The Graceful Touch of My Master
|Paul Litchfield has been a devotee of Adi Da for many years. His wife, Jane Yang, is also a devotee of Adi Da and has been a Chi Gong Master for over 35 years. She developed
a unique style of Chi-Gong she calls Wu-Ji Chi-Gong. She trained Paul in Wu-Ji Chi-Gong, and together, at their Chi Gong Therapy Centre in Melbourne, Australia, they offer their clients both hands-on and distance healing
treatments. Their long, successful experience as healers provides the backdrop for this story.
Around September 2008, my wife Jane and I were preparing to return to Naitauba, but as part of that preparation was a need to transition to the First Congregation. Bhagavan Adi Da said we could return, but if we wanted to continue to work with Him we had to stay at least five weeks and participate in His Silver Hall process. Through Beloved Adi Da's Grace that transition occurred, mysteriously. The whole process was Graceful in so many different ways. Diffcult, of course, because we went through a tremendous process in terms of what was going on in our lives, but it was going to happen regardless of anything I had to do with it. This practice transition given by Beloved Adi Da provided the occasion for me to serve Beloved Adi Da directly when I went to the Island on retreat in late October of that year.
These are some diary notes I took during our time on the Island from October to November in 2008.
Paul and Jane telling their leela to the Melbourne community of Adidam
(click image to enlarge)
* * *
It has been an amazing time here since we arrived. Fifteen minutes after arriving on Adi Da Samrajashram, our Lord called for a treatment. So off we went to the Matrix. He generously Gave us time to clean up and relax before seeing Him. As He walked into the Glass Pear (a room in Adi Da's Residence) soft and vulnerable, yet Full of Whoever He Is, Radiant as all things and beings, this Exquisite Being then gave Jane the most beautiful hug, kissed her on the lips, Dissolved her as He does, and then He turned to me and enveloped me in His Body for the longest time, whispering my name, "Paul, Paul", and saying "Tcha" over and over again. He kissed me on the cheek, stroked the right side of my neck, held my hands, and smiled the most Mysterious smile I have ever seen. I collapsed against Him, whispering all kinds of love and thanks to Him as He literally held me up.
After a while I was able to stand again and He let me go.
That moment was beyond my expectations. I always prayed to have direct contact with the Master, as does every devotee. I have been Granted that intimacy in many ways, but not that directly before. Beloved Adi Da embraced me completely and utterly. It only became obvious to me later why He Touched my neck in the way He did.
And we did our first joint treatment for Him. It all went very well and now we are in an intense dialogue with Him about everything we are doing—how, why, what do we expect. He is intensely curious about every aspect of our work.
Today Jane and I videotaped a session with Him so He can view it and make further comment.
From the moment we arrived, Adi Da made no comment about my service except to Say that He simply and completely accepted it. Every day He came into the Glass Pear, we would offer Him our Gifts and flowers, and He would lie down and receive our service. He was so Calm, so Still, so Pure. It was so easy to be around Him, to do what I knew was in my heart to do, which was to simply strengthen His body. For me this bodily service to my Master was such a joy, a Freely-Given Gift of receiving His Darshan, being so close to His physical Body and the simple process of giving Him my energy to support His Life. I can never praise Him enough for this Gift. I did not know at the time that a tumor was beginning to develop in my mouth. I began to experience great pain. While I was in His physical Company doing my service, there was an awareness of the pain, but it had no capacity to distract me from my service. The pain was at times extreme, but I was always able to stay in relationship with Beloved and not be disturbed by it.
Beloved Adi Da kept us incredibly busy writing responses. I spent hours on the computer every day, describing what had happened in that particular session, what we were doing, and what we wanted to do. He Blessed us so many times, again and again. He would come in, Grant us Darshan for a few moments, we would fall at His Feet, offer Him flowers.
Paul offering a gift to Adi Da
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It went on like that day after day after day, week after week. There were four and a half weeks of being with Him every day, being Granted that extraordinary intimacy.
He Graciously asked for us to be in Darshan with Him every morning, whether He came by boat to the beach or by car. He held us close all the time. He was constantly Revealing Himself to us, and to everyone. It was an incredible vision of His Freedom, His Compassion.
