The Nature of Divine Incarnation

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It is obvious, from all sorts of subtle details, that [Adi Da Samraj] knows what IT's all about . . . One who knows that he is the Godhead from the beginning doesn't have to use any kind of force to be that — whether spiritual, moral, or material…a rare being.

Alan Watts


Every human heart longs to be perfectly and eternally happy. But in a time such as ours, when the materialistic viewpoint rules, degrading even our spiritual traditions, few of us even aspire to Perfect Happiness. A little "peace of mind" through meditation, some bodily rejuvenation through alternative medicine . . . throw in a good movie and dinner out with a bottle of "fine" wine — if we take an honest look at where we actually spend our time (despite our toying with ideas of "spirituality"), this is what we generally settle for.

Adi Da as Spiritual Transmitter. Throughout human history, the great Spiritual Masters appear now and then, to re-Awaken human beings to that greatest human destiny of Perfect and Eternal Happiness. By "great Spiritual Masters", I mean something quite specific. If you search the web or your local bookstore, you may get the sense that "spiritual teachers" are a dime a dozen: this one teaches some variation on Tibetan Buddhism; that one offers shamanic drumming; etc. But the truly great Spiritual Masters are rare. They have never been merely intellectual teachers, charismatic (but otherwise ordinary) human beings, or teachers of piecemeal techniques or rituals. They are always Spiritual Transmission Masters, tangibly transmitting their Spiritual Realization to their devotees. Their Words simply reflect what their Spiritual Transmission directly communicates:


Michael ShawI felt Beloved Adi Da's Spiritual Transmission thick in the room. I simply looked at Him, and saw Him as the center of a field of tangible, visible, Love-Blissful, Conscious, breathable Light. I felt myself go through a kind of 'door'. On the 'other side' was the most extraordinary perception of my beloved Spiritual Master that I had ever experienced. It was primarily a feeling-recognition of Him, a swoon of love in which He was simply Energy, Light, and Divine Love-Bliss. He radiated a visible, even tangible Light that was so attractive that I felt my entire being captured by and attracted to Him. There was no longer a sense of being a separate self — just the profound peace of realizing that there is nothing to seek, nowhere to go, nothing to attain. This was Reality itself, and it was not separate from 'me'. I had no sense of my usual persona or contracted self. It was like waiting all your life for a package to arrive, and then when it comes, you aren't there! But you are so happy that you don't mind at all.

Michael Shaw (devotee)


Different kinds of Spiritual Realization. Different Spiritual Masters transmit different Spiritual Realizations. The different Spiritual Realizations communicated by the great Masters correspond to different potential human destinies. God-Realization — Realization of Perfect, Eternal Happiness — is the greatest of all human destinies. And those rarest of Masters ("Divine Incarnations") who appear here by "crossing down" ("Avatar" literally means, "crossing down") from the Divine Domain spontaneously transmit that Divine Reality, enabling others to enter the Divine Domain themselves:


Raewyn BowmarI didn't have any specific expectations of feeling anything special when I first saw Him. But as Avatar Adi Da walked just a few yards toward the seat that had been prepared for Him, I looked at Him and I tacitly felt: He was only Love, walking around in a human body. I began to weep and weep, because I was literally seeing a vision of God. I had not expected to see that Divine Vision. But now everything that I had read and understood of His Teaching was Embodied before me! And I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Raewyn Bowmar (devotee)


Adi Da as Divine Incarnation alive in our time. The world's spiritual traditions are replete with stories, legends, and myths about great Masters such as Jesus, Krishna, and Guatama; much can be learned from these traditions. However, sorting out the historical fact from the mythical or orthodox embellishment is a formidable challenge. And even if we could discover what factually occurred those thousands of years ago, the question would still remain: is it still of spiritual use now? Are these Spiritual Masters still "Transmitting" in the twenty-first century?

In contrast, Adi Da Samraj is a Divine Incarnation alive in our time. Often, Westerners react to the notion of a "Divine Incarnation" - our skepticism is born out of both the traditional Judeo-Christian notion of "God" ("How can the all-powerful God appear in limited human form?"), and our broader, materialistic doubt in the existence of anything spiritual.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

Adi Da strongly critiques the notion of God as "all-powerful", the "Creator", "in charge of the universe", etc. — even as He critiques the materialistic viewpoint, and the view of "God" as some Person-less "ground of being". Instead, He describes God as the Source: the Person in Whose Consciousness all beings and things are appearing, much as in the consciousness of a dreamer. It is possible for God to appear in the "dream" (as a "Divine Incarnation"), and for us to Awaken out of it (as God, the only ultimately Real Being): such "God-Realization" is our greatest destiny.

