Prana & Consciousness – Part 2
In this interview from the archives, Igor Kufayev offers rare insights into the nature of awakening and transformation of human consciousness. Transcribed from the 2nd interview with Rick Archer for the Buddha at the Gas Pump, Costa Rica, June 2012
- The Subject of Devatas
- Existence of Other Chakras and the World of Patala
- When Consciousness has risen to the Heart: When Shakti sees Shiva for the First Time
- The Necessity for Guidance from a Qualified Teacher
- What is it to be true to myself?
- Can Contemporary Yoga lead to Awakening and Emancipation?
- What is Time – is it an Illusion?
- The Subtlety of God Consciousness and Unity Consciousness
- The Nature of all Experience: It takes place in the Spiritual Heart
1. The Subject of Devatas
Rick: There was a point here where you mentioned devatas – maybe we have covered this but maybe not – devatas in the body or body of devatas – what did you mean? And then you were talking about Dr. Tony Nader’s recent book, the human body as a battleground, and so on – let’s cover those points.
Igor: This comes from people’s questions actually. We did mention at the end of our initial interview the subject of devatas, and I did suggest something which I am not going to dwell much on, but it is just an open theme, because I don’t want to impose that this is necessarily how it has to be, because it might be a little bit too…
Igor: Not simplistic – on the contrary. It might be a bit too advanced to comprehend, but just an idea. This will echo with some of the propositions or statements, which were made by mystics like Friedrich Nietzsche in the 19th century, that the human being actually doesn’t exist. Some teachers actually didn’t even like that whole terminology, “the human being,” and they considered that is a recent phenomena. It has evolved culturally on both sides of the hemisphere, independently and then they merged; now it is almost impossible to imagine that we don’t have that concept of being humans, because there is a whole culture, a whole tremendous civilization with everything… (The topic has been expanded in a more recent essay, Human Being: Transcendence or Psychosis, June 2017)
Rick: You’ll have to explain that, because the average person is going to listen to that and say, “Well, what is he talking about? We appear to be humans – what does he mean?”
Igor: Well, first of all, that that concept of being humans, is a relatively new concept.
Rick: What was it before that?
Igor: Well, we don’t know – we don’t know. For instance, in the indigenous societies, those that had very little contact with western life and western civilization, that concept of human beings does not exist. They live in perpetual harmony, in perpetual connection with the environment to such a degree, that it is inconceivable for them to think of themselves as something other than part of that great environment.
Rick: I see, so that is what I thought you meant – so that they feel that they are just units of the whole, rather than autonomous, isolated entities.
Igor: Exactly. The idea of human being is very much culturally impregnated with this, that “We are this race of human beings” – which we are indeed. However, I haven’t stated this proposal – which as I said earlier echoes a lot of other beings who had come up with these ideas – that there is no such thing. Instead, the human being is entirely a divine structure, the crowning event of the whole evolutionary progression, where the divinities or devatas literally constitute the entire being on every level. So what we mistakenly think of as some kind of independent, self-sufficient beings with all these ideas of democracy, with individual free will from the lower case – not the unified, great Free Will of the Creator. One of the questions asked was, “Does all this have anything to do with Dr. Tony Nader’s book on the Ramayana, he is has currently promoting in North America?”. I haven’t read the book, and I don’t know if this corresponds one-to-one with what his new book is about. All I want to say is that I do see a human being as a battleground between the higher [and lower] forces of creation, those positive and negative – it is reflecting in the ancient literature of many different traditions. For example, in the Upanishadic or Vedic lore, it is the eternal battle between devas and asuras, because both of them were churning the ocean to extract amritam. Because Vishnu was on the side of the devas, and although he promised that he would give the amrita to the asuras, the asuras got distracted, and the devas stole that amrita that was extracted…
Rick: The nectar of immortality.
Igor: Exactly. That was in the process of churning the ocean. So, as simplistic as this myth goes, it could relate directly to our human physiology, where the constant collision of the forces of goodness and evil or what have you – whatever are your cultural preferences – is at play; the play of polarities.
2. Existence of Other Chakras and the World of Patala
Igor: Going back to the dangers of Kundalini and the falling out of grace, nobody seems to talk about the existence of other chakras other than those seven established chakras. In fact, Kashmir Shaivism does not see it as seven, it sees more, but I am not going to confuse the listener, because this is my own field of inquiry, and this is something from the tradition that I feel the most affinity with – so I cannot stick with that classical system of seven chakras.
