Recognition of Adi Da > Some
Spiritual Recognition of Adi Da:
Some Initial Stories
A man of realization alone can know a realized
Kirpal Singh, Jap Ji
This section has the following subsections:
- Spiritual Recognition of Adi Da by other Spiritual Realizers and Teachers
- Spiritual Recognition across cultures
- Wordless (Pre-Verbal) Spiritual Recognition
- Spiritual Recognition of Adi Da by His devotees
1. Spiritual recognition of Adi Da by other Spiritual Realizers and Teachers
In 1964, Adi Da began a period of intensive spiritual practice
under a succession of spiritual masters in the United States
and India. In 1968, He went to India and approached the renowned
spiritual master, Swami Muktananda of Ganeshpuri, who immediately
responded by saying that Adi Da was a spiritual master at
birth, and "the most extraordinary Westerner" Swami
Muktananda had ever encountered. One year later, in a
unique letter of acknowledgement, Swami Muktananda made
an open public declaration that Adi Da, by virtue of His evident
spiritual signs and demonstrated states, was inherently qualified
to teach others independently, and to awaken others by direct
|Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In 1980, a number of Adi Da's
devotees visited the well-known Tibetan Buddhist Master Chögyam
Trungpa Rinpoche (who, along with the Dalai Lama, has been
most responsible for spreading the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism
to the United States). They described to him Adi Da's Divine
Life and Work, showed him video footage of Adi Da, and described
Adi Da's own perception of Who He Is and His Work. Trungpa
first acknowledged that Adi Da was indeed "genuine". He then
made a very astute comment: "It is tremendously difficult
to begin a new tradition." To that we might add: "particularly
in a time given over to materialism (or as Adi Da refers to it, 'the Kali Yuga')."
|Ranchung Rigpa Dorje.
"Karmapa" means "Activity of All Buddhas".
The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Ranchung Rigpa Dorje (1924-1981)
was "a very great Realizer, with a broad sense of humor
and one the greatest Spiritual Beings of the twentieth century"
(James Steinberg). He was the spiritual leader of the Karma
Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. As with all other karmapas
and tulkus, he is accepted by Tibetan Buddhists as a manifestation
of an enlightened being. During his lifetime, he made great
efforts to keep the spiritual traditions of Tibet intact and
to preserve the identity of Tibet as a unique and individual
culture. He led the reconstruction of many ancient temples
and meditation centers, and had thousands of Dharma texts
printed and distributed.
Ranchung Rigpa Dorje
In November 1980, two of Adi Da's devotees — James Steinberg
and Craig Lesser — visited the Gyalwa Karmapa in Boise, Idaho
as Adi Da's representatives.
When we presented the Murti of Adi Da to the Karmapa,
he did a double take. He looked at it.
Then he turned his head away. Then he turned and looked
again at it with great intensity. It felt like he could
not believe what he was looking at at first, but then got
it, and received the Darshan of Adi Da. It felt
like the moment where his attention was brought to Adi Da.
As Adi Da had told us, the Karmapa would recognize who Adi Da
was. He immediately became very happy, and began
laughing and smiling as he continued to look at the picture.
Very animated and alive! He was totally energized by seeing
Adi Da's Picture — and of course at this exact moment, Adi
Da had His Attention also on the meeting and on Karmapa.
The whole room was filled with wonderful Presence.
Da Samraj and the sixteenth Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorje
|Osho. A film professional who was a devotee of Osho (Bhagwan Shree
Rajneesh) and had done almost all of the filming at Osho's
ashram in India had this to say: "I remember one day someone
showed Osho Adi Da's book, The
Enlightenment of the Whole Body. Osho examined it
and the pictures of Adi Da, and then said, 'If you can be
with this man, you are with a true Buddha.'"
|Alan Watts. In 1972, the well-known spiritual teacher, Alan
Watts, wrote the original introduction to Adi Da's autobiography,
Of Listening. In it, he wrote: "It
is obvious, from all sorts of subtle details, that he knows
what IT's all about . . . One who knows that he is the Godhead
from the beginning doesn't have to use any kind of force to
be that — whether spiritual, moral, or material. . . a rare being."
