Every Kind of Persuasion





 

EVERY
KIND OF PERSUASION

by Saniel Bonder

 

The Dawn Horse
Magazine.
Vol 1, No. 2. December 1975

THE
SACRAMENT OF PRASAD

When a true devotee brings a
gift of food to his Guru, the Guru may return all or a
portion of it to him to eat. This is Prasad, the return of a
gift to the giver. Prasad is transformed and blessed, so
that it brings the Power of the Guru to the devotee.

I – The Method of the
Siddhas, page 321.

In traditional religion and
spirituality, a sacrament is a visible sign or enactment of
Grace, a formal ceremony, such as baptism, by which Divine
Life is communicated. The central sacrament of our work in
the Way of Understanding is the formal process of Prasad. We
tend to treat Prasad either as an awkward ritual or a form
of magic, perhaps because of our traditional upbringing and
experience. But Bubba has devoted much of his teaching work
during the last month to restoring this process to its
appropriate, truly graceful role in our sadhana. This
sacrament is a perfect symbol and vehicle of the unfolding
of understanding in Satsang, from the moment the Teaching
strikes home to us through our dissolution in the Divine.
Using some of Bubbas recent communications, I’d like to
consider the early stages of the work (since most of us at
this time are enjoying the prestudent or early student
phases of sadhana) in terms of this living occasion of
Grace, the sacrament of Prasad.

Come to me when you are already
happy. In other words, do not approach me as a common
seeker, but approach me on
the basis of the Teaching,
when it has made its point in you. When the Teaching has
made its point, the individual comes to me with gratitude,
in a spirit of self sacrifice (or self-giving), surrender
and submission. in the formal relationship of Satsang,
expressed in the sacrament of Prasad, our direct or
spiritual relationship develops in you as devotion, love,
and service
.2

2. Bubba’s written
instructions to the Ashram,

Bubba recently wrote,

Pre students approach me through
the formal or sacramental process of Prasad.3

3. Written instructions,
November 28, 1975


(Pre students include entering
students and all those who have not yet formally joined The
Dawn Horse Communion as students.) In early November Bubba
made the process a completely formal event for such
individuals. For those of you who have not participated in
it, here is what happens: The pre students enter the Satsang
Hall and sit for a few moments, becoming quiet. Bubba enters
and takes his seat, while all present bow. In an orderly
manner, the prestudents then each come to him, bow again in
acknowledgment, and offer him gifts of fruit or flowers,
placing them in the baskets before Bubbas chair. Afterwards
each person returns to his place, where he simply remains
attentive to Bubba, with gratitude for his Teaching. When
all have finished offering their gifts, then several of
Bubbas disciples pass among them, distributing small sweets
as his Prasad.

lf this sounds like a ceremony of
Holy Communion, that is exactly what it is! One of the
disciples told me the first time he passed out Prasad in
this way, he literally felt Bubbas Force moving through his
arms and hands. It was as if he were a priest not a
performer of empty ritual, but a living vehicle of the
Divine blessing.

Why does Bubba use such a “formal,”
even theatrical way of offering his essentially formless
gift to us? Because one who is first approaching this work
is not capable of responsibly receiving it in any other way.
A lot of us myself included have spent many months or years
in the Ashram thinking we were involved in a mystical
relationship with Bubba, when all we were really up to was
mental or emotional masturbation. No matter how devotional a
person may feel, no matter what profound experiences and
intuitions he may have of Bubba’s Presence, when he first
arrives he is “just off the streets.” In other words, he is
still full of the automatic assumptions of the world. So
Bubba says, “Do not come suffering and grasping as a seeker,
but come to me grateful and happy, having al-ready found the
Teaching of Understanding.” If he is smart, the pre student
knows that he is a seeker, and that seeking is futile and
inappropri-ate. He is vulnerable to the critical questions
embodied in Bubba’s very Presence: “What are you doing? What
are you always doing?” He knows, at least on some level,
that he is always only turning away, turning in, self
meditating. The pre student knows that his life here will be
a continual offense and crisis, planting him more and more
profoundly in simple happiness as his seeking is unwound in
Satsang. He takes on the conditions of student life (a
routine of practical, harmonious action in the areas of
money, food, sex, study, and service) as direct expressions
of this willing-ness to sacrifice his life to the Guru. And
when he goes to the Satsang Hall, he does not go to meditate
(again, if he is smart, he leaves his pretensions to
meditation at the Guru’s feet), but to express this total
self-giving and gratitude in a tangible way.

In that very event the pre student
receives a perfect symbol of the whole process and
relationship that is Satsang: Through his disciples, and
usually in his personal Presence, Bubba returns a gift of
Grace. As he wrote in “The Gospel of the Siddhas,” “If the
devotee brings a gift of himself, purified by sadhana,
surrendered to his Guru, his Guru may return to him of his
own Nature, a gift of Light.’ The pre-student is turning
himself to outward kinds of service and devotion to the Guru
as Teacher, source of the perfect Teaching, and in formal
Sat-sang he responsibly partakes of the Guru’s Grace in the
same outward way.

