FAQs about Adi Da & Adidam > Ex-Devotees > Dissidents and "anti-Adi Da" websites

Dissidents and "Anti-Adi Da" Websites

Question: What about the "dissident" ex-devotees who express negative feelings about Adi Da and Adidam on the Web?

Answer: A recent independent study shows that most ex-devotees are NOT negatively disposed toward Adi Da and Adidam — quite the contrary! But a small number of unrepresentative (but very vocal) ex-devotees have created critical websites that are often mistaken for the majority view among ex-devotees. And as it turns out, even some of those most vocal critics are communicating a new and very different understanding of Adi Da these days.

This article has several sections:

  1. Education level of ex-devotees/devotees
  2. "Ex-devotees" who return

1. Did He or didn't He?

For those discovering Adi Da and considering taking up the God-Realizing Way of Adidam, one frequent stumbling block is their running across websites which list a couple of lawsuits, and things Adi Da allegedly did that ended up ostensibly hurting some devotee.

When spiritual seekers who have visited such websites arrive at our doorstep, they generally (and not surprisingly!) are quite confused. They are impressed and often deeply moved by Adi Da's obvious wisdom and compassion; they are often also deeply moved by seeing His pictures or videos (many are feeling His Spiritual Transmission in some form), or by hearing the extraordinary stories of Revelation by His devotees. But they are then completely confused by the negative rumors going round. And so generally, they come to us with questions of the form, "Did He or didn't He?" (Or: "If He did, then can you account for why He did it in Spiritual terms?")

A simple summary of what we find when we systematically go through all the "did He or didn't He" questions is this:

  • The source of these stories is a very small, unrepresentative (but very vocal) group of ex-devotees. Most ex-devotees are not at all negatively disposed toward Adi Da and Adidam, and many maintain positive relationships with the Adidam community. Later in this article (sections 2 through 4), we'll be presenting a recent independent study conducted on this. One of the findings: 91% of ex-devotees consider Adi Da a "great religious teacher". A comment from a former devotee like the one below is not unusual:

    [In response to a story about Adi Da:] As a devotee of Adi Da during the late 1970's and early 80's, I very much appreciate your acknowledgement of Master Da's influence on your life and on the evolution of spiritual teaching in our time. He taught me more than I can possibly recount, and I, too, am profoundly grateful.

    Here's a more extensive comment from another former devotee, Jill Kelly-Moore, responding on a public website to someone asking her about the negative stories:

    Jill Kelly-Moore: When I lived in the community (end of "Garbage and the Goddess" days) there were long periods of very serious practice. Once in a while, on a Friday, Master Da would call a party, during which time all living conditions were lifted. I saw those times as ways of determining just what anyone was really craving that the conditions prevented. For me it was coffee, and forbidden foods. But I do have an eating disorder, so that fits.

    Most people in my households indulged in cigarettes, alcohol, a bit of pot and some sexual fun; that was all I witnessed. It was a nice change from the conditions, but usually, we were back on the conditions on Monday.

    As I said before I was not part of the inner circle. I never really wanted to be. I knew intuitively that I was there to be a student, live the life of a student, to gain insight from that. There were those who did want the inner circle and frankly, it seemed Master Da gave them a double dose of what that would mean; he would give things (position, influence) and take them away with great rapidity, which I took to be a lesson tailored for that individual so they could see what they were doing. I cannot answer to all of the rumors, stories, lawsuits, etc. because I did not witness any of that. My experience there, while challenging to the set of situational ethics I had invented from living in counterculture, was wholly good. While I am aware that most people, including you, I guess, are much more interested in the seedier and more spurious stories, I cannot speak to those. I believe I was given exactly what I needed. . .

    [On leaving:] I knew I was not completely committed, heart and soul, to Master Da as Guru and God. I did not think it fair to others to stay under those circumstances, even though I was having a wonderful experience and will always speak kindly of Master Da and my time there.

    Or read this in memoriam from Terry Patten, who considers Adi Da to be his "root-guru".

