Adi Da Samraj’s
Teaching has never been limited to conceptual ideas. It has always
been more of an artistic enterprise, in which He “drew pictures”
of the primal truths at the heart of the Spiritual Reality. When
He fundamentally completed His written Teaching some years ago
(summarized in His twenty-three
Source Texts), He immediately became intensely concentrated
on artistic work as His primary form of communication.
Adi Da's Image Art
circumstance of existence, in and of itself, is disheartening.
That is why it is necessary to do art. Art is an essential response
to the conditions of existence, a means by which limitations
are transcended, Reality is Realized, Truth is Realized, Light
is found. Without that activity — there is nothing but this
intrusion of changes and death. Participation in an art form
should be at least as great as that art form. Art should change
you. That is the whole purpose of it. True art heals. True art
restores equanimity. Art must regenerate the sense of well-being.
That is its true purpose. When art is really useful, it serves
this ultimate process of healing, well-being, higher sympathy,
and Spiritual Awakening.
a visual meditation on a very simple circumstance: a woman
in and near a pool of water. Narcissus, the archetype of
ego, gazes at his own reflection in a pond, never able to
contact the "object" of his self-enamored affection. But
Quandra, the true beloved, is one with the water itself,
whether in or out of the pool.
shot the majority of the images in Quandra Loka underwater,
or with the camera lens partially submerged in water, so
that the water functions as a vast and subtly complex lens,
achieving visual results not possible by any technical means.
The images are made by a "technique" that requires continuous
participation in the living instant of the photographic
situation — sensitive to the constantly changing sunlight
conditions, the ever-shifting minute movements of the subject,
and even my own ability to stay submerged underwater. This
"method" is beyond conceptual effort, beyond conventions
of control in the ordinary sense, beyond point of view.
This process of generating images — involving absolute awareness
of every detail of what is occurring and (simultaneously)
an intuitive trust in allowing the ultimately unpredictable
process to take place — is a means of allowing reality to
these images to "picture" the unity of the undifferentiated
reality from which all appearances emerge in a constant
flow of changes. The entire span of human possibilities
is reflected in these images — both "positive" and "negative."
But all possibilities are seen in the context of that inherent
unity or indivisible space. The positives and the negatives
are all transcended, rather than any attempt being made
to render them acceptable in and of themselves.
premiere exhibition of Avatar Adi Da Samraj's Art was recently
on display at Louis Stern Fine Arts Gallery, in West Hollywood,
California, from April 8 through May 10, 2003.
artwork of Adi Da Samraj engages subjects exotic and mundane,
beautiful and homely, elegant and rough. Through the often-manifold
repetition of images arranged in patterns, Adi Da devises myriad
visual mantras, as expansive in their rhythms as they are in their
colors and contours – patterns that at first seem symmetric but
subtly reveal their dissonances and metamorphoses. These apparent
slippages are sources of revelation here, pathways in their very
imperfection to the divine. Even as they remind us that life itself
is not perfect, they demonstrate that we learn much from those
imperfections, and find ourselves as much in them as in transcendence
effulgent richness of these images, their monumentality, and the
elaborate complexity that engenders and expands them all bespeak
a sensibility at once spontaneously visual and deeply metaphysical.
Adi Da Samraj exploits recent technological developments in visual
documentation, expansions of the photographic medium that allow
him to exfoliate the seen world into supra-natural illumination.
He achieves this by subjecting photographic elements to myriad
permutation, repeating and manipulating them in patterns and variations
akin to musical development. These configurations and reconfigurations
ultimately assume structures as dense and elaborate as mandalas
– and, in their physical scope, as enveloping.
Da Samraj’s earlier work, black and white or otherwise tonal,
evinces similar vision, but relies on a more expressionistic,
even iconoclastic, employment of in-camera photomontage techniques.
