Monday, August 23, 2010

A Robert Adams Screenplay

[30th August 2010. The link to the Scribd file that appears after the first paragraph no longer works since the author, Matthew Browne, has removed it after receiving a request to do so by Nicole Adams, Robert Adams' widow. It seems she was unhappy with the way that the events of Robert's life had been portrayed there.

Apparently, Nicole Adams is in the process of writing her autobiography. I hope she includes all the incidents that Robert told her about his time at Sri Ramanasramam and the association he had with Bhagavan.]

A couple of weeks ago I was sent an early draft of a screenplay about Robert Adams’ life. It had been written by Matthew Browne at the suggestion of Edward Muzika, a long-time student of Robert Adams. I went through it and suggested a few changes to make the events that took place at Ramanasramam more realistic. Matthew incorporated most of my suggestions. The scenes that take place at Ramanasramam are mostly reconstructed from anecdotes that Robert told in later life. However, a few of the incidents (such as the series of people coming for advice and succour, and the argument between the pandits) were invented by the author to show how Bhagavan usually dealt with people who approached him. The revised script has been posted at:

Two common abbreviations used are V.O. (Voice-over) and O.S. (Off-screen) If you have any comments, you can post them here or under the original Scribd posting.

The screenplay was not commissioned by anyone who has the power to turn it into into a film, so it is unlikely to appear in a cinema in the near future. There is only one cinematic recreation of Bhagavan and Ramanasramam that I know of, and that is the scene in The Razor's Edge where Larry Darrel, played by Tyrone Power, meets Bhagavan for the first time. For those who are unfamiliar with the background to this meeting, there is an account of it on my site at:

A clip of Larry Darrel's meeting with the Hollywood Bhagavan can now be found on Youtube:

The film was made in Hollywood in the 1940s and probably reflects a Hollywood fantasy of what an Indian ashram looks like. 'Arunachala' has a snowy peak; there is an open-air dining area where devotes sit on benches at trestle tables; Bhagavan has a long white beard and speaks to his attendant in Hindi. The one speech that Bhagavan gets to make is full of generic platitudes, although it does have echoes of his teachings towards the end.

Going slightly off-topic, Papaji's son Surendra told me many years ago that he and Papaji were recruited as extras for a Hindi film (Ahimsa) that was made in Lucknow in the early 1950s. Papaji's brother was trying to become a film actor at the time, so he brought along various members of his family to watch and take part. There was apparently a brief filmed scene in which Papaji and Surendra walk into a shop in Lucknow. Surendra misbehaves in some way, and Papaji swats him on the ear to make him stop. If there are any Hindi film buffs out there who know where a copy of this scene could be located, I would love to see it. It would be far and away the oldest film footage of Papaji in existence.


richiepop said...

Just curious..did Robert Adams mention or hint who he had been in his past life/lives?
In Pg 46, Robert says "I heard that one day the man who had
been pulling Ramana's fan faithfully
for many years suddenly dropped dead." Who is he referring to?
After that - "Ramana kneels by the dead man, touching his chest and
forehead." That doesn't seem right. Ramana did that only to people on the verge of dying, not already dead.

richiepop said...

One more question - Pg 65, Robert says: "I can’t work any more, honey. The satsang brings a few dollars in. It will be helpful." Did Robert charge money for his satsangs?

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully evocative opening sequence with the potential to stir a haiku like flash of insight,especially at the point where snow starts falling silently(post which the credits start to roll).This beautifully open,embracing silent mood may pervade the entire film's being if the radiating silence is captured as poignantly as David lynch has captured the silence of dreams in some of his works.

Srinivasan said...

Mr. David Godman,

I was wondering if the ashram has photos of bhagawan after his absorption. His final ceremony. I saw couple of them in you tube but have never seen ashram officially printing the last journey photos. If you have any information regarding that please reply here.

Losing M. Mind said...

The Yogananda section of that screenplay is outstanding. I have a book of satsang transcripts, and Robert had mentioned some of that, but not all of it. Clearly, he has more information, or excellently improvised based on knowledge of Yogananda. It really fits with both Yogananda's and Robert's personalities. Robert did consider that Yogananda was also a jnani. He was using the anecdote about the people asking to go home as an example of how the jnani's behavior is inexplicable from the ajnani's point of view.

Losing M. Mind said...

Oh yeah Yogananda page 28.

Losing M. Mind said...

My Guru Master Nome, also has Parkinson's. Weird coincidence!

Losing M. Mind said...

