There is no Awareness without movement within its own Stillness. Consciousness is conscious of itself because of its inherent movement within. What is real or unreal here is indeed a matter of perception. Hence the world is as you see it. Whatever you perceive, behold it tenderly; it is alive and throbbing with infinite possibilities of which you are but an expression of Love in its pure potentiality.
~ Igor Kufayev
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
When Silence speaks, it tells the story of Creation...
While some stories are more profound, the story of a human body, embodies all other stories in its Heart...
The air is cold and wet even for late November. I'm in a large room of an old school, built during the time when Uzbekistan was part of the Soviet Union. I’m sitting in half-lotus with a dozen of other men, on mattresses tightly put together on the floor, and trembling in silence. It has been three weeks since the main impact of awakening took place, during the course (TM-Sidhi Program, an advanced yogic meditation introduced by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the mid 1970’s) and I’m on fire. The windows are wide open; I can sense the pungent odor that comes from my moist naked torso, mixed with the scent of wood burning in the distance. It feels as if I'm on the sacrificial pyre. Piercing sound bursts from within my scull. Suddenly an indescribable sense of bliss and an almost nauseating lack of gravity obliterate all sensations, and with that, everything I've considered to be real is absolved by a blazing light of awareness. I lose all sense of space and time...
Lying down in a corpse pose, my body quivers in waves of ecstatic felicity. As the intensity begins to subside, an immense sense of peace and stillness gently spill over. In that wide-open space, I behold something grand, a breathtaking view of the planets orbiting the Sun: Mercury. Mars. Venus. The Earth. Majestic Saturn moves through my inner skies, with all its discs in perfect 3D. I'm fully aware that these are just “spiritual phenomena” and meant to be ignored. Yet the sense of awe is paired with revelation on that level of intuition where reason cannot enter. I slowly open my eyes and stare at the stars spilled across the ceiling...
Whatever one can find in the outer Universe, one can find in this very body. This is one of the most explicit of Tantric perspectives, which can be traced in many esoteric traditions and religious revelations. That is, if viewed with an eye of expanded awareness. Let us have a closer look.
When Silence speaks it hums its own name as “Spontaneous Emission,” an outburst of Pure Awareness in the act of becoming aware of itself. Known in Yoga as Pranava (primordial vibration), this emission carries everything in its potentiality. This “Ocean of Sound” is beyond the shores of audible perception. Its frequencies are finer than that of manifested (elemental) order, emanating from spinning centers of a soul in the making. This reverberating sound, though in the un-manifested state, contains everything in its potentiality. It pours in an uninterrupted stream of awareness in waves of eternal-bliss-consciousness, and as Will, Knowledge, and Action, to manifest itself as the unity of the perceiver, perceived, and perceiving. This Silence and this Dynamism are the perfect expression of unity in diversity. The story of the human body is not only inseparable from that infusion, but is the most refined expression of unity in diversity, with the human nervous system as an amazing instrument for tuning vast diapason of infinite vibrations into one coherently orchestrated sound.
The Body of Light
Speaking from the perspective of the evolution of our Mother Earth, human consciousness is not just a stage but also a culminating process on this beautiful planet. Here consciousness is enlivened to its utmost so that it can reflect the light of its own awareness in this very body. So human life is not yet another accident or a phase, but a manifestation of a process inseparable from an overall evolution of the earth. Here consciousness went through a series of contracting and expanding frequencies, in dizzying degrees of speed, and through space-bending vortexes of time—crystallizing its vibrant mathematical proportions through sacred structural geometry as minerals; converting sunlight into oxygen in an act of a giant respiration as the mighty kingdom of plants; playing and procreating its instinctual desire through an infinite variety of forms and movements as animals; and embracing it all by reaching to the stars and reconciling all polarities as Being in its human form.
That's just a local picture. The human body contains all that exists in the entire universe, all that has ever existed and all that is yet to come. It stands as a perfect measure to all mathematical equations with precise proportions applicable to anything in any realm. Matter itself is being sanctified by that evolutionary refinement. From its most condensed, inert stages of collapse, consciousness expands to its liveliness. Here at this very moment, in each and every heartbeat, it throbs with that desire as your very own.
And the expansion continues. Gradually outgrowing centuries of narcissistic adolescence, we've entered a threshold where we are put in a position to make choices in our own evolutionary process. Human consciousness is a crowning affair and something that has the capacity to govern this very subtle dynamic process by virtue of its identity with Pure Consciousness. That thesis is perfectly encapsulated in the Upanishadic sutra, Aham Brahmasmi, meaning, literally, “I am Totality,” as the recognition of one's identity with the source of all that exists.
With direct cognition of that truth comes re-cognition of the responsibility inherent in that very statement. Human life is Divine, not only in terms of its potentiality, but because it is a perfect manifestation of all divine impulses of nature, reflected throughout human physiology as universe incarnate.
