The Life of Understanding – Week 3

The Life of Understanding Series

A twelve week course
taught by Bubba Free John starting in January

Life of Understanding –
Lessons on the Knee of Listening

Franklin Jones (Adi Da
Samraj) – 1973

(Week 3 – pdf)

Tonight I have a very long portion
of the book to talk about, pages 39-83, which covers the
whole period from my meeting with Rudi, all the way through
all the years I was with Rudi, including going to seminary,
and then going to India to Muktananda’s Ashram and then
coming back. It represents about 4 years.

Most significant about this
transition is that it was from this point on that I began to
do sadhana in the body, in the form of the body, in the
conditions of psycho-physical life, whereas previous to this
my life condition had been sort of secondary. My sadhana did
not involve conforming to the limitations of the body and
trying to transform the life and mind; rather I was involved
first of all in exploiting life and mind, and then simply in
acts of attention, extreme inwardness in relation to life
and mind and what is prior to life and mind.

And so at this point I became
available to the influence of another, the process, the
activity of the Guru, in life. So I told you how I began to
have repetitive visions and premonitions of meeting a
teacher in an oriental art store in N.Y. and it was very
obvious to me that’s the way it was going to be, and I was
very free to be able to make this decision, to just follow
this intuition. So we just found some friends who happened
to be in N.Y. and they had an apartment that they wanted to
move out of so we just sort of casually moved in there and
as it turned out Rudi’s store was just a few blocks

As soon as I saw it I thought very
likely that this was the place. Nina and I went in the next
day under the pretense of looking for some art or something,
so in the midst of wandering around trying to find something
that I might be interested in buying to have in the house
for a medication place, (I saw,) there was this desk in the
back of the store, and I saw these pictures there of swamis
and they turned out to be Muktananda and Nityananda. Now I
instantly felt something about the quality of those people,
and for all I knew the person who owned this store was going
to be one of them. It turned out to be – Rudi’s picture was
not there. It was obvious to me that this was the place I
had been led to.

And the next day I went over there
by myself, and of course it was a tremendous emotional
experience for me. And there’s all kinds of things that you
lay on the line when you approach the Guru. From the moment
I walked into that store my life had to change, my physical
life had to change and I knew that. So it meant the
difference between being able to sort of freely wheeling
myself around, and accepting discipline as a way of life.
And also there’s all the fears in relation to who this
individual might be, and all of that. So finally I just sort
of walked over there, and tried to keep my breath quiet and
act cool, and I walked into the store, and I got to talk to
him and asked if he was a teacher and he said yes, and I
asked him if he was an adept at this kundalini process and
he said you don’t teach it if you can’t do it. And he said,
“What do you do?” and I told him some little mickey mouse
meditation practice I was used to doing. Essentially what I
was up to was this writing thing. The other meditation I did
was really very secondary. And that I was a writer and all
of this and I lived with Nina. He said, well I can’t take
anybody in this work who doesn’t have a job. Get a job and
come back in a year. And he shook my hand and basically that
was it. I was eased out of the store.

Well, you’ve read in the book what
happened after that. As soon as I left there was the
experience of the kundalini force, the transference of it.
And I felt it coming through the arm and going all over the
body, just after I left the store. So there were these
remarkable aspects of my meeting with Rudi, but what is most
remarkable, most extraordinary about that meeting was the
beginning of this period of sadhana. And Rudi was the Guru
instrument for a certain aspect of the sadhana that was
necessary for me.

And there were two fundamental
qualities that he brought to me. The one had to do more with
the external aspects of life, and the other more with the
internal. In terms of the external aspects of life there was
the demand for work, sadhana as work and surrender. Work and
surrender in the life, in life terms, strictly in life
terms, not in sitting at home imagining you’re surrendering,
and imagining you’re really working, but literally working.
And so he had everybody around him literally working, all
the time. That’s what you did when you came around there.
You didn’t talk about spiritual things and all of that. You
came and you did some sort of work, generally in his art
business. And the form of practice that he recommended was
essentially this opening and surrender in very life terms.
And this points to the other aspect, the other quality that
Rudi brought to me, that was the more internal one, of the
descending force. In my time with Rudi I did sadhana in
relation to the descending aspect of the divine force. The
ascending phenomena, the qualities of ascending energy, the
things that we recognize to be the kundalini manifestation
of its classic form did not occur in any consistent or
remarkable way while I was with Rudi. They came

