Beezone Interview with Julie Anderson
(Formerly Kanya Samarpana Remembrance)
Julie Anderson, 2016
“You must always let everyone know I said this to you”
Beezone: You were in Adi Da’s company, in his Gurukula from almost the moment you arrived in 1976. You left Adidamashram and his intimate company in 1992. How was going from being in his intimate company for close to 17 years to being “on your own, sort of speak”?
Julie: I never thought that I would leave his company. I never thought that what happened regarding my going out into the situation that I’m in now would be my future. I had no desire for it. I only wanted to be with him and around him, no matter how intense it was. After all, at one time I was meant to help be responsible for attending his Mahasamdhi site as an eternal renunciate! Orange, celibate and all! Then suddenly over a concentrated process culminating in a dance one day, POOF it all changes!
But as I said previously, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. My leaving corresponded to his admonition to me in 1992 just before I left the Island, “Okay little Buddha. It is time for you to go out into the world.” He had given me everything he could and what was needed for the process to complete itself, through his embrace of me. Just as he said at the end of his embodiment that his work was finished, he had done it one hundred percent.
The day he told me this was a very emotional day. I was sitting with another devotee considering that it was likely we both were about the leave the Island. Adi Da then came into the room with one of his daughters and a male attendant. His daughter was crying about the fact that we were about to leave. As I sat in front of him, very emotionally distraught about what was to eventuate and how it would affect those I loved so deeply, I found that I was physically tending to fold in on myself by pulling my legs up to my chest and putting my head down onto my knees and wrapping my arms tight around my body. It was my ouch this hurts too much asana! Adi Da reached forward and gently put my body back into the half lotus pose and took my arms and put them one onto each knee. He then took each of my hands and caressed them open palms up. After having opened me up beyond my collapse, he said: This is to be your asana from now on. This interaction had to be repeated a few times, as I found myself tending to fold in again and again as I felt the pain of leaving. I can still feel his caress opening my hands up. This was the context within which he told me I had to go out into the world.
Beezone: Considering the intensity of your life in his company and everything you went through what carried forth? What kind of awareness, in Consciousness did you realize during all those years?
Julie: Do you mean, why was I not yet fully awakened after ALL THAT?
Beezone: Fully awaken is a tall order but something along those lines, yes.
Julie: In the event of leaving in 1992, I feel I was being prepared for further understanding. He told me 1992 that I needed a different context for the process to continue and deepen. This has been unbelievably difficult and amazing as you can imagine. The process is like constantly falling through a bottomless chute only to turn and re-emerge more fully and stand free. The process continues.
In all the years of living so close I was extremely attached to him, in some ways this was auspicious and in other ways, it was simply a neurotic dramatization of errors. An insidious spell had to be broken. When I left in 1992, he hugged me good-bye, and he whispered in my ear Always remember that our relationship is a spiritual one. I do, in gratitude. I promised him in that embrace that I would not dishonor him. This relationship is still alive and always has been.
Beezone: Leaving the island and his company after all those years must have been an incredible juxtaposition of reality for you.
Julie: Leaving the Island in 1992 was ‘vividly colorful.’ To my surprise and everyone elses I was doing something that I never thought would happen nor wanted to happen: moving on from being in Adi Das Gurukula. The spectrum of emotions within me and others was a full span. Phew!
I experienced great difficulties at a certain point in time after I left his physical company and the gathering. For all the years from 1992 to 2006 I was going back and forth from living within the general gathering with a new intimate to returning to serve up close to Adi Da in some fashion, at times as his intimate again, sometimes both Nick and I together serving him.
The hardships had a lot to do with the constant changes and also then integrating into a more ordinary circumstance in the world. Not to mention Adi Da himself and his wild ordeal of the continuous changes in his work and the struggles he encountered and my response to that! There is too much to tell to go into all that right now. For me that process and the going back and forth and changing situations was exhausting. I tried the very best I could to respond and be an inspiration and keep it together, but I could not.
This drama all took a toll on my health and clarity. There was a phone call I had with Adi Da very early on after I left where I was very emotionally expressing my concern about how this apparent change and distance was going to affect the process and realization. He said; You do not need to be concerned about that. That is my work
Still, the perfect storm happened. What has happened, for real and why? I now seemingly had to live a whole new identity as my life circumstance and role had so dramatically changed. There was an inevitable loss of face and status, necessarily so. Who was I? Julie? HMM, not been called that for ages! In mind and emotion, the reasons for the troubling confusion seemed endless! How could this be so after all the gifts I had been given? I began to question actually what had occurred and the manner in which my relationship with Adi Da had manifested at times and the way he had worked with me and others.
Beezone: Talk about schizoid reality!