The Strife of Love
It is said that human physiology is envied by celestial beings, those energies from all spectrums of light in varying degree of luminosity. For it is here, in this very human body, that the sacred juices of immortality are being pressed as an offering to sustain the deities, who when satisfied look after our sanity and happiness. It is for this reason that some ancient traditions view the human body as the formidable place where beings of light and darkness are locked in a battle for ownership of the soul.
Though part of the same field of all potentialities, some of these less luminous beings are here to usurp life on the planet from the level of your own awareness; and to divert and pervert your life force at the very core of your being where your attention is being hijacked by the arrested mind and corrupted senses, ultimately at the expense of freedom.
The drama is brought to its apogee on a collective level when viewed from a recent perspective, poignantly named “Spiritual Ecology.” The question of ecological destruction is a dilemma rooted in the energetic quality of consciousness, with the field of all potentialities being the source where the sum total of our intentions provides the generating power capable of navigating our collective destiny. By replacing real divinities of the subtler realms with superficial effigies, we've managed to thin out the aura of the planet to such a degree that it has been invaded with negative forces that are now cohabiting with human race as the very energy of destruction.
Ours is the time when we need to choose consciously what to pick from a maddening degree of choices, and our only compass is our attention aligned with the deepest intent. We can no longer rely on outdated testaments or codes of conduct that are not based on enlivening the inherent values of our own. Unless platonic values are evaluated, all talk of “universal oneness” is but wishful thinking. We’ve tried to reason in the name of love, forgetting that true harmony is a fine balance, and that universal tension between love and strife is what binds the elements together and sets them free in endless cycles of living and dying. Is there a chance that strife (what is born to separate), is here now to unite us in our shared striving?
To be reborn as newly budding consciousness, you have to “die before you die.” This is the prerequisite of all spiritual unfolding, and dying is what is happening to our current culture. The answer is not in looking for a solution to a problem, but rather in transcending the psychological tendencies born of outlived paradigms so that newly emerging patterns can take shape. In that opened space, new possibilities can rise, presenting us with new incentives for right actions. Hence, each time we offer anything into this body as meditation, prayer, intention, nourishment, food for thought, feeling, or entertainment, it evokes and nourishes that aspect of our humanity that is deeply in need of support at this time when shift in perception is the tipping point.
When we view human consciousness as part of the greater evolution of the planet, the question arises: is consciousness itself evolving? This is the most pertinent question of all theological debates that has ever taken place in this corner of universe. This along with the question of free will is what makes being human an event of Biblical proportions.
Before continuing, I feel it is appropriate to reflect on understanding of concepts such as “infinity,” “evolution,” “permanence,” and other terms ascribed to the qualities of consciousness. Lets look, for instance, at the concept ofpermanence. It’s customary to think of the universe as a place where there is little permanence except for the underlying ground beneath all matter—energy. Now, within that impermanence, the water in your glass is the same as it was billions of years ago, when the first element came into existence out of sheer potentiality. The same is true of fire and all other Great Elements. The structural composition of the elements has not undergone any evolution, despite the time given for its “improvement.”
From the perspective of Vedic Cosmology, the Great Elements (Maha-Bhutas) are still considered gross expressions of much subtler qualities of consciousness that formed them. Those [subtler energies] still fall short in comparison with that which gives birth to energy itself. So, even on the plane of ever-changing phenomena, there is exists something quite permanent, in as much as the concept of existence stretches itself in time.
Note that I haven't even mentioned Brahman (Ultimate Reality, the Absolute) from the root brh: “to expand.” All of the above was a suggestion for contemplation on what we understand of permanence and evolution.
Indian tradition is rich in epics—Puranas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, etc.—whose accounts speak over and over of the periodic dissolution of the world. Unlike the Western concept of linear time, the Vedic view is based on cyclical formations or Yugas (ages). The ages have a different span according to the flow of time, and when put together form an epoch. Each epoch, in turn, is in relation to the greater cycle of creation, culminating in the dissolution of Pralaya, a periodic cosmic dissolution, repose, and re-absorption. The sheer measurements of Vedic time defy imagination, but generally mean that all creation dissolves into a passive phase or period when all manifestations are in dormant state.
Dormant, meaning that although the world has been dissolved, it is still in the form of a seed, or bija in Sanskrit. There is an intimate connection between the bija-mantras (seed syllables) and the five elements contained within the sounds that form the subtle body of the chakras. Superceding all is the bija, Om (Pranava), as the seed from which the universal Tree of Life grows, again and again.
Vedic civilization is sonic. It is based on sounds perceived deep within one’s own being on that level of consciousness where perception has reached a cognition of utmost refinement. These sounds are simply cognized as the innermost structure of one’s own reality. For instance, the one whose perception is refined enough to hear the reverberation of Om within, continuously, is said to be a living realization of Oneness. That primordial sound-seed is the plethora of all that ever came and ever will come into any plane of existence. It is “plethora” because of its absolute “plentitude.” It is Fullness Itself. The very meaning of the Vedic verse, Purnamadah Purnamidam is that, That (Absolute) is Full, and This (Relative) is Full.
