Avatar Adi Da in California in 1986

What are the Spiritual Teachings of Avatar Adi Da?

Avatar Adi Da teaches that the true nature of Reality is realized when the illusion of a separate self is transcended. What does this mean, and how can it actually happen?

The True Nature of Reality Is Indivisible Conscious Light

Avatar Adi Da Samraj teaches that everyone already has a tacit sense (or heart-intuition) of that which is True—because Truth, or the true nature of Reality, is the native state of everyone and everything. In his words, Truth is “what is”, or “what is always already the case”—no matter what the circumstances of life.

Avatar Adi Da used various words to describe this One Great Reality—including the “Bright”, “Real (Acausal) God”, “Reality Itself”, “Truth Itself”, and the “Divine”:

The idea of the “Creator-God” suggests that “God” is responsible for everything that everybody does and everything that is happening. Real (Acausal) God is the egoless Being-Force within Which all of this is arising. Therefore, you cannot hold Real (Acausal) God accountable for what you are doing, or for how “things” are happening, or (indeed) for all your trouble here.

Real (Acausal) God Is the Immense Resource, or the Source-Potential, for everything. Therefore, everything arises in and As Real (Acausal) God—but no “thing” or “event” is “caused” by Real (Acausal) God.

—Avatar Adi Da Samraj,
The Aletheon

He also described Reality as Conscious Light, the indivisible oneness of Consciousness and Light that is the very essence of Reality Itself:

If you examine “objects” more and more profoundly, sooner or later you get down just to Energy Itself, Light Itself. Similarly, if you go within, beyond all the outward functions, you get to Consciousness. Those are the two “extremes” of the One Reality. But they are not, in fact, separate realities—they are only presumed to be such, from your “point of view”. And this is the nature (or pattern) of un-Enlightenment.

Energy Is the Radiance of Consciousness Itself. Consciousness Is the Source-Position of Radiance Itself. Self-Existing and Self-Radiant Consciousness Is Love-Bliss Itself—Unconditional Feeling, Radiance.

When there is this Awakening, it is obvious. In every moment, Natively, Inherently, It Is simply the Divine Conscious Light—the Infinite, Dimensionless, Uncaused, Eternal “Brightness” of Being (Itself).

—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
March 29, 1998

Our Illusion of a Separate Self Hides Our True Identity

Everything that appears is a modification of Conscious Light. Yet, for almost everyone, this Divine Reality remains merely an intuition, only sometimes glimpsed rather than fully realized. Avatar Adi Da points out that the fullest realization of Truth is “absolutely uncommon”. His entire life-work was dedicated to explaining why most people are unaware of even the possibility of such realization, and to offering a process by which anyone can realize Truth, or perfect liberation from all limitation and suffering.

Avatar Adi Da refers to the sense of a separate self as the ego-“I”. He teaches that the separate self, or the presumption of separation and independence from all “others”, is not our true and natural state, but is a recoil—or a psycho-physical reaction—to the vulnerability of our born condition. Further, he explains that this sense of separate self is merely an illusion—in Reality, there is no real separate self. Avatar Adi Da calls the reactive “I”-sense of separation the “self”-contraction. He describes it as an activity that we do (as opposed to an entity having an independent existence):

The ego-“I” is not an entity or even a mere idea—but, rather, the ego-“I” is an activity.

The ego-“I” is the activity of psycho-physical “self”-contraction—which manifests as the mental-emotional illusion of separate "self" and as the bodily-life-context dramatization of separativeness, or dissociativeness, or the complex avoidance of relationship. The ego-“I” is the comprehensive and constant (or moment to moment) psycho-physical “self”-contraction-activity of the total body-mind.

—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Aletheon

All human beings inherently know that, no matter how secure life may seem, the death of “I” is inevitable. To seek relief from the certainty of mortality, people look to life’s experiences to preoccupy, satisfy, preserve, liberate, or save the “I” as a separate self. Avatar Adi Da points out that, no matter how temporarily distracted or consoled we may feel in any given moment, the limitation inherent in the presumption that we exist as a separate self remains the core of all our experience. And this presumption, he explains, hides the true nature of Reality.

Transcending the Illusion of a Separate Self Reveals Our True Identity as Conscious Light

Therefore, Avatar Adi Da teaches that it is only in the transcending of the illusion of a separate self (or the activity of “self”-contraction) that the true nature of Reality is known and realized. In fact, awareness, or consciousness, is our true identity:

If you are not truly and consistently established in the understanding that you are here as awareness, and on that basis, function as the true feeling-depth of Reality-intelligence, you are merely egoically “self”-identified with the flesh body—and its casual flow of superficial emotions, energies, and thoughts.

No matter what happens to the body-mind-“self” while you live, you are always merely aware.

The awareness itself never changes.

Even while you are aware of changes, the awareness itself never changes.

