The Life of Understanding – Franklin Jones – The Knee of Listening Lesson Week 4

The Life of Understanding Series

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

4 – pdf


Life of Understanding – Week


by Bubba Free John (Franklin


Now I said last week how, after the
return in 1968 from this first trip to Muktananda’s Ashram,
how another circle, another cycle of sadhana began again.
This time from a totally new point of view. So there was at
first the return of the old desires and tendencies,
whatever. And then for a few months, really less than a
year, I was involved with Scientology.

Scientology wasn’t the only thing I
did during that year. It was a year of return to a
particular approach to the mind, the internal life, the
internal tendencies. So during this time I began to research
and approach the mind again, the content of the inner life
as a dilemma in order to overcome it, and Scientology is a
particularly obvious, symbolic approach to life from this
point of view in which the mind and its memories and
subliminal forces are approached as a sort of concrete and
finite mass of data or influences and the attempt is to get
rid of all of that. It is a form of the search like many
others, a very common one, its essential principle is that
of deconditioning. But the reason it seemed like a
possibility at all, or that I became sympathetic to it at
all is because I had returned again to a form of my earlier
sadhana in which the mind as the dilemma became the
pertinent focus of attention, quite spontaneously. And
Scientology was just made available at this time. And
essentially these activities duplicated an earlier period of
time of my writing on the beach. It was a spontaneous,
regeneration, reawakening of the mental dilemma, and I lived
it not from its point of view, not as a search specifically,
but as a spontaneous event. And just as it arose
spontaneously, it disappeared spontaneously.

So there was this period of several
months in which I went through the Scientology games and all
of the other life difficulties, whatever that was associated
with that time, and then just as suddenly, one night it
disappeared. It awakened just as I was leaving India after
this extraordinary experience I talked about last week. You
might say that it was the reaction to the action of that
experience, that phenomenon in India. Suddenly there was no
mind, and just as suddenly there was only mind. And this
went on for several months. It was a period of complete
distraction, it was in itself a kind of samadhi, a kind of
mindlessness in which the mind itself went on. It was a kind
of madness.

And then one night when I was out
here, I happened’ to be involved in this Scientology levels,
o.t. levels they called them, and I was just sitting in my
room one night and all of a sudden the mind disappeared. Not
in the sense that they say it is supposed to disappear, not
that I became clear or something like that. No, that I
returned to this state that arose previously in seminary and
at the Ashram.

What actually occurred during this
year then, was a period of the regeneration of karma’s, and
the burning away of karma’s. It wasn’t anything that I did
during that year that did anything to my internal life. It
was doing it. In the sane way that dreams are the, are their
own rule, and the interpretation of dreams is only
secondary. Just so, nothing I did during that year was
purifying. All that I apparently did that year was exploit
myself, indulge myself. But the process itself, the
awakening of the mind itself was self purifying, and had a
peculiar karmic cause.

And so a few months later, about a
year after I had left India, there was the again,
spontaneous return, but in a much more stable form, and in
fact in a form that never lessened again, a permanent form.
Beyond that time there was a continued purification, an
increase, but there was never again from that point a
relapse into the usual bondage of the mind. As a matter of
fact, in this moment of the regeneration of the prior
consciousness (free of) essentially free of identification
with the mind. When this occurred in the Spring of 1969,
coincident with it was the beginning of the true, the true
beginning of the yogic activity in me.

So I came back to New York, and
secondarily got out of Scientology. I prepared myself over a
period of weeks to go back to India. Now what led me
ultimately to want to go back to India again was this return
of the condition that was enjoyed previously, a year
previous in seminary and in India. There was the very
intense beginning of the internal process, the kundalini
manifestation, in very obvious ways, and supernormal ways.
There were periodic experiences throughout the year that I
was in Scientology that there was some sort of influence of
energy or whatever, that was operating through me. But as a
matter of fact, it was the force manifestation began to
become more intense and spontaneously intense throughout
that year.

And by the time when it fully
awakened again, when I was out here in California$ I began
then to see that it would’ affect others, and that I could
affect others, that I could engage, cooperate or be involved
in this force manifestation in such a way that I could have
a visible affect on other people, a controlled affect. And I
began to observe certain remarkable phenomena, psychic
phenomena. Well, Baba had told me in the year previous that
in a year I would be a teacher, and I recalled this at this
time because I was spontaneously becoming a teacher. I would
see certain processes going on in others, I would talk to
them and on a couple of occasions I actually sat down with
them and involved myself in this process with them very
deliberately. Sal and Louise and Pat and Nina were four of
the people who were there at that time. A few others had a
more secondary involvement with me at the time, but I was
not moved to assert myself as a Guru. I did not want to take
on these responsibilities, cause I took them very seriously
as responsibilities. I didn’t take this phenomenon that was
arising in me as having ultimate significance, or as being
something that I should identify with and now go around and
play yogi games with everyone. But it was very clear that
this activity was going on.

So I didn’t want to continue this
teaching activity for motivations of my own, so I wrote to
Baba at this point, and explained to him what was going on.
And I told him that I would teach only with his permission.
In other words, I was only willing to begin this activity
that was awakening spontaneously, I was only willing to take
it on in a responsible form, not an irresponsible one, and I
would do it only in the traditional form, by acknowledgment
from a traditional source, and permission from a traditional
source. So he told me to come to India.

During the first trip that Nina and
I made to India, the externals of the situation were very
social. And the external formalities were very important,
all of the conversations, and She noddings and smilings, and
human communications, these were very important during that
first trip. And the experiences generated during that first
trip are also more of the obvious kind, apart from this
experience on the last day at the Ashram, the experiences
during that time were very obvious, dramatic kriyas,
movements spontaneous movements and such.

