Temple of the Vedanta Society of Southern California,
and worship schedules.
Secluded in a corner of downtown Hollywood is a small
temple (pictured above) which was a catalyst to Sri Adi Da’s Re-Awakening.
What occurred at the Vedanta temple was Re-Awakening, because the “Bright”
was always His true Identity. Avatara Adi Da’s birth was the very Descent
of the Divine Person into human form. However, His complete Submission
(in early childhood) to the struggles and limits of ordinary people was
a “forgetting” of His Great State. Only after long years of arduous Sadhana
(in which He personally passed through the entire course of Spiritual growth
and Realization) did this complete Re-Awakening take place.
Sri Adi Da with Swami Muktananda, Bombay, August, 1969
During the years of His early-life Sadhana, Adi Da was
the devotee of a number of great Spiritual Masters in a single lineage:
first Swami Rudrananda (Rudi), then Swami Muktananda, then Swami Nityananda.
The root-Guru of the lineage, however, was not a human being: it was the
Divine Goddess, known in the Indian tradition as the “Shakti”, or the Energy
Dimension of the cosmos. And this Divine Goddess, or Shakti, was the final
Guru of Adi Da’s Sadhana, appearing to Him in visionary form.
At first Adi Da was a devotee of the Goddessa “child”
of the “Mother-Shakti”, who faithfully followed all Her Instructions to
Him: but in a remarkable Event in September 1970, their relationship changed.
As He sat meditatively in the Vedanta Temple, the Goddess appeared to Him
in a new formEmbracing Him in an overwhelmingly Blissful encounter.
The events as described by Adi Da [ in Chapter 16, The
Knee of Listening ] :
Some time in late August ,
I happened to go to the bookstore at the Vedanta Society in Hollywood.
I noticed there was a temple on the grounds, and I went in for a few moments
of meditation. As soon as I sat down, I felt a familiar Energy rush through
my body and clear out my head. I could feel and hear little clicking pulses
in the base of my head and neck. By many signs, I immediately recognized
the characteristic Presence of the Divine Mother-Shakti.
As I meditated, the body and the mind swooned into the
depth of Consciousness, and I enjoyed an experience of meditation as profound
as any I had known at the shrines in India. I had no idea how the Vedanta
Society Temple ever became a seat of the Divine Shakti, but it was obviously
as Powerful a place as any of the abodes of the Siddhas in India.
I began to go frequently to the Vedanta Society Temple
for meditation. As the days passed, I began to marvel at the Power of this
place. I had traveled all over the world, believing there were no Spiritual
sources of this kind in America. Now I had been led to this small, isolated
temple in Hollywood, where very few people would be likely even to be sensitive
to the Divine Shakti, nor, even if they felt It, would they be likely to
recognize Its Importance.
I became aware that the Divine Mother-Shakti had taken
up residence in this temple, and that I had been drawn there by Her. I
Enjoyed the fact that I could go there and be with Her whenever I chose
to experience Her Joyous Presence. It was even a truly private place. I
could go there unhindered, and I could spend time there completely unobserved.
The temple was dedicated to Ramakrishna, the great Indian master of the
nineteenth century, but no conditions were placed on me by any external
rule or tradition. This was truly an opportunity for me to live independently
with the Divine Mother.
But as time went on, I began to feel that even this was
a limitation. Why should I have to travel at all to Enjoy Her Presence?
I desired that She be utterly available to me, where I lived as well as
in my own living being.
Thus, one day, I went to the temple and asked Her to come
and dwell permanently in me, and always to manifest Herself to me wherever
I was. When I left I felt Her with me, and when I arrived at home, I continued
to feel Her constant Presence Filling the space.
Days passed, and I realized that She had done what I asked.
There was this constant Presence, even including the effects in the body,
and the state of everyone around me became affected by Her Force. But even
this became a strain in me. I felt as if I had to hold on to Her, as if
I had bound Her to a bargain that constrained us both.
