Leonard Mehlmauer was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1940, the second of eleven children. His family moved to Southern California in 1952, where he graduated from Los Angeles Pierce College in music, and from Long Beach State University in anthropology.
He later graduated from Bernadean University in Naturopathic Medicine. After 31 years of clinical practice, he now teaches classes, writes books, and does research in alternative medicine. Leonard has been a devotee of Adi Da Samraj since April 1979.
My friend Jim was always very smart – but kind of nutty. He was a schoolteacher, knew other languages – but also had a strong interest in locating someone to guide his life! He was always looking for gurus. But after finding them, he would soon leave them, only to continue his search.
One day he went too far. He sold everything he couldn't fit into his VW and moved to San Francisco! Jim, what's this all about?
A year later, he appeared back in San Diego, where I lived. "Leonard, this is great, this is great!" he said, and handed me a book, The Method of the Siddhas, by Avatar Adi Da Samraj.
Thanks, Jim – and, off he went, back to his guru. (This is different. Maybe this time he's found what he's been looking for.)
During the next five years, I think I picked the book up twice – only to quickly close it, intimidated by how well it described what I was all about. It was too true (which, at the time, I apprehended – but didn't comprehend).
Toward the end of that time, I was on a long vacation in Florida. My marriage was coming apart, I was alone on an island doing a fast, and I'd brought five spiritual books with me. The last book was The Method of the Siddhas. I breezed through the others, somehow sensing that this one was "the one". I was saving it for last. This time, I was really ready for this book and its message.
Toward the end of the book, the Divine Guru Proclaimed this great Message: "I came for those who are mine, those who were promised to me before all time."
Suddenly, big tears were rolling down my face. I blurted out, "And I'm one of those that you came for!" It was a simple and direct confession of the heart.
Then my mind clicked in: "What did I just say? What am I talking about?"
I could hardly wait to get back to San Diego, where I would begin my search for Him. Like a moth to flame, I had to find Him. Arriving, I placed an ad in a local paper, hoping to locate His followers. They responded! They came to my office, inviting me to talk with them. I was happy to see anyone associated with Him!
We talked for hours about this great Being, Adi Da Samraj, and how His Way was all about a relationship with Him. I couldn't figure out much of they were talking about, but – although I didn't realize it at the time – my heart was deeply moved, and so it really didn't matter that much. I wanted to see Him.
The devotees described how after a period of time, if I wanted to see Adi Da Samraj, I would need to travel to Northern California to a place called "Laughing God Seminary". My wife thought I was crazy as I packed my overnight bag.
Arriving at the Seminary steps, I was met by a smiling man who greeted me warmly and took my name and asked me why I wanted to see Adi Da. I told him about the book and that there was nothing I could do about it.
He ushered me into the building, where I joined a large group of others who were being led in song by a tall, thin, white-bearded man named Crane. The energy of the place was light, and people seemed unusually happy. We gathered into same-sex groups and talked about this matter of relationship to Him. They also instructed me on how to act in the Presence of the God-Man.
The next day, I drove the few miles through a hilly wooded area to the gates of the Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary. The grounds were nice enough, but the feeling in the air was absolutely magical! Try as I might, I could not be concerned or worried about anything.
After listening to a devotee presentation of Adi Da's Teaching Word, we were led into a large, open hall called Land Bridge Pavilion. There were several hundred of us, so we were told that we would have to enter the pavilion in shifts.
Inside the pavilion, the air was thick with anticipation. Abruptly, there was silence, and everyone's hands went up. Timeless moments seemed to slowly drift as the beautiful Figure of the Divine Guru gracefully strode across the floor to His Seat on the dais.
I seem to remember bowing before Him, but then I promptly forgot my instructions and just gazed, open-mouthed, as His amazing Face kept changing: soft little child, Mongol Emperor, benign and loving father, God ... suddenly, someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was time to leave the Pavilion.
I have no memory of anything that happened from that moment until I was sitting on the steps of a building called Great Food Dish. Tears filled my eyes as I tried to tie my shoes. An attendant saw me like this, and approached with, "Are you OK?"
I nodded. "Yeah!" I was OK. I mean, I was Really OK! I felt so happy! Why? I didn't know.
What had He done? It was the God-Man. I'd only been in His Presence for a few moments. What a Blessing! I was Home at last! I became a devotee.