114. Igor Kufayev

Igor KufayevIgor Anvar Kufayev was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In his childhood he had many experiences associated with awakening. An artist by nature he studied philosophy, theology, aesthetics and sacred geometry. In his late twenties, faced with crisis brought by personal traumas, he was trampolined into the higher level of awareness. Initiated into meditation in a dream, Igor immersed himself into the practice of yoga. A year later he learned Transcendental Meditation and practiced it diligently for several years.

Biographical details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Kufayev

At the age of thirty-six Igor underwent a radical transformation of consciousness which subsequently blossomed into spontaneous unfoldment of Grace. For the next five years he continued long hours of meditation, integrating expanded state of awareness throughout his daily activities. Around that time he began sharing his insights with those who were attracted by the energy emanating in his presence.

Igor points out that awakening takes place in the body on a cellular level and it is the body, with its nervous system, that acts as a support for individual consciousness to mature into full Enlightenment. It could be said that his methods are rooted in Tantra, having studied such diverse traditions as Vedanta, Tantra, Sufi and Zen for many years he remains elusive to categorization. Saying that: ”Abiding in a state of spontaneous absorption transcends the boundaries of any given truth based on intellectual grasp of ultimate reality…”.

He emphasizes the biological nature of self-realization and sees the process as progressive purification of Prana. For vital force directs and orchestrates all movements in the body, and all cognitive processes are linked to the electric current of which Prana is a conduit.

Igor’s style of teaching is based on spontaneous and intuitive insight which allows him to empathize with uniqueness of each individual conditioning. He embraces life in its most terrifying contrasts through direct experiences of Love, Life and Death, if only to appreciate more fully the predicament of human condition.

He lives with his partner, Emma Devi and their two small children, Ramana and Keahnu. He looks after his mother who struggles with dementia, while the family is (currently) based in Costa Rica. Igor continues working with those who require guidance, sharing his time between family duties and editing his 10 year correspondence into a book under the title, ‘Letter to a Siddha’.

Igor’s spiritual name is ‘Vamadeva’ (Sanskrit), meaning – preserving aspect of Shiva in his peaceful, graceful and poetic form.

Recently uploaded podcasts:

Other BatGap events with Igor:

Interview recorded 3/10/2012

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

118 thoughts on “114. Igor Kufayev

  1. Gregg Braden on consciousness … comments on electromagnetic fields of heart & brain… and the Maharishi Effect… influencing the electromagnetic field of world…

    if time… perhaps Vamadeva can comment on these… and also how group chanting of Vedic hymns in Sanskrit … & singing of Bhajans… can have similar beneficial effects… on the collective consciousness of whole world…

    finally … perhaps a comment… how current science is simply confirming the wisdom of the ancient sages…


  2. You could say that again, Snow! Only Rick knows what I went through to get the ‘right’ headset for the interview. Costa Rica is perhaps one of the most biologically diverse countries, yet that does not cover diversity in basic equipment 🙂

    Yes, that was the sound of a giant cicada, size of a sparrow. Mind you, I prefer the noisy one’s to the silent crawlies of all sorts…

  3. Anatol – I’m smiling as I type… Not only our posts almost coincided (2 min gap), but the video you’ve posted is the one Emma (my partner) and I have watched just a day ago.

    Of course I’m aware of Gregg Braden, and the message he carries throughout the world as a mission. I’ll be happy to discuss it later on (when our kids are in bed) 🙂

  4. Here is another (audio) version of the interview, with Gregg Braden, which covers the same theme with even greater insights, than the video:

    Anatol – the topics you’ve suggested to comment on have been a part of a constant theme of my discourses for the past 4 to 5 years.

    All these deeply resonates with me – or to put it more precisely – in my heart. Few written words may not give it enough justice, but I’d be happy to talk about it with Rick if conversation veers that way. And I believe it will, sense we will focus on the Energetic property of Consciousness.

  5. Heat Seeker – profound questions, will respond later on.

    Snow – thanks for the link, I’ll reply to both here and on Youtube.