There are not different kinds of awareness—different colors of it or different shapes of it.

Awareness is, simply and only, awareness itself.

What awareness itself Is must Be Self-Realized—but the fact of it, and The Reality-Nature of it, is constant and Self-Evident.

—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Aletheon

That constant reality of awareness is what Avatar Adi Da calls “Consciousness Itself” or the "Mere Witness":

1. You are not the one who wakes, or dreams, or sleeps.

2. You Are the actionless and formless Mere Witness of the three common states—of waking, dreaming, and sleeping—and of all the apparent contents and “experiences” associated with the three common states, of waking, and of dreaming, and of sleeping.

—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Notice This

Read the full Five Reality-Teachings by Avatar Adi Da.

A True Spiritual Master is Necessary for Real Spiritual Growth

As Avatar Adi Da explains, and as we have all experienced in the course of our many years of spiritual practice as his students, transcending the illusion of a separate self can happen only through an act of grace, by associating with a truly realized master, or guru. Willful personal effort cannot result in enlightenment, because we are identified with that which we are trying to transcend.

Spiritually Realized Adepts (or Transmission-Masters, or True Gurus) are the principal Sources, Resources, and Means of the esoteric (or Spiritual) Way. This fact is not (and never has been) a matter of controversy among real Spiritual practitioners. The entire Spiritual Way is a process based on the understanding (and the transcending) of attention, or the understanding (and the transcending) of the inevitable and specific results of egoic attachment to, or egoic reaction to, or egoic “self”-identification with every kind of conditional “object”, other, or state.

—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Aletheon

The importance of a realized master for spiritual growth has been understood in many esoteric traditions. The notion of the siddha, or spiritual master, has a long history in Indian religion, and is a major element of Indian spirituality, central to understanding the nature of transmission and enlightenment.

Only a true guru is empowered by God to establish with disciples a divine relationship by which he leads those in his care out of the common sheepfold of delusion to the Elysian pastures of God-consciousness. Guru is one who knows God and who shows the way to Him. To follow a divine manifestation is the sure way to God-realization. One who knows God becomes the speaking voice of the silent God. Guru is he who has experienced Truth. He serves as a guide in the dark forest of life. If you follow him, he will lead you out of that darkness. If you try to find the way alone, you many needlessly lose yourself in the forest for many incarnations. So follow the Guru, and he will take you through safely.

—Paramahansa Yogananda

A striking perception for a student of religions is the universal insistence that instruction by an adept teacher is necessary for development in the spiritual life.

—Joel D. Mlecko
The Guru In Hindu Tradition, in
Numen: International Review for the History of Religions

Read statements from other religious and spiritual traditions about the necessity of a spiritual master.

Avatar Adi Da describes the process of spiritual transmission that is at the core of the relationship between a spiritual realizer and his or her students:

Everything transmits. The stones transmit, the sky transmits, the TV transmits. Since everything and everyone transmits states of existence―since life itself, or existence itself, is participation in transmissions of all kinds―the best thing you can do is to associate with the greatest possible Transmission. Since everything is transmission, spend time in the Company of the One Who spontaneously Transmits That Which Is Inherently Perfect and Ultimate. This is the Great Rule, the Great Law, the Ultimate Principle of the Great Tradition of humankind.

—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Aletheon

Thousands of people attest to tangibly experiencing Avatar Adi Da’s spiritual transmission and blessing drawing them beyond the sense of being identified with a limited body-mind-self into a profound state of heart-awakened joy, love-bliss, and unqualified peace. Avatar Adi Da describes the Way of Adidam as both a “conscious process” of insight and understanding, and a “yoga of conductivity” of his spiritual transmission in the body-mind.

Hoi N., a devotee for many years, speaks about receiving the gift of Avatar Adi Da’s spiritual transmission:

During my years in Vietnam where I was born, raised, and lived under the Vietnam war, as I witnessed the suffering everywhere, I spontaneously developed a philosophy of life: life with its tremendous suffering is God's play superimposed on humankind. As years passed, I realized that my perception of God as the creator was a projection of my own mind. I then found Avatar Adi Da. I am so deeply grateful for being his devotee.

In the final years of his life, Avatar Adi Da's bodily form was so evidently the revelation of Truth or Reality. The awakening to Truth is graciously and directly given by Avatar Adi Da's spiritual transmission. His spiritual presence touches and in-fills the total body of the being with love-bliss-energy and happiness. His transmitted love-bliss-happiness dissolves the sense of a separate self, and then there is the tacit intuition and realization of Truth or Reality as the Real Condition of everything and all.

A deep heart-feeling of gratitude was awakened for the great sacrifice of the One Being that was incarnated as Avatar Adi Da, and for his unconventional and uncompromising work, and for his skillful means to liberate all beings to perfect happiness and freedom.

Photo of Hoi N., devotee of Avatar Adi Da
Hoi N.