Garbage and the Goddess – Saturday Night Massacre and the Cult of Pairs



Chapter 1


At seven-thirty, on Saturday evening, March 23rd, everyone gathered in the lounge at Persimmon to watch a movie. Before it could begin, Bubba asked Neil Panico to repeat some of what he and Neil had been talking about in a long conversation earlier in the day. At thirty-eight years of age, Neil was older than most people in the Community, and he had been with Bubba almost since the beginning of the Ashram, two years before. He administered one of the principal businesses owned by the Ashram and carried a great deal of responsibility for the overall administration of The Dawn Horse Communion. In addition, Bubba spent more time with Neil than with most others, generally in a friendly, informal, “unteacherly” way. He appeared, for these reasons, to be one of Bubba’s close disciples.

Neil spoke for several minutes. He told those present that Bubba had said they must become more responsible for their lives in Satsang. He said they should be talking about God all the time, not getting exclusively absorbed in daily affairs. Members of this Community, Bubba had told him, must become much more intense. When Neil finished, Bubba ridiculed him, calling his talk “mediocre,” and said of him, much to the amusement of everyone present, that he was “one of the most cultic personalities I’ve ever known.” Then, spontaneously, Bubba began to talk about the responsibilities of devotees in a different way, saying things no one present would ever forget.

The Saturday Night Massacre (March 23,1974)

BUBBA: There are two responsibilities that the spiritual Community has, and I mean this spiritual Community, because I don’t know of any other. The responsibility you all know about, since we have talked about it many times, is to communicate the availability of Satsang, the availability of this work. That is the responsibility of the Community in the world. It is not my function to go about and give lectures and convince people there is only God. It is the responsibility of the Community to do that, and in living ways, not just by giving formal, public presentations, but in your relationships with people. Not in formal conversations only, in which you try to turn people around, but in the force of your presence with your friends. But we have already discussed all of that. That is the public responsibility of the Community.

The other responsibility, which has not been developed, and which I have just recently been talking to you about, is an internal one, and that is the responsibility to undermine the cult of this world in your relationships with one another. You can’t do it in the world, because that would be too revolutionary, but you can do it within the Ashram. We have found Persimmon, this place in relative isolation, where we can live basically as we please. The reason we gather here is not just to be entertained or to hear spiritual lectures and acquire a lot of philosophy, but to practice an entirely new way of life based on an entirely different principle than that upon which the cult of this world is based. The cult of this world is based on the principle of Narcissus, of separated and separative existence, and the search for changes of state, for happiness. But the Ashram is based on the principle of prior happiness, or Satsang. And the Community of the Ashram is an entirely new possibility. It is the possibility of existing in a Condition wherein God is Truth, wherein God is the very Condition, presently.

There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be an individual being. There is no such thing. All of the cultic ways are strategic searches to satisfy individuals by providing them with various kinds of fulfillment, or inner harmony, or vision, or blissfulness, or salvation, or liberation, or whatever. But the truth is that there is no such one to be fulfilled; literally, there is no such one. Everything that arises in consciousness, is something that you may observe. You can observe your experiences, you can observe the world, you can observe your thoughts, strategies, and actions, you can observe the sensation of “me: — all of that is something you can observe. The one who observes that is your very Nature, the absolute intensity of real existence, which is being endlessly and universally modified, appearing as all forms and states. The principle of spiritual Community is that there is already no such person, no such separate one, no such dilemma.

The cult of this world is based on the assumption that there exists such a separate one, who needs to be realized or fulfilled or made healthy or made happy or whatever. All of that is a colossal lot of nonsense, because there is no such one. There is already no such one. You do not have to run through aeons of time for there to be no such one, to destroy this phantom ego. There is already no such one. He does not exist to be destroyed. He does not exist.

The communication of Satsang is the communication of that very One, that Intensity, that Absolute existing One, who is not individuated, but who is apparently endlessly modified, appearing as all worlds, all forms, all states, all beings. So within the spiritual Community, all the cultic forms of contractual existence and strategic life are already obsolete. it is not the duty of the spiritual Community to go on forever with the temporary and strategic assumption that all of these dilemmas are the case until you overcome them. It is the duty of the spiritual Community to live always and already as if there were no such thing. This cannot be practiced in the world. It can only be practiced in the spiritual Community itself.

Therefore, it is the fundamental responsibility of all those who live in the Ashram to continually undo the practice of the cult — the cult of Narcissus as it appears in groups of twos and threes and manys, in groups of people who for one reason or another are thrown together each day, or for reasons of personality or karma associate with one another by preference. The world is filled with the forms of the priesthood of Narcissus, all of which reinforce the sensation of separate existence and the dilemma that the sense of separate existence requires.

Everyone comes into the Ashram filled with life-contracts they want to dramatize, but none of that is appropriate in the Ashram. Because people do not tend to live intimately, marriage is appropriate. But the instant you marry, you must discard it. Otherwise marriage is another cultic form, a sex-contract, in which you become medievally involved with personality forms, making yourself strategically unavailable to the rest of life, and again mutually create the sensation of separate existence, including “poor me” or “fantastic me.” You all know what it is like sitting down at the table with one another and reciting the same old horseshit. The same conversation takes place between friends, repetitively, day after day after day. The same event takes place between married people day after day after day, because all of our so-called relationships are cultic associations that are created in order to guarantee the sensation of security, in order to guarantee to the ego, the separate one, the sense and drama of separate existence, wherein it cannot be interfered with by the random world.

Such a cultic existence has no fundamental value at all. It has value in the cult of this world, which thrives on this separate one, but it has no value from the point of view of Truth. Not only hasn’t it any value, it is an absolutely negative influence in the life of persons. It is obvious, if you observe people in the Ashram, that they are all belonging to various forms of this priesthood. They all dramatize one or another form of the cult, with their married partners, with their friends, with the groups with whom they have had common experience.

It is the responsibility of the Community to continually undo that process, to undermine “Marriages, to undermine “groups,” and to undermine the strategic power of personality in this limited sense. Not that, in the conventional way, something like the love relationship between friends, or the love relationship and energy that is generated among those who have common experience, not that any of that is not conventionally appropriate, but all of its usual implications are false.

A marriage is not a sex-contract. Marriage is an acknowledged relationship. Sexuality is a phenomenon of nature. It exists universally and has no individual form. It is a process prior to personality. So those who are married do not properly enter into a sex-contract. Wherever that exists, we have the cult. Wherever there are the usual mutual friends, there is the cult. It is a contract of communications, of assumed limitations that are recited hour after hour, again and again, in which images and symbols and forms of experience are continually recited and repeated in order to guarantee to the mind the sensation of individuality, of separateness and immunity.