Do you know there are also chakras down below, from muladhara downwards? They are the chakras of patala, the chakras of the underworld, so to speak.
Rick: Some people say there are higher ones above.
Igor: Absolutely, the sahasrara is not the final chakra. It is not the chakra of abode, and that is it. From the apertures, from the fontanels of the head, there are just as many chakras protruding into the celestial realms as there are chakras on the psycho-physiologic level. So one of the greatest dangers of awakening the Kundalini, is none of what we have mentioned before, none of what we have talked about – although they are serious enough – because it could simply lead to death of the individual. However, that is not the most dangerous thing; the most dangerous thing is actually falling down.
When Kundalini is falling from a considerable distance, and when it is falling down, it can fall beyond the respective positioning – and fall into the world of patala, the world of the negative creatures, the entities and what have you. I am not going to dwell much on that, because some people may have ambivalent understanding of that. However, there are these warnings, and in some scriptures they talk about the warnings like, if you don’t have the proper guidance – because what happens is that those entities they are not taking interest in a normal human being because there is nothing, there is “no meat on the bones” so to speak – there is nothing that they could be interested in. However, when an individual awakens, he becomes a very different playground; all of these things are rearranged, and he or she is much more powerful. So, if temptations are strong enough, sometimes these entities take possession of their individuality, and drag that individuality down below the human level of existence.
Historically, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the most demonic-like personalities were actually cases in the making, because falling beyond the – I am not going to start mentioning names here…
Rick: Well, everybody always brings up Hitler as a case in point – a powerful man, a lot of charisma – and yet, look at the fruit of his action.
Igor: Exactly, and Hitler is just one example, but there are many examples of when an individual falls victim – historically speaking – to the lower forces.
Rick: Hmm. Okay, so you are saying that to the average person this might not be such a relevant issue, but that for those that have risen to some degree of spiritual attainment there can be a vulnerability, because these lower forces would like to take them over, or usurp their power and use them for their own purposes, and so there can be a possibility of falling to a lower level perhaps than even the ordinary person just lives in routinely.
Igor: Sure, not only that. It is interesting that when Kundalini awakens, when Prana Shakti starts to move, we all have a different set of circumstances to deal with and we all have different psychic setups. And certain predispositions in ourselves – as we’ve agreed earlier – get magnified. So if there were certain predispositions to dominate, to dominate in the very negative sense of that word, then certain predispositions to rule, certain predispositions to – just use your imagination – what have you.
Rick: Sure, just look at the newspapers.
Igor: Yes, exactly. So then what happens, is that these individuals, these beings, they attract those kind of energies – and the pact is very quickly being signed. However, it is interesting that scriptures for instance, reassure us that when the Consciousness reaches the heart level and is fully established there, then a fall is impossible. But everything up to that – is very much possible. So that Kundalini when it reaches the solar plexus, and renders one a profoundly charismatic and powerful and what have you individual, it can still deflate… or worse.
3. When Consciousness has risen to the Heart: When Shakti sees Shiva for the First Time
Igor: However, for one whose consciousness has risen to the heart level, he can no longer fall. I obviously don’t have experience in that domain, because I haven’t entered other beings’ realms to investigate, but there could be truth to that because on the level of the heart, there is this beautiful analogy, that that is where Shakti sees Shiva for the first time. That is where energy actually recognizes itself for what it is – so the fall is impossible, because when recognizing who you are, you cannot fall from that. So that makes sense, that before that, one is still in the realm of the very much egocentric universe, very much in the divisive universe. And although the heart region is not necessarily a unity yet, but it is there that the glimpses of unity, or the glimpses of the energy and its source recognizing – are directly perceptible. So the scriptures say that Shakti goes wild there, because She sees the Beloved, and nothing else can distract Her attention. And indeed, indeed – the attention becomes incredible; your level of attention is one-pointed.
Rick: It is interesting because in the western literature we have stories of making a pact with the devil, and you get certain powers or gifts, or abilities or wealth – or whatever – by virtue of this pact with the devil, but eventually you have to pay it off so that could be…
Igor: Sure, Faust and Mephistopheles isn’t it?
4. The Necessity for Guidance from a Qualified Teacher
Rick: That is the principle you are talking about. So the practical point here is that, practically, what can one do to secure that level from which falling is impossible? Would you say proper guidance from a qualified teacher or what?
