The Way of Adidam Today as a Spiritual Practice
A Unique Esoteric School of Spiritual Practice
The Reality-Way of Adidam offers formally-practicing devotees the opportunity of participation in a unique esoteric school of spiritual practice, in direct relationship with Avatar Adi Da, both during and after his physical lifetime.
Adi Da’s students recognize him to be a spiritual master who is the Avataric incarnation of the “Bright”, or Conscious Light itself. In the esoteric spiritual traditions, devotion to a master has always been acknowledged as the necessary means for awakening to spiritual Truth. The ego cannot possibly liberate itself. Only the devotional and spiritual relationship to a true spiritual master opens the being to the grace of realization.
The core of Avatar Adi Da’s offering is simply the devotional heart-relationship to him. Even after his physical lifetime, the capability for that communion remains, through his eternal spiritual presence and through the forms of agency that he established. In the process of that recognition and response, the foundations of right-life discipline and spiritual practice develop, and all the gifts of Avatar Adi Da's Divine realization are given to his devotee.
Having been a practitioner and having lived around Avatar Adi Da during his lifetime, it is remarkable that my spiritual relationship with him is just as alive now, since his passing, as it was then. It is clear to me that this is because his spiritual presence is always accessible through all the forms of agency he created during his lifetime―the places he empowered, his writings and art, the audios and videos recorded of him teaching, and the practice of the Way of Adidam.
One of the ways that Avatar Adi Da describes it―and this is something I feel personally―is as a tuning fork. When one tuning fork is vibrating at a certain frequency and you put another tuning fork nearby, the second one will sympathetically vibrate in resonance with the first. He is like the first tuning fork, and his devotee is like the second one, vibrating in resonance with him.
Adidam is not a conventional religion.
Adidam is not a conventional way of life.
Adidam is about the transcending of the ego-“I”.
Adidam is about the Freedom of Divine Self-Realization.
Adidam is not based on mythology or belief.
Adidam is a “reality practice”.
Adidam is a “reality consideration”, in which the various modes of egoity are directly transcended.
Adidam is a universally applicable Way of life.
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
My "Bright" Word
To support the process of Spiritual Transmission, Adept-Realizers have tended and still tend to accept disciples or devotees, and also to establish a community or culture of such individuals. Such communities or cultures of practice have always been the necessary means of the advanced and ultimate adaptation of human individuals and, consequently, of all mankind.
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
I Give You the Gift of One Another
Ben G., who grew up in the Adidam community, relates:
My parents were students of Avatar Adi Da when I was born. I have always been extremely grateful for the opportunity to be raised in a circumstance that was guided by Avatar Adi Da's blessing and instruction. It was a rare and unique circumstance to establish a direct relationship with such an extraordinary spiritual master at a young age, and that relationship continues to be deeply important to me and the central part of my life.
As a young adult I requested, and was accepted, to live in Avatar Adi Da's primary ashram in Fiji. This circumstance allowed me to continue to cultivate my relationship with Avatar Adi Da, and to be instructed by him in my spiritual practice and life. I eventually attended art school in San Francisco as a photography major and went on to spend more than ten years assisting Avatar Adi Da with his own artistic work.
I can never repay the great love and blessing I have received from Avatar Adi Da. There are no words to express the depth of my love and devotion to him. I continue to dedicate my life to Avatar Adi Da, and to his work.
The Practice of Adidam In Present Time
Student-practitioners of the Reality-Way of Adidam live in many countries around the world. The practice of Adidam includes several formal levels of practice to accommodate people with varying degrees of commitment and capacity. A small number of devotees live at one of the Adidam hermitages or sanctuaries around the world and practice at a more intensive level.
Practitioners of Adidam engage a form of daily devotional activities and right-life disciplines in addition to their everyday life. These practices were established by Avatar Adi Da and have continued after his lifetime. Daily activities include meditation, sacramental worship, study of Avatar Adi Da’s teachings, conscious exercise, and a healthy, generally vegan diet. Devotees also enjoy periodic contemplative retreats, often at one of the Adidam sanctuaries. In addition, all devotees provide some form of volunteer service to one of the non-profit organizations associated with Adidam.
Regalia P. comments on how these practices might be perceived:
We do things that to the casual observer may seem unusual or even odd―offering flowers to a photograph of the guru, chanting, meditation―practices that are traditional in some eastern cultures, but not seen a lot in western religions. For me, as someone who grew up in a traditional western religious culture, I wanted to understand the guru/devotee relationship and it took several years of study to fully participate in a true manner.
As with many religious organizations, wage-earning devotees are called to tithe 5% to 15% of their income. In the case of Adidam, the tithe is a means to collectively support the maintenance of the Adidam hermitages and sanctuaries, and to support Adidam publications. Any individuals who cannot afford a full tithe offer what they can reasonably contribute. Avatar Adi Da’s admonition is that no devotee should ever go into debt. Devotees are encouraged to be responsible for supporting themselves financially, to cooperate with other devotees to reduce cost-of-living expenses, to have health insurance, plan for their retirement, and so forth.
Devotees may also choose to donate gifts to the Adidam organization. Many did offer gifts to Avatar Adi Da when he was alive, as an expression of their gratitude for the benefit of his instruction and spiritual blessing. Don M. describes his participation in gifting and tithing:
I offer my full tithe and on top of that I sometimes donate to the organization. In the past I purchased gifts for Avatar Adi Da. This has always been my free choice, and the value I get in return is unquantifiable. I am happy to give.
Brian O. shares about the life of practice:
The practice of Adidam is about transcending the ego. All participation with Avatar Adi Da and his Reality Way is voluntary, and it is up to each individual as to how intensively they participate or practice, and how quickly they grow in the process.