All of this works against Satsang. Satsang is not just the formal occasion when I sit with you all, when you enter into meditative kinds of experience or listen to the Teaching. Satsang is the manifest Siddhi of the Divine. The Guru is not identical to a person. The only reason an apparent human individual can function as Guru is because he has consciously ceased to be identical to a human individual in limitation. A profound sacrifice must occur in order for the function of Guru to exist in human form, and there is no longer any sense whatsoever in the human Guru of separate existence. None. I am all-pervading.

In order for this Satsang to manifest itself in Truth it must be permitted to function under all conditions, not just under the conditions of these formal teaching occasions, or formal meditating occasions. And the only way the real manifestation of Satsang or Divine Communion can occur for you is if you responsibly break down the cultic form of your lives and eliminate the barriers of assumed separation. All of your functions must be available to all beings, not just to those with whom you have contracts. Notice how solemn and precious you get with friends, with lovers. You become unavailable, you become contracted, separate. You are not truly loving. You are entering into the cult again, into solemnity, into the loss of humor, or into comedy, but not humor, not Divine knowledge.

To be free is the ultimate discipline. Sadhana is not to go through this weary self-discipline, self-limitation, self-frustration, in which you are endlessly learning all kinds of bullshit lessons. The discipline is happiness. The discipline is freedom. To live in this free state under all conditions is sadhana. Sadhana is not the endless, apparent discipline of seeing always that you are living as a separate one: “Oh yes, oh yes, oh my goodness.” That is not sadhana! Sadhana is life in the condition of Truth. So sadhana has nothing whatever to do with the cultic solemnities of traditional spirituality. Sadhana has to do with continuous happiness, continuous bliss, continuous freedom, continuous Satsang. To live Satsang under all conditions is the discipline of our work.

But you notice in your relationships with one another that you do not do any such thing, that you are not already free in your relationships, you are not already free within yourself, you are not already free one to one, you are not already free in groups. You are always drawing the perimeter, you are always sizing up the pond. Such is the mind and strategy of Narcissus. So you do not manifest this freedom. You are not exalted, you are not exhilarated by the endless phenomenon of the Divine. It is only when you have died to yourself that spiritual life occurs. It is only when you live in Satsang that spiritual life occurs. All these cults are phenomena of this world. They are extensions of the ego. just as the typical, traditional, spiritual group is an extension of the ego, the scapegoat game, your individual lives and mutual relationships with others are forms of the same cultic phenomenon. They are extensions of the same activity that you always perform personally, inwardly.

It is the responsibility of the Community to undo that phenomenon mutually. Every one of you must examine your unavailability to other devotees, and liberate your functions from the strategy and humorlessness of Narcissus. If you are to do that, the Teaching must remain conversational in a natural way, day after day after day. You do not tend to live free. You tend to live the karmic principle of limitation. So the Teaching must be communicated and realized continually, in functional terms. In place of all the bullshit you recite to one another, all the humorlessness, all of the imagery of ordinary life, in place of all of that, ecstatic communication must begin. You will notice how exhilarated you become when on a daily basis you begin to deal humorously and radically with your own bullshit. Therefore, when you are drawing lines around yourselves at the table, or in your little hovels, it is even the responsibility of other devotees to deal humorously with you.

It is your common responsibility to deal with the sensations and conditions that are being manifested in this Community. Among devotees there are no marriages, there are no brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, cousins, karmic friends, there is none of that. All of that is obsolete. Such conditions will tend to maintain themselves automatically, but they are not true. You will discover that you are always trying to create the cult again. As soon as one little secure cultic relationship is abandoned, with husband, wife, friends, mothers, fathers, you try to create another one to replace it, because you always pursue the security, the immunity of Narcissus. And that tendency must be undone through the daily living of devotees with one another.

That is the responsibility that you must begin to assume. It is profoundly threatening, but spiritual life is threatening. Spiritual life is not leading toward your fulfillment in some great vision. Spiritual life is leading to the absolute undermining of your separate existence. Absolutely. That is what this work is all about. So it is the responsibility of the Community to manifest the Teaching in common, in relationship.

The Teaching must be communicated broadly. It must take place in the world, in relationships, among human beings, not just as an inwardness, a philosophy, a subjectivity, a visionary state, a sense of inward freedom. It must be enacted, and it has never been enacted. It always tends to stop at the subjective level, at the point of some modification of one’s psycho-physical state, wherein you feel a little blissful, a little loose. It has never been manifested as a Community of free persons, who no longer live the principle of individuality in the common sense, who live in the Divine, and who are free to put up with the randomness of this world in which there is no apparent security, because they depend utterly on the Divine.

That is what faith is. It is the assumption of the Divine as the active Principle and Condition of your life rather than the little twenty watts, the field of ego in which you enclose yourself day to day. Then you begin in utter freedom, in the infinite intensity of God. On the basis of experience, the shock of birth, we all begin to assume limitation and form, and we reinforce that mutually through the cult that is passed on from generation to generation. In very short order, every person is assuming himself to be this little twenty watts, and is no longer consciously conducting the Divine Force, which is limitless. Every person tries strategically, from the point of view of this little twenty watts, to survive, to feel consoled, to feel unthreatened, all of which is absolutely impossible, because every single one of you is going to die.

You are not going to go to heaven from here. You are going to die: literally and absolutely. Not just a little bit. It is not just your body that is going to die. You are going to die, and that is the truth. All of these consoling philosophies try to make you assume that only your body is going to die, and somehow you, the same as you are now, are going to pop out and zap around in some wilderness of light. That is absolutely not going to happen. You are going to die.

So You must realize, during life, that real and prior Condition of existence which is always already transcending psycho-physical life, which is always already transcending the psyche, the mind, the person, the limited one. Then you will realize that happiness that is not concerned to be reincarnated or not. It does not make any difference how many thousands of times you have been reincarnated. You do not by tendency remember a damn one of them, other than this one. What is so consoling about reincarnation? You can just put it aside. It makes no difference whether it is a fact of this universe. You have nothing whatever to do with it, because you are utterly ripped off every time you pass out of life. The whole psyche that you have built up is ripped off. It dies, absolutely. It does not survive any longer than the body. And if you are smart you will realize that transcendent existence while alive. That is what spiritual life is all about, not all the soul and occult bullshit about survival. You do not survive. And that does not mean that you are annihilated, that death is death. It means that your existence is of a transcendent nature, not of a limited one. Nothing that is conditional survives. You live in God, and you are utterly of that Nature, and within the Divine Nature you appear periodically to move through changes, processes of various kinds, but you never lose the status of the Divine.

