Bernadette Roberts’s assessment of Anadi

The headline on this post is a little misleading because Bernadette Roberts wasn’t talking specifically about Anadi when she wrote the paragraphs below, but I think they apply to him quite well. In case you don’t know, Anadi is a spiritual teacher who used to call himself Aziz Kristof and whose birth name is Krzysztof Jerzy Strzelecki. Update on May 16, 2020: He just changed his name again to Aadi.

To understand Bernadette’s paragraphs which I’m about to quote, you need to know that she uses the word “consciousness” in an unusual way: for her it’s a synonym of “self”.

Some of Anadi’s disillusioned students have been talking recently among themselves on Facebook trying to figure out where his teaching goes wrong. I don’t think it’s terribly mysterious.

The divine’s breaking through the center of consciousness shatters the ego like a hole made in the center of ourselves. To get some idea of this breakthrough we might again compare the psyche (consciousness) to a circular piece of paper where the original center was the ego. With this sudden breakthrough we now have an empty hole in the center of ourselves; instead of the ego or self-center, we now have a divine-center—the empty hole. The empty center is two things at once; it is the absence of self and the presence of the divine. There is no self-center anymore; there is only a divine-center. We might visualize this arrangement as a doughnut: consciousness or self is the bread that experiences an empty center in itself. From here on consciousness or self will be egoless. Obviously there has been a radical change of consciousness; there has been an upheaval to which we have no choice but to acclimate.

Many people see this change or upheaval as a process of transformation, but I see it as a process of acclimating to a divine center. Consciousness has not been changed into anything; rather, a chunk of consciousness or self has permanently fallen away. The divine increases as self decreases or falls away; this is the way it works. Self or consciousness is never transformed into the divine; it never “becomes” divine. If we knew the true nature of consciousness we would know this was impossible. The major problem with the notion of transformation is that it forever hangs on to some form of self and never lets it go. It perpetuates the notion that self gets better and better, more and more divine, when in truth, the divine increases in proportion as the self decreases or falls away. The notion of a divinized self only increases or inflates the self; for those who buy into this notion, the journey may well end in total disillusionment.

Freddie’s emphasis.

From What is Self?

28 thoughts to “Bernadette Roberts’s assessment of Anadi”

  1. Thank you for the post Freddie. It took me to the realization site and her books, the first of which,”experience of no self”, is something I was looking for.
    Rafael and you had recommended “living by the words of Bhagavan” in an earlier post. I bought that, read it (beautiful book) and then was wondering if anyone has described the final experiences.
    Bernadette’s is one of those books, and it begins with the description of someone who has practiced self abidance for long years. Pretty interesting.

    1. HI Nishant. I think Bernadette is an example of manonasha, loss of self, full enlightenment as it has been understood in the Asian traditions for over a thousand years. In a series of three books she tried very hard to describe this state or condition as precisely as she should. The difficulty of this task is shown by the fact that Bernadette thought nobody had ever described this state in writing before! Of course many people had done so, but she couldn’t recognize this. Some people conclude from this that she was confused or stupid but I don’t think that’s the proper conclusion. I think the proper conclusion is that all of these descriptions are so ambiguous, so hard to understand, that even an intelligent person like Bernadette who knew the experience first hand couldn’t recognize other people’s attempts to describe it.

      Related to this, I think, is the fact that the Internet is filled with thousands of people trying to figure out who is the “deepest” spiritual teacher, the “most” enlightened, etc. The sites that rank gurus with one to five stars are examples of this. But what criterion do they use? What is the ruler by which they measure “deep” and “most enligtened”?

      The real question should be, “Which spiritual teachers are examples of manonasha?” But almost none of these seekers ask, “Who is an example of manonasha?” They’ve never heard of manonasha. They don’t know what enlightenment really is. They don’t asks, “Is this person free? Is this person at peace?”

      They don’t understand that spiritual freedom is freedom from having to worry about “myself.”

      Bernadette’s books can be very helpful in understanding this.

      If nothing else, the average seeker might benefit from noticing that for roughly twenty years, Bernadette was enlightened and awake by Internet standards. And then something astonishing and unexpected happened that dwarfed everything else: The real enlightenment.

      1. You are right, it IS a little hard to understand what enlightenment is. Most people’s idea of enlightenment/spirituality is some concept imagined by the mind. And since most people have never experienced what it is to be without a mind, I guess it takes a little time to understand.