Igor: That is a very good question – a very good question. First of all, there has to be a degree of unwavering, uninterrupted witness to check every tendency that is arising, and get on top of them, or “nip it in the bud,” as they say. If that quality is there, then one would be able to see those tendencies in their infancy or manifested state; but if one does not have that discrimination yet, then the danger is real. Obviously, the presence of the qualified master is very important, because the Grace of the master alone is a saving Grace. That is what saves the day, because very often the master engulfs the aspirant who is still wavering at that stage, and gives that protection. But since a lot of people out there today have ambivalent understanding of the role of the guru and master – and we all want to be masters of our own before we are ready to do so – we all want to. “The guru is within, I am one with the guru so why do I need the guru? Let’s just do it on our own. So-and-so did it, why can’t I do it?”
It is preferable to have that reassurance, at least at the stage when these things are a possibility.
Rick: It is interesting that the two gurus that I have had the most experience with, Maharishi and Amma, with both of them people go on for years and decades, and there isn’t a lot of focus on awakening, “Come on – awaken!” It is more like all of this purification, do this service, and build these houses, and do this meditation and there is all this preparatory stuff, and some people criticize that. In fact the point you brought up in one of your questions about dismissal by some of the Neo-Advaita people of doing spiritual practices at all, and some people say, “Well, they’re just keeping a carrot dangling in front of you forever. Why don’t they just awaken you? Why is there year after year after year of preparatory procedures?”
I think what we’ve been talking about for the last hour is an illustration of that – that you really do have to build a foundation, and maybe it can be taken too far, when maybe some people can get stuck in preparatory phases, when it’s time to realize and wake up. But on the other hand, it seems there can never be enough preparation in a sense, for the greatest degree of safety to be observed.
Igor: You said it all just now, Rick. You’ve just said it. You have explained very well why great spiritual teachers do not whack you on the head with self-realization. In fact, I see it often as a sign of very young teachers, very young masters – and it doesn’t matter what their age – the young master could be at the age of 80, and the mature master could be at the age of 25. After all, Adi Shankara was teaching all of these old men sitting around him and this teenage figure – because Consciousness obviously has very little to do with whatthe physiological body embodies.
So this obsession with self-realization, enlightenment, Unity Consciousness – to me it sounds a little bit like teenagers being obsessed with sex that they have just discovered. It is not at all trying to give it a diminutive example; it is a bit like that. When something happened, and you just want to relate that, so that seasoned warrior doesn’t talk about killing; he talks about the wonders of life. Likewise, a wise teacher in my view, a wise teacher helps the householder to run his house, helps a peasant working in the field – not directly working in the field with the peasant, but helps uplift that peasant so that his life becomes easier.
Rick: In other words, he meets people on their own level and provides instruction and…
Igor: More than – not only that – that yes, and more, because this life still carries in its own veins, through its own channels – through the channels of relative existence – and that life is glorious in its own right. So you cannot just suddenly say, “Pft,everyone is asleep – pft! Pft! Wake up! Smell the coffee. Okay, you are nothing. All this is nothing, we live in nothingness, don’t worry.” It doesn’t work like that. In fact, the more one realizes this wonder of life, the more one sees the sense in all this which is considered to be an illusion, the more one sees that all of this is actually wonderful! All of this is beautiful! All of this has perfect sense!
So this is why the real jagadgurus, the world teachers, they give stages of existence, they prop you up, they help you so that where you are – off your mat, off your cushion, off your meditative or what have you inquiry practices – you are happy where you are, rather than walking around like, “Blast! I’m walking in this maya; instead I should just think hard and suddenly wake up! What’s wrong with me?” No…
Rick: Maharishi said something like that to me one time. I was up on the stage making a fool of myself, and reading something out, and he kind of interrupted and he suddenly said, “Every day is life. Don’t pass over the present for some glorious future.” It was a good lesson, it was like you have to be happy where you are, and that becomes the stepping stone to the next day – the next stage.
Igor: Absolutely, that is why Ayurveda was given to the west first. That is why he brought Ayurveda, because first of all, balance your physiology – know what you eat, know what you are – realized or not realized, you are still in your physiology.