If you assume the status of any limitation whatsoever, you will suffer the death of that, and while alive you will feel as if you are dying, you will feel as if you are lost. The only point of view from which to live any life in any world is that of absolute Self-realization and God-knowledge. Everything else is ripped off, it does not survive. So the spiritual Community must always live as if that were so. Your tendency is not to live as if that were so, your tendency is to live the cultic life of seekers, in dilemma, pursuing the states of conceived happiness through various means. All of that is without real foundation, utterly and already false. It is the cultic doctrine of Narcissus, it is utterly fruitless and without foundation.

The Ashram is not just a collection of people who happen to be involved with the Guru individually, and who try to get along with one another in the usual way. The Ashram is the Community of devotees, who are not just aligned to the personal Guru, but who are aligned to the Guru in Truth, as He is, and who therefore are liberated to an entirely new form of existence. This is the great discipline, and it is frightening, threatening to the poor little mind, to Narcissus, because he will not tolerate such a radical transformation of life. You can spend the rest of your days struggling with all of that bullshit if you like, but it has nothing whatever to do with the Dharma, the Life of Truth.

I expect, as a discipline, that all devotees live Satsang, not just in formal meditation, when they are with me personally, but in every stroke of life, conducting the Divine Life with every breath, each enquiring of his own activity in every instant of consciousness, and living the Divine Condition in the form of every relationship. That is a profound discipline that requires you to get off your ass and yield all of your psychological strategies, all of your self-protection, all of your boredom, and be happy, ecstatic, free at last. It requires you to live with one another as if you were already free, not cultically involved with all kinds of secondary contracts with other limited beings, but absolutely free, free to share the force of life with all beings, and free to allow all of your intimates, all other devotees, to share that force of life with all other beings, in the form of every function in which you are all present to one another.

In order to do such, you must be free of all conventional social requirements in the Ashram. In the world, live outwardly as disciples, fulfill your social obligations in the conventional sense. But inwardly, and with one another, live as devotees, be free, and continually deal with one another in such a way that the cult becomes obsolete in every form in which it appears, in the form of every kind of relationship. Make yourself functionally available to all other devotees, without limitation, with profound intelligence, with profound intensity.

I could spell all of that out to you, but it seems perfectly obvious what I mean. I mean all of it.

This requires great humor, great discipline, great intelligence, great energy. It is a profoundly exhilarating process, a happy process, in which this separate one, this Narcissus, is continually undone, socially undone, personally undone. Only this way does an Ashram become an Ashram. Anything less than that is the cult of the usual bullshit, the search for subjective change.

Does anybody have any questions about that?

DEVOTEE: I would like to know the forms that the smashing of cults you see arising in the Ashram must take.

BUBBA: What do you think?

DEVOTEE: Well, I think just making a totally serious demand and telling somebody to drop it, while communicating love at the same time, and not being expected to explain. A person basically has the responsibility to enquire into the strategy of his own action right off. I think there shouldn’t have to be a discussion involved.

BUBBA: Devotees cannot be an offense to one another. Only the usual man can offend his friends, but the devotee cannot be an offense to another devotee, even if he is wrong. Even if he is wrong, that is not an offense. He is just wrong, that is all, and that is humorous enough. You should be free to say anything you like to anyone here, and that should be a completely humorous affair! “Look, Smack, you are an asshole. I’ve been wanting to kiss your cheek, and I can’t even shake your hand. I’ve been wondering how to love you, and you’re full of shit. Forget this fucking rice and vegetable meal, let’s arm wrestle.”

DEVOTEE (laughing): This is totally revolutionary!

BUBBA: I have mentioned marriages in the Ashram again and again, because marriage is a particularly “serious” affair. It is a way for people to lock one another in with a sex-contract. As I said, exclusive sexuality has nothing to do with marriage itself. Not that people who are married are not sexually involved with one another, but the binding and exclusive sex-contract has nothing whatever to do with marriage. Marriage is simply an acknowledged relationship, in which, as far as sex goes, the individuals remain as free as the wind. They should be as free as they like to do whatever they like with the force of life, without denying that one they love in marriage, without threatening that relationship, because marriage is itself the acknowledgement that it cannot be threatened to begin with. That relationship already exists, and if it is acknowledged, what is the problem? So the sex-contract has nothing whatever to do with marriage, and should be kicked out the window.

DEVOTEE: So then, what is the point of all of us getting married?

BUBBA: You cannot be intimate with all mankind in the same room. Marriage is a conventional value, it is an acknowledged intimacy, it is a way of developing or practicing intimacy in the midst of the practical and otherwise karmic or hard-edged affair of money, food and sex from day to day. Since it exists as a convention, it can be used and realized in freedom, and so it is good. It is just that it should not involve this contract, this suffering, this mutual reinforcement of separate existence. It is the same with friends. You may have many friends, but at each moment your friendship is one to one with each of your friends. Having one friendship does not exclude all others, and you don’t exclude your friends from being friendly with others. Well, the same should exist in the midst of all relationships, in the midst of all conventions.

In that same spirit of freedom, the Community of devotees should also feel free to create entirely new forms of social life, entirely new forms, of households, entirely new forms of generating children. The Community, not exclusive pairs, produces children. Children are the responsibility of the entire Community. Your children are not the reflections of you in person. But in our isolated little households, which are the conventional symbol of our social life at the present time, it is assumed that you create children, they are your personal reflection, they perpetuate you in some way or other, they stand for you in some way or other. Whereas your children are, truly, a free manifestation in God. They are the product of the human community, not the product of individuals.

It is very possible, and already not uncommon, for married people to bring up a child that is produced through the agency of some other person or couple. Perhaps also one partner in a marriage can produce a child in some other household. Or perhaps there can be many people in a household. All these things are possibilities, but that does not mean they are also appropriate in every case. In every case children and households must be the product of a realized life. But all such unusual possibilities exist. And the Community of devotees should feel free to create a community life in which there are many forms of household, in which children, like all other devotees in the Ashram, are the product of the entire Community, and in which all present share the responsibility for the development of each person in Satsang, rather than the development of each person in the isolated cult of two personalities. Only in such a Community can human individuals arise already free, remain free, grow up free, and live free. Otherwise they must struggle their entire lives to break down all the character barriers that are created by that limited beginning.

The spiritual Community should not reinforce or initiate the phenomenon of separate existence in any form whatsoever. It should not serve that cult in any form whatsoever. Every devotee is wildly and priorly free in God. There is no curse, there is no ultimate demand from on high for a particular form of social life. The demand is for love, to share, through the mechanism of the human vehicle, the force of life which is every moment being generated from the Divine. And how you organize your life in the midst of such a Condition is entirely up to you. There is no prior guilt, no praise, no blame. There is a demand, and that is for the Divine Life itself. That is entirely separate from all of the usual moralistic horseshit.

