Originally Franklin Jones, Adi Da (1939-2008) was an American guru born in Jamaica, New York. He went under several names, to include Da Free-John, Bubba Free-John and Heartmaster Da.
Adi Da claimed to have reached enlightenment at age three years. In their Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult, Mather and Nichols note that this achievement did not last. In his college days Adi Da explored different forms of hedonism, to include LSD and open sex.
To this criticism Adi Da replied that his enlightenment was obscured in childhood. And his subsequent activities were an essential stage within his path of discovery.
Adi Da also said he was an incarnation of the Brahman. Like many New Age enthusiasts, he denigrated organized forms of Christianity. And like most Hindus and devotees of Hinduism, Adi Da countered the Christian claim that Jesus is the only son of God. Moreover, he believed, like some Buddhists, that individuality and suffering are illusions. So if one suffers, one’s not really enlightened.
For Adi Da Jesus is one of many avatars or “incarnations,” not unlike that which Adi Da, himself, claimed to be. But Adi Da was not just critical of organized Christianity. He contested all organized religions, claiming the truth of the spiritual quest may be found in one’s own heart. To realize this apparent truth, veils of selfishness and ignorance must be recognized and dispelled.
Ironically, his California group gatherings and North American tours exhibited many of the characteristics of organized religion, with Adi Da at center stage.
Listed in several cult and manipulation internet indexes, Adi Da founded a religious organization that went under several names, to include the Dawn Horse Communion, the Free Communion Church, the Laughing Man Institute, the Crazy Wisdom Fellowship, the Way of Divine Ignorance, and the Johannine Daist Communion. The name Adidam refers to his organization, its devotees and religious teachings.
Two lawsuits were filed against Adi Da and the church in California in 1985. The O’Mahoney suit was dismissed the next year. The other lawsuit and several threatened suits in subsequent years were settled with payments and confidentiality agreements, negatively impacting member morale and bleeding the organization financially.¹
While claiming to be beyond any particular system, he had theological affinities with several Hindu gurus, with whom he studied under. The most salient affinity was his belief in reincarnation. It’s also been suggested that he possessed psi abilities and read the thoughts of his disciples, an alleged ability known as siddhis in Hindu and Buddhist belief systems.
He made grandiose predictions about the entire world realizing he was enlightened by the year 2000. When this didn’t happen, he had a breakdown. He actually had several breakdowns throughout his life, but each time he came back and redefined the events as a “death and resurrection”² or a breakthrough, echoing the sentiments of the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing.
Some call Adi Da a religious genius, others a profound theologian and yet others say he headed a “dysfunctional” organization for sincere but sorely misguided seekers.³
³ Originally at (dead link?) http://www.adidaarchives.org. See http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Da_and_his_cult.html
On the Internet
- http://www.adidam.org/ (Official web site)
- http://www.adidawilber.com/writings.html (Mixed opinion)
- http://guruphiliac.blogspot.com/2005/06/big-adi-daddi.html (Negative opinion)
- Adi Da Samraj-realized Or/and Deluded Book Review (let112358.typepad.com)
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- Lose Weight Yoga (weight-loss-tips-and-secrets.com)