We were celebrating the Feast of Danavira Mela and about thirty
of us were gathered with our Beloved Guru, who was giving trays
of small gifts to each devotee who was there that night. The gift
giving had been going on for hours. I was so moved that, at one
point, I just wept out of sheer happiness. Tom Closser was sitting
close to me. He is a big muscular fellow, and to be living as a
religious renunciate was quite remarkable for this man he had
a checkered past about which he sometimes felt deeply guilty. Tom
was also accident-prone, perhaps because of his deep-seated guilt.
On this wonderful night, Torn had just received gifts from the hands
of Beloved Adi Da and had sat down again near me when, all of a
sudden, he stood up and began walking toward the door.
I was going to get Lynne, my intimate partner, who was with the
Ashram children. I began to feel that she had been away too long,
that she should be here to receive her gifts. I thought that she
had probably fallen asleep with the children and wouldn't return
unless someone went to get her.
Da asked me where she was. When I told Him, He said, "It's fine
I'll give Lynne her gifts later." In spite of His remark about
Lynne, I decided to get up and bring her to the gathering.
Tom had hardly
turned toward the door when he tripped over one of his gifts. Down
he came on top of me, and his outstretched arm crashed through a
window behind me. The glass lacerated the upper part of his arm,
instantly causing profuse arterial bleeding. Warm blood spurted
all over me. We rushed Tom out of the room, put a tourniquet around
his arm, and transported him to the small clinic. By this time,
Tom had lost a lot of blood and he was in serious danger.
Bouwmeester, the physician in charge, ministered to Tom, Beloved
Adi Da asked me to step outside and tell Him in full detail what
was going on from a medical point of view. While everyone else was
panicking, Avatar Adi Da was simply present, even matter-of-fact.
told Him that
our friend Tom had arterial bleeding.
"What does that
"It means that
we have to stop the bleeding for now and that he has to be operated
on as soon as possible."
"Can you do
"No, it is a
question of vascular surgery we can't do it here."
had since telephoned the nearest major hospital, which was on a
distant island, joined our conversation at this point. He was very
concerned. He had just found out that there was no way to get a
helicopter to Naitauba at night, as the pilots could not navigate
in the dark. I looked at my watch. It was 1:05 A.M. It would not
grow light until after five. When He heard this news, Beloved Adi
Da turned to one of the men and said, "I am going to have to do
We then accompanied
our Beloved Guru into the clinic to attend to our friend. The place
looked like a war zone. Tom was lying on a table, his eyes closed,
moaning softly. Tom's intimate, Lynne, was holding his good hand,
crying. Others were milling around, trying to help out in various
ways. There was a general mood of hysteria. Beloved Adi Da stood
next to Tom, leaning on His staff. He was completely relaxed.
the bleeding artery deep in Tom's upper arm and discovered that
he was able to apply direct finger-pressure such that the bleeding
would stop while circulation to the arm below the cut could continue.
I looked at
Tom and sensed that my friend was already out of his body. I knew
this was not good for his physical well-being.
Then, in a loud,
powerful voice, Adi Da summoned Tom, saying, "Look at Me! Look at
Me! Look at Me!!!"
Tom feebly opened
looking at Me! Do you dig Me? Do you? Do you love your Master? Come
on. tell Me!"
My friend said,
"Yes," still faintly.
"Then love Me!
. . . feel Me! . . . breathe Me! Come on, do
it!" Our Beloved Guru whacked
Tom's chest in the heart area with His hand, and vigorously moved
it down toward Tom's navel. He was saying all this over and over
again, His hands passing down Tom's body multiple times, tracing
the path that, in this life-threatening situation, Tom's breath
should follow down the frontal line of his body.
I could literally
see Tom coming alive again. For a while, even the bleeding stopped
totally. But, once he was more fully conscious and alive, Tom's
face contorted with the extreme pain caused by the cut in his arm
and the tourniquet around it.
"Look at Me.
Keep on looking at Me. Keep your attention on Me!! Is the pain really
The Divine Maha-Siddha's
questioning changed direction: "Can you feel how bad the pain is?"
"But you do
observe the pain, don't you? You observe the pain . . . you are
observing the pain, aren't
"Yes, I am,
"So 'you' are
in the Witness-Position relative to the pain. You are the Witnessing
Consciousness Itself, painless, timeless, and unqualified. Can you
understand that? Are you with Me?"
"Yes, I am,
can you find the Bliss in Consciousness? Can you find the Bliss
in Consciousness That is Prior to pain? Can you find that Bliss?
