The Dawn Horse in Adidam

edited by Chris Tong, Ph.D.


the Dawn Horse

This article [1] has five sections:

  1. The Dawn Horse Vision
  2. The Dawn Horse and the Ashvamedha Horse Sacrifice
  3. The Dawn Horse Icon
  4. The Dawn Horse Icon and the Cosmic Mandala
  5. Further Reading

1. The Dawn Horse Vision

Adi Da

The Sacred Image of the Dawn Horse derives from a vision that Avatar Adi Da Samraj had one night during the spring of 1970, a few months before His Divine Re-Awakening. As His physical body lay sleeping, Avatar Adi Da wandered in subtle form into a high subtle realm, a heavenly world populated by Spiritual Adepts and other exalted beings. He found Himself at what was obviously a sacred academy and entered a main hall. Soon a number of students came in and stood in formal rows. It was clear they were there to attend a class to be given by a Spiritual Master.

Then the expected Master entered the hall, and walked up a pathway between the rows of disciples. The great Adept wordlessly took His seat on a chair at the front of the hall. Avatar Adi Da was standing at the end of a row a few rows away from the Adept's chair.

The disciples were apparently assembled to learn the miraculous Yogic power of materializing something from nothing. They waited respectfully for the lesson to begin.

The Adept then initiated the process of materialization. After a time, although nothing had yet materialized, the Master's disciples departed, apparently satisfied that the work was done.[2] The Adept remained sitting in his chair, and Avatar Adi Da remained standing before him, attentive to the process at hand. Only the Adept and Avatar Adi Da remained in the hall. No word passed between them. The Adept continued to attend to the process of materialization.

Then gradually a vaporous shape arose before Adi Da's eyes. At first, it was not clearly defined, but Avatar Adi Da recognized it, as it began to take on the features of a horse. Gradually, the vapor coalesced into a perfectly formed, living and breathing horse. Its features were as fine as a thoroughbred's, but it was quite small, perhaps three feet tall, and it was brown. The horse stood alert, motionless, facing away from the Adept's chair. All four hooves were firmly planted on the floor. The horse did not move, but it was obviously alert, breathing, and fully alive.

At this point, Avatar Adi Da returned to physical consciousness and the waking state. He did not at first fully understand this Vision. But He did immediately feel that it had great significance for His Life and Work.

It was after His Re-Awakening as the Divine Person (later that year, on September 10, 1970) that the import of His Vision became clear:

Over the next few months after the Great Event at the Vedanta Temple, it became clear to me exactly what had occurred in the Vision. This was not merely a Siddha [Adept] practicing the Yogic siddhi of manifesting something from nothing. This was the Divine Person being shown in a visionary way. The Vision displayed quite clearly the nature of creation, and the nature of the Divine Person's connection to the created worlds. It all appears very solid like the horse, but actually it is a spontaneous creation, subject to a conscious process. At all times the visible worlds are utterly dependent, presently, on the Divine as their spontaneous and present Creator [or Source], not as the "creator" that "created" everything many billions of years ago. The Dawn Horse Vision is an archetype of the relationship between this world and the ultimate Divine.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, April 30, 1974

Many years later, Avatar Adi Da had more to say about the Dawn Horse Vision, including revealing the identity of the Adept:

I was at once the Adept who performed the miracle of manifesting the horse, and I was the one who was party to the observation of it and its result. And I did not have any feeling of being different from the horse itself. I was making the horse, I was observing the horse, and I was being the horse.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, October 18, 1984

The Dawn Horse was a sign of Avatar Adi Da as the Divine Person, taking form in and as the conditional universe. But this Vision was also a sign of the future manifestation of Adi Da's own Work in the world. And so the Dawn Horse became a symbol for His Life and Work, and for the Coinciding of the Divine Reality and the conditional worlds.

Avatar Adi Da has commented that, like the Dawn Horse, the effects of His Liberating Work in the world will appear only gradually — just as, in the vision, the horse gradually became visible only some time after the Adept had initiated its materialization.