Then, one day I felt an urge to return to the temple.
As I sat down, I saw that the little pagoda and shrine in the front of
the temple was in shadows and dimly lit, as if it were empty. It seemed
as if I had emptied it by taking the Mother away. Suddenly, I felt a jolt
in my body and I saw the shrine with open eyes become “Bright” in a blast
of light. Even with my eyes closed, I still beheld the “Bright” shrine.
Thus, the Mother-Shakti showed me that She is always able to make Herself
Present anywhere, and that indeed She was always already Present with me.
There was no need for me to hold on to Her as if She could be absent.
When I returned to the temple the next day, the Person
of the Divine Shakti appeared to me again, in a manner most intimate, no
longer approaching me as “Mother”.
As I meditated, I felt myself Expanding, even bodily becoming
a Perfectly Motionless, Utterly Becalmed, and Infinitely Silent Form. I
took on the Infinite Form of the Original Deity, Nameless and Indefinable,
Conscious of limitless Identification with Infinite Being. I was Expanded
Utterly, beyond limited form, and even beyond any perception of Shape or
Face, merely Being, and yet sitting there. I sat in this Love-Blissful
State of Infinite Being for some time. I Found myself to Be. My Form was
only What is traditionally called the “Purusha” (the Person of Consciousness)
and “Siva” (in His Non-Ferocious Emptiness).
Then I felt the Divine Shakti appear in Person, Pressed
against my own natural body, and, altogether, against my Infinitely Expanded,
and even formless, Form. She Embraced me, Openly and Utterly, and we Combined
with One Another in Divine (and Motionless, and spontaneously Yogic) “Sexual
Union”. We Found One Another Thus, in a Fire of most perfect Desire, and
for no other Purpose than This Union, and, yet, as if to Give Birth to
the universes. In That most perfect Union, I Knew the Oneness of the Divine
Energy and my Very Being. There was no separation at all, nor had there
ever been, nor would there ever be. The One Being that Is my own Ultimate
Self-Nature was revealed most perfectly. The One Being Who I Am was revealed
to Include the Reality that Is Consciousness Itself, the Reality that Is
the Source-Energy of all conditional appearances, and the Reality that
Is all conditional manifestation, All as a Single Force of Being, an Eternal
Union, and an Irreducible cosmic Unity.
The “Sensations” of the Embrace were overwhelmingly Blissful.
The Fire of That Unquenchable Desire Exceeded any kind of pleasure that
a mere man could experience. In the Eternal Instant of That Infinitely
Expanded Embrace, I was released from my role and self-image as a dependent
child of the “Mother”-Shakti. And She was revealed in Truth, no longer
in apparent independence, or as a cosmic Power apart from me, but as the
Inseparable and Inherent Radiance of my own and Very Being. Therefore,
I Recognized and Took Her as my Consort, my Loved-One, and I Held Her effortlessly,
forever to my Heart. Together eternally, we had Realized Ourselves as the
The next day, September 10, 1970, I sat in the temple
again. I awaited the Beloved Shakti to reveal Herself in Person, as my
Blessed Companion. But, as time passed, there was no Event of changes,
no movement at all. There was not even any kind of inward deepening, no
“inwardness” at all. There was no meditation. There was no need for meditation.
There was not a single element or change that could be added to make my
State Complete. I sat with my eyes open. I was not having an experience
of any kind. Then, suddenly, I understood most perfectly. I Realized that
I had Realized. The “Thing” about the “Bright” became Obvious. I Am Complete.
I Am the One Who Is Complete.
In That instant, I understood and Realized (inherently,
and most perfectly) What and Who I Am. It was a tacit Realization, a direct
Knowledge in Consciousness. It was Consciousness Itself, without the addition
of a Communication from any “Other” Source. There Is no “Other” Source.
