What Love Has Made of Death
Robyn spent the next year virtually on retreat in her house, where she lived with her intimate, her sons, and a few other devotees. She remained communicative with Beloved Adi Da, Who sent His "Love and Blessings" in response to her letters. Her relationship to Beloved Adi Da was the core of her life. She stopped working at her job and devoted herself to the health regimes she had chosen and to study and meditation.
For a long time, Robyn felt she was beating the cancer. It was not until March 2001 that she really felt a decline. By late April, the tumor had made her right lung completely dysfunctional, and the fluid that was accumulating now in her left lung had to be drained regularly at a hospital. The doctor's prognosis was only weeks.
However, an opportunity was offered for Robyn to participate in clinical trials under the auspices of a hospital in Melbournethe first human trials of a new treatment that had shown promising results in animals. These trials held out real hope to Robyn and her friends and family that there might be a last-minute miracle. Avatar Adi Da Samraj encouraged Robyn, if she felt well enough, to pursue the possibility. In His Words, "You fight for your life as long as you can."
Beloved Adi Da also Called Robyn to attend to the primary matter:
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Her primary responsibility in this moment is to stay Spiritually alive, real and full. She has to stay with her Divine practice altogether, with no mind. She should establish herself fully in the Peace of Divine Communion. That is her business now. If she is well enough to get involved in some other purpose, such as this other treatment and whatever else, then that is fine. But do not be a sucker. Do not give up What is most important. Be happy and secure in your Spiritual life. You have to be Spiritually right, or life is a hell. There is no reason for it to be a hell. The Divine Grace and Light is Immediate, Resident in the being.
Let Light in. Everything else breaks the heart and crushes
the heart. Light is the Sufficiency and Fullness. It is the Self
beyond self-reference. It is unspeakable. Be Full of That. Be
already whole, and approach everything on that basis. [May 18,
In fact, the Melbourne trials could not begin until July, and by the beginning of June the procedures to drain Robyn's left lung were coming so close togetherthree or four days apartthat she despaired. Her body was no more than skin and bone, and her doctors told her that at any point she was entitled to say, "no more drains". In that case, they would medicate her so that her breathlessness, caused by the build-up of fluid, would no longer be distressing and the body could give up easily.
I would speak to Robyn every day on the phone, and the moment came when she asked that I express to Beloved Adi Da her desire to cease the lung drains and release the body. Beloved Adi Da felt her situation more deeply than any of us. He sensed that she had come to the point of utter frustration and simply wanted to bring an end to the ordeal. While He was more than compassionate in His response to her, He was not altogether satisfied, from a Spiritual point of view, that this was the auspicious moment for her to relinquish her life. Yet Beloved Adi Da did not say what she should do one way or the other. He left it to her and her doctors. Robyn considered the matter further and decided to have the lung drained once more.
When I arrived in Sydney a few days later, I could see that there was still a great deal of strength in her body and her mind was completely clear. Apart from the lungs, her organs were strong. She confessed that she had become so angry and frustrated with her condition that she wanted to take control and choose the moment of her death herself. Surrender into the utter, uncontrollable mystery of it all, as well as surrender to the possibility of an indefinite number of future lung drains, was not a gesture she could make.
Yet now a greater understanding was awakening. She saw that
she had been making first death, and then life, "the enemy". She
wrote this understanding to Beloved Adi Da, and from that point
He helped her more and more to feel beyond the limits in her
surrender and in her Spiritual practice altogether. It was the
most amazing process in which Beloved Adi Da, Robyn's Spiritual
Master, guided her through the minefield of fear, sorrow, anger,
and anxious thinking to a truly happy and accepting disposition.
At Robyn's request, one of her intimates would read to her every day from "The Revelation Of Ruchiradam", Avatar Adi Da's newly-Given Essay on the ultimate, or "Perfect", practice of the Way of Adidam. She was drawn beyond herself by Beloved Adi Da's depiction of the "Bright" as the White Sphere in the field of black. She knew all about "the black", and the process of her last weeks was the process of finding and trusting "the Bright". I, from my position, feeling the depth of my relationship to her over nearly fifty years, had to endure a similar process. She was my only sibling, and I felt a huge dimension of my own life and mindevery experience and feeling I had shared with her and no one elsedropping away.
Each day I visited her in her beautiful roomcalm and full, and pervaded by the intimate, Radiant feeling of Beloved Adi Da's Spiritual Presence. In the evenings, I wrote to Beloved Adi Da about Robyn's processphysical, emotional, and Spiritual. Then, late at night, I studied the Ruchiradam Revelation and wrote the concluding chapters of Adi Da, the forthcoming new edition of Beloved Adi Da's biography. Every night, I was immersed in Beloved Adi Da's most "radical" Teaching about the Nature of Reality, and every day I had to feel and live the truth of it in life, with Robyn. There was no choice.
