The Incarnation of Love – Adi Da Samraj


 
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CHAPTER 36

You Are My Gift to You: Cooperative Community in the Way of the Heart

SRI DA AVABHASA: Formal cooperative community (to the maximum degree possible for the individual) is necessary and fundamental, to the Way of the Heart.

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Cooperative, human-scale community is the political, social, and cultural root-source of civilization. Cooperative, human-scale community is also the primary political, social, and cultural condition that civilization tends to destroy. Therefore, the struggle to reestablish cooperative, human-scale community, and, in turn, to reestablish, within the larger political, social, and cultural order, the virtues characteristically associated with cooperative, human-scale community, is the constant necessity and the principal political, social, and cultural revolution whereby civilization can be purified of its negative effects, and whereby the integrity of civilization (and of civilized people) can be restored….

The negative evidence of the present global civilization is obvious at every physical and human level of the world-so much so that mankind has now clearly entered into a dark and darkening phase, with great potential for every kind of disaster, and yet, if truly humanizing Wisdom and real Divine Grace are accepted, with an equally great, and even greater, potential for a lightening, and more and more Divine, transformation. It is not necessary that I describe all the negative signs and mixed signs of the present civilization. Let each one enumerate the signs for himself or herself, and feel the human wound at heart….

Of course, some have, in the present context of civilization, already tried to revolutionize their “civilized” lives by engaging efforts toward human-scale community. Those efforts or experiments have met with varying degrees of practical and human success to date. However, far more is required to achieve cooperative, human scale, and truly humanizing community than present and past experimenters generally suppose or have supposed. For example, in the present ego-bound context of global civilization, there is a general tendency for community experimenters to try to create community on the basis of the same egoic principles that otherwise characterize the present civilization itself. Thus, present-time community experimenters generally try to create community on the (supposedly egalitarian) basis of the motives of competitive individualism (or egoity itself), even though they also want to establish cooperative principles and cooperative structures. As a result, experimental community efforts often are degraded and defeated by competitiveness, the tendency to pander to egoic preferences and egoic dramatizations (often in the name of egalitarian idealism), and a characteristic fear of (or a rather adolescent rebellion against) authority, hierarchy, and the hierarchical culture of respect (which are necessary to any truly human and cooperative community order).

There is a profound difference between true (and necessarily sacred) community and mere practical (political, social, and cultural) communalism (whether such is viewed to be secular or religious or even sacred in its nature and intention). A cooperative, human scale, and truly humanizing community is necessarily and truly

sacred, rather than merely secular (or otherwise not truly sacred). That is to say, such a community is necessarily based on the motive of self-transcendence (rather than on the motive of self-fulfillment), and, therefore, it is not based on the search to satisfy the ego-“I” and the egoic motives of any of its members, but it is based on the devotion of each and all of its members to That Which inherently transcends each and all.

True community is necessarily one-pointed. That is to say, it is not focused in service to (and fulfillment of) egos (or whatever is many and separate), but in service to (and Realization of) That Singleness Which inherently transcends egoity and every limitation. The Real does not rotate around each and all, but each and all are Called and Obliged to surrender self and to forget self in participatory Communion with the all-transcending, all-pervading, all embracing, and necessarily Divine Reality. And it is only the response to this Call and Obligation that can purify and restore mankind, one by one, each and all, by means of the benign and truly humanizing political, social, and cultural revolution that is the establishment of truly sacred and truly cooperative human-scale communities (and, by extension, the transformation of even the entire global civilization itself into a cooperative, rather than a merely competitive, world-order).

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Free men and women must create a refuge, or human sanctuary, for their growth, and this is not done in personal isolation, but only in intimate cultural cooperation.

There is no such thing as true religion without cooperative community. The sacred community is the necessary theatre wherein true religious responsibilities and activities can take place.

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When I Speak to you about the discipline of cooperative community, I am Speaking to you very realistically about a condition of practice that, if rightly (and progressively) embraced, should increase the potential for Divine Self-Realization in the case of each and every practitioner of the Way of the Heart.

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True religion is not just the practice of community in itself. It is the practice of Divine Communion in community.

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The internal business of the community of My devotees is the relationship to Me, the True Heart-Master. Wherever that is forgotten, offended, suppressed, minimized, made artificial, not served, the gathering of My devotees fails to be a true community. Therefore, Satsang with Me is the prize of the community of My devotees.

