Claire: Jane, thank you for talking with me. Can you first tell
us how you found out about Adi Da Samraj?
Jane: Well, it was back in the early 1970's. Like a lot
of other young people in their 20's in the 1970's, I was
looking for the meaning in life and the truth. When I got
into college I began to think more for myself and to
realize how shallow my understanding of life was. So,
just like a lot of other people during that time, I began to
look for some aspect of God that was real in my life.
in the process of doing that, I went on a kind of spiritual
quest out in the desert with a friend, and I had some
mystical experiences. I had prayed and invoked
the Divine in the midst of feeling afraid, and I saw this
star above me with light that poured down and bathed
my body and took away the fear. And I kept invoking
God. I didn't know who else to call upon at that point.
What occurred was so profound for me that I began
to look for a teacher, because I didn't understand what
had happened. And it made me feel the mystery of the
Divine and something greater than myself that was
So I began to look for a teacher. I was working at that
time for an architectural firm and the accountant there
was a Yogananda devotee. I told her what had happened to me in the desert and she suggested that I read
some spiritual literature. So I started reading Yogananda's books and went to a few lectures. It was a whole
new turn in my life to be on a spiritual quest.
Then I met
a man who, when I told him that I was looking for a
teacher, said that I should go see Franklin Jones in
Hollywood. ["Franklin Jones" was Adi Da's birth name.] And I'm thinking, "Franklin Jones from
Hollywood?" That didn't sound spiritual like "Yogananda
from India". So I was a little put off.
But he brought me The Knee of Listening
(Adi Da Samraj's first published book) to read. On the cover was
a picture of Franklin Jones. He didn't look like anything
in my understanding of what a spiritual teacher should
look like. So I didn't really want to read the book and I
turned it face down on my desk. I don't know why, but I
just didn't want to look at it. During the next couple of
months, I read every other spiritual book I could get my
hands on — Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and many others.
But one day, I
decided to take another look at the book I had been avoiding. So I picked it
up and started reading. Ten pages into the book, I felt, "This man is speaking the
Truth!" There was a recognition on some deep level.
I could not stop reading. I stayed up
all night and through the next day and into the evening.
Even though I had resisted this book, even though I had resisted what
Franklin Jones looked like, there was something about
Him that spoke to me so deeply that I was changed
personally from that day forward.
And based on reading that book, I wanted more. So I
went down to the Melrose Avenue Ashram
(in Los Angeles, California)
where they were just starting to teach a
course in June of 1973. I took the course for twelve weeks
and at the end, they said that I should start thinking about
becoming a student. I had been going to classes and
evening events on a regular basis, but when it came time
to becoming a formal member, I was resistant. It all
seemed too much to me.
I hadn't met Bhagavan Adi Da yet; I had only heard His voice on
tapes. One morning, I was lying on my bed in that
state between being asleep and waking up. I had been in
this dilemma for days: "What shall I do, what shall I do?"
And this voice suddenly came — in me or around me, I have
no idea from where — but I recognized it. It was Bhagavan's voice. And He said, "No matter where you go or what
you do, you will always come back to Me."
I just sat
up in bed, wide awake, and I started thanking Him. I was
so grateful, because I had been in such a dilemma about
this whole thing. He completely relieved me at heart and
gave me the trust and confidence to sign up and
become a formal member.
Claire: How did you first meet Bhagavan in person?
Jane: I had learned marquetry from my father. It's sort of
like mosaic, done with wood veneers. So I made a plaque
of the Dawn Horse logo in marquetry,
as a gift for Bhagavan
for His birthday. It was a logo that Bhagavan had designed
Himself and He had explained to devotees the meaning of every
aspect of the design from a dream that He had had. I
copied that, and made it out of wood, and I brought it to
the Ashram. I couldn't wait to give it to Him on His actual
birthday, so I went about a week before, and I walked into
the office and told the devotee there that I had this gift for
Bhagavan for His birthday. I wanted to just hand it to her
and leave, but she said, "Oh, well go right in, you can
give it to Him yourself." And I had never seen Him before
or met Him.
I was pretty nervous. It had always been very
formal before. But now she was gesturing for me to go
into Bhagavan's office, which we never went into as new
So I walked in the door, and this Wall of Force just
overwhelmed me. I almost fell backwards. Bhagavan
was just sitting there in the back of His office as if He
were in meditation. He looked at me and gestured for me to come in.
Bhagavan's office was like a temple —
absolutely pristine, and the air was thick with His Presence. It felt so sacred.
I walked up to Him and gave
Him my gift. He was very gracious. He looked and
looked at it and asked me questions. Every time I
tried to answer His questions, my words felt like they
would come right back and hit me in the face —
I had never been in the presence of a Being as
Holy and Divine as He is.
I had no profound recognition of Who He was at that time,
but I did know He was my Teacher. And I had just
made this gesture to become His student and change my
life. . . and here I was in front of Him. He received my
gift so graciously, and He said "Tcha". ["Tcha" was Adi Da's unique
verbal expression of acknowledgement and Blessing of
After some time, I simply backed out of the
room, because I couldn't take my eyes off of Him.
My legs were like spaghetti.
* * *
So that was my first meeting with Bhagavan Adi Da. It was very