Every day there would be the physical treatment we would give to Beloved, and sometimes, even three or four times a day, He would also request what we call "distance" treatments. He was Working so intensely with the world in these final months and He Called upon us to support His Body for this Work.
It was Avatar Adi Da's 69th Birthday celebration here recently (November 3), and what a Day that was! We woke up at 2:30 AM to go to the Matrix, bleary-eyed, full of expectation about a wonderful day. There was a Fire Puja at 3:00 am that culminated at the moment that Adi Da was born at 4:20. Then, later that morning, a magnificent Occasion where He Granted Darshan after He woke up. Truly extraordinary.
Here was God Himself standing there before our eyes, Radiant and Beyond Comprehension. Later that day there was a full-Body Puja on His human bodily Form for which there are no words. Then there was the gifting of the elephant paintings, real paintings done by elephants! They were shown photos of Beloved Adi Da and they then painted these extraordinary images of Him. I can't even conceive of how the elephants do these paintings!
Paul holding up an elephant painting
(click image to enlarge)
At this wonderful occasion, devotees lined up outside Samraj Mahal, and we each held up one of these paintings for Him to view. He was so happy, He received them beautifully. He asked me to turn the painting around that I was holding so He could see something that was on the back of it. It was one more moment where He Gave me His direct Blessing. I was so happy to be there to see Him, to receive His Darshan.
There were many occasions when Beloved Adi Da would come into the room for His treatment and M (His white Scottie dog) would come in with Him. She had the most amusing habit of eating my flower just after I had offered it to Him. She never ate Jane's, she always ate mine! Every time she did, Beloved Adi Da would smile. A few times I thought He was going to Say something, but He never did, He just smiled. I held up my hands, there was nothing I could do about it. Then Beloved would lie down and we would do His treatment. One time I managed to save my flower and put it over to the side, but M found it and ate it again! It was a very sweet, intimate circumstance. Avatar Adi Da was not in any way engaged casually with me, but His Blessing was very intimate and very personal.
* * *
Having transitioned to the First Congregation gave us the opportunity to Sit in the Silver Hall with Beloved Adi Da. These Sittings were pristine. In Darshan there is a kind of ceremony with Beloved Adi Da of gifting and chanting. All of it is much more than it appears to be. It is not contrived in any particular way, yet there is a formality to it. In the Silver Hall, Adi Da was much more Himself. He was still Transmitting the same One, but He would come in and Sit and there was only Him. No matter what I had going on He totally demolished "me". There was a constant Revelation of Him and everything as that Divine Light, Radiant, Bliss-full.
This may sound like I was having a good retreat (and truly I was), but in the midst of all this, there were all sorts of other things going on. My body was steadily falling apart. I did my best to stay calm in the middle of my pain. But in the midst of this health crisis, the ego—the ugliness of presuming separateness from every body and thing—manifested itself and did its best to totally undermine my retreat.
For a while, there was a period of a day or so in which I was insane with anger, sadness, and fear, trying to work out things with some fellow devotees. I was hurting the friends that I've loved dearly. In the midst of that I realized, when talking to a fellow devotee about it, that all of this was inconsequential to the Process that I was engaged in.
I realized I had to just simply give my attention to this service and let Adi Da Heal my suffering. I saw that I couldn't heal these tendencies, it was impossible for me, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I wanted to, it couldn't be done.
I had to let go. I became sensitive to the depths to which I affect my Guru. I think my self-attention is just affecting me or the people around me, but it was clear to me how any moment of that kind of upset affected Adi Da profoundly.
I could not allow that to happen. My Guru was too important to me to allow that emotion, that upset, in His Company. Gracefully, every time that I was around Him, I was able to simply turn my attention away from all that and do what was necessary. We would get back to the Joyfull Submission retreat quarters around 7 PM and then have dinner. We would give a distance treatment somewhere around 11:30 PM. I had to be around a phone or a computer pretty much all the time, as we were on call nearly 24 hours a day. This healing service was very Graceful and very intense. His Body is getting stronger and He Said that our work is fully integrated into His Pattern. Beloved is continuously undoing any presumptions about what a true response to Him is, and what true service is. But I think we are getting the hang of it, and everyone here is going out of their way to serve us and look after us. I could not wish for any more. All praise to Beloved Adi Da and His devotees. I know the world continues on without any input from us and will continue to do so. We are here and happy to be so, resting in our Guru's House and serving Him as we can.
