Keith Marsden has been a devotee of Avatar Adi Da since the early 1980s. Keith was a Ph.D. research engineer in metal physics in the 1960s and did the original metal testing and electron microscopy for the British-French collaboration on the Concord supersonic aircraft. Keith presently lives close to the Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary in Northern California.
Leroy Stilwell is one of the founders of this website. At the time of this story Leroy had transferred to London with the U.S. computer software company he worked for so that he could help support the new community household there.
Adi Da has given His devotees specific Instruction by which they can invoke His Empowerment of a place — such as a meditation Hall or a Center — with His Presence and Blessing-Force. To Empower such places, Adi Da has Instructed His devotees to bring sacred objects already Empowered by Him into these places, where they are "installed", most typically in a sacred ceremony. In many cases, these objects have already been Empowered either by Adi Da's direct touch or by their proximity to Adi Da's body.
Large photographs of Adi Da taken when He is in the mode of Transmitting His Blessing-Force are central to such places. They are the focus of devotees' meditation and sacramental worship. Padukas are another kind of Empowered object. Padukas are specially empoered sandals sometimes used in Sacred Ceremonies.
An Empowerment such as this for the London Centre magnifies Adi Da's Blessing and Transcendental Spiritual Transmission there. These places thus become potent locations for devotees to invoke Avatar Adi Da and to receive His Blessing and tangible Spiritual Presence and Influence in meditation and other sacred occasions. The more such places are used in this way, the more strongly Adi Da is "felt" there over time. When others come to regional Centers (or similar places) to find out about Adi Da, they too can feel His tangible Blessing Presence there.
This story is about a sacred Empowerment of the meditation and lecture Hall in the Center used by Adi Da's London devotees. The ceremony involved installing a new photographic Image of Adi Da, and a walking staff especially Empowered by Adi Da in Fiji and brought by another European devotee to London for the Center.
Keith: I was one of the original devotees in London who responded at heart to Beloved Adi Da. In 1984, after we had grown in numbers and financial strength, we rented a storefront with a basement on Poland Street, just off Oxford Street in London's West End. The storefront was transformed by our love, energy, and skills into the most exciting spiritual bookshop in London, and the basement similarly became a meditation and lecture Hall. We met here for community and devotional occasions, and the room doubled as a meeting place for public people to come to find out about Beloved Adi Da through lectures, seminars, and a film series.
When the Hall was finally finished and made ready for the Installation ceremony, we gathered there as a community to invoke Avatar Adi Da, offering to Him for His Empowerment this first European Center. In this Installation and Empowerment ceremony, a very large (20" x 30"), framed current photograph of Avatar Adi Da was ceremoniously brought into the Hall, bells were rung, devotees shouted praise and clapped their hands. It was an ecstatic occasion in which my attention was riveted on Adi Da without thought for myself. It still gives me goose bumps to remember it.
The man leading the ceremony carried the photograph of Adi Da through the gathering of devotees seated in the Hall to the large padded seat made especially by devotees for Adi Da. On this day, for the occasion, this beautiful chair was surrounded by many exquisite flower arrangements. As the man approached the chair, preparing to place Adi Da's photograph on it, my vision seemed to shift, and I suddenly saw Adi Da Himself take up a seated position on His chair. I could see the man with the photographic Image and at the same time I could see Avatar Adi Da, in different clothes from the ones He was wearing in the photograph, moving, settling on the chair as if to make Himself comfortable in a characteristic position with His legs drawn up and crossed beneath Him.
To my eyes, literally, and in my feeling, Adi Da was really there, responding to the love and devotion of His London devotees and accepting our gift of the London Centre. He showed me that time and space do not place limits on His Spiritual Transmission and His Grace is always available to me when I open my heart, surrender, and forget myself.
Leroy: I had come to London to be a practical support to the new community there, and had not previously participated in such an Installation.
The photographic Image of Adi Da, as well as His walking staff had been kept in the meditation Hall of the principal community house in London. Now that the meditation/lecture Hall in the Center was ready, they were to be brought to the Center and formally installed. The ceremony was to be very simple, which it was. The photographic Image of Adi Da and walking staff were to be brought to the Center in a car. My participation in the Installation was to receive the walking staff from the car when it arrived, and bring it into the Meditation Hall. I was to hold it there, until the time of its formal placement in its stand. Someone else was to do similarly with the photograph of Adi Da.
All of that was very straightforward. It was a much-anticipated event, as we all had been working very hard in the preceding months to remodel the rented store area on Poland Street.
As devotees were gathered and chanting in the new Center's Meditation Hall, I and a couple of other devotees waited outside for the car. When it arrived, first the photographic Image of Adi Da was handed out, and then the Walking Staff was extended from the car for me to take. As I wrapped both my hands securely around the staff to carry it, I felt a vibratory, electric-like current begin to travel from the staff up both my arms and quickly fill my chest. (The feeling was literally like sticking one's fingers in an electric outlet, but without the jolt.) Was I surprised! It was an immediate reminder for me to be giving this occasion and Adi Da my full attention.
I carried the staff into the Hall and took my seat in the front area. It was going to be about a half hour until the time to hand the staff over to the priests doing the puja for them to place it in its stand. Devotees were either chanting or reciting Avatar Adi Da's Teaching Word during that time. Throughout the whole time I sat there holding the staff, I was being continuously filled with this vibratory Force that filled my chest and seemed to open my heart in waves of joy and bodily pleasure. Once I passed the Staff to the priest, the Force dissipated. I remained, however, bodily open and sensitive for quite a while afterwards.
This Installation occasion was a simple, yet very happy occasion for everyone present, but knowing of Keith's experience, and then my own, I was moved to a deeper understanding of the Tangible Blessing Work that Avatar Adi Da Engages in His Invisible, but totally real and effective, Service to all beings. It was my first direct experience of the literalness and tangibility of Avatar Adi Da's Empowerment. It showed me the miracle of His response to devotees invoking Him, and then His perpetual spiritual availability thereafter.
RETURN TO "EMPOWERED PLACES AND THINGS"