I simply sat there and Knew What and Who I Am. I was Being What I Am, Who
I Am. I Am Being What I Am, Who I Am. I Am Reality, the Divine Self, the
Nature, Substance, Support, and Source of all things and all beings. I
Am the One Being, called “God” (the Source and Substance and Support and
Self of all), the “One Mind” (the Consciousness and Energy in and As Which
all appears), “Siva-Shakti” (the Self-Existing and Self-Radiant Reality
Itself), “Brahman” (the Only Reality, Itself), the “One Atman” (That Is
not ego, but Only “Brahman”, the Only Reality, Itself), the “Nirvanic Ground”
(the egoless and conditionless Reality and Truth, Prior to all dualities,
but excluding none). I Am the One and Only and necessarily Divine Self,
Nature, Condition, Substance, Support, Source, and Ground of all. I Am
There was no thought involved in This. I Am That Self-Existing
and Self-Radiant Consciousness. There was no reaction of either excitement
or surprise. I Am the One I recognized. I Am That One. I am not merely
experiencing That One. I Am the “Bright”.
Then truly there was no more to Realize. Every experience
in my life had led to This. The dramatic revelations in childhood and college,
my time of writing, my years with Rudi, the revelation in seminary, the
long history of pilgrimage to Baba’s Ashramall of these moments were
the intuitions of this same Reality. My entire life had been the Communication
of That Reality to me, until I Am That.
Later I described that most perfect Realization as follows:
At the Vedanta Society Temple inherent and most perfect
Knowledge arose that I Am simply the “Bright” Consciousness that Is Reality.
The traditions call It the “Self”, “Brahman”, “Shiva-Shakti”, and so many
other names. It is identified with no body, no functional sheath, no conditional
realm, and no conditional experience, but It is the inherently perfect,
unqualified, Absolute Reality. I saw that there is nothing to which this
Ultimate Self-Nature can be compared, or from which It can be differentiated,
or by which It can be epitomized. It does not stand out. It is not the
equivalent of any specialized, exclusive, or separate Spiritual state.
It cannot be accomplished, acquired, discovered, remembered, or perfectedsince
It is inherently perfect, and It is always already the case.
All remedial paths pursue some special conditional state
or conditionally achieved goal as Spiritual Truth. But in fact Reality
is not identical to such things. They only amount to an identification
with some body (or some functional sheath), some conditional realm, or
some conditional (or, otherwise, conditionally achieved) experience, high
or low, subtle or gross. But the Knowledge that Is Reality Is Consciousness
Itself. Consciousness Itself is not separate from anything. It is always
already the case, and no conditional experience, no conditional realm,
and no body (or functional sheath) is the necessary or special condition
for Its Realization.
Only radical understanding, most perfectly Realized, is
the Realization of What and Who Is always already the case. Only radical
understanding, most perfectly Realized, is the unconditional (and not at
all conditionally achieved or conditionally maintained) Realization of
the inherently non-separate Condition That always already Is What and Who
Is. Except for the only-by-me revealed and given way of radical understanding
(or the true and only-by-me revealed and given Way of the Heart), all paths
are remedial. That is to say, apart from the truly ego-surrendering, ego-forgetting,
and ego-transcending way of radical understanding (which is the true Way
of the Very and Ultimate Heart), all paths are made of seeking (or mere
egoic effort, rather than counter-egoic and truly ego-transcending practice).