Julie: The contrast was significantly obvious between what it was like to be in the world, that appeared at times to be in sharp contrast to the constancy of living as a renunciate in Hermitage, in a sacred space, only involved in a sacred process direct with the Guru. In his house, I was always being reminded of Radical Understanding and about the nature of Reality and Satsang. That was constantly the focus of my life, consistently receiving that and being imbued by that. My life consideration was being measured in relationship to that. Insights came about through that process.
Obviously, it did not mean that did not occur outside of that context but having been right next to his body and thus in a sacred domain for so many years and then suddenly and unexpectedly being in the so-called secular ‘world,’ it was an incredibly difficult ordeal. It was a rude awakening, as they say.
Beezone: To say the least. The depth and breadth of that change is radical to anyone with sensitivity to your situation.
Julie: I agree they would feel the enormity of the ordeal. I was not the only one of his devotees who experienced similar kinds of twists. Also, history tells us that many religious and spiritual practitioners throughout time have endured these kinds of testing adventures.
So I continued to practice as a devotee in my new life circumstances and to be an inspiration to others so as not to dishonor him. Nice try! Just like trying to be a good Christian! Down the chute again! Apart from terribly missing being in his physical company and with the gurukula and that this contact may not happen often, there was fear about survival.
Beezone: How did you survive? How did you support yourself? What kind of work and life situation did you move into or create?
Julie: In practical and physical terms everything that I owned, I never owned any of it, as I was a renunciate, all of what my life had been surrounded by and how I was supported was left behind. Two decades of my life was relinquished. I left the Island with very little; my mala, a few sacred books, and a few summer clothes. Even my name changed again! So as I have said, it was difficult being out here. Just even being called Julie, which was my birth name, as I hadnt been called that since mid-1976, was disorienting.
There was also sorrow and fear. Much later it did turn to anger. Years later a close devotee friend told me that Adi Da had told him and a few others in 1992 when I left to give me anything I asked for. I didn’t know that at the time. I wish I had known it then as the transition would have been much easier for me. Clearly easy was not the point nor to be.
But as it turned out once my intimacy and status as a member of his gurukula was relinquished, so went a significant amount of care and respect. My previous persona and my needs faded out of focus over time, so it seemed. This was understandably so. A few devotees here in Australia were very caring, and I felt loved and embraced. The greatest help was from my new intimate, Nick who came with me when I left the Island.
I used to sit often and cry because I felt like a snake shedding its skin. The persona was shifting into another pattern. But what became somewhat clear fairly quickly, was that I didnt have to fear the loss of anything fundamental. The efforts of practice, all of what I had put so much time into, the tapas that I had lived and the gifts I had been given, it became abundantly clear to me that the yoga of Divine embrace was irrevocably stabilized. The resort to grace and the ability for deep reception and meditation was not affected by any of the new experiences. Quite the opposite, all was magnified because in a different context the process was being effortlessly validated.
Beezone: What kind of work did you do when you left Naitauba?
Julie: Having not worked for money nor touching it for 17 years, I had to find a way to survive. Concerned that I had no skills or qualifications, I decided I should do what I felt comfortable with and something I had done A LOT of with Adi Da, massage!
One memorable gift that I received and had stayed imprinted in my being came about when I started doing massage as a living. I found that when I put my hands on people who I did not know they felt like Beloved to me! This occurred whenever I put my hands on anyone! I was aware of many seeming differences, but the feeling of Adi Da, his spirit and being were abundantly clear and tangible, no matter whom I touched. This feeling informed and guided the ensuing ordeal I had to endure.
I didn’t have to be concerned about the loss of any of it, even during times when I stopped doing all of the formal practices. That relinquishment began probably around 2002 after the She Is Mind Suite photo shoot that Adi Da made use of me.
I progressively stopped doing all formal practices, even the sacred use of a murti of Adi Da. For years I would make offerings to his murti and sit in front of many times daily. I and relinquished all external forms of the practice around 2006.
I did this in part hoping I could REALLY let go of some of the troubling aspects of my past. Why? Because my relationship with him involved the human emotional-sexual intimacy, I felt letting go of the obsession with his physical form and all the memories associated with the human intimacy was necessary.
Hearing about him and his work, hearing about the gathering and their process and the frustrations that continued for him and devotees created awful symptoms for me. I was sick in one degree or another for the next eight years. During all the years until Adi Das Mahasamadhi he was aware of the ordeal and the difficulties I was going through and I received his love and blessings all along.
Beezone: There is one thing that is very tricky when people say they are in relationship to Adi Da outside of his physical company. Many people believe they have a relationship to him but it seems much of that is mind, fanciful thought or as he so often stated an ‘abstraction.’ Can you comment on your relationship to Adi Da now that he has ‘passed,’ no longer incarnated?
