THE DREADED GOM-BOO
The God Don’t Eat the People
By Annie Rogers ( 1983 )
Bhagavan Adi Da’s Hermitage Sanctuary in Kauai was a
beautiful place until Tumomama 1 , the fierce aspect of the
Divine as Goddess, cloaked in the guise of Hurricane Iwa,
struck, exposed her fangs, stuck out her tongue, snorted,
screamed, hissed, and blew out the Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary spreads gracefully across six acres of
rolling lawn spotted in places with groupings of two or
three beautiful old koa trees. The entire property is
cloistered by a surrounding jungle and a natural barrier of
very, very tall, old trees shrouded in vines. A sacred river
cuts its ragged path through the jungle and rocks, and
embraces one side of the property. From Grace Leans, the
sacred banyan tree that marks the highest point on the
property, one can look across the rolling lawn to the
Heart-Master’s house, and beyond that past the river to open
fields of sugarcane and the sacred mountain [Mt.
Waiaileale] that is the wettest place in the world.
Despite the apparently peaceful look of the Sanctuary, it
was once the site of ceremonial worship by the ancient
Hawaiian warrior class. It had been shrouded by the evil
forces of black magic. Bhagavan Adi Da has said many times
that this very spot was the most evil place on Earth. But
after years of Bhagavan’s Work on this property, it has been
transformed into a place of Divine Force. Nevertheless, the
Nature-Power associated with the place is wild and fierce.
In honor of this Goddess-Force, Bhagavan renamed the
Sanctuary “Tumomama,” which means “fierce woman.”
We were unsuspecting when we woke on the morning of
November 23, 1982. It was windy outside, but we were used to
this. Unusual weather has always been associated with our
Beloved Adi Da’s Work. We had not yet heard about the
approach of Hurricane Iwa! At 10:00 A.M., before Beloved
came out of His quarters, Tom Closser phoned to tell us that
a hurricane had suddenly developed in the Pacific and was
heading straight for Kauai. The mayor had just closed all
public buildings on the island. At noon, Tom phoned with
another report: The hurricane was a bad one. We could feel
her coming. We began to prepare.
The men were already busy all over the Sanctuary, tying
things down, taping windows, covering screened areas in
plastic, bracing trees, when Heart-Master Adi Da came out of
his quarters at 12:30. Usually He sits in the gathering room
for Darshan 2 at this hour. Today he stood in the kitchen,
which was already becoming the communications center.
The first thing Beloved did was to ask for a storm
report. The hurricane was still heading straight for Kauai
and was expected to arrive in full force around 8:00 P.M.
Wind velocities were expected to reach over 100 miles per
Beloved’s attitude became very practical. Every
precaution had to be taken to protect the property. He
roamed about the house looking out the windows, sent
messages to remind the men of things that had to be handled,
made sure the generator had been readied (we would surely
lose our electricity!), and thought of every possible detail
that might be forgotten.
Outside, the wind was really picking up. Already it was
howling. Leaves were ripping off the trees. They darkened
the sky in a chaotic flight like a swarm of locusts. A light
rain was being blown to earth. The men were beginning to
have trouble maneuvering in the storm.
Inside, the chaos of Hurricane Iwa was beginning to
invade the house. The lights went out. No electricity! Our
intercom was no longer functioning, so we had no
communication to Frog Mound, the building where most of the
Renunciate Hermitage Order lives, or Unshaken, the building
where the security and communications staff is centered.
Daji Evam, one of the renunciates who lives at Frog Mound,
sat in wet clothes on the floor in the pantry waiting to
convey the Beloved’s messages to the outer realms.
Bhagavan Adi Da sat cross-legged on the low chair in the
gathering room. Many members of the Renunciate Hermitage
Order were already gathered around Him while others finished
preparing to endure the hurricane. Suddenly we heard a loud
crack, then a thud, and the house shook. Bhagavan walked to
the kitchen window to see where the noise came from. Men
were running around outside. We could see their mouths move
as they yelled to one another, but we could not hear them
over the roar of the wind. The large old lychee tree that
stood outside the kitchen window had lost one of its main
branches. The tree was sixty feet tall and sheltered perhaps
half the house with a perfect umbrella of green glossy
leaves. It was a monument on the property, stately and so
perfect it looked like a painting. The fallen branch had
grazed the house and lay on the driveway. Daji Udi ran into
the kitchen dripping wet and told us we had to evacuate that
end of the house. It looked like the tree was going to go,
and if it did, it might smash the roof. We fled into another
room to another window’s vantage point.
