The Life of Understanding Series
Lessons on the Knee of Listening
A twelve week course taught by Franklin Jones
January – April/May 1973
The Knee Of Listening Tapes/transcribed discourses entitled the Life of Understand took place in Los Angeles in 1973. The following is from an early (and present) devotee, Tom Riley about the classes held.
“The classes were held from January – April or so, 1973. I was fortunate to have been part of a small group invited by Beloved up to His Home at 2509 Thames Place, Laurel Canyon, Hollywood, CA atop the Hollywood Hills. (In hindsight and thus appropriately enough, that particular section, where Beloved Resided, atop these Laurel Canyon Hills was formally named Mt. Olympus).
He was not present physically at His Ashram on Melrose Ave. and we implemented, for the first time, some basic life disciplines as per his instructions to us during these every – Wednesday Night Sittings – Silent Satsang, Life Discipline Instruction and The audio taped Knee Of Listening Elaboration/Discourses.
The blessings, instruction and fruits of our formal spiritually – intimate time with Beloved (still Franklin Jones at this time) were communicated and brought into the general community of devotees by those of us in weekly attendance with Beloved in the living room of His Home.
Each and every Wednesday evening for approximately 12 consecutive we would arrive at 7:00 p.m. sharp. Each Wednesday evening with Him consisted of Sitting In Silence with Beloved, for approximately one hour. Beloved would then instruct us on some fundamentals of Right Life Disciplines including diet, hygiene, etc. He discoursed and elaborated (the one and only time He’s ever done this w/The Knee of Listening to my knowledge) on The Knee Of Listening; His Early Life Spiritual Autobiography. The handful of us would arrive at 7:00 p.m. and leave His Residence generally somewhere between midnight and 2:00 a.m. All of this took place between January of 1973 and into April or so of same year prior to His Pilgrimage to India in August 1973,returning to The Melrose Ashram as Bubba Free John in September 1973.”
Tonight I want to talk to you about the last essay in the Wisdom of Understanding section it goes from page 266 to 268.
As I said, the portion of the book they went over last week dealt with the Guru as the spiritual master, about the true function of Satsang as the mere presence of the Guru as the principle of Satsang or spiritual life. This week we talk about the Guru s the divine form.
Guru as God is not the human individual, ego, magnifying itself dramatically to itself and thinking it is God exclusively over everyone else and having all kinds of qualities that it sort of owns. That sort of confession of divinity is insanity.
You find all kinds of people in mental institutions who think in these terms. Guru as God is not some ego who has begun to think he has all kinds of divine attributes. Guru is a function, where this individual who is manifesting the function of Guru in the world, when the ego has died, when the separative principle has died in this individual when the contraction has fallen away utterly, only the divine exists. That’s all that appears, and he ecstatically knows himself to be the divine form, because he has died, because that limitation is gone, only the divine exists. So he’s no longer talking about himself as a separate entity who it divine, he is speaking ecstatically outside of his ordinariness. So the Guru is God, God is the Guru. It’s not that the human Guru thinks he is God. The human Guru has become God by virtue of his spiritual death. And it’s only in this sense that the Guru exists as the divine form, only the divine form is the divine form and it’s simply that the Guru is one in whom this limiting principle has died so that in him only the divine form is conscious. No longer is this separate entity the principle of his existence. That’s what I was saying earlier about this name Dyanananda being my name, because it is not a personal name.
When I am speaking I am not speaking about Franklin, this limited individual as being some super exclusive divine entity. It’s just that this process has occurred. Only the divine is visible, only that is apparent. The Guru’s speech is ecstatic speech, not just self absorbed intoxicated speech. This brief couple of pages is this ecstatic speech, it is the word of one who in the midst of ego death, sees that only the divine form exists and he is that divine form.
Only that form is manifest, only that form is obvious. Only that form is his form, only that function is his function. So such a one is both Guru in the world and God or the divine. At the same time he lives as Guru to others and realizes himself to be only the divine form or in the divine form, he knows his very nature as well which is the self.
