6. Crazy Wisdom and
"The Way That I Teach"



This is Part 6 of Chris Tong's eight part article, An Overview of Adi Da's Crazy Wisdom and "the Way That I Teach".

We began this Overview by pointing out that, in general, "Crazy Wisdom" refers to any unconventional means employed by the Master to serve the Spiritual liberation of His or Her devotee.

Crazy Wisdom for reflecting devotees to themselves. Adi Da's use of Crazy Wisdom took a very specific form: He used it for the express purpose of reflecting devotees to themselves.

But why was it important to reflect devotees to themselves? When He began His Work as Spiritual Transmission Master in 1972, Adi Da started with the most direct approach: He simply Transmitted His Divine State, and asked His devotees to contemplate His State through contemplation of His human form. In principle, their meditation on His State would result in their duplicating His State. In principle, over time, this would ultimately result in the same Realization for them, because of the spiritual law: "you become what you meditate on." But Adi Da (and His devotees) very quickly discovered that this didn't go anywhere. The principle only works in practice if one's entire energy and attention can be turned to the Guru. And it quickly became apparent that Adi Da's devotees all of us were very much typical "Westerners", worldly people preoccupied with "money, food, and sex", who even had trouble sitting still for five minutes without fidgeting. Locating, recognizing, and responding to Adi Da's Divine State requires a tremendous sensitivity, based on a lot of free attention and energy. His devotees simply didn't have that free energy and attention; they were completely preoccupied. Spiritual life was an attractive notion, but they didn't meet even its most basic prerequisites.

More importantly, those same devotees were almost entirely unconscious of the degree to which they were preoccupied by money, food, and sex. And until they became conscious of their preoccupation, they would have no ability to consciously re-direct their energy and attention to the Guru instead.

To make matters worse, most Westerners are not only unconscious, but rather complicated, about their preoccupations with money, food, and sex. Those obsessions get mixed up with Judeo-Christian religious and cultural training that programs them to feel guilty about their obsessions, puritanical in their judgement of themselves and others relative to these tendencies, and consequently, suppressive of these tendencies (and even awareness of them) in themselves and others. So many people live much of life by alternating between unconsciously "buttoning down" their obsessions most of the time; helplessly indulging now and then (when their obsessions build up to the point of taking them over and moving them into action); and then feeling guilty and regretful later, and engaging in actions to try to compensate for the time when one was "possessed": dieting to make up for that period of binging; trying to make up with one's spouse for that affair; paying off the credit card debt for years for that large purchase one probably shouldn't have made; on and on.

Adi Da was faced with the task of transforming unconsciously obsessed and psychically double-minded Westerners (whose attention was all over the place) into psychically simplified, one-pointed spiritual practitioners no easy task!


The radical teaching represents a threat to all traditions. It doesn't make any difference what a person's game is. Whether he is an Ashram figure or a businessman, a man's ego has become attached to certain qualities. They can be so-called "spiritual" things or worldly things. These attachments are just the theatre of his separateness. The radical teaching is a threat to even the spiritual life of an individual, not just his worldly life and desires, but all his desiring, the whole complex affair of his existence is threatened by the radical teaching. Of course people are skeptical. It is a threat, a danger. It is too wild, too free. They think if they somehow did give in to it, they would have to yield to all kinds of craziness in themselves that they have never really confronted. This is one of the good things about Alan Watts' essay on The Knee of Listening. He talked about how this is "dangerous wisdom".[1] It is true! That is why traditional and ordinary people react to such a teaching. They do not react because of what the teaching is, but because of what they are.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Dawn Horse Magazine, Vol 2, No. 2, Jubilee Issue, August 1974



As one longtime devotee put it:


In retrospect, and after years of deeply considering a completely amazing relationship with Adi Da Samraj and the Adidam community, I am in Mystery.

Most Spiritual Teachers currently will promise you a vision, a meditation, or something, something that will alter your present State of dissatisfaction or unhappiness. Adi Da Samraj promised me nothing. I have been asked by younger spiritual seekers if I recommend Adi Da Samraj, and I say "No" — not because I feel He is invalid . . . Instead, it is because most spiritual seekers are casual "seekers", looking for the "Blue Pearl", a "Chakra High", or some casual "Enlightenment" to surmount the world and remove their fear of death. Adi Da supplies none of that. He was a disappointment to casual spiritual seekers.

