7. The Ancient Walk-About Way,
Crazy Wisdom, and the "Teaching Years"

This is Part 7 of Chris Tong's eight part article, An Overview of Adi Da's Crazy Wisdom and "the Way That I Teach".

The Ancient Walk-About Way.
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 a number of Indians directly recognized and responded to Adi Da as a great Spiritual Realizer. Devotee Gerald Sheinfeld, who accompanied Adi Da, tells of one such man:

Adi Da with sadhu in India, 1973Gerald: 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.

Sadhu waiting for Adi DaEach 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 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 or contact.

This kind of direct and instantaneous recognition of Adi Da as Spiritual Realizer would be repeated in a somewhat different way by members of the Fijian culture many years later, when Adi Da established a Sapta Na Sannyasin Hermitage on the Fijian island of Naitauba. The Fijian residents on Naitauba described how they immediately felt Adi Da's "mana" (Spiritual power) and related to Him accordingly, with the respect and reverence due to a great Spiritual being. They even gave Him a title, Dau Loloma ("The Adept of Love"), as a way of formally acknowledging their recognition of Him.

Adi Da once mentioned that, in principle, a single sighting of the Spiritual Realizer should "motivate a lifetime of practice". He shouldn't have to write a single book of instructions. What to do would be obvious to anyone who had the spiritual sensitivity to recognize Him as Spiritual Realizer. He recently elaborated on this theme:

Devotion to the Realizer is the ancient Way of true Spiritual life. I have characterized devotion to the Realizer as the "ancient Walk-About Way" — indicating that devotion to the Realizer has been the Way since before history was written. Devotion to the Realizer is the "pre-civilization Way", which existed before any recorded history, during a time when human beings were, essentially, merely wandering all over the Earth. Devotion to the Realizer has always been the fundamental Means of human Spirituality, whatever other teachings have been given in the circumstance of devotion to any Realizer.

Adi Da Samraj
True Devotion Is "Perfect Knowledge" Demonstrated By Renunciation
in "Radical" Devotion

. . . When you find a True Realizer, you simply see the Realizer in front of you, and you tacitly feel the State of the Realizer. That tacit recognition is not about words. It is not about the Realizer's state of mind. It is not about the Realizer as an extension of the language-game. It is simply a tacit recognition of the Realizer As the Self-Realization (and the Self-Revelation) of Reality Itself.
When you find such a one — of whatever degree or mode of Realization —you tacitly recognize him or her as Master. That recognition converts you, on the spot, to the most ancient (and even pre-historical) Way. In other words, as soon as that recognition occurs, the Way of devotion to the Realizer begins. That Way of devotion is a spontaneous happening, which is beyond the patterning that binds you to the world-mummery and the pursuit of egoic self-fulfillment. . . .

Fundamentally, the only-by-Me Revealed and Given Way of Adidam is a tacit (or wordless) matter. The Way of Adidam is inevitably practiced by someone who heart-recognizes Me — just as the Way of devotion to the Spiritual Master has been practiced in spontaneous response to the Spiritual Master since the most ancient of pre-historical days. If you are disenchanted with the world (and not merely governed in your attention by its possibilities), you are (thereby) open to noticing My Primal Divine State and capable of surrender into the Inherent Attractiveness of My Primal Divine State. My true devotees notice Me exactly As That Primal Divine State. If you are not merely bound in your attention by your own ego-patterning, you can notice Me and become My devotee. Simply to see a photograph of My Bodily Form should be enough. To "Know" Me Is "Perfect Knowledge" of Reality Itself. . . .

The disposition of the ancient Walk-About Way is simply to turn to the Realizer in the very moment of sighting the Realizer. Just so, My true devotees simply turn to Me on sight. They turn to Me with everything "inside" and everything "outside" — such that the entire body-mind is turned to Me, rather than turned on itself and wandering in its patterning. Such devotional turning to Me is a simple matter. And those who do not immediately turn to Me on sight should be served in such a manner that they can come to that point in due course.

Adi Da Samraj
The Ancient Walk-About Way
in "Radical" Devotion

The "Teaching Years". What the Indians and the Fijians who immediately recognized Adi Da as a Spiritual Realizer had in common was a non-Western cultural setting. People growing up in such a cultural setting were raised with a sensitivity to greater-than-material forces and beings. This was particularly true in India, where Spiritual Realizers had lived and been recognized and revered, and used as the primary means for Spiritual Realization, since time immemorial.

In contrast, the Western devotees who came to Adi Da had no such cultural advantage — we generally have little or no spiritual sensitivity. Indeed, being raised in a fundamentally materialistic culture (despite a little religious belief here and there), we all had a serious cultural dis-advantage! We were far from being raised in a culture (like the traditional Hindu culture) that encourages one to be "disenchanted with the world" (a prerequisite for recognizing Him, as Adi Da writes above), or a culture that recommends one find a Spiritual Realizer for the purpose of Spiritual Enlightenment. We instead were steeped in a worldly culture that encourages us to embrace a life of materialistic self-fulfillment, and whose anti-authoritarian ("me" as the only authority) stance and adamant commitment to materialism makes devotion to a Spiritual Master — the longstanding traditional (and present-time) means for Spiritual liberation — a kind of taboo.

For such people, it made sense to a Spiritual Master like Adi Da to first take them through considerations in which they freely experimented with all their obsessions — money, food, sex, even spiritual experiences — and by which He artfully led them to realize that none of these were Perfect, Eternal Happiness or Divine Enlightenment. This was the approach that the great Master, Swami Vivekenanda, had recommended many decades earlier, after living among Westerners and studying their liabilities:

Let every dog have his day in this miserable world, so that after this experience of so-called happiness, they may all come to the Lord and give up this vanity of a world and governments and all other botherations.

