Adi Da : biography
Adi Da Samraj (November 3, 1939 – November 27, 2008), born Franklin Albert Jones in Queens, New York, was a spiritual teacher, writer and artist, and the founder of a new religious movement known as Adidam. Adi Da changed his name numerous times throughout his life; these names included Bubba Free John, Da Free John, Da Love-Ananda, Da Kalki, Da Avadhoota and Da Avabhasa among others. From 1991 until his death, he was known as Adi Da Love-Ananda Samraj or Adi Da.
Adi Da wrote many books about his spiritual philosophy and related matters, founding a publishing house to print them. He gained praise from authorities in spirituality and philosophy, but was also criticized for what were perceived as his isolation, "Jones has made his self-protective seclusion a defining mark of his teaching career." controversial behavior, claims toward exclusive realization, and cult-like community.
Fundamental to Adi Da’s religious philosophy is the essentially "eastern" religious concept that the purpose of human life is spiritual enlightenment, an awakening to ultimate reality that is the natural state of all human beings (though seemingly obscured.)Gallagher, Eugene, Ashcraft, Michael. (2006). Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, Volume V, p.88
Adi Da said that what keeps human beings from experiencing this ultimate, enlightened reality is the activity of ego, which he stated is the source of all emotional, psychological, and spiritual dissatisfaction. He called this activity "self-contraction," and defined it as a psychological mechanism lying somewhere beneath the normal level of conscious awareness, leading people to believe they are limited, suffering individuals. He said that fundamentally, all efforts to unite with the divine from the point of view of a separate self were futile, since that separate self itself is illusory.Gallagher, Eugene, Ashcraft, Michael. (2006). Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, Volume V, p.97-98
"Seventh stage realization"
Adi Da developed a map of potential human and spiritual evolution that he called "the seven stages of life".Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America [Five Volumes] By Eugene V. Gallagher, W. Michael Ashcraft,Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-275-98712-4, 2006, page 99
- First Stage—"individuation/physical development"
- Second Stage—"socialization"
- Third Stage—"integration/mental development"
- Fourth Stage—"spiritualization/Divine Communion"
- Fifth Stage—"spiritual ascent"
- Sixth Stage—"abiding in consciousness"
- Seventh Stage—"Divine Enlightenment: awakening from all egoic limitations"
The first six stages account for all permutations of religion and culture throughout history, as well as levels of personal development. Adi Da categorized the fourth, fifth, and sixth stages of life as the highest respective stages of human development. He characterized those who have reached these stages as "saints", "yogis", and "sages", including other religious figures such as Gautama Buddha and Jesus Christ.Samraj, Adi Da (2004). The Knee of Listening. "I (Alone) Am The Adidam Revelation)". pgs. 502–504. Dawn Horse Press. ISBN 1-57097-167-6
Relative to this spectrum, Adi Da stated that while some "yogis, saints, and sages" had occasionally indicated some awareness of a "seventh stage", only he as a unique avatar had ever been born fully invested with the capability to fully embody it; furthermore, as the first "Seventh Stage Adept" only he would ever need to (or be capable of) doing so.Samraj (2005b) p. 93 He stated that the seventh stage has nothing to do with development and does not come after the sixth stage in a sequential manner. The culminating awareness of this seventh stage is a permanent, natural state of “open-eyed ecstasy", for which Adi Da employed the Sanskrit term Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi.Gallagher…New Religions, p.100 "…despite this state being well attested in yogic literature (for instance among the ascetic Bauls of Bengal), Adi Da portrayed it as his own exclusive state."