Julie: During all the years of being a devotee and also since living in different circumstances as of 1992 I have spoken to many people who have had all sorts of experiences, visions, dreams, synchronicities, feeling like theyre getting direct instructions from him, but more and more I feel how all of that is, as you state, just mind. He told me sometime in the early 2000s, via direct conversations with him from my detailing to him these kinds of experiences that pointed to the obvious psychic and spiritual nature of life and our relationship, that I was to no longer attribute any meaning to such things.
This allowed me to feel even more deeply the most fundamental work that occurs spiritually occurs prior to mind. Its the fundamental magnification of the Divine Brightness, the Divine Self Light. That is what outshines the patterns of egoic mind, body and emotions and also ultimately undoes the entire knot of attention moving to and being bound in the matrix of patterns, and calling this I.
This is the process that is occurring in His Divine company no matter where I am physically. I continue to participate in this yoga with Him. What is most obvious in this letting go is that a great amount of effort and stress is relieved. Holding on to any thing will not make truth true, even no matter how auspicious it seems! There can tend to be so much mind about the process and what I felt was necessary to hold onto. This was and is being continuously dissolved..
Beezone: This clearly illustrates the blessing in disguise of being ‘cast’ out of the nest, sort of speak.
Julie: Yes, I began to see things more clearly after I left because I was more objective to it. I began to directly see the truth of what Bhagavan Adi Da was often upset about in his criticism of our not getting it or relating to him rightly. I am that, as ego. I did that.
Beezone: To me you represent a unique example of what I call the ‘in and out game.’ Somehow people believe that there is a place that is somewhere else, out there somewhere, they have to be to receive or get something. Can you talk about not being a member of Adidam?
Julie: While I am no longer part of the formal gathering and have not been for many years there is a continuation of the same in-depth process, yet in a different context. This was and is again and again validated. There is no experience, time or space that can separate me from the real Divine process that has been awakened via Adi Das shaktipat and work with me. Even though there has been an apparent split from living as part of the gathering of devotees and no longer living the intensive process as I once had, the process of responsive devotion, insight and awakening continues.
Beezone: In some way you could apply this to the transitory nature of this world. Not only places and things we consider sacred but to the natural world and the body itself.
Julie: Are you referring to the natural disasters that occurred recently that affected the Adidam communities in Lake County and Naituba?
Beezone: In part, yes.
Julie: With the devastating hurricanes and the terrible fires that have affected the Adidam community it is a reminder you cannot depend on anything manifest to secure the true spiritual process. When I say true I mean ‘the one thing’ that reveals the most fundamental truth of our prior, real self and condition. The mechanism or vehicle by which one lives this spiritual process at depth is prior to all that is manifest, yet also fully inclusive of it all, in Divine Recognition. The various manifest sacred forms and processes that may emanate from that are all simply potentially there to be made right use of, but you cant depend on any of it.
One thing I have learned over these years is what must be cultivated for real is that which cannot be destroyed. That which is profoundly real has to become most tangible, as obvious to us, really even more so, than that which is materially or experientially manifest by virtue of attention and seeking, even as auspicious as it may seem!. You see my lessons have taught me that the profoundly consequential yogic and spiritually Divine conscious process occurs prior to all that. And that has been proven to me over and over again.
Beezone: This is where the paradox of incarnation and transcendence meet. Where real discrimination is required.
Julie: Yes. Theres a level of stress or release relative to the way I have tended to participate in this yogic process. It has also necessarily become measured because Ive been burnt, in the tapas. The tapas can grant great insight into whatever appears and be liberating. But it is always at a price. Meaning it is a difficult ordeal. It requires an endurance of trust and passion. Ive been burnt through the intensity of the ordeal, but also by the ego politics in relationship to Adi Da and other devotees, and by my misunderstanding of the real process and necessary purification I would have preferred to avoid.
Beezone: Yes, I would say cooked.
Julie: Yes. Gratefully, however, I just got sick of the seemingly fruitless and never ending drama within myself and the entire quagmire within Adidam. In retrospect, I can now see that many of the emotions and choices that I felt guilty about were telling me something vital about how I was functioning. It is now okay to say I cannot do it the way I used to anymore! I also no longer have to throw the baby out with the bath water, as the saying goes. Personally, I did not have the stamina to endure the continued participation up close or within the formal gathering. Adi Da also said to me personally that the institutional and cultural work was not mine to do. I was to take care of my well-being and not dissociate from him.
Beezone: You were becoming more ‘worldly’, more ordinary. You were also now in a relationship which you hadn’t been in since very early in your life.
Julie: Being in a new relationship was exciting and pleasurable in many ways as was the new and different life circumstance. There was also the further growth in self-understanding that was necessary especially in emotional-sexual terms. After all, there we so many things I had not seen nor done having lived in Hermitage for 17 years! I was also now within the culture of the larger Adidam gathering of devotees. This was a whole new paradigm, in many ways. I tried to recreate that sacred space of living with Adi Da wherever I landed in this new context to maintain and support this focus. There were also the challenges of what it is to be a devotee in the general gathering of Adidam. My intimate Nick and close friends could tell you some funny and not so funny stories of my madness!