The Heart-Master, instead of offering his protective gaze
to the lychee tree, stood for a long while regarding Grace
Leans. Grace Leans is the banyan tree that Beloved Himself
had empowered by putting holy ash and flowers beneath its
roots when the tree was placed into the ground in 1981. We
all hoped the Sanctuary’s holy tree would survive the
Crack! We heard it again above the roar of the wind, and
then a thud as another section of the Iychee tree fell to
the ground. Within a few minutes the entire tree was
wrecked. Only a three-foot stub remained standing. The tree
lay in pieces on the driveway.
Beloved called for the renunciate children to come from
their Brahmacharya school nearby. 3 He asked everyone in the
support group 4 to come from their home about five miles
away and to stay at the Sanctuary until the storm was over.
The children were wet and excited and fearful when they
arrived. They kissed Beloved and then sat close to Him.
The wind was picking up speed rapidly, shrieking now. It
was too dangerous for the men to work outside any longer.
More trees came down. Besides the Iychee tree we mourned, we
had lost three paperbark eucalyptus trees, the tallest trees
on the main part of the property. From Beloved’s library
window we could see them Iying on the ground like fallen
giants. Daji Udi reported that many more trees were
After hearing the damage report, Bhagavan’s mood changed.
He became playful, almost as if he was enjoying the tumult
of the storm. In a lull, Bhagavan looked outside and said to
the storm, “Go, Tumo, come on, Tumo. You call this a storm,
Baby? Show us your cheeks. I wouldn’t even have bothered if
this was all I was going to do. Big deal!” 5
The winds were now steady at 50 miles per hour, and
gusting to 75 or more. When the group of devotees arrived
from the support house, they were wet and shaken and had a
wild tale to tell Beloved. Heather Lupa recounts the
I was among the group of eight or so people who were
trying to reach the Sanctuary, at Beloved’s urgent request
and graceful invitation, before the storm worsened. It was
the most harrowing experience of my life. It was very much
like what I would imagine a war would be.
When we found we could drive no farther, we stopped at
one of the houses along the road, thinking that we would be
able to phone the Sanctuary, just to let everyone know we
were all right and to ask what the tree situation” looked
like closer to the Sanctuary. The young couple who took us
into their home—we must have been a sight as all eight
of us climbed out of one car— had been boarding up
their windows to protect them from the winds. Across the
width of their large sliding glass door the man had nailed a
narrow strip of wood about an inch and a half thick. We had
made our phone call and were relieved that Frank Marrero and
Mark Travis were going to drive as far as they could to meet
We thanked the couple and started on our way again. I was
one of the last to leave. When I looked ahead at the others,
they were screaming and running toward the car. Not knowing
why they were screaming, I simply began to run. In my
excitement I ran at full speed right into the board across
the door. The board caught me across the neck, and I choked.
The blow was incredibly painful, but I forgot it as I saw
what was causing the others’ excitement. The force of the
wind had peeled a tin roof off a building. The huge piece of
corrugated tin was flying right toward us. Some of the
group, fearing decapitation, flattened themselves on the
muddy ground. Others ran for the car. The flying roof barely
missed our car, and Crane Kirkbride was just able to hide
behind a metal fence before the tin was hurled against the
railings. It blew away, and we were momentarily safe.
We began on foot toward the Sanctuary. We were literally
running for our lives! Huge trees had fallen across the
road—so wide that their fallen trunks lay about four
feet high. Their branches stuck out in every direction like
broken arms, and it often took us five minutes to pass one
tree. Already many of these huge trees lay along the road,
and many more were crashing down around us. We could very
easily have been killed.
Live electrical cables whipped free in the wind. The rain
pounded, the wind was driving, there was mud everywhere, and
all the while we were trying to carry bags of supplies for
our Thanksgiving dinner! What a sight we were—laughing
and screaming and absolutely terrified—but knowing that
Beloved had asked us to come to the Sanctuary for a reason,
and we couldn’t think of any place in the world we would
rather be than in his Company. We were driven by our strong
urge to be with him!
