Adi Da: Perfect Devotion to Me

A reader sent me the link for the Adi Da Archives, with the suggestion that I pass it along to my readers. This archive is a very complete record of criticisms of Da-ism and worth reading for anyone seeking understanding of the cult phenomenon. (Be sure not to miss Mrs Presky.)

Adi Da is mentioned in American Guru in the following passage, found in the chapter “Connecting the Dots”:

Recent EnlightenNext webcasts have stressed the importance
of the second of Wilber’s “Three Faces of God,” i.e., the living
manifestation of the divine in the form of the guru before whom
the devotee must prostrate, as Cohen puts it, “on bended knee.”
On one such webcast, Terry Patten, a former follower of the recently
deceased American guru/cult-leader Adi Da (a.k.a. Da
Free John)—whose “corruption” and “megalomania” Cohen himself
once pointedly criticized—was interviewed enthusiastically
by two of Cohen’s students, Elizabeth Debold and Jeff Carreira.
Patten, a Wilber co-author who offers international workshops
explaining the “The Three Faces of God,” complimented Cohen’s
student body as a whole for its ready receptivity to the notion of
surrender to the guru—neglecting, like Genpo Roshi, to acknowledge
both the many instances in which “surrender” has turned
out to be a code-word for misguided loyalty and the obvious dangers
of surrendering to a “megalomaniac” whoever he (or she)
might be. Perhaps not surprisingly, Debold and Carreira, good
disciples that they are, didn’t raise these issues either.
Adi Da’s explanation of “Second Face of God” devotional
practice, transcribed from a video on youtube.com, reads thus:

“Having no rug to stand on, no separateness to define you in separation
from me, surrendered in the perfect sense so that you are tacitly
directly in the room with me, the room of my indivisible person,
with your shoes at the door—in other words having stepped into the
space of indivisibility—that’s the perfect practice of devotion to me.
If you don’t know me enough to know that’s the only right relationship
to me then you don’t recognize me, you’re not feeling my actual
state. Mistaking me for somebody else, for somebody like yourself,
you’re seeing in me your own reflection in some sense; you’re being
a narcissist when you’re looking at me. So without recognition of
me, and true turning to me, true devotion to me, you’re actually seeing
yourself, a projection of yourself, a superimposition of your own
limitations on my form.”
-Adi Da