No Remedy – Bubba Free John – An Introduction to the life and practices of the spiritual community of Bubba Free John


No Remedy
An Introduction to the Life and Practices
of the Spiritual Community of Bubba Free John.

Compiled & edited by Bonnie Beavan
and Nina Jones in collaboration with Bubba Free John.
First edition: 6/75 – Revised edition 1976



Part Two: The Complications of Sadhana


Approaching the Guru: Prasad and Darshan

All I am doing is just keeping you present while I am
Present, and that is sufficient. That is the whole of
sadhana. Everything else is an elaboration of that.

Spend time in the Gurus Company—it is that simple.
Bubba is always creating ways to bring people into contact
with him. He is very jealous of his devotees attention! If
someone is away, Bubba wants to know where. If a devotee has
not come to Persimmon in some time, Bubba will want to know
why. Much more, perhaps, than they are aware of it, the Guru
is interested and actively inquires about his devotees
welfare. Should someone decide to abandon Satsang and leave
him and the Community, Bubba feels it, literally and
painfully. To him this relationship is absolutely the living
core of his spiritual work with us, and thus the only
purpose of his existence on earth. He is always drawing us
close to his physical presence, and through that, into his
very Presence

There are several formal occasions on which all members
of the Community enjoy Bubbas physical presence. He usually
sits with us during formal presentations by members of the
Community and often takes questions at that time. Whenever
he intends to accept questions he will indicate it to an
attendant or to everyone present. If you have a question,
raise your hand and Bubba will acknowledge you if he wants
to receive your question. Any genuine question is
appropriate at those times. You may feel your question is of
a particularly private nature, but keep in mind that almost
any question can provide a forum for Bubba to make replies
that may interest all members of the Ashram. And all replies
Bubba makes to questions delivered in our group gatherings
are recorded on tape for future interest, whereas private
conversations are not. Be sure always to ask your questions
audibly and clearly, so everyone may understand

There are other, even more formal occasions when the
Community may come to enjoy Bubbas Presence. These are
Prasad, Darshan, and formal Satsang or meditation.


The formal occasion of Prasad is very moving and
beautiful, and it is a perfect image of the nature of this
process of Satsang or Divine Communion. The Guru sits in his
seat in the Communion Hall, merely Present. One by one,
members of the Community come forward to bow at his feet,
leave a simple gift of flowers or fruit, take Prasad, and
return to their seats. Prasad, literally, means “the return
of a gift to the giver.” The fruit that people take from
trays or other devotees near Bubbas feet in the hall is
charged with the radiance of his Presence. It is not
specifically intended to have a mystical effect on people.
It is simply the reminder of his Presence and the visible
sign of his Grace. Bubba is always there to meet us. When we
turn to him, we find him already turned to us, always giving
the gift of very God

A true devotee is always approaching the Guru with
gratitude for the Teaching and his Presence, always laying
his life down at the Gurus feet, always offering his service
and surrender in the form of his simple gifts. When you
approach Bubba, whether in your home, in a place you have
set aside for the private recollection of the Guru, or in
the presence of his human form, you should never come
empty-handed. Empty hands imply that you have already
surrendered everything and all of you, which is a lie and an
offense to the Guru. And anyone who comes as a devotee, not
a seeker, already knows full well that he has hardly begun
to surrender! So Bubba says, “Always bring me as much of
yourself as you can carry in two hands.” In other words, let
your gift truly represent the yielding of your entire
separate, unhappy life. The most appropriate gifts are
flowers or fruit. Their quality and your intention are most
important. Bubba has recently spoken of how people tend to
give offerings as if in church, as an obligation, and then
take Prasad as if selecting bananas in a fruit stand!