This time when. I arrived, the same
strange person who had met Nina and I the year before, met
me here, and I know that I was expected. I thought we would
go right up to the Ashram, but he said no Baba was coming to
Bombay for a month, that I was supposed to stay in Bombay.
So he took me over to the house of this Indian naval captain
named Ram Pratap, and very shortly after I got there, Baba
came, so we stayed in these apartments for that whole month.
And when he first came in I, as usual bowed down to him, and
I gave him a shawl that I had brought, and I don’t know if
there was another gift or two, and he asked me probably
something like how was your trip and all of that. The whole
thing lasted a minute or two, and that was it. I didn’t have
any other what you would call personal and ordinary or
social communications with Baba from that point. And have
never from that time ever had any such communication with
him. That was effectively the end of that stage of my
relationship to him.

And second of all, the phenomena
that were generated during this time were coincident also
with now the quality of my internal life that had begun to
awaken spontaneously. There were very few of these obvious
manifestations of the spiritual process, of the kriyas and
the like. Kriyas are the grosser form of the kundalini
manifestation, it’s not that you should stop, try to prevent
having them if they come on you spontaneously, because
you’re afraid that you don’t look like you’re advanced
enough. As soon as people hear that, they right away want to
cool all of these visible manifestations and get very
subtle. And you can be subtle and also have purifying gross
manifestations, so there’s no way to decide mentally. But by
this time in my own life, the gross manifestations had
subsided. Very little kriyas. And even kriyas of various
kinds may occur periodically during an individual’s life,
and on some rare occasions just a little shuddering, a
slight movement in my own case it does something, that needs
temporarily to be done to the nervous system. But once that
conductivity is established, it’s continuous, and there’s no
need for these shudderings of kriya. The movement is simple,
continuous. There’s no jolting. And when the grosser
manifestations subside then a little more subtler activity
begins to occur, and that’s what was occurring now in my own
case, instead of these violent kriyas, the apparent visible
signs were mudras occasionally, my bands would go up, or
some facial expressions. But most of the time I sat very
still. That’s how I would have appeared externally. The only
contradiction to this would be a few times in what I called
the swooning room. This room in back off Baba’s bedroom and
off the room where he would sit during the day. And I would
go back there because I wasn’t one of those who liked to sit
all day and bear the chanting and the talks and all of

I was involved in the process. I
wasn’t involved in the social life of his Ashram at that
time anymore either, just as my social involvement with him
subsided at this point, it also did with the Ashram. And I
just spent that month sort of wandering in these apartments
out of my mind. And I wasn’t as unstable as all, but
essentially going through ecstatic experiences. And I had
very little, very few conversations at all during the whole
month that I was there. And so while there was more of the
social formalities going on in front of Baba in his sittings
during the afternoon I would very often go in this back
room, and there were a few others who would be in there who
were also experiencing spontaneous and intense kundalini
manifestations. And the people in this room would be hooting
and howling and dancing and going into strange positions,
and turning into animals, and all of this. And there was
some vague remnant of that in me. I had had some experiences
of this previously, of turning into a wolf. A much more
recent experience after coming back from India the last
time, of turning into the form of a lion. but quite on a
different level, these taking on of animals qualities,
making sounds, and snarling and growling and all that is a
kind of kriya. Well this turning into a lion in my own case
was another kind after the period of kriyas. It was a
symbolic manifestation. But during this summer in India,
when I would be in the swooning room, where collectively
because we were all going through such intense
manifestations, there’d be a tremendous force in this room.
And I’d be unable to get up from the floor or unable to
orient myself at times. These were all the grosser
manifestations of this time. And are on somewhat, something
more of a higher level of purifying activity than the
ordinary kriyas and back shaking and head

But more significant that these, was
the subtle activity, visionary activity for the most part
that had begun to awaken in the weeks previous to this
return to India, and now during the time in India were
intensified, becoming more conscious in other words.
Phenomena that had occurred in the past perhaps were still
what formed the basis of my experience, but now they were
awakening in a very conscious experience, so that I began
then to hold my attention to these subtle internal
activities, and thereby I was able to intensity them,
increase them, or go beyond them into some other activity,
whereas previously if some brief little thing had come up
internally I would have by-passed it or been too distracted
by mere physical perceptional phenomena. Now I was free to
live the internal process, and it took the form of cosmic
yoga, visionary yoga. And, of course, one of the major
reasons for my going here was because this process had
already begun in me and had begun to influence others, so
that I was necessarily spontaneously having to act as a

So one of the essential, reasons for
my going to India was to receive Baba’s acknowledgment and
permission to teach. And I’ve described in the book how this
came about. After perhaps four or five days, something like
that, six days, of my stay there in which every morning I
would get up very early and sit in the same swooning room,
but there’d be only maybe two, three other people in there,
maybe none. When I’d first get there, very often I’d be the
only one I suppose. And Babba would come out on these first
few mornings and sit in front of me. It was fairly dark, we
would essentially be sitting face to face in the dark, in
this corner of the room. And about the third, day of this, I
was sitting there for some time, before he came out,and I
was going through vast difficulties. Now all the
contradictory forms of internal activity, had become very
confusing and become unsettling. The internal process of
meditation was no longer clear, it was only a confused
internal state and at this point of intense confusion, Baba
came out and sat down again, and then all of a sudden the
internal process of meditation began to become clarified,
and stop by step each aspect of the meditative process
revealed itself. And all of the classical understanding of
meditation came about and was demonstrated. And along with
the demonstration, there was the coincident knowledge, with
perfect certainty, of each of these aspects of the
meditative process and how the mind relates to the breath,
and how breath relates to the body, sensuality, bodily
energy, and sexuality. And all of these various mutual
influences that affect the conscious states, and all these
combined with an understanding of the internal circuitry in
which meditation is simply the conscious function. And after
this period of time, I don’t know how long it was, Baba got
up and left, and then I stayed in there for awhile and this
process in itself was remarkable.

