What Else Don’t You Like About Me?
What Else Don’t You Like About Me?
A Dialogue With Bubba Free John (October 28, 1978)
DEVOTEE: I feel you’re two different people when you’re sitting in meditation or in a communion hall. When you start to speak, I start to feel you answering questions. I feel you as a person or someone I can judge. It’s harder to feel like a someone I can surrender to, but in the communion hall I can feel your grandeur.
SPIRITUAL MASTER: A grandeur type, huh? (laughter) You really don’t like what I talk about anyway. (Laughter) That’s why the Spiritual Master is an obstacle to devotees. They always prefer him dead, safely dead, and transcendental. This way Spiritual Masters can be all over the place.
DEVOTEE: That’s what I mean.
SPIRITUAL MASTER: People have just as much difficulty as you do because people don’t want to transcend themselves in order to enter into communion with God. They want God to be right there exactly as they want to think about it.
People don’t realize that they must transcend themselves to realize God. They cannot realize God, simply by being themselves. Being yourself, you’re meditating on yourself not on God, The Spiritual Master is expressed through all kinds of qualities to offend the self, to offend the self-posessed intention.
DEVOTEE: That’s what I feel. I feel I have a real twinky idea of God.
SPIRITUAL MASTER: It’s not that I must somehow be your idea of God. I am the means whereby you may realize God. I cannot be defined by your interests.
The Spiritual Master is not in any sense a definition of God. You know standing here, 5′ 10″ inches tall and all (Laughter) The Spiritual Master is to be the demonstration of that transcendental truth and reality, in person, related to you in all the kinds of ways that will serve your self-transcendence. Not to be your idea of God, but to enable you to transcend all ideas of God.
Fundamentally, the devotee becomes involved in wordless adoration of the Spiritual Master. He or she loses the ability to define the Spiritual Master.
If the devotee is not in the disposition to become a devotee then he becomes obsessed with the Spiritual Master’s qualities, either positively or negatively. This way he can find all kinds of ways to be childishly attached to the Spiritual Master.
In the case of the disappearance of the Spiritual Master or any changes in his qualities which the devotee regards to be most precious, there is a great threat.
And then there are all non-devotees who are defending themselves against the argument constantly critical of his qualities. It’s an interesting game. The affair of the relationships between the Spiritual Master and devotees.
STUDENT: I feel like I do less of that now than when I first came to the community. But I want to confess it to expose it.
SPIRITUAL MASTER: Well, just what exactly is it that you don’t like about me? (Laughter) What is there about me? What is there about me that interferes with your Divine feelings toward me?
DEVOTEE: Sometimes I feel your arrogance.
SPIRITUAL MASTER: Not humble enough for you. (Laughter)
DEVOTEE: Also. It’s just that you’re a human being, you know. And a man.
SPIRITUAL MASTER: mm-hmm, and a man. Right! (Laughter). This body-mind is what the devotee must confront in this meditation as it has ordinary qualities. This body-mind, this voice, this personal quality, these thoughts you see will all rot just like yours. So, you can’t make an idol out of it. Can you?
What do you think my business is then? To prevent you from making an idol out of me. That is a lot of my business. Not to become so preciously acceptable to you that you make me an idol. I’m here to serve your self-transcendence by not becoming an idol, by remaining ordinary in my manner.
Otherwise, how would you find God? You’d be busy worshiping this pile of shit. I don’t want you to be associated with me in that childish way because this body mind will pass.
The Spiritual Master does not become God in a sense that you imagine he becomes God—any more than you become God as a devotee in the way you imagine you will become God. The Spiritual Master speaks ecstatically about his oneness with the Divine. It is ecstatic self-transcending speech. He doesn’t mean ME . . is GOD!
See, that’s absurd. Of course not. And those who play at being spiritual masters are basically looking for devotion toward their independent existence, and are liars They’re idols of the people.
You all suffer from this tendency to make me an idol rather than use me as the Spiritual Master. So, I have to remain aggressively ordinary in many ways. I have to do all the things that I must do to create your right association with me.
