Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Brad ReynoldsBrad Reynolds did graduate work at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) before leaving to study under Ken Wilber for a decade, and published two books reviewing Wilber's work: Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber (Tarcher, 2004), Where's Wilber At?: Ken Wilber's Integral Vision in the New Millennium (Paragon House, 2006) and God's Great Tradition of Global Wisdom: Guru Yoga-Satsang in the Integral Age (Bright Alliance, 2021). Visit:


Part 1 | Part 2

God's “Great Tradition” of Global Humankind

God's Great Tradition of Global Wisdom
Chapter 1, Part 1

Brad Reynolds

The entire Great Tradition must be accepted as our common inheritance…. I Call for the universal acceptance of the total tradition or Great Tradition of humankind as the common inheritance of humankind. — Adi Da Samraj, 1982

“The Great Tradition” — Adi Da's Term and Instruction

T he phrase “The Great Tradition” was first brought forward by the Avataric-Sage and World-Friend Adi Da Samraj in the mid-1970s to indicate “the common Wisdom-inheritance of humankind.” In response to our emerging global culture, the first Western-born Avatar to appear in human history affirms it is now time to move beyond all provincial cultural prejudices to embrace the total collection of the world's wisdom. This includes the most basic knowledge about living a healthy and balanced life (e.g., exercise, diet, sexuality, human maturity, etc.) to mental intelligence to the esoteric wisdom inherent in the various approaches to human spirituality and mysticism, from shamanism to yoga to meditation to Enlightenment (thus including all the Stages of Life).

Specifically, the Great Tradition was defined by Avatar Adi Da as “the total inheritance of human cultural, religious, magical, mystical, spiritual, Transcendental, and Divine paths, philosophies, and testimonies, from all the eras and cultures of global humankind—which inheritance has (in the present era of worldwide communication) become the common legacy of humankind.”[1] In response, Adi Da's “Seven Stages of Life” Model in addition to Ken Wilber's “Spectrum of Consciousness” Model explains and discriminates the various levels or stages of human development leading to and including God-Realization and Divine Enlightenment by accessing all of the world's spiritual sources as a whole [see the three summary charts below].

Seven Stages of Life — Spectrum of Consciousness
Overlap of Adi Da Samraj's Seven Stages of Life Model + Ken Wilber's Integral Psychology

As an emerging worldwide culture now and into the future, Adi Da teaches that each born human being has an innate right to access this vast storehouse of wisdom-knowledge. Indeed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (est. in 1948) maintains every human individual “has the right to education… directed to the full development of the human personality.” (Article 26) On a political level, the World-Friend Adi Da has also compassionately called for a “Global Cooperative Forum” that “must be created by everybody—not everybody-one-at-a-time, but everybody-all-at-once.”[2] Such a cooperative forum of humanity needs to spread and share our inherited wealth, materially, intellectually, and spiritually, with everyone, regardless of race, nation, or creed.

To honor this global (or universal) approach to human wisdom the original integral theories of Ken Wilber (in his early phases) relied heavily on the “Perennial Philosophy” (philosophia perennis), and what he called the “Perennial Psychology” (psychologia perennis), to incorporate the world's religious and spiritual wisdom. By accessing these universal currents of wisdom, Wilber was able to justify and confirm many of his integral ideas based on the developmental processes of human maturity (the earlier Stages of Life) but by also including the transpersonal spectrum of mysticism (the higher Stages of Life).[3] Thus, naturally, Wilber's integral approach resonates well with the idea of the “Great Tradition” as proposed by Adi Da, especially since both authors were publishing around the same time (in the last quarter of the 20th century and first decade of the new millennium). The American pandit realized that his integral (and now “AQAL” or “all quadrants, all levels”) evolutionary model of psychology closely follows and resembles Adi Da's “Seven Stages of Life” as a general developmental map, yet Wilber's version presents it in a decidedly more psychological language. The Avatar first presented his ideas about the Great Tradition and Seven Stages of Life in books and talks during the mid-to-late-1970s, right when Wilber was debuting his “Spectrum of Consciousness” theories and establishing his worldwide reputation.[4]