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What I call “cooperative community” is the structure of discipline wherein (especially) the householder’s way of life is structured in a specifically renunciate manner, and altogether made into a circumstance of life suitable for sadhana and real growth.

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You are called to live the practice of the Way of the Heart in cooperative community, but not because community itself is some sort of ideal or utopian circumstance or even possibility. The living community of My devotees is a form of sadhana. Its purpose, then, is self-transcendence and Divine Self-Realization Most Ultimately. Those who live this sadhana of cooperation in community with one another in the Way of the Heart are animating their commitment to Most Perfectly self-transcending God-Realization, and they are serving that possibility in one another.

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If, as My devotee, you are truly practicing the discipline of cooperative community that I have Given you, then, as in your devotional groups you serve to increase one another’s devotion to Me, so also in your daily life you give one another more and more opportunity, more and more time, more and more focus for truly God-Realizing practice. You accomplish things cooperatively, whereas if you left one another to your private householder games, you would basically be spending your life forever trying to organize and improve your ordinary social limitations and obligations. Nothing would be simplified, nothing resolved.

You must serve one anther’s true practice of Ishta-Guru-Bhakti in devotional relationship to Me, and you must understand the difference between truly God-Realizing sadhana and social religiosity. Social religiosity is exoteric religion, socially based religion, more or less utopian seeking to fulfill the separate individual. That is not the Way of the Heart. That is not true sadhana in My Company. That is not esoteric Spiritual practice.

The community of My devotees should essentially be an environment where people live together who practice the Way of the Heart and serve one another.

The principal admonition of the Great Tradition has always been, “Spend time in Good Company’.” Satsang, the Company of the Realizer and the company of those who love the Realizer, is the most auspicious association. As My devotee, absorb that Company in Satsang with Me. Imbibe it. Drink deep of it. Duplicate it.

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The community of My devotees is in itself a form of meditation, a form of devotion to Me. Therefore, when My devotees come together, they tend to turn one another quite naturally to Me, to Satsang with Me. Individually, they tend to become associated with their dramas, their changes, their limitations. But as soon as they enter into one another’s company, it is as if they were reminding one another of Satsang with Me, even though they might not outwardly be saying anything about it.

That reminder in itself is meditation. Therefore, you naturally feel it more strongly at those times of gathering. At those times you are entering into the company of many others in whom the devotional relationship with Me is active, perhaps in a different way than it is in your own case. Limitations that may be yours may not be active in some of the others, so you feel the Siddhi of My Blessing Company more purely represented to you at those times, because your own limitations are transcended by My Divine Grace as it freely appears in others. Just so, there may be areas in yourself that are not obstructed, but that are obstructed in others, and those others feel the Power of Satsang with Me more intensely because of your presence, or the presence of several like you.

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True religion (in any and every stage of life) is always and necessarily and inherently a practice and a process that originates, develops, and continues to develop only in the context of a living and effectively functioning religious community (which, as a “culture of expectation and inspiration”, must nurture, stimulate, support, guide, and direct, and thus both inform and test, the individual’s religious practice and process).

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The community of My devotees is not supposed to be devoted to problems in people. The community of My devotees should at least be made up of real beginners, real practitioners of the preliminary disciplines in the Way of the Heart, who can help one another, who constantly support one another in their understanding, their real process of freeing energy and attention from self-bondage and from the presumed problems of existence.

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You must find the ways to overcome the stresses of lower adaptation, to transform the chemistry of the body-mind literally, so that you can live your daily life without personal, social, cultural, and chemical stress. Such a life is not possible for a group of people until they manage to create sanctuary with one another–a mutually protected, stable, basically unthreatened way of life.

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“We are threatened!” is the message of the news. It reminds you of your chronic situation. The theatre of the news is all about people who are threatening one another, either with terrible violence or with just plain social nastiness, exploiting one another to death. Human beings constantly reinforce loveless society in their associations with one another. You teach each other, and you pass on to your children all the techniques for living as a stressful personality. The usual person believes bodily, stressfully, that his or her life cannot, even should not, be long, that it is not good to be alive in the body, that human beings are only supposed to go elsewhere.

You harbor all these ideas that are life-negative in bodily terms, but Divine Enlightenment is to become life-positive in bodily terms, which is just the reverse of what you are tending to do. Human beings are living way down at the bottom of their evolutionary potential. Nevertheless, if you, as My devotee, can personally, and with a few others, grasp the greater realities of the mechanisms in which you live, then you can practice a Way of life that stimulates and develops those greater factors.