For this reason, "Divine Incarnation" is not a matter of the Divine Being saying one day, "I'm the all-powerful God; I think I'll visit the earth today". It is a much more mysterious affair, dependent on a rare conjunction of circumstances that provide a "gateway" for the Divine to appear here as a character "in the dream". Adi Da Samraj describes how, in a real sense, the Divine Being "seized upon" such a rare opportunity to incarnate in 1939, in Long Island, New York: an appropriate enough place in an increasingly Westernized world!

The human life of a Divine Incarnation. Adi Da's description of His early years (in His autobiography, The Knee Of Listening) makes it clear that the life of a Divine Incarnation is paradoxically two-tiered:

  • On the one hand, it is the extraordinary story of a human being named Franklin Jones Awakening to the Divine Reality.

  • At the same time, it is the even more extraordinary story of how the Divine Being is progressively acquiring and preparing a particular human vehicle for the work of Enlightening other human beings.

The more common story of a saint or yogi who attains a greater Spiritual Realization is of the first kind. One can read the lives of what Adi Da refers to as "fourth to fifth stage saints or yogis" (Adi Da's Seven Stages of Life provides a framework for classifying Spiritual Realizations) and watch them move from visionary states or experiences of "cosmic consciousness" (Savikalpa Samadhi) to the objectless state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Or one can read the lives of "sixth stage sages" and be inspired by their Realization of Jnana Samadhi, complete identification with Consciousness Itself.

Because it is a story of Divine Descent, Adi Da's early life is a radical reversal of the lives of traditional saints and yogis, whose spiritual attainments reach up to God in vision and mystical union, and may even ultimately attain Identification with the Transcendental Consciousness (see the left column of Figure 1), over many lifetimes of spiritual effort.

Adi Da's amazing life story includes all these traditional Realizations and more, including the (seventh stage) Divine Realization of "There is Only God". But one of the most intriguing aspects of Adi Da's "human life" is that He experienced these Realizations in reverse (see the middle column of Figure 1) - and at a pace and in a spontaneous manner reflecting the fact that this was not a Realizer, who, through much effort, was attaining increasingly greater states over the course of many lifetimes; this was, rather, the Divine Being descending into a particular human vehicle at the God-Speed of just a few years within a single lifetime:

  • Spring, 1967. Adi Da experiences Jnana Samadhi, the ultimate sixth stage Realization while attending a Lutheran seminary.

  • April, 1968. He visits Swami Muktananda in India for four days, and experiences the ultimate fifth stage Realization of objectless Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

  • May, 1970. He revisits Swami Muktananda, and experiences all the traditional visionary phenomena ("Savikalpa Samadhi") that fourth to fifth stage yogis and saints usually experience for lifetimes before they attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Thus the Divine Acquisition of the human vehicle "took over" the various centers of Adi Da's body-mind from highest to lowest, manifesting the Spiritual Realizations associated with each center. In some sense, the most remarkable aspect of this life of Divine Incarnation was that it began in the seventh stage State of Perfect God-Realization:


Avatar Adi Da SamrajEven as a baby . . . I was a Radiant Form — the Source of Energy, Love-Bliss, and Light in the midst of a world that is entirely Energy, Love-Bliss, and Light. . . . I was the Heart Itself, Who Lightens the mind and all things.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Knee Of Listening


Indeed, when He was barely old enough to talk, Adi Da coined words He would later use in His Teaching — the "Bright": His word for the Divine State; and the "Thumbs": his word for the process by which the Divine "crashes down" into a human vehicle (so-called because an aspect of the process feels like giant thumbs pressing down on the head).

Adi Da's Work of Divine Emergence. In September 1970, Franklin Jones "Re-Awakened" as the Divine Being. Or, to describe it within the other "storyline" of Adi Da's life: the Divine Acquisition of the human vehicle had reached the point where that human vehicle consciously Realized the Divine State.

Almost immediately, the same Divine Process began extending Itself to all other beings:


Avatar Adi Da SamrajNow, whenever I would sit . . . instead of confronting what was arising in and as "myself", I "meditated" other beings and places. I would spontaneously become aware of great numbers of people . . . and I would work with them very directly, in a subtle manner.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Knee Of Listening


It was as though the Divine had established a "beachhead" on earth through the vehicle of "Franklin Jones", from which was launched a campaign ultimately capable of Awakening all beings to the Divine Identity through the same means —- by Divinely Emerging as them:


There is only one Divine Process in the world, and It is initiated when I [spiritually] "crash down" and [spiritually] "enter" My devotee. I am not a human being. I Am the Divine Lord in bodily (human) form, and I bring the Divine [Process]. When My devotee truly surrenders to Me, then I Enter My devotee in the form of Divine Light . . . . When a woman receives her lover, there is no doubt about it — she does not have to consult her textbooks!