Do you know how many people that I know who have experienced high states of consciousness, and consider themselves perhaps masters, perhaps really realized masters? But they cannot help their aspirants in their day-to-day tasks to make their lives easier. They whack them on the head with the constant self-inquiry, with this constant point you out to the direct essence of experience, or point you out to the direct essence of who you are… does that help your life? What will happen if the majority of people will realize? Who is going to bake the bread, who is going to sow the seeds, who is going to do all this stuff? You know? Let’s just face it.
Rick: Well, we could certainly have self-realized bakers and farmers and so on…
Igor: Yes, but the self-realization period goes through a profound period of stabilization; no integration.
Igor: The baker might decide, “I’m not a baker, I am Shiva! I don’t want to bake anything anymore! Why do I need to bake? I’m Shiva!” The wife walks out of the family, “I am no longer the householder; these children are not my children… it’s Consciousness.”
You see, everything has its own place. So I don’t agree when people say, “The world needs to wake up.” The world is waking up on its own, and Consciousness can never – can never be homogenous in its expression in all human beings. It never was, it never will be. Even in the Golden Age that we hear about, that came to us from the dawn of the ages. When they talk about the Golden Age, they don’t say that everyone was realized – no. Everyone acted in accord with the laws of nature. They were rishis, they were saints and seers…
Igor: Exactly, everyone followed their dharma very well. You mentioned the word dharma; everyone was doing what they were born to do, and that is the definition of the Golden Age. Not that everyone is in Unity Consciousness.
Rick: Okay, I have like 3 more pages of questions here – and very specific ones that people have sent in – some of which we have covered, some of which we haven’t… most of which we haven’t, and we’ve been going on almost 2 hours. I think our choices at this point are to either keep going and try to answer these as quickly as possible, or to do another interview – but it would have to be quite a while off because I have so many scheduled, and it would have to be in the late fall or something – or, for you to do videos on these questions yourself, and put them online so that people can watch them. What do you think that we should do?
Igor: I don’t mind, Rick. You are hosting, I am the guest so you have to call the shots.
Rick: Let’s try to go through a few more of these, but we’ll try to go through them quickly so that we can cover a lot and then you can obviously do videos later on. You could turn each one of these into a 15 minute if you wanted to.
Igor: Absolutely. No, as I said, those questions that we won’t have time to cover, we will feature in the forthcoming podcasts, and perhaps will be subjects in upcoming webinars, because I just built a website for that particular purpose.
5. What is it to be true to myself?
Rick: So here’s one that is pretty common, as a lot of people have gotten involved with various spiritual groups and this can be useful but then again, groups always begin to take on a sort of a cultish quality and people begin talking the same way and dressing the same way, and so on. This person is saying, “A group can be useful, but how can I be true to myself and not lose my own identity in the identity of the group?” Also, there is a question here about the spiritual ego, becoming holier than thou, “I am spiritual, I know, I am aware, I am enlightened, I serve, I am the guiding light,” and so on. What would you like to say about that?
Igor: It seems to me that the question deals with, “What is it to be true to myself?”
Rick: To not let spirituality become a badge of honor, where you begin to see yourself as higher than the guy who checks out your groceries or empties your trash.
Igor: Sure. Well, if I understand the question correctly, then obviously humility is in fact a sign of growing Consciousness – not the other way around. So if spiritual progress is followed by a sense of grandeur and some kind of sense of superiority, we know that is a certain stage – inevitable indeed, let’s not pretend, let’s not be dishonest – awakening gives one a sense of superiority. Let’s be honest about it. “Oh wow! I’m awakened. Wow!”
Rick: Because of that ego thing you mentioned at the solar plexus chakra…
Igor: It doesn’t matter. I don’t have anything against ego and mind, all of these are beautiful faculties of Consciousness, without which it would be impossible to function in this world; in fact the world would not exist. So I for one don’t have any problem with all this. Ego doesn’t have to die – I don’t believe in Eckhardt Tolle’s formula. I believe that ego expands into infinity, rather than dies.The ego is not separate from the principle of individuation. Let’s not confuse ego and egocentricity, ego and egoism. They are two different things; one is a quality of Consciousness, and the other is a quality we human beings attribute to it.