I think that transcript should be made into a movie, but well done. Not just bad acting. Really artsy! I would love to participate or help. i don't know where that person lives! The stuff in Tiruvanamalai should really be there, with a really good actor, who looks like Ramana. Earlier today, I saw a younger man, who looked just like the pictures of Robert Adams only younger.

David Godman said...


All the known photos of Bhagavan are stored in the ashram archives. The ones that you see in the bookstore are just a small fraction of what is available. When you next visit the ashram, I am sure the people in the archives would be happy to show you whatever photos of that episode in Bhagavan's life still exist.

David Godman said...


Apropos the man who died fanning Bhagavan...

This is one of the incidents that I persuaded Matthew to change a little. Robert told a story several times of a man, who had been an attendant for fifty years, collapsing and dying while he was fanning Bhagavan.

None of Bhagavan's attendants lasted fifty years. The longest-serving lasted was probably Palaniswami who did the job for about sixteen years. I informed Matthew that senior devotees were allowed to fan Bhagavan and suggested that the story might have been about one such person.

However, I doubt very much that Bhagavan declared someone enlightened after collapsing in the hall in the late 1940s, the era when Robert was there. Such an event would have been a major item in Bhagavan's biography, and such a comment would undoubtedly have been recorded by one of the chroniclers of ashram life.

Since Robert told this story several times, Matthew decided to make it a little more vague by saying that Robert has heard that this had once happened.

The only attendant who got anywhere near enlightenment was Palaniswami. He didn't collapse fanning Bhagavan, but he was close enough to liberation for Bhagavan to attempt (unsuccessfully) to push him over the line in his final moments. The story may be a very garbled version of this incident. I can't think of anyone else the story might be about.

David Godman said...

Someone just emailed me to suggest that the person who died in Bhagavan's presence might be the one I recorded in 'Living by the Words of Bhagavan', pp. 79-80:

In 1939 a man called Sathya Narayana Rao was dying in one of the ashram rooms. He was apparently in great pain. A devotee brought news of this to the hall. Bhagavan initially seemed to be uninterested in the matter.

‘What can I do?’ he asked. ‘Am I a doctor?’ However, after a few minutes he got up and went with Krishnaswami to the room where the man was dying. Sathya Narayana Rao was lying on a bed in a small room that was next to the storeroom. Bhagavan sat next to him and put one hand on his head and the other on his Heart-centre. Sathya Narayana Rao had previously been twisting and turning in bed in an attempt to alleviate his pain, but a few seconds after Bhagavan touched him, he quietened down, closed his eyes, and lay still on the bed.

After about half an hour Bhagavan said, ‘We have finished here. We can go and eat.’

Bhagavan had delayed going for lunch because he had wanted to finish his work with Sathya Narayana Rao. While Bhagavan was eating, a devotee came to inform, him that Sathya Narayana Rao had died. However, before he died he had opened his eyes, smiled, and reached out to touch his two sisters.

When Bhagavan heard this he exclaimed, ‘Ah! The thief came back again. I thought that his mind had completely subsided. His vasanas [mental habits and tendencies] came up again. His attachment to his sisters made him reach out and touch them.’

In the case of Palaniswami, Bhagavan said that the ‘I’-thought escaped through the eyes at the moment of death and took another birth. One can assume that something similar happened in this case.


This doesn't correspond at all well with Robert's narrative, but it is much closer to the date of his visit.

Losing M. Mind said...

I agree, David Lynch should direct it. Oh, it would be sooo goood! He might be hard to get though. Yeah, he is the best director I know of for alternative gestalt, which might be important in a film about jnanis.

Losing M. Mind said...

The fact that my last comment lingered here so long, tells me, that perhaps Brahman agrees. So whose going to contact D.L? I guess I'll try. (laugh). Or maybe D.G. could contact D.L. (laugh). David Lynch is really into Transcendental Meditation, and certainly is well-versed and can talk about Being-Consciousness-Bliss.

Matthew Brown said...

Dear Richiepop...
a. To the best of my knowledge, Robert never spoke of past lives, other than to say he must have done all the "homework" (sadhana) in a past life, to have awakened so early in this life. Whenever students brought up past lives or reincarnation, he would challenge them to know who they were right now in this life, not wonder about such things. He also reiterated that everything about this world and life and body is an illusion.
b. The attendant pulling the fan is difficult to ascertain, because Robert only told the story as an anecdote in satsang. He did not give details. I included that he touched the man's chest and forehead, assuming that the man may not have been completely dead yet.
c. Robert did not charge money for his satsangs, he never asked for a dime. But there was an understanding that this was his only source of income. Those students who understood this made donations, even though they were not solicited. There is a tradition of students helping to support their gurus with donations. A sensitive or appreciative student might perceive the need to make a donation, but the jnani would never ask for this.
d. Dear Losing M. Mind, I would love to see David Lynch direct this, too. That would be excellent.
Sincerely, Matthew Brown

Losing M. Mind said...