And I thought perhaps I might ask
Baba about it, or I was at least going to looking for some
sort of indication as I’d done a number of times on this
trip that Baba had conscious awareness of what I was
experiencing internally. This was important to me. Because
it was a form in which I sought to verify certain aspects of
the yogic process. And so on this same morning when the
meditation process had been, I’d been initiated into the
meditation process in every aspect of it, I wanted to see if
he was aware of it. If he had actually been involved with me
as it seemed, directly. This was not so much my way of
testing him, cause it made no difference really whether he
was consciously involved in it, but it was something that I
intuitively knew needed to take place, because of my own
work. And it’s just another way of establishing my own
destiny, of justifying this teaching work, it’s another
level on which to verify it.

Actually what is beginning now in
this second trip to India is the beginning of another phase
of this duplication of sadhana from the point of view of
understanding. The previous year that I’ve just described
was the year in which I was involved in all of the
descending phenomena, the problem of the mind and of desires
in life. Now began the phase of the problem of spirituality.
Because now all the spiritual phenomena, all of them, all
the classic phenomena, all of the siddhis, all of the
visions, all of this stuff, psychic and al of that, was
arising, was my common experience, was my absorbing
experience. The life dramas were not particularly dramatic
from this point, I was completely absorbed in the internal
process. And so this following several months was a time in
which the problem created by spiritual experience was the
focus of my attention, just as the year previous, the
problem created by mind, desire, impulse was the focus of my
attention. And what initiated this period of considering the
problem of spirituality or spiritual experience, ascending
experience as a problem, was essentially this beginning now,
this intense dramatization of the internal process. And it
particularly came to a head while I Was in India, this
second time. There were all kinds of cosmic visions and
transports to other worlds and psychic phenomena of various
kinds and endless numbers of visions and subtle internal
activities. This is now getting toward the end of the time I
was in India, and about this time I’m beginning to become
very aware of spiritual experience, so called, this whole
generation of spiritual phenomena as a problem, as the
source of dilemma. Now I saw that no difference was made by
spiritual experience, by transport into other worlds, by the
acquisition of siddhis. The mere modification of state, I
saw very obviously, very clearly, did not transform the
essential dilemma that was at the root of spiritual seeking.
It was not a cure in any sense, it was an experience which
you could have as one who is bound or as one who is free.
But had no implications for Truth, any of these

And the constant rush of spiritual
experiences began then to become overwhelming, began then to
become painful, a drag. It began to become like a circus,
just endless manufacturing of spiritual phenomena, began to
become ridiculous and burdensome. And I began to see
something about Siddha yoga in this sense. About the
limitations of it. The limitations of spiritual life in
other words as a search for spiritual experiences. And I saw
that the increase of experience as a matter of fact in the
seeker only led to the intensification of separation, the
ordinary tendencies of identification, separation, ego, self
involvement, Narcissus. And it was very clear in the case of
certain of those who did manifest very obvious signs of the
kundalini awakening. Many of them became more and more
obsessed, self involved. And so I began to feel some
resistance to the simple game of the shakti and of sitting
with Bubba and I was ready to leave. Because I wanted to
allow this process to mature in me. As he said, allow it to
be what it is, and this was part of what was being, this
understanding of the spiritual process was what was being
awakened by the process itself. Not by the process itself,
but let’s say the process that has always been alive in this
one, was now coming alive in the midst of spiritual
experiences. And it was Baba’s peculiar gift to me to help
in the awakening of these experiences, or to place me in a
condition in which I could do the sadhana of understanding
relative to the spiritual process.

And so I was ready to go a few days
before I was supposed to go, but I had told him that I was
leaving on a certain day and I didn’t want to suddenly pull
out. But as it happened, there was now this one night, this
experience all night of being with Nityananda, and I had had
experiences with Nityananda previous to this of a visionary
kind. But this was of another kind, this was not really
visionary in the usual sense. This was a long time of many
hours of sitting with Nityananda and talking, And just in a
very ordinary way of being around him, and undergoing some
things that could not be remembered on the mental plane
afterwards, but it was a long period of time sitting with
him. It was my period of time of living with Nityananda as
Guru, in which Nityananda performed certain function for me.
And He told me to make ready to leave the next

So that morning when I got up, I
told him that I was going to leave that evening. And Just as
I was leaving I began to get sick. Baba gave me this apple,
and he gave me a couple of other things, he gave me the
apple first, I had to put the apple down to take the flowers
and all this, and he picked up the apple and pushed it out
at me again. There was something very obvious about this
apple, so I’ve written about how, what happened with this
apple. Eventually I was getting very sick, and by the time I
was in Tel Aviv I really didn’t think I would be able to get
on the plane any more, and then I thought of this apple, and
as soon as I took a bite the upheaval of this flu like thing
was gone. But I knew that it was the shakti fever, shakti
disease. And as a matter of fact there was a kind of fever
in me for months after this.