But when we arrived at the Sanctuary at last, I found
that the pain in my neck was much worse. It was very
difficult to swallow, and I had a huge bruise on the front
of my neck.
Heather did not mention her wounded neck to Beloved, but
after all the stories had been told, the Heart-Master asked
if there had been any injuries. Heather told him about
running into the board. She said she was in great pain and
having trouble swallowing and breathing. Adi Da motioned her
to come up to his chair. He examined her neck. There was a
huge, dark bruise across her throat. Beloved placed his hand
on her throat and held it there as he asked her many
detailed questions about her injury. How did she get it?
Where did it hurt? What did it feel like?
It seemed as he questioned me that he was calling my
attention to the injury, but remarkably my attention was
being removed from it. The whole time he spoke, he kept his
hand on my neck, and my attention was so gracefully moved
from the neck, the problem, the pain, and the inability to
swallow, to him. It was a time of meditation. There was so
much love and energy communicated by Beloved in those few
minutes that I could only try to be coherent in answering
his questions and receive his Blessing in whatever way I
could. But the mood of the moment was for me profound
As he held his hand on me, the pain subsided. I could
swallow painlessly and my breathing was normal. I bowed to
the Bhagavan Adi Da in gratitude. My husband, Neil, looked
at the bruise afterward, and all but a little speck of it
was gone! Bhagavan Adi Da had healed me.
By this time the storm was awesome. The sky was dark, not
only with flying leaves, but now even with branches of trees
and all kinds of debris. They swirled and twisted, rose and
fell, helplessly through the air. To walk even a few steps
outside was a battle. Life itself seemed fragle in the
hurricane’s power. We looked out across the river and
watched as denuded trees were ravaged by the wind. Loud
cracks sounded constantly and then white scars showed where
limbs had broken off.
Tumomama. The Great Woman shows Herself in a benign form
at The Mountain of Attention Sanctuary 6 , but here she was
Tumomama, fierce woman. “She is a growling, murderous,
fanged, bloodthirsty bitch,” Adi Da had recently told us.
Although we did not know her intimately, he had told us a
lot about her in recent days and we knew who she was and
what she was about:
I have seen the Goddess here in the form that she is
showing in this place. She is nothing like a friendly,
motherly type. She is a very strange person. That is why I
call this place Tumomama, which means fierce woman. And I
have seen her on many occasions here. She is dark-skinned,
long-limbed, emaciated with long, wild mussed-up hair, a
crazy face, a very weird sense of humor, and very playful,
even painfully playful in some sense. She creates much
discomfort. At times she wears a strange, dead expression.
At other times her face is wild and weird and bloodthirsty,
with strange teeth and a very fierce and frightening
The Living God is a wild, indescribable character, a
living personality, and I have seen Her many times in this
form I just described to you. I saw Her dead, too, I saw Her
as a corpse. Death and change are what She is about and what
this world is about. She is what this world is about because
She demands sacrifice. She is completely indifferent to the
survival of creatures!
As we looked out at her devastating and threatening
force, we all felt the truth of what Bhagavan Adi Da had
Adi Da stood up and walked to the large sliding glass
doors that open to a patio on the edge of the jungle. He
looked down upon the sacred river. The river, which everyone
who lives at the Sanctuary recognizes as a form of the
Goddess, was wildness itself. We could see the river well,
because the jungle and trees that usually hide it had been
torn away by the wind. It was swollen, much wider than
usual. The water, which is usually clear and inviting, was
muddy and churning, boiling and chaotic. The rock platform
known as “Strong Knees”, which normally rises twelve feet
above the river, was completely covered by the raging
There was a lull in the storm. Bhagavan, with His hands
on His hips in a challenging pose, said, “Do it, Tumo!” in a
taunting voice. And She responded! In the next moment the
wind struck back more fiercely than ever. This happened over
and over. He would talk to Her, threaten Her, tease, taunt
Her, and the wind would respond. Tumomama and Bhagavan Adi
Da were having a conversation. We could literally feel their
intimacy, feel Her response to Him.