Imagine, if the world in the form of a seed in its dormant state is already Fullness Itself, then what about the fullness of Brahman (ultimate reality)? This is the meaning of the Bija, the meaning of Pure Potentiality, (another term for Shakti). That seed is what energy (Shakti) is to its source (Shiva).
Pure Awareness is referred to as “immutable” precisely because there is nothing that it does not contain, hence nothing can be added to, nor taken away from, its incomprehensible Fullness.
The Sacred Tremor
Dissolution does not necessarily take place as an event fixed in time. There is another dimension to that process, where spontaneous emission (an inherent quality of self-awareness) is the force behind all movements; however, not a movement in itself.
This ever-expanding and ever-contracting motion is the (Spanda) “divine throb”, of consciousness, which reverberates throughout the entire creation, bridging the universal and the individual in waves of ecstatic tremor nowhere but within the Spiritual Heart of your own. This inward and outward quiver is beyond space and time with contraction-expansion as the divine pulsation and the very definition of spiritual dynamism. Every movement in the universe, as well as every perception, feeling, sensation, and emotion in this microcosm, ebbs and flows as part of universal rhythm of indivisible Reality, the Self, the only conscious agent and perceiver.
Viewed from that perspective, creation never took place and the “creator-created” picture is an outlived paradigm of more integral, always newly emerging, reality. What we call “creation” is always in a state of pure potentiality, ever evolving, throbbing with new possibilities, an emission of Consciousness Itself.
The value of this knowledge is fully recognized in experiencing Spanda as the vibration or pulse of one’s own awareness. This sacred tremor is not just a philosophical concept, but also a directly perceived dimension of reality that unifies all polarities in oneness and leaves one in a perpetual state of wonder. To make a confession—whilst coming from a place of direct realization—the sheer thrill of that vibration, which shakes the body in waves of bliss even amidst of most mundane of experiences, is a delight incomparable to any other.
This world, along with every perception that goes into its making, including every feeling, thought, sensation, laughter, and tear shed in joy or sorrow, no matter how profane or sacred—all are creative expressions of Shiva. Your breath and your heartbeat as the rhythmical measure of time from a blink of an eye to infinity…
© Igor Kufayev Santanyi, Mallorca. August, 2013
 Wheels of Energy or Chakras, each said to a have particular frequency of rotation associated with a particular Tattva (specific quality of Consciousness), manifesting itself as anything from the subtlest realm of pure energies to, the gross formation of matter, down to the elemental order.
 The Vedic concept of Sat-Chit-Ananda as the ground of Consciousness Itself.
 According to Kashmir Shaivism Absolute manifest itself by the virtue of its own power of will as Iccha-shakti, by the power of knowledge as Jnana-shakti and through the power of action as Kriya-shakti.
 In reference to the Vedic ritual of pressing Soma (nectar of immortality), as a symbolic representation of the awakened pineal gland with its secretion of important hormones responsible for elated states of consciousness.
 Spanda (literally: tremor, vibration, movement) is, according to Kashmir Shaivism, the primordial vibration of the universe perceived in the Spiritual Heart.
The World is as You See It
When one sees from the Heart, one's vision is said to be adjusted…
When the Earth shakes, the tremor is being felt right at the heart, before any cognition has taken place. At that very instant, before any sensory experience kicks in, we feel the gripping sensation at the very core of our being… A split second after, the immediacy of the event is being 'assessed' by the cognitive responses and we act in accord with the inborn reflexes or the way we've mastered the instincts.
These kinds of experiences strip us bare of all coverings and we stand naked at the presence of pure Being, even if for a split moment. In the aftermath we often feel serene and elated from being shaken to the roots of our existence. These moments have the capacity to reveal that awareness is prior to any sensory or mental interpretation. The reason why it's not obvious is because cognition takes over in a flash, perhaps to reassure the continuity of sensory perception. This is the key to the mystery of perception, that which keeps the treasure of direct experiencing locked into relationship between the seer and the seen.
Kashmir Shaiva Tantras speaks of dramatic experiences that give us an immediate sense of our essential nature beyond any coverings or conceptual understanding. These experiences don't have to be terrifying or frightening. The receptiveness to beauty could be just as powerful, for it opens the windows onto a transcendental view of reality (see footnote 1). Creating or being in the presence of a profoundly moving work of art, in whatever form, could trigger an esthetic response which prompts us to loose our identity, for a moment, and merge with the work. This transcendental experience of becoming one with what is being perceived could be said to be the very noble purpose of all arts. Most of us have had these experiences, albeit they are too short and pass unacknowledged. Still, these are casual confirmations of the Self uncoated by its own power of perception, immediate and self-evident, even if its fall short of a true spiritual revelation.
