Friday, July 25, 2014

Dada Gavand - Solitary pilgrim

Dattaram Madhavrao Gavand was born in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1917. The eldest child of his parents, he came to be called Dada or elder brother.

Early in his life, he heeded a compelling inner urge for spiritual understanding. On account of his father’s untimely demise, he inherited the family business at the young age of 18. He ran the business very successfully but became disillusioned with the exclusive nature and binding effect of wealth, prestige and comfort. He saw the dehumanizing effect of commercial culture and also the limitation of tradition. He saw marriage as a glorified trap. Hence he chose not to marry and at the age of 38, after carrying out his family responsibilities of getting his 5 sisters and only brother married and settled, he went off by himself, in search of the true significance of life. He read the work of Theosophists like Madame Blavatsky and Annie Bessant. He also personally met J. Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi and the Mother of Pondicherry.

After some years of wandering, and many times of trial and testing, Dada finally realized to his amazement that the search was indeed totally within. Hence, in the year 1955 he left his cozy home, went far away from Mumbai to Mount Sajjangad, stayed in a tiny hut there and began an inquiry unto himself.

His Awakening

By being with himself in watchful attention, Dada faced himself totally. Without following any prescribed discipline, he saw the activity of his own mind very aloofly, and questioned the projections and workings of the entire mechanism of mind. 

In Dada’s own words, “I had to be with myself wholly in order to face myself. I was confronted with the play of ceaseless and countless thought–desires. By watching the drama of thought-mind, without getting involved in it or carried away by it, I began to understand the whole content of myself. 

“As I was observing the play of my mind, I suddenly realized that the established pattern of thought-emotion was disturbed, and the whole mind-structure was in turmoil. There were no layers, no orderly arranged movements of thought any more. Intellect and logic lost their validity, and the consciousness was in flux. Everything was in intense motion, like boiling water. 

“The ego itself became highly disturbed, agitated and sensitive. I came face-to-face with fear. I had to sense that fear fully and stay with it without reacting to it. With this challenge, my watchfulness and alertness grew much deeper, keeping me in the moment of the present, creating room — a space in my inner being — to absorb the thrust of thought. This was a prelude to change – a jump.” 

Such a jump, beyond the mind, appears to be a totally unpredictable and unexpected occurrence. As Dada describes, “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.” 

With this change in Dada’s life came a tranquility, joy and understanding never known to him before. Moreover, his creativity increased manyfold and he began to compose poetry. Thereafter, he continued his inner journey, staying in semi-solitude for 19 years in a small cottage in Mahableshwar. 


Intense longing of many years
And revolt of spirit has brought me here.
In scorching sun and gusty wind,
I climbed the mount to reach your door.
Alone, determined, devoted one.
With bleeding heart and battered soul.
Lifting heavy steps one by one,
To meet the mysterious, the unknown One.

 •*¨`*•.༺   ૐ   ༻ .•*¨`*•

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