I composed a letter to David Lynch, that if there are no objections, I will make an earnest attempt to find out how to get it to him. While the odds are most definitely very strongly against him accepting, I thought I'd give it a try. I do think, he would actually do a very good job with this, and a movie focusing on the life of Robert Adams, and featuring the likes of Sri Bhagavan, is very high caliber.

Dear David Lynch, most excellent film director.
This is a long shot, but a guy named Matthew Brown wrote a screenplay called Silence – The Life and Teachings of Robert Adams, Writer’s Guild of America (West) Registration # 1432614. The late Robert Adams was a jnani, or enlightened sage and devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi with a fascinating life. I was speculating on a comment board that nobody would be better then David Lynch at capturing the alternative gestalt involved with Self-Realization. Matthew Brown said he would love to see David Lynch direct his screenplay, that it would be most excellent. I’m just passing along the message. One other reason I thought you would be a perfect director for this, is not only the spirituality (very much in keeping with your Vedantic interest and experience with Transcendental Meditation), but that Robert Adams is a character whose ‘style’ and humor seems like someone you would be interested in as well. For all I know, this could be the pinnacle of your life’s work. (seeming to intersect with your interest in Vedantic spirituality, and classic American life) And so I would be a fool not to attempt to contact you.
Scott Fraundorf.
P.S. I will be sure to purchase some of your coffee.

Link to screenplay:

Link to site featuring teachings of Robert Adams (and audio recordings of him): (this page on the site features an hour long
recording of a Satsang with Robert Adams with a short introduction by Ed Muzika)

Losing M. Mind said...

I wonder if Robert Adams and David Lynch are interestingly connected. On the satsang recording featured on Robert mentions staying with a little known jnani named Brahmananda, and being the only Westerner who had permission. I looked up Brahmananda. And there is such a Guru who died in 1953 and was the Guru of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. David Lynch has his own foundation promoting Transcendental Meditation. (I believe he spoke at Maharishi's funeral) I was wondering if the Swami Brahmananda, Robert mentions is the Brahmananda Saraswati of the Jyotir Math. I think they must be the same, because looking it up, Benares is in Uttar Pradesh. And Jyotir Math is in Uttar Pradesh.

Matthew Brown said...

Dear Losing M.Mind / Scott,
Thanks for contacting David Lynch. I really, really appreciate it.
By the way, I believe the jnani whom Robert sat with in Benares (Varanasi) is actually named Brahmadanda (that is a "d", not an "n" near the end) which actually does mean "Staff of God" as Robert later translates. The difference one letter makes might be lost on a transcriber unfamiliar with Sanskrit, so I can understand how whoever transcribed it may have gone with the more commonly used "Brahmananda" ("Bliss of Brahman".) However, the name "Brahmadanda" is heavy with esoteric connotations (just Google it), so I'm pretty sure that's it. Nevertheless, who am I to say?
Thanks again,
Matthew Brown

Losing M. Mind said...

There is a similarity between Papaji, and Robert Adams in that both supposedly realized the Self as children, Papaji at 8??? and Robert Adams at 14??? Robert would often remark with humor in the transcripts I read, that he had never practiced self-inquiry, even though he is very good at describing what it is, and how to do it. Interestingly, Robert Adams experiences actually I relate to, in some of my early 20s glimpses. He talks about, I think, being in the classroom and everything suddenly going really bright white. And then next thing he knew, the classroom was empty. And when I was in my early 20s, whatever that experience I was having was. I remember being in Hawaii with some friends, and things going really white like that too. I thought it was related to the enlightenment spoken of in Buddhism. I think it was very blissful, but it quickly turned to terror, as to the ego, it felt like going out of existence. (why I'm not realized, but it's possible that was close) I don't really remember what it was like, but it probably has something to do with why I'm commenting here, and frequenting around Enlightened people now. I was going to say though that Papaji and Robert Adams both had that experience, and both in their own ways needed it confirmed by others, even though they said it was final. Robert Adams I believe mainly talked to Maharshi about New York. He had no questions for him.

Ravi said...