One could argue that these are only fleeting moments and have little significance when it comes to deep spiritual insights. Fleeting as they are, these moments give us a distinctive flavor of Being beyond any sensory or mental interpretation, well before the Self has fully cognized itself on the level of human existence. That is, shaken to the core, we fall into awareness which puts us firmly on the ground of conscious living.
No matter how knowledgeable or intelligent we are, our perception is subjected to the limitations imposed by the relationship between knower and known. It is because the knowledge itself is based on information provided by the senses and interpreted by the dichotomized nature of the mind. While subject and object remain a predominant experience, direct perception of Reality is hidden from the view. The purpose of spiritual practice is to free our awareness from the duality born of the perceiver and the perceived. Another meaning of liberation is freedom from the known – not so much from memory, which holds experiences stored as information, but freedom from the identification with the knower and the known above all else!
That liberation cannot be achieved on the level of mind. No matter how clear is the grasp of Ultimate Reality on the intellectual level, it is still a concept. Mind is inseparable from the dual nature of a thought, where subject and object are its chief constitutes. It is for that reason Perennial traditions speak of merging into the Heart, for it reconciles the seer (subject) and the seen (object) into Oneness – as natural a state as Being itself.
Beatific or terrifying, all experiences rise 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 our awareness and pure potentiality is in perfect alignment. That alignment is represented by union of Shiva and Shakti and spontaneously takes place at the Heart.
The heart region is associated with many functions, and often serves as a metaphor for feeling, emotion and intuition. However, the Spiritual Heart, is not the physical heart, nor is it the energetic wheel, known as the Anahata chakra, but the abode of Consciousness itself (footnote 2). The Spiritual Heart transcends Time and Space, yet it has a precise location in the human body, and experience places it in the chest, two digits to the right of the central line, almost mirroring the physical heart.
Entering the Heart – as most explicitly spoken in the traditions of Sufism and Tantra – is paramount to direct realization of one's essential nature. For it allows seeing through the Heart. Here perception reaches its spiritual maturity, undisturbed by fluctuations of the mind, and refined to the point of Oneness.
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.
Everyone familiar with the ancient Advaita Vedanta text (3) would recognize that the line – The world is as you see it – serves as a leitmotif of the entire scripture, and points to the core of experience itself. Yet the phrase is not as obvious as it may seem.
At its face value, the line conveys the very nature of seeing, for the quality of perception is based on the cognitive responses. Empowered by the dichotomized and synthesizing nature of the brain, the senses complete the picture by giving us the three dimensional view of what we call manifested reality. That process, electrical in essence, is conducted by the vital force or Prana, as it is known in Indian Tradition.
Prana is the chief property of Shakti (4), the dynamic aspect of Awareness which illumines all processes. Shakti is responsible for expansion and contraction of Awareness on the level of human experience (5).
Perception is far from a passive act, and the information supplied by the senses is not an autonomous event taking place in a human body. It is a process where the inseparable relationship between the observer and the observed is in a state of creative tension. Moreover, that relationship is influenced by the quality of perceiving, the quality of observing. When I behold something, anything, I am bringing it forth into existence by a sheer act of seeing. Seen from that perspective, perception is a dynamic process where perceiver, perceiving and perceived are mutually interdependent modalities of Consciousness, without which there is no experience. Our perception is colored by the modality which dominates awareness at any particular moment. (For instance, when the object dominates our experience, perception is said to be reduced to the gross experience of physical reality. When our attention moves to the subject, there is a qualitative shift in awareness.)
The richness of our environment is based on the level of our awareness. The World 'out there' is the way we perceive it 'in here' and that's not a static affair, for our reality changes with our perception of it. It is for that reason that refinement of perception is seen as an indispensable part of any spiritual progress. From gross to subtle, to celestial and beyond, with every change in awareness there is a corresponding change in perception, and, as a result, in our environment. Consciousness is self-referral and perception is its inherent quality. It is said that the creative vision of an artist is based on the perceptual ability to see the world beyond the obvious. Likewise the mystical vision is a transparent perception of reality stripped of coverings from the sensory to the extra-sensory, to the divine vision of the Self beholding itself. Moreover, every change in perception is accompanied by subtle changes in what is being perceived. We are literally molding our reality by the way we perceive it. The true seeing unfolds in being able to appreciate the subtlest aspect of creation in all its beauty and splendor; it's ''To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower…'' to borrow William Blake's line as a poetic vision of Oneness in motion.
There is a certain view prevalent in Neo-advaita suggesting that names and forms are creations of the mind, which means that as long as the mind exists, so does the World of forms and phenomena. That view makes sense when the World is seen as an illusion or a reflection of Pure Awareness.
However, when the World is perceived in terms of one's own Self, what seemed unreal – at the initial or intermediate stages of Self-realization – is now being experienced as one's own reality, permeated with Bliss. This is a very intimate affair where such terms as 'real' and 'unreal' completely lose their meaning. So the intimacy between name and form goes beyond formation of the mind. To have a better view on that, let us consider the following.