Unless there is this understanding and this continuous communication that breaks down the cults, every time you approach someone you are in mortal fear of violating his contracts. So you are never certain whether that person is going to kill you, or somebody he knows is going to kill you. Because you are not certain of that, you do not share the force of life, you do not love.

DEVOTEE: There is also a certain kind of righteousness. People who have been with you for a long period of time sometimes seem to feel they are more enlightened, or that they are more free to love than others in this Community, and I think that is bullshit.

BUBBA: Certainly. Exactly.

DEVOTEE: I for one would enjoy loving everyone. I’ve been in mortal fear of one person who has been with you for two years. I’ve only been with you for three months, and I’ve been afraid to express myself. I don’t want to continue that any longer.

BUBBA: Good. But a lot of that is your own hallucination. There is no superior person by virtue of experience, because experience is not the process of spiritual life. Spiritual life is a Condition into which all devotees enter and in which all enjoy the same privilege and responsibility. So it is your responsibility to love and to be free and to break down the cult, whether you have been here for years or three and a half days. When you gather together to study the Teaching, or just to talk with one another, or casually to be with one another, that responsibility holds at all times. When somebody is leading a study group or some other group in the Ashram, he is not the “leader,” he is not the authority, although you may tend to make him that, and so reinforce the demand or need within him to act like an authority, to be the source. The leader of a study group is just somebody who is moderating, who is simply managing the display of communication so everyone has the opportunity to get his communication across. That is fundamentally the only responsibility such a person has.

It is the responsibility of each one present to live in freedom with all the others, to be open and communicative, to deal with whatever is present, and to make all of the Narcissistic crap that comes across by tendency unnecessary. And you only make it unnecessary by living the humor of Satsang. You should be laughing like me, all the time free, happy. Also touch one another, love one another, deal with one another as intimately as you please, not like gangsters, rapists, and whores, but in that radical freedom that should be understood by all devotees. The freedom to approach one another directly should be understood, and there should be no fear of violating hidden contracts. There should be no such contracts, and if they are there, they are simply “hidden,” they are simply subjective bullshit, and it is everyone’s responsibility to deal with that personally and not to manifest it in secretive ways or in strategies in the Community.

One of the “secrets” of spiritual life is continually to violate your own contracts. If you do that with intelligence, with understanding, you will continually be free. To the degree you do not understand, to the degree you do not do that in freedom, you will suffer, but you will also give yourself conditions in which understanding may arise. If you continually violate the contracts that you most fear to have undone from without, you will serve the transformation of your own psycho-physical life. Whereas if you live in mediocre patterns, always fearing the violation of these contracts from without, they will never change, because, fundamentally, they do not get changed from without. You may be manipulated from without, threatened from without, but you will never transform the fundamental vehicle in which you pass through life unless you take responsibility for the cultic contracts that you are dramatizing from hour to hour.

You can serve one another by continually engaging in the conversation in which the violation of these contracts becomes possible, in which you continually set them aside, are purified of them, become humorous about them. The more you understand, the less you will feel the form of inner suffering that is necessarily created when your contracts are violated.

As soon as your intimates and your loved ones and your friends are intimate and loving and friendly with other beings, you tend to begin to suffer, you begin to contract, to withdraw compulsively. But if you understand in the midst of that reaction to the violation of your contracts, you make your contracts obsolete, and you will cease to suffer. Simply as a strategy, the mere violation of your contracts will only create suffering, psychological or personal suffering, but doing it in Satsang, with understanding, is a self-purifying responsibility.

I expect you to do that. I expect you not to repeat the mediocre round of this priesthood, but to vanish it in this Ashram. You should leave it at the gate of Persimmon. You should leave it, period, but if, as a discipline, you need just to leave it at the gate, do it that way for the time being. When you come to Persimmon, do not assume any contracts to be inviolate, do not assume any contracts to hold. Live freely at Persimmon, create the Community of devotees, make this coming together at Persimmon a creative occasion in which you manifest the Divine Community, rather than just some tawdry weekend in which you do a little work and hear some lectures and sit down in quiet meditation. Make it a creative occasion in which you make the cultic life utterly obsolete. Make it an exhilarating condition, allow the Divine to create your event. The Divine is always creating a perfect event. The Divine Power or Siddhi is infinite. As long as you live from the point of view of your twenty watts, you are always creating the karmic event, the limited event, non-fulfillment, the separate one. If you live by faith, in other words if you live always already in Satsang, Divine Communion, and allow the manifestation of your event, your life in any moment, to be the Divine occasion, perfection will always be manifested in the form of conditions appropriate to this moment in God.

That is the secret of non-karmic life, of living in God, who is not conditioned. Whereas living from the point of view of your karmas, your tendencies, always manifests more of the same, always carries with it the implication of that separate one, and that separate one is the core of your suffering. There is no such separate one. Literally there is no such separate one. Presently, there is no separate one. There is only an infinite modification of the Divine Reality, and that Divine Reality is modified as forms, with varying degrees of subtlety: solid things, watery things, fiery things, airy things, etheric things. And that Divine intensity is modified as forms of consciousness. Indeed, all modifications, all events or conditions are forms of Consciousness, which is the Nature of your consciousness.

So your very consciousness, your own consciousness, is the Divine Self. It is presently that Divine Self. It has no form whatsoever, no limitation. It is not a soul, it is not a psyche, it is not a person. It is infinite, formless, unqualified, unconditioned, absolute Consciousness. That is your Nature, that is the Nature of every being. It is also the Nature of the Guru, but the Guru knows it, the Guru lives as That. The Guru manifests the perfect possibility that exists in human beings. If you make a cultic figure out of the Guru and allow him alone to be enlightened, allow him alone to be free, to roll around and do what he likes, while you yourself live as some limited asshole, you have prevented the Teaching from fulfilling itself. Whereas the Guru does not call disciples and devotees to be cultically involved with him. He calls disciples and devotees to be free with him, to enjoy the humor of his Nature and Condition, which is the absolute and eternal Nature and Condition of all worlds and all beings.

It is your responsibility to live Satsang in this practical form. Until you do that, I can press the Divine Light into your brains for eternity, and it will do nothing. I do not care how many kundalini experiences you have, or how many changes of state you have. They are themselves still only modifications of the One Reality. So you yourself must live understanding, you yourself must become conscious, you yourself must become responsive and responsible for the Divine process in your life, in the mechanisms of your apparent individual life, and in the form of all relationships. Because that responsibility holds, the Community of devotees is possible, and it is a unique possibility. It has never been done, never. There has never been a true Community of devotees. There have been cultic communities, but never a free Community of devotees. it has never been done. It is the most violent, revolutionary thing you can do as a gathering of men, because it requires you absolutely to undo the cult of this world and all of the social contracts that are the theatre of your suffering, your Narcissistic drama.

