Lay It At My Feet
November 15, 1975
The Way or “Method” of the Siddhas, as presented in the radical Teachings of Bubba Free John, is Satsang. Bubba describes this affair of Satsang as a graceful passage,” graceful in the sense that “life as it is commonly lived is insane,” and for the usual man, independent of the real process of Satsang, the transformation and liberation of manifest life is a matter of billions and billions of lifetimes, of numberless lifetimes.” The Way of the Siddhas, Bubba says, is simple and easy, because it does not take billions of lifetimes but it does require a helluva lot” in one lifetime.
Living Satsang is not just casually involving yourself with the Guru’s disciplines or approaching him with your search, as if he were a magician. It is a matter of truly realizing and living a life of service and sacrifice to the Guru under all conditions.
The pre-student stage is a specific time of preparation and testing in which the necessary foundation for real sadhana is communicated and established. During this period the Guru’s disciplines are revealed through various forms of media and participation, including formal involvement with Bubba through giving gifts and receiving his Prasad. Over time, the individual’s approach to the Guru and his Teaching must become one of gratitude, love, and service. It is at this point, and only at this point, that “the real process that is in God” begins to come alive in the individual.
In the following talk Bubba describes the importance of the transition period from pre-student life to actual membership in the established student Community, and the beginning of “the real form of sadhana. “Bubba assures us that it may not seem easy and that we definitely will be tested, but also that it is absolutely Grace.
DEVOTEE: In a recent letter to the Ashram, you said that a student’s meditation is service to you and to the Community until he begins to enquire. Does this mean that until enquiry is alive in a person, he shouldn’t sit in formal Satsang with you?
BUBBA: No. When your life of conditions has become service to me, then you can sit with me. Enquiry has not developed at that point. Enquiry matures from that point. The whole process of self-observation and insight that becomes enquiry only begins at that point.
The one thing you should grasp from these recent communications is that what up until now has been called the pre-student stage, for want of a better name, is a specific period in the whole process of understanding, of sadhana. It is not just a time when you take a few courses and learn how to use the diet and so forth. It is that time in which the foundation for this sadhana is realized. It is the period in which Satsang becomes the principle of your life and therefore of your sadhana. Satsang is the foundation of sadhana. Until Satsang is realized, the whole development of understanding cannot begin.
So this early period is the time in which the foundation of sadhana is realized, in which your relationship to me is formal. You enjoy a relationship to me through the form of Prasad, which is not a ceremony but simply an expression of the nature of our relationship.
The individual comes to me on the basis of this Teaching. Then he is turned over to the Community, and all of my conditions, my disciplines, are made known to him. He, or she, continues to come to me again and again, and as time goes on, well, he begins to know this spiritual relationship as a living, practical matter. His approach to me becomes sacrificial and full of gratitude, surrender, submission. His approach to me becomes love, becomes sacrifice.
As this relationship develops, then, the whole life of living my disciplines becomes sacrifice to me. And when his whole life has become that, when the drama of his life is no longer a question of, will he live the conditions or won’t he live them, will he stay here or will he go to some “quickie” sadhana center downtown, when all of that ceases to be the drama of his life, the theatre of his life, when his whole life becomes sacrifice, when everything he does becomes conscious sacrifice to me, when that sacrifice is what his life is all about, then he can come and sit with me when I sit with the Community.
The transition between the pre-student stage and entrance into the Community is a very important moment. It signifies in practice the transition into the real form of sadhana. It signifies the development of sadhana. Up until that transition the individual’s whole life in the Ashram has been devoted to the realization of the principle of sadhana, which is Satsang, this sacrificial relationship. When that relationship is established, then he is welcome to come and sit with me in the company of the Community. Once the foundation of Satsang is established, then the process of understanding begins to develop. It becomes self-observation, insight, and eventually enquiry.
When an individual first comes to sit with me in the Satsang Hall, established in his life of service to me, he simply sits with me in the Satsang Hall. That is what he does. And he does not enquire. He does not turn his eyes up into his forehead. He does not manipulate his psycho-physical being for various yogic purposes. He does not ask me for visions. He may in fact get involved in these things but they are not what he is asked to do. They are simply things that could arise and interfere with our relationship. So in the beginning he just comes and sits with me. He sits there. We spend time in one another’s company. That is what sitting in Satsang is, while living this life of service to me. He comes and spends ten or fifteen minutes just sitting with me, aware of me. We are just sitting together. And then he leaves and continues to serve me.
