The Trip to India – Taxis, Temples, and God – Jerry Sheinfeld – The Dawn Horse Magazine – Bubba Free John – 1974


India Tapes

by Jerry Sheinfeld

The Dawn Horse Magazine, Vol 2, No. 2, Jubilee Issue
August 1974

The following article is a series of transcripts from
tapes Bubba made on a portable recorder operated by Jerry
Sheinfeld, who was traveling with Bubba and serving him.
Bubba would occasionally sit down in a quiet place at one
Ashram or another and talk about the teacher there and his
community, often in quite critical terms, from the point of
view of understanding. He might also speak of other teachers
and broader topics-for instance, the distinction between
yogis, saints, and sages, and the function of the Siddhas –
but he always brought the discussion back to his particular
work and the role of the community of his devotees.

This selection, of transcripts includes an important
letter which Bubba sent back to the Ashram, then located in
Los Angeles, and a partial transcript of the talk he gave to
the Ashram the day after he returned.


Bubba began this talk, which was taped at Swami
Muktananda’s Ashram, by discussing the distracting artifices
of traditional spirituality in contrast with genuine sadhana
in Satsang. He talked of the devotee’s responsibility to
maintain Satsang even in mediocre moments.

Bubba then distinguished between the cultic and the
authentically spiritual communities in both their internal
and external activities, and between the cultic and the true

JERRY: I was looking around at the people here and
thinking about the people in our Ashram. The seeker type
seems more sincere, more into the spiritual path. The people
in our Ashram were hustlers and topless dancers and are not

BUBBA: There are just as many hustlers and topless
dancers here, except they all wear saffron robes and false
faces. As soon as they stop chanting and going through their
cultic routine, they are, again topless dancers and
hustlers, because the routine doesn’t really change
anything. It just distracts them and gives them another game
to play temporarily.

True sincerity is not that social quality we regard as
sincerity. It is a quality that is naturally alive in a
person who understands himself. All these cultic forms of
concentration of attention and absorption don’t produce this
kind of self-knowledge. They distract a person. Everything
here is calculated to fascinate and distract you, to enforce
your attention. There is one fundamental law involved in all
forms of sadhana, the yogic law that you become the thing
that you concentrate on. So all forms of sadhana here are
ways of concentrating on what ultimately are supposed to be
forms of the Divine-mantras, chants, the Guru’s form, what
the Guru does outwardly, all the images and pictures – so
that you become more and more absorbed and ecstatically
distracted. But this path is untrue because it does not
undermine the principle that is being absorbed and
distracted. As soon as the source of distraction is taken
away, the individual falls back into the state he was in to
begin with.

True sadhana is the undermining of the principle that is
exploited in these traditional places. That is why it
doesn’t have the artifices that a place like this has. A
place like this is very attractive because it is so full of
external routine, just as communism and fascism can be very
attractive because they are so black and white, so orderly.
Modern forms of crazy politics are the secular forms of
traditional spirituality. But the truly human qualities are
not rigidly ordered and precise. That kind of order is
enforced, external.

Whenever the genuine principle of the spiritual process
is brought to bear, it is a dangerous affair. From social,
traditional points of view, you lose the artifices that are
native to these external approaches, both the so-called
“spiritual” and the secular. That doesn’t mean a genuine
Ashram needs to be disorderly. Order is natural enough, but
only order based on real functions, simply ordinary things,
not on artifices that are attempts to get beyond yourself,
to get ecstatic. Doing ordinary things is orderly enough.
Chanting has its place as a moment, not as a perpetual
attempt to become absorbed. It is an occasion, a pleasantry.
It’s enjoyable from a genuine point of view, but once it
becomes repetitive and constant, it is another method. It
should only be used to the degree that it is natural,
functional, appropriate.

All these grinning, gleaming faces don’t have any
happiness underneath them. They have an intense desire, an
attempt to be free of the unhappiness. That’s what those
manifestations are. They are based on unhappiness, not real
happiness. Real happiness is just free, radically free. It
is not associated with a mood or a facial expression or any
of that sort of nonsense. All that is unconscious ecstasy.
People desire these traditional artifices because they are
suffering, and it is obvious that bringing these things into
an Ashram brings order and certain qualities that we
associate with spiritual life. But if they are brought in at
all, they must be brought in at appropriate times and in
natural ways.

Creating an artificial environment essentially handles
people’s disturbances, their neuroses, and their gross
pride. They feel relatively at ease, and they walk around
being soupy and spiritual all day, thinking they are doing
sadhana. All they have done is remove the gross influences
from their lives. But that’s the condition under which
sadhana in fact begins. You must penetrate your core of

In true sadhana you are dealing simply and directly with
your state, your atmosphere, your ordinariness. It is truly
perceptive to see that in your actual state, your very
presence, is disturbance, completely independent of
qualities that condition you are obviously disturbed. But
your very presence is that disturbance. You can see that
there is no genuine rest in you, except a mediocre
experience of no disturbance which comes from without or
within. When those gross disturbances are removed, you begin
to see that your actual state, your very presence, is
disturbance, completely independent of qualities that may
appear to you. It is always this contraction. You begin to
see that. You see it in your ordinary moments of relative
ease and happiness, not just in your neurotic highs and
lows, but in this neutral state in which there is no
peculiar event. When you begin to see it then, understanding
has begun. But people buy out at that point. Instead of
truly becoming perceptive and carrying on the real activity
of consciousness, they just enjoy that neutral time until
the next disturbance arises or the next high arises. The
highs and the lows are too baroque, they are not
fundamental, they are extraordinary. This ordinariness is an
omnipresent quality against which all other qualities play.
The secret of understanding is in recognizing that.

JERRY: The average life is all highs and lows. There is
no ordinariness. If a moment is ordinary, it is simply

BUBBA: It has a certain artifice of pleasantness, but if
you truly become sensitive, this minute is just as disturbed
as your obviously disturbed moments. In those moments, those
gross, heavy moments, you are being disturbed by some
apparent event that has come about. In this ordinary sense
you are disturbance itself.

JERRY: There is no feeling of chakra contraction or gross
vital center contraction.

BUBBA: But it is taking place in its most subtle form. If
it were not, you would have no separate self sense. You
wouldn’t hold onto mediocrity, which is itself a form of
desire. The desire to be undisturbed manifests as
mediocrity. Some people think that is being spiritual. But
it is just being mediocre. People generally don’t have any
tolerance for that mediocrity for long periods of time, so
they always return to the highs and lows. They are both
forms of distraction, of standing outside yourself. Even the
lows, the disturbances, the aggravations, are forms of
distraction, fascination with qualities. In fact, most
people pursue those. As a respite from that, some turn to
this mediocrity and think that it is spiritual. It is just a
particular state. A capacity for this mediocre pleasantness,
this moveless happiness without any great intensity:

JERRY: There is no intensity. That’s that feeling of
boredom I said I had. There is no life, there is nothing

BUBBA: If you penetrate that, then the natural force of
consciousness creates great intensity, and it is utterly
independent. Whereas this mediocrity is still dependent. It
is held onto as an alternative to the highs and lows, the

It is the responsibility of the devotee to maintain the
quality of Satsang, but in the crucial moment when he is
mediocre, he tends to abandon it. That’s why he must grasp
it as a responsibility and, in spite of his tendencies,
maintain it. People are very willing to maintain it when
things are going bad. All of a sudden they are
super-devotional. When they are very high, all of a sudden
they are super-blissful. When they are just mediocre, when
the qualities have apparently come to rest, they go back
into the soup of unconsciousness, they abandon the quality
of Satsang, they are irresponsible. So the devotee must see
that he does that. He must begin to see his own activity
under those conditions as well as these conditions that are
high and extraordinary. He must see how he functions when
things come to rest, how he becomes bored, complacent, and

JERRY: You have to stay absolutely conscious at all

BUBBA: That’s why, in a traditional place like this,
there are so many details that a person is responsible for
managing hour after hour, acknowledgments he makes to the
Guru at certain times and places, doing certain things. It
is a way of enforcing the attitudes of one who is in
Satsang. But if the formalities of the community are the
entire means for maintaining this quality, it is just an
artifice. It is not that the community must establish
formalities for a person to follow hour after hour, just to
be sure that he acts as if he were in Satsang. The
individual must be responsible for it. If he fails at it in
our Ashram, that is what he does, and he doesn’t have this
liturgy to perform that makes him appear to be living
Satsang. The qualities of Satsang disappear, and that
becomes obvious to him or is pointed out to him in a
difficult moment.

JERRY: Satsang sometimes becomes confusing to me. I have
feelings about you and thoughts of happiness, comfortable
peaceful space, feelings of God and my true nature, but
without the actual experience of all this. These feelings of
bliss and all the things that have happened in meditation
with you are some of the things that I think of as Satsang.
I guess there is nothing concrete about Satsang.

BUBBA: Satsang is a condition and a process that must be
alive in you as a process, as an activity that’s ongoing at
any moment. When it is not, it degenerates into the form of
an idea. That is why you must continually create it and
enact it. You must function as Satsang. You do not have to
worry about it then. It is a relationship that must be
lived. It must be demonstrated outwardly, without
mediocrity, without fawning. When it is lived very
concretely, you don’t have to be concerned about what it is,
trying to remember events in time in the past when you felt
very much that you knew what it was. It is simply the
condition of devotional relationship to the Guru.

JERRY: That is the case, that is what I feel. That’s the
thing that occupies me. I guess if I just continually live
that process, the transformation takes place.

