Authority, Certainty, Growth, and Freedom – In an Age of Uncertainty and Doubt – Adi Da Samraj




 

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What
is the White and Orange
Project?


Authority, Certainty,
Growth and Freedom

In an Age of Uncertainty
and Doubt

 Editors note: The following
is an excepted and edited talk given by Adi Da Samraj on
April 6, 1987
taken from The Way of The Heart Student
Text Series, Vol 1, No 2.

 

ADI DA SAMRAJ: Human cultures
in general, until very recently, have functioned on the
basis of the presumption that there is authority, an
authoritative view, an existing revelation about the
universe, existence itself, about what is happening, what is
going on here. In the Indian system, the Vedas are the
traditional something that is pointed to as authoritative.
In the West it is usually either science or the Bible. In
the Islamic tradition it is the Koran. Each social or
cultural system has its basis of authority.

 

“We are all
supposed to investigate everything and discover the Truth
for ourselves.”

 

Now, in the twentieth century,
authority is disappearing, if it has not already disappeared
altogether. Yes, of course, there are still religious people
who want to believe in the old ways, in the old doctrines,
in the old books, but people’s ability to affirm authority
is decreasing. Society as a whole is no longer based on it,
or only tentatively associated with it, and thus authority
is rather ambiguous. Authority has become less desirable. It
is even becoming taboo, so that the prevailing mood is one
of anti-authority. Nothing is “written”. There is no fixed
revelation now. We are all supposed to investigate
everything and discover the Truth for ourselves. We may thus
progressively learn more and more, but we do not have an
authority. Therefore, we have no right to certainty, no
cultural norm that tells us we can be certain about such and
such.

Even a scientific theory like the
Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, though it is
commonly believed, is not affirmed as absolute doctrine.
Maybe the Big Bang theory will turn out not to be true after
a few more observations, or will disappear completely in a
few decades. Or maybe it will be given more support from
continued research. In any case, it will still have the
status of a theory, rather than the status of
authority.

Tradition

In this sense, you are not like
people who lived even in the nineteenth century in the West,
you see, or in centuries previous. If you had been born in
those centuries, not only would you have grown up believing
that there was an authoritative revelation about nearly
everything, but you would have lived with that same point of
view as an adult. Science has achieved its present status
through a long period of struggling with the institutions
and the human state of mind associated with the old
authorities, such as the church, the Bible, and so
on.

The great concepts that have
influenced the twentieth century – like evolution through
Darwin, or the psychoanalytical understanding of the human
being through Freud, or Einstein’s views about the nature of
physical reality – have had to struggle even to be heard
within the context of a previously existing culture of
authority that did not believe it, that even felt threatened
by these scientific investigations.

Renaissance

The struggle between science and
existing authority dates back to science’s beginnings as a
grand cultural influence in the Renaissance. The early
Renaissance was characterized by grand dramatic
confrontations between the new and growing approach to
existence represented by science, and the old authority
represented by institutions and books like the Bible. You
all know about Galileo and his struggles, for
example.

In the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries, Darwin’s writings about the origin of
species and his theory of evolution through natural
selection were reacted to most profoundly by people who
affirmed the authority of the Bible and the church. You know
about the “monkey trial”, the Scopes trial. Even now, the
argument rages between fundamentalist creationists and
scientific cosmologists.

 

“It is
difficult…for anyone to come to a truly balanced state of
mind.”

 

The culture into which we have all
been born, therefore, is a culture of doubt, not a culture
based on authority or certainty. Authority is taboo, and
certainty is taboo. It is difficult, then, for anyone to
come to a truly balanced state of mind, because balance
depends on a kind of certainty, integrity, freedom from
doubt and fear. But if it is culturally taboo to be certain,
and if authority, or authoritativeness, is inherently in
doubt and culturally taboo, then you cannot come to a point
of certainty. You cannot come to a point of no doubt. And
you cannot affirm something “without doubt”.

