Daniela Morena has been a devotee of Adi Da since 1986. She has worn many hats and has done a 360 change twice in her career, living on three different continents. She currently heads Italian Sorrisi and teaches Italian language. She also facilitates using "The Coaching Game", a coaching tool for life and work solutions. Daniela lives in Singapore.
The following story took place while Daniela was on retreat at Adi Da Samrajashram, Fiji, in 1995, for a major Adidam celebration.
In 1995, my intimate partner, Alan, and I were living in Suva, Fiji, where we were also responsible for Adidam Advocacy in Fiji. We were very happy to be closer to our Beloved Guru. The Suva household was considered an extension of Adi Da Samrajashram and we were invited to attend all Celebrations on the Island.
However, the pressure of carrying out our service in Suva was the most intense we had ever experienced, and the demand for Contemplation in the midst of such fire was breaking me down. The self-reflection of my egoic tendencies and limitations was stark. I was slowly but implacably being overwhelmed by what Christians call "the dark night of the soul". And all this without anyone even saying anything in particular to me! I simply did not have sufficient capacity for Divine Distraction in the midst of difficulty, and was resorting to conventional coping strategies more and more.
This was the background to finding myself and Alan invited to a Celebration at Adi Da Samrajashram.
One evening during the Celebration, Beloved Adi Da called for a gathering of devotees to discuss the Dharma. It was going to be in His environment at Da Avatara Chakra, and only for invited people. All the Suva household went, but Alan and I were not invited. This fact had an unexpected impact on me.
As I saw the invited devotees leave on a truck for the other side of the island, I started feeling dejected, then betrayed, then absolutely furious. I reacted as if God had slammed a door in my face, just when I felt I needed most to be granted the Gift of His Darshan.
I stormed to the beach and hit it like a tornado, kicking the sand up, shouting at the sky and crying. I was beside myself. From the outside, I must have been quite funny to look at — a betrayed child having a tantrum on an otherwise benign tropical beach, leaving deep tracks in the sand.
Unable to spiritually resort to my Beloved Guru, I uttered the ultimate insult: "You reject me? Who do you think you are?" (Looking back, I feel embarrassed at the memory. . . Welcome to Narcissus-land!)
After releasing my rage, I felt spent, and returned to the retreatants' dorm looking like a sobbing, wet rag.
My retreat manager was waiting for me. "I have been looking for you everywhere — where did you go? You must make your way quickly to The Matrix. . . Beloved is expecting you! Hurry!!"
I was gobsmacked. I immediately felt ashamed of my earlier outburst.
All the available transport to the other end of the island had already left, so we had to walk there. It was dusk and the dirt track was long and full of holes. We walked slowly, careful not to trip over anything in the dim light. But I was feeling happy! My Beloved Guru did invite me after all, and I was happy to walk anywhere!
The gathering was taking place in a small buré called Sacred Cows. (A buré is a Fijian wood and straw hut something like a cabin.) When we finally arrived, we could hear Beloved Adi Da's voice talking and laughing inside, and devotees asking questions. But the doors to Sacred Cows were firmly closed.
What could we do? It would be completely inappropriate to knock and interrupt. Alan and I looked at each other. We decided to sit on the step outside. Just listening to Adi Da's Voice at this point was a healing Darshan for me.
After a while, the door opened and Quandra Sukaphur Rani came out. "Oh ho!" she said, looking at us. Then she turned towards the room and shouted, "Beloved, Alan and Daniela are here!"
"Let them in!" His booming voice replied.
How loved I felt!
We crossed the threshold of the buré. Beloved was continuing His conversation with a devotee. It all looked perfectly normal: women on His right, men on His left, devotees laughing with Him.
I took about two steps into the room. . . then IT hit me full frontal.
My mind shattered. My knees gave way. My body started shaking and my teeth were clattering. Because the moment I laid eyes on my Guru, I did not see His Body. What I saw and felt was His multi-armed Form, His fiery "Shiva the Destroyer" Form. It was Arjuna's vision in the Bhagavad Gita. It was awesome in every sense of the word! And completely overwhelming.
All the while, Adi Da continued His pleasant Conversation with the gathering.
But I was in a state of absolute Shock, with a capital "S". Not that the Vision was threatening. . . not at all. But I was seeing the terrifying Divine Force that makes and destroys galaxies. The Divine Force that brings an end to all separate egoic individuals.
The Divine Force that brings an end to "me".
Everything else receded. There was just this Immense Being. . . and me trying to approach Him.
Somehow, I managed to crawl as far as His chair, to offer my flower to Him. I collapsed on the floor holding the now squashed, pitiful flower up over my head.
One word alone kept repeating itself in my mind: "Mercy, mercy, mercy". It felt like the prostrate position flat on the floor was the only appropriate one for me in right relationship to the Divine. Forever. And I was very grateful for that.
Eventually, I hobbled to the back of the room, as far as possible from that Awesome Vision, my back against the wall of the buré, shaking, hiding like a little mouse behind the other lady devotees.
I cannot remember much from that evening. Adi Da cracked jokes with my roommate from Suva, and apparently (from what others tell me) gave an exquisite discourse on conductivity. All the while, I was busy trying to survive the night, and to recover the pieces of me that had been blasted around the room.
In my egoic, angry outburst earlier, I had asked Avatar Adi Da "Who He thought He was". And the Divine Lord obligingly, graciously, answered my question.
He Revealed Who He Is to me!
He is indeed the Divine Lord, in Person. And I am forever indebted to my beautiful Guru. May the Great One Win, this time. Da!
more stories from Daniela Morena, read "This Is Home!", Adi Da "Heard" My Thoughts, and He Is the Heart, Infinite and Blissful.