  2. I’m always baffled by this situation in teachers and curious to learn more about it.
    This was very helpful, as always.
    Thank you!

    1. For those who are interested in Bernadette’s writing, please see her very last work –The Real Christ– published shortly before her death. It is available in Kindle format. She affirmed that this was the reason that God brought her beyond all self– to write The Real Christ.
      friend

  3. I have recently come across the teachings of Bernadette Roberts and immidiately felt what she said as being spot on. I could understand and relate to what she said and wrote in her own unique way, being raised as a catholic nun, even though my spiritual vocabulary comes from Hinduism and Buddhism and from secular logics (if i can put it this way) and even though i’m not enlightened yet. The teaching being: It’s all in the way we see.

    I agree. There are two forms of enlightenment, one is more common; the I thought is known as actually being consciousness as opposed to a thing or an entity. This is the Oneness state, unity, no separation, judgements, doership or ownership feelings, there is happiness, compassion and love as everyone and everything is the same. The second form of enlightenment is more rare; even consciousness dissolves and there is only being, or the eye. Thats the one Bernadette has gone through, like Ramana.
    Some journey!

    1. Hi LB. Nice to hear from you again. I’d be curious to hear what you think about Jan Esmann’s categorization of the kinds of Self-realization.

      https://youtu.be/EfRMupMI5sg

      I recommend Jan’s books “Lovebliss” and “Kundalini Tantra” but I don’t see free copies on the Internet. (By the way, if anybody is looking for shaktipat, I recommend Jan for that too.)

      Also would enjoy hearing what you think about Franklin Merrell-Wolff’s two levels of realization which occurred about a month apart. He thought the first one was what Shankara described and the second, which he calls the “High Indifference,” was something he had never heard of. He writes about them in his books, “Pathways Through to Space” and “Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object.” There are free manuscript copies of at least one of those books on the website of the Franklin Merrell-Wolff Foundation.

      1. A response re Jan Esmann’s levels after watching the video and some of his 2nd BATGAP interview.
        After working with many teachers and teachings, I realized no single template has universal application (perhaps explaining why the B Gita describes so many different yogic paths).
        For me, realization is identifying as being the awareness which is ever-present under the 3 ‘human’ states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep – and disidentifying with being one’s mind/ego – though still making use of the mind for everyday survival purposes.
        One further realizes a oneness with all of manifested creation within one’s own experience, but this is a relative reality, one of continual change. As far as oneness with other people is concerned, the oneness is with their essence – with them at source -, not a oneness with their minds/personalities/egos.
        When one IS that awareness underlying all, it could be said one is in a different dimension where there is no time or space, no experiencer or experience, no names or objects. Not only no human mind, but absolutely nothing for a mind to perceive. However, there is great peace, reflected in how wonderful we feel about deep sleep when mind/body/time and objects are ‘absent’.
        Moreover, one does not disappear into this unbounded eternal peace . . . rather it is what one is . . . not only not diminished, but infinitely ‘glorified’.
        A test about being in such pure awareness/reality that is timeless is that it is eternal, so it is equally valid for before one had a manifested body and for after the dissolution of the body. This means that one is whole without the world/manifested creation, but while one is experiencing the world there is also a oneness with that. While one can be aware of the world, the lesser reality – the world – can never be aware of that awareness one is.
        It seems for some, like Jan, the body and kundalini experiences form part of the path, but there is no body required in the eternal pure awareness. He seems clearer on this at the beginning of the 2nd BATGAP interview than in the 4 levels talk. In the latter, it did not seem clear that his highest state applies to the unborn.

        1. Hi Brian,

          It’s good to hear from you. Once again, my apologies for not answering email. I’m happy to hear what you have recognized and realized; I’m happy for you. Thanks for taking time to read and listen to Jan. I agree that no template fits all.

          The thing that struck me most strongly in Jan’s categorization was his definition of what he calls basic realization: He defines it as the permanent end of the possibility of identifying with anything. I think he says that’s because that which is capable of identifying no longer exists. This matches the impression I got when I spoke to him one-on-one and attended a few of his satsangs: I have never met anybody who gave me such a strong impression that there is nobody there. Your definition (identification with turiya), in constrast, retains identification. Is this just a difference in words, or is there something in your experience that seems to identify, which is absent from Jan’s experience? I’m not necessarily asking, just writing thoughts.

          Best wishes to you my friend.