So perfect realization, perfect spiritual death manifests as Guru, Self and God. These three transcendent qualities. And these three are the three forms of realization. These three are the three forms of spiritual experience. So the “I” — almost every line in this section begins with “I”. This “I” is not the limited “I” and it’s a paradoxical “I”. It’s not a limited self. It’s the speech or the word of the divine. So this is the point of view of this couple of pages. It’s not the point of view of some human individual making great claims. It is the spontaneous speech of that form itself. The first few lines describe the Guru or the divine form in terms of the three ordinary qualities or states.
So the first “I am not the one who finding himself awake does not know who he is”. This is the ordinary waking state. Men ordinarily are born, they live, they are awake in the world, but they haven’t the slightest idea what it is. Who knows what this is. It goes on and on, they look at the news everything’s so glib and right out there, but nobody has any idea what this is or what they are. Nobody has any idea.
But everybody goes along through this mystery as if there weren’t any mystery, as if it were all very obvious. They forget the fact that there is a profound mystery of unconsciousness fitted to their waking state. They do not know what this is and what they are. But one who speaks from the point of view of Truth, that very One dissociates himself from that limitation.
So he is not one who finding himself awake does not know who he is. This is not his quality. The ordinary waking state is not his limitation.
So he goes on “I am not the one who finding himself in dreams and visions thinks he has returned to his deeper self. The dreamer, and not just the one who at night goes to bed and has dreams, but the quality of dreaming, the functioning, the function of consciousness that is dreams, visions, illusions, the fluid formulation of consciousness.” Well in here the Guru is dissociating himself from that limitation. He is not the one who when he’s dreaming, having visions, involved in subtle experiences in other words, thinks that this is his true self, his true nature, his real state. And this is the illusion of a yogi, the usual yogi, the seeker for subtler forms of consciousness.
As soon as he has a good dream or a really good astral experience or a fine vision of some sort or other, he thinks that this is the very profundity that is the core of his existence. But from the point of view of Truth this is not so. This is only another form of the mystery, another form of illusion or distraction. So the Guru dissociates himself from that limitation. He doesn’t think when such things arise that this is his deeper self. He is not confused or limited or distracted by it.
So he goes on, “I am not the one who enjoying the bliss of deep sleep and meditation thinks he has become free and should not move to any other state.” Again he expands the concept of this state. It’s not simply the state of deep sleep in which there is no reflected awareness, no thinking, no visions, no subtle consciousness. Deep sleep in this sense and profound meditation in the sense of going deeper beyond the forms that arise in consciousness, this is another form of distraction. This is itself another form of mystery, of non-comprehension. Whereas the meditator thinks that as soon as there is no thought, that this no thoughtness is his true state, that this bliss of being free of forms in consciousness is his true nature. So such a one who becomes attached to this level of consciousness wants always to be unconscious, wants always to be asleep, wants always to be rigidly and exclusively confined to a no-thought, no-form, no-world condition. But the Guru, one who lives from the point of view of truth dissociates himself from t that limitation, both from the demand for this state itself, or the illusion of it, the distraction by it, and also the illusion that it creates, that this is the fundamental state.
And this next line also refers to the waking state. “I am not the one who having slept, awakes.” The very first line, “I am not the one who finding himself awake does not know who he is”, speaking purely in terms of the mystery of m the waking state itself. Here he speaks in terms of being awake but he speaks of it in reference to sleep. So in deep sleep there is this formless consciousness and one who wakes from deep sleep into the ordinary waking state, in that transition identifies with the mystery of that state in which there is no identification absolutely with waking consciousness, but there is a transitional state between formlessness and form with which we can identity.
But it too is only a mystery. It is another form of noncomprehension, of unconsciousness. All of the three ordinary states as well as the transitions between them are forms of quality, of distraction, of noncomprehension, of unconsciousness, of mystery, in every state, in every one of the three ordinary states, we do not know what it is. One who is awake in the world, one who is having a vision, one who is experiencing mindless meditation or deep sleep, in each of these states he is essentially in the same condition.
