Just the other day, for the first time, I found myself interested in Franklin Jones. I found this book of his, “The Promised God-Man Is Here,” at the Bookwagon, down in the Ashland Shopping Center. It’s a big book, like a Michener novel, with a picture of a fat white man with his palms facing forward at chest level. He’s wearing a saffron robe on his upper body, his legs and knees are bare, his head is slightly back-tilted, and he seems to either be beaming spiritual energy at us, or keeping his distance. Since he’s sitting in the midst of an aura of wavy gold lines, I think beaming is intended to be conveyed. The purity of the subject addressed by the book is signaled by the white cover, associated in Tibetan iconography with pride, vajra, the north and the god realm.
The book is by “Carolyn Lee, Ph.D.,” one of the numerous female devotees who have cast themselves on the funeral pyre of Franklin’s love. Cause he’s a ramblin’ man, a complete unknown, a rollin’ stone, a rompin’ stompin’ heaping hunk of burnin’ love. That’s Franklin, Lord above, and as on earth so in heaven, and also at the seven-eleven. This man is bad! He is so bad he should be locked in a cage with Dr. Laura and Judge Judy, and forced to satisfy their unnatural lusts. Or required to share a lifeboat with Chogyam Trungpa, Krishnamurti, and Madonna for company, and a package of beef jerky and a bottle of Crown Royal to liven up the experience. Just imagine how many ways that could turn out.
Bubba Free John was Franklin’s moniker when first I heard of him, back in the days when “The Knee of Listening” was the kind of thing the older hippies worried about. I was only worried that I wasn’t getting enough time in the sack with sexy chicks, and serious religion, like serious politics, did not hold my attention. Now I find out that, for all of the religious overlay, his concerns were much like my own, but more grandiose. His recent outpourings indicate that he is now even more convinced of his eternal worth to humanity than he was back in the hippie era, but even then he knew he deserved more than the average guy. He made a career out of stealing women from gullible young hippies who could be buffaloed. The prettier the girls, the better, and Franklin established a system for getting the couple stoned and drunk, having his pals separate the guy from the chick, after which Franklin would seduce her and initiate her into Franklin-worship. Later on, Franklin’s assistants got a share of the flesh they helped bring to the altar.
Being ready to drop your drawers and get physical was very much a part of the Franklin scene. Going with his strengths, Franklin accumulated as many as nine official wives, a condition bound to incite envy in those of small experience. Franklin’s power over women gave him power over men, and the clique of seducers at the core of his gang gave him the macho support that brings women swooning.
Franklin cuckolded large numbers of men, who stood silent and helpless as their women shucked off their clothes and walked into bliss. The men, deprived of their testicles, couldn’t help but hang around. They could lessen the pain by pretending that God had taken their woman. If they pretended Franklin was divine, they could hang around and try to win back the love that had been whisked away from them. They might even get one of Franklin’s other castoff women.
On the other hand, if a woman had money, Franklin could always separate her from her man by tossing a new woman his way. Then, she would look to Franklin to heal the wound. Franklin could help her understand that the new relationship was also a good thing. She just needed to open her heart. Keeping her purse closed wasn’t helping. That’s the way it is in a religious community. You open up your heart, your purse, your legs. Wherever your treasure is, you share it.
This simple formula for a happy and successful cult has kept Franklin fed, stoned and caressed for around thirty years. In “The Promised God-Man Is Here” he has again recorded and revised the history of his achievements for posterity, laying out a feast for his devotees. If you are not a believer, this book is unlikely to make you one, but it can still be enjoyed as a study in psychopathology, in which the true character of the patient’s delusion is gradually revealed by the steady accumulation of character details.
Never content with one name where an evolving string of them will do, this avatar has morphed from Franklin Jones to Bubba Free John to Da Love-Ananda, to Da, Adi-Da, and now is presented as Ruchira Avatar Adi Da Samraj. Rarely able to reside in one place for more than a few years, Franklin has up and left his faithless pseudo-disciples in a huff on numerous occasions. Of course, some say he fled Marin County in order to avoid more heat arising out of lawsuits against him by abused students, but I think he just gets in a snit. There is pace and staging to Franklin’s inner freak show. He manages to keep his devotees on pins and needles about his dreams, his heart palpitations, his swoons, his depressions, his crying jags, his decaying health, his mission to save the world. They fear his judgments, the cruel accusations leveled against them when he says that his devotees are undermining his mission by failing to generate devotion, cash, contacts, the things a messiah needs. How can you save a world that doesn’t want to be saved? The things a guru has to do with his own hands! Are we out of Valium again?!
Yes, he confronts them about it! The slacking, the fake devotion, the heel-dragging, the complete lack of concern for the fact that there are FOUR BILLION PEOPLE on the earth who DON’T KNOW DA! They are WAITING! This is the INCARNATION THEY HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR, and DA’S DISCIPLES ARE SLACKING! Back in the mid-eighties, when they first moved to Fiji, Franklin told them, he would MAKE HIS MOVE! Well, he did! But did they? Nooooooo. They just sat there with their simpy devoted faces and LET HIM DOWN!
It’s true. Da is God. He is the baby God. Sitting in a diaper full of shit, screaming for somebody to wipe his butt. Waving his rattle-sceptre, screaming for food, comfort, adulation. Please adore him to shut him up. We can do it in shifts until he dies. That’s the task his devotees face.