I Gave it All Away – Adi Da Samraj

I Gave It All Away a talk by Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda

May 22,1981

HEART-MASTER DA: The entire Work of my Teaching developed spontaneously. I simply did my Spiritual Work with the people who came to me and who were right in front of me at the time. I was never a businessman. I taught, and an institution was necessary, but it was always created in response to the Teaching Revelation and the circumstance of the time. I was never in business.

In one sense, my relationship to the institution is similar to Ramana Maharshi’s relationship to the organization that developed around him, although, because Maharshi gave the business to his brother, he did not take interest in their organization’s communications. I was always concerned for the communication of this Way, enough to offer advice and to help people understand the politics of Spiritual communication so that the Teaching Work would go beyond the few intimates to whom it was communicated and Demonstrated, and so that it would have a real usefulness in the lives of others in the future. Maharshi did not have that concern. He was indifferent to such Spiritual Work.

The lack of attention on Maharshi’s part to the culture of practitioners around him eventually led to problems in their institution, although he was not as separate from the daily and cultural life as he is thought to be. People tend to have the impression that Maharshi just kind of sat around, said nothing, did nothing, and from time to time gave a few cryptic remarks. But in fact he was very active and functioned as Guru to devotees. He could have done more to straighten out the institution, but he simply had no interest in it.

The world of religion is basically a failed world. This is why I struggled for so many years to guarantee, for the sake of the world, not just the survival but the integrity of the institution. Unlike Maharshi, I did have an interest in providing a medium for real Transmission in the world. I worked to purify the institution and to teach it how to purify itself from the self-corrupting influences that are always arising, so that the institution would be able to deal with this tendency to become corrupt. I stayed with that Work for a significant period of time, so that the institution could be an effective Transmitter of the Truth in the world.

The institution should refuse to be reduced to a dull, low energy, hyped, worldly communication. We must be more than an institution. We must be committed to a lively, vigorous, intelligent, sophisticated, stable, cool, and Enlightened communication of the Way of Truth. Some games should simply never be played. Some games you only suffer profoundly until you drop them. Therefore, do not begin them. Simply refuse to function in certain ways. Look at other religious organizations, you can see something in all of them that reveals how they have compromised themselves. Some things should just never be done.

The Spiritual Master should be known for maintaining a commitment to authenticity, to a true and free communication of the Teaching of Truth, and to the Way of life that necessarily follows. Likewise the institution should be so known. It is in this principle that we can see the struggle. In our attempts to grow and make peace, you make compromises, and bit by bit you stray from the center. You then find conflict between what you are trying to do and what you are supposed to be. We should not do anything that we could not do and still practice the Way at the same time. Have some class.

There is a scene in the movie Roots of an organizational fund-raiser, a black man, a school teacher. He is a good symbol from which the institution can learn. Some white women come to see this man, patrons of the school in which he teaches. They ask him to sing a song for them, and after he sings the song, he says to another black man that he would tap dance in whiteface on the steps of the White House for the sake of the school. Such is what institutional people become.

Ours must be a higher communication than that. You must realize that we are more than an institution trying to survive. You must do more than merely survive. You must make the institution function as an actual Transmitter of this Wisdom Teaching. Only then will you know what to do. In other words, you must realize that the institution is a shell for the Transmission of the Teaching of Truth in the world. If you forget that, if you do not understand that, then we are reduced to being an institution only. But if you can keep your attention on the fact that you are a process of Transmission, you will not compromise the Way I have Revealed to you. If you are not aware of your function, and if you are not functioning from a high Spiritual point of view, you will inevitably compromise the Way.

The institution is not a limiting principle, nor is the fact that we are a unique culture that serves the Transmission of Truth in the world. We have tended to think that being an institution limits our Spiritual practice and that having to communicate the Teaching of Truth limits our effectiveness as an institution. But that is not true. The truth that we are more than an institution is an admonition to keep Spiritual life alive at the center and also to grow as an institution. You will see that if you will only persist in Spiritual practice, the institution will be effective. It is only because you are struggling to be merely an institution without understanding our real purpose that you continually fail.