So there were these two limbs of his
influence. The one was the descending force, and the other
was the sadhana or work. And what joined these two was the
exercise that he recommended, or surrender, and this
exercise of surrender was to be your attitude in relation to
this force, and also in relation to the conditions of work.
So whatever you were doing either work sadhana or internal
practice, surrender was the attitude, the form of

I was very willing to meet these
conditions that Rudi had given me; I took them as a serious
requirement. I didn’t take it as a brush-off. It wasn’t a
brush-off. He was just demanding that I worked and expected
it would take a long time for me to do the sadhana in the
body that would be necessary to bring it into a harmonious
condition. Cause the work I’d been doing, was in physical
terms, largely one of exploitation. So the psycho-physical
life did need this purifying and harmonizing influence that
work could bring, and I knew that very well, and that’s why
Rudi was a very appropriate teacher.

And of course he liked Nina
immediately. He reacted about Nina as if he had been waiting
for her for twenty centuries. And as long as we were with
Rudi, this was the game he always played. But that was a
constant test of my tendencies as well, so it was perfectly
all right. So Nina, as it turned out, started to go to his
classes a few weeks before I did.

And I finally got a job by
volunteering. It was very difficult to get a job in those
days but I worked for WBAI radio station in N.Y. on a
volunteer basis, and they finally hired me part time. So I
satisfied that requirement, and then I wanted to wait until
my birthday, I think, before I would come to the first
class, just a matter of waiting a couple of extra days. So I
went on my birthday.

The subject of these classes, he
called them classes, was the forced, what he called the
force. Sometimes he would speak a little bit at the
beginning, but in most cases we would all just come and sit.
We would already be sitting there about 15 minutes or so,
and he’d sit down and cross his legs, and shake around, and
then he’d open his eyes. His eyes would be very intense, and
then he would tell us that he would look at us for a period
of time in each class, and that when he was looking at us we
should receive this force through the eyes and bring it down
into the sex organs, and then relax that allow it to go up
the spine. But always a surrendering, a surrendering of the
mind, surrendering physically with the life and this whole
being as much as that was possible.

This first class I went to, nothing
particularly extraordinary happened. In fact, my essential
contact took place the moment I first met Rudi. That was
when it took place. The rest was just the working out of my
relationship to that part of the work for as long as it
lasted. But there certainly were incidents periodically
throughout my contact with him when there was internal
phenomena that were remarkable, and just so, there were
constant changes, externally.

The external changes were more
dramatic than the internal ones because the aspect of the
force that was working in relation to Rudi was the
descending force that moves into the life functions. So
naturally it’s reflected more in external life than it is in
internal, visions and such. But there were such experiences,
periodically. I did become sensitive to the force as it was
generated by him specifically, and that was the specific
sadhana we were to be doing. And there were times when I
would sit with him when I would feel it coming down like a
lead safe; I could actually feel it descend into the room,
and click all through the body.

Many people there had kriyas. Rudi
had violent kriyas. And a number of others who were in these
classes would have these violent kriyas at times. Generally
the head would rotate, you’d see a lot of back movement and
all of that seemed a little strange to me. I wondered if
this was put on, or people were exaggerating, or whatever. I
felt it was essentially genuine in Rudi, but in others I was
never quite certain. Cause they didn’t seem other than that
to be extraordinary. And that’s the truth; they weren’t. It
doesn’t make you extraordinary. It’s just, on one level,
just an activity of the nervous system, that can quiet and
purify and harmonize the nervous system, and it has certain
psychic functions as well.

So it was continuous work throughout
this time. And there were phenomena related to this force,
essentially of the descending variety, felt as force
descending, and internal movement of energy, very few
kriyas, most I felt was a little sort of bubbling maybe very
slight sensation at the base of the spine, that sort of
thing. Very little kriyas.

