Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of the final transition of Adi Da Samraj, my root-Guru, to whose Radiant Awakened Consciousness I conformed myself, as much as I could, 24/7, for fifteen years, from the age of 22 to when I was 37. What was at the Heart of that revelation, I still resonate with. I will always resonate. What I encountered is not something anyone would or could willingly “leave”. I witnessed a miracle—a miracle that exceeds anything I can describe in words.
Paradoxically a big part of what Adi Da gave me only became perceptible after I “left” Him. It was as if a secret teaching had been inscribed on the inside of the wrapper I thought I was discarding when I tried to separate the wheat from the chaff and walk away. Doing so had nearly killed me. I had been forced to find balls I didn’t know I had. That’s what it took to stand up to the strongest will I expect I’ll ever feel. What it took to reclaim my autonomy, my authenticity, my self-authorship. In some ways I had not really fully arrived in myself until I “left the cult”.
For a few years, I couldn’t stand to read Adi Da’s books. I was very angry. I went to therapy. I had to dare to fear that I’d wasted the first half of my adult life. I went through hell. And I felt like I had to fight Adi Da, like an animal with its back against the wall, not to lose contact with the Grace I had been shown. I had to fight to leave with my relationship to the Mystery intact. I had to summon resources, to “get down” radically, to fight for what is even more precious than life itself. It felt like it nearly killed me. But then Grace reappeared. I’d sometimes feel the very Beingness of Life luminous and effulgent. It would break through and Shine astounding bliss, just like Adi Da’s transmission had. On these occasions I would even discover that the thunderous Brightness of Adi Da was still present in the world, still present in me. I was reminded that, at least in principle, it was never not here.
And I started to oscillate between two completely incompatible states.
There was a state of fierce autonomy in which I had the balls to reclaim and save “the only life I could save”, to show up fully, to see directly, to trust the heart of my own knowing and feeling, and to choose, and to love.
And there was a state of ecstatic devotional recognition in which I was in love with God, and all my time with Adi Da seemed obviously to have been a great wave of Grace through which God had given Him/Her-Self to me via my Guru, and in that state I was only full of gratitude and recognition.
And I had many state-specific memories, two huge, non-intersecting domains of my life. Each state accessed an enormous body of my life experience. But the two states were mutually exclusive. So I oscillated between devotion and defiance.
After oscillating for a long time it dawned on me that the fact that there was no single state in which I could access all of my most important and existentially profound life experiences was *itself* a profound teaching. I was being shown something radical about the nature of perception and perspectives and reality. My ‘point of view’ melted in the heat of a light “brighter than a thousand suns.”
Adi Da called himself “a difficult man”. And he has continued, long after his death, to be a great source of difficulty to me. On one hand, it was in my falling-in-love, and in my life-and-death battles with Him that I was turned inside-out. That process is what forced me, years later, even against my preferences, to teach spirituality and practice. And on the other hand, he attracted scandal and became popularly perceived as the epitome of the great narcissistic guru, all during a time in which it is almost universally understood and agreed that “the age of the guru is over”, that sanity and self-responsibility requires individuals to become free from external sources of spiritual energy and truth. In fact, I am even now feeling some disquiet as I write this, knowing that posting it publicly will probably attract some scorn, voiced or unvoiced. The animosity toward the guru could scarcely be stronger in this time.
And yet I’m on a path that requires integrity, and acknowledgement of my primary sources. And Adi Da is my Root-Guru. He combined Himself with me, and I combined myself with Him. And that cannot be undone. Even though I am in dialogue now in a public conversation with many people to whom he simply seems strange, and even though I am unwilling to be confined by the cultic dynamics that tend to accrete around him. Adi Da still shines brightly in my heart.
I remember him today, seven years after He left the body, and I’m suffused with grateful gladness. A brightness that can’t be captured in words outshines the heart and mind. Six years ago, I created this page with some selected writings and photos from my teacher I repost it now: https://www.terrypatten.com/adi-da-samraj-1939-2008