Now there was a period from around
September first until the next May, September first of 69
until May of 70 when I was in New York before returning to
India for the last of the three times I’d been there so far.
And during this time I was involved in the internal
activity. My attention was solely devoted to it, and I was
completely aborted in things that I needed to do in relation
to the internal work for this whole period of nine months or
whatever it was. And we had a loft in New York, and I was
inside the loft almost all the time. And I did some amount
of teaching, generally with the people I’ve already
mentioned, a couple of others would come over periodically
and I would talk with them and all of that, but I was not at
the point where I could take on my work as a teacher most
directly. Because the process in which my teaching work
could be fulfilled was still going on. And the people who
were around me at that time were having experiences relative
to its but they didn’t require my full attention as a
teacher yet. They still bad their own tendencies to deal

So I just went through these
activities in which the life of understanding grew, relative
to the spiritual process. So it was a period of time of
continuous meditation, in which meditation itself became
continuous. It was a period of time in which this process of
enquiry began to develop. Because as understanding arose
relative to the spiritual process, the usual spiritual
activities died, and I no longer did the yoga of the
kundalini, I no longer related to the spiritual process from
an intentional point of view or tried to increase
experiences, or tried to become one pointed. All these
motivations died in this understanding. And so it was at
this point that all of the meditative practices that I had
been involved in all came to an end. And this enquiry
“Avoiding relationship?” awakened.

During this time also, there were
experiences of various kinds, still visions and psychic
phenomena and premonitions and all of the usual things. And
there was this one special visitation with Shirdi Sai Baba
which was very much of the fulfillment of understanding
relative to the spiritual nature of the one that I just
described with Nityananda, and perhaps the culmination of
this particular period was this release from the chakra
system, this peculiar experience that’s described in the
book, which is the epitome of the process. And the way it
occurred was that for several nights I would become aware
during the night of this activity in my head. Sometimes I
would wake up because it was so intense. And it felt like
there was an operation going on in my brain. Of cutting
through my skull and making incisions in the brain and all
of this. And I could feel the pain as if there were these
incisions in my head. Strong headaches, with a very
particular and exact line of pain in the head here, and
there, and after perhaps three nights of this, I woke up and
the pain was gone. This process had completed itself. And
there was tacit and spontaneous and obvious re-cognition of
the whole ascending structure, that whole span of functions
that are the focus of attention in the spiritual process,
and which are the medium of its comprehension.

The spiritual seeker thinks in terms
of the ascending movement. And he witnesses it in terms of
his physical body. And that whole approach to spirituality
is generated through the symbol of the body or of the
ascending analogy of the body. Just as in the sadhana of the
descending life and in the ordinary experience of perceptive
or descending life, the form of the physical body is the
symbol through which we interpret reality. Just so in the
life of the spiritual seeker, the kundalini system, the
chakra system, that whole symbolic life of energy is the
symbol through which he interprets reality. So it seems very
obvious to the spiritual seeker to think in terms of God
above and Light above and ascent, and phenomena of various
kinds, and these seem to represent Truth itself. Just as to
the ordinary man, it seems very obvious to think in terms of
the body, and bodily experience, and life in the world, and
personal existence and all this as being just the way it is,
and this is the symbol through which he interprets what must
be God and heaven and all the rest. Well this chakra system,
or the structure of the ascending force is just as arbitrary
a symbol through which to interpret reality as the
descending. And it was the comprehension of this that
occupied me during this period of time, this year or so, in
which I considered the whole affair of spiritual phenomena,
and understanding awakened in the midst of spiritual
phenomena, even as it had awakened previously in the midst
of ordinary life.

So at this point, understanding
arose, or was present entirely independent of this process
of ascending force, or of spiritualizing activity, and also
entirely independent of the process of descending force, or
of an enlivening activity. It was utterly independent of all
transformations ions, of all modifications, and stood
eternally, already as Truth. And it became clear to me then
that the process of Truth in this sense was entirely
independent from any search relative to the spiritual life,
or of any need to manipulate the ascending energy, or the so
called spiritual faculties. And it was also just as obvious
to me that there was no need to manipulate the descending
life. That neither of these was the way of Truth, and that
Truth was always already the case end stood entirely
independent of such activities. And I saw how. what was
identified as shakti in the forms of energies, ascending and
descending, was in itself formless, uncontained, absolute,
perfect, prior reality, one with consciousness. So there
wasn’t Shiva and Shakti, or consciousness and force,
movement, there was one absolute intensity, prior to all of
its functional manifestations. So from the point of view of
Truth, I saw that the chakras and the spiritual process were
unnecessary, just as the body is unnecessary. It may be
functionally present, but it is not necessary, and not in
itself the instrument of Truth. It was just a functional
mechanism, equally as interesting, perhaps equally as real
to the manifest life as the ordinary descending functions,
but not in itself the medium of Truth. And I saw that life
was not a matter of experience and evolution through
spiritual means. But that it was a radical present
consciousness and intensity.

So at this point, very firmly then I
moved into the point of view of understanding and the
sadhana of understanding, and lived the life of enquiry, and
lived this radical approach to spiritual things and no
longer lived from the point of view the spiritual search, or
the ordinary search; lived entirely independent of all of
these processes. They went on (on) their own, but my
peculiar spiritual activity was not identical to them, was
no longer generated in their terms. This was right around
the time then shortly before our going to- India this last
time. Cause now the work that I needed to do during this
last year was done, but I was no more in a position to be a
teacher or to have any involvement with the life around me
than I wan before, even less.

