Download Stripping the Gurus PDF




The works of Bubba Free John are unsurpassed (Wilber, 2001a).
It looks like we have an Avatar here. I can’t believe it, he is really here. I’ve been waiting for such a one all my life (Alan Watts, in [Da, 1974]).
Adi Da ... is the Divine World-Teacher, the Giver of Divine Enlightenment, Who has made all myths unnecessary and all seeking obsolete....
The Divine Avatar, in the guise of “Franklin Jones,” had not come to Liberate just a few others, individuals who might be thought qualified for such a hair-raising “adventure.” Not at all. He had come to all beings (in Da, 1995).
[Da] has repeatedly said, in recent months, that the year 2000 is the year he will be recognized by the world. He has even gone so far as to claim that Christians will recognize him as the Second Coming of Christ (Elias, 2000).
Da Love-Ananda tells [his disciples] that he can do no wrong, and they, in all seriousness, see in him God incarnate (Feuerstein, 1992).

BORN ON LONG ISLAND, NY, in 1939, “the guise of Franklin Jones” lived until age two in an internal state which he later called “the Bright.”

[A]s a baby, I remember only crawling around inquisitively with a boundless feeling of Joy, Light, and Freedom in the middle of my head.... I was a radiant Form, the Source of Energy, Love-Bliss, and Light in the midst of a world that is entirely Energy, Love-Bliss, and Light. I was the power of Reality (Da, 1995; all capitalization is in the original).

Following the gradual fading of that perspective as he grew up, the future guru earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Columbia University in New York, in 1961. At one point, when asked by his uncle Richard what he wanted to do with his life, Da (1995) expressed the serious wish to “save the world.”

And yet, as Wilber (1983) himself has noted:

[A]ny group “out to save the world” is potentially problematic, because it rests on an archaically narcissistic base that looks “altruistic” or “idealistic” but in fact is very egocentric, very primitive, and very capable of coming to primitive ends by primitive means.

In late 1964, Jones began studying kundalini yoga in New York City under “Rudi” (Swami Rudrananda), a disciple of Muktananda.

In a sentimental mood, Da Free John once mused, “Rudi loved men and I love women. Together we could have fucked the world” (Lowe, 1996).

Jones visited Muktananda’s ashram in India in 1968. By May of 1970, he had made two additional similar trips. Experiences produced in Jones by the intense meditations overseas included a vision of the Hindu goddess Shakti.

Following that, while meditating in the (Ramakrishna-Vivekananda) Vedanta Temple in Hollywood in the autumn of 1970, Jones had a spiritual “experience where there was no experience whatsoever.” Through that, he was “spontaneously and permanently reawakened in the Enlightened Condition he had enjoyed at birth.” Describing that non-experience, Jones has said:

I felt the Divine Shakti appear in Person, Pressed against my own natural body, and, altogether, against my Infinitely Expanded, and even formless, Form. She Embraced me, Openly and Utterly, and we Combined with One Another in Divine (and Motionless, and spontaneously Yogic) “Sexual Union” (Da, 1995; all capitalization is in the original).

Or, more colorfully, in referring to the same awakening:

The Goddess used to say, “Yield to me,” and I fucked her brains loose (Free John, 1974).

In 1972, Jones and a friend opened the Ashram Bookstore on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, attracting his first devotees, “many of them street people” (Lattin, 1985a).

After another visit to Muktananda in India in 1973, Jones enacted the first of his many name-changes, becoming Bubba Free John. (In the late ’70s, Free John took the “Da” epithet—an ancient name of God meaning “the Giver”—and, in 1994, added the “Adi,” thus becoming not merely Realized but Palindromic.) He also founded his first ashram on a former resort in Lake County, on Cobb Mountain, California. That location is still referred to by his followers as the Mountain of Attention.

The following year, Free John declared himself to be “the Divine Lord in human Form” (Gourley and Edmiston, 1997).

[Those who] follow Jones believe he is an “adept,” a person who came into this world already enlightened with eternal truth. The sect’s publications also call Jesus an “adept,” but make it clear that Jones is considered more important (Leydecker, 1985).

Also in 1974, during his “Garbage and the Goddess” period, Bubba apparently

started his “sexual theater,” involving the switching of partners, sexual orgies, the making of pornographic movies and intensified sexual practices (Feuerstein, 1996).

The Mill Valley Record (Colin, et al., 1985) further reported:

[James] Steinberg [head of the Hermitage Service Order] says the destruction [of the pornographic films] took place a few months after they were made. Steinberg also says that the church’s dildo collection was either sold or destroyed, he isn’t sure which.

“The church’s dildo collection.” Sold or destroyed. Amen.

“If you’ll now open your hymnals to the centerfold, let us all sing together, ‘God, Oh God, I’m Coming.’”

Interestingly, one of Da’s lingerie-modeling daughters, Shawnee Free Jones, has more recently appeared as an actress in L.A. Confidential and Baywatch.

In any case, by 1985 the sect had around one thousand active members—a third of them living in Marin County, California—with another 20,000 on its mailing lists. (To this day, active membership remains at around a thousand.) Members there were reportedly expected to tithe from 10 to 15% of their income to the new church; in the higher levels of the spiritual order, they were asked to donate as much as they could.

In that same year, however, the alleged concerns of former disciples began to surface in public, as exposed in a series of articles published in the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner:

[Da, they claim] would have them watch pornographic movies and engage in anal sex—sometimes in front of him, and sometimes tell them to go to their bedrooms (in Lattin, 1985a).
As a child, [a devotee of Da] had been sexually abused by a neighbor. To help her through her sexual fears [she] said, Da Free John told her to have oral sex with three group members, and then the guru had sex with her himself.
“I was hysterical,” she said. “After it was over, I went out into the parking lot and found an open car, and had a good cry and went to sleep. I was traumatized. It’s years later that I came to terms with it” (Butler, 1985a).

In later years, a married couple of Da Party Animal’s followers were apparently invited over to his house, only to find the guru in bed, drinking beer and surrounded by cigarette smoke.

In short order, the wife was allegedly prepared by other followers, to be taken sexually by the guru. “And so she was.”

Suppressing his “irrational feelings” into numbness, however, the husband soon found a suitable rationalization for that, convincing himself that the guru was simply teaching him to not be emotionally attached to his wife.

And yet, doubts linger, both about whether the same lessons could possibly have been learned in some easier way, and otherwise:

There is one thing that has persistently bothered me about the incident, and that was the pressure on me to drink alcohol in an attempt to get me drunk. I still feel I was being manipulated on this count. I also never quite understood why we were asked to keep the whole incident quiet (in Feuerstein, 1992).

Yes, interesting questions, all.

* * *

As of the mid-’80s, the Daists (followers of Da Guru) operated a “Garden of Lions” school in upstate New York. Of the pupils there, it was reported that one thirteen-year-old child and his classmates adorned and venerated a bowling ball. As the student himself put it:

I always felt a love-connection towards the ball and served it remembering that the Master would touch it someday and give it his attention (in Lake County, 1985).

For my own part, that reminds me of nothing so much as growing up with the ’70s sitcom, What’s Happening!! Specifically, the episode where Rerun got “brainwashed” by a “cult,” and ended up worshiping a head of lettuce named Ralph.

It seemed funnier then, than it does now. (No word on whether Da’s bowling ball had a name.)

* * *

In any closed society run by a “Divine Lord in human form,” of course, it would be rare for any of the peer-pressured members to openly question “the thread-count of the emperor’s clothes,” as it were. Indeed, as former residents of Da’s community have alleged:

Anybody who dares to stand up to [Adi Da’s] bullying is quickly sent packing (Elias, 2000a).

Elias himself taught at Naropa in the late 1970s (Bob, 2000), and later worked as a typesetter in the Dawn Horse Press in the early ’80s.

On another occasion, Da Guru was asked about the source of his apparent arrogance. A former community member reported his response:

I only do this as an act.... It could be much worse (in Lake County, 1985).

Indeed, Jones himself has apparently claimed elsewhere that, regardless of what his behaviors might superficially appear to be, he is nevertheless “always Teaching.”

