His reply is found in full at:
I'll indulge myself in a lengthy reply and try to answer MJ's points without condemnation of either him or Adi Da. If he has gotten the impression that I am making “complaints” about Adidam, or trying to condemn Adi Da for his actions, let's put that aside. My primary interest is simply in getting at the truth.
Truth has three aspects to it: 1) the truthful facts, and 2) the truthful understanding of those facts, and 3) the truth that transcends all facts. MJ does not dispute the facts I and other critics of Adidam have spoken out about. He does dispute whether I or other critics have a right understanding of those facts.
What MJ must also concede, however, is that Adidam has made a concerted effort to suppress, conceal, distort, and fraudulently lie about the truthful facts of Adi Da's life, and Adidam's own history. MJ should also concede that merely by admitting that the facts presented about Adi Da are most likely very close to the truth – albeit absent the contextual understanding he feels is necessary to understand them – MJ is already violating Adidam's strict rules about all such open admissions. I understand quite well MJ's position. When I began posting on the old Ken Wilber forum, defending Adi Da against attacks, I too conceded that in many cases the facts about Adi Da's behavior were not being seriously distorted, only the interpretation of his behavior. In so doing, I incurred a great deal of hostility from within Adidam, and for years was banned from Darshan for doing so. So I appreciate MJ's bravery in posting a reply here. He has my respect.
But what does that say about Adidam itself? What does it say about Adi Da himself that he would try to keep virtually anything that could be construed as negative about himself or Adidam out of the public eye? What does it say that he would set in place policies that hide, conceal, distort, and lie about what he actually says and does, if what he says and does is actually a Divine Work that is aimed solely at restoring humanity to Divine Communion?
MJ brings up stories about other Adepts who have been drinkers and womanizers, abusers and hard-asses. Leaving aside the issue of whether we can really rely on mythologized accounts from many centuries ago as a guideline, one of the striking characteristics of these stories is that the Adept in question doesn't try to hide or conceal his behavior. He is open about it, unashamed, unapologetic – in a word, truthful. We don't hear stories of these crazy wisdom Adepts concealing their debaucheries from the public. They sit on piles of shit in the open square. They may be deliberately unconventional, but they do not put up a false front of respectable, conventional hypocrisy in order to advance their standing and gain followers. Why does Adi Da do that? Why does he order his devotees to keep his personal life a total secret, and punish anyone who actually speaks out about it, even his own supporters and defenders? In what way could this possibly serve the process of drawing people into Divine Communion with him? As the saying goes, the biggest crime is usually the coverup.
As MJ says and I will readily admit, Adi Da's behavior may often be self-indulgent and abusive, but in comparison to the crimes committed every day in this world it's no great shakes. Plenty of people are or at least aspire to be as self-indulgent and egocentric as Da has, and plenty of people who do so are even admired for their achievements. One thinks of rock stars, movie stars, wealthy moguls, etc. That Adi Da aspires to their lifestyle and fame is not the worst crime anyone could be guilty of. That he wants that lifestyle and wishes to be admired in spite of it is also no great crime. Gangster rappers have similar aspirations, and I for one often enjoy their music and am amused by their personae. So let's not be prudes about this, or overstate the case against Adi Da. He's not a monster. Monsters are Saddam Hussein, Stalin, Hitler, Ted Bundy, etc. But he's no angel either. Although he tries to hide behind the admonition that the worst sin anyone can commit is to see the Guru as a mere man, Adi Da is human through and through, and he suffers and enjoys in an all-too-human manner. Not only does he betray human desiring and human fears of rejection and frustration, he also betrays the human failing of wishing to hide his faults and laud his virtues. In other words, he's a narcissist, concerned as much with his image as with his reality.
The problem with this is that spiritual realization is supposed to be about the transcendence of narcissism. Spiritual realizers may often behave in unconventional ways, but they don't appear to care what people think of them. Adi Da does, to such an extent that he tries to keep every aspect of his life and work under total control, with no information leaked out that is not fully authorized and approved. How is this consistent with the transcendence of narcissism? It seems like the epitome of narcissism, rather than its transcendence.
So the big problem with defending Adi Da is that one can't even refer to the facts of his life honestly while doing so, because that would violate Adi Da's “privacy”, and the strongest precepts of life in Adidam. The most powerful people in Adidam are the guardians of his privacy and, consequently, the creators of his mythos. These are the security people, the inner-circle devotees, the legal department. These are the people who rigorously approve all communications and suppress all unapproved information. If MJ were to start telling us actual, unfiltered stories about Adi Da, he would be violating these precepts. And don't imagine that these people are acting on their own. They are simply carrying out Adi Da's own explicit instructions as best they can. That doesn't make them innocent, but it does make them mere instruments of Adi Da's own character. So the question is, what kind of character does Adi Da have?