Any form in its essence is sound condensed as matter. Sound creates patterns; these patterns correspond to anything born into the manifested, audible plane of existence. Thus Kashmir Shaivism speaks of the vocalized patterns of Energy (Shakti) as an expression of Pure Awareness (Shiva), where the matrix (6) of name and form is the Womb of all that is born into existence. These vocal sounds emanate from the Heart and assume an identity of their own by veiling of Pure Awareness with the power of its own limitation. Yet, in essence, all names and forms are expressions of Oneness humming its own name to Itself.
Shakti (Pure Potentiality) is the dynamic expression of Shiva (Pure Awareness). Shakti is Shiva. Pure Awareness and Pure Potentiality are in a state of constant creative tension without which there is no experience at all. When it comes to perception, there is nothing that has no Shakti behind its movement. We could suggest that the unfathomable mystery of perception is perfectly reflected through the complex network of cognitive responses on the level of human physiology, where sensory experiences are divine attributes and Grace itself is the transmitter.
To sum it up without any attempts to pin in down, there is no Awareness without Movement within its own Stillness. Consciousness is conscious of itself because of its inherent movement within. What is real or unreal here is indeed a matter of perception. Hence the World is as you see it. Whatever you perceive, behold it tenderly; it is alive and throbbing with infinite possibilities of which you are but an expression, of Love in its pure potentiality.
Igor Kufayev - Santanyi, Mallorca. March-April, 2013
First published in translated version in the InZicht, a Dutch/Belgian publication specializing on non-dualism and radical self-enquiry to coincide with the Science and Nonduality Conference in Doorn, The Netherlands, 2013.
Published in its original version in 'NAMARUPA ~ Categories of Indian Thought', the Summer Issue, 2013
1 - According to the Tantras there are five faces of Shiva (Awareness, Absolute), each reflecting a certain attitude and associated with the particular subtle element which has its counterpart on the manifested plane of existence.
2 - It is an important distinction that the physical heart is the most refined replica on the material plane, while the Heart Chakra is the energetic wheel which balances the elementary realm with that of pure Tattvas (forms of energy).
3 - Yoga Vasishtha – one of the most important scriptures of the Vedantic Philosophy.
4 - According to the Tantric view, Shakti is the primordial power which gives rise to all Energy. It is the power of Shiva (Pure Awareness) manifesting itself as Shakti (Pure Potentiality).
5 - The very term Kundalini, 'the coiled one' conveys the contracted state of Awareness on the psyche-physiological plane. When that [Energy] is stirred, awakened and undergoes the process of expansion it is known, from there on, as Prana Shakti.
6 - Matrica (sanskrit), from the root Ma - Mother of all that exists. Hence the World is seen not as an Illusion, but a pulsating with infinite possibilities Reality itself. This is an alternative view of Maya, distinctively different from the dreamlike illusion largely accepted in the Advaita Vedanta.
Never Meeting Maharishi...
January 12th is Birthday of His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The day is celebrated by hundreds of thousands of meditators around the World. The Master is largely known for bringing Transcendental Meditation to householders and followers of different spiritual disciplines, as well as to schools and uni campuses.
Although there are quite few who have met and worked with Maharishi closely, most have never met the man who some consider to be greatest Teacher the World has known in our Time. His legacy has entered collective consciousness and it would take decades before it could be adequately assessed by historians, scholars and sociologists alike.
Yet this is a deeply intimate story.
Being introduced to TM in mid 90-s, when I was in my late twenties, meeting the Master was not that important. TM for me was just a tool to complement my already rich by than artistic life. Gradually though Maharishi's presence grow, my curiosity was aroused and a seed of desire to meet the Master one day was firmly planted.
From around mid 90-s Maharishi was no longer available for general public appearances. The Guru has retreated in Holland and gave televised Darshans to a large international community, and on special occasions only. January 12th was one such occasion. Watching these gatherings I was secretly envious to those who had the privilege to meet and be next to the Master.
By the time my desire reached its zenith, it was practically impossible to meet Maharishi by someone who wasn't even working for the movement. That time has coincided with transformative awakening while attending one of the advanced TM programs. It was than when I had my first intense encounter with the Guru on the level beyond the senses…
The power of Grace filled my heart with such intensity of Love for Maharishi that mere glimpse of his image was enough to send my whole being in throbs of Ecstasy often mixed with tears of Joy and Gratitude… Soon my dwelling became a place of worship. Hundreds of roses were sacrificed at the altar, embalming my heart with the perfume of devotion never known to me before…
While my heart was filled up to its brim, the idea of meeting the Guru still lingered in the mind… Encouraged by those who have known Maharishi since the 60-s I've written a letter to the Master where I've shared my experiences of higher states of Consciousness but mainly trying to express the gratitude with as much humility as my knowledge of English allowed me to.