So, in terms of identity, how does one retain that identity when becoming part of any organization or any spiritual movement? Well, let’s face it – whatever we do, we still have an identity. We always have an identity. Whatever organization we are in – you know, if you work for a bank or an office, you have an identity of that bank at least while you are working there. Whatever your hobby may be – if you are rollerblading or a teaophile of a tea club, or some kind of other club, or what have you – you have an identity that goes with that club. So it is a mistake to think that because of the spiritual organization, that you are somehow trading your individuality, trading your identity for the identity of the organization. We cannot exist as human beings, as social beings in this world without some form of identity – it’s impossible. It is the way that life is on these relative levels of existence.
So my reply to that would be that your real identity should travel the immediate course of inquiry, which takes you within. And when it takes you within, then it doesn’t matter what identity the movement has – any movement or any club. Your identity is always there, and it is for you to rediscover it. So spiritual movements or organizations cannot be obstacles for that. In order for true individuality to blossom, the petty individuality has to be dropped at some point. It is a paradox of life; in order to become who you are, you have to trade your individuality. But we don’t want to do that; sincerely speaking, not many of us want to do that. We want to have the cake and we want to eat it too. I hope that…
Rick: That helps. Sounds like you are saying that it wouldn’t hurt to somehow learn to be a bit of a chameleon; if you’re working in a bank, you dress a certain way and you talk a certain way, and if you’re in a spiritual group the same thing may be true – but just don’t lose your integrity in the process.
Igor: Yes, absolutely.
6. Can Contemporary Yoga lead to Awakening and Emancipation?
Rick: Here’s one – how can yoga as it’s practiced today in the west, with the main emphasis on asanas, lead to awakening and emancipation – or can it?
Igor: Well, first of all you cannot put a hold on – Consciousness is omnipresent and it is not non-local, so emancipation can take place anywhere at any time. So, in the same respect, yes it can; but more specifically, it cannot, because those mentioned methodologies as asanas,which are being emphasized at the expense of all other aspects of yoga, all other limbs of yoga, cannot actually lead to anything other than what asanas are. Yes, they are incredibly powerful, they work directly on the endocrine system. If asanas are done properly – not in the fashion of aerobics, not in the fashion of how it is often done in this yoga, that yoga, I don’t want to mention the adjectives of [which various types]—but when asanas are done properly, the physiology benefits, the mind benefits, and the whole overall being benefits. But whether that leads to emancipation is another question, because in the process, the practice with the sole emphasis on asanas could actually reinforce the link between the physiology and the ego. It can actually strengthen that identity, when at early stages, that identity has to be relinquished.
So there is this contradiction in the contemporary rendering of yoga. I see that many speakers are raising these questions now. Many, many authorities on yoga are saying that, “Invent another word – just leave yoga alone,” because it has its own lineage, tradition and purpose. Introduce another – that’s how I see it.
7. What is Time – is it an Illusion?
Rick: Okay, good. Someone asked a question about time – it is often just dismissed as an illusion, but they thought of it maybe as a mysterious spiritual force. Do you have anything to say about that?
Igor: Yes, I think I spoke about time in one very short podcast, reflecting on the idea that space today is no longer seen as devoid of Consciousness floating separate, in itself – matter. Many, many scientists give the possibility that space is conscious, or Consciousness itself. But space is not separate from time; time and space are interlinked forever. In fact, the universe unfolds in space and time, so that in itself presupposes the possibility that time is conscious of itself, just as space is conscious of itself. And indeed, the Vedic concept of time is not linear – it is concentric – time is seen as kala. It is also seen as one of the most principal shaktis, the Kali, the black Mother; not the Kali as the Kali Yuga, but Kali as the mother who consumes her own children. She devours her own children in order to deliver them, so thisimpersonification of time as a living entity is fascinating to me personally.
I see that we live in a time where we are still coming out of that reductionistic view of the universe, of ourselves, of everything, that was dominated by the Age of Reason, sometime from the seventeenth century up to the beginning of thetwentieth century – but it is no longer applicable. It is a much more interesting universe that we live in in terms of the conceptual understanding, much more open to the unexpected possibilities.
To me, time is one of those; time is not an illusion as we are accustomed to thinking of it, that it doesn’t exist because it is simply being taken as a rotation of the earth around the sun, which gives us these digits of time. But if you think of time as a greater reality that contains everything in itself, when there is no past, no future, and no present but as a whole; then what we experience, is the figments of this reality which gives us the experience of one-to-one moments. But it all happens all at once… I’m not sure if I am actually qualified to answer that question. I am just as I said, reflecting.