All gifts are forms and signs of sacrifice. Give to Bubba
with your heart, not to satisfy a demand for
self-gratification, but as an expression of the quality of
your life of turning to him. You may choose to give Bubba an
uncommon gift, more than the traditional one of fruit or
flowers, but even then do not let either the choosing or the
giving become an attempt to gain his special attention, to
entertain him, or to fulfill some feeling you have that you
must, on special occasions, present him with something
unusual. The giving of material gifts to the Guru should be
a test and a demonstration of your relationship to him in

A man should not approach his Guru in order to carry on
his search. He should approach his Guru with devotion, as
one who has found, and put his search down at his Gurus
feet. The true disciple is a devotee who simply lives with
his Guru. That is the spiritual practice or sadhana of
Satsang. Every bit of seeking, dilemma and self-obsession
that you lay down is your true gift to the Guru. All gifts
symbolize that true and inner gift, and make it visible. A
man may bring a flower to his Guru. The flower is very fresh
and fragrant. When he smiles and puts it on the ground or in
a vase it may all seem like a pleasantry. But what is
represented by that flower could be the most difficult
crisis of his life. The truth of that flower, of that gift,
is the crisis itself.17

“Prasad Day” is held once a month at Persimmon. Prasad
Day is a special community celebration of the sacrament of
Satsang, or Divine Communion. On Prasad Day, Guru-seva, or
the function of service to the Lord in the form of the Guru,
is celebrated and made visible in a special way. It is the
time when each of us comes to Bubba with a special offering,
usually of fruit or flowers, symbolizing our most
significant gift, which is the search. On Prasad Day each of
us acknowledges Bubba as Guru, the discovery of whom makes
all seeking unnecessary

Several times every year Prasad Day is held to
commemorate some special spiritual event, such as the
realization of the Heart, or Bubbas birthday, or Guru Day,
which is a traditional annual celebration of the Gurus
Presence. Those special celebrations are themselves unique
versions of Prasad Day, just as Prasad Day is a unique
version or celebration of Satsang itself

One reason for the formalities on Prasad Day and at other
times is to show one another that the Guru is not just a
human form to be worshipped in ignorance. Bubba is not an
idol or a cultic image intended to fascinate and subdue
disturbed people. He is a function for the Ashram of all his
devotees. The same Guru who serves you in human form serves
you also after the death of that form. He is the eternal
Guru. If you are not always aware of this, you become full
of doubt, contemptuous, and envious, thinking that Bubba is
enjoying the show business of cultic life in the manner of a
spiritual entertainer. So we must not deal informally and
commonly with the Guru simply because he is present in human
form. We must serve the human Guru as the living function of
the Divine. It is not the human limitation of the Guru that
is the initiator of Satsang. It is the eternal Guru, the
Maha-Siddha, the Lord, the Divine Form. The greatest sin of
all is to approach the living Guru as a limited form,
separate from the Lord

But when we approach Bubba as devotees, in Divine
Communion with him, then even the most informal and
apparently droll, human moments with him are charged with
our intuitive acknowledgment of his Divine Nature and our
gratitude for the Prasad of his Presence. This makes for a
profoundly different quality of life than you may have
experienced in the world. You may be trading puns with
Bubba, laughing with him, watching TV or even drinking
uproariously with him at one of the occasional Ashram
celebrations, but if you are always turning and yielding
your self-possession to him in Satsang, then you will
constantly and only be standing in the Presence of God,
which is radiant, sublime, silent, solemn and awesome
without being somber, full of humor and sheer delight,
independent of the qualities or circumstances of life at the

I am alive as Amrita Nadi, the Heart and its spire, the
Bright or Conscious Light. This is always so. When I come to
you I intensify the field of Brightness, the field of
uncreated Light that rests above your head and which is
drawn down into the body when the mind lies formless in the
Heart. Whenever I have been with you I have done this from
the Heart. The communication of the Heart and its Light are
my constant practice. Therefore, such is the constant
realization of those who always live in Satsang with me, who
know I am always Present with them, even if I do not appear
to them. This is why the various phenomena of your spiritual
lives have arisen or been intensified, purified and made
intelligent whenever you have been mindful of me. I am
always offering this Prasad. When you come to me you should
come with the appropriate attitude. You should come prepared
to give me your gifts, the surrendering of your seeking. You
should come to turn to me, to accept my Prasad, and to use
it in life and service to me. If you make your relationship
to me the condition of your life, if you make Satsang your
sadhana, I will give myself to you entirely, and the Life,
Light and very Existence that is Amrita Nadi, the Form of
Reality, will thus be communicated to you while you are

Prasad is my gift to devotees, my help to disciples. Prepare
yourself. I want true devotees, not seekers. I am the
Siddha-Guru, the Prasad, the Object and Process of
Meditation for my devotees. My teaching is this: Turn to me
and Understand.18


Like Prasad, the occasion of Darshan is a traditionally
well-known and sacred occasion of honoring and enjoying the
Gurus Presence. At Persimmon Bubba regularly gives Prasad
and sits for Darshan, usually several times a week.