It was 4:30 P.M. Bhagavan Adi Da asked for another storm
report. We listened to the radio. Only one station was still
broadcasting. The winds were supposed to begin to build at
6:00 P.M. At 9:00 P.M. they would reach their peak and stay
strong until midnight. At midnight the eye of the storm was
expected to pass right over the Sanctuary. At 3:00 in the
morning the storm would begin to decrease. At their peak,
the winds would be 100 miles per hour, gusting to 120.
A soberness came across the room. We had already lost
many, many trees on the Sanctuary and the report indicated
that the wind would nearly double in velocity! Everyone was
struck by the possibility of real disaster. This no longer
was a game. Our neighbor’s roof had already been blown off.
Would anything be left standing when it was over?
We were quiet for several minutes. The Heart-Master gazed
at some distant point outside the window, his eyes wide, his
attention obviously elsewhere. In a moment his joking mood
returned. “Do you all want to see real destruction? One
hundred mile an hour winds and roofs coming off and all the
rest of it?”
“No!” It was unanimous.
“All right, then,” Adi Da said. He got up abruptly and
went to the Hermitage library. He was gone for a while. It
was unusual that he would leave in the midst of a gathering.
Bhagavan Adi Da returned with a book of poems by Ramprasad,
7 written as worship to Kali, the “terrifying” Hindu Goddess
Bhagavan seemed almost meditative. Even with the
deafening roar outside, there was a sense of quiet in the
room. He began to read:
O Mother, who really
Knows Your magic?
You’re a crazy girl.
Driving us all crazy with these tricks.
No one knows anyone else
In a world of Your illusions.
Kali’s tricks are so deft,
We act on what we see.
And what suffering—
All because of a crazy girl!
What She truly is?
Ramprasad says: If She decides
To be kind, this misery will pass. ( 8 )
Bhagavan Adi Da read poem after poem. We listened
attentively. At one point a large branch from a tree crashed
into the patio beside us. Anyone who had been beneath it
would have been killed. Then the wind grabbed it again and
hurled it into the jungle. Adi Da paid no attention. He just
kept reading those poems to the Goddess.
It was getting dark outside. Finally the Bhagavan Adi Da
closed the book and set it on the floor next to his chair.
He had finished reading Ramprasad. “She has done it,” he
said. “We have seen the worst of it now.” According to all
weather reports, we were still hours away from the full
force of the storm. But as Master Da spoke, the gathering
sensed that the worst was over. “She ruins you and then she
wants to be worshipped. Do it, Tumo!”
“It’s a wonderful puja 9 , Beloved.”
“You’ve done it again, Beloved!”
There was an obvious relief in the room.
“The bloody bitch,” Adi Da said. “A pool of Nature, a
dark pool of Nature, Nature itself, which seems temporarily
to be about birthing and surviving and enjoying. But the
work of Nature is obliteration, death, dissolution, as we
are witnessing here today. This storm is the great picture.
This is life capsulized. Life is obliteration, not birth and
survival and glorification. It is death! The Goddess is the
sign of Nature, the word of Nature, the Person of Nature,
Kali, the bloody Goddess with long teeth and blood pouring
out of her mouth. You poor men are deceived by Nature.”
After Bhagavan returned the poetry book to his library,
his mood was light. We decided to have a hurricane party.
Beers were passed around. “Let the wild rumpus start!” Adi
Da said. We began a celebration that was to last for several
days. That night we danced and we talked and we sang by
candlelight, and afterward everyone slept on the floor in
Beloved’s house. There were perhaps thirty-five people. Even
the meditation halls were covered with blankets and
The next morning everyone took a walk with Bhagavan to
survey the damage. The Sanctuary was in ruins. Debris
covered the property. A fence had been blown away. The main
trees on the property were down. There was little foliage
left on the plants, and what was left was in shreds. The
barrier of trees that had surrounded and secluded the
property was bald, and about half of those trees were down.
Yesterday flowers had bloomed all over the Sanctuary. Today
the flowers were gone—not one was left anywhere. Grace
Leans, however, had not only survived but looked almost
untouched. It still had its leaves!
Bhagavan Adi Da said that everything was in shock. The
grass and all the plants and trees were giving off a very
disturbed, psychic vibration. We could all feel it.
Everything seemed disturbed and strange and unreal. What had
once been a paradisiacal Sanctuary was in a shambles.
The next few days were an adventure. We had no water for
three days, and the electrical power was out for more than a
week. A generator gave us minimal electricity. We bathed and
washed our hair in the ice-cold water of the sacred river.