8. The Subtlety of God Consciousness and Unity Consciousness
Rick: Yes, you are taking a good stab at it. I’ll go on to another one; I’m skipping a bunch of questions, because you can give videos on a lot of these. Someone mentioned that they’d like to hear you talk a little bit about the subtlety of God Consciousness and Unity Consciousness.
Igor: It is an interesting question, because recently I was trying to explain that in a personal conversation, and the subtlety is actually in the degree of appreciation. In God Consciousness, the appreciation is still there in terms of the appreciation of the reality, as opposed to the every given experience. In Unity Consciousness, that appreciation is annihilated totally. In a way, it is like a childlike state, where you no longer have the witness of every experience. It is as if you have gone back to experiencing life as it is, in terms of what it is. There is nothing – nothing that you can say that, “I am experiencing this,” in the midst of this experience. The mergence is so complete, that it is almost as if there are two different polarities, between total ignorance and the Unity. In total ignorance, you take everything for granted, and in Unity Consciousness, in a state of Unity, you take everything for granted again, because you see everything from within yourself; you don’t see things as a witness anymore, because the witness – the subject-object – has merged to such a degree, that the universe is no longer perceived, but projected. I don’t know if that makes sense…
Rick: That is a good phrase, yes.
Igor: So this universe is as if you close and you open your eyes so to speak, and whatever you perceive, it is not due to the seer-seen and the experience, but is only due to the projection out of yourself. That projection comes directly from the spiritual heart.
Igor: There is no possibility of even knowing of what it is, because it is what it is.
Rick: I get it; so there is a kind of innocence and a spontaneity, and almost a childlike simplicity in one’s…
Igor: Completely. Completely, and it is also so natural – so natural [that there is no possibility of] – because it is no longer an experience. It is no longer an experience, because the world seen is projected outwardly as yourself. So it is no longer perceived as yourself, as in God Consciousness where you see yourself in the others, you see God everywhere. In Unity Consciousness you don’t see anything anymore in terms of other than yourself, so there is not even a possibility of seeing “other,” but it is very tricky to put it into language…
Rick: I presume that you are speaking in terms of your own experience here? You’re not just extrapolating from things you have read, right? You’ve progressed through these stages of experience?
Igor: Well, I would hope if I was extrapolating I would be a bit more coherent (laughs)! No, I was trying to be as simple and as direct…
9. The Nature of all Experience: It takes place in the Spiritual Heart
Igor: To give a further example, some teachers when they talk about the nature of experience – like this English teacher that you have interviewed about the nature of experience. He was going around and around, and it was very painful to watch you two talk – but what he was saying, is “Yes, it is true that all experiences are taking place within ourselves, but when it takes place, it takes place within the heart.” So that experience only takes place in the heart, in any case. For instance, the direct experience of that, the most direct experience of that, is unfortunately not often pleasant – and I will give you an example.
If you are in the areas which are prone to tremors, earthquakes – something that takes your breath away, and your heart skips a beat – before your mind or intellect registers what is happening, because that is the nature of an earthquake, when the earth starts to shake, the core of you is shaking. But instantaneously when that tremor happens, you feel Shiva in your heart; you feel it as directly and as palpably as anything. But it lasts such a short time, that it is immediately overshadowed; “Oh, this is an earthquake – I ought to do this, I need to run!”
In the same way, let’s say you are somewhere quiet, and your child, or your relative, or someone whose voice you know, screams in the background – whatever that scream of joy or fear or excitement – you don’t hear it at all in terms of a sound perceived through the faculties of the ear. You hear that sound straight here (points to the heart), it is a physical sensation. Actually, in the Kashmir Shaiva tradition, they give these examples that I gave you now, but they give their own examples, of how to experience Shiva immediately here (in the heart); this is a proof that Consciousness is not separate for a second.
However, these moments are always overshadowed, because our subordination of experience, cognition and response is so fluid that it literally floods over this initial “Wow,”that initial taking you – and it takes you straight in the heart. Then you know, it is actually here (in the heart), it is a physical sensation.
Remember that please, Rick, and you will experience it; when something happens, you will recognize it here (in the heart). It happens for some reason, usually when something terrifying happens, because it strips us bare; the faculties they fail to act in time, and we experience that first (points to the heart). On hearing the news for instance, on hearing some profound news; you might have that, “Ah!” and your heart skips a beat. That is the nature of all experiences, because that happens in the spiritual heart.
