The River of Existence – Birthday Tribute to our Teacher

The River of Existence – Birthday Tribute to our Teacher

The River of Existence ~
Birthday Tribute to our Teacher

We are never given for ourself.
It is always for others.

– Bhai Sahib

The true gifts in life arrive completely unexpected. They surface in our hearts to answer the longing we might not even know we had. Those gifts shine bright and lighten up unexplored fields of our being. They beckon us to bring to birth something new within us. No matter how thoroughly we try to examine the path of the arrival of those gifts, the mind can never truly unveil their source.

The most precious gift one can receive is given to us in the presence of our Teacher Igor Vamadeva – the gift of grace. Grace is a word that points to the utter spontaneity of the divine power which no categories or concepts could ever capture. Its force is immeasurable and sweeps us off our feet. Grace carries the flavor of compassion for all the paradoxical dimensions of the human experience and suffering. It ignites the spark of love in the human heart. Its arrival is the promise of lush springtime after a long winter. In the presence of grace, Consciousness is transformed.

Today is our Teacher’s birthday, and with full hearts we give thanks for his gift of grace and his guidance in our lives! We take a pause to honor Igor’s presence and being, his offerings and tireless service to Consciousness. We also honor the ones who shaped our Teacher into this vessel of grace, and bow to the stream of life force who acted through key figures in his life. We give thanks to Igor’s beloved Mother, the late Inna, who carried our Teacher under her heart, nurtured him and gave him to the world. And we honor the tradition of the Great Masters, HH Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Brahmananda Saraswati, who blessed and guided Igor’s journey of awakening.

We also give thanks for the liberating knowledge of Igor’s universal teaching with its great healing potency to lead one from the darkness to the light”. Igor once said that true spiritual knowledge cannot be grasped by the mind – that it is impossible to accumulate it. Its power lies in the ability to incinerate whatever stands in the way of realizing one’s essential nature. Receiving this kind of knowledge is the greatest blessing. It empties ourselves of who we are not. It is the ray of light that illumines and dissolves whatever stands in the way to reclaim true freedom. It is the gift of Grace, streaming from the source of an enlightened heart.

While we gather in spirit to celebrate our Teacher today, we invite the global Sangha to celebrate this special day with us: so, pour yourself a cup of tea, loosen the grip of your belts, lean back, relax and be inspired by a snippet of Igor’s teaching from the archives. It contains jewels of wisdom – rousing us out of slumber so that we acknowledge the river of existence that flows through the riverbed of the human heart…

In love, gratitude and service,

Jai Guru Dev

Team Flowing Wakefulness

ABC of Spirituality – Two Shores of the River

by Igor Kufayev

This nervous system is a marvel of evolution. The human nervous system is that which allows us to experience this — what we call the world of matter, the world of appearance—and simultaneously know ourselves as That, or Pure Awareness. Whether other creatures are equipped with such a nervous system, we do not know. But we know for sure that the human nervous system is. This is why it is the leitmotif of many scriptural storylines in which the human body is that very coveted object where all the different beings of the universe want to reside. There’s a fight going on. Everyone wants to be here in the human body, and everyone is envious because it’s a marvelous place to be. The Olympic gods in ancient Greece were all saying “ahh” over humans. That’s why they couldn’t just sleep and eat that heavenly manna—it’s boring. It’s like porridge every morning with no taste. After a while, it’s “Oh yes, this is heavenly, but let us see what the humans are up to.” This is where the juice of life is. That’s what this human body is all about.

I’m inviting you to go back and revisit the school of existence. And the basics are that the river of existence has two banks. One side of the river is that infinite silence, and the other side of the river is that dynamic side of existence. Together, they form the banks of the river of existence where we find ourselves. It just happens that somehow we’ve been drifting ashore on the bank of activity, and somehow lost sight of that other side of the river. And this is very much the leitmotif of all spiritual unfoldings.

