I mention Master
Da (along with Christ, Krishna) as being the Divine Person as World Event.
From Eden, 1981
have not, and have never, renounced Da as Realizer, nor have I in any way abandoned
my love and devotion for Him. . . . Do I believe that Master Adi Da is the greatest
Realizer of all time? I certainly believe He is the greatest living Realizer.
Anything beyond that is sheer speculation. How could any of us judge? Who among
us has met Gautama Buddha? Who has experienced Satsang with Sri Ramana Maharshi?
Who has lived in the company of Padmasambhava? I have sat in satsang with Master
Adi Da, and with numerous other great Adepts, and my own opinion is that Master
Adi Da is the living Sat-Guru. . . . Many people have made their way to Master
Da because of my own writings. I am completely happy about that, and I hope I
can continue that positive influence. At the same time, I have received an enormous
amount of grief, from personal and professional quarters, for my endorsements.
I do not regret those endorsements, nor do I retract them. But blanket, public
statements of endorsement are simply no longer a diplomatic, intelligent, skillful
way to steer people to Da. . . . But for those students who are ready, and who
fully understand the gravity of the decision, I speak of Master Da as the Sat-Guru,
and recommend that they pursue that Way to the extent that they are capable: student,
disciple, devotee. . . . I affirm my own love and devotion to the living Sat-Guru,
and I hope my work will continue to bring students to the Way of the Heart.
Wilber, "Private" letter to the
Adidam community, Fall, 1997
the years, the well-known author, Ken Wilber, has helped many spiritual seekers
find their Spiritual Master, Adi Da Samraj, because of Wilber's extraordinarily
strong endorsements of both Adi Da Samraj's Teaching and of Adi Da Himself. Wilber
has acknowledged Adi Da Samraj as both the Divine Incarnate (see the above quote)
and as one of his teachers [Grace
and Grit], and much of his own conceptual framework can be viewed as borrowing
from that of Adi Da Samraj. (As the
Wikipedia article on the Integral Movement puts it: "Wilber, borrowing
centrally from the writings of Adi Da, also built upon the ideas of previous integral
thinkers like Sri Aurobindo and Jean Gebser in developing his own theory.")
Here are just a few specific examples from Wilber's writings, and from others
commenting on how Wilber derived from Adi Da:
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Wilber was . . . a very enthusiastic supporter of Adi Da . . . It is easy to see
the way he developed his own ontology of stages of psycho-physical development
from Da's "seven stages of life". It is possible to look at his early but seminal
Atman Project and see how his idea of successive stages of psycho-spiritual
development grew out of Da's "Seven
Stages of Life" thesis.
Alan Kazlev, 2003
Aurobindo taught the transmutation
and divinisation of matter (“Supramentalisation”), while Wilber in typical Buddhistic
style teaches its transcendence; a teaching he presumably derives originally from
his guru, Da Free John (Adi Da).
and Comparative use of "Integral"
Following [Adi Da], I divide
the great mystical traditions into three classes, namely, saints, yogis, and sages.
194, Ken Wilber
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few religions are aware of all of these distinctions . . . meditative practices
break down generally into three major classes (cf. [Adi Da]).
112, Ken Wilber
Fig 28: The Heart of Christ.
This is not the physical heart, nor is it the subtle-chakra heart -- it is the
causal and ultimate Heart, precisely as described by Sri Ramana Maharshi and [Adi
257, Ken Wilber
We should note here that
the Existential Level . . . is very much a cramp or perturbation, the cramp
or perturbation, lying at the root of man's "self"-identity. Further,
it is this cramp, which Benoit calls a spasm and [Adi Da] calls a contraction,
that is the fundamental motor of all man's activities.
145, Ken Wilber
Spectrum of Consciousness
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Aurobindo and Plotinus and [Adi Da] have pointed out, although one can indeed
speed up development through these stages [of life], they cannot fundamentally
183, Ken Wilber
Brief History of Everything
Wilber tells us that in
the year of his wife Treya's fortieth birthday, [Adi Da], whom both considered
their teacher, began saying "that the ultimate enlightened vision was when
one saw the five-pointed cosmic star, or cosmic mandala, pure and white and radiant,
utterly beyond all finite limitations." Wilber then continues: "Treya
didn't know this was said at that time, but nonetheless that is exactly when she
changed her name from Terry to Estrella, or Treya, which is Spanish for star.
And it is held that, at the precise moment of death, the great five-pointed cosmic
star, or the clear light void, or simply great Spirit or luminous Godhead, appears
to every soul.. . .She did not change her name to "Treya" because [Adi Da] had
talked about this ultimate vision; she had simply had this vision, of the luminous
cosmic star, in a very real and direct way."
404, Ken Wilber, Grace
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I was also drawn to several
individual teachers who, although schooled in a particular tradition, transcended
any categorization: Krishnamurti, Sri Ramana Maharshi, and [Adi Da].|
169, Ken Wilber
Da]'s phrase kept running through my mind: "Practice the wound of love... practice
the wound of love." Real love hurts; real love makes you totally vulnerable and
open; real love will take you far beyond yourself; and therefore real love will
devastate you. I kept thinking, if love does not shatter you, you do not know
402, Ken Wilber, Grace
is fairly clear that even in Integral
Spirituality, Ken remains attached to views put forward by Franklin Jones
in Nirvanasara. Whenever Ken instanciates "causal formlessness" with the "classical
nirvana" of Hinayana Buddhism, he basically evokes views put forward in Nirvanasara.