Rick: I don’t completely understand the point that you are making, but I’m not sure I want to push it. It’s like if I take an example, let’s say I fall off my bicycle or something, and there is the instinctive attempt to break my fall, maybe there’s some pain, and all that. When I had that experience last time, which was about 10 years ago, I noticed at the same time as I was going through all of that, there was a deep inner silence that was just almost observing that situation and didn’t get influenced or shaken by the trauma. Are you talking about anything like that, or is this something completely different?
Igor: It is different; not completely, but it is different. What you are talking about is still Witness Consciousness, it is still witnessing. It is still Witness Consciousness, and what I am talking about is…
Rick: Let’s say you feel off of your bicycle. How would you describe the experience?
Igor: I would just scratch myself as much as you did, it is much the same. What I am trying to say is that you walked somewhere in nature on a path that you haven’t been before, and you don’t know there is this absolutely steep drop, and you just came to it, and you looked there and you had that “Whoa!” (Draws a breath in, as if in fear). Before “whoa,” what happened is your heart felt it here (points to the heart).
Rick: Yeah, and if you were hooked up to electrodes, they’d probably show your heart rate increase.
Igor: No – that is after. The heart rate stopped. Everything stopped. I am saying that it is very subtle, but it is very simple, and you know it all the time, because the experience then takes over. Then the experience takes over, “Oh wow, it’s deep, it’s this, it’s that,” and all of the safety mechanisms. Before the safety mechanisms, before anything can actually register, that sensation of “Ahhh” (draws in breath quickly) that happens on let’s say receiving some unexpected news. I gave an example with the tremors, because I was born in a highly seismic area in Uzbekistan, and I had many of those experiences, so I related to that – I know exactly what it means when your heart stops for a split second, and you feel the intensity here (in the heart), and you are nothing but Consciousness. You are nothing – you are just this Consciousness – there is no experience whatsoever. Instantaneously, it flows into the experience which the mind interprets and that is overshadowed. The reason that is given, is that moment gives you the direct perception of your essential being.
Rick: That is why you brought this whole point up, to give people an example they could relate to, that in that moment they have a direct taste of their essential being.
Rick: And what you are saying, of course, is that in enlightenment that wouldn’t just be a momentary thing that happened under some unusual circumstance like an earthquake, but it would be an all-time phenomenon.
Igor: And what happens is that there are different levels of Samadhi.
There was one question about levels of bliss, I wouldn’t go too much into it, but it’s an interesting question. Since our creation is permeated with bliss, there is nothing that is devoid of bliss. The three states that we operate through – the waking, the dreaming, and the deep sleep – are all permeated with bliss but this is a very gross level, and then it progressively becomes subtler. Subtler, subtler, subtler – to Brahmananda, to Chidananda – to the ultimate bliss which is bliss beyond anything. So that experience, that which you experience is the bliss, but it is so profound it annihilates anything else.
For instance, going back to your bike example. That could be there, that before you fell off of your bike or even before anything happened, there was this” Oh” – you know you are going to fall, you had that sensation, and then the fall, Witness Consciousness, and then what have you.
Igor: Do you see what I mean?
Rick: It’s getting clearer, but I am a little fuzzy on why you brought this point up, and what exactly you’re trying to convey here, but I feel like we shouldn’t belabor it too much.
Igor: Sure. We’ll leave it there. One day you will walk somewhere, and a seagull will fly over your head and scream loudly. There will not be a seagull above your head screaming – you will hear the sound here (in the heart), but before you will recognize it as a sound, you will feel yourself for a split second, as your Self. This is what I was trying to say.
Rick: Okay, that helps. That makes it clearer. Good. I had to skip a lot of questions, because we can’t go on for 3 or 4 more hours (laughs), but there is a lot of beautiful material here. Apologies to those people whose questions that I didn’t raise – Igor will be answering all of these questions in YouTube videos, and perhaps discussing them in the webinar he is going to be doing. I’m sure that people can send in even more questions. So I just want to thank you. Your voice is starting to get a little hoarse, as we have been going on for quite a while.
So let me wrap it up. I have been speaking with Igor Kufayev who lives in Costa Rica these days, but who has a presence on the internet so that you can interact with him wherever you may be. Thanks Igor.
Igor: Thank you, Rick. It was a great pleasure, and I really enjoyed it.
Costa Rica, June 2012
Cover Image: Igor by an old oak tree, Ojai, California. October 2015