The support group lived on the Sanctuary for three days.
They had nowhere to go. At their house (and it would have
been a struggle to get there on foot since the roads were
covered with fallen trees) there was neither electricity nor
water nor food. Even if they had been able to get into town,
the markets weren’t open.
But our time together was a Grace. Although we had
already spent three months together, gathering frequently
with Bhagavan , having meetings, discussing his lilas 10 ,
never had we felt so intimate, so loving, or so dependent on
Because of our Beloved’s insistence on self-sufficiency,
and because of our sense of community, also insisted upon by
Beloved , we managed quite well. We had food, we had water
to drink, and we had one another.
November 25, two days after the storm, was certainly the
most oddly humorous Thanksgiving we’ve ever had with
Beloved. The island had been devastated by the storm. Iwa
was the worst storm in twenty-three years—over $225
million in damage. Many hotels and houses were destroyed.
Thousands of people on the island were homeless and living
in churches and schools, but the spirit of community they
were forced to enjoy gave them something to be thankful for
on the holiday. As for us, because of Bhagavan’s Presence
and Teaching, we celebrated. The support group was homeless.
Outside everything was wrecked. Inside we had a Thanksgiving
feast. Many of our neighbors were not so fortunate. We went
around to all of them, offering the Thanksgiving turkeys we
had received as gifts.
We all knew Bhagavan had dealt with the storm. We had
felt his puja when he read the poems. We had seen his
conversation with the storm. And even the newspapers
declared it was a miracle that no one had been killed.
David Forsythe, head of the “Forsythe Committee” for
investigating and documenting unusual phenomena within the
Communion, gave the following report, which corroborates
what we already knew was true:
Sometime after the storm, I was able to make contact with
meteorologists in the U.S. Weather Service who are
responsible for tracking and predicting the behavior of
hurricanes and other tropical storms.
Hurricane Iwa, as it moved toward Kauai, seems to have
suddenly accelerated in its course, moving along its path at
speeds of over 40 miles per hour, whereas hurricanes usually
move at about 17 miles per hour. It went through changes in
shape and structure that normally occur only as a hurricane
grows old and passes out of the tropics. The reports and
photographs I studied showed that Hurricane Iwa began to
pick up speed right at the hour the Heart-Master began to
talk to Tumo and do his puja! These changes reduced the time
that Kauai was subjected to the pounding of wind and surf
and undoubtedly prevented greater devastation and damage to
On Thanksgiving Bhagavan Adi Da finally told us what he
had done with the storm. “Of course I did not create the
storm, but I could have worked to divert it if you had told
me about it earlier. When you did tell me about it, I worked
on it. I talked to the storm, and it responded. I told her
to get her ass out, and the poems by Ramprasad, who was a
devotee of Kali, made her lose a little face.” Bhagavan
acknowledged that “it was a miracle.”
At the same time he warned us that we could not lose the
vision we had seen. “Such force will inevitably create
devastation in this world. Everything we generally find
attractive in this Sanctuary was destroyed. This same force,
this force of Nature will ultimately destroy everything that
we find attractive. This is a part of life.”
Thanksgiving Day turned into Thanksgiving night. We sang
and danced together. Opera, Simon and Garfunkel, rock music,
and reggae. Beloved animated everyone and everything in the
room from his chair. He danced, he coached us to sing, he
quipped, he roared, he mused, and finally in an ecstatic
moment, he gave us a final message about the destiny all men
face who are born in the realm of Nature and about the
Realization that transcends the play of Nature, or the
Mother-Power. As a popular reggae song beat through the
room, he spontaneously put to song the lesson of the
She eat those folks when they don’t meditate.
When they don’t meditate then, She eat them.
She eat them alive when they don’t meditate.
If you don’t meditate, She put you on a mashed
Oh! You get a fever. If you don’t love Her, you get
Oh yeah! You burn up your fatty. Burn your toes to
Oh, your ears. Oh, your ears. They look like pig
She eat them right then.
Oh! Oh! Ah! Ah! The whole damn thing, She eat.
No respect of Her persons.
She eat everybody!
O Mother we worship you for so many thousands of
All we get is this trouble, all this eating, all this
All this disturbance. What is the use of all this
It’s better to be eaten! Give up your worship! Ah
This Goddess She going to love you a lot.
