Didn't Adi Da state that His body was incorruptible — or at least that
it would be suitable for display (if it did not resurrect) for some years to come?
My understanding is that it was buried on the third day after death, due to its
brief answer is: No, Adi Da never said His body would be incorruptible after death,
although He did suggest the possibility that His lifetime could end with the body
disappearing in Light. He also considered a variety of alternatives for exactly
what to do with His body, to make it as potent a vehicle as possible for Spiritual
Transmission to the world in general (and visiting devotees, in particular), and
decided in favor of an approach along the lines of a traditional Mahasamadhi site.
is the Mahasamadhi site that was built (and in which Adi Da's body was buried)
to His precise instructions.
* * *
this question touches on many interesting subjects (the very notion of "incorruptibility";
what — if anything — it might have to do with a Divine
Incarnation like Adi Da; etc.), and because it implies certain issues worth addressing
(e.g., Adi Da's body decaying may be suggesting to the questioner that He is less
"holy" or less of a Spiritual Realizer than someone whose body was "incorruptible"
— which is not at all the case), we will now address the question in greater
Ordinary vs. Extraordinary vs. Transcendental
Let's start with a parable from
Adi Da once described how the great Realizer, Rang Avadhoot, was said
to have "taken Mahasamadhi" one day by reading the newspaper until a certain time
came, then rapping on His head three times, and then leaving the body. In contrast,
Adi Da described how Ramana Maharshi's bodily
life ended: His body ravaged by cancer, and moaning in pain right up to the end.
Then Adi Da asked the devotees gathered with Him: whose was the "superior" death?
course, many devotees immediately replied: "Rang Avadhoot's". At least on the
surface, it looked like Rang Avadhoot was demonstrating some kind of "spiritual
ability" that Ramana Maharshi "lacked", making Maharshi's death look (on the surface)
rather ordinary and homely — like the death of Joe Smith down the street.
But then Adi Da pointed out that,
in fact, the reverse was true: Rang Avadhoot needed to leave the body to enter
His "Mahasamadhi" state (presumably "Nirvikalpa Samadhi") and
to escape the suffering otherwise associated with dying and death. The greater
Realization of Ramana Maharshi enabled him to be at rest in His Realization even
while the body was in pain, and expressing its pain openly. In this sense, Maharshi's
was the "superior" death, insofar as it reflected a greater Realization. Realization
is not about how many miraculous powers one has, but about how free one is from
egoic bondage and suffering. He was free no matter what was occuring to the body, because he was no longer identified with the body;
he was identified with Consciousness Itself.
So the first point is: one really
needs to know the spiritual (or transcendental) context — the nature of the Realization of the Master,
and what that implies about the Master's relation to the physical body — in order
to accurately understand or interpret the circumstances of the passing of the
The best way to understand all this is to do an
in-depth study of Adi Da's "seven stages of life"
framework for comprehending different Realizers and their Realizations
throughout the Great Tradition of religious
and spiritual history. One recurring theme in Adi Da's Teaching is that Realizers
in the sixth and seventh stages of life can often look a lot more "ordinary"
than Realizers in the fourth and fifth stages of life: they do not necessarily
have miraculous powers, "incorruptible bodies" that don't decay, etc.
This is not because their Realization is less. It is because they were not willing
to settle for anything conditional (including miraculous powers associated with
the astral dimensions), and would only settle for a Transcendental Realization
that freed them from all fascination with (and the binding karma of) both the
physical and astral dimensions.
So now we have a general
sense for why the body of a great Realizer showing pain does not reflect the Realizer being in pain:
the Realizer stands prior to the body (and is no longer identified with the body). For the same reason, the decay of a great Realizer's body after death does not imply a lesser
Realization. But now let's explore the whole matter of "incorruptibility"
a bit more.