    Terry Patten: My root-guru, Adi Da Samraj, passed a year ago this Thanksgiving in Fiji. He was 69. I was a devotee of this great God-realizer from the age of 22 until I was 37. He not only profoundly transformed my life and consciousness, but, I think, helped transform the entirety of contemporary Western spirituality, even though he is not nearly as widely known as he is influential.

    On this anniversary of his passing, I remember him with gratitude, and look back in amazement at his legacy. Please know, words fail here. To speak about Adi Da is to nominate oneself as one of the blind men reporting on the elephant. Adi Da was one part Jesus Christ, one part Picasso, one part Nagarjuna, one part Marlon Brando, and one part Genghis Khan. And more. . .

    This is true of many "former" devotees: they still consider Adi Da to be their Teacher or Spiritual Master (or one of their teachers or masters), even if they have associated with other teachers or masters in the meantime.

    Nancy C. is no longer a formal devotee of Adi Da, but the reason she "left" may surprise the reader:

    Nancy C: Even though I am no longer a formal student, the argument of [Adi Da's] teaching has stayed with me, and I have remained suspicious of my self-involved motives at every turn. It has made me more tolerant of other ways of life, and more open to change. . . He criticized me for being an idealistic romantic, and wanting to make my own religion rather than turn to Him. In fact, I seemed incapable to submit to that relationship in a mature fashion, and I came to wonder if the whole construct of the Guru-devotee relationship was even possible for me. I entered into it very naively (and also with a lot of baggage). But every time I saw Him, I was so immersed in love. Even when I view a picture of Him now, I come to rest in truth. He awakens me to love. I have experienced awakenings with viewing other murtis, viewing a tiger, and even just being present with anyone brings me into that experience again . . . but with Him it always goes deeper. . .

    I’ve called Him a madman, I’ve called Him a saint, I’ve called Him a hedonist, and a trickster. I’ve called myself a sheep for following Him, but now I yearn for Him, and can only find Him, in everything and everyone. I see Him now as I write, mad with Love, and longing to be connected to something beyond my ordinary limitation. Anything short of that is unbearable. The gift He gave me was like no other gift I have received in my life. . . I found in Samraj Adi Da a doorway from maya, even though it nearly killed me to see what was necessary. . .

    I left Adi Da Samraj because the revelation of Narcissus was unbearable to me. Yes, there were “others” that hurt me, that abandoned me, but it’s what I did in the face of that which created the real suffering. You can say anything you want about this incredible being, Adi Da Samraj, but in my reality, He was the only one who showed me true love, who was willing to insult me to the ultimate degree to help me to see my real condition. Every day I pray that I live the gift of revelation He gave me. I pray that I live as an open heart surrendered to truth, and aligned to the beauty He demonstrated to me. In my life, He was the only one that loved me freely and fiercely. Not "me" as a separative ego, but me as an aspect of the Divine shining to infinity and throughout each and every body-mind.

    Another man explains why he will not "recommend" Adi Da to most spiritual seekers:

    I am not Pro, per se, nor am I Con either, in retrospect, and after years of deeply considered and completely amazing relationship with Adi Da Samraj and "The Community", I am instead in Mystery. Most Spiritual Teachers currently will promise you a vision, a meditation, or something, something that will alter your present State of dissatisfaction or unhappiness. Adi Da Samraj promised me nothing. I have been asked by younger spiritual seekers if I recommend Adi Da Samraj, and I say "No" — not because I feel Adi Da Samraj is invalid; instead, it is because most spiritual seekers are casual "seekers", looking for "the Blue Pearl", a "Chakra High", or some casual Enlightenment to surmount the World and remove their fear of Death. Adi Da Samraj supplied none of that. Adi Da Samraj was a disappointment to almost all casual spiritual seekers.

