The life and work of Igor Kufayev
Early fascination with Perennial Philosophy was an integral part of Igor’s upbringing. His influences ranged from German Existentialists, Pre-Socratics, Sufi Mystics, Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo in the earlier years, and Advaita of Kashmir Shaivism later on in life. At the heart of it all, he remained an artist enthrallingly driven by the experience of harmony and beauty. His spiritual quest culminated in surrendering to the Grace received from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Born in 1966 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in his childhood Igor had many episodes associated with the activation of life force (Kundalini). Classically trained in art from an early age, he was recognised as something of a prodigy. A one-time student at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts, Igor held his first solo exhibition in Warsaw at the age of twenty-five and by his early thirties, enjoyed a successful international art career in London. In less than a decade, he managed to establish his reputation as an artist, with many of his artworks being in prominent collections around the world.
A personal tragedy marked his experiences relentlessly guiding his inner quest: in 1991, his six-year-old daughter died in a road accident. Emerging from a prolonged period of grief, Igor was initiated into meditation in a dream, immersed himself in the study of yoga, learned Transcendental Meditation and practised it diligently for several years.
In 2001, in the wake of an advanced yogic course, the TM-Sidhi Program, he went through a profound expansion of Consciousness. Surrendering to the process, he recognised Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as his spiritual guide, the guru. Despite never meeting the master, Igor maintained an intimate relationship with Maharishi on the heart level which transcended the boundaries of a common teacher-student relationship. He shared his experiences in an intimate letter, entitled Never Meeting Maharishi.
At the age of thirty-six, Igor underwent a radical transformation of consciousness which subsequently blossomed into a spontaneous unfoldment of Grace. For the next five years, he continued long hours of meditation, integrating expanded states 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.
Through the teaching of Swami Muktananda, he discovered the tradition of Kashmir Shaivism, which became the focal point of his interest. Its “transcendental physicalism” appealed to Igor’s down-to-earth, creative sensibility. Unique to that tradition, the Doctrine of Spanda had been verified by direct revelations, perceiving the World as a Throb of Pure Consciousness in the Heart of his own…
There were episodes of spontaneous healing of those close to him and Igor consciously attended to the practice of pranic healing, successfully treating patients with cancer and other conditions. However, he realised that without the psychophysiological transformation of an individual, true healing cannot take place.
Having gone through the furnace of alchemical transmutation, he points to the neurophysiological nature of Self-realisation and sees the process as indispensable from the progressive purification of pranas, the five main vital forces which act as conduits for directing and orchestrating all movements and cognitive processes in the body. Igor emphasises psychological maturity and a balanced nervous system when it comes to the experience of higher states of consciousness and the reintegration of the loss of self which is an important aspect in all truly integral traditions.
Igor’s involvement with sacred tradition expresses itself not only in scriptural exposition and metaphysical discourse but also as non-intellectual, heart-based illumination. It could be said that Igor’s teaching methods are rooted in Advaita Tantra, and he often teaches from the platform of Kashmir Shaivism. However, having studied such diverse traditions as Vedanta, Tantra, Sufism and Zen for years, Igor remains elusive to categorisation, maintaining that tradition is not a set of esoteric doctrines, but a vibrant field of energy enlivened in the hearts of those who go through this transformative process firsthand — and bring these teachings to life. He maintains that, ”Abiding in a state of spontaneous absorption transcends the boundaries of any given truth based on an intellectual grasp of ultimate reality…”
Igor shares the view that the main prerequisite of a spiritual guide is being permanently established in the Self, which he compares to “being immersed in an uninterrupted stream of Awareness”, which in turn makes one fully present to whatever rises here and now. His teaching methods are rooted in spontaneous responses, with approaches not limited to a system. A teacher of immense spiritual experience, Igor nurtures and facilitates spiritual growth using whatever means best suit the individual in a given moment in time — the degree of their spiritual evolution, readiness and capacity to respond—from energetic transmission to breath work, mantra work, self-inquiry, and emotional introspection.
His teaching is often affiliated with what is known as the Way of the Heart, a non-intellectual direct cognition of one’s innermost reality. Here, knowledge is not mental or intellectual, but a communion with the essence rising as gnosis. This knowingness is beyond the domain of language with its dependence on thought constructs, concepts, precepts or ideations.
Igor’s live programs, called ‘immersions’ since he went public with his teaching, are known for the phenomenon of involuntary movements, kriyas (note: not to be confused with Kriya Yoga or other systems utilising the term). These involuntary physical, mental, emotional, and psychological movements are due to the autonomic nervous system taking over, and arising in nearly every participant in his programs, resulting in known and unknown yoga asanas, hands or bodily gestures such as mudras and diaphragmatic locks as bandhas, and most emphatically spontaneous vocalisation and over-toning of all kinds including glossolalia (speaking in tongues). Igor elaborates that these arise as the result of greater activation of life force, exemplified in pranic expansion and form an indispensable part of all awakening processes. These in turn unleash powerful purification and progressive freeing of the system from accumulated stresses and traumas which have created blockages in the nervous system. Igor’s teachings are unique in their insights into these phenomena, as well as in-depth knowledge of the psychophysiological aspects of the awakening process – topics largely avoided or rarely addressed in contemporary spiritual circles.
In 2015, Igor consecrated the Flowing Wakefulness Sangha, a volunteer-based organisation currently in the process of moving towards nonprofit status with its headquarters in the UK. With a dedicated team of companions and students, he is working on the realisation of a shared vision for establishing what could be termed a Forest Academy – a sanctuary for spiritual regeneration aimed at providing a purposefully built facility for healing, awakening and accelerating collective consciousness in the heart of Europe. He travels extensively, offering gatherings and immersions in Europe, the UK, North America and Mexico for people from all walks of life. Igor currently resides in Mallorca with his partner, Amrita Ma Devi, and their three children—daughters Ramana and Uma, and son Keahnu.
Igor’s first book, Camatkāra: The Hidden Path, was published in January 2023. Conceived as part of a trilogy with the following two volumes in the making, the work intends to redress and illuminate the role and experience of aesthetic rapture as a subtle pathway between cognitive perception and beatitude, in the present volume. This is followed by the work on Samāveśa, the way of immersion into divine consciousness, different aspects of possessions, repossessions, and the age of addiction. The series culminates with the seminal work on Kundalini as the ultimate power behind the transformation of consciousness in a continued quest for what it means to be truly human. This undertaking coincides with the consecration of SONG Publishing, an independent platform to support the dissemination of this perennial teaching.
Igor’s spiritual name is Vamadeva, which translated from Sanskrit means, “the preserving aspect of Shiva in His peaceful, graceful and poetic form.”
WHEN SILENCE SPEAKS… Igor gives an autobiographical account on how his own process, from an early age, had always been informed by this fascination – and eventually intimate understanding – of the human body and the indispensable role of the body when it comes to the completion of the process of Self-realization.