Stand firm. Stand firm. She eat your foot.
She eat your knee. She eat your leg, your thighs.
She eat your palms, eat your belly out.
Ah yes! Right up your solar plexus. Whoop!
I love it. The whole damn thing, She love it.
You’re all as good as dead. She going to get you.
Mark my words. You’d better love Her.
Love to be eaten by the Lady.
Mark my words. No meditation, just digestion.
Any moment now, She’s gonna eat you alive.
You’re going to feel Her anyway.
She gonna make you feel Her.
She gonna love to eat you.
Ah! The war in the forehead.
Ah! The war in the poor head.
The war between the eyes, between the ears.
Ah! The two hemispheres, they don’t like one another.
Ah! Each hand, they want to kill each other.
Ah! The feet, they want to stomp on one another.
The one thing you got, between your legs. That’s the only
one thing you got.
You don’t need that!
Why you so lively with the sexing side?
You are poor people.
You don’t eat it—the Mother, she’ll eat it.
Ah! She’s nibbling on my elbow.
Yes, what a Mother. Oh!
Ah the Woman eat you, but I eat the Woman.
I have no fear of the Woman. I take care of the Woman,
you take care of me.
Ah! What a silly Lady. She’s so ugly, so ugly. Hey, such
an ugly Lady. Ah! This bloody tooth.
Ah! This is so silly.
Ah! You are all so unconcerned.
You never saw this Woman.
You never saw me in my big place.
If I can eat the Lady that eats you,
I don’t think you need to worry about the Lady.
I think you need to worry about me!
I be eating you next, baby!
I may be eating you right now!
I could eat the Andrew. 11
I could eat the Tricky. I eat the Bodha! I’ll eat Donut.
Ah! And I’ll eat David, and eat Udi there, ‘cept Bill. Ah!
I’ll eat Groot, no sweat! I eat everybody. Ah! The Lupa. Ya,
I’ll ask for our universe.
Ah! The Crane. I try the suppository! No good. I eat him
anyway. Ah! There’s nothing but the ladies left. They all
think they are super-power lady, you know. All they do is
move the hips, and you are altogether fascinated. I eat them
in one gulp. I got the very big teeth, babies. You never
seen no one babble at my feet. I would love to sink these
teeth into these flesh hairs.
Let’s nobody remember, I’m not going to remember either.
I don’t know why I love you! But I love you! You may not
care, I eat you alive, and devour your pleasures. But I
cannot treat you brute-ally. Well, I consort in your
poorness. Ah! So what. I’m going to eat your bodies. Ah! No
fixed time for your poor lives, only eating. Pupupup, Joanne
sandwich! Judith’s flesh, you see.
Ah, no breading, no sorrow, just eat these, just eat
these people, just eat those people. The God eats the
people. Oh, no! The God don’t eat the people! That’s what I
was telling you about, the God don’t eat the people! Ah! The
Nature eat the people. I have to say, the God don’t eat the
people. The God looooove the people! Ah! Nature eat the God,
too. Ah! We all get eaten sooner or later. Ah, so what! To
hell with Nature! Just remember, babies: The God . . . loves
the people. All right! Eh! Ah! Uh! Oh! I don’t know what I
do. I don’t know why I do it. Ah! The poor soul love the
I’m going to distract Mother Nature, And all of you are
going to slip out. That’s my Plan. That’s what I gonna do.
I’m gonna do it, I’m already doing it! So, you take
advantage of it. You betcha, she’s occupied with me right
now. You know what I’m talkie’ about, don’t ye? That’s my
sadhana. 12 And that’s been no damn plan at all.
The rest of it is just results. Fortunately, I
intervened. I’m going to distract Mother Nature. While I do
it, you beat it out of here. And I’ll be right behind
This is the only Plan there is!
HURRICANE IWA. This close-up satellite photo of Hurricane
lwa was taken at 2:15 P.M. on November 23, 1982. It was the
last photo taken before the satellite relay station on Kauai
was destroyed by the hurricane. The dotted line shows Iwa’s
path. The black dots indicate where the center of the storm
was at various times that day.
