first read the name, "Adi Da Samraj", in September 2006, when I was
participating in an online forum centered around a general discussion of spirituality.
Someone new suddenly appeared on the message board and created a topic titled,
"Avatars". He then began to post about his experiences with Adi Da, asking if
anyone else could relate, had similar experiences, or could explain it. Being
raised in the Hindu tradition, I was familiar with the term "Avatar" and decided
I would read this topic and see if I could add to it.
The first thing I
did was type "Adi Da Samraj" into Wikipedia, just so I could read a general biography
before researching in more depth. I did not expect the Wikipedia page to contain
much information, nor was I relying on its accuracy, and it did not really provide
me with much except for a few quotations and a photograph of Adi Da. I did not
know it at the time, but that moment when I saw His Face initiated an unspeakable
process in me that I would not have even conceived of then.
even in that moment, I was not very moved by Adi Da. I did not have much of a
response at all, but I did have a reaction. I left the Wikipedia page feeling
that Adi Da was just another "New Age" and "American" guru trying to make a name
for himself and that he was teaching some form of pseudo-spirituality that just
mimicked the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, while pretending to be entirely
unique. I was not feeling particularly negative about Adi Da, rather I just felt
neutral, uninterested, and unimpressed.
So I went back to the message board
and replied to this fellow, sharing with him my thoughts on Adi Da. I simply wanted
to understand where he was coming from. He sympathized with my reaction as if
it were normal, and confessed that he doesn't even know himself, but his experiences
with Adi Da were more powerful than anything else he had ever experienced. I was
surprised with this person. He was very intelligent, straightforward, and clear.
And yet he was so insistent that there was something more to all of this. I grew
fascinated by his character, and subsequently, grew more fascinated by Adi Da.
I began to enter into a private dialogue with this person, messaging back
and forth. I was practicing Tibetan Buddhism at the time, and from my discussions
with him, it was very clear that our philosophical stances were exactly the same.
I just couldn't understand what he was saying about Adi Da. I kept wondering why
he couldn't see through Adi Da, why he couldn't see that he was just another New
Age guru who wasn't saying anything new? He began to share his experiences with
me in more depth and detail, telling me about how he saw Adi Da in 2005 at The
Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary in Northern California, and how Adi Da
healed his father. He told me that he had no questions about Adi Da; that all
questions dissolved when he saw Adi Da. I was very moved by his conviction. It
felt so absolute. I could not feel a trace of uncertainty in him. This fascinated
me. I began to inquire further, to understand Adi Da, to begin to figure out this
Mystery. He told me I should read The
Knee Of Listening, Adi Da's Spiritual Autobiography, so I bought The
Knee Of Listening, along wiht Adi Da's "prose-opera", The
cover of The Knee Of Listening was very striking to me. I felt moved and
attracted to the photograph of Adi Da that was on the cover. His Eyes were bottomless
and profound, and I always felt like He was looking right at me, right through
me, and could see everything. I felt exposed by His Glance. I remember just holding
the book in my hands and studying His Face, looking into His Eyes, and very tangibly
feeling Him looking at me. I felt a depth in Him. I felt that I also could not
understand Him and was always overcome by a feeling of Mystery. My mind could
not place Him anywhere, could not categorize Him, could not do anything at all.
I felt so compelled to figure Him out, but He felt so elusive, as if I always
just couldn't put my finger on Him. I always felt so close, but He was always
one step ahead, and all I could feel was this Mystery about Him. Adi Da remained
constantly beyond my grasp. My fascination became a new intensity. I started to
watch videos of Him on YouTube, and felt a profound
Mystery every time I saw Him move, stand, or speak. I could not account for Him.
And it became obvious to me with time that there was something different about
Adi Da, I did not know what, but there was just something different. I knew even
then that He is not like anyone else I had ever seen before.