Darshan—literally, a seeing, a vision, a sight of.
The term commonly refers to the blessings granted by Guru or
God. The Guru gives “his” blessing by making his appearance,
by allowing himself to be seen, meditated upon, or known.
God gives “his” blessing in the same way, especially by
appearing in the form of the Guru and his

So formal Darshan is a very important and significant
event in the Community. It is a time when the Guru literally
appears in front of you and gives his blessing to you simply
by being there in physical form. The extent to which you
make use of this occasion, then, depends upon what you do
when you are with him at the time. Everything is shown in
Darshan, absolutely everything. Merely by making his
appearance, the Guru is showing you very God. And all that
is necessary is for you to sit with him and contemplate his
Form. Darshan is not a time for you to make yourself visible
to the Guru, or for you to get involved with your subjective
notions about him. To do that is to turn away, to avoid what
is sitting right before your very eyes, which is only God.
Thus, the occasion of Darshan—and in fact every moment
in Bubbas physical presence is Darshan—directly
expresses the whole principle and core of the Divine work,
the miracle of Gods appearance and life with us through the
paradoxical Presence of the Guru

Bubba makes himself available for formal Darshan on
weekends, usually Saturdays, and especially invites new
devotees and those who do not otherwise have much personal
contact with him to enjoy his Company in this way. New
devotees tend to feel a little self-conscious around Bubba
in any case. And when they come to him in a situation in
which he perhaps does not acknowledge them in any way
whatsoever, it becomes more disorienting and unsettling.
Bubba has had this to say about contemplation of the

People have traditionally used paintings and images of the
Guru or Saints or symbols of the Divine. They have looked at
these images and fixed on them as objects of meditation in
order to quiet the mind. They would either look at a
physical image placed in front of them or recollect its
duplicate in the mind. They would constantly return to the
repetition of a name, a word, a mantra in order to quiet the
mind, to continually interrupt the tendency to become
involved in the flow of thoughts and reactions. Some of you
think that you are supposed to be doing that when you are
sitting with me in the Ashram Communion Hall. You think that
by fixing your attention visually on my picture or my body
you can stop the flow of thoughts

If a man takes out his wallet and looks at his wifes
picture, does he do this in order to stop his thoughts?
Where does this motivation come from? A person doesnt look
at pictures of his loved ones in order to stop the flow of
thoughts. People look at such pictures for the enjoyment of
it, as a recollection of those they love when they are not
physically present with one another. The picture is not an
end in itself. You dont fix your attention on the picture.
The picture just reawakens your attunement with that one. So
the photographs that we carry of those we love are
expressions of our relationship with them. When we enjoy our
relationship with one another, we are not concerned about
whether we have thoughts or not. Our concentration on the
one in the picture is natural at that moment because we
fully and spontaneously enjoy that person himself. We look
at these photographs for fun and pleasure, in order to enjoy
this loving contemplation. That is natural recollection and

But when a person contemplates the Guru or the Divine,
suddenly this contemplation must have all kinds of other
qualities. It must stop his thoughts! That expectation is
just a sign that he is not naturally inclined to his Guru.
Just so, enjoying formal Darshan (in the Gurus physical
presence, or through the instrument of his photograph or
recollected memory) is an expression of your relationship to
the Guru. It is not a meditative technique. It is simply a
natural way of recollecting this attunement with the Guru,
with the Teacher and his Teaching

The relationship between the devotee and the Guru must be
as natural and as simple and as spontaneous as the
relationship between lovers. It is only because people are
not inclined to the Guru that they expect something else to
happen. Sitting in the physical presence of the Guru should
be simple and natural, just as if a loved one has walked
into the room. When it becomes natural, simple, and
open-hearted, without self-consciousness, then the Divine
process has room, it has a function