As that life continues naturally, the whole affair of self-observation and summary insight begins, so that eventually he does enquire. Then when he comes and sits with me in the Satsang Hall, he sits with me, but he also enquires at random. And when that process of enquiry and that life in my service fully mature, then I welcome him to take on the responsibilities of disciple sadhana. But he will be human before he will come into my disciple hall. It is not just a matter of spiritual gimmickry, of collecting a few of the most official or organizational types. No. I expect real maturity in the individual before he is a disciple. When that maturity is there, then he can take on responsibilities. If he is not mature, then he must continue to be tested. He must continue to serve me in this ordinary way.
You should all consider whether you approach me in anything like the sacrificial way I have described to you tonight. I will be glad to hear about it. If you have not begun to approach me in this way, then you are as good as just having come to the bookstore this morning. And seeing that is good.
You should also see that there is a great deal of responsibility required of you in this description of student sadhana, which, by the way, is not really new. The whole affair of sadhana is about the growth of responsibility. And much of that growth of responsibility occurs at this student level. In some ways it appears to be the most difficult phase because the conditions of this service implicate you in the body. They implicate your vital life, your ordinary life, your human time, your good time. Thus there is immediate resistance.
The process of student sadhana is effective in the gross life, in the waking state, the state in which you believe you really exist. You do not really believe you exist in the dream state and the sleep state. They are conditions you drift into from your real state. Dreams are imaginary, right? So student sadhana deals with you in the waking state, wherein live the self-image and the destiny you value. Thus sadhana is difficult until your life becomes service to me. You experience all kinds of resistance to sadhana. It seems to require a great deal of you, and it absolutely does.
There is no such thing as spiritual realization, enlightenment, or happiness without years and years and years and years of sadhana. There is no fast, “quickie” sadhana. There is no “quickie” realization. There is no realization weekend. All that is nonsense. All that is TV hype.
You represent a movement in time and space that does not want to come to an end. That movement in time and space is always complicating itself, always defining itself in limitation. It is suffering. Every bit of it is suffering, every moment of it is a strategic realization of suffering, of limitation, of unconsciousness, of irresponsibility. This movement does not disappear by magic. Grace is not magic. Grace is a response to your response. Grace is given to a responsible individual. Magic may be given to everybody, but there isn’t much of it.
Thus, this sadhana requires everything of you. You cannot remain a child seeking a dependent and consoling relationship to God or to me. You cannot approach me as if I were the super-parent who is employed to make you feel better about everything and to step in when life is getting heavy for you and throw a party. You are to approach me on the basis of this Teaching, not on the basis of your usual search, your childishness. When the Teaching has already made its point in some very fundamental way, then come to me and the Teaching will make its point absolutely. You must enter into my service and establish this real relationship, this sacrificial life. When that relationship is established, then there is Grace.
Grace as it is communicated to the student is not essentially in the form of spiritual or mystical or magical consolations. The Grace given to the student is his sadhana and the quickening of the revelation of his strategic life at the most ordinary level. You have all reported the evidence that is generated in my Company. It is not typified by all kinds of mystical and magical phenomena, though they do occur at random. It is typified by the awakening of the observation of the difficulties of your life, what is really at the foundation of your life. The generation of this whole process of self-observation, insight, and enquiry is what is served by Grace or Siddhi in the student phase. The same Siddhi is communicated to disciples and devotees in the same way that it is communicated to you, to students, to those whose approach is ordinary, human, beginning.
The process of sadhana is a shaking up of this unconscious and now subhuman life that you dramatize. But you do not by tendency want to do sadhana. There is no tendency in you to want to do sadhana or to serve me or to continue this process forever. Nothing in you is tending to do that. There is no tendency or desire that you represent that could possibly do it. Your approach to me is based on an intuitive response, an awakening in intelligence, prior to all the mechanisms of your life. That intelligence becomes the foundation of our relationship. But that same intelligence must take responsibility for all the rest of you that does not want to do sadhana, that has nothing whatever to do with the Divine. That is your situation, isn’t it? And no yogic consolations or mystical and magical phenomena can serve you at this stage.
