Transmission > The Spiritual Transmission Master
The Spiritual Transmission Master:
A Functional Explanation for Guru Devotion
Chris Tong, Ph.D.
there is a single greatest point of confusion about Adidam and
Avatar Adi Da, it is this: the idea and the tradition of the Spiritual
Transmission Master is largely absent from contemporary culture.
This article explains how Spiritual Transmission Masters transmit
their Spiritual Realization to their devotees, and how devotees
Realize the Master's State by duplication, in accord with the
principle: "you become what you meditate on."
Throughout human history, help has been available for connecting
us with greater-than-material dimensions of Reality on an ongoing basis during
our lifetime. But, to a great extent, we have lost our awareness
of such help, and now that help is almost a complete secret. We
are all familiar with religions, spiritual paths, scriptures,
rituals, techniques, and spiritual teachers. But all these are,
at best, of secondary help. The primary help — and the great
secret in the spiritual traditions of humankind — has been
the Spiritual Transmission Masters. These rare, holy human
beings appear every now and then throughout human history. All
the great religions have such a Transmission Master as their source,
but most people (even followers of that religion) are not aware
of their great function as Transmitters. Such beings have Realized
a greater-than-material Spiritual or Transcendental dimension of Reality. But — more than
that — they then are able to transmit the awareness
of that dimension to other human beings. Thus, they themselves
serve as a portal to another reality. The lifelong practice of
devotees of such a Spiritual Transmission Master is to "tune in"
to the Master's Spiritual Transmission. With time and diligent
practice — in accord with the spiritual principle, "you
become what you meditate on" — devotees duplicate the Realization
of their Master, and ultimately (if their practice during life
was sufficient) end up in that greater-than-material plane after death.
The Spiritual Transmission Master is the esoteric secret at the
heart of all the world's religions. It is a secret that hides
in plain sight amidst all the many other details we associate
with a religion.
We can find it in Buddhism. On one occasion, when Gautama the
Buddha held up a flower, out of all the disciples in the room,
Kashyap smiled, signifying that he alone had received the Buddha's
wordless Transmission. Gautama Buddha acknowledged Kashyap's reception
of his Transmission: "I possess the true Dharma eye, the marvelous
mind of Nirvana, the true form of the formless, the subtle dharma
gate that does not rest on words or letters, but is a special
Transmission outside the scriptures. This I entrust to Kashyap."
The Spiritual Transmission of Gautama Buddha
We can find it in Christianity. What is most significant in the
story of Jesus is not his teachings or his miracles, or even the
religion that was founded in his name. What is most significant
is when Jesus said to two fishermen (Peter and Andrew), "Come,
follow me!" and they, responding to his Spiritual Transmission,
dropped everything and followed him.
The Spiritual Transmission of Jesus of Nazareth
We can find it in Hinduism. When the "gopi" cowherd women heard
Krishna playing his flute (which symbolizes his Spiritual Transmission),
they (in an enchanted state) dropped their ordinary lives and
The Spiritual Transmission of Krishna
And so this is the sign of a genuine Spiritual Transmission
Master, illustrated most obviously in the stories of Jesus and
Krishna: the Spiritual Revelation transmitted in the company of
the Master is so profound, so overwhelmingly attractive
and blissful, that one readily leaves behind one's conventional
life, intuitively recognizing that a Greater Alternative and Greater
Destiny is being made available. The blissful state of the Master
is always the immediate reason for following him or her and for being
in his or her company. But the longterm realization (of lifelong devotion
to the Master's Spiritual Transmission) is salvation: permanent
movement into another, more benign, more heavenly dimension of reality. You don't enter the
Christian heaven on the basis of mere belief in Jesus, being a good guy, and going to church every Sunday. Every saint will tell you: You enter
by finding Jesus's Transmission, and communing with it, and
through such lifelong "mystical communion" with Jesus in his heaven,
you too acquire first the taste for heaven, and then access
to the kingdom.
* * *
Just as there is spiritual help for moving from this material
dimension to a more auspicious, Spiritual or Transcendental dimension, there is
also Divine help for our ultimate destiny of Awakening altogether
from the dream of conditional existence — Awakening from all limited dimensions: material and spiritual — as the Very Divine, Whose
State is Perfect, Eternal Happiness. But that Divine help is exceedingly
rare. Once in a very long time, circumstances combine in such
a way as to allow the Divine Person to incarnate as an apparent
human being "in the dream". That extraordinary human being —
or Avatar — is a Spiritual Transmitter of a very
special kind: He or She Transmits the Awakened State of the Divine
Person. Truly, such a human being is the Divine, in Person,
here. The devotees of such an Avatar have the possibility, through
meditating on their Master's Divine Transmission, to Awaken altogether,
Realizing the Very Divine Person.