Then there was the experience of the
thumbs, as I call them, I referred to them earlier in the
book in relation to the experience during those drug trials
in Mountain View at the VA hospital, but this was an
experience that had happened a number of times throughout my
life previous to these drug trials, and they happened
periodically again after that time, which was now very
shortly before meeting Rudi, a couple of years, maybe. But
those experiences began to arise in Rudi’s classes, and also
times when I’d be meditating at home. We didn’t just
meditate with Rudi, we’d do the same exercise at home, once
or twice a day.

But now when this experience began
to occur, I was more prone to allow it to occur, I worked
with it. It wasn’t so unfamiliar to me now because (now) I’d
have these experiences of descending force brought to the
conscious mind and the conscious life so I was familiar with
this process of energy relative to life and consciousness,
and when the characteristic form of it that I had identified
as the thumbs came on me now, I recognized it had to be this
descending force that had always been there as a
potentiality in my life and (Rudi’s,) my time with Rudi was
when this particular aspect of the force became conscious
and stable.

So now when the descending force, or
the thumbs would come down I would allow it to happen
completely. And of course there was resistance to it and
then when I’d become self conscious of it, it would

But there were a number of times
when it would happen totally, and those times what occurred
was the samadhi of the descending force, which is a peculiar
experience, that’s not especially described in yogic
literature, cause yogic literature deals fundamentally with
the ascending energy. But in this case there was the opening
of all the functions in the descending path, and when this
descending force had fully come down through the body to the
lowest point, the muladhar, it was reconnected with the
ascending current. It wasn’t a matter of the energy rushing
up the spine at this point, it was just reconnected. And so
there was no tendency in consciousness to go down or to go
up. There was no descent or ascent. There was no limitation
or containment, in consciousness, at those times.

And so the whole sensation of the
body, of the vital life, of the physical life, of the gross
form, all of this dissolved in this sphere of bliss, which
was at the same time conscious. The mind was latent in it,
not completely destroyed, but it was usually quieted,
although sometimes I’d be lying in this spaceless state
thinking as before, thinking very intensely and rapidly but
with no sense whatsoever of a physical body or being in a
special environment. And then at some point this experience
would just lift off and then I’d return to the usual
gravitational orientation toward the physical life, but it’s
purely an arbitrary orientation, that we’ve just held in
place with this sense of up and down and this physical shape
and all this by mechanisms, functional mechanisms that can
be out away in an instant.

My father would periodically come
over and talk to Rudi. So one of those days at this time
Rudi, as he told Rudi that at one point just before I went
to college and during my early days in college I was going
to be a minister and then all of a sudden something happened
and I’d never been the same. So the next time I see Rudi
he’s right away talking about me going to seminary. He said,
why didn’t you continue to be a minister and all of this. I
told him I just wasn’t a Christian anymore. It was
completely beside the point. And so he argued this whole
thing, argued it as a form of sadhana, and how he felt my
tendencies would coincide with it, that I could work it out.
I didn’t really have any other sort of career number in
mind. I didn’t have anything else that I was planning to do,
although I felt that I was going to do something relative to
spiritual things. But at the time nothing really seemed
possible except maybe a religious career. So I thought I
would go through this.

So in general all of these very
practical changes were required and they were of great
benefit. And during that time I did become much healthier,
much straighter, I was able to bring sadhana into the
physical life and that’s absolutely the necessary foundation
for a spiritual life. It does not take place without it.
There was great resistance to it and I had tremendous
resistance to it when I’d be working night and day, I would
feel a fever in my skin from the resistance to working. I
would feel it all over my body. I worked very hard at this
sadhana. I wasn’t a minor student at this work. I worked
very hard at this form of practice, and assumed all the
conditions as he gave it and went through a very difficult
time for four years.

Now he wanted me to go to seminary
after initial discussion and really it wasn’t a long time of
resistance, I planned to go to seminary starting about a day
or two after this discussion. I never spent long times of
fretting and resisting. So it turned out I decided I would
go to the Lutheran seminary. But they required you to have
some background in Greek, Koine Greek, in which the New
Testament manuscripts are written generally. So instead of
going to this seminary in Philadelphia right away, I spent a
year in Manhattan at New York Theological Seminary it was
called, (It was) many denominations supported I believe. I
think maybe it was mainly Presbyterian. I’m not sure. So I
spent this year there studying Greek. I worked very hard at
it, translated a book of the New Testament, and studied it
all the time, and worked very hard, I took it as sadhana and
got all A’s in this Greek course. It really had nothing
whatever to do with me.

