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Reminiscences of Avatar Adi Da Samraj in 1974
told by Ann Rogers
In the following excerpt from the book, The Promised God-Man Is Here, Ann Rogers describes her experience of the "gopi sadhana" during "Garbage and the Goddess":
ANN: Right through the "Garbage and the Goddess" period, I was experiencing kriyas, ecstatic feelings in my body, rushes of energy, and blissful mindlessness. I would often actually feel my Beloved Guru Spiritually enter my body and drive my karmas right out of me. I heard Him say "No one wants God." But I thought that, whatever others might feel, I certainly did! However, as the process continued in me, I realized that what Beloved Adi Da was saying is true. No "person" wants Real God, because to turn to Real God is to sacrifice that very person.
There used to be a sign on Beloved Adi Da's desk: "Dead Gurus can't kick ass." I learned what He meant--He had to be relentless in His skillful means. He had to put us in difficult situations, cajole us, love us, tease us, and trick us into Realizing Satsang, into Realizing the relationship to Him as Consciousness. At one point, He said that what He asks of us is not the effort of surrender, but true self-sacrifice. Effortful surrender, He said, is something the ego does, something willful--and "Narcissus" loves it. Sacrifice is something entirely different. As the months passed after my first coming to Him, I began to realize what that sacrifice involves.
Avatar Adi Da said that His way of Working at that time was to establish a "theatre of love" with His devotees, to attract His devotees so strongly with His own Love that they would be moved to turn to Him, to the Divine, and away from the attachments of life. Almost from the beginning of my relationship with Beloved Adi Da as His devotee, He Attracted me like a magnet. And I fell in love with Him. But it was more than that. An utterly absorbing attachment was created. I realized that everything I had ever loved was Him--that He is Love. I was consumed by love of Him, and nothing else mattered.
From the very beginning, I had Spiritual experiences in the Presence of Beloved Adi Da. And then, with the deepening of my love-attachment to Him, there arose in me an intuition of His Divine Nature. I began to have experiences of complete Oneness with Him. In fact, I would often feel that He was me, that He was "Living" me, that every breath I took was His breath. This sense of Oneness was ecstatic beyond anything I had ever known. I felt as if I went to a place where He and I were One, where there was no fear, where there was only complete Love and Joy. That Love, which was beyond the realm of human love, grew and grew. At times, that Love became so immense that I felt unable to contain It, and I would feel impelled to scream as a way of expressing this intensity of feeling.
Then the Supremely Attractive One really put me to the test. He began to play upon my attachment to Him. He withdrew His attention. He would ignore me, He would tease me, He would insult me. Basically, He refused to give me whatever it was I was craving. At first, I understood that this was part of the process of going beyond the ego, and, although I felt sorrow, I maintained the same love and openness toward Him. But He did not relent. I felt abandoned, and, finally, I rebelled. I began to have periods of tremendous resentment toward Him for the suffering I felt He was causing me.
At the same time that He was testing the depth and steadfastness of my love for Him, Beloved Adi Da demanded that I serve. "A gopi's life is service," He told me a number of times. I began to serve Him by doing ordinary, practical chores in His house and in the community of devotees. This was a way of performing the sacrifice He Calls us to in real, functional terms. I didn't mind serving people. In fact, I enjoyed it. But all I wanted was to be with "Bubba", and I felt that serving kept me away from Him, while He lavished His attention on others.
At the same time, I began to have a strange, powerful intuition. This intuition was quite different from the sense of Oneness I was feeling with Beloved Adi Da. I began to sense something immense above my head. I resisted it. I kept clutching my head to keep it away. Then, holding my hands up, I looked up, as if it were something I could see. I sensed that it was Real-God-Above--Immense, Silent. I could only throw up my arms in joy. All I wanted was for this Infinite Universe of Energy to Pour into my body and Fill me with Its Ecstatic Love and Light.
One night, I was unable to sleep, and I went to sit beside Beloved Adi Da's chair. My arms went up to this Presence Above, my palms spread receiving Its Energy. That night, as I sat there, I knew my life would have to be lived as a sacrifice to this Presence, the Spiritual Presence of my Beloved Guru.
Meanwhile, Beloved Adi Da only intensified His Demand on me. And, even though I had foreseen this, I would not, or could not, meet it. I felt as if my heart were literally being wrenched out of my body. I cried for Him. I longed for Him. And I was answered only by the Demand that I sacrifice.
After several dramatic emotional crises, which pushed me to a point where I realized I had absolutely no other choice, I began to accept my suffering instead of rebelling against it. I began to direct more energy to my daily functioning, and my attention was taken off myself and directed to other things. Thus, drawn out of my despair, I started to feel my love for my Beloved Guru intensifying again.
I began to turn from myself to Beloved Adi Da, because He had created a situation that forced me to do so. I had to see how I was creating my own suffering. And so, a few moments at a time, I began to live from this new viewpoint. I did it in desperation. This sacrifice, this conscious Satsang, went against everything I had ever lived up to that point. Everyone always tends to separate. When your demands, whatever they are, are frustrated, when you feel hurt or humiliated or are treated apparently unjustly (and, in the theatre with Beloved Adi Da, all of this was occurring), there is always the tendency to play out the drama, to pull back--to feel self-pity, anger, resentment, even rage, for your suffering, and to totally identify with it.
The "radical" alternative, the constant act of turning back to Beloved Adi Da, required a lot of discipline of me. It was like walking a tightrope all the time. My tendencies were always clambering after me, tempting me to live them--like the anger I felt toward Beloved Adi Da for ignoring me. It was so easy to "buy" it and to rebel. I felt that I had a right to it. And, by the standards of this world of "Narcissus", I did! The anger was me. I was bound to my own drama.
At last, I began to see the whole thing as suffering, and in those moments my suffering would dissolve. My Beloved gave me glimmerings of what that ultimately leads to. One night as I gazed at Him, He kept disappearing, becoming Infinite. At one point, I disappeared, too. It was brief. Perhaps only a few seconds. But there seemed to be nothing to identify with. "I" vanished. From the point of view of the ego, it was frightening. But it was Free. It was thrilling.
The more I resort to my Beloved Guru, the more devotional self-sacrifice is required, and the more Grace and Happiness is Given. I know that, in the end, there is only sacrifice. Beloved Adi Da is the Sign of that. He Is only Sacrifice.
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