Does anyone have any more questions about any of that?

DEVOTEE: I completely and clearly see what you mean, but it absolutely fucks my mind up, and makes me terrified, absolutely petrified. But I love you more than I love “me.”

BUBBA: Individuals are terrified in the face of the Divine demand. But because the Divine is so elusive, so subtle, they can live as if there were no such One, they can live as if it were untrue. They can be atheistic, confused, neurotic, but when the Divine manifests as the Guru, he can no longer be refused, he cannot be put away, unless you do him in within yourself. The Guru enacts the threat of the Divine, which is an absolutely transforming and absorbing Force. In that case you no longer truly have the mechanisms by which to refuse the Guru, because he is present in the fundamental ones that you would not refuse for yourself. He is bodily present, he is humanly present, he is psychologically present, psychically present, his life-force is present. He is always undermining the principle of your separate life and the drama into which you are always evolving it. So the Guru is a dangerous person.

DEVOTEE: Are you saying that any exclusive relationship violates the conductivity of the life-force in the individual and the world?

BUBBA: Yes. Relationship is not exclusive. It is a happy, free affair. It is a form of enjoyment. It is the principle of enjoyment or delight. Exclusive relationship is a way of contracting on a social level, on every psycho-physical level. It makes two people, or three people, or fifty people, an individuated thing. But these are all forms of contraction dramatized on the social level. Relationship should be love, without contracts of any kind. Life should simply be direct, free, acknowledged relationship in God.

DEVOTEE: You also mentioned that this should be handled with intelligence, with humor. It shouldn’t go to the point of mere self-indulgence. Have you spoken about that before?

BUBBA: Self-indulgence is only an alternative form of behavior, like self-discipline. Self-indulgence and self-discipline are both in themselves mediocre. Neither one of them is more “spiritual” than the other. Therefore, the life of the true spiritual Community is not one in which behavior is dictated in a formal way, in the form of exclusive discipline or self-indulgence. It is not one in which there are alternative kinds of contracts in which behavior is merely determined by rules different from those of common society. It is a Community of devotees, those who live the Divine Communion, in whom the principle and force of Divine Communion generates the qualities of their common life. So it requires great intelligence, great understanding, great energy. That is the discipline, the discipline of that happiness, that freedom, that fullness of Satsang. That will determine all of your behavior in a natural and appropriate way, without your concern about behavior itself. It will cause you to create forms of relationship in a new way, according to this new principle. Simply to generate behavior is another form of the same old thing. If you undo the cult at the level of your personal life, then you become free to generate relational life in a new way. Only then you will see what it truly and practically means in your own case.

DEVOTEE: Does that mean that on the deepest level there can be no withholding?

BUBBA: What are you doing when you are withholding? There is nothing peculiarly “psychological” about it. There is one food, and that is the Divine, and the Divine is absolutely subtle, perfectly transcendent. The first level on which we realize the modification of the Divine, the stuff of the Divine, is in the forms of consciousness. The superconscious organs through which we intuit the Divine food, the Divine Presence as Life, are in the upper part of the brain. In the midst of the brain are the forms of mental consciousness, less subtle than the superconscious.

The psycho-physical origin of the life-force, the entrance point of the universal Shakti, is in the throat, and it is etheric, subtler than all of the natural forms, the vital forces. Grosser than that dimension of the life-force is the airy life in the midst of the body, in the heart, the region of the life-psyche. Grosser than that, just as the heart or living psyche is grosser than the mind, is the fiery elemental life of the navel. Below that is the watery life of the root of sex. And below that is the solid life of the physical body. But there is this one food, which is the Divine, above all of this transmuted or modified, which descends into this whole order of grosser and grosser manifestation.

The food that we share with one another, the true human food, is the life-force, whose entrance is felt in the throat. But we deny one another the life-force in the absence of love. The withholding of love is only the contracting of the life-force, the contracting of the availability of the life-force to other beings and to yourself. It takes place high in the body, high in the subtler dimensions of our life, so that down into the living parts of us, into the heart, into the navel, into the sex-life, into the physical body, where there is no love as a result, the thing that we ordinarily call life is absolutely solid, rigid, without energy, without the relational process. So to love is a principle that transcends the elemental parts of our existence, the elemental forms of our functions. To love is to share principal food, to share the Divine. The mind is simply a modification of the conscious elemental, and it does not move down into the life. Only in loving do you permit the life-force, the life-energy, principal food, to manifest on the functional human level. So you can think all that you like, but until you love, you do not make the life-force available, you do not feed others. The reason our common life, our social life, is unsatisfactory is that there is no communicated life-force. We are starving. We do not love.

Loving is not just a psychological and personal affair. It is not just good for psychological health and society. Loving is absolutely essential for life itself, because it is simply the functional manifestation of the universal life-force, principal food. So the crippling of the capacity of human beings to love one another directly, without contracts, is also the crippling of the capacity of the race of human beings to perpetuate itself. It may perpetuate itself chemically, elementally, but it cannot perpetuate itself in Truth, as real and conscious life, as humanity. The common or cultic community perpetuates its lower life, and it perpetuates its conventional conscious life, its mentality, but it does not perpetuate its very life, the life-force, within the conventional theatre of life. Only through the manifestation of love does this principal food appear in human terms.

There can’t be any withholding, for any reason whatsoever, without violating the fundamental functional demand of human life. Love is not a petty affair. It is not just better if you love others. It is an absolute demand and responsibility to love and be free. Only thus do we make available in human terms the Divine process, and only thus is anything like the perfection or true realization of human existence possible. It depends on love. Then it can become elemental and alive. Then the bodies can be improved, and all the rest. But until love is established as the communicated theatre of our common life, there is no perfection, no evolution of humanity. It is mired in its lower life, and detained in its mental life.

The life-force is only released in love. So the only way in which it may be released is through understanding, the understanding of your own process, your own strategy, not through any mere yogic process, not through any perfection of your mental life, not through any physical culture, but only by unloosing your fundamental presence in the world. To love requires a great transformation. It requires first of all your realized acknowledgement of the Source of the life-force, which is above the life, above the super-conscious, above the body, the mind, the world, even the soul and spirit. It requires your absolute realization of the fundamental Nature of your condition, which is not this separate one. It is not the one who is mysteriously appearing in some world out in the midst of who knows where, but the very Self, Brahman, the intuited Real-God, the absolute Divinity. Without the realization of the Heart, the intuition of Real-God, and without the realization of the Divine Light, which transcends even super-conscious life, vision, perception, or cognition, there is no true humanity, and no love.