And then I went to this seminary in
Philadelphia for this full year and worked tremendously
hard, used the mind not because I desired it, not because I
wanted to know about this subject matter. I couldn’t care
less about it. So I just used it as work, used it as
sadhana, that was the principle. And I got all A’s. Nobody
had ever gotten all A’s in this place before. It was
impossible to get all A’s. It was impossible for me to get
all A’s in some of this stuff. I studied classical Hebrew,
and all kinds of strange Biblical theological technical
courses, and had to memorize practically the entire Bible,
and I would memorize thousands and thousands of minute
details. One of the professors told me, you know that you
have a photographic memory.

But it was just work. So it was very
useful. It broke down a lot of the resistance in the mind.
Because a part of the resistance in the mind is this
precious notion that you’re supposed to feed the mind with
the things it’s interested in, instead of just making it
function without interest, which is tapas, real discipline.
And I had to live without interest. I had to live happily in
this community that had nothing whatever to do with me, that
had no satisfactions coming through at all, (cause) I
suffered having to do this kind of sadhana a great deal. And
I would protest it inwardly, and in some conversations and
all of that but I did it, committed myself to it.

But there was a point when it began
to become very obvious that my life was simply an ordeal,
that was all that it was, that was the summation of its
content. Living this principle made my life something that
was always negating itself. In other words when I had passed
beyond the time when I needed discipline simply to
straighten out the descending cycle of functions, the
principle of sadhana in this form became obsolete. And so
there was a time when it began to become obvious, when I was
not simply protesting anymore, when I had fulfilled the
conditions and understood my protesting, when in fact the
principle of sadhana in this form began to become

And then I began to see something of
the nature of a form of sadhana that was of another kind.
And already I understood something about seeking when back
in college there and other experiences. But it began to
become clear to me that the principle of search or work,
effort, as spirituality not only reinforces your awareness
of the thing that you’re trying to overcome, which it does
by constantly putting your effort against an obstacle. And
the purpose of, the very method of, this sadhana was to
continually create the sense of an obstacle, because you had
to continually create work as your sadhana. So it not only
reinforced the sense of simply being in bondage to an
obstacle and always having to work against it, but for this
very reason it became obvious that the principle of sadhana
as effort was founded in the conception of an obstacle, was
founded in dilemma. So at some point my feelings about the
nature of this principle of sadhana began to develop and
become intelligent. But this was very late in the game. I
wouldn’t even say that it particularly clarified itself
terribly until this turnabout in seminary.

But before I get into that event in
seminary I probably should just cover a couple of things
that still remain to be said about my specific work with
Rudi. The spiritual life as a process that involved a higher
force, a spiritual force, whatever you want to call it, was
not unfamiliar to me. This experience was always in my life.
It took the form of a few remarkable experiences especially,
which we’ve already covered. In all such cases, even early
in my life as a child, there was no sense of this force
being outside, it was always lived from the point of view of
identity and sadhana involves transformation of the karmic
vehicle, so it was necessary for me to do sadhana in
relation to something that was not myself, in relation to an
influence that was not myself. No other way would it be
possible for me to encounter the limitations in the karmic
vehicle, the life vehicle.

So what was unique in the case of my
life now with Rudi, was the fact that I was dealing with
this force through the medium of another individual. It was
being brought to me through another person, it was
confronted in another person. It was not arbitrary then, it
was always there, stably there. My experience of it may
vary, but it was a constant outside myself. And essentially
the benefits of my involvement with Rudi were involved in
this peculiar form of sadhana which I was dealing with
karmic vehicles in order to transform them, and essentially
this involved the abandonment of a self indulgent and
irresponsible habit of life on every level, physical, vital,
emotion and mental, so that there were no longer any
obstructions in the descending circuit.

