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"Send Him My Love and Blessings"
It is excerpted from the third edition of Avatar Adi Da's classic book on "the Inherent and Ultimate Transcending of Death and Everything Else," Easy Death.
I first met Bernie Kelly in 1999, while serving the Adidam Mission in Melbourne, Australia. There had been a sudden upturn in the number of new people attending our classes about Adi Da Samraj and the Way of Adidam, and so I made enquiries: "Where are these people coming from?" Someone in Melbourne was clearly doing effective missionary work on behalf of Adi Da Samraj and I was interested in discovering who it was.
Several members of our youth fellowship told me about a man living downtown who was actively encouraging all kinds of people to attend classes. His name is Bernie Kelly, they told me. "You should visit him. He really loves Avatar Adi Da Samraj." And so I did just that.
Bernie lived in a small, three room flat in a lovely, hip section of Melbourne. The neighborhood contained artists, musicians and a jazz club, and Bernie's place seemed to be one of the hotspots. From noon to midnight, seven days a week, people from all over the city came to hang out for a few hours with Bernie.
Climbing the stairs from his front door, I was overwhelmed when I stepped into his apartment. His walls were covered with photographs of Adi Da Samraj. New photos, old photos — I had entered a photographic memorial to the Sacred History of Adidam.
He seemed to own all of my favorites shots of Adi Da, and each one allowed me to remember those wonderful and profound times over the years with my Divine Guru. I liked Bernie and his flat immediately.
"I am just an old addict," he told me as I sat down on the couch. "I have tried several times in my life to not be an addict but I have never been able to do it. So I asked myself, what could an old addict like me do to serve Adi Da Samraj? So I tell everyone I meet about Him. That is the service I do."
Bernie's voice betrayed a touch of sorrow, as his face and body curled down into the shape of failure. I noticed that every time Bernie took a drink, or a smoke, or popped something or other into his mouth, he first raised it in offering to the Sacred Image of Adi Da Samraj that sat on a small altar he had created in his living room.
A thought of the Indian saint Ramakrishna and his alcoholic devotee named Mr. Ghosh came to mind. Ghosh once complained to Ramakrishna that whatever he did, he could not stop drinking. "Don't worry about it," Ramakrishna told him. "Every time you take a drink, offer it up to me in devotion first." I had a humorous thought — was Bernie Mr. Ghosh, back again for another drink?
I visited Bernie several times over the next year and I was always greeted with love and respect. It had nothing to do with who I was — it was the love and respect that he felt for Adi Da, given to me because I was the devotee who happened to be there.
I would let him know when I was coming and he would invite the people who were most interested in the Way of Adidam. We would sit around his living room, listening to music and talking about the Divine Incarnation of Adi Da and the Way of Liberation that He brings to all beings.
"One of these days you are just going to have to get down to dealing with your physical problems," I finally told Bernie. "You can't have all these gross addictions destroying your heart, constantly interfering with your devotional life." "It's too late," he said. "They have already ruined my heart."
Bernie told me that he had suffered a major heart attack and was on a waiting list for bypass surgery. And during that conversation, he asked me to come and serve him when he died, if I was in still living in Melbourne.
I told him that I would be there with other devotees, if it was at all possible. "But you are not dead yet," I said, "so it is time to start applying some boundaries in your life. Get the help you need so you don't waste this precious human lifetime and an opportunity to practice in the company of Adi Da Samraj."
It was then that Bernie opened up and confessed his secrets. There was his great regret that he had not yet seen his Guru, Adi Da Samraj. He feared that he would die without that personal connection being made. And there was that terrible sense of himself as someone who was not worthy of the Divine Company of the Great One.
There he sat, with his broken heart and his endless appetites, a fearless advocate of the Great One in the world, but afraid to show his own face in the Divine Domain.
Next: Part Two
— from The Dawn Horse Press —
Spiritual Wisdom on the Ultimate Transcending
of Death and Everything Else
"An exciting, stimulating, and thought-provoking book that adds immensely to the ever-increasing literature on the phenomena of life and death. Thank you for this masterpiece."
— Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D.
author, On Death and Dying
Paperback: 544 pages