He is in mystery, he does not know what it is. He does not know who he is. So all of the three states are forms of noncomprehension. But certain individuals would have you believe that, yes, the waking state is untrue but your subtle, internal life is what you A truly are, so they would turn you toward that, distract you with that.
Or another might say, the waking state is an illusion and so is all of these phenomena of consciousness, this whole subtle and visionary life. But, beneath that is another form of consciousness in which there is no form, no quality, and that is your true state. But from the point of view of truth none of the ordinary states or qualities is the truth. They are all forms of distraction, of noncomprehension, of mystery. Because one who is having any one of the three ordinary qualities is simply distracted. He does not know what it is.
So up until this point the Guru has been saying what he is not, he has been dissociating himself from the three ordinary forms of limitation, the three ordinary states, waking, sleeping and dreaming, and their counterparts in subtle. life, in formless conscious life or meditation. Now he begins to say what he is, I am this, I am that, I am the one who is with you now. I am that One. In ocher words he is not elsewhere, he is not hidden within his present appearance, he is not somehow mysteriously contained and behind it. He is that one, that very nature who is present, is what he is, and he is chat, and he absolutely is that, without any qualification. There’s nothing mysterious about him.
He doesn’t refer to some special quality, subtler than the present one as his true nature, nor to some quality of his appearance as his true nature. But his very presence is his nature and he is that presence, that very consciousness, and that very consciousness or presence is not to be identified with any of the three ordinary qualities, this is turia, the fourth state. So this point and for a period of time up until the top of the page is the Guru speaking from the point of view of his presence, in the form of Turiya, the fourth state, neither waking, sleeping nor dreaming. Turia or the self nature. “I am the one who speaks from his own silence. In other words this one who is speaking is conscious. He is not experiencing the present manifestation as a mystery, as noncomprehension, as a form of identification with qualities. He knows what his speech is and he generates his x own speech, he generates his-own qualities, he is responsible for his own qualities, and he knows also that his speech is preceded by his silence. The root of his nature is silent, not to be identified with a quality. So his creative activity is a spontaneous generation of his own absolute nature. “I am the one who always stands present in his own form.” Again, he’s not hidden, he’s not elsewhere. He’s not mysterious, he’s not in himself a paradox. [He is not separated from the ultimate reality. He is what he is and he always, the Guru, always stands present as what he is. I am the one who always and already exists. I am that one. I. am that self nature, enjoying his own form as all . conditions and states In other words all the conditions and states that arise are his own form just as his speech comes from his own silence or very nature. All of the three ordinary states also arise within him, within his own fundamental nature but without identification, without illusion, without mystery, without noncomprehension. I am the one about whom there is no mystery and no deeper part. He is not mysterious, he finds no mystery within himself or within the world. The world is obvious. Everything is obvious that arises. So for such a one there is no depth. I think it’s in this book or at some point I speak of the man of understanding as being a profoundly superficial man. Not in the sense that we ordinarily use that term to refer to somebody as being superficial, only in the sense that his quality is not mysterious. He is as he appears to be. There is no dilemma within him, no division within him and so nothing to him and for himself that is peculiarly mysterious. He is involved in the obviousness of things and what is obvious to him is the divine. I am the one who always appears exactly as he is. I am the one who is always present. He is not hidden, he is not elsewhere, he is not in another time and space condition. His quality, his fundamental nature is presence. I recognize myself as everything, everyone, every form, every movement. Whatever arises he realizes to be his own form, his own quality, his own nature. No separation is created in him. No sense of separation is implied to him on the basis of what arises, either in the form of his own states, waking, sleeping and dreaming, or if the qualities that seem to be other than himself within those states, other people, things in the waking state, worlds that arise in visions. Whatever arises he no longer discovers them to be other than himself. He no longer becomes involved in the implication of separation. He recognizes whatever arises to be himself, his own form. I am always only experiencing my own bliss, always only experiencing my own bliss. His bliss is eternal and it is his own quality, his very quality. So this blissfulness, this perfection is not something he has found or could find or seek, it is his nature, just as presence is his fundamental quality, bliss is also. I am neither lost nor found. This very one, this very nature that is the Guru, that is the Divine Being, that is the very Self of all beings, is not that which can be found at the end of a search, nor that which was at the beginning prior to realization lost. This One is the fundamental reality then, spontaneously realized in understanding and not one which from the beginning is in dilemma, nor which can be discovered as a result of a long affair of seeking. Understanding is my constant intelligence. Whereas his very mind, his very consciousness is intelligent, comprehension, re-cognition, it is already perfect, it is his very quality. This intelligence, this understanding, is not something he acquires as a result of some other action that perceive it, this is his prior consciousness or state, perfect comprehension or understanding, re-cognition, is constantly his intelligence.