And yet, the contexts in which the same reported behaviors appear, but where they cannot reasonably be excused as a mere “act,” betray the real motivations. For example, consider Da’s alleged response in a dispute over noise coming from an ashram adjacent to his Hawaiian one, run by a rival guru. After an unsuccessful attempt by Jones’ followers to make so much racket at a big New Year’s party that their opponent would be sure to support a noise ordinance,

Jones [allegedly] went completely livid, swearing and criticizing them for coming up with the idea for this, when he himself had endorsed it.
“He always preached that people shouldn’t come up with a strategy or plan to life. Here he was, demanding ‘Give me a strategy’ to get this guy” (Neary, 1985).

Or contemplate Jones’ alleged reaction (reported in the Mill Valley Record) to the devotee laborers on a construction project having worked many sixteen-hour days in building a home for him:

The work schedule and the meager fare took a toll on the work force. On Christmas Day, [Mark] Miller says he told Jones, “The people are tired. They need a break.” Miller says Jones replied, “They will work for me until they drop and then they’ll get up and work some more” (Colin, et al., 1985).

Of course, such evident dearth of compassion has been demonstrated many times before—by Da Scrooge if not Da Avatar.

* * *

In 1980, Ken Wilber penned a fawning foreword for Adi Da’s Scientific Proof of the Existence of God Will Soon Be Announced by the White House! (I have dealt in depth with the problems with Wilber’s character, ideas, and community, in the companion book to this one, “Norman Einstein”: The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber.) Most of it was spent in arguing that Da was not creating a harmful “cult” around himself, but Wilber also found space to include the following praise:

[M]y opinion is that we have, in the person of Da Free John, a Spiritual Master and religious genius of the ultimate degree. I assure you I do not mean that lightly. I am not tossing out high-powered phrases to “hype” the works of Da Free John. I am simply offering to you my own considered opinion: Da Free John’s teaching is, I believe, unsurpassed by that of any other spiritual Hero, of any period, of any place, of any time, of any persuasion.

Not finished with hyperbole—or “syrupy devotionalism,” as one critic (Kazlev, 2003) reasonably put it—in 1985 Wilber contributed effusive text for the front matter of Adi Da’s The Dawn Horse Testament:

This is not merely my personal opinion; this is a perfectly obvious fact, available to anyone of intelligence, sensitivity, and integrity: The Dawn Horse Testament is the most ecstatic, most profound, most complete, most radical, and most comprehensive single spiritual text ever to be penned and confessed by the Human Transcendental Spirit.

Obviously, any sincere seeker reading such ecstatic praise from the most highly respected “genius” in consciousness studies (as Wilber has been regarded for the past quarter of a century) might be inclined to experience for himself the teachings of such a unique, “greatest living” Adept. Indeed, had I come across those endorsements in my own (teenage years, at the time) search, and been aware of and unduly awed by Wilber’s status in the consciousness studies community, I myself might well have foolishly taken such exaggerations seriously enough to experience Adi Da’s community discipline first-hand.

How unsettling, then, to discover a 1987 interview with Yoga Journal, only a few short years after the Dawn Horse ejaculations, where Wilber stated his opinion that Adi Da’s “entire situation has become very problematic.” Nearly a decade later (1996a), he explained: “‘Problematic’ was the euphemism that sociologists at that time were using for Jonestown.”

For my own part, not being a sociologist, I would never have caught on to the meaning of that “unsafe word” without having it explained to me ... albeit years after the fact, here. I suspect that I am not alone in that regard.

No matter: Three years later, in 1990, Wilber was back to contributing endorsements for Da’s teachings, this time to the humbly titled The Divine Emergence of the World-Teacher:

The event of Heart-Master Da is an occasion for rejoicing, for, without any doubt whatsoever, he is the first Western Avatar to appear in the history of the world.... His Teaching contains the most concentrated wealth of transcendent wisdom found anywhere, I believe, in the spiritual literature of the world, modern or ancient, Eastern or Western (in Bonder, 1990; italics added).

Note that, in the above quote, Wilber is evidently considering himself fit not merely to pronounce on the degree of enlightenment of others, but even to confirm their avatar status, “without any doubt whatsoever.”