Other institutions are at war with each other. Their teachers are trying to dominate one another, and their members are prima donnas. They will do anything to seem bigger than everyone else. When the primary concern is the institution, then the institution, and not the Way of Truth, becomes the focus. This institution, however, is only a mechanism for what we are trying to do, which is to support the Spiritual Transmission of this Wisdom-Teaching.

I always Worked with the fullest intent to communicate the Truth, and I never compromised It. You can tell people that I did not go out in the world. I stayed in the “pits” with the people who were responding. My commitment was always to the Way. I was never interested in anything else, and I was committed only to the communication of Truth. Because of that commitment, many things have happened, and you have grown to some extent, but now it is the cultural responsibility of devotees to fulfill their obligation in the Transmission of this Teaching Revelation. Some things are plain old bullshit, and you must know what they are. Such integrity must characterize the institution.

Is it difficult? Yes, it is difficult, there is no doubt about it, but some things have to be done, should be done, must be done, can be done, and to create this institution as a Transmitter of the Wisdom-Teaching is one of them! You must constantly be serving something higher than yourself, higher than just the institution, which tends to become the ego of the group. You must serve and expand beyond yourself. Each individual must do that, and collectively you must stand beyond our institutional life, our institutional self. How will you do that? By remembering the Source. You and I must maintain our connection. Our connection is what Remembrance is about. Our connection is what the Prayer of Remembrance1 is given to serve.

1. The Prayer of Remembrance is the whole-bodily exercise of invoking and surrendering body and mind into the Divine by means of the Name “Da”, which denotes the “Giver” or the Divine Being in Its Personal aspect. It is the basic devotional practice in the third practicing stage in the Way of the Heart. See The Dawn Horse Testament, chapter 22, and Bodily Worship of the Living God, for a complete description of this practice.


It is because of the lack of practice in people that they become dissociated and in doubt, wonder what is the right thing to do, and have no energy for defending and supporting What is their Source. If they would only contact That-and they cannot make the right judgments until they do contact It-then the problems created by lack of practice would come to an end. There will always be creative matters to deal with, but they will know how to deal with them appropriately and they will live as devotees.

There are two approaches to the Spiritual Teacher. There are formalities, niceties, things you must do and say when you approach an institutional representative. This is one form of response, the approach that is popular, exoteric, and traditionally made available. The other is the approach exemplified by the man who came to Bodhidharma. There were no roads and no games. Bodhidharma just dealt with what was in front of him, and his response to the devotee made the Way a living Teaching, a living Process.

My approach is this second one. It is the Adept’s approach, not the lineage approach. It is the Source of Teaching, the circumstance in which true Teaching is generated. I refused to accept the conventional role. Can you not see the difference between the conventional role of institutional figures and the unconventional role of a free Adept? This Way is the Adept’s Process. It is a non-institutional Process. And our institution is the bearer of this kind of Teaching.

Devotees must do real samyama, rather than opt for the traditions in a way that shows a weakness on their part to understand the Adept. You can read all kinds of traditional literature, but you must understand the actual living process or else you will fail to communicate it in Truth. Everyone must practice the art of Agency of Spiritual Transmission, and devotees must become serious about it. Let those who practice with depth and power and strength and faith come forth, and let them communicate the living Teaching, the Living Reality. Let them practice the Way and thus in every moment be an Agency of Transmission. Let them help others make this adaptation to the Living Reality. This is their service!

One of the things such devotees will discover is that there is a remarkable level of noninterest in the Truth. This fact changes institutions in the wrong direction. It is like opening a store in Honolulu with the idea of selling the most exquisitely crafted gifts from the Pacific, the finest items. Suppose you go to the Pacific islands and you locate the finest articles and you make your contacts and you come back and you open your store-and there are no sales. A few years later you are selling junk like everybody else, to survive, because the masses will buy only certain kinds of common art. Only the rare few want the finest. Well-you must therefore open up the right kind of store, a different kind of store, and you must cater to the rare few. You must simply persist without compromise until you find a way to sell what you value.

