Beezone Interview Series
with Stephan Blas
Franklin Jones (Adi Da Samraj)
Ed: One of the topics that I want to bring to the audience today is how you came to Adi Da, Franklin Jones, at the time. We talked a little bit about when you were at the Vedanta Temple in session one when you met him – without knowing so. It was only years later you were able to identify the transmission you felt then was Adi Da. At that time, you didn’t have the experience that could reveal the identity, that meditative state as a kind of samadhi was later on when you were very familiar with in His Company.
Stephan: Yes. That time at the Vedanta Temple was the first kind of clear, distinct and direct contact with the Guru, even though I didn’t know anything about a Guru at the time. Now, looking back, that was a visible sign that the Guru Siddhi was active. The sacred history of Adidam, and the telling of Adi Da’s verified that the specific location and his being there was for real. So, I was drawn there, unknown to me why at the time.
For me, just like you – and I talked earlier about a moment in the mental institutions and other places we mentioned – how in different moments the Guru, as the Divine snuck in, so to speak, during painful and traumatic periods in my life. The Guru snuck in and showed the Truth and the Reality of Transmission. I would feel it; I would feel it inside and permeating my body. So yes, now that we’re talking about it, it’s becoming more evident and more apparent how throughout my entire history, regardless of what the circumstances looked like or how bad it was when I was a child there was this other thing happening and it culminated in the actual meeting of Franklin Jones in 1973.
Franklin Jones, 1973
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Ed: Right. That’s one of the things that I would like to just bring to the audience’s attention and how that occurred. So I’ll just kind of preface it that, I mean, your early childhood brought you to Los Angeles. You became a dancer in gay bars as the Queen Mary, you were at Studio City, you’re in shows. You’ve got a contract. You’re a professional dancer. You’re in Stag (S.A.G. = Screen Actors’ Guild). You’ve got a job to go to Los Angeles.
Stephan: No, Las Vegas.
Ed: Las Vegas, I’m sorry. Things are starting to develop, but you’re not feeling very happy with any of this stuff. Your life, if you will, is falling apart, you have to give up all your IBM stock.
Stephan: I knew you liked that one, Ed. I knew you liked that one.
Ed: I love it. I love it. I love it. So here you are, you’re leaving the Abilitism emotional trauma release program. You’re on your way back to somewhere and you get a call from Ronnie.
Ed: You speak to Ronnie and now she’s moving to Los Angeles and now you’re going… Why are you moving back there? I’m trying to get to the place where you wind up getting back into being a student at Los Angeles, how you first come…
Stephan: Well, yeah. No, that’s exactly how it happened. The conversation with Ronnie after my time doing the emotional trauma release in the desert, right after that, I was literally about to move to San Francisco and actually take over her room at the house in San Francisco. Then she tells me she’s moving to LA to join Franklin Jones and I already told that whole story.
Ed: Well, maybe for this particular session, why don’t you just share because now that might be a little segue here to… Because you’re now becoming a student. You’re not reading anything about the The Knee of Listening, but in the Abilitism, you have people who are associated some way with Marcia, Hal and even Scott was there at one point.
Stephan: Oh, yeah. No, I had mentioned that in an earlier conversation that, while I was at this place in the desert where we were having these therapies and they were also having the enlightenment intensives on the other side, many of the people I later learned became devotees or students of Adi Da, they have been doing the Abilitism thing. Ronnie also had been there working and taking the therapy and such.
So when she told me on the phone that she was moving to be with Franklin Jones and that she had met him and sat with him in San Francisco and that just sitting with him in person, something occurred in which whatever it is that you think you need to be changed or purified, it all happened right there and then.
Ed: I think you described her words earlier as Franklin Jones is a Man of Truth.
Stephan: Yes. Yes. I believe those words were either said or certainly implied. There was something about getting the sense that this Franklin Jones, who I had already heard a lot about, but mostly negative.
Ed: Well, because this is what I wanted to bring into the conversation, is that you’ve already had some exposure to the name of Franklin Jones because while you’re in this place of the emotional trauma release or Abilitism or whatever, you are hearing, “Oh, my God, Franklin Jones, who does he think he is?” He’s moving to California. You told this whole thing about the word was out about this person, Franklin Jones.