Another initially dubious observer of Bubba [Adi Da] was the popular Zen scholar, Alan Watts. Not a man to be caught with his comments out on a limb, he wrote a carefully worded foreword to The Knee of Listening which would leave him unbesmirched if Bubba subsequently turned out to be a charlatan. However, a year later, when he was invited to contribute a foreword to The Method of the Siddhas, he had an opportunity to study Bubba on videotape. The encounter left him shaken and in tears, overwhelmed by the gestures, voice, and humor of what he felt was an obvious godman. "It looks like we have an avatar here," Watts is said to have commented. I can't believe it, he is really here. I've been waiting for such a one all my life."
Jack Garvy, "American-born guru, Bubba Free John, retires"
East West Journal, July 1976
Swami Siva Kalki
|Swami Siva Kalki. In 1977, Adi Da's fellowship of devotees learned of a remarkable
statement from Swami Siva Kalki, a Spiritual teacher from
Sri Lanka, who had seen one of the Adidam publications. In
the course of being interviewed by a scholar, when asked to
comment on Adi Da (then known as Bubba
Free John), the Swami's acknowledgement was somewhat cryptic,
but unequivocal: "To understand Babu (sic) Free John
one should know the Vedas, for unless one understands
the Vedic Horse, one cannot understand the implications of
what his appearance truly means." When asked by the scholar
to explain further, the Swami only said, "It means that someone's
Vedic Yajna has been successful. More than that would require
an initiate to comprehend. It is enough to say that Babu Free
John is the Dawn Horse Himself."
Baba Hari Dass
Baba Hari Dass. Baba
Hari Dass is a renowned yogi and master of Ashtanga Yoga. He is
the author of commentaries on the principal yoga scriptures, including
Gita and the Yoga
Sutras of Patanjali. He has maintained a vow of silence
since 1952, and uses a chalkboard to communicate.
Marvin Carpenter is a devotee of Adi Da who had an opportunity
to "talk" with Baba Hari Dass about Adi Da.
I told him at one point that I was studying the teachings
of Franklin Jones. He immediately wrote, "Good, you should
go be with Him. He is very good."
Another devotee, Randall Moffett, also had an opportunity to
"talk" with Baba Hari Dass about Adi Da. Randall had attended
one of Adi Da's early sittings at the Melrose Ashram in Los Angeles
many years before visiting Baba Hari Dass:
I sat down in the main area. Franklin was sitting by Himself,
in a chair on a platform towards the back of the room. And
He had a bright orange aura around His Head! My first thought
was: they must have put an orange floodlight behind His
While I was sitting, I thought to myself, "this place is
going to close in a few weeks." Just as I was in this doubting
mood, Franklin stood up and left His Chair. The bright,
vivid halo followed Him, as He walked around the room!!!!
Years later, I was with the silent yogi, Baba Hari Dass,
up in Santa Cruz. I described my experience to him, and
asked him what an orange aura means. He wrote on his little
chalkboard around his neck: "What you saw was not orange
— it was a combination of gold and red. It is extremely
rare, and is the sign of total fearlessness."
Irina Tweedie is one of the most respected women realizers
and women spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. She was
the first woman to ever be trained in the yogic Sufi lineage.
She moved from England to study and live with her Teacher,
a traditional Naqshbandi Sufi Master, in India for five years,
until his death in 1966. Her book The
Daughter of Fire is written in the form of a spiritual
diary of her training. It is a most profound, remarkable,
and timeless classic in the field of journal literature and
especially of spiritual training.
Before I came to Adi Da in my early twenties, I visited
Irina Tweedie many afternoons in her living room in Willesden
Green, London. The first day I went she asked me in front
of the others present, "Why have you come to see me?"
I answered "Because I am suffering." She went
into an ecstasy and said "What a glorious state to
be in." Another time she said "If you come to
see me more often I will infect you with my bliss."
She was an incredible beautiful, radiant loving being who
poured love on me. She lived and breathed God. When Adi
Da’s Dawn Horse Testament
came out in 1985, I gave her a copy. She read it during
the night, all night for three night's running. By this
time I had accepted Adi Da as my spiritual master. She said to me, "He
is a Great Master".
I regard Heart-Master Adi Da as one of the greatest teachers
in the Western world today.