    Adi Da Samraj was everything you did not expect or want. If you sought Asceticism, He appeared to be Self-Indulgent. If you wanted Self-Indulgence, He only offered you the deepest personal Asceticism. He would upset you deeper than any relationship you ever had, and you became enthralled with Him more than with anyone — Ever. Adi Da Samraj fulfilled the Classical Guru function; He was a "Fire", and He burned you — one does not approach The Guru without a gift, or casually.

    With most, I do not share my relationship or experiences with Adi Da Samraj. . . they are too close, too personal, too dear, and only a tiny few have the capacity to feel into the understanding of such a relationship. He was not a conventional Man.

  • Many of the alleged "incidents" flat out didn't happen. This includes those allegations that formed the basis for the primary lawsuit — read this letter from the complainant, Beverly O'Mahony, which completely exonerates Adi Da:

    Beverly: I agree that 99% of what I have seen of any reporting on the Community/Guru is horseshit.

    It is also worth noting that, in 2006, a devotee in England was involved in a child custody case where her ex-husband thought he could gain some legal advantage by bringing up in court all the slander he could find about Adi Da Samraj on the Internet. The judge went through every allegation, and dismissed every single one of them as being either hearsay, rumor, or utterly irrelevant, and having no legal basis in fact.

  • Some incidents occurred, but are greatly twisted out of context by Adi Da's detractors. As just a few of many examples, read our stories from Lynne Wagner, Katsu, and Eileen McCarthy, and Sally Taylor, who provide the actual context of the "incidents". For example:

    Lynne Wagner: When told that I was being sued for "imprisoning" Beverly, my first response was amazement. It was such a distortion of the real events, I could not believe that she was serious. During the couple of weeks Beverly was on retreat in Fiji, I talked with her two or three times about her practice and what she was going through with Brian. She was very unhappy about their relationship and determined to confront him when she got back to California. Discussing her marital problems was uncomfortable, but I was Brian's friend, had just met Beverly and wanted to help them, because I thought they loved each other.

    I suggested that Beverly stay on the island a bit longer, take some time to relax, come to terms with her feelings of anger and betrayal and consider all the issues she wanted to bring up with Brian. And that's what she did — she waited a week or so until the next boat came to the island, and then she left. She certainly was not "held against her will".

    Or read this article from longtime devotee, James Steinberg, who attended virtually every occasion with Adi Da, including those associated with the alleged "incidents". From the article:

    James Steinberg: There is no denying that our community had great periods of experimentation in the emotional-sexual area. I never witnessed nor heard of anything I would describe as 'sexual abuse', and I have been to many, many gatherings.

    You may also find it helpful to read this article on how all such experimental considerations were completely voluntary. From the article:

    Crane Kirkbride: I've had personal examples of when I received “strong encouragement” to participate in a particular consideration relative to some aspect of practice and said, “no.” And it was let go — no forcing. Strong invitation, because Adi Da clearly saw something about me that could have been served by my being seen or revealed or exposed or released through participation. But even so, there was no forcing. In all the years I've been around Adi Da — thirty-two, or however long it is now — I've never seen anybody forced into a position that he or she clearly said “no” about. . . .

    I remember one occasion (among many) when a devotee simply said, “I don’t need it and I’m not interested.” And so he didn’t participate. And there was no problem about it.

  • Some incidents require recognizing that Adi Da is a genuine Spiritual Master and Spiritual Transmitter, and understanding what that means. Read our stories from Connie Mantas and Chris Tong and Wes Vaught for just a few of many examples. Or read James Steinberg's article on Money and the Guru, for another dimension of this, as well as James' book, Divine Distraction, about the esoteric nature of the Guru-devotee relationship (with Adi Da in particular, and throughout history altogether).

    Just to illustrate how things get distorted, here is what Connie Mantas wrote, in response to rumors on various negative websites that Adi Da "hit a pregnant woman in the belly":

    Connie Mantas: Around September or October of 1974, I was in the last trimester of my pregnancy with my son, Ben. Spontaneously one evening, as we stood near the Master's Chair chanting softly to Him, Beloved Adi Da reached out and placed His hand very forcefully on my swollen belly. I fell back in a swoon of His Spiritual Force onto the devotees who were standing behind me, and we all just stood in that moment together. I closed my eyes and continued to feel His Spiritual Transmission very strongly in my body. Then it was over just as quickly as it began.

    Later, at the end of the evening, I still could feel the touch of His hand on my stomach, and I had a sense of His strong Blessing, as if by placing His hand there He were calling His devotee into being. Several months later, I had a wonderful baby boy, fully healthy and strong.

    Many years later, that baby boy, Ben Grisso, would grow up into a young man with a very strong devotional response to Adi Da. During the final years of Adi Da's human lifetime, Ben lived with Adi Da on Adi Da Samrajashram and served Him directly, helping Him create His Image-Art.

  • There are a few incidents for which we may never have any (conventionally acceptable) explanation.

Our "Crazy Wisdom" section and our "Lawsuits, Countersuits, and Media Circuses" section contain many firsthand accounts that provide the actual details and context for a number of these incidents; and we'll be adding many more of these over time.

Of course to have to focus on what Adi Da didn't do (like those anti-Adi Da sites do throughout, or like we are doing here for a brief moment) is to completely miss what He did do. In addition to the extraordinary gifts He gave to everyone — the Empowered Sanctuaries, His amazingly profound, comprehensive, and Revelatory Teaching-Wisdom, His Revelatory Image-Art, a worldwide community of devotees capable of invoking the Divine for real (and capable of helping others fo the same), advanced practitioners of the Way of Adidam who provide ongoing inspiration and practical guidance, etc. — this site contains hundreds of stories from individual devotees, expressing their gratitude to Adi Da for countless gifts, from Divine Revelation and Spiritual Transmission to human maturity and freedom.

To get immersed in what Adi Da did or didn't do (or to allow it to become the sticking point in one's approach to Adi Da) also misses the overarching reality of the Way of Adidam: those devotees who have received the Revelation of Adi Da as the Divine (the only right starting point for becoming Adi Da's devotee) to the point where they have been transformed by that Revelation are not at all troubled by (or fixated on) such questions. The Reality of the Divine — Revealed by Adi Da in every moment of contemplation of Him — has become so profound and so obviously the Center and Purpose of truly sane life, that the suggestion of throwing out the "Baby" (that direct, tangible access to the Divine via Adi Da, in every moment) with the "bath water" (those "did He or didn't He?" questions) seems truly absurd.

2. Most ex-devotees are NOT negatively disposed toward Adi Da and Adidam

Those ex-devotees who are negatively disposed are not at all representative of ex-devotees in general, being far exceeded in number by the ex-devotees (and, of course, current devotees) who have positive feelings, or who have appreciated (and feel they have benefited from) the time they spent in Adidam.

This is actually a common finding by sociologists of religion who study new religious movements: the vast majority of ex-members of a typical new religious movement have positive feelings, or at worst, mixed feelings about the time they spent with the movement. However, the small number of negatively disposed "dissidents" (or "apostates", as they are often referred to in the literature of sociologists of religion) tend to be the most vocal of all the ex-members. They're the ones who build websites or write books to express their negative feelings, whereas the relatively positively disposed majority of ex-members remain a "silent majority":

[Referring to new religious movements in general:] In my research, I discovered that most voluntary defectors were ambivalent or even positive about their former religion, often characterizing their membership period as a beneficial learning experience.

James Lewis
author, The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements

[Referring to new religious movements in general:] Most former members do not become apostates. They remain — in sociological terms suggested by David Bromley and others — "defectors" (members who somewhat regret having left an organization they still perceive in largely positive terms), or "ordinary leave takers" with mixed feeling about their former affiliation. However, ordinary leave-takers (and, to some extent, defectors) remain socially invisible in so far as they do not like or care to discuss their former affiliation. Apostates, being more visible, are mistaken for the genuine representatives of the former members.