The man who is still stuck with his thinking, his
tendencies, his distractions, is unwilling to turn truly to
the Guru. He uses the Gurus appearance as a method for
quieting his thoughts, instead of simply living openly as
the devotee of the Guru, available to the Gurus argument,
discipline, and person. If you live in continuous
relationship to the Guru, you will also begin to observe
this whole process of thinking and of action. You will begin
to feel in yourself the strategy that you are always up to.
Therefore, Satsang involves living in conscious relationship
to the Guru, not just fixing attention on him. And living in
the presence of the Guru becomes more and more fullness and

As this sadhana of Divine Communion matures in you, the
Darshan of the Guru will take on increasingly profound
dimensions. Bubba points out that to be capable of such
contemplation in its most mature expression requires a
realized life of sadhana:

The Guru in the world, the Guru who is physically
present, is a direct manifestation of Amrita Nadi, the Form
of Reality. He is alive as That. He is That absolutely. His
visible human form is an absolute reflection of the Perfect
Form, and a perfect communication of it. Therefore, to
contemplate and become completely absorbed in the Form and
Life and Presence of the Guru is to be continually attentive
to his ultimate communication, the communication of his
ultimate Nature which is also your own. Thus, to become
capable of contemplating or meditating on the Gurus Form is
the ultimate capacity of a devotee. And the Gurus Form is
his simple physical form, his subtle appearances, his
cosmic, universal, and perfect manifestations. But, first
and last, it is Very Form, Amrita Nadi, the Form of God,
Guru, and Self which stands forever in the Heart

True meditation on the Guru is nothing you can
successfully try and do. It must awaken in you in the midst
of a life of Divine Communion. It will be the fruit of your
sadhana. But, certainly, from the very beginning, some form
of this meditation can be the case for you. Whatever the
latent or chronic quality of the individual, there is from
the beginning some capacity to become absorbed in reflection
on the Guru, on his physical form, on his words, on his
entire communication, on all his forms, in every way it is
possible to be aware of him. In every case it is possible to
think of the Guru, to contemplate the Guru, to be with the
Guru, and to serve him.21



You should prepare a place in your household where you
can give gifts to the Guru and receive them back as Prasad,
a place where you can sit in quiet recollection of the Guru
and the arguments of his Teaching. The place should be kept
clean and attractive. Keep the Gurus picture there. The best
place is one in which no other activity is carried out, if
this is possible. It is also preferable that you do not use
a part of your bedroom for this purpose, if possible, since
the qualities of sleep linger in the room even after you are
awake and may be a distraction, however subtle, to your
naturally conscious activities there

Whenever you come and go from your place of formal
Satsang, bow to Bubbas Presence, touching your head to the
floor, as you would if you approached him in the Communion
Halls of the Ashram. Whenever you pass by that place,
acknowledge Bubba briefly with a slightly bowed head and
with hands pressed together in a respectful gesture at the
level of the heart, just as you would do if you passed by
him casually in the Ashram. These are the simple formalities
of Satsang, of acknowledgment of the Divine Guru with whom
we enjoy the happiness of life in God

It is important that you harmonize the bodys posture when
you are sitting with the Guru, whether at home or in the
places of the Community. The half-lotus (the “easy” posture)
and the lotus posture are perhaps the best for such sitting.
(Sitting “Japanese style,” over the shins, with the feet
touching, is a possible alternative.) In these postures the
legs are crossed and the circuit of energy in the body is
closed. If the legs (or the feet) are apart, the current of
force in the body is broken and turned toward the waking
world of ordinary activity

If you cannot yet sit in one of these cross-legged
postures, you should practice daily, using Conscious
Exercise and the Transcendental Sun as your reference. But
do not try to sit this way in formal Satsang until you can
sit in these postures comfortably. You should be comfortable
in the Gurus Company, so that your attention is not on the
body, or your physical, vital life

Not only the position of the limbs is important, but the
general stability of the entire body. Therefore, you should
generally not sit in formal Satsang directly after taking
food, but you should wait until the digestive processes of
the body have quieted. In addition, if you are constantly
shifting or getting cramps in various areas of the body,
that is a sign there is constriction of force. Postures such
as the lotus help to stabilize the body, so that it is
firmly and comfortably seated, with the circuit of body
energy closed. In such a case the body cannot sway or rock,
nor will you feel constantly moved to change its