Now the next very important event,
one of the primary events in my life, took place in seminary
in the spring in the third quarter, near the end of the
school year. And that’s described pretty well in the book. I
describe it specifically as the death of Narcissus, as I
mentioned to you last week, when this whole affair that
surrounded my writing, the yoga of my writing, began to
become most profound and I began to recognize the activity
within me. I saw it as a drama, as the drama of Narcissus,
and I know that my own death was the death of Narcissus. I
knew that my own life, in other words was moving toward the
same fate essentially that Narcissus’ life was moving
toward. We tend to take on the tendencies, we tend to
fulfill the destiny of whatever distracts us, and we are
most profoundly distracted by the activity of Narcissus, and
the destiny of Narcissus is essentially ours

This endless distraction, this
endless commitment to our own modifications becomes an ever
more solid and contracted condition for which the only
relief is periodic death, literal death. And you return
through the natural refreshments available in the cosmic
process and then return to another body in which you do the
same thing, and die again.

I think maybe it would be good to
read something of the last event that occurred. There were
several days leading up to this final event in seminary.
Beginning on page 62, the next to the last paragraph
beginning with finally: “On the third day after this process
began I was lying home alone in the afternoon. It was as if
all my life I had been constantly brought to this point. It
seemed that all of the various methods of my life had
constantly prevented this experience from going to its end.
All of my life I had been preventing my death.” And it was
absolutely clear to me, that this ultimate fulfillment of
the destiny of Narcissus was what I was always trying to
prevent, always resisting. The contraction or vital shock,
in a very real sense was a reaction to the necessity of
death. And it was necessary not simply because physical
bodies die, but necessary because of the game I was playing.
Its destiny is this psycho-physical death. Its ultimate
meaning is this death. That’s what was actually taking
place. It was complete dissolution of my functional life,
lifting out of consciousness from identification with the
lower vehicles, and in order to do that, there’s a
terrifying process that actually results in a literal

So finally on the third day after
this process began I was lying home alone in the afternoon.
It was as if all my life I had been constantly brought to
this point. All my life I had been preventing my death. I
lay on the floor, totally disarmed, unable to make a gesture
that could prevent the rising fear. And thus it grew in me.
But for the first time I allowed it to happen; I could not
prevent it. The fear and the death rose and became my
overwhelming experience. And I witnessed the crisis of that
fear in a moment of conscious voluntary death. I allowed the
death to happen, and I saw it happen. When that moment of
crisis passed I felt a marvelous release. The death had
occurred but I had observed it, I remained untouched by it.
The body and the mind and the personality had died, but I
remained as an essential and unqualified

When all the fear in dying had
become a matter of course, when the body, the mind and the
person with which I had identified myself had died, and my
attention was no longer fixed on those things, I perceived
or enjoyed reality, fully and directly. There was an
infinite bliss of being, an untouched, unborn sublimity,
without separation, without individuation, without a thing
from which to be separated. There was only reality itself,
the incomparable nature and constant existence that
underlies the entire adventure of life.

So there were these various
automatic attempts to prevent this thing from taking place,
but finally in this moment it took place, and I was fully
consciously involved, participating in that process. And
there was literal death. I don’t know what it looked like
from an outside point of view, I don’t know whether the body
was unconscious, or I was completely unaware of any of these
things. But it was the essential death, the fundamental
death, that is ours even in physical death, which begins
with the loss of physical awareness.

But its significance is in
consciousness. Its significance of the death of Narcissus,
the limited one. So this conscious process took place,
whatever else took place physically, or didn’t take place
physically. And what was remarkable about it was the
immortality, because the death had occurred but I was still
present. And literally the death had occurred. There was no
longer any sense of identification with the manifest
existence. There was complete tacit intuitive perfect direct
consciousness as that which is not identical to any limited
state, and it persisted regardless of the changes in the
manifest life.

So there was great bliss, great
happiness, once the event had taken place. It was like the
individual who might die in the usual sense, and suddenly he
wakes up in some other very ordinary environment, some
between life environment, and feels the sense of life in
him, except such a person doesn’t do it with consciousness,
he doesn’t really understand what has taken place, doesn’t
understand the significance of it, he’s still going through
the tour of phenomena. But it was something like that, being
mortal and waking up to be immortal.