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Guru Enters Devotee


The Spiritual Way of Adidam. In the more than three decades that have passed since He formally began working with devotees in April, 1972, Adi Da has fully developed the Spiritual Way of Adidam, in which devotees "link up" with this Process of Divine Emergence, so they can be transformed and ultimately Awakened by It. That Divine Process distinguishes Adidam from other traditions:

  • Conventional meditation, channeling, astral projection, kundalini yoga, psychic powers, and other aspects of "New Age spirituality", work by stimulating various "higher" centers in the human body-mind. The Way of Adidam places no ultimate value on "higher" or mystical experiences; the same limited ego suffers them, and is not set eternally free by them. The Way of Adidam is instead about surrendering the whole body (with all its centers) to the Divine, to the point of complete (Divine) Awakening.

  • Adidam is not for spiritual seekers. It is based on God already present (via the human form of Adi Da Samraj) and entering into, and ever deepening, the direct relationship with God.

  • Divine Awakening and freedom from seeking come not from some merely intellectual consideration, like: "the spiritual texts tell me I'm already God, already happy, already free, already not separate — so I should just 'presume' all that; by so doing, I will eventually Realize it to be so." You can't get "There" from here by means of mere "presumption"! In the Way of Adidam, Divine Awakening, Perfect Happiness, and freedom from seeking come not from presumption of these, but from being spiritually, ecstatically overwhelmed by the Divine Force, Presence, and Bliss.

Implications of a genuine Divine Incarnation. The appearance of a Divine Incarnation in our time provides immense opportunities - most significantly, the opportunity of Divine Enlightenment: Realization of the Divine State requires the Divine to appear in the form of a Spiritual Master; the Divine Being and State are not otherwise accessible to humankind. (Figure 1 illustrates how the traditional processes of Realization stop short of the Divine State. One can't Awaken "oneself" from the "dream"; the Divine Person must initiate the connection by "crossing over" into the "dream".)


Avatar Adi Da SamrajWe have talked about traditional Yogic methods of seeking Self-realization or God-union. They are something like sitting in a room, breathing heavily, and looking at erotic pictures. You can generate something that is like passion, but you are never going to make love! It never becomes that. Just so, you can sit and breathe methodically, turning inward, contemplating Divine images or God-ideas, but it is never going to become God-union. God has never entered into it. It is a very hopeful practice at best. There is no God-union until God is there to be unioned with. As a lover depends on his or her loved one, the God-seeker depends on the Living Presence of God before there can be any God-union. And when God appears, you are not going to have to do your "spiritual" breathing! What there is to do will all be very obvious. You won't have to think about what is necessary to be done to become one with God. It is only the absence of God, the suffering, the iognorant condition, that gets you involved in all of this seeking ["believing in God", "meditation on a God-idea", etc.]. It is only where God is already not that all of these practices begin.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Method Of The Siddhas

There is nothing that you can do to save yourself, to become Enlightened, to become Realized. Nothing whatsoever. If there were something, I would tell you, but there is nothing. This is because one always approaches the Truth from the point of view of the search. Human beings seek the Truth. But the search is (itself) a reaction to the dilemma, an expression of this separation, this avoidance of relationship. So none of this seeking — nothing you can do — becomes or attains the Truth.

All the means of transformation belong to the Truth Itself, to the Divine Person, to the True Divine Heart. Therefore, Satsang with Me is (Itself) the only sadhana, the only true Spiritual practice. Living, working, sitting with Me is sadhana. It is meditation. It is Realization.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"The Gorilla Sermon"
The Method Of The Siddhas


In a world ruled by human egoity and the "bad news" egoity creates worldwide, the amazingly good news is this: beyond all materialistic expectations, Perfect, Eternal Happiness is possible; and the means for Awakening to the Divine State of Perfect, Eternal Happiness is presently available through the devotional and Spiritual relationship with Adi Da Samraj:


I am like the sunlight in the morning. I intensify the light of morning until you Awaken. Until the light awakens you — even the Light of Consciousness Itself — you continue to dream, try to survive within the dream, manipulate yourself within the dream, pursue all kinds of goals, searches, none of which Awakens you. . . . I, Myself, the One Who would Awaken you, am not an individual within the dream. I Am the Real, the Conscious Light, the True Waking State, the True Divine Heart — Breaking Through the force of dreaming. . . . I Am your own Most Prior Self-Nature Appearing within the dream in order to Awaken you.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Gorilla Sermon



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