Sometime in the early 90’s, my friend Santap moved to Boulder and after settling in made arrangements to bring a teacher that he had spent some time with in California to town, Dada Gavand. He was sponsoring his visit and Dada would be staying with Santap up in his mountain home. Dada’s visit was coinciding with my own inward turn and interest in self- inquiry as a spiritual practice. I read his books and very much appreciated his keen insight. It was prodding me in.
Santap needed some help with the organizing and I was very happy to assist. Dada primarily teaches through one on one interviews but he did do a few public talks. Santap spread the word of Dada’s upcoming visit and organized a list of interested people for the interviews. Together we set up an event for a public talk.
Dada did not enjoy the cold. He was arriving from somewhere warm but was going to be staying in the Rockies at about 9,000 feet in the fall. Amido and I offered to host Dada down in town if he wanted, but he liked to stay with people he knew.
My interview with Dada was very helpful for me. Up to that point I was still thinking of “going inside” as a journey, as a movement through some imaginary inner space. I don’t remember the exact words that were said but there was shift and I understood for the first time that “going inside means not going at all.” This was a major insight. Dada recognized that a shift had happened and later suggested to Santap that he would like to spend half of his time down in Boulder with us at our house.
It was a complete joy to be with him in the house even at the ninety degrees requested temperature. One thing that I found interesting was that we would be just chatting around the dinner table and some kind of a shift would happen. The atmosphere would change and there would be a palpable presence of silence. He would then speak as the spiritual teacher and his speaking mannerisms would alter. He also often used the first person plural and said “we” in those moments.
His story is quite unique. He had been part of the Theosophical Society and had known U.G. Krishnamurti before either one of them had their transformational experiences. They met up after those experiences and it was at the urging and even help of U.G. that Dada set off for the States. Dada had also spent time with Meher Baba and quite a bit of time with J. Krishnamurti.
His teaching has the directness of Krishnamurti combined with the heart of being of Meher Baba. The following is from his book Towards the Unknown, beginning on page 57:
The imaginative and fragmentary mind
Can never discover
That dynamic, effervescent energy
Of eternal, timeless quality.
The mind is the product of time.
Whereas Godhood is timeless divine.
The dead past cannot contact
The living present.
Time cannot contact the timeless.
Shadow cannot contact light.
Contracted polarity cannot contact enormity.
He continues on page 62:
At the cost of your own life force
The mind is misusing energy,
Scattering it everywhere
In a very clever and subtle way,
In petty little pursuits
And self-intoxicating drives.
And page 63:
By close and alert watching
Of all the movements of body and mind,
You will discover that
The constant ripples of thought
On our life energy
Are the cause of disquiet.
He concludes with page 68:
You cannot meet God through the mind,
Nor experience the timeless through time.
Thought cannot meet the omniscient.
The eternal cannot touch the transient.
Only with freedom from thought
And from mental cravings and ambitions
Does the energy become
Whole, tranquil and pure.
Such inner purity and humility
Will invite the hidden divinity.
The pure consolidated energy,
With its silence and fullness within,
Awaits in readiness to meet the divine,
To experience that which is beyond the mind.
There across the region of time,
Beyond the frontiers of the mind,
Within the sanctuary of silence
Resides the supreme intelligence,
Your Lord, the timeless divine.
At the end of his stay Santap and I took Dada to the airport. I was, of course sad to see him go, such a sweet friendliness had surrounded us. We said goodbye and Dada boarded the plane with his carry-on, he believed in carrying his own baggage even in his late 70’s.
A few years later, after Amido and I had moved from Boulder to Crestone we talked to Dada on the phone with the idea of bringing him there but it wasn’t to be. And in 2007, while traveling in India we emailed the contact person for him in India, thinking perhaps we would visit but he was in silence and not accepting visitors. The last I heard he was still living in Yeoor, near Thane, Maharashtra.
Thank you Dadaji.
There is a website maintained for Dada at: http://mysticdada.org/cms/?q=index.htm
To see more from Dada look here.