Terry Patten and Saniel Bonder on Adi Da

Terry Patten and Saniel Bonder


Adi Da Samraj



“His devotees (are) performing a wonderful service, but they’re certainly not doing much to communicate his work very broadly in the world. And it seems that it needs to find its way forward in a way that allows a left-hand path, a path for people who are not willing to go into a monological locking in on him as the ‘Divine Only’.  And not taking any kind of critical perspectives that’s just not available in this integral age that people need a freer and much more potentially adolescent critical defiant frame and still to become appreciative.  I think are still some really important and incredibly potent dimensions of his transmission that I want to see more and more people turn onto. I actually am an advocate for people reading and partaking of his transmission. I think there’s something unique in it. How do you feel about all that”? – Terry

January 2, 2012


Terry Patten:  We’ve promised to talk a little about Adi Da and in a way hang out in some sense. You and I are, let me just speak personally. You’ll say it your way. I think we witnessed a jaw dropping miracle of the first order and have been irrevocably changed by that miracle. And for myself, I’m rendered eternally grateful. What I got from Adi Da, what Adi Da still is in my consciousness is in that sense, I’m still a devotee, just utterly in the mode of gratitude. And I had to fight for my life with him. And only through the most profound kind of struggle have I been able to be who I am. And I feel tremendous resonance and large scale agreement with almost every point of view that is surfaced about him. Even though they are so in conflict with one another. I think that his worst critics and his most eloquent devotees are all speaking to real truth.

And what it is to stand as an inheritor of that complex blessing and empowerment is it’s really a riddle because in some quarters when I speak positively about him particularly, but even just hearing that I was with him, people begin to, they marginalize. They take me as someone who cannot see through grandiosity, narcissism, preciousness, delusion, all kinds of things that seem prima facie to be what he’s all about. And there’s very little openness to me, and I know you’re dealing with the same dynamics. I think it’s interesting for us to talk about what it is to be working with that legacy, but also what it is to be rightly related to the incredible gifts we were given.

Saniel: Yeah. Well, thank you. I feel quite similarly, my work would not be possible without, not even remotely, without what I received from Adi Da. And at the same time, like I had to get up and walk out the door under the explicit threat of hellish karmas for lifetimes, for breaking the vows that he had required all of his devotees to take in relation to him as eternal guru, et cetera, et cetera. And it’s been a long process of achieving a more and more simple and evident psychospiritual autonomy. And yeah, looking back, I mean it’s a little bit like my relation to my biological father who died as just midsummer last year. Happily, we got to a place where we were both obviously ourselves and could deeply appreciate one another, and I could see his tremendous strengths and gifts to me and also the ways in which he was sure enough, a very limited human being. And it’s similar with Adi Da, and I agree with you. I think there are certain aspects of his communication, his realization of divine and total reality as the “Heart”, the nature of his transmission work, his blessing work. There are certain aspects of his gifts, what he called the bava or divine outshining, certain aspects of his contribution to humanity that from my perspective, we’re going to have to take note of individually and more and more collectively. He’s not going to go away and he can’t be reduced to his opposite extremes, which also, however we run grave danger, just glossing them over and arbitrarily assigning perfect divinity to all that as if it wasn’t an aspect of the total reality of existence that he might well have transcended were it possible for him. So yeah, he’s an incredibly complex character and I definitely agree with you both extremes of his nature and everything in between have to be squared up to, and you’ve got to become pretty strong in yourself to be able to do that pretty strong in yourself and pretty receptive to wildly paradoxical possibility.