I enjoyed reading this script.
The author may perhaps like to have a look at some of these incidents:
1.Did Sri Bhagavan read mails at 08:00 hrs in the morning?The Post office generally does not open before 09:00 hrs(perhaps at 10:00 hrs those days)and mails get delivered only after 11:30 hrs.
Or is it the previous day's mail that Sri Bhagavan read at 08:00 hrs the next day?

2.In 1950 cow Lakshmi was no longer around(she passed away in 1948),the script says it was 1950 and Sri Bhagavan patted Lakshmi.

3.It is papa Ramdas and not 'Ramdass'(there was another American devotee of Neem Karoli baba by that name).

4.Why bring in River Ganges?Did Robert had a vision of walking with Ramana on the banks of the Ganges?
Why not Arunachala that was so dear to Sri Bhagavan?

5.some of the 'ideas' seem to be influenced by Paramahansa Yogananda:
a)In Childhood,Robert wishing for something and the wished for thing or event materialising(Exactly like in 'The autobiography of a Yogi'
b)Robert claiming that Jnanis can take more than one Body and being at two places at the same time(Again in The Autobiography of a Yogi,Yogananda has in Chapter 3,written about Pranavananda ,The saint with Two Bodies).Robert refers to his visions of Sri Bhagavan and claims that his other body in the USA is as Real as the one in India.How then to explain that it was only 2 feet tall!!!
Wonder what Sri Bhagavan would have said regarding this!

6.If Robert had realized,what is the point in his telling Nisargadatta Maharaj(1980)that he wanted to see that he had not 'missed anything'.One may miss 'other' things,how can one miss self?This part of the response does not seem to be convincing;Either Robert was unsure of What Truth is OR it could have been a simple act of wanting to see Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

The writeup seems to cover very little about Robert Adams the 'man'-What sort of a Husband or Father was he?
All too often,we seem to be preoccupied with our own fascinations-It is fascinating to treat Life as a Dream(I do understand that there is a fundamental Experience underlying this stance).This,in a way gets us away from having to explain the Phenomenon of Life and having to cope with it.
This is where the Sage is different than a Mystic.

Mouna said...

Dear David (and Matthew):

I never heard in all Bhagavan's literature that he would say to someone he didn't know something like: "I was waiting for you...". That doesn't mean that Mr Adams invented the story or Bhagavan never told anyone personally somethng like that. But for me, it doesn't really fit with what is recorded of Bhagavan with his relations to devotees.

Any thoughts?


David Godman said...

Bhagavan told Annamalai Swami that he had been expecting him. He probably knew that he was needed to start the ashram's building programme.

The ashram post office in Bhagavan's day was located in a small room next to the cowshed and was run by Raja Iyer. He could probably have chosen his own hours, but he would, of course have been dependent on deliveries from the main post office. I have no idea what time they arrived Bhagavan's day.

I remember listening to Raja Iyer complain about his pension, which was only Rs 6 a month. Apparently, the post office in the ashram was so small, working there didn't accumulate any pension rights for him. It was only in his last year or so that his position was upgraded to one that contributed to a pension. The post office was moved out of the ashram in the 1960s. Arthur Osborne used the room as his office for The Mountain Path, and in the late 70's I started the ashram library there. There is a photo of Bhagavan sitting on the cowshed steps, opening letters. He had probably just been given them by Raja Iyer.

Robert did have a vision of Bhagavan on the banks of the Ganga. He spoke about it on several occasions.

Matthew Brown said...

Dear Ravi,
Thank you for your comments. I will respond to them as you numbered them.
1. In satsnag from December 30, 1990, Robert said... "It was about 8:30 a.m. I entered the hall and there was Ramana on
his couch reading his mail." You can read the rest on page 117 of ROBERT ADAMS, COLLECTED WORKS - VOL. I, at

2. On page 61 of the movie script, the year is designated as 1950 because that is the year when Bhagavan left the body. If you read carefully, you will note that the text says "Archival footage of Ramana Maharshi toward the end of his
life, returning from a walk on the mountain, playing with a
baby someone is holding, patting Laxmi the Cow, sitting on
a couch and drinking some water, etc." This is a description of archival footage of Bhagavan, which can be found in numerous YouTube postings. There is no claim as to the exact year the archival footage was taken, just an indication that the restrospective is occurring toward the end of Bhagavan's life.

