Sign of Open Hands
I sometimes see pictures of devotees
with their hands raised. What's the reason for that?
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the closed fist:
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sign of relationship
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Da not only "symbolizing" relationship, but
demonstrating it, by actively drawing devotees
into relationship with Him
Adi Da has
said many times that, in a certain sense, His entire Teaching is summarized by
these two gestures.
first Teaching Sign to everyone was this gesture of My hand, clenching the fist
versus opening the hand. Well, it's presuming darkness versus being Radiant. There
are many ways I could describe the fundamental process — but one way to
describe it is that, in every moment where there is the dark tendency to identify
with self-contraction and all the things that come with it, or to identify with
the body-mind, just in and of itself, and all that comes with that, in every moment
as that comes up, the process is about being Radiant instead.
Adi Da Samraj
Adi Da spontaneously making
the same gesture many years later
Love is the Sacrifice. Love is the Law. Love is Radiance, not contraction. Love is the action in which ego and all reactions are dissolved, since all such things are only contraction. Fear is only contraction. Sorrow is only contraction. Anger is only contraction. Mind in all of its realms, high or low, is only contraction. Where contraction ceases, there is no ego to survive, no reactions to dramatize into separation, no fear, no sorrow, no anger, no thought, no other. . .
When Love is altogether true, when Its Radiance Shines so hard it opens up the hand, then there is only Real God — and Real God Is Love. Love is the Sacrifice of Man.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Chapter One, The Paradox of Instruction
What I am Saying is a simplicity — and, also, a necessity.
Will you turn to Me — or will you protect "self"?
It is that simple.
to be the closed fist, or else to be the open hand? — that is the moment to moment
question of life.
Therefore, by always turning to Me, always choose and be the
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Be The Open Hand"
Nine, The Aletheon
During The Years of My Own Ordeal of Transcendental Spiritual Re-Awakening. . . I spontaneously Developed the total process of the understanding (and the transcending) of the ego. . . Nevertheless, even all of My "Years of Testing-by-experience" were founded on The same basic Insight (or Heart-Awakening), and all those Years were
punctuated by sudden Great Moments of Awakening and sudden Great Leaps of Understanding.
One such (and early) Incident of Heart-Awakening occurred quite gently (but most profoundly), in a moment when I was mindlessly regarding My right hand, observing the (apparent and, suddenly, revealing) contrast between the natural (or open and functionally relational) attitude of the hand and the unnatural (or contracted and functionally dissociated) attitude of the clenched fist.
The natural sign of the human body is relatedness, not separateness and independence!
Therefore, when this sign convicted the heart,the "subjective" commitment to "self"-contraction was spontaneously released. In that moment, there was a quiet revolution in the body-mind. I "Knew" The "Always Already" Sate. And this began a period of Enquiry into the "self"-contraction (which appears, in action, as the avoidance of relationship).
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Aletheon
I often make a fist out of My hand to represent this activity of avoidance, because it shows very clearly what happens when there is self-contraction. If you curl your hand in upon itself, a sensation is generated at the center of the hand that concentrates attention. That sensation in the hand is differentiated from every possible thing outside the hand. That sensation becomes the center of concentration.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, My "Bright" Word
Of course these gestures — the fist and the open hand —
are not unfamiliar to us: we use them in many conventional circumstances.
We threaten (and sometimes punch) each other with our fists. We
gesture a friendly "hello" to somebody with one raised
open hand. And we "shake hands" in a gesture of friendship
and good will by pressing open hands against each other. Indeed,
to make Adi Da's point linking relationship with open palms: there
simply is no other way to shake hands!