There would be no need of spirituality if there were not these two aspects [silence and dynamism] in need of reconciliation. There would be simply none. Just think for a moment and contemplate that for a moment. There would be no spirituality whatsoever, if there was no need for reconciliation between the two banks of the river of existence. If it was already given, then the spiritual quest would be an oxymoron. And some teachers go so far as to say that it is indeed an oxymoron.  But let’s go into it, and try to find out whether it is an oxymoron—an apparent contradiction—or, instead, it is a matter of fact of our existence. The answer is very simple. Just look into your heart and ask yourself if you live in Bliss-Consciousness on a daily basis, 24/7. And if you don’t, then humbly accept the fact that there must be some kind of rupture in that river of life. Because when these two banks of the river are being recognized completely, flowing through the very veins of your existence, then there is no possibility of being out of that state of bliss, of that state of Being and Consciousness expressing Itself as this living, embodied individual.

All this spirituality, all these metaphors—direct, indirect, most direct, the most direct paths, around-the-block paths—it’s all about crossing that river. This is why the metaphor: crossing the river. It’s literally crossing to the other shore. And the other shore is that silent aspect. Understand from the very start—and I would say half-way through and near the very end—that it’s all about that: reconciliation and recognition that the river of existence has these two sides.  And if our awareness has been washed ashore on only one side, then obviously, our life can no longer be lived in harmony. Because by whatever energies, by whatever peculiarities, by whatever paradoxes, though the river of existence already flows between these banks, unless there is a reconciliation and direct crossing back and forth at least once—touching one side and the other… oh yes, now I know, that’s the silent side… and then you cross… okay, that’s the dynamic side—you can never fully be in the flow, in the flow of life itself. Because one way or the other, in the many currents and undercurrents, you’ll be washed aside. And if you are washed on the side of the river of only these sounds of various kinds and dynamic expressions—no matter how wonderful they are—sooner or later that one-sidedness of life will let itself be known. Hence, the beginning of spirituality; hence, we embark on the path. And from thereon, the crossings begin. First we try to take a few strokes here and there. Oops, actually it’s not that easy. Oh, almost made it. Next turn of the river, washed on the side. Which one is that? Oops. Back to the dynamic side, back to the noise of mundane reality. Another attempt—build a boat, a raft, whatever, something to cross. These are all these different methodologies, different teachers and teachings.  So this is what I wanted to mention—these two aspects: the Pure Silence, the Absolute Silence, and the dynamic aspect of the Self, which is inherently our own.

There is no One without two. If you understand that alone, it’s a big leap in understanding. Because people talk a lot about Oneness, Oneness, Oneness. “There’s only One without the second,” nonduality, advaita, and so on. However, if there is One, there will always be two. Because One cannot exist in reference to Itself unless the two comes into the picture to tell the One about its Oneness. So this silence and this dynamism, literally, are the archetypally masculine and feminine principles of the Source and its Energy.

It’s Shiva and Shakti, if you will, of the Tantras. Shiva stands here for Pure Awareness, and Shakti, for the Field of all Potentialities. When we say “field of all potentialities,” it’s self-explanatory. It’s everything—and more—because it’s the field of all potentialities. Everything that exists or doesn’t—it’s all included in Shakti. And it is that primal throb, primal vibration, that arises within the Heart of Pure Awareness. So it is never separate from Pure Awareness. It is Pure Awareness in its dynamic form. That’s what it means: silence and dynamism.

These paradoxical poles of opposites are always One and always two, and that’s where the dance of this whole universe is. This is where the dance of existence itself is, where the world becomes that stage. Hence, silence and dynamism. What is important to realize here—if you want to take it to the next level—is that silence is not just silence and dynamism is not just dynamism. That is where the beauty comes. That is where the integrity of this whole thing is. Silence is also infinitely dynamic, and dynamism is infinitely silent. Hence, the spiritual practice. Hence, this whole path. It is infusing one with the other. There is this infusing up until there is a rupture, on whatever level. Say there is a gross, most primitive rupture… beings who have no idea about silence live in a nightmare of constant noise. But this begins to be bridged when there’s more silence introduced, more opportunity to simply hear that silence.