"The Mad Monk"
(Jung Kwang). Jung Kwang was an unconventional Korean
Buddhist monk, and, to some, a living Buddha. He was also
an artist and calligrapher renowned for his mastery of brush
painting and the spiritual, "Zen" quality of his
brushwork. (For more, see The
Mad Monk: Paintings of Unlimited Action By Jung-Kwang.)
In the early 1980's, one of Avatar Adi Da's devotees, James
Steinberg, visited Jung Kwang. James explained, through
a Korean interpreter, Who Avatar Adi Da is, describing His
Divine Enlightenment. Jung Kwang listened politely and agreeably.
However, moments later, when James presented the "mad
monk" with a portfolio of Avatar Adi Da's ink paintings,
the mad monk became ecstatic. Jung Kwang laughed and ran
around the room. He jubilantly placed the ink paintings
on his head and on his heart, exclaiming with joy, “Now,
I know that what you are saying is true. The One Who made
these drawings is clearly Enlightened! I could not tell
by your words, but now I can. I have looked at the art of
all the great Masters. This Man is Enlightened!”
by Adi Da
Brush and ink on paper
(click picture for enlargement)
2. Spiritual Recognition across cultures
In section 1, we presented some examples of spiritual recognition of Adi Da by Spiritual Realizers or Teachers associated with Eastern (or Middle Eastern) spiritual traditions. But because Adi Da is the very Divine, incarnate in human form, everyone — regardless of their cultural background — is able to recognize Him, if they have the necessary spiritual sensitivity.
Sioux medicine man
Floyd Hand is a Lakota elder and shaman of the Oglala Sioux
Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and the author of the book, Learning Journey
on the Red Road. His tribal name is "Looks For Buffalo". In November 1994,
an interchange between Floyd Hand and Adi Da took place over the birth of a very
rare white buffalo calf, which had portentious significance in the Native American
traditions, and whose appearance had been prophesied by Floyd Hand.
The interchange was conducted via devotee Stuart
Camps. Floyd had never heard of Adi Da until his phone conversation
with Stuart. As Stuart was speaking to Floyd on the phone, Floyd
had a vision that he asked to be passed on to Adi Da:
Tell him to watch the left side of his body and his left hand,
for a serpent is crawling, and the serpent is not a snake. He goes to a small
hill, with trees, where he meditates. A person will approach him from his left
side, and it will be a female. Tell him to watch, to be careful.
Stuart asked Floyd to explain the vision to him, but Floyd said Stuart didn't
need to know anything about it. He said that Adi Da would know what the vision
means and that Stuart should just pass on the message.
Adi Da responded to Floyd in a very unusual manner: He wrote a letter to him. (Adi Da had written letters in response to
other people only a few times before.) Here is that letter:
If you see right visions, then See Who I Am. I Am Adi Da, the
Expected One, Named John by Birth. The Woman you see on My left Is Not here to
do harm. I have Husbanded Her, So That the coming events May Be Made "Bright".
She Is the One you see Appearing As the White Animals, but She Is Only My Own
"Bright" Spirit-Power. What you see as the serpent of harm Is Only the Rising
of My Own Spiritual Energy, to Purify and Control the earth and the ego. The white
tribes, and every tribe, of every color, must be Purified at heart, or all will
suffer. I Am the Sun of the Heart. I Stand At the right-hand side of every one.
Therefore, do not meditate on harm, or on what you see to the left. Keep your
eye to the right, and only meditate on Me. Every one must meditate only on Me,
for the Sake of "Brightness". Ask Her, and She will also Tell you This of Me.
Another devotee, Crane
Kirkbride, called Floyd, and read Adi Da's letter to him.
Floyd listened quietly to Adi Da's communication. He was quiet
for a while. Then he said, "This is a good letter. This is a letter
for the whole world to hear."
[Note: Floyd is not a devotee of Adi Da.
