Beginning of Real Sadhana

The following is an adapted excerpt from a talk by Adi Da Samraj (at the time ‘Bubba Free John”) given in 1975, entitled, ‘My Life if Nothing”.  A link to the full talk is below this excerpt.


hen you become sympathetic to what is prior to vital shock, then that reaction itself becomes obsolete. When there is stable sympathy and realization of what is prior to that reaction, then there is true enquiry, then there is truly the fulfillment of the beginning and preliminary stages of sadhana.

The rudimentary stage of sadhana is no superficial affair. It is not just observing the conditions, reading the books, studying the courses, doing group work, and all the rest of what is required in this Ashram. There is a real process that represents the beginning of sadhana, and no one has ceased to be a beginner until the process I have described to you is stably realized. Otherwise, the sadhana that is required of a disciple is absolutely impossible for you. It just cannot be done.

You must become sensitive in your own case to the areas of dramatization wherein you become absorbed, become consoled, become forgetful, become self-indulgent. You must comprehend what those areas of self-indulgence, of dramatization are, and on the basis of that understanding – not because of any motivation to be good – but on the basis of knowing what it is you are up to, you must discipline yourself of that dramatization.


“You might as well be taking drugs somewhere.”


Only when that discipline appears is the fundamental insight I describe in the listening and hearing phases of sadhana possible. Apart from that, without that discipline, without that fundamental insight, what you may call sadhana is total bullshit. You can read books and have insights and become pure and holy and blissful and freak out with samadhis and ecstasies and kriyas and all the rest, and none of it will amount to anything. It amounts to nothing. You might as well be taking drugs somewhere. All the kinds of things that I do in this Ashram, all the kinds of changes I create, all the different kinds of theatre, are basically ways to shake up the superficial level of sadhana that people tend to settle for, ways to produce this real crisis, the revelation of the dramatizations that people are addicted to.


“Every single moment of life is a play upon that vital shock”


Every single moment of life is a play upon that vital shock. And every single moment of life in the usual man is this reaction, this theatre of Narcissus that is played upon this contraction at every moment. But you cannot become sensitive to the contraction of vital shock in the usual, ordinary round of your daily life until you see it as a powerful drama of fear in an ordinary moment, perhaps while walking down the street. Until you really see that every moment of your silly and superficial life is of exactly the same kind of profundity and horror as the most insanely psychotic moments that you can imagine or that you may have experienced, only then can you really do sadhana from moment to moment. Otherwise, you are only doing sadhana in the great moments, which occur very rarely, and even then you find conventional ways of getting out of them.

Just so, news of death and calamities and disease and sorrowful changes produces a crisis in us, but it does not even really affect us, because we have conventional ways of dealing with these moments, conventional ways of getting freaky or of dramatizing the news to prevent our real understanding of them. It is not until we begin to know, through attention and real comprehension, the ordinary moment-to-moment, blase’, simplistic little life that we are living that the Real Affair of Sadhana occurs.


See original talk, ‘My Life if Nothing’ – Bubba Free John, 1975