In the middle of June, an alternative to the debilitating series of lung drains was suddenly offered. Robyn's respiratory specialist suggested the rather unusual course of inserting a tube into the pleural cavity that would drain constantly into a bag. This new option made an extraordinary difference. Although Robyn was still losing energy and protein through the fluid, she no longer had to suffer the cycle of temporary relief and then renewed breathlessness every few days. Encouraged by this stabilization, Robyn decided to move to Melbourne, in case there was still a hope for her to participate in the clinical trials.
She was being wonderfully cared for at the physical and human level by close devotee friends, and by Dennis, her intimate. And with all this loving support she traveled by air to Melbournetube, cylinder of oxygen, and all.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj was continuing to support her potential participation in the trials, but He saw a greater value in her move to Melbourne. There was a larger community of His devotees there, including close intimates of Robyn who had been instructed by Beloved Adi Da over many years in the sacred principles of ashram life and in chanting and sacramental worship. By the time Robyn arrived at the rented apartment, her friends had prepared the place and set up her room as a temple space. The apartment was infused with Avatar Adi Da's tangible Spiritual Force. Robyn had left her home of nine years, with all of its familiarity, for a simple circumstance where there was no distraction from the sacred life of Communion with Beloved Adi Da. For Robyn, the move was an entry into renunciation, and this was pleasing to Beloved Adi Da.
Now the life around Robyn took on a unique quality of concentration in artfully managing the medical side of her life (which was complex) so that it would not interfere with her Spiritual Contemplation of Beloved Adi Da. Avatar Adi Da was fierce for her sake in His insistence that she deepen her Spiritual life. He expected that we would handle her medication in such a way that she would not be constantly bothered by the body, so that she could be free in her attention to go beyond body-consciousness.
Beloved Adi Da asked for digital photographs of Robyn to be
sent every day, and He would often lay His hands on the
photographs, Blessing her with His constant Regard.
One day, sitting up in bed, very bright-eyed and intense, Robyn suddenly said to me, "Human love is not enough. People should be told this." She was reflecting on the pattern of her life, which had been focused on human love and intimacy, which she made possible for others through her therapeutic work. She spoke without regret but passionately when she said it was "not enough". She understood that while she had practiced the Way of Adidam for many years, she had not done so with great depth because she had become distracted by her urge to improve life at the human level. When Beloved Adi Da heard what she had said, He made a point to all His devotees.
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: The Way of Adidam is not merely what beginners do. Fundamentally, the Way of Adidam is the Ruchiradam practice (which I also call "Samraj Yoga"), developed on the basis of the devotional and Spiritual relationship to Me. And for the development of that practice to occur, you must have a sacred culture, including the opportunity for real retreat.
Life is terrible. Therefore, people allow themselves to be deluded by the immediate pleasures they receive. They indulge in such delusion as a means of ignoring realityand they must not do that. The Way of Real Liberation must be fully communicated and fully developed. It is a Divine Spiritual Way. It requires deep breath, and you stay alive only to the point that staying alive is appropriate.
The practice is surrender to the Divinereally soand
Knowledge of the Divine, but not in the thinking sense. It is a
Gnosis beyond self-contraction. People do not typically
experience the Reality of the Divine. People tend to think of
religion only in worldly terms, social terms. And that leaves
them with no recourse in the face of death.
It is terrible and unbearable that people should take fear of death seriously. Death is a lie. Robynand any devotee who has a devotional response to Memust be able to enjoy being opened to the Divine Reality, and must be able to experience It without doubt.
What Robyn is expressing is that somehow she is feeling serious in waking up to what she is and what her condition is. Hopefully, that is occurring with great depthand that is for her to examine.
The situation that Robyn is in is the same situation that everyone is in. You can die any time. So, Robyn's situation should be a lesson for everyone. There have been centuries of this murderous game going on, in which people die without the benefit of real wisdom or right preparation. Everyone should embrace this devotional practice and not waste any more timenot one more breath.
In the midst of this serious Instruction from Beloved Adi Da, Robyn was interviewed for the possibility of participating in the clinical trials. Although she had been awaiting this moment for months, the doctors told her that her condition was borderline and that they would have to do further tests and wait a few weeks before making their decision. This was a blow. Robyn knew that she did not have weeks to wait. And yet the door to a possible cure was not yet closed.
All of us around her keenly felt her sense of dilemma. It is one thing to be fully open to the process of death when there is not even a remote chance of a cure. It is another thing to do so when there is still some hope, however slight. But, for Beloved Adi Da, there was no contradiction at all. To be open to the death process is not different from profound Spiritual practice in life. Both, as He pointed out, require the upward surrender of attention to Himnot strategically, but from the heart, without concern for the body-mind.