BUBBA: In the midst of living Satsang you observe your
turning from it, and this produces observation in you. This
observation develops over time and becomes an insight, an
inclusive, penetrating insight. Previously you were
passively involved in this reflection of your qualities, but
when this insight arises, you become active as that insight.
That insight becomes the principle of consciousness. It
enters into the process of existence from moment to moment
in the form of enquiry.

Previously you lived Satsang with the Guru and passed in
and out of your tendencies. You began to see them with more
clarity and they were pointed out to you again and again. So
that insight developed and penetrated many different forms
of your distraction. When that insight is alive in you, you
move into the experiences that arise from moment to moment
and enquire of them. At that point understanding begins to
become an intense process. At that point the quality of
Satsang begins to intensify, and you become less concerned
for this cycle of phases and lapses. Moment to moment you
have penetrated the quality of experience, so you are alive
in Satsang continuously and creatively. Until this insight
arises, your consciousness is only passively alive in

In my Ashram people are continually reminded of me. I
don’t mean verbally. Of course, things get said at certain
times, but we are spending far too much time talking. We
need to function with one another as individuals who are in
Satsang and in whom there is at least the beginning of this
intelligence. The more people function in Satsang, the less
there is to say. The less they function in Satsang moment to
moment, the more time they spend rapping to one another and
telling one another where they are at, because Satsang is
not a function for them. It is just a kind of status.

People are always shrinking from Satsang into some
mediocrity or self-concern or some aggravated state. They
don’t maintain the devotional relationship to the Guru, the
force of the Guru has no effect. It is not active in them.
The Guru is out there somewhere, and they are moving around
and touching him every now and then. But the devotee
maintains continuous contact. It is only the devotion of the
devotee that provides a channel for the force of the Guru.
If there’s no real devotion, no literal devotion, no
functional devotion, the Guru is turned away, the Guru has
no way through. A mediocre person gains nothing because he
is only obstructing the force of the Guru. Nothing occurs in
such a one.

JERRY: It is good to know why. In this Ashram everyone
just says, “Turn to the Guru, “Guru -kripa,”‘ but they don’t
say why and they don’t understand. That’s the force of God
coming through the Guru as a separate entity.

BUBBA: The true Guru is not some superman. He must always
become nothing so that the Divine Siddhi becomes active.
God’s Siddhi is perfect, absolute, so it is not by becoming
a perfect superman with all kinds of overwhelming,
fascinating qualities that a person awakens to the Divine
activity. It is only when all that is undermined and no
longer active in him that the Divine Siddhi appears
spontaneously. The Guru, then, is a unique presence and a
unique process.

Above all, he is unique by virtue of the fact that he can
enter into a concrete, living relationship with people, and
they likewise can enter into a concrete, living relationship
with the Guru. He has a living, material form, and that
makes it very tangible.

JERRY: As the Guru sheds the physical body, is it the
Divine Force that becomes alive in the disciples and other
people who live in relationship to the Guru?

BUBBA: Sure. Then the devotees of such a one become the
functional means for the presentation of that Force in the
world. They have that living relationship with the Guru, who
is now gone in his ordinary human form. Their relationship
is unbroken, so the activity, the Divine Siddhi that was the
Guru continues to manifest through them as a community.

JERRY: You really have to be straight and strong to carry
that through.

BUBBA: It stands present in the community, not
necessarily in the form of another individual who does this,
or has the same responsibility. In some cases a Guru leaves
behind a devotee who has the same function and extends it.
But the purpose of all such Gurus, even if they do follow
one after another, is to create a community in which the
Siddhi is alive, in which it is the living presence, the
living condition.

JERRY: Can a spiritual community continue

BUBBA: Sure.

JERRY: Yet, I guess traditions develop as it starts
taking hold, and so it usually dies.

BUBBA: Well, various traditions become established. There
are various customary ways of dealing with the functions of
life. They do tend to become rigid. That is why there must
be a living community in which the individuals are alive in
this Siddhi and function in it from hour to hour, day to
day, becoming wise, becoming capable of dealing with one
another in Truth. Then the Divine function, which is all
that the Guru is, manifests in a lot of ways within that

JERRY: The world is ready for that, huh?

BUBBA: Well, there must be at least four or five people!
The only problem is that these communities tend to become
not communities, but cults. They tend to be centered in the
personality of a Guru, directed to that Guru as a form of

It is the community re-enacting the ritual of the ego
that people all enact individually. So they never become a
community, and they never turn outward and become functional
and truly live this Siddhi. They remain inward directed,
always concentrating on this one who is gone. I have told
you that the Guru comes to manifest that Satsang that
existed prior to his physical birth. People don’t relate to
that. After the Guru’s death they try to relate to that
Satsang that he apparently generated during his

So they go around trying to remember what he looked like
and carrying that whole cult of his personality, instead of
truly living the Divine Satsang that he was here to
communicate while he was alive.

JERRY: Even while he is alive people pick up little
traits that the Guru has, manners of speech and style of

BUBBA: Most of that is gentle enough and really not
overwhelming. The cultic tendency is always there, whereas
Satsang and the work of the true Guru is an anti-cultic
process, a radical process. People always tend to create the
cult. The Guru is always dissolving the cult, undermining
the cultic tendency.

JERRY: What happens in the case of this Ashram? Baba
doesn’t undermine the cult. I am sure he is functioning as a
mirror, reflecting it back to those that are personally
involved with him. But for those who aren’t personally
involved with him, he is very available as the object of
their cultic desires.

BUBBA: What is being created here is the traditional cult
of the Guru. That doesn’t mean that the real process can’t
go on for some, but it requires great intelligence in

JERRY: Is there any advantage in the cult?

BUBBA: No, it has no fundamental value at all. It is just
another separative human game. It is the same thing that is
the ego. It is the same thing that is suffering. It is a
form of contraction, separate self sense. The separate
identity, compulsive mentalizing, endless proliferation of
distinctions, dualities, motivations, desires, and
tendencies – a cultic community is made up of those things,
just as the individual is made up of those things until he
understands. When he understands, he breaks that whole
process down. He obviates it and lives in a totally
different way. The same occurs in a spiritual community. It
breaks the tradition of cultic existence, turns out of this
self-centering, and becomes a centerless community, a
functional community. It deals creatively with the elements
of life, and because it has no center, it becomes an
instrument for the Divine Siddhi.

The signs of a cultic community are just as obvious as
the signs of the ordinary man. People involved in the cult
of some Guru or some teaching are fixed in attitudes of
identity, endlessly communicating from the point of view of
a fixed identity, so they are endlessly anxious about those
who do not believe as they do, who do not have the same
cultic fixation they have. It makes them anxious if people
don’t have the same point of view, the same attachment, the
same imagery. So they are always very defensive. They are
always defending their practice, their point of view, they
are always arguing the lackings of non-believers or those
who have not yet been acquired to their cult.

Those who are truly alive in the spiritual community
don’t create an offense. They don’t present themselves in an
antagonistic association with others. Those who live in the
spiritual community are genuinely free, free of their own
separate self sense, free of the endless multiplication of
differences, distinctions, and thoughts. They are not
endlessly fabricating a great defense and influence over
others. They live very naturally. When it is appropriate to
carry on conversations, they do. But it is their happiness,
their openness, their non-contraction that is the instrument
they have for serving others, not their arguments, their
self-concerns, their cultic attachments and tendencies.
Those are all obstructions. It’s their non-obstruction,
their non-contraction, the absence of the cultic tendency or
the inward turning, that allows them to be an instrument for
the Force of the Guru, for the Force of God.

Rather than endlessly scattering force in the various
forms of desire to be expansive and acquire everything to
itself, the spiritual community is a functional order. It
doesn’t move by arbitrary motivations. It moves in
appropriate ways, creatively, through the medium of the
appropriate structures of existence. There is beauty and
harmony in individuals and communities of that kind. Such
communities fit very well into the world, whereas the cultic
community doesn’t fit into the world at all. The cultic
community must be out somewhere, away from everything else,
just as the ordinary individual is Narcissus and must be

The cultic community is invariably apart from the world
because it is playing the game of Narcissus. It is looking
in the water, reflecting its own qualities. The small cultic
community is always at odds with the worldly community.
Whereas the true spiritual community certainly isn’t sort of
flowing in the streets with all the craziness of the world,
but it is able to deal with the human world. It doesn’t take
itself out of the human community. It maintains connections
to it and deals with it naturally. Those who live in the
spiritual community maintain all the ordinary functions.
They don’t abandon the world.

Here in Baba’s Ashram everybody is an ascetic. They are
tending to be swamis and yogis. It is very separative, very
cold. It has no juice. There doesn’t have to be a sex game
going on in the true spiritual community, but there must be
the natural life functions. The cultic community is always
tending to abandon function. It always seeks some status.
The true spiritual community doesn’t abandon function.
Function is its continual test. The ordinary functions of
life test you constantly. You are always shown your own
tendencies. Whereas if you remove yourself from the
functions of existence, no test can go on. You sit in the
soup of artificial spiritual pleasures all day. Function is
the medium of testing devotees, function in the most natural
relational sense.