The reply came on that level where postman himself is the messenger by divine appointment. It was revealed deep in a state of Samadhi… And from there on my Sadhana was guided not just by Maharishi but by his own Master, Guru Dev himself.
By that time desire to meet Maharishi reached its sublime hight, what happened than is too subtle to give it to pen…
To put it plainly, the seeker has drowned in the Sea of seen, where all desires have found its perfect fulfillment including that most pertinent wish to meet the Guru. That meeting took place in the Heart. The Union was so complete that no further physical contact could have possibly altered serene plentitude of being One with the Beloved…
Looking back in retrospect, it was interesting to observe how that relationship undergone transformation. From placidity of impersonal, through intensely personal and ultimately to universal sense of Love for the Teacher.
For at the beginning there was this arrogance which didn't allow any subtler forms to be perceived, only to grow into very personal affair with time. I couldn't care less how many loved Maharishi, he was mine in every sense. That was deeply personal, individualized relationship.
Which was eventually and beautifully transformed into understanding that Maharishi belongs to every being.
Moreover, every being in his or her essential nature is that Great Seer - The Rishi who sees through the Heart of All.
I prostrate at the place where your feet touched the ground… Oh Divine Being who carried Light so Brightly that it Illumined the World within and without.
Jai Guru Dev
Igor Kufayev Sóller, Mallorca. Jan 12, 2013
Entheogenic Plants & Photosynthesis of Light
All esoteric traditions born of necessity to make us realize what we already are speak of the same truth, yet not all of them speak the same language or operate with the same symbology.
But, first let us talk about ayahuasca or any hallucinogenic substance used in various spiritual settings to find out its real purpose. No, ayahuasca (bhang, variety of mushrooms, hashish, marihuana, etc) is never used to get a glimpse of the bigger picture or the view of absolute reality, but rather for loosening the grip between the mind and the gross body.
Let us be clear to avoid any speculation on the subject. No drug or plant substance can give one the experience of absolute reality. Nobody has ever claimed that it does anyway. Even those who have experimented with most powerful consciousness altering drugs have never claimed to see the full picture just by popping a pill or getting stoned. Even partaking in a highly elaborate ceremony attended by custodians cannot deliver one into the state of Oneness on a permanent level.
Consciousness altering substances have been used in some traditions for two main purposes and I'm not interested in analyzing the abuse of the modern times performed by various groups, including the custodians who bastardized their tradition by improper use of the sacred ceremony.
The first purpose is to allow the participant a relatively easy and fast access to his own astral body, where the experience can help to brake the boundaries of otherwise perceptual 'reality' born of sensory perception only. In other words, (as mentioned above) for ''loosening the grip of the mind on the gross body'' and allowing the free passage into another realm. Which gives one an opportunity to witness one's physical body, one's thoughts, one's feelings, in an entirely new psychic setting in order to remove the doubts which otherwise might hinder the process of transcendence.
The above was prescribed only as the means to facilitate further progress in addition to one's main set of practices. Not as a systematic practice in itself. Moreover, gurus with the powerful shaktipat never had to resort to the external aid, the Grace bestowed by them often was more than any substance could deliver.
From a physiological point of view soon as the effect of the chemicals subsided one was 'thrown back' to deal with the body still full of (physical, psychological, mental) 'impurities'. A powerful enough shaktipat on the other hand is an act of purification and lasts a lifetime. Thousands of vagabonds smoking pot allover India have little to do with the cult of Shiva.
Second purpose was of much greater significance and was primarily to communicate with the essence of plant and (or) animal kingdom, used in initiation rights and healing ceremonies. The main principle in the action of entheogenic plant was the same - to get one an access to the subtle realm beyond the sensory through to the extra-sensory.
There in a vast space of the astral one could connect to any of the evolutionary stages passed by the human consciousness including animal, plant and mineral kingdoms, where the residual information allowed for the contact between different stages.
These practices where used since the time immemorial, to gain access to the hidden properties of certain plants and to communicate with the spirit of certain animals in order to coexist in predominately wild/natural environment or to heal members of their tribes.
So, yes entheogenic properties of plants were used, but not to the end of attending Nirvana. All hallucinogenic states revolve around the astral realms, that is in the nature of the chemical reaction occurring in the digestive tract or blood and carried into the brain which connects nervous system with the body. When the reaction is strong enough it could trigger major synaptic dissociation which leads to the experience of the altered states of mind.
My understanding of the shared, I have to confess is based on personal experience. In my youth I had few powerful experiences under the effect of some substances, at one point 'flying out' of my body and observing situation and objects, my own body including from above just like one would from a helicopter...
Yet, none of these could compare in its intensity with the experiences followed by awakening and subsequent rising of the Shakti. There was a period, when in my waking and dreaming states I was able to perceive the fluorescence emitted by plants especially large trees. At the time I had no idea of how plants transfer energy of light into chlorophyll through the effect known as photosynthesis and was very puzzled by the whole experience, but it felt as if I was sharing the frequency of light emissions absorbed by plants.
