How Dada Gavand Woke Up

Very edited extracts from a longer piece on

One needs a fresh, intuitive consciousness to meet Life – not second- hand ideas based on memory, on the past.One has to wait within in silence, in the state of innocence and anonymity. The mind activity has to remain absolutely quiet without the interference of thought. Such a silent state of thought-less-ness and not-knowing alone invites something of a higher dimension to give the experience of that which is Timeless.

~ Dada Gavand

Anyway, I don’t know much about this guy but I read his story and I think it is interesting. Okay, it is a bit long still, but for those who might be wondering and needing some inspiration I think it is worthwhile. I find it clear.

Paul Davis



I came across a small hut consisting of just one empty room about 7 × 9 feet in size, with a small door and tiny window. Somehow I felt attracted to it and the surrounding area. No one lived nearby. It was quite a distance away from the temple with all its noise and people.

I intended to stand back and observe my thoughts, desires and emotions with a view to understanding my true nature. For that I wanted a totally quiet place.

I made a make-shift stove or ‘chulah’ using three stones. Dry twigs were available in plenty around the but and served as fire wood. I cooked my rice early in the morning, ate half of it then and saved the other half for the evening. That left me with the whole day to be with myself. There was nothing for me to read, no prayers to chant, and nothing to keep me occupied. I had seen the limitation and thus the futility of all that.

To live with nothing to keep my mind occupied and nothing special to attract me was at first very difficult. It required intense watchfulness to keep my inwardness and not be active outwardly. I had to be alertly aware most of the time, so that it would not be easy for the thought-mind to indulge in its usual ways. Only when my concentration lapsed and I became a bit more dull would the thoughts, desires and emotions find their easy way in. Looking into myself every moment, discovering all the subtle wanderings of the mind, became my way of living.

Several thoughts and memories stormed my mind.

At times I cried intensely, with tears streaming down.

I saw the thought process going on actively and constantly, regardless of the actual situation!

I saw that beyond these obvious thoughts some other subtle, hidden emotions and attachments at deeper levels were also present. As they came one by one I witnessed them attentively. I observed that the mind is not one homogeneous unit, but a rather fragmented bunch with many different levels of thoughts and emotions. Many underlying feelings and subterranean currents were seeking conscious recognition.

Gradually, I started making contact with the submerged layers, which had been unknown to me until then. It became a hard task of perseverance and patience to see those deeper, unknown layers.

Now I had no goal in view, and I did not even think about God, Heaven, Spirit or the other-dimensional energy mentioned by many mystics. The challenge became my own self, me, the mind.

Awareness is just that: to watch with objective attention and to sense oneself within and without. One has to watch impersonally, without trying to alter anything and without words or thoughts. One has to see things as they are, without any bias or reaction, hopes or fears.

In the beginning, one’s watching is fragmented, as one part of the mind watches another. However, gradually, with increased sensitivity and alertness, one steps out of the field of thought and watches with one’s whole being.

Thus began my game of observing aloofly and understanding honestly and frankly, the wonder of the uncharted territory of mind. I could not lean on anyone or ask questions. With no books to guide me, no prayers to satisfy me, no chants to lull me, and no activities to escape into, I faced only my complex mind — the totality of the internal psychological structure — directly and squarely at every moment.

I had no guide or point of reference, no way to find the right approach or to set a definite goal, with no instructor or plan. The only thing I knew was that my old way of living was too mundane and superficial and no longer held any meaning for me. It was over and finished. But I felt unsure about what would come next, how I would live and act. No interest remained in any ideology or theology, as I understood these to be wishful, intellectual dogmas. I saw the limitations of philosophy and religion, and such theories held no fascination. I had no attachment to any ancient doctrine, teacher or tradition. With no newspaper or radio available, I lived free from all those influences.

My mind had lost its impulse to create hope, as the fictitious nature of thought began to unfold. All the escapist flights of my mind were seeing their own futility.

I had to face whatever happened at every moment. This brought a state of acceptance. With clarity of perception, I accepted every situation as it came along, and did not put up any struggle. The desiring mind began to slow down and hesitatingly came to its end.

I began to feel intense aloneness. In fact it took enormous courage and vigilance to live alone, with no escape from looking at oneself, facing what is. Finally one has to accept oneself as whatever one is.

Gradually, I began to sense a new intensity, a fresh surge of vibrancy without thought. I felt openness, a kind of quietude and space, but not like a deadness or void. The absence of thought/idea activity is not the negation of energy. Rather, it is only the elimination of thought as the dominant and compulsive drive.