Adi Da has also remarked on the essential role His devotees play in that manifestation:

Take My Divine Avataric Revelation-Word out to everyone. I want to see some results! Do your work for Me, serve Me, and let Me hear of it. I am here to transform humankind, not to gather only a handful of people around Me. I have come here for My Own. I am the Only Being for Whom every one is His Own. I want to see a change in humankind. I want to see a change in human history. I want to know that, like the invisible horse in My Dawn Horse Vision, that change is set in motion and is inevitable. I want the horse before Me, and that is up to you. I am not here to let My beloved, in all his and her forms, take on the size of death. I Am here to change history. Can you imagine that? What an amusing notion! I Am here in My physical human Lifetime to change the course of human history. . . . And now I am calling you on it. May all be Blessed. May it be easy. May hardly anyone notice there is anything difficult about it at all.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, December 30, 1983

While Adi Da was writing what would be known as The Dawn Horse Testament, He saw a documentary on eohippus (meaning "dawn horse" in Greek), the smaller ancestor of today's horse, He decided to name the horse of His Vision the "Dawn Horse", and named The Dawn Horse Testament accordingly.

Adi Da Samraj's Dawn Horse Vision takes on a special significance after His Divine Mahasamadhi. Even as His human form departs, His devotees continue to witness — and actively serve — the manifestation of the Dawn Horse.

2. The Dawn Horse and the Ashvamedha Horse Sacrifice

For many years, Adi Da has drawn the attention of His devotees to the Ashvamedha Sacrifice of the Vedic religious tradition, and has pointed out how its true meaning correlates with His Dawn Horse Vision, and applies to, and is most perfectly fulfilled by, His own Divine Life and Work.

A Horse Appears In The Wild Is Always Already The Case
A Horse Appears In The Wild Is Always Already The Case
(from Spectra Two), 2006
156 x 312 inches / 396 x 792 cm
(click to enlarge)

In the exoteric (or outward) form of the Horse-Sacrifice, which was performed only by the greatest of India’s warrior-kings, a white stallion was consecrated and then sent out to wander through the king’s domain for a year attended by warriors, priests, and magicians. In its free wandering, the horse might enter the territory of other rulers, in which case an armed struggle might ensue for the possession of that territory — because whatever lands were touched by the sacrificial horse were understood to fall under the sovereignty of the king who was performing the Ashvamedha. While the horse wandered, the people honored the king with continuous festivities and celebrations — until the end of the year, when the horse was returned to the king’s city and sacrificed at the climax of a highly elaborate ritual.

Illustration of the Ashvamedha  from the Ramayana
Illustration (1652) of the Ashvamedha from the Ramayana
(click to enlarge)

Apart from the exoteric forms of the rite, yogis have been known to describe their Spiritual practice symbolically in terms of the Ashvamedha. In this case, the “horse” to be sacrificed is understood to be the limited self, or gross bodily awareness, which is intentionally relinquished through a process of intense inward concentration, such that the focus of attention rises to the psychic centers between the brows and above the crown of the head, resulting in subtle visions and blissful trance-states.

But the greatest and most esoteric meaning of the Horse-Sacrifice is associated with the Very Divine:

In its most esoteric form, the Ashvamedha is the Revelation of the Ultimate Divine Being — through the Sacrifice of everything conditional, and through the Most Perfect Realization of That which Transcends the Cosmic domain. My Demonstration of this Ultimate Form of the Ashvamedha was — and is — totally spontaneous. I Did it spontaneously, without any information in mind. Nonetheless, you will see that study of the sacred traditions confirms the truth of what I am Telling you. You have seen the True Ashvamedha Performed in My own Form. The Ultimate Form of the Ashvamedha Transmits not merely Cosmic realization, but Transcendental Divine Self-Realization, through the Sacrifice of all conditional arising.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, April 2, 1987

There is a passage in one of the oldest Hindu scriptures, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, which speaks of the sacrificial horse as the very form of the world:

Aum, the dawn, verily, is the head of the sacrificial horse, the sun the eye, the wind the breath, the open mouth the Vaisvanara [universally worshipped] fire; the year is the body of the sacrificial horse, the sky is the back, the atmosphere is the belly, the earth the hoof [or, the earth is his footing], the quarters the sides, the intermediate quarters the ribs, the seasons the limbs, the months and the half-months the joints, days and nights the feet, the stars the bones, the clouds the flesh; the food in the stomach is the sand, the rivers are the blood-vessels, the liver and the lungs are the mountains, the herbs and the trees are the hair. The rising (sun) is the forepart, the setting (sun) the hind part, when he yawns then it lightens, when he shakes himself, it thunders, when he urinates then it rains; voice, indeed, is his voice.