Wilber, of course, rightly claims he was using Western-based developmental psychologies to review the early stages of life and then added the wisdom of the Perennial Philosophy to outline the later stages of consciousness development. He also used the ideas of other evolutionary philosophers (from Hegel to Aurobindo to Gebser, et al.) to justify his conclusions (therefore generally not crediting Adi Da). Adi Da, on the other hand, was following his own intuitive and enlightened insights instead of just reading and synthesizing books; he had undertaken serious sadhana with genuine Gurus (especially in India), not simply sitting on meditation cushions and writing about philosophy and psychology (in fairness, Wilber did study under competent Zen Masters). Nonetheless, both models of the Avatar and integral pandit follow the same universal developmental growth of human beings based on our inner esoteric anatomy, from gross to subtle to causal to nondual domains. Therefore, they both, in my opinion, should be seriously studied to enrich our understanding of ourselves within the “Kosmos” (in Wilber's terms) or the “Cosmic Mandala” (in Adi Da's terms). By the early 1980s, Adi Da was highlighting some of the Great Tradition's fortuitous advantages in increasing our psychological and spiritual wisdom as a global culture of one human race, as he wisely explains:

What I call the “Great Tradition” is that entire mass of traditions, reflecting all of the seven stages of human existence, that is the common inheritance of all of humankind in this time of universal communication, interrelatedness, and interdependence. It is no longer appropriate or even possible for individuals, cultures, or nations to justify absolute independence from other individuals, cultures, or nations—and it is no longer appropriate or possible to grant absolute or ultimately superior status to any historical Revelation, belief system, or conception of how things work. The entire Great Tradition must be accepted as our common inheritance…. I call for the universal acceptance of the total tradition (or Great Tradition) of humankind as the common inheritance of humankind.[5]

When Adi Da originated the phrase “The Great Tradition” and its working hypotheses, it began appearing in his books and talks during the last quarter of the 20th century (in the first decades of His Teaching Years). Avatar Adi Da has provided important considerations regarding this great matter (which we shall review in this book), that is: to learn about the collective inheritance of human wisdom and spirituality and how it may better serve our spiritual practices today and into the future. He is calling everyone to engage in spiritual development via the evolution of consciousness and by practicing Satsang or Guru Yoga in “His Company” as Siddha-Guru. This way we can grow from ignorance to wisdom, from ego-mind to God-Realization, from a closed, intolerant heart to an open and compassionate one, from a baby to a Buddha. And he is not alone, as we shall see, since this American-born Avatar acts in concert with all of the other Awakened Adepts in humanity's Great Tradition of Global Wisdom. This is how our wisest ancestors speak to us across the centuries. Ken Wilber's Integral Metatheory addresses the same issues yet without offering Satsang or real spiritual practices.

Importantly, even a cursory study of the Great Tradition shows that it is the Adept-Realizers, humankind's greatest Saints and Sages, who are at the root of the world's esoteric religions. These include those women and men who have taught and worshiped with either a pantheistic (nature-based) or theistic (divine-based) worldview, whether emphasizing feminine, masculine, or nondual qualities as That which is creating, pervading, and transcending Nature. From Vedanta to Buddhism, from Muslims to Sufis, from Christian to Zen monks, et al., there is a sacred and personal relationship with an Awakened or God-Realized Master that lies at the heart of authentic spiritual practice. By studying the Great Tradition as a whole—by understanding how the model of the Seven Stages of Life supplemented by an integral or “AQAL” perspective—we are guided in accessing the full breadth of human and spiritual wisdom. Then we can better recognize the importance of “Guru Yoga” and Satsang—what I will call “Guru Yoga-Satsang”—as being the method of Enlightened Wisdom and disciplined practices given by the world's greatest Adept-Realizers, the Siddha-Gurus of humankind. This is the Way of the true “Avatars” and “Divine Incarnations” who have appeared among us as human beings.