The more natural the flow between the spiritual community
and the larger community, the better. The tendency is always
to create the cult, the separate community, just as the
ordinary person tends to create the separate individual
isolated from functions. The longer the community exists and
the more people it includes, the more there seems to be a
professional core that separates itself from the world in
order to do the Ashram’s work. This is the seed of the cult.
It happens that it is necessary for some people to live in
the Ashram and perform its functions. It has to be that way,
but they must understand the liabilities and not get hung up
in the artifices of the cult. That is done by maintaining a
natural relationship with the environment. So it is
generally best for people to be householders or, if they
don’t happen to be married, to live with people to whom they
must be responsible from day to day. It is best for them to
hold jobs and to have ordinary work to do. Don’t just work
inside the Ashram, but go out and be among other people. The
larger an Ashram becomes, the more like the world it tends
to become. Even if the spiritual community does become so
large that it doesn’t have that much obvious commerce with
the larger world, it will still have all those tendencies.
As long as it doesn’t become an artificial environment where
everybody sits in caves, the larger spiritual community will
contain all the usual functions. A large spiritual community
will have all the ordinary means of survival, just like a

JERRY: That’s how it runs here.

BUBBA: Not an Ashram like this place, but a town is the
appropriate situation for a spiritual community. In a town
all the ordinary functions are lived, whereas the cultic
community is isolated from functions like this Ashram. Only
a certain core of the people here live in the world of
commerce, and they provide huge amounts of money so that
this relatively small group of professional cultic types can
maintain their illusion. If all these individuals built this
Ashram and had to keep it alive and do what is necessary for
it to survive from day to day, they would have a very
different relationship to it. This place is created by the
wealthy few, and everyone else here lives like a saint in a
cave without any responsibility. If the spiritual community
is a town, however, every individual is responsible for his
own living and for the contribution of a significant amount
of his income to the maintenance of the facilities of the
spiritual community. This is much better. There must be a
few large sources of money as well, but it is sufficient for
most individuals to be responsible for their income and for
the maintenance of the Ashram.

JERRY: That is part of the demonstrative, devotional
approach too.

BUBBA: The secret of the spiritual community is contained
in this notion of the cult and the cultic tendency. The
members of the Ashram are continually returned to the
observation of themselves as a community, just as they are
always returned to the observation of themselves as
individuals. They will see this cultic tendency and always
undo it. The community must be responsible for doing

Ganeshpuri is a good example of a cultic community. There
happened to be this extraordinary individual and everybody
turned toward him, asked him for spiritual things and
material things. The whole form of the community was to turn
on this individual, this man, Nityananda. They never turned
outward from him to fulfill his function in the world or in
their community. Now the man has been dead for twelve years
and everybody is still turned toward the center. There is no
creative community there. It is a cult.

JERRY: You turn people back upon themselves and bring
them to function outwardly in a new way, while Baba sort of
acquires them. Your function is absolutely different from
that. You are not acquiring people. You are actually moving
them away, turning them outward.

BUBBA: There is danger in working that way with people,
because they do get turned away. But over time a certain few
begin to grasp the process, and they create a genuine
community, They eventually create the core of the Ashram,
which then begins to grow geometrically, just as we have one
couple and they have children and those children have
children and after a couple of generations we gain hundreds
of new human beings. The beginnings are small. The Ashram
could be made to grow very quickly. If I went out
immediately now and created all kinds of fascinations,
promises, and influences, and just acquired people, we would
get auditoriums full. But it would have no reality. It would
just be an enthusiastic cult of fascination.

JERRY: If you brought them in that way, you wouldn’t be
able to turn them toward spiritual life anyway. They would
only want experiences.

BUBBA: People would only want to be fascinated with me
then. I dislike that completely.

JERRY: You are not terribly fascinating.

BUBBA: It’s true. Fascination is the sheer motivation to
be absorbed and made ecstatic by concentration on something
to the exclusion of everything else. There is a difference
between fascination and devotion.

It is the Guru’s responsibility to turn people in on
their fundamental activity, even though that endangers his
cult. The creation of a cult should not be his point of
view. He has a peculiar function to perform in relation to
individuals – he must serve their transformation. He can’t
do that by simply being a fascination, becoming the center,
the idol of people’s minds and lives. Then he becomes a
thing. That’s the Guru and his status. The Guru must exist
as a function. He must be a paradox for his devotees. He
must be elusive, he must never take a fixed position.

JERRY: People come here to get a devotional, religious
feeling, and when they walk out, you see that they haven’t
done anything, they have only put on a pretty dress, or a
pretty suit….

BUBBA: People who come to me are uncomfortable, You feel
uncomfortable around me. The function has died out if people
can come to the Guru and be comfortable and happy and be
given all kinds of sweets and goodies and pleasant things to
do, and not be forced into that situation in which the
crisis in consciousness must occur. If that situation is not
created in the Guru’s presence, he is not living that
function. He is denying it, he is taking on the cultic
function, becoming a fascination and acquiring others.

JERRY: You’re in a dangerous place because you are a
threat to all of this. Many of Muktananda’s disciples feel
uneasy around you. One of them asked me why you are so
quiet, as if your silence were a threat. He feels
uncomfortable about approaching you. One of the American
disciples says he feels uncomfortable around you, and yet he
has asked me some things, and I said you are absolutely
Guru. He asked me if I think you are a Siddha Guru, and I
said absolutely. That directly threatens their state, so
this is a very dangerous place for you to be.

BUBBA: The motivations of both those people are obvious.
I’m working with those two guys every time I see them, and
that is why they feel uncomfortable. I am dealing with their
approach, their tendencies, their desires. I know what the
two of them are up to, so naturally they feel uncomfortable
because I’m not fulfilling what is expected. Even though
they may never have a serious involvement with me, I’m
providing an instrument for the crisis, at least in this
social way, whereas at this Ashram they are only coddled and
fulfilled. I am always working to undermine this activity,
so it makes people uncomfortable. If they begin to live the
process that the Guru initiates, then of course they can
have the pleasures of that intimacy with him, but they must
never abandon that true process of understanding. The crisis
is allowed to go on in them, but in natural ways, not in the
form of neurotic difficulties. Whenever they slip into
Narcissus, he nails them again in some way until they can
begin to be responsible for that process themselves.

The approach to the Guru is always difficult, because it
is not the outward approach, it is the inward approach to
the Guru that is significant. The Guru must maintain an
outward condition that is like the inner process, so the
apparent unavailability of the Guru is an instrument for
this crisis. If he just keeps handing it out, making people
happier and happier (or what they think is happier),
fulfilling them, patting them on the head, making promises,
generating energies, he never provides the instrument for
their turnabout.

I must maintain a relationship to people outwardly that
is coincident with the approach that they make. This
American you mentioned wants to be palsy-walsy with all the
great ones. That’s his number. He likes famous and great and
well-known people and all of that. He wants them to shine on
him. That’s how he gets his goodie. Baba satisfies that
egoic demand of his in some way. But I’m not interested in
satisfying it. I’m interested in seeing it come to an end in
that guy. So I would rather be offensive to him and not kiss
him on the cheek, tell him he is a good friend, and make him
my friend, because the next hour he would be throwing darts
at my picture. That’s what he does anyway. It is better to
deal with him in this way.

What did Nityananda do? Nityananda never had anything to
do with anybody. Other such masters in the past haven’t just
been a pal to everybody. It’s bullshit. They always worked
on the ego, to destroy that principle through the medium of
the conscious process, not artificially through the means of
experiences, outer conditions and functional conditions,
visions and influences. That does nothing to the ego except
give it more things to own. The egoic principle is there, so
it is possible to give it mantras to recite and inner sounds
to hear and inner lights to see and visions and
interpretations of reality. You give it all that, and the
ego takes it all up and becomes fatter and fatter, more and
more glorious and happy and full.

JERRY: I was speaking to several people, and one of them
said, “Why doesn’t Franklin mention the blue pearl in his
book?” People were talking about the different experiences,
and I said, “Well, experiences aren’t the Truth. They are
just experiences.”

BUBBA: People want experiences because they are very
unhappy, they are upset, they are disturbed. And the having
of experiences calms them down, makes them feel full,
distracts them from their real state. But the Truth is a
radical condition in which there is no self, no ego, no
separate motivation, no fulfillment. It’s the absolute
undermining of the ordinary state. You can’t bring a person
to that by degrees, by fulfilling him. You must undermine
that principle from the beginning, moment to moment. You
must take the floor out from under the person and bring him
to a direct confrontation with his condition.

If that occurs there can be experiences. There may be
experiences along the way. People have experiences in our
Ashram. They are just not taught as the goal or the Truth.
Experiences are not the principle of our work. Obviously,
Siddhi is active in our work, and people do have
experiences, but they don’t have any ultimate significance.
The same process of understanding must go on whether those
things occur or not, so I don’t make positive
recommendations about them. I don’t lead people to hold on
to them. The more people are having them, the more I teach
another way, to produce the crisis in those who are having
such experiences.

JERRY: I remember people used to have kriyas’ and all of
a sudden you said, “Don’t indulge the kriyas.”

BUBBA: Whereas at another time and place I have said in
what sense kriyas are acceptable or appropriate. The
teaching is always alive in the present.

JERRY: It shows people that you are beyond the point of
view of experience. You are talking about the limitation of

BUBBA: But this radical activity of understanding,
founded in Satsang or prior Divine Communion, is the
evidence of true Siddhi. It’s not a formula. I don’t have
any “idea” whatsoever about what I do. I don’t have any
conceptualization of what I should do or what I should say.
I don’t have it pre-figured in any way. It is all
spontaneous. It is very clear and very obvious to me, but
it’s not based on any formulas, any formalistic
descriptions, any certainties. None of that exists. There
are no such systematic graspings. There is nothing. All of
this is simply a spontaneous Siddhi.