Beezone: Your madness as you say is characteristic of us all. To me you seem in many ways more of a ‘coin’ now then you were when you were in his intimate company!
Julie: I do not know about that! But yes, he called us his coins, referring to Shirdi Sai Baba. Anybody who came into his company that was very intimate with him in any way whether it be intimately attending to him bodily, being sexually intimate, taking care of his health, cooking for him, caring for his environment, taking care of his temples and meditation halls or holy sites, involved in his written word, communications or art work, anything like that were his coins.
Speaking of coins! I did tell you the story of the Lakshmi leela. That is an important demonstration about how his process manifested as he taught and made use of us as coins.
(Read: The Goddess Lakshmi – Dama September (Julie Anderson), Crazy Wisdom Magazine, July 1982)
What has been proven to me is that the process continues whether we like it or not and whether we feel like we want to try to get away from it or whether we think that we somehow violated a vow in leaving or being rebellious of whatever we do in our reactions. We can and will learn from our errors in this bond.
I have understood and felt that what he established or enabled will be eternally active, spiritually, as he has confessed. Yes, it can be dampened down. It can be ignored. It can be forgotten. It can be reacted to. You could completely dismiss it out of a victim mentality or anger in feeling somehow some injustice has been done. Or you can appear to steal aspects of the process for yourself. I have tried and felt these many extremes. But the truth of the matter is the process of true spiritual awakening, once activated, continues no matter how mediocre we are. There will not be much growth or great insights or deepening, or necessarily great freedom felt if we resist and fail to embrace his instructions, but nonetheless the Divine work is secure and cannot be destroyed. There is no damnation from Adi Da or God if you choose to be mediocre. Its not, as stated in a lot of the traditions that youre damned or doomed or that terrible things will happen to you if you cease to be a perfectly faithful participant and follow the dharma to the t.
Experiential synchronicities may seem to appear this way at times but my experience is that the Divine reality bond cannot be broken at depth once radical understanding has been spiritually activated. It is radical Divine alchemy. My experience is that the only thing that happens if I am lazy and lose focus or self-discipline is that I stave off the gift of the undoing insight of the errors in consciousness. Yes, I can create difficulty if I react to or ignore the Divine healing and awakening power that is present and moving to purify and transform. I just create more hardship for myself really, adding experience and time to the egos repetitive mind and the world.
Its not the Divine doing any of that to me. Thats not the nature of divinity. However, the nature of divinity as spirit being is always illuminating apparent limitations and obstacles and awakening understanding and it can at times feel like it hurts.
By the way, there is something Adi Da asked me to be sure to say when I told the story of my life with him. This instruction came about one day while swimming in the waters off Naituba. It was in one of the times I had returned to resume my intimate service to him, sometime in the 90s. I was telling him that I was thinking of writing a book about my life with him. He told me very firmly it was not time. He indicated that when it was time, it would be very obvious. I then told him the story of an interaction that took place when I first arrived in his company. He and a number of his close devotees went with him to Palm Springs shortly after I arrived in 1976. One evening as he was sitting on his seat, I walked into the room where he was gathered with a number of devotees. As I did he said; Ah the world has come to me at last. He then motioned for me to come and sit on his lap! He pulled me close to him, and as I put my head on his chest, I fell into a swoon, staying in this love bliss for the longest time. After having reminded him of this event, he said; When you finally tell your story you must always let everyone know I said this to you. So now I have!
End of part 3
A Note from Julie
Blessings! I am making this communication via Beezone as a means to explore, remember, understand more deeply and make available the story of my life with Bhagavan Adi Da.Its a deep samyama for me and I am grateful to Ed Reither for this auspicious opportunity and how this gift has come into being.
Coincidentally, my communication may be useful to you the reader in providing a means to reflect on your own life experiences with Adi Da or in relationship to your own spiritual practice and life adventure.
Given I am not currently a formal practitioner of Adidam, my communication is a personal one and it is not intended specifically to be a guide to anyone’s spiritual and life practice. Adi Da has made it abundantly clear that if anyone is serious about His Teaching,they should embrace the full details of practice which He has clearly communicated. Any response made or opinion formed in regards to his offering is a personal matter of responsible free choice.
Whilst I am very serious about my transcendentally spiritual relationship with Adi Da, for some time and for now, I have not chosen to embrace the full details of His Instruction in regards to participation within the formal Institution and Culture of Adidam. This is a personal matter and not a reflection about anything otherwise. There are no “sides” of any camp that I sit within. My heart is filled with great respect, gratitude and profound loving compassion for all devotees that I share a history with.
Om Sri Da Love Ananda
Interview Table of Contents
The Real Practice of Guru-Devotion
Julie Anderson, 1980