Bubba Free John (Adi Da Samraj)
Unpublished talk 10-22-78
DEVOTEE: Bubba you’ve written recently that one of your reasons for approaching the Community is to accept our requests. And I have two requests. (Laughter.) First just being that my love for you become stronger, becomes purified and my second request has to do with being purified and clarified in the whole process of requesting things from you. I had this impulse, this sense that I could ask anything of you and it would be given.
BUBBA: Not everything. (Laughter.)
DEVOTEE: That’s just it… (Bubba laughing.) There is also the sense that it is not proper to ask for anything basically and I’ve come out of a background that says that you can only ask for devotion of God. There is nothing more specific you could ask without being self possessed, and this consideration began when I read another essay yesterday where you said that threshold personality is where the Spiritual Master does appear in your life and you may make prayer for request of Him, and you will see the results of those requests in your life. So my question in a nut shell is what is the form that we can ask things of you and……..
BUBBA: God doesn’t simply fulfill spiritual requests, because the changes and improvements in every area of our existence would have to come about through that Divine Power as well. Therefore we should submit all aspects of our experience to God, and surrender everything to God, and offer everything to the Spiritual Master, and make prayerful requests to the Spiritual Master in a very natural way relative to all aspects of ones ordinary life, because these things will change and even now they exist in both cases they depend on God.
This body depends on God both for its present existence and its future changes as well as for its enlightenment. The current of life, of bliss, actually may be used in three ways and always functions in or has a capacity to function in these three ways.
The first way is the way most people use it and don’t even know what they are using in the process. We use the current of life to create pleasure, to fulfill desires. So when we animate the body toward its various fulfillment’s we are using the power of God. We fulfill the tendencies or the habit patterns that already exist gotten from earlier life or previously life, or simply in the scheme of human experience altogether. That accumulated pattern is a kind of fixed machine within which the life current may operate. But that dimension of ordinary life is also God filled and dependent on God and should therefore be submitted to God in order that it may change.
A second way in which the life current may be used and tends to be used in this way less often or by fewer people is for evolutionary purpose. So be transcending existing desires, and transferring our attention in the life current itself, knowing that that is what it is, toward unawakened centers of the brain or of the body, we may evolve, be changed into more of what man by structure can be. Much of what is called spirituality, spiritual practice or religious practice is really a matter of evolutionary exercises.
In other words the things that are done that are called God Realizing are more often than not simply methods for exploiting the evolutionary mechanism in man, they don’t lead to God you see, but rather may at best lead toward the higher state of the body-mind. But that mechanism to which we have not yet adapted, this higher or subtler mechanism of ourselves is also God filled and therefore should be submitted to God in any case whether we seek the evolutionary goals specifically and with intent or not. And any changes that occur of an evolutionary kind depend on God. And therefore it is right that we submit ourselves prayerfully to God for the sake of our higher transformation so that we may fulfill the higher stages of life.
The third way in which the life current or the Divine Power may be used is for its own sake, for the sake of transcendental realization, for the sake of God Realization.
In that case we surrender, submit ourselves into that Radiant Current directly. And even the body/mind is transcended in that sacrifice. Those who say we should only pray to God for a spiritual purpose are really saying that you should only pray to God for God Realization, ultimately all prayers to God are also for God. And therefore the highest aspect of all prayer is the prayer of God Realization.
On the other hand prayer is also submission of the body-mind to God for the sake of the purification of the body-mind, its liberation from various kinds of dilemma and suffering, prayer is not a demand that God do this and that, prayer is surrender to God, with the request for the blessing of God, for the transforming fire of God, and we can also make that prayer in specific terms, the specific terms of that principle dimension in ourselves that we in this moment want to turn over, want to see transformed, want to see liberated from having to serve as an obstacle to God Realization. Requests may be offered through the formalities of the devotional cycle, prayers may be uttered in meditative silence, the movement of prayer may be exercised in the prayer of changes.
Fundamentally all of this prayer is for that and to that, all of it is simply sacrifice of self, transcendence of self. But even these requests for specific changes in the conditions of the body-mind must be self transcending gestures, they are forms of the surrendering of that which you would have changed. Not merely holding on to it and asking for them to be changed, but letting them go. Turning them over to God to be changed.
