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The wayfarer who became Way

Vaklush Tolev – the Spirit and the flame; the Sage who saw God in man

To tell the life story of someone who maintains that for him "there is a reality more real than reality, and that is the reality of the Spirit", is a very big challenge.All the more that, when he was leaving this world a year ago, he requested that his tombstone bore no name, but had an inscription instead: "Spirit and Flame my Way and being has been."The means of biography – a set of ascertainments about the three-dimensional world where everything comes into being, exists and dies, are simply insufficient when you want to tell a story about your meeting with the Spirit.

We are used to seek God in the temple, in the books, in nature. People have overfilled their minds with notions, conceptions and rituals to such an extent that they are even willing to kill for them. But if for a moment we succeed to free ourselves from all our notions of God, if we leave the sludge to settle from the layered external images, perhaps we will really sight Him deep inside us, waiting to be brought out.

However, that moment of awakening and enlightenment is only the beginning of the Way. Bringing out God out of man is a long spiritual process. "There is no shorter way than the way between man and God," Vaklush liked to say. And would always add with a smile: "nor any longer way…" Indeed, he well knew the Way to God, because he had walked it himself. The wayfarer became Way – the Way of Wisdom.


I met him in the late 90's; I was intensely looking for an interesting character for a documentary film. At that time he was reading lectures at the Plovdiv University "Paisii Hilendarski", he was also having regular meetings with a Sofia audience in the hall of the Science and Engineering Unions Federation. I have no memory of the topic of his speech in Sofia when I first saw him, but his image stamped deeply in my mind. I saw a man around the age of 70 who I felt came from another time. If you set aside his suit and the background in the lecture hall, he resembled someone who had just come out of an ancient parable – the ones in which the sages reveal the secrets of life. He had a hoary long hair, a grizzled beard, expressive hands and eyes which could penetrate with shrewdness, but also eyes in which one could see the mildness of humbleness.

I could not grasp much of the meaning of his words spoken in the hall, but as if I sensed the rhythm of the words and the depth from which they were coming. I felt a great respect for him as he was not speaking merely to inform or to express an opinion, but as though he was performing a religious ritual with his speech. Yes, this was the character I was looking for.  

Greatly intrigued by what I saw and heard I began studying him so as to build the story for my documentary film (www.thefilm.vaklush.org). I discovered that strangenesses accompany him since his very birth on 7th January, 1923, Christ's birth day, according to the Old Style, in the village of Popovitsa near Plovdiv. He is given the name Vaklush. Later on I learn that the root "vak" or "vakh/bakh" in some ancient languages means "supreme spiritual power".


An exceptionally bright child, he insists to be admitted in school even before he turns 7. At the age of 13 he is admitted in high school in Asenovgrad. He is impressed by the Bar and the Court lawyers and very often goes to the Court to listen defensive speeches. On his 14th birthday, quite Biblical, during a Christian feast he displays daring and climbs the pulpit in the church in his own village so as to deliver a sermon on "Is there God?" (Although long after that moment he gives birth to the aphorism: "God is not to be proven, God is to be lived!"). Later he becomes a chairman of the high school Christian-philosophical Association.  

"Only humbleness has not offended fate and God!"


From an early age he shows character and stands vegetarianism, which for him is not just a healthy way of living or a moral choice but rather part of the preparation of the human body to endure the awakening of more supreme spiritual energies.

In his juvenile years he grows up as an active patriot and anticommunist. He graduates from the School for reserved officers and participates in World War II. Later he enrolls in the Faculty of Law of the Sofia University but is expelled for political reasons in 1945. He faces trial before the People's Court because of his views and his officer's rank in the Royal Army. He is found guilty as an "enemy of the people" and is sentenced to death, which is subsequently replaced with a life sentence. When, according to the custom, they give him the right to the last word, they turn on the loudspeakers outside the courtroom for everybody's edification. Everyone expects him to be crushed by the passed sentence and beg for mercy, but his answer blares through the loudspeakers: he will fight an ideological battle with communism to the very end, since according to him this system buries man in a collective grave.  

He perceives his life in the prisons as a "care of Heaven", because, instead of wounding and breaking him, his oppressors actually help him preserve himself, help him stay with his inner self and "save him the distraction".

"When you are sufficient to yourself, no one can defeat you!"  

Thus in Belene, the symbol of sinisterness and death, he experiences the joy of his spiritual awakening. At the age of 28 (the fourth seven according to esoteric knowledge, when one starts working with one's causal body; or, in other words, the age of spiritual maturity) his inner fire awakens and Vaklush enters a state which he later terms "Universal consciousness". In Indian tradition this moment is described as passing from the first to the last chakra of Kundalini – the Fire Serpent, inbreathed in us. The idea of the awakening of the Breath (of God) exists also in Christian culture – that is the image of the Pantocrator. "To hold the planet in your hand is a reality," Vaklush confirms, without hiding but also without imposing his experience.


