1. ALAN JACOBS
Alan Jacobs was born in 1929 in London. From an early age, he has been
interested in religion and mysticism. He commenced a personal search for truth,
and studied comparative religion. He then entered the Gurdjieff Society in 1957
and remained there until the early seventies. He then met Jiddu Krishnamurti,
and studied his teachings until 1979.
Next, he discovered Ramana Maharshi and became familiar with his extensive
literature and spiritual practice. He is currently President of the Ramana
Maharshi Foundation, UK.
Alan's first book was 'Dutch And Flemish 17th C Painters: A Collectors Guide for
McGraw Hill'. He then compiled an anthology, 'Poetry For The Spirit', published
by Watkins Publishing and Barnes & Noble.
a poet he has versified for O Books 'The Bhagavad Gita', 'The Principal
Upanishads' and 'The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius', as well as compiling a
major prose anthology, 'The Ocean Of Wisdom'. For Watkins Publishing, he edited
'Ramana, Shankara and the Forty Verses', versified 'The Essential Gnostic
Gospels' and compiled an anthology, 'The Wisdom of Ramesh Balsekar'.
XLibris have published a volume of his own poetry, 'Myrobalan of The Magi', and
a history of London from a spiritual perspective, 'Mysterious London'. He has
recently completed an anthology, 'The Wisdom of the Native American Indians',
'Plato's Republic: An Abridgemnent and Modernisation' and 'When Jesus Lived In
India', all for Watkins Publishing.
His latest book, published by O Books, is a Utopian novella exploring up-to-now
undiscovered land of the legendry Emperor Prestor John, found in Ethiopia,
founded on Gnostic principles: 'Eutopia: The Gnostic Land of Prestor John'
describes their direct path to Self-realization.
Alan Jacobs interview
with Paula Marvelly for Non-duality magazine
NDM: When and where did
you meet Robert Adams and how did he inspire you?
Alan Jacobs: I met Robert
for seven weeks before he died in Sedona where he taught. His very
relaxed presence breathed love and peace. His kindness and informal words
were often short and to the point; his love for Sri Ramana Maharshi was
outstanding. All this I found highly inspirational.
NDM: Could you give a
short factual biography of Robert?
Alan Jacobs: Robert Adams
was an American Self-realized teacher, who was born in 1928 in the Bronx and
died in 1997 in Sedona. The best biography of him that I know is on the web,
posted on The Wanderling website:
NDM: Was Robert a jnani
Alan Jacobs: Beyond any
shadow of a doubt, Robert was a Self-realized jnani. He passed
Ramana's acid test that you could feel the power of love and peace in his
NDM: Is this different
from being an
arhat (saint), and if so, what are
Alan Jacobs: The saint
is a very virtuous man or woman of good deeds and yet may still be
identified with the mind and world illusion.
NDM: Robert attained
'enlightenment' as a teenager and yet he went to India to meet Sri Ramana
Maharshi shortly after. Why did he feel the need to do this?
Alan Jacobs: After
meeting Paramahansa Yogananda near San Diego, he told Robert that Sri Ramana
Maharshi was his guru. This impelled Robert to go to Arunachala, where he
gained complete moksha.
NDM: What else did Robert
gain from his time in India?
Alan Jacobs: After Sri
Ramana Maharshi died, Robert met the recognized sages Nisargadatta Maharaj,
Swami Ramdas and Anandamayi Ma. When I was staying with Robert in Sedona,
Papaji called him on the telephone to talk to him about the teaching.
According to David Godman,
Papaji was so impressed by Robert's material that he spent several weeks one
summer reading his transcripts out loud at his own satsangs.
NDM: What is the essence
of Robert's teaching and how should it be put into practice?
Alan Jacobs: The essence
of Robert's teaching is that of Sri Ramana Maharshi, his guru: Atma Vichara
(Self Enquiry) and Surrender. The masterly book, ‘Silence of the Heart’, as
well as his satsang transcripts, give this teaching immaculately.
NDM: Robert advocated
minimal publicity for his work. He shunned the media and believed that
anyone who courted attention as a nonduality teacher was essentially driven
by ego. (Robert's widow actively removes most of Robert's material from the
Internet.) Could you expand on that?
Alan Jacobs: Robert
shunned publicity because he said that he did not wish his satsangs to
become a circus like Papaji's.
NDM: What was Robert's
policy on charging for
Alan Jacobs: Robert never
charged for satsangs. If donations were voluntarily made, they were
private and never disclosed.
NDM: What was Robert's
policy on celibacy?
Alan Jacobs: Robert had
no policy on celibacy. Like Ramana, he believed that men and women were free
to marry. The real brahmacharya to him was abidance in Brahman, not
NDM: Robert married and
had two daughters many years after his 'enlightenment'. Why would a
feel the need to have a family (and sex, for that matter)?
Alan Jacobs: When asked
why he was married, Robert said, 'It just happened.’ Nothing else. One
accepts it was the Divine will for him. He was laid back about sex, as was
Ramana is reported to
have said, 'Get on with it but don't think about it.’ Ramana felt that if
this very strong desire was unfulfilled by some, it was more dangerous than
abstention. It was fantasizing that he strongly objected to, as did Robert.
Many devotees were happily married, living fulfilled lives.
NDM: Both Sri Ramana
Maharshi and Robert say that it is possible to realize the Self as a
householder, and yet many other nondual traditions infer that the
monastic/hermetic life is the only way. Could you expand on that?
Alan Jacobs: Both Robert
and Ramana felt that the monastic life was stultifying and did not recommend
it. They felt that the life of a householder was much more harmonious and
better in most respects.
NDM: What is Robert's legacy today?
Alan Jacobs: Robert's
legacy is that he has become the Guru of the West because his easy everyday
language appeals more to devotees than heavy translations by other Indian
END OF INTERVIEW