JERRY: The yogic approach, the Eastern approach and most
of the religious Western approaches, are a great big
mechanism; it’s a very formalized activity. But how could it
have structure when it is ultimately structureless?

BUBBA: In my own case there was an experience even of a
yogic variety that was radical in relation to the whole
yogic process. Up until that point I was involved with all
of the experiences of the chakras and the movement of force
to the sahasrar. Then, as I mentioned in The Knee of
Listening, there were several nights with these pains in the
head that felt like incisions. Then it was as if the
sahasrar were severed, and the upper terminal dissolved.

In other words, the whole principle, the whole structure
of spiritual experience was undermined. It was shown to be
of no significance whatsoever. Instead of a structure of
experience with seven chakras, or energy centers, and energy
rising up, there could have been a toilet bowl or a suitcase
in my back. It was shown to be a completely arbitrary
structure – like the body could have had twenty legs, with
eyeballs at the end of each one, instead of being in its
present shape. It could have been something completely
different. Just so, the chakras are shown to be a completely
arbitrary system of experiencing and realizing subtle life.
The chakra system was thrown out of the way, and all it
could possibly contain was fundamentally without

JERRY: That’s the place that most teachers haven’t gotten
to, because they are still teaching that structure.

BUBBA: Right, they’re speaking from the point of view of
that structure, which is just like talking about the Truth
as if it had the shape of your arm or physical body, like
saying, “God, therefore, is shaped like this.” Everybody has
this childish religious image that God is an old man with a
white beard and everything. The yogi teachers are getting a
little subtler, and they think that God really has seven
mystical lights. They are thinking, in a more subtle,
magical, mystical form, but that’s just as arbitrary as an
old man with a white beard. God is not that either, It’s
just reading God through the form of certain structures that
we tend to experience or feel within ourselves, but which
are just as arbitrary as our external form. These centers
have a certain functional significance, but they don’t have
an ultimate significance, and they are not the point of view
of the spiritual path. That’s the significance of the
turnabout in my own case. There is this descending and
ascending circle, but the principle of my own path was no
longer attached to that process.

JERRY: If somebody tries to purify the chakra system,
they devote their whole life to ascending through all the
different chakras. Their ultimate goal is just to live in
the psycho-physical structure without suffering distress.
And if they attain that, they have been so established in
that, it has been their goal for so long, that they can’t
possibly throw that aside and go to the Truth.

BUBBA: It would be like a gourmet giving up food and
becoming an ascetic. Something very dramatic would have to
occur before he would be motivated to do that. So people
only become “full” by the ordinary spiritual means. In other
words, it is not the full man, the fulfilled person, who is
living in Truth. It is one who has realized that the only
fullness is God. That requires the undermining of the
ordinary principle, not the attachment of experiences to
that principle, not the ecstasies that the principle can
generate for itself, but the undermining of that principle
itself, that ego, that contraction, that separative

That’s the principle of Truth, whereas the traditional
way exploits the search, builds up things on this principle
of the ego, helps it to acquire things, gives it feelings of
relief from its own implications. The egoic individual may
feel pleasure within himself, he may feel at ease by virtue
of experiences of various kinds, like feeling spiritual
energies. A person can feel as if he is egoless. He can be
sitting in meditation and have some shakti experience and
think, “I feel empty of self.” You can cognize this
sensation. The subtle realization of the separative one is
simply enjoying that perception of being without ego, so it
is just another experience.

A true undermining of the ego is not an experience of
being egoless. It’s the absolute obliteration of that
principle of consciousness. And it is suffered. Everything
in the being resists it, and it is so radical that it snuffs
him out. From that point of view there is no self to be
found. Such a one looks with the gaze of God. Wherever he
looks or appears, he falls through everything. He sees
through everything. He can’t grasp his own shape. It never
arises for him. So everything he sees has the same quality
as his own presence. He sees nothing that is not of the same
nature. He can’t find a separate one.

JERRY: Does he see the activities of those around him,
their contraction, suffering, and separation?

BUBBA: He doesn’t see that it implies an ultimate
separation. He just sees that there is the discomfort, the
apparent suffering created by that activity. But he doesn’t
see it as a fact, some ultimate truth. It is an illusion. So
the Guru works from behind the seeker, whereas the
yogi-fakir sits in front of him. He sits in front of him,
fascinates him, adds to him, puffs him up, blows him up,
makes him happy. But the Guru works from behind him,
undermines him, takes his spine out, even while the
individual sits before him and looks at his body. In other
words, he works from behind the principle that approaches
him, he undermines that principle itself. The yogi-fakir
fulfills that, as if doing so would somehow make it go away,
as if that would produce realization. But it doesn’t in
Truth. It’s a process based on the ego itself. And that is
the principle of all traditional yogas and all searches.

The presence of the Guru is a kind of disturbance. It is
not simply acceptable, it creates difficulties, it requires
something of an individual. That has been said of all the
Great Siddhas. What did Moses do? He created a lot of
problems for people. Moses was a Great Siddha. Jesus was a
Great Siddha. You hear all kinds of stories about Jesus, but
if you see how he truly functioned, he was a very radical
personality. One of the sayings that was attributed to him
is, “I didn’t come to bring peace, I came to bring a sword
to divide son from parents, husband from wife, and brother
from sister.” To create divisions, to create this
disturbance, to bring this turnabout, to bring this crisis,
to make people truly turn to God. This would tend to disturb
the order of the ordinary way of life. That is what he meant
by separating brother and sister, children and parents.

The Guru’s presence is a paradox and a disturbance,
except for those who grasp the principle of his activity.
They become his Devotees and are happy with him, because the
process occurs in them without difficulty. It’s a natural
effect. Everyone else resists it like an execution, and they
don’t grasp the significance of the activity of the Siddha.
Everybody grasps the significance of a kindly old man who
gives you gifts. That’s Santa Claus. Anybody can grasp that,
but it does nothing to their fundamental suffering. It just
attaches people’s hopes to a lot of gifts, including what
they call liberation, but they have no idea what that

JERRY: When people come and are not really doing sadhana,
is it good for them to be brought into dilemma?

BUBBA: It contains possibilities. The person who has no
capacity to deal with that will just become angry and take
himself away.

JERRY: Ultimately does that have an advantage?

BUBBA: No. In itself it doesn’t have any particular
benefit, but it is an event in the individual’s life that at
some point may be fruitful if he goes on and unwinds a few
more trips. Then he may begin to value the Siddhi that
produces the crisis. Until a person has unwound his
sought-for events, his ways of seeking for Santa Claus, and
seen the dismal creation that is brought about by these
means, he won’t value the work of the Siddhas. He will make
demands to be satisfied, he will forget it, resist it, say
that it is without value, that it is crazy, that it is

Love, strangely enough, does not satisfy. The artifice
that people go about calling love, and that tends to be
fabricated in the spiritual community, is not love. It is a
pleasurable radiance, but that is not love. Love brings
about the crisis, love dissolves the ego, love overwhelms
Narcissus. Narcissus resists love. He can’t deal with love.
He ‘skips all the possibilities of love. He runs away from
his loved one, from his parents, he runs out into the
wilderness. Such a one can’t deal with love. What the
ordinary individuals in the cultic community think is love
is not love. It is a pleasurable experience, a titillation,
a zapping, a form of eroticism. The force of real love
demands the dissolution of the separative principle, so it
is uncomfortable to be in its presence. The thing that
people are calling love and turning toward fanatically is
not love, but only this pleasurable radiance. It is a good
meal, it is a mere fascination. Love requires sacrifice. It
requires real understanding, real intelligence, real

JERRY: Love is an activity without ego. So in order for
that to happen.

BUBBA: You can’t survive.

JERRY: We have to radiate love, and yet there can’t be an
ego there doing it. Very few people in the world are able to
do that.

BUBBA: When there is no one there, there is only love. In
the New Testament it says, “God is love.” Well, that is
true. There is no self, there is only God manifesting most
primitively and naturally and outwardly as this force of
love. It just washes through.

JERRY: The feeling of warmth and affection and
relationship and intimacy is what people call love?

BUBBA: It is just one of the psychological artifices that
we have for creating pleasure. It is not love. The force of
love can be behind it. It is not that these pleasurable
feelings are abandoned. They are part of our social

JERRY: So you can’t say, “I love you,” because that
denies love.

BUBBA: Yes, it’s a convention. You can say it, and, in
Truth have it be the case, but it’s a convention to say, “I
love you.” The man of understanding still uses words that
are self-references because realization does not end the
world, or the ordinary functions of existence, but is the
principle whereby they exist. It’s the principle of
apparently individual existence as well. So such a one
continues to use the self references, the conventions, but
their implications don’t operate in him.

In this Ashram spiritual life is developed into a form of
show business. That’s what cultic communities are. Everybody
has to pretend to be witnessing a further demonstration of
the absolute marvelousness of it all. There is a spiritual
force here, if you want to call it spiritual. You don’t even
have to call it that. It is a force very common to human
experience. It is just that most people are not aware of it
because of its subtle nature. If a person turns toward it in
a certain way, makes himself available to it in a certain
way, it will produce phenomena of various kinds. This Ashram
is a kind of a showplace for that process, essentially. It
has a certain uniqueness. In the midst of it all, there are
certain genuine manifestations.

JERRY: It is absolutely rare to have a true disciple, an
absolute disciple, one who even transcends the teaching. And
it should be such a joy, such a Divine relationship.