Stephan: Yeah. He was upsetting everybody in the spiritual racket. That’s all I knew, was more of this reactionary response to him from these other so-called pseudo-spiritual types and-
Ed: I mean, he has a certain reputation even with Rudi and in Scientology and even in Stanford, as other people have spoken about. He by his presence, his siddhis, his radiance affects people in a way that is, in many ways, positive, and, in many ways, very negative.
Stephan: Well, let’s put it this way. You don’t ignore him. You always react very strongly.
That’s why I wanted to talk to Ronnie because I couldn’t understand, after what I had heard, why she would make this choice. Then when she said what she said, what she described in a very simple way of what she felt from Beloved and who she felt he was, a Man of Truth, a Man of God, in which all of it happens just by being in that one’s presence, something about that language, once again, got to me, even though I was not a spiritual student of any kind. I hadn’t read hardly anything. A couple of things, that was it. I wasn’t even into conversation about it. It’s so boring to me. People blab, blab, blabbing about things, just didn’t interest me.
But what she said and where I was at, after going through trials and tribulations and so much undermining of everything I was trying to make happen would always just fail, fail, fail miserably. Then what she said, I was able to receive it and I was able to intuit that this was… That’s how I got it. I intuited that this was the real thing and it just made sense to me.
Ed: So you then wound up going to Los Angeles?
Stephan: Yeah. Well, I had already lived there, but now I was returning there. There was no question. There was no question for me. It was just clear what my next route was going to be. It was going to be to go to Franklin Jones and become I guess in those days you call it a student. So I was just going to go there and become a student and everything prior to that, the emotional trauma release therapy, the friendships, the acquaintances and then prior to that, the whole gay scene, clubs, bath houses, the dancing, scene, all of it, it was almost like night and day. It was over. I don’t even think I thought of it again. It literally was over and a new thing was beginning, that I had no idea what or why or who, but I was going in. It was a jumping off the cliff moment, head first, feet first, whatever.
Ed: So, you go back to this work at the natural foods store. You’re now approaching as a student. You now no longer can just enter into the ashram by reading The Knee of Listening. You have to now adapt to certain conditions and then you go through…
Stephan: Oh, yes, the conditions. They sound so simple.
Ed: Well, you’ve been doing that. You’ve fasted on grapes for 21 days before.
Stephan: Oh, yeah. This is going to be like blink of an eye. It’s not going to be anything. Little did I know that once you started taking on a discipline in relationship to the guru, there was something else going on!
Ed: This is what people struggle with.
Stephan: It wasn’t about this, that or the other thing. Yes, that was the content, that was the theater in which what was going on was happening. But it literally was like the creepy crawlies, as he speaks of when the light shines down the well. Boy, when those things start showing themselves as part of the character you’re presuming to be, I’m telling you, it’s like, once again, you don’t even know if you’re going to make it.
Ed: Well, this is what you referred to as the siddhis that are associated with him, Siddhi’s that are going along with the demand, if you will, the conditions that are being asked for.
Stephan: Yeah, the purification. Oh, actually almost it feels too much that you… I don’t know about other people, but me personally, I knew I had to throw the towel in. I wasn’t going to be able to do it. That was my beginning.
Ed: Well, I think you also said that people even in the student body that was associated with Franklin Jones at the time would run into your health food store after sitting with him, grabbing everything off the shelf because…
Stephan: Yeah. Well, obviously, there was a lot to conduct and we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.
Ed: Right. Right, right, right. Okay. So at some point in time, you adapt to a sufficient degree that you can now enter into the ashram and you can do all of that. So, you now going into that and this what’s happening.
Stephan: Beloved suggested that as brand new students should be given certain opportunities like service to the ashram and different things to participate more. So, I took on the service of taking care of the plants and the flowers at the Melrose Ashram, I guess we call it ashram, I’m not sure, but it was just a little, really a tiny bookstore with a very small meditation hall right behind it and then a minuscule, barely, two people could walk through the same time office behind that. Then there was the back door in the alley.
Ashram meditation hall
I used to go there every other day or so, and take the plants out and spray them and water them and change the water in the flowers and just that kind of stuff. I’ve now always done that. I mean, I even did it recently at Beloved’s house in Da Love-Ananda Mahal in Kauai and when I go back there, I’ll probably do it again. I’ll start taking care of the plants and flowers in the house for him. Don’t think they were changed. So anyway, I was doing that.
