Celebrations > The
Establishment of Adidam > Opening Night
Gerald Sheinfeld has been a devotee of Adi Da
for many years. He accompanied Adi Da on His 1973 trip to
India. For more, visit his website, Stories
of the Spiritual Master or listen to his album, At
The Feet Of The Spiritual Master.
This story is from Gerald's forthcoming book, At the
Feet of the Spiritual Master. Gerald originally posted it
on Facebook. In Gerald's story, he refers to Adi Da as "Franklin".
"Franklin Jones" was Adi Da's birth name, and
He was still using that name at the time of the opening
of the Ashram (on April 25, 1972).
In preparation for the opening of the Melrose Ashram, Franklin
had two signs placed on the front of the building. The main sign
read “Sri Hridayam Siddhashram”, which was the Sanskrit name He
gave to His ashram. Roughly translated it meant “Ashram of the
Divine Realizer of the Heart”, or “Ashram of the Siddha Master,
Awakener of the Heart’s Divine Love-Bliss”. The second sign said
“The Ashram Books”.
Before the ashram opened that evening, Franklin allowed His friends
to be with Him in the back room. He joked about what He called
“Opening Night”. He said, “Maybe we shouldn’t go through with
it. Maybe we’ve made a mistake and should call the whole thing
off? We were originally considering opening a restaurant!” Playing
along with His Divine Humor, we responded, “Yeah, maybe we should
call it off and open a restaurant!” Then He said, “No, I guess
we’ve gone too far. We’d better continue with our plans.”
Playfully, we all agreed and applauded His “decision”.
At some point, Franklin left the ashram to prepare for the evening,
and a group of us stayed to prepare for the event. As evening
approached, we finished cleaning. Flowers were placed around Franklin’s
seat and on the altars in the meditation hall. Incense was lit
and finally everything came to rest. That was when we especially
noticed the meditation hall had a feeling of fullness and balance
in it. It was a familiar feeling around Franklin’ personally,
the feeling of His Presence. But now the meditation hall had His
fullness, His equanimity, and His profound Spiritual stillness
in it, even when He wasn’t physically sitting there.
Just before the guests arrived, our Beloved Guru allowed us to
visit with Him in the back room. Finally He asked, “Are you ready?”
We all answered with a strong “Yes!” He smiled and sent us to
greet the guests.
About twenty-five guests arrived. Most of them stopped in the
bookstore to check out the books, and some directly entered the
meditation hall. Soon everyone was invited into the meditation
hall, where Franklin would soon be seated. He allowed time for
everyone to settle before He entered. He came into the hall through
His curtain doorway from the back room and took His seat. He was
clean shaven, handsome, and young (thirty-two years old). Franklin
seemed pleased to be formally beginning His Work. He looked as
relaxed and happy as always—His Divine Freedom wasn’t changed
Once seated, He looked around the room and made eye contact with
everyone. He then closed His eyes.
After about forty-five minutes of sitting silently, He looked
again at everyone and asked, almost under His breath, “Who will
cast the first stone?”
Very few in the room heard Him, and no one said anything.
I was sitting very close to Franklin, and I was a little surprised
by His question. I was expecting a beautiful, happy event of people
coming to meet Him! I wasn’t raised Christian, so I didn’t relate
to “casting the first stone” in terms of the stories of Jesus.
But the vulnerability of Franklin’s tone, along with His relaxed
manner altogether, suggested that He somehow knew all about, and
was totally accepting of, everything that would unfold from His
gesture of beginning to Teach.
Franklin then asked, in a louder voice, “Are there any questions?”
Again no one answered.
He asked, “So everyone has understood?”
One man then said, “I don’t understand.”
“What don’t you understand?” Franklin asked.
The man responded, “Well, you can start with the word ‘understanding’.”
Franklin said, “Yes”—and then, with perfect clarity, He spoke
about the Way of Understanding. When the questioner showed he
was getting disturbed by something being said, his disturbance
was exactly what the Way of Understanding addressed. Franklin
explained that our True Condition is without conflict. Understanding
is about noticing that when we dramatize conflict we are not resting
in our True Condition.
When Franklin finished speaking,
He again gave each one His Blessing Regard, then left through
His doorway into the back room.
The Siddha Guru had formally begun His Blessing Work!
Afterward, He sat in the back room waiting for His friends and
anyone else who was moved to join Him. We joined Him as soon as
the guests had left; we praised and thanked our Guru for the evening.
Someone started criticizing the man who had spoken out but Franklin
said not to criticize him. He said, “It was a good night and it
was appropriate the way it all happened. There’s a great tradition
of confrontation in esoteric spirituality.”
He asked about the other people who came. Who were they? Who
among us knew any of them? We told Him what we knew. He seemed
pleased that the night went the way it did. We thanked our great
Guru again for the night, to which He responded “Tcha”, a word
of acknowledgment that He used over all the years when He was
pleased. Before Franklin left, He gave each of us a huge hug and
said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
In reflecting on this historic event, three principal Gifts from
Heart-Master Adi Da Samraj stand out.
His first Gift was the establishment of His Spiritual Heart-Presence
within the ashram, an empowerment felt by all.
The second Gift was sitting silently with Him to receive His
Darshan. (In the Hindu tradition “Darshan” means the sighting
of an Enlightened Being, or Completed One. It is understood that
Darshan alone is enough to awaken the heart. What made this event
historic is that it was the first Darshan ever given by the Divine
Avatar to a gathering of public people.)
The third Gift was His Discourse about the Way of Understanding,
His Teaching that enables the transcendence of separation from
Eternal Divine Happiness. The entire Discourse (titled “Understanding”)
was published in Beloved Adi Da’s second book, The Method of the
Siddhas, now published as My “Bright” Word. The full talk is also available on
the CD, Understanding.
By these three great Gifts, Avatar Adi Da Samraj formally began
His Teaching and Awakening Work at “Sri Hridayam Siddhashram”.
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