When we’re not given an opportunity to dive, to hear that silence, then that’s what I call being washed ashore on that side of existence, where we forget that it’s actually one river of existence. It is contained; it is one river. But it will have two banks of existence. Though from the horizontal plane, they appear to stand in opposition to each other, it’s one river. On the horizontal plane, it’s like I’m sitting at this shore and beholding another shore. On the horizontal plane, there are two shores. But from the vertical perspective—from the perspective of the Spirit Itself, from the perspective of Awareness, there is only Unity. This is really the leitmotif of all spiritual practices, unfoldments and risings. This is, if you will, the very science of union itself. Yoga is a science of union. People say “yoga” and it means so many different things today to so many people. It’s confusing. Even when you start making sense out of it all— “Okay, now I understand what yoga means”—then you start reading some more advanced literature and more confusion arises. You read, for example, “This great saint talks about yogis with a kind of contempt and critical disapproval.”

If we apply a proper understanding of the very origin of the Sanskrit term yoga, we see that it essentially is that: yoga is the science of union. And all yoga deals with that, literally. It deals with bridging the poles of opposites. Literally, yoga is the union with the disunion. So silence and dynamism—the silent aspect of life and dynamic aspect of life—need to be brought into that coherent union on the direct level, on the plane of this existence within this very living embodied being. It is not enough just to have a very clear understanding about it. It is, indeed, very good to have a very clear understanding because it aligns the thought patterns towards that [coherent unity]. There could be flashes of intuition, or momentarily a sudden click. On that mental, intellectual level, there would be this clearer picture. But that’s not enough, and we all know that. It has to take our whole being, entirely and utterly.

— Igor Kufayev, transcription of the Darshan “ABC of Spirituality – Two Shores of the River,” Kensington, Berkeley CA. October 12th, 2014

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Images: Courtesy of Flowing Wakefulness


  1. Dearest Master-ji,
    I wish you a very joyful and blissful birthday today! Thank you for all the light and love you bring into our hearts.
    Being your student is the greatest blessing ♥
    With much gratitude

  2. A blissful return of your birthday, dear teacher, and much gratitude to this beautiful Purva Ashada sun/soul, that guides us back to the truth of Being!

    Jai Guru Dev!

    With love, Yllara

  3. Thank you so much for revealing yourself to me.I am back on my path,the path of the heart.
    I had given up hope of finding any teacher or group that I could relate to.You have reignited the excitement of my journey
    and your words make sense on that other level of existence where words make no sense.You explain that which most cannot explain.
    Happy Birthday, Have a Wonderful day!

  4. Dearest Igor.

    Words do not form easily when it comes to writing on a public platform, at least this is what happens to me. And yet I feel like sending a word to you on this special day.

    May this new year in your precious life be full of Beauty, may good health accompany you day after day, and may this Work (which I enter slowly, under the wonderful guidance of Sundari Ma) spread and reach more and more seekers on their path.

    Today at 17:30 I am holding an event on music & meditation in my home town which is a complete experiment and a format I would never have chosen in the past. In fact I did not chose. Realizing that Life offered me exactly the day of your birth to give birth to this, made me shiver with reverence and joy.

    I wish you a day full of delight, surrounded by your family, and accompanied by the finest green tea one can possibly imagine.

    Happy Birthday from the heart.

    Jai Guru Dev


  5. For our dearest teacher,
    Wishing you a most splendid Happy Birthday!
    We celebrate and give thanks to you on this special day.
    Your presence is felt in the heart.
    Jai Guru Dev!
    Until we see you again in Vienna,
    With much love and gratitude,

  6. Dear Igor Vamadeva,
    I bow to you and the luck which connected my life to your path.
    May your birthdays be many to follow and may life keep on nurishing you.

    Thank you for this profound teaching of the heart….

    Jai Guru Dev


  7. Igor beloved Teacher,

    On this day, I call on the luminous ones, to give thanks.

    Bless the heavens and the stars for aligning to let your light be birthed on to the Earth on this day.
    Bless the cosmic womb and your mother’s womb for growing the seed of your divine bodies, in all their beauty.
    Bless the sun and mother Gaia for nurturing you.
    Blessed be the Great Ones, the Teachers whose lineage and work is carried forth and lives in you.
    Blessed be the Goddess whose vibration harmonises All and sings in your presence.

    Blessed am I to be alive in your lifetime. To share this breath, this heart beating in synchronicity.
    To be making this journey home with your presence guiding me as a beacon of love and light through day and night.
    I pray your flame to burn brighter still. May your grace continue to bring me to my knees in surrender, over and over again, as the divine work be done. My heart knows. That I came to weep tears of joy and sorrow at the feet of the original father. Om namah shivaya. I celebrate you on this day, and all days.