Swami Vivekananda

It also bore some similarity to an approach used by the great Spiritual Master of the late ninetheenth and early twentieth centuries, Shirdi Sai Baba, which Adi Da often paraphrased as, "I give people what they want, until they want what I want to give them." [1]

Thus, during His "Teaching Years", Adi Da used Crazy Wise means to reflect His devotees to themselves, and to help grow us out of being enchanted by the world and our obsessions with money, food, and emotional-sexual relationships.

I went to India in 1973, taking some time away from the gathering of My devotees, and returned to the Ashram in Los Angeles resolved to do whatever I had to do to deal with the reality of people's unprepared approach to Me. From that time onwards, I accepted the fact that My Work with people was going to involve My Submission to them and their conditions — until such time as they would recognize Me and understand what the by-Me-Given Way of Adidam is about altogether, and relate to Me differently. I had no sense at all how long that was going to take, or what it would require altogether. It wasn't that I was thinking I would do it for a few months, and then that would be that. It was a real Submission, with no preconception as to how it would turn out. [August 8, 1998]

Adi Da Samraj, The Promised God-Man Is Here

The "Teaching Years" and the unique Life-Process associated with Adi Da's Divine Incarnation. Adi Da has always associated His Incarnation here not only with the Divine State He calls the "Bright", but with a unique Life-Process as well — His Divine Incarnation process — that has gone through recognizable stages and transformations. These stages correspond to changes in the manner in which His Divine Being is integrated with His mortal body-mind.

We generally refer to the "Teaching Years" as that period beginning when Adi Da started teaching in Crazy Wise manner in 1973, and ending on January 11, 1986. On that day, a radical shift occurred in the nature of Adi Da's Incarnation. For a period, He lost bodily consciousness, and the body nearly died. But then He re-integrated with the body in a completely different manner, in which the body was no longer oriented toward functioning in the "Teaching" mode — the mode of placing attention on others and becoming them, in order to reflect them to themselves.

Adi Da's "Teaching" mode was only fully compatable with an early stage of His Divine Incarnation. Indeed, even as early as 1974, He was already expressing this viewpoint, when He gave the book Garbage and the Goddess the subtitle, "The Last Miracles and Final Spiritual Instructions of Bubba Free John", and spoke of relaxing His active Teaching Work and being "merely present" Spiritually to communicate the Divine State to devotees. And several times during the period between 1973 and 1986, He would describe various death-like experiences that would coincide with yet a new configuration of Adi Da's integration with His body-mind. Even after January 11, 1986, the Divine Incarnation process continued to unfold, and on April 12, 2000, a further significant milestone in that process was reached, in which He entered into what He describes as the final ("Divine Translation") phase of His Incarnation here.

The "Teaching Years" and the maturity of the gathering of devotees. Particularly after January 11, 1986, the continually evolving Divine Incarnation process made it increasingly difficult for Adi Da to enter the Teaching mode of intentionally reflecting devotees to themselves by giving them His attention. The process was instead coinciding with what Adi Da referred to as His "Divine Self-Emergence": the ability for His Divine State to be transparently communicated through His body, and for devotees' contemplation of His Divine State (via the means of His human form) to be the sufficient means for Perfect Divine Self-Realization. To put it another way: after January 11, 1986, His own process was making it increasingly easier for anyone to practice the ancient Walk-About Way: the way of wordless recognition of, and response to, Adi Da as Spiritual Realizer, without any necessary attention to devotees on His part.

Even so, Adi Da's devotees in general "didn't get it", and continued to relate to Him in the same way they did during His "Teaching Years". Indeed, up until a few years before his death, Adi Da continued in His ordeal of taking a profoundly ordinary group of people and transforming them into a "culture of recognition"; with attention and energy free from the usual worldly preoccupations of money, food, and sex; and capable of practicing the ancient Walk-About Way. And for this purpose, until recently, He had been required to continue to work with individuals or small groups of devotees at times, in order to still do the work of reflecting them to themselves, so they could grow into the true practice.

So even though Adi Da's "Teaching Years" are formally associated with the period from 1973 through January 11, 1986, you will still see more recent examples (on our site and in the literature of Adidam) of Adi Da's "Crazy Wisdom" or "Teaching" Work. Over time, these instances were increasingly less frequent, and increasingly less active or dramatic in form. In the last few years of His life, Adi Da continued to serve as a "reflector", by virtue of His State — but without any effort, or attention required on His Part:

I Am As I Am.
I am not merely Reflecting.
The Mirror is not "busy" Reflecting everything.
The Mirror Is What Is.
The Mirror Is the Reflector to (and of) egos — but Always Acausally (or Indifferently), Always Free-Standing As Itself (Prior to and Beyond all apparent "differences").
The Mirror is not doing any Reflecting. The Mirror is not doing any observing. The Mirror is not doing anything.
The Mirror is Inherently Free. The Mirror is of a Transcendental, Inherently Spiritual, and Self-Evidently Divine Nature. The Self-Condition That Is the Mirror Itself Is What must be "Located" and Realized — moment to moment (and, at last, Most Perfectly). . . .

Adi Da Samraj, "The Way of the Mirror Is Me" in Radical Devotion


Part 8: The Fruitful Question is not "Did He or Didn't He?"
but rather "Is He or Isn't He?"


Some version of this quote from Shirdi Sai Baba can be found in a number of places, including here.

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.

Technical problems with our site? Let our webmaster know.