Recently someone briefly mentioned Robert Adams to me and for some reason it prompted me to take a look through some of his teachings. I chanced upon what I felt to be a highly powerful set of teachings given in Satsang in 1992, and this post is the result.
Here are a selection of quotes from Robert Adams that point the way to That which is beyond words and That which we already are/already is. The quotes are largely in order they were given during a single talk and I have inserted sub-headings which I hope makes the key points stand out more. Even though the teachings are largely self-explanatory, and there is something powerful in the phrasing of the actual quotes below, I have also summarised the teachings at the end of the post:
Trust in the Power that Knows The Way
The power that knows the way will take care of you. The one who makes the sun shine, the grass grow, the apples grow perfectly on apple trees, the food that sustains us, nourishes us. Everything has been lovingly provided for us. Have faith, trust the power that knows the way.
This is the first step, to have total faith and total trust in the infinite, the one. You may call this God, if you want to. Makes no difference what you call it. It is within you. It is without you. It is everywhere. All you have to do is to surrender to it. Surrender all of your doubts, your frustrations, your fears, everything that has besieged you for so long. Give it all up. It doesn’t belong to you. Be free of it.
No Body, no Mind, no World
When you’re able to do this, you can go further, and understand that there never was a body to begin with. The world, as it appears, does not exist. The universe, as it appears does not exist. Yet you are, and you will always be. What are you and what will you always be?
There is no answer for that, for the mind can never comprehend the unknown, the transcendental, the Self. The mind can never know these things. The mind only knows itself as a body, as a doer. Therefore you have to transcend the mind, transcend the thoughts, transcend the world, transcend the universe, and enter the silence, where there is total bliss, and peace and harmony.
Do not be in conflict with yourself
Do not be in conflict with your thoughts and the self. When there is no conflict there are no thoughts. Thoughts only appear because there’s conflict. By conflict I mean, you’re worrying about getting rid of your thoughts, you’re doing sadhana, meditation, pranayamas, japa. All of these things cause conflict.
For aren’t you saying, ‘I’m doing these things to become liberated. I’m doing these things to become free.’ The reason there’s a the conflict is because you’re already free and liberated. Therefore when you give yourself the information that you have to do something to become liberated, there is immediately conflict.
Your programmed belief in being a body-mind causes this conflict
This is the only problem you have. It is your conflict. And this conflict comes from programming when you were a child, from samskaras, … This is where the conflict comes from. For it tells you, ‘I’m just a human being, I’m just a frail body. I have to suffer sometimes, sometimes I have to be happy.’ This is all a lie. There never was a you that has to suffer. There never was a you that has to be happy.
Nobody needs to be happy
There is no one in you who needs to be happy. There is no one in you who needs to be miserable. They are both impostors. So every time you try to exchange negative conditioning to positive conditioning, you’re causing conflict. This is the reason psychology and psychiatry does not work. For they’re trying to make you normal. Who wants to be normal? How boring.
Wish for nothing
The truth is do not wish to be anything. There is nothing you wish to be. There is nothing you have to become. There is no future, for you to become anything. Right this moment you are the one, and there never was another. Right this moment you are totally free, without thinking a thought, without trying to make anything happen.
Nothing to accomplish
Why not awaken to this truth? Why not awaken to the fact that there is nothing that you have to become, there are no goals to accomplish.
Your beliefs about karma
You want to believe everything is preordained, and it’s been mapped out for you. Or you believe that you’re just a victim of circumstance, going through many experiences, to learn a lesson. It’s really funny to me when people tell me, ‘Something happened in my life, but I guess that’s the lesson that I have to learn,’ or, ‘That’s my karma.’
Forget about karma.
Forget about lessons you have to learn. No one has to learn any lessons. No one has to go through their karmic experiences. Put an end to it all. Drop it all. After all, for whom is there karma? For whom are there experiences? Only for the I-thought, for the mind, not for you. You are bright and shining. You are the absolute reality, Brahman.
Words: ‘Reality’ and ‘Brahman’
Yet even those words are superfluous, redundant. For what do these words actually mean to you, absolute reality, Brahman? They’re just names that are given to the absolute reality, to the Self. Yet everything has to go. The absolute reality has to go. The Self has to go. The reason it has to go is because you’re thinking about this with your finite mind, and every answer you come up with is erroneous.
Always remember the finite mind can never know the infinite. It’s impossible. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Consequently the wise person becomes silent, quiescent. You’re not even trying to change your thoughts or stop your thoughts. For how can you try to stop something or change something that never existed to begin with.