For more on Sri Adi Da and the Goddess; see
1. “Tumomama” means “fierce woman.” Traditionally the
Goddess has at times been characterized by her
all-consuming, all-devouring nature. However, we need to
appreciate the fierceness of the Goddess in a spiritual
light. The word comes from the Tibetan:
“The meaning of the word gtum-mo. The syllable gtum
(‘fierce’) signifies the direct overcoming of all that is
not conducive to enlightenment, that is, all that has to be
given up; the syllable mo (‘mother’) indicates motherhood as
producing spontaneously all the good in virtues, that is,
all that has to be attained . . .
‘The ultimate one is gtum-mo in the true sense of the
word. It is gtum because it dispels the darkness of
unawareness and mo because it is the mother who bears (her
child) awareness as the noetic act.” (Herbert V. Guenther,
trans., The Life and Teaching of Naropa [London: Oxford
Univ. Press, 1963] , p. 59)
The fierce aspect of the Goddess has been valued highly
by those most intent in their quest for spiritual freedom.
The Goddess is not merely a metaphor, symbol, or
superstition. For the Adept the Goddess is real, and to not
observe, understand, and transcend Her is to remain bound to
a life of suffering and delusion. In the Hindu tradition,
the fierce aspect of the Goddess is represented by Kali, and
the taming of Kali in the Indian Tantric tradition is said
to be a most dangerous course of spiritual practice, but one
that carries the possibility of liberation in a single
lifetime, if the difficult path can be completed.
“Kali is tamed in Tantric sadhana by another kind of
hero—the adept who willingly meets her on her own terms
and in her own sanctuary, who confronts her in the dead of
night in the cremation ground. In confronting the terrible,
black goddess, the adept confronts the ‘forbidden’
dimensions of reality by partaking of them. He puts the
spotlight, as it were, on those darker, murkier dimensions
of his own being. He lets the ghosts and frightening
monsters of his instinctual subconscious being emerge into
the light, where they are aired, studied, consciously
accepted, and hence stripped of their power to bind him. He
conquers these hidden monsters by ritually forcing himself
to end that instinctual, perpetual censorship that insists
on blinding him to the realities of death and pain. By
meditating on Kali in the cremation ground, by surrounding
himself with the dead in the place of death, he overcomes
the crippling fear that is the real wrath of the Goddess. He
wins Her boon of fearlessness by confronting Her heroically
in a rirual context that insists on an acceptance of the
forbidden.” (David R. Kinsly, The Sword and the Flute
[Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1975] , pp.
2. “Darshan” is literally “seeing”, or “sight or vision
of”. The term commonly implies the spontaneous blessings
granted by the Adept or Spiritual Master and the Radiant
Divine Being. The Adept gives his blessings by allowing
himself to be seen, meditated upon, or known.
3. “Brahmacharya” is a Sanskrit word meaning literally
“conduct in consonance with Brahman or the Truth.” In the
Hindu spiritual traditions, it has widely been equated with
the lifelong practice of intentional or motivated celibacy
by spiritual aspirants. But this Sanskrit term originally
referred to the student stage of life, generally conceived
to occupy the first twenty-five years of life. During those
years, the growing individual (or brahmacharin) was formally
trained in the Way and Truth of existence. This period
generally involved strict celibacy until marriage, or
entrance into the householder’s stage of life. Over time,
the term “brahmacharya” has become synonymous with celibacy
itself, even though the ancient practice of brahmacharya
encompassed all of the common areas of life, induding
academic studies, music, art, diet, work, the Scriptures and
4. The Renunciate Hermitage is served by a small
community of practitioners, called the “support group,” who
5. Adi Da’s ecstatic speech about the Goddess Tumomama is
an expression of his uncommon subtle-psychic capacity.
Although uncommon, there are sufficient reports of Adepts
whose involvement with the Universal Life-Energy, the
Mother-Shakti, or Spirit-Power is so profound and constant
that the Spirit-Power manifests as a living personality. The
well-known Indian Saint Sri Ramakrishna, for example, while
serving as a temple priest, was once accused of insanity for
feeding a cat the consecrated food intended as an offering.