          Freddie

          1. Hello again dear friend,
            I listened to Jan’s 4 levels presentation again to be clearer about comments I make. While we cannot really know another’s state/level, we will individually resonate with teaching that is important for us and such information imparted can act as valuable pointers. My sense is Jan is not speaking from an ego. What he says seems to come from inspiration, not personality and he has clearly had extraordinary spiritual experiences and evolution.
            I find a lot of parallels in my own journey with what Jan describes. There has been an awakening to an awareness outside of the mind (waking and dreaming states – and deep sleep state to which the mind is not conscious), resulting in dis-identification with the mind/personality/ego and identification with awareness. This awareness recognizes and embraces (is one with) everything experienced. It seems it even creates/imagines what is external to itself . . . meaning all that external is secondary/maya/illusory.
            I hear Jan’s Shiva as unbounded awareness (formless and unchanging), and Shakti as the active creation aspect. Permanently realizing oneness with all of creation in one’s experience could be what he means by God and unity consciousness. When one becomes this awareness there is nobody there, as you point out, just pure awareness with no limits . . . and the paradox is that everyone else has this same limitless awareness – but almost always has not awoken to it.
            However, when awakened to it, one can engage the mind as a tool for purposes of relating with others and maintenance of the body, but it is clear one is no longer the identity that is named in a passport or on a driver’s license. Being the awareness is easy during meditation, but can gradually extend to one’s open-eyed daily life, too. For me the term peace describes it better than bliss.

            There is a deeper level of this awareness that I mostly was able to have interfaces with as an infant (pre-mind) when drifting into and out of sleep. It was a place that seemed like ‘home’, but entirely other dimensional – even more so than the space one encounters in meditation. My sense is that it is primordial, immensely powerful and what we were before birth and will become after life leaves the physical body. It is also with us throughout the life of the body, but we are only extremely rarely consciously aware at that level.

            We each must feel our individual ways forward on our paths, making use of the teachings, teachers and tools which best suit our unique requirements . . . and I know we have each been blessed by many of these!
            Please do keep up your wonderful and beautifully presented website which connects so many with such teachers and teachings.

            1. Hello dear friend,

              It’s wonderful to hear what you have found on your journey.

              Have you always remembered your early experience of the primordial awareness, or have memories of it only returned fairly recently as a result of discovering it again?

              My earliest memories are of lying in my crib playing with the visual field, making strange visual phenomena appear by a sort of deliberate interest and fascination… sort of like watching fireworks with my eyes closed.

              Probably this helps explain why your journey has gone further than mine. Right from the start, before we could talk, you were investigating primordial awareness and I was addicted to the mind. 🙂

              Jan apparently got a sort of pure Shiva realization first (pure void, boring, depressing) and then later got Shakti, and still later they merged, so he categorizes enlightenment that way. The bliss came late. Another person who says his experiene was similar is Ed Muzika.

              I’ve stopped writing and publishing things on both websites (realization.org and this one) partly because I’m not realized, so I don’t know anything really important, and partly because there is so much information on the web now about enlightenment that there isn’t much need. When I created realization.org 22 years ago, there was almost nothing about enlightenment on the Internet, so I was performing a service. The situation is different now.

              But maybe I will do what you suggest (start publishing again) instead of what my own mind suggests. I think maybe I’ll do that. Thank you dear friend.

  4. Hi Freddie

    Thank you for asking my opinion but sadly I can not comment much on the links you’ve sent for reasons I’ll explain. I have few remarks though.

    The first part of Franklin Merrell-Wolff’s article posted on this website reminded me of Bernadette words in her research paper ‘What is Self’.
    “The reason most people take self-awareness for granted is because, as an “experience”, they have never been without it! (In truth, one never knows what he has until it is gone!)”.

    I didn’t read Adi Shankara’s discussion of liberation mentioned there but I did read Crest Jewel of Discrimination: Viveka-Chudamani, and it made a lot of sense to me. Differentiating between thoughts and awareness and be done with. Like Buddha said, it’s enough to lose your opinions. But it’s all part of the game anyway..

    Franklin’s article was too philosophical for me, I had some difficulties in understanding it, so can’t comment any further.

