FROM MY PERSPECTIVE…
Shortly after meeting the great Siddha, (perfected being), Swami Muktananda in the fall of 1980, I received the ultimate blessing of his Grace. I had what appeared as a dream — although by some means I was fully conscious — where Muktananda suddenly appeared before me in dazzling robes made of blue and white light! With the utmost reverence — surprising for a Westerner with no apparent background in Eastern traditions — I immediately dropped to the floor in full prostration before him. He touched the crown of my head, as I watched the inside of my body as lightning bolts of white light from Muktananda entered my head and filled me. His Shakti filled the entire cavity of my body, until everything exploded into white light, and I became One with everything...
I knew this to be the most profound blessing of my life, but was clueless as to what it signified. I soon discovered that I had received shaktipat — “descent of divine Grace” — which occurs when the Guru, acting as the “divinely appointed” Grace-bestowing power of God, transmits his Shakti, which flows into the disciple, igniting and enlivening that divine cosmic energy within. This literally initiates and activates the process of inner purification and expansion of Consciousness, steadily peeling back the veil of concealment to reveal our true nature, leading the seeker toward Self-realization. And from that blessed day on, my sadhana began, and life has never been the same...
More than three decades later, I entered into a phase of my inner life which many refer to as “the dark night of the soul,” in which everything and anything that ever held meaning for me no longer made sense; there was only illness, fear, grief, regret, and despair, and the deep conviction that I had somehow wasted my life and fallen from Grace. It was out of this dark night in 2013, that the immense blessing of “finding” spiritual teacher Igor Kufayev ensued, as I searched in desperation for one who could understand this process and guide me.
I was rather surprised to find that Igor’s teachings — like Muktananda’s — were steeped in Kashmir Shaivism, and that he spoke about the physiology of awakening with the understanding and authority of a true adept. I was soon to meet him, and find great solace in his deep understanding, personal guidance and support. In retrospect, it seems that the Shakti Herself somehow led me to him. In fact, the first time I met Igor, he told me with conviction that “I am here to finish what Muktananda started.” And I soon realized, that the great Siddha Muktananda had indeed prepared me for this meeting — first by awakening and enlivening the Shakti within — by providing the foundation that would shape me into a serious, one-pointed sadhaka “on a mission,” now a worthy disciple capable of committing herself in earnest to a spiritual Master and path. In other words, he prepared the fertile ground for Igor to sow the seeds of this divine inner work, moving my sadhana to the next level.
And how can this profound inner work that I have committed myself to be described? From my perspective, this transformative work, known as “The Path of the Heart,” is intensely personal and individual, and cannot really be conveyed or understood through verbal or written teachings. Just as with the beloved Siddha Muktananda, this work is orchestrated by Divine Grace. Our Teacher, Igor ~ Vamadeva, acts as the vessel or Principle through which that Divine Cosmic Power — Shakti — flows and is transmitted, thereby initiating and enlivening the process of divine energetic transformation within each of us. This process expands and becomes more refined over time, as that unfathomable relationship — that Heart-to-Heart connection between Teacher-student — is established and grows deeper and stronger. Simply put, it is quite literally Love pouring into Love, and is that portal through which Grace continuously and effortlessly flows from Teacher to student. This is the very essence and core of this life-changing work.
I have observed this process to be unique for each student, as we are each mysteriously led from the inside out — through various phases of transformation, in whatever order and manner is orchestrated by the Shakti for that individual. Each of us progresses through various phases and levels of purification (e.g., manifested through a wide variety of kriyas such as asanas, bandhas, mudras, pranayamas, vocalizations, etc.) and transformation of Consciousness — at various speeds and intensities — where layers of stored impressions are seen and cleared little by little, freeing us of the “baggage” which conceals our true nature.
Although my process unfolded gradually over 35 years of sadhana, it accelerated exponentially since coming to this work with Igor, and being literally showered with Grace. For me, this process of energetic transformation quickly became a deeply visceral and experiential one, where the Shakti orchestrated through me various stages and phases of subtle and gross purification and transformation of Consciousness, which seem to increasingly take place outside the grasp of my mind. It is as if a novel source of “knowing” or inner wisdom has been mysteriously enlivened within me, wondrously opening subtle doors of perception, illumining and drawing my attention to that which needs to be seen in my thoughts, feelings and day-to-day interactions — which somehow went unnoticed previously.
I describe this inner knowing as a form of “revelation,” in which the Truth is somehow spontaneously revealed and recognized, illumining layer upon layer of old beliefs and concepts, bit-by-bit freeing me through the dismantling of longstanding patterns of behavior, old traumas, deep-rooted identification and concepts about who I am (and am not) — truly a life-changer. I recognize this as the very living, breathing teaching, enlivened within me through Divine Grace, constantly at work within, instructing and transforming me through a mystical process of “illumination and revelation,” leaving more and more spaciousness in its wake. It is truly the work of none other than the Shakti — the Divine Mother Herself — leading each of us “home” through a series of unique phases of purification and transformation of Consciousness, slowly and tenderly revealing the glory of our very own Divine Self.
~ Daryananda Schneidman