From the Editor
The Relationship Between Guru and Devotee
On my bedroom wall hangs a photograph of Adi Da Samraj taken from inside His home here in Northern California. It is the winter of 2000 and He is sitting in Darshan - the formal setting of contemplation, where devotees gather to receive His Spiritual Transmission.
Adi Da is dressed in a loose black robe and sitting on the edge of His chair. His hands are rested on His lap and, as is often the case in Darshan, His eyes are closed and His face Radiates a sublime sense of peace and contentment. The room is cast in an orange hue and the wide-angle lens reveals a panorama of ancient Buddhist art on the walls. A scattering of red and white flowers rests in front of Adi Da's Feet, and in front of that lie the outstretched arms of a man fully prostrate with his hands in prayer and his head on the floor.
The person at the Guru's Feet is a devotee who has just offered Adi Da a flower, a gesture of gratitude and surrender. This devotee, and all the others in the room during this occasion of Darshan, have received a tangible Infusion of Adi Da's Spiritual Transmission.
Although it may be months before they see Him again, they each know they will probably need at least that long to fully receive the Spiritual Gifts Adi Da has Given them. And Adi Da will certainly be looking to see the evidence of their own growth based on these Gifts the next time He sees them, when this very same process of contemplation, surrender and reception will continue in His physical Company, with even greater depth.
The secret of the Guru tradition is that all the religious externalities that make up the fabric of life as a devotee - meditation, study, yoga, cooperative living, sacred art - are merely extensions of the direct relationship to the Guru. Adi Da is both the Source and the Giver of Spiritual Realization, as the quote on the top of this page indicates. This is what His devotees come to Him for, and also what He is here to Offer anyone who approaches Him with serious intent.
The Way of Adidam can broadly be placed within the Siddha-Guru tradition of esoteric Spirituality - the tradition of Gurus who function as living Spiritual agency for their devotees. Yet Adidam is also an unprecedented Revelation, standing distinctly apart from the Great Tradition of Spirituality that precedes it.
You may notice that a few of our publications juxtapose photographs of Adi Da as a baby and Adi Da today.
We do this to highlight what is at the root of virtually every unique attribute of Adidam as an Esoteric Yoga.
If you read Adi Da's Spiritual Autobiography, The Knee Of Listening, you will come across this description of His experience as an infant:
From my earliest experience of life I have Enjoyed a Condition that, as a child, I called the "Bright".
From His earliest moments of consciousness, Adi Da was aware of Himself as the "Bright", or what He describes as the "Prior Condition" of "Real God". In other words, Adi Da was Born as Real God, and His Spiritual Revelation and Work are the Manifestation of the Incarnate Divine.
If you are familiar with the Siddha tradition, you will be aware that all authentic gurus confess union and identification with the Spiritual Reality, Self, or God. The concept of avatar is ancient and at the core of the Guru tradition itself. Yet Adi Da describes His own Birth, His Incarnation, and His Spiritual Realization as distinct from all that has come before Him.
Adi Da is here without prior karmas, or limitations to be surrendered through the traditional Yoga. His Revelation is a free, spontaneous manifestation of His own Person, the Very Divine Person Crossed Down into the realm of human beings.
Although Adi Da was served by a lineage of Gurus during the course of His Sadhana, or Spiritual practice, His Ultimate Realization surpassed that of His teachers. In His own examination of the Great Tradition of Spirituality, He could find no precedent for His Realization. And the Yogic Process that evolved since His Divine Re-Awakening has proven itself to be entirely without comparison.
It was only after many years of practice in Adi Da's Company that I began to fully understand the scope and implications of Adi Da's Divine Self-Confession and His Communication about His earliest experience in The Knee Of Listening.
My background prior to becoming a devotee of Adi Da was Buddhist. I had been a student of Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn since the age of seventeen. And I had also been drawn to monasticism, or to the core of practitioners in the Zen tradition who had taken up a renunciate life.
When I first became a student of Adi Da in my mid-twenties, I was conscious of the apparent similarities between Zen Buddhism and Adidam. In the Zen community, we meditated, we lived cooperatively, we related to our teacher as a direct source of Spiritual power, and we evolved in practice as a result of the force of that relationship.
The transition from Zen Buddhism to Adidam was fairly easy for me. I felt that I was simply stepping from one temple into a larger and more spacious one.
Today, I regard the Zen tradition of my past to be only a precursor of The Way of Adidam. I hold the Zen tradition and my former teacher in the highest esteem, because they are authentic-and that is rare in itself.
But I have also finally seen what Adi Da had been pointing me to since I first encountered His unique Revelation as the Divine Incarnate. And this vision has been validated to me-not through reading or cultural appropriation, but through the sheer immensity of His Spiritual Power and the innumerable ways in which He has Instructed me, personally and directly, over the years.
This recognition of Adi Da is what every one of His devotees can confess. You may start out understanding Adi Da to be a great and authentic Spiritual Master, and that He is. But when you begin living in direct relationship to Him and embracing His Instruction, your eyes will be opened to the magnitude of His Revelation. It is as Adi Da Himself describes, "All-Completing and Final", in every respect.
Whatever your depth of interest in Adi Da, you will certainly find something of value to your life in His many Gifts of Radical Intelligence, Aesthetic Beauty, and Life-Positive Wisdom. Adi Da's Greatest Gift, however, will always remain the direct devotional and Spiritual relationship to Him - the relationship that straightens, purifies, and sublimes the being. If your impulse is to that relationship, you will be richly rewarded.
I encourage you to dive as deeply as you can into the pool of Adi Da's Divine Presence, in all its Forms. What you will discover is the Real Condition of your existence. In this sense, the relationship to Adi Da is a profound human urgency. What you are seeking, you will find in Him – the Treasure He is Extending to you, even now, is eternally "Bright" beyond description.
The Great Esoteric Tradition of