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Views on Other Adepts

Question: Has Adi Da changed His views on other adepts over the years? In His autobiography, The Knee Of Listening (the 1973 edition), He expresses great respect towards Ramana Maharishi and calls Maharshi His teacher. After that, when He developed his "seven stages" framework, Ramana (and the Buddha) were given "seventh stage status". But later yet, after 1991, it seems like He "demoted" them to sixth. Can you provide some clarification here?

James SteinbergJames Steinberg: Adi Da continues to have great respect towards Ramana Maharshi. He has said that among the individuals who have lived in the past, He feels a great affinity and closeness to Ramana Maharshi. And visiting his Ashram was, for Adi Da, “like meeting your twin brother”. Adi Da talked about the great corroboration of aspects of His Realization that He found in Ramana Maharshi’s teaching. But beginning in the the 1990s, Adi Da Revealed that His Own Revelation is Unique and unprecedented. Therefore, Ramana Maharshi and others who Adi Da had previously spoken of as seventh stage Realizers (Shankara, Nagarjuna, Gautama Buddha, etc.) were henceforth described as great sixth stage Realizers who exhibited premonitory signs or suggestions of the seventh stage of life.

Adi Da told us that He did not “change His tune” or His Teaching in Revealing this, but that in the earliest years He was intent upon showing similarities and correspondences, and therefore did not make this critique at that time. He felt that we had not sufficiently Recognized Him, or Understood Him, and therefore we simply would not be able to receive it. And so this was only Revealed in the 1990s, when Adi Da at last felt that such Recognition was present.

James AlwoodJames Alwood: There are actually several questions entwined in this one. Hopefully my answer will clarify rather than confuse in trying to address some of the not fully expressed questions.

Avatar Adi Da has great respect for Ramana Maharshi, and always has. Why? Because in all the Great Tradition, it was Ramana Maharshi whose descriptions most concurred with Avatar Adi Da’s Observations about the subtlest details about the esoteric anatomy as it is seen from the “point of view” of the Transcendental Awakening to Consciousness Itself. Namely, Ramana Maharshi described that the seat of Awakening was associated with the right side of the heart and that there was a special channel of yogic force that connected the place “infinitely” above the head with the right side of the heart.

This is a huge deal because most of the schools of the Great Tradition — apart from Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, and some rare schools of Taoism, and a few other very rare examples — point to a “heaven” above, or “god” or “goddess” above, or “source” above (infinitely above the head), as the ultimate goal of Spiritual practice. This upwards orientation was true of Avatar Adi Da’s own Teachers, Rudi, Swami Muktananda, Bhagavan Nityananda (and is true of esoteric Judaism, Christianity, Islam, most of Hinduism, shamanism, etc.). But, Avatar Adi Da’s own Re-Awakening to Divine Self-Realization in 1970 made clear to Him that the “Seat” of ultimate Realization was associated with the right side of the heart, and that beyond the rising up of Spirit-Force to the place “infinitely” above the head, there was the potential descent of the Spirit-Force into and through the right side of the heart in the Awakening to the Transcendental Position of Consciousness Prior to the duality of “up above” and “down below”.

While the Transcendentalist Schools speak of the Awakening to Consciousness Itself, Prior to ascending efforts, only Ramana Maharshi and Avatar Adi Da Speak about the specific esoteric structure that links the Emanationist Realization to the Transcendentalist Realization. That structure is called by Ramana Maharshi and Avatar Adi Da, “amrita nadi” (the channel of eternally nectarous Love-Bliss, connecting the right side of the Heart with the "sahasrar" [the place "infinitely" above]).

After His Re-Awakening, Avatar Adi Da experienced something that was never described or experienced by Ramana Maharshi. There was not just the descent of the Spirit-Force down “amrita nadi” into the right side of the heart, there was a “Re-Generation” of “amrita nadi” where the inherent “Brightness” of Consciousness Itself Shined “Brightly” from the heart up “armita nadi” to the “sahasrar” and then down into the body-mind, again. In Avatar Adi Da’s Case (and in the case of all seventh stage Realizers), the Divine Self-Radiance of Consciousness Itself ultimately “Outshines” all conditional worlds. This stands in contrast to Ramana Maharshi’s Teaching and Demonstration, which was essentially a dissociation from all conditional arising, by Abiding as Consciousness apart from the world. Ramana Maharshi Taught that conditional arisings post-Realization were one’s “left-over” karma.

With careful study of the Great Tradition, you can even intellectually come to see that what Avatar Adi Da has Revealed is actually Unique, and it is on some most fundamental level the Completion of all that has come before. Because Ramana Maharshi understood and Transcended all the first five stages of life, and because He understood the most subtle yogic esotericisms about the relationship between the fifth stage Awakening and the sixth, and because He intuited something about the nature of even the seventh stage of life, He should be held in highest regard. But, if you read Ramana Maharshi’s Teaching and His life-story, you see that He did not describe the four-part process that occurs after seventh stage Awakening. Only Avatar Adi Da has done that in the entire history of the Great Tradition.

Interestingly enough, this is not something that requires “faith” in Avatar Adi Da. This can be understood and seen to be true even intellectually. But it requires a very sophisticated understanding of the Great Tradition all together.
Okay, so, why did Avatar Adi Da first say that Buddha and Ramana Maharshi were “seventh stage” Realizers. After His Divine Re-Awakening in 1970, when Avatar Adi Da would sit to “Meditate”, instead of His own “contents” arising, thousands of other peoples psyches would arise, and He would “Meditate” them. A number of them rather mysteriously began showing up, literally, at His doorstep in Los Angeles. He opened a center in April 1972 in order to formally assume Teaching responsibilities that were spontaneously being required of Him.

Who walked in the door? Street people, druggies, whores, hippies, etc. No qualified devotees with a strong background of practice and preparation appeared during those early years. And this was all happening in the most anti-Spiritual “culture” imaginable, the “modern” West. So, in order to even begin the “Conversation” necessary, Avatar Adi Da had to start somewhere. I believe He even Spoke of Jesus as a seventh stage Adept originally. Jesus, Buddha, Ramana Maharshi — just so people could even begin to understand that it is humanly possible to Realize Identity with the Divine.

Over the years, and after much growth in His devotees comprehension of the Great Tradition, did He begin to introduce the nuances necessary for a fullest right understanding of all these extremely esoteric matters. So, it is not at all a right comprehension of the history of all of this to say “Buddha and Ramana Maharshi” got “demoted”. That is an unfortunately negative spin on what was actually a rather natural progression of greater and greater discrimination being brought to the stages of life and the nature of Most Perfect Divine Self-Realization in contrast to Realizations and Revelations recorded in the Great Tradition.

Chris Tong: I've written an article (click here) that explores this question in depth. Chris Tong

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Questions about Adi Da and Adidam
The Books of Adidam


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