  6. Heat Seeker – your questions could well serve as a summary of the entire theme for the 2-nd talk with Rick here. I’d happily give it a go in sharing my understanding on the topics raised, yet only with suggestive touches so as to leave it for a more in depth discussion at an appointed moment.

    You wrote:

    ” I wanted to ask your views on the relation (if any) between the kundalini tradition and advaita. For example, must certain physiological changes take place, as effected by shakti, in order for non-dual Knowing to awaken?”

    [The knowledge of] Kundalini has always been a highly guarded secret, not only on the Indian subcontinent, but in any tradition which ‘utilized’ the Energy as the shortcut to the transformation of Consciousness.

    The reasons for that were many, but two are primary. Firstly, the knowledge deemed to be sacred and imbibed with occult powers which only few meant to embody. (Hierarchical structure of priests who kept strict control over the initiation rights was intact in all ancient civilizations and tribal societies.)

    Secondly, to assure the safety of the ‘nuclear explosion’, an exceptional attention to the subtlety of the process required and was passed from heart to heart, often ‘under the tables’ within many given traditions. Spoken of in highly metaphorical language was one of the reasons [Kundaliini] was not ‘officially’ known in well established traditions where the custodians guarded the inner essence. (As an example, the story of ‘the Chalice’ and the Holy Grail.)

    The relationship between the Advaita [or Vedanata in general], could only be recognized in the light of personal experiences which is the only key for decoding the hidden messages of such scriptures as Rig Veda (for example).

    That said one would not find the word [Kundalini] before the common era, for the term appeared with the ‘arrival’ of Tantra circa 4th century. It is because the term was known [to very few] as something else. It was known as – Vac.

    The whole late-motive of Rig Veda is a versed allegory of the arousal and the ascend of Consciousness to the abode where one could drink ‘Soma Pavomana’ – the nectar of immortality. ‘Filtering Soma to satisfy the deities’ – is the rekindling of the pineal gland which cannot happen unless ”physiology undergoes” the ascend of Shakti.

    Vac or Para-Vac is mentioned over and over in some of the most ancient hindu scriptures and is referred to as Primordial Vibration – the Word (in gnosticism).
    As far as I know, all hindu scriptures are elaborate expressions of deeply internal processes and the non-dualist scriptures deal with the final stages of merging of ma

    ”… must certain physiological changes take place, as effected by shakti, in order for non-dual Knowing to awaken?”

    Just as our physiology is subjected to the biological sequences without which the functioning is impossible, (ingestion-digestion-assimilation, cognitive responses, hormone production, etc) so is the Spirit in the body follows its own Anatomy.

    You wrote: ”Do all who awaken pass through the kundalini process and just not be aware – for example those from Zen, Christian mystic, and other traditions, which don’t seem to discuss or experience kundalini all that much.”

    I’d say, there are no true esoteric tradition which do not have an alchemical transformation as the basis of real progress. If it doesn’t, that means the tradition has calcified into a system devoid of its own essence. Some traditions do not openly talk about the Energetic pathways to Heaven, that does not mean they don’t have inner means to access that sacred knowledge. Think of Zen with its roots in Taoistic initiations.

    The Non-dualist method of Atma Vichara (self-enquiry) leads to the awakening either prior to ”getting it” or on ”getting it”. One can ”get it” but the whole point is to ’embody it’. Whence Kundalini was a ‘mandatory’ experience for the Prana in the body rules all cognitive (mental), motor (respiratory) and autonomous functioning.

    When mind falls into pure Awareness, Prana automatically awakens (sooner or later) and the process from then on is colored by the uniqueness of individual psyche-physiological conditioning. It only differs in degree of intensity, but no one can bypass the passage, for Spirit moves in the body as Prana.

    In any case Kundalini is the energy of individuation while at the same time the Shakti is the Form of the Universe. Withdrawal of Shakti from and on the individual level is the only way to be ”absorbed” in the Divine (Self, Brahm, Absolute, Shiva, or whatever one prefers to name That).