You all clearly reflect that
attitude. Nobody sat down with you and told you this is the
way you are supposed to be, but you happened to turn out
that way. You are the result of the cultural and social
forces of our time. You were largely unconscious of their
influence. You just absorbed it. You adapted to that point
of view. You came to your doubt progressively because of the
influences around you. Being full of doubt and uncertainty
does not feel good, but you still are motivated by doubt, by
uncertainty, by a lack of authority to try to regain your
balance, to try to regain integrity. You are doing it in
your own particular way, and other people try to do it in
their way.

 

ARE THERE IDEAS
THAT WE CAN ASSUME TO BE TRUE?

 

What do you think? Is authority
necessary? It is taboo now, but is it necessary? Is it a
good thing? Is it another one of the things you need to
regain in your quest? Or is it something toward which human
beings should be psychologically indisposed? Should you be
psychologically indisposed toward authority? I use the word
“authority” because I do not know what other word to use for
the moment. I hope you do not think I am talking about a
parental, negative, and suppressive force. I am talking
about a normative understanding or expression of knowledge
that is presumed to be so, to be true. Is this a need? Or is
it really something that adult humanity no longer needs and
should in fact eschew or abandon?

PRACTITIONER: My
grandparents, for example, were born in the last century,
and my grandmother is very fixed in her ideas about
religion. It seems different now from the kind of certainty
of the past centuries – except for the few who have moved
beyond the limits, whether they were cultural or
not.

ADI DA SAMRAJ: Relative to
uncertainty, for instance, there is no doubt that certain
kinds of uncertainty are totally appropriate. Until you
precisely know how a particular something happens-for
example, when a certain kind of atomic particle meets
another kind of atomic particle-until you have truly learned
about that through real observation, it is totally
appropriate to be uncertain about how that works. It is
therefore not necessary that human beings be absolutely
certain about everything. I do not perceive that human
beings need such certainty, which is a kind of
closed-mindedness, no-life, no-movement, no ability to
grow.

 

“Uncertainty in
the most primal sense, at the level of existence… seems to
be more a kind of disease.”

 

On the other hand, uncertainty in
the most primal sense, at the level of existence or being
itself, seems to be more a kind of disease. It is a lack of
integrity, a lack of wholeness. That kind of uncertainty, it
would seem, one needs to transcend. People tend to want to
transcend the primal uncertainty by feeling absolutely and
inappropriately certain about what nobody is at all certain
about and should not be certain about, since neither they
nor anyone else has investigated it.

People tend to affirm a great deal
of nonsense to achieve primal certainty, whereas primal
certainty ought to be achieved on the basis of Truth, or
Realization. If you truly examined your grandmother’s
affirmations, you could not be certain of the things she
affirms. The certainty she feels somehow gives her a kind of
security, but in your feeling, at any rate, she is getting
her primal certainty by believing in nonsense.

PRACTITIONER: Right. That’s
obvious.

ADI DA SAMRAJ: When human
beings in general tend to be characterized by a certain
point of view, a certain understanding, a certain stage of
life, that point of view, that understanding, that stage of
life tends to become the norm and thus tends to limit
everybody’s understanding and growth. If that same society
were associated with an authoritative source or tradition
expressive of a disposition much more advanced than is
commonly achieved, that authoritative presence, because it
is acceptable to people, would be the principle by which
everybody continues to grow. If there is no such authority,
then people will, in their collective non-wisdom, tend to
suppress one another and make taboo the very thing that must
not be taboo if people are to grow.

Just as it is associated with
tolerance and cooperation, freedom is naturally associated
with authority-not suppressive authority, not the so-called
true-believer’s fundamentalism, not cultism. The exercise of
true intelligence and freedom, in other words, naturally or
natively associates itself with true authority, honors and
makes good use of the signs and representations,
demonstrations, and Blessings of true Realizers. Such
authority has traditionally been the context of human
culture, but it has unfortunately been adulterated, and
almost eliminated, made taboo even in the twentieth century.
This has produced a process of subhuman acculturation
wherein everybody as an ego is presumed to be a
self-sufficient authority, anti-authority is the accepted
disposition, and rebellion is considered to be the basis of
freedom or liberty.

