of religion, the grand experiment of the Spirit has come into doubt. Because of the turmoil of these troubled times, esoteric schools over the last hundred years or so have felt a need to Teach what was once kept secret. Only in the last half century, for example, has it become possible to walk to the local bookstore and purchase a manual of esoteric teachings.

Prior to this era, the secret teachings were transmitted only to the most ardent aspirants. Texts such as The Knee of Listening were considered the prize of kings, who valued the high Teaching like a find of hidden treasure. There was good reason for preventing the casual dissemination of the ultimate Teaching. To the Adept, the spiritual process is a matter of life and death. Thus, his Teaching is powerful magic.

Master Das willingness to Teach has involved a difficult trial to evolve a living and authentic spiritual culture. To be sure, there have been blunders and mistakes in our community, and I know of no one who has suffered this trial more than the Adept himself. Yet he has persisted with compassion and tolerance, knowing full well that the authentic spiritual Way has always required self-criticism, a willingness to change, and, ultimately, self-mastery over negative and destructive habits. Out of this “holy war” an authentic esoteric school has emerged.

The West has witnessed its first Crazy Wisdom Adept and the creation of an authentic esoteric community in America that bears all the signs of struggle characteristic of the esoteric or ecstatic institutions of the past. The Way is difficult, but it is Illumined by the Compassion of Master Da Free John. And the Agency of Grace, Transmitted through the Power of the Adept, paradoxically makes our “hard school” easy.


The Dreaded Gom Boo – Table of Contents