Lyrical and haunting, the tonal photographs dramatically expand
upon avant-garde experimentation in modernist photography. Now,
in the recent work in color – no less modern, even avant-garde,
but with a unique physical, emotional, and spiritual expansiveness
– Adi Da Samraj’s spiritual and philosophical embrace of the universe
has been potently embodied in optical and thematic breadth.
Frank is a well-known author and art critic.
He is currently the Senior Curator of the Riverside Art Museum
in Los Angeles.
organized numerous theme and survey shows, including "Artists'
Books U.S.A.," "Mapped Art: Charts, Routes, Regions" and "Line
and Image: The Northern Sensibility in Recent European Drawing,"
all for Independent Curators Inc.; Fluxus Film and Video for the
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid; "Young Fluxus"
for Artists' Space in New York; "To the Astonishing Horizon" for
Los Angeles Visual Arts; "Southern Abstraction" for the Raleigh
(NC) City Gallery of Contemporary Art; "The Theater of the Object,
1958-1972" for New York's Alternative Museum; "Visual Poetry"
for the Otis/Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles; "Multiple World"
for the Atlanta College of Art; and most notably "19 Artists â
Emergent Americans," the 1981 Exxon National Exhibition mounted
at the Guggenheim Museum.
served as art critic for the Village Voice and the SoHo Weekly
News, and has taught at the Pratt Institute, Columbia University's
School of the Arts, the Tyler School of Art, the University of
California Irvine, Claremont Graduate School, California State
University Fullerton, the University of California Santa Barbara,
and other institutions.
is a professor
of art history and philosophy at the State University of New York
at Stony Brook. He is also "one of the best known and most
highly regarded critics in the world," says Victor Kord, Cornell
art professor. He received the 1997 Lifetime Achievement Award for
Distinguished Contribution to Visual Arts from the National Association
of Schools of Art and Design. He is a 1983 recipient of the College
Art Association's prestigious Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction
in Art Criticism. He is a contributing editor at Artforum,
Sculpture, and New Art Examiner magazines, the editor
of Art Criticism, and the editor of a series on American
Art and Art Criticism for Cambridge University Press. He has been
awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Commission,
the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment
for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, among others. An author
of numerous articles, exhibition reviews, and catalog essays, Kuspit
has written more than twenty books, including
Art: Critical Reveries,
Identities: Artists at the End of the Avant-Garde.
with Adi Da: this issue of life — and art — is how to enter "the
domain of intimacy — where people are involved with the profundity
of fundamental human existence" . . .
is one to separate the dross of life from what is essential to
it? In Heideggerean terms, how is one to achieve authenticity
in the midst of everydayness? . . . Adi Da shows us one way: by
returning to the sensory self, in effect renewing it. I am suggesting
that, whatever else they mean, Adi Da's photographs convey a radical
consciousness of the primal body, which is invariably woman's
body. It is the truly first body, the original body — the body
in which we originated, in which every human body generates .
. . Recovering one's sense of being a lived body through the living
body of woman — indeed, by vicariously living the body of woman
through Adi Da's photographs, which show just how successfully
art can be an instrument of intimacy — one leaves the familiar
everyday world behind to enter an unfamiliar paradise of the senses,
which have a wisdom of their own . . .
again and again Adi Da's photographs convey a sense of aesthetic
as well as physical ecstasy. Virtually all of his images are masterpieces
of abstraction — ecstatic visions of the female body that are
simultaneously formal epiphanies. . . .
once classic and iconoclastic, Adi Da's female nude becomes a
spiritual emblem . . . She is that rare thing in modern art, the
female not simply as seductive body, the victim of the so-called
male gaze, but the female as a spiritual presence, embodying consciousness
of "the profundity of fundamental human existence",
to again quote Adi Da's words . . .
is a rare artist who can convey, convincingly, the sense of being
face to face with the source of being. Adi Da can clearly live
in the depths without succumbing to their pressure, bringing back
pearls of art to prove it. . . .