    That process could be ‘violently’ rapid or ‘smoothly’ spread in time and space, with every shade in between. (Tantric tradition is generous in describing variety of trajectories, pathways and passages)

    One of the reasons some traditions or teachers do not emphasize the necessity to awaken Consciousness by direct activation or stirring, is because its not the individual that is awakens, but Kundalini that awakens the individual, which is Her own Self.

    ”Do you agree with Gopi Krishna’s assessment that kundalini purification brings about greater intelligence (of all kinds), and reflects an overall evolution towards increasing usage of the brain, developments in the body, etc?.. ”

    Gopi Krishna was almost a casualty of improper Kundalini ascend, the Prana Shakti, in his case, moved in his Pingala instead of the Sushumna. One only wonders why would he became an authority on the ‘subject’.

    That said, his books helped to popularize the experience with twofold outcome. One is the hype (and expectation) associated with the internal process, the other, awareness of greater potential that was always known to those in the know.

    Certainly Kundalini affects everyone in a unique way, for She is Intelligence personified. Albeit some pay with their wits for what others claim as enlightenment. With Love, Bliss, Beatitude and unifiable feeling of Contentment, as an embodiment of uncoiled Shakti vibrating on the individual level.

    Do I ”see kundalini awakening/unfolding as the overarching way of the future for the spiritual awakening of the planet?”.

    If I know ‘my own’ Prana Shakti to be inseparable from the Universal one, than the answer is obviously – yes. Just as there is coiled Energy of human being – there is a Kundalini of the Planet.

    Kundalini is essentially expresses itself as an Electro-Magnetic Energy. When uncoiled and amplified the Shakti connects us with the entire Creation.
    The polarity, born of dichotomized thought and dual nature of the brain, is being fuzed into the primordial vibration of what lays at the very structure of all sounds.

    All these relates to the amplified electromagnetic field generated by the awakened heart and that of the Gaia (Earth). The greater the resonance – the more coherence there on the inside and the outside, and it moves in geometrical progression, the quantum leap…

    All traditions agree – Grace is all there is. There are only two ways – the descend and the ascend of Grace. Speaking from Tantric point of view, Spirit ascends as Shakti or descends as Shiva. In both cases Prana is the carrier. In the former the physiology has to be pure, to embody pure consciousness. In the later the body has to be purified to a certain degree for the process itself is the greatest of all purifications.

    As mentioned at the end of the interview, Kundalini is Energy in its coiled, contracted state. When the Energy is fully awakened, uncoiled and rising up the spinal cord, it is known [from that moment on] as Prana Shakti.

    A lot of people who have experienced an awakening did not undergo the actual process of ascend. And despite the shift in perception, all the psychic experiences associated with the stir and the awakening, the Energy has remained inside its dwelling. While there are many who have completed the full circle of ascend and ‘final repose’, in the majority of cases, Prana transgressed several psychic centers and deflated back into Muladhara.

    For in order to go upward constantly a tremendous amount of internal pressure is needed. The initial combustion of Prana is often the most powerful trampoline for the Udana Prana to take over all other pranic functions in the body. For that reason some traditions (yoga, tantra, sufi, shamanic, kabalah, etc) emphasize the proper awakening methods so that there is enough power to ‘drive’ Prana into and up the middle channel.

    (I’d prefer to avoid the worse scenarios, for now, and if there is an interest we’ll touch that in the next talk).

    P.S. With regard to the eastern versus western awakenings, I’ll address your second set of questions in a separate post [when time permits].

  7. …drinking your words…my deep gratitude to you for sharing this…this is one of the rare times when I find a teacher speaking about Mahakunda…very looking forward for your second interview with great joy!