Of the above author Bonder (2003) himself—who has since independently adopted the status of teacher, without Adi Da’s blessing—Wilber has more recently declared:

Saniel Bonder is one in whom the Conscious Principle is awakened.

Again, note the oracular nature of the statement, as no mere expression of opinion, but rather as a without-doubt, categorical evaluation of another person’s spiritual enlightenment—as if Wilber himself were able to see into others’ minds, or clairvoyantly discern their degree of conscious evolution.

Others, however, have reasonably questioned the possibility, even in principle, of anyone executing such over-the-top insight:

[B]oth mystics and sympathetic writers about mysticism are just wrong if they think that there is a way of telling whether the other person has had a genuine experience or just pretends to have had one....
A man may write excellent love poetry without ever having been a comparable lover; it is the writer’s skill as a writer that makes his words convincing, not his skill as a lover. The mystic’s talk about his experience may be skillful or clumsy, but that does not improve or weaken his actual experience (Bharati, 1976).

A mere seven years before the aforementioned “problematic” Yoga Journal piece, Wilber (in Da, 1980) had again ironically been “protesting too much,” in print, that Adi Da was not creating a harmful environment around himself:

[N]owhere is [Da] more critical of the “cultic” attitude than he is towards those who surround him.... I have never heard Da Free John criticize anyone as forcefully as he does those who would approach him chronically from the childish stance of trying to win the favor of the “cultic hero.”

Other fans of Da—even those who have comparably considered him to be “the ultimate expression of the Truth residing in all religions”—however, have claimed to find in his followers exactly what Wilber would evidently rather not see:

The problem was they were much too friendly, much too happy, and far too nice. More plainly put, they were all busy breathlessly following their own bliss. Not only this, but unless my eyes were deceiving me, they all looked like maybe they came from the same neighborhood or the same college. It was uncanny really. And very disquieting, as well. I mean, they all looked and sounded almost exactly alike.
My God, they’re pod people, I thought (Thomas Alhburn, in [Austin, 1999]; italics added).

Hassan (1990) gives a completely plausible explanation for such phenomena:

One reason why a group of [alleged] cultists may strike even a naïve outsider as spooky or weird is that everyone has similar odd mannerisms, clothing styles, and modes of speech. What the outsider is seeing is the personality of the leader passed down through several layers of modeling.

Prior to actually meeting Adi Da and his followers, Alhburn had not only blurbed for Da’s books but had actually written a foreword for one of them. Also blurbing have been “stages of dying” expert Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, and Barbara Marx-Hubbard. The former was credited by Time magazine as being one of the “100 Most Important Thinkers” of the twentieth century. The latter, Marx-Hubbard, is the president and a founding member of The Foundation for Conscious Evolution; she was once called “the best informed human on the concept of futurism,” by Buckminster Fuller.

Sad. Very sad.

Wilber closed his aforementioned (1996a) admonitions regarding Da Seclusive Avatar—sequestered in Fiji, by that point—with the relative caution that, until the day when the “World Teacher consents to enter the World,” one might just keep a “safe distance” as a student of Da’s writings, rather than as a resident of his community. As to how Adi Da “re-entering the world” from his island seclusion would alleviate the “problematic” aspects of his teachings, however, that was not made clear.

By comparison, would Jim Jones re-entering the world from his isolated agricultural commune in Guyana have made his teachings safe? If not, why would a comparable re-entry have been the solution to the “problematic” (Wilber’s word) aspects of Adi Da? Isn’t it better for the world at large—if not for their unfortunate, already duped followers—if these misfits do isolate themselves?

At any rate, none of the above milquetoast caveats from Wilber have ever been included in any of his books, where they might have reached “a hundred thousand” people (Wilber, 2000a). Rather, in terms of kw’s own attempts at promoting that version of reality, the (1996a) letter exists, at the time of this writing, only on his publisher/author website ... buried in the Archives section, not sharing the home page with his many accolades.