When Adi Da first gave us the gesture of open hands, He commented
that it was simultaneously the most receptive and the most
Hands and "Radical" Understanding
Adi Da reveals that there is only One, Indivisible, Divine Reality,
which is Free and Full and Happy.
||Clench your fist as tightly as you can. This is something
like how it feels to be separate from the Divine Reality.
|Now open up your hand. This is something like how it feels
to be in relationship, or perfectly coincident, with the Divine.
||As the ego-fist, each of us believes ourselves to be separate
from the Indivisible Divine. We experience this as the sense
of "I" or "self and other". Once we feel
separate from the Divine, we also start feeling separate from
other beings and things. We feel as though we are a separate
being living in an objective world of separate objects and beings.
|This sense of separation makes us feel unhappy, and we seek
to find a way to feel better again. "I" believes that
"I" has to do something to get Freedom, and Fullness
and Happiness back. We try to get rid of the sense of separation
by trying to "union" with other beings and things
(hugging our family and friends, eating food, etc.)
||But Avatar Adi Da shows that, in Truth, "I" is not
who we really are. Rather, "I" is an activity
of contraction away from the Divine Reality — an activity
that each of us is doing in every moment. In Reality,
there are no separate "I"s! There are no separate
beings! There is only One Being — the Divine. We are That,
but we are not feeling That because of our activity of contraction.
True Happiness, or "Satisfaction", doesn't come
when we get the things we want. . .
True Happiness, or "Satisfaction", comes when we
stop doing self-contraction!
Recognizing this (not just as an intellectual insight but
as an experienced revelation) is what Adi Da calls "Radical Understanding".
Of course, now that you have read this, you may want to try to
gain such Radical Understanding! (That's what the "I"
does — it always turns everything into a search for happiness.)
But "I" cannot cause Radical Understanding to occur.
"I" is the result of the activity of self-contraction.
"I" can only seek happiness; but seeking perpetuates un-happiness.
Instead, Radical Understanding occurs naturally, when the "I"
and the self-contraction are spontaneously forgotten (and released) in Communion
with the Divine.
The Gesture of Beholding: Surrender and the
Reality of the Divine
The Gesture of Beholding
is a particular expression of "open-handedness" where we raise both our hands
interesting to compare the Gesture of Beholding with that other social occasion
where one's hands are raised: when someone is surrendering to someone else.
sociologists suggest that the reason behind such "open palm" gestures is to show
the other person that are not holding a concealed weapon .
While there may be some truth to this in the ordinary functioning of human society,
this manner of explanation fails to capture the (ultimately) spiritual and transcendental
significance of this relational gesture.
Raised hands indicate
surrender — not just surrender in the abstract, but surrender to
someone. We are facing the one we are surrendering to, and holding up our
open hands to that person. In the Gesture of Beholding, raised hands indicate
our spiritual surrender to the Divine, which opens the way to Communion with the Divine — a way to
be continuous with, or "be holding" , the Divine; as they raise their hands, devotees are intimately, whole bodily pressed against the Divine Spirit (non-separately, for they are also immersed in that All-Pervading Spirit). Ultimately, this opens the way to God-Realization:
awakening as the Divine Consciousness.
So this is why you often will see us raising our hands!
Turning to the Divine is a core part of our moment-to-moment practice
of the Way of Adidam. Over time, this turning Gracefully becomes
Devotees in Trinidad, California celebrating
gesture spontaneously occurs when we are experiencing Communion with the
Divine: it occurs without our consciously intending it. We ourselves don't usually
reflect on this point — but from a conventional (materialistic) viewpoint,
it is quite amazing to feel one's hands being lifted into this gesture
by a force other than one's conscious will. (Such spontaneous gestures occurring
in the course of spiritual practice are well-known and hold a respected place
in the Hindu tradition, where they are called "mudras".)
The Gesture of Beholding, then, is most importantly
a reflection and acknowledgement of the Reality of the Divine,
to Whom we are turning and surrendering.
The Gesture of Beholding in Adi Da's Company
During Adi Da's human lifetime, devotees would often
spontaneously raise their hands toward Adi Da in the Gesture of Beholding,
when in His physical company, in response to His Spiritual Transmission.
During Adi Da's human lifetime, we also engaged the
Gesture of Beholding when someone was taking a picture of us that
we knew was going to be sent to Adi Da, to show our devotion and
spiritual surrender to Him, as our Spiritual Master, and more specifically,
recognition of Him as human
Incarnation of the Divine (which is the basis for our devotion
and spiritual surrender to Him). In a similar manner, our Gesture
of Beholding is often directed toward a picture of Adi Da (and,
with or without a picture, we are always contemplating Adi Da as
the Divine as we engage this Gesture).