3. On page 117 of the COLLECTED WORKS OF ROBERT ADAMS VOL.I, it is transcribed from Robert's satsang, "I have been to many teachers, many saints, many sages. I was with Nisargadatta, Ananda Mai
Ma, Papa Ram Dass, Neem Karoli Baba and many others, but never did I meet anyone who exuded
such compassion, such love, such bliss as Ramana Maharshi." Here, the spelling is as I included it in the screenplay. There may be other spellings, I apologize if it has caused confusion. Of course, Robert is here referring to the Indian teacher, not the American student of Neem Karoli Baba (although he knew Neem Karoli Baba and the American man, too.)

4. In satsang Robert said, "...many times I have visions where I am walking with Ramana Maharshi along the Ganges. And we’re discussing simple things like the weather." (see page 191 of COLLECTED WORKS VOL. I, as cited previously.)

5. There may have been similarities between Robert's experiences and those of other jnanis or anyone else. Robert stated, "From the very beginning, as far back as
I can remember, when I was in my crib a little man with a gray beard and white hair used to appear
before me at the other end of the crib, about two feet tall, and speak gibberish to me." (Pg. 75, COLLECTED WORKS VOL.I, as cited above.) The question of why Ramana was two feet tall does not seem relevant to the message being conveyed.

6. Robert told Ed Muzika, his student, that he roamed the world visiting teachers to make sure he "hadn't missed anything." This can also be seen in this quotation taken from Ed's website: "Robert said he always had his seven league boots on to make sure he had not missed anything. Only advancing Parkinson’s Disease could bring his traveling to a halt." ( You may have your doubts as to whether Robert was Self-realized... then you may wish to peruse the links to Ed Muzika's website and Robert's complete transcribed satsangs to get a sense of where Robert was coming from, and whether you feel he was a sage or not. It would be helpful before forming an opinion.

Matthew Brown

Matthew Brown said...

Dear Mouna,
I share with you Ed Muzika, student of Robert's, describing Robert's meeting with Ramana on Arunachala shortly after he first arrived. Ed spent nearly six years in the frequent company of Robert, both in and out of satsang. Here is what he writes of Robert's encounter... "Early the next day while walking back from the mountain, towards the Ashram, he spotted Ramana walking down the path towards him. An electrifying energy coursed through his body, and the last of what men call an ego left him. He felt completely surrendered, completely open. As Ramana got closer, Robert stripped off his clothes, approached Ramana and dropped to his guru’s feet. Ramana reached down grabbing Robert by his shoulder, and looked into Robert’s eyes with complete love and said, "I have been waiting for you. Get up! Get up!" Robert said had Ramana asked him to leap over a cliff at that moment, he would have done so gladly." (

Thanks also for your comments, and hope that these links to their online sources can help clear up misgivings as to their legitimacy.
Other than that, I wish you happiness and health, and all the best in your spiritual path.

Matthew Brown

Ravi said...

Thanks very much for your response.My comments are on the 'Script' and how it portrays Robert and not on Robert per se.

I just looked up the 'Ramana Leela' and found that Robert was not off the mark.Here is an excerpt on the daily routine of Sri Ramana(Chapter 39):

"....Around 5 A.M. the doors of the hall would be opened
and several devotees, about to leave for the various teerthas
for bath or for giri pradakshina would walk in and prostrate
before Bhagavan. Vedic scholars would recite from the
Some others would sit for meditation. Yet others
would recite Muruganar’s hymns. During Dhanurmasa
(December-January) Andal’s ‘Tiruppavai’ would be sung.
At about 5.30, students of the Vedic school would come
and recite Sri Ramana Chatvarimsat and Taittiriya
Upanishad. By that time, lady devotees who had spent the
preceding night in the town (as their stay at the Ashram
during night was forbidden) would arrive.
By 6.30, Bhagavan would go for his bath and later go
to the dining hall, where he would be served breakfast.
Thereafter, Bhagavan would go towards the hill and
ashramites would go about attending to their duties. These
duties were varied, like collecting flowers from the garden
and stringing them into garlands or bringing various items
from the storeroom and getting them ready for cooking,
or getting down to cooking or attending to the cattle in
the goshala. Some went to work in the Ashram office or
the library. For those in the Vedic schools the duty was to
offer worship three times a day at the Matrubhuteswara
shrine, and at the images of Skanda, Ganesa or at
Bhagavan’s picture. On special occasions, special poojas
were also offered.
By about 8 o’ clock, Bhagavan would return to the
sofa. Thereafter, devotees, visitors and disciples would
assemble there. Usually silent meditation would be carried
on. But those who looked upon Bhagavan as God would
not keep silent and they would either recite the stotras
written by them, or just show him their poems. They would
also sing songs. Yet others would narrate their domestic
problems to him!...........
People were forbidden from touching Bhagavan. No
such restriction applied to squirrels or doves which sat on
his lap. Cows and dogs would be patted by Bhagavan. He
would show greater interest in receiving the books, toys
or peppermints brought by children than in receiving
scholarly works by erudite scholars.
By nine o’clock, Mouni would bring the day’s post.
Bhagavan would have a look at the letters for about one
hour and thereafter till eleven o’clock it was the same
routine. By eleven Bhagavan would rise for lunch and till
about two o’clock in the afternoon visitors did not disturb
him. During this interval Bhagavan would glance through
the newspapers or take some rest.
Thereafter, the hall would get filled up as usual. This
was the time when philanthropists and poets would talk,
bhaktas would sing and scholars would begin philosophic
discussions. This was also the time when Bhagavan would
be absolutely silent. When asked how this was possible he
would say, “If you pay attention only to the base note and
not to the other notes can the mind become engrossed in
the raga?” He also would say, “If you pay attention to the
Self other objects will not attract you.”
Thereafter, he would attend to correspondence.
Mouni would keep the replies for letters received ready
and show them to him. Bhagavan would go through them
and make corrections wherever deemed necessary.