Wilber later (1998a) offered an explanatory open letter to the Adi Da community. That was posted anonymously (i.e., evidently not by Ken himself) on the Shambhala KW Forum for date 8/1/01 in the Open Discussion area, a full three years after the fact. (That forum itself has existed since early 2000.) There, he clarified his position on Da Realizer, back-tracking significantly from any insight which one might have been tempted to credit him from 1996, and explicitly stating that he had not renounced his view of (or love for, or devotion toward) Da as Realizer. Rather, he argued simply that Da’s “World Teacher” status enjoindered upon him the maintaining of a presence in the world, and the initiation of an “even more aggressive outreach program” by the community, as opposed to his ongoing seclusion.

An “even more aggressive outreach program.” To put a positive spin on a “problematic” situation, and “spread the word” to more people, thereby doing more harm? Or perhaps simply to warn potential devotees as to what they’re getting themselves into, as if that would then clear up all of the reported problems with the community? (Would “Jim Jones with a warning label” have been the solution to his “problematic” craziness?)

Again, as posters in Bob (2000)—themselves making no claim to genius, but clearly adept in common sense—have insightfully (and independently) pointed out:

I find it absurd that Wilber seems to attach more importance to criticizing Da’s failure to appear in public forums than he does to examining the very serious [alleged] abuses of trust and misuse of power that have [reportedly] been perpetrated by Da under the guise of spiritual teaching. In light of the well-documented [reported] problems that Da has created in his own life and his follower’s [sic] lives, it is completely irrelevant to any evaluation of Da whether or not he accepts Ken’s challenge to go out into the world at large. Who cares! Why would anyone want to see Da broaden his influence by speaking to a larger audience?


The full text of Wilber’s aforementioned (1998a) open letter to the Daist Community is eminently worth reading, toward one’s own disillusion regarding the caliber of advice given by even the “brightest lights” in the spiritual marketplace. To summarize its contents: Wilber states that he neither regrets nor retracts his past endorsements of Adi Da; that it is only for cultural and legal considerations (i.e., for evident protection when “Da Shit hits Da Fan”) that he can no longer publicly give a blanket recommendation for people to follow Da; that he is pleased that his own writings have brought people to Da Avatar and hopes that they will continue to have that effect in the future; and that he still recommends that “students who are ready” become disciples/devotees of Da.

A month and a half after distributing the above nuggets of wisdom to the Adi Da community, Wilber (1998b) reconfirmed his position in another open letter, posted as of this writing on his website. There, he states—with rarely encountered opacity—that the “real difficulty of ‘the strange case of Adi Da’ is that the guru principle is neither understood nor accepted by our culture” (italics added). He further opines (italics again added) that

for those individuals who realize full well the extremely risky nature of the adventure, but who feel a strong pull toward complete and total surrender of their lives to a spiritual Master, I can certainly recommend Adi Da.... [H]e is one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time, in my opinion.

Note further that the related title, “The Strange Case of Franklin Jones,” was used in 1996 by David Lane and Scott Lowe, in their exposés of Da/Jones and his ashram environment. Unless that was a common phrase going around in the mid-’90s, then, it would seem that Wilber was likely aware of their earlier, insightful critique of the dynamics reportedly going on within Adi Da’s community. Rather than properly absorbing the information in that, however, he has evidently simply seen fit to give his own, purportedly more valuable version of the same—even though looking on merely from a safe distance, not as a first-hand, residential participant. That is sad, since Lowe and Lane have offered real insight into the situation, while Wilber has consistently failed miserably to do the same.

One further assumes that in praising Da’s spiritual state, Wilber was referring more to the man’s later realizations than to early insights such as the following:

I remember once for a period of days I was aware of a world that appeared to survive in our moon. It was a superphysical or astral world where beings were sent off to birth on the Earth or other worlds, and then their bodies were enjoyed cannibalistically by the older generation on the moon, or they were forced to work as physical and mental slaves (Da, 1995).
Then again, the later realizations have their problems, too:
In 1993, Adi Da Revealed that Ramakrishna and his principal disciple, Swami Vivekananda, are the deeper-personality vehicle of His bodily human Incarnation (in Da, 1995).

“Ramakrishna, Part II: Return of the Booby.”