  8. Vama:
    Thank-you so much for taking the time to reply to my long posts!
    I’m reading all of it very carefully and will wait until later for a follow-up based on this exchange and the interviews.
    Shanti Om

  9. Hi Igor,
    I thought that this might be interesting to share…

    ‘We may refer to the Puranas to help us understand the power of this point on the Indian landmass. It is the mythical Mt. Meru, which the diagram above makes clear. But when we MEASURE by means of this applied cosmology, Mount Meru is no longer mythical. It is the Crown of India, and the Eye of Shiva is its jewel.’

  10. Uli, hello and thank you,

    These is a fascinating stuff and I’m fully aware of the position India holds as an energetic center of the world where Spiritual Knowledge is being preserved regardless of the ups and downs of history. I know of Thea and her work aside from Sri Aurobindo’s legacy, I share the same birth day with great lady, btw.

    The importance of India or Indian Subcontinent as a landmass embedded with specific potency was always known. Sri Aurobindo and more recently Maharishi Mahesh Yogi have both emphasized the necessity of unification of India as the Center of World Peace (else known as Bharata Varsha), to lead the process of global transformation.

    Yet, well before the 20th century sentiment spurred and coincided with the liberation of India from the colonial rule, the sages, saints, mystics and visionaries of various cultures and traditions sung the glory to ‘Mother India’ pointing to country’s unique place in the history of mankind as far as the Eternal Law is concerned.

    Interestingly enough, what you’ve shared here could serve as an introduction or a prelude to the question posed by Heat Seeker. The bold question regarding the supremacy of Easter versus Western traditions. I cannot find enough time to tackle that at the moment as it is a big theme in itself.

    But just to say briefly, I do not see Indian tradition as being represented by yogis standing on their heads or laying on the bed made of sharp nails. Nor do I view western spiritual tradition as that made of New Age waves in the past 50 years.

    While there is more to Eastern spirituality than what mets the eye of a discerning traveler, there is equally more to western spiritual tradition than what has been happening in the western countries in recent times. To me, the true heirs to western spirituality are not the figures of diverse New Age and Non-dualist tradition, not even the teachers who had the transmission of dharma from the orient. But the shamans and healers of Latin and Central America, the sufi masters of Andalusia and alike…

    As for India it is the ‘Land of Veda’ and Veda is a reverberating sound of our human DNA. As long as we share the vibrations we all claim India as our spiritual ‘motherland’ regardless of our cultural preferences.

  11. What a weird coincidence. I also had my first taste of the absolute within a dream. It was a very releasing vision and very meaningful to me also. It was many years ago, (more than 20) but i have always had a very clear rememberance of its meaning and its content… I always called it “the weel”.

    Some years later, other insighs about death, time and life, came to me in dreams (not sleep-dreaming to be brecise, the’ve always occured in a kind of a nidra-awake state). I had no clue about what that meant or what was going all about.

    But because of the nature of this realizatios I always ketp this rememberings as a second-class realisation. Now, after hearing you and Igor, I’m confident that maybe, they’re truly strong manifestations of the self. Those dreams happened when I had no idea about this weird advaita thing, even more: being myself an absolute skeptic and non-beliver. (I like to state that my first teachers were Carl Sagan, Martin Garner and James Randi).

    Now, on this kinda second awakening I am undergoing, I have been strongly directed -by sincronicities- towards this subjects and lucid dreaming. Of course, i’ve had also some awake glimpses of wholeness mainly at meditation, but not comparable to those I’m telling you. Maybe you can add more information or links related to this subject.

    Thanks in advance.

  12. Dear He-who-is-awakening 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your own experiences here with regard to having your ”first taste of the absolute within a dream”. Before going further it’s worth mentioning that dream state of consciousness is just as valid, in relative terms of its expression, as waking or that of deep-sleep. History of spiritual awakenings is full of examples when some of the most profound revelations have been experienced in the realm of dreams.

    Well before Carl Jung re-formulated (Sigmund Freud’s) dream interpretations, phenomena of dreaming was given careful attention in the western world. Renaissance masterpiece, ‘Hypnerotomachia Poliphili – The Strife of Love in a Dream’ – is one such book, its narrative deals with dream within a dream. The allusions to ignorance of the waking state where blinded by the senses we strive for Love that could be found only in reconciliation of polarities born of the distressed mind.