You must go through this responsible transition from a life of suffering whose only destiny is death. Nothing is about to happen to any of you except death. That’s it! That’s your dues for a distraction, a good dream. And you have no capacity for dealing with the technology that appears after this life until you have done sadhana. It is all sleep beyond this life until another equally ignorant condition appears out of nowhere and you have the chance to make it or break it again.
Sadhana is about breaking through the usual life of tendency, breaking through the pattern of destiny, not playing upon your desires, your inclinations, your willfulness, your preferences. This consciousness, this intelligence awakened through the Teaching through which you came to me, must become the principle of your life from this time. And all of the rest of it, every bit of it, flesh and breath and belongings and husband, wife, children, everything must come under the discipline of that intelligence.
There is no other way. There is no “quickie,” no irresponsible path that winds up in God. There are only responsible paths and all of them are the same path. This process of responsibility in Satsang is the timeless and ancient process communicated by the Siddhas, made possible through the instrumentality of Satsang. Apart from destiny and death you have no other choice but Satsang. All your alternatives are brief. When you realize that, and when you are willing to be intelligent, to take on this responsible way, then you become capable of the kind of approach I have described to you this evening.
Until this Teaching has made such a point in you, however, you cannot do it. You will be unwilling to serve me. And if you do not serve me, you may be able to stay in the Ashram for a while, but you will only be tested until you begin to serve. This life of service must become humorous, happy, juicy, living. It is only when you are viewing the possibility of this life of service from the point of view of your tendencies that it seems humorless and difficult. But when you become established in this Satsang, then Satsang becomes the form of your enjoyment.
The kind of responsibility required of you as a student in the Ashram is nothing! I hate to tell you this! It is the least of it. I mean, how much discipline is there really involved in the conditions you have been given? They’re all very ordinary. They amount to just a simple, life-supporting, natural, ordinary, pleasurable life. But even as ordinary or natural as that life is, as lawful as it is, it is sufficient to be entirely offensive to a subhuman life, a life in ignorance. These simple conditions are enough to test and try every possible kind of complex so-called human condition. The offenses are there for everyone. And you notice how childish you are as soon as you get a little offended. As soon as you cannot at will do a few of the crazy things that you are used to injecting into the routine of your life over a year’s time, you get petulant, you get crazy.
When I was doing the equivalent of your student sadhana, I felt these inclinations. These tendencies are there to be dealt with, to become matters of your responsibility. It is not just that you are not supposed to be aware of tendencies, but there is a higher process to which you are fundamentally committed, and which you would not abandon under any conditions. Thus you must pass through the difficulties created by your tendencies at times. That is what it is to be a human being. Everything else is just subhuman, the exploitation of the mechanisms only. Human life is responsibility, consciousness. You must bring that kind of manliness, whether you are male or female, to the process of this sadhana.
It is not that you have been given a little technique to focus your attention in some subtle center, in which you can forget the body and all of its complications, and by continuing to focus on that subtle something-or-other you then drift out of this world into heavenly wonderments. You have not been given such a process. Such a process is not true. The real process that is in God is all a matter of responsibility. It involves a moral transformation of life in consciousness, a complete transformation, a restoration to the law of sacrifice of your gross life. You cannot abandon your gross life by focusing your attention somewhere and thus attain liberation. You can temporarily change your experience if you focus your attention with enough interest, but eventually you return to the place where you have karmas.
There must be the moral transformation or the return to consciousness and responsibility of the dimension in which you are appearing. On that basis then, there is the appearance of other kinds of transformations and for the same purpose: to test you to the point of consciousness and responsibility, not to entertain you or to give you a thousand-year lifetime in a better place rather than a seventy-year lifetime here. This sadhana, therefore, requires a great deal of you, but once you decide to do it, it is very interesting and happy.