I found The Knee Of Listening to be an amazing book and
was fascinated by Adi Da's life story. I enjoyed reading His Writing
and reading about His childhood and His time in India, and everything
else. I found it very humbling. And His Writing was so sophisticated,
intelligent, and creative. I was fascinated with the technical
precision in His use of language. I remember reading the first
Not Misunderstand Me"; it was full of capitalization, underlining,
and parentheticals. I did not feel
intimidated, but immediately felt that whoever Adi Da Is, He is
I never felt offended by His claims of Divinity or Avatarhood,
but was more struck by the way He said it. His Written-Word was absolutely confident,
firm, and unshakable. I felt that there was no trace of uncertainty in Adi Da
about anything. His Writing was so strong, with the underlining, the capitalization,
everything. I did not care if He was the Divine Avatar or not, I could at least
respect His utter seriousness and confidence about it. He did not feel weak at
all, as if He was someone who needed to make claims about himself for the sake
of identity, or self-esteem, or megalomania. His strength was overpowering to
me. I did not even question Him, nor did I believe Him, but I just kept reading.
I was fascinated and attracted to Him and His claims, that someone would even
say something like that was startling and amazing to me. I couldn't get enough.
I continued to read passages where Adi Da would say that He was the Divine, and
sometimes would even seek for these passages, just marveling that someone would
say such a thing! Why would a man say that? And with such Force? 
recognized The Mummery Book to be an absolute masterpiece after just a
few pages in. The language was so utterly unique, unlike anything anyone had ever
written. It was so beautiful and stylistically profound. I immediately recognized
Adi Da as a literary genius. Adi Da's Image-Art
is on the cover, which I found to be interesting. I thought it was a bit strange,
and could not understand why someone would make something like that. I could not
make any sense of it, and yet I was inexplicably drawn to it, always taking time
to gaze at the cover before opening the book.
Even while all of this was
happening, I had no intention or thought of becoming a devotee. I was content
with my practice as a Buddhist and was not looking to change anything at all.
It had not even crossed my mind. I continued to read The Knee Of Listening
and The Mummery Book in an erratic fashion. They were always there whenever
I wanted to read them. In retrospect, it felt as if those books were just waiting
for me all the time, and I even felt this when I wouldn't read them for a while.
I felt this need to read them, to go back, to understand. I continued in this
way, with The Knee Of Listening at my bedside, for about two more years.
In January 2008, everything changed as I suddenly began to despair of my
Buddhist practice. It was obvious to me that I was still suffering from egoity
and nothing had really been helping me to go beyond that. I was not seeing any
progress and I wanted to meet a real Guru, an Enlightened person, so that I could
sit and feel that One's State. I felt a need for this, and Adi Da was (surprisingly)
not crossing my mind as such a One. He was still there in the form of His books
on my floor, and I did read them sometimes.
But I had a more serious crisis
on my hands now. My Buddhist practice was all that made me content, satisfied,
and happy, and now even it was beginning to feel useless. Everyday I wandered
in the same illusions of separateness. The same dilemmas continued to arise. Nothing
was really changing. Momentary glimpses of egolessness were not good enough for
me anymore, because they always went away, and there I was again. Back to square
All of the books and Buddhist texts I had been reading began to feel
abstract and I no longer felt moved by them. I began to wonder if anyone really
understood. I looked to my Sangha
for someone to relate to, for a Guru, something, but I could not find it. I grew
steadily disillusioned of everything. High school felt to be even more useless
to me and I could not focus on academics at all. I was only interested in Spirituality.
None of my friends seemed to understand anything. My teachers kept giving me a
hard time for not focusing and my grades began to decline. I quickly became disillusioned
with everything about my life.
I was sitting at home one day in such a
state when a remarkable event occurred. I was sitting in my chair in front of
my computer and it suddenly felt to be cold in my room. I started to shiver a
bit. Then I started to have chills and stronger shivers. I could not understand
what was happening. Suddenly, I surrendered to the shivering and just let it happen
instead of trying to stop it, and it began to take over my entire body. An unbelievable
Energy descended upon me and I began shaking. In an instant, I felt saturated
by this Indescribable Energy. Its Thickness enveloped my entire body and it was
vibrating with an unspeakable intensity. I swooned in ecstasy. My breathing grew
rapid and profoundly deep. I felt that I had no control over anything at all,
I was being breathed. It was an unforgettable ecstasy.