Adi Da Transmitting the Force and State of the Divine to His devotees
in 1974 (© 2011 ASA)
(click to enlarge)
The Way of Adidam is all about just such an exceedingly rare
Divine Incarnation, Avatar Adi Da Samraj, and the Divine Realization
made possible for all by His eternally available Divine Transmission.
Spiritual Transmission Masters vs. cult masters
If there is a single greatest point of confusion about Adidam
and Avatar Adi Da, it is this: the idea and the tradition of the
Spiritual Transmission Master is largely absent from
Indeed, without being aware of the existence of Spiritual Transmission
Masters, when one sees pictures of devotees prostrating before
another man, or engaged in some kind of devotional expression,
one cannot help but think "cult" and "cult master" because that
it is the only contemporary concept available for "explaining"
such behavior. The idea that the devotee may be prostrating at
the Master's feet because they are receiving an overwhelming Spiritual
Transmission radiating from the Master never crosses one's mind!
But that overwhelmingly Attractive, overwhelmingly Blissful Transmission is why followers of the Master are not merely
His students but His devotees, and why growth in the Way
is not primarily about techniques or even disciplines, but fundamentally
about deepening the devotional relationship with the Spiritual Transmission
In fact, these concepts of "Spiritual Transmission Master" and
"cult master" are like day and night, the latter being a kind
of degraded mimicry of the former. If you examine the stories
of cult masters like Jim Jones or David Koresh, you may find they
had some degree of charisma that enabled them to attract followers.
But the bottom line is this: they were ordinary men; no one
had a spiritual experience or Revelation in their company! The
Spiritual Transmission Master is not at all an ordinary
man. Hundreds of Avatar Adi Da's devotees can attest in detail
to the Divine Transmission they not only have felt tangibly in
Avatar Adi Da's physical Company (or as they contemplate Him now, throughout
the day), but have been completely dissolved by, entered into
His Divine State of Perfect Happiness.
felt Beloved Adi Da's Spiritual Transmission thick in the
room. I saw Him as the center of a field of visible, Love-Blissful,
Conscious, breathable Light. He was simply Divine Love-Bliss.
There was no longer a sense of being a separate self — just
the profound peace of realizing there is nothing to seek,
nowhere to go, nothing to attain. This was Reality Itself,
and it was not separate from "me". I had no sense of my
usual persona or contracted self. It was sort of like waiting
all your life for a package to arrive, and then when it
comes you aren't there — but you are so happy that
you don't mind at all!
Michael Shaw (devotee)
One purpose of this article is to help people interested in Avatar
Adi Da and the Way of Adidam understand the confusions and controversies
about Avatar Adi Da that are out on the Web. In some sense, they
all tend to presume and build on the view of Avatar Adi Da as
an ordinary man — He is not!
So the first form of helpful discrimination we can offer is this:
If you run across a web page that makes all kinds of controversial
allegations about Avatar Adi Da or Adidam but fails to mention
the hundreds of stories of people experiencing Avatar Adi Da's
Divine Transmission (some of which you can read on this website),
know immediately that there is nothing objective about that web
page, and that it is not capable of providing anything like an
accurate account of Avatar Adi Da because the author of the web
page does not acknowledge (and may not even be aware of) the reality
of Spiritual Transmission Masters.
clearly remember the first time I saw a devotee of Adi Da
bowing before Adi Da's image. I found it repulsive. Had
this person gone mad? Why would he give himself away?
Why give so much power over your life to somebody else?
As if he wasn't smart and capable himself? It just
I would rather die than bow.
Yet vertebra by vertebra, I find my spine bending forward.
I am in full resistance.
I would rather die than bow.
Spine! What are you doing? What is happening?
This is madness.
Yet my body wants to bow.
My body wants to bow more than my head wants to prevent
My body wants to bow.
My cells want to bow.
I feel it.
I cannot understand it.
My head is now lightly touching the floor.
And a wave of relief relaxes my body.
As if something in me had been begging for this moment to
happen for thirty years.
Anke Hans (devotee)
Adi Da Transmitting His Divine Blessing
(click to enlarge)