Da's photographs are not only seductive but enlightening: contemplating
them, we become conscious of the avatar that informs them, and
with that our own inner light and depth.
excerpts from his introduction to
experience of Adi Da Samraj's work is not photographic in the
traditional sense. Yes, the camera has a lens — that is its point
of view, its point of you. But suppose the point of you disappears,
for a sixtieth of a second. What happens?
His photography is about the time it takes for you to discover,
to walk through, to lose balance in, the intrinsic architecture
of his frames. Like music, it requires time.
"instants" recorded by Adi Da Samraj are the clicks of a train
leaving the station of the familiar. As you travel with him, you
might lose yourself in the midst of blacks, of grays, of whites;
and as you do this, you will recognize the space of his images
as one of your own. The center has shifted. You are in the "bright
room". We always were.
Karman, who heads A
& I Xibit, is world-renowned as a master printer. His
services are in great demand by many well-known photographers including
Helmut Newton, Sally Mann, Nan Goldin and Greg Gorman. Recently,The Corbis Collectioninvited Michel to hand-select and print 75 of the archive's
most striking (some never before) images, and give them new life
in a special limited-edition presentation, "The Living Lens: 75
Limited Edition Prints from the Bettmann Archive." Michel's work
is currently on exhibit at theLouis
Stern Fine Arts Gallery, West Hollywood, California.
Da's work breaks the traditional rules and conventions of standard
photographic practice — not as a formalist exercise or to participate
in the (conventional) games of the avant-garde, but rather as
a means of creating true visionary art. There is in this work
a refreshing sense of play, of experimentation, of pushing the
medium to communicate the ineffable. Alchemical transformations
are at work here.
see these images as dreamscapes, as manifested ecstatic visions,
as rich mythologies intricately weaving together the world and
the Transcendent. Glimpses into a mysterious, enchanted world,
these transformative visions are an answer to the question of
how one might create a truly sacred art in our time.
stark contrast to the cynicism that dominates much contemporary
art, Adi Da's art is a deeply generous and compassionate gift
to its viewers. Through his artwork, Adi Da is redefining the
nature of art, returning art to its ancient, sacred origins. In
his remarkable, transformative artwork, viewers are being given
an opportunity to experience the ecstatic unity of creation. His
images offer a truly rare opportunity for revelation.
at this work, it seems to become possible again to raise the issue
of an identity between truth and beauty, without the embarrassment
this might normally cause in what we like to think of as a hardheaded
and realistic age. This beauty is not seducing us into any kind
of sentimentality or escapism, but is demonstrating its power
to undo our ordinary objective thinking and to confront us with
a sense of awe and mystery.
can sum up the total effect this work has had on me in terms of
a comparison with brilliant and warming sunshine flooding over
the predominantly bleak landscape of contemporary culture, bringing
with it a positive sense of release from the confusion and anxiety
engendered within this environment. Adi Da Samraj has given us
a new vision of what is possible with photography.
Da is inviting us to see that art is capable of relating to the
world in a way that reflects a truer understanding of reality
than our present culture is willing to acknowledge. It is also
clear that the spiritual nature of His art lies not in any idealistic
consideration of what ought to be, but in its insistence that
we open our eyes and see what is; that that requires us to enter
into a relationship, one in which we accept the fact of mystery,
but gain a greater sense of meaning, and of affirmation.
Foster is an artist and graphic designer with George
Light and Magic. He has worked on the digital effects of
such Star Wars movies as The Return of the Jedi and The Phantom
you are looking at a landscape or closeup of a woman's face, Adi
Da's rich and subtle black & white photos speak volumes about
the human condition. His spontaneous and masterful use of in-camera
multi-exposure allows his subjects to dissolve into luminescence
or to cubistically shatter apart. In particular, his series "The
Virgin Suite" literally moved me to tears. All non-essentials
have been removed, except for three naked humans and a chair and
ladder in a bare white room with an open skylight. Adi Da has
stripped away all pretense from his subjects, as he leads them
through a stunningly composed dance of longing, ecstasy, and pain
of separation. His pictures of people are vulnerable, warm, and
smooth, exuding an ethereal vitality that, combined with an exquisite
sense of composition and a deep love of his subject, cross the
boundaries of mere design into Great Art.