* * *
We were at the Matrix so much that we had a lot of opportunities for Darshan. There were some wonderful occasions where Beloved was playing with the dogs with the "Dazooka", as it is affectionately named, a bazooka-type "gun" that shoots tennis balls. Beloved sat in His chair and fired off the Dazooka and M would run after the tennis ball, catch it, and bring it back. M would do this two or three times, and then after a while she would sit there and seem to say, "I've had enough and I'm not chasing it again". I heard Beloved Say to M, "So, that's it? That's all you got? Haven't got any more? Well, OK. Good dog, good dog". And He patted her on the head, took her leash, and then walked past us.
There was the great dog championship, where the dogs performed. We were in the shoe room peeking out through the slats. It was truly humorous and beautiful to behold Adi Da's enjoyment of His non-human devotees.
There were so many occasions to see Beloved. Many people from all over the world came to see Him during this time of His Birth Day, including an Indian Guru and his devotees. It was wonderful to see them showing their sincere respect for Him in the traditional way.
There were many occasions where we were invited into a Darshan in the inner courtyard. It was magnificent, just to see Him, Radiant. It made my sufferings insignificant. I knew, even though I was beginning to sense that I was in serious trouble, that I would be okay.
the inner courtyard of Aham Da Asmi Sthan
There was another occasion where Adi Da was going to Sit in one of the halls in the village. I was having a particularly diffcult day with my health. I didn't go to Darshan, but went back to my quarters in Joyfull Submission and lay down until my body returned to balance. I really wanted to be in Darshan, but I just could not do it.
After the occasion was over, Adi Da asked Quandra Sukhapur where I was. He was always so attentive to our relationship with Him. He told me that I was never to miss another Darshan, no matter how I felt. I wrote a letter to Beloved Adi Da about why I was not in His Hall.
On the last day before His Divine Mahasamadhi, Jane and I received some Notes from Adi Da about our participation in the Silver Hall. They were given to us verbally, just before we went in.
This great Master Said to us: "Find Me beyond the body-mind, I am always there waiting for you to notice Me. You are in pain? I do not care. You are distracted? I do not care. Turn to Me. Find Me. I am right in front of you. Feel Me happen."
As we sat there at that time, it was suddenly possible to do as He asked. What I realized after His Mahasamadhi was that He was referring to finding Him beyond His body-mind, not just my body-mind. Such a Gift He Gave us, Freedom beyond all concern, just Beholding Him, just That is all there is to do.
* * *
On the day of Adi Da's Divine Mahasamadhi, Jane and I were in the Glass Pear waiting for Him to come. We had our flowers ready, and Quandra Sukhapur had told us that Beloved Adi Da was prepared to sit down with us and talk about the work that we had been doing with Him. We were very excited about this chance to discuss our work with Him, as we were learning so much from His Instruction. He was Instructing Jane intensely about what she was doing with Him.
Then Quandra Sukhapur came back in the room and told us that Beloved Adi Da had collapsed in Picture Perfect and we were to go to serve Him. We ran to Picture Perfect. I can't describe it, I can still see Him. So began many hours of calling Him, trying to bring Him back. Everyone worked like demons—the doctors, Ruchiradama Nadikanta, Jane—everyone. And when it became clear that He was not coming back to this world, the news went out to everyone worldwide, and Beloved Adi Da's Body was carried from Picture Perfect to His Bedroom. Then the Vigil started.
With many other devotees, Jane and I sat there all night, Invoking Him, breathing Him, feeling Him, crying. Invoking every possible prayer that this would be reversed somehow, some miracle would occur.
At some point in the morning we were exhausted, like everyone. We were going to go back to Joyfull, and we were called off the bus at the last moment to go back to Aham Da Asmi Sthan to see Beloved Adi Da in His room. We sat to the side of His bed all day and night. We sat there with Him, we could not leave, it was just impossible. It was the most intimate service to any being that I have ever participated in.