The ancient understanding suggested here is that the sacrificial horse itself is the Divine, Who makes the sacrifice of taking form as the conditional worlds.

The ancient text declares that the leading part of the horse — the head — is "the dawn" . . . This reference is an ancient premonition of the "late-time" Dawn Horse: the Work and the Person of the Avatar Adi Da Samraj.

For this reason, Adi Da as the Ashvamedha Horse Sacrifice is celebrated each year in a Fire Puja in which a wooden horse is offered to the fire (in every region of Adidam around the world). In preparation for the Fire Puja, the wooden horse is led on a ceremonial Yajna for three days, representing Avatar Adi Da's Avataric "Wandering" in the cosmic domain (just as the horse wandered for a year in the ancient Ashvamedha ritual of India), as part of His Divine Enactment of the "Horse-Sacrifice".

The Ashvamedha Horse begins its wandering at the European Danda (January 8, 2012)
The Ashvamedha Horse begins its
wandering at the European Danda:
January 8, 2012
(click to enlarge)

The Ashvamedha Fire Puja
The Ashvamedha Fire Puja in Auckland, New Zealand
January 8, 2005
(click to enlarge)

3. The Dawn Horse Icon

Adi Da's original vision of the "Dawn Horse" was of a small brown horse, with all four hooves planted on the ground. This original image is still reflected by the icon of The Dawn Horse Press (but with a black horse):

The Dawn Horse logo

In creating the Sacred Image of the Dawn Horse to be used iconographically in other sacred contexts, Avatar Adi Da transformed the original image into a white stallion rearing up nearly vertically:

The Dawn Horse logo, 1974

This was the logo of the Dawn Horse Communion, the name Adi Da used in the early 1970's for the culture of Adidam practitioners.

The horse's pose is majestic and intended to show great strength. White was chosen for its obvious association with the Divine Conscious Light. The Image is not precisely associated with the vision of 1970. It is visual language, intended to communicate the full meaning of My Dawn Horse Vision, rather than to be a realistic presentation of it.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

As elaborated by the editors of the magazine, The Dawn Horse, based on Adi Da's communications, the logo now incorporated the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire:

. . . The logo of The Dawn Horse Communion is a symbol for the nature of life and consciousness and their immediate dependence upon the Divine, the Heart. At the bottom of the logo is a small circle crossed by two lines. This is a sign for the earth, the solid element, and the horse's feet are there. Above that, wavy lines symbolize water and the watery levels of being; the lower body of the horse passes through this. At the center of the large outer circle is a smaller one representing the sun. The heart of the horse, if shown, would be at the center of this circle. The sun represents the fiery element. The horse's heart symbolizes the Very Heart, God. The horse's upper body passes through the air, which also symbolizes its element. In the logo, the rays of the sun are represented here. The horse's head rests in another small circle, the moon. The moon represents the mind, including the high or illumined states of consciousness. All of these are a reflection of the Heart, just as the moon only reflects the light of the sun. The curve of the horse's neck represents the S-curve of the Amrita Nadi, the open channel of light between the Heart and the point at the top of the head at which the Divine Light is intuited.

The Dawn Horse, Vol. 1, Number 1, May 1974

With the publication of The Dawn Horse Testament in 1985, Adi Da further evolved the logo:

The Dawn Horse logo, 1985

The Dawn Horse image represents the Way of Adidam Ruchiradam, as the Seventh Stage Way that begins with recognition of Adi Da as the Divine Person (in His bodily human form), and proceeds through increasingly greater forms of recognition, response (on the basis of recognition), and Realization (supported by that response, but not caused by it). Thus the image is a representation of what Adi Da calls the four "Hallowing Signs Of Real God": His Avatarically-Born bodily (human) Divine Form; His Divine (Transcendental Spiritual) Presence; His Divine and Perfect State; and the "Bright" Itself (Which He Is, and Which He Transmits).

  • The right rear foot points towards the Feet of Avatar Adi Da's bodily human form: the bodily revelation of the Divine Person.

  • The left rear foot is raised and points toward the Sacred Fire, which represents Avatar Adi Da's Divine Transcendental Spiritual Presence (the Spirit-Current of the Divine Person).