In the face of this subhuman
orientation to freedom, the State’s efforts to control and
suppress and demand conformity have increased. In other
words, freedom is not increasing with all this so-called
liberty. Rather, non-freedom is becoming more and more the
norm, because when people become free in that self-possessed
rebellious sense, the State must make more dramatic efforts
to control them. The normative, non-Realized disposition is
thus enforced more and more tangibly. I think this is the
unfortunate state of mankind at the present time.

 

Universalism, a
characteristic of True Authority, transcends polority and
promotes tolerance and cooperation. Giving people integrity,
certainity, security and the possibility of
growth.

 

A fundamental characteristic of true
authority is universalism, the opportunity to function on
the basis of the highest possible concept, the most
inclusive orientation, rather than suppression, or the
demand for conformity to a certain point of view. False
authority localizes and polarizes. I do not advocate that at
all. But true authority promotes a universal disposition,
and therefore tolerance and cooperation. That is what I mean
by authority. Don’t misunderstand me – true authority
supports and educates people in a great disposition, one
that is truly human, not subhuman, but greater than ordinary
– human, a true ideal if you will. It makes a true ideal the
basis of human activity. It is therefore necessarily
cooperative and tolerant and not suppressive, and it
transcends polarization.

One of the functions of true
authority, therefore – not arbitrary, suppressive authority,
but true authority, an authoritative tradition of Truth – if
it remains extant or culturally presumed, is to give people
a resource for their fundamental integrity or certainty.
True authority also keeps the collective non-wisdom from
becoming suppressive to the point that people cannot grow
anymore.

The Fourth Stage of
Life

The next stage of growth for human
beings in general is the leap to the fourth stage of life.
That leap requires true self-understanding and transcendence
of the egoic disposition associated with the first three
stages of life. How will people make that transition if they
do not come into association with an authority, a source of
Truth, about which they can be certain or in relation to
which they can be moved beyond themselves? It is not
possible while they are guided by their own mentality and
the collective mentality of non-wisdom with which they are
associated. If anyone is to grow, there must be a
breakthrough of something authoritative, convincing,
certainty-creating, awakening. Such has been the function of
the great traditions of ultimate Realization, even of
religion in general.

Human existence, as I have suggested
to you, develops through a structure of seven stages. The
first three stages of life represent a period of adaptation
and growth that we could call human in the most fundamental
sense. The body-mind, the emotional being, the ordinary
human psyche, and all the social expressions associated with
the human being are developed in the context of the first
three stages of life.

We could say that the fourth stage
of life is the terrestrial stage of development. Although
certainly human life in its first three stages is
terrestrial, growth or development or adaptation in the
context of the first three stages is toward those things
which are specifically human. In the context of the fourth
stage of life, at least until its advanced developments,
growth takes place not merely in the context of human
individuality but also in the context of human existence or
descended being itself in its terrestrial or earthly form.
The process in the fourth stage of life, therefore, until
its advanced or ascending form develops, is
self-transcending receptivity to the Divine, or the
Spiritual Reality, in descent, down through the frontal
line.

The authoritativeness of Realization
in the context of the fourth stage must somehow break
through if you are to pass beyond the merely human stages to
the terrestrial stage. But that stage is not the end either.
Doctrines associated with bhakti and devotional existence
and Spiritual receptivity are not sufficient, and eventually
you must grow beyond them. Therefore, even greater authority
becomes necessary.

 

“All adaptation is
in a sense self transcending, since you must move beyond a
self-limit to a greater dimension of awareness.”