Losing M. Mind said...

I have bought in a spiritual book store in Portland the complete hour long archival footage of Ramana Maharshi. It I think comes with dates for all the footage included, and I believe it is all the footage. It's also nice because there is no background sound or music added. Grace is very strong from that film. It is very beautiful. My friend, who I got interested in Ramana Maharshi, said the archival footage DVD is the most beautiful film he has ever watched.

Losing M. Mind said...

It's funny that electric feeling that Robert described to Ed described to us, is a feeling I can very much relate to, in the presence of my spiritual teacher Nome. I can relate to it, but I can also relate that it is very clear the tendencies that hold me back from what happened to Robert. These things are not really describable, though intense, and very real. I happened to show up when a retreat was happening, I live here now. And I was approaching the window to take pictures, I saw Nome through it, and got self-conscious and walked away. But the feeling of all the mental confusion dropping into this beautiful clarity, and there is something almost visual, like I can't tell if I'm in a dream or awake. Many people have probably been in the presence of true sages and experienced exactly that electrical feeling, followed by that precious sea of clarity. Obviously few, have had the ego drop away completely into it. But there is definitely a true glimpse of the ease of egolessness. Which is causing me to I think enter the next stage of spiritual practice. Staying around the sage, and being in satsang as much as possible.

Matthew Brown said...

Dear Ravi,
Thanks for posting that account of Bhagavan's daily routine, fascinating.
By the way, on another note to everyone, I noticed that my citation in the previous post of the link from Ed Muzika's "itisnoreal" website to ROBERT ADAMS - COMPLETE WORKS VOL.I got cut off... I am trying to cut and paste the link again, it is -

Matthew Brown

Ravi said...

....sri bhagavan's Daily routine ctd...
"At about 4.30 p.m. Bhagavan would go out for a walk on Arunachala.

By 5.30 p.m. meditation would commence. It was a moment eagerly looked forward to by disciples. Peace would reign all around. As darkness fell and enveloped Arunachala it would appear as if life itself was being enveloped by ignorance. A little later students of the Vedic school would arrive and recite Rudram, Purusha-sooktam, Srisooktam and Upadesa-saram. Those sonorous notes would touch the foot of the hill. After a silent half an hour, recitation of various writings of Bhagavan would commence. By then the pooja at Matrubhuteswara shrine would be over. Thereafter women would have supper and go out of the Ashram into the town for the night.

After the night meal by about 8.30 p.m., disciples would gather round Bhagavan. It was a time when everyone was relaxed in Bhagavan's presence. After some time, everyone would depart after pranams to Bhagavan. The doors of the hall would then be closed. This was the usual daily routine."
What happens before 05:30 Hrs?This is perhaps the the most instructive and inspiring part:
"In the early days, when the Ashram was small, there was no activity in the Ashram in which Bhagavan did not
participate. During those days, Bhagavan would wake up around 2.30 or 3 in the early hours of the day and after ablutions would go to the kitchen to cut the vegetables as did his disciples. He would also prepare the breakfast and the side-dish to go with iddlis. Bhagavan always emphasized the dignity of labour and would also teach the art of cooking to disciples. He held that one not well-versed in cooking could not claim to be educated either!"