BUBBA: If the devotee is true, it is not a matter of his
transcending the Guru, it is a living relationship. In that
relationship, we see the perfection of the Guru and the
disciple. The Guru also becomes transcendent because of the
function he is permitted to perform. If he is not fit for
that function, he remains the lesser, and in that case we
can see a devotee who transcends the Guru. So the Guru’s
function is continually tested by his devotees.

The relationship between the Guru and the disciple is not
a fixed quality. It is a process, a living thing. That is
why there have been very few extraordinary spiritual
individuals. The rest of humanity who have contact with
genuine spiritual teachers have positive qualities added to.
their lives by that influence, and that’s essentially what
it comes down to. Very few pass through the truly
extraordinary transformation. That is not to say that this
other kind of influence does not have any function at all.
It does have a certain social function. But that social
function has got nothing to do with the Truth.

The true work of the Siddhas and of the Guru is to create
this radical upset. Wherever the dharma, the Truth,
disappears, he appears and restores it. And the dharma
disappears not just in dissipated individuals, or other
lesser individuals. It disappears among spiritual
individuals. So the Guru appears as a critical and radical
presence in the ordinary world of suffering and illusion and
self-indulgence, and also in the spiritual world.

Gautama Budda’s presence was very radical in terms of the
spiritual traditions of the time, perhaps more radical in
those terms than it was in relation to the ordinary way of
life. His teaching is a criticism of the spiritual path at
that time, more so than of the ordinary way of life. That is
taken for granted in his teachings. He criticized all the
ritualistic and ordinary philosophical assumptions of the
spiritual traditions. He lived out in the forest in India
and went to all kinds of Gurus and was shown things like

Shaktipat, but his transformation was of a radical
variety that precluded all that sort of stuff. He was a
genuine Siddha in this sense and functioned truly as a
critical, radical presence in relation to the spiritual
paths of his time.

The Guru is critical even in relation to spiritual
things. He doesn’t just come to lay on spiritual trips
because everybody is leading a worldly life. No, he
criticizes the spiritual and the worldly tendencies. Both
are signs of the extreme dissolution of the dharma, the way
of Truth, which is radical. Both ends of this form of
self-indulgence, the spiritual and the worldly, are undone
by the influence of the true Guru.

JERRY: And so it is very important to get that
information out, to communicate it.

BUBBA: There is a great danger in doing that. It is
better to secure it first. Write it, put it into forms that
can be communicated so that those who are interested in
hearing such things can create an Ashram of genuine
devotees, then work with them, and secure that function with
people. Then, in time, the work can appear more publicly,
after its existence is secured. At some point people are
going to have to deal with it. People like those at this
Ashram are going to have to deal with it. These cultic
centers will shrink out into the wilderness away from
everybody, they will break up, lose their centers, and the
people in them will go running back to their homes. And the
world itself will become a spiritual place, rather than
always being renounced by these cults. Human beings must be
released from the center that creates the cultic forms, and
they must filter back into life, so that life becomes

This work has always been going on. The Siddhas of the
kind that I am describing here have appeared as a radical
influence in many cultures. Now we are moving towards a time
where there is something like a great world culture, with
many sub-cultures within it. Many nations of the world are
sub-cultures within this greater culture. There is massive
inter-communication. So our work is the entrance of that
radical influence into this larger world.

Because it is such a large world in which there is a lot
of inter-communication, perhaps there is a chance for the
work to grow. That doesn’t mean it will take hold instantly.
It will still take time, but it is a different situation
than what existed 2500 years ago when Gautama Buddha was up
in Northern India. In those days, to get a communication
from there to down here in the South of India might take
generations. Now communications can be put out in such a
form that they will maintain their original state over time.
We have things like written literature, technical media, and
fast transportation, and these things make it possible for
communications to take place freshly, quickly, unchanged by
time and space. So in relation to Muktananda and the work
that he represents, I stand as Gautama did to the teachers
of his time. It is a radical relationship to all of that
traditional artifice.



Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram -Bangalore


Here, Bubba briefly discussed Sathya Sai Baba’s cult of
the Avatar, motivated devotion, and miracles, and the
difference between involvement with that and genuine

The reason Sathya Sai Baba talks about the Avatar is that
his path is the feminine, bhakti path, and the traditional
devotional object of the bhakta is Krishna. The traditional
imagery of the bhakti cult is the relationship between
Krishna and his gopis. Sathya Sai Baba plays Krishna. He
takes on this archetypal role because that’s the quality of
the sadhana that he wants to turn people on to. But when
that’s taken over into Western terms, the Westerner thinks
that he is like Jesus or that he is God in the exclusive
sense. None of that is so. He’s a very different kind of
person than Jesus. He is taking on the archetype of Krishna.
The teachings in the Bhagavad Gita are the same sort of rap
that he gives out.

There is a difference between imitating Krishna and being
an Avatar. Krishna was, or at least he comes down as, a
mythological figure. There may have been some person behind
all that many thousands of years ago. But, if we can speak
of him as a Siddha at all, there is a great difference
between being such a Siddha in a different time and place
and imitating that one,

in the mythological, mystical, archetypal terms Sathya
Sai Baba does. The Avatar is a drama in a symbolic sense,
not in a living sense. In fact there is no Avatar. There is
no such thing. The idea of the Avatar is a particularly
Hindu idea which comes from the idea that the Divine
principle is above and beyond the qualities of manifest
life. The Divine has come down and shown itself, shown the
way and then goes away. In other words, he is an exclusive
manifestation. The Siddhas are not different from God. But
they are not Avatars in this exclusive sense, because God is
always here. The one who was to come is always already here.
The Avatar is always the one who is about to come, coming,
going, finally coming, but that’s not the true nature of
God. God is always already present. Part of the teaching of
the Siddhas is that there is no Avatar.

Sathya Sai Baba, then, is carrying on a symbolic drama of
Krishna and his gopis, and he carries, along with that,
because of his karmic past, various yogic siddhis. As I was
saying before, the witnessing of these siddhis, the
witnessing of miracles does not bring about the
transformation that people suspect would occur if they could
see a miracle. When you’re seeing it, it’s completely matter
of fact, it’s nothing like you would imagine. You “imagine”
because of your doubt and your emptiness. You imagine that
if you could see miracles, then that would prove that there
is God or something or other. You think that. all of a
sudden you would be full of fantastic faith, discipline,
morality and beauty just because you had seen a miracle.
This is because you think that the absence of miracles or
your belief in them is a result of loss of faith. But if you
sit down and you see these miracles of Sathya Sai Baba
happening, it’s just very matter of fact. He produces
vibhuti8 and this and that. You see it, and it does
absolutely nothing. There is no reaction because the Truth
does not occur as a reaction. The miracle doesn’t motivate
one to Truth, it motivates one to something else, toward the
bhakti cult, toward the method of loving the guru and God
until you become like the guru and God, but that is not
genuine love. When there is genuine love, the search is
unnecessary, the search is undone, there is already the
quality of realization in Truth, in God. To turn on to
something in order to realize God is not to be turning on
love, it is to be turning on to a certain effect, a

The seeker turns on to bhakti, but the man of
understanding, and those who live the way of understanding,
love. Love is the force that is natural in relationship,
love is unobstructed. Love is not that mood, an attitude
that you turn on and call devotion. That is not love, that
is nothing. That is a form of the search, that is looking
for something to occur as a result. Love is very natural and
spontaneous. It is the fullness that exists when there is no

Sathya Sai Baba is essentially functioning as a saint,
while Muktananda functions as a yogi. A saint is a little
bit more than a yogi, a little broader than a yogi, and less
limited to certain types of internal phenomena than a


Sri Ramanasramam – Tiruvannamalai



Arunachala is the holy mountain in South India that
Ramana Maharshi regarded as a perfect manifestation of the
absolute Divine. After his awakening in his late teens, he
spent his entire life there, and over time an Ashram grew up
around him. Bubba and Jerry climbed a little way up the hill
in the early evening to make the tape from which the
following transcript was taken.

Bubba first talked about the functions of yogis,
saints, and sages, and the realization and manifestation o f
the Siddhas, including Maharshi among others. He mentioned
his recent contact on the subtle plane with Nimkaroli Baba,
a yogi well known in the West as the Guru of the American
teacher Baba Ram Dass. (Nimkaroli Baba died in October, just
two months afterward.) Bubba then talked about the attitudes
of Western seekers in India and the incomplete and exclusive
understanding of the teachers at whose Ashrams such people
tend to become fascinated. After describing the full
teaching and function of the Maha-Siddha or very Divine, he
indicated the importance of the true spiritual community as
the vehicle of that teaching and function. He went on to
discuss Maharshi’s life, teaching, and Ashram in


BUBBA: At Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram we saw miracles,
saint-working. In this place there is the absolute force of
the Heart Siddhi, the work of the sage. The phenomena
peculiar to the yogi, the saint, or the sage may influence a
greater reaction or perception in you or they may not. In
any case, you did witness the drama of those awakening to
yoga at Muktananda’s Ashram, and you did see the miracles,
the making of this ash, by Sathya Sai Baba. Here you’re not
very sensitive to the force of Ramana Maharshi’s presence,
but even if you were, you would see that in itself is not
the point. The experiencing of the effects of these various
spiritual manifestations is not itself spiritual life. The
importance of pilgrimages is not that you go and get
something, that you go and something happens to you, but
that you go and no matter where you go you do sadhana. So,
the importance of pilgrimage is the same thing that is
important about staying at home. You do sadhana. These
spiritual places do not create your spiritual life, and they
don’t necessarily give you energy for spiritual life. They
don’t do anything of that kind. They may have such an
influence in your life if the moment of consciousness in you
coincides with the moment of meeting the manifestation in
one of these places. So in my own case the going to various
places and teachers has always coincided with dramatic
spiritual events. That doesn’t mean that this is what is
supposed to happen because you go to these places. It is
just the way it happened in my own case. The significance of
all these places is your sadhana. The thing that comes
across there, the quality that is in these places is not of
ultimate consequence. The quality is always, really,
ultimately asking for your sadhana.