In the early 1980s, when Adi Da was instructing us about “The Great Tradition,” he explained it was the total collection of the world's wisdom ranging from the first developmental structures and early personal Stages of Life, from infancy to adolescence to adulthood—or what's called “Growing Up” (in Wilber's current terms)—in combination with the esoteric wisdom arising from the higher transpersonal Stages of Life that include the higher states of consciousness—what's now called “Waking Up” (in Wilber's terminology). Others have called this vast resource of sacred knowledge the “Great Wisdom Tradition,” the “Great Human Tradition,” the “Primordial Tradition,” among other terms, such as the “Wisdom of the Ages” or “Ancient Wisdom” (though as a whole it's much more than just “premodern” philosophies or esoteric metaphysics). Other scholars emphasize the fact that Great Tradition has an underlying “Perennial Philosophy” (philosophia perennis) or set of universal truths that are found in all the world's major religions, ones that we can discover for ourselves since they are living in every human heart and inner mind.

Because we now live in an emerging global culture, Adi Da believed and taught that every born human being has an innate right to access this vast treasure trove of humanity's knowledge, especially its spiritual wisdom. Importantly, such access and study verifies the validity of Divine Enlightenment and Self-Realization. Just being human gives us the universal right to this wisdom inheritance that has been lovingly bequeathed to us by our wisest ancestors. Avatar Adi Da calls everyone to accept and study this Great Tradition of Humankind:

  1. First, as a means to overcome our cultural and religious prejudices;
  2. Second, as an inspiration for our spiritual practice;
  3. Third, to better understand the true function of Spiritual Adepts and genuine Siddha-Gurus and to truly recognize what they do for their disciples and devotees.

Seen in this light, Guru Yoga-Satsang becomes a practice of enlightened love and compassion, not cultic delusion and religious preference. Plainly, we can easily see by seriously studying history how an actual person, a living Adept, has been at the root of every major historical world religion and esoteric spiritual path. Thus it is they who are the authors of humanity's most sacred scriptures as well as being radiant examples of our highest potentials. Wisdom does not come out of thin air; it comes from Awakened Adepts.

To place an added emphasis on this sacred legacy of the human race, the Guru-Adept (from any culture or century) calls our attention to the critical importance in transcending the limitations of living in a secular-oriented society as well as our tendency toward parochial (and ethnocentric) religious prejudices. Whether biased toward a personal God (theism) or an impersonal Absolute (panentheism), both are appropriate responses to the “Divine Person” or Real God as Consciousness and Ultimate Being, the true Source and Condition of Reality Itself. Avatar Adi Da emphasizes that everyone (especially his devotees) must cultivate a “culture of tolerance” to other people's religions and inherited history. He directly instructs his devotees: “You need an education in the history of human 'religion', Spirituality, and Transcendentalism, so that you can overcome your prejudices, your failed 'religious' neurosis, and everything else…. Through that study, you overcome your 'religious' prejudices and free yourself for real practice.”[6] This is a message the entire world needs to learn and practice! The Heart-Master asserted this trans-religious view in another talk about the importance of embracing our universal Great Tradition:

At this point in history, we are all the inheritors of the Great Tradition, the Total Tradition, and we should acknowledge this. It is useful and important for humanity to acknowledge this Great Tradition, the Great Sacred Tradition, the Great Wisdom Tradition, to become free of religious provincialism, cultural provincialism, and so forth, but also to be free of the secular mode of society in our time. In acknowledging this Great Tradition, we cease to be provincial religiously, but we also cease to be merely secular, pagan, or barbaric.[7]

We must use humanity's Great Wisdom Tradition, in other words, to become truly mature and serious spiritual practitioners and not just intellectuals or scholars of scriptures, known as the “Talking School” fallacy. Avatar Adi Da, therefore, has affirmed that this entire Great Tradition of global sacred wisdom must be understood within an overall developmental context—what he calls the “Seven Stages of Life”—for only then may we adequately apply the Great Tradition's cross-cultural resources to serve our own evolution in consciousness to Divine Enlightenment. Importantly, everyone evolves or develops their maturity and spiritual awareness through unfolding stages and states or structures of consciousness. This is what Ken Wilber calls the “spectrum of consciousness” that spans the bandwidths from Eastern wisdom to Western knowledge, from polytheism to monotheism to a spectrum of mysticism until ultimate God-Realization is realized.