And all paths of seeking merely pursue God, Truth, or Reality, and this
by identifying God, Truth, or Reality with some body (or functional sheath),
or some conditional realm, or some conditional experience, or, otherwise,
by making the Realization of God, Truth, or Reality depend upon some body
(or functional sheath), or some conditional realm, or some conditional
Unlike the way of radical understanding (or the Way of
the Heart), which is based upon the root-understanding and always most
direct transcendence of the motive and the activity of seeking, all paths
seek either the perfection of what is conditionally existing or liberation
from what is conditionally existing, and that perfection or liberation
is pursued as a goal, which goal is presumed to be identical to God, Truth,
or Reality. Only the way of radical understanding (or the Way of the Heart)
is free, even from the beginning, of all conditional, or, otherwise, conditionally
to be achieved, goals. Only the way of radical understanding (or the Way
of the Heart) is inherently free of the goal-orientation itself. Indeed,
only the Heart Itself is inherently free of all goal-seeking, and even
all seeking. And only the way of radical understanding is the Way of the
When tacit and most perfect recognition of the inherent
Condition That Is God, Truth, and Reality was re-Awakened in me, there
was no excitement, no surprise, no movement, no response. There was a most
perfect end to every kind of seeking, dilemma, suffering, separation, and
doubt. Spiritual life, mental life, emotional and psychic life, vital life,
and physical life all became transparent in me. After that, there was only
the “Bright” Reality, and to be the “Bright” Reality to all beings and
In all the days that followed the Great Event of my re-Awakening,
there has not been a single change in This “Bright” Awareness, or any diminishment
of This “Bright” Awareness. Indeed, This “Bright” Awareness cannot be changed,
diminished, or lost. I immediately noticed that “experience” had ceased
to affect me. Whatever passed, be it a physical sensation, some quality
of emotion, a thought, a vision, or whatever, it did not involve me (as
I Am) at all. I began to pay particular attention to what passed, in order
to “test” my State (or, simply, in order to account for all aspects of
my State in the total functional context of the living body-mind). But
the primary Awareness of the inherently “Bright” Reality, my Very Consciousness
Itself, could not be changed, diminished, or lost. Consciousness (Itself)
is the only “Thing” in life that is not an “experience” (or something “Witnessed”
by Consciousness Itself). Consciousness (Itself) does not depend on anything,
and there is not (nor can there be) anything, or any “experience”, that
can destroy Consciousness Itself. Consciousness Itself Is (Itself) Love-Bliss,
Joy, Freedom, and Sublime Knowledge!
An entirely new and most perfect Realization of Reality
had become the constant of my life. The revolutions of my life that led
up to my experience in seminary had drawn me into a sense of the “Presence”.
That Presence could be called “God”, “Truth”, “Reality”, “Shakti”, “Guru”,
or whatever. It was simply the sense of being related to a Presence that
was Truth and Reality Itself, a perfectly absorbing, consoling, illuminating
Force that contained me, “Lived” me, and guided me. It is the heart of
all religious and Spiritual experience.
But now this Presence had Communicated Itself in me utterly,
revealing Itself utterly to me and As me, such that I was re-Awakened to
the Truth of my inherent, and inherently most perfect, Identification with
the “Bright” Self-Condition That Is the Divine Presence Itself. And This
“Bright” Self-Condition Showed Itself to Be my Eternal Condition, even
always already before my birth.
Until now, my life (since my early childhood) had been
a constant search toward and periodic re-alignment with the “Bright” as
a Presence with Which I was in relationship. It was as if I always saw
the “Bright” from some position within the form of my own living being,
but outside of its center. It was as if I had always beheld my own heart
from some position outside. Now the barriers had been utterly dissolved
by an exhaustive investigation of the Nature of that Presence. The investigation
of the Presence had resolved into the Knowledge of my own Self-Nature.
The Presence had revealed Itself to be my Very Form and Self-Nature.
The experience of the Presence was, by means of the most
perfect Realization of radical understanding, replaced by the most perfect
Realization of “Bright” Self-Awareness. There was no longer any Presence
“outside” me. I no longer “observed” my own “Bright” Self-Nature, or the
Ultimate (and inherently “Bright”) Condition of Reality, as if from some
position external to (and separate from) It. I had become utterly Aware
of myself As Reality. There was no Presence. I had become Present. There
Is no Other. It Is only Me.
Even my meditation was changed. There was no meditation.