    As for Jan Esmann, he mentioned four types of self realization, at which point I decided not to listen any further. I prefer to stick to the two types paradigm which I understand to be accurate and not hear other opinions that could confuse me more.
    I’ve already experienced the first type (unity) which lasted few days, sporadically, and it’s still trying to become stable by daily practicing Self abidance. When I’ll reach that state (maybe even the second one) I’ll probably have my own way of describing it (;

  5. I’ve just found a beautiful quote by Bernadette Roberts on this matter that I’d like to share

    “Reading the lives of saints and mystics may have its place in our lives — though it would be better if we had never read them — but a million times more important is our awareness of every interior movement and change, even the most subtle, because this is where it is at, this is where the spirit is continually moving us, transforming and informing us in its own particular way. This is where we will learn everything we ever need to know, and to do this, we must clear our minds of everything else. When we come to believe that the unitive state is only as saints and others have lived and described it, then we have blinded ourselves to its subjective reality and settled down to a world of make-believe.”

    From
    https://contemplativedaybook.blogspot.com/2021/08/inner-vs-outer-awareness.html

    1. Thanks for posting that. I’ve skimmed/read all three of her biographical books including the one from which that quote is taken but didn’t know or had forgotten that she advocates that practice (“awareness of every interior movement”).

      Another Self-realized Catholic mystic who emphasizes that practice is Ilie Cioara.

      I first ran across that idea years ago in the writing of Dada Gavand, who calls it “polyangular attention.”

      I’ve done it a little bit over the years, but I find that when I do it, if I include in my field of awareness the controlling impulses, the mental events that instigate or determine where my attention is going, the result is uncomfortably disorienting.

      Instantly I lose the sense of a center to which I orient myself. It’s a sort of psychic vertigo, sort of like losing the sense of up and down in zero gravity.

      I suppose this is a very good thing. Maybe a single second of this, if a person really gives in to it, would bring about Self-realization. But I shy away.

      Thanks for reminding me.

      1. You welcome, Freddie.

        By the way, Bernadette mentioned her gaze was fixed and steady when experiencing the unitive consciousness state. I can’t find a quote on that now. Other sages have talked about it too.
        I practice it myself. In fact, its my main practice. (It sometimes activates the kundalini energy).
        Can I ask what do you think or know about the matter?

        1. I would like to know more about your practice before I say anything. Maybe what I’m about to say will miss the point or be based on wrong assumptions. But to save time I’ll reply anyway.

          In the introduction to _Experience of No Self_ (p. 13) she says:

          It is far more than the discovery of life without a self. The immediate, inevitable result is an emergence into a new dimension of knowing and being that entails a difficult and prolonged readjustment. The reflexive mechanism of the mind — or whatever it is that allows us to be self-conscious — is cut off or permanently suspended so the mind is ever after held in a fixed now moment out of which it cannot move in its uninterrupted gaze upon the Unknown.

          The key point, it seems to me, is cannot move. She lost part of the ordinary power of attention, the power to deliberately look away from reality. Can we practice the loss of a power of attention? When we practice, don’t we always deliberately use attention? In that respect, isn’t a practice that attempts to emulate her state, the opposite of her state? We can force ourselves to stare fixedly at something (like Patanjali recommends) but is this what she’s describing?

          Maybe, if we force ourselves to emulate deliberately and voluntarily something that has happened naturally and unavoidably to the sage, that helps us attain the sage’s state. But does it really? Some people call this question “description vs. prescription.” I don’t know the answer.

          Independently of all that, if something activates Kundalini I think that’s probably a sign that it’s helpful. Fairly often, when I think of something or realize something, a sort of wave of cold blue energy sweeps through my body. I take that as a sign that the something is right or holy.

          1. By fixed gaze I mean not blinking, the eyes are still. (Shiva had a technuque on that). I had few spontaneous experiences with this which turned into a unity and blissful state, so I stuck with it, it became a way of life.
            I feel so strongly about it that I’m actually planning to set up a whole webite dedicated to this practice alone, although I’m quite tired of the digital world (;

            This way of looking started a few years ago before it turned into a practice. When I researched it I discovered it’s recommended by few sages (very few actually..) and only last week I discoverd it happened to Bernadette.
            Reading about it reinforces my practice (it feels like meeting a kindred spirit) but I’m not emulating her way, or anybody’s way for that matter. That would be counter intuitive and quite impossible I think.

            When kundalini energy is activated practicing this (I prefer to call it opening if the heart) I too feel it’s a sign I’m on the right track.

            I sometimes add Nada yoga which is another technique I came across when I started hearing an inner sound after meditating on the third eye. Combing the two is very powerful.