Enquiry is the form of my action, the motion of my presence in which I am constantly knowing myself. So out of his very nature, his silent blissful nature, his mere presence which is constantly intelligent as comprehension, non-mystery, recognition, out of this is generated the activity which is his fundamental activity, the fundamental form of his activity is enquiry or the recognition, knowing again of qualities, of all the qualities that arise. So whereas the ordinary man is busily moving, his action is without consciousness, it’s in dilemma, his action is a way of becoming combined in various ways with the qualities of things, and so in becoming more and more unconscious, knowing less and less, comprehending less and less, the Guru, the divine form of action is one of perfect knowledge always, his action is always a form of knowing, of comprehension. So whatever he is doing, he is knowing perfectly and that action is the form of that knowing. So he does not build up karma in other words. His action is itself a form of consciousness or comprehension. So his liberation is always a present and creative realization, an ongoing realization. Liberation is his very activity. I am the one who is always known. In this process of enquiry he is constantly knowing or re-cognizing the qualities, the conditions, but he himself is that one who is known. He is that one who exists and is realized, who is the very Self and enjoyment of all beings.
So the Guru here is not speaking in this limited sense, he is speaking from the perfect point of view. I continually rise out of the heart naked and unbounded in the right side From this point on for awhile the Guru is speaking from the point of view of his very form, his ultimate state, Turia, beyond the fourth. In the previous lines, several lines, he’s been speaking from the point of view of Turia. In other words the self nature in relation to the qualities. Now he’s speaking from the point of view of Turia, the very form.
Previous to this he spoke of the very nature, now he’s speaking of the very form, the divine nature of the Guru. And he continually rises out of the heart, his very form is always rising out of the heart or standing in the heart, and the Heart is capitalized here. He’s referring to the place relative to the human body on the right side, that center of the Heart. But he’s also speaking of the very Heart as that from which his form arises. The very Heart even though it generates this quality on the right side and has an association with it is in itself perfect, unqualified, infinite, very reality, very self.
It’s not only the inward nature of every individual but it is, upon realization discovered to be the perfect nature of all the universes, the very nature. But He, this form, the very form, the divine form continually rises out of the unqualified nature. This very form then is the form of all forms that arise. It is their form, their ultimate structure. I appear as my form between the Heart and the blissful point above.
It is a further description of what it is that is arising from the Heart on the right side. This blissful-point above, if you remember in the autobiographical section when I describe the experience at Baba Muktananda’s ashram the first time I went there. If you remember the circumstances I told him I had only four days or something like that to stay and that I wanted him to give me everything. I only had a short time, I knew I couldn’t stay there to do a long period of sadhana in the Ashram there at any rate. And I wanted him to know this limitation was not something I was creating. Of course there had been years of sadhana preceding this. I was ripe for this. It was not simply an adolescent sort of demand, and it wasn’t even put in that tone at all. But as it happened at the very end of this stay in the ashram there was this perfect vision or realization beyond vision. And I mentioned in my description of this experience that I felt first of all rising out of all the usual forms pressed upon a point above. This point above is incomprehensible. It transcends this Bindu that may be perceived I describe this a few times in this book.
