The Scholar and the Avatar: Paul Muller-Ortega’s Divine Darshan in 2006

Avatar Adi Da Samraj in 2007


The Scholar and the Avatar 

Paul Muller-Ortega’s Divine Darshan in 2006


A traditional conch sounds repeatedly in the misty chill air of a January afternoon. A large number of people have assembled in the various halls of the Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary. Today, Adi Da Samraj is giving Darshan. For about an hour prior to his arrival, we have been sitting in the vibrant silence of a large formal room. Now, at the sound of the conch, a contained, anticipatory excitement surges through the hall. 

Then, suddenly, he is just there. Without particular ceremony, Adi Da Samraj enters with a fierce intensity of purpose. Dressed in renunciatory orange, with his long hair pulled back, he seems by his demeanor to be both somber and ecstatic. With a swift and graceful economy of movement, he dispenses with his outer coat and cane, and takes his seat at the front of the ball. Instantly, there arises an inchoate stirring, a spontaneous murmur of love. 

As the Darshan proceeds, this murmur will gather shape into a crescendo of recognitional exclamation and praise. Then, the formalities of the Darshan occasion get under way as his principal devotees come forward to pranam before him and to offer gifts of love and gestures of deep devotion directly at his feet. 


The Seventh Gate, MOA Sanctuary


In January 2006, during four luminously amazing days, it was my privilege to encounter the Avataric Master, Adi Da Samraj, in person for the first time. I felt extremely fortunate to be invited to visit one of his spiritually-empowered sanctuaries, the Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary in northern California, at a time when he was there. I had read about this place for many years and thus had a certain familiarity with the many sacred events that had there transpired. 

During the previous year, by some mysterious arrangement of destiny, I had found myself involved in a sequence of written communications with Adi Da Samraj. This exchange had then resulted in a graceful invitation to visit. Thus, after more than thirty years of reading the books of Adi Da Samraj, I was now amazed to find myself in this room with him. I have to confess that at that moment my heart was pounding. Seated in the midst of his lifelong devotees, I feel myself overwhelmed by the extremely strong impact of Adi Da Samraj’s physical presence. 

My racing mind muses that I am finally in the presence of what the medieval Shaiva scriptures of Kashmir call a “samsiddhika,” or spontaneously self-perfected master. Said to be spontaneously initiated by the very powers of his own consciousness, such a rare, perfected master spontaneously achieves a profound understanding of and insight into the deepest meanings of all scriptures and all religions. And this, it is said, without undergoing any explicit outer initiation or instruction into those specific traditions. As I sit and watch this ancient scene of an adept-realizer gracefully receiving his disciples, here enacted in a totally modern setting, I strongly sense that I am in the presence of such a rare being. 




Adi Da Samraj is now silently, very deliberately and slowly, sweeping the room with his astonishing eyes. Like the play of evershifting light in a forest meadow, an ever-shifting range of complex and unreadable emotions appears to cross his face. He looks with an almost unbearable intensity and for many prolonged minutes at each person in the room. 

As I meet his gaze, a flurry of sensations and emotions rise through me. Then, it is my turn to approach him directly in order to pranam at his feet. Through this devotional gesture, I feel deeply grateful finally to be able to express what I have long inwardly intuited: an ancient bond of connection to him. Then, beyond all such feelings, my awkward and unpracticed bow at his feet suddenly seems completely irrelevant as my gaze is pulled utterly within and above to a sublime space of love. 


Avatar Adi Da Samraj in 2007


Later, as Adi Da Samraj prepares to leave the hall, he stands up from his chair. However, instead of immediately departing, he now stands leaning on his cane for many prolonged minutes as he again silently sweeps the room with his eyes. This time it is as if the lights in the entire room have been turned up to an almost blinding degree of intensity. With considerable and growing awe, I palpably sense an emanating wave moving out from his body, a wave that forcefully ripples outward through the entire hall. As it does, this wave of his beneficent and now magnified and intensified blessing force catches directly at the heart; it strongly moves the mind; and it powerfully lifts the spirit. 


Avatar Adi Da Samraj in 2007

The room suddenly erupts with the sounds, reactions, and spontaneous acknowledgements of this silent but unmistakable event. During many prolonged moments, shouts and cries, moans and whispers of devotional response can be heard as if to echo the passage of this energy into and through each person there present. As if the “motor” of spirit has been mysteriously accelerated, this subtle and yet completely tangible vibration of consciousness offers the gift of a descending and blessing encompassment of spirit. As it does, something deep and truly mysterious and awesome is felt. During the entire hour that Adi Da Samraj has been present with us, he has not spoken a single word. And yet the most powerful and important communication of all has taken place. 
I end with an enflamed sentence drawn from my journal in which I wrote last year: 


The final moments of Darshan with Adi Da Samraj, as he simply stood and palpably and so powerfully radiated and magnified the blessing energy in the room, which was already so charged to what seemed the maximum degree, this is a memory and an inner feeling of Him that I carry with me daily. 


Paul E. Muller-Ortega 

Professor of Religion 
University of Rochester 

July 1, 2007


Paul Muller-Ortega at a place.




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