> Adi Da: A Brief Biography
Da: A Brief Biography
This brief biography draws from a number
of sources, including the AdiDaSamraj.org
website and the Dawn
Horse Press website. For much fuller presentations of Adi Da's life
and work, read Adi Da's spiritual autobiography, The
Knee Of Listening; or read the book, Adi
Da: The Promised God-Man Is Here.
Da Samraj was born "Franklin Albert Jones" on Long Island, New York,
on November 3, 1939. From His birth, He was established in a unique State of spiritual
illumination that He (as a child) called the "Bright".
He describes it as a "boundless feeling of Joy, Light, and Freedom"
— it was the Divine State.
Adi Da's earliest memories of His human lifetime were associated with the Divine
State was just the first of innumerable signs throughout His life indicating that
He was born as a human incarnation of the Divine
Person. From His birth on November 3, 1939, to His passing from the body on
November 27, 2008, His life is the story of the Intervention of the "Bright" —
the Divine Person and State — in human time.
Adi Da was born
by Divine Intention, in response to countless human prayers. He took birth in
order to make two Great Revelations: His own Revelation (as the Very Divine Person)
that the Divine Is Real; and His Revelation of the Way by which all human beings
can Realize eternal Oneness with Him (Divine Enlightenment).
"The Plight Of The Divine Heart-Husband":]
I Am Avatarically Born,
As The Ruchira Avatar, Adi Da Samraj — Man-Born As My Own Divine "Brightness"
. . . and As An Avataric Ordeal Of Divine Heart-Submission To all-and-All.
[from Sutra 2:]
I Was Not Born Merely To Communicate "Useful"
Wisdom To ego-Possessed Seekers. I Was Born To Fully Reveal and To Fully Establish
The One and Complete Divine Way. . .
Adi Da Samraj, The Dawn Horse Testament
His first two years, Adi Da existed in a state of constant Spiritual Radiance
and Joy, without any sense of separate self (or ego). He Radiated His "Bright" State to all then just as clearly as He did in His later life. But during that very early
period, Adi Da also noticed that others were not aware of the "Bright"
— even though it was obvious to Him that all beings were arising in that
same Divine Person and State. He observed that this unenlightenment was the case for every
being He came into contact with, from the members of His family to the dogs He
played with: they all suffered profoundly from lack of awareness of their Real
Condition, and their mistaken presumption that they were only separate, mortal,
And so, at the age of two, out of a profound feeling
of love for others and compassionate identification with their suffering, Adi
Da spontaneously and consciously "became" a human ego, submitting Himself
to embrace the human condition with all its limitations, even while (paradoxically)
remaining aware of His "Bright" Divine Condition. He did this so as to experience,
firsthand, what the human "problem" is, or why people suffer so much
unhappiness. He also did this in order to bring His own Divine Being directly into the grossest domains of the manifest cosmos — to Divinely Descend so that even the "outer reaches" of the cosmos would be fully Pervaded by His Divine Light (a process that He finally established fully with His Divine Self-"Emergence" in 1986).
He had already decided to make this submission even before His birth,
but the actual moment of that Descent only occurred (at age two) after the
physical body was sufficiently prepared for it.
approximately the first two years after My birth, I allowed the gross vehicle
[the physical body] to be gradually prepared for Me. Then, at approximately two
years of age, I Spiritually descended to the region of the heart and thus established
My basic association with My manifested personality.
This Spiritual Descent
into the gross body to the level of the heart occurred on the basis of a sympathy
or heart-response to those who were around Me at the moment. It was through this
sympathetic response that I acquired the Vehicle of this body-mind.
I was Born to make this Submission, the decision to acquire the gross body-mind
did not occur when I was two years old. The Vehicle of this body-mind had become
sufficiently prepared at that point, but I had consciously decided to do this
Work before I Incarnated. The descent was for the sake of the total world and
all beings. I had consciously decided to take a birth in the West. My Intention
before this Birth was to take this Birth and to do My Work by complete Submission
to the ordinary Western circumstance.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj,
February 5, 1989
The reason for it [My descent into the physical
body] was a spontaneous motivation associated with a painful loving of the people
around Me. It was not merely compassion for them, as if they were poor people
I could help — it was a painful emotional and physical sensation in My heart and
in My solar plexus. It was profoundly painful even then, and it always has been.
It was associated with the full knowledge that these people
to whom I was committing My Self were going to die, and that I would die.