    With deepest gratitude to you for recognising the commitment to the work in my heart.

    “The Sought is paired with the Seeker” Rumi
    (Mathnavi VI:1887-1889)

    Jai Guru Dev

  8. Stefan Rieke says:

    Dear Igor beloved teacher

    with you I found the way back to my heart.
    With you I’m learning step by step to open my heart wide and fill it with love.
    This gift is of immeasurable value and for this I thank you in deepest humility and gratitude.

    I wish you a wonderful and joyful birthday together with your family.

    With love and light from the heart

    Jai Guru Dev

  9. What words
    What gift
    Does One
    None could be
    To simply
    In Reverence
    In Gratitude
    In Humility
    In Devotion
    At The
    Lotus Feet
    Of My

    Jai Guru Dev

  10. Dearest Igorji

    Om Namah Shivaya on this auspicious day, the sun is shining for you!
    Thank you for igniting our capacity to listen within the cavity of our heart, the field of pure potentiality, where but Love ever flows from. Thank you for having that ” Saint’s heart that melts when anyone else’s heart comes near the fire.”
    Your Birthday – our gift.

    Jai Guru Dev

    “Listen to the secret sound, the real sound,
    which is inside you.
    The one no one talks of
    speaks the secret sound to himself,
    and he is the one who has made it all.”

    ― Kabir

  11. Dearest Vamadeva,
    I am eternally grateful that you were born on this day in January.
    Your simplicity of Grace fills me with joy and bliss.
    With Love and Devotion,
    Jai Guru Dev

  12. Vamadeva, beloved Teacher ~

    Wishing you a most happy and delightful birthday today surrounded by your beautiful family! May you be showered with blessings from all corners of this universe. May prayers and laughter rise in the hearts of those who celebrate you today and may you be bathed in their blissful vibration… May the heaven bow down today to greet its own light and vastness that lives through you…

    ”The soul, like the moon,
    is now, and always new again…

    – Lalla of Kashmir

    I pray to serve what streams through you in deeper and deeper ways.

    With deepest gratitude for your presence in my life and heart,
    and a song of joy ~

    Jai Guru Deva

  13. Karen Miller says:

    To my beloved Teacher, guide and friend, Igor Kufayev~Vamadeva
    Happy, happy, 54th Birthday!
    I’m remembering sending you birthday wishes as you turned 48 in 2014, shortly after I had the miraculous good fortune to discover you in my very neighborhood! Seems like both a long time and a short time ago. As the old saying goes, “Much water has flowed under the bridge” In those six years.
    On this occasion I wish, again, to express to you my deepest love, gratitude, honor, respect and awe. More than I can find words to express, thank you for the greatest offering a human being can make: to do the challenging work to realize your Self, and that passage having been accomplished, to then live the life of the Divine Human, an “ordinary” life in many ways ─ father, son, husband, householder, teacher, guide, friend ─ this awesome gift to us of your living example being exactly the point: Human life is Divine ; to realize this is our opportunity, in fact, our “job” here as embodied souls on Planet Earth. You are the Heaven-Sent emissary to call this to our attention!
    Thank you,
    I love you
    Jai Guru Dev

  14. Dear Igor-Vamadeva

    I wish I could spill out easily with simple words that what is in my heart. That feeling of deep gratitude towards you…
    I do not posses poetic tendencies, but I’m feeling so blessed and thanks to the Existence that I walk on this Mother Earth on the same time as you do.
    Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your guidance and love.
    I touch your feet with all my love and tenderness.

    Have a wonderful and happy birthday with your beautiful family.

    Jai Guru Dev


  15. Jenefer Smalley says:

    I came across this poem this very morning which reminded me of my quest with Igor into my heart .

    “Heaven is made of smoke

    of the Hearts who burn away,

    Blessed is the one who burns away like this”


    I am so grateful for this reminder as I tread the own fires of my sacred heart, and with more conviction today than ever before. I can’t thank God enough for answering my sincere prayers of bringing a teacher in human form. Sending waves of gratitude for Igor and his divine guidance on this enlightening path. Celebrating you today and every day Vamadeva. I also feel at this point on any day I can’t send gratitude to Igor with out also including his other half Amrita Ma Devi. She has come into my life with a light of nurturing grace and guidance, helping me to continue to walk the way. It is a blessed life.