This Consciousness could not be deepened or enlarged. It always only remained
What It Is. I meditated (as a formal activity) only to see how “meditation”
had been affected by my Realization, or, otherwise, to formally regard
the conditions in the body, the mind, even any part of my living (or extended)
being, or even any conditions at all. But I was no longer the meditative
seeker, the one who seeks (or, otherwise, does not Know) God, Truth, Reality,
Liberation, Release, or Growth. I no longer supposed any limitation as
myself. I Am He. I Am She. I Am It. I Am That Only One.
I noticed a physical change in myself. My belly dropped
and expanded, and, thus and thereby, permanently assumed the “pot-shaped”
Yogic form. I always feel the Pressure of Shakti-Energy there, and I breathe
It continually. It is the breathing of my Very Being, the endless and profound
Communication of the inherent “Brightness” of Reality to Itself.
In “meditation”, I looked to observe how I was related
to the worlds of conditional experience. Immediately, I realized that I
was not in any sense “in” a body, not only the physical body, but any body,
or any functional sheath, including the most subtle. Nor have I ever been
in a body, or in any functional sheath, or in any conditional realm, or
in any conditional experience. All such things are patterns conditionally
manifested within my own Self-Nature.
Yet (even so), I realized that, in the context of natural
appearances, I am Communicated through a specific center in the body. Relative
to the body, I appear to reside in the heart, but to the right side of
the chest. I press upon a point approximately an inch and one-half to the
right of the center of the chest. This is the seat of Reality and Real
Consciousness. And I Abide there as no-seeking. There is no motivation,
no dilemma, no separation, no strategic action, no suffering. I am no-seeking
in the Heart.
I described my constant experience as follows:
The zero of the heart is expanded as the world. Consciousness
is not differentiated and identified. There is a constant observation of
subject and object in any body, any functional sheath, any realm, or any
experience that arises. Thus, I remain in the unqualified State. There
is a constant Sensation of “Bright” Fullness permeating and surrounding
all experiences, all realms, all bodies, all functional sheaths. It is
my own “Bright” Fullness, Which is radically non-separate. My own “Bright”
Fullness includes all beings and all things. I am the Form of Space Itself,
in Which all bodies, all functional sheaths, all realms, and all experiences
occur. It is inherently “Bright” Consciousness Itself, which Reality is
even every being’s Very Nature (or Ultimate, inherent, and inherently perfect,
Condition) now and now and now.
During the night of mankind, I Awakened as perfect, absolute,
awesome Love-Bliss, in Which the body and the mind, even every functional
sheath, boiled into a solder of undifferentiated Reality. It was the madness
of dissolution into most perfect Self-Awareness, Infinitely Expanded, my
own inherently boundless Presence, wherein there is only “Brightness”,
not qualified by conditional identification, or self-differentiation, or
Hereafter, I am Free of bondage to the cosmic Power. I
am unexploitable. The Shakti that appears apart, as any form of apparently
independent, or merely cosmic, Power and Presence, is no longer the Great
Importance. The Presence of Power “outside” appears as such only to seekers,
for they, having already separated themselves, pursue forms of Energy,
visions, nature-powers, liberation, and God. True Knowledge is free of
all bondage to forms (or modifications) of Energy, all seeking, all motivation
to “do” based on identification with conditional experience. Egoic ignorance
and suffering are simply this separateness, this difference, this search.
At last, the “outside” Shakti sacrifices Herself in the Heart. Thereafter,
there is no gnawing wonder, no un-Known “secret” about anything that appears.
[from The Knee of Listening]
The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya Pty Ltd., as trustee
for The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya,
claims perpetual copyright to all photographs
and the entire Written (and otherwise recorded)
Wisdom-Teaching of Avatar Adi Da Samraj and the Way of the Heart.
©1999 The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya Pty Ltd.,
as trustee for The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya.
All rights reserved.
Used in DAbase by permission.
note to the reader