An artist, Advaita Tantra teacher, Shaktipat master and founder of the Flowing Wakefulness Fellowship, for over a decade Igor Kufayev has been serving as a conduit of transmission for awakening towards the new era of heart-centered consciousness. Speaking from direct realization of Oneness, he inspires and initiates the recognition of the fullest potential present in human birth.
What is Advaita?
It’s a Sanskrit term which means ‘not-two’, the term is inseparable from Vedanta – one of the six schools of Indian Philosophy – translated as ’conclusion of the Vedas’. The Vedas are known as an assembly of esoteric hymns, and Vedanta, as the final doctrine of liberation. Advaita’s main postulate rests upon the notion that the individual self [atman] is identical to the ultimate reality [brahman], exemplified in the Vedantic, ’atman is brahman’, literally, ‘individual soul isTotality’. The term has entered many languages through the popularization of Yoga and in recent decades through the wide spread of Neo-Advaita, a westernized and largely oversimplified version of the classic Advaita Vedanta.
However, in its essence, Advaita stands for universal truth as a monistic attitude to life, which has been exalted through all major Perennial Traditions as beholding the world through the eye of non-dual awareness. Its philosophy transcends any boundaries of cultural provenance and aims at realization of the utmost potential available to all human beings as their birthright to freedom.
Which flavor does the Advaita teaching take on through your form, and the way you teach?
If we are to speak of its flavor, this teaching is to taste here and now, as it is, for what it is, as that minute encounter we have with ourselves and the world through a refined veil of perception. From the scent of earth to the sound of crickets, from the full range of our emotional register, and the mind-bending tapestry of thought patterns, to meditative absorptions, to the certainty and uncertainty of it all, with each breath and a blink of an eye to measure infinity.
Perhaps fragrance would be a more fitting term to speak of that residue left to linger as the sweetness of one’s own Being, as the heart pierced open to universal Love. The way the teaching unfolds here is comparable to the sight of the hills covered in saffron crocuses, opened to the rays of the rising sun, in the highlands of Pamir-Alay, like the mountain streams cascading down to form the flow of a majestic river…
This teaching is tailored to the householder as a calling to reclaim the status of the creator, and unfolds from direct realization, yet is often rendered through the unique philosophy of Kashmir Shaiva Tantras, known for its uncompromising monistic stand, and for its universal categories: Awareness and its Power – to reflect its own luminosity back onto itSelf – exemplified through the dyadic relationship of Shiva/Shakti, not as opposing aspects but as indistinguishable modes of the Self as Silence [Shiva] and Dynamism [Shakti]. Beatific or terrifying, all experiences arise from and merge into that sphere where perception is in the molten state of pure potentiality.
This is of special significance, for our perception is at its utmost refinement when the creative tension between awareness and pure potentiality is in perfect alignment. That alignment is represented by the union of Shiva and Shakti, and spontaneously takes place at the [Spiritual] Heart.
Although the kernel of the Advaita Teaching is beyond the modes of verbal expression, mental apprehension or intellectual insight, it requires a methodology – pertinent but not bound by the way of the language – for its essence to be communicated to the qualified student of consciousness. Various forms of meditation, including advanced methods of ‘assisted’ transmission of spiritual force [shaktipat] are an indispensable part of this work. Emotional introspection, along with a skillful use of discriminating inquiry into the essence of experience, are ways to go beyond the dichotomized nature of the mind. Metaphor is employed to convey some of the most refined concepts meant to unveil the inexplicable essence through the resonance certain archetypal symbols invoke, so as to make the teaching more intimate and tangible.
The Heart is the most potent symbol of all. The teaching stands for the knowledge of the Self, alive and throbbing in the Heart of an awakened being, as wakefulness of his own awareness. The Heart is the seat of prana [vital force] contained in perfect equilibrium; direct apprehension of the Supreme Essence is fully cognized here. From here, it emanates as Universal Love and finds its expression on all planes. The Heart is the eye of Non-Dual Awareness, which beholds all creation with an equal vision. From here all perceptions ebb and flow as waves on the sea of infinity.
Born in 1966 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and classically trained in art from an early age, Igor was recognized as something of a prodigy. Kufayev received his formal education at the Art College, and after two years of compulsory military service, resumed his art studies. A one-time student at St. Petersburg’s Academy of Fine Arts, Igor had his first solo exhibition in Warsaw at the age of twenty-five, and by his late twenties enjoyed a successful career in London. In less than a decade, he managed to establish his reputation as an artist with many of his artworks forming part of prominent art collections around the world. A personal tragedy marked his experiences, unconsciously directing his inner quest: in 1991, his six year old daughter died in a road accident. Coming out of a prolonged period of grief, Igor was spontaneously initiated into meditation, a year later learned Transcendental Meditation, and immersed himself into study of Yoga Philosophy. In his mid-thirties he underwent a radical transformation of consciousness. Surrendering to the process, he recognized Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as his spiritual guide, the guru. He shared his experiences in an intimate letter, entitled Never Meeting Maharishi.
Igor’s involvement with sacred tradition expresses itself as non-intellectual, heart-based illumination. It could be said that Igor’s teaching methods are rooted in Advaita Tantra of Kashmir Shaivism. However, having studied such diverse traditions as Vedanta, Tantra, Sufism and Zen for many years, Igor remains elusive to categorization, maintaining that tradition is not a set of esoteric teachings and techniques, but a vibrant field of energy enlivened in the hearts of those who go through this transformative process firsthand. Igor emphasizes the psycho-physiological nature of the awakening process, pointing to the importance of purification of the nervous system from accumulated stresses, accompanied by major rewiring of neural pathways which awakens dormant areas in brain cortexes. A teacher of immense spiritual experience, Igor facilitates spiritual growth using whatever means best suit the individual student — the degree of their spiritual evolution, readiness and capacity to respond — from energetic transmission to breath work, mantra work, self-inquiry, and emotional introspection.
Since 2002 Igor has been sharing his insights into the nature of Being. Despite many requests, he declined to place himself in the role of a teacher until he made a conscious decision to give himself full-time to teaching in February 2008. He has since held regular gatherings, weekend and week-long programs in England, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Italy, USA, Canada and Mexico. Igor Kufayev and his Flowing Wakefulness Fellowship are taking initiatives at establishing a financial and a legal structure for dissemination of the teaching through creating permanent and mobile platforms for holding transformative programs. Igor currently resides in Mallorca, Spain, with his partner, Amrita Ma Devi, and their two children. He is working on his first book, a synthesis of the major themes delivered at his programs over the years.
EssaysHUMAN BEING – Transcendence or Psychosis Infinity in a Grain of Sand: Part I – The Experience in Meditation Infinity in a Grain of Sand: Part II – Universal Principle of [Aham] I Am Why Would I Need a Teacher if I Have the Inner Guru?