When I watch interviews on Conscious.tv and BatGap, I sometimes think there must be a thousand kinds of enlightenment.
But these two men, Ilie Cioara and Dada Gavand, are spiritual twins. Their teachings, their sadhanas, their writing styles, and their states are uncannily alike. When I read one, I am always reminded of the other.
I think both were in the same state as Ramana Maharshi: manonasa, the permanent loss of the ego, genuine Self-realization as that term was defined by Ramana.
I highly recommend the books that these two men wrote.
The sadhana that they followed and recommend is a certain kind of attention. Cioara writes:
Lucid and all-encompassing Attention is the only instrument needed…
Only complete perception, a polyangular intense watchfulness, can bring this about.
They mean the same thing. They mean that we should be conscious of all actions of the mind: thoughts, desires, fears, and so forth. Normally these actions are mostly unconscious; they are telling us to become conscious of them. When we fail to do this, they agree, our energy gets dissipated. Cioara writes:
For the restless thought, traveling towards the past or future,
Dissipates our energy — permanently and damaging.
This was an important experience: indulgence in thought dissipates the energy, whereas dissolving thought through watchfulness liberates the energy, augmenting its flow.
Here’s a longer quote from Cioara that describes the idea in more detail:
We encounter the movement of the mind with the flame of total Attention — requested by the aliveness of life in its continuous flow. Without the light and serenity provided by Attention, nothing can be understood in a real way.
In the light of Attention, any reaction of the mind (thought, image, fear, desire) — which functions chaotically, obsessively and dominates us — is instantly dissolved. In the psychological void that follows, a new mind appears, expanding into Infinity, as a state of Pure Consciousness, pure understanding as well as transformative action.
They agree that each person must discover this practice on his or her own. No books or teacher or theory can lead the way. Cioara writes:
No one will be able to give this to you. You can go to the four corners of the earth in search of holy lands; you can visit mountains and rivers, temples and churches, but nowhere will you find that spirit. It is not outside anywhere. This is not a gift or donation from anyone. You alone have to discover this into yourself. This is the only way…
The author cannot give you any help at all.
You will have to discover that by yourself. There is no theory. You have to make a beginning somewhere…
And just for fun, here’s a similar quote from Ramana:
As for reading books on Vedanta, you may go on reading any number of them. They can only tell you, ‘Realise the Self within you’. The Self cannot be found in books. You have to find it out for yourself, in yourself. (From Day by Day with Bhagavan, p. 1)
Nevertheless, I think their books are very helpful for understanding how to do the practice that they recommend.
They say that the rewards of this practice are immense. Cioara writes:
When it [the ego] is exposed, watched totally, as it really is,
Does it last? Does it keep moving? Attention dissolves it.
The permanent dissolution of the ego is manonasa, the defining characteristic of Self-realization of the kind that we associate with Ramana Maharshi. Here’s a longer quote from Gavand about this process:
When energy becomes sensitive, highly volatile and effervescent, it transcends the idea/emotion level of the mind. Mind becomes the mindless. This mindless energy is dynamic, virtuous and holy. It is pure and transparent to reflect the will and glory of the divine. With humility the energy becomes capable of meeting every moment and event of relationship intuitively, without the thought process of mind.
This sensitive and humble energy becomes free from all ideas, desires and rigid mechanical drives born out of the past. The cumulative effect of the whole past is the image of “I,” the mind which seeks the spirit. Elimination of this past is the freedom from the mind, who is the seeker. Thereafter all seeking comes to an end, as the seeker himself is dissolved.
The last part of the last sentence, “the seeker himself is dissolved,” is manonasa. Manonasa is Self-realization, the genuine Self-realization, the kind we associate with Ramana Maharshi.
The quotations in this post were taken from the following books:
Dada Gavand, Beyond the Mind
Dada Gavand, Intelligence Beyond Thought
Ilie Cioara, The Silence of the Mind