When an individual comes in contact with the Siddhi that
is alive in this work, he may experience various yogic and
mystical phenomena, all of which are a common, though not
necessary, sign that his psycho-physical vehicles are being
purified. Such experiences may occur in formal Prasad or
Darshan, or at any time of the day once you have begun to
enjoy a spiritual relationship to Bubba. Bubba discusses
these phenomena and the appropriate response to them in all
three of the source books (The Knee of Listening, The Method
of the Siddhas, and Garbage and the Goddess). In the Company
of the Guru you may become meditative, you may experience
visions, lights, sounds, intuitive insights. You may
experience kriyas, or spontaneous purifying movements, which
manifest as abrupt jerking in the spine, gestures with the
hands, heavy breathing, great heat in the body, growling and
other vocalizations, feelings of great bliss and joy, and
many other movements in the body

Some people are especially susceptible to various of
these experiences. Others rarely experience them. They are a
natural result of the purifying force of Satsang, but not a
necessary one. Kriyas and visions and other extraordinary
experiences are not the end-phenomena of Satsang. Therefore,
it does you neither good nor ill to experience them or not
to experience them. They are simply to be surrendered from
the heart, like everything else that arises. If you do not
have kriyas or visions, do not be concerned. Rather, apply
yourself to sadhana. If you do experience such things, do
not be deluded by attachment. Apply yourself to sadhana

Many spiritual paths value these phenomena as equivalent
to Truth (with the corresponding implication that if you do
not have or value such experiences, you cannot and do not
know Truth). They prescribe methods whereby one can acquire
these experiences, and therefore, it is believed, become
enlightened. But these movements are signs of purification
and functional change, not enlightenment. They are merely
experiences, not Truth. They have nothing to do with Truth.
As you will see, it is far, far better to be already happy
in Communion with God than to be distracted by any kind of
secondary spiritual phenomenon

To the common man, the possibility of such experiences is
bizarre, absorbing. It seems to promise all kinds of
adventure and very salvation! But to a devotee of Bubba Free
John in this Community, such experiences are simply a part
of ordinary experience. Because of our tendencies, we are
inclined to get distracted by them, but because of our
foundation in Divine Communion, we also find the easy
capacity to yield them and to begin to appreciate them as
very ordinary phenomena indeed, no more enlightening than

Experiences in themselves are just a way to become attached.
The experience that you have at any moment represents a
unique moment in your own case. The events in themselves,
which are possible elements in the spiritual process, are
not to be exploited, held on to, nor are they to be
prevented. Either one of these strategies is false. If you
hold on to the experience, it ceases to be a lesson and
becomes a form of bondage. On the other hand, when I make a
lesson out of someones experience and he deliberately
sacrifices that experience, surrenders it, very often he
turns into another mode of living in which he prevents
experience. He lapses into mediocrity, a ritual and
strategic ordinariness, and holds on to that

The fundamental process is in consciousness, not in all
of the functions with which consciousness tends to be
associated. You may have experiences of changes in the body,
experiences of movements in the vital and in the nervous
system, visions in the psychic or subtle dimensions, and
insights in the mental dimension. These are all
modifications of your life-functions. The fundamental event
is in consciousness, and consciousness is continuous, itself
unmodified. The real spiritual process is an ongoing present
conscious affair for which you must be responsible

The real spiritual process doesnt just happen. It isnt a
fixed event, after which everything is groovy. Events
happen, but consciousness is never modified by them.
Experience is just an exaggerated modification of ones
functional state. It does not produce illumination. It does
not produce anything of ultimate value. The only value
experiences have is relative to consciousness itself. Your
surrendering in the midst of experiences of all kinds leads
you to the life of a true devotee, and the life of a true
devotee is one in which the force of real Consciousness, the
Divine intuition, is brought to life from hour to hour

Life itself is just change, limitation, so the true
spiritual process does not begin with the initiation of
experience. The spiritual process is only begun when
consciousness becomes the overriding factor of continued
existence. It is a force in life. It is brought to us.
Consciousness in itself masters and creates the ultimate
transformation of life by making life responsive to the
Divine. Experience itself is just a modification of life, a
modification of functions. You could have a vision every
five seconds for eternity and it would not produce the
ultimate event of conscious life