So this was a very fundamental
moment in my life, in my sadhana, and in the growth of the
teaching. And we could say that this death was the perfect
Samadhi, or Amrita Nadi, or the formless intuition, of God,
of the Heart. It was not associated with any kind of
visions, or internal phenomena, or external phenomena, no
quality whatsoever. But it was absolute inherence in the
fundamental reality, without distinction, without
limitation, without ego, without self, without separation,
without suffering.

And so from this moment there was a
new sense of the quality of sadhana as well. A peculiar form
of sadhana arose in college; that determination to duplicate
the search that mankind was already living, and then another
form of sadhana arose after the crisis experience in my
junior year in college, after which I no longer pursued a
truth, a goal, but sought only to undermine through
understanding the inner contradictions.

And so that became the process of
writing and continued all the way through my work with Rudi,
in that time that began through the writing experience this
perception of Narcissus as the fundamental strategy. But
then I began to live as that one, and do sadhana as that
one, in Rudi’s presence. And now finally this is the
fulfillment of that whole adventure. And it was the
awakening of the fundamental enjoyment which is the root of
this work. However there were still some transforming
activities, some transforming sadhana in relation to the
vehicles that needed to occur. But this very definitely was
the end of a stage in my life.

And then you all know at one point,
one day I was in the store just sitting there, and there was
a couple of little booklets from Muktananda’s ashram there,
and I read them, and the notion of sadhana that Muktananda
was describing was obviously compatible with my
understanding of sadhana at this point. He spoke of sadhana
as being entirely dependent on the grace of the Guru and not
the efforts of the disciple. And this was obviously
compatible with my understanding, and you could see that I
did not separate understanding from the relationship to the
Guru, from Satsang. It’s not independent of that, it’s very
subtly involved with that.

So I began to make these
arrangements to go to India. And not only did Muktananda say
that sadhana was an activity generated by the Guru, the
force of the Guru, but he said that apart from all efforts
of the disciple, the purifying activities and the spiritual
awakenings would occur spontaneously, so wasn’t dependent on
the principle of effort. The principle of effort was the
main thing that was absent from what I read of Muktananda’s
teaching at this time. And of course you remember that when
I first walked into Rudi’s store the pictures that were on
the wall were Muktananda and Nityananda, and it began to
seem to me that Rudi was an instrument, a form of the Guru,
a form of the divine activity, but useful only for a stage
of my work and that in a sense he was preparing me to do
sadhana with Muktananda and Nityananda. The specific work
that was needed to come through Muktananda was just as free
as the real thing that came through Rudi. But Muktananda as
a master like any other spiritual teacher puts his disciple
through the discipline of sadhana. It’s just that at this
particular time he had a particular function to perform for
me, that involved the recognition that the principle of
effort was gone and that the Guru was finely, absolutely,
available for the transforming work.

All right, so now I went to India. I
got a job with Pan American Airways so that I could get a
free trip to India, and all of this, and worked this crazy
time schedule with guys on this job so that I could get six
days to be come, and I knew that if I came only one day late
that I wouldn’t lose the jobs, so I knew that I had seven
days. But you need about two days on either side to do your
traveling in. So I would have only four days there and about
three days or so traveling.

So we arrived in Bombay very early
in the morning. It’s always very misty and damp there, very
mysterious. It’s a strange environment, it’s a different
world, different level of energy. It’s an earth culture, and
you can feel the force of the earth as you begin to move
into the middle east. And we were met by this odd person,
Peter Dias, very intense, strange, nervous, compulsive guy,
who spoke English very well and could communicate with
Westerners. That’s why Baba would send him out. He met me on
my second trip as well.

So we got out there. It was the
middle of the morning and at that time the Ashram was still
a very small place. Nityananda hadn’t been dead that long,
he’d been dead about, not quite even seven years, and there
were still relatively few people there; people didn’t come
there in great masses. Particularly at this time there was
nobody around, there were just a few inmates of the Ashram,
and some others who were staying there for a few weeks or
months, temporarily.

