Tragic events in the news disturb, shock and even fascinate us, but they seldom disrupt our lives.
The events reported on 9-11-01 were quite different. The news on that day – the sudden death of so many innocent people; the massive destruction of property; the successful attack on the core institutions of a society – sent an unmistakable message to anyone who felt safe and secure: You, too, are vulnerable. You, too, are mortal.
9-11 was a personal tragedy on a national and global scale – mortality, multiplied by the thousands. It forced each of us to acknowledge the ever-present possibility of death. But this "diagnosis" of mortality, as Avatar Adi Da has called it, is more than a dark and daunting fact. Rather, He says, it can also be a goad to become serious about Spirituality:
AVATAR ADI DA: Fundamentally, there is no difference between the destruction that is occurring in the world and being diagnosed with a terminal disease. Everyone has a disease now, but no one seems to have gotten the point. In a very real sense, everyone got diagnosed on September 11.
Life is brief and mortal, and you cannot make it be not brief and mortal. You can only change the purposes by which you live it, and stop living for egoic purposes. You can, if you so choose, become a serious practitioner and thereby live a Divine life.
October 25, 2001
Adi Da Samraj tells us that a "self-transcending" life devoted to Spiritual Realization is the only intelligent response to mortality, the only type of life that can truly satisfy the needs of the human heart. He calls us to go beyond – beyond insecurity and fear; beyond anger at the brutal intrusion of death; beyond despair and depression, as we react to the inevitable disappointments and disasters of daily life.
He calls us to become sensitive to our intuition of "Infinite Life", and dedicate ourselves to Realizing that Spiritual Reality, which He calls "the Heart Itself". And He points out that really taking mortality into account, and really living a Spiritually-oriented life – rather than a life of self-fulfillment dedicated to "egoic" goals – was understood in the traditions of the East to be the wisest way to live. In one of His Source-Texts He writes:
In the traditional East, the "facts" of mortality are the first wisdom-Message. In the modern West, the most typical message is the counter-wisdom signal to always animate your enthusiasm for a self-centered (and altogether, self-fulfilling) life.
In the traditional East, the first thing you are told is, "You are going to die. Every one dies. Everything passes. Don't ever forget it. Base your life on this knowledge. Indeed, control your life because of this knowledge." In the modern West, people tend to feel it is taboo to pass on the message about the "facts" of mortality.
For modern Westerners, to accept that (in the context of this world, or of conditional existence altogether) limitation and mortality are inherently and entirely the case, and that this world is (therefore) not paradise (and not to be indulged in as if it were, or could become, paradise), is not the characteristically communicated cultural, social, and political norm (or the generally accepted basis for a "normal" life).
Indeed, modern Westerners are always thinking in terms of "paradise" and "utopia", always stimulating and deluding one another with enthusiasms for "this world". Modern Westerners are always fantasizing the future on the basis of an egoic identification with the body.
The fact that every one is, inevitably, going to die, and that every thing is going to disintegrate (or pass away), is, in the modern Western view, so terrible that, characteristically, all "Westernized" individuals feel compelled to convince one another that it is not so (by constantly "selling" one another lies that "prove" it is not so). Nevertheless, the mortal "facts" really are so.
People are more realistic in the traditional East. In the traditional East, people do not forget to tell one another that this is "mortality land", and not paradise... In any case, whether as a Westerner or an Easterner, your fear of mortality is fundamental – and it is the root and source of a chronic anxiety that pervades and motivates your entire life.
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To overcome this anxiety is the principal motivating factor – conscious or unconscious – in every person's life. In fact, Adi Da teaches that everything we typically do – from money-earning to meals to marriages – is a way to suppress or replace anxiety. We feel bad and we want to feel good, and we spend our entire lives trying to feel good. Sometimes we succeed (for awhile) and sometimes we don't.
But Adi Da calls us to do more than achieve temporary satisfactions. He calls us to take the fact of mortality completely into account--to not deny that we are going to die – and, on that basis, to choose a Divine life. And He points out that a Divine life is necessarily a life dependent on and filled with Divine Grace, a life that receives the Divine Gift of progressively becoming more and more aware of the Heart, until you Realize by Grace that you are the Heart: the Conscious Light that is the source and substance of existence; the Radiant Consciousness that is immortal, happy and free.
If you feel moved to this Divine Life, the devotees of Adi Da recommend you find out more about the Divine Way that He has Revealed: the Way of Adidam (or the Way of the Heart). It is, in essence, the devotional and Spiritual relationship with Adi Da, Who is (Himself) the Revelation of the True Divine Heart-the All-Pervading and Transcendental Light of Divine Being – and Who Transmits that Perfect Force, Spirit-Energy, and Intensity to His devotee, progressively Awakening the devotee to the joy, peace and satisfaction of His "Bright" Divine Self-Condition.
Avatar Adi Da-the ancient term "Avatar" indicates that He has descended to this world of death to awaken all beings to Life – addresses all His devotees (and all beings who might choose to become His devotees) with this eternal promise:
I Will Save You From Spiritual death, and From the egoic mind of death, and From the egoic destinies of after-death.
I Will Dissolve All Your Bewilderment Of ego-"I".
Even Now You Inhere In Me, Beyond the body-mind and the world. Therefore Do Not Be Afraid. Do Not Be Confused. Observe My Avataric Divine Play – and My Avataric Divine Victory.
I Am The Divine Person Of Life, The Only and Divine Self, Become Avatatarically Incarnate. And, When My Avatarically-Born Human Physical Body Is alive, or Even After My Avatarically-Born Human Physical Body Is dead, I Am (Myself) Infinitely Present and every where Alive.
Aham Da Asmi
(Beloved, I Am Da)
Avatar Adi Da was born in what He calls this "dark epoch" to Offer Spiritual "Brightness" to every one. You have the unique opportunity to encounter His Revelation of Adidam – the life-transforming process of the devotional and Spiritual relationship to Him, through which He can Awaken you to the deathless, immortal, eternal Conscious Light.
"Then," as He says in His essay My Divine Disclosure, "Choose What You Will Do."
Note: The color plate used in this editorial is an artist's rendering of what Avatar Adi Da calls the "Cosmic Sphere", or (emphasizing its three-dimensionality) the "Cosmic Mandala".
He has explained that the totality of conditional existence – that is, changing conditions, rather than Transcendental Being – is structured as a vast spectrum of light. All of the dimensions of existence arise at one or another level of this all-encompassing vibrational light-sphere.
At the core of the Cosmic Sphere is an aperture, shaped like a five-pointed Star, through which streams the White "Brightness" of the Divine Domain. Avatar Adi Da further explains that the Cosmic Sphere arises as a "fractured" modification of the White "Brightness".
The world we inhabit exists at the outer periphery of the hierarchy of lights in the Cosmic Sphere, on the cusp between the outermost red level of light and the next level in, which is yellow. When one is identified with the outermost or "gross" level of existence, the red-yellow color of the subtle light vibration in which the world arises is not perceived. But at death, or in near-death experiences, the lights of the Cosmic Sphere may be seen.
However, in the case of beings who are not Divinely Enlightened at the moment of death (or ready for Divine Enlightenment in the death process itself), there is a falling back (or re-birth) into whatever dimension of light that being is habituated to experiencing.