That is the essential gesture we make with every aspect of ourselves each day, that is the essential form of surrender to the Spiritual Master then. It is surrender, it is sacrifice, it is expectant of all kinds of changes, but it doesn’t specify any in particular each time it’s done. But occasionally it may be appropriate. It’s a way of acknowledging the need to surrender an aspect of ourselves or surrender ourselves totally while at the same time considering an aspect of ourselves with the request for a particular kind of change.
If this prayer is made fully, psychically, heartfelt, bodily, truly, even intuitively with a sense of the rightness of it, then it is likely that these changes will take place.
Specific requests made to the person of the Spiritual Master are at times appropriate. It’s not merely you see, as someone suggested a kind of psychological operation in yourself that would then make these changes happen. If you surrender yourself hard enough you see, if you think positively enough about the change you see then it will happen. Well, yes that mechanism is at work in your case to produce changes , ordinary changes in the pleasurable play of ordinary descended life, even evolutionary changes.
But the Spiritual Master and the Living God is a Person, a Presence, something that transcends the mechanism of your own body mind. By entering into Communion with the Spiritual Master, by entering into Communion with the Living God, your own mechanism you see of positive thinking ceases to be the only thing at work for your sake.
If you study the traditions of spiritual life you see countless examples of someone making a request to a Spiritual Master or some extraordinary personality or to God that is tangibly felt by that individual and these , and the response comes back suddenly, dramatically, changes occur, whereas previously all efforts of positive thinking and self change failed.
In The Bhagavad Gita Krishna tells Arjuna that he not only responds to His devotees, those who know who He is and submit to Him directly, totally, but that everyone who prays, performs sacrifices, performs an activity for the sake of some gain or other. Is in fact making use of His Power. And therefore all of those changes, all of the answers to those prayers are in fact the results of His universal energy meditated by the kind of approach the individual made by the level of his understanding, by the cult of his approach and so forth.
So the Divine is all pervading, transcendental, absolute and present and all things must be submitted in God, ultimately it is God that must be desired. God that must be realized Because the Realization of God liberates us from the limitations of the body-mind altogether, and it becomes a matter of humor then, but in the process of maturing in this way of God Realization we must submit ourselves piece by piece and all of the practices are in fact forms of prayer.
In other words forms of self giving, self yielding, acceptance of the mastery of God rather than self mastery. All kinds of self mastery or responsibility for oneself must be expressions of ones dependence on God, ones acceptance of the Mastery of God. And the drama of the dependence of the individual on God is displayed in the relationship between devotees and the Spiritual Master.
So it is appropriate for devotees to make requests in the form of surrender, in the form of the acknowledgment of their dependence on the Power of God for the changes that are desirable and right. So if you come to any moment in your life where you are sensitive that some change would serve, would be right, is in some sense even inevitable but cannot be brought about by your cranky self involvement you see, or that you feel would be best served by bringing to my attention directly, then you should come forward at a time like this or you can write to me, have it communicated tome through someone.
So it is right to live as a devotee in all the terms in which you live. And once you become a devotee truly you see, when you become dependent on the Mastery of God, it is then that you begin to see a direct connection between prayer and changes. Whereas previous to the time when changes begin to occur you are full of prayer and no changes. Changes are granted to devotees where the devotee has had to transcend himself to make the prayer. And changes are made to serve the God Realization of the devotee.
In any moment those changes may involve adding to the ordinary pleasure of the life of that person, these changes may involve some evolutionary change, some higher adaptation, but the purpose of the transformations or changes granted to devotees by God through the agency of the Spiritual Master is to lead that person to the point of God Realization. So the road to such realization very often begins with prayers of this kind, prayers for changes, prayers for evolutionary transformation.
In fact you already have a way to turn to me in this way in the Prayer of Changes. It’s in the devotional cycle. You should make use of this form of contact, this form of surrender. It relates to particular changes you see. The practices beyond the devotional cycle, meditative practices and so forth are themselves, as I’ve said forms of prayer for evolutionary change.
Now there is a way to make such requests, and the Prayer of Changes is essentially a description of that, a formality through which it may be done. The request generally is made through a formality. In other words through a kind of, a form of approach for which you must prepare yourself, within which you must submit yourself bodily, psychically, mentally, emotionally.
