Paradox of Morality – Unfortunate Dilemma



“The paradoxes of time and space and egoity and Reality Itself confound all speech and all accounting and all knowledge, all ‘self’ images, all mummers.”

Adi Da Samraj – 2004


“The ultimate end of …the search for Truth, is the confounding of the need to know. All knowledge is a reaction to the threat of experience, but the need for absolute certainties, or fixed conditions, within or without, is undermined and vanished in the mindless Humor of the Heart. When perplexity is inherent and overwhelming, the inner stresses all dissolve, and uncaused Wisdom Shines. When despair and hope are equally impossible, frustration yields to Life.”

The Enlightenment of the Whole Body – Adi Da Samraj


Ethical Quandaries in the Guru-Disciple Relationship: A Critical Examination of Adi Da Samraj’s Controversial Behaviors


In recent explorations on the Internet, I have delved into discussions surrounding Adi Da Samraj and his seemingly unconventional actions. These discussions primarily revolve around questions concerning Adi Da’s sanity and the authenticity of his spiritual realization. Notably, the focal point of criticism extends to Adi Da’s ethical conduct, with concerns dating back to 1974.

The Guru-Disciple Relationship:

In the realm of spiritual life, especially in Eastern traditions, ethical concerns related to a Guru’s behavior have long been indicative of the legitimacy of their teachings. Greg Bogart, in his work “The Nine States of Spiritual Apprenticeship,” challenges the conventional disciple-master paradigm, suggesting that the terminology of ‘spiritual apprenticeship’ better captures the essence of the student-teacher dynamic. The inherent mistrust of the master-disciple relationship, deeply ingrained in both Western and Eastern psyches, stems from historical instances of abuse, manipulation, and deception by supposed spiritual leaders.

The Challenge of Ethics in Enlightenment:

The central paradox revolves around the ethical conduct of individuals claiming enlightenment. The question arises: how can those professing enlightenment engage in hurtful and seemingly immoral actions under the guise of truth? Examples from history, such as Upasani Maharaja’s assault on Meher Baba, underscore the dissonance between proclaimed enlightenment and questionable behavior.

Rationalization and Teaching Demonstrations:

One common rationalization for such behaviors is the concept of ‘teaching demonstrations.’ An example from the life of Shirdi Sai Baba, where physical abuse is framed as a blessing in disguise, raises profound questions about the compatibility of such actions with the ideals of truth and enlightenment.

The Unsettling Paradox:

As we emerge from the ethos of the 1960s and 1970s, it becomes evident that the ethical dimension of enlightenment appears elusive. The paradox persists, challenging conventional notions of goodness and enlightenment. How can actions that seem contrary to love, light, bliss, and gentleness be reconciled with the spiritual ideals professed by enlightened beings?


The dilemma surrounding Adi Da Samraj’s behaviors raises fundamental questions about the intersection of ethics and enlightenment. The historical context, coupled with the paradoxical nature of enlightened conduct, calls for a nuanced exploration of the Guru-disciple relationship. In the quest for spiritual truth, navigating through the complexities of ethical behavior becomes essential to discerning authentic spiritual guidance from potential pitfalls.

Our Unfortunate Dilemma (or Confrontation)

in the Realization of Ignorance

“Ignorance is not our misfortune. It is our Nature!”

The Star above the Title

Listen to Bubba Free John (Adi Da) respond to a student’s question about paradox and confusion – 1975

Philosophers, Pandits, Fools, and Just Plain Idiots

Lately I’ve been reading some materials on the Internet that discuss Adi Da Samraj and some of his outlandish behaviors. Many of these discussions (if I can be so generous) center around the questions of Adi Da’s sanity and authenticity of realization. There seems to be an inconsistency in Adi Da’s questionable ethical behaviors that date back to 1974.

In spiritual life, particularly in the East, the problem of ethics and questionable behavior from a Guru has long been a question of the Guru’s legitimacy or has historically evoked questions about the Guru’s legitimacy. In the The Nine States of Spiritual Apprenticeship, one of the more accepted books in the West that has some credibility in discussing even the possibility of having a “Spiritual Teacher”, Greg Bogart states in the introduction: to his book, states:

“I use the term spiritual apprenticeship deliberately to counterbalance what I perceive as the heaviness implicit in the word discipleship. Disciple implies a master, a concept that often creates mistrust in Americans, who have been bred on a tradition of autonomy and freedom from bondage to masters of any kind. I don’t believe the notion of masters and servants is intrinsic to the process of spiritual training; this is only one way of framing the power relations that emerge on this path. Yet it’s a conception that leads to two related problems: exaggerated attempts at surrender, sometimes leading to loss of will and autonomy; and the need to angrily repudiate a figure to whom one may have given too much power in the first place.”

Here lies the heart of the problem, the Master/Disciple relationship and the intrinsic mistrust of it in the western and eastern psyche. Not only is there an inherent mistrust in the Western psyche but there are many examples of “masters” who have mistreated, mislead, and deluded many disciples in the East. In extreme cases disciples have even been lead to the ‘promised land’ by following their Guru’s instructions to their death. CAUTION MADMEN & MADWOMEN AT WORK!

