Sometime in the early 90’s, my friend Santap moved to Boulder, Colorado, and after settling in, made arrangements to bring Dada Gavand, a teacher that he had spent some time with in California, to town. He was sponsoring the visit and Dada would be staying with Santap in his mountain home. Dada’s visit coincided 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. They were prodding me in.
Santap needed some help with the organizing and I was happy to assist. Dada primarily taught 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 a public talk.
Dada did not enjoy the cold. He arrived 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.
Amido and I had an interview together, and this meeting 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 a 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 in Boulder with us.
It was a complete joy to be with him in the house even at the requested ninety-degree temperature. One thing I found interesting was that we would be sitting and chatting around the dinner table and suddenly some kind of shift would happen. The atmosphere would change and there would be a palpable silence. It was almost as if a presence had descended, or the entire room had been lifted to a higher dimension, and he would then speak as the spiritual teacher. Even his speaking mannerisms would alter. He began to use the first-person plural and say “we” rather than “I” in those moments.
Dada’s story is quite unique. He had been part of the Theosophical Society and known U.G. Krishnamurti before either one of them experienced their transformations. 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 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, Colorado, 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 his contact person, thinking perhaps we would visit, but he was in silence and not accepting visitors. Dada left his body in 2012. Thank you Dadaji.
This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Order the book Here.
There is a website maintained for Dada at mysticdada.org.
To see more from Dada look here.