Originally published as “On
Excerpts from recent talks by Heart-Master Da (Adi Da
Originally published in Crazy Wisdom magazine, Vol 6, No
6, Nov/Dec 1987.
“You must handle business, or you will
not move beyond the first three stages of life, you simply
will not. You cannot and will not. But you
HEART-MASTER DA: So many human beings, even far into
their adult life, have so much unaccomplished business that
belongs to earlier strata of life, unfinished business, much
of which cannot any longer be handled face to face with
individuals. How can you handle it, then? By Truth itself.
Through self-understanding you will transcend it.
You must release the dead and release the past. You must
do so as you get older, you must do so in your youth, and
when you are a parent associated with children, you must
understand your responsibility and help them to overcome
these ghosts. There are even ghosts while the past is still
alive. They exist in memory, in reaction, in the form of
etheric forces in mind and feeling, even in the body.
“until you have handled business
with one another, you have something to talk
You must accomplish the purification in one another,
through your love commitment, hold on to one another, stand
firm, and release one another. When we have done the
business, then let us go on. When we can happily turn away
from one another and go on to another, or to others, that is
good. Then let one another go. But until you have handled
business with one another, you have something to talk
You must handle all business. I have known this all my
life. I have always worked to handle business with everyone.
In fact I have always worked to help other people handle
business with one another. I have always handled business
with my mother and father, but also worked to help them
handle business with one another, however much they could. I
have handled business. I insist upon handling business, and
always have. You should do likewise. You must handle
business. The residual effects must stop affecting you. You
must notice what is affecting you. In one fashion or
another, through the instrumentality of Truth itself, you
must handle business. Even at a later date. You must. You
cannot continue to grow, you cannot move on until you handle
this business. Until there is nothing left over, nothing
unforgiven, nothing unspoken, nothing unthought. You must be
physically, emotionally, and mentally purified of memory, of
insult, of moments of pain and separation. You must be. You
can make great leaps in that process, because Truth is a
great force, but nonetheless you must endure it.
Notice everything, be insulted, notice every insult, be
sensitive to everything. This has always been my policy. I
suffer everything. I relieve myself of nothing. This body
will not die with unfinished business, absolutely none, for
its sake – and I am not even it. For your sake, for the sake
of the peace of Truth, for the sake of the inheritance you
must receive whole, I will not allow this body to die with
any unfinished business. Therefore, I deal with it every
day, every moment, am sensitive to every gesture, too
sensitive perhaps. But it is not too much, considered from
the point of view of Wisdom. One must be sensitive, and do
You kill yourself with it – but you must die from
something, so die from the work, die from sadhana, die from
Truth, die from nothing less than the Truth. Invest yourself
in the Truth absolutely. Handle all business. Exhaust
yourself in the process. It is better than nothing. It is
better than failure, and it is at least on the way to
The more business you accomplish, the closer you are to
Realization. What is Realization anyway but That which is
Inherently, and therefore That which is Realized when all
business is handled? When there is no more business, then
you Stand Free. Until all business is handled, you have
business to do. There is no getting around it, no matter how
much you idealize it. Therefore, be sensitive, and get down
to it every day.
Be mad with it, as I am. You see my Sign every day, my
Demonstration, handling business every moment, every day, as
if there were no more days. Like what I did today, going
through all these manuscripts as I did today. I will not
tolerate another day of looking forward to working
manuscript. I want to eat it today. If you give me some more
tomorrow, I want to eat it then. I want to accomplish this,
finish my Work with you all, make my statement, and be
silent. And I will not be free to be silent until I have
finished that business. So I engage myself in that work,
energetically, no withholding.
“Fulfill the Law by handling all
Well, you have your work to do also. And do it likewise.
Set yourself a date. Accomplish it within the month, within
the year, within whatever time-frame you must set for
yourself. Handle all business, and set yourself free, by the
power of Truth itself. And leave nothing left over. This is
not only how you serve your own Realization, this is how you
serve all beings. Fulfill the Law by handling all business.