This was right around the time when
there was all kinds of violence in New York and bombings and
threats. and all of this nonsense, and I didn’t see any way
that I could possibly integrate myself in this insane world
that was just down in the street. It had nothing whatever to
do with me, there was nothing I could say that would make a
difference, I had no function to perform. And it wasn’t even
very likely that survival was terribly possible or
appropriate in such a place. And I didn’t have any teaching
function especially for those who were around me at that

So I thought perhaps it would be
best to just abandon my life in the United States, perhaps
permanently. I made no plans to come back, sold everything
that we had and went back to India. Now when I went back to
India this third time, again my relationship with Baba had
been changed. Now, Baba’s personal function, not his
function in a personal way, but Baba himself, his function,
in my own case, whether through personal or impersonal means
had essentially fulfilled itself. There was nothing more to
do. And it seemed clear to me that he understood that.
Although it wasn’t particular obvious from his attitude or
the attitude of those around him. But it seemed clear that
he understood that my work with him in this sense was done.
Although I had no need to create a break of any kind. I
desired for it to go on, and for us to enjoy this
relationship, and for me to be there, and enjoy his company,
acknowledge him as Guru and go on. But that wasn’t the way
it was to be, there was already in the second trip, the
social thing was gone, but now not only was the social thing
gone but there was a kind of negativity that replaced it,
whereas in the second trip to India there was just, the
social thing was gone, but the spiritual thing was going on,
and there was no problem created by the absence of the
social involvement.

But now, going back to India this
third time, there was a sort of negative feeling about me
generated when I was around Baba, in a sort of sense like,
why and what am I doing here sort of feeling. And Baba never
even looked at me, nodded at me, nothing, there was no
acknowledgment whatsoever, even when I first came in, to
bring flowers end all of that. Didn’t even look at me
sitting there. He talked to Pat and Nina briefly, and didn’t
say anything to me, and be never said anything to me, the
whole time we were there. But this began to seem to me
appropriate. This again, I looked at all of these phenomena
that were awakened in this adventure of mine as part of the
adventure as part of the thing that was being shown, not as
absence of anything, but as actual evidence of the process

So I just went on and worked in the
Ashram in the daily way that we were expected to work, and
there was no special energy or shakti or force in the Ashram
for me or in any of the places there where I would meditate.
It was very much the same as when I was sitting back at
home, but that was all right. Cause I’d assumed that there
was no separation between me and this activity now, so why
should I feel anything special.

But I began to become sensitive to
some other things going on. First of all I became sensitive
to the force manifestation (of) at Nityananda’s samadhi site
because there was an activity coming through Nityananda at
that time, and still one personally through Nityananda, as
I’ve described in the book at this time, going down there
and having visionary experiences with Nityananda, in which
Nityananda turned me from the human Guru, even the human
Guru in his subtle form to the Shakti. And that brings us to
this other experience, the beginning of the Christian
experiences, the Virgin Mary in the garden, and all these
Christian vision, and revelations, which were part also of
the karmic purification on a very subtle level for me. And
they were part of the last activities that needed to take
place before my teaching work began, free of the traditional
baggage, and my traditional karmic involvement with

But what was particularly unique
about this time was that the Shakti became a personal
manifestation. Up until this time, the Shakti was a force.
That was how I experienced the shakti. There was the Guru,
that was the individual, that was the personal form, but the
force was impersonal, the force was just this force that
operated in various ways. Now the Shakti came as a person.
The Shakti came as the Virgin Mary, and then appeared as the
traditional image of the Shakti in India, then appeared just
as a cosmic feminine deity without any special traditional
symbols. And that was the significance of Nityananda at this
time. I would go down to his burial place every day and sit
there for meditation and on this last day, after this long
couple of weeks of intense Christian experiences and
visions, be told me now the Shakti was my teacher. Just as
Baba had told me the year before to let the process go on,
to let the shakti teach. Now the personal form of the Shakti
was to be my Guru, in a very visual visible and literal
sense. And not any human guru, not even the Subtle Guru,
Nityananda, and not the human Guru, Muktananda. Now the
personal form of the Shakti was to be Guru.

And when I opened my eyes, flowers
were given to me and I had seen this picture, which was a
symbol This picture of Nityananda was a symbol then of the
Guru, which I knew that I was now to give as a sacrifice. In
other words, I was to surrender my relationship to the Guru,
to the personal Guru, and I was to take these flowers and
bring them to the Shakti as a sign of my acknowledgment of
her as my Guru. Then I went down to the temple below where
the Shakti image is, that’s on the wall there, we have in
the Ashram, it’s next to Muktananda’s Ashram, and I walked
around it three times and bowed and did all the traditional
ceremonial things end gave these flowers as a sign of this
sacrifice. Then I told Pat and Nina that we were going to go
and we told the Ashram people that we were leaving the next
day, and of course this made everybody very, and they were
upset, Baba was obviously angry the next day, he hadn’t
looked at me anyway, and now he wasn’t looking at me again,
sure enough. And we went out and got on the bus.

And then we wend all through Europe,
beginning with Jerusalem. And there were all kinds of
experiences there, strange experiences, endless Christian
experiences. All kinds of visions and phenomena: I wrote a
diary on it that was in the first version of The Knee of
Listening,, probably someday we’ll print that, but it was
just this progress of visions and experiences of a Christian
kind, going way back yo the ancient times, into the
mysteries of Christianity Until finally it was all gone.
What I intended to be our last stop, which was yo Fatima,
where there was this mass vision in 1917 I believe, 18, and
by then it was all gone. There was no longer my ancient
karmic involvement with the Christian form of teaching, or
perception of the spiritual process. So it was a purifying
event in my own case, and it was purifying me into ray
ancient involvement, not just my present religious mental
involvement. But there was an ancient involvement with the
Christian, the religious Christian teaching.