He was everything you did not expect, or want. If you sought asceticism, He appeared to be self-indulgent. If you wanted self-indulgence, He only offered you the deepest personal asceticism. He would upset you deeper than any relationship you ever had, and you became enthralled with Him more than with anyone — ever.

Adi Da Samraj fulfills the Classical Guru function. He is a "Fire", and He burns you. One does not approach the Guru without a gift, or casually.

With most people, I do not share my relationship with, or experiences of Adi Da Samraj — they are too close, too personal, too dear, and only a very few have the capacity to understand such a relationship. He was not a conventional man.


So this was the "why" behind Adi Da needing to reflect devotees to themselves. Now for the "how".

"The Way That I Teach." We might imagine Adi Da sitting His devotees down on a therapeutic couch and talking to them about all of this, to "raise to conscousness" all their unconscious obsessions and patterns. But such an approach is very slow, and does not have any great track record of success. The well-known caricature of talk therapy (Woody Allen does it perfectly in his movies) is of the guy lying on the couch and, twenty years later, is still talking to the therapist about the same problems. In other words, he's just as unconscious and bound by his egoic patterns as when he started.

Because of His Spiritual Realization, Adi Da had another, far more powerful means of "teaching" available to Him. His Enlightened Realization is that of Perfect Non-Separateness: All apparently "separate" things and beings are recognized by Him as arising in His own Consciousness, the One Divine Consciousness, like dream forms in the consciousness of the dreamer. This extraordinary Realization endowed Him with an amazing practical capability; as Adi Da put it: "By a simple act of attention, I can become you." That capability, unique to His Divine Incarnation, made possible the way that Adi Da taught: He could literally become us, and thereby use His own body to "make pictures" of us. He could literally reveal ourselves to us, at levels we were not yet aware of. As He put it:


My Play with My devotees is associated with profound physical discomfort. This process of Submitting Myself to you all involves physical suffering, because in doing so I become you. I take on your mind-force, your karmas, your vision, your state. I duplicate you in this body. I express you. I do the same things as you. It is not Me it is a reflection, a mirror, a form of sacrificial participation. . . .

You become what you meditate on. I meditate on My devotees and I become them. I become exactly them. I take on all the limitations that they are. I become just like them. I become more like them than they are. I become exaggeratedly what they are. I become what they are altogether, while they remain only what they can express in the midst of their limitations, their self-consciousness. I become them completely.

Adi Da Samraj, "I Am More Like You Than You Are"


This is such a profound capability that He was able to "become" any of His devotees spontaneously and instantaneously, without any planning or conception required. Without taking away from the human and Divine love that moved Him to Teach His devotees in this manner, you could say that, in some sense, He was functioning as a perfect "mirror" or "reflection machine".

I remember the first time I got this point directly. I was one of a small group of devotees, kneeling before Him as He stood before the brass gates of Aham Da Asmi Sthan, on Naitauba (in Fiji). He looked at each of us in turn, as is often His way. He turned to me briefly, perhaps for a second, and then His gaze moved on to the next devotee. But in that second that He was looking at me, a single tear fell from His right eye.

I remember being very moved by seeing that, and, when I wrote to Him later that day, I mentioned it and tied it to what I presumed was His empathy for all of us. It would only be much later that I realized that I was seeing me! He was painting for me the picture of my own tendency to be sorrowful, so that I could become conscious of it, and released from its unconscious possession of me. This would later be borne out by other comments He would make to me about my "sad" character. But in that moment He had literally become me to reflect me to myself.

Adi Da in front of Aham Da Asmi Sthan
An occasion similar to the one I described


Everyone must come to know Me. That is why there have to be Leelas told, telling the story with a right understanding. Merely to talk about My behavior is not a Leela. A Leela is to talk about My life and work in fullest terms. It is to tell the story of My lifetime with a right understanding not merely to talk about My behavior. All kinds of so-called "behaviors of Mine" are just reflections of people. How can you say that is "Mine"? This body did it fine; but why? What were those happenings about? What were they for?

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, March, 2008


"The Way of the Mirror Is Me." What is most amazing was that He did that in the brief second that He was looking my way! This goes way beyond any conventional notion of "empathy", and is clearly completely spontaneous, not pre-meditated in any way, and functioning literally like a mirror: from me, to His body, and back again, without anything else intervening. That's why I like using more suggestive phrases such as "a reflection machine" or "an instantaneous mirror" because that is the way it seems to work.