The cause of conflict
Can you see now why you’re in conflict? You’re trying to correct something, you’re trying to become something, you’re trying to do something, and something does not exist.
Also what you’re trying to correct does not exist. What you’re trying to change does not exist. You get nowhere. This is why I tell you so often: leave everything alone. Have no opinions for or against. Do not be judgemental. Be nothing and you’ll be everything.
So why come to satsang?
Why do most of you come to satsang? As long as you have a reason it’s the wrong reason. There should be no reason. There shouldn’t be any valid reason why you come to satsang. For if you think back on what I’ve been referring to, you will see every reason is erroneous. For the reason that you’re trying to come to satsang doesn’t exist at all. You say you come to satsang to become enlightened, to know the truth. Who has to know the truth? Who has to become enlightened?
You come to sit with me. You can always sit with me, wherever you are. What I’m trying to tell you, do not look for reasons why you do something. When you start giving up all reasoning, all ambition, when you start surrendering all of your so called power, your human power that you think you have, this is when the mind begins to slow down.
Methods for stilling the mind
The mind will never slow down by trying to make it slow down. I don’t care what method you use. When you are using Vipassana meditation, when you’re using breathing, whatever method you’re using… Whatever method you’re using, you’re using your mind. It is your mind that you’re still using. That’s why you can never get anywhere.
You must use your mind, no matter what you do. Therefore stop doing anything. I know many of you have been practising sadhana for 25 years, 40 years, practising many forms of meditation, going to teachers, reading many books. And what becomes of you? You may get a good feeling, then it goes away, and you’re back where you started from.
The only practice
The only thing that you should do, or must do, is not to be in conflict with anything. Do not be in conflict with anyone or anything. When you’re not in conflict with anything, the mind begins to surrender itself, and goes back into the heart, and you become your Self. This is the easiest thing that you ever had to do. It’s simplicity itself. It’s simplicity itself because there’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to become. There’s no one you have to change. You are that.
Do not analyze what I am saying. Do not even agree with what I’m saying. Just be open. Open your heart by remaining still, silent. Allow the thoughts to come, do try not to stop them. Do not judge your thoughts, analyse your thoughts, or try to change your thoughts, or try to remove your thoughts. This will put you back in conflict with your thoughts.
No need to observe or be the witness
Do not even observe your thoughts. Do not even be the witness to your thoughts. Why? Because in reality there are no thoughts. The thoughts that you think you’re thinking, are an optical illusion. It is false imagination. Don’t you see? Everything that you’re thinking about is false. There is no thinker and there are no thoughts. So why have you been practising all these exercises all of your life? It’s like a person in the ocean going in search for water.
Awaken. Be free. Be yourself.
You are the joy of the world, the light that shines in darkness. You are a blessing to the universe. Love yourself always. When you love yourself, you love God. Forget about the past. Never dwell on the past. Remember, time and space does not exist. If time and space does not exist, then there cannot be a past or a future, for the past and the future is about space and time. If there is no time and space, there cannot possibly be a past or a future. So who thinks about the past? Who thinks about the future?
Even to say the I does, the I-thought does, this again is mostly for beginners. Self-inquiry is very important, don’t get me wrong. But the day has to come when you go beyond self-inquiry, when you just realize and understand that there is no I-thought at all. It never existed. Therefore you do not have to get rid of it. There is nothing to get rid of, because nothing exists. You are total freedom, right this instant, right this minute.
The unreality of thoughts and things
Whenever your thoughts dwell on the past, do not become angry with yourself.
Leave them alone. Do not observe them. Do not watch them. Do not be the witness to them. Just leave them alone. They will disappear of their own volition, due to the fact that they never existed. This is an important point. This is the reason why you leave everything alone. Now if things existed, if there was such a thing as negative thinking, karma to get rid of, then you’d have a job on your hands. You’d have to do all sorts of things to get rid of your karma, your past sins. You’d be working continuously, practising all kinds of japa, mantras, everything, to remove all of these thoughts of the past. But I say to you since these things never existed to begin with, why do any work at all?
Oh, it’s okay, if you like to work, but I’m very lazy myself, and the less work I have to do, the better.
Do not look for results
Do not look for results. Because it’s your true nature, sooner or later the results must presume themselves, but it comes without your help. You cannot help God. God does not need your help. Just be yourself. It’s difficult to be totally honest with yourself, yet this is exactly what you have to do. Forget about being a Jnani, or enlightened, or having self-realisation.
