The Seven Stages of Life
A vatar Adi Da Samraj describes the experiences
and Realizations of humankind in terms of seven stages of life. This schema is one
of Avatar Adi Da's unique Gifts to humanity—His precise "mapping" of the
potential developmental course of human experience as it unfolds through the gross,
subtle, and causal dimensions of the being. He describes this course in terms of
six stages of life—which account for, and correspond to, all possible orientations
to "religion" and culture that have arisen in human history. His own Avataric
Self-Revelation—the Realization of the "Bright", Prior to all experience—is
the seventh stage of life. Understanding this structure of seven stages illuminates
the unique nature of the Transcendental Spiritual process in Avatari Adi Da's Company).
The first three (or foundation) stages of life constitute the ordinary course of
human adaptation—characterized (respectively) by bodily, emotional, and mental growth.
Each of the first three stages of life takes approximately seven years to be established.
Every individual who lives to an adult age inevitably adapts (although, generally
speaking, only partially) to the first three stages of life. In the general case,
this is where the developmental process stops—at the gross level of adaptation.
"Religions" based fundamentally on beliefs and moral codes (without direct
experience of the dimensions beyond the material "world") belong to this
foundation level of human development.
The fourth stage of life is characterized by a deep impulse to Communion with the
Divine. It is in the context of the fourth stage of life (when one is no longer
wedded to the purposes of the first three stages of life) that the true Spiritual
process can begin. In the history of the Great Tradition, those involved in the
process of the fourth stage of life have characteristically felt the Divine to be
a great "Other", in Whom they aspired to become absorbed, through devotional
love and service.
The fifth-stage process is the ascent toward absorption into the Divine Matrix of
Light Infinitely Above, thereby (ultimately) Realizing the Divine as Light (or Energy)
Itself. (Although this Realization is a true "taste" of the Divine Self-Condition,
It is achieved by means of the conditional effort of ascent—and, therefore, the
Realization Itself is also conditional, or non-permanent.) The fifth stage of life
is the ultimate process associated with the subtle dimension of existence.
The sixth stage process is the exclusion of all awareness of the "outside world"
(in both its gross and subtle dimensions), by "secluding" oneself within
the heart—in order to rest in the Divine "Self", Realized (ultimately)
as Consciousness Itself. (Like the ultimate Realization associated with the fifth
stage of life, the sixth stage Realization is also a true "taste" of the
Divine Self-Condition. However, It is also achieved by conditional means—the conditional
effort of exclusion—and, therefore, the Realization Itself is also conditional,
or non-permanent.) The sixth stage of life is the process associated with the causal
dimension of existence.
The seventh stage of life, or the Realization of Avatar Adi Da's own "Bright"
Divine Self-Condition, transcends the entire course of human potential. In the seventh
stage of life, Avatar Adi Da Samraj Himself is most perfectly Realized. He is Realized
as the "Bright", the Single Divine Unity of Consciousness and Energy—or
Conscious Light Itself. This unique Realization, or Divine Enlightenment—to Which
Avatar Adi Da Himself Re-Awakened on September 10, 1970—wipes away every trace of
dissociation from the body-mind and the "world". There is no impulse to
seek or to avoid any experience. Rather, everything that arises is Divinely Self-Recognized
to be merely a modification of the Conscious Light of Reality Itself.
The seventh stage Realization is absolutely Non-conditional. It does not depend
on any form of effort by the individual. Rather, It is a Divine Gift, Freely Given
by Avatar Adi Da to the devotee who has utterly surrendered all egoity to Him. Therefore,
the seventh stage Realization is permanent.
The Reality-Way of Adidam specifically transcends all of the potential experiences of the first six stages of life. This is why Avatar Adi Da refers to the Reality-Way of Adidam as "the Seventh Stage Reality-Way of no stages at all". The Reality-Way of Adidam is about transcending the entire structure of the human being and of the conditional reality—gross, subtle, and causal. Therefore, the Reality-Way of Adidam transcends both the urge to "have" experiences and the urge to "exclude" experiences. The Reality-Way of Adidam is based, from the beginning, on the Divine Avatar's "Bright" State, Which is Realized by means of His Divine Spiritual Descent in the body-mind of His devotee.