The World’s Greatest Unpublished Spiritual Book
Nevertheless, Adi Da’s remarkable appropriation of the Ashtavakara Gita goes much farther and deeper than these profound expansions. What in the Ashtavakra Gita is presented as a respectful colloquy between two Realized individuals, the Sage Ashtavakra and his nobly-born disciple, King Janaka, becomes in The Scapegoat Book a complex and highly charged dramatic dialogue between the Avataric Great Sage Raymond Darling and his tormentor, the decidedly ignoble (and unRealized) Evelyn Disk. When approaching a spiritual master for guidance and blessing, our manner of approach itself reveals everything about us. Throughout The Scapegoat Book, Adi Da laminates this critical, most central dimension of the actual occasion of spiritual teaching via strikingly original theatrical dialogue in which Evelyn’s transparently hypocritical pseudo-offerings are rewarded with the Great Sage’s excoriating retorts—in all of recorded literature surely the wittiest, most biting invective ever visited upon a purported spiritual aspirant. Here we are not only lifetimes away from the rarified amiability of the Ashtavakra Gita, but also from postmodernism’s infamous elevation of text over the author. As with its two companion texts, The Mummery Book and Happenine, in The Scapegoat Book the existential authenticity of the speaker is the final guarantor of the verity of his message. Thus, even the truest wisdom spoken by Evelyn Disk becomes false because he himself is false. Herein lies the key to understanding much of the action in the entire Da Orpheum trilogy. In The Mummery Book Adi Da summarized the matter this way.
It is the True religion! Yes! But, made to be un-True! It is the True religion—falsified by the ego-mind of nature’s “Everyman”.
The ego-“I” takes Truth in hand, and makes It die, there—as a Captive Thing! And, by that ever-tightening grasp of talking-mind’s own hand, the Truth becomes, not the Living Light of Is—but the Captive Slave! The Divine Slave—purchased by the mongering ego-“I”! The Imprisoned Slave—forever confined, to do all that is required by Everyman!
As with today’s crop of pseudo-gurus who endlessly repackage the teachings of genuine Adepts such as Ramana Maharshi and Adi Da (whose own writings on “self-contraction”, “no seeking”, “Ignorance”, and so much else are widely plagiarized), Evelyn Disk also betrays himself throughout The Scapegoat Book by issuing confessions of spiritual enlightenment that are riddled with tell-tale mistakes. While reading them, therefore, we need to remain alert, lest we fall for the same errors as Raymond Darling’s glib antagonist. Those mistakes, or false views, are not merely Evelyn’s idiosyncratic faults. He is the bearer of a now globally-extended array of personal, cultural, religious, and even esoteric spiritual conceits, creeds, dispositions, and practices that constitute and exemplify our species’ habitual modes of failed seeking. Thus, in the various chapters of The Scapegoat Book Adi Da addresses not only Evelyn Disk’s evident “talking-school” preference for personal indiscipline, along with his insincerity, malevolence, and “greed, gluttony, and lust”, but also Disk’s advocacy of misguided points of view that perennially gather legions of adherents into enduring schools of thought. In one chapter this might be Evelyn’s Nietzschean homage to a groundless “play” of meaningless appearances. In another it might be the delusions inspired by his yogic introversion upon the brain core. Everything short of truly perfect knowledge is, like history itself, the nightmare from which humanity is trying to awake. The problem is that we chronically remain the committed advocates of the very propositions we most need to transcend.
In the final four chapters of The Scapegoat Book (as well as in the “Early Word” and “Late Word” sections that frame the work), Adi Da takes leave of the Ashtavakra Gita to offer his own seminal writings on both the great transition beyond egoity (“the illusion of relatedness”) to Divine Enlightenment and, thereafter, the ultimate post-Enlightenment event that he calls “Divine Translation”. From this perspective, the author’s free rendering of the Ashtavakra Gita can be seen as the setting of kindling for a Divinely “Bright” dharma-fire never before seen in world literature. Thus, despite the ancient text’s premonitory fullness, that sovereign ultimacy (which, again, begins to unfold only after the event of Divine Enlightenment) could only have been revealed by the Avataric Sage Raymond Darling. Students of Adi Da’s oeuvre will suddenly realize that here he has chosen to appropriate—this time without amendment—his own canonical spiritual teachings, in mute confession that the creative artist and his creation are one and the same. Many people regard Adi Da as a uniquely great spiritual, philosophical, literary, and artistic genius. Perhaps now they will begin to more deeply ponder the curious fact that even today our vastly well-informed world yet remains almost completely unaware of his existence. The Scapegoat Book can also be read as a clear brief as to how and why this is so.