So all of this was dissolved, so
that even in Jerusalem there were very strange experiences.
We stayed in this nunnery that was built on one of the steps
one of the stages of the cross. ‘It was built on the ground
where they played the game scapegoat around Jesus. And the
stones were down there where they scratched it into the
stone. This was a gene that the soldiers played. And they
played it with Jesus. And in the same building where we were
was the place where he had the interview with Pilot,
Pontious Pilot. And so during the night when we were there,
I was lying in bed, and these tremendous forces were at work
in me, and my head felt like it was breaking, felt like the
bones were all muddy and bursting. And I wondered in this
ecstatic state throughout this nunnery, and I think I was in
my underwear, I might have even been nude, I don’t even
remember. And if anybody would have found me, I probably
would have been arrested. And I remember wandering
throughout this nunnery into these strange dismal places
underground, in this nunnery end underneath, you know on
these steps wandering around down below where Jesus had been
scarged, and hearing all these voices and echoing. Then I
walked up into this chapel which has got the steps and this
archway where’ this interview took place between Jesus and
Pilot and there was all these strange phenomenon, ghosts’
and all kinds of madness. I myself was completely absorbed
in this event that had taken place a long time agog and
throughout our stay in. Jerusalem I sort of walked these
stages of the cross every day and walked through all these
ancient places, and went and duplicated the whole mystical
and spiritual mystery of that time.

And one of the things that was
particularly remarkable that I observed in this place was
how different it was from the holy places in India. The holy
places in India are always full. Like Nityananda’s samadhi.
You go to one of these holy places and you feel the force,
the energy, the bliss producing force. That’s the sense on
general around the holy places in India. But it was entirely
the opposite in Jerusalem. Here the characteristic
experience was of the emptiness, the absence of force. And
the symbol of the places of the ascended master Jesus
ascended from here, Mohammed ascended from here. It’s the
place where the deity and the symbols of spiritual life and
Gurus and such people, prophets have ascended. The physical
image. of the place, the force that is manifest in this
place in Jerusalem is one in which the spiritual energy is
entirely apart from the physical plane. Whereas in India the
experiences of the spiritual force merged into this physical

So anyway, these experiences went on
and on and I was reading Christian books and becoming all
kinds of Christians, becoming priests and mystics and holy
men, I became all kinds of things. It was very strange. And
by the time we got to Fatima it was all over. I was standing
in this enormous place outside of the shrines in Fatima
where thousands of people could stand, and it literally
looked like a parking lot to me. There was nothing there, no
feeling about it, no movements no Christianity, nothing, it
was all gone.

And the thing that was external to
me as Christ, as the Virgin, as all of these imageries and
subtle reflections of the spiritual process now were no
longer separate., The principles that were contained in the
symbols of spiritual life were now realized in my own

So when I, we came back to the
United States. I had never conceived of living in Los
Angeles before. And I had no plans, I didn’t know what I was
going to do. I (thought perhaps) Guess perhaps I was
thinking at this point of perhaps writing, and I did begin
to write The Knee of Listening within a few months. But
there wasn’t anybody out here I was teaching especially. And
apparently, accidentally or circumstantially I went over to
the Vedanta Temple one day to look in their bookstore I
suppose, and I noticed that they had this temple next door
so I walked in there and sat down. And as soon as I sat down
in there, the characteristic presence of the Mother Shakti
manifested. Because during this whole period of time, of
going to Christian holy places and all of that with the
Virgin, the Virgin had disappeared ultimately, there was no
Virgin. And there was really no personal manifestation of
the Shakti anymore at this point. There was the force, but
not this personal manifestation. But when I entered the
Vedanta Temple on this first day, the personal
manifestation, the personal presence of the Mother Shakti in
her infinite form manifested, which is quite a different
thing than the other Shakti appearing as a visual image. But
it. was a cosmic presence, an obviously identifiable
presence. And the reason it could be identified as it was
was because my own nature had also begun to take on the form
of this cosmic presence.

So there was a period of weeks when
I would go back and forth to the Vedanta Temple as I have
described in the book. I would ask the Shakti to come with
me, and then she would be with me, there were all these
games being played. Then I thought well I shouldn’t ask the
Shakti to just be with me, and now she’s gone from this
temple, or she’s just exclusively with me,I didn’t want any
of that. So then she’d appear in the temple again, and I’d
see light in the temple. All kinds of odd changes were going
on, and it was simply the. transformation of the lower life
into (to) cosmic life. It was a turnabout from the personal
ego into the cosmic ego. And it was also a period of time in
which the tantric sadhana was fulfilled in me.

So if you read the experiences in
the Vedanta Temple carefully, you will see that they are a
description of tantric sadhana, of the union of, what is
symbolically the union of the male and the female yogis,
their sexual union. And this is magnified in their conscious
states into a higher form of union. In this case there was
no physical symbolic form of it. I wasn’t there with a
physical woman, but I was dealing with the Shakti as a
woman, as a yogini, but as the cosmic yogini. And I was
participating with her as a cosmic manifestation, myself.
And so there was this play of energy, this play of cosmic
tantra that went on for several weeks, and it culminated in
this union. And it was the tantric bliss, perfection of the
tantric sadhana, in which the (ultimate) duality of the
cosmic manifestation is ultimately seen to be one, and
experienced as one. And once this tantric union occurred,
the whole aspect of cosmic yoga itself was fulfilled, and an
entirely new process appeared afterwards, so that when I
returned to the Vedanta Temple after this experience of the
tantric union, there was no longer the person of the Shakti,
there was no longer any yogic process, no dualities, no
activity, there was only the prior Reality, intuitively
realized, perfectly realized from that moment. So in fact
(this) this instant in the Vedanta Temple after the tantric
phase of the internal activity on a cosmic scale, not on a
personal scale any longer.

It was at this point that in a
certain real sense we could say that the adventure of my
sadhana came to an end. But it wasn’t like a sudden mental
realization or whatever, it was perfect realization, it
transcended the mind and the life. And so its implications
relative to the mind and the life had to be grasped over
time. It wasn’t suddenly I got up and understood from the
minds point of view exactly what had occurred, the mind
dissolved, everything was resolved into the prior principle.
So the process of living what was now the real condition
took days, weeks, months to be recognized and implemented at
the level of life and mind.