In India everyone learns how to do Puja it is called. Puja is basically a formula for self offering, presenting gifts and so forth and making requests, of an ordinary kind for ordinary pleasure and change, and a more extraordinary kind for evolutionary transformation and of a transcendental kind for God Realization. It is not so much the outer ceremony of Puja that is significant, it is simply, it simply must be part of it, it’s not the point, it is not the essence. The essence of the approach in Puja is psychophysical surrender, yielding of the being. And you all must find your ritual worship, your form of Puja, your form of right approach.
You must know in your own case in any moment how to make prayerful requests, what is the form it should take in this moment. Should it simply be a matter of submission in the devotional cycle and in your moment to moment remembrance, should it be done through the specific process of the Prayer of Changes, should you write me a letter, should you discuss it in a men’s group or one of the other groups in the Church, should you come forward at some time when I’m here?
In any case, it must be a form of Puja, right worshipful, prayerful self surrendering approach, in a natural manner without self consciousness. Of course it’s not a matter of every time you see me laying down about 30 requests (Laughter.), always being childishly in need you see, it’s a matter of understanding, acknowledging when you are truly in need, in the most basic and express it through right devotional activity and right approach to the Divine, right approach to the Spiritual Master.
You all must yet learn this approach you see. In general you all live with me and one another, you approach me in the worldly manner more or less, with self consciousness you see. To become human we must accept Mastery of ourselves.
The Spiritual Master is the Master of the devotee in the truly spiritual sense. That involves a special kind of relationship that takes into account all of the higher physics of our existence. You all are used to a downtown religious approach to God. You all probably belonged to or had some contact with some church or synagogue or organized religious group or other. You see what is called worship in such places is a pretty dry affair. Either that or it’s just the opposite, it’s some sort of hysterical self possession, some sort of mad enthusiasm, which is just a way of stimulating yourself rather than surrendering yourself. So you all must hear me and see me and evolve this right approach to me so that you can make use of my company rather than forever just come here to be convinced again, made to feel a little better in that moment you see.
The spiritual process is a life and death matter. That’s how important it is. The devotee has come into alignment with the life and death nature of conscious existence in every moment. He is not simply a consoled middle class person you see who has got all kinds of things that make him feel good and he is basically aligned with all of those and doesn’t come in touch with his vulnerability too often. The devotee has become fully conscious of his fear, his mortality, his ignorance. The floor is taken out from under him, and his spiritual process then you see becomes most profound. And he grows for a time you see the floor being relatively unstable but heaven being full of possibility and greatness.
The God Realized devotee is one for whom not only the floor has been taken out from under him but heaven has been taken away from above him. But you must begin you see, and the way you begin is by noticing the fault in this earth, the fault in this body, this body-mind to which you are attached, which you are trying to stimulate and make feel good and make survive you see. Then you see that it has nothing to stand on, and is not worthy of your worship, you see, there’s nothing that will guarantee continued existence to you, then the life and death affair of the spiritual way can begin.
So there’s real urgency, heat in the approach of the devotee, it’s prayerful, worshipful and graceful. Not hysterical, although sometimes people get a little hysterical, but that’s not what characterizes the devotee you see. So in this awareness of the life and death nature of every moment, every breath, you may come to times when you realize there is an essential change that must take place because there is an area that is primary obstruction, or that represents circumstances that are results of past events, past tendencies you see, bearing fruit in this moment and you would prefer that the slate be wiped clean so there are moments in your life in which you must make prayerful requests, specific form. Ultimately for the sake of God Realization, but the requests are relative to ordinary things. And if you become full in this Communion, the body-mind itself becomes a prayer, and you become constantly aware of the graceful activity of God in each moment. You become much more intelligent about this whole matter of requests. Because you are in a position of prayerful inspection of the work of God, and there are many circumstances that are difficult that you would not want to have go away, which serve you profoundly.
And by submitting to God within that structure you see all of the karmas or tendencies producing that event ultimately become obsolete, but you will have submitted to the fire, and simply because you make a request does not mean that it is answered in the form of a change that specifically fulfills your design. You must be watchful, mindful, attentive and continually submissive, observing this area which you are submitting prayerfully and seeing that opportunities, the changes, the circumstances that are occurring relative to that creative area of your life, accepting more and more/responsibility for that area as well. And then there are other times when a request is made and the change is given.
So how it will all come about you must see in the midst of your devotional practice, how you must approach what is true Puja for the devotee in this case is something you must understand and adapt to. Once you learn the life of the devotee simply is prayerful submission you see, then there is no question about whether you should surrender or make a request in any moment. You will observe that areas in your life in which you desire a change are basically areas in which you must become more responsible.