What Exactly is "Incorruptibility"?
term, "incorruptibility", refers to a phenomenon that is global in scope,
and has a long history, with traditions in both the East and the West.
body of Bernadette Soubirous (died 1879)
surprisingly, the Western tradition (primarily within the Roman Catholic and Eastern
Orthodox traditions) focuses — as the West does in general — on the most visible
(and most superficial) aspects of the phenomenon: the fact that the body doesn't
appear to decay (hence the term, "incorruptible"). Since the Catholic tradition
 holds that the souls of these saints are now in heaven
with God (and have no particular connection to, or concern with, the body they
left behind), the notion is that the incorruptibility of the body is not the result
of anything they are doing, but rather a sign from God, intended to indicate to
the general public the saintliness of the person.
This explanation of the phenomenon has some major problems,
however, including: why some saints' bodies are incorruptible, while others are
not; and why "incorruptibility" (a term that certainly sounds like "forever")
eventually does end, and the body does eventually decay. (The case of Saint Francis
Xavier's body is a good, recent example.) A further
problem for Catholicism is why God also appears to be indicating the sanctity of Hindu yogis and
Tibetan lamas, whose bodies also have not decayed for centuries (given that, according the Catholic theology,
Catholicism is the "one, true faith", and only Catholics can be saints).
Finally, there is the question of how to account for the occasional, far-from-saintly
rascal who nonetheless appears to have an incorrupt body.
In contrast, the Eastern traditions
(including Hindu and Tibetan) focus on process: how (and why)
a yogi (or lama) brings about such a state (of the body-mind altogether) at "death"
— or while still alive. Yogis intentionally enter into "samadhi states" (Savikalpa
Samadhi or Nirvikalpa Samadhi), in which the physical body is left in a kind
of "suspended animation" (the breathing and heartbeat slow or even stop
altogether), while the astral body travels elsewhere or is in a state of contemplative
absorption. Some yogis enter into such trance samadhis while alive, for an extended
period of time. One well-known contemporary example is Pilot Baba ,
who at various times has had his body buried in a cave for up to thirty days,
or underwater for up to four days, while he entered a samadhi state.
there is the story of Sri Sadasiva Brahman, who lived during the eighteenth century.
Once, while he was in a samadhi state, the flooded Kaveri River covered him with
mud. For some months his body remained buried underneath the earth. Then some
farmers tilling the land broke through, injuring the head of the yogi and causing
some blood to ooze out. Astonished, the farmers dug out the earth around him,
whereupon Sadasiva Brahman simply got up and walked away.
In the Hindu tradition of Jeeva
Samadhi , Realizers conclude their human lifetime
by having themselves buried alive while in a samadhi state. (One of the most famous
was Saint Jnaneshwar, who, after writing the Jnaneshwari
— some extraordinary commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita — while a teenager,
chose to enter Jeeva Samadhi at the age of 21.) In Jeeva Samadhi, the breathing,
heartbeat, and blood circulation stop, but the pranic energy of the Realizer (through
a connection maintained with the body) keeps the cells alive, giving rise to bodies
that are "incorruptible", sometimes for centuries. (Stories of such
bodies being dug up after centuries confirm this.) The Samadhi sites of such Realizers
(who are still connected to the body) are reputed to be very potent in transmitting
their Realization, even for centuries — which is one of the motivations
for Realizers to choose this particular way of ending their lives: so as to benefit
others spiritually through their Jeeva Samadhi site.
thirteenth-century yogi-saint, Jnaneshwar, had a tomb built for him by his devotees.
He entered it promptly upon completion, leaving instructions that it was to be
sealed tightly and never entered. Nearly three hundred years later another saint,
Ecknath, entered the tomb. He emerged to report that the body of Jnaneshwar was
still warm and apparently living. Ecknath explained that the body had been miraculously
preserved, still sitting in full-lotus position, through a permanent yogic activity
of the life-force in the body.