According to Bhagavan Adi Da, the Great Tradition needs to be embraced altogether as a whole for it presents a “Grand Argument” gathered from all the world's wisest human beings. In this manner, the Great Tradition provides us with a “truly human culture, practical self-discipline, perennial religion, universal religious mysticism, 'esoteric' Spirituality, and Transcendental Wisdom”[8] that humanity desperately needs to fulfill and manifest our human potential and evolutionary destiny. This approach unanimously includes all religions, “the transcendent unity of religions” (as Frithjof Schuon noted[9]), or the “winnowed wisdom of the human race” (as Huston Smith says[10]). By studying or “listening” to this Grand Argument with diligence and an open mind as well as with intelligent discrimination (and understanding), we can “hear” (or truly comprehend) its summary message, which in essence, is exactly the most fundamental “doctrine” of the Perennial Philosophy: Tat Tvam Asi—“Thou Art That”—You Are God! Consequently, Heart-Master Da instructs:

Full study of the larger gathering of books [compiled in The Basket of Tolerance] grants more detail to one's comprehension of the “Message” of the “Great Tradition”… Therefore, study this gathered Word of the Great Tradition, book by book. “Listen” to the “Grand Argument” of its totality (or “Whole Body”), and (by understanding yourself in the context of real practice) “hear” the summary “Message” of its Heart. In this manner (and by many means), prepare yourself also to “see” That Which Is Revealed only by Grace and by stages of Realization in the necessary ordeal of real and inspired practice.[11]

The whole point of studying “God's Great Tradition of Global Wisdom” (as I like to call it) is not simply about becoming studious scholars of different cultural texts or traditional views but to be motivated to do ego-transcending spiritual practices (sadhana) and engage in real Satsang with a genuine Adept-Guru. As Wilber succinctly announced: “The only major purpose of a book on mysticism should be to persuade the reader to engage in mystical practice.”[12] We must realize for ourselves what our wisest ancestors have also Realized: God Only, Only God. We must discover our innate Buddha-Nature (by whatever name)—the Divine Reality that IS “Always Already the Case” alive and present as Radiant Transcendental Conscious Light (as Adi Da says). As the Buddhists noted (long ago): this path cultivates both compassion (from the heart) and wisdom (from the mind), together, as one integrated reality of human existence. This is embodied most fully in our Guru-Adepts, from all cultures and centuries, including from our century (or recent past).

Hence, we are all called to thoroughly study and listen to the sacred voices and spiritual confessions in this Great Tradition of Humankind—which is why Adi Da implores his devotees (and everyone) to “go to school with the Great Tradition”—in order to serve our spiritual growth. Yet this is not easy, as the World-Friend wisely explains:

If we go to school with the Great Tradition, we must go through a trial of self-transformation. My Teaching provides the critical basis for that school of self-transformation. In the beginning, I call you to consider and overcome the provincialism of your mind, and, therefore, I Argue the Way in relation to the traditions and stages of life…. Therefore, My Argument “Considers” the Great Tradition positively and critically, but it ultimately transcends all the conventions of the Great Tradition and all of the systems of approach to Truth.[13]

In this case, Adi Da's main concern is not just one of criticism but also one of appreciation. He recognizes that the availability of esoteric teachings and the enlightened confessions of the world's true Adepts are actually a goad or motivation to real practice. Therefore, it's vitally important to study the stories and scriptures of the Great Tradition with intelligence and insight. As the Avataric Adept-Guru makes clear: “Until there is Realization, there is no Realization. The reading of spiritual literature is a positive discipline if it leads an individual to the conviction that he or she is committed to suffering and limitation. Then such an individual may become available to the real process of spiritual practice.”[14] This is the purpose and mission of all Adept-Realizers, whether from Buddhism, Vedanta, Taoism, Christianity, or Islam, et al., or any other genuine mystical path: to serve your spiritual growth and evolution of consciousness. We must go beyond all religions to be truly religious. In Adi Da's case, he pointedly explains:

