Religion and Reality: True Religion Is Not Belief in Any “God”-Idea but the Direct Experiential Realization of Reality Itself, by The Avataric Great Sage, Adi Da Samraj. The Dawn Horse Press, 2006.
This was my initial introduction to Adi Da. A member of the Kansas City Friends of Jung recommended this book and a couple others to the President of the organization who then mentioned it to me. I was intrigued by the title.
First, I must mention a couple points about the style of writing which make it rather tough going. Adi Da uses capitalization profusely and seemly at random. This is more of a curiosity than an impediment to reading, unlike his use of parentheses to include additional, related words and ideas. It’s a bit like reading the Amplified Bible (from my memory of that translation many years ago.) At times, I found myself skipping the entire parenthesis even though some were many lines long.
The book has 7 short sections — the entire book is only 81 pages including an Introduction and a Glossary.
Moving Beyond Childish and Adolescent Approaches to Life and Truth
Childhood is marked by dependence and “the presumption of dependence is eminently realistic and useful.” [p.17] But when adults remain in a dependent state, they conceive of the idea of “God-Apart.” Basically, exoteric religion is adults wanting no responsibility and craving dependence. “The sense of dependence initiates the growing sense of separate and separated self … At the conventional level of the life-functions themselves, there is a need for such functional practical differentiation — but the implications in the place of consciousness are the cause of an unnatural adventure of suffering and seeking-in-dilemma.” [p.17] The Jungian in me has a difficult time with this, although I may be using incompatible definitions for similar terms. Differentiation of the self, or development of the ego, is an absolutely necessary act both in terms of external life and our psychic health. This departure from Oneness and then journey back to Oneness is our inevitable path in life and while it has the side effects of struggle and suffering, we would not be human if we did not undergo it.
The transition from childhood to maturity is adolescence and “perhaps the majority of ‘civilized’ human beings are occupied with the concerns of this transition most of their lives.” [p.18] This stage is marked by a sense of dilemma imposed by the presumption of separateness inevitably inherited from childhood. The dilemma is between the mutually exclusive impulses towards independence and dependence. Adolescence is the origin of the “conscious mind” but this is a “strategic version of mind” and has as its foundation life-as-dilemma. As such, “[a]dolesence is an eternally failed condition, an irrevocable double-bind.” [p.19] “Traditional Spirituality” is an attempted balance between these adolescent extremes. The separate self (and it’s desire for success, fulfillment, and immortality) then sees everything — including the idea of God — as a potential opposite and problem. Sin then enters the picture as the separate self looks to “conditionally manifested things” as the hope for peace.
“Real and true human maturity” results in an undermining of the separateness of self and a return “to the Condition of Truth” in which there is no separate “self” and nothing outside “God.” For a mature person, “all that is manifest, and all that is unmanifest — all universes, conditions, beings, states, and things, all that is ‘within’ and all that is ‘without,’ all that is visible and all that is invisible, all that is ‘here’ and all that is ‘there,’ all dimensions of space-time and All that is Prior to space-time” [p.22] are included in “God” or in “Absolute Reality.”
“This mature phase of life requires, as its ongoing foundation, the most fundamental understanding of the egoic self … [and is] characterized not by the usual religious and Spiritual ‘solutions,’ but by no-seeking, no-dilemma …” [p.23] This is very Jungian and very Zen-ian.