He explained to his devotees that:
“The Divine Mother revealed to me in the Kali temple that
it was She who had become everything. She showed me that
everything was full of Consciousness. The image was
Consciousness, the altar was Consciousness, the
water-vessels were Consciousness, the door-sill was
marble floor was Consciousness—all was Consciousness
I found everything inside the room soaked, as it were, in
Bliss—the Bliss of God. I saw a wicked man in front of
the Kali temple; but in him also I saw the power of the
Divine Morher vibrating. That was why I fed a cat with the
food that was to be offered to the Divine Mother. I clearly
perceved that all this was the Divine Mother—even the
cat.” (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, trans. Swami
Nikhilananda [New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center,
1977] , p. 15) .
For the sake of better understanding Adi Da’s
relationship to the Goddess Tumomama, it is useful to point
out that there are two basic attitudes presumed in
relationship to the Universal Life-Energy, the
Mother-Shakti, Spirit-Power, or Goddess. The ascetical
schools often develop a negative association with the
Goddess-Power, naming Her “Maya,” “Cosmic Veiling Power,” or
the Creative Force of the universe. Everything created by
Maya is subject to a bewildering and unfathomable display of
appearance, change, and disappearance. Association with
manifest existence thus causes the individual soul to become
deluded, trapped in the illusion of appearances, and thus
bound to the subject-object, or egoic, consciousness. The
second and more radical understanding attained by the Adepts
is the Realization of the Universal Life-Energy, the
Mother-Power, or Maha-Shakti, as the Liberating Power.
Master Da’s ecstatic references to “the Great Woman” should
be understood in these transcendental terms. The Adept
recognizes Her as the Servant or Consort of the Divine
Person, the Maha-Purusha , Siva, the Pure Consciousness of
“The Living God is always Present. The Living God is a
wild, indescribable Character, a Person ultimately without
qualities and without differences. But in the Play of
Nature, God is evident as a Living Personality. Everything
that arises in Nature, not all of which is beautiful,
sublime, or desirable, is evidence of that Personality. The
Play of Nature is a kind of Madness that is not
comprehensible to the ego, which seeks its own survival and
the survival of the things to which it wants to attach
itself. Nature is a Great Sacrifice, a Fire Sacrifice, a
Sacrifice of selves, not merely a place of selves who should
be permitted to live forever.”— The Fire Gospel.
6. The Mountain of Attention is a Renunciate Sanctuary
and Meditation Retreat of Adidam in Lake County,
7. Ramprasad (1718-75) was an Indian Saint whose devotion
to the Goodess Kali is reflected in the many poems and songs
of devotion he composed throughout his life, His
inspirational writings, still sung today, were favorites of
Sri Ramakrishna, who was also a devotee of Kali.
8. Ramprasad Sen, Grace and Mercy in Her Wild Hair:
Selected Poems to the Mother Goddess, translated by Leonard
Nathan and Clinton Seely (Boulder, Colo.: Great Eastern Book
Co., 1982), p. 40. (see above Ramprasad page)
9 Puja is ritual worship, traditionally performed by
priests, in which offerings are made to the Divine and the
Grace of God is petitioned and received. This offering or
yielding to the Divine and receiving of Divine Grace is the
principle of God-Communion. In true spiritual practice every
action must become this puja. In the case of an Adept such
as Sri Adi Da Samraj, all action is inherently and
spontaneously a form of puja or active sacrifice to and in
the Divine. In some instances, such as Bhagavan’s magical
transformation of the hurricane, the Adept performs a very
visible—if sometimes paradoxical or
incomprehensible—ritual of activities whereby the
Divine Influence is forcefully brought to bear on the course
of human and natural events and destinies.
10. Literally meaning “play,” lila is used here to refer
to stories about the Divine Play of the Adept.
11. Adi Da refers to the devotees who had witnessed the
storm and who now sat clapping and swaying to His song:
Andrew Johnson, Charles Seage, Daji Bodha, Mark Travis,
David Forsythe Daji Udi, Bill Roesler, Tom Closser, Neil
Lupa, Crane Kirkbride, Joanne Mied, Judith Mazur. He calIs
many of them by the affectionate and humorous names He had
12 Right or true action appropriate to real or spiritual
life. The term commonly or traditionally refers to practices
directed toward the goal of spiritual and religious
attainment. Adi Da uses the term without the implication of
a goal, to mean appropriate action generated not as a means
to Truth but on the basis of prior understanding and Divine
The Dreaded Gom Boo – Table