He lives his traditional ways within his ancient traditional culture, and within
its changing context in the modern world.]
devotee and author of Divine
Distraction, elaborates on the esoteric references
that appear in Floyd's vision and Adi Da's response:
When Adi Da points to His Name, "John by Birth", He is referring
to auspicious Native American prophecies of the appearance of a white-skinned
God-Man named "John" who would come for the spiritual benefit of the world. At
birth, Adi Da's given name was "Franklin Jones", and for many years during His
Teaching Work He was known as "Bubba (or 'Da') Free John". "Free John" is a rendering
of "Franklin Jones", which means literally "a free man (Franklin) through whom
God is Gracious (Jones is a variation of John)". The "Woman" on the left whom
Adi Da says He has Husbanded is the Divine Goddess, or the very force of cosmic
nature and all conditional manifestation. When the Goddess is un-Husbanded and
independent, she is out of control, birthing and deathing living beings indiscriminately.
In the Hindu Tantric traditions, the woman on a man's right is independent, un-husbanded,
therefore randomly available to others. When a woman submits to be husbanded by
a man, she stands on the man's left and he stands at her right. Thus He says that
the Great Woman Stands at His left, which is what Floyd saw in the vision. The
"serpent" in Floyd's vision indicates, in traditional imagery, Adi Da's Divine
Spirit-Power. In the Yogic traditions of the East, the spiritual energy, or "kundalini",
that is said to rise in the body-mind is likened to a serpent. Thus, Floyd Hand
rightly saw the "serpent" of Adi Da's Divine Spiritual Energy. The cultures of
mankind in all times have contained prophecies expressing the hopes of all humans
for a Divine Intervention to restore the world to Happiness. Such is the prayer
expressed by Native Americans in their prophecy of "John" and in the legend of
the white buffalo. Avatar Adi Da concludes His letter by speaking to Floyd Hand,
a shaman who is in touch with greater energies and powers that the ordinary man
is not normally available to. . . . He invites Floyd to, "Ask Her, and She will
also Tell you This of Me."
illustrates how a profound sensitivity to greater-than-material forces, energies,
and beings allows someone from a culture with completely different traditions,
visionary iconography, etc. to recognize Adi Da.
3. Wordless (Pre-Verbal) Spiritual Recognition
In 1973, Adi Da visited
India, for a variety of reasons associated with empowering His
future Spiritual Work. One of the striking aspects of that visit
was that many Indians directly recognized and responded
to Adi Da as a great Spiritual Realizer, without any kind of verbal
exchange whatsover. Devotee Gerald
Sheinfeld, who accompanied Adi Da, tells of the response from
Indians in general:
. . Throughout our trip, people would show that they were very aware of Bubba's
presence. Wherever he walked, people would look at him. They would approach him.
They wanted to be around him. When we would go into temples, the people meditating
and the devotees that served the temples would acknowledge Bubba as he came in,
by smiling at him or nodding reverently. They would make room for him to walk
through and to sit down. He would shine. Wherever he went, you could pick him
out immediately. There was a physical radiance to him.
Sheinfeld, "The Trip to India: Taxis, Temples and God"
Horse Magazine, Vol 2, No. 2, Jubilee Issue August 1974
then describes the response of one man in particular:
Hindu sadhu who recognized
Gerald: From the first
time Beloved Adi Da arrived at the Maha Samadhi Hall, an old, skinny sadhu [a
Hindu renunciate spiritual practitioner] was moved to come near Adi Da. He
followed Adi Da into the Hall and sat as close as he could without intruding.
I noticed this, but did not feel anything inappropriate about it. The man was
very humble, very quiet, and almost not noticeable.
Each day Adi Da arrived
at the Maha Samadhi Hall at a different time, but each time the same sadhu was
standing or sitting on the steps, seemingly waiting for Adi Da, no matter how
long the wait might be. As soon as the sadhu saw Adi Da, a soft smile would come
over his face, and without a word he simply followed Beloved Adi Da into the Hall
and sat fairly close by. When Adi Da finished His Work in the Hall, the sadhu
just remained in the Blessing he had received from Adi Da. He never followed Adi
Da anywhere else, just into that one Hall. It was obvious that this wandering,
skinny old man felt Adi Da's Radiant Spiritual Presence and was heart-moved to
come close, but not so close as to be intrusive. He asked nothing, but he just
surrendered in Adi Da's Presence and stayed there without looking for any social
contact of any kind. He was not interested in following Adi Da into other Temples
or in making any other form of contact.