    To your assumption: ”I always kept this remembering as a second-class realization…” – you are not off the mark completely. Indeed despite the fact that dreaming state is much subtler than the waking, it is nevertheless inferior when it comes to full awakening let alone embodiment that could only follow in a wake of transformation of the waking state itself.

    Before we go further it’s worth noting, that energetically speaking three states (of consciousness) are correlating to three Gunas of Nature. Sattva-guna (finds its expression in) waking, Raja-guna in dreaming and Tama-guna through deep-sleep.

    (Note: Sattva – light, balance, equilibrium, etc. Rajas – energy, desire, motion, passion, etc. Tamas – inertia, stability, stupor, dulness, etc)

    As we can see the waking state of consciousness is an expression of Sattva, yet it is considered the most ‘dense’ because of the so called notion of Maya is fully present here (the ‘illusion’ of perception is complete in the waking state). Yet the waking state is also equated with Sattva which stands for Pure Consciousness itself. Moreover, the nature of the mind is Sattva when mind is in a balanced state.

    It is for that reason self-realization (when taking place) in the waking state is much more potent than anything experienced in dreaming or deep-sleep. Because it is imbibed with Light – it is Sattvic.

    That being said, the awareness (awakened to itself as it were), would have to penetrate all three states in order to maintain the transformative process ushered by awakening itself. And that’s where the repeated experience of lucid dreaming is a sign of progressive illumination of relative states so that awareness can shine forth in its full glory.

    Just to add, awakening could happen even in the deep-sleep state (especially when fallen into it during meditation) and that’s where many confuse the tamasic experience of darkness and deep silence with that of Shunia (void). True void is in fact a luminous experience, for the ‘blackness’ has the other wordily transparency to it, so unlike inertia of deep-sleep.

    (Those meditators who have passed through all this stages will confirm the validity of that process.)

    That brings us to Yoga Nidra. Despite its close proximity to the state of deep-sleep it is not the same. Yoga Nidra takes place precisely on the overlapping of the states just before one state gives way to another (talked about in this interview with Rick).

    In deep-sleep both conscious and subconscious minds are switched off, but in Yoga Nidra it is fully present which allows to penetrate that most subtle of all relative states AND more importantly to bypass straight to the higher states of consciousness where one can experience Unity even before the physiology allows that in the waking state.

    If you wish to learn more about the actual practices, I’d suggest Bikram Yoga publication. Yoga Nidra was relatively unknown form of overall yogic practices before Swami Satyananda Saraswati introduced it to the wider audience through his books on the subject.

    Also, thank you for your private message, email. I’ll respond to it there in due time.

  13. P. S. The above should not be understood as though all awakenings in the waking state are Sattvic. It was just to illustrate the overall nature of each respective state of consciousness in its relative expression.

    In fact, every awakening is subjected to the overall energetic condition of an individual soul in its current embodiment.

    Only being in whom the Sattvic qualities dominate over (Rajas and Tamas), will experience a truly sattvic awakening. Sattvic awakening is known as being guided by Grace and the wisdom of the sages.

    In the one in whom the Rajasic qualities are dominant, the process (of awakening) would be colored by excess in everything that is associated with that particular guna of Nature. At best Rajasic awakening would generate enough heat to burn the remains of Tama-guna, which will open up more energy for self-transformation; and give one the courage necessary for radical shift in awareness.

    At worst Rajasic awakening is prone to excessive thinking, magnified desires, self-agranidisment, illnesses associated with high heat, and often an egoistic desire to ‘benefit’ from the process. (Note: that is mostly what is witnessed on the scene of awakening today simply because human beings are ruled by Raja-guna.)