It does exist. I promise you! It does
exist. There is Bliss in Consciousness,
Prior to all pain, Prior to all experience."
I watched in
amazement as our Beloved Guru, through His words and His Spiritual
Transmission, drew Tom into the entirely different position of simply
Witnessing and observing the pain rather than identifying with it.
Da Samraj started joking around with Tom. "You ruined
our celebration! People will be talking about this for many years,
even many centuries to come." He threw back His head and laughed.
I could hardly
believe what was going on. First Beloved Adi Da brought Tom back
to life, literally from the edge of death. Then He brought him in
touch with That Which Transcends day-to-day life and bodily existence
altogether. And now He started dealing with Tom's chronic feelings
of guilt, which had, I think, provoked this whole incident.
Tom. You don't have to be guilty anymore. What is guilt? Who cares
about guilt? Do you really believe God cares about your guilt? Do
you think I do? Do you think you have to pay to be free of it? No,
Real God is Forgiveness. I don't
give a damn about what happened in the past. Just give it all up.
Give it all to Me."
Avatar Adi Da
took some surgical scissors from our tray and started cutting the
hairs on Tom's chest, cracking jokes about his hairiness meanwhile
laying His healing hands again all over Tom's chest.
daybreak, we heard the sounds of helicopter blades from afar. The
helicopter landed, and we quickly lifted our friend inside. Daniel
and I then climbed inside to accompany Tom to Suva, where Fiji's
main hospital is located.
As I was carried out of Beloved Adi Da's House immediately after
the accident, I became especially sensitive to noise, and could
hear the voices of everyone around me. Inside the clinic, I heard
the R.N., who was holding my head, whisper to someone that I was
going into shock. Just then, I realized that I was moving up and
back, and that I was outside my body.
Da had gone outside, and I could hear Him talking, but I was still
in the room watching everyone from above. He had been talking about
how serious the situation was, but when He came inside, He started
joking and making light of it.
I began to move back and forth between two vantage points: I would
hear my Beloved Guru addressing me from the point of view of the
body, and then I would observe everything from the higher, detached
position again. Because this switching back and forth was so uncontrollable,
I started to get anxious. The more anxious I became, the more I
seemed to fix in the out-of-body state.
I could tell
that Beloved Adi Da was trying to keep me associated with Him in
the physical body, but the pain and fear kept driving me out of
it. When I was out of my body, there was no pain. It was very calm
and dissociated even euphoric. Adi Da Samraj was moving His hand
up and down my chest, and He started kidding me about my tendency
to be a "macho man". He humorously pretended to be dealing with
this self-image of mine by trimming the hairs off my chest. He began
to run His hand down my chest, snipping little bits of hair above
His fingers. A warm sensation seemed to drop from the top of my
head and fall down my throat, as if someone were pouring a bucket
of warm water over my head. Wherever Beloved Adi Da's hand would
stay, this sensation, which was full and alive in ways that were
clearly more than physical, I would be drawn down into my body to
that point. I felt Beloved Adi Da literally filling me and enlivening
me with His Blessing and His Spirit, and this helped to draw me
back into the physical body.
Da also said wonderful things to keep my attention on Him. He said,
"Do you love Me? Do you really love Me?" At one point, I rolled
over and He held my face against His belly. The only thing that
I could feel in that moment was that I wanted to be with Him forever.
It was not just a thought, it was a physical
Then the doctors
put a tourniquet on my arm, and it caused incredible pain. I zipped
out of my body again. This time, I had gone even further up, so
that now I was outside the room. The space-time barrier changed
in some way. Rather than doing things sequentially, Beloved Adi
Da seemed to be maintaining a conversation with everyone in the
room simultaneously making many actions simultaneously.
The last image
of the physical realm I remembered for a while was of my Beloved
Guru talking to some men outside the clinic about my situation.
Then I drifted off further and further. I started to get anxious.
I was trying to get a physical reference trying to feel my nose
but I realized I could not feel my body at all. All of a sudden,
I lost the anchor to physical familiarity, and I began to have visual
phenomena. I saw a dark background with silvery strands (much like
what you see when you press your fingers into your eyes), and a
matrix of light and dark and different shapes. Everything had the
same patina and an ocher color.
Then I remember
seeing a group of people that I had known throughout my life. I
was standing around with these people. The meeting was very warm,
and full of familial emotions. It was very happy, and I felt relaxed
Next, I saw
what might be described as a tunnel. I had the sensation of moving,
and, as I entered the tunnel, the people drifted behind me. I looked
up and realized that I was suddenly in a totally different environment.