Because it is also not true to think of me as an ordinary man, just somebody speaking something about a way of life that you could live and realize God too. You see, that kind of association with me is not true either.
The Spiritual Master is the instrument of God-Realization, the agency of devotees by virtue of his sacrifice. By virtue of his Transcendental Realization, it has become obvious that God is present.
Those who enter into right relationship with the Spiritual Master enjoy that realization by virtue of the work of God. The Spiritual Master is, in his bodily, mental, and personal characteristics, just the play of that revelation to you, and an instrument – and an obstacle – to the approach of Narcissus.
There are things you must transcend to surrender to the Spiritual Master. And those are exactly the things you must transcend to realize God. Whereas, if the Spiritual Master simply made himself acceptable to your tendencies, you would not realize God by that association. You would become more and more self-posessed and only culticlly associated with the Spiritual Master.
So, in some ways, the Spiritual Master is ordinary in his body-mind. But he is also bodily self-transcendent. The Spiritual Master is a paradox, a specific design in the midst of nature for the service of devotees. The Spiritual Master is himself served In that way by various instruments, and in his maturity he becomes that same form of service.
It is difficult to live in that company, to surrender in that company. The Spiritual Master has himself done such service, surrendered in just that way. We are served by those who prevent the most profound obstacles to our surrender.
The Spiritual Master is an instrument to help you overcome this petty understanding of what the Spiritual Master is supposed to be about. If the Spiritual Master has to become wholly acceptable to you before you will surrender, you will never surrender, because the Spiritual Master is there to offend the very thing that must be dissolved. If you’re busy being offended, you see, you will not give it up.
So, if I become less apparently arrogant to you, you will not surrender. You’ll find me more and more acceptable. You’ll be more comfortable with me. So, it is simply one of my methods if I seem arrogant to you. What else don’t you like about me? (Laughter)
DEVOTEE: Nothing, I can feel your purity through that. You know, as I’m talking to you.
SPIRITUAL MASTER: That is how devotees discover the Spiritual Master, by entering into that company and transcending the human qualities that are there. Those human qualities are there to keep fools away, to test devotees. They are there for all kinds of reasons. I would gladly correct them if they needed to be corrected.(Laughter)
They’re simply methods. Everyone who has been present in the function of Spiritual Master in human time has had his or her particular qualities, his particular history, his particular play.
Spiritual Masters have been brought into being for use in a particular time and place, to be of service to individuals alive, living real people, possessed in various specific kinds of ways. Spiritual Masters are intended to be useful at the level of eternity and forever, and for all times and places.
But having been drawn to the teacher by various of his qualities, including his teaching. Spending time in that company, one realizes his true Presence. One then begins to intuit that, and then one becomes rightly attached to the Spiritual Master.
He or she gives up all of the demands for certain kinds of elegance, all the reactions to certain kinds of inelegance. Whatever the personal qualities you say that you originally demanded are set aside, are surrendered. That is how you become purified.
Ultimately, it doesn’t make any difference whatsoever what the Spiritual Master does, how he seems, how he talks, because that is simply the body-mind. It is simply the instrument of his service. You must realize the Condition in which the Spiritual Master exists.
You must come into Communion with his Presence, which he truly is. This body-mind is garbage, It will disappear. Do you think this Realization of which I speak is dependent on the continuation of this body-Mind? It is about the transcendence of this body-mind.
This body-mind, very ordinary body-mind, born on Long Island. (Laughter) Not a prince, not a poor person, just brought up in traditional society. Just an ordinary Long Island punk. And all that struggle of being an American and all the rest of the nonsense that I’ve been through. This body-mind reflects all of that. What is pure about it is not those things, but the Realization.
The form of the Spiritual Master in truth is that which you must contact. And that form is not ultimately separated from God. It is that disposition in which the Spiritual Master speaks ecstatically. Apart from that, he throws this body-mind away, you see. As you must.
I also confront you. Each one of you are offensive to me likewise. But all of these things are there to be transcended. Do you see I don’t just sit and talk with you in this communion with you. Your qualities are drained off into me. I must absorb them in various ways.
