Avatar Adi Da in Hawaii in 2002

About Adi Da Controversies

Addressing the criticisms and controversies about Avatar Adi Da

As the founder of a new spiritual tradition, author of numerous books of spiritual philosophy, and creator of avant-garde works of visual and literary art, Avatar Adi Da Samraj has received extensive praise from many people around the world. Like many other founders of new spiritual traditions, he also received criticism from detractors. The purpose of this website is to address criticisms and controversies about Avatar Adi Da and to present a more comprehensive and balanced perspective based on personal accounts of Avatar Adi Da’s life and work.

Avatar Adi Da was an esoteric spiritual teacher who never simply accepted inherited social and cultural norms. In his many years of teaching he openly considered what was positive and fruitful for the process of human and spiritual growth. In founding the Reality-Way of Adidam, Avatar Adi Da tirelessly advocated the necessity of self-understanding, discriminative intelligence, and responsibility in every area of human life, including the emotional-sexual dimension. At the same time, he was deeply and passionately concerned with issues of right life, positive moral conduct, cooperation, tolerance, and peace.

Spiritual teachers and new religious movements are also occasionally misunderstood, and misunderstanding can lead to criticism. The word “cult” and other labels carry negative stereotypes that can prevent objective and sympathetic understanding of alternative religious and spiritual communities. Like many other spiritual teachers, Avatar Adi Da has been the subject of public scrutiny and controversy. His unconventional manner and method of teaching, particularly during his early teaching years in the 1970s and early 1980s, at times has evoked various reactions including some accusations of misconduct. We recognize the concerns of individuals who felt offended and respect each person’s right to choose how to respond. We also acknowledge that, over the years, some practitioners of Adidam—including some in leadership positions—behaved immaturely and unkindly or made unwise decisions that affected our friends and families. This sometimes led to situations that could have been handled better, and to those affected we extend our apologies.

The vast majority of people who have had contact with Avatar Adi Da or his teachings, or with the Adidam community, testify to the benign and beneficial nature of his work, his profound spiritual blessing, and the positive impact that he had, and continues to have, on their lives.

The contributors to this website bear witness to Avatar Adi Da's integrity as we knew him during his lifetime. We speak of his transformative influence as we experienced it in our own lives and in the lives of many others, and we share our experiences and first-hand accounts of incidents that have become topics of controversy. We have been students of Avatar Adi Da practicing the Reality-Way of Adidam for many years, and we recognize him as a true source of wisdom and blessing in our lives and in the lives of many other people.

We respectfully offer this website with the intention to heal misunderstandings and correct misrepresentations of Avatar Adi Da’s life and work. We express our best understanding of, and profound gratitude for, Avatar Adi Da's intervention and abiding blessing in our lives, individually and collectively. We invite you to read the accounts and testimonials of his many advocates, and then to approach Avatar Adi Da’s work and legacy on its own merit.

—Andrew Jurkevics, Lynne Wagner, Michiel Vos, Radha Webley, and Matthew Spence, students of Avatar Adi Da, on behalf of the Adi Da Foundation.

With contributions from Angela Wallington, Anne Henderson, Aura Bakker, Ben Grisso, Brian O'Mahony, Cere Buntin, Claire Murdoch, David Rosen, Eileen McCarthy, Helen Wharton, Hoi Ngo, Joe Troncale, Randall Hoel, Regalia Perry, Stephanie Samuels, and Terry Henry.