This new environment
seemed to be a normal three-dimensional space at first, but I realized
very quickly that it did not have the same physical laws. It had
a different perspective, or a different dimension. It had a very
familiar landscape, almost like the environment where I grew up
in East Los Angeles! I felt comfortable, but there was also something
odd about it.
Then I began
shifting to many different experiences, and I had no control over
any of it. It became terrifying. In daily life, I am physically
based, and I have some control of where my attention is, because
I can focus it. But, in this circumstance, because I had no bodily
anchor, I went wherever my attention went. I had no capability to
control attention. My attention was on one thing for one minute,
and that was my total realityand then the next moment my attention
was somewhere else, and that became my reality.
When this happened,
everything changed I did not even have a memory of the previous
experience or environment. I felt that all these experiences were
in the same dimension, since they had a similar feeling to them,
but I was very rapidly switching from one fantasy to another fantasy
without any control. Later, I remembered what Beloved Adi Da has
you are alive, you make mind, but, after death, mind makes you."
It may sound interesting, but it was actually completely horrific.
I became more
and more terrified. At one point, I had the sense that the individuals
or entities in this environment had an intention to keep me there.
They were trying to determine what experience would keep me most
solidly fixed in this condition. There seemed to be an assumption
that I would stay there forever.
whole experience, I had forgotten my relationship with Adi Da Samraj
or even any memory or experience of Him. I did not feel capable
of resorting to Him, and I was totally subject to this experience,
which was constantly changing and quite disturbing.
In the midst
of this, two people, a man and his son, began trying to help me.
They felt very familiar to me, as if I had been close to them as
I was growing up. They were trying to help me get back to where
Beloved Adi Da was. I could see the realm where He was it had
some of the qualities of a beautiful place in Hawaii I had visited
once with Him. These two individuals were trying to help me concentrate
and feel towards Him and this place, so that I could keep my attention
there, and then I could stay there with my Beloved Guru.
While they were
trying to help me, the other group of people finally hit upon the
one experience which seemed to control my attention more strongly
than anything else the sense of being threatened. I was standing
in the middle of a street, and a bakery truck would drive towards
me. It would slam on its brakes and slide into me. Right before
the truck would hit me, I could feel myself going into panic. Then
the experience would repeat itself.
repetitively hundreds, maybe thousands, of times. I was stuck
in that experience. In the midst of this experience, I "shouted",
but it was not a physical voice. Somehow, I could, just for a moment,
remember and feel Adi Da Samraj. Then the man and his son created
a situation to help me get out of this endless cycle with the truck,
back to where Beloved Adi Da was.
felt myself enter my body again, from the head down. I was back
in the clinic, and Beloved Adi Da was there. He was talking to me.
When I saw Him, my heart burst with happiness and relief. I had
been so much in need of Him in that horrifying experience more
deeply and more profoundly than I had ever been in my entire life.
I felt what an incredible opportunity it is to be physically embodied
in a time and place where He is alive and what a horror it is
to pass through this life and not realize something greater than
being completely controlled by your own mind and attention. I was
Da was touching me. He was very gentle and humorous. He used whatever
means necessary in any moment to keep me relating to Him directly.
He would speak with me about the Witness-Position, and He would
address my sense of guilt. It was very amusing: There I was, very
nearly dying, and He was addressing every way that I was self-contracted
and defensive and emotionally retarded! I could feel His help very
directly, and I was so grateful to be back in His physical Company.
Da told me that a helicopter was coming to take me off the island.
He kept saying, "Stay with Me." The helicopter arrived, and He looked
after every aspect of getting me to the helicopter. He asked how
long it would take to get me to the hospital.
I was fairly
lucid at this point, and pretty wide awake. They had me in a stretcher
inside the helicopter. Daniel and Frans were on my right and beyond
them was the pilot. I stared at Naitauba as we flew away, and I
felt that I could continue to remember my Beloved Guru even at a
physical distance or in a different environment. I knew that that
was my practice I had to continually feel Him, no matter what
the experience was.
As soon as we
arrived at the hospital in Suva, they took me to surgery. A big
Fijian doctor and an Indian anesthesiologist introduced themselves.
I was so tired I could not talk or move. But I could hear, and I
responded with my eyes to indicate that I understood.
The Indian anesthesiologist
wanted me to count out loud, if I could starting from ten and
going back to zero. He had a gas mask over my mouth. He explained
that it was to make me unconscious so they could operate. I could
not speak, but I counted in my mind, "Ten, nine. . ." to zero. He
looked me in the eyes, and I looked back at him. He smiled and said,
"Okay, do it again." I was trying to show him that I was counting,
so I was blinking my eyes with each number down to zero again.
of everything was heightened. I could see more clearly than usual
and my peripheral vision was expanded. I could see in this doctor's
eyes that he was becoming concerned, but I couldn't understand what
was wrong. He said, "Son, I am going to ask you to count one more
time." His voice had started to tremble, and I became frightened.
Again I counted, blinking my eyes as I did. When I got to zero,
even though I was not unconscious, I kept my eyes closed.
the operation. I bore the pain as long as I could but then I started
gesturing, opening my eyes, and trying to shake my head. The nurse
noticed that I was awake. They stopped and the anesthesiologist
increased the anesthetic. I started to become really terrified because
I felt I was going out of my body again.
I was afraid
to lose consciousness afraid that I would go back to this realm
I had experienced before. People make a big deal of out-of-body
experiences and near-death experiences as if it is all wonderful
you see God and your family. My earlier experience was pleasant
at the beginning, but the deeper I got in that state, it was just
completely and totally horrific. There was nothing that I have ever
experienced before or since that could possibly match the terror
of being in that situation where you are just controlled by mind.
It was also
clear to me that it is not just physical trauma that can knock you
out of the body any kind of emotional trauma can do this. I realized
that that is what had occurred at the clinic on Naitauba I had
gone into emotional shock. I had lost a lot of blood, but that was
not what sent me out of the body. I was in such a state of fear
and anxiety that I was trying to remove myself from the circumstance.
I was choosing not to be bodily incarnated rather than enduring
and feeling through that strong emotion. Right in the middle of
the operation, I remembered this about what had happened at the
clinic on Naitauba, and I realized that it was happening again.
I could feel myself retreating at the speed of light.
I woke up in
the recovery room. Later that day and over the following days, the
Fijian doctor and the Indian doctor came to see me many times, sometimes
with four or five other doctors. They would huddle around me and
speak in Fijian or Hindi. Clearly they were curious, but also I
felt their anxiety, as if something was wrong.
On the third
day, I asked the nurse why everyone was so concerned. She called
the two doctors to explain what had occurred in the operation. The
Indian doctor indicated that they had given me a lot of anesthetic.
In fact, he humorously said, I had been given enough anesthetic
to knock out a small Fijian village! I tried to explain that I had
been very anxious about losing consciousness but they told me
that that could not possibly account for my resistance to the anesthetic.
They asked if I had a history of this kind of thing when I had received
anesthetics in the past, but I did not.
In that moment,
I remembered that when I was getting into the helicopter, Beloved
Adi Da had asked exactly how long the helicopter trip would be,
and had pressed His Spiritual Force into me repeatedly. I had felt
this Force very physically and very powerfully. I felt like I was
hyper-energized. It became obvious to me what had occurred. I explained
to the doctors that I came from Naitauba, where my Spiritual Master
was, and that He had given me, while He was taking me to the helicopter,
enough life-energy to survive the trip. Immediately, the Fijian
doctor understood what I was talking about.
He nodded knowingly
and said, "Mana". The Indian doctor glanced at him and said, "Shaktipat"
(meaning the touch of the Guru that transmits Spiritual Energy).
"Yes!" I said. Here, in this tiny third-world country, these doctors
were completely familiar with what I was talking about.
During the days
of my recovery, I tried to maintain Remembrance of Beloved Adi Da
always. I would still slip in and out of consciousness, but I felt,
when I would begin to lose bodily consciousness, that my only anchor
was my Remembrance of my Guru. If I did not intentionally Remember
Him, feel to Him, I would just end up free-associating in the mind-realm.
So I created ways to Remember Beloved Adi Da. I could move my left
arm, so I would trace the outline of His figure as I remembered
Him standing as I left Naitauba in the helicopter over and over,
thousands of times, just to stay associated with Him. It became
a form of meditation for me.
later, I returned to Naitauba. I heard from my friends there that
on the evening I was having the most difficulty in the hospital,
Adi Da Samraj had met with everyone and discussed my character with
them. He had also pointed out that, if I allowed myself to stay
in the disposition of guilt which is one of my primary emotions
I would literally create accidents and illnesses to punish myself.
On the night
I returned, we were called to gather with Beloved Adi Da. I was
incredibly weak, and incredibly happy to see Him, but I was also
feeling guilty! feeling that I had dishonored Him and ruined His
celebration. When He called me to show Him my cast, He put His leg
against the cast. I could feel Him Radiating His Heart-Force and
healing Energy sideways through my entire arm and into my chest.
Then He signed my cast. At the end of the evening, He shouted to
me, "NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!" and walked out of the room.