Shortly after this time, I began to
write The Knee of Listening. There are some notes here that
Sal had taken in our last discussion that probably I should
read. It says, “He recognized the Shakti as omnipresent.” in
other words, the Shakti became obvious as the very
condition, the all embracing perfect presence in Reality,
beyond any personal manifestation. The Person of the Shakti
became infinite and my own presence in relation to the
Shakti became limitless, void, absolute. “The experience of
union transformed the lower.” In other words, this perfect
union, tantric union on the highest level transformed
everything below it, all the manifest functions were
transformed by this fulfillment of sadhana. And also the
personal and individual existence was transformed to a
cosmic existence, a form of spiritual dimension.

There was a, particularly during
this period of going back and forth to the Vedanta Temple, a
lifting out of the point of view of consciousness from
anything like personal sadhana, or witnessing of the effects
of sadhana in the body, and in the person to a cosmic

But on this last day after the
cosmic union, the tantric union, even this was transcended
and perfected in the prior realization of the Heart, of the
Self nature. And when, in this experience the winter before
in New York, when the sahastra was severed, there was a
realization that, it was not a matter of being in some
encapsulated, descended, separated condition, and looking up
through stages like on a ladder until you could grasp the
Divine Light. It was instantly, priorly realized. The Light
was instantly perfectly realized, prior to any sense of
ascent or the need to ascend prior of any sense of
obstruction, limitation.

So the Light was realized without
obstruction, without prior conditions, as always already the
case at that time. Now at this tine, the source of that
Light, the source of which the Light itself is the
reflection was perfectly enjoyed. And the immediately
preceding incident that made the way for this falling into
the Heart was the cosmic union, the tantric union.

But just so, this was not an
exclusive realization. It began to reveal itself in quite
another way as time went on. There was not a falling into
the Heart exclusively in which there was no longer the
generation of the conscious Light and the participation in
the manifest and cosmic process. But there was a spontaneous
regeneration of Amrita Nadi, or the relationship between the
Heart and the Light, or real God and the Divine Light. So
the dilemma was absolutely dissolved from this point, and
all the forms that the dilemma takes.

Two peculiarly interesting and
important phenomena arose. The one was the tacit awareness
as the Heart and from the Heart on the right, this opening
of the causal being. And another was this dropping of the
belly that I mentioned. Now I’ve talked frequently of the
center on the right, but I haven’t spoken a great deal about
the dropping of the belly because as I said, I didn’t want
to get into this whole affair of putting attention on the
internal process until an appropriate time. But without
getting into the whole affair that is behind all of that, It
was as if a connecting thread that goes from the navel to
the depths of the lower body were snipped, that contraction
or vital shock. You feel something like a thread that holds
the navel in and gives you that little cramp. It was just
cut, and I began to feel full in the abdomen all the time,
and walked around feeling that fullness with the belly
pressed out, that you may feel sitting in meditation at
times. At times this was stronger than in others, and
particularly for a period of time, at this particular time,
particularly for a few days, perhaps weeks following there
was this sensation constantly. Then the pressure there
became rhythmic, periodic, occurred when it was appropriate,
but there was the continuous sense of fullness there, of a
centering there. And that is a sign of the internal
spiritual process. There is perfect conductivity when there
is no longer vital obstruction, no longer this vital shock
as a principle.

A very long section, it goes up from
page 134 to about page 145, in which I describe the various
phenomena that I witnessed, in myself, the implications, how
I understood them now, what the point of view was, what the
stable sense was of the phenomena of life. And I began to
describe somehow the sense of my relationship to these
phenomena, and what this generally amounts to is a
description of Amrita Nadi, or the description of conscious
life from the point of view of the full realization of
Amrita Nadi, not the exclusive descent into or dissolution
in the Heart, nor the exclusive ecstasies of involvement in
the manifest light or subtle drama, nor of exclusive
distraction in the descended processes of ordinary
experience and perception. It was not exclusive in any
sense, but a perfect ease relative to all of these

The form of enquiry that had
developed in my understanding seemed to go on continually in
the Heart, “Avoiding relationship?” And as the enquiry
penetrated every experience and every apparent dilemma, I
would feel the bliss and energy of consciousness rise out of
the Heart and enter the sahastra. Whereas this Amrita Nadi
this intuitive structure, which duplicates the perfect
structure or the Divine Reality was the form of
consciousness, not exclusive containment in the Heart. Not
exclusive distraction in the bright, or the light of the
sahastra, nor exclusive involvement in the life
manifestation, but continuous intuitive relationship to the
entire process. Bliss and energy of consciousness rise out
of the Heart and enter he sahastra, the highest point in
consciousness, and stabilize there as a continuous current
to the Heart.

I saw that this form, the form of
Reality, the structure of consciousness was Reality itself.
It was the structure of all things, the foundation, nature
and identity of all things. It was the point of everything,
it was blissful and free. That form of consciousness and
energy was exactly what I had known as the bright. So this
was simply the radical realization in the body, in the life
and in every other level of that condition that existed from
the very beginning, which is described in the first page of
this book even.