In addition to my part-time service to Avatar Adi Da's work, I am a professional engineer, a partner in a successful consulting engineering firm. We have 25 employees. I have a very happy intimacy with my wife of 33 years. I have a very positive and loving relationship with my grown children, and with my relatives in Ireland. I maintain all kinds of professional responsibilities. In other words, I am a very ordinary person. I am constantly drawn to a simpler life, a life that will allow more time for contemplation of my master, Avatar Adi Da, and ultimately, full and complete liberation and realization in his blessed company. I have always felt that if there is room for people like me in Adidam, there is room for everyone!
Everyone is different in their impulse. Some are rather readily moved to a life of renunciation and intensive practice. Others move more slowly. Avatar Adi Da accounts for everyone in his work; he invites and welcomes everyone's participation. That is why he has offered different levels of involvement. And yet the way is also instant. I felt instantly liberated when I first read his word, and that feeling has never left me.
Children who grow up in Adidam may or may not choose to continue their practice as adults. Stephanie S., a devotee who raised two sons and founded a successful preschool, comments:
Anybody who has raised a child through adolescence has experienced the young person’s resistance, reaction to authority, independence, and desire to make their own choices. Adolescents typically reject the values of their parents. There are a lot of children who have not chosen this way in their adult life, but there are also a lot of young people who are sensitive to the opportunity to live the Reality-Way of Adidam and are choosing it. Some of them are drawn to study with Avatar Adi Da even though their parents are no longer practitioners. They are ordinary people choosing a non-ordinary way of life. I am grateful that both my sons are Adidam practitioners, having chosen to animate the sacred guru-devotee relationship as adults.
Core Values Established by Avatar Adi Da
The life of practitioners in the Reality-Way of Adidam is founded on a comprehensive set of core values prescribed by Avatar Adi Da. These values provide a framework for positive moral rightness in all aspects of human activity. Avatar Adi Da taught extensively about the need for humankind to live together in the most benign, positive disposition of “prior unity”. One of the core values is cooperation in everyday social, cultural, creative, and economic endeavors. Other core values are tolerance, compassion, and respect for all others. Practitioners of Adidam strive to embody these principles in every area of daily life and to collectively incarnate a culture of respect for all people.
These core values also inform our interactions with other living beings and with the natural world. Responding to Avatar Adi Da’s Call to all humankind to
always actively participate in positive service and global cooperation that respects and perpetuates the fundamental order of the natural environment of the Earth-world, practitioners of Adidam are called to take personal responsibility for not harming or negatively affecting other humans, animals, or the natural environment. Living these principles is demonstrated in the practice of a vegan diet, in daily devotional activities that awaken compassion, in efforts to transition to sustainable energy, in positive interactions between humans and animals (such as Fear-No-More Zoo and the Sacred Camel Gardens), and in responsible stewardship of the natural environments on and around all of the Adidam hermitages and sanctuaries.
These principles are given unique form at the island-hermitage of Adi Da Samrajashram, in Fiji. Spiritually empowered by Avatar Adi Da, this small island is home to a group of devotees who have dedicated their lives to most intensive practice of Adidam. Professionals and governmental officials from Fiji and countries around the world who visit the island invariably remark on the unique quality of peace and harmony demonstrated by the island residents. Visitors often comment on the dedication to a simple and contemplative life, the care given to supporting the health of the fragile island ecosystem and surrounding reef, and the lived commitment to incarnating a culture of mutual respect and cooperation in the multicultural and multinational setting of that island.
I do not Call My devotees to become absorbed into a “cultic” gang of exoteric and ego-centric “religionists”. I certainly Call all My devotees to always create and maintain cooperative sacred culture (and to enter into fully cooperative collective and personal relationship) with one another—but not to do so in an egoic, separative, “world”-excluding, xenophobic, and intolerant manner. Rather, My devotees are Called, by Me, to transcend egoity—through right and true devotional (and, in due course, Transcendental Spiritual) relationship to Me, and mutually tolerant and peaceful cooperation with one another, and all-tolerating (cooperative and compassionate and all-loving and all-including) relationship with all of mankind (and with even all beings).
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Traditionally, in cultures around the world, devotees provided spiritual masters with set-apart places where the masters were able to live and do their spiritual work in an appropriate and sacred circumstance. These places became spiritually empowered through the master's presence and intention.
In this traditional manner, devotees of Avatar Adi Da provided places that were set apart for Avatar Adi Da to do his blessing-work for the sake of all humanity—as well as spiritual work with those devotees who came on pilgrimage retreat to receive the initiatory blessing of being in his physical company.
During his human lifetime, Avatar Adi Da empowered several such hermitages and sanctuaries, imbuing them with his spiritual force and blessing. Even after the passing of Avatar Adi Da’s physical body, his living spiritual presence can be tangibly, strongly felt in these holy places. Many devotees and invited guests travel to Adidam sanctuaries each year to enjoy the blessing of retreat.
Visit www.adidam.org/adidam/sanctuaries for more information.
An Eternal Relationship
Hoi N., one of the devotees who has lived at Adi Da Samrajashram in Fiji for many years, speaks of his relationship to Avatar Adi Da as a gift that is the essential foundation of his life:
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.
Avatar Adi Da describes how the process with his devotees will continue beyond his physical lifetime:
I Am Doing the Same Work now That I will Do forever—even when I am no longer physically Embodied here.
In all times and places, My devotees will appear—Finding Me after I have Already Entered into Perfect Coincidence with them, having Meditated them.
Having Found Me, they become active devotees of Mine, assuming various roles of responsibility in service to Me, relative to all the aspects of Instrumentality necessary for Adidam—now, and forever hereafter.
I Am here to Enable devotees who responsively devotionally recognize Me to do this Instrumental Work forever—while I Do the Work of the Source.
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj