The Paradox and the Great Secret
Adi Da Samraj, 1988
Beyond the Beginner’s Spiritual Way of Saint Jesus
By The Avataric Great Sage, Adi Da Samraj
(this book was later published as Pneumaton)
The Great Esoteric Tradition of Devotion To The Adept-Realizer
Spiritually Realized Adepts (or Transmission-Masters, or true Gurus and Sat-Gurus) are the principal Sources, Resources, and Means of the esoteric (or Spiritual) Way. This fact is not (and never has been) a matter of controversy among real Spiritual practitioners.
The entire Spiritual Way is a process based on the understanding (and the transcending) of attention, or the understanding (and the transcending) of the inevitable and specific results of attachment to, or reaction to, or identification with every kind of conditional object, other, or state. This Spiritual understanding (or real self-understanding) is expressed in a simple traditional formula (and prescription for practice): You become (or duplicate the qualities of) whatever you meditate on (or whatever you identify with via the “surrender” that is attention itself). Since the most ancient days, this understanding has informed and inspired the practice of real practitioners of the Spiritual Way. Likewise (since the most ancient days), and on the basis of this very understanding, Spiritual practitioners have affirmed that the Great Principle of Spiritual practice is Satsang, or the practice of life as self-surrender to the bodily Person, the Transmitted Spiritual Presence, and the Realized State of a Spiritually Realized Adept (or true Guru, or Sat-Guru) of whatever degree or stage.
The traditional term “Guru” (spelled with a capital “G”) means “One Who Reveals the Light and thereby Liberates beings from Darkness”. This term is also commonly (or popularly) interpreted in a general (or everyday) sense (and spelled with a small “g”) to mean “teacher” (or anyone who teaches anything at all to another). Thus, Adepts have certainly (and rightly) been valued simply (or in the general sense) as (small “g”) “gurus” (that is, simply because they can instruct others about many things, including the Spiritual Way). However, the function of instruction (about anything at all) can be performed by anyone who is properly informed (or even by a book that is properly informed) and, indeed, even the specific function of Spiritual Instruction is secondary to the Great Function of the Adept (As Guru, with a capital “G”, and, in the Greatest of cases, As Sat-Guru).
Adepts inevitably (or, at least, in the majority of cases) Instruct (or Teach) others, but the function of Instruction (about the Spiritual Way) is then passed on through good books (containing the authentic Word of Teaching), and through informed others (who are, hopefully, true practitioners), and so forth. The Great Function of the Adept-Guru (and especially the Sat-Guru) is, however, specific only to Adepts themselves, and this is the Guru-Function (and the Guru-Principle) supremely valued by Spiritual practitioners since the most ancient days.
The specific Guru-Function is associated with the Great Principle of Satsang (and the unique Spiritual understanding of attention). Therefore, since the most ancient days, all truly established (or real) Spiritual practitioners have understood that Satsang Itself is the Great Means for Realizing Real (Acausal) God, or Truth, or Reality. That is to say, the Great Means (or Secret) of Realization in the Spiritual Way is to live in, or to spend significant time in, or otherwise (and constantly) to give attention to the Company, Form, Presence, and State of an Adept who is (truly) Realized in one or another of the esoteric stages of life.
The Essence of the practice of Satsang is to focus attention on (and thereby to, progressively, become Identified with, or Realize Indivisible Oneness with) the Realized Condition of a true Adept (especially an Adept Sat-Guru, or One Who Is presently and constantly In Samadhi or in the actual State of True Realization, however, and by whatever term of reference, Realization is described in any particular tradition or school). Therefore, the practice of Satsang is the practice of ego-transcending Communion (and, Ultimately, Indivisible Oneness) with the Adept’s own Condition, Which Is (according to the degree or stage of the Adept’s characteristic Realization) Samadhi Itself, or the Adept’s characteristic (and Freely, Spontaneously, and Universally Transmitted) Realization (Itself).
Based on the understanding of attention (or the observation that Consciousness Itself, in the context of the body-mind, tends to identify with, or becomes fixed in association with, whatever attention observes, and especially with whatever attention surrenders to most fully), the Spiritual Motive is essentially the Motive to transcend the limiting capability of attention (or of all conditional objects, others, and states). Therefore, the traditional Spiritual process (as a conventional technique, begun in the context of the fourth stage of life) is an effort (or struggle) to set attention (and, thus, Consciousness Itself) Free by progressively relinquishing attachment and reaction to conditional objects, others, and states (and, Ultimately, this process requires the Most Perfect transcending of egoity, or self-contraction itself, or all the egoic limitations associated with each and all of the first six stages of life).