I Argue the Way of the Heart in relation to the traditions and Stages of Life…. But My Argument finally goes beyond this schooling of the provincial or conventional mind. The “radical” Argument of My Wisdom-Teaching is a “Consideration” that transcends the mind itself, even the entire body-mind, the apparent world, and attention itself.[15]

Having an Awakened Adept who has been alive during modern times and recent history (bridged into the Third Millennium), and therefore having critically reviewed the entire span of world history gives us all, no matter what our country of origin, a unique advantage—and thus “Great Help”—in being able to understand our position in human history within an enlightened context. People's political, economic, social, and educational opportunities often don't provide the full spectrum of this wisdom-knowledge, although the literary resources are now available in the world including being posted on the Internet. Thus, worldwide communication makes the Great Tradition's distribution more accessible for all the world's people regardless of where we are from or where we now live. Humankind's Great Tradition of Global Wisdom must now be embraced as a whole, as Avatar Adi Da implores:

It is in our unique moment in history, when all traditions and all propositions are equally visible (due to a worldwide communicativeness that is making all provincialism obsolete) that we must consider the apparent differences among traditions with a new kind of wide intelligence. And My Work is devoted, in part, to provide the critical means for understanding and transcending these differences, so that the mass of traditions may be rightly comprehended as a single and dynamic Great Tradition.[16]

Nevertheless, global political instability still makes it difficult to spread this natural resource to everyone. For one, many people still do not even have electricity or the basic necessities, let alone proper access to decent educational facilities. Much work still needs to be done the world over! The entire globe must be included! Plus, obviously, people's political, economic, social, and educational opportunities usually do not provide the full spectrum of the Great Tradition's wisdom-knowledge, since most of us are curtailed by the social and religious prejudices in which we have been born. Most people are born into a theistic Western (Omega-mind) view or pantheistic Eastern (Alpha-mind) worldview or, typically, a modern scientific and atheist-agnostic one depending on their country of origin and their parent's preferences.

In other words, many people are confused and mired in doubt as to whether “God” exists at all or why they should care except, perhaps, in a time of crisis. Fortunately, Avatar Adi Da has also provided a (still unpublished) compendium of thousands of books from around the world organized into the Seven Stages of Life model—known as The Basket of Tolerance. Although the Great Wisdom Tradition is our innate right as spiritual beings who are born human, it is still every person's responsibility to become familiar with this sacred inheritance and then cultivate its highest ideals and evolutionary potentials. It is a task of study and education that reveals our prior unity and true existence as One Humanity, as One Divine Reality, and thus it is intended to brighten our future to know the Truth of God more realistically and intimately. Nothing less than this. What a Great Message it is!

Advantages In Understanding God's Great Tradition

It is useful and important for humanity to acknowledge this Great Tradition, the Great Sacred Tradition, the Great Wisdom Tradition, to become free of religious provincialism, cultural provincialism, and so forth, but also to be free of the secular mode of society in our time.
— Adi Da Samraj, 1983

Let's list and review some of the advantages gained from viewing (and studying) all of the world's religious traditions as one grand “Great Tradition” of human spirituality and wisdom [see the YouTube video above]. As a brief summary, some advantages gained from studying God's Great Tradition of Global Wisdom as a whole are listed below:[17]

