There is much in spiritual, religious and new age literature about angels, devis, demons, deities, animal spirits, nature spirits, spirit guides, discarnate beings, spirit realms, heaven realms, bardos, etc. What does Avatar Adi Da say about them? What do they have to do with spiritual practice?
We hope that through the stories of devotees’ experience in these areas and the Instruction they have received from Avatar Adi Da about those experiences, something of the nature of Reality Itself will be communicated, and, of course, that something of Avatar Adi Da’s unique Person and Teaching will come through as well.
The following two paragraphs are a very brief summary of Adi Da’s uniquely radical Teaching. His Teaching is as radical as it is ultimately simple: There is only Self-Existing, Self-Radiant Consciousness Itself; everything is a modification of That; this is inherently, always already so; This is Reality; therefore Reality can only be presently lived and can never be found by seeking; Avatar Adi Da is Himself, non-separately, That Consciousness-Radiance That Is Reality Itself.
Our presumption of separate, individual identity, any being's presumption of separate, individual identity, and any experiencing that seems to reinforce or validate separate, individual identity is simply an unenlightened point of view, and, in ultimate fact, neither true nor real. But, as Avatar Adi Da has always added, until there is the perfect Realization of non-separation, Consciousness Itself, you, the world and all its planes and appearances certainly seem to have their own tangible existence. So, even as we hear accounts of unusual psychic, spiritual, shamanistic, or occult experience, Avatar Adi Da's Teaching remains the same. All these experences are still based on separate point of view.
Personally, I have always appreciated the radical nature of Avatar Adi Da's Teaching as it came to relating to the experience of spirits, ghosts, and other entities, because intuitively I fundamentally knew I did not have to be concerned about them since Adi Da was senior to them — not as a ruling master or superior deity or anything like that, but as a senior Principle, a senior Truth to whatever my experience would be. I knew I could call upon Him (again, not as a superior separate anything) and that calling would bring Truth into the situation — whatever that would look like. In fact, this Principle covers all possible experiencing.
I had been exposed to the world of psychics and mediums in my early twenties. Over time, as I am sure most everyone has, I also met people who had spontaneous visitations by discarnate beings, ghosts, etc. However fascinated I was by these, I certainly did not envy the people having them, since most often their experiences were unwanted and to one or another degree disturbing. I once had a neighbor who regularly would come home to find a ghost in her bathtub!
For a while I did volunteer work for Hospice. I was truly inspired by the good-heartedness of the other volunteers I trained and worked with. My new friends and co-workers in Hospice were all ordinary folks from the community, but in our weekly meetings I would hear some of the most extraordinary stories of visitations by "angels", or other helping spirits which occurred in the course of their attending to the dying. I am sure this is common in Hospices all over the world.
Adi Da has said much about all of this. It is all "real" and "true". But it is not Truth or Reality Itself. Avatar Adi Da is here only as the Communication of the Single, undifferentiated Truth, or Reality Itself.
This section, then, is about some of the more unusual or paranormal phenomena of life. Ordinary people all over the world have these types of experience — they certainly are not reserved for just the religious or spiritual. Most people have these experiences spontaneously and infrequently, some have them spontaneously and often, and some are involved in cultivating the ability to have such experiences. The traditions of the occult, shamanism, and some schools of mysticism are good examples of people who train in the ability to have (and control) such experiences. Avatar Adi Da’s Instruction is that such experience is just experience — another aspect of the human capacity to have experience altogether. He has over and over again Instructed us that all experience must be gone beyond in self-transcending turning of attention, feeling, breath, and body to the Source Condition of experience itself, the undifferentiated Reality that He, in fact, Is. These stories demonstrate the profundity and even homeliness of that Instruction.
In conversations with Avatar Adi Da over the years, He has confirmed that the various different realms and the various discarnate (or even never incarnated) entities do indeed exist — that is, they are not necessarily just figments of the imagination or projected constructs of the psyche. They could be, often are, but nevertheless there are indeed such “other” places and entities just as real as this present realm perceived by the waking consciousness is real. But, as He asks us, “What about it?” In this section you will read stories and hear Avatar Adi Da’s Instruction in all these possibilities.
Once a devotee commented to Avatar Adi Da about going into one of our meditation halls and sensing the presence of an invisible entity seemingly there to meditate. Adi Da, both seriously and with some humor asked, “Was it another entity, or could it have just been the psychic residue from someone who had just been there?” The devotee had to confess that he could not make that distinction.
I have heard several devotees recount how in the meditation hall they were tapped on the shoulder when they were nodding off or that they were physically embraced from behind and lovingly straightened up when they were slouching — only to turn around and find no one there. This has happened to me on a several occasions as well.
Again, we hope that that through the stories in this section you will acquire a deeper appreciation for the nature of experience in general, and the nature of these types of experiences in particular. We also hope that through these stories you will come to a deeper appreciation of the uniqueness Avatar Adi Da and His Revelation of Radical Truth.
We recommend that you look at our glossary entry on. Although the ability to generate occult, shamanistic, and paranormal experience can be deliberately learned regardless of one’s religious or spiritual or human characteristics — if one has the self-discipline and commitment necessary — the more one is open and unguarded in one’s feeling, the more likely one is to have such experiences spontaneously. And, too, in the course of self-transcending religious and spiritual practice, when the identification with mere body-mind is loosened in the fourth stage of life and beyond, such experiences will likely tend to naturally occur. In Adidam, Avatar Adi Da Instructs that most such experience, then, in the context of a life of self-transcendence, are principally signs of purification rather than landmarks or goals of attainment.
Adi Da’s admonition to devotees has always been to neither seek nor avoid any experience, but to turn to Him and locate That Which is prior to experience. Thus, even when devotees of Adi Da enter into the apparent magnificence of subtle experience, they are still responsible to turn their attention to Him, and be moved beyond all limitation that is separate self.
One turns one’s attention to Avatar Adi Da as non-different Reality Itself, simply, and not in reaction to any experience whatsoever, either positive or negative. Eventually such turning, under any and all circumstances is an effortless contemplation which He Calls “Searchless Beholding”.
There is much that could be further said about this whole area of potential fascination and fear. I think the stories speak for themselves. Perhaps more than in other sections devotees telling these stories make personal comments on what happened and on their understanding of their experience. For me, such experience has given me deeper insight to the origins and processes of many religious and spiritual endeavors. Such experience, in relationship to Adi Da has also proven to me how it is not necessary to seek (or avoid) experience in any domain, for Truth and Freedom are Revealed directly, prior to experience. As Avatar Adi Da says: “Truth, or Reality, is always already the case.”
About the benign subtle realms — From the “perspective” of the Seventh Stage Realization, even these most refined states of existence, as full of joy and bliss as they may be, are still conditions of suffering, of non-Realization, albeit nothing like the most gross physical and emotional suffering potentially experienced by human beings.
About the death transition — As Instructed by Adi Da, devotees conduct a three-day vigil, attending the body of one who has passed, reciting Adi Da's Teaching aloud, chanting, invoking His Blessing Help, and so encouraging the devotee who has died to keep surrendering into the death process (and to Him), thereby transitioning easily, beyond this physical dimension without fear or confusion.
About ghosts — Generally (and this is also true in Adidam), the term “ghost” is used to mean the separate and distinct consciousness of someone who has died but that is still associated with the earth plane. A story by Anne Rogers of a visitation by a ghost, which she experienced with Adi Da.
About purification pujas — Because ghosts do exist, and can linger around environments for many years, Adi Da has given His devotees purification (rituals) for psychically cleansing environments; these pujas include means for helping ghosts move on.