So you must not simply pray, you must submit yourself to the Teaching and to the Teacher hour by hour in order to see what is a matter of right responsibility so that you can change your act and pray for that capacity. So you see how prayer has many forms in this way of life that is submission is every moment. So find out in your case what are those moments in which it is approp;riate to request something specifically. And then find a way to do that that is appropriate. So that it is simply another form of surrender as in every other moment. And truly pray then when you make that request, in other words give it up to the Mastery of God. Don’t sort of intellectually request something and look and see that it doesn’t change and then become an atheist. (Laughter.) Most atheists I suppose are just people who tried praying one time and didn’t get an answer. (Laughter.) They are sort of petulant and childish you see, disappointed that there is no parent deity. Disappointed in their childish, or childhood religion and not responsible enough to take on the religious obligations of a man or a woman.
So because the whole matter has so many possibilities, there are so many ways to pray, you see, so many different kinds of moments of prayer, it gets a little confusing to the mind, in this moment to decide whether to ask me what it was that you had in mind. (Laughter.) Therefore prayer must come out of the midst of your real practice. So fulfill all of the obligations of practice, all of which are forms of prayer in the midst of that prayerful intuition that is native to that way of life you will find those moments when it is appropriate to make requests, and you will know how to do it.
DEVOTEE: Thank you Bubba.
BUBBA: Sure. The best way to do it is to simply turn yourself over you see, and once you have entered into literal Communion with the Spiritual Master, have even bodily come into intimate association with that current and power, then simply surrender into that hour by hour through all of the means that have been given to you and you will naturally see all kinds of changes occurring because that wordless power is the matrix of changes and appearances, is the only genius of transformation. And any request of a specific kind we may make in any moment can have their roots in all kinds of motivations you see no genius at all, just some confused and suffering personality.
So there are moments in which you have the profound sense of the rightness of some request, this may be true; but in general you must simply come into Communion with that Living Reality beyond a doubt. And in that Communion, that intercourse, that surrendering of the body mind, into that Living Power and Consciousness you become aware that life is Mastered by a genius. And all the changes of your life begin to conspire toward your fulfillment of the stages of life.
So when you become most essentially surrendered into that current, you may find yourself making very few requests of a specific kind you see, because you will have natural faith, inherent certainty that the transformations that are being set in motion by Grace are all the ones that are appropriate. Prayerful life ceases to be so much one of looking for things to ask to be changed, becomes more a matter of observing the changes adapting within a life that is now being transformed by the literal Power of God.
It is a better position to be in, because only in that position of intimacy with God can we rightly understand the difficult situations of life. Left to our own design and willfulness there s all kinds of things we would want to disappear immediately you see. Whereas if we were surrendered into that bliss already happy in that, then we could tolerate this play.
It’s not merely a matter of putting up with it, it’s a matter of being able to be combined with it in the spirit of devotion, because once you have entered into literal Communion with the Divine Person, the God Power does enter into your life directly. That moment of entering into such Communion is perhaps yet to begin, yet to occur for some of you. Others of you have some direct sense of what I’m talking about. God is a literal Power and Presence and Consciousness.
And spiritual life, the life of a devotee is not merely a matter of convincing yourself and duminying yourself up from day to day you see like an ordinary believer. The devotee is one who lives in intimate Communion with the literal and living God.
Those who hear the Teaching, see the Spiritual Master and enter into right relationship with the Spiritual Master are soon given this baptism. Any phenomena that may be associated with that baptism will vary from person to person and in general it is profoundly subtle. There may be some signs of outward changes in your life or kriyas and other physical events you see. Fundamentally it is tacit, direct, simple, subtle sense of the nameless Divine. And it is felt bodily and the psyche is most intimate with that consciousness.
It is an undeniable baptism of Communion, Divine Communion, and once you are established in that Communion then this body-mind becomes the instrument of the Transforming Power of God. You must playfully, prayerfully, devotedly live with me, having been baptized you see, so that you may go through this process of transformation by stages.
So if you hear this Teaching and return to this baptism you see, then you simply surrender yourself and live the conditions of this practice from the Heart, and at some moment you will be looking to the side perhaps, not really self conscious you see. And you will suddenly become aware of this Presence, and you will feel how intimate it is with the body, how intimate it is with your Consciousness, and then your life must become surrender through that Communion.