First and Only – Don Webley




Blank holding line


A Conversation with Adi
Da Samraj about His uniqueness as a Seventh Stage Adept

Donald Webley


Donald Webley (d. 2014) was born in
Jamaica and came to the United States to study physics. He
is now a medical legal consultant. He has been a devotee of
Adi Da Samraj since 1980. He has written several
introductions and commentaries to Adi Da’s books and has
been helping to make Avatar Adi Da’s Art known in the

Donald’s story refers to Adi Da as a
“Seventh Stage” Adept Realizer. For more on Adi Da’s “seven
stage of life ” framework, click here.

Donald WebleyThis story concerns Adi
Da’s Samraj’s Revelation of His uniqueness. This occurred at
Adi Da Samrajashram on March 5 and 6, 1993 when I was graced
to be on retreat there and was able to pose some questions
to Him — questions that seemed relatively insignificant
to me at the time. I had no idea about the torrents of
Blessing and Revelation that would result.

I arrived on Naitauba on February
26. I remember as I fell on the beach in the gesture of
gratitude that all devotees make as they arrive on Adi Da’s
Hermitage Island, and an intuition, a flash, a feeling,
passed through me, that Adi Da was not simply a great
Realizer but that He was the heart’s desire of all beings. I
did not attach a great deal of significance to this feeling.
I thought that it was simply just a passing moment of
recognition of his greatness. But it was an intuition of
what was to be revealed during my retreat.

This was a period in which Avatar
Adi Da spent many hours responding to his devotees’
questions. I worked in the editorial department of the Dawn
Horse Press, and we had just finished putting together a
biography of Ramana Maharshi. There was an introduction to
that book written by Adi Da in which He made certain
distinctions between His Work and Ramana Maharshi’s work. I
did not understand these distinctions fully, so I asked Adi
Da about them at such a gathering, on March 5.

I said something like, “Beloved Adi
Da, You have said thus and so about Ramana Maharshi’s work
and thus and so about Your Work. Now, as I understand it,
You are both seventh stage Adepts — why is there this

As a preamble, it is important to
point out that at that point His devotees did not understand
His uniqueness. We were not in a position to, and He had not
made the Revelation. We all understood that He was a seventh
stage Realizer and that His Teaching had a unique clarity.
However, we believed that perhaps, almost certainly, there
had been other seventh stage Realizers who taught in a
limited form in the fifth or sixth or fourth stage mode
simply because of the cultural and institutional
circumstances into which they had been born. We understood
Adi Da Samraj to be, certainly, a Realizer of the highest
type, but we had no idea of the depth and fullness of His
Incarnation and His Revelation.

When I posed that question to Adi
Da, it was on the basis of this kind of understanding. His
response was, “Well, are you sure Ramana Maharshi was a
seventh stage Realizer?” That stopped me in my tracks. My
response, which I did not verbalize aloud, was “Well, didn’t
You say that he was?”

That was the beginning of a
consideration about Ramana Maharshi’s teachings and his life
demonstration, the import of which was whether Ramana
Maharshi, in his life as it is recorded, in his teachings,
in his mode of living and his demonstration, showed the
signs of seventh stage of life. Was that the case, or did he
show the signs of an ascetic in the sixth stage of life? It
was a long consideration, in the course of which Adi Da
discussed all aspects of this matter with us to the point
where it became clear that there is not in fact the evidence
of seventh stage Realization in Ramana Maharshi’s

Before I became Adi Da’s devotee, I
had studied and practiced Zen Buddhism with two different
teachers. I had had quite a bit of exposure to Tibetan
Buddhism, although I had never been a Tibetan Buddhist
practitioner. Adi Da has spoken very highly of Shakyamuni,
the Buddha, and so I grasped at this straw. I said, “Beloved
Adi Da, well what about the Buddha?”

In all His Written Teaching Adi Da
has always referred to the historical Buddha as the Buddha
Gautama, or Gautama the Buddha. Now, as a former Buddhist,
that was a little jarring to me because Buddhists never
refer to the Buddha as Gautama. It is akin to calling Avatar
Adi Da Samraj “Franklin Jones”. The Buddhists always refer
to him as Shakyamuni which is a title that means “silent
sage of the Shakyas”, the clan to which he was

But when I brought up the Buddha,
for the first, and as far as I know, only, time Avatar Adi
Da referred to him as Shakyamuni. I did not have to say
anything about that. He began by addressing me about the
wandering of my mind. He said, “I am right here. I am your
Master. The Buddha existed 2500 years ago. What difference
does it make?”

But, nevertheless, He took us
through a very similar consideration, at the end of which it
was clear that as far as the recorded teachings of the
Buddha and what is known of his life are concerned, there
was no evidence of seventh stage Realization.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj has taught and
spoken about a four-stage Yoga, beginning with seventh stage
awakening, the Yoga of Divine Transfiguration, Divine
Transformation, Divine Indifference and ultimately Divine
Translation. There is no record or even hint of this Yoga in
the traditions and certainly in nothing written by or
attributed to Ramana Maharshi or the Buddha.