You must have sanctuary, a relatively protected world, in which to do that, because, if you are going to rise above the civilization of the daily news, you must live in a manner that is superior to the way that people in general tend to live.

I used to point out that this gathering around Me, this community of a kind, even though it is not only imperfect but rather chaotic, is nevertheless useful. Although I criticized it more intensely than anyone, I also defended the community circumstance of My devotees when people became petulant or angry about it. Among its functions, and this is a great service, was to provide the opportunity for people to transcend themselves. After all, self-transcendence is the essence of what My devotees are involved in.

* * *

To live in the formal cooperative circumstance with others requires you to transcend your separate and separative ego-self, no doubt. Therefore, in the Way of the Heart, self-transcendence (in the case of each and all) is also the function and purpose of cooperative community.

* * *

Community is the natural condition of all true spiritual activity… . I intend for this Teaching always to be displayed in relationship, because it is only in relationship that it begins to make any sense, that it begins to show itself. So there must be this functional confrontation with the Teaching by those who are using it. That confrontation is the use of it.

* * *

An inevitable discipline is community, if one awakens beyond the principle of egoity. Therefore, as My devotee, you cure egoity, transcend it, work beyond it through the discipline of community or the opportunity to do that most creatively and effectively with those who are similarly inclined to the Way of the Heart. You must express that discipline in all relationships. You must overcome yourself, transcend yourself, in all relationships.

* * *

The sadhana of the religious life, and, in due course, of the Spiritual life, in the Way of the Heart is necessarily associated with cooperative community. In other words, it impinges on your life of relatedness and requires the discipline in relationship, requires you to discipline egoity in the context of relationship, egoity and separatedness, self-isolation.

Suffering is felt, seen, experienced from day to day essentially in vital terms by human beings. The best “cave” is an ordinary life, a relational life, a functional life. That is where you find your discipline, that is where you become strong, that is where you become truly responsible for yourself. Relationships are the best circumstance of spiritual practice. Intimate relationships, functional conditions, these are the best “Bodhi Tree”. These are the true “ascetic” practices.

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As renunciates in times past lived together in renunciate communities, ashrams, and hermitages, you, by your cooperation in community with one another, will relieve one another of many of the limitations imposed upon human beings by the demands of ordinary life, and, by sharing the burdens of even all the ordinary demands of life, you will give one another the gift of time for sacred cultural practice.

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It is good to live in community and develop cooperative systems, to get out of the ego mold, or the mold of the accumulator, the successful capitalist or communist, the successful ego that accumulates, stuffs himself or herself with everything from worldly goods to food to beliefs and phony ideals of all kinds.

My devotees must come to a point of understanding that to become My devotee, to become a member of this Communion, implicitly and explicitly involves them in an obligation to engage a total Way of life in relation to all My other devotees, and in relation to the world. Whatever their position or circumstance in the world, they must move into the society of this Communion and transcend the mind of “me and my castle, me and my ego alone, bodily fulfilling myself’, and see how the law of cooperation, mutuality, and relationship, rather than independence, changes their relationship to the use of money, ownership, and land. My devotees must understand free cooperative association as the structure wherein all the goods of life exist.

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The fundamentals of life must be pre-solved at the local level, at the regional level where the cooperative community exists. Within the community, every member should be guaranteed access to the basic necessities of life (provided each individual functions responsibly and cooperatively within the community). Basic solutions to human needs do not generally require resort to any of the resources of the State, but they should be managed locally in one’s own community, and in natural cooperation with other communities. (In other words, first establish community and the planned solutions to fundamental needs, and, on that basis, see what kind of agreements are useful in cooperation with other communities and with large-scale cooperative agencies.)

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People in cooperative community are yet “individuals”, and, in general, they must each have their “families”. Families and households also (naturally) have, to some degree, their own unique interests and purposes, or (sometimes) their own unique uses of time (and even of income)-that is all fine. Nevertheless, fundamentally (and relative to all matters), the principles of renunciation, simplification, and cooperation must be embraced and consistently demonstrated by every practitioner (and by every family or household) within every formally acknowledged cooperative community gathering of formally acknowledged practitioners of the Way of the Heart.