    When Tamasic quality dominates the awakening, the process is driven by inertia leads to orthodox forms of worship and often results in religious fanaticism. It is known as ‘demonic’ type of awakening. Only the exposure to true Masters can reverse the process which would be to enhance Raja-guna to light up the fire of knowledge, before moving to a gradual build up of Sattva.

    Needless to say, all of us are minute combinations of all three gunas and the process of self-realization is unique to each soul and each combination. What many of us are seldom ready to recognize is the degree to which our psyche-physiological set-up determines the process in the long run.

  14. I would like to thank you so much, Igor for your kind and wise reply to my questions. I will try to correspond with my best efforts to deepen within this realms in the following months/years.

    As a side comment, you mention Bikram Yoga, and its also a great coincidence that I’m currently practicing this, let’s call it branch of yoga, despite all the negative shadows that his, uh… owner? casts within the yoga stage worldwide, and particularly in the US. Nevertheless, above all, it’s still hatha yoga, and for many of us, it became a fast way to learn how to breathe in a yogic way, and also, how to embody the truth of the yogic statement “you’re not the doer”. If you try to go through a session of Bikram’s only with the power of your ego, then you’ll fail. You must trust and rely with humbleness only in the wisdom of your body to fulfill those asanas with true benefits. Of course, If you don’t because you’re unaware or ignorant of the wisdom behind it, you still get the aerobics and the sweating of the whole thing. But for several times I found as great advantage the circumstance that tears can be easily taken for sweat drops in this practice.

  15. He-who-is-awakening ~ thank you for your kind reply.

    But please allow me to correct myself right away. I never meant ‘Bikram Yoga’. Terrible typing error on my part, apologies for that! What I meant is –

    Bihar School of Yoga.

    Here is the wiki link:

    And the book on Yoga Nidra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati is this one:

    Oh dear! What to do, for since you’ve admitted to be a practitioner of ‘Bikram Yoga’, I feel it’s my duty to share my feeling about the practices. As a practitioner of Raja and Hatha Yoga respectively (for many years in my youth all the way to the mid-thirties when I was no longer doing Yoga, but Yoga was undoing me), I would not recommend that particular style/type of yoga.

    I’m not even sure if sweating during the asanas has anything to do with Yoga per se, even if the founders are trying to justify it as creating tapas (ardor which aids purification/transformation) in the body.

    Personally I find Bikram Yoga to be a distortion of the yogic practices and not different from many so-called ‘americanized’ styles of yoga some of which were established by Indian teachers whose teachings have little to do with the principle philosophy of Yoga as part of the greater Darshana (six systems of Indian Philosophy).

    I tust this is of help.

  16. Thanks, Rick and Igor for a fascinating interview. Glad to finally listen. It’s notable how our own process and experiences lead to specific teachings and interpretations. Aside from the intensity of Shakti, many of the things mentioned have passed this way but I’ve not interpreted some of them quite the same way. There are different models but also different ways of interpreting them.

    A few comments –
    Shankara did not say Maya meant illusion. He said when tamas was dominant, it behaved as a covering. When rajas is dominant, as illusory. And when sattva dominant, as Lila, the play. The illusion thing I would consider an over-emphasis on the detached witness phase, both as a goal and a “reality”.

    Myself, i did notice a lot of devatta left with awakening, but that was related to the relative form and I saw their task as complete. The cosmic body is a different story.

    I didn’t find GC and UC as being almost indistinguishable but rather quite distinct, each with it’s own perspective. GC is also different from Unity and initial Self realization in that it’s realization happens more towards the end, post Unity, rather than more at the start as with the others.

    Great point on the correct term being Shakti after uncoiling. Good reminder.

    As for “death of the ego” in comments, I’d suggest thats a subjective thing. For me, that’s what it felt like. I later recognized Ahamkara was still there as a function but the dis-identification felt like a death. Many don’t experience it like this though.

    I’m quite looking forward watching the 2nd interview. Will be in touch after that.

  17. Igor, if you don’t mind, could you give your thoughts on the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?

    I really enjoyed your interviews.

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