So at the end of this conversation,
which went on for quite some time, it was clear that
according to the available evidence, neither the Buddha nor
Ramana Maharshi was a seventh stage Realizer. And this was
surprising to everyone in the room. So, again grasping at
straws, I remembered that in The Basket of Tolerance, Adi Da
mentions a certain number of books — six or seven
— as seventh stage texts. And I said, “Beloved Adi Da,
what about the Tripura Rahasya, the Diamond Sutra, the
Platform Sutra of Hui Neng?” And He interrupted me, reciting
the other books in that group. And I said, “Well, You have
said, Beloved Adi Da, have You not, that these are seventh
stage texts?” And He corrected me, saying “No, I have said
that texts contain elements suggestive of the seventh stage
of life.”

Adi Da went on to say that they were
products of a tradition. I said, “So therefore, one cannot
conclude that they were written by an individual in the
seventh stage of life?” And He said, “No. One cannot.” I was
left with the clear inference that seventh stage Realization
had not appeared in anyone’s case before Adi Da’s unique

It is important to remember that
this was a consideration, not a proclamation. In other
words, Adi Da did not, at this point, say, “This is the case
that Ramana Maharshi was not, the Buddha was not . . .”, He
led us through a process and allowed us to come to our own
intelligent conclusions. At this point, Jonathan Condit, who
is Adi Da’s senior editor, who had been a formally ordained
Buddhist monk before becoming a devotee of Adi Da, and who
was the person in the gathering most familiar with Adi Da’s
Teaching, asked the question that had been at the tip of my
tongue. He said, “Beloved Adi Da, even though Your devotees
praise You for Your integrity in leading us through this
great consideration, allowing us to understand for ourselves
what is represented by the great Adepts of the past, we know
that You, by virtue of Your Divine Siddhis, know what
Realization is true in the case of anyone at all.” And the
Avataric Great Sage, Adi Da Samraj sat silent for a moment
— He received Jonathan’s confession and praise and, as
if conveying a great secret, which in fact He was, then
said, very softly, “All right then. The Buddha was a sixth
stage Realizer. Ramana Maharshi was a sixth stage

Then Adi-Dasya Nadikanta referred to
a conversation that had occurred several nights before about
Jesus of Galilee. Adi Da said, “And Jesus was fifth stage.”
One could have heard a pin drop in the room; we all
understood that we had just been given a great Revelation, a
Revelation beyond our wildest imaginings. We understood that
Adi Da was telling us that seventh stage Realization had not
existed in anyone’s case before His birth.

To understand how revolutionary that
was to our understanding, I will tell you a humorous story.
Jonathan telephoned a devotee on the mainland who is a great
scholar of Adi Da’s Teaching, and told this individual that
Avatar Adi Da Samraj had just Revealed that He was the first
seventh stage Adept. This individual said, “Oh, no. That’s
impossible. He’s just playing with Don Webley!” Now, that is
not a comment on this person because that really was our
understanding, collectively. We did not know, did not
understand the One into whose company we had been drawn. We
did not understand His greatness.

That night, shortly after the end of
the gathering there was a torrential downpour. Fiji is a
tropical country and Naitauba is a tropical island. I had
grown up in the tropics and I had seen tropical downpours,
but this was no ordinary tropical downpour. It was as if the
heavens opened, and the heavens and earth were acknowledging
Adi Da’s great Confession.

The next evening we gathered again
with Adi Da, assuming that He had made His great Revelation.
We had no idea what further Revelations He was going to
grant us. After perhaps an hour and a half of conversation,
Jonathan asked Avatar Adi Da various questions. Then Adi Da
referred, out of the blue, to the conversation of the
previous night, and wanted to know if I had anything more to
ask. I said “no”, that He had answered most of my questions.
He very humorously responded, “Most?” I then went on to
praise Avatar Adi Da, and I acknowledged to Him my
understanding that the torrential downpour was the earth’s
own acknowledgment of His Confession.

The Avataric Great Sage, Adi Da
Samraj then said, “Understand further, I am not the first
seventh stage Adept in the sense that there will be other
seventh stage Adepts. The great Work that I do is once and
for all time. There will be other seventh stage Realizers.
My devotees will be Realizers of the seventh stage, but it
is neither necessary nor possible for there to be another
seventh stage Adept.” In other words, as He said, by His
birth, by His Appearance, by His Revelation, by His Divine
Re-Awakening and Work, He had brought into the earth and the
conditional realm altogether the Spiritual Powers and Divine
Grace that now makes possible the seventh stage Awakening in
the case of all others. And He went on to say that the
completion and fulfillment of His great Work, His Divine
Work, will be the Divine Translation of all

This was something we could not have
imagined. Everyone in the room was overwhelmed by the sense
of gratitude that this relative few of us who are His
devotees have been graced to witness the central event of
all cosmic manifestation, the Appearance in human-time of
the Divine Person, the One in Whom all beings, worlds, and
conditions arise. The purpose and fulfillment of His Birth
is the Divine Translation of the entire cosmic domain, in
other words, to draw all beings and the entire universe into
His own Divine Condition.

When I had returned to my senses, I
asked Avatar Adi Da Samraj by what means it had occurred
that we few were thus fortunate? He was silent for a moment
and very quietly said, “You are only the first. All beings
will eventually come to Me.”

It is important to understand that
on this occasion, as on any occasion when Avatar Adi Da
Samraj grants a Revelation and gives the Teaching, He does
not just say it. The Siddhi [Spiritual Force] of His
Very Being communicates the truth of what He is saying to
the heart and entire body-mind of His listeners. The potency
of Adi Da’s Confession of His own uniqueness was thus
indelibly imprinted in our hearts, beyond all possibility of

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