The Great Tradition and the Seven Stages of Life
To understand what Adi Da calls The Great Tradition requires great study. A serious study based on discriminative wisdom and the mature understanding of the Seven Stages of Life.
The various traditions did not even begin to understand themselves to be a unity except in the last 100 years of so. Even now they are hardly together. There is a lot of talk about unifying and seeing how various traditions are expressions of the same impulses using different language and symbols. But what is missing is the understanding of the Process as a Seven Stage Process. The Process Itself must be seen as the development of the structure of the manifest personality.
How this unfoldment develops is how the stages of life themselves develop. Prior to Adi Da's Revelation and Realization the full Seven Stages of Life the Process seemed to have an advancement to it, a progression. In Adi Da's Understanding and Expression of The Seven Stages of Life the Process begins with the Full Understanding Prior to the Process Itself, paradoxically. As Adi Da states:
"There are countless numbers of people in the world at the present time who presume themselves to be religious and spiritual, but who are just struggling with themselves on the basis of various propositions and techniques. They are not practicing on the basis of prior Illumination. Such people have not made the Truth or Spiritual Reality the basis of religion and spirituality in their own cases. Rather, their own selves, their problems, their belief in various cultic propositions, objects, and systems of activity have become their occupation, instead of the life of Divine Communion. Obviously, a basic aspect of my role is to criticize that tendency in the traditions and to criticize that same tendency in all of you who are moving toward the possibility of a spiritual life in our Way.
But the Way itself is built on Truth, not on the search for It. The first thing we ourselves, realizing that we inherently stand prior to the activity of self contraction, which we ourselves are doing or creating. Realizing that, we do not have to devote our lives to curing our disease or stopping that activity. The Way is a matter of devotion to That which we Realize to be always already the case, prior to our disease.
Thus, our Way is not based on any proposition that God exists, should be believed in, should be worshipped, and so forth. Our Way is based on understanding, in which you discover God or Reality simply and directly. Having discovered God, Realized God, become intimate with God, then you can develop disciplines and the total culture of a religious or spiritual Way of life. You can talk about God in all kinds of ways that seem to make sense to you to talk about God or Reality or Transcendental Being and your descriptions will change over time as you mature in spiritual terms.
I do not merely call you to believe something. I call you to understand yourself and simply to stand free, prior to everything that you are doing, everything that you are adding to Reality, everything that has become your suffering. 'Therefore, understand first. Re-Awakening this disposition and this capacity first, and then go on to develop the practice in the form of a Blessed or Baptized life.”
Great Traditions of Meaning
Understanding and Communicating the Summary of Religious and Spiritual Wisdom, Reflecting All of the Seven Stages of Human Existence and Allowing the Great Traditions to Summarize Themselves Through Their Most Potent Literatures
The Great Tradition - Humanity's collective cultural response to human existence.
The Basket of Tolerance (also called The Seven Schools of God Talk) - A collection of books and materials that address each of the various stages of life within The Great Tradition.
The core of The Basket Of Tolerance is a bibliographical listing of 5,000 documents (in all media — print and audio-visual), meticulously ordered by Avatar Adi Da in an elaborately subdivided sequence, to form a continuous "Argument".
The Seven Stages of Life - Adi Da Samraj's description of the psycho-physical development of the individual inherent in the Cosmos itself.
"There is a tool or key for
understanding traditions and I've given it to you and the
Basket of Tolerance is my essential communication about it
in relation to The Great Tradition."
Adi Da Samraj
The Great Tradition, The Seven Schools of God Talk, The Basket of Tolerance and The Seven Stages of Life
There is a Process Happening. There is life, there is you living life and there is life living you. The Context to understand this Process is called the 'Great Tradition' and what Adi Da Samraj describes as The Seven Staqes of Life.
"What I call the 'Great
Tradition is that entire mass of traditions, reflecting all
of the seven stages of human existence, that is the common
inheritance of all of mankind in this time of universal
communication, interrelatedness, and interdependence. It is
no longer appropriate or even possible for individuals,
cultures, or nations to justify absolute independence from
other individuals, cultures, or nations-and it is no longer
appropriate or possible to grant absolute or ultimately
superior status to any historical Revelation, belief system,
or conception of how things work. The entire Great Tradition
must be accepted as our common inheritance."
Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda, Nirvanasara, p. 1982
The collection of Seven Schools of God Talk and The Basket of Tolerance is Adi Da address to an age old quest for a Unity of Understanding of the religions of the world. The collection of The Seven Schools of God Talk or as is it is also referenced, The Basket of Tolerance, is a tool in which one can understand the full range of humanties experience in the context of history and its literature and other forms of communication.
"It is possible to understand the totality of human
history in terms of the esoteric anatomy of the human being
- and it is also possible, using these means, to understand
why the Reality-Way of Adidam is Unique, why My Revelation
is Avataric and of universal significance in the history of
the Great Tradition of humankind. Indeed, an important
aspect of My Reality -Teaching is My Unique Revelation
(presented in detail in The Basket of Tolerance) of exactly
why and how the totality of human cultural history can (and
should) be understood to be a single (coherent, but
multi-faceted) Great Tradition."
Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda
To help explain this further I have included notes I took from a talk James Steinberg gave to the Adidam community reading transcripts from recorded conversations with Adi Da Samraj the subject of The Great Tradition and The Seven Schools of God Talk (The Basket of Tolerance) in 1984.
The tools you must bring to the study of the Great Tradition include an overview of what the Great Tradition includes but also you must bring this universal and disicriminative understanding of the Seven Stage of Life.
This understanding of the Seven States of Life is a description of how the Process of Enlightenment works. The Process itself is the background to the Great Tradition, the Process is the governor. Whether people fully understood the process in its totally or not is beside the point. The Process itself is what is being addressed in the Great Tradition and the Seven Stages of Life is its background, and the Process is at the root.
The Process itself is the form, and the form and the structure determines the exoteric and esoteric expressions of it. That structure itself, the Seven Stages, is a map to understand the totality of the Process and how it unfolds in the Great Tradition. These tools must be used if right understanding of the Great Tradition is be gotten.
The Seven Stages of Life provides an understand the structure of the body-mind and how that structure determines the Process of Realization. The Process of Realization itself creates the stages. In the past there wasn't this understanding of the structure in its totality. But the Process continued without that understanding. The Seven States of Life is inherent in the Process itself, whether the understanding is there or not.
Prior to Adi Da's Revelation of the Seven States and His Realization of the Seventh Stage the process generally seemed to have an advancement to it, a progression from gross to subtle. But with the full understanding of the Seven Stages the Process begins with the full understanding prior to the Process itself, paradoxically.
The various traditions did not even begin to understand themselves to be a unity except in the last 100 years or so and even now they are hardly together. This togetherness is what is missing, the interrelatedness is absent.
The Process of Realization is what must be understood. And what must be understood is how the Process itself is related to the body-mind, the structure of the manifest personality. If you understand how the Process works in relationship to the body-mind and the Seven Stages then you can begin to comprehend the Process and the Great Traditions expressions with right understanding using map of the Seven Stages.
This Right Understanding is a New Revelation. It has not been fully revealed before because there has not been the Communicator of the Full Seven Stages of Life before, The Realizer. This is what makes this understanding unique. The Process was not fully Revealed prior to my Realization. I am the proof of it. Study Me, study my life and you will come to this Understanding.