It is known that visible light is a smaller part of the Electromagnetic spectrum, somewhere between the gamma X-ray, UV and IR, macro-wave, radio. What we perceive through an eye is the visible spectrum, where the highest energy is at the shorter waves like blue and ultraviolet and the lowest energy in the longer waves like in red.
(That resonates with the tantric view of the astral body made of the chakras of the spectrum with red emission at the base of the spine and the ultraviolet at the eyebrow level.)
All biological energy comes from sunlight and this energy encompasses the range of the electromagnetic spectrum known as light. All these seems fitting perfectly with our current theme of the Solar versus Lunar in Vedic/Yogic Lore. With Soma as the essence of Plants and that of the Moon.
Sun is the source of Prana, but it is the Moon which imbibes sap of the plants with its subtle energy. Without the plants there would be no conversion of sunlight via photosynthesis into oxygen. These giant act of respiration is reflected in the outer as well as the inner anatomy of the human physiology...
Igor Kufayev La Garita, Costa Rica. Oct 2011
Noli me tangere...
A child's hand reaching to grasp a new object, moved by instinctive desire to hold the world in those tiny fingers, to feel the thrill of a new sensation only the touch can reveal...
So is with the story, once pressed on the mind, forever leaves an imprint whose shape mothers all other stories in its womb, so simple and profound in its essence no heart is left untouched by its narrative...
The story of Christ could be read as reversal of the original Vedic Creation Myth, where Prajapati (the Progenitor) in order for the Universe to come forth has to sacrifice Himself through an act of dismembering, so great is Creator's compassion that He willingly puts and end to His unity so that diversity can take place!
That act of an original Sacrifice has to be reconciled, over and over as time goes by, and God incarnate into the flesh as Jesus in order to restore the unity again between the Spirit and the matter torn apart by the original descend. That's why so many great spiritual masters of India recognized in Jesus an Avatar and often referred to him as Love-incarnate. Some scholars believe that the historical Jesus has spent, those missing in the new testament years, in Kashmir learning at the feet of distinguished masters what would become later known as Kashmir Shaivism (a fusion of an old Vedic tradition with emerging practices of Tantra).
Small wander many Hindu Saints recognized in Christ a Yogi par excellence and one of the greatest Siddha ever to walk the earth. Leaving arguments for the scholars and theologians, we'll come back to the story itself, the story which never fails to move the heart, being the crossing point, the heart is where Christ left his most healing touch.
Some of the most precious moments in Christ' story were the encounters with the small circle of his disciples and the most enigmatic of all with the woman, whom Christ saved from being stoned to death, known as Mary from Magdala. It is worth remembering that the bond of unconditional Love - which broke the bondage of Mary's soul from the constraints of the body - was a touch stone between Compassion of Jesus and burning desire of Mary to become one with her Beloved. If Christ was greatest yogi than Mary Magdalen was destined to become a yogini of the western world as the foremost Christian Saint.
Noli me tangere - ''touch me not'', is a latin version of words spoken according to John, by Christ to Mary when she recognized him after his Resurrection. The original phrase was written in Greek and translates as ''cease clinging on to me''. What was behind the line, when Christ appeared in front of Mary Magdalen, his most devoted disciple, making her move on an impulse to embrace the feet of her beloved Master, yet being restrained by him. Noli me tangere, the phrase has been a subject of many debates between the scholars and interpreters of Christianity. We'll give it a Tantric touch.
According to Kashmir Shaivism, the touch is considered to be the most important faculty of the senses, which takes place at the onset of evolutionary process, more importantly, that process is being repeated over and over again at each and every instant of our existence! The touch is not only limited to experience of the object of sense perception transmitted through the air element and expressed through the organ of cognition as hand. In fact for the possibility of any experience to happen, there must be a moment of the crossing of two, the union produced by that sensation. Sound uniting with ear, touch uniting with skin, sight uniting with form, taste uniting with tongue, scent uniting with the organ of smelling.
Through all the activity touch is a culminating factor in giving possibility of the experience for the one who is going through it. For that reason Tantra considers all experiences erotic in its essence, for in every instant, on all the levels of creation, the original act is being re-created in a mini replica of Grand Union as penetration of the Spirit into the World. The sense of touch is located at the Heart Center and transmitted through air element. It associated with the heart chakra, where hands serve as organs of cognition and the genitals as organs of action. The Heart center is the seat of prana (vital force), as well as the seat of all emotions. The holy shrine of the body-temple and Lord Himself dwells in its chamber, in the crossing point where the subject meets its object... and the experience set in motion.
It's as if the Lord in response to the lover, who is in the agony to embrace the Beloved, warns: Do not touch me ! If you wish to unite with Me, you have to go beyond the realm of the senses ! The message is simple, to embrace the Lord and to be touched by His Divine Grace, Mary Magdalen has to withdraw her mind from the activity of the senses if she is to enjoy true union with the Beloved.