 

We could call the advanced dimension
of the fourth stage of life and the fifth stage of life as a
whole the cosmic stage of development, wherein human beings
continue the self transcending process or the process of
adaptation. All adaptation is in a sense self transcending,
since you must move beyond a self-limit to a greater
dimension of awareness. In the context of the ascending
process, beginning in the advanced phase of the fourth stage
of life, human beings transcend themselves by adapting to
the cosmic frame through psychic ascent, or ascending
participation in the Spiritual Reality. This process leads
to Cosmic Consciousness and Conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi,
including various great and lesser realizations. These
realizations, however, are also a limit. Yogic doctrine and
the doctrine of the saints is not sufficient. They must be
passed beyond eventually.

The domain of the prophets, by the
way, belongs to the fourth stage of life, even to the third
stage of life, because so much of their influence and motive
was to regenerate the moral or social disposition of human
beings by associating them with Divinity. The prophets,
therefore, belong to religion in the human, rather than the
fully terrestrial, context. Greater devotees, direct
God-Realizers, go on to serve the process in the fullest
context of the fourth stage of life.

 

The Transcendental
and Divine Stage

The Passage Beyond Separate Point of View.

 

Beyond the cosmic stage is the sixth
stage of life, the stage of transcendental Realization,
Realization of That which transcends the ordinary or
manifest human frame, transcends the terrestrial or
descending frame, transcends the cosmic or ascending frame,
transcends the psyche, transcends conditionality,
particularly the subjective and subtle psychic
manifestation. Of course, you must be prepared to move into
the framework of the sixth stage of life, but you must also
be attracted to it through the demonstration and the
authoritative expression of the sixth stage
Realizers.

The seventh stage of life is itself
summarized or ultimately fulfilled in perfect Translation.
You must understand that there is a unique difference
between the sixth stage of life and the seventh. The seventh
stage of life is the Divine stage, the sixth is the
transcendental stage, and there is a profound difference
between them.

There is a profound difference
between each of the stages or great sequences. The passage
from the sixth to the seventh is actually the completion or
fulfillment of the total passage through and beyond the
conditional point of view of egoity. It is passage beyond
the separate point of view. It is Realization of the Divine
point of view, so-called, which is without limits, although
it may apparently be associated, if we can use the word
“associated”, with any form of limitation, just as it may be
associated with no limitations whatsoever. It carries no
obligation to appear in one way or the other.

The sixth stage of life is about
identification with the transcendental state, Consciousness
Itself, ultimately to the exclusion of phenomena. Just as
the fifth stage of life is involved in the subtlest reaches
of objectivity, the sixth stage of life is immersion in the
ultimate domain of subjectivity, beyond the psyche. It is
identification with Consciousness prior to objects, as if
the limits on Consciousness had been released by passing
beyond the context of space-time, and you had brought
yourself to stand prior to the Big Bang, before there was
space or space-time, before there were objects, before there
were mind, body, and conditionality in any form. That is
transcendental Realization, but it is simply another
stage.

The highest stage is the Divine
stage, the stage of the Realization of the Divine Nature of
Consciousness. That Realization carries with it the native
capacity to “Recognize” whatever apparently arises, even if
space does arise, even if space-time arises, even if
conditions arise, the body arises, psyche arises, others
arise. The arising of anything does not limit the Divine.
Likewise, it does not limit the Realizer of the Divine
Condition.

The Call

Now I am here calling you to that
Realization. Yet you are called to truly Realize it, which
means you must take into account, or really associate
yourself with, whatever limitations are associated with your
point of view in the present moment. You must outgrow
yourself, or transcend yourself, to Realize that ultimate
Realization. Nonetheless, the Wisdom Teaching and the Mere
Presence of the True Heart-Master are given to you even as a
beginner. That Presence and that Teaching are the means
whereby you can be drawn beyond yourself to the ultimate
point of view. You are not being called and drawn to a
lesser realization.

No realization, no stage along the
Way is the ultimate or Divine Realization.

You are not kissed and fondled and
congratulated and given badges for practicing stages two or
three. These are just phases of your growth and outgrowing.
They are not ultimate achievements. Nor are visions. No
phenomenal signs are ultimate achievements. No limitations
are.