Although I had willingly and purposefully left them, some part of me remained attached to my family. I remembered and thought very much about my mother and brother, wondering how the family would fare without me. I got worried that my mother might become extremely unhappy over my leaving home, that she might suffer emotionally as a result.

I recognized a subtle fear lurking behind these hidden thoughts and projections.

When I went to that solitary mountain place, I suddenly became alone. There in that total aloneness I began to see fears coming out of somewhere in me.

But I saw that all of this came from some hidden part of my own mind. The fear and its source were hiding inside my own self, whereas nothing fearful actually existed outside in reality.

In that confrontation with my mind I began to watch myself piercingly like a hawk. That watching of fear and all the other movements of subtle thoughts became my main occupation. In solitude I faced and watched everything in myself to understand the working and content of my internal apparatus. I had to unearth and understand all the hidden aspects of a self that had never been known to me before.

Along with the thoughts of fear, sex also became an important issue. Sexual thoughts and urges began to show up slowly. These, too, I had to face, watch and know There was no scope for acting on them. I finally reached a point where these thoughts became very strong, obsessive and nagging.

I had to keep myself alert and acutely aware to see it all at every moment. I was surprised to see how the mind continuously creates these strong images and desires entirely on its own.

All of this I just dispassionately watched. I observed that these unnecessary, mundane and sundry thoughts and emotions emerged on their own, having their own complex play, independent of reality.

Usually, in regular life, whenever there is any idea, any emotion, any urge, any movement of thought, we act on it. We take it to be factual, with its own logic and validity. Yet I realized that whatever my mind may generate, think or imagine may not be at all real.

All the turbulent content stuffed deep inside started coming out. I tried to watch everything objectively and face it without any distraction or escape. Of course the first impulse was to leave the but and go elsewhere to be free of this internal chaos

But if I had gone there amidst other people, I would not have been alone or able to face myself squarely and totally. The urgency of not letting the mind start to play its subtle games and tricks now became an overriding necessity. Was something in me trying to induce me to give up? I simply had to understand the domineering mind and its ceaseless thrust and movement of thought. This required a confrontation with the totality of my psychological structure.

This went on for a long time. Turmoil racked my entire mind, causing me many sleepless nights. The surface network of thoughts and actions had been broken up, and no stable layers of the mind remained. Everything was in flux and constant turmoil like boiling water.

In any psychological element such as fear, one fear is linked with other fears. If you are open to one fear and watch it impersonally with total attention, and without acting upon it, then all related fears, including the subconscious ones, will come to the surface, even as the watcher or the ‘I’ goes into abeyance. You will then see the whole of fear, which is by then delinked from the object or event which triggered it.

‘Divide and rule’ is a cunning technique of the mind, which donates and uses this energy by splitting it into different levels and compartments. Such fragmentation imposes a limitation upon this energy. The mind perpetuates itself very cleverly and effectively through such exclusionary actions, working with one fragment, one idea at a time, in quick succession and in an endless chain. But in this subtle way it never allows you to see its own working in its entirety and in one sweep at a given moment. I clearly witnessed the limited and fragmentary nature of the mind in its naked reality.

At times it became too much for me to sustain the impact of this intense state on the body and brain. Then I would go out for a walk, relax, look at the sky, scan the limitless horizon, feel the beauty of nature around — all without thought. The important thing was that I never lapsed into any escapes.

The first change I saw was how my whole mind started operating freely, and how there were no compartments working in isolation. Because the mind energy was no longer driven into channels by thought, the whole mind field became more vibrant and cohesive.

Ego works with only one idea at a time and moves in one exclusive direction. It cannot work as a whole. It is not at all a cohesive unit and never utilizes the entire energy of the mind field.

Usually, the thought-action-reaction chain is the only internal process we know. This chain of ceaseless thoughts creates its own ‘logic’, its own illusion of cohesiveness. Our duties, commitments, and wishful pursuits based on thoughts all create a pattern for our life. That pattern and its fulfillment create unending interests, desires and actions. This becomes our operating system, which continues intact until death.

Now, I was not acting on any thought, idea, memory or emotion that entered my mind. Because thoughts were separated from action, my mind, the ego, lost the capacity to generate its own logic. This loss of ego-driven activity — the mind’s logic — had quite an effect. Disrupting the pattern, subduing and arresting the thrust of thought, had disturbed the ego-mind greatly. Now my ego was actually fighting for its very survival.