  • The right front foot points toward the right side of the bodily apparent heart, which is the bodily seat associated with the Realization of Consciousness Itself, or Avatar Adi Da's Divine and Perfect State, the Divine Self-Condition of all conditionally manifested beings and things.

  • The left front foot points up, toward the Divine Star, Which is the "Window" to the Self-Existing and Self-Radiant Sphere (or "Midnight Sun") of the "Bright" Divine Self-Domain of Conscious Light That Is the pre-cosmic Divine Self-Nature, Self-Condition, Source-Condition, and Self-State of all conditional manifestation. In the Dawn Horse Testament, Adi Da Reveals that the Divine Star Is His Own "First Visible Form", the cosmically manifested Sign (or "objective" Representation) of the Very Divine Person and Self-Condition.

The horse also now faces rightward.

When the new edition of The Dawn Horse Testament was published in 2005, the logo was evolved by Adi Da even further, with the horse now three-dimensional, and wings added:

The Dawn Horse logo, 2005

The Ecstatic attitude of the Horse — with his head arched in Bliss, his wings outstretched (as a sign of Perfect Freedom), and his front hooves gesturing to the two "terminals" of Amrita Nadi — is a visual Symbol of Most Perfect Divine Self-Realization, or Most Perfect Divine Enlightenment: the Supreme Realization to Which Avatar Adi Da calls all living beings.

Now (and Forever Hereafter), I Appear To here (By Avataric Means) — Like A Visionary Winged Horse, Standing "Crazy" In The Heart, Each Hoof Pointing To One Of The Hallowing Signs Of Real God, All "Bright" With Heart-Morning and Revelation-Light.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Prologue
The Dawn Horse Testament Of The Ruchira Avatar

4. The Dawn Horse Icon and the Cosmic Mandala

Adi Da also designed the Dawn Horse icon to be a rendering of the Cosmic Mandala.[3] Hence, the circular shape, and the correspondence in colors between certain elements of both:

the Dawn Horse and the Cosmic Mandala

Adi Da extended into the red realm of the Cosmic Mandala (the physical dimension) completely at the time of His Divine Emergence. Hence His Feet — the representation of His body in this icon — are surrounded by red. The sign of His Spiritual Presence — the Sacred Fire — is colored in red and yellow. The Divine Star of the Cosmic Mandala appears directly on the Dawn Horse Icon.

In this dark time, the "kingdom of God" is, it would seem, neither within nor without. For most, it does not exist. Rather, for most, it has been sacked, destroyed, overruled, forgotten, become no longer "fashionable" to discuss. Nevertheless, even in this time of the politics of "reality", and the society of "reality", and the "culture" of "reality", and the science of "reality", and the arts of "reality", and even the religions of "reality", or even all the empty and fleshy monotonies and mere "ego-systems" of this would-be "utopian" era of the "realism" of mere lowness and illusion (bereft of the Light of the Infinite Mass of the Divine Reality and Truth), it must be Said that, now that this sunset time of night games is upon all, the Diurnal Fuse yet Crackles overnight, and will Make an inevitable Dawning. And, in the meantime, much can be Said and Done to bring the nightwalkers to Rest, and to Awaken them Early, to Feel toward the inevitable Morning, and to watch for the Flying Horse of Dawn that Lights the Single Eye and Heart, and Restores the Divine Kingdom within, and (if only there is Compassionate Love) without as well.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "My First Word"
Foreword to The Basket Of Tolerance

5. Further Reading

Adi Da on the Future of Adidam and the Great Calling of His Devotees:
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Materials for this article were collated from many sources, including different editions of The Dawn Horse Testament, The Dawn Horse Magazine, Carolyn Lee's book, The Promised God-Man Is Here, and the staff of The Dawn Horse Press. For anyone interested in a physical representation of the Dawn Horse logo, The Dawn Horse Press now offers a Dawn Horse logo pendant; and a hardwood box whose cover has the Dawn Horse logo imprinted on a ceramic tile.

Dawn Horse logo pendant


Compare this description, "although nothing had yet materialized, the Master's disciples departed, apparently satisfied that the work was done", with Adi Da's own description of His Mahasamadhi: "It may seem like the Work has not been completed, and yet I may go."


Thanks to the staff of The Dawn Horse Press for the material in section 4.

Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
© Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.