God cannot be surrendered to in the abstract —
only God appearing in tangible form can be found, related to, and
surrendered to. The entire point of Adi Da's human lifetime was
to provide (through His own bodily human form) the means by which
all of us could actually locate the Divine for real, and enter into
a genuinely God-Realizing process on that basis.
you enter into the heart-relationship with Me, then the Divine Process begins
to duplicate Itself in your case. It is not as if you are a robot that is being
transformed through the effect of some computer — no. The Process is a living
and human relationship with Me.
But that Process has nothing to do with
the conventional "doctor-patient" and "mommy-daddy-baby" games. Irresponsible
people cannot enter into this Process. You must be responsible for yourself at
the human level, and in a profoundly uncommon way.
You must live the discipline
of ordinary life. You yourself must be love under all ordinary, daily conditions.
You must make this change in your life. There is no way whereby you can be relieved
of this necessity — and nobody else can do it for you.
of that ordinary responsibility simply prepares you for the right relationship
to Me (in and As My Avatarically-Born bodily human Divine Form and Person).
I Am your Unique Advantage, because I Am Present in the same kind of bodily
form as you — Manifested in the same kind of physical condition, the same kind
of nervous system, the same kind of brain. In My Case, however, all these mechanisms
are Raised to an Absolute level of Functioning, such that your entering into Communion
with Me brings changes even at the level of the psycho-physical body that you
present to Me.
No abstract Divine Principle can serve you in that manner,
because the physics of this Process must be directly Present, and the bodily (human)
Demonstration of the Process must be Present in a Form that can Do Its Work in
your case. That Work is My Purpose. My Divine Avataric Incarnation Fully Manifests
the State of the Ultimate Physics of things — Which is your Potential, but not
your actuality at the present time.
The "abstract Divine" and the powers
of the universe are not (in and of themselves) organized for the sake of the immediate
transformation of human beings.
If people truly enter into right devotional
and (in due course) Spiritual relationship with Me, they will (inevitably) Realize
the progressive process of transformation characteristic of the only-by-Me Revealed
and Given Way of Adidam.
I Am here to Reveal the Perfect Teaching of Truth
and to Initiate the great culture of compassion and Wisdom among human beings.
However, those Purposes are secondary aspects of My Divine Avataric Service to
humanity. Those Purposes are the Transformative Effects of My "Bright" Divine
State and My Ultimate Divine Function.
My True and Ultimate Divine Avataric
Function is to Instigate the Super-Physics of Most Perfect Real-God-Realization
(or Divine Enlightenment) among My true devotees.
My Avataric Self-Manifestation
in bodily (human) Divine Form is an Advantage That is Unique in human time.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
of Divine Enlightenment"
Three, The Aletheon
Open Hands and Art
Adi Da also links the sign of "open hands"
with the history of art and the nature of true art:
Australian hand painting
image to enlarge
It is significant that among the earliest art-forms
human beings ever made are images of open hands.
The artist would apparently put a hand up against a cave wall
and blow contrasting materials out of the mouth (thus creating
a silhouette of the hand), or (otherwise) immerse the hand
in a contrasting material and press the hand on the wall (thus
leaving an impression of the hand).
Mesa Verda hand painting
image to enlarge
Such images of open hands are among the oldest art that still
exists. And, indeed, the quality of open-handedness — in the
sense of freedom from the "self"-contraction of egoic existence
— does, in fact, have something to do with why people in prehistoric
times would blow contrasting material around their hands or
put hand-impressions on cave walls, and with why anybody might
do so now.
The breath and the hand — that happening-conjunction
says something about what right and true art is.
Right and true art is
an open-handedness — not a closed fist, not a dissociated or "self"-contracted
image to enlarge
Right and true art flows to the viewer — rather than being
at war with the viewer, or aggressively trying to control
and defeat the viewer.
Adi Da: The Indivisible Space of Conscious
image to enlarge
Altogether, right and true art enables and serves the viewer
— in an open-handed, ego-transcending manner.
Adi Da: Image 2004 #7376
42 x 58 inches/107 x 147 cm
image to enlarge
available from DaPlastique
Right and true art is infinitely generous.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj