‘You are holding it upside down’: Adi Da Samrajashram, Fiji,1995
Earlier in this gathering Adi Da had hugged me and kissed me all over my face and on my lips, and slapped me on the cheek of my face when my mind got in the way, to bring my heart-attention back to Him, and since then the devotees present had either been dancing or huddled as close as we could get to Beloved. I remembered that I had, back at the retreat quarters, a staff that my friend Max Cottrell had made for Adi Da back in the UK over a period of months, and that he had asked me to take to the Island as a gift for our Beloved Guru. The staff was made of beech from a blown down branch in the ashram garden
One of the services of the British community, a means to cultivate our relationship with Bhagavan, was providing Beloved Adi Da with beautiful ‘shepherd crook’ staffs with delicate, intricate, gorgeous carvings on the ‘head’ of animal heads and suchlike, which we purchased from a specialist craftsman in Scotland. It felt really wonderful to gift Him now with a staff, not purchased, but made by a devotee, my lovely friend Max, who I lived and worked with and shared so many adventures with, and whose devotion to our Guru was such an inspiration to me.
I had carried the staff on three aeroplanes, through three passport controls, various taxi rides and one boat ride. The length of the staff, the awkward shape and the concern over potentially losing it, along with all the rest of my luggage, had required something of me and had not made it a particularly consoling companion on the long pilgrimage to Adidam Samrajashram, but still I was ecstatic to be carrying Max’s gift along with my own gifts, and now the idea of fetching the staff and giving it to the Master in the informal setting of this gathering was very exciting.
I ran from Hymns to Me along ‘the Arrow’ to the retreat quarters, picked up the staff and ran back, at top speed. Rather out of breath I composed myself and holding the staff wormed my way through devotees until I was sitting in front of Adi Da. I held the staff out towards Him and said ‘Beloved this is a gift from Max Cottrell in England’. Beloved admonished me: ‘you are holding it upside down’. He received the staff and held it, examining it, appreciating it and the devotion that had gone into making it. He asked one of the kanyas to read out Max’s letter to Him, while he held the staff firmly in His powerful grip. Then He gave the staff to another kanya and told her ‘to place it with My other staffs.’
In those moments of the letter being read to Him Beloved’s attention on Max’s devotional sentiments was absolute. He was rapt in attention as though Max was the most important being, even the only being in the whole world. There was noise and ecstasy, dancing, music, a chaos of devotees speaking, and yet it was as though Beloved only had His attention on Max. I felt Beloved’s intense and deepest, most profound love for Max. I felt how He loves each apparent ‘individual’ devotee personally and perfectly and unconditionally. I remembered how He said that in order to do the sadhana He gives it is necessary that each devotee knows that He loves them.
This is one of the great mysteries of The God-Man. Most devotees will never ‘meet’ Him in His bodily human Form, and yet the same devotional relationship, absolutely direct, intimate and ‘personal’ ( a great and humorous paradox since many devotees can confess their sense of being a separate ‘person’ is dissolving, weakening or at least being severely challenged by His Blessing Grace) is available and will always be available to everyone. He Said that some devotees look nostalgically at the ‘early’ days of His Teaching Work, when He had so much ‘personal’ human contact with His devotees, as though these were the ‘Golden Days’, but that now and very day into the future will be equally the ‘Golden Days’
‘The Light is on!’
He may not know each and every devotee’s face He once Said but ‘I know their hearts’
Remembering all of this my heart breaks all over again.