            I understand it’s not easy for most people but for me it comes easy, not to blink. It’s not a passive way of stopping the eyes’ movement, it’s done knowingly. Consciousness looks back on itself.
            Attention is only on the one eye, which becomes the reality, surroundings turn to the background. Until I become that Eye and there’s only silence and attention is lost.
            It happened to me a few times and it feels both dramatic and ordinary, joyful and peaceful. It might sound far out (that’s a problem that also Bernatte and other sages addressed) but it’s actually not a big deal…

            1. A friend told me of doing this unblinking practice recommended by Osho when partnered with another when she was in Puna in the 1980s. They would look in each other’s eyes without blinking. The practice also required not swallowing, so they had their mouths somewhat open and held handkerchiefs under them to catch any dribbles. She said that after about one hour of doing this she saw God.
              I have done this unblinking gazing into another’s eyes for 10 – 20 minutes at different workshops in the 90s and can attest to it being very powerful. Recently I came across a guru’s recommendation to keep attention on the eyes when they are open and I agree it results in that one eye and awareness of the ‘inner’.
              Nada Yoga has also come almost naturally as part of any meditation for me. Ajahn Sumedho recommends it and helped republish Edward Salim Michael’s The Law of Attention, which describes it in more detail.

    2. With regard to that quote (“but a million times more important is our awareness of every interior movement and change, even the most subtle”) from Bernadette Roberts, I just stumbled across the following quote in a book that a publisher sent me:

      When you are in Satsang, when you are in total awareness of everything there is, there is no possibility for the thinking mind to survive. Remain in this total vigilance without any effort, and do not touch what arises. Whatever arises, it is not you.

      From Birth of the Lion by OM C. Parkin

  6. And another one of hers from the same url

    “The type of understanding we derive from reading the lives of others is primarily intellectual and imaginative, secondhand. But the type of understanding we come by within ourselves is wordless, thoughtless, imageless. And between these two types of understanding is the same gap that lies between fiction and reality.

    There is no bridging this gap; one can never be the other. Yet how many would rather live in the mental ‘space’ of fiction than have to face, day after day, the mundane, trite, often boring reality of ourselves? It is because we choose the fictional space that we have been brainwashed and thereby locked out of the true reality of the unitive state. In truth, the unitive state is utterly real, common, ordinary, and unspectacular; it may even be boring. It is not easy living.”

    This quote is actually for myself but I posted it anyway in the hopes it might interest someone else.
    I’m constantly flipping between contemplation, meditation, inquiry, Self abidance and the written or spoken word on this subject. Reading and writing is a big passion of mine and also a big hindrance. But it’s also how god speaks through me, or how consciousness manifests itself.. (?)

  7. Brian Maine, hi. It seems we have the same experiences, that’s nice.

    Nada Yoga: Ajhan Sumedo, Edward Salim Michael (a little stern but interesting reading), check out Baird Hersey, Ajhan Amaro https://www.lionsroar.com/the-sound-of-silence. Shiva, again, also recommended that.

    keeping attention on the eyes (the one Eye actually) is a really fun and easy practice, isn’t it? It’s not even a practice, it’s just a natural way of being. It took me years until I got the hang of it, like learning to adjust a camera lenses to get a better and clearer look at reality.

    1. LB, Thank you for alerting me to Baird Hersey and his work on Nada Yoga, and to Ajahn Amaro. I did meet Ajahn Sumedho at Amaravati in the late 90s and perhaps will manage to return there to meet Ajahn Amaro one day, too.
      This one-eye seeing came to me instantly when doing a headless exercise devised by Douglas Harding in the early 90s and strikes me as better described as looking from a pure awareness before/beyond the mind. It allows the aware space one finds in meditation to be with one in everyday activities with open eyes. That awareness also includes or contains what it sees – no separation.
      My experience is that this seeing experience is replicated in hearing with ‘one ear’, in that there is no separation between a sound and the awareness of it . . . and that in fact the experience is of sound being within one, as is the case with what is seen with the ‘one eye’.

      1. One ear, yes. One everything (;

        Douglas Harding’s teachings is one of the best there is on this one eye thing. There are few more. Some Dzogchen masters referred to it as if looking from the back of your head, which might be similar to what you wrote: looking from a pure awareness before/beyond the mind.

        Btw, Sorry for misspelling your surname.

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