This is Love. To suffer reality is Love. And to handle
business you cannot indulge yourself. You simply cannot.
The first law of business is to transcend yourself, to
notice and renounce your own demands. You must be directed
in the direction of whatever is imposing itself upon you. It
is not you anyway, so do not make subjective content out of
it. It is another, others, the world, the past, memory,
limits. It is not in you. It is your associations. Be
purified of them, through great commitment, based on your
understanding, based on the realization of Truth at your
stage of life.
Then do it. I mean it. Look at your own life, you here
and you elsewhere who may listen to this talk. Investigate
your life and all the unfinished business of your own life.
If you were on your deathbed, you would think seriously
about doing so. And then you do not have very much time
necessarily. You must handle it while you live. Do not just
wait till you are on your deathbed to tell your friend you
love him or her. Invest yourself in the business of love,
now, presently. Purify yourself with Truth, purify others.
Relieve all beings of this imposition of the insult of
Nature and unhappiness and bad deeds. Be relieved and
relieve all by the force of Truth. That is sadhana. Nothing
else is, by the way, nothing else. That is it. That is what
I call assuming the disciplines. Taking on disciplines is a
tool of self-observation. But another way of saying it is
that you handle business and purify yourself and others with
truth. And by the power of Truth you grow. Without its
exercise you do not grow. You must remain in conversation
with your Teacher, with the Way of the Heart, with the Great
This is another level to your discipline, isn’t it? Make
Ashram with me, those of you who are living here with me, or
make community with me worldwide. You must handle your
personal business, the business in your past, the business
in your friendships, the business in your blood relations,
the business in your intimate relations, the business in
your friendly relations, your business with the world. This
is sadhana. The concreteness of your obligation, founded on
Truth, makes it sadhana. Until you get involved in that
business, you just sit around with a silly grin, trying to
be religious, looking to be consoled. You must do sadhana.
You must handle business. You are suffering many concrete
things in life, and others are suffering. By the power of
Truth erase what you and they are suffering. That is the Way
of the Heart, and nothing else, nothing less, at all. Every
fraction of it.
Operating on a lesser level or a superior level, all of
it somehow or other must be transcended, for yourself and
all others who suffer with you. This is especially the
business in the beginning, not at death merely, but in the
beginning of the Way. You cannot be a true renunciate, a
true and free renunciate, until you handle the business of
life. You cannot move on to the fourth stage of life until
you handle the business of ordinary life. Don’t you know?
You all were trying to be devotees, and you had not handled
the first fraction of your business in life. You thought you
could renounce the business of life to become a renunciate.
No. You become a renunciate by dealing with the business of
Handle it. Do it swiftly. That is the point of view of
sadhana. Directly, swiftly, immediately. Build no time at
all into the process. Build no time at all into the process
of ultimate Realization in your case, no time at all.
This is the thing about human beings, you see. By
tendency egoically modeled, perhaps the principal
characteristic of human beings is that they are bound to
time. You conceive of yourself as an entity or a
consciousness in time. That is one of the reasons why you
are so afraid of death. Death is an intrusion in time. If
you did not think of time at all, like a gardenia, what
difference would death make, since there is a great unity
anyway? But you all fear death so profoundly because you
measure existence by time. Your consciousness is time-bound.
You have so much past that you did not deal with, so much in
the present that you are insensitive to, so much in the
future that you do not even know how to think about it. It
is all time, the essence of “maya”, the essence of
bewilderment. Unfinished business is the message of humanity
calling itself to humanity. To be truly human is to
To be human is to love, forgive, concretely to handle all
business, to purify, to set oneself and others free, to
generate a circumstance for continued existence that is not
time-bound such that you have time to invest yourself in
timeless activities -meditation, for instance,
Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga. You are not free enough of time to
indulge yourself in such pastimes. That is why you are not
yet moved into the advanced and the ultimate stages, because
you are still conceiving yourself to be a consciousness in
time. Therefore, you have much unfinished business, you are
insensitive to the present, and you do not know what to say
about the future.