Ron Boyer, "Welcome,
The Laughing Man Magazine, Vol 2. no. 3, 1981
thing we note, in comparing the Western and Eastern traditions, is that the Eastern
traditions do not interpret the incorruptibility of the body as a sign from God,
but rather as the result of a yogic process in which the yogi is still connected
to the body (which is left in a state of suspended animation).
what appears to be happening: Normally, when a person "dies", it is
the physical body that is "dying". Typically within the next three days,
the etheric body (aka the pranic body or the etheric double) — the energy generator
for (and the energy "matrix" of) the physical body — separates from the physical
body and dies as well:
reason for the three-day
vigil is that initially the etheric body may linger after separating from
the body. . . . The real purpose of the vigil is to help the person relinquish.
It is like a second death. The etheric entity must die — yet there is no suffering
in this death. . . .The etheric is attached to the gross, but when the etheric
dies, it loosens and returns to the etheric domain — ceasing to take the form
of the individual personal entity and effectively disintegrating.
Adi Da Samraj, pp. 363 - 364, Easy
At that point, it is not possible
to revive the body by any means (including yogic), because a living human being
requires both a living physical body and a living etheric body. (One must instead
reincarnate to acquire these again.) A yogi's entrance into one of the samadhi
states keeps the etheric body alive (not in the manner of a ghost, but as life
support for the physical body), even while the physical body goes into a "shut
down" state. The etheric body's connection to the physical body is capable
of keeping the cells of the physical body alive for an extended period of time
(days, months, or even years), enabling the yogi to revive the physical body (e.g.,
as in the case of Pilot Baba ). While it is not possible
to "restart" the physical body once the cells finally die, the presence
of the etheric body apparently prevents or at least greatly slows bodily decay,
and helps preserve the integrity of the physical body.
(both at "death", and during prolonged states of suspended animation
of the physical body during life) blur the line between life and death, making
it difficult to define death in conventional medical terms (cessation of breathing,
heartbeat, etc.) Indeed, many spiritual masters instruct
their devotees to wait long enough to be sure that they are truly "dead" (i.e.,
not coming back) before burying or cremating them! After all, they might simply
be in a prolonged samadhi state, and have every intention of returning and being
active in the world for many more years. Similarly, a story of a Spiritual Master
who appears to die, is buried in a cave for three days, and then is resurrected,
could also have a different interpretation than the usual one, given what we have
just been considering.
In comparing the Western and Eastern traditions,
it would be interesting to study the deaths of each of the Catholic saints associated
with incorruptible bodies, to see if, like their Eastern counterparts, they showed
any signs of entering into a samadhi state at the time of death — thus providing
the yogic reasons underlying their incorruptible bodies. St. John
of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila were famed for their ability to enter into
mystical states (described in the books they wrote, for which they were pronounced
"Doctors of the Church"), so perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that
their bodies were among the incorruptible. But there might be a case for associating
each of the "incorruptibles" with entrance into a samadhi state. For
example, Saint Bernadette Soubirous (one of the Marian visionaries of Lourdes)
went through a "dark night of the soul" during her last months of enduring
tuberculosis, filled with doubt and distress. But right before she died, "she
smiled as if she had encountered again the Virgin in the Grotto".
That smile may have signalled her entrance into a samadhi state (or, to use the Catholic
manner of speaking: a state of mystical union with God) that served to maintain the body
in a state of suspended animation.
Death Events and
Divine Re-Integration with the Body vs. Trance Samadhi and Re-Animation of the
As an incarnation of the Divine, Adi Da was radically
different from the saints and yogis we've been describing. Unlike such Realizers,
Adi Da didn't "enter samadhi" at certain times. He was born in — and permanently abided
in — the Samadhi of the seventh stage of life.