If you’ve read Guru, Baba’s always talking about what he calls the blue pearl, this Bindu or point of light that comes before the field of of vision, and has associated with it other yogic qualities that arise at the same time. No in my own case there was the periodic turia envisioning of this Bindu,point. But what I’m describing here transcends that yogic phenomena. This blissful point above is the perfect terminal of Amrita Nadia and transcends any immediate perception such as vision.
It is a perfect comprehension of the highest, if you want to use that sort of directional language, highest of form of consciousness, beyond all of the immediate stages, is comprehended not through any visionary or immediate phenomena of a yogic variety, but directly. It is comprehended through the organ of consciousness, not through the organ of reflections in consciousness.
So just as the Heart is perfect and unqualified this upper terminal of Amrita Nadi is also unqualified, it is not b to be equated with some quality in consciousness, but it is the upper terminal or brightness of consciousness itself. So then he says, I am the Amrita Nadi. This is that form, this is the name of that perfect form that stands in the Heart of perfect consciousness and is the very light of consciousness itself. I manifest from ‘the point of above to every center, every body, realm and experience between the upper and lower terminals of the worlds.
So this speech is the speech of the divine form, and this is a capsule description of what I’ve mentioned to you in a little more detail recently about the nature of the structure of the worlds. Amrita Nadi is the unqualified foundation and structure, conscious foundation and structure, the divine nature which is the foundation of all things. Amrita Nadi itself is unqualified it doesn’t appear immediately in the world, it is its perfect nature. So it is only realized directly.
But at the same time it is the source and very structure of individuals, of worlds, of the cosmos. The that is speaking here is that “I”, that divine “I”, the “I” of Amrita Nadi, the form of God, and this divine being or reality manifests itself as all worlds, all universes, conditional and-unconditional. All of the forms that arise and descend from the perfect light of Amrita Nadi, the uncreated, unlimited, absolute, eternal divine light which is the upper terminal or point of Amrita Nadi, and this light manifests through qualities via the motion of descent and appears as all of the conditional realms. The very light itself, the f very form is its own world and within it is the uncreated world of the God light, the indescribable eternal world.
From this very light is generated all of the conditional dimensions and within all of the conditional dimensions are sublime worlds, subtler than the solid earth, worlds of light, worlds of subtle light, subtle form. This light passes down through all the dimensions, even the most solid, even the most dense. So this divine form is manifesting through its light as all of the forms of existence, conditional and unconditional and this is the divines cosmic form and cosmic activity. I continually sacrifice the energies below the terminal processes of the worlds of my Heart, to my very nature. So just as the light appears through the agency of manifestation or descent as everything that appears between the upper terminal and the lowest terminal of existence, just as he appears through the medium of descent he continually sacrifices or in other words yields back all that arises, all that is manifest, all of the energy that is manifest, that is a qualification of the very light.
The entire world, the very form of the world in other words, is continually also sacrificed or yielded back to its very source, the very Heart, the very reality. So the structure of the worlds is then this sphere of conductivity of descent and z ascent. This is it spontaneous and continuous nature. Whereas ordinary beings, the seeker, thinks he has to create the path of ascent and manipulate the path of descent, but the full circle is always being performed spontaneously, perfectly everywhere in all the worlds. Therefore the point of view of the divine is as is stated, I live all things. Things do not live themselves, beings are not generating themselves. Nothing exists independently even at this moment. There is no separate individual that must return to the source. All individuals are already in the condition of that very source, so you need not make yourself evaporate into the soup in order to be one with the divine condition is one with the divine and the divine is living it. This is the divine realm. I never return to myself but always appear as myself. There is no dilemma in the process of my appearance. In other words the divine manifestation is free and full and by creating to cosmic manifestation the divine does not limit itself to some form of cosmic ignorance that goes on for billions of eons or whatever until it evaporates the universe and again returns to itself. The cosmic manifestation is free and full and without dilemma from the point of view of the divine.