One day I’m walking because I only lived a block away on Willoughby Street, excuse me, and I’m walking down the alley to go into the back door and to begin my service. As soon as I get to the back door with my hand on the door knob, I hear someone talking and I recognize the voice. It’s Franklin Jones because I heard him on tape before. But I realized, this is not a tape. This is an actual conversation that’s going on right now and I literally start kind of… Oh, I think I would even describe it maybe as like a panic attack. I start freaking out and then I kind of back away and then I started kind of walking back and forth in the alley going, “Oh my God, Oh my God, what do I do? What do I do? Oh my God.”
Then I eventually go around to the front of the bookstore on Melrose. I walk in and there is Cathy Brea. I think that was her name, Catherine, and she’s behind the bookstore. We actually met recently and shared these stories together. It was great. So I told her, I clearly expressed that I had a difficulty going on, a problem. I told her that I was about to go inside the back door, but I heard Franklin Jones in there. I said, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do,” because I told her I had come to do my service. She said, “Well, if you just came to do your service then just do it. Do your service.” So in other words, she didn’t think there was a problem at all. So I said, “Oh, okay. Okay.”
So then I go through the bookstore into the meditation hall.
Franklin Jones, 1973
The front dais, which has Beloved chair, had a chair for Beloved, well, Franklin then. Then there was these two other altars on each side, on the left and on the right walls. One was Ramana Maharshi and one was Nityananda They had these big pictures of them, life-size or even bigger than life size and then there was a large vase of flowers below each one.
My job was to take those flowers and bring them to the little sink that’s at the end of the office and to change the water, refresh them and do that kind of thing. But to do that, I have to walk through the curtain that now separates the meditation hall from this minuscule office and I have to walk past two men that are inside. They’re having a conversation. One was Franklin Jones and the other, I don’t know why, but I keep on thinking it was like an insurance man, maybe for the bookstore or for that property or something.
So I eventually, after a lot of trepidation and emotional turmoil, I have the two plants, one in my right arm and the other in my left arm, so that the plants are kind of in front of my body. They’re large and the flowers are up toward my torso and head. So I’m kind of in a sense, like a walking tree. I’m hiding as best I can behind these two large vessels of flora. I squish my body through the curtain while I’m holding these vases and I peeked through because immediately, as soon as you entered the curtain, there they are. I mean, this is a real tiny office. You literally almost had to touch their bodies to get past them. That’s how close you were.
So I get in there and I see Beloved immediately. I peeked through the branches of the arrangements and I see Belloved’s face. He just lifts his head up with his full, extremely beautiful, gorgeous, beyond handsome eyes and looks directly into mine, even though they were partially hidden and says, “Tch”. He gives that blessing recognition. And I can honestly say now that everything that’s happened since is really from that moment. In other words, everything that’s happened since, it’s almost like that. It’s the complications of the written teaching, but everything was actually given initially and it took all of that theater and time and drama and whatever and ecstasy to allow it to be received in its fullness or to whatever degree I could. So that’s my understanding today.
“I can only communicate intelligent understanding of the Spiritual Way to you. I can only give you the Force of God. I can only give you the Realization of God. I can only put it in you and Witness it to you, so that you can be Awakened in God. I can only give you everything, but I cannot give you something. This something nonsense is your business!”
Adi Da Samraj
Ed: Oh, I think he’d be. He’s always saying that he gives you everything from the first moment.
Stephan: Yeah. But I mean, it’s one thing to say it, and it’s another thing to actually stand there and be the recipient. It really just shows you who he was, is. Strike was, IS. It just shows you he’s always been the same one and that and as soon as he identified another aspect of himself, in some sense, very real sense, some apparent other that he’s been meditating for probably most of his life. Then it all shows itself in that one moment, that instant, the instant of that recognition in that meeting and that acknowledgment. Then there’s all the many, many years that will follow in which I become more and more allowable to receiving it in its fullness.
So that was a pretty cool first meeting of Beloved in the body. Then, as we were allowed to sit with him there, like I said, I immediately got into extremely heavy kriyas, probably the strongest of most people. And it would just be the way it was because his siddhi was just so incredibly powerful and I could not conduct it initially for sure. But, hell, I’ll tell you one thing, it was a lot better than going to the bath house.
Ed: Yeah, I would guess so.
Stephan: A lot more better sense of touch, a lot more… Nothing boring here, nothing mundane here.
Franklin Jones, 1973