I have spoken about how there are yogis, saints, and
sages, and how the Siddhas transcend or include the
functions of all these. Nityananda was a great yogi who made
himself so open to the Divine that he functioned as a
Siddha. He included the functions of the saint and the

Sri Ramakrishna is an example of a saint who transcended
his own sainthood and purified it by not getting attached to
its glamour, its game. He lived as a Siddha, so he included
some of the functions of the yogi and the sage. Maharshi
lived so perfectly as a sage that he transcended its
limitations and functioned as a Siddha. He included in his
own life the qualities of the yogi and the saint as

The yogis speak about the Guru and the transforming
internal life of yogic phenomena. The saints talk about God
and devotion to the Light of the world. And the sages talk
about the Self and the realization of the one Reality. The
Siddhas transform and include all of these functions and
undermine the limitations of each of these functions. Their
function is perfect. They also speak of the Guru and of God
and of the Self. A Siddha is simply one whose quality may be
that of a yogi, saint, or sage, but who functions so purely
within it that he transcends its limitations and so
functions as a Siddha.

Then there are Great Siddhas, who embrace all the
qualities from the beginning and who themselves don’t appear
through one of these specific categories. That doesn’t mean
that they themselves are any greater than these other
Siddhas who have particular qualities. These Siddhas who
have a particular quality come at a particular time and
place for a particular reason, just as a Great Siddha does.
All of those true ones are the direct manifestation and work
of the Divine in the world. Buddha, Jesus, Moses, and
Krishna were Great Siddhas. In recent days Ramakrishna,
Nityananda, and Maharshi are important because they
represent and also transcend the specific qualities of the
saint, yogi, and sage.

Muktananda is a yogi, but he doesn’t transcend and purify
his own function, so he becomes more and more involved in
its glamour. He fails to serve the ultimate, perfect
function of the Siddha and so makes the function of the yogi
self-limiting. He limits it by taking on the glamour of the
exclusive Guru. Sathya Sai Baba is a saint who has become
attached to the glamour of that which limits the saint. He
talks about God but he’s busy trying to be the Avatar, so he
has become involved in the illusion that is the limitation
of the saint, just as Muktananda is involved in the illusion
that is the limitation of the yogi. So these two are not
true Siddhas. They are certainly remarkable men, but
speaking from, the point of view of the perfect teaching,
they are self-limiting.

Sri Aurobindo was involved in an intellectual dharma, in
an animation of the great traditional way of this country,
in creating a new approach, a synthesis. But he doesn’t have
any of that intensity of the Siddhas. In his way he is
really very mediocre. There is a glamour attached to his
limitation that people confront from the very beginning, and
that in itself prevents the way of Truth. He is
fundamentally a yogi type, particularly interested in the
internal processes of transformation. He doesn’t have the
devotee’s feeling for the Lord or the sage’s for the perfect
Reality, the Heart, the Self. While he is communicating
through the language of a yogi, his particular fulfillment
or advancement as a yogi is not as profound as that of
Nityananda. Apart from all of that, he was a pure man and
did some interesting, creative, yogic work. His work is
surrounded with the same artifices and limitations as
Auroville. The intellectual-verbal aspects of his teaching
have a certain validity and usefulness examined along with
all the rest of the dharma, apart from his special

The yogis are talking about this circle of fullness,
descending and ascending. That is the aspect of functional
existence that they are concentrated upon. The saints are
concentrated on the intuition of Light, the reflected
God-Light that always stands in the Heart or Real-God. The
sages are concentrated in the Heart. The yogi, the saint,
and the sage each represent an aspect of the full teaching.
But one who is purely, perfectly living his function as a
yogi, a saint, or a sage can through his presence
communicate the force of that full teaching, even though he
normally doesn’t talk about it.

JERRY: It is a force?

BUBBA: It is an immediate, direct manifestation. It is
the Form of God. It is the fullness in the apparent
individual. Behind your sense of limitation is that perfect
Form. The whole universe is built on it. Everything is built
on it. So one who lives as a Siddha in the world manifests
that Form consciously and directly so that another, by
living as his devotee, can intuitively and in other ways
experience and know that same Form. The Siddhas who are
yogis, saints, or sages may communicate limitations verbally
in the general manner of their teaching. But if they are
true Siddhas they manifest, beyond their verbal teaching,
the full Form. The full teaching is served through them. The
perfect teaching is in Truth the Heart, the God-Light, and
the circle of force (the Fullness).

One of the things I wanted to see with Maharshi
illustrates this. In my own case, there was this descent
from the sahasrar into the Heart which he described, but
this was followed by a spontaneous regeneration of Amrita
Nadi, from the Heart to the Light above. There was really no
direct statement of this in his writings, so one of the
things I wanted to find in coming here was if there was in
him this knowledge, this fullness,, As soon as we came into
the Samadhi site last night, as soon as I walked into the
room, I could feel it all over my head and all over my body.
His manifestation was completely covering me. Alll night
long he was working. This current was moving not just down
into the Heart, but up outsof the Heart into the sahasrar
and the intuition of the Light above the body, the mind, and
the world. That’s been happening since we got here last
night, and with such intensity that it’s an obvious
statement to me that, “Yes, that is my Form.”

So that confirms to me his fullness as a Siddha. His
verbal teaching is mainly about descending into the Heart,
but that descent does not exclude any manifestation. It is
the foundation of manifestation, so it doesn’t exclude it.
The Bright, the sahasrar, the God-Light above, is its
reflection, its eternal manifestation. So there is this
continuous current from the Heart to the Light and then
descending and ascending through the circle of life, and
that is the Form that is communicated by the Maha-Siddha,
God. That is the Form of all beings, all worlds.

We’ve been to Nityananda’s Ashram and now to Maharshi’s
Ashram, and these are the two most genuine places we’ve
visited. One other place, this Ashram of Narayan Maharaj, is
very good. He was a Siddha too. And Shirdi Sai Baba. There
is a big difference between Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai
Baba. Shirdi Sai Baba would not have ceased to be as
enlightened as he was since his last birth. And yet the
manifestation of Sathya Sai Baba does not have the greatness
of Shirdi Sai Baba. It’s another quality altogether. So I
can’t accept the claim that he is the reincarnation of
Shirdi Sai Baba. There are some similarities, of course,
when he performs some of his external miracles, but there is
a completely different quality. His lila, his play, is that
of being the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, but it
doesn’t have to be taken literally. It can be taken
humorously. He can take it seriously or not. But his quality
is different, his function is different. He’s playing the
glamorous illusion of a saint, whereas Shirdi Sai Baba never
did that. He always purified his own dharma, his own
function, and was straight. 

Shirdi Sai Baba was basically a Saint. He manifested
phenomena, but this in itself is not especially yogic,
because what came through him as a Guru was not in
particular the awakening of the internal process, descending
and ascending. it was the awakening of the life of a bhakta,
devotee. The quality of his teaching was that of a saint.
Because of that intimacy with my own sadhana, the
individuals most involved with our work are not Ramakrishna
but Shirdi Sai Baba, Nityananda, and Maharshi. I mention
Ramarishna because I have a feeling for him, and the
literature of his work is very clearly, obviously that of a
Saint. But Shirdi Sai Baba is more directly related to our
work, because of my connection with him. So Nityananda is
the Yogi-Siddha, Shirdi Sai Baba the Saint-Siddha, and
Maharshi the Sage-Siddha. Since the temple of Ramakrishna in
Los Angeles was the site of the terminal events of my own
sadhana, I am inclined to include him also. He was a
Saint-Siddha functioning as an example to devotees, just as
Shirdi Sai Baba was a Saint-Siddha functioning as an object
for devotees.

JERRY: You were speaking recently of an experience with
Nimkaroli Baba?

BUBBA: Yes, while we were at Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram, I
had a subtle contact with Nimkaroli Baba. When I left the
States his was the only address I didn’t have, so I intended
to get it over here, but I have had it volunteered by people
several times now, completely out of the blue. When we were
leaving Muktananda’s Ashram, this girl came out specifically
to give me Nimkaroli Baba’s address and directions on how to
get there. Then when we went to Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram
people did the same thing, even gave us a map and

One night while we were still at Sathya Sai Baba’s, I
went through some very strange experiences with Nimkaroli
Baba. It occurred during sleep, but I was fully conscious
and apart from the physical body. I met Nimkaroli Baba on
the subtle plane, and we dealt with one another in a very
odd way. We immediately embraced one another and then
started throwing one another away. We started discarding our
own forms in the face of one another and became ridiculous,
singing and laughing and throwing ourselves to smithereens,
until there was nothing but that very Bliss. It wasn’t a
vision, it was actual, not just a dream, but a completely
conscious, direct meeting with him. Afterward, I thought at
first that I would still go see him physically, but it has
since become clear that that is not necessary.

That impulse to go see him was one of the things that
came through Sathya Sai Baba. He had nothing to say to me,
and there was no reason to say anything. I don’t have any
sort of direct connection with him, but in his presence
there was this impulse to go see Nimkaroli Baba. Now the
contact has already been made.