The information we have suggests that he does not have a very good or trustworthy character. As Quandra Sukha Mai, his closest and most loyal devotee once said, “Beloved is completely corrupt about money”. Similar statements could probably be said about his relationship to food and sex. For example, a good friend of mine was present at Lopez Island serving Adi Da on the evening of his famous “translation event”, in which he supposedly went through a mystic death event that transformed his work, and the universe. My friend says “I saw the meal that was prepared for him, and if I'd eaten all that, I'd have died also.” In other words, Adi Da's gluttonous behavior is well known (where does anyone think all that fat comes from?). Likewise his sexual appetites are enormous as well. He does not appear to have much of a conscience about fulfilling them, regardless of the cost to others. None of this speaks very well of Adi Da, and that is why his personal life has always been kept top secret in Adidam. Even so, the stories are so prolific that word can't help but get around.
I understand MJ's problem. When I was defending Adi Da on the internet, I too was unable to actually resort to the facts without getting into trouble. I resorted instead to rather vague defenses based on the notion that people were not understanding the higher principles involved in Adi Da's behavior. But such defenses only go so far. At some point one has to look at the facts and see whether they are consistent with the explanations. It's no different than the controversy between evolution and creationism, or intelligent design theory. One can become very attached to a certain view of things, such as that God created the earth and guides the evolution of humanity, and try one's best to make the evidence fit that view, but at a certain point one must simply look at the evidence and let it speak for itself. One may have to let go of cherished ideas, views that have been the bedrock support and foundation of one's life, views that one has identified with all that is good and true. Creationists have to let go of such views, and so do long-time Daists.
MJ says he's been around even longer than I have, but it couldn't be by much. I first came in July of 1975, at age 17. Yet I know how ingrained notions of Adi Da's Divinity become, and also notions about Adi Da's actions all being purposed towards Divine Communion. That interpretation is made to supercede any possible evidence, just like a creationist can use the rubric of “god's law” to supercede any natural process like evolution. The argument only begins to fail when one sees one's own attachment to it, and that the only thing holding it in place is one's attachment.
The great dilemma faced by Daists is the seeming nihilism of a world that is bereft of Adi Da's Grace and God-Communion. Because they have come to identify God so single-mindedly with Adi Da, and Communion with God as solely a matter of Communing with Adi Da, their whole relationship with God seems to be threatened by criticism of Adi Da, and they naturally see the critic of Adi Da as someone who has “failed” to remain in communion with God. I know exactly how this feels, and why he feels that way. I don't condemn MJ for feeling as he does. He only needs to examine his feelings more closely to see where he has failed to understand himself. As MJ says:
...the point is not the event itself but whether the individual actually can resort to God Communion in their darkest moments, or any moment, via heart surrender, and thereby transcend by Grace of the Guru, their usual karmic destiny.This is of course the crux of any moment of life, but MJ makes many assumptions about God-Communion and the transcendence of karmic destiny that he has not examined closely enough, but clings instead to a narrow Daist interpretation which does not strengthen the capacity for God-Communion, but actually weakens it. And hear we see that weakening:
I don’t know about anyone else, but Adi Da Samraj has clearly given me the means to do that, when I choose to. And not in 10 millennium would I have ever, ever found but how to resort to, or find that Place of God Contemplation on my own. No way. I ould not even have imagined how to do it. Or even had the slightest notion of how uch a Divine Resource could, exist or be contacted apart from my own head trip notions of it, which fall light years short of what is actually the case.
Is it possible to read this and not feel some sense of sadness at how Adidam has beaten down the hearts of those who might have been its strongest practitioners? Yes, it's good that MJ has learned to commune with God, but why would he assume that he couldn't possibly have learned this except through Adi Da? Well, obviously Adiam has fed him that line over and over again. It's not the traditional teaching about Divine Communion, certainly, not by those who are free. God-Communion is practiced throughout the world in thousands of different paths, by millions of different people, and they all somehow succeeded in doing so without the benefit of Adi Da, and have been doing so for milennia. And yet MJ thinks there is something uniquely wrong with him that he couldn't possibly have learned Divine Communion anywhere else, not in 10,000 years of practice. Why?
Nothing in the history of religion supports this idea. But something in the psychology of cultism does, and that's the only plausible explanation for this attitude. Not that MJ probably didn't have some poor self-image problems prior to joining Adi Da – so may of us did – but that Adidam exploited and reinforced his poor self-image, to the point that he sincerely believes that only Adidam could have saved him. What he seems not to notice is that while helping him to some degree, Adidam has also bound him with delusions and false notions about religion that reinforce his attachment to Adidam, and actually prevent him from growing in practice.
That is the problem with the cultic tendency in religion. It uses the positive aspect of religion to achieve a negative result of bondage and self-abasement, which are actually the enemies of freedom and liberation, not their friends. It convinces the cultist that all this is for their benefit, such that they actually praise the process that has bound them, rather than free themselves from it. This of course happens in many, many religions. Christians achieve a relationship with Jesus that they believe is their salvation, but all too often it becomes the obstacle to their spiritual growth rather than the means of their liberation. Daists likewise believe that the spiritual benefits they have discovered in the course of their time in Adidam are solely the result of that relationship, and hence they become more and more bound to it, regardless of the negative aspects encountered.