How can individuals who claim “enlightenment” do so many hurtful and evil things under the name of truth? Why would Upasani Maharaja throw a rock and hit Meher Baba {What Meher Baba devotees say about his abuses} in the head and cause it to bleed? If Adi Da is enlightened the how could he do all the bad things people obviously experienced in his company? If there is any “rationalization” given, it is usually presented as ‘teaching demonstration”, such as this story from the life of Shirdi Sai Baba:

“They both decided to go to Shirdi. They came from Korallah to Rahata where Tatya’s Munim brought them to Shirdi. Baba abused and beat him and he was often afraid of Baba. But Dixit allayed his fears saying it was a blessing in disguise.”

How does this “square” with truth and enlightenment? It simply does not square with anything! It doesn’t and it can never be ‘reconciled’ with our notions of enlightenment or what is good. Isn’t ‘ethics’ a part of enlightenment? After coming out of the 1960’s and 1970’s it surely doesn’t seem to be!

But yet the question still remains and exists as paradox. A paradox for some, a crucible for others’ and a big red flag for many others!

If one were to inquire in real spiritual terms as to the condition of an enlightened being and his or her behavior, which is supposed to be all about love, light, bliss and gentleness how can “wackin” someone around or engaging in sexual behaviors be in any way ‘consistent’ with Bliss, Love, and Awakening?


“Oh well”

As unenlightened beings who still retain with our sense of goodness and sanity. we seem to be left with our own questions and logical inconsistencies. Any reasonable person who wants things to work out “right” can not just settle for “oh well” answers!

We don’t want to be duped and “had” by some mad man or woman! So, what’s up?!

The Party's Over


Wisdom Gone Crazy – William Merwin, Dana Naone, Chogyam Trungpa and ‘The Halloween Party’

“Chogyam Trungpa, at a Halloween party (1975) ordered everyone to undress. Merwin and Naone refused. Trungpa’s bodyguards tried to batter down the door to their room. “I was not going to go peacefully,” Merwin recalls. “I started hitting people with beer bottles. It was a very violent scene.” Trungpa’s bodyguards stripped them”Try and Square This into Your Sanity Box, Beezone

I have been around two ‘crazy wise’ teachers – Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Adi Da Samraj – for a good number of years, and I have heard first-hand accounts of behavior that surely would never “hold up” under the scrutiny of a “code of ethic” review board! I don’t want to give you the impression that there is anything duplicitious about these two teachers but to try to ‘square’ their actions is a hard stretch for anyone trying to understand the meaning of their behaviors. The only “explanation” that I have found is it’s a “paradox”. The word paradox is used to describe something that has elements that seem to be contradictory, but which are all true. Something is both GOOD and BAD at the same time.

Bubbha Free John 1973

“Bubba started talking about the way we all were dressed. He very humorously explained how our personal limitations determined the clothing that we were wearing. His descriptions were perfect portraits of the basic self-protected, insecure, fearful, seeking aspects of each of us, and there were a lot of jokes and laughter from Bubba about our reactions to His comments. His Humor loosened our defenses and helped us laugh at our self- images and our reactions to the revelations about them.

Bubba said instead of trying to present an image, why not just relax all our self-imagery? We were willing but didn’t know how to just do it. He then said if we understood His comments about clothing as forms of self-protection and self-imagery, why not see what difference it would make by doing something about it? We agreed; but what could we do? We could take off some of our clothing, Bubba suggested. We laughed at first. But then we began to seriously consider the proposition – At the Feet of The Spiritual Master – Gerald Sheinfeld, p. 199


Living on the razor blade means at the same time living in the total space, because the possibility exists that it might cut us through, destroy us, and the possibility also exists that we might be able to avoid the razor’s cut. But both those possibilities amount to the same thing at this point. The sense of the razor blade’s sharpness is very interesting, extraordinarily interesting. That is what we call intelligence, primordial intelligence. We feel that razor blade’s sharpness and its cutting quality. We sense that, we feel it, and we also want to run away from it. We would rather sit or perch on something more solid, like a toilet seat, some place where there’s no razor blade. But when we are on the razor blade, such an invitation becomes a fantasy. That is our basic intelligence beginning to sense all kinds of areas that are impossible but still somehow possible at the same time. This happens all the time.The Razor’s Edge

“Yogi Ramsuratkumar was a ruthless taskmaster who wielded a flaming sword. To be near him with sincerity was to experience a literal internal fire that spared nothing in its path”

The Most Unusual Man in the World – Mariana Caplan.

Unfortunately, our minds think in a logical and sequential manner and we can never fully come to terms with a paradox. We can never come up with final answers that will “solve” these questions.

We can come up with relative answers based on the laws of nature, but not absolute answers. If we pose a question and try and solve it by using our minds we will ultimately come to an unresolved ‘pair of opposites’.