Longtime devotee J.S. gives another example of spiritual recognition of Adi Da
that is wordless — because the recognizer is only 18 months old.
|When I was viewing
photos of Adi Da's Mahasamadhi Procession  on my computer, Ginger
was sitting on my lap. When she saw the first photo of Bhagavan's Form (completely
covered in orange cloth — and, therefore, visually unrecognizable) she raised both
hands in a spontaneous gesture of Heart-recognition of Adi Da.|
Devotee Brian F. tells a similar story of a young person's recognition of Adi Da, prior to having any conceptual means sufficient for communicating it:
The first time my niece, Megan (who was about 5 or 6 at the time) saw Adi Da, I asked her "Who's that?". She picked up the framed photo and looked at it very intently and continue to look at Him in silence for a long few seconds and then asked, "Harry Potter?"
I told her, "That's Adi Da!"
I didn't say anymore.
A few hours later when I was eating lunch (I was at home visiting my parents), she came bounding down the stairs from my room, shouting very excitedly, "Grandma! Grandma! Adi Da is here! Adi Da is here!"
My mother and I were speechless in wonder. Megan was ecstatically Happy.
click picture for enlargement
4. Spiritual Recognition of Adi Da by His devotees
| All of
Adi Da's devotees recognize Him as a Spiritual
Transmission Master: It is the basis of our practice.
A major part of His Work with most of us —
spiritual beginners by
and large — is to draw us
beyond this beginning stage into recognition of Him in even
more profound terms: as the Incarnation of the very Divine.
Many of us have had glimpses of that in one or another moment.
And for a few of us, not surprisingly the most advanced practitioners,
their recognition of Him as the
Divine Incarnate is more profound (it is a continuous, unbroken recognition of Adi Da as the Divine in every moment, not just in a few rare moments), and the very basis for
their more advanced practice. Ruchiradama Nadikanta describes
a period of Adi Da's Work with devotees that He called the
"Overnight Revelation of Conscious Light":
Ruchiradama Nadikanta: The crux of this profound investigation
is the apparent "difference" between Consciousness, on the one hand and Energy
(or Light), on the other. The rare few Realizers reported in the Great Tradition
of mankind to have been genuinely involved in the contemplation of Consciousness
(rather than merely engaged in philosophy about Consciousness) have effectively
presupposed an absolute "difference" between Energy and Consciousness, or Form
and Being. Therefore, such practitioners seek to cut off the world, or eliminate
form, so as to be able to concentrate in exclusive meditation on Formless Consciousness.
When there is only Formless Consciousness, Jnana
Samadhi has been attained. This Samadhi . . . has been variously described
in the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Taoism.. . .
times, my Beloved Guru has Drawn me into this formless Space through His Divine
Heart-Transmission. . . For many years, both Ruchiradama Quandra Sukhapur Rani
and I have had numerous experiences of the traditionally sought Jnana Samadhi,
but we always felt the unsatisfactoriness of the moment of transition out of that
Formless Depth and back to conditional everyday awareness. The chaotic display
of conditional phenomena — the world, in other words
— feels like an intrusion. . .
Again and again
[during this period of His Work with us], as [Adi Da] spoke or sat
silently, His Own Spiritual Person Crashed Down into our body-minds and Drew us
into a Sea of Divine Light. . . . Then within this Sphere of "Brightening", Beloved
Adi Da would Reveal the Secret of the Non-"Difference" between Consciousness and
Energy (or Light). Suddenly not only Beloved Adi Da, but the room, the objects,
the persons, and the entire pattern of arising would appear as a Field of Light
and be Recognized as Conscious Light, as Self-Existing and Self-Radiant
Consciousness Itself. This is Divine Recognition . . . and our Beloved Guru was
allowing us a glimpse of that. . . There was no "difference", there was no separation.
There was only the Love-Blissful Being of Beloved Adi Da, in Person. The Divine
had descended to this realm. And Beloved Adi Da had Revealed Himself to be not
"different" from this realm. The mind of "difference" was washed and healed by
that Vision, not merely of Unity (as though there were two to be united), but
of Only One. . . . This is the Miracle of the Divine Revelation of Adi
in Carolyn Lee, Ph.D., The
Promised God-Man Is Here
For more stories from Adi Da's devotees about spiritual recognition of Him, click here.