With this experience of the disarray of the ego, I started feeling a kind of inner vibrancy. I sensed a new motion or flow not at all like my usual mind activity. My mind and brain began to feel an expanded awareness with nothing hidden within.

The intensity of this vibrant state used to affect my brain and head and make me tired, at times leaving me almost exhausted. That kind of vigorous activity sometimes overwhelmed me. I saw that the nervous system and brain are not used to handling or sustaining the vibrancy of that total experience. When it became too much, I would relax, let go for a while and sit quietly, or go out for a walk along the rim of the mountain.

This gave me a fresh capacity to look within, and my watchfulness and alertness grew even more intense. Multiangular attention became much deeper to discover all those inadvertent movements of subtle thought/emotional drives, which the sex impulse is. I watched that enticing subtle thought activity within me, how it starts and slowly develops. I saw that sex is nothing but an idea, a fanciful imagining that starts building and shaping itself. When it becomes focused, strong and vivid, it acts upon the body, influencing the nerves and glandular system.

To catch a dog one has to move faster than the dog. To arrest this subtle movement of thought/emotion, one has to reach the highest degree of sensitivity and watchful alertness.

I became eager to find out if one can dissolve all thoughts that create longing and demand action. With wonderment and curiosity I started to look into myself, questioning if one can actually stop the flow of thought entirely!

I saw that in that sharpened state of polyangular watchfulness, thought does get dissolved. It no longer continues. Then only the pure watchfulness, and state of heightened energy within remain.

Indulgence in thought dissipates the energy, whereas dissolving thought through watchfulness liberates the energy, augmenting its flow.

Some thoughts like sex, fear and anger have more energy locked in them than others. Dissolution of even a single dominant thought could augment and enrich my energy reserves, thereby enabling me to arrest the thrust of subsequent thoughts.

The second understanding was that the very attempt to maintain aloofness while watching a problem is itself problematic.

The crucial question then, is whether it is possible to be completely free of the spell of the mind while inquiring into a problem and trying to find its solution.

When one is not in the grip of thought but intensely alert about the issue as a whole, that heightened alertness itself becomes a powerful energy-field. In that state of pulsating sensitivity, both the thinker and the thought, the problem maker and the problem vanish magically. This is the creative act of the mysterious Unknown. Indeed, the vibrant state of attentive alertness is an invitation to the spirit of the Unknown — a magic key to open the door for the Timeless to come in.

After taking the full challenge of the sex drive, and experiencing the disintegration of that thought-induced sex urge, the idea of sex just vanished for quite some time, giving me a deep sense of relief. Prior to this time, that idea had been creating intoxicating pictures and images, which incessantly occupied my mind.

Then came upon me a flood of sensitivity, with a previously unknown intensity. This surge was released from somewhere within me. Energy which had been caught up and used by the emotional drive of thought was no longer kept bound. This generated heightened sensitivity and a feeling of wonder at how this had happened. I found that my awareness and attention into myself became much deeper and more profound. With this intense awareness I could see more dispassionately many other thought-related issues, including fear and grief. This increased awareness brought me a new clarity which gave sobriety, depth and balance to my perception. It introduced a state of objectivity, detachment and aloofness.

(At this point Dada describes a very vivid Fear experience that arose for him. It is on page 4..too long to include here, but VERY interesting.)

Although heightened sensitivity is an important asset, it can become a liability if the intensity of objective awareness and detachment diminishes. One needs to have a very acute awareness in order to catch the inadvertent slip into emotionality. The challenge is to maintain this heightened sensitivity while allowing the hidden emotional levels to surface freely but without being carried away by them.

I saw how an idea stimulates another mental movement or reaction which we call emotion, and then begins to glorify it in the name of something acceptable like love. For the first time, I saw that these surges of emotions and sentiments are just another kind of thought.

Such thought-induced reaction then stimulates the glands and nervous system, which in turn affects other areas of the physical body. We then experience it physically, having actual tears, which give it the feel of reality. I saw that the mind produces this effect, playing with it, and glorifying these thoughts, safely labeling them as love or whatever else. I watched this process start, build up, and go on with its own momentum. Then this whole emotional play would recede, leaving me very sensitive and inwardly alone.

(Later Dada began to experience extreme sorrow unrelated to thought…)

This was a total experience of the sorrow of life. The personal or causal emotions of ‘my’ sadness no longer remained. I faced the totality of sorrow, deep and well-hidden within. I had not been aware of this huge accumulated reservoir. It was not the memory of a personal suffering which would have a specific cause, but rather the sorrow of being human, an unknown accumulation of pain, both my own and that of the whole of humanity. This had been kept hidden below around the root of my personality, in the depths of my individuality. Like fear, this pure, elemental sorrow had been suppressed and kept deep below the surface.

