"That’s the Big Place—the Happiness Place."
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Panda Bears, Woodpeckers and Renunciation
The following conversation between Avatar Adi Da Samraj and three young devotees—which took place on March 21, 1983—reveals His genius in adapting His teaching on ego-transcendence to seven-year-olds.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj asked one girl, “What is it that you really like?”
She thought for a moment and then answered, “Pandas!”
Avatar Adi Da said, “What if you had an infinite number of pandas, as many as you wanted—would that make you Happy?”
“Yes!” said the girl, smiling a big smile.
“But what if you could only have pandas?”, said Avatar Adi Da. “Nothing else! No people, no toys, no books, nothing else around you except pandas.”
She began shaking her head and firmly changed her answer to, “No.”
Adi Da Samraj then asked, “Well, what would it be that you could have—and have nothing else at all forever but only that one thing—that would make you Happy?”
The girl looked at her Heart-Master quietly for a time and then she said, “You.”
“You mean me—this body here?” Asked Avatar Adi Da.
“No,” she said, “my Divine Heart-Master.”
“Who is that?” Avatar Adi Da Asked. “Do you mean Happiness?”
“Yes,” replied the girl.
“Where is the Happiness then?” Asked Avatar Adi Da.
She touched her heart and said, “Right here!”
“That’s right,” Said Avatar Adi Da. “And when you feel that Happiness, you forget about everything else.” He opened His arms to the room. “You forget about all of this.” He slapped His knee. “You even forget about the body. That’s the Big Place—the Happiness Place. And It’s very Big! You don’t need anything else when you are There. You don’t need toys, or books, or TV, or sweets. You don’t even need a panda!” Avatar Adi Da looked around at all the children. “Or a polar bear! Or a Woody Woodpecker! Or an E.T.!” He said, listing their favorite stuffed toys. He smiled at the girl. “There are no pandas in the Happiness Place.”
Adi Da Samraj continued, “A lot of grown-ups are in trouble because of thinking they are un-Happy and thinking that they need things to make them Happy. They have the ‘I-gotta-getties’ and the ‘I-need-it-nowies’. But these people are only thinking they are un-Happy. So, what you must do is realize that you are only thinking you are un-Happy. And, instead of doing that, just remember that before you started thinking you were un-Happy, you are already Happy. Already!” Said Adi Da loudly. Then He looked around at the children. “You can feel that right now, can’t you? That you are already Happy?”
“Yes!” they said.
“Well, then,” said Avatar Adi Da Samraj with a smile, “that is the practice!”