There’s a process in the higher physics of things, which is beyond visibility, which takes place between the devotee and the Spiritual Master. It is that process to which you submit yourself when you become genuinely associated with me, truly surrendered. Then that process, the higher physics of things, begins to become of service to you, beyond these appearances.
It’s not that I simply absorb those qualities into this appearance, this apparent personality. That’s the least of it. That’s the skin of the atom. It is in the higher super-physical nature of the atom that the Spiritual Master functions with his devotees. He’s able to function in that higher physical nature because he has penetrated the limits of the atom.
He has exploded it. He has transcended it. In other words, he’s realized that the atom, the Atman, the soul, is not other than the Transcendental Reality. The Spiritual Master, therefore, is liberated from future embodiment, both physical and psychic. But his present embodiment persists. If he does not allow it to persist, he will be reborn.
So, the spiritual master is obliged to persist in certain of his qualities. His qualities continue but they are at the service of his spiritual work. If they were to be taken away in this moment, the Spiritual Master would go.
The Spiritual Master at any time and place is a unique manifestation in nature, a unique manifestation of man. There are other times and places where servants of devotees appear in quite a different manner than I do. But that is their business. In my case, it could not be other than it is.
This is the way it is. It couldn’t be otherwise, it must be this way. And this is the form of service that you confront in my company. There’s nothing for me to do, otherwise. It’s given to me as an obligation—to be as I am.
Whatever is left over of you in the Seventh Stage will be what you are obliged to be. (Laughter) So, when you come into true sympathy with me, then you will see my Person through intuition, and you may even observe higher physical, higher psycho-physical phenomena associated with it.
When you enter into that kind of communion with me, then the real process between us begins. You see which of your qualities are not taken into account by me and mine are not taken into account by you. Then we exist with one another in the Transcendental realm, while nonetheless persisting in this ordinary life. There’s no use in comparing me to swamis, Indian saints, or whoever else may look holier than I do.
If you’re willing to compare me to them, why don’t you compare me to some Tibetan saints who are wilder than I am. It’s a different way of appearing and acting in this function, depending on the time and place.
There has never been anyone in America, or even in the Western world, doing what I am doing. So, I have no precedence, really. The traditional precedents don’t hold because they have not been manifested in a situation such as the one I know. So, as in any time and place, the devotee must transcend himself in order to surrender to the Spiritual Master.
If the Spiritual Master did not present any qualities that required you to transcend yourself, he could not function as a Spiritual Master. It is part of the obligation of the Spiritual Master to remain obviously human and ordinary in many ways, so that you will not make his body-mind into an idol.
You will allow the body-mind to be an instrument instead. When ***you commune with the Spiritual Master, you’ll not be communing simply with the flesh and mind in itself, but in the Transcendental Personality of which the body-mind is simply the play.
You must find that one, that company in the presence of the Spiritual Master. And having found that, then you’re surrendering will become more natural to you. In any case, no matter what time and place you might be born in, no matter what Spiritual Master or other kind of servant of God you might have confronted, you would have the same problem. Exactly the same problem.
His personal qualities would seem an obstacle to you. His superiority apparently, his arrogance, his strength, whatever it is that you feel you lack, all the kinds of things you see that you find offensive would seem, in one time or another, perhaps consistently to be present in that person.
Even if they were only in the most subtle degree present in that person, you would find some way for them to seem to be the most obvious of his qualities. Because that’s what you must discover in order to be offended. And you must be offended before you can surrender.
And having been offended, you will only surrender when you begin to intuit the Transcendental quality or true purity of the Spiritual Master. You will then be offended and you will surrender at the same time, and that’s the real business. That’s the purifying work of that relationship.
Someday you will not have this body-mind here, which will be a relief to some, but they are not true devotees. The body-mind of the Spiritual Master cannot persist. Only his Transcendental Person can persist. And the only way it can remain active is through devotees.
