The Knee of Listening – History and Evolution

Neeshee Pandit

An essay examining the spiritual autobiography of Avatar Adi Da Samraj through textual and personal perspectives.

This essay examines the spiritual autobiography. The first part of the essay traces the history of The Knee Of Listening, the evolution of its contents over three decades, and how it reflects the organic unfolding of Adi Da’s life and work. The second part of the essay explores the nature of Avatar as mythos and Adi Da’s language as mythopoetic narrative. This essay is informed by my history, both as a devotee and during my tenure as an editor for the Dawn Horse Press from 2009-2023.

Spiritual autobiographies represent a unique genre of literature. Most biographies of Spiritual Masters are written by disciples, whether during or after the lifetime of the Master. Occasionally, Masters write their own autobiography. Some well-known spiritual autobiographies that were influential in the West include Paramahamsa Yogananda’s classic, Autobiography of a Yogi (1946), Chögyam Trungpa’s Born In Tibet (1966), and Swami Muktananda’s Play of Consciousness (1972). To this list, we will add The Knee Of Listening as a remarkable contribution to the genre of spiritual autobiography, sure to become a 20th century classic.

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