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Robyn needs to get in touch with what is above the brows. She might be a little afraid that she will disappear if she gets turned up. She must be turned up, not dropping her eyes down to the physical. Robyn needs to feel What is Above and not be afraid that It is an enemy. If the Light Sublimes her, good. If It recedes from the physical, then that is what is happening. She must feel It. Bring Light and healing down, and be sublimed beyond physical concerns. [June 18, 2001]
And, again, at the end of June, Beloved Adi Da spoke with great feeling to members of the Ruchira Sannyasin Order. Beloved Adi Da had been looking at photographs I had sent showing Robyn with her intimates. He felt that we were still relating to her at the social level, and that she wanted this. There were tears in His eyes, as He felt her plight:
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Robyn is not being properly served to let go. The signs in her body indicate that she is not ready to let go. Is she afraid that if she meditates too deeply, she will die?
The greatest pain is not wanting to do what you know you have to do. There is Divine life and Divine death, and it is all Yoga. There is a time to live and a time to die. I did not want her to get caught in the treatment game.
When an animal is dying, it wanders off into the wilderness and finds out what death is about. She should spend time alone. She should be helped to relax and enter into a deep condition.
It is time for her to stop suffering the fact that she is dying. Death is a profound matter and must be taken seriously. Death is not the enemy. It is not to be regarded as some horror. Death is Samadhi.
The only part of death that is about death is when the body drops. After that, It is a profound existence. It can be reached during life, but most people do not find out about it until they die. [June 30, 2001]
Nearly every day Robyn would receive "Love and Blessings" from Beloved Adi Da, and He was asking about her several times every day. Robyn was deeply amazed and touched by Beloved Adi Da's overwhelming compassion and love, and deeply challenged by the relinquishment He was calling for. But she wanted to respond. His Spiritual Presence in her room was unbelievably potent.
More and more, the great joy of Robyn's life became the quiet chanting of two of her women friends, Ruth Schoenheimer and Lina Stafford. Sometimes the chant would be the Mantra of one of Beloved Adi Da's Names, sometimes lines from Beloved Adi Da's Teaching, sometimes the devotional prayers of invocation. Ruth had set these prayers to music in a way that melted Robyn to the depth of her being and moved her into blissful surrender. Robyn spoke of this in her last letter to Beloved Adi Da, which she wrote in her own hand, on a notepad. (In the letter she refers to Ruth, and to Remembrance, another friend, who Beloved Adi Da had asked to serve Robyn at this time.)
July 3, 2001
Most Beloved Lord, I write this morning Covered by You, Washed by the constant touch of Your hand through the night. You have desired that I be sublimed, and I feel You Subliming me.
Beloved Heart, I so appreciate Your Criticism of the life I lived before I became sick and the way I distracted myself from the Profound Matter. It is deeply true, and terribly difficult to imagine a passage to here from there that did not involve mortal threat. I had no idea about the world I was living in.
It seems completely tacky to come to Your Feet with a terminal illness and suddenly say, "Oh, I seenow I understand". But, of course, that is just how it is.
And I also feel the validity of You Criticism that, now, in this ashram circumstance, being so surrounded by human love, I may be content with that, as I have always been before.
I beg, my Lord, that, by Your Grace, mine can be a greater destiny, that I can find real profundity and renunciation in this time, which will serve me for this lifetime and the next. I feel You Granting that possibility with Great Force of Love.
Remembrance turns me constantly to renunciation and Samadhi and the abandonment of all else but this devotion. She shows me the place where I make the limits and helps me to move beyond. I do seem to want to make a limit on Samadhi. Twice yesterday, having fallen into bliss for an hour from Ruth's utterly ego-transcending chant, I wanted and even asked her to stop, because I could not tolerate such bliss to continue. I feel there is much more surrender to do here. But I feel You are Teaching me quickly. Also, while deep Happiness and Love-Bliss come upon me a lot, I do not yet see much "Bright", though those around me see me Pervaded by It.
I did come here to Melbourne and got suddenly caught up in trying to be well enough for the trials. I feel I have released that now in response to Your Word, and I accept whatever will happen, and I feel the luxuriousness of the release of effort.
I feel You are asking me to fully prepare for death while having no pre-conceptions, so that is what I am trying to do. It feels the perfect course.
Beloved Heart, it is impossible to say more than a fraction of what I mean or feel.
Your Guidance, Love, and Blessing are utterly overwhelming to me. You are All-Greatness, Perfect, Unending Samadhi, the Very Divine Lord, and I rest my head at Your Beautiful Feet, there by the lake.
• Release into the Light Above
• The Bliss, the Sound, and the Light
• An Inexplicable Stroke of Fate