Massimo Introvigne
managing director, the Centre for the Study of New Religious Movements (CESNUR)
[from Religious Liberty in Europe: Apostates]

But because this unhappy minority is so vocal, many people unfamiliar with the whole picture often get the impression that this minority is representative of all ex-members. As these studies show, that impression is generally incorrect.

3. Statistics on ex-devotees

We are now able to confirm this (and even quantify it) in the specific case of Adidam.

Dr. James Lewis (who teaches at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, is the author of many works on the study of new religious movements, and is not a devotee of Adi Da) recently conducted a pilot study (presented at the 2009 CESNUR conference) of ex-members of Adidam to determine the actual statistics for Adidam ex-members. His initial findings reflect the same pattern found for most new religious movements: dissidents are a minority of all ex-members. (In fact, whereas in general, dissidents make up less than 15% of all ex-members of a new religious movement, in Adidam, the number appears to be much less — see the tables below, with figures of 0% to 6% for the "dissident" responses to survey questions.)

Here are some of the specific findings from Dr. Lewis's survey of ex-members of Adidam.

Has your involvement with Adi Da and Adidam influenced your life for better or for worse?

Which best describes Adi Da?
Great Religious Teacher
Average Teacher
Not a genuine Teacher

Which of the following best describes the teachings of Adi Da?
More true than false
More false than true

Have you ever used the term “brainwashed” to describe your involvement in Adidam?

How would you describe your attitude to Adi Da since ending your membership?
More positive than negative
Neither positive nor negative
More negative than positive

When you ended your membership in Adidam, were you able to do this freely, without interference from the community of Adidam?
Somewhat easily
Somewhat difficult
With difficulty

How would you describe your relationship to the Community of Adidam since ending your membership?
More positive than negative
Neither positive nor negative
More negative than positive

Dr. Lewis's "bottom line" summary is this (boldface is ours):

If the attitudes of this sample can be extrapolated to the population of all former members, what this data indicates is that vocal ex-members who attack Adidam on the Internet are not representative of most former participants. This does not mean their criticisms should be rejected as entirely lacking in merit. Rather, it means that the impression created by this handful of individuals — that most former members feel that they were abused and are angry with Adi Da and Adidam — should be rejected as lacking in merit.

We have separately discussed (in section 1 and elsewhere on this site) the lack of merit in the various claims and criticisms made by this small but vocal group of ex-members — see our Lawsuits section and our Crazy Wisdom section. But the point being made in this article is that the small group of "dissident" ex-members is not at all representative of ex-members in general.

4. Education level of ex-devotees/devotees

One interesting additional statistic Dr. Lewis measured was the educational level of ex-members:

What is the highest level of education you have completed?
Less than High School
High School/GED
Some College
2-year College Degree
4-year College Degree
Master’s Degree
Doctoral Degree
Technical Degree

Dr. Lewis comments:

If these findings can be extrapolated to current members, then the educational level of Adidam outpaces all other new religions for which educational statistics have been collected.

This statistic may very well correlate with another of Dr. Lewis's findings: that 54.5% of those he surveyed said that their initial point of contact with Adidam was a book, which, in general, tends to attract (and even require) an educated readership. Dr. Lewis, again:

Based on evidence from a variety of studies, Dawson notes, “the majority of recruits to the majority of NRMs [New Religious Movements] come into contact with the groups they join because they personally know one or more members of the movement” (Lorne Dawson, ‘Who Joins New Religions and Why: Twenty Years of Research and What Have We Learned?’). However, if we can extrapolate from this sample, Adidam seems to offer a significant exception to this general rule.

5. A new and very different understanding of Adi Da by some of His most vocal critics

As a separate point: Adi Da doesn't recognize any such category as "ex-devotees". Once someone makes an "eternal vow" to Him, He is eternally committed to them, regardless of how nominal their practice is, and regardless of their seeming fluctuations over time (including their apparent leavetakings or returns).