Of course, unless one is inclined to take the visions of “astral moon cannibal slaves” on the part of “Da greatest living Realizer” seriously, one arrives at serious concerns as to Adi Da’s mental stability. After all, skeptics have long rightly held that even a single instance of any given medium (e.g., Blavatsky) or ostensibly siddhi-possessing sage being caught “cheating” in “manifesting” objects, casts doubt on every “miracle” that had previously been attributed to the individual. Likewise, if even one aspect of an individual’s enlightenment has been hallucinated but taken as real, the potential exists for it to all have been the product of delusion in a psychiatric, not a metaphysical, sense.

So you have to ask yourself: Do you believe that there are B-movie-like “cannibal masters/slaves” on the astral counterpart to our moon?

Wilber, at least, seems (in Da, 1985) to have no doubt, overall:

I am as certain of this Man as I am of anything I have written.

Well put. I, too, am as certain of Adi Da’s unparalleled enlightenment, “astral moon cannibal slaves” and noble character as I am of anything Wilber has ever written.

* * *

Over the years, Adi Da has taken credit for numerous “miracles,” such as a “brilliant corona that stood around the sun for a full day” (in Free John, 1974). No scientist or skeptic, though, would ever accept such anecdotal claims as evidence of a miraculous control over nature. And with good reason, particularly given Lowe’s (1996) eye-witness testimony of the same “miraculous event”:

I had been outdoors all that afternoon. Not only had I seen nothing out of the ordinary, but no one within my earshot had mentioned anything at all about the miracle at the very time it was supposedly happening! I was not trying to be difficult or obtuse, but this proved too much for me. If a great miracle had occurred, why was it not mentioned at the time? I asked a number of devotees what they had seen and why they had not called everyone’s attention to it, but received no satisfactory answers. It slowly emerged that I was not alone in missing this miracle; my skeptical cohorts on the community’s fringe were similarly in the dark.

There might even have been some (natural) coronal effect visible to some members of the community. And they, being “desperate for confirmation of their Master’s divinity, [may have] exaggerated the significance of minor synchronisms, atmospheric irregularities, and the like.” That, however, would still hardly qualify as a miracle. It would further do nothing to ease one’s concern about the members of the community, like Lowe, who didn’t see that “authenticated miracle,” reportedly being quickly demoted to positions of lower status for not going along with the group version of that reality.

One is strongly reminded, in all that, of the research on conformity done in the 1950s by psychologist Solomon Asch. For there, experimental subjects in the midst of other, unknown (to them) confederates, were required to match the lengths of two lines. After the planted confederates had deliberately given wrong answers, the subjects were asked for their responses.

[They frequently] chose the same wrong answer, even though they did not agree with it (Lalich, 2004).

That is, when it comes to choosing between being right and being liked for fitting in, we regularly choose the latter.

Another classic experiment in social psychology involves a participant standing on a busy city sidewalk, and staring up into the sky at nothing in particular. When performed by just that single person, few of the people passing by will glance up, and probably no one will actually stop to stare up with the individual.

Should you, as that participant, bring along several friends to the same spot to look upward with you, however, the result will be quite different:

Within sixty seconds, a crowd of passersby will have stopped to crane their necks skyward with the group. For those pedestrians who do not join you, the pressure to look up at least briefly will be nearly irresistible (Cialdini, 2001).

Indeed, in one experiment performed by Stanley Milgram and his colleagues, 80% of the passersby were drawn to look at the empty area.

In that light, one may better appreciate the importance of, for example, Adi Da’s first “street people” disciples. For, when beginning any movement, it is less important that the initial converts be of any high caliber than that they simply be “warm bodies.” As soon as a small group is thus formed, others will “look up at least briefly,” or “stop and stare” altogether, simply for having seen the social proof of the validity of your new path in the very existence of that group.

* * *

Da’s “sun corona” manifestation was again included as a documented “miracle” in his (1974) self-published, and thus Implicitly-Approved-By-Him, Garbage and the Goddess. (Nearly all of the “enlightened” figures mentioned herein have gotten their writings into print only via self-publication.) And if, as Lowe hints, the “miracle” itself never happened, Da of all people would have known that from the beginning. Why then would he have proceeded with allowing it into print? To publish something like that in the hope of decreasing “cult-like” following would have been an interesting approach indeed, since it could only have had exactly the opposite effect.