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To create a human sanctuary for greater adaptation and the ultimate transcendence of Man is a true urge, even the primal human urge. Human beings inherently desire a truly human and natural environment in which they can live without the chronic production of stress chemistry. Human beings want to be cured at the heart of their mind and thereby transformed bodily. And they know, deeply, psychically, that they cannot Realize that transformation until they can create a culture in which people can live without degenerative stress. Thus, sanctuary, or Spiritual community, is the motive in Man that contains the genetic secret of the next stage in human evolution.

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On Sri Da Avabhasa’s first trip to India in April 1968, He visited the small town of Mulund, just outside Bombay. His first impression was that the town was “a little dirt-road village with crowds of people-not a beautiful place”. Taken to a small apartment building where He would spend the night, Heart Master Da showered and then climbed the stairs to the roof of the building. In 1988, twenty years later, He described to His devotees what He saw from the roof:

 

SRI DA AVABHASA: As I came to the top of the stairs and onto the roof, the orientation was to the back of the building, whereas on the road I had approached the building from the front and the crowded, noisy town. Looking out in the opposite direction from the roof, then, I saw a completely different physical environment.

There was no way I could have presumed that anything like what I saw existed in this town. It was a large square with green at the perimeter. Everything was cleanly trimmed. There were decorative trees and plants and flowers everywhere, and walkways through a large park where a few people were calmly walking about, all of them very crisply and cleanly dressed in a style of clothing I suppose is characteristic of this group. They were all well washed and clean in their nice evening dress-families, women and children and men, walking together very calmly. There was no sound, no noise at all, in the park-whereas it was all noise beyond at the front side of the building.

The park was a picture of serenity and order, of people who lived effectively, people who could choose a way of life and by cooperation with one another command the quality of life that they chose.

It was quite different from what one sees elsewhere, in the little dirt-road towns that are called “cities” in the world, with all the noise and chaos of “put up with whatever your neighbor feels like doing” and “we all just do our thing”. In such places, everybody puts up with what everybody else is doing. You hang a picture or set out a little vase of flowers, put in earplugs, and try, in your sheerest privacy and in the smallest space that you can call your own, to create something of the order of your own choosing.

Very few people have the chance to choose an order together, a way of life that is based on the Truth. Rather, everyone is wandering, doing their thing, ego-wise, and disturbing everyone else.

One of the virtues, then, of My devotees’ choosing to practice the Way of the Heart together is that you can command the quality of space and time, at least on a much larger scale than you could otherwise, and more surely. If you do that, then your environments can become beautiful places where that order, that serenity, that quality of life that you live in My Company is shown, as well as places that are a sign of God-wardness and Divine Awakeness, or the Process that Awakens toward God and in God, and Most Ultimately As God.

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A very powerful individual can make great changes, and so also can a gathering of people in a right disposition. The community of My devotees, therefore, will be very effective, more effective than a single individual of minimal Spiritual development. This is another reason why it is so important for the community of My devotees to grow in size and for the individuals within it to cooperate intentionally with one another relative to changes of all kinds, including the will to Divine Enlightenment for all.

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You can assume a mutually dependent condition as soon as you see that there is something intelligent about doing that. You run into many difficulties, of course, because your entire life below the conscious mind is devoted to this private destiny, this affair of “Narcissus”. It is filled with all kinds of equipment and strategies devoted to that end.

Therefore, as soon as you assume the discipline of relationship as your condition of life, you are going to see manifested in you all of these other urges and principles and strategies and demands.

Many of you have at one time or another expressed to me your feelings about organized spirituality, organized religion, whatever. People commonly have negative and resistive feelings toward all forms of community and human relationships. And the reason, the ultimate root of these feelings, is the tendency towards separation itself. In a certain sense you can see that it is completely justified. There is a great deal about organized spiritual and common life worthy to be resisted! On the other hand, Truth is manifested only in this relational condition, and It is perceived in relationship. It is a crisis that occurs in relationship. Therefore, the community of Truth, the community that lives this Teaching, is absolutely necessary. But what makes it a thing to resist is your lack of involvement in it, your separation from it, your dramatized resistance to relational and community life. The spiritual community must be alive. Every one must be alive within it. Every one must be active in relationship and must function within it. So if you do become active, responsible, alive, and intimate with others who are living this way, the whole sensation of resistance to so-called “organized” spiritual life will disappear, because you will be dealing with the problem of community only as that which it truly is: an expression of your own avoidance of relationship. But if you do not live this way, if you do not move into functional relationship to this way, you will only see it externally. Everywhere you will only see your reasons for separating from the Guru, the Teaching, and the community, because you will have made it into something without life, something worth resisting. Therefore, it is the responsibility of those in this Ashram to live this way, to become active in it, to use it, and to become responsible for it.