Anyone who comes into contact with the Adept will in one way or another or to one degree or another experience an awakening. Of course, they may defend themselves against it. They may have it momentarily and then contract from it, but that awakening is the significance of the true Adept. The function of the Adept is not to call people back to Realize God but to grant people the Realization of God instantly. Having established you in such Realization, the Adept calls you to practice the Way of that Realization, the Way of constantly abiding in that Realization. Such abiding requires the discipline of self-transcending submission to Divine Communion.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "What I Look For"

Adi Da has planted a seed, and eventually (perhaps after many lifetimes), that seed will flower. And indeed, for that reason, we invite all ex-devotees (or people who feel themselves to still be Adi Da's devotee, but are no longer formally participating in Adidam in any way) to consider the possibility of returning to formal practice of the Way of Adidam, because that seed Adi Da planted is still there in you, and because it is easier for most of us to cultivate recognition of (communion with) Adi Da in a cultural setting with other practicing devotees than by oneself.

Interestingly, because of the spiritual reality of that eternal relationship, Adi Da's Grace continues to serve even the greatest critics among His "ex-devotees". When they discover they can't "get rid of Him", they are required to reach a different understanding of who He is, to attain some measure of psychic peace in themselves.

For example, the ex-devotee who refers to himself as "Elias", who was the creator of (what was for many years) the most prolific "anti-Adi Da" website and who has been Adi Da's most vocal critic, recently offered a radically different view of Adi Da than the negative one he has been posting on the Web for years. In the context of an extended, ongoing exchange primarily with another vocal ex-devotee critic (Conrad), Elias describes how his experience of Adi Da and Adi Da's actions has changed over time, through psychic, visionary awareness of Adi Da, and interaction with Him, especially after Adi Da's Divine Mahasamadhi on November 27, 2008. Here are some excerpts from that exchange.

Elias: Yeah, at the end of the day, I am with Da on almost everything he said. I am even willing to cut him a great deal of slack on his activities. [Nov. 9, 2010]

Adi Da's entire meaning and purpose and reason for being was (and is) to shake you and challenge you and offend you until you fall out of the passivity and stupor of submission to everything that is going on around you — the illusion of an objective world.

He once said that he was like a black hole appearing in the midst of a starfield — an opening to what lies beyond this universe.

What this means is that in his own life (here and elsewhere), he is a dynamic exponent of unsupported awareness that dissolves and swallows every mindform, karma, and sanskara that comes within its ever-expanding field of Consciousness.

In that he is an individual — a man who engaged in a great work and achieved a transcendent result. [Nov. 22, 2010]

What I see is a continuous revolution of mind and "modifications of consciousness" in the West to reach toward a truthful reflection of an underlying numinosem — the Self — that began moving on the West over a hundred years ago. . . . What there is is a great Gift that was given long ago, and is only slowly (but steadily) being integrated into our culture.

Believe it or not, I see Adi Da as a facet of that Gift — and a very important one, esoterically speaking. [Dec. 17, 2010]

Some people will say that Adi Da wasn't anything like I am claiming or suggesting. They will say I am inventing a new Adi Da, a version of him to lay to rest the inner contradictions I feel about him. Could be. :-) [Nov. 22, 2010]

Conrad: I was familiar with Advaita before I even came to Adi Da, which in part was why I was able to understand his teachings fairly well. But even I tended to make the mistake of thinking that he had an original interpretation or point of view, and in most cases this is simply not true. It's a common mistake in Adidam devotees who are unfamiliar with the Advaitic tradition that Da draws upon for most of his esoteric teachings.

Elias: My own view is that statements like the above [Conrad's] — which are not uncommon among those who seek to find a fulcrum from which to dismiss Adi Da — reveal a profound failure of the intuitive faculty relative to Adi Da.

My own view is that Adi Da picked up the teachings of Advaita, Buddhism, and Kashmir Shaivism because he recognized them as expressing precisely what he knew directly, beyond concepts and words. . . .