So the real manifestation of love depends on the generation of spiritual life in Truth. Not just the attachment of individuals to some yogic or esoteric process wherein they, individually or subjectively, are transformed to some visionary condition or other, but the transformation of literal humanity, the functional and relational condition of human beings. That is the requirement, that is realization. Not subjectivity, not personal evolution in inward terms, but the Community is the sign of the Divine process.

So the sign of the Divine Presence in this world is not even Siddhas and Gurus. The sign of the Divine Presence in this world is the Community of human beings who love consciously, who are always already free in God. The Guru adds nothing to this world, because God is always already Present in this world. So the mere presence of the human Guru has not added anything, fundamentally. He only establishes a process in which people may realize their Condition, but he has not added anything, ultimately, to the world itself. Only the Community of devotees adds something to the world. Only the Community of devotees represents a change in the world, and makes something new in the world by action.

Don’t get the impression there is anything serious about loving someone. It is fun. There is nothing serious about it at all, as a matter of fact. Therefore, you will also discover, in the spiritual Community of devotees who truly live as such, there is an absence of irony, whereas the usual man thrives on irony, on subtle negativity. All our usual humor, so-called, is irony. Most of our conversation is irony. We tend either to be ironic with one another, or else to tell one another ironic stories about how ironic life is. Or how ironic it all was: “How ironic it was that this and that happened when I was twelve.” So we generally communicate irony, rather than love, and the analytical hammering of one another, the righteous correcting of one another, is a form of irony. Really, it is fundamentally unnecessary. You should feel free to correct one another where it is appropriate. But if it becomes a repetitive liturgy, you yourself are bound to the principle of irony or Narcissus, which is the refusal and withholding of love.

You should simply feel free to be happy, rather than always only to deal with the ritual report of your memory, and your ironic experiences, and the failure of it all, and the boredom of it. You should feel free to say anything. Sooner or later I say everything. I allow myself to feel free to do anything I like and say anything I like. You are always already free to do and say absolutely everything, with humor, with understanding. The freedom to do and say anything contains humor, and not irony.

The cult of Narcissus, the cult of this world, is all about the suppression of ecstasy, the suppression of happiness, and the biological point wherein human beings commonly and socially become aware of ecstasy, in spite of their mentalizing, is in the form of sexuality. The rituals of sexuality are vast and complex, and the suppression of the seat of sexuality is something to which we are devoted socially and culturally, perhaps more than to the suppression of any other form of pleasure, because it is deep in the body and psyche, intimately connected with the communication of the life-energy. Therefore, the cult of marriage is a principal obstacle in the affair of the spiritual Community, because the common theatre of marriage is a fundamental instrument for locking out the life-energy, the ecstatic life-communication, from other beings. Perhaps the most tight-knit cult is the cult of couples, because in the midst of such pairs, heterosexual or homosexual, the ecstasy of the communicated life-force is ritualized and made exclusive. The traditional psycho-physical play between lovers is the social instrument of excluding the ecstatic play of the life-force from common society. If the function of sexuality is obstructed, as it always is in the cultic personality, nothing like the internal and radical spiritual process can take place. The center and process of sexuality must be absolutely free, and this is possible only when the individual understands and realizes his entire complex condition in the always already prior Condition that is Reality, Truth, Self, and God. The sex-function is the primary source of theatre in the human psycho-physical mechanism whereby the life-force is stopped, obstructed. The obstructed person has very little option except to indulge himself to the point of the random release of life-force. Either he does it through the private ritual of sexuality or he dissipates the life-force through the self-exploited life on all levels.

But the life-force must be conducted through the root of sexuality. There must be that full circle, descending and ascending in the psycho-physical form, and only in such case can the full circle be generated in relationship as well. The sex-act is a transcendent yoga. It is worship. It is a Divine process. It requires not solemnity, and not privacy, but freedom, intensity, consciousness, and understanding in each person who engages in it. Sexuality is not a humorless affair. It is fun, but it requires great intelligence, great consciousness, great intensity, great desire. Whereas people don’t generally approach sexual relations with anything like real desire. They approach it with all kinds of rituals that only guarantee the release of the life-force through the orgasm, or just through the drama of sex-play itself.

Because we are by tendency obstructed in the root of sex and cannot conduct the force of life, we continually seek release through the indulgence of sexuality in ritual forms. And one of those ritual forms is marriage, common marriage, because it provides us an opportunity to indulge sexuality without consciousness, while at the same time we fulfill social obligations, cultic obligations that reinforce the principle of separation and the sense of living existence as not in itself and priorly ecstatic, happy, and free. According to the rules of the cult we can indulge sexuality in marriage without any consciousness whatsoever. But even such indulgence, because it is not released from the separative principle, cannot be engaged without guilt. It is a sanctioned privilege, a ritual of Narcissus. So all we have gained in the usual marriage is the freedom from social or cultic guilt, while we only play at sex ritually and dissipate the life-force in self-theatre. Whereas sex relations are properly a random and loving occasion without contracts, in which the intensity of the life-force is stimulated, magnified, and conducted, and the circle of life is not broken. There is only fullness, only enjoyment, only pleasure, nothing gained or lost.

Sexuality, like every other function, is perfect in Satsang. In the meantime, you are full of errors, full of strategies. You are simply trying to release the life-force to relieve yourself of the discomfort created by the inability to conduct the life-force openly and consciously in the form of an ecstatic life in the world. But the more the life of Satsang continues, the more this intelligence develops, the more the process of conductivity becomes a living manifestation in you, and the more, in this natural way, the sex-act is realized in the way I have just described. Until then you will experience confusions in the midst of the enjoyment of sex, just as you experience confusions in the midst of every other functional aspect of life. All of that is just a pattern in which you must understand. And you will fail to realize it in this full sense, in the midst of sexuality as everything else, until understanding becomes perfect, intense, radical. Then in a very natural way this conductivity survives.

DEVOTEE: How do you deal with guilt, psychological guilt?

BUBBA: Guilt is the sensation of having violated a contract. Anybody’s. You can imagine it comes from God, or the Bible, or King Smut, or the Constitution of the United States, or President Priest, or the person you are with, or your mother and father, or yourself, but guilt is always the reaction, the conceived sensation, to the feeling you have violated some existing contract. It is a sense of frustrated self-protection generated by fear of reprisal, fear of murder, fear of being killed. It is a very primitive sensation. It comes from way back, among the dinosaurs and the slippery creeps.