self-constricted ego bristles at the implied Messianism of the
title, "The Promised God-Man. . ." —
yet if God-consciousness is fully present as a liberating force
in human form, why should there by any equivocating?
been inspired by Adi Da's writings for many years. He is a contemporary
spiritual Hero, offering his transcendental gifts to a culture
without a tradition for or even "taste" for Avatars . . . yet
he bears the burdens of sagehood with persistence and love. .
Da's photographic art explores an exciting new way of being through
a renowned artist, and the author of Transfigurations
Mirrors and The
Mission of Art. His work has been included in the album
art of such popular rock groups as Nirvana and the Beastie Boys
and a book of songs by the Talking Heads. Healers, body workers
and "new age" figures including Matthew Fox, Joan Borysenko and
Deepak Chopra have all used his work to describe the dimensions
of body, mind and spirit. Grey's artwork has been exhibited worldwide,
including Stux Gallery and the New Museum in NYC, the Grand Palais
in Paris, the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil, the Centro Culturale
Zittele in Venice, Italy, University Galleries of the University
of Illinois, and La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles.
Fouts is a Fine Art Publisher of Custom and Limited Editions.
Da's Art is a paradoxical experience, a multi-dimensional one,
a revelatory one, a liberating one, an ordeal also, a participation
that is extraordinary. . . . In my opinion, this is utterly a
Work of great genius, completely original and inspiring, a great
gift to humanity, human culture and the world of art.
Heart Journal — "The home of Art, Creativity and Spiritual
Life". The Wild Heart Journal grew out of the work of Eliezer
Sobel, author of Wild Heart Dancing: A Personal One-Day Quest to
Liberate the Artist and Lover Within, which in turn grew out of
his workshops and retreats on creative expression which he led at
Esalen Institute, the Lama Foundation, the Open Centre, and other
conference centers of this nature.
Wild Heart Journal
recently featured an article on "Art is Love",
that communicates Adi Da Samraj's Wisdom on art and love.
artist must learn his or her craft and then must be able
to do that mysterious something that connects the viewer
with the Divine Reality, or the Numinous Reality, the spiritual
feeling associated with loving, and with experiencing feeling
that goes beyond the contracted state of life — as you do
when you're in love with someone.
Poutsma — Freelance photographer Nick Poutsma's
online gallery includes images of nudes, landscapes, people, travel,
commercial, infrared, and other unusual photos.
current photographic work has been greatly inspired by the photographic
work of his Spiritual Master, Adi Da Samraj.
1985 at the age of 30, I began my second overwhelming life-experience:
the discovery of the spiritual realities of existence. I discovered
this through the teachings and person of the Adept, Adi Da Samraj.
1989, after having spent some years studying Adi Da's teachings
and having grown utterly weary of the commercial photography scene,
I closed my studio and moved to the Fiji Islands in the South
Pacific, to live and practice a spiritual way of life under the
direct guidance of Adi Da Samraj. I remained there for ten years,
which were the greatest and most valuable years of my life to
date. My principal work while I was living in Fiji was photography,
shooting for the many publications
and books of Adidam.
1999, I returned to California at the same time as Adi Da returned
to another of His ashrams in California. Here, Adi Da began taking
photographs for the first time, as a means of granting spiritual
instruction through images. Within a few short years, he had compiled
some 5000 extraordinary art images. It was His work that inspired
me to once again take up my own photography, this time approaching
it purely as a form of art and pleasure and making them available
Fires Jewelry — Sacred Fires is a guild which has been
formed in response to Avatar Adi Da Samraj and His calling to
produce unique articles of jewelry that invoke the feeling of
the sacred by adorning, protecting, and blessing the wearer. Sacred
Fires as a guild of jewelers is engaged in the study of the origins
and purposes of adornment from ancient cultures to a modern-day
evocation of the sacred as an expression of the Spiritual Way
of Adidam. The inspiration and instruction received is reflected
in the work shown on the Sacred Fires Jewelry website.
