FAQs about Adi Da & Adidam > Adi Da's Teaching Over Time > Is Adidam a Religion?

Is Adidam a Religion?

Question: It seems at times Adi Da has described the Way of Adidam as a religion, and at other times has said it is not a religion. So is Adidam a religion, or not?

Because Adi Da's Teaching is so vast, and has taken so many forms over the 38 years (1970-2008) in which He created it, it is not too hard to find passages that may appear — at least on the surface — to say different things.

Some of these differences represent actual changes. For example, in the early 1970's, Adi Da instructed devotees to take on disciplines only after one passes the milestone of hearing in one's practice. But He later changed that, based on the empirical evidence that His devotees simply would never grow to the point of hearing without taking on some disciplines. (For more about this, click here.)

But some of these differences are only "surface inconsistencies" reflecting an underlying consistency: different ways of communicating the same thing. Adi Da's application (or not) of the word "religion" to the Way of Adidam falls into this category.

Adidam as a "religion": but one unlike any other

Often what is being reflected are the limits of conventional language. "Religion" is a conventional word, used widely, and with certain associations: God as the "Creator" of the universe; belief as the a key to receiving the religion's benefits (for example, "salvation"); etc. At times, Adi Da has experimented with calling Adidam a "religion", but one that was unlike any other: God as the "Source", not the "Creator"; a Way based on direct Revelation of the Divine, not belief in the Divine; the Divine appearing here in human form right now (not thousands of years ago); etc. Thus he used qualifying phrases like "true religion" or "true world-religion" to set Adidam apart from other religions:

The only true religion is the religion that Realizes Truth.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Do Not Misunderstand Me"

True Religion is the practice of consistently (and, Ultimately, Permanently) moving out of the disposition, and the presumption, and the very activity of separate and separative self, into the Love-Bliss-Full Condition of Oneness with That Which Is One, Whole, Absolute, All-Inclusive, and Beyond.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

In another passage, He makes reference to the etymological origin of the word, "religion": "re-ligio", re-uniting the "ligio" shares the same Latin root, "lig" (meaning: to tie or bind) with "ligament":

True religion is not about the "me"-person who participates in religion. Rather, true religion is about the Divine with Which any individual is re-associating, or re-uniting. True religion is, ultimately, about discovering Oneness with the Divine Self-Condition to be Always Already the Case.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Religion and Reality (2006)

In yet another passage, he distinguishes between "mere religion" and "true religion":

Mere religion (or any and all religion in and of itself) must be transcended.... Religion must be established, in present-time, with reference to Reality Itself. Reality Itself Is Divine. Reality Itself Is all the God there Is. Only Reality Itself Is true religion.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Religion and Reality (2006)

In this context, Adi Da has referred to the Way of Adidam as "The True World-Religion"— see, for example, the books, Adidam: The True World-Religion Given by the Promised God-Man, Adi Da Samraj and The Truly Human New World-Culture Of Unbroken Real-God-Man: The Eastern Versus The Western Traditional Cultures Of Mankind, and The Unique New Non-Dual Culture Of The True World-Religion Of Adidam.

For more on this use of the word, "religion" by Adi Da, read Religion and Reality and Right Religion Is Not About the Human Ego.

Considering Adidam as a "religion" has also been fruitful in enabling Adi Da to make connections with other religions that share certain characteristics with Adidam. For example, in calling the Way of Adidam "Advaitayana Buddhism" (beginning in 1983 with His book, Nirvanasara), He indicated that the Way of Adidam perfectly fulfills both the traditional Buddhist aspiration for absolute freedom from the bondage of the egoic self, and the traditional aspiration of Advaita Vedanta for absolute Identity with the Divine Self.

Adidam as something other than a "religion"

On the other hand, if you read a book like "Radical" Transcendentalism: The Non-"Religious", Post-"Scientific", and No-Seeking Reality-Way of Adidam, you will see Adi Da adopting the viewpoint that Adidam is so unique, so different from anything else we call "religion", that that term shouldn't even be applied to it:

Real God (or Reality Itself) is not and should not be presumed to be the "God" (or Deity-"Object") of any kind of "religion".

"Religion" always begins with the presumption that the separate "self" (or the ego-"I") and its "problem" (or urge to seek) exists (and is "known") and the egoically-presumed (and egoically-defined) "world" (or the totality of egoically-"objectified" universe) exists (and is "known").

Therefore, "religion" does not begin with the "knowledge" of Reality (or Real God) Itself but, rather, "religion" always begins with the absence of Reality (or Real God) Itself.

"Religion" is never based on "Perfect Knowledge" of Reality Itself.

"Religion" is always based either on the worshipping of the mere idea (or ambiguous and illusory myth) of a Deity-"Object" or (otherwise) on the search to "know" (or somehow tangibly or psycho-physically "experience") the never-yet-"known" (but only hopefully or believingly proposed) Deity-"Object" of the wotulf-be-"knowing" body and mind. . . .

"Religion" can only seek (or seek to "know") Reality Itself and thus, "religion" proposes Reality Itself as the mythical and illusory "God-Object" to be "found" (as if Reality, or Real God, Itself has been "lost"). . . .

The "consumer ego" uses "religious" means to seek and demand what the parent-like "God" can do for the laternately childish and (otherwise) adolescent ego-"I" in the midst of its vulnerable and unsatisfactory conditions of life.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Radical" Transcendentalism (2007)

So in this use by Adi Da of the word "religion", Adidam is very much not a "religion" [1].

Both views are correct

So in answer to the question, "is Adidam a religion or not?", in some sense both views are correct — but each needs to be carefully qualified, in the way we have described Adi Da doing, above. If we call Adidam a religion, then we have to distinguish "true religion" from "mere religion", and say Adidam is only a "religion" in the exceptional, "true religion" sense of the word. Conversely, we may conclude that it's too big a stretch to try to fit the conventional word, "religion" — with all its conventional connotations — to the Way of Adidam; and that it makes more sense to distinguish Adidam from everything we normally refer to by the word, "religion".

Each approach has its merits and its limitations, and for this reason, Adi Da has experimented with both viewpoints in His Teaching. Ultimately, the Way of Adidam remains the same, regardless of whether we call it a "religion" (focusing on what is has in common with certain other traditions) or not (focusing on what is unique to Adidam).

This article appears in

Questions about Adi Da and Adidam
The Books of Adidam


Note, however, the way Adi Da puts quotes around the word, "religion" as though to suggest that Adidam is not a "religion", but may be the only (true) religion of the "without quotes" kind.


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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