Your practice is therefore governed
by this ultimate Teaching and Presence, which is the
instrument whereby you can grow even ultimately, just as it
is the instrument whereby you can grow in the context of
your present limits.

Such is the basis of the Way that
you practice, at whatever stage you may be practicing-even
those at the human stage can consider this Wisdom-Teaching,
you see. You may be practicing at the terrestrial stage or
the cosmic stage or the transcendental stage. Whatever your
stage of practice, you are practicing in response to That
which is communicated ultimately.

True Authority

Therefore, you as practitioners of
the Way of the Heart are associated with an authoritative
revelation, a revelation you take to be authoritative in the
traditional sense, not in any sense that is limiting or
negative. The Way should function for you as such authority.
You should thoroughly examine it with true discrimination,
but ultimately it should function for you as authoritative
Revelation. It is intended to. It is intended to serve your
integrity and to attract and draw you from the very
beginning.

What if there were no such
authority? You might, as people ordinarily do, settle into
the struggles of the first three stages. Or you might be
attracted to some teacher or tradition or book that
represented to you the very next stage, or some stage higher
than your present stage. You might even try to imitate the
higher stages, but you would not have the clarity associated
with ultimate authority, perfect Revelation, nor would you
be associated in your present-time practice with the Grace
of the Revealed Presence. Therefore, for you to practice
this Way of the Heart, you must necessarily be associated
with its ultimate authority, its ultimate Revelation, which
is not only in the form of a Wisdom-Teaching, but in the
form of a Presence, a Transmitted Grace.

In fact, then, you have rediscovered
a source of authority, just as people traditionally were
associated with an authoritative source, a governing
principle and reality. You have discovered it in the context
of being a practitioner in a particular, yet rather small,
community. You should be able to see, then, how important it
is that there be such a Revelation, such an authority, and
how it should be intelligently approached, but ultimately
honored. And, likewise, you should expect that it be
honored. You should not be calling for cultism,
indiscriminate fascination, and affirmation, but for right
honoring and intelligent consideration of the Revelation
that is the Way of the Heart.

In addition to serving that very
Realization in you, one of the things I am doing, especially
in The Basket Of Tolerance, is communicating a reasonable
justification for reaccepting a certain kind of authority
and making it part of the cultural life of humanity in
general. I am calling people specifically to the Way of the
Heart in my Spiritual Company, that is true, but even prior
to that, through The Basket Of Tolerance I am calling people
to the authority represented by the Great Tradition as a
whole, not any particular sect or exoteric version of it,
but the Great Tradition as a total history of revelation
epitomized not only by certain great individuals but by
certain great Realizations, which we should be able to
affirm as authoritative based on a most intelligent
examination of all the realities of the Great
Tradition.

 

Today everyone
is…is rightfully in the position to receive, the total
tradition of human existence, human realization, human
struggle.

 

We are no longer Americans or
Australians or Europeans or Japanese or Indians or
Saudi-Arabians. In some sense, we are nationals by virtue of
our birth and the political realities of where we live. But
nobody is defined as a human being by nationalism anymore,
for the world is globally intercommunicative. Everyone is
receiving everything, and not just what they may receive
provincially or locally or for the time being. Everyone
receives, or at least is rightfully in the position to
receive, the total tradition of human existence, human
realization, human struggle. That total tradition is what I
call the Great Tradition. That tradition is many things, but
in its ultimate expression, as a whole, rather than as
parts, it is authoritative, or significant, or worthy of
being taken seriously.

The Great Tradition, including
science, is not an alternative to science. It is not
prescientific. Religion is not prescientific. Religion is
simply another orientation, and it is senior to the
orientation of science, because the orientation of science
is inherently analytical or nonparticipatory. Science is a
technique of observation. It is not a way of life, or should
not be. Although it is becoming a way of life through
technology and political influence, it is not worthy of
being accepted as a way of life. You might as well say that
materialism is worthy of being a way of life. Very few
people in human history who have been serious about great
matters would say that materialism is an ultimately worthy
philosophy. Some people want to argue for it, of course, as
people want to argue for all kinds of things, but great
Realizers, truly serious individuals who overcame
themselves, did not affirm materialism in any single case.
None of them did. Materialism is an expression of a certain
point of view that basically belongs to the human sequence,
or the first three stages of life.