You might say that [Conrad] (and others) are taking [Adi Da] to task for honoring the tradition from which he springs! Imagine that!

My view (which has coalesced in the years since Adi Da died) is that he not only sprang from the Eastern traditions, but he actually transcended them. And in that, he was a priori something new entering the universe from the Heart of Reality, or God. [Nov. 22, 2010]

You might ask, "What's up Elias . . . you criticized [Adi Da] for thirty years, and now you talk like a disciple?" No, I am not a disciple. But I do know directly of what I speak. And that's why I'm not afraid to say it. . . . [Nov. 22, 2010]

OneLove: My contention is that [Adi Da] was divided against himself, as so many incidents seemed to indicate. . . If his behavioral patterns worked for some to "shake them out of the illusion of an objective world", more power to them.

Elias: OneLove, my experience was similar to yours. Now it is different.

What's the difference? Well, for one thing I discovered that Adi Da communicates openly from "beyond the grave" (strange term that!)...

For another thing, his communication with me has always been interactive, give-and-take, and "quantum" in the sense that my awareness affected him as much as his awareness affected me. This in itself made me understand something about the unitary field of awareness.

All the above makes me barking mad in the eyes of those who remain firmly locked into earth-side consciousness, I know.

But so what? I've always gone my own way, still do, and am happy to report back to my friends in Munchkinland from time to time. [Nov. 27, 2010]

Conrad: This is a really interesting development in your views of Da, and I think it bears a good deal of explanation, rather than just cryptic sideways mentions like this. Seeing as you have been THE leading figure in the vast Da-criticism field (okay, not that vast really), this sounds like a very significant conversion process that virtually begs for explanations, and lots of them. . . .

I wonder if you feel any sense of conscience now about your own extensive criticisms and denunciations of Da (the whole black sorcerer and "enemy of the Self" business comes to mind) and if you feel an obligation to correct yourself and explain your newfound views of Da.

Elias [dismissing the suggestion that he provide a reasoned explanation to account for his changed views]: One guy even emailed me that I ought to issue a blanket apology for "misleading" people over the last fifteen or twenty years! He thinks that the few statements I have made recently contradict everything I said before. They do not. . . But no one will understand how that is so by maintaining and defending a fixed position in the collective mind. [Nov. 27, 2010]

From what [Conrad] says, it appears to have been a reasoned choice rather than a vision that drew him into the Guru path. More's the pity, but at least he allied himself with a damn good Guru, one of the best of our time in my opinion! [Dec. 19, 2010]

6. "Ex-devotees" who return

Because Adi Da's relationship with all His devotees is eternal, it is also not too surprising that many "ex-devotees" consider returning at some point. Many practice the Way of Adidam informally outside the context of the Adidam community, in their contemplation of Adi Da. And an increasing number are returning to become formal devotees.

Here are just a few of the stories we have received from such "ex-devotees" (often as they visit the Adi Da Up Close site), about their leaving and their return (or possible return). Some had issues with people in the Adidam community, but began to realize that wasn't a very good reason for giving up the spiritual relationship with Adi Da:

Aaron: I'm returning to Bhagavan Adi Da after some years 'dealing with issues' and have just now found your site. WONDERFUL! I love it! It's rekindled things I forgot and gave me new insights.

Many people describe how they didn't fully appreciate who Adi Da was and what they were leaving until many years later — prompting their return, or their considering returning, or their finally actually becoming a formal devotee for the first time, with a rekindled appreciation of Adi Da:

Alaya: I had turned away from Adi Da in 1985, as I could not understand the workings back then. Since 1985, I engaged different spiritual practices which were are not at odds with Adi Da's View. But about a year ago, I realized, through reading Adi Da's The Boundless Self Confession, that all other ways are unnecessary, after Adi Da's Great Ruchira Dham Event in 2000. Since then, I have been turning to Beloved Adi Da Samraj; my attraction to Adi Da has never wavered. I have continued to study His ecstatic life and Teaching, and I hold a Murti. The gifts that I received simply contemplating a basic practice were undeniable.