I knew that if I incarnated this Function, if I became this body, I would die.
We are going to be separated from one another. We are all going to be destroyed.
This was all fully obvious to Me, and yet this spontaneous gesture, this painful
loving, this profound sensation awakened in Me and moved Me into the body, animated
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, September 15, 1982
Da made it His life's purpose to "learn man": to discover how that human
"problem" of suffering and mortality can be overcome, enabling everyone to realize the supremely blissful and eternal state of
Divine "Brightness" that He had known since birth (and before); and how to develop a means (verbal, visual, etc.) for communicating the nature
of Reality and the Way for realizing the Divine State. As part of this investigation,
He engaged in intensive academic studies, as well as experimentation with all
forms of experience, from the mundane to the extraordinary. (These experiments
were never for the sake of the experience itself, but always for the sake of understanding
the mechanisms underlying all human seeking and experience.) He graduated from
Columbia University with a B.A. in Philosophy in 1961, and from Stanford University
with an M.A. in English Literature in 1966.
1964, Adi Da Samraj initiated a six-year period of intense spiritual practice under a succession
of highly accomplished spiritual masters in the United States and India — Swami
Rudrananda, Swami Muktananda, and Bhagavan Nityananda — leading Him to experience the highest forms of traditional mystical attainment.
During Adi Da's first visit
with Swami Muktananda in 1968, Swami Muktananda indicated that Adi Da was a spiritual
master by birth, and “the most extraordinary Westerner” he had ever encountered.
One year later, in a unique letter of acknowledgment, Swami Muktananda made an
open public declaration that Adi Da was, by virtue of His evident spiritual signs
and demonstrated states, inherently qualified to teach others independently, and
to awaken others spiritually by direct transmission.
always related to these great spiritual masters with the deepest devotional surrender
and gratitude. But it also eventually became obvious to Him that His process of
discovering the way of perfect Truth for all could not come to completion under their
guidance — because He had come to know, from direct experience, that the kinds
of Realization offered by these masters were not the equivalent of the "Bright"
State He had known from birth (and before). As the devotee of these spiritual Masters, He discovered that all forms of Spiritual
Realization that had ever been sought and attained were still based on an effort
of the ego — whether it was the effort to surrender to the Divine (emphasized by Swami Rudrananda, and proponents of what Adi Da called "fourth stage" approaches); or the effort
to mystically ascend to the Divine (what Adi Da calls the "fifth stage Realization");
or the effort to detach oneself from "self" and "world" in order to enjoy the
Bliss of Pure Consciousness (what Adi Da calls the "sixth stage Realization").
Even if only in the subtlest manner, it was always still the ego making
the effort, and that ego prevented perfect Divine Realization (what Adi Da calls
the "seventh stage Realization").
The only Way truly capable of fully
Realizing the Divine would be one based on the Divine not "sought" but
already present, and the egoless heart-response of the being to
the already present Divine. What would enable "Franklin Jones"
to Realize the Divine was a unique circumstance: the Divine had incarnated as
Him, and so was directly present and available to Him. Then, in turn, He Himself would
enable anyone else to Realize the Divine by making the "Divine already present"
for them, through the vehicle of His own Divinely Realized body-mind.
The Divine Being in the form of the Spiritual Master is Transfigured during this lifetime and Awakens to his or her Divine function. Likewise, every individual, every devotee, Awakens, through right relationship to that One, to the ultimate destiny and to the God-Realizing process of existence. God does the work of the Spiritual Master, God creates the lifetime of the Spiritual Master, and God is Awakening as the Spiritual Master. The birth of the Spiritual Master is extraordinary! The Divine Conscious Being appears in the world with the same limitations with which all other beings are born, yet such an individual is more and more profoundly Awakened with full consciousness of the Divine Truth that "I am that One."
The ordinary devotee does not Awaken at birth with that consciousness. Only God, the Divine Conscious Being, Awakens with that consciousness in the plane of human beings. The devotee Awakens to the Divine at last through surrender, yes — this is the Great Secret of the Way of Adidam. But the Divine Consciousness or Spiritual Master is a specific function among human beings.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Incarnation of the Purusha
|I Am the "Bright"! And the Force of "Brightness", Goading you and Serving you.
In My Own Case, the "Bright" Itself was the Constant Associate of My Sadhana, and never allowed Me — speaking of this Vehicle in human Form here — to rest. No matter what Realization occurred — to Me, it was "garbage". It was not It! The "Bright" was My Condition, even behind the limitation of the body-mind-complex — and I was never satisfied with any of it. Without the "Bright" Moving Me — just being ego-born in the usual sense — then I might have settled for any one of those kinds or levels of Realization. . .
The "Bright" was always the Goad, the Condition That was Moving Me. Ultimately, That is What I Re-Realized. The "Bright" Is My Own Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State. I never left It. And that is how the Sadhana was able to Fulfill Itself.
In your case, you are ego-born, and you have all kinds of limitations and might settle for this or that. Always have. But I Am the "Bright" in your company. That is how — by your conformity to Me, your devotional Communion with Me — I Press you on, Press you further, Call you further, Do the Work of the "Bright" in your life, so that you, likewise, will come to this Ultimate, Most Perfect Realization, through conformity to Me. And I will be the One you will Realize — the Very "Bright" Itself.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
All of My "Years of Testing-by-Experience" were associated with Identification with the "Bright" Itself, My Own Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State. . . I Give you the Gift Which I, Myself, Am and by Which I always Benefited in all My "Years of Testing-by-Experience" — the "Bright". Commune with Me, give yourself to Me, “Locate” and “Know” Me, be in Me. Then you have exactly the same Advantage I had in My apparent "Years of Testing-by-Experience" — the Gift of Identification with the "Bright", Myself.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, July 8, 1995
so, on September 10, 1970, Adi Da spontaneously Re-Awakened to His own "Bright"
Divine (and inherently egoless) Self-Condition — not fundamentally because of
any process or insight associated with any of the spiritual masters with whom
He had been associating, but primarily as a continuation of the incarnation process
that the Very Divine had initiated at (and through) His birth.
are all kinds of ordinary associations with My Birth. I Submitted to an ordinary
Body in an ordinary circumstance — in the West. But that Submission has nothing
to do with My Nature and Identity, nothing to do with the Profundity of experience
that has been Mine since before this Birth, and all the while that I have been
"Doing" My human Lifetime, That Submission required many passages through
ordinary life limitations — but even in the midst of such limitations, My Own
Nature and State, My Own Divine Samadhi, kept Breaking Through — and that is where
the Great Incidents of My "Sadhana Years" came from. And those Great Incidents
are also the Means by which I was able to Discriminate between, on the one hand,
the phenomena that were arising in My experience (both the ordinary life-experences
and the Spiritual phenomena that, in subsequent years, arose in association with
various Teachers and traditions) and, on the other hand, the Very Divine Self-Condition
and the Divine Nature of Ultimate Realization.
During the years of My early-Life
Ordeal, Divine Self-Realization was never lost. Rather, My Own Divinely Self-Realized
State was Surrendered by Me, into the conditions of an ordinary Western
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, August 15, 2004
meditating in the Vedanta Society Temple in Hollywood, California, Adi Da suddenly
and perfectly "regained" what He had (at two years of age) volunteered
to "lose". Only now, He, as the Divine, had fully acquired the body-mind
of "Franklin Jones" and had conformed it to Himself, to the point where
"Franklin Jones" had Realized Him. From the viewpoint of "Franklin
Jones", this was Divine Enlightenment, but from the viewpoint of the Divine incarnating,
this was a Re-Awakening.
At the same time as Adi Da was conforming
the body-mind of "Franklin Jones" to the Divine, He was submitting all
of conditional reality to the Divine Reality, thus enabling all beings to Realize
the Divine from that moment on, as Adi Da describes [bold ours]:
Sign set all of it straight, actually Accomplished it, by virtue of Divine Siddhis.
My Divine Self-Realization is not a bit of poetry. I am not merely using symbolic
language, as if it was just the same before and the Vedanta Temple [Event] was just a
bit of poetry. It is not that at all. It was an actual Event — not just the Event
of My Divine Re-Awakening but the Event of the utter submission of the entire
Cosmic Mandala to the Very Divine Condition by virtue of the Divine Siddhis
snapping the barrier that the Cosmic Mandala has represented for beings until
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"Your Heart Must Be Moved", March
Adi Da had Re-Awakened as the Divine. He had Awakened the Divine Siddhis that would (at long last) enable all beings to Realize the Divine. In effect, He had
created a "hole in the universe", enabling conditional beings to "enter" (and ultimately Realize) the Divine Domain for the first time.
And through His comprehensive experimentation, He had equipped Himself with the fullest possible experiential knowledge of the human condition, the process of spiritual growth, and the Way for beings
to fully awaken into the Divine Condition beyond egoity. Having all these means at His disposal, Adi Da was now enabled to begin
His unprecedented work of teaching others and serving as their Spiritual Master, as the very means
by which they could tangibly locate and commune with the Divine in every moment.
Adi Da Samraj's
formal teaching work began with the opening of His first ashram on Melrose Avenue,
Los Angeles, in April of 1972. For the remaining thirty-six years of His human
lifetime, He devoted Himself to creating a vast repository of wisdom, covering
every area of human and spiritual life, in living dialogue with those who approached Him. In
the early 1970's, Alan Watts, writer of numerous books on religion and philosophy,
acknowledged Adi Da as "a rare being", adding, "It is obvious,
from all sorts of subtle details, that he knows what IT's all about."
the years of His teaching work from 1972 to 2000, Adi Da created and established
an entirely new way of life: the way of devotional and Transcendental Spiritual
relationship to Him which He called "the Way of Adidam". Through contemplation
of Him — His Transcendental Spiritual
Transmission of Himself, always accessible to all devotees wherever they might
be — devotees would recognize and commune
with Him as the Divine Person, and would ultimately duplicate His Divine Realization,
via the spiritual law, "you become what you meditate on". Many of the stories on this site from
devotees recount their recognition of Adi Da as the Divine and the realizations that occurred
as they engaged this practice of contemplating Him as the Divine, and receiving His Spiritual Transmission.
1972 on, Adi Da worked directly with thousands of people who approached Him as
Divine Heart-Master. He wrote thousands of pages of Revelation and Instruction,
and He spoke thousands of hours of discourses, in face-to-face dialogue with His
devotees. In so doing, He called into being a new culture — with its unique forms
of worship, artistic creativity, and cooperative living, all based on a life of
Communion with Him as the Divine in Person. Adi Da brought the same burning urgency
and passionate commitment to His Work of Teaching and Revelation that He had demonstrated
during His earlier years of "learning Man".
During this period,
Adi Da created a Wisdom-Teaching comprised of a vast and comprehensive body of literary and spiritual writings:
more than sixty published books.
About Adi Da's Wisdom-Teaching, Professor of Religious Studies, Jeffrey Kripal, writes (in the Foreword to The Knee Of Listening): "The writings of Adi Da Samraj are the most doctrinally thorough, the most philosophically sophisticated, the most culturally challenging, and the most creatively original literature on radical nonduality currently available in the English language." Author Henry Leroy Finch adds: "There exists nowhere in the world today, among Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, native tribalists, or any other groups, anyone who has so much to teach, or speaks with such authority, or is so important for understanding our situation. If we are willing to learn from him in every way, he is a force to be reckoned with — a Pole around which the world can get its bearings."
Da also established and spiritually Empowered five Hermitages
and Sanctuaries: The
Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary and Tat
Sundaram (in Northern California); Ruchira
Dham Hermitage (in Washington State); Da
Love-Ananda Mahal (in Kauai, Hawaii); and Adi
Da Samrajashram (in the Fiji Islands). Thousands of devotees and non-devotee visitors have experienced the Blessing Power of these Holy Places. As Adi Da describes them:
These Holy Places Are — now, and forever hereafter — My Agents on the Earth. . . . [They] Are Holy (or Set-Apart) Places because of The Unique Divine Transcendental Manifestation of My Divine Avataric Person That Happens in Them.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
the very beginning of His work, Adi Da made it clear that what He offered to His
devotees was "a relationship, not a technique." He entered into His
teaching in a very actively relational manner, teaching those who came to Him
by addressing their doubts, questions, and dilemmas.
In this process, Adi Da considered every aspect of human life, including functional,
practical, relational, and spiritual life. For many years, He taught in a heroic,
"crazy-wise" manner, using unconventional means to reflect His devotees
to themselves, and thus serve their spiritual awakening.