This conventional effort (or struggle) is profound and difficult, and it tends to progress slowly. Therefore, some few adopt the path of extraordinary self-effort (or a most intense struggle of relinquishment), which is asceticism (or the method of absolute independence). However, the Adepts themselves have, since the most ancient days, offered an alternative to mere (and, at best, slowly progressing) self-effort. Indeed, the Adept-Gurus (and especially the Sat-Gurus) offer a Unique Principle of practice (as an alternative to the conventional principle of mere and independent self-effort and relinquishment). That Unique Principle is the Principle of Supreme Attraction.
Truly, the bondage of attention to conditional objects, others, and states must be really transcended in the Spiritual Way, but mere self-effort (or struggle with the separate, and separative, self) is a principle that originates in (and constantly reinforces) the separate (and separative) self (or self-contraction, or egoity itself). Therefore, the process of the real transcending of bondage to conditions is made direct (and truly ego-transcending) if the principle of independent self-effort (or egoic struggle) is (at least progressively) replaced by the responsive (or cooperative) Principle of Supreme Attraction (Which Is, in Its Fullness, Satsang, or responsive devotional and Spiritual Identification with the Free Person, Presence, and State of One Who Is Already Realized, or In Samadhi).
On the basis of the simple understanding of attention expressed in the formula: You become (or Realize) What (or Who) you meditate on the ancient Essence of the Spiritual Way is to meditate on (and otherwise to grant feeling-attention to) the Adept-Guru (or Sat-Guru), and (thereby) to be Attracted (or Grown) beyond the self-contraction (or egoity, or all the self-limiting tendencies of attention, or all self-limiting and self-binding association with conditional objects, others, and states). Through sympathetic (or responsive) Spiritual Identification with the Spiritually Self-Transmitted State of a Realizer, the devotee is Spiritually Infused and (potentially) Awakened by the Inherently Attractive Power of That State Itself. Even the simplest beginner in practice may be directly Inspired and, thus, moved toward greater practice, true devotion, and eventual Spiritual Awakening by sympathetic response to the Free Sign, and the Great Demonstration, of a true Realizer. And, by the Great Spiritual Means That Is true Satsang (coupled with a variety of disciplines and practices, which should be associated with real self-understanding), the fully prepared devotee of a true Realizer may Freely (or with relative effortlessness) relinquish (or Grow Beyond) the limits of attention in each of the progressive stages of life that, in due course, follow upon that devotion.
Of course, actual Spiritual Identification with the Realized Spiritual Condition of an Adept is limited by the stage of life of the devotee, the effective depth of the self-understanding and the ego-transcending devotional response of the devotee, and the stage of life and Realization of the Adept. And some traditions may (unfortunately) tend to replace (or, at least, to combine) the essential and Great Communion that is true Satsang with concepts and norms associated with the parent-child relationship, or the relationship between a king and a frightened subject, or even the relationship between a slave-master and a slave. However, this Great Principle (or Means) that Is Satsang (rightly understood and truly practiced) is the ancient Essence (or Great Secret) of the Spiritual Way and true Adept-Gurus (and especially the Sat-Gurus) have, therefore, since the most ancient days, been the acknowledged principal Sources and Resources (as well as the principal Means) of true religion (or effective religious Wisdom) and the esoteric tradition of Spiritual Realization.
Particularly in more modern days, since Spirituality (and everything else) has become a subject of mass communication and popularization, the Spiritual Way Itself has become increasingly subject to conventional interpretation and popular controversy. In the broad social (or survival) context of the first three stages of life, self-fulfillment (or the consolation of the ego) is the common ideal (tempered only by local, popular, and conventional political, social, and religious ideals, or demands). Therefore, the common mood is one of adolescent anti-authority and anti-hierarchy (stemming from the “Oedipal” anti-“parent” disposition), and the common search is for a kind of ever-youthful (and “Narcissistic”) ego-omnipotence and ego-omniscience.
The popular egalitarian (or ego-based, and merely, and competitively, individualistic) “culture” (or, really, anti-culture) of the first three stages of life is characterized by the politics of adolescent rebellion against “authority” (or the perceived “parent”, in any form). Indeed, a society (or any loose collective) of mere individuals does not need, and cannot (by tendency alone) even much tolerate, a true culture because a true culture must, necessarily, be characterized (in its best, and even general, demonstrations, and, certainly, in its aspirations) by mutual tolerance, cooperation, peace, and profundity. Therefore, societies based on competitive individualism, and egoic self-fulfillment, and mere gross-mindedness (or superficial-mindedness) actually tend to suppress and even destroy right culture (and all until-then-existing right cultures, and right cultural adaptations). And right cultures (and right cultural adaptations) are produced (and needed) only when individuals rightly and truly participate in a collective, and, thus and thereby, live in accordance with the life-principle of ego-transcendence and the Great Principle of Inherent Oneness (or Prior Unity).