All negative aspects of that relationship are made into an “ordeal” that is necessary for them to achieve full liberation, rather than simply being discarded. The relationship itself is made the core of spiritual practice and realization, rather than truth itself, such that the relationship supercedes truth. This is why Daists are able to rationalize suppressing, distorting, hiding, and lying about the truth. If doing so is seen to further their relationship with Adi Da, then it is perfectly justified. And then anything Adi Da does is justified, because the relationship to him supercedes all else, even truth. Truth and God itself become redefined as “the relationship to Adi Da”, and all morality and ethics are subverted to that cause. The relationship to Adi Da becomes a higher morality that supercedes all lesser forms of morality. And the justification for doing so seems to be right there, in the relationship itself, which has given the devotee the ability to commune with God that he never had before.
The problem here is that everyone has the natural, God-Given ability to commune with God. This ability is not conferred on anyone by Adi Da, or Jesus, or Krishna, or Ramana, or anyone else. It's an innate capacity that exists in everyone's heart and mind and body and breath. I don't doubt that MJ has learned to commune with God. Millions have done so before and millions will do so after we leave this earth.
That Adidam has taught MJ something about how to commune with God is a good thing. But to presume something unique about this process in Adidam is to indulge in a narcissistic fantasy. That too is common to many religions. Christians fantasize that their communion with God is special, Muslims do, Hindus do, all kinds of sects engage this fantasy. Some even emphasize what wretches they were before they found the true path, and what a miracle their path is that it helped even a hopeless case like them. But this is not the truth about any of these people or their religion. God-communion is for everyone, it is a natural capacity that every conscious being has simply by the inherent fact of being conscious. One can create all kinds of “paths” to God-Communion, but they all simply rest on exercising our own natural capacity for God-Communion. There is no special path that is the one and only answer, not for anyone, and certainly not for all of humanity. If MJ had not found God-Communion through Adidam, he could easily have found it in a thousand other paths. That his particular karmas led him to a long involvement in Adidam does not speak of the specialness of Adidam, but only of his own particular karmic destiny.
What MJ doesn't understand is that the “gift of God Communion” he has received was not given by Adi Da, but by his own consciousness, his own being, his own true Self. There is no other giver. Spiritual teachers and paths and teachings can serve that gift, but none of them literally give it. It is always only the gift of Self to Self. To imagine that God-Communion was the gift of someone else, and that he would otherwise be bereft of God, is to believe in a dangerous illusion that robs him of his own greatest strength – the power of the Self. Attributing the power of the Self to another, and ascribing to oneself all the weaknesses of the ego, is the epitome of unenlightenment, using religion to reinforce its self-deluded state rather than to become liberated from it. And that too is all-too-common throughout the history of religion. That Adidam makes this same error does not make it uniquely cultic or deluded, just commonly so. But who comes to Adidam looking to make the same common errors that so many other religions have made? Unfortunately the answer seems to be most of us who joined Adidam. The problem is that Adi Da reinforces rather than criticizes this tendency. He is himself an example of the fallen idealist.
One of the sadder quotes in the history of Adidam, considering what has become of Adidam since, is contained in the original Knee of Listening, in a discussion of the two great traditional errors made spiritual practice (the first being to turn the path into a form of seeking):
The second primary fault in the traditional communication of the means of purification is that they are chronically identified with some particular historical, cultural, or personal experience. All of the various religions and spiritual regimes, from the theological and ritual experience of forgiveness and justification to the sophisticated methods of occultism and the various Yogas, are separate, historical manifestations founded in various kinds of exclusive phenomena. They stand in relation to one another in a grand pattern of conflict and separateness. Thus, the seeker comes to one or another of these sources in ignorance and pursues the separate cycle of experience the particular form asserts and guarantees. (1992 KOL p.298)
Adidam has fallen directly into this error over the years, making of itself an exclusive path identified with the historical person and teachings of Adi Da, rather than with a universal process of God-Communion and Heart-Awakening. Many of those, like myself, who first came were attracted to the possibility of a truly universal “Avatar” who would open religion and spirituality up to its true and universal nature. Instead, what we have gotten is an extremely closed, parochial path, a teacher who hides himself from all criticism and responsibility, and a betrayal of its own highest principles, not to mention a perversion of the best aspirations of those who came. Even God-Communion has been perverted within Adidam into a narrow-minded service to the person of Adi Da and his interests, rather than to the practice of heart-openness and truly transcendental Divine Communion. Not that those who were open to the truth couldn't have seen the signs of this from the beginning, but most kept their eyes closed, or loyally interpreted all that occurred in keeping with the logic of the cult.
