Lack of awareness is taking the transient for the eternal, the impure for the pure, the painful as pleasurable and the non-self for the self.
Egoism is the identification of the seer with the seen.
Attraction, and through it, attachment, is towards anything that brings pleasure.
Repulsion is from anything that causes pain.
What is avidya? The word means ignorance, but avidya is not ordinary ignorance. It has to be understood deeply. Ignorance is lack of knowledge. Avidya is not lack of knowledge but lack of awareness. Ignorance can be dissolved very easily; you can acquire knowledge. It is only a question of training the memory. Knowledge is mechanical; no awareness is needed. It is as mechanical as ordinary ignorance. Avidya is lack of awareness. One has to move towards more and more consciousness, not towards more and more knowledge. Only then can avidya be dissolved.
Avidya is what Gurdjieff used to call “the spiritual sleep.” Man moves, lives, dies, not knowing why he was alive, not knowing from where he was coming, not knowing where he was moving, for what. Gurdjieff calls it sleep, Patanjali calls it avidya: they mean the same thing. You don’t know why you are. You don’t know the purpose of your being here in this world, in this body, in these experiences. You do many things without knowing why you are doing them, without knowing that you are doing them, without knowing that you are the doer. Everything moves as if in a deep sleep. Avidya, if I am to translate it for you, will mean hypnosis.
Man lives in a deep hypnosis. I have been working on hypnosis, because that is the only way to bring man out of hypnosis, to understand it. All awakening is a sort of de-hypnotization, so the process of hypnosis has to be understood very, very clearly. Only then can you move out of it. A disease has to be understood, diagnosed; only then can it be treated. Hypnosis is the disease of man, and de-hypnosis will be the way.