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Da's Monism and its limitations

(Da Free John and Sri Aurobindo)

Like other monistic realisers, Da Free John and his followers uncompromisingly reject the possibility of higher evolution beyond this transcendent state (e.g. Sri Aurobindo's concept of Supramanetalisation, and similar intimations in Lurianic Kabbalah and elsewhere). There need not be any contradiction here, as what is being discussed is like oranges and apples. Howver, the full experience of Enlightment may or may not be a necessary prequisate for Supramentalisation, since one can and does have perfectly valid spiritual realisation in this way; only it does not lead to the Divinisation of Matter. All of which is neither here nor there when discussing Adi Da; I only mention it here because I have had some debates with Da devotees over that. Hence this page.

In Da's cosmology there are two structural dimensions of existence: the horizontal and the vertical.  The horizontal dimension is the centre of awareness, located in the heart.  The vertical dimension corresponds to the chakras along the spine.  According to this teaching,

"in contrast to the horizontal dimension of the heart, which is the fundamental and unifying dimension of the body, the vertical structure is evolutionary and dualistic."

Evolution means

"the ascent of attention along the spinal line toward the Radiant Source, which is the root of the vertical dimension...and which is intuited to be at the crown or infinitely above the head.  The God-Realisers acknowledge that ultimately this...Realisation of the Divine Radiance above is resolved in Transcendental Self-Realisation at the heart."
footnote in The Dawn Horse Testament, p.704 (1985 edition, The Dawn Horse Press, San Rafael, California - current edition seems to be a lot bigger)

For this reason, any concept of actualisation of higher Divine-Gnostic states of existence (such as the Noetic Universes and the Manifest Godhead) is absolute heresy.  In Da Free John's classification of the different esoteric and spiritual teachings into one of his seven stages, an arrangement followed in the Da Free John "Laughing Man" bookstores, the works of Sri Aurobindo concerning Divine transformation are grouped under the fifth stage, along with kundalini yoga and such.  They are thus considered inferior even to the (6th stage) anti-worldly Advaitin and dualistic Theravadin teachings.

This of course does not take into account the suggestion that transforming the objective universe may (indeed does) require a striving even after one has attained the highest Enlightenment (Da's 7th Stage), a concept that is alien to the old-fashioned monistic and often (although not always!) worldly-denying realisations of Advaita and Mahayana (this same old monistic orientation is also found in the philosophy of Ken Wilber). However, this striving is no longer an egotistic striving; it comes from the Supreme, and one is an instrument of the Godhead. This, at least, is how Sri Aurobindo and the Mother present things.

Morever, Sri Aurobindo's concept of Spiritualisation pretty much corresponds to Da's 6th and 7th Stages of Life. And as he explains here, the realisation of the spiritual consciousness ("Enlightenment, whatever) is either a prerequisate to, or a side-branch away from, the higher levels of transformation like Higher Mind, Illumined Mind, and so on.

There is however one interesting parallel. Just as Da suggests a vertical dimension corresponds to the chakras, and a horizontal dimension with the centre of awareness located in the heart, so Sri Aurobindo speaks both of a vertical hierarchy of planes of consciousness, of ascent and descent (very like Lurianic Kabbalah in this regard), and an inward dimension, from the outer or surface consciousness to the inner being, to the innermost being, the Psychic being or Divine within, located in the heart center or outside the being.


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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 13 September 1999
last revised 10 June 2005