What should be authoritative is the
Great Tradition as a whole. In other words, we should not be
provincial. We must take seriously the greater aspects of
the Great Tradition and not be localized or diminished in
our humanity by identification with merely exoteric things,
or a lower order of existence. But if we use the Great
Tradition as our tradition, we will inherit, you see, even
the greatest of considerations through to the seventh
stage.

If humankind could reassociate
itself with the Great Tradition as an authoritative
revelation, then the great traditional principle of
authority would be reintroduced into human society. This is
not at all the conventional, political authority of
domination and suppression, which has nothing to do with the
great matters considered in the Great Tradition.

If you understand me rightly, you
will acknowledge that the reassertion of the true, great,
traditional principle of authority is essential for human
well-being, and it can be reintroduced into human societies
by our acknowledging the Great Tradition, which relieves us
of provincialism, relieves us of the point of view of merely
the first three stages of life. This would be
good.

Now, you all are certainly examples
of people who have reconnected with authority as it has been
acknowledged in the Great Tradition. You therefore have a
governor or a source of certainty, of balance, of integrity,
which, of course, you must approach intelligently, not at
all as true believers or as cultists.

By virtue of your affirming the
principle of certainty, balance, and integrity, you are
suggesting that you have found a resolution to a fundamental
human need. I suggest, then, that the Great Tradition is
worthy of being reaffirmed as the tradition of all humanity,
and of being reasserted, therefore, in the context of human
societies. If it were so asserted the edge of all kinds of
social, political, cultural, and economic difficulties would
certainly be softened. Mankind would see a progressive
education, a progressive process of growth, an opening to
growth on the part of people everywhere.

I think this is a good idea, and
you, by virtue of what you are doing, are suggesting it is a
good idea. The question is: Is it possible? And I would say
that in principle, it is possible in the longest term.
Through my Spiritual Work I am providing a seed for the
possibility.

I playfully suggest to you that I am
talking to people who will appear a long time into the
future. I am. I am also talking to you all, but I am talking
to people yet to come and trying to introduce a seed of
possibility. The fullest Realization of what I am presenting
to human beings through my Work is not likely for some time
to come. But if this institution continues, and
authentically, then it will be an instrument for this
possibility. It will communicate this possibility, and if it
is successful in its communications, it will find
intelligent responses. Obviously, in principle, this is
something that should be done.

The success I look forward to in my
lifetime is, of course, the actual communication of my
Teaching Revelation, and that has been done to some
significant degree already. But beyond that, I look for the
gathering of devotees to be authentic and for the Communion
to establish itself and show all the signs that it can not
only survive in the present context but perpetuate itself
and be a living seed, an instrument, for the accomplishment
of good things for humanity in the future. Of course, those
good things include people entering into greater and greater
stages of growth and realization, and also being an
influence at the level of humanity at large. This Communion
functions on many levels. It provides a culture for people
who grow through the stages, but it also maintains its work
with the public, friends, and beginners. Likewise, its
influence in the future will be effective at many
levels.

You see the reason for my urgency,
then, in ensuring the success of the response that is this
Communion. Among other things, the Communion is purposed to
reestablish a fundamental authority for human beings-to help
humanity become grounded once again, associated with the
great Realisation that permits that authority to be
effective through various cultural means, even at the
beginning level of human adaptation. Human beings would not
thereby become Spiritualizing robots-nothing of the kind.
Uncertainty in the ordinary sense remains, and there are
still things to learn. The lower levels of adaptation or
growth remain part of human existence, and all kinds of
limitations must still be dealt with creatively, but there
is a grand difference between dealing with all those things
in the context of sheer doubt and no understanding of the
great matter at all and confronting them in the context of a
real, living culture of ultimate, perfect
Realization.