“Avatar Adi Da” died on November 27. This controversial American-born guru was known by various names over the years, including Bubba Free John, Da Free John, and the Da Avatar. On Adi Da’s website, “avatar” is defined as “One who is descended or ‘crossed down' from and as the Divine. It is a Sanskrit word for the Divine Incarnation.” The site offers explanations for Adi Da’s various names.
Ken Wilber, the well-known proponent of Integral philosophy and a controversial teacher in his own right, endorsed Adi Da’s philosophy, which is significant, because as a thinker of advanced intellect Wilber has a definite influence in some circles. However, Wilber admitted that things were “problematic” with Adi Da, as he explained in a 1996 essay.
There’s an interesting recent critique of Adi Da’s philosophy at Integral World, “an independent public forum for critical reflection on Ken Wilber's integral philosophy.”
Incidentally, since I was Ken Wilber’s editor at Shambhala Publications for many years, people have often asked me whether Ken knows about Meher Baba or what he thinks about Baba. As admirers of Wilber’s work (because it seeks to bring together the common elements of all the spiritual traditions as well as modern science), they hope that he would in turn endorse Meher Baba. Certainly Ken has read Baba — this guy consumes books like God Speaks for a snack — and he coauthored a book with two Baba-lovers, Spiritual Choices (however, Ken once indicated to me that he was not happy with that book, which probably meant that he didn’t agree with his coauthors on key points). Ken cited Meher Baba in one or two of his earlier books, but Ken has his own Theory of Everything that isn’t necessarily supported by Meher Baba’s, so I don't see him acknowledging Baba's authority.
I never asked Ken directly about his views of Meher Baba, because I didn’t want our potential differences to get in the way of the cordial professional relationship that we enjoyed, but my sense was that Ken respects Meher Baba but has signficant differences with Baba’s cosmology. I think it’s clear he doesn’t accept Baba’s claim to being Avatar, or even Baba’s concept of Avatar.
Returning to Adi Da, we know that Meher Baba cautioned about the proliferation of false saints and prophets and the dangers of hypocrisy (pretending to be spiritually advanced and allowing people to revere oneself). Adi Da might be a candidate for false prophet — yet predictably, he had a similar attitude toward Meher Baba, regarding him as just one of many claimants to avatar status. An essay about Meher Baba written by Adi Da is online here.