Igor Kufayev Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Feb 2010
The Nature of Pain
What is pain ? Is it a release, a protective mechanism, a natural response of the body to danger, a psychosomatic projection, all of these or something else altogether? Can we live without pain, or is it an integral part of our existence? Shall we suppress pain at all times?
The English word derives from Latin poena - meaning punishment pain, or Ancient Greek poine - a word related to penalty. Do we take that pain is literally punishment, or is it penalty in philosophical understanding of the term, like the re-payment for wrong action, whatever that action was. If we accept that view, than painful experiences are self-generational and we all are active participants to the pain we collectively produce even if being unaware of its consequences. Needless to say that the universal computation makes sure to distinguish between the types and forms before making us the receivers of physical or mental experience.
There is neurobiological reasons for the existence of pain which are there to make sure we distinguish our experiences between those that give us pleasure and that of its opposite. Pain marks the pathways of an illness and often reveals the way for treatment. The renowned physician Avicenna used to infect himself with terrible diseases in order to undergo the symptoms which allowed him to experience pain first hand and understand the nature of the illness in all its complexity. Pain of all kind and physical pain in particular is a natural response of the body towards conditions where pain acts as a signal of a complex safety net.
Throughout history the understanding of pain changed inadvertently reflecting the existential attitudes towards the experience. Many cultures considered pain to be an important factor necessary for personal growth and maturity of a soul. In some the initiation contained exposure to pain and were seen as the right of passage, the coming of age. It seems with advance of science coupled with development of humanistic ideas, we do our utmost to suppress the pain. Today 'painkilling' is an industry in its own right and part of the overall orientation of our culture with the emphasis on pleasure at all costs. After all who in their right mind would prefer pain to its opposite. As living creatures we all share that aspect, the unconscious desire to prolong pleasure and keep away from pain.
Without drawing any conclusions, what if pain is an inseparable response of our localized consciousness to the environment we live in ? We know that suppressed desire for pleasure erupts as an obsession often in an ugly way. Suppressing pain without re-evaluating its cause is as detrimental to our overall health in a long term as indulging in pleasure without fully understanding the bounding nature of that experience.
Pleasure and pain are two most important neurophysiological responses in the brain which mark our likes and dislikes and wire the connection between the body, mind and environment. There is strong evidence for biological connections between the neurochemical pathways used for the perception of both pain and pleasure, which confirms with the yogic view of both experiences being part of the same continuum.
The Samkhya doctrine recognizes that process as the inner mechanics behind worldliness. Attachment arises from pleasure and pleasure is derived from attachment to the experience it produces. In turn pain gives rise to aversion and thus the circle of attachment and aversion strengthens the Vasanas (psychic conditioning) of an individual psyche.
When we undergo pleasurable experience we take it for granted, for its a natural predisposition in our mind and needs no questioning as for the reasoning. One of the resultant states of awakening is an increased awareness of the deep connectedness of all psychological states and physiological conditions. Even if still automatically preferring pleasure to pain the awakened mind is no longer bound by the attachment the experience of pleasure otherwise incurs.
That is because spontaneous realization rests on the knowledge that they (pain and pleasure) follow each other (like the dials of a clock) with the change in the alternating states with which Nature performs all actions. The Gunas (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas*) rotate and bring about changes in physical and psychological states of our system. Even a threshold of pain differs according to the predominance of a particular guna in an individual.
Whatever is the case, the one who set his/her mind on the path of yoga tries his/her best to overcome the cycle of attachment and aversion born of the experience of pleasure and pain. Both experiences produce the subconscious latencies in the shape of the above mentioned Vasanas. Attachment and aversion are rooted in misapprehension of reality which firmly binds the soul to the body by identification of the ''I'' (as a spectator) with the process of a spectacle.
To cut these circuit is to brake free from the chains with which the ''I'' is (seemingly) bound. Seemingly ? Well, the ''I'' is never affected by that which takes place on the level of cognitive (motor-sensory-mental) experiences, nor does it get affected by any fluctuations brought about by the superimposition of those experiences onto the ''I'' (as the perceiver). No more than the images projected onto the screen have an effect on the light which illumines the movie. So is with our experiences in the world as far as the motor-sensory-mental responses are concerned.
* According to The Samhkya, one of the Six Systems of Indian Philosophy, The Gunas are primordial qualities which constitute Nature. On cosmological level Sattva is the energy of equilibrium; Rajas is the energy behind all motion; Tamas is primal factor behind inertia. In terms of psychological states of an individual, Sattva balances all processes and stands for light, clarity and peace. Rajas is responsible for excitement, passion, desire and consequently for all mental turmoil including pain and misery. Tamas as inertia rules stagnation and ignorance born of total identification with the physiology. Suffice to say that everyone is a mixture of all three energies with minute combination/proportion of the three Gunas which form the basis of an individual psyche.
Igor Kufayev Tashkent, Uzbekistan. February 2010