Further, since Wilber had read that book prior to writing the above 1980 and 1985 forewords—it is listed in the bibliography for his (1977) Spectrum of Consciousness—one must ask: Does this mean that he was accepting that apparently non-existent “miracle” as being valid? One cannot help but assume so, since the alternative would be to say that Wilber regarded Da as not accurately presenting his spiritual accomplishments, but still chose to pen his gushing forewords.

Da’s “corona miracle” seems to have come into being not via any trickery, but simply via an “emperor’s new clothes” conformist mentality on the part of the witnesses in his community. Still, if one such “verified miracle” of Adi Da, “witnessed” by all of the members in good standing of his society, should thus turn out to be invalid, and yet be touted as real by the guru himself, how much confidence should one have, not merely in the community consensus as to Da’s “great Realization,” but even in the remainder of the claims made by Da Guru himself?

* * *

Having heard Wilber’s skewed interpretations of Adi Da’s work and environment, now read, if you wish, the 1985 exposé series, preserved in the Daism Research Index at Then decide for yourself whether Wilber’s point of view on all this has any validity at all.

Or, more pointedly, ask yourself how, in the face of all that easily accessible information, anyone of sound mind and body could still recommend that others “surrender completely” to someone like Adi Da. What kind of a “genius” would compare an environment to Jonestown, for being (in his own words) “problematic,” and yet still encourage others to “surrender completely” to its god-man leader?!

By the standards of traditional society, [Adi Da] is like the man in the madhouse claiming to be Napoleon who has convinced a few of the other patients that he is the Boss. But the people walking around outside the walls of his Loka [i.e., his world] with-bars-on-the-windows say “Yes, you think you are Napoleon, but we don’t think so. You claim to be the Most Enlightened Being Ever Was and Ever Will Be, but we don’t think so. It just doesn’t add up. By traditional religious standards, you are quite insane, totally nuts, absolutely bonkers, a real freakazoid nutcase....”
One man against the world ... and about a thousand people have bought his one-way rap (Bob, 2000).

Or, as another disillusioned ex-follower put it:

One can imagine Da in a previous lifetime as a minor European nobleman, exploiting his impoverished serfs, sleeping with their wives and daughters, and living a splendidly dissipated life of luxury, all in the name of the divine right of kings. As a model for proper behavior in the twilight of the twentieth century, Da seems neither better nor worse than, say, Marlon Brando or Keith Richards (Lowe, 1996).

“Sympathy for the Da-vil.”

* * *

Sal Luciana was formerly a close friend of Jones from their Scientology days in 1968 until their falling-out in 1976. He was credited by Da with having achieved a “nearly ‘instant enlightenment’” (in Free John, 1974). He further expressed (in Lattin, 1985a) his own evaluation of Jones’ perspective on the world, as follows:

At this point, I think he really thinks he is God.... If you had every whim indulged [since 1972], how would you think of yourself?

And still, “they call him by many names, who is but One God.”

Franklin Jones. Franklin, Benjamin. Franklin Mint.
Bubba Free John. Bubba Louie. Da Quicksdraw.
Da Free John. Da Free Paul. Da Free George. Da Ringo.
Da Love-Ananda. Da Love-Bliss. Da Loves-You, Yeah-Yeah-Yeah.
Dau Loloma. Dau La’Samba. Ba-Da-Da-Da-Da La Bamba.
Da Do Run Rerun, Da Do Run Run.
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.
Master Da. Master John. Master Bates. Da Dildo.
Adi Da. Da Avatar. Da Bomb.
Da Bum.
Zippity Do Da.

The late (d. November, 2008) Da Hoogivesahoot spent much of the 1980s and ’90s living in Fiji, on an estate formerly owned by Raymond Burr. He was reportedly kept company there by thirty long-time devotees, and by his nine (9) “wives.” Included among those “insignificant others” was September 1976 Playboy centerfold Whitney Kaine (Julie Anderson), a former cheerleader whom Da Avatar had reportedly stolen away from her tennis-playing, high-school-sweetheart boyfriend, also a devotee of his, back in the 1970s.

Well, “La Dee Da.”

Prev   Table of Contents Next

Download Stripping the Gurus PDF