Adi Da was born as the incarnation of
the Divine. The recurring challenge for Him throughout His life was staying
incarnate (long enough to establish the Way of Adidam in perpetuity), despite
having no karma (which is what ordinarily keeps beings incarnate):
have no karma to fulfill. My only Purpose, out of Sympathy for you all, is to
stay here long enough to Do what I have come to do, which is to create this immense
Mandala of [Spiritual] Transmission for the sake of those who live now and those
who live in the future.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, April
very Force of His Own Divine Being was always unavoidably serving (by Its very
nature) to dissolve His body:
Radiance and Profundity of the Divine Heart-Master's State of Being both Sustain
and Dissolve His Own Body-Mind.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Ruchira
with the only relief
being devotees drawing upon that Force (through their devotional response), rather
than allowing it to "back up" in His own body. As He once put it to
His devotees: while you all are struggling every day to get out of here, I struggle
every day to remain here. This certainly was reflected by the various "death
events" that occurred throughout His life. These "death events"
were not Adi Da entering into a samadhi state; they were the Divine Person not
being able to stay integrated with the human body, temporarily losing the integration
with the body, but then finding a way to re-integrate with it again (until the
final death event on November 27, 2008).
The Divine Person's
connection with the human body after the Ruchira Dham event in April, 2000, was especially fragile (and altogether
miraculous). Based on everything Adi Da knew about the Translated State, His body
should have died — but it didn't.
it was death — in terms of the Body. There was no bodily awareness, although it
was certainly not a circumstance of unconsciousness. It was the Infinitely Profound
Samadhi of Outshining.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
body survived the shock of that extraordinary re-integration (of the Divine State
directly "connected" to, and animating the body) for another eight years.
Given the extreme fragility of that connection during the final eight years of His life, it is not surprising
that at the moment of His death, His passing was instantaneous — as attested
to by the devotees who were present — and left no karmic connection (including
the kind of pranic force needed to "maintain" an incorruptible body),
because the Divine Person is free of karma. His body instantly and completely
ceased to be animated. For this reason, it is not surprising that it would show
signs of decay, given that there was no life-force keeping the cells alive, as
in the case of Realizers entering a fourth to fifth stage Samadhi state.
real miracle was not whether Adi Da's body was incorruptible after death, but
that the Divine Person was able to incarnate through it in the first place — never
having had such a vehicle before — and was able to maintain that extraordinarily
fragile and altogether miraculous incarnation for the full span of a human lifetime.
are the key points in this article:
- The notion of associating bodily
"incorruptibility" with "saintliness" and bodily decay with
non-saintliness doesn't even apply within Catholicism (e.g., what about all the
saints whose bodies were not incorruptible?), let alone within Adidam, which rejects
the notion of a God in charge, sending messages to the public about who God thinks
is saintly, via "incorruptable" bodies. In Adi Da's "seven stages
of life" framework, Greater Realization is associated not with greater miraculous
powers, but with greater freedom from egoic
bondage and suffering.
- What is interpreted as a "miracle from
God" in one tradition is understood to be a yogic capability in another.
We considered how incorruptability comes about, as the result of yogic capability
and intention. An analysis of the Eastern tradition of yogis entering into samadhi
states as the final act of their human lifetime provides us with the yogic underpinnings
for incorruptability, namely: the etheric body remains alive and still associated
with the physical body, and that association prevents or slows the decay of the
- In contrast, Adi Da's body at the time of His
Divine Mahasamadhi was not the body of a Realizer entering into the final samadhi
state of His human lifetime, while still karmically associated with the physical
body (including the etheric association). Adi Da's body was the incarnation of
the karmaless, egoless Divine Person, Who completely released that
body at the moment of death. The physical and the
etheric bodies both died instantly. There were none of the usual egoic/karmic
reasons that motivate an etheric body to "linger" around the physical
body for up to three days.
Myself will not even be in the room when you see the silly corpse there with its
gray eyeballs. You're not going to get any etheric demonstration out of Me! None!
Not even in your meditation. The only thing you'll get out of Me from that point
is My Absolute Presence, which cannot be cancelled, which was always already there.
The only way you can get in touch with It is by staying in touch with Me as I
Am. . . . When this body dies, I'm not going to hold onto anything. Nothing left
over. No reason to return.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, 1985
And with the death of Adi Da's etheric
body, "incorruptibility" was not even a possibility.