Da's Teaching and the Way of Adidam evolved in phases and periods, marked by profound
transformations in His work with devotees, and in His own body. Frequently He
took on new names that coincided with new phases
in His life and work. On January 11, 1986 (the initiation of Adi Da's Divine Emergence),
and again in April, 2000 (the "Ruchira Dham" Event), Adi Da experienced
extraordinary, death-like yogic events that involved loss of bodily consciousness
and a subsequent re-integration of the Divine Person with the human body in a
new way. In these events, His body became ever more profoundly transformed and
transfigured by the Divine "Bright" Condition, making the Divine State
ever more accessible to all beings through the means of Adi Da's human form.
this reason, after 2000, Adi Da Samraj's work became that of direct Revelation
and universal Blessing, the pure communication of the "Bright" State
that was His illumined experience at birth (and always). From 2000 until the end
of His human lifetime in 2008, Adi Da lived mainly at Adi Da Samrajashram, His
Sanctuary in Fiji — a place spiritually Empowered by Him as the primary seat from
which His Blessing flows perpetually to the world.
continually magnified His universal Blessing from there, inviting His devotees
into His Company on spiritual retreat, and constantly working to express the truth
of existence through modes of communication to which all human beings could respond,
including works of literature, theater, art, and philosophy.
His childhood, Adi Da Samraj had turned to art as a means to convey the humor
and freedom of the "Bright" to others, producing images and artifacts
in various modes even throughout the years when He was otherwise concentrated
in developing His teaching and establishing the Way of Adidam. Beginning in the
late 1990's, He began to focus with increasing intensity on creating artistic
images that could directly serve His Work of Revelation. His artistic
works, vast in number, have been featured in a number of internationally
acclaimed venues (including the Venice
Biennale). Internationally renowned art critic, Donald
Kuspit, wrote of Adi Da's art, "It is a rare artist who can convey, convincingly,
the sense of being face to face with the source of being. Adi Da can clearly live
in the depths without succumbing to their pressure, bringing back pearls of art
to prove it."
|My image-art can be characterized as paradoxical space that undermines "point of view". That undermining allows for a tacit glimpse, or intuitive sense, of the transcendental condition of reality — totally beyond and prior to "point of view".
My process of image-art is always purposed to transcend point of view and, if the resultant images are received seriously and viewed seriously, they are a means for tacitly feeling the perfectly egoless condition of that which is perceived.
By making image-art, I am making "space" for what is beyond and prior to "point of view" and ego-"I".
In the final years of His life, along
with His artistic work, Adi Da turned His regard
with great intensity to the current state of humanity and the common world. He
actively called upon people of all faiths and nationalities to live in cooperation
and peace with one another, based on the presumption of “prior unity”, for the
sake of the world. Adi Da was not political in any ordinary sense of the word.
Rather, His address to humanity and the process of civilization (particularly
through His book, Not-Two Is Peace)
was made in the blessing stance of a true "world-friend", coming from
His lifelong intention of communicating the truth of existence.
The old moral, social, and political “order” of humankind is now dead. A new and true and right Way of order of humankind is, now, and forever hereafter, necessary. . . .
The working-presumption of prior unity — rather than the search for unity — is the right and true context for all human exchanges. If there is the working-presumption of prior unity, then ego-surrendering cooperation and tolerance make perpetual human peace.
The life and teaching of Adi Da Samraj are of profound and decisive significance at this critical moment in history. . . At this critical moment in the history of the human family, when the very foundations of civilization are being challenged, there is a message of compassion being spoken by one grounded in enduring wisdom and true discernment. In Not-Two Is Peace, Adi Da writes of the urgent need for a new form of global discourse, based on the recognition of the underlying unity of humankind. Such discourse would renew the ideals that originally underlay the foundation of the United Nations. And it would require humankind as a whole to listen to the ordinary people all over the world who are in dire need of greater human security.
Bryan Deschamp, Former Senior Adviser
United Nations High Commission for Refugees
27, 2008, Adi Da Samraj passed from
His physical body while working in His art studio on Adi Da Samrajashram.
His passing was sudden and peaceful. On the morning of His passing (which His
devotees call His "Divine Mahasamadhi"), He completed His writing of
The Aletheon, the book He designated
as “first and foremost” among all His writings.
For years, Adi Da had spoken to His devotees
inevitable end of His human lifetime, and how He worked
throughout His life to leave humankind with forms of Agency
through which His blessing Presence would forever be felt
and magnified, and through which an eternally living relationship
with Him would always be possible (and through that, Divine
Enlightenment would be realizable). Through His
Empowered Hermitages and Sanctuaries, His
vast literature of Spiritual Revelation and Instruction,
Image-Art, the storied lessons of His uniquely born
life (including all the
stories of His work with and Blessing of devotees and non-devotees
alike), and the devotional and spiritual response and growth of
His community of devotees, Adi Da Samraj has made Himself — and thereby, Divine Enlightenment —
transcendentally spiritually available to everyone, now