Adi Da's Nirvanasara
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Phrases created by Adi Da
and appropriated by Ken Wilber — here are just a few examples:
self-contraction — Adi Da introduced this term back in 1972. Wilber has used
it extensively in his writings, for example: "As you look deeply into your own
awareness, and relax the self-contraction, and dissolve into the empty ground
of your own primordial experience, the simple feeling of Being — right now, right
here — is it not obvious all at once?" (from The
Simple Feeling of Being).
feeling of being — Adi Da introduced this phrase at least as far back as July
1982 (in The Liberator: "Be Conscious as the Feeling of Being and Realize
that It Is Radiant Happiness.") Wilber created a book based on this, The
Simple Feeling of Being (2004).
- Truth as that which is always
already the case — While philosophers from Kant to Heidegger have used the phrase, "always already", Adi Da's unique
contribution was to use this phrase as a characterization of "Truth", introducing it in this sense back in 1972, in his autobiography, The
Knee Of Listening, describing Truth as that which is "always already the
case". Wilber created a chapter based on this, Always Already: The Brilliant
Clarity of Ever-Present Awareness, in his book, The
Eye of Spirit (1997).
saints, and sages
— In his teaching, Adi Da introduced a categorization scheme for the world's spiritual
and religious traditions. Early on ( in the early 1970's), he distinguished between
"yogis, saints, and sages". Later on he would develop these distinctions
into his "seven stages of life" framework. Wilber lifted the "yogis,
saints, and sages" distinction and used it in a number of his works, including
Ecology, Spirituality (1995) — see, for example, the quote here),
Taste (2000) — see, for example, this
shout — Adi Da's
phrase (and also the title of a compilation of his wisdom: The
Heart's Shout, 1994), used by Wilber in a What Is Enlightenment? magazine
article, and later reprinted in his book, One
naturally, many people have wondered what it could mean when they heard that Wilber
was no longer standing behind those endorsements unequivocally. The best answer
to that question is to read Wilber's own writings about Adi Da Samraj. We
have laid them out for you here in their entirety, along with only a little commentary,
as the "flip flops" in the progression of his writings are largely self-explanatory.
To us, it seems
hard to draw any conclusion other than this: Even though Wilber's own conceptual
framework (and the career he based on writing about that framework) had benefitted
greatly from the Teaching of Adi Da Samraj, he feared that his career would be
ruined by the word getting out about his "love and devotion" to "the
living Sat-Guru" (Wilber's own
words), and by the "grief"
he was receiving for his public confession of that devotion. He acted accordingly.
course, such a fear of being associated with a Spiritual Master is not surprising
in these materialistic and anti-authoritarian times, when even genuine Spiritual
Masters are automatically labelled "cult leaders". Indeed, one could
say, perhaps it was even harder in the time of Jesus, when one risked not only
career or friends but life itself, by being associated with a controversial Spiritual
Master; this surely was what motivated Nicodemus to visit Jesus in secret, and
led Peter to deny his own beloved Spiritual Master. Had Jesus been living now,
rather than two thousand years ago, no doubt he would have been branded a "cult
leader"; "scourged" for fraternizing with whores, suggesting revolutionary
ideas, and the like; and "crucified" by lawsuits from ex-disciples whose
expectations of Him differed from what the Man Himself was here to offer. Instead
of Christianity, there would be references to a "Jesus cult", in much the same
way Adi Da's detractors conjure an "Adi Da cult" into existence. As in Jesus'
time, when the primary forces working to destroy Him were the fundamentalists
of the established religion (e.g, the Pharisees), so too in our time, the "anti-cult
movement" against new minority religions to a significant extent is funded
and driven by the fundamentalist sects of the large, established Western religions.
(Click here for just a few examples.)
It is not unlike the way in which the corporate powers associated with traditional
sources of energy (such as coal and oil) have often worked to impede the development
of newer, alternative energy sources, for the sake of maintaining power and profit.
surprisingly, all of us who are Adi Da Samraj's devotees have experienced at times
that kind of reaction against Adi Da Samraj and the new religion of Adidam. We
have felt compelled to fight the
prejudice against religious minorities represented by this reaction, amazingly
still present in a time when so much progress has been made relative to other
forms of prejudice (racism, sexism, etc.). But Ken Wilber appears not to have
had the personal strength to continue advocating Adi Da Samraj in spite of the
"grief" he was receiving. So for a while, he tried to have it both ways,
publicly denouncing "Da", while privately confessing his "love
and devotion" to "Master Adi Da", and privately expressing the
hope that "my work will continue to bring students to the Way of the Heart".
As a consequence (particularly after his private communications became public),
Wilber's communications created a great amount of confusion. Some people were
only aware of his intentionally public communications, and had forgotten (or had
never seen) his earlier endorsements in their full detail, and had never seen
his private communications.
so Wilber's writing is one thing, the man, quite another.
help sort matters out, we include here everything Wilber wrote about Adi
Da Samraj (at least everything we know of), so that there can be no suggestion
that anything has been taken out of context. Indeed, the fact that many of his
readers only read his later writings about Adi Da Samraj without having also read
precisely what he wrote earlier has allowed him the luxury of making suggestions
about those earlier writings — for instance, that he was always for the teaching
but not the teacher, or for the "Spiritual Realizer" but not the "human
personality" — that simply don't hold upon actual examination of those earlier
writings. Wilber himself writes, "I do not regret those endorsements, nor
do I retract them." That may be so. But we do suspect that he also never
wanted them displayed side by side with his criticisms, because the inconsistencies
are just too glaring.
are Wilber's writings about Adi Da Samraj, in their entirety. Draw your own conclusions!
WILBER'S WRITINGS ON ADI DA SAMRAJ
a different point of view on Adi Da Samraj, and to hear the stories of people
who have spent far more time in Adi Da Samraj's Company than Ken Wilber, please
visit the Adi
Da Up Close website.