    Happy Birthday Vamadeva!!!!!
    Jai Guru Dev!

  16. Connie R Townsend says:

    OMG! It’s your Birthday! Happy Day and so grateful for you in my life. And to your mother this birthing day – thank you.

  17. Dear Igor, beloved teacher,

    some years ago, on 5th January, your mother gave birth to you.. What a blessing and immeasurable gift for me, for all of us. I feel deeply touched by grace that life guided me to you, your teachings and overwhelming presence. Thank you for showing me the beauty of being and the vastness of my heart. Thank you for always being honest and tender at the same time. Thank you for being you, exactly as you are.

    “When the fragrance of the I am He is upon the wind,
    The bee of the heart finds the flower of its choice,
    And nestles there, caring for no other thing.”
    – Kabir

    Have an amazing birthday with all your beloved ones!

    With love and gratitude
    Jai Guru Dev

  18. Thomá Dattatreya says:

    Dear Igor,
    Dear Vamadeva,
    Thank You dearly for carrying the Light with such valour.
    May the flowing river of Your teaching be a nourishment for all nations.
    A very happy birthday to You, always one with Your Mother.
    Your student,

  19. Olinda Larralde Ortiz says:

    My dear Igor Kufayev, Vamadeva,
    How fortunate we that may call you Teacher.
    The bright star of your embodiment is born again and again in my own heart.
    Today the calendar aligns with this truth and I celebrate full of love. Today and again and again, and always.
    I’m deeply thankful every day. May I be able to embrace you and the light you shine upon me, may I be able to shine it back to you.
    Feliz cumpleaños, hermoso Maestro del alma, del Corazón, Maestro de Luz.
    Jai Guru Dev

  20. Dear Vamadeva,
    Thank you for your clear, direct and powerful presence! I am truly moved and I finally feel I am making progress.
    It is difficult to wish you something because a lot is already there I think, I would like to wish you bliss on all the levels of your body and being and a life of abundance, delight and ease.
    With love

  21. Dear Teacher,
    I wish for you a most blessed and blissful birthday.
    I offer all my gratitude and love for your presence and guidance.

    With all my heart,

  22. Dearest Vamadeva,
    I am eternally grateful for you, and for the chance to be with you in this moment. Your life and presence are a blessing. Thank you for your own surrender that opened the way for such indescribable Grace. May blessings continue to flow upon you and through you and your beautiful family, on your birthday and throughout this coming year.
    with great Love,

  23. says:

    Dear Vamadeva,
    Wishing you the Sweetest and Happiest of Birthdays! I’m deeply grateful to Mother Divine that she lead me step by step to you. Deeply grateful to you that you found your way to the top of the mountain and are guiding myself and others to be and live in that Eternal State of Unity.
    Jai Guru Dev!
    With Love,

  24. Dearest Vamadeva,
    May Light, Bliss and Beauty accompany you,
    yesterday, today and always

    I wish you a Happy Birthday filled with wonder.

    With all my heart,

  25. Igor Vamadeva says:

    Thank you, dear ones. It’s humbling to receive this truly beautiful and moving tribute, and equally moving wishes that followed. What can I say, it’s the greatest of all blessings to be of service to what one loves most, what can be said about it… Except that reading your direct and often naked revelations brings me to my knees, truly. Yet this blessing is also a great privilege to behold closely each and every breakthrough, with all its ups and downs, even the sudden twists and departures, along with every revelation of one’s own glory. This, what this is, is almost too precious to go public – who could share this without running into all sorts of assumptions, and its so easy to misread, misinterpret and miss this altogether. To be in this companionship is one of life’s greatest secrets, where the line between joy and job is blurred, and for a good reason. Perhaps we should resort to whisper now. Whatever is the case we need to do our parts until the job is done, when we can sip from the cup of eternity. Though likeable at first, I am not the easiest of guides to be around (or so it seems at times), yet my heart is free of attachments or even detachments to anything or anyone. The same goes for keeping with the roles and robes, but I’m eternally grateful for this throb, this shared gift of heart-to-heart connection.

    Jai Guru Dev

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