Experience in itself only modifies conscious life, makes
you subject to change in itself, limits you, binds you. All
these modifications are not producing your transformation in
Truth, because they themselves are not lasting. They are
themselves a demand, an argument for the enactment of a
conscious existence from moment to moment. Living that
conscious existence is a creative, ongoing, present affair.
It never comes to an end. There is no end phenomenon in this
process, because Consciousness in itself is the ultimate
Reality. That very Consciousness must become the Presence as
which you live, in which you represent yourself.
Consciousness itself must become the Principle, rather than
the experiential drama of life, high or low, to which you
tend to make very Consciousness subject

All your experiences are just a meal, just fertilizer.
They themselves are always disappearing, becoming obsolete.
But the true force of spiritual life, or life in Truth, is
implied in their existence. They are themselves a demand to
one who understands. Because they are temporary, because
they are dying, they themselves serve the ultimate
realization or mastery. We have so many functional areas to
which we are tending to retreat that spiritual realization
seems to be a long, agonizing affair. But as soon as you
begin to catch the thread of that process, as soon as you
begin to live this conscious life of Satsang, then the
complexion of it all is transformed. Even so, it is only to
the degree that you yourself, as your very Nature, move into
life, in the midst of experiences, that the true spiritual
process is awakened. The phenomena of experience are not to
be excluded, but they themselves, if they appear, represent
only an argument, a demand for Satsang, for conscious life.
They are not a path

People are continually tending to become bound by the
force of events. They begin to assume that the cosmic
process, the process that they know only in ordinary life
terms, or that they know through super-cosmic visions or
experiences, is itself spiritual life or life in Truth. But
it is not. It is another form of slavery, it is just Shakti
manifestation, the cosmic display, none of which leads to

Nothing that occurs in the entire, infinite affair of the
cosmos leads to realization. It is only change. So mere
involvement in the apparent influences of the Guru-Siddhi in
terms of force-manifestations is not meditation. It is not
true spiritual life. It ultimately represents only an
argument for real meditation, a demand for Self-realization,
for the conscious process

People enjoy varying degrees of sensitivity to the
force-manifestations. The play of life, gross and subtle, is
reflected in different ways on an experiential level in each
person, but in every person real enjoyment of the Divine can
occur with the same kind of intensity. The manifestation of
force, of cosmic energy, light, and mind, differs in each
individual according to his karmic disposition at any
moment, but the Power and Condition of Consciousness is

I dont care what vision or movement you had last night.
It is gone, and we are sitting here today. Are you more
conscious? Are you living the force of your conscious life
with more intensity at this moment than you were yesterday?
Or are you more involved in your bullshit, in more demands,
more fascinations, more inclinations, more mediocrity, more
low energy, more stupidity, more insensitivity? Is that what
you are involved in? If that is what you are involved in,
you have missed the point. You have been sucked in again.
You have turned again to your own dilemma

The real sign that the spiritual process is taking place
is not your experiences, insights, knowledge, your change of
life state, or anything else you have acquired in the
process—the peculiar ritual you are involved with when
you wake up in the morning. All those things are themselves
modifications, changes. The peculiar sign of the awakening
of the spiritual process is in a form of action of which you
were previously incapable because the strategy you were
enacting prevented it. That action is the process of
Consciousness and of sacrifice, senior to life, sound, mind,
and light.22


16. Bubba Free John, “Have I Said It?”

17. Bubba Free John, The Method of the Siddhas, page

18. Ibid., pages 321-322

19. Bubba Free John, Garbage and the Goddess, page

20. Bubba Free John, “Guru Day,” a talk to the Ashram,
July 15, 1973

21. Bubba Free John, The Method of the Siddhas, page

22. Bubba Free John, “Let Me Live You,” a talk to the
Ashram, April 25, 1974.


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Adi Da, Ramana Maharshi, Nityananda, Shridi Sai Baba, Upasani Baba, Seshadri Swamigal , Meher Baba, Sivananda, Ramsuratkumar
“The perfect
among the sages is identical with Me. There is absolutely no
difference between us”
Chap XX,

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