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Truly human politics is in the sphere of relationships, experienced on a daily basis, where the individual’s voice and experience can be heard and dramatically felt.

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I have described the practice of the Way of the Heart in the context of what I call a “cooperative democracy”, in which men and women are, in principle, politically, economically, and socially free. Therefore, as a matter of your practice of the Way of the Heart, you must demonstrate this principle. I presume the liberated state of women. It is part of My fundamental address to women. Likewise, I presume the liberated state of men. Now, My devotees, both men and women, must presume it about themselves, and, therefore, they must enact it in daily life.

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As My devotee, give yourself up to practice of the Way of the Heart in community rather than living as an ego in a conventional model of society. Everyone, whether male or female, should enjoy the benefits of the community of My devotees. Women should not need an intimate partner to survive in the community of My devotees. Women should live equally with men. Women are more domestic when they have young children, but the responsibility for older children is shared by the community.

Single women or women separated from a relationship should be able to work and survive simply in the community without any problems whatsoever. The community, and not the household or the game of couples, should be the economic unit for My devotees. Therefore, women should not depend on their intimate partners for financial support. Women should make their own money and share in the economic support of the community.

In the community of My devotees, men and women should function on an equal basis. Women should not depend on or exploit men. Women should not be in a position to be owned by men. Women should function freely and freely make the life that they choose. The medieval and ego-based householder model does not have a function in the Way of the Heart, and it certainly does not have an economic function.

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At one time in the past, the town meeting was a common model of local government, whereby all men and women could participate in decisions that affected everyone. At such meetings, people decided together how to fulfill their mutual obligations in the community.

That is how the community of My devotees and the culture of the Way of the Heart must operate.

* * *

There must be regular meetings of the entire collective body of My devotees, at which all the workings of the community are fully disclosed and decisions are made on how to improve things. Each and all of My devotees must participate fully in these meetings.

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It is not that people come together to decide the Principles, Callings, and Agreements of the Way of the Heart. I have Given My Instruction, and, as My devotee, you are here to fulfill My Instruction. Of course, various details can be proposed to Me for My further “Consideration”.

There should not be any petty factions struggling with one another and imitating the models of conventional democracy. I Call each and all of My devotees-and not just a group of administrators, managers, and leaders-to full participation in the community.

* * *

For the sake of making things work, the membership of the community of My devotees must represent themselves through a group of individuals who are specifically trained in administration, management, and leadership. The community of My devotees must function in a manner that I describe as “cooperative democracy” and always handle the business of the community without fail.

The “herd mentality” of passivity and weakness is childish and dependent. It is the pose of the “sheep”, and it must not be permitted within the culture of My devotees. Likewise, independence, adolescence, and high visibility of someone in charge (which is the pose of the “wolf”) must always be addressed and undermined within the culture of My devotees.

* * *

As My devotee, stop living like one of the herd and leaving the creation of your community life to a few spokesmen. Everyone must be involved in the life of this community. Do not relinquish your life to the decisions of a few, and never allow a failure.

My devotees are to maintain their integrity by virtue of their devotion to Me and their adherence to My Heart-Word. What is needed is not conventional leadership but a truly cooperative gathering, where My devotees meet one another on an equal basis and transcend themselves by devotion to Me and strict adherence to My Heart-Word.

Those who fulfill certain cultural responsibilities are not superior, nor should they be viewed as leaders in any conventional sense. Only the true renunciates among My devotees, those who are worthy of a greater position in the culture of My devotees by virtue of their real devotion and submission to Me, are qualified to be addressed as leaders in the culture of the Way of the Heart.

Although such renunciates may serve the culture as a whole to intensify everyone’s devotion to Me and adherence to My Heart Word, the worldwide culture of My devotees must always be undermining the tendency of people to, make themselves cultural insiders.

You all, as My devotees, are My Gift to you. You have My Silent Person here, My Heart-Word, that always Speaks to you, in Eternal Conversation. I Give you the Gift of one another, My devotees together, to make a culture of “inspiration and expectation”.



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