Adi Da has recently greatly clarified and expanded upon this point, as well as an even deeper esoteric significance:


Human beings live in and as the mind. If you are My devotee, are you seeing Me, the Mirror Itself? Or are you only seeing the reflections in the Mirror? Are you persisting in self-imagery such that you never actually see the Mirror, and such that you are never actually converted to Me (the Self-Condition of the Mirror Itself, even Prior to all reflections). Are you merely continuing in your self-deluded manner, because you are so defensive that you keep shunning the Mirror Itself and running away from It? . . .

You (in and as mere conditions) are what you see in the Mirror. That reflection is not Me. I Am the Mirror Itself. The metaphor of "Narcissus" should be revealing to you relative to the nature of egoity. As "Narcissus", what you are doing is looking at Me and seeing yourself. You are not seeing Me and you are not even seeing yourself as you actually are. You are merely seeing an idea of yourself, because the reflection with which you are characteristically associated and identified is mind, ideas, mental programming programmed into the brain, and into the body altogether, on the basis of impulse, desire, reaction, bondage, and illusion. . . .

If you are My true devotee, you accept Me As I Am not as the reflection, and not as the process of reflecting, but As the Mirror Itself, or Reality Itself. . . .

Reality Itself Is a Mirror Indifferent, egoless, Acausal (or not causing anything). Reality Is As Is. Reality Is Me. That Is My Avataric Divine Self-Revelation. . . .

. . . The process of the Way of Adidam is about renunciation, Spirituality, and Realization such that, Most Ultimately, everything is Divinely Self-Recognizable. When everything is Thus Recognizable from the Position of the True Mirror, That Is Reality Itself.

Adi Da Samraj, The Way of The Mirror Is Me
in Radical Devotion


A common misunderstanding. And so my recount of my experience of Adi Da as "reflection machine" also illustrates another crucial point: It is the easiest thing for someone who is in front of that "reflection machine" to mistake the reflection for Adi Da Himself. I did: I really thought for a while it was Him crying, for some profound reason of His own.

Why did I eventually come to a different conclusion? Because He has specifically instructed us about the nature of His "Teaching Work", again and again. But even so, many devotees have sometimes made the common mistake of misinterpreting the reflection for the mirror. For instance, during the time when Adi Da was using that "reflection machine" capability to mirror the suppressed tendencies or obsessions of devotees, it was easy for devotees to fall into the mistaken impression that Adi Da Himself was somehow obsessed apparently even more than they were! They might think subconsciously, "I wish we could light up a cigarette". And He would then shout to everyone in the room that they all should start smoking! Or He would even start smoking Himself. That sort of thing. Fortunately, most of Adi Da's devotees sooner or later would remember His Instructions about the way He taught, realize it was themselves they were seeing reflected in Adi Da, and allow the reflection to penetrate them and do its work:


What I Do is not the way that I Am, but the way that I Teach.

What I Speak is not a reflection of Me, but of you.

People do well to be offended or even outraged by My actions and behavior. This is My purpose. But their reaction must turn upon themselves, for I have not Shown them Myself by all of this. All that I Do and Speak only reveals people to themselves.

Adi Da Samraj, "The Way That I Teach"


Needless to say, not everyone got this point. Some devotees stayed fixed in their presumption that it was Adi Da Himself they were seeing. And a significant proportion of the negative stories about Adi Da's "outrageous behavior" stem from that mistake.

To be sure, Adi Da used every manner and modality of Teaching, not only the modality of "becoming devotees". He spent thousands of hours communicating verbally to devotees as well, including very specific descriptions of this or that devotee's liabilities which were preventing further spiritual growth in that person. But there is something uniquely different and far more potent and penetrating in actually "seeing yourself" (when Adi Da "became you") than getting mere verbal descriptions of oneself, which can be received in a merely intellectual manner. Just think of any time you've been annoyed by someone else, and then suddenly realized: Oh my God, that's what I do! Adi Da took that form of "generating self-reflection through incident" to the limit with His devotees.




Part 7: The Ancient Walk-About Way, Crazy Wisdom, and the "Teaching Years"

 

FOOTNOTES

[1]

[From Alan Watt's Foreword to The Knee Of Listening:] As I read Franklin Jones, especially the Epilogue, which is worth the price of the book he has simply realized that he himself as he is, like a star, like a dolphin, like an iris, is a perfect and authentic manifestation of the eternal energy of the universe, and thus is no longer disposed to be in conflict with himself. Dangerous wisdom and yet fire, electricity, and technical knowledge are also dangerous.


Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.

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