Nobody becomes enlightened
First of all, what does the word enlightenment mean? I’m not talking about a dictionary definition. To the path of Jnana what does enlightenment mean? The answer is, there is no such word.
No one becomes enlightened. There is no body, no I, no me, there is no thing that can ever become enlightened. The word enlightenment is used by the ajnani, by students. Absolute reality, choiceless awareness, sat-chit-ananda, parabrahman, those are all words that do not exist, except to the student, in order to explain that there is a state beyond the so called norm, a state of total transcendence. And we give a name to this, enlightenment.
When this actually happens or transpires in a person the I has been totally destroyed, totally annihilated. The me no longer exists. And to that being there is absolutely no one who became enlightened. That being is resting in his true nature, in nothingness, absolute nothingness. No one can become enlightened. No one can be liberated, for the you that thinks it can be liberated doesn’t even exist. There is no you. There is no person.
There is no human being who is a human being one day and the next day becomes liberated. There is only the liberated Self and you are that. There is not you as you appear. The appearance of you, which you think you are, is false.
Your problems do not exist
This is why I say all of your problems, all of your nonsense that you go on with, all your worries, all your cares, all your emotions, they do not exist. They never have existed and they will never exist. It is all the game of maya, the leela. It doesn’t exist. No one in this room exists. There is no you and there is no me. There is only the Self. And when the self becomes the Self it is no longer the self, for there never was a real Self to begin with.
This is the reason why I emphasise, stop thinking. Your thoughts pull you deeper into maya, into illusion. Do not think of enlightenment, or awakening, or being liberated, or finding a teacher who can help you. You are beyond help. No one can do anything for you.
The process of Realisation
Actually what happens is this. As you begin to realise you are not your thoughts, you are not your body, you are not your mind, you are not the world, you’re not even liberated, you are nothing, as you begin to think this way whatever has to happen in your evolution will transpire without you doing anything. If you are meant to be with a teacher you will be with a teacher. If you are meant to be by yourself you will be by yourself, yet you have absolutely nothing to do with these things. Remain in the no-thought state.
No need to look for liberation
The worst thing you can ever do is to search for enlightenment, for liberation. This keeps you back. It keeps you back because there is a self that is searching. There is an I that is searching. There is a me that is trying to become something and the whole idea is to remove something from your consciousness.
You are No Thing
Therefore the process of realization is removal, not adding. Removing this and removing that. Removing all concepts and all preconceived ideas. Removing all of your thoughts, no matter what kind of thoughts they are.
Good thoughts, bad thoughts, they all must go, and what is left will be nothing, no thing.
You are that. You are that no thing.
Leave the world alone
Leave the world alone. Leave people alone. Do not come to any conclusion. Do not judge anyone. Everything will take care of itself.
Doesn’t it feel good to be nothing instead of believing you are thoughts, and you are human, and you have a job to fulfill, and you have a mission? There are many spiritual people you know who think they have a mission. They have come to save the world. They can’t even save themselves and they’re looking to save the world. The world will go on the way it’s going on without your help, for or against. Leave the world alone.
The Current That Knows The Way
There is a power and there is a presence, which I like to call the current that knows the way, that takes care of everything. It is all part of the grand illusion. And even in this illusion, which appears in front of your eyes, there is a presence and a power that lifts you up. It will lift you up as high as you can allow it to, until it lifts you up completely out of your body, out of your thoughts, out of the universe, to a completely new dimension.
You’ll appear to be the same person as always to people, but you’ll not be that person any longer, for that person is gone, no longer exists. You have become Brahman. You have become all-pervading. You have become your Self without trying to do so.
Give thanks and love thyself
You must always have gratitude for the way you are. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Love yourself just the way you are. By loving yourself just the way you are you will transcend those things that have appeared to annoy you, to bother you, to cause you pain.
They will all go. You’ll no longer be aware of them. Let go of everything. Have no desires whatsoever. Dive deep within the Self. Do not react to the outside world or to your body. All is well.
When you are without thoughts, you are God
When you are without thoughts, when you are without needs, without wants, without desires, then you are God. You are the universe. You are divine love. You are beautiful. Yet when you begin to think about these things you deny it, for you think about the past and the future instead of staying centred in the eternal now. You think of the mistakes you made in life. You think about the dastardly things going on in this world.
You think about your future, about the so called recession. You are enmeshed in Maya. Do not continue to think this way.