So we were immediately brought into
this little hall where Baba used to sit in a very classical
setting, and occasionally throughout these days we would go
up and sit with him in some little spot in the Ashram and he
would discourse. And of course there was now the kriyas in
an intense form. Kriyas are the sign of ascending

And so now my movement into a
relationship with Muktananda was a sign of the beginning of
sadhana in relation to the ascending force, the ascending
aspect of the force. There’s only one force, but it has
several functions, several particularly important ones, and
the primary ones are the descending and the ascending. But
within a matter of a couple of days, the entire kundalini
process took place, all of the openings took place, instead
of what would take years, or lifetimes or whatever took
place in just a couple of days. But even so the whole
activity of the kundalini manifestation was not what I had
come for. I already knew something about it obviously. I had
had kundalini experiences, the kundalini manifestation was
already completely open prior to this life, and there were
periodic experiences relative to it, and it was not what I
had come for. But it was something that had to take place.
The ascending functions did have to be opened. So they took
place in this very rapid way over a couple of

It was the last day, it was just a
few hours before we had to leave in order to make it back to
New York, and it was very super hot out there. It was the
beginning of the hot season. I don’t know what the
temperature was. I’m sure it was well over 100 degrees. It
could have been 110 or 120 or so, I don’t know how it was
but it was scalding hot, it felt to me. So I had this big
Panama or Planters hat, so I went up to the cottage where we
were staying to get this hat. And the hat was on the bed, I
think, and as I reached over to get this hat, I just started
to disappear. So I thought I’d just lie down for a moment,
that was the impulse behind it. And as soon as the body was
down it disappeared. If the experience in seminary was the
absolute realization of Real-God, the very Self, this was
the completion of that intuition, in which it consciously
became Amrita Nadi. Well when there was complete lifting out
and transcendence of all, not only the (physical)
psycho-physical vehicles but all of the manifest places of
existence, there was this sensation of being pressed on a
point above, and then there was the penetration or
transformation to it into the God state. And then as soon as
that occurred, there is no way to talk about it in terms of
time, but in terms of the sequence of events, there was then
a moving down through the planes of manifestation again,
until at one point I heard this incredible roaring sound,
and then realized that it was my breath, was returning to
relationship to the body but without being in any sense
contained in the body. I was containing the body in
consciousness in this moment, and then Nina, in a moment for
which she’ll never be forgiven, (so she) came into the room
and at that moment it was absolutely appropriate for her to
come in at this moment; this was the return to the normal
state, a regaining of the normal relationship to the
physical. I don’t know how long this took. I don’t even know
how to put it in terms of time. But it was this event, not
simply in itself because it’s not an event that happens and
never occurs again, it remains alive. But it’s through my
explanation of this even, and my description also of the
realization in seminary that perhaps you can see the
structure of reality and manifestation as I described it to
you at the start of the first lesson. It’s not through books
that this description comes, it’s through real

I had awakened as the Self, the
Witness, the ultimate reality of the ancient scriptures.
Whereas we ordinarily remain conscious as the capsule entity
contained in the body I had awakened as the One who truly is
the life and consciousness of the body and al things. I had
seen consciousness move from that absolute and most prior
state down through the levels of being, toward bodily
consciousness. I’d seen bodily consciousness from the point
of view of the Self, Siva, or Siva-Shakti, the universal
Being that lives all things. Ordinarily we identify with the
point of view of bodily consciousness; either we strive to
survive as that dying entity in the face of all obstacles,
or else we try by spiritual effort to attain the realization
of Self or divine consciousness. But I awakened as that
Self, and everything is always and already being

And it’s the quality of living all
things that is also the true nature of the Guru’s function.
It’s not one in which he gives people things by which they,
methods by which they realize the Truth, but he lives the
Truth to them, and their sadhana of living in relation to
the Truth, living the condition of Truth is a fundamental
and motiveless instrument.

Every sense of limitation and false
self awareness had fallen away from me. When I had fathomed
in the various difficult crises and illuminations of my life
had been given to me whole in a single moment of perfect
experience without limitations of any kind, I knew with
absolute certainty that I was not the seeker or the one
trapped in life, but everything was only being lived by the
diving Being, and I was that One. The entire truth of all
the scriptures east and west had been realized in my own
conscious experience.