  • The Great Tradition appreciates the development of all traditions and “tribes”—set within the Seven Stages of Life model—encircling the globe during the entire course of human history;
  • The Great Tradition sees human history as a global history of one human race, thus it is our global inheritance (or “common Wisdom-inheritance”) as a born human being;
  • Study of the Great Tradition teaches us to preserve and revere Nature and the Earth as the living embodiment of Spirit Itself, a Divine Creation that must be protected, honored, and served;
  • The Great Tradition as a whole provides Real Wisdom that transcends the limitations of each historical era and their cultural and regional prejudices;
  • The Great Tradition transcends “religious provincialism” thus generating cultural and religious tolerance to provide the foundation for a united global culture based on genuine spiritual understanding;
  • The Great Tradition counters “scientific materialism” and Western “flatland” reductionism by showing us a hierarchy (or holarchy) of human development grounded in a spectrum of mysticism, from Prophets to Shamans to Yogis to Saints to Sages to Siddhas to Avatars, etc.;
  • Study and embodiment of the Great Tradition in today's modern world integrates Eastern Enlightenment (mysticism) with Western Enlightenment (science and democracy or worldcentric human rights);
  • The Great Tradition counters the egoic tendency towards religious or mythic cultism by transcending the errors and liabilities of the earlier Stages of Life (1–4) and in evolving or developing the transpersonal state-stages of awareness (4–7) ultimately revealing Divine Enlightenment;
  • Study of the Great Tradition as a whole minimizes the negative effects on the human spirit gained by living in a modern secular society that, nevertheless, is necessary for people to cultivate religious choice and freedom of worship based on personal preference or one's traditional religious inheritance;
  • Study of the Great Global Tradition allows the Western Mind to receive Eastern Wisdom (and vice versa) so that a comprehensive understanding of the entire spectrum of human consciousness can thus fully emerge; consequently, this promotes an Integral Theory or Integral Vision of reality grounded in and promoting a genuine global world culture;
  • Study of the Great Tradition resists the secularizing trends of our modern and postmodern society, thus addressing the fundamentalist and anti-scientific fringes of institutional religions;
  • Study of the Great Tradition counters “sectarianism” (or “tribalism”) and scientific “reductionism” leading to a more comprehensive and inclusive—or integral—orientation fostering the embracing of reality as a whole (including all its levels and dimensions and spheres of existence from the physical to biological to mental to spiritual, et al.);
  • Study of the Great Tradition overcomes the “culture of materialism,” “consumerism,” and the battle of “capitalism vs. communism” by embracing them within the larger perspective of Divine Enlightenment (or Self-Realization) that cultivates and cares for all human beings (in any society or culture);
  • Study of the Great Tradition of Global Wisdom transcends parochial and cultural orientations by placing an emphasis on understanding (and transcending) the separate self-sense or the egoic-personality, as well as the limits of particular ethnocentric cultures, nations, races, and religious points of view (based on the first Six Stages of Life) in transition to a genuine worldcentric or enlightened perspective (based in cooperation and tolerance realized in the Seventh Stage of Life);
  • Study of the Great Tradition must also be responsive to legitimate viewpoints of scientific intellectualism and humanism gained from the evolution of world consciousness, instead of simply promoting religious or mythic cultism;
  • The Great Tradition recognizes the inherent freedom of the human spirit (beyond any cultural limitation or boundary);
  • Study of the Great Tradition discriminates spirituality from fanaticism, intolerance, and mythic thinking;
  • Awareness of the Great Tradition (incorporating every culture and religious tradition) cultivates a “culture of tolerance” (in Adi Da's words);
  • Study of the Great Tradition encourages the ultimate development of human growth, i.e., the evolution of consciousness to Divine Enlightenment, from infancy to God-Realization, from babies to Buddhas, from a child to Christ-consciousness;
  • The Great Tradition reveals the importance of Enlightenment and True Self-Realization as the epitome or pinnacle of human potential, both individually and collectively;
  • True spiritual life (in the higher Stages of Life) is revealed by studying the entire Great Tradition, not by any one single tradition or religion;
  • The Great Tradition offers a “Divine Library” or comprehensive bibliography showing all the Stages of Life, transcending any one tradition or any one text—Adi Da calls this approach and collection “The Basket of Tolerance”;
  • Education in the Great Tradition helps create a “preparatory foundation” for authentic spiritual practice (sadhana) as well as how to engage in a genuine relationship (Satsang) with authentic Adept-Realizers and genuine Siddha-Gurus;
  • Study of the Great Tradition reveals the significance and indispensable process of Guru Yoga and Satsang;
  • Study of the Great Tradition reveals the importance and power (and necessity) of Adept-Gurus (and Guru Yoga) and how they have been the root source of all religious and esoteric spiritual traditions throughout world history and in every culture;
  • Preserving the Great Tradition of global spirituality becomes a universal resource for the enhancement of the human spirit, and, therefore, is absolutely necessary to fulfill the search for Real Truth beyond mythic and religious illusions;
  • The Great Tradition must be presented in an atmosphere of free exchange with an absence of racial or cultural prejudice;
  • The Great Tradition encourages access to all possible forms of information available to all people possible thus overcoming information poverty (and misinformation) by remedying the information gap between the educated and uneducated, the wealthy and the poor, the developed nations and undeveloped nations;
  • The Great Tradition introduces the “higher culture of spiritual life,” thus supporting the development of human potential to include the transpersonal stages of mysticism;
  • Embodying the perennial wisdom of the Great Tradition, as taught by the world's Awakened Adepts, creates a person who is alive with peace of mind and bodily equanimity, a heart practicing love and compassion in all relations, while living in whole-body communion with the Divine Ground (or God)—thus creating a whole human being, woman or man;
  • Study of the Great Tradition redresses the imbalance of current knowledge (and lack of Wisdom) so that Higher Wisdom may, in fact, continue to grow (and evolve) and positively influence today's current global and political society and world culture at large;
  • Study of the Great Tradition encourages us to love and protect life itself as a living spiritual reality, including the protection of all “Earth-kind” (in Adi Da's words);
  • Study of the Great Tradition is a study of the Seven Stages of Life (1–7), from conception to Enlightenment, from birth to Buddhahood, thus it provides a universal map for human development.