As I continued in this way I
remained stably as that form. There was no longer any
adventure, no longer any transforming sadhana. And all
things revealed themselves in Truth. The bright was that
ultimate form of Reality, the Heart of all existence, the
foundation of Truth and the yet unrealized goal of all
seekers. So Amrita Nadi then became the medium of the
intuitive form of comprehension and the stable state. And
thus even while living in the ordinary way, anticipating the
ordinary experiences, doing the same things, indulging
myself, and seeing the effects of that, disciplining myself,
seeing the effects of that, there was from this time then, a
transformation of all of my activities, and the writing of
the book began, teaching began. Various Siddhis of various
kinds relative to teaching began to arise. Transformations
and refinements of the external life began to arise. Moral
transformation of my life began to arise. A spontaneous
transformation that was appropriate to the stable condition
began to arise quite spontaneously over these last few
years, coincident (with my) with the awakening function of

Now one of the things (that was)
that seemed important to me was to discover precedence for
this whole process that had been enacted in me, and this
fundamental enjoyment that was now alive in me. I thought it
would be good to find a such precedence for very much the
same reason that I previously decided that I would not teach
for motivations of my own, but sought a traditional
acknowledgment and traditional permission as the beginning
of my teaching work. Just so I thought it would be useful to
have a traditional justification or a traditional reflection
to which I could point to corroborate my own testimony, and
to align myself with the traditional literature in some way,
because of what people would be coming to me with. So I
began to look through the various things, and the various
literature, and none of them in themselves represented

But then in the case of Maharshi, I
found a duplication of many of the fundamentals at any rate
of my experience, the process that had come on in me. Just
as it went on spontaneously in him, it essentially went on
spontaneously in me. Except in my own case it was different
function to be served in my own case. I have a different
function than Maharshi had. And I exist in a different time
and place. There were different reasons for certain of the
phenomena in my own case than there were in his. But in
terms of the fundamentals, there was a real alignment
between the two. First of all the fact that it was a
spontaneous event, the whole adventure, all these 30 some
odd years was a spontaneous activity in my own case. Just as
in his case, (was) particularly his very brief thing was
very spontaneous, his brief transformation. But just as in
his brief transformation there was this death dramatization,
in my own case there was also. And Just as he was aware of
this center on the right, I was also, and just as who was
aware of the Heart, or the Self Reality, real God as being
the fundamental force of realization, I was also he spoke of
Amrita Nadi , and he spoke very much in terms of all of the
things with which I intensely associate myself and my
teaching. There were of course some differences, because of
the difference in his function, and the difference in his
communication. And one of the fundamental ones is that he
speaks of Amrita Nadi essentially as a path of descent, of
movement down from the yogis region, subtle region of the
sahastra into the Self. And he sees that as the ultimate
Coal of sadhana. In my own case there was also this movement
downward through Amrita Nadi into the Heart. But there was
also the spontaneous regeneration of Amrita Nadi. And
Maharshi does not speak of this. Generally he speaks only of
the Heart in more or less exclusive terms. Though in some
conversations you find him trying to speak in some way of
the other side of it. Of how this same Self that is realized
in this exclusive way is also the foundation of our present
life, the present manifestation. But he didn’t really
coordinate himself with that form of teaching that was not
his function. Doesn’t mean his realization was limited in
any sense, it is his function.

God manifests as the Guru for
specific purposes, to form a specific function. And each
Guru, true Guru is a manifestation of the Divine function
appearing in a particular way and a particular time and
place. And God is not Exclusively identified with that
function, so that he can only be recognized in the form
forever, or that particular Guru is the only Guru who ever
lived, or the best who ever lived and all that sort of
nonsense. The Divine is continually operating, and the Guru
is a peculiar form of his operation.

It’s just that in Maharshi’s case
there was a unique function, but also many forms of his
communication that were precisely usable by me, so that I
continue to use certain of these terms that I found there,
rather than to use arbitrary terms of my own. I use, I have
at least up to now been using technical terms, like Amrita
Nadi and the Heart, such, and I use Maharshi’s teachings as
a reference, to corroborate or to help explain certain of my
own ideas. You must understand, when studying the work of
Maharshi as with anyone else, you must understand the
limiting point of view that is also present in his teaching,
because of his particular function and the particular time
and place in which he was operating. And you can’t separate
the teaching from the teacher. And so his words taken of
themselves and tried to apply to yourself as a method of
seeking whatever is completely false. You wouldn’t have done
that during his lifetime. During his lifetime you would have
lived his teaching under the conditions of Satsang with him.
But the work of all the Guru’s is assimilated in the Guru’s
that follow them, and fulfilled in them, and the next thing
that needs to be (to be) added is added in that next Guru.
So it’s appropriate then to examine Ramana’s particular
teaching relative to its limitations as a form of sadhana,
the Heart as an exclusive, essentially spoken of in terms of
an exclusive realization.

But I speak from the point of Amrita
Nadi, the already realized intuition and presence of the
Divine nature founded in the Heart and in the Divine Light.
And it is the prior instrument and foundation of the
spiritual parth, not its goal, and it is not exclusive in
any sense. It is absolutley capataible with any conditional
state. And it is the creative form and prior freedom that is
ours within any condition that arises.

At the very end then of this
biographical section I began to speak of enquiry and of
understanding as the essential path, as the radical path of
spiritual life, not any of these other motivated and
exclusive forms.

The rest of the book is an attempt
then to describe this process of understanding itself, this
radical process. But there is an admonition at the very end
of the autobiography relative then to the parth of
understanding that’s now about to be described. On page 160,
“The way itself depends on true hearing, which involves true
listening or attention. And true hearing must lead to self
observation, understadning and real enquiry.”

In other words, enquiry is not
something you take up because you’re motivated to get free.
It’s not, this enquiry that’s about to be desscribed and
that has been mentioned periodically in the biography
itself, it’s not a method or a technique that you take up.
It depends on true hearing, which involves true listening or
attention. In other words Satsang, listening to the Guru,
living the conditions of the Guru. And before such Satsang
becomes enquiry, becomes truly usable as enquiry, it must
lead to self observation, understanding or insight, and then
become real enquiry. And at this point we’re getting into a
description of this process of meditation itself, which I
will describe later, I’ve already described in previous

Knee of Listening and Study Chapters – Table of