In general, to come to the point of maturity takes years. There must be intense commitment and involvement for years before there is maturity, not an end-phenomenon of some super state but just maturity, real responsibility for the spiritual process in the totality of your life. That maturity goes on and develops eternally, without time. But to come to that point of maturity, to come to the point where you are doing the sadhana of a devotee, is essentially a matter of years, in some cases, many, many years, in some cases, perhaps many lives. But since you have essentially begun it or are willing to begin it, I am willing for your sadhana to be resolved in this lifetime, because I am not coming back here! There are no conditions under which I would come back to this place. There will be an Ashram here for those who come in the future on their second and third time through! I am willing for this sadhana to be conclusive not only in this lifetime, but long before your so-called death in this world. But if it is to be so, you must cease to resort to your childishness.
You must do this sadhana with great intensity, with great and ordinary maturity, and pass through this process that is entirely offensive to all your tendencies. It is absolutely true that this process of sadhana offends all your tendencies, which means it offends you absolutely, in every way, in every dimension in which you have existence or in which you may realize existence. You will feel that offense, you will feel your resistance, you will feel all kinds of tendencies that are anything but the availability to this Satsang and its sadhana. And you will be tested by them because you must pass through them. That is what sadhana is about. There are times when it is extremely difficult, difficult beyond belief, and you must go through those times. Those are the most valuable, the most purifying times.
If your approach to me is wonderful and full of love and sacrifice, as it should be, then all the karma that must be seen, that must become your responsibility, can be shown to you easily. I am willing for it to be shown to you in a dream or in just a brief moment, some little circumstance that comes and goes. I am perfectly willing for you to understand that dimension that you must understand in yourself on just such an occasion. I am willing for these karmas to pass in easy ways, in dreams and simple circumstances. But if your approach is not whole, not direct, not one of service, consciously lived all the time, to the degree that you do not live such sadhana in my Company, you must suffer your karmas as they stand. They will still be awakened in you by the force of this Company that you keep with me, but they will be awakened in gross ways, as they tend to appear outwardly in your life, outwardly in the waking state. Then the process has to be very dramatic and heavy.
But the drama is unnecessary. If you are a little intelligent, a little happy, a little free in my Company, then you can grasp it as a little lesson. But some people have to be beaten half to death to stop chewing their fingernails! The little lesson they have to get requires incredible circumstances! This life is just such a lesson, a lesson that would not be necessary if you were straight. Nevertheless, it has happened, and by taking on the form of sadhana in this life, you can make all of the necessary lessons much easier, much more simple.
This is one of the effects of this Prasad, to make it possible for the entire affair of your appearance in this world to become a matter of responsibility in this lifetime. Independent of that sadhana, that Satsang, that Prasad, that Grace, it is absolutely impossible for most human beings to complete the cycle of realization in a single lifetime. There are a few who appear at random in the human plane for whom it all seems to happen very easily, very quickly. But for the usual man, independent of the real process of Satsang, the transformation and liberation of manifest life is a matter of billions and billions of lifetimes, of numberless lifetimes. This is true!
Now in some sense all of that is amusing, and the dumber you are, the more likely you are to be amused by it! But there is really nothing amusing about it at all from my point of view. It has never been amusing to me. This life as it is commonly lived is insane. It was perfectly obvious to me that there was nothing to do but sadhana. There was nothing else in life that was worth the suffering. I haven’t become a pleasureless man, obviously, at any point in my life. But I made life sadhana, and doing that required great discipline and great humor.
And it requires the same of you. The way of the Siddhas is simple and easy, because it does not take billions of lifetimes, but it requires a helluva lot in one lifetime. And yet some day you will look at it and see that it required nothing at all, that you did nothing. It all seemed very dramatic at the time, and yet it involved nothing at all. But you must stop being children. You must be present with force, with energy, with life! You’ve got to kick ass! And lay it at my feet every time you come to me, in other words, all day. Eventually you will have laid it all down, and you will have gotten everything back. But if you bring nothing, if you literally bring me a piece of fruit, be warned!
The play between us is the theatre of sadhana. It requires great responsibility, consciousness, and discipline, and on the other hand it is also amusing, pleasurable, and interesting. I expect you to do it all and not complain. When I ask you how you are, I want to hear that you are good. I do not want to see any coming and going and all that nonsense. Just do what you have to do and get it started. Then it goes on forever. Everything else is quick.