Unfinished business is the sign, the modeling force, of
that consciousness in time. To Realize the Truth and make it
effective in your life, you necessarily, inevitably,
inherently, transcend time. This is why some say “I am not
the body, I am not the mind”. You are not the body and you
are not the mind when you transcend time. But now you are
all about time, full of unfinished business, full of
thoughts, full of reactivity, self-possessed, wondering,
trying to find a loophole in the universe, some reason to
feel good, without dealing with reality.
So you must grasp the Truth, Realize true Gnosis, even
though it is Divine Ignorance Ultimately. Be moved by it,
practice it, handle your business, and go on. And you will
not go on to the devotee stages until you do handle
business, the business of the past, the business of your
manufactured mind, the business of your conventional and
blood relations and friendships, and all your ordinariness.
All the business there must be handled, or you cannot be a
renunciate, even in the Way of the Heart, which is not a
monastic discipline, but a time-transcending discipline. The
Way of the Heart is not a convention. It is the process of
devotion to the Truth. And you cannot be devoted to the
Truth until you have handled the business that is less than
And how do you handle that business? By Realizing the
Truth and being committed to it. Then you do your time, the
hard school of practice. You do the necessary time to purify
yourself of time, and basically you do it at the beginning,
before you become a devotee.
“You must handle business, or you
will not move beyond the first three stages of life, you
simply will not. You cannot and will not. But you
This is my word to you, ladies and gentlemen before you
become a devotee. Am I right or not? Does anyone disagree?
Is there any argument I should consider? Yes, Kerwin?
DEVOTEE: Love-Ananda, I’m touched by what You said. I can
remember what You said in The Paradox of Instruction, that
unless we are completely in touch with fear, sorrow, and
anger, we cannot love.
DEVOTEE: You said Love is greater than fear, sorrow, and
HEART-MASTER DA: Realize it, and do it. And do not
grandpa my Truth. Do not remember anything. Do not quote me
at any time, in principle at any rate. You may do it in some
conversation or other, but fundamentally do not be quoting
me. Receive my Gift and do your work, accomplish the
sadhana, equip yourself to grow.
You are stuck in the first three stages of life. This
whole Communion, worldwide, is stuck there, even after all
these years. Why? Because you have not received my Gift, the
Gift of Truth itself, and you refuse to handle business on
the basis of that reception. You are spinning your wheels,
biding your time, suffering intrusions, reacting to
What difference does it make when I said it, or if I said
it? Hear me, understand at least, even previous to hearing.
Grasp the principle, observe the laws, and do the work. Do
the work! You must do the work. You must purify yourself of
time. You must handle the business of life, everything that
belongs to the bodily domain of ordinariness. You must
handle the business there by receiving the Truth. By virtue
of the force of Truth, you must handle business, or you will
not move beyond the first three stages of life, you simply
will not. You cannot and will not. But you must.
You have very real things to do then, very real. Very
human, very ordinary even. You must do these things. There
are conversations you must have. There are things you must
say and things that must be said to you. Energies must be
released, feelings must be exposed, thoughts must be
expressed, bodily signs must be given. New society must be
generated. The whole Communion and its culture must be
changed by that exercise. Do not tell me I am free to give
you my Native Sign until you do that and give me your sign.
Show me by your sign that I am free to give you mine, just
As It Is, without Instruction, without Teaching further,
without addressing you on this point further.
That is how I will know that my Teaching Work is over,
when I see the sign in you that you have received it and you
have handled business personally, in the domain of our
culture and your mutuality, in the domain of our Communion,
your representation, internally and publicly. When I see
those signs, and when the Treasures are protected obviously,
then I am free, without any Work to do with the literature
or anything else. Then I am free merely to exhibit my Sign,
simply, knowing that you can use it. Then I have a new
Function. Don’t you see?
It is not merely a matter of conversation. It is a matter
of your demonstration. I have been saying this to you over
and over again. I am not free to move into the next
dimension of my Work until you show me your sign, until you
handle business in your life. (August 11, 1987)