You will see that the essential themes are:
1) Do not take any phenomena such as Body, Mind (eg. thoughts and feelings), World, Time or Space to be real (ie. all is illusion, part of the Jnana yoga teachings such as ajata). This means there is no real ‘you’ or ‘me’ or thoughts or practices or teachings, etc.
2) Be still/silent/without thoughts (ie. be still or the Raja Yoga/Dhyana yoga teachings)
3) All is well and nothing is required as:
a) you are already Indestructible Eternal and Free Timeless Being beyond words and things so there is nothing to do and nothing to worry about (ie. the Self-Knowledge or Jnana yoga teachings)
b) in the illusory world there is an illusory power that is already doing everything and this power will continue to look after everything in the absence of an illusory ‘me’ or ego, so there is nothing to do and nothing to worry about (ie. the Surrender or Bhakti yoga teachings)
4) Give thanks have have gratitude for what comes your way (ie. the gratitude or Karma yoga teachings)
What do you think – are the points I summarised above a correct representation of the quotes below? (clue: if you take point (1) to heart, where is the need for (2), (3) and (4)?) Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Tom’s Super-Brief Summary:
Therefore trust in The Power that Knows The Way, allow the mind to be still, know all is well for you are the Self and be thankful! Do not take the world (including your phenomenal body-mind self) to be real – nothing needs to be done or not done – it is all illusion!
8 thoughts on “Robert Adams: nothing to accomplish, you are already free”
Hi Tom, another great Robert Adams post! I’ve recently begun to really see the benefit of simply trusting/surrendering to life as much as possible. Doing so has a way of unemploying the mind.
Do you think that the following two perspectives on “practice” are in alignment with what Robert is pointing to?
I feel that is fundamentally necessary to break my identification/addiction to thinking. Would something along these lines be sufficient to do so? Because everything else I try seems not to work.
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The point is to still the mind and remove the ignorance of egotism. The exact nature of the path and practice varies according to the individual’s conditioning and vasanas. If you are unsure about which practice is right for you I would recommend speaking to a teacher who you trust and who understands how a variety of practices can work towards the same goal.
Thanks for this Tom, it’s exactly what I needed at this time x
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You’re most welcome Caroline. And nice to hear from you too. Hope you are well!
I recently came across some unflattering revelations about Robert Adams. Apparently, the entire backstory of his travels through India and meetings with Ramana Maharishi was a fabrication. More damning were accounts of sexual abuse/illicit relationships with students as well as cadging money off them. Wonder what your thoughts are. As a general point, do you think we should assign any value to the fancy teachings of “self-realization” etc, if the teacher turns out to be a scumbag in real life (here I am not assuming that the allegations against Robert Adams are necessarily true)?
I don’t know what happened with Robert Adams, and I cannot say how reliable his teachings are as a whole. I can say that I only share on my site the teachings that I feel would be of help to seekers, and I felt these specific written teachings were good. Remember, the true teachings is much more than mere words and concepts.
In terms of a teacher or guru, I always direct people towards Ramana Maharshi, my own guru. Of course, I am biased in this regard, but I can safely say to you that his teachings are authentic through and through. Knowing this, why worry or bother about other teachings? If you are guided to other teachings, however, then take what resonates with you, take what helps, and leave behind the rest.
Hope that helps answer your question in some way.
Robert Adams picture hangs in Ramana Maharshis ashram in India, with all the rest of Ramanas disciples. How can that be a fabrication?
Hi folks, Ramanashram have now actually taken down the photo of Adams.
The Ashrams ‘Mountain Path’ April 2020 newsletter has the following statement in the editorial –
‘Who is a Genuine Guru’
“There is the curious case of a Robert Adams, an American guru who asserted
that he was at Sri Ramanasramam between 1947-8 and 1952 (the dates vary in
his conversations) and that he moved closely with Bhagavan. Until such time as
there appears objective, verifiable evidence to substantiate this claim, we cannot
but come to the conclusion that his account is unreliable.”
The daughter of the renowned Arthur Osborne (who started the Mountain Path journal, and wrote a biography on Ramana) Kitty Osborne, is still alive and knew Ramana well! After her statements came out denying Adams was in their house, and borrowed their car (they didn’t even have a car!) was when the Ashram took down their photo. David Godman took down his video on Adams too.
One might like Adams words, but his own top student himself, Ed Muzika states that Adams was a compulsive liar, and notorious womanizer.
All the details are here: https://selfreflexiveloopphotography.photo.blog/2020/02/10/the-mystery-of-robert-adams-did-he-really-meet-ramana-maharshi-and-the-sages-of-india/