Beyond that good contact, I don’t have a special
relationship to Nimkaroli Baba. To me he seems to be very
much like Nityananda. There seems to be a lot of the same
magnitude. He is involved in this kundalini manifestation,
this shakti manifestation. He also has some secondary
siddhis. He has some of the quality of Rudi. I mentioned in
The Knee of Listening this experience years ago when Nina
and I were out on Fire Island with Rudi. Nina had this
experience of shock, shakti-shock, and I had it a couple of
nights later. This experience with Nimkaroli Baba was the
same, except that when it occurred with Rudi, nothing like
that had ever happened to me before. It was painful, I
didn’t want to allow that much force to flow. This time
there was no obstruction. He was showing me that this
kundalini manifestation was the form of his -instruction.
There’s some of that work going on in him.

It seems, then, that he is a yogi type, and he seems to
be very good. He is very different from somebody like
Muktananda, for instance. He is very quiet, living freely up
there in the North. Although a lot of people go to him, he
is not about to go on a worldwide spiritual salvation tour.
If he ever did such a thing, I’m sure it would be in quite a
different way. Most people go with flags waving and all
their obnoxious numbers. He seems to be a very good, pure
man, very straight. He is something like a Nityananda, maybe
a Yogi-Siddha.

The most important Siddhas in relation to our work have
not been embodied, that is, not limited by physical form and
circumstance. Maharshi was not an embodied person in the
ordinary sense. He literally was what he is now while he was
alive. There is no difference here between now and when he
was alive in terms of the manifestation. The difference is,
of course, that he is not here in the flesh to implement the
teaching to those who come here. But his manifestation is
just as it was, just as pure.

I have always had specific reasons for coming to these
places. I visit a place because it has a very direct and
present relationship to my work. Others make spiritual
pilgrimages instead of doing sadhana where they are. You see
people here in India doing that. They are not doing
anything. They just wander around and waste their time, blow
their minds and fake it. They are not really doing sadhana.
Superficial things happen, external things happen,
experiences may happen to some. But the Truth must be lived.
So it’s important for our work to be generated in America,
for it to be done there, where we live. People must be
living sadhana there. That’s what’s important.


JERRY: Here people are not doing sadhana, they are doing
a very vague attempt at it. The sadhana in our work is very
specific and definite. It’s really an opportunity.

BUBBA: People here are doing traditional kinds of
sadhana. Some of them, the native people who live here, the
most serious of them, are doing some kind of traditional
sadhana, but the traditional sadhana is not really true
sadhana. They are traditional people in a traditional
country, and doing traditional sadhana is part of the game
that goes on here.

Westerners that come through here aren’t like the usual
run of modern day Indians. They are just wandering, it is
sort of like a ride to them. It reminds me of the way Coney
Island used to be. It was a really great place. There was
this area called The Steeple Chase. It looked like an Indian
temple, all these carvings and sculptures all over the
place, and different rides all throughout it. Very strange
rides, not these little things that go around and around,
but very dramatic rides, like a parachute jump from a huge
tower and a steeple chase with horses that I rode all the
way around the building. You came out underneath the
building and walked through these mazes of moving rooms.
Finally, you came out, and a clown standing there with an
air hose would blow the women’s skirts up in the air and
everything. There was a whole stage there. Hundreds of
people would sit up there and watch these women getting
their skirts blown up. Then there was this rotating bowl.
You’d stand in the center and you’d get thrown off into the
bowl. There was another thing called the whirling pool table
with moving circles and a huge slide. They were very unusual
rides. They weren’t like the common amusement parks that go
around to carnivals and country clubs.

India is very much like that. It has that visual
earth-life feeling that Coney Island had. Every Ashram you
visit is a different ride, a different effect, a different
game. Those yogis, saints, and sages who become involved in
the glamour and illusion of their own function cannot
understand the pure teaching, the teaching of the Siddhas or
the true Divine manifestation. So you find Muktananda, in
that conversation that I had with him before we left, having
no understanding whatsoever of Maharshi. He has no
experience whatsoever of the Heart and the teaching of the
Truth that transcends experiences. He knows nothing about
it. His understanding does not encompass it. So for him
Maharshi is just a second-rate man. He can’t comprehend the
teaching of the Siddhas.

And Muktananda did not comprehend Nityananda. What he
understood of Nityananda reflects what Nityananda generated
in him, which was a piece of Nityananda. He takes that to be
the whole. He takes all these yogic phenomena in which he
has been involved as the ultimate and perfect Truth.
Nityananda never assumed that. If you understand what little
Nityananda did say, you know that his teaching was much
broader. It included the teaching about the Self and God and
the ultimate Reality. He was a more silent person. He wasn’t
involved in all these ding-dong artifices that Muktananda
loves. He was an avadhut in a real sense, whereas Muktananda
is stuck in the limitations of the yogi.

You also find saints who are limited to the glamour of
sainthood. Not only do they not understand the ultimate
Truth of the Siddhas, of the Divine manifestation, but they
also tend not to generate the internal process. They merely
turn people on to mediocre bhakti. They don’t intensify the
inner process in people, and they don’t understand the
position of the sage or the yogi. Many of the sage types who
talk about the Self say all the rest is an illusion, the
yogic phenomena and the bhakti toward a personal or
transcendent God and all that are unnecessary. They talk
only about this Self principle, and they have some sort of
reflective awareness of it through meditative practices and
self-examination. But they don’t understand the position of
the Siddhas or the Divine manifestation, and they do not
understand even the work of the saints and yogis.

The true Yogi-Siddha, the true Saint-Siddha, the true
Sage-Siddha, each of these do understand the functions of
the other two, and the total process also tends to be
generated in some fashion through them. Not necessarily in
any willful or any intentional way, but in their presence
these things arise. In the presence of Maharshi, for
instance, although he did not in any way recommend the yogic
paths, apparently the kundalini manifestation was at times
awakened spontaneously in cases where it was appropriate,
without his intentionally teaching the person about yoga. He
also said that bhakti had the same goal as jnana, the same
ultimate realization, and so he allowed himself to be the
devotional object of his devotees. He became a Guru, in
other words.

The ultimate force, the ultimate Truth of the Maha-Siddha
works through all Yogis, Saints, and Sages functioning as
Siddhas, but it’s not clarified through them. The perfect
teaching of the Maha-Siddha, of the Divine itself, includes
all three functions and teachings and clarifies them. You
don’t find any of the individuals I have mentioned, like
Nityananda, Shirdi Sai Baba, or Ramana Maharshi, talking
about this full manifestation of the Heart and the Bright
and the Fullness, descending and ascending. It doesn’t
become clarified as a teaching in their cases, although it
was manifested by the presence of each. Our work is to
clarify the teaching of the Maha-Siddha and also to manifest

At the head of all the great cultures, there is the
Maha-Siddha manifesting through a perfect agent whom I call
a Great Siddha. Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, Moses,
Krishna, these Great Siddhas are each the seed of a great
tradition, and the tradition is created by many centuries of
many, many creative individuals. It doesn’t necessarily
reflect a personality whose teaching is written down in
black and white. That can’t be found in the case of such
beings. They are the seed, the origin of the spiritual
force. Generally such Great Siddhas are the root of a new
dispensation, a new epoch of spiritual life. The true
Maha-Siddha always already exists. The true Maha-Siddha is
the Divine.

In our days the Divine as the Maha-Siddha is the one who
is present, and it is the spiritual community that must
embody the functions of the Maha-Siddha. In ancient times an
individual would tend to be the exclusive representative. He
would bring God in with him and take him out with him. Now
the community must be established in which these functions
are alive, in which human beings live in Truth. In such a
community there will be siddhis, and there will be all forms
of individual qualities. Some will have more of the yogi’s
qualities, some more of the saint’s qualities, and some more
of the sage’s qualities, but not in the exclusive sense.
Everyone will continue to work as a member of the community
as a whole.

In recent times the community has become something that
spiritual leaders have wanted to put down or make
unnecessary in some way. There have been all these swamis
and celibate saints in the recent centuries. Now we are
coming to the time when the community is again the root of
spiritual life, and these exclusive forms of professional
spirituality are no longer appropriate. So you find the
great teachers of this century since Ramakrishna no longer
recommending that people take up the professional spiritual
career, but that they live in the community. Of course,
there will always be individuals who, while remaining in the
community, are perhaps unmarried and do not live in quite
the same way that a married businessman or woman would. But
fundamentally, the community is the place of spirituality.
The community will be purified now and perfected. The
community has for centuries been a secular experience that
excludes spiritual life. That’s why spirituality has had to
go out professionally, outside the cities. But now it must
be allowed in the community. The community must be purified
so that it can be the place of spiritual life, of humor,
enjoyment, and fullness.

This is a time when there must begin to be an end to all
this secular politics. The political life or the
organization of human beings must be based in their
spiritual life. Otherwise it is not possible, because the
politics of human beings tends to be based purely on
selfishness and desires and arbitrary motivations founded in
suffering. A true form of mutual, relational life must begin
in the community, and the beginnings of that are the
initiation of spiritual life. So one of the important things
that we must do is create a seed community. Just as the
Great Siddhas of the past were individuals who were the
seeds of great traditions, my work is to create a community
that will be such a seed.