The mark of a Great soul is in how he carries out the seemingly mundane of activities.As Swami Vivekananda said:
" As I grow older I find that I look more and more for greatness in little things. I want to know what a great man eats and wears; and how he speaks to his servants. Anyone will be great in a great position. Even the coward will grow brave in the glare of the footlights. The world looks on! More and more the true greatness seems to me that of the worm doing its duty silently, steadily, from moment to moment and hour to hour."

Ravi said...

It is this aspect that I felt is not adequately covered in the script. It seems to cover the extraordinary leaving out the ordinary.
I would prefer to see Robert not through the prism of his Mystic experiences; would like to see him mirrored in the lives of the devotees he inspired. Were they inspired to give up meat? Were they inspired to treat others as their own self? These to me mean more than whether someone froze in Bliss with the spoon in her mouth.Yes, I appreciate that scene but whatever happened to her later!
I would like have these devotees featured more prominently than just making some sort of a guest appearance.
I also found this poignant bit of story about Robert (by Ed):
"Robert wandered across India and around the world off and on during the next 35 years, having married in 1954, and raised, often in absentia, two daughters. He said when he married Nicole, she looked like Rita Hayworth. After he developed Parkinson’s during the 1980's, he settled down in Los Angeles with his family, where he began teaching, first to small groups at student’s homes, then to larger and larger crowds. He always felt he owed something to his youngest daughter for spending so little time with her as she was growing up.

He also told me that the Parkinson’s was a gift, because it grounded him, ending his world travels. When he first knew he had the disease, he moved back to Los Angeles where his wife and daughter lived. He worked as handyman in a large apartment complex. His wife made clothes, which she sold, at swap meets and to various retail outlets. Eventually, because of the disease, he was no longer capable of the physical work involved and started teaching in earnest and gathering students. I do not think he ever wanted to teach again, but, as he told me, he had no other choice."
I tend to feel that Robert, the man is more interesting than Robert, the Mystic. He is indeed a Great soul.
Friend, I should add that I enjoyed reading the script-particularly where Robert gives up eating meat, how he comes to realize that he has Parkinson’s, how he tells Ed that he is moving to a warmer place, etc.
The details that I had wanted you to check out are more for the sake of authenticity (quite important if one wants to produce a Film).I have offered my thoughts for what they are worth and I understand that there are other ways of looking at the story.
I managed to download the complete works of Robert Adams. Thanks very much.
Wishing you the very Best.

Losing M. Mind said...

I just thought I'd mention, that the letter to David Lynch has been sent. It is now in Sri Ramana's hands. I'm not expecting a reply. But if ever I (or Matthew Brown) was to get one from the likes of David Lynch, and the grace of the Self was behind an action of mine, this was it! I haven't quite figured out what my address at SAT temple is, and I thought it would be more auspicious to use the temple as the return address, i.e. Nome & Sasvati's office, then someone else's. They had said the big packages I was mailing to move could be sent to their address. Until I figure out which mailbox is mine, I had it sent to their office. Perhaps that is also a good sign. Walking around in a profound state of happiness, propped up by grace. Maybe that should be my new 'sincerely'.
Walking around in a profound state of happiness, propped up by grace,
Scott Fraundorf.
p.s I should add, I mentioned in my latter that Matthew's contact info. was contained in the screenplay link. If D. Lynch is intrigued, I hope that's clear.

Matthew Brown said...

Hi Ravi,
Thanks for the conclusion of Bhagavan's daily routine, and your thoughts on the "mundane" aspects of Robert's life and those of his students. To tell you the truth, most of those aspects are veiled in mystery to me, too. I have tried to hint at them, without stepping on the toes of those who were close to Robert, both students and family, since as Ed writes, Robert lived almost invisibly and left almost no trace, even when he was in the room! I don't want to step past the "line of privacy" of Robert, his students and family members. But I agree that the topic is fascinating.
Dear Losing M. Mind / Scott, again, thanks for sending the letter to David Lynch. He doesn't seem to have an email address that I could find searching (for quite a while) online. I agree that the whole thing is in Bhagavan's hands now. Nowhere better for it to be.
Take care,
Matthew Brown

Ravi said...

Just happen to discover this beautiful article on Robert Adams'And a Child shall lead them'.
I guess it is an excerpt from 'Silence of the Heart'.
"Again, I speak from the Ultimate Truth. Yet, until you are abiding in the Ultimate Truth,
it behooves you to engage in that which awakens Truth."
Here Robert seems to be stressing what all the Great ones have emphasized-The way of Dharma.
Truly a Great soul.

Anonymous said...