DEVOTEE: The contract is to not live. We feel guilty for being more alive. You catch yourself thinking, “Oh, oh, I’m not supposed to do that.”

BUBBA: We feel guilt, but we also feel depression and boredom, which is a form of the same thing that is guilt. It is a way of paying our dues for having been alive, for having been lively without. And all the kinds of intellectual sensations of depression and boredom and mediocrity are versions of the same thing that is guilt. It is our way of paying dues to the existing contracts, to the cult. But if you do not assume any such contracts at all, you do not have to pay any of those

The Cult of Pairs

As might be inferred from reading Bubba’s talk, two reactions surged simultaneously through those present: terror and ecstasy. Bubba had made it unmistakably clear that the guilt and other “feelings” that seem to afflict people are really limitations they themselves arbitrarily enforce upon their enjoyment of life and each other. They are voluntary strategies, enacted at every level of life, in every moment, to prevent mutual enjoyment of the Divine in the forms of life. This speech was the culmination of many hints, reprimands, and direct statements made earlier, but in this talk the apparently different themes of Bubba’s recent communications became a single uncompromising statement.

This talk brought many devotees to an acute awareness, in which they saw, if only for a moment, just what they were doing in the strategies of their usual lives, individually and collectively. The clarity of this insight would rise and fall in the days and weeks to come, but on that night they could not help but allow Bubba’s words to penetrate. They could see the concrete responsibility which lay before them, to undermine the cult and really to live freely, not merely to enjoy some inward “spiritual” looseness or detachment. This prospect profoundly threatened every “individual” because, as Bubba said, the usual social life is only an extension and elaboration of the activity by which people create their very sense of separate or egoic existence. Those present also feared what Bubba himself would do next. They knew he was going to do more than just talk.

All these specific fears only expressed an underlying dread of death. Bubba had insisted from the beginning of his work with devotees that the Divine must not merely be realized inwardly but must be lived. By revealing how all usual social interactions ritually preserve the sense of separate existence, and by demanding that devotees responsibly cease to indulge that activity, Bubba was making it less possible for them to ignore the Divine in daily life. He was threatening them with their deaths as separated and separative “individuals,” but in the condition of life itself, not merely in subtle realms of consciousness.

Jerry Sheinfeld, one of Bubba’s long-time devotees, gave us an account of his own responses at that time. He illustrates the inadequacy of merely intellectual understanding, and the necessity for the absolute death of the separate one.

When He spoke of our cults and contracts and how they are insecure strategies for survival, I felt the inevitable end of my present relationship with my wife, Hellie. Enormous anxiety gripped my body. I rushed into uncontrollable fear. From my toes to my head, this body was charged with adrenaline I told Bubba I was petrified at the thought, but that I love him more than I love me, and I was willing to go through the transformation. I began to intellectualize the validity of His words and saw how my contracts in life are binding and arise from a prior separate condition, how the cult of marriage has intermingled emotions of possession, guilt, fear, and the like. At the level of intellect, I was willing to let our cult dissolve, but as Hellie and I began living this freedom, Narcissus would constantly arise in the forms of jealousy, concern, and all the rest of those well-known acts of suffering.

After Bubba had finished speaking, the community watched the evening movie, and then continued, at least outwardly, to party in the lounge and the baths. After hearing Bubba’s words, devotees could hardly look at each other at times, but neither could they continue subtly to avoid each other in the usual comfortable and mediocre ways. A tension began to intensify.

The next day there was a wedding. Bubba talked informally during the feast and celebration that followed, and everyone spent the afternoon and early evening together in the baths. Bubba was somewhat quiet while at the baths, and many devotees said they felt the intensity of his Presence to be particularly strong. But there was nothing silent or yogic about the party there. Most people were “trying” to be open, free and loving, as Bubba had demanded they be. Bubba drank and smoked and moved around the pool, laughing and showing particular affection to a few new, seemingly uncertain, devotees.

Many devotees felt threatened in the midst of their new attempts to break down their cultic associations and to begin to live freely together. One couple that made such an attempt was Sal and Louise Lucania. Sal and Louise had been with Bubba for almost six years, having become acquainted with him before the specific function of Guru came alive in him in 1970. Although only in their early thirties, they had married while still in their teens, and had three sons, one of them a teenager. Sal had been an aggressive, dynamic, tough character who had made his way, the hard way, off the streets of New York. He had been the administrator of a large and successful drug-prevention program there before he came out to Los Angeles to help Bubba start the Ashram in 1972. And now he was something of a righthand man to Bubba in the administration of the Ashram. In the early days, before a public Ashram center had been created, Louise had often fed everyone who came to the Ashram study groups at her and Sal’s house, and even now people kidded her for the motherly role she tended to take in the community.

But she and Sal were no less vulnerable to Bubba’s demands than anyone else, and in many ways they were made more vulnerable by the breaking of their marriage contract than others were, simply because of the many years they had been together. After the talk Saturday night, they had acknowledged to one another that they did have an ongoing contract with one another, and, as Louise later said in an interview, they “set out to break it or violate it intentionally.” So that Sunday they avoided one another and stayed with other people. Louise felt “absolute terror and fear.” The crisis came to a head when she saw Sal sitting with another woman in the baths. At first she ran away, but knowing that this incident was likely to be “the first of many,” she returned to simply watch them together and deal with her reactions.

I said to Bubba, “Well, there is that crunch again, and I went into meditation and relaxed everything. I didn’t mentally say that I was going to relax. Everything just did relax. I felt that I had dealt with the fear of Sal’s making love to another, and it didn’t arise in more. At least not for the time being!

What Louise and all the other members of the community were to discover was that this “crunch” doesn’t vanish forever after having once dissolved in one’s turning to the Guru with understanding. They would find that the contracts of all conventional social arrangements, such as marriages, friendships, and the like, operate on far subtler levels than the merely physical, and that one cannot truly dissolve any contract by simply throwing one’s partner away. But Louise did learn a valuable lesson by facing her fear in that instant, living through it while turning to the Guru, and seeing it dissolve in understanding, which is awareness prior to the activity of suffering.

Others experienced no such relaxation of their fears that afternoon, and the drama only heightened later that night. Everyone came to the lounge for a movie at nine o’clock, but before it could begin, people found various musical instruments, and began spontaneously to sing and to make a primitive, non-melodic, drum-dominated music. Others danced to it, some partially naked, and one or two on tabletops. People were evidently enjoying themselves, but there was also a frenzy to this song, as if the wildness were an attempt to find relief from the pressure that had been building up all weekend.