So when we look at Adi Da or any other “realized” being, there is no way to ultimately resolve these outrageous and inappropriate behaviors, which are, by all logical and common sense account’s “hurtful” and wrong. We have ideas that enlightened masters should be like holy saints. Saints would never have contradictory natures. They’d always be on one side; they’d always be good, morally and spiritually.



The following is from Adidam, the official church of Avatar Adi Da Samraj

Read more from Adidam

It is exactly this “not wanting to be duped” that continually keeps us in the contradictions and impossible dilemmas of our own minds. Somewhere along the line to infinity we must let go of ALL ideas and expectations and every speck of what we think ourselves to be. We must ultimately lose ourselves and that means lose all sense of what we think is RIGHT, GOOD, and SANE! There is no other way to do it.

Enlightenment – in the form of “Crazy Wise” teachers – does appear to be a kind of madness. (See Crazy Wisdom article and Transcending Madness, Chogyam Trungpa “Crazy Wisdom”). To come up with a moral certainty in this climate is …..forget it! It can’t be done. Reconciling some “enlightened” behaviors or even trying to rationalize them is not only impossible, it’s futile. NO ONE can claim “absolute knowing”. Adi Da, Meher Baba, or whoever can claim that the adept is That Which is Beyond All Opposites and therefore WHATEVER that one does is “purifying”, “instructive” and “balancing” but the claim can’t be either proven or denied from “this side of infinity”.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there….Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

Mankinds fear tell us that this kind of stuff is “crazy” and that kind of logic can be used by manipulators to do evil and perform self-justifying actions. And that IS true. We have to be aware of ‘deception’ and protect ourselves from falling under the spell of someone’s evil intentions. But paradoxically the higher one goes up the scale of things, the less and less the things of this world can be brought with it – and that includes logic and the concepts of good and bad.

“The notion that one is incapable of making mistakes poses obvious ethical concerns, no matter what one’s level of realization. Anyone who has studied the spread of Eastern spirituality in the West knows that these elephants often stumbleeven stampedeinjuring themselves and many others in the process.” Sam Harris

I’ll end this with a quote from Adi Da himself from the introduction to The Dawn Horse Testament written by Saniel Bonder:

“The question comes down to, what it really is, is an expression of doubt. If I Am you, there does not have to be any way it works! There is not any difference between us to need something to work. So I have completely accounted for what you are asking about. It is just that My answer is not satisfying to the egoic mind. Only in the mode of Communion with Me, direct Realization in My Company, would you be satisfied by some of these descriptions. As long as there is that knot in the heart, then What is Great is not perceived, and so you look for signs, structures, to open the heart, to relieve you of yourself so you can see plainly.”

Introduction to The Dawn Horse Testament.


“The motive force of real morality is the refusal to take on anything other than the form of love or to allow anything to rest in other than the form of love. Its foundation is radical understanding, but its force is love, the demand for love, the discipline of love, the radical action of love. Where there is no radical understanding there is also no morality, no love. And this absence is the condition the man of understanding finds in the world. Therefore, his moral life is difficult, requiring profound intelligence and action that is a paradox to the world. His attention is not driven to his own sacrifice or the manipulation of the world. He moves with subtle and dramatic intelligence, but the effects of his action are not the moralization of the world. He creates a moral world, an actual world of love, only where understanding also arises in the world.

There is a radical distinction to be made between the action of the man of understanding and the more or less ethical motivations of society. His action depends on understanding, whereas the social management’s of mankind now depend on external matters more or less independent of true consciousness. Therefore, his action is not a pattern for an external morality. He is not a model for the world. But he is the only moral hope of the world.

My approach to the lives of those I serve has duplicated the approach I made to my own life. I have approached them on the level of their ordinary dilemmas. I have even exploited and magnified their particular patterns of experience in myself. Then I have made these exploits the ground for some insight, some understanding, and as this understanding arose I have moved into more fundamental representations of their experience. By this I have hoped to move them into a radical consideration of their primary experiences and patterns.

But this manner of teaching is very exhausting and difficult for me. And very often I have devoted myself to people who are incapable or unwilling to involve themselves in a radical exercise. Therefore, my way of working with others has begun to change. I want my writing to replace my former work. Those who are capable of understanding should discover their lessons in relationship to the literature of understanding. And I will work personally only with those who have begun to work in a fundamental way.”

This manner of working will enable me to create a circle of intelligent people who can manifest the light and force I have to give on the highest level. At the same time, the instrument of my writing will work on its own to serve those now and in the future who will begin the understanding of the ordinary.

Franklin Jones (Adi Da Samraj), unpublished writing, 1971.

Also see:

Not a rationalization, just a fact:

“Whatever the model of the universe in the context of which any Spiritual Adept is conceived to arise in the human plane, the teaching of the great Spiritual Adepts (whether historical or legendary) always speaks in contrast to the conventional ‘wisdom’ (or popular culture), and (therefore) in contrast to the way of social morality for its own sake, or the conventional way…”

The Dogmas of Social Morality Versus the Esoteric Spiritual Teaching That Is At the Origin of Traditional Religions

Can the Guru Awaken Individuals

D.B. Sleeth’s excellent letter on ‘why’ Adi Da