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Michael Dustrude first learned about Adi Da Samraj in 1975. At the time, he was attending the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. On his way home from school in the afternoon, he would frequently stop at a bookstore at the edge of campus.

Maksim Igorevich Rykov

On this particular day I went there hoping, as always, to find something, but not really believing I would. I scanned the Eastern Religion section as usual, and saw nothing new. On my way out, I noticed some new books on a carousel near the cashier, and one of them caught my eye. It was a gray paperback, and there was something odd about it. It looked cheap and hastily done: the subtitle too close to the bottom margin, the title font suggesting Sanskrit but looking more Arabic. And there was a photograph of a man wearing a flower garland sitting cross-legged on an ornamental, throne-like chair. “Hindu”, I thought: the flowers, the chair, the garlanded yogi-man, the word “Siddhas” in the title. But I was perplexed—the man didn’t appear to be Indian. He looked more like an ordinary Westerner. And there was something unusual about him. I couldn’t really “read” his face, or his appearance in general, or the book cover as a whole, and, interestingly, the book made me strangely uncomfortable.

I picked it up and flipped though it, randomly reading sentences here and there, surprised by the cutting intelligence, but also feeling increasingly criticized and put-on-the-spot, by what I read. It was as if this man knew me intimately, and was surgically exposing dimensions of myself that I preferred not to acknowledge. He was Franklin Jones and the book was transcriptions of talks he had recently given at a spiritual center in Los Angeles. His spoke in the relaxed vernacular of 1970s L.A., yet with a remarkable authority. He appeared to be knowledgeable about religion and spirituality, but didn’t communicate a traditional bias or speak in “holy” language, yet his words carried a most uncomfortably intense truthfulness and power.

I didn’t read for very long. I put the book back on the rack and walked out of the store, and forgot about it. But not for long. In the days that followed, I was drawn back several times to look at “that book”. Then, fearing that someone else would buy it, I paid the $3.95, which was a lot for me in those days, and took it home. The book was The Method of the Siddhas.

I kept it on my bedside stand and would read from it every few days. The words were always intensely alive and penetrating, thrilling and fiery, so much so that I would only pick it up whenever other interests palled. I knew that Franklin Jones, or Bubba Free John, as he began to be known at that time, was teaching in California, but it never crossed my mind to go out there and see him. The force of intelligence coming from the pages was giving me a dose of reality that was as much as I could take at the time.

Someone asked me about Bubba Free John one day at school, and I was embarrassed to not know what to say; my mind was blank. I had previously been a student of esoteric yoga teachings and when asked could go on and on about them. Later, I came to understand what Adi Da meant when He said that the Way is “a relationship, not a technique”, and why I often became tongue-tied when I tried to talk about Him. His Teaching, I learned, is revealed through a very personal relationship to Him through which He Spiritually and Transcendentally Reveals Himself as the Divine Being, and it is sometimes difficult to bring up something so intimate in a more casual conversation.

Over the years since then, my relationship to Adi Da Samraj has deepened, and He has freed me from many unconscious limitations I place on life. Drawn by the attractiveness of His Person, I have grown beyond much doubt and resistance to become sensitive to His Transmission, as He further reveals Himself as the Living Divine Person.

Looking back over my life as His devotee and all that He has given—all so starkly evident now, especially in this new time following His Divine Mahasamadhi—I realize what a divine gift The Method of the Siddhas was, placed in my path 35 years ago, and that the $3.95 I paid for it was a sacrifice, but only of ego—into the Divine.

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