In the beginning, when I felt that incredible, deep sorrow, it intimidated me completely and made me fearful. But facing and sensing this fear fully, in its totality, without thoughts or escapes, gave a new magnitude of intensity to my awareness. Watchfulness — this all-around attention into myself of what was before me and within — brought about a state of totality of being, an attentiveness without attachment, plus freedom from all ideas, thoughts or dreams. Only complete perception, a polyangular intense watchfulness, can bring this about. This was a prelude to experiencing the wholeness of life.

Basically, we never face any issue in its totality. It is necessary to face ourselves openly, to see all the parts, to experience the problem in its entirety. To see all of it, inside and out at the same time, is to end it. This is the key.

Now I began to see the exclusionary role of thought/idea, which gets eliminated in the chasm of total awareness. Weeping became a total experience, an in-depth fact of life. It brought about an increased depth of awareness. That weeping and the resulting psychological tenderness free from thought brought about a sense of wholeness and integration. I saw that the whole of my self became tender and sensitive, acutely alert and attentive.

I did not try to find out or analyze the cause of any of these emotions, fears, or urges of the mind’s wanderings. Instead I allowed this ego-mind to come out in its full flood, in its naked passion and expression, so that its whole picture could be seen, the entire content observed. In this dispassionate observation, the momentum of the thought process slowed down. Its intensity just diminished

During this time I did not indulge in any intellectual, analytical or logical thought/mind activity or react in any way. I did not label the thoughts good or bad, or feel either sorry or happy. I did not look for explanations, nor did I judge or cling to any particular memories.

I totally accepted whatever went on in my mind, without a desire to change anything. This internal watching and accepting became my way of living. My entire world was what was happening in this little hut, and I was in touch with that world with the whole of my being.

I began to remain fully in my own energy field without any interference by my own mind. Thought activity started dissipating and losing its grip. Endurance and tolerance became my way of life. I saw that the intensity of this highly charged sensitivity — the energy free from thought — was becoming very obvious and strong within me. I watched, felt and objectively observed everything happening inside.

What a wonderful experience to be in this state, to see how the mind as an entity slowly lost its capacity to assert itself over the energy! Surprisingly I was witnessing a new momentum of pure tranquil energy quietly and mysteriously flowing within.

Then this energy field itself took charge of my life.

My path and my journey consisted of totally facing myself and passing through the unknown. As this inner pilgrimage continued, one day the mystery of life suddenly and unexpectedly struck like a lightning bolt!

Around noon, I cooked my rice as usual and put out the wood fire. Although the rice was ready, I decided to wait a few minutes for it to cool before eating. I drew back a little and sat casually on my mat, with my mind completely at rest.

Suddenly, in that quiet and inadvertent moment, totally unanticipated, a mysterious action struck.

Something inside me literally exploded, giving me the shock of my life.

In a split second a fountain of unknown energy sprang forth from within. This surprising energy flow was of a truly new kind, different from anything I had ever sensed or experienced before. It felt soft, sensitive, joyful and dynamic yet peaceful. It filled me with profound reverence, deep awe and love. Such a mystical and powerful explosion in my inner domain was a miraculous event.

This explosion affected and transformed my entire personality. In this dramatic breakthrough in consciousness, the whole crystallized structure of the ego/mind got literally shattered. This opened up an energy flow of a totally new kind. No mind — no thinker or I — remained while this was happening. A dynamic, intuitive state came into existence, where the past in the form of memories and the future in the form of desires were not there. This brought in a flow of total now-ness.

Eventually, the upsurge of ecstasy subsided, but thought activity was still entirely absent, not even lurking in the corners to come creeping in stealthily. Instead, I experienced profound quietude. The flow of this fountain of new energy slowly diminished, leaving behind deep feelings of humility and reverence. For the first time I vividly experienced a totally serene state in my whole being. I sat down on the floor and immediately became engrossed in an intense inwardness with profound silence.

From this point onward my meditation took a different form. It became a play of this new internal energy. I could sense only the flow, a glow within, of this new energy moving quietly. A momentum of twinkling energy, this fountain of intuitive flow initiated the beginning of a totally new life experience.


When all wanderings and searchings came to an end

Mind realized there is nowhere for him to go.

I sat then alone, in utter humility and anonymity

Oh, then you came to visit me uninvited!



Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

Posted in Uncategorized, Yoga

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