The hostility inherent in the exclusive approach that Adidam has evolved into is evident in this passage of MJ's:
But I think that you give the appearance, by reading your words, that you have forgotten, or lost what was at the core of all of it-- which is this liberating
aspect of God Communion which has been freely given to all.
Not that MJ is a hostile person, I'm sure, not did he mean to be hostile here, but the assumptions he makes about me, and by extension anyone who has left Adidam and made critical comments about it, are based on an innate hostility to those who are “outside” of the fold, who are “different”, who are “other” to himself. The truth is, I did not reject God-Communion. I simply rejected the assumption that God-Communion was identified with Adi Da, and vice-versa. I still practice God-Communion, I simply don't identify the God I commune with with Adi Da. Like millions of other people now and throughout human history.
But I think I know what MJ is referring to. He means to say that Adi Da's behavior was something that he was doing in the midst of Divine Communion in order to get us past various egoic obstacles in ourselves that prevented God-Communion from maturing into God-Realization; that I somehow forgot that this was the point of the process, and that by “dropping out” of God-Communion with Adi Da at some point, I lost touch with the Divine Nature of what he was doing with me and with others, and was left with merely the gross material behavior itself, and began criticizing it as such. That is the basic Adidam explanation for such people as myself. But is it true?
In the first place, who really knows whether I “dropped out of God-Communion” or not? What criteria is MJ using to judge my God-Communion, other than that I criticize Adi Da? It seems MJ is using his conclusion to justify his argument – that I could only be critical of Adi Da if I had abandoned God-Communion, and that since I was criticizing Adi Da I had ipso-facto abandoned God-Communion. In other words, there isn't any argument there at all, just a naked assertion of Adi Da's infallibility. Second, if someone is in Divine Communion, regardless of their religious orientation, wouldn't they still be able to recognize Adi Da's behavior as right and true? In other words, wouldn't I, if I was still practicing Divine Communion, just not in relation to Adi Da, still see his actions as righteous?
So MJ's argument requires him to assert that not only did I fall away from Adi Da, but I fell away from God altogether. But what about others of far greater spiritual practice than me who are critical of Adi Da? What about Adi Da's own Guru, Muktananda, who was very critical of Adi Da, who didn't buy his claims of highest realization, who even alluded to him as a “pretender”? Did Muktananda abandon God also when he was critical of Adi Da? And what about Ammachi, who when asked has made a few critical references to Adi Da? Did she abandon Divine Communion when doing so?
These kinds of arguments simplu collapse on closer examination. The simple fact is that what I “fell out of” was not Divine Communion, but the fundamentalist mindset. Unfortunately, the fundamentalist mindset is what many people identify as “Divine Communion” in their particular path. Fundamentalist Christians see Divine Communion with Jesus as thinking and believing in a certain way about the events of their life, the events of the Bible, God's Plan, and all kinds of things, such as creationism, so much of which is easily falsifiable if they will only examine it more closely. And much of these ideas about Adi Da and his behavior and claims of spiritual greatness are also falsifiable if examined dispassionately. But they are never falsifiable if examined by the fundamentalist mindset, which more and more is how “Divine Communion” is being defined in Adidam. It has come to the point where unless you are a fundamentalist in Adidamer, you are not considered to be practicing true Divine Communion. For me, that was a large part of what helped drive me out of Adidam. There is little room left for anyone but fundamentalists in Adidam. MJ is, I gather, one of the more liberal-leaning fundamentalists in Adidam, just as I was at one time, but he's a fundamentalist none the less, just as I was. So I know the drill.
I also know what MJ is referring to on an “esoteric level”. I know the experience of being up against Adi Da's demands, and feeling that tension between one's tendencies and Divine Communion, and feeling that there is a conflict there which has to be resolved on the side of “Divine Communion” rather than the side of giving in to one's tendencies. I know the inner “heat” that arises in that process, and the transmission of Adi Da's spiritual force in the midst of that. And I know that the devotee is supposed to allow this purification to take place by staying in the heat, and letting it burn away all impurities. This is also something I saw through. I realized at a certain point that all that conflict and tension was a pointless waste of time and energy. It was simply an illusion generated to maintain a relationship of bondage. The energy itself being transmitted in that conflict was not liberating energy at all, but a form of bondage. Not that it didn't also feel very good at times, but good feelings are just as binding as conflict. What I began to see is that Divine Communion didn't require this whole process at all, it was something that Adi Da generated, and we cooperated with, for purely egoic purposes. It was the very ego we were supposed to be transcending, being reinforced rather than dissolved. None of it was necessary, none of it was beneficial, it was just a meaningless game being played by us and on us. It was a distraction from the truly meaningful issues of spiritual life and practice, issues that are really never addressed in Adidam because everyone is so obsessed with their relationship to Adi Da that they never pay attention to them.
And so I found myself more drawn to these more serious issues than responding to the latest notes cycle from Adi Da. At a certain point I just didn't care about him anymore, or what he said, or what he wanted done. This was not, in my experience at least, a result of falling away from Divine Communion, but of becoming much more interested in it. It simply felt like I was growing out of my cultism, and out of my cultic illusions about Divine Communion, as I think everyone needs to do at some point, regardless of their religious background. It's just that some religions, like Adidam, are far more cultic than others in their illusions about God-Communion. Coming out of that may seem like a huge transformation to someone who has been inside it for so long, but it's really not that big a deal at all. It's just joining the rest of the world, and seeing how many people simply haven't had such heavy delusions to deal with.
I find it to be the one thing which keeps me sane, in a world which is just one insane display of egoic tribal dominance after another, mostly bereft of any gesture resembling love except in little moments here and there. Look around for a few seconds and you see that humanity is committing suicide in multiple ways. And most of it is based in greed and dominance for power, all lovely examples of the finest that the ego has to offer.Do you really think there is going to be all that much left of human life on this globe in 100 years? 50 years? 30 years?In that light your tales of woe here are much like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic.
I honestly don't know what the future holds, but I do know that thinking like this is a sign of a distressed personality who is projecting his inner tensions on the world around him. The world has always had its horrors, and I assume it always will. I just find it odd that someone who claims to be practicing Divine Communion would be dwelling on those horrors. I'm quite aware of the problems in the world, but I simply don't see the world as some loveless place torn by insane displays of dominance and strife. Is MJ sure he isn't just talking about Adidam? Honestly, I see wonderful people all around me when I walk down the street. Nobody's perfect, certainly, but I see the world as full of great people with lots of love and lots to offer. Maybe that's because I practice communion with God. I have a hard time understanding how anyone communing with God could see the world as a fundamentally negative place. But I can understand why someone in Adidam would think that way, considering how crazed the worldview in Adidam is.
One of the delusions prevalent in Adidam is that Adi Da is creating a Vehicle for peace on earth and a “New Age for Mankind” through his community. There's a famous essay he once wrote about that. I too was once hopefully idealistic about this role for Adidam, and felt that working to help Adidam grow was working for the betterment of humanity. Over the years, however, I couldn't help noticing that Adidam was hardly a model of morality and ethics itself, but was instead pervaded by what I saw as rather insane displays of greed, dominance, deception, and lusting after power. Over time, I began to see Adidam not only as just as bad as the world itself, but even worse. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that what Adi Da was creating was not a community of enlightened devotees, but just another fundamentalist religion that would be just as destructive as any of the others, and possibly even worse. The model Adi Da created is a totalitarian monarchy ruled by absolutist dogmas and a high-school junta mentality. The only thing that softens it is that past a certain point hardly anyone takes it seriously. Adidam is basically a joke, and it's only on a sentimental level that even most of its members sympathize with it. MJ himself probably doesn't take it all that seriously, but he also probably beats himself up for not taking it more seriously, which is part of the whole fundamentalist mind-cycle.
None of that is about Divine Communion, however. Nor is this:
...if one looses the connection to God Communion which is freely being given in Adi Da's company in the midst of these occasions and at all other times, then that is all ne is left with-- the "uncontestable facts"and then of course, it is all a terrible trick being played to "pick our collective pockets". But I have found that when I rely upon that core matter of my association with Adi Da, then a profound means of Heart feeling arises in the midst of an event which shows me a whole new way to be in the midst of it, whether that moment is the most pleasant little incident, or the most uncomfortable and seemingly monsterous moment. Because ITS ALL THE SAME, whether good moment or bad. Its the same egoic response-- the games and travesty and horror of the ego, its all staring at yourself, its all self fascination to death.
Notice the miraculous solution to the problem of nihilism here: the “core matter of my association with Adi Da”. Thus, MJ's only defense against "self-fascination to death" is an association with a God outside himself, namely, Adi Da. In himself, MJ sees no capacity for Divine Communion, only a monstrous ego; it is only by association with Adi Da that he is able to “connect” with God. As if this God were inherently apart from MJ, from all of us, and only could be connected with through Adi Da! MJ does not seem to see the terrible box he has created for himself. It's only while sitting in the “Adi Da box” that he can commune with God. If he steps outside the box, he faces a world of horrors and death. He's trapped, and can't leave, because he actually believes that a terrifying hell awaits him if he does. This is the mindset that cultic religions foster in their followers. It's sad that MJ believes this after 30 years, but apparently he does.
Of course, there are Christians and Muslims who believe something similar about their religion also, and they too are in a horrible trap. If the “tribal wars” MJ refers to have any basis, it's in this same fundamentalist mindset that MJ is himself stuck in. But it's all simply an illusion. MJ could step out of the “Adi Da box” at any time, and discover that there are no monsters out there. The monsters are all in his mind. The box is all in his mind. God-communion knows no boundaries, no walls, no boxes, no true and false religions, no Avatars, no hopeless wretches, no salvation. God-communion is boundless. Grace is for everyone. Adi Da is just a man behind a curtain belching fire and brimstone to keep people like MJ under his thumb.
If those events that you seem to spend much or your waking moments dwelling on, are factually true, the part you leave out is that Adi Da is working those events from the standpoint of his Divine Siddhi, that he is not just, or even at all using mere "psychology" to effect change, and that he works on much more profound levels than that. That the Divine in the form of Incarnate Spiritual Masters has not yet had a breakthrough in the world of egos, which will prevent humanity from destroying itself. So, philosophically speaking, just what the hell is God, or Godman Incarnate, going to do to Wake us up before it is too late? And whose else but God has a ghost of chance of succedding? You? Me? Forget it!
The basic problem MJ is trying to communicate is that he is taking for granted that Adi Da is in fact working some kind of miraculous Divine Process through all these bizarre behaviors of his, when the evidence doesn't actually support this theory. In other words, he is confusing facts with interpretation; He is acting as if Adi Da's interpretation, which he has for some reason accepted, is a factual truth. But is it? Has he actually verified it? Interpretations can be verified, they are not merely subjective opinions. In other words, any interpretation has to be consistent with the facts we do know. That's how we evaluate which interpretations are true, and which are false. Evolution, for example, is an interpretation of facts, not a fact itself. It is considered true because it is consistent with the facts. If evidence comes up which contradicts it, it will be considered untrue, or superceded by a greater truth.
In Adi Da's case, the evidence for some great Divine Process being behind all his seemingly selfish and pathological behavior is pretty thin. Sure, we do have evidence that “siddhi” is involved. No need to be in denial of that experience, of both myself and many others. But siddhi is not itself a sign that what Aid Da claims about his siddhi and his behavior and the process itself is true. It is results that count, and in the results department Adidam is seriously lacking. Not only is there a lack of fully realized devotees in Adidam, there is a lack of even marginally mature devotees. In fact, there is a serious lack of even humanly mature people in Adidam. Rather, what one finds in Adidam are all the typical signs of people who have been in a fundamentalist cult for many years. People have all kinds of serious problems, emotionally, sexually, mentally, healthwise, financially, ethically, morally, you name it, and most of them don't get addressed. Not that people all over the world don't have similar problems, but it doesn't appear that life in Adidam is some kind of great incubator of human or spiritual maturity.
Likewise, if one examines these particular abusive “incidents” for signs of benefits, one doesn't see a very good track record. Clearly there are a large number of devotees who simply haven't responded well at all to these things. They haven't been “helped” by it, and have left or kept their distance. Even people who claim to have benefited often don't look at all that much better for it. I've had devotees tell me their stories, and make the usual claims that it all came out well for them, but they appear to be covering up, making false faces about it all, lying both to themselves and others. At a certain level who really knows, but if one doesn't really know, one can't make any great claims about Adi Da's skill as a teacher. Certainly he seems to fail a very large percentage of the time. He even admits and loudly proclaims that he has failed. One can't be all that strong an advocate of his skills as a teacher when even Da himself sees failure in all his devotees, and complains about it on an almost daily basis. Certainly that, too, can't be easily seen as a sign of his teaching skills.
Crazy Wisdom in the Vajrayana tradition allows for realized Adepts to employ unconventional methods in the service of awakening others. But Crazy Wisdom is judged by results. In other words, if the teacher employs an unconventional method, and the student doesn't respond well or use it beneficially, they don't blame the student for the failure, they blame the teacher. The teacher is supposed to be skillful enough to know what to do to help the student, and know what the student will be able to use. If the teacher uses a method that is beyond the student's ability to use, it is considered an unskillful act on the part of the teacher. In other words, such a teacher would be admonished for their incompetence, and told to develop themselves and their teaching skills more fully. They have accountability for teachers, and a means to address teachers who employ unskillful means.
In Adidam, however, there is no means to address Adi Da's own incompetence as a teacher, or to address his own unskillful methods. Adi Da himself has admitted that his methods have not been successful, and yet he puts all blame for that on his students, and accepts no responsibility for himself. Before I left Adidam, at one of the first internet Question and Answer sessions, I submitted a a very simple question that did not make its way to Adi Da himself. The question was: “Do you accept any responsibility for the failure of your Work?” Quandramai Elizabeth, a good friend of mine, intercepted the question, and a few days later addressed the whole community, not mentioning me by name, but saying that there were some people in the community who were implying that Adi Da himself was in some way responsible for the failure of his own Work. She made it clear that this attitude was sheer heresy, and had to be completely suppressed. It would be blasphemously injurious to even submit such a question to Adi Da, because it betrayed such a wrong understanding of how Adepts work.
I'd suggest that the Adidam attitude betrays a wrong understanding of how Adepts work. It uses an operational definition of “how Adepts work” as “whatever Adi Da does”. So whatever Adi Da does, right or wrong, whether it works or not, is defined as Divine, as how Adepts do things, no matter how ridiculous, senseless, or inconsistent with the evidence. At a certain point, just to save one's spiritual sanity, people have to step back from that and face reality. One has to actually verify the claims Adi Da makes, and act only on the basis of what one has verified. That means not doing very much of what Adi Da tells people to do. Which, in a way, is what actually goes on in Adidam. A lot of people don't do very much of what Adi Da asks them to do, but they go around paying lip service to various ideas. They may even continue to believe in various things Adi Da says, and justify in their mind their continuing involvement simply out of habit and attachment.
Huge religions are filled with millions of people with similar attachments to their particular sect. So it's not surprising that Adidam is no different. But for some people that simply isn't good enough. It wasn't good enough a reason for me to stay in Adidam. I wouldn't do well in Christianity or Islam, I'm sure, either. But Adidam aspires to be more than just another deluded collection of fundamentalist believers. And yet it doesn't actually succeed in doing so, because it would have to leave so much of what is sacred to Adidam behind. Instead it becomes exactly the same by trying so hard to be different and special and unique, which is precisely what all the rest of them do. Tragic, isn't it?
To put it another way, what makes you think that it has been any different in the "back room" situations, or even front room situations of any Great Realizer that has lived throughout history? These beings are not coming from the same standpoint of you or me. Not even a little bit!Niyandanda threw rocks, the Zen Roshi's beat for no apart reason with sticks, Jesus pounded the financial officers of that church, Krishna is glorified for having broken up tens of thousands of marriages, Durkpal Kunley was a serial rapist, Marpa was a public drunkard and had at least one of his devotees repeatedly beaten, and consigned to hard labor to endlessly build one temple after another, only to have him tear it down again, Tilopa had Naropa jump into a pool of leaches with the sole purpose of "breaking" him. Master, after Master, after Master screamed and beat and yes, even raped their devotees.
I'm not aware of any actual rapes in the traditions, but who knows? What seems missing from this list is the Crazy Wisdom Adepts who created a cult like Adidam. Wild and crazy Adepts don't seem in the habit of creating stiflingly bureaucratic cults like Adidam that engage in the crazed, hypocritical pretenses that Adidam does. They may use unconventional means, but they don't accumulate offshore back accounts with tens of millions of dollars in them while starving their own devotees.
The more mundane problem with your list is that it doesn't include much historically verifiable information. Yes, Nityananda threw rocks when he was a young fellow wandering around, but just to get people to leave him alone. He didn't take some sadistic pleasure in it. He didn't throw rocks at his actual devotees, and then tell them it was for their own good. They didn't have “rock therapy sessions” where Nityananda would pelt them with rocks to purify them of their sins. In fact, Nityananda didn't have a “back room” closed off to the public. He hung out with people around the ashram and was a fairly normal guy a lot of the time. There were no scandals about his secret behavior in private that I ever heard about. Similarly with Ramana. He didn't have a private room. Literally, he kept the doors to his room open at all times. Devotees could and did wander in at any time to see him. During the day he spent most of his time sitting in an open hall which anyone cold walk in on. He worked every morning in the ashram kitchen preparing the day's meals. There were no scandals at the ashram precisely because he hid nothing, and anyone could see him at almost any time.
So yes, it was different in the back rooms of others who were regarded as Adepts before. I'm sure there were a few scandals, but for the most part Adepts just aren't into the kinds of things Adi Da is into, and pretending they are is just a way of manufacturing a justification for Adi Da's behavior out of vague myths and old stories, like Krishna's, as if they actually happened. Even the stories of Naropa and Tilopa, Marpa and Milarepa,and Drukpa Kunley, are largely mythical, we have no real idea what they actually were like or what they did. In the historically verifiable era we have no real evidence of anyone behaving like Adi Da, period, and there's been a lot of realizers over the last 150 years to look at as examples of the breed. Adi Da simply doesn't fit in, behaviorally speaking, with that crowd.
So what is it you are complaining about exactly? Is it Adi Da's reported behavior? Rather, doesn’t your complaint go to the heart breaking "discovery" of the appearances of the "incontestablly horrific facts" regarding the behavior of just about every Great Master whom was ever lived?
No, it really doesn't apply to most Adepts. They do not appear by means of “horrific facts”. That is mostly in the imagination of people like MJ, and other devotees of Adi Da, who are taught over and over again by propagandistic “experts” in Adidam, like James Steinberg and Bill Stranger, who distort and confuse the traditions on a daily basis in order to prop of the Adidam ship of state. But the traditions simply do not support Adi Da on this and many other points. Even Adi Da admits this from time to time, because otherwise he would be subjecting himself to the traditional tests that Adepts have to pass to be considered genuine, and Adi Da knows he would never pass those tests. But in Adidam these same stories are told over and over again, like Nityananda throwing rocks, or Marpa and Milraepa, to justify the latest round of nonsense. Never does one hear a critical word from these sources pointing out how absurd these analogies are.
In a world where everything and everyone is felt, more or less, in terms of betrayal, it is particularly heart breaking and devastating to have God, or one who would be a direct conduit to God, (which is basically the same thing to the human psyche)seem to enact the very heart of betrayal? Is it not?I suspect that is why a number of people who leave Adi Da's teaching, never having allowed themselves to notice or resort to the Gift of Grace of God Communion freely given, spend the rest of their lives, apparently, making a big stink about it, instead of just taking stock of themselves and after a few months or years moving on.
Well, them's fightin' words, ain't they? Betrayal is of course a strong human emotion, and those who leave Adidam are definitely felt, by those who have stayed, to have betrayed not only them, but God and Truth. This, I think, is the emotion MJ is really speaking about – his own sense of being betrayed by people like me, who once were strong devotees, and who have since left, and “turned” on Adidam. This is why MJ feels such hostility towards me and others, and speaks of us as having failed to make use of the Grace of Divine Communion, as being “sinners” in other words, people who have “missed the mark”. He can't see me as someone who sincerely desires truth, who communes with God, who wants truth, who would like to leave falsehood behind. He has identified truth and God with Adidam, and thus leaving Adidam is a betrayal of the truth, and of God.
The truth is that Adidam is not the conduit of God in this world. God is already here. The “promised God-Man” is already here, has always been here, cannot leave. The “Promised God-Man” is in the heart of every being, and can be found there by turning to the heart, not by turning to some historical religious figure who claims to be the One and Only. We are each the promised God-Man. When Adi Da says that the greatest sin is to see the Guru as a mere man, he is simply wrong. The greatest sin is to see yourself as a mere man. The spiritual path begins not when you see the Guru as God, but when you begin to see your own heart as God, your own Self as God. That is the great "breakthrough" that begins the spiritual process. Everything before that is a confusing the cart with the horse.
It's true enough, however, that I felt betrayed by Adi Da, and by Adidam, for a while before, during, and after leaving. It's only natural after realizing the mistake I'd made with so much of my life in trying to commune with God through Adidam. What I came to realize is that there had been no betrayal of God, either by Adi Da or by myself - that God simply cannot be betrayed. God is present. The betrayal is only in our minds. My sense of being betrayed by Adi Da was the natural consequence of believing that he was the conduit of God in the first place. Once I was past that illusion, that notion that he had betrayed me simply evaporated. If I am writing about him now, it's not out of any emotion of betrayal. One, I am simply sorting out my past and putting it in its place, and two, I am simply making available to others what I understand about this process, in the hope of getting feedback and their help, and of being of help to them as well. There's no agenda of retribution in my mind, just of setting a few things straight.
Or those people may notice what in Adi Da's company they percieve of merely as displays of energy, of Shakti, instead of feeling deeper, and noticing how Adi Da is providing the Means which liberates on the level of Consciousness, and Communion.
If this were so, wouldn't we be seeing signs of this liberation in their lives, in their spiritual practice? Wouldn't the people who stay be examples of this great process of liberation? Where are these examples? The fact is, people in Adidam are perpetually stuck in the same problem, over and over again, and don't seem to have any insight into what it is. Reading the insights of people who have left may help them to understand what they have missed. The process of the liberation of consciousness has been alive for millenia, and it simply doesn't operate in the way Adi Da has taught it. He's taken the wisdom of such traditions as Vedanta and Buddhism and unskillfully wedded it to his own eclectic methods and siddhi, and it just doesn't work. That should be obvious by now. It's not that he doesn't have great yogic abilities, and it's not even that he has no heart or love for God, it's that he's tried to combine his own egoity with the transcendence of egoity, and that just doesn't work. He's Evelyn Disk and Raymond Darling fighting it out on the same stage, and that's a battle that can't be won, because they are the same person. But Adi Da continues to be in conflict with himself, and he uses the people around him to act out his own internal conflicts, and that is the source of his “theater”. It's a dangerous indulgence, usually the province of mad kings and dictators with absolute power over their subjects, and that is pretty much the state of affairs in Adidam, written comedically at least.
I make my own confession that Adi Da has given me the Resource of God Communion,which I can resort to any moment in which I am smart enough to choose it, rather then dwell in the fascination of my own projections. That Gift of Communion with God, which has saved my life countless numbers of times, and continues to save it every day-- I would not want to imagine my life without that ultimately Precious Gift of Divine Grace. And I wish you peace.
Yes, I wish MJ peace also. But peace is the very nature of all beings. I am not wishing him, or anyone else, anything they don't already have. God-Communion does not save anyone's life, it is simply the very nature of life. It is freely given by life itself, not by Adi Da. Pretending that it was given by Adi Da is like taking water from the river and putting it in a bottle with Adi Da's name on it. Why pay for what is freely available at all times? Bottled water is inferior to that which flows freely and wildly though the streams of the universe. Take that water and pour it back into the river. That is my advice. Let it rejoin the river of life, and not be bottled up any longer.