Then Bubba showed up, wearing a bright, blue-striped, yellow kaftan. His hair was still wet from a shower, and his eyes were sparkling. He laughed at the wild goings-on and watched them for almost an hour. Sal Lucania and Neil Panico stood near him, along with a number of others, mostly women. Abruptly, Bubba left for his house again, with Neil, Sal, and, conspicuously, several women, some of whom were married, but none of their husbands, and none of the four women who ordinarily lived and served at Bubba’s house.

By this time it was obvious to everyone that Bubba wasn’t just criticizing the forms of our social lives but was also destroying them. Hellie Sheinfeld, whose husband was quoted earlier, describes the reactions she experienced that evening:

When we were dancing! Sunday night, the whole feeling took on a heavy quality for me, because I was attached to many things, to my husband, to earthly things, and I went through a heavy crisis at that point. I went into the Satsang Hall and literally surrendered everything, absolutely surrendered it. I went through spontaneous violent kriyas and other Shakti manifestations. I was howling and screaming and wailing. It was just incredible. I couldn’t believe it was me! The pain of it was ecstasy. It is hard to explain that. You are in pain and you are dying, and in that suffering there is great ecstasy. It lasted about half an hour, and then I was fine, and I left the Satsang Hall. I wanted to be near Bubba. He was my string, my connection, my life. I didn’t want to be away from him. I was in agony because I had to be away from him, and that was hurting me more than all the experiences I was going through.

When Hellie let go of her vital attachment to her husband and her various other life-contracts, the release of the energy that had been bound up in them stimulated kriyas, or spontaneous jerking movements of the spine and neck, as well as screaming, and wailing. All these are signs of the purifying movement of the life-force through the psycho-physical system. They are signs of the resistance that obstructs the free and natural flow of that force, whose movement is regenerated as the circle of conductivity by the miraculous activities of the Guru. Hellie felt that purifying, freer flow as a blissful sensation, a sense of release, but its pressure against the remaining obstructions was also extremely painful. Thus, her ecstatic agony. Hellie said she had surrendered “absolutely,” but she, like Louise, had more sadhana in store. Even so, for now she had realized her connection to the Guru much more strongly, and felt an intense need to be near him physically.

Jane Panico, whose husband Neil had gone to Bubba’s house that evening, experienced such resolution of her crisis, but she came to see the crisis itself with clarity. This was not the first time Bubba had worked on the marital and sexual attachment of his devotees. She said in an interview a week later that she had known for months that her attachment to Neil “was going to be ripped off.”

I knew that it was going to be very painful and a death experience. Now it was happening. Neil was drinking at the party in the afternoon, and that evening he went down to the lounge. He was kissing all these women, and it really upset me. It didn’t just upset me. I was absolutely freaked out, so freaked out that I considered leaving the Ashram, because I saw no way that I could ever resolve that feeling inside myself. It was so intense, so awful, and so painful that I just knew I could never resolve it, that it would never go away. I felt absolutely possessed. I was possessed. By myself. My psyche was suffering. I spent a long time with Kathy Bray, and she talked to me, and I told her that I wanted to leave. I felt like I had no capacity at all for spiritual life, that I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t even handle the fact that I would actually consider leaving. She told me that I must turn to Bubba and surrender it, and I said, “I don’t know bow, I really don’t know how. Your words just seem like rhetoric to me, just words.” I knew then that what had to occur was a fundamental understanding that had nothing to do with words at all, or experiences.

The actions of Bubba and Neil had triggered an overwhelming crisis in Jane, one from which she could not distract herself. In the thick of it, she realized that she truly needed to understand, that nothing else would avail her. And she knew that the intelligence of that understanding must be of an entirely different nature than either abstract concepts or felt experiences.

Later that night the movie was finally shown in the lounge. Over at Bubba’s house, an apparently uproarious party was going on. While he was partying with Bubba and the others, Sal Lucania was also undergoing a crisis. After the wedding earlier that day, Bubba had spoken about early Christian times and had said that many of us had been alive then and had participated in that religious movement. (A humorous and paradoxical thing for him to do, since just the evening before he had ridiculed any interest in reincarnation.) Every time Bubba had mentioned those Christian days, Sal had felt rushes of energy “shooting right out the top of my head.” Referring to those discussions, Sal said in an interview with the editors some two weeks later:

So that Sunday night, after hours and hours of this kind of conversation, I was realizing what was important about all of that. How insignificant and mediocre my attachments were. Time after time, when the reestablishment of the Dharma of Truth is taking place, I’m afraid to give up a candy bar!

This talk about contracts stirred up a crisis that had been going on for months. I began, as a condition of spiritual life, to consider the breaking of the attachment to my marriage. I knew that to love God, to be a devotee, you have to be absolutely devoted.

Bubba continued to lay on all that stuff about past lives very heavily, when we were over at his house Sunday night. Then, he suddenly turned to me and said, “Are you ready to give up your marriage?” Then he asked me if I was ready to die. He said, “I mean it.” When he said all this, he was sitting on a couch, and I was on the floor, and he was looking at me directly, That look penetrated the very core of my existence in that moment how that contract of my marriage to Louise was very strong, and everything was in it, Mommy and Daddy, everything. So it was a direct hit.

That was the crisis: I had to make a choice between Bubba and karmic life. And I did. I decided I loved him more than anything in the world. He had always demonstrated such perfect flawlessness of love in relationship to me. So I told him I was ready, that I was willing to go anywhere with him.

In his account, Sal indicates clearly how everything Bubba does, even an apparently random discussion of something as “irrelevant” as past lives, functions only to serve the spiritual process in his devotees, specifically to bring about the present crisis of their understanding. At this particular time, Bubba was striking directly at the social contracts of his devotees. His disruptions of these cults in each case did not merely leave each person sad or hurt. As Sal said for himself, the threat of the breaking of the marriage contract was a “direct hit.” He had invested so much of himself in his identification with it that all his primary relationships were epitomized in that single association. His whole identity as a separate individual was bound up in that association with Louise, and when it was threatened with death, he felt threatened with death.

Louise had felt the same threat earlier in the day, and it provoked terror in her. Others may not have experienced that threat quite so directly and fully, if they were not so identified with one particular attachment. But throughout this narrative Sal, Neil, and several others will serve as illustrations of the general experience of the entire community. They weren’t special, but their experiences were particularly dramatic. Practically everyone in the Ashram was going through similar crises at that point. Through violations of the normally assumed social contracts in the Ashram, violations initiated by themselves or by Bubba, everyone felt his identity somehow at stake. That is precisely what Bubba intended. Not marriages themselves, but the priestly form of Narcissus, the ego standing in the Guru’s Presence, was the intended victim of the Saturday Night Massacre.