The devotee in his ordinariness, utterly surrendered to the Transcendental nature of the Spiritual Master becomes that agent, becomes the body-mind, or agency, of the Spiritual Master after his death, even to some degree during his lifetime.
It’s not that such devotees look like perfect humanoids, you see. Ordinary people purified by Transcendental Realization, not merely by all kinds of petty outward social perfections.
Each will have his own qualities, his own apparent limitations, because you cannot be human without being limited, without being a figure, knowable in some sense, an identifiable character. In those days, people will mock those devotees, “You see, they’re not perfect.” “They’re in the seventh stage of life” “God Realized” “Bunch of assholes.”
That will be said of you, like it is said of me. It’s always the same idiotic obnoxious game. That’s why this world is so worthy of being transcended. (Laughter)
You also have conventional ideas of what a person does, or seems to be like, when he exists in this Spiritual Consciousness. You’ve done a lot of reading. You have these ideas, like you have to be some sort of mild aesthetic invert. You imagine you are supposed to become something like that. You only find out what you’re supposed to become like by surrendering to God. And then you see what it winds up being.
So the Spiritual Master is not somebody with only a fixed number of modest emotions, basically inverted, private, sitting in his room, no relations, sexless. Some individuals, some saints may, more or less, fit that in some ways. Examine the history of those who we might call the Spiritual Master, not just superior men or saints.
They’re not typified by inversion and mildness. That may be any momentary characteristic of them, but all of the range of energies, of emotions, typify the Spiritual Master. He’s right-sided as well as left-sided.
God is not only blissfully quiet. God is a knife, energy, strength, murderous, Shiva, master of death as well as master of life, creative and benign, you see. The Spiritual Master must and does represent the totality of man in God. Not a solution, a denial of man. Not a reaction to man.
The Spiritual Master must be present with force, even with anger, even with the quality of superiority in moments, to serve his devotee, because he accepts the theater of the limitations of devotees.
He submits himself to the service of devotees within the range of their limitations and possibilities. He’s not unlike them In many ways. He’s more completely like them than they are in some occasions. He exaggerates what they are in order to make the lesson.
In any case, a Spiritual Master is not present to ask you to make an idol out of him in his body-mind, his personal appearance. The argument of the Spiritual Master is for Transcendental Realization, God-Realization. Surrender to the Spiritual Master is totally for that purpose.
It would be nice to be a sweet smiling Pope, a celibate without family relations, a businessman, completely acceptable to all the traditional imagery. But I simply could not do what I must do and be a sweet smiling Pope at the same time – be completely acceptable to you at the same time.
I have been completely willing to be a sweet, smiling ascetic swami. It is not given to me to do. It is not what I must do. It is also not necessary. It is a lie about man to begin with.
So, these ordinary human characteristics that persist in the case of Bubba Free John are simply characteristics like yours. And and you must, through right relation to me, find a way to make man out of yourself through surrender. Not annihilate your range of natural qualities, but to transcend them, transform them, make them into forms of ecstasy or God-Communion.
Part of my task is to persist as man, as man as he is. Not in the negative degraded stupid form, but in all the qualities that man can be, both in the ordinary sense and in the highest physical sense, highest psycho-physical sense, and in the Transcendental manner, so that it’ll be clear to you that God-Realization does not depend on becoming part of man, or one-sided, or to destroy yourself.
But it is possible to persist in the range of ordinary relations and qualities, and surrender to God and live this God-Realizing life. The Spiritual Master is a demonstration of that.
If I were to sit here in my robe, all buttoned up, untouchable, touching nothing and no one, it would be of not the slightest use to you. There’s no way that you are ever going to be that kind of a person, nor should you. So why should I appear that way to you? It’s not necessary.
DEVOTEE: I’d react to those qualities eventually, too.
SPIRITUAL MASTER: Right! But with that purity you would be on your way out anyway. There’s no way that I can win. (Laughter) So, in my function here I’m obliged to surrender, just like you. My life is one of submission to you. Your life must be one of submission to me.
There Is No One to Surrender
October 28, 1978