My work is to create this community, to clarify the
teaching of the Maha-Siddha or the Divine, and to live the
Siddhi of this teaching in the midst of this community, so
that it can begin to live that Siddhi, the Maha-Siddhi. It’s
not the same as making the kundalini rise and making things
magically appear or making people have visions. Those things
may occur where they are appropriate. But the Maha-Siddhi is
simply the direct manifestation of the Divine Form, the Very
Form in which all beings live. Manifesting that Form tends
to enliven it in others and to bring about its function in
them. Not because others just happen to be there, but
because they enter into relationship and live those
functions according to the teaching.

Sages in general are very impractical. Their teaching is
non-worldly. It’s not radical in the true sense. It is
revolutionary, and all revolutionary forms of the teaching
are exclusive. There is something that they don’t include.
The teachings of the sages in general excludes the world.
“The world is an illusion, it is unreal, only the Self is,
real.” They teach that “the world is the Self,” but in the
form of their sadhana and verbal instruction, they tend to
view everything as an illusion. Even Maharshi, at least in
the form of this teaching, was one of these exclusive
teachers, very impractical, always in a trance, always in
this intense condition without movement, without much
communication, without much function. It was years and years
before he really started functioning in any way with

In his Ashram there are two types of people. There are
the people who take on this quality of non-worldliness,
non-activity, and there are the others who follow the
tradition that was started by Maharshi’s brother. He created
this whole Ashram scene. Maharsi wanted nothing to do with
it. These are the very intense traditional people who want
to create an Ashram, a traditional spiritual place, and
carry on business. That is necessary, but as a consequence,
they tend to be non-spiritual, because Maharshi didn’t
include this functional aspect of life in his instruction.
There is a conflict built into his Ashram and his teaching
between the spiritual, non-worldly types and the worldly but
fundamentally non-spiritual, or only traditionally spiritual
types. These are the people who run the Ashram, who are
generally in charge of everything, and the others are the
non-worldly, easier, happier, smoother people, the ones who
are the inmates of the Ashram.

This is the limitation of the teaching of the sages, and
that limitation does exist in a very real way in Maharshi’s
teaching. I have said that he is a Siddha. He is a Sage who
was by tendency involved in this limitation, but who
continually purified his function so he did not become
attached to the glamour and limitation of it. So he
functioned as Siddha. The force of the Divine manifested
through him in its fullness. But the teaching and influences
in the world that came through him are all of this limited
variety, this exclusive variety, just as the saint tends to
be exclusive in his particular way and the yogi in his
particular way.

Only the teaching of the Maha-Siddha is full and
complete, not exclusive, but radical. That’s why it is not
appropriate for people, particularly Westerners, to take on
the dharma of somebody like Maharshi. People want to take on
these Hindu ways, but they don’t understand their roots and
causes. They don’t understand where these ways lead or what
they’re all about. They know nothing about it. The radical
teaching of the Maha-Siddha is not known. It hasn’t been
sifted from all the massive data of spiritual life and
interpreted. So the work of our Ashram is to communicate
Truth in a very clear way. Then the various manifestations
that arise spontaneously in the world, the saints, yogis,
and sages and wise men, all the kinds of men of experience,
can be understood. They can be appreciated, enjoyed and
loved, but also understood. People do not understand, so
they either reject all of those manifestations or they
become attached to them arbitrarily, instead of living the
full Truth that exists prior to all of these manifestations.
That is the teaching of the Maha-Siddha, which in itself is
simply the revelation of the Divine process. No single
individual is the Maha-Siddha, but there have been
individuals who manifested the Divine directly, clearly,
openly. We call these men Great Siddhas because they did not
provide an obstruction to the Divine. But the human
individual who fulfilled that function during a lifetime is
not the eternal Maha-Siddha up in the sky somewhere. He was
the Maha-Siddha in terms of his function. It has nothing
whatever to do with his destiny as an individual.

Because of the limitations of yogis, saints, and sages,
regardless of the greatness of the individual who is the
seed of any particular Ashram or tradition, there is always
a point where his ability to open to the fuller
communication and involve himself in it comes to an end.
There is always a point of resistance, a point of reaction,
a point of non-acceptance. We saw that with Muktananda, and
we see it also with Sathya Sai Baba.

Here, if I were to sit down and have a conversation with
the most learned of the devotees who knows Maharshi’s
teachings, there would be a lot of basic disagreement.
Because each would have to approach our work from the point
of view of his tradition, the tradition of the sages. Just
as the tradition of the sages in very critical ways rejects
the tradition of the saints and yogis, it also rejects the
tradition of the Maha-Siddha. These traditions of yogis,
saints, and sages are ultimately humorless, because they are
exclusive. They can’t comprehend that which they exclude
with their subtle dogma. They are revolutionary ways, not
radical, complete, full, non-exclusive.

You notice the people who have enjoyed our presence here
most are not the official types who represent the organs of
this Ashram, but the old devotees, those who are very
interested in spiritual life.


JERRY: All the others look at you skeptically.

BUBBA: That’s the way those people treated Ramana
himself. That’s the way the people in Muktananda’s Ashram
were. There, everybody was like that. There wasn’t a
friendly face in that whole joint. Here at least there is
some looseness. But the radical teaching represents a threat
to all traditions. It doesn’t make any difference what a
person’s game is. Whether he is an Ashram figure or a
businessman, a man’s ego has become attached to certain
qualities. They can be so-called “spiritual” things or
worldly things. These attachments are just the theatre of
his separateness. The radical teaching is a threat to even
the spiritual life of an individual, not just his worldly
life and desires, but all his desiring, the whole complex
affair of his existence is threatened by the radical
teaching. Of course people are skeptical. It is a threat, a
danger. It is too wild, too free. They think if they somehow
did give in to it, they would have to yield to all kinds of
craziness in themselves that they have never really
confronted. This is one of the good things about Alan Watts’
essay on The Knee of Listening. He talked about how this is
dangerous wisdom. It is true. That is why traditional and
ordinary people react to such a teaching. They do not react
because of what the teaching is, but because of what they

JERRY: I was speaking to the American consul on the
airplane about the work. He is very secure, stable, and
accomplished, very happy, and very competent. After about
five minutes, he started picking his fingernails and biting
his lip. He was really disagreeing and getting a little
disturbed by what I was saying, it was really bothering

BUBBA: Yes, I saw him in the airport. He’s the kind of
guy you want to slap in the face. Sickening, clean cut,
satisfied, pipe smoking, everything neat and together.

JERRY: While he was picking at his fingernails and biting
his lip he was saying that people aren’t disturbed.

BUBBA: Yes, ultimately the Truth can’t win because it’s
not an opponent. It can only be made to seem like an
opponent. Because the Truth is not an opponent, it doesn’t
overwhelm and win the world. That’s why many great Masters
like Maharshi have taken on a role that was not that of an
opponent in any sense. He was neither positive nor negative,
he was just silent, passive and unobstrusive. He made no
demands and presented nothing. This was the manner of his
teaching, and to a great extent it is the manner of the
teaching of all spiritual masters. But even such a one must
in various ways take on ordinary functions, and instruct
through them.

One extreme is the silent, motionless avadhut like
Maharshi, and the other is the political activist. Some men
in this country who are considered spiritual leaders are
violently political. They take on all kinds of roles, very
directly and obsessively, whereas somebody like Maharshi
took on none. All this is just a sign of what life has
become. It has become a secular existence that starts from
the ground and works its way up. But spiritual existence
starts from somewhere higher up and moves down and up

Many centuries ago in all countries there was this
splitting of the functional order of life and its demands
from the so-called “spiritual” life. Each became a
profession, and Church and State separated. Centuries ago,
the professionally religious and spiritual people left the
cities, towns, and ordinary life. The traditions of
spiritual life as celibate, non-worldly, detached
mountain-cave living began, along with this traditional
antagonism between functional life and so-called “spiritual”
life. People have been trying to carry on both ordinary life
and spiritual existence in the midst of a situation of
artificial conflict, a kind of warfare that is not
appropriate or true.

In ancient times there was no such division between
functional life and spiritual life. It was all one.
Spiritual life and teaching took place under ordinary
circumstances. The Gurus or Spiritual Masters were married
and lived in the community. So I am very much interested in
restoring the true condition of community in which
functional life is a spiritual form. Then we won’t have the
kind of conflict situations that you see being acted out in
Maharshi’s Ashram.

In the world personal existence seems to be concerned
with political maneuvering and productive functioning.
People get weary of that, of the drive, the competition, of
having things, and they turn to spiritual life. Some are
driven to turn away from their spiritual life in order to
acquire things and to have pleasures. There is always this
idiot problem. Spiritual life and ordinary life are always
becoming attempts at a solution to this problem. But there
is no such problem, and life must be lived prior to that
apparent problem before there is going to be any true
spirituality and functional life. In both the individual and
the community, there must be the insight into this
fundamental antagonism that is the heart of all social life.
When that insight arises, our various activities in the
world are seen as only attempts to solve an artificial
problem, and the whole order of life falls into place.
Everything becomes appropriate, natural, full.

There has been no such state of things for many thousands
of years. Things occurred in vastly ancient times that
disturbed humanity, not in a science fiction sense, but just
as a result of adapting to natural and psychic conditions.
This split took place. People began to handle the demands of
existence bit by bit in ways that began to emphasize this


Trip to India: Taxis, Temples and God

by Jerry Sheinfeld

The Dawn Horse Magazine, Vol 2, No. 2, Jubilee Issue
August 1974

Also see:

The following is an excerpt from a
talk Bubba gave to his devotees in Los Angeles on Prasad
Day, April 8, 1973, several months before he departed on his
pilgrimage to India.

are you going to India