Then there was the Vigil and the journey to The "Brightness" for the Interment, with devotees from all over the world to honor, praise, give thanks to our Guru, console ourselves in our love of one another.
Now His human bodily Form is gone, it is empty. The pain of this is real and terrible to feel.
But Oh! Beloved! Adi Da Samraj! He is here! He is Full! He is Bright! He is Radiant! He is everywhere! This is His Place! There never was a place for "me" here. I bow down again and again at His Feet.
* * *
A few days after the Interment at The "Brightness", Jane and I returned home to Melbourne. Within a week I was diagnosed with a tumor at the base of my tongue, 5.5 cm in length and growing fast. Now I understood the source of the pain I had been experiencing when I was on the Island. I was put into the hands of the main cancer hospital here in Melbourne, and by Christmas I was given a month to live. By January, the tumor was 8.5 cm and growing. It didn't seem there was anything that was going to stop it. I could barely talk or eat. I had lost 35 kilos. Prayers went to Quandra Sukhapur who in her great compassion offered them at Beloved's Feet at The "Brightness".
Sally Taylor, a devotee also in Melbourne who is a physician, spoke to the doctor after he gave us the news that there was nothing they could do for us. She told him that we were going to approach this from an alternative point of view. He said, "Well I'm glad, because there's nothing we can offer him."
Through Beloved Adi Da's Grace, Jane had been Purified of much of her limitations, and was able to act as His Healing Vehicle for me. Through her treatment, I could feel Beloved Adi Da Pouring through her to me, Helping me, Strengthening me, Focussing His Blessing-Grace. If not for her incredible healing work and love during this time, I would not have survived.
Through Beloved Adi Da's Grace, the prayers of Ruchiradama Quandra Sukhapur at The "Brightness", the incredible healing work of my wonderful wife, and the prayers of devotees worldwide, that cancer is gone. I am beyond thanks! It is Avatar Adi Da's Grace without any doubt whatsoever. Praise to our Guru, praise to our Guru. I was Granted a Miracle with this incurable cancer that was doing its best to take me out. It disappeared against all odds. I said to the oncologist, "No it is not going to happen, it is not my time." Strangely enough, I knew this was true and I had no fear about it. I tried to talk to him about our practice of Wu Ji Chi Gong, and the Guru, and true prayer, but he could not accept any non-scientific explanation. He always greeted me with, "I'm sorry Mr. Litchfield, but you are going to die." I would smile and go off to my next session of chemo or radiotherapy. In the end he could only attribute my healing to my "positive attitude".
It was an incredibly difficult year for me. The initial round of chemotherapy was supposed to be palliative; there was no intent on the doctors' part that they would actually cure me in any way. To their surprise and everyone's, the tumor started to shrink as quickly as it had started to grow. In the end, my oncologist said to me, "I'm not often wrong, but I have to admit, I'm glad I'm wrong."
Faced by death like that every day, I would have hoped it would change me in some way. In some ways it did, but I find myself still this mad ego, crazy, subject to all kinds of foolishness. I am certainly relieved of many things which Avatar Adi Da took from me. I used to only feel comfortable with women, but through the Silver Hall Sittings He took that fear away. It is wonderful to be able to participate in the men's culture, talk to them in ways that I've never been able to before.
Something of my anger disappeared. I had to deal with a tremendous amount of fear during the cancer treatment. I had all kinds of hallucinations. I thought Jane had died, and that made me insane for a few months.
Yet I am still standing, and only Beloved Adi Da Knows why.
If nothing else, I have realized one thing: I will die, one day. I never understood that before. I think most of us tend to think that we are bulletproof. Now I understand that I am not.
I have been left with a deep emotion of sadness, that seems to be all-pervasive. Yet Beloved Adi Da healed something deep in me at the heart; there is a heart-release I have never known before. During my time of service in Beloved Adi Da's Company in 2008, He undid a knot in my heart that has been there since the beginning of my life. It has not completely disappeared, but a huge chunk of it is gone. I can only praise Him, and praise Him, and praise Him. And praise all the devotees that I have come in contact with over all the years, because we have our heart-connection to Beloved Adi Da, to each other, and that is all I want to remember. That is all I want to do: just share that, to whatever degree I can, and thank everybody.
click image to enlarge