Jewelry — Bindu Jewelry is the culminating work of over
thirty years creative endeavor of artist jeweler Candace Stolley.
From 1966 the artist worked primarily in welded bronze because
of the creative freedom this medium gave her. In 1991 Stolley
spent a year on retreat with Adi Da Samraj at the Hermitage Ashram
in Fiji. Shortly thereafter she noticed a great deepening in her
creative process and a heightened sensitivity to every element
of her jewelry design. This spontaneous refinement of her artistic
sensitivity called for refined materials, new techniques and an
intensely transformative process. The resulting metamorphosis
into precious metals produced Bindu Jewelry. Bindu Jewelry was
featured in ORNAMENT,
America's top art jewelry magazine, Fall 1997.
Stolley tells of visions that she had over thirty years
saw Holy Places and a community of very ordinary looking people
with whom I experienced non separation and the same self forgetting
swoon of Love. I longed to know that Love always, and would often
put my head down on my work bench and cry in longing. Then in
a most unforgettable dream I met an American man who was short,
round and in His mid 30's. It was Adi Da Samraj, still unknown
to me. His Embrace drew me into a profound state of spiritual
unity and then showed me that nothing in any dimension of existence
could compare. At the end of that dream the Spiritual Presence
and Power, I would later become more familiar with in the Company
of Adi Da Samraj, descended into me and concentrated in my hands.
was the late 60's as I began my art jewelry in earnest. When at
last I found and came into the Company of Adi Da Samraj in 1979,
my heart was spiritually blasted open at its deepest core. I saw
clearly that all is God and perfect already. And as Adi Da walked
slowly away, the Presence and Power of God Walked before my eyes.
I was using my jewelry skills to serve Adi Da. I was thrilled
to have finally found such as a potent way to feel the Love-Bliss-Happiness
with which I am in Love, that had first come to me as the 'Conscious
Light' of the Maha Bindu, but now came as Adi Da's Blessing with
each service offering of my work . The exchange has grown my work
greatly as Adi Da constantly guided me to out-grow limits in my
work. Eventually (never having heard the story, but knowing my
heart perfectly), Adi Da offered the name 'Bindu' for my jewelry.
and Substance — Color and Substance is a portfolio of
custom jewelry and original art. Jeff Polson is a goldsmith who
creates jewelry and adornments made of gold, platinum, and gemstones.
Nara Wood paints watercolors on silk, and oils on canvas. They
have created a special line of Adidam
jewelry for remembrance of Avatar Adi Da Samraj in the
traditional devotional manner.
should be a fundamental part of devotees' lives to pay attention
to My Instruction to them about how structure, housing, and
so forth, is a controller of life. It patterns your life. And
if you just move into places made by others, then your life
is architecturally programmed according to the way others live.
People do not, generally speaking, live cooperatively and in
the sacred manner. And so when devotees simply rent houses and
rent buildings and so forth, they're adapting themselves to
patterning through architecture that is not specific to this
Way, and not even profoundly congenial to this Way. So they
must re-construct these places, or make places from scratch,
and so forth. It takes real architectural and practical "consideration"
to make the spaces right for devotees to function in. There
is no real community development and there are no significant
community facilities in the United States. There are facilities
elsewhere, but they were basically just acquired from the world,
as it typically is. And where are the artisans guilds of people
who could do the construction work and practically fulfill architectural
ideas? Where are the architects establishing My Principles based
on My Word? For the Sanctuaries, but also for the community
looked for the truth about Religion and Spirituality over
23 years ago and found a living Spiritual Master of the highest
order. . . Adi Da Samraj.
has been moved to help further Adi Da Samraj's work in the world
by creating some extraordinary architectural designs for his Spiritual
Master. Stewart follows in a longstanding tradition of beautifying
sacred places to enhance their spiritual potency.
is the designer of a strikingly beautiful sacred temple located
at the breathtaking Adidam sanctuary, Da
Love-Ananda Mahal, in Kuai, Hawaii.
