A Unique Approach to the Study of Traditional Texts

You do not have to absorb all the books in The Basket Of Tolerance and be full of thoughts. You must use it to relieve yourself of mind, not to build it up, or create accumulations of thought. If you truly and seriously enter into this “consideration” of the Great Tradition, it will break your mind—like the Spiritual process breaks your heart. It does not break your mind in a negative sense—it will relieve you of your egoic prejudice, your provincialism, your small-mindedness, your egoic “self-possession” in mind. It will give you an instrument that is beyond the body, beyond mere energies and sensory impressions, and beyond casual thoughts.
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj

The resources of the Adidam Library exist not merely as a tool for scholars, but as a means for everyone to understand himself or herself, and to understand all others. The Adidam Library promotes understanding and tolerance, beyond all apparent differences: whether religious, cultural, national, social, racial, gender, or otherwise.

However, the “understanding” served by study of the Great Tradition is not a matter of mere information and knowledge. Rather, this understanding is fundamentally a matter of each individual observing and going beyond limitations in himself or herself. Similarly, the “tolerance” promoted by the Adidam Library is not a matter of uncritical toleration of other points of view. Rather, this tolerance is fundamentally a matter of understanding and allowing the provincialism of each merely local (or limited and non-universal) inheritance or view, yet recognizing and calling every one (and every culture) to true (critical) self-study, and to constant growth and out-growing.

Thus, although the Adidam Library Great Tradition collections do have unique and useful materials for scholarship and research, they are fundamentally oriented to serve an unique approach to the study of traditional texts. Central to this is Avatar Adi Da’s organizational schema of the “seven stages of life” and what He has called the “total psycho-physical and Ultimately Spiritual anatomy of man”, or the “hierarchical structure of man”.

This unique approach to the study of traditional texts views all of human experience and traditions as expressions of a finite number of fundamental points of view. These points of view (which Avatar Adi Da Samraj describes in Part One of The Basket Of Tolerance, entitled “‘God’-Talk, Real-God-Realization, and Most Perfect Divine Awakening”) correspond with our hierarchical anatomical structures, many of which are beyond the common physical-body anatomy, but are only described in the esoteric literature of the Great Tradition, or in Avatar Adi Da’s own Wisdom-Teaching. These structures, for example, account for more subtle experiences (such as psychic and out of body experiences), the traditional transcendental descriptions of the nature of consciousness, and can also be used to describe common energetic healing practices such as acupuncture and hatha yoga. There are also structures associated with the seventh stage of life that are unique to (and, thus, only described in) Avatar Adi Da’s Wisdom-Teaching.

This unique approach to the study of traditional texts “considers” the fundamental point of view of each traditional text, and, as well, the stage (or stages) of life communicated through each traditional text. Because each text proposes a point of view that is representative of a structure within the “hierarchical structural anatomy” of our own body-minds, and these traditional texts each present fundamental archetypal ideas (as embodied in the wisdom traditions), we are naturally drawn into sympathy with the point of view expressed. Avatar Adi Da Samraj once described this to His devotees:

Have you ever noticed that when you read Spiritual or philosophical texts, or think about the Great Tradition yourself, that you are constantly coming upon great, archetypal ideas?

Those ideas, or mind-forms, then inform your entire personality for a while, if only for those few minutes—although frequently it lasts for days. Those ideas re-emerge throughout your life. The Great Tradition is, in some sense, a flow or vault of such archetypal ideas, along with a lot of other secondary notions.

When you come upon these principal ideas . . . then you move into the domain of that archetype and it begins to control your mind, your psyche, your feeling, your body. You begin to talk in that mode, you become possessed in some sense. It is like plugging a crystal in a radio set, or putting a disk into a computer, or putting a tape into a video machine. Suddenly you become a theater of comprehension, and adopt a particular feeling about existence.

The Great Tradition is a bearer of a finite number of these great archetypal notions that have the ability to control the entire conditional person. And they have the quality that suggests they account for altogether everything about the conditional person, including everything beyond everything. Merely to be in the presence of such ideas is to be a believer somehow, because it permeates every aspect of mind or psyche, of feeling, even of action. As long as you are plugged into any given idea, your mind or your entire personality tends to be animated along those lines, and the power of discrimination gets lost to a significant degree.
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj

By organizing the Great Tradition collections of the Adidam Library such that all of the points of view can be seen together, and by Giving the tools of the seven stages of life and the complete description of the hierarchical structural anatomy of man, Avatar Adi Da Samraj has Given us a means to develop our discriminative intelligence and to understand the errors and limitations of any single view. Even more importantly, this allows us to recognize these errors and limitations in our own views, and to thus see and move beyond them. In 1987, Avatar Adi Da summarized the importance of this in a Talk with His devotees:

The real point of this studying the books in The Basket Of Tolerance is not what you can remember, having read it, but what you encounter and overcome in the process of the reading, of the study. What you’re relieved of is more important than what you can remember afterwards.

Years from now, you may remember nothing about the books that you’ve read. But the moments of those readings, properly guided and considered and so forth, should have relieved you of something which is now absent. And that’s what you have gained, rather than what you can recollect in your memory.

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