But the Guru’s Grace is not
limited, of course, to visible forms. Bubba is always
communicating the Divine Nature to all beings. That is the
true and eternal form of his Prasad. The pre-student may see
his life becoming an act of service to the Guru, and he may
even begin to work up a little spiritual pride because of
it, but in fact it is the Guru’s Prasad, and not his own
effort, that works even that initial transformation in a
man:

During the pre-student period the
individual is only developing the true realization of
Satsang with me. Therefore, he tends not to enjoy, realize,
or observe the effects of my Prasad or spiritual influence.
If he is intelligent and sensitive, however, he will also
observe the beginnings of my spiritual work with him even in
the prestudent phase. It is my Prasad or consideration of
him that permits him to develop his life as service to me
and so realize this Satsang which is the foundation of the
three great phases of sadhana (student, disciple, and
devotee).

What does it mean to “realize this
Satsang” with Bubba? That realiza-tion takes a very specific
form in the pre-student, and it is on that basis that he may
then be invited to formally enter the Community of Bubba’s
devotees in the Way of Understanding. Bubba wrote more on
this in an-other of his recent communications:

When your life and all conditions I
require of you be-come conscious and true ser-vice to me,
then you may sit with me (in the company of the Community)
for prolonged (but always measured) periods in the Satsang
Hall, and you may, as long as all evidence is in you, be
invited to join the Community of my devotees.

To say that one’s “life and all
conditions must become conscious and true service” to Bubba
may sound as if Divine realization is required for entry
into the Ashram. That is not what Bubba means. Only in the
student stage itself does the conscious process of
understanding awaken, the unfolding of which begins with
true hearing, self observation, and insight, and proceeds
through enquiry in the mature student and recognition in the
disciple to culminate in radical in-tuition or perfect
Divine realization in the devotee. But one who is just
beginning the student stage has not nec-essarily awakened to
even the beginnings of this. He simply is no longer
overwhelmed by reactions to the conditions of life here. He
is not about to buy his inclinations (which do arise!) to
abandon those conditions or the Guru, the Teaching, and the
Commu-nity. His service may seem to him mo-tivated, faulty,
continually hampered by the tendencies that grip at him, but
it is conscious and therefore true. The new student is very
much aware in the midst of it that he is giving his life to
the Guru through living the conditions, and no matter what
upsets, difficulties, and phases appear, there is a steady
momentum to his yielding. It is genuine, it is real. That
service as the hour to hour movement of his life is the pre
student’s realization of Sat-sang with the Guru.

This is the simple “evidence” on
the basis of which pre-students are in-vited to join The
Dawn Horse Com-munion as students of the Way of
Un-derstanding. Formally joining the Community itself is a
great transition. At that point one legally, formally, and
altogether gives his life and be-longings to the Guru and
his Commu-nity. From that moment on, the Guru and all
members of the Ashram assume that the student’s life is
devoted moment to moment to the sadhana of Understanding. He
no longer has any right to his reactions, his resistance,
his withholding. From that moment on, by virtue of his
formal entry into the Community, he is obliged to give his
gift of self to the Guru in every moment.

For students, the formal occasion
of sitting with the Guru takes on a different form, and
student sadhana itself involves a new and more potent kind
of relationship to Bubba:

Students also continue to
approach me through the formality of Prasad, and their lives
continue to develop as service to me. However, the formal
process of Prasad is not engaged during our times of
sitting. It is done by students before or after I appear in
the Hall. The time of sitting is an outwardly non-formal
exten-sion or realization of the for-mal sacrament of
Prasad. Therefore, the student engages in an inwardly formal
process that essentially duplicates the outward formalities
of the sac-rament of Prasad. This in-wardly formal process
is what is implied by my invitation to students to simply
sit with me and be consciously involved, along with me, in
the enjoy-ment of our mutual company.

When the true relationship that
is Satsang is realized through this whole and intelligent
life of sacrifice, I commu-nicate the Siddhi or Power of my
Presence to the individual. When this initiation begins, I
work through spiritual influ-ence on the life and living
con-sciousness of the individual at all times, under all
conditions, as long as he lives and acts as conscious and
intelligent sacrifice to me.

Thus, an intensified life for the
new student does not spring merely from his entering the
Ashram, or even from his sitting longer with the
Guru.

The principal quickener is Bubba’s
continuous spiritual influence. As Bubba mentioned in an
earlier quote, the pre-student may feel the effects of his
Siddhi but the new student defi-nitely does. Now that he has
“signed himself over” to the Guru, his spiritu-al life is
Bubba’s responsibility. And now that he has realized Satsang
as the condition of his life, from which he knows he cannot
withdraw, the Guru responds with the intentional and
intensifying communication of Siddhi.

Bubba has said that this spiritual
influence may at times be felt as spontaneous yogic
modifications of one’s psycho-physical life energies, the
sudden movements called kriyas, emotional episodes,
automatic yogic breathing, etc. He points out, though, that
the essential form of the effect of his Siddhi will be “a
quickening of the revelation of the content and concealed
strategies of the individual’s life.” What this means, in
living terms, is that when you enter the Community and begin
sitting with Bubba, things may seem to get much worse
instead of better! You could try to explain this sudden
difficulty as evidence of adapting to life with students,
vestiges of resistance to giving up your private life, etc.
But in truth even the earthly circumstances of your life are
effects of the influence of the Guru Siddhi, which is
Prasad.

Thus, both in life and in
medita-tion with Bubba, the new student may abruptly witness
a stirring up of all kinds of subjective content. If he
continues to do sadhana, he will nei-ther indulge nor
suppress all this. He will simply observe it as it arises
while continuing in the momentum of his ordinary, functional
life. We all tend to get distracted if not horrified at some
of the content that is revealed to us. Thus, we lose the
thread of sadhana temporarily. But when the student sees
something about himself, he should simply take it into
account and continue to sacrifice himself to Bubba through
practical conditions. In the midst of formal sitting, if
some sort of content arises, he should simply turn his
attention again to Bubba.

Therefore, the student should sit
in my Company, but he should constantly and consciously
sacrifice or surrender himself to me all the while. This is
not to be a self-conscious effort. It is not a kind of
“working on yourself.” It is simply a matter of the constant
return of attention, with love, to my Presence. In the
process the individual will observe the modifications of his
attention. He will observe distractions and subjective
involvements of all kinds. When these arise, he should
simply return and yield his attention to me. This is his
gift of self, his real sacrifice. When this is done, I
return to him my own Gift, my own Presence, my Prasad, my
spir-itual influence.9

It’s not that your subjective
“stuff” may arise in Bubba’s Presence. It is supposed to, so
that the conscious process may begin in you. But if you get
involved in that content and distracted to the point of
being unable to return attention to the Guru, then it is
time to get up from meditation and go out and perform that
same sacrifice in more tangible ways. Many students find
that when they actually do leave the Satsang Hall and go
serve in some practical fashion, they feel the Guru’s
Presence in their lives more powerful-ly than when they were
sitting dis-tracted in his Presence in the Hall. Bubba
recently wrote,

The true sacrificial ap-proach
to me, the true turning of self to the practice of
devo-tion, which is the whole life made to serve me under
all conditions, ensures that our spiritual connection is
alive and my quickening and awak-ening Siddhi will be
effective .

What Bubba means by devotion is not
emotional enthusiasm, but living commitment. If you are
committed to the Guru rather than to your own
transformation, you will always do what is
appropriate.

The core of the student’s life,
then, is the continued self sacrifice that began in the
pre-student stage. As a student however, you are beginning
to receive the Guru’s Prasad in forms that you could not
fully appre-ciate as a pre student. Unless you are
constantly re-establishing yourself in the principle of
sacrifice to the Guru, you may not be able to appreciate
these forms of Prasad even now. It sometimes seems
impossible, when starkly witnessing your withdrawal from
others, to recognize and use that observation as Prasad. You
have to be sensitive to the intuitively happy, free quality
of all real observation as a spontaneous event of Grace. And
you have to live by your vow of surrendering your life,
negativity included, to the Guru. As Bubba says, happiness,
freedom from concern, is itself the discipline. Again, it
sometimes seems unnecessarily austere to really surrender
the delicious energies and blisses that may awaken in you as
a result of the Guru’s Presence. In that case you have to
resort again to service and sacrifice to Bubba. Those
effects of the Guru’s Prasad also must be observed; as a
student you have no right to them. Your business as a
student is the comprehension of your entire life game. In
the Community of understanding, the way of action that
serves such intelligence will always be demanded of you,
again and again, every day and every hour. And so, in time,
as you yield without dramatization all your preferences,
inclinations, and patterns of avoidance, the conscious
process will intensify as real self-observation, insight,
and enquiry.