  1. See: The Gnosticon (2010) by Adi Da Samraj, “Glossary,” p. 968.
  2. See: Not-Two Is Peace: The Ordinary People's Way of Global Cooperative Order (2009, 3rd edition) by The World-Friend Adi Da, p. 51.
  3. See: Ken Wilber “Psychologia Perennis: The Spectrum of Consciousness,” The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 105-132; The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977, 1993, 1999); No Boundary (1979); The Atman Project (1980); Up from Eden (1981).
  4. See: Growing In God: Seven Stages of Life from Birth to Enlightenment—An Integral Interpretation (forthcoming, Paragon House) by Brad Reynolds.
  5. Adi Da Samraj, Nirvanasara (1982), pp. 198-199; also see: Adi Da Samraj, June 8, 2005 in Adi Da Samrajashram, Volume 1, No. 4, p. 12.
  6. Adi Da Samraj, April 20, 1987 in Adi Da Samrajashram, Volume 1, No. 4, pp. 30-31.
  7. Adi Da Samraj, from the Talk “The Great Tradition,” January 22, 1983 (unpublished; cassette only).
  8. Adi Da Samraj, “Preface: The Gathering of the Seven Schools of God-Talk” in The Basket of Tolerance (prepublication edition, 1988), p. 1.
  9. See: The Transcendent Unity of Religions (1959, 1984) by Frithjof Schuon.
  10. Huston Smith, The World's Religions (1958, 1991, 2009), p. 5.
  11. Adi Da Samraj, “Preface: The Gathering of the Seven Schools of God-Talk” in The Basket of Tolerance (prepublication edition, 1988), pp. 1-2.
  12. Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye (1983, 1990), p. 199.
  13. Adi Da Samraj, Nirvanasara (1982), pp. 199-200.
  14. Adi Da Samraj, “The Seventh School of God-Talk” (essay) in “Preface” to The Song of the Supreme Self: Astavakra Gita (1982), p. 24.
  15. Adi Da Samraj [Da Free John], Nirvanasara (1982), pp. 199-200, also in Free Daist, Vol. 3, No. 4/5, 1992-1993 [“Stages of Life” capped].
  16. Adi Da Samraj [Da Free John], Nirvanasara (1982), p. 121.
  17. Many of the phrases used in compiling these advantages in understanding the Great Tradition of Global Wisdom have been revealed in and inspired by the Teaching Work of Adi Da Samraj.

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