I completed various Adidam courses (including the devotee course), and was in the process of becoming a devotee. I was heartbroken when He passed into Divine Mahasamadhi two days before I was to start the process. In the moment of His passing, I experienced a crashing yogic current whereby I could not walk for about an hour. A few hours later, I received a phone call from a devotee advising me of His Mahasamadhi.

I cried solidly for three days and nights — it felt beyond self. I then had the most remarkable experience. I had not been able to look at the Murti for a day or so — not properly, because I felt so upset. Then when I finally was able to do so, within minutes the Murti changed to simply light as it often does for me. Suddenly, within the Murti, a foot and and thumb appeared. The thumb then extended and burst into my third eye, and again I experienced a crashing current and fell back.

Since that moment, I have continued to turn to Beloved Adi Da and have had several remarkable "experiences" which are astounding and a mystery. I could go on far more with detailing the Gracious Gifts of Bhagavan that this one has felt and received.

On reading The Boundless Self Confession, I can now understand totally what can only be described as Adi Da's Great Sacrifice for the sake of all. This essay should be read by all who have ears to hear!

Rex: Thank you so much for this excellent website and chronicle of our Beloved, Great Master Adi Da. It's my Source for daily Heart-Release/Reception of Adi Da Samraj. I love the new insights I have gotten from the content, and I especially enjoy any new stories that may come along. Bubba Free John came to me via a dream I had in 1983, just one week after I had gotten married. That morning I woke up with a strange (but familiar?) chant resounding in my head. I went to my favorite "new age" bookstore at lunch that day and there was an original copy of The Knee Of Listening right there on the bookshelf — I immediately recognized the man on the cover as the man in my dream the night before. I regretfully never made it to The Mountain Of Attention or became a formal devotee. But since Beloved's Mahasamadhi, I have felt a weight lift off of me and am turning to Him more than ever . . . Thanks to your website, I feel a connection again.

Tom: Have studied Parama-Sapta-Na Adi Da's Teaching since 1979 and am just now [June, 2013] considering formalizing my relationship. Please keep up the great work.

Chris G. was an Australian devotee of Adi Da from late 1980. He left the community after his first retreat. The Guru was never in doubt for him, but he didn't know how to practice for real in the face of Adi Da's overwhelming Transmission. Now, in 2017, he is on the way back to Australia after seven years in China. He is re-approaching to become a student-novice again.

In other cases, people drifted away from Adidam rather than making any conscious intention to leave, but now are more consciously returning or considering returning:

Marilyn C.: Been watching the Leela videos — reconnecting that way for the first time since the mid 1990's. My heart broke over and over again as the remembrance of Beloved Adi Da flooded my being. Wow. I was looking everywhere for Truth and finding nothing as powerful and obvious as This. Why had I ever forgotten in the first place?

David: I was a devotee of Love-Ananda for some time. I never intended to leave Him. But I got caught up in life. I just moved away from community to study, and from there I lurched from one crisis to the next. The more I attended to my crap, the more stuck I became in it . . . like quicksand. I always intended to return one day. Now He is gone (at least in human form) and I am wretched with grief.

I have decided to return to the community and re-affirm my vow to Love-Ananda.

About a week ago, I had a dream about Beloved Adi Da. He was giving Darshan and was walking through a crowd of people. He came to me and I was straining to turn to Him. He pushed me about a little, then I looked at His face and I saw a face within His face. The inner face was made up of triangles of light. And the inner face said: "Just notice Who you're looking at!"

It's time to return.

Perhaps all who were touched by Adi Da will recognize Him as the Divine at some point, or be restored to that recognition — and will comprehend (or re-comprehend) His actions and His human lifetime altogether on that basis. But it might take lifetimes to restore that recognition, once lost. So the best thing one can do, if and when one receives that Revelation, is to treat It like the precious Treasure It is, and don't ever allow yourself to lose It.


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.

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