When Bubba speaks of non
dramatization, by the way, he doesn’t mean that the student
must become a perfect human being! To try to do that would
miss the point. The student has to see the failure of his
life, the impossibility of “succeeding” at sadhana. His
vital stance and motion as a separate human being in the
world must be undermined in student sadhana. So the actual
play of it does not read like a story of perfect will,
intensity, commitment, and faultless action. The student is
continually seeing his faults, continually being confronted
with his inclinations to dramatize his emotions, his
laziness, his boredom, his cravings you name it, it all
comes up. And every now and again, he blows it. But the
secret to sadhana, even if you’ve blown it temporarily, is
to pick up again the thread of your submission to the Guru
and become responsible for what you ye seen. As Bubba says,
“just don’t do that any more.” It’s not to correct your
failings or to suppress your tendencies, but to allow
yourself to see immediately what all that amounts to the
avoidance of relationship. If your observation is true, you
may then become responsible in those areas, instead of
remaining au-tomatically subject to your uncon-scious and
subconscious whims.

The student’s service to me,
under and as all conditions, is his only meditation, until
en-quiry. My service is in the forms of Teaching, Community,
and Siddhi (as Prasad and Grace in every phase of
sadhana).

I look for this service, this
loving sacrifice. Only then does the student touch my heart.
Such a one is given everything freely, happily, and in the
proper time.

As this process of Satsang or
Prasad continues over time under all the conditions of
sad-hana, the student will see the development of true
hearing, random self-observation, and insight. When these
have matured, then he may also adapt to the responsibility
of enquiry. Enquiry, then becomes the form of his meditation
in Satsang, under all conditions, the responsible means
whereby he abides always, consciously, and intuitively in my
Presence.

 

Over time, you will see the whole
content of your life as manifestations of your avoidance,
your resistance to turning, to giving yourself to the Guru.
You will see and become responsible as a student first for
your gross, dramatic strategies stuff on the level of
beating your wife, all the heavy, obvious negativity,
withdrawal, and resistance. Later you’ll move through your
underlying strategies the “face” you project, and the hidden
selfimagery underneath it. And at some point you will begin
to see all of it as manifestations of the singular,
profound, constant activity of Narcissus, the selflimiting
of consciousness. When the patterns of your entire life are
truly seen in the process of this penetrating insight, in
that same instant you will find yourself awake as real
understanding. The consciousness that the Guru continually
communicates as the true form of his Prasad will suddenly
stand forth as your own Nature. This is the awakening of
real understanding.

Previously you enjoyed moments of
spontaneous self observation and insight in which you were
founded for just an instant in real consciousness. But you
could not be responsible for that. You could only continue
to meditate on Bubba by serving him practically and allowing
self observation to occur again at random. But now, with
this summary insight, you will find that that same
consciousness becomes readily available to you through real
meditation in the form of the enquiry, “Avoiding
relationship?” This activity then becomes the foundation of
your life in Satsang. You will continue to enjoy moments of
spontaneous self-observation, you will continue to serve
Bubba through the conditions, but enquiry will become the
core and constant of your life.

It’s with this awakening of
understanding that you begin to realize the Guru’s Prasad
constantly in the midst of all your activities. Now the form
of your gift is not only a piece of fruit symbolic of your
self, nor simply the energetic turning of your life to the
student conditions, but also and fundamentally the esoteric
yielding of all the forms of contraction in life through
real enquiry. Just so, the Prasad you receive is not only a
tangible gift of Grace, like a small sweet, or spiritual
influence read in random feelings, energies, and insights,
but also and fundamentally the very force of consciousness
moving to the front of mind and life.

With this beginning of the life of
enquiry, the student comes to realize Satsang or Prasad (as
all this has implied, the two are not different) in ever
more intense forms. As a disciple, and finally as a devotee,
the same process continues to mature, each stage proceeding
through more profound spiritual and life-level
responsibilities or conditions. In the devotee the sacrament
of Prasad has become such an overwhelming esoteric
enjoy-ment that he can no longer even find a self to
surrender. It is boiled away, consumed, vanished in his
absorption in the Guru. Everywhere he looks there is only
God. It is a life of perfect Satsang, utter dissolution. The
maturing process in that stage far exceeds what has gone
before. For the devotee, Prasad is the very Divine, the
to-tal Conscious World. He receives It so continuously and
so perfectly, that he becomes lost in It forever.

I can’t think of any better way to
conclude than with a selection from Bubba’s letter in “The
Gospel of the Siddhas”:

It is not by methodical
attention to the means of seeking, nor to specific yogic
practices, that devotees enjoy the awakening of their
spiritual functions. Nor do these awakenings only take the
form of yogic phenomena. But it is when seeking and dilemma
are undone, and the devotee re-sorts to Guru and the radical
intelligence communicated by him that there is awakening to
Truth, Life and Reality. Therefore, I come to give Prasad,
the gift of Truth and Light, to my devotees and to those who
are preparing themselves as disciples.

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 ap-pear 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 Pra-sad, 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
alive.

Prasad is my gift to devotees,
my help to disciples. Pre-pare yourself. I want true
dev-otees, not seekers. I am the Siddha-Guru, the Prasad,
the Object and Process of Medita-tion for my devotees. My
teaching is this: Turn to me and Understand.