It is the same with religions. The first barrier is that the Truth is not what people want. Look at what is sold on TV on Sunday morning, and then look at the rest of the week. That is what people want, at least what people in numbers want. It has nothing to do with the Truth! But you cannot allow this observation to change your own commitment. You must find ways to function as a bearer of the Truth without having to become another version of what sells cheaply.

I found out a long time ago that people are not interested. But I had a sense of humor, and you must also develop a sense of humor. Instead of collapsing every time you run up against opposition, have a sense of humor. I kept my commitment. I was not compromised by mediocrity. And whose mediocrity was I confronted with? Your mediocrity! But you were changed by my commitment.

The institution must therefore serve people who bother to approach this Way, and serve them in a true fashion. People do come – lots of people have come and they must be rightly served. They must be served at their level of interest and through their capacity to respond. You should not be corrupted by the tendencies of ordinary people. What you confront in the public is very real, but you should not be corrupted or compromised by it. You yourselves should stay real, and you must at the same time artfully succeed. You will not artfully succeed unless you practice the Way. That is why I have told you that practice is more than what you do in the Communion Hall in the morning and evening. Practice is what you do in life! You must practice there. To be effective you must transcend your subjectivity with all the energy that you tend to withhold. You must be alive. You must be functioning at a high level of energy. To be effective in that way, you must transcend your reactivity and mediocrity.

Many institutions have failed when they became confused and compromised by the realities of ordinary people. And now that we are getting our shot at it, what will we do?

Our staff must understand what it is in them that causes them to weaken and fail. The failures of the institution in the past have occurred because the people in charge were not able to transcend these qualities in themselves. Something in their tendencies causes them to betray their own Help. They are psychologically tending to be weak because of a weak commitment to the Way and a lack of awareness about the world and its processes. They must transcend their lack of knowledge, their naivete, and their dramatization of the adolescent’s need to control everything.

It is not that they should retire into a cave. They should serve in their functions by growing up and living like devotees. There are many, many forms of service in the institution, and the small group at the top must not try to do everything. To do so is to keep a stranglehold on the institution. To do so is a sign of craving for power and authority. It is a false motivation, and it must be transcended. To make this Work grow, devotees must pass the Prasad. They must grant people their energy. They must stop killing life and holding on to information.

I gave it all away. I created it, and I gave it all away. There is enough there for thousands of people. But devotees do not understand what has been given to them. They must come to that understanding. They must be manly, and they must take this Prasad as a Gift. They must know that the Teaching Revelation has been given to many, and that I am in Communion with countless people who have not yet been notified.

It is the institution’s responsibility to notify those people, to help them practice, and to encourage them to serve the institution. Devotees have inherited a great estate. They do not yet know that they are millionaires. The institution must therefore notify them. People are always coming to the Sanctuary and being surprised by the Presence there. They always say that they want to come back. Why aren’t thousands of people coming there constantly as a Source of refuge? And why aren’t they telling their friends about it?

The institution must be vigorous and expansive. People must be communicated to. People are dying and suffering even though there is religion and everything else out there, but most of religion and everything else are fake, a compromise. They do not serve and help people truly. My intention has been to establish an institution that is a Transmitter of the Greatness of this Way, and to see it be wholly and vigorously alive and dealing with things that other religions do not want to think about yet, but that must be addressed.

The institution must help many people become involved with all the unique areas of this Teaching. Practitioners must stop interfering with the Process that is working in them, and they must become the inheritors of what they have been given. They should be the happy inheritors of this Way of life. When I see devotees, I want to notice how they have expanded their wealth.

I have given you an immense fortune. Go beyond your neurosis. Get involved with many more people. Be creative with your wealth. You have been given so much. It seems impossible to fail when you have been given so much, but you will fail if you do not recognize what you have been given.