An Unbounded Space of Joy
by Carolyn Lee
Carolyn Lee, Ph.D., is the author of the biography The Avatar of What Is: The Divine life and Work of Adi Da. She serves as one of Avatar Adi Da's renunciate emissaries.
In the Light of Day
The time was 1986, and the place was Maria Hoop, a village in southern Holland. I was in my late thirties. I had an academic career. From my childhood, I had traveled widely and I was familiar with the highest intellectual and artistic achievements of Western civilization. But I was quite unprepared for the power of what now occurred.
I was seated in the chapel of a former monastery with about one hundred other people, waiting for Avatar Adi Da to come into the room and take His seat in front of us.
He was offering Darshan — a traditional word for the sighting of a Spiritually Awakened being. I had no experience of Darshan, or any real sense of what to expect. I was there because I had already read some books by Avatar Adi Da, and His Teaching had moved me to want to see Him in person.
Before Avatar Adi Da came in, we waited a long time — hours of devotional chanting and listening to recitations from His Teaching.
This is how such great beings have been honored by their followers for centuries. But I had no real framework for that tradition of devotion to the Spiritual Master — except as it was reflected in Christianity, where the Master had been alive two thousand years ago. And so it felt somewhat strange to me.
Recognizing the Divine
When Avatar Adi Da entered the room, the whole room changed. He was of another Place, not of this place. At the same time, He seemed extremely human, and almost frail. He was dressed very simply in indigo, with His hair down to His shoulders.
I had never had a Spiritual experience in my life, never seen anything except the ordinary material reality. But the minute He sat down, His eyes held me and His face began to "melt".
Another Reality was unveiled. Apparitions of Spiritual Masters of different times and places flowed over His features. I had no idea who these beings were, but I could see their distinct qualities — Chinese, Tibetan, Indian.
Eventually, the faces passed, and there was just His face. No more apparitions. But then I became aware that His whole body was a locus of Light. There was a Radiance around Him — but it wasn't just an aura. His body was dissolving in the Light. The Light seemed to be the source of His body, not an emanation of the body.
I blinked numerous times, but the process continued. It wasn't something happening inside me, a kind of mystical experience within, or a meditative vision. This event was happening right there in the room. The Light filled the room, and the shape of Avatar Adi Da's body disappeared and reappeared in the brilliant golden and white Light.
The Light was not like ordinary light — electric light or daylight. It was infinitely more refined, and it seemed alive. It was Bliss, Radiant Feeling — heart-Feeling to infinity. The room was full and deep and bright, an Unbounded Space of Joy. And everything in the room had a fluid quality, not solid at all.
I lost my sense of being located at a particular point in space, and I seemed to be viewing Him and everything else from different places in the room. I was "gone" in amazement, and my heart was on fire. I was undone with a force of recognition.
My heart said, "You are God" — the Divine Light in human form. And I loved Him — I felt that I had always loved Him, had always known Him, and yet not until now.
I wept with an aching ecstasy in every cell of my being. And that was the real beginning of my relationship to Him as His devotee.
The Divine life and Work
of Adi Da
by Carolyn Lee