I somehow felt this
Great Ecstatic Energy to be Love, and I could not explain why or how, but it was
unmistakable as the deepest, most profound Love I had ever felt. Love felt to
be intrinsic to Reality — and its depth was unfathomable. I felt my body
to be vibrating at the speed of light. I could not even feel my physical body.
Only this Great Love-Energy. My body was paralyzed with Yogic Force and Ecstasy.
My hands locked in spontaneous mudras
from the Great Love-Energy that was moving in and around and through my entire
This was the most profound event in my life at the time. This was
exactly what I needed, I thought. This is what I needed to rejuvenate my spiritual
life at this time of crisis. I felt empowered, rejuvenated, and utterly transformed
afterwards. The sense of Love that I felt did not leave me for days. I walked
into my bedroom after the event and the first thing I saw was The Knee Of Listening,
sitting next to my bed. Without thinking I walked over and immediately grabbed
it. I thought, I've been trying unsuccessfully to figure out Who Adi Da Is for
the past two years, and this moment was a better time than any to try one last
time. I was on the verge of giving up, feeling that I would never understand Adi
Da, and that maybe it didn't really matter either.
I opened the book and
the page I had opened to was an essay titled, "I Am The One And Only Man Of 'Radical'
Understanding". Within seconds, I felt that this essay had captured what I had
just experienced. In that essay Adi Da writes, "Reality Is That Which Is Unqualifiedly
Present. Love Is Perfect Presence." These two lines struck me so deeply. I felt
how true it was. That is all I could feel. This is true. These words are exactly
what I experienced and know to be true. Somehow Adi Da was articulating it and
I kept reading with great joy. The ending of the essay was so incredibly profound
for me. It is the type of profundity that makes you gasp from the heart-shock.
It touched my heart at a depth that I did not know existed.
I fell in Love
with Adi Da Samraj. I watched His videos on YouTube all day and every day.
I read His Words with great joy and ecstasy. I grew so Distracted by Him, I did
not even wonder if He was the Divine Avatar or not. I was just absorbed in Him
beyond all thought, beyond all dilemma. Just like Krishna and the Gopis. It was
I began to enjoy a profound relationship to Adi Da in
this way, and very soon understood that the event I experienced that day was Him.
I continued to have many more experiences of that nature when contemplating Him,
just feeling His Divine Presence, as His Spiritual Transmission began to stir
process in me. Somehow I felt that Adi Da is His Spiritual Transmission.
I only wanted to sit and feel Him all day, to Commune with Him, to surrender to
Him. His Spiritual Invasion of the body-mind is Satisfaction, Happiness,
I realized that He is my Guru and I needed to be His devotee.
I did not care about anything else. The negative things I read about Adi Da on
some websites did not make me flinch. They were so utterly ridiculous and exaggerated
that I had no inclination to believe it, even before I had an affinity for Adi
Da. From the beginning I could tell that Adi Da was strong, confident, and serious.
In contrast, the energy of these negative websites felt to be adolescent, weak,
and absurd. Furthermore, I did not expect mainstream culture to understand and
respect an Enlightened One. I knew from my previous Buddhist practice that the
world isn't really interested in Enlightenment, at all. The world exists and perpetuates
itself on the presumption of egoity. Enlightenment is its greatest threat.
Da Revealed His Own Person to me in the most Direct and Remarkable manner possible.
He Divinely Avatarically Descended into my life, in the most intimate and literal
manner via His Spiritual Invasion of my body-mind. I recognized Adi Da as the
Divine Avatar because His Spiritual Transmission is the Transmission of His Own
Person. It is unmistakable and self-authenticating beyond all doubt, belief, and
even thought. Since that first time He Revealed Himself to me, I have had many
more experiences with Adi Da, where He touched and opened my heart, and I would
weep at the Sight of Him and the feeling of Him. Just His Spiritual Touch is enough
to make the heart break open. I took my eternal vow of devotion to Him in July
of that year.
Shortly after taking my vow, I
moved onto The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary, Adi Da's Northern California Ashram.
During my time of residency there, Adi Da took His Divine
Mahasamadhi. I will always remember that day, as if it just happened yesterday.
I was just beginning to make plans to visit Naitauba, Fiji, Adi Da's Island-Hermitage,
where He Resided during the final years of His physical Lifetime. It was a heartbreak
and a shock. It happened so suddenly and unexpectedly. I was filled with so many
emotions that all seemed to be happening at the same time. It was unbelievably
overwhelming. I could not process the shock that my Master was no longer alive
in His bodily Human Form, and that most heartbreakingly of all, I would never
get to see Him. However, I had not seen Him up until then, and still there was
this powerful relationship with Him. I had been experiencing Him directly and
intimately, regardless of His physical distance from me. On some level, I already
intuitively knew that this should not present any change to that, because I had
been feeling His Spiritual Presence even at a remarkable distance from His Body.
Yet, there was still the incredible sadness, an almost unexplainable sadness that
just seemed to be there, sometimes without any reason at all. And I felt a great
wound in my heart; that I was unable to see my Master in the Body, feeling how
much I would have liked to, while fantasizing what it would have been like.
few days after Adi Da took His Divine Mahasamadhi, I made immediate plans to go
I got on the plane, and eventually found myself on the boat ride to the Island.
I remember as the boat got close enough where I could see the Island with my eyes,
I began to feel how Holy that place is. I recall growing increasingly contemplative
and quiet throughout the boat ride, as it grew closer to the Island. It was as
if Naitauba was Radiating Spiritual Energy in all directions simultaneously, and
I was beginning to feel the Spiritual Energy of that place more and more as the
boat got closer. As the boat came very close to the Island, I felt a deep emotion
rise up in my heart, and I felt my heart open in depth. Tears began to form in
my eyes, as I grew closer to the feeling of my Guru. Finally, the boat stopped,
I stepped into the water, and onto the Island. I felt so desperate to simply prostrate
whole-bodily onto the beach, and I thought of how much I had been longing to do
this, just to lay myself at the Guru's Feet and be forgotten in devotion.
I stood up after prostrating, sand was stuck in my hair, and I was weeping as
I embraced a fellow devotee. There was the heartbreak of never getting to see
Adi Da when He was Alive in the Body, but then there was the feeling of His Spiritual
Presence, still touching me, still moving my heart, still there and unmistakably
Alive. The immense sorrow that I cycled through sometimes felt to be completely
unrelated to Adi Da's Divine Mahasamadhi, as if it was just a sorrow deep inside
of me that had been there for lifetimes, and this Event was just something that
brought it up and out. After a while, I began to recognize the deep sorrow and
all other confusing emotions as part of the purifying Spiritual Force that was
released from Adi Da's Divine Mahasamadhi. I felt grateful to my Guru for purifying
me of a sorrow too deep for me to have even been aware of. Adi Da says that "Love
is a wound that never heals", and I feel how having to come to terms with His
Bodily Passing and not being able to see Him Bodily has served to purify me and
deepen this wound of heart-love for my Divine Guru.
Recently, a friend
of mine who has been responding to Adi Da, asked me if I thought it might be more
beneficial to become a student of a living Guru, as in a Guru who is physically
alive. I immediately thought, Adi Da must be the most Alive and Active Guru that
exists! I couldn't help but feel how much of a "Living Guru" Adi Da really Is,
even now. I thought it was a particularly striking question and was surprised
by my immediate, intuitive response. I just felt how true it was, and how much
of a Divine Gift He Is to all beings, forever. He is a wonder and a miracle; the
Divine Blessing-Presence and Person of Reality Itself.
I feel very blessed
to have become Adi Da's devotee at age 18. I have a long life ahead of me to serve
Him in gratitude for all the Blessings He has Given me and continues to bestow
May all beings receive His Divine Blessing. You
can also watch a video version of this story here: