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#3383 - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights -      

Here is a comment posted to the Nonduality Blog for the entry entitled Adi Da is Dead  

Former Follower and Critic Says:
December 16, 2008 at 1:22 am e

I don’t think it is about “convincing” someone to “change sides” of the coin. It is about illuminating the areas of disagreement as well as agreement among those with similar experiences around Da who came to opposite positions, for the sake of truth. The issue here is intepretation of eveything using the Adidam model as the measure rather than looking at the differences between the Adidam model and the non-dualism of Ramana Maharshi, et al, based on multiple dimensions of consistency and results.

It is one thing to say that practices like self-enquiry and being aware of the Witness are beginner’s practices in Adidam. It is another to say that that is talking about the same thing Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta among others are referring to. It is also one thing to say that Adidam devotional practices leapfrog one into the highest stages of practice by bypassing seeking simply because that is how you interpret it and based on anticipated experiences of Light and Bliss. It is another to understand what Ramana Maharshi meant by Bhakti, Satsang, etc., and that these are still conditional phenomena.

I am puzzled over the criticism of those who allegedly never understood that Adidam was “always about devotional non-dualism”. Actually, the original Knee of Listening did not make that clear at all and that distinction really wasn’t codified until after 1978 when Da took the name Da. The group was marketed earlier as a non-dualistic path of understanding, but the actual approach from the early days once you arrived was modeled after a Beehive as Da himself said, a do as I say not as I do approach that left the worker bees surviving off of the nectar of shakti and bliss. This began very early. One former devotee who left in early 1973 has said in an article found on the internet: “Although I respected Franklin [Da] as a genius in spirituality, I also knew that he was a fallible man with limits…I was not at rest. I did not want to become part of a disciple collective, a worker in a hive, or a permanent follower. I had come to Franklin for direct personal spirituality. A lifetime of endless, tedious effort and servitude did not make sense. At one point I expressed this feeling to Franklin privately and told him that I felt understanding alone was sufficient. He didn’t respond for a while, and when he did, his answer was equivocal. “Yes,” he said, “but effort is still necessary.” But at that time, the small, quiet inner voice that had always been my most reliable spiritual guide was telling me to leave. Franklin once said that those who ended their relationship with him went back to zero. But I didn’t believe that. I trusted that the true guru was within and that the external guru was only a manifestation of the inner. When I stopped by the ashram a few months later to buy a book, the disciple behind the counter chastised me in a distant, dreamy and blissful voice about how much I was missing since I had left. But I recalled that Franklin, through word and action, taught his disciples to remain awake and to be present to reality. The disciple’s other-worldly mannerisms only confirmed the validity of my decision. My inner voice had not failed me. I never returned.”

This illustrates what it was that from the earliest period until today makes discussions of practice difficult, compared with say a discussion between those following traditional paths. In every case, the Da devotee interprets their practices and experiences as evidence of some kind of superior shortcut while not showing evidence of properly understanding the traditional practices themselves, equating experiences of light, love and bliss with non-seeking and high spiritual states. And they have every right to think so, for themselves. Those of us who find from our own experience that these Adidam devotional practices were not only not what traditional non-dualists are describing, but are something less deep and lasting, also have an opinion.

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