In the popular egalitarian (or ego-based, and merely, and competitively, individualistic) “culture” (or, really, anti-culture) of the first three stages of life, the Guru (and the Sat-Guru) and the developmental culture of the Spiritual Way are (with even all of “authority” and of true, or ego-transcending, culture) more or less taboo, because every individual limited (or egoically defined) by the motives of the first three stages of life is at war with personal vulnerability and need (or the feeling of egoic insufficiency). However, the real Spiritual process does not even begin until the egoic “point of view” of the first three stages of life is understood (or otherwise ceases to be the limit of aspiration and awareness) and the ego-surrendering and ego-transcending Motive of the fourth stage of life begins to move and change the body-mind (from the heart).
Those who are truly involved in the ego-surrendering and ego-transcending process of the esoteric stages of life are (fundamentally) no longer at war with their own Help (or struggling toward the ultimate victory of the ego). Therefore, it is only in the non-Spiritual (or even anti-Spiritual) “cultural” domain of the first three stages of life (or the conventional survival-culture, bereft of the Motive of truly developmental and Spiritual culture) that the Guru (or the Sat-Guru) is, in principle, taboo. And, because that taboo is rooted in adolescent reactivity and egoic willfulness (or the yet unresolved emotional, and psychological, and even emotional-sexual rebellion against childish and emotionally and sexually ego-suppressing dependence on parent-like individuals and influences), “anti-Guruism”, and even “anti-cultism” which (characteristically, and without discrimination) denigrate, and defame, and mock, or otherwise belittle, all “authorities”, and (also) even all the seed-groups of newly emerging cultural movements (whether or not they have positive merit) are forms (or expressions) of what Sigmund Freud described as an “Oedipal” problem.
In the common world of humankind, it is yet true that most individuals tend (by a combination of mechanical psycho-physical tendencies and a mass of conventional political, social, and cultural pressures) to be confined to the general “point of view” associated, developmentally, with the unfinished (or yet to be understood) “business” of the first three stages of life. Thus, in the common world of humankind, even religion is (characteristically) reduced to what is intended to serve the “creaturely” (or “worldly”), and rather aggressively exoteric, “point of view” and purposes of egoity in the context of the first three stages of life. And even if an interest in the esoteric possibilities (beyond the first three stages of life) develops in the case of any such (yet rather “worldly”) character, that interest tends to be pursued in a manner that dramatizes and reinforces the “point of view” (and the exoteric, and either childishly or adolescently egoic, inclinations) characteristic of the first three stages of life.
Until there is the development of significantly effective self-understanding relative to the developmental problems (or yet unfinished “business”) associated with the first three stages of life, any one who aspires to develop a truly esoteric religious practice (necessarily beginning in the context of the fourth stage of life) will, characteristically, tend to relate to such possible esoteric practice in either a childish or an adolescent manner. Thus, any one whose developmental disposition is yet relatively childish (or tending, in general, to seek egoic security via the dramatization of the role of emotionalistic dependency) will tend to relate to esoteric possibilities via emotionalistic (or, otherwise, merely enthusiastic) attachments, while otherwise (in general) tending to be weak in both the responsible exercise of discriminating intelligence and the likewise responsible exercise of functional, practical, relational, and cultural self-discipline. (Indeed, such childish religiosity, characterized by dependent emotionalism, or mere enthusiastic attachment, bereft of discrimination and real self-discipline, is what may rightly, without bad intentions, be described and criticized as “cultism”.) And any one whose developmental disposition is yet relatively adolescent (or tending, in general, to seek egoic security via the dramatization of the role of reactive independence) will tend to relate to esoteric possibilities via generally “heady” (or willful, rather mental, or even intellectual, or bookish, but not, altogether, truly intelligent) efforts, accompanied either (or even alternately) by a general lack of self-discipline (and a general lack of non-reactive emotional responsiveness) or by an exaggerated (abstractly enforced, and more or less life-suppressing and emotion-suppressing) attachment to self-discipline. Such adolescent, or “heady”, religiosity merely continues the dramatization of the characteristic adolescent search for independence, or the reactive pursuit of escape from every kind of dependency, and, altogether, the reactive pursuit of egoic self-sufficiency. And such adolescent seeking is inherently and reactively disinclined toward any kind of self-surrender. Therefore, the rather adolescent seeker tends to want to be his or her own “guru” in all matters. And, characteristically, the rather adolescent seeker will resist, and would even prefer to avoid, a truly intelligent, rightly self-disciplined, and, altogether, devotionally self-surrendered relationship to a true Guru, or Sat-Guru.
Because of their developmental tendencies toward either childish or adolescent ego-dramatizations, those who are yet bound to the “point of view” (or the unfinished “business”) of the first three stages of life are, developmentally (or in their characteristic disposition, which is not yet relieved by sufficient self-understanding), also (regardless of their presumed “interest”) not yet truly ready to enter into the esoteric process (beyond the first three stages of life). And, for the same developmental reasons, the principal and most characteristic impediments toward true participation in the esoteric religious process are “cultism” (or mere emotionalistic dependency, bereft of discrimination and self-discipline), “intellectualism” (or merely mental, or even bookish, preoccupation, disinclined to fully participatory, or directly experiential, involvement in the esoteric religious process), and “anti-Guruism” (or reactive attachment to a state of egoic independence, immune to the necessity for devotional self-surrender and the Grace of Great Help).