One day a six-year-old friend said to me, "Pretend you are
surrounded by a thousand hungry tigers. What would you do?" I
visualized the situation as he had suggested and, coming up with no viable plan of action, said, "Wow, I don't
know. What would you do?" And he replied, "I'd stop pretending."

Matthew Brown said...

I have just had a phone call from Nicole Adams, wife of Robert Adams. She was very unhappy with the portrayal of Robert's life and her own involvement in the movie script, "SILENCE - THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF ROBERT ADAMS." In deference to the feelings of Robert's wife, I am removing the movie script from its posting on Scribd, and would like to ask that no-one make it into a movie, or make any movie about Robert Adams, without Nicole's consent.
In addition, Nicole told me her own autobiography about her life with Robert is in process, so her own account will soon be published, which I look forward to reading.
Thanks for all your comments and support,
Sincerely, Matthew Brown (author of "SILENCE - THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF ROBERT ADAMS")

அவனடிமை said...

Looking at the noise this and other blogs/forums generate, its a wonder why Silence - the primary teaching of Robert Adams, Bhagavan, Maharaj and scores of other saints - which is a good virtue even in transactional world is not practiced by devotees/seekers including this one.

Ravi said...

To contemplate the life and teachings of the Guru is always a fruitful exercise.To respect the guru's kith and kin is devotion to the Guru.
For the devotee everything matters and yet nothing matters!All is well.
Wishing you the very best.

Nandu Narasimhan said...


I have trawled the net back and forth for the film 'Ahimsa'. Nothing came up.

Am getting in touch with a few friends of mine from Mumbai to see if they can help. Would be wonderful if we are able to get a copy of this film.

Nandu Narasimhan

Rama said...

Dear David,

Can we have a post from you on " efforts" needed and what we should avoid.

As you wrote to me once in reply to a query; " One can think too much of things but one should question the existence of the thinker". Through Bhagavan's grace and through your writings, we are now aware of self-enquiry and also practice it. However i slip on efforts. Truly intensity of practice matters to question the observer/thinker.

If you can write on " efforts" and its nature, it will be of great help. I am sure everyone participating in this blog will be glad to hear from you on this.


Maneesha said...

I have question - why is the spiritual path said to be as difficult as walking on sharp razor's edge? Is it similar to saying that any other other than that of the Self is death to the seekr?

kingkong said...

if u look for the book :

Rama said...

Dear David,

I had asked you a query on 25th Sept 2010 on efforts needed to destroy mind. I was revisiting your old posts infact the 1st post " God the scriptwriter" on 26th April 2008. This posting definitely answers my questions. Clearly seems, the question and answer was part of the script!!.

Your reference to Shri Robert Adams and to Shri Annamalai Swamy clarifies very well.
Question: What is the relationship between effort and realisation, since only the ego is doing this effort. How can the ego doing this effort... ?

Robert: What you call ‘effort’ has been preordained."

Shri Annamalai Swamy " It's true. The ego cannot choose to make more and more effort to hasten its final end. The desire to make the effort, and the intensity of that effort are also in the script."

You have answered in 2008 that is very concise " For now I am content to serve him by following his teachings and to enjoy him by opening myself up to his silent presence. "

Thanks David and Thanks to Ishwara for guiding me to ask this question and for directing me to your 2008 post for answers.


raam said...


You could find a copy of the film Ahimsa here,


prashanth kesara said...

Dear Mr.Godman,

I currently live in UK and would like to get in touch with you.I was very fortunate to visit Ramanashramam last year when I went to India and planning to visit again this november.I am leaving to India on the 2nd of November and hopefully HE will call me again.I would like to share couple of experiences with you and also would like to keep in touch with you.I have just recently started a small blog. and would like to read write and think more and more about Bhagawan.Please advice me if you will be in India in November.

Jai Sri Ramana

David Godman said...


I will be here in November, and I will be happy to meet with you

Anonymous said...

Dear Bandhus
Kindly visit the following link for hearing on the stages in self-inquiry as given by Sri Rajiv Kapur.

Thanks and Regards

A. H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dear Friends is there Any possiblity for knowledge of Robert to get ? Could not download collectted work from mr.Ed page and also can not get any video showing mrAdams himself. How is that possible there must be some video of him! If there is videos of Bhagavan there must be also of mr Adams. Could anyone help?
my mail : Thanks :-)

David Godman said...

There is a video of Robert teaching listed on It looks like it was done in VHS and copied many times. Still, it is nice to see him in action, and the words are powerful and clear.