Stewart and Associates, Inc. —
Mark Stewart Home Designs is a world-renowned architectural firm.
It has been chosen for many prestigious honors, including Home Magazine's
"Well Crafted Home", and the Easter Seals/Century 21 sponsored Lifetime
Homes™ series, among others. The architectural designs of Mark Stewart
have become a trend-setting standard throughout the world, and can
be found not only throughout North America, but also the Czech Republic,
Japan, Russia, Malaysia, and Germany.
Stewart has also
created a design for Waoli
near Da Love-Ananda Mahal:
has also proposed a similarly styled redesign of another Adidam
art should not have anything to do with the discursive mind.
It is a different kind of inspiration, not seated in the body
or the apparent personality. It is a motion to which one must
submit oneself so that the body is made to endure physical
and emotional pain in the spontaneous and psychic process
of being overwhelmed, of being radiant. It should be a sacred
incantation of involvement with Transcendental Consciousness,
the creative resource of Being.
art has a purpose for others, not merely for the artist. The
purpose of art is to enliven, heal and positively transform
the participants in a process of self-understanding. That
means that for an artist to be effective he must submit to
the process of self-undestanding. The need for the personal
discipline of self-understanding is as important as technical
understanding in order to serve the higher purpose of art.
Adi Da Samraj
Adi Da Samraj
charcoal on paper
of Adi Da Samraj
by Peter Lennon
Lennon — Peter Lennon
was born in New England in 1948. He spent his early years on the
New England Coast, enjoying the freedom that only the salt water
ocean provides for an artistic spirit. Peter studied at the New
England School of Arts. He is an accomplished sculptor, with clay,
wax, wood and ivory and also in figure drawing. Peter spent a great
deal of time in the South West, particularly Arizona. The desert
of the South West always provides an atmosphere of inspiration and
solitude in which the creative soul awakens.
Whitnah — Artist Kerwin Whitnah studied art under Henry
Schaefer-Simmern, a distinguished art educator and the author of
Unfolding of Artistic Activity and
The Essence of the Artistic Form.
founded a children's art school in Berkeley, where he
studied children's untutored drawings and works of primitive and
prehistoric art, in a search for the principles of that visual conceiving
which most vitally affect artistic activity. In 1965, Whitnah took
over from Schaefer-Simmern
the teaching at the children's school.
also a lifelong spiritual seeker, whose personal voyage included
dialogues with Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, and Jiddu Krishnamurti,
until he found his Spiritual Master, Adi Da Samraj.
by Kerwin Whitnah
felt as if I had been given an archetypal vision to paint, and so
I seized the day, and set about bringing that vision into painted
form. But about that time, I discovered Adi Da Samraj's The Knee
of Listening", read it intensively, and then wrote to the author,
thanking Him "for a gift I could not yet comprehend!" And soon got
a letter back from the Ashram Manager saying: Adi Da "has read your
letter completely and He sends you His Blessing"; which moved me
deeply. Still later, after I had been to Los Angeles for an interview,
I had the opportunity to meditate with Him. The sitting was a revelation
of His Compassion, and I saw His undefended purity, and radiance
I had finished the painting I knew it was the best I had done or
might do, and I must give it directly to Him without delay. He received
it most graciously, and, with many jests (and much hilarious laughter!),
asked me if I would put a wide-painted frame around it and expand
the very picture onto that frame. This being done resulted in the
current complete work, which is 78" x 56", done in casein paint
on a gesso panel.