It is not the specific (and Great) Function of the Adept to fulfill a popular Spiritual (or, otherwise, non-Spiritual) role in common (or egoic and early stage) society, but to Serve as Teacher, Guide, Spiritual Transmitter, or Free Awakener in relation to those who are already (and rightly) moved (and progressively prepared) to fulfill the ego-transcending obligations of the Great and (soon) Spiritual Way Itself (in the potential developmental context that is beyond the first three stages of life). The only proper relationship to such a Realized Adept (or true Guru, or Sat-Guru) is, therefore, one of real and right and ego-surrendering and ego-transcending practice, and that practice must, from the beginning, be practically Inspired (and, soon, Spiritually Inspired) by ego-transcending devotion not childish egoity (or “cultic” dependency), and not adolescent egoity (or willful, or, otherwise, ambivalent, independence).
Of course, individuals in the earlier (or first three) stages of life who are not yet actively oriented (or, otherwise, rightly adapted) to ego-surrendering and ego-transcending practice may be Served by Adept-Gurus (or Sat-Gurus), but (apart from special instances where an Adept must Work directly with such individuals, in order to establish a new cultural gathering of devotees, or in order to establish a new Revelation of the Spiritual Way) those not yet actively oriented (or actively committed), or (otherwise) rightly adapted, to truly ego-surrendering and really ego-transcending practice are generally (except perhaps for occasional glimpses of the Adept in his or her Free Demonstration) Served (or prepared for ego-surrendering, ego-transcending, and, soon, Spiritual practice) only through the written (or otherwise recorded) Teachings of an Adept, and through the public institutional work (and the “outer Temple”, or beginner-serving, institutional work) of the practicing devotees of an Adept.
The Realized Adept (or any true Guru, or Sat-Guru) is, primarily, an esoteric Figure, whose unique Function Serves within the context of the esoteric stages of life. The esoteric stages of life are themselves open only to those who are ready, willing, and able to make the truly developmental (or progressively Real-God-Realizing, or Truth-Realizing, or Reality-Realizing) sacrifice of separate and separative self that is necessary in the context of the esoteric stages of life. Therefore, the necessity (and the True Nature and Great Function) of a Realized Adept (or true Guru, or Sat-Guru) is obvious (and of supreme value) only to those who are ready, willing, and able to embrace the ego-transcending process of the esoteric stages of life.
Except for the possible moments in which the Acausal Divine Person (or the Ultimate Reality and Truth) may (for some few) Serve (temporarily, and, to whatever degree, significantly, and, in any case, never to the Most Ultimate, or Most Perfect, degree) in (or via) a non-physical (and/or perhaps even non-human) Revelation-Form, the Realized Adept or a human and living true Guru, or (especially) a human and living true Sat-Guru, or (at least) a human and living true (and formally Acknowledged, Appointed, and Blessed) devotee-Instrument of a once living (or even, perhaps, yet living, and, certainly, yet Spiritually Effective) true Sat-Guru is an absolute (and never obsolete) necessity for any and every human being who would practice (and Realize) within the esoteric stages of life. Therefore, the necessity (and the True Nature and Great Function) of a Realized Adept (or true Guru, or Sat-Guru) is inherently (and gratefully) obvious to any one and every one who is truly ready, willing, and able to embrace the esoteric process of Real-God-Realization (or Reality-Realization).
Any one and every one who doubts and quibbles about the necessity (and the True Nature and Great Function) of a true Adept-Guru (or Adept Sat-Guru) is, simply, not yet ready, willing, and able to enter the (necessarily, ego-surrendering) process of the esoteric stages of life. And no mere verbal (or otherwise exoteric) argument is sufficient to convince such doubters of the necessity (and the True Nature and Great Function) of a true Adept-Guru (or Adept Sat-Guru) just as no mere verbal (or otherwise exoteric) argument is sufficient to make them ready, willing, and able to truly embrace the ego-surrendering process of the esoteric stages of life.
Those who doubt the Guru-Principle, and the unique value and ultimate necessity of the Adept-Guru (or the Adept Sat-Guru), are those for whom the Great and (soon) Spiritual Way Itself is yet in doubt. Therefore, such matters remain “controversial” and access to the Spiritual Way and the Adept-Company continues to be effectively denied to ordinary people by the popular taboos and the psychological limitations of the first three stages of life until the truly developmental and (soon) Spiritual Motive Awakens the heart’s Great Impulse to Grow Beyond.