There was no longer any need for
seeking, effort, for there was no primary dilemma. So at
this point the principle of seeking was absolutely dead.
There was no dilemma. Absolutely none. There was perfect
enjoyment of what had always been the same, of what I had
come into this condition with, and now it had been revealed
by a process of revelation in terms of all the functional
states of existence.

(And) obviously the apparent sadhana
of my life did not come to an end at this point, so the
reasons for that now must be considered. What has been
occurring throughout the process of my own experience is a
continuous revelation and stabilization of the functions of
existence. Ultimately the whole affair has been spontaneous,
but of course being in the manifest human form there is all
the appearance of cooperation, participation with it. This
is the paradox of such a process.

We could say that in the event of
death, the death of Narcissus, the even in seminary, that
that aspect of the ultimate reality which the Hindu
scriptures call Sat, perfect existence, was permanently
realized, perfectly realized in this experience at
Muktananda’s ashram. That aspect of the divine principle
which the Hindu scriptures call Chit, infinite consciousness
or conscious force, was realized. And we could describe the
phenomena of this experience in Muktananda’s Ashram as
realization of God light, cosmic self realization. But
there’s another aspect described in the classical Hindu
scriptures called Ananda, which also corresponds to another
activity in this revelation of my spiritual life, and I have
described this as the fullness, the circle of descending and
ascending life.

To this time I had done sadhana in
the forms of descending and ascending life, but I had not
lived them from the point of view of truth. I had done
sadhana in them. So what was required now was to return to
all of the functional processes of the descending and the
ascending life and live them from the point of view of this
principle, the principle or prior realization and when all
that had occurred, and the whole process had been duplicated
again out of the whole life of my sadhana, when that was
completely and the descending and ascending circle was in
full consciousness, that was the final event at the Vedanta

So there was actually a period of
time now, of a couple of years, before this full circle
could be perfected. The fullness, the full manifestation or
the manifestation of truth in life in the descending
ascending vehicle, that conductivity of the light is what I
call the fullness, what the Hindu scriptures call Ananda,
the Divine nature as perfect bliss.

So that now this period of living
the descending and ascending light from the point of view of
truth rather than from the point of view of the search or
sadhana in any traditional sense began And it began quite
spontaneously by the encroachment of the ordinary phenomena
upon this state that was now being enjoyed. There was this
perfect enjoyment, perfect knowledge, perfect illumination
and all of a sudden the same problems were arising, it
seemed out of nowhere. And it was just a duplication of the
process of my life.

It began with all of the desires,
ordinary suggestions, motivations that were behind my
original college experiment. And then it became the problem
of the mind itself; how to transform the mind, so I again
duplicated the same process that was going on during the
year that I was in Scientology. So the beginnings of the
urges and sensations and ordinary patterns of the mind and
motivation of the mind duplicated the early phase of my
sadhana in college, where I took on the program of
exploiting experience. And the next phase, of Scientology in
the general period of about a year was a time when I
approached the problem of the mind from the point of view of
realizing its internal cause, the motivating contradiction
or dilemma.

But each of these things came and
went quite spontaneously until 1970, when the book is being
done. And just so after the circle of fullness was complete
in this radical sense and that’s the state in which the book
ends, that’s the state in which The Knee of Listening ends,
even beyond that time there were other experiences, of very
important kind, important even for this work, and which will
be described, I hope, ultimately in my teaching in this
work, in which it was again moving into the manifest
enjoyment of the siddhis, cosmic processes. And part of this
manifestation of siddhis became the early function of
Satsang and had a specific function to perform. In the early
years of my life all of my sadhana has been devoted to the
transformation of the vehicles in which I am manifest and of
the revelation, living revelation of all of the ultimate
qualities. But beyond that point, beyond the time of The
Knee of Listening begins another phase of my activity which
is my activity in relation to others. And this, in the same
essential way duplicates again the whole affair. I guess
that’s all I have to say about it tonight. Does anyone have
any questions about it?


Knee of Listening and Study Chapters – Table of