Vaklush's Golgotha continues as many as 12 years and he goes through nearly all prisons in the country. There he meets many of the distinguished minds of his time, sentenced as political prisoners. For him that period is a great blessing in a spiritual and creative way. He studies languages, writes poetry, dramas, philosophical essays… It is in the prisons that he formulates some of the key conceptions that will underlie his future teaching. He delights Gandhi and his idea of nonviolent resistance against evil, but himself creates the idea: "there is no evil, there is unevolved good". This way the so called evil is not capsulated; instead, it is given the opportunity to transform into good. And the mind, working with that conception, can free itself from dualism and head towards oneness. "Good and evil are phenomena, not noumena; they are principles of evolution," Vaklush explains. He also admires Nietzsche, especially his idea that between animal and Overman there is a bridge named man. But he himself makes it precise in the emblematic aphorism: "man is a god in evolution".  

In the knowledge that "there is no suffering, there is evolution" and as a result of the political prisoners' amnesty in 1956 Vaklush is released. He says he has left the small prison and has entered the big one. However, he never speaks negatively about that period of his life – "so as not to feed the negation".

Since he has been convicted as "a people's enemy", he is deprived of his rights to study in any university in the country. Much later he manages to graduate from the Spiritual Academy in Sofia with a major in Theology which at that time was the only autonomous educational institution, under the subjection of the Church.
As early as the first year he is expelled from the university (by order of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party) but his students rights are restored after the advocacy of a high-level official respected by his person. He wastes no time and has the 5 years of training in only 18 months…


He starts working in the Plovdiv Bishopric as a librarian where together with the Culture department of the municipality creates the first gallery of icons. On his initiative a big part of the icon richness of Bulgaria is listed, restored and preserved.
  Ever since his time in the prisons, drawn by Vaklush's person and ideas, people start circling around him. In 1991 he is invited in the Plovdiv and Sofia Universities to read lectures on the history of religions. At the same time he starts delivering speeches and talks in various scientific and cultural centers.  

Gradually the School is created and there Vaklush gives lectures on almost all esoteric schools and mystic teachings, on the Seven Rays of evolution, gives interpretations of paragraphs of "Agni Yoga" and more. The theses which he presents are elaborated in the light not of morals but of knowledge. For "Wisdom is the midstream between the tables of virtues and the insight of knowledge," he explains. Subsequently a circle of followers of Vaklush is established, the "Forum for spiritual culture", which after 1999 grows into the "Way of Wisdom Society". Follow years of tireless travels all over the country, of public speeches and meetings with people, while the ideas that Vaklush elaborates develop into a complete teaching – Way of Wisdom. Some define it as syncretism between Orthodox Christianity, eastern religions, occultism and even Proto-Bulgarian symbolism. With regard to this Vaklush himself often recalls Christ's words that new wine is not to be poured into old skins. In his view the idea of freedom from the past is an absolute necessity, but this freedom is achieved not by forgetfulness but by a "responsible assessment of past cultures". On the surface that might look like syncretism, but in depth it actually is a hierarchy of world cultures. 

Thus, consistently and in detail, Vaklush Tolev unfolds a fundamental doctrine about the creation, structure and development of the world; about the hierarchies of the Spiritual Waves. According to it mankind's evolution goes through 7 spiritual stages: of Creation, Mythology, Justice, Love, Wisdom, Truth and Freedom. The Spiritual Waves are a chronology of the cosmic and man's spirit! They are the pulse that impregnates the plane of ideas and materializes itself in culture and civilization. "The Spiritual Waves are degrees of acquiring God by man!" In Vaklush's opinion after the Spiritual wave of Justice, given by Moses and Buddha, after the Spiritual Wave of Love, given by Christ, now a new Spiritual Wave enters the planetary evolution – the Wave of Wisdom. "There has been wisdom in the world, but there has not been Wisdom as a complete Spiritual Wave until now!" It is being brought to life in Bulgaria; and from here will start the sacral revolution which will give a new spiritual impulse to the evolution on Earth, Vaklush is convinced. For him Wisdom is not a new religion, nor a new science; it is the "knowledge of the awakened intuition, which [intuition] puts into order the domino of the mind; it uncovers the secret of the Spirit!"

"Evolution is not tasked to create prosperity but gods!"  

One of the fundamental ideas that Vaklush formulates and presents as culture of reciprocity between people is expressed in the new concept of "sabozhnik". Spiritual relationship is more important than blood relationship, Vaklush emphasizes (continuing what Christ said), therefore man in his teaching is no longer a brother or a sister, but namely a sabozhnik (Every man is essence of God, Nur magazine), con-deity. That means "In the other to see God whom we seek in ourselves". While I was working on my film and learning from Vaklush, I would see the disappointment on many people's faces; people who had come so as to seek specific practices for achieving spiritual enlightenment. He would give only one practice – not from the outside in but from the inside out: "The spiritual ideas should be acquired and lived!" For him the outer practice or the ritual, accepted in most spiritual teachings, are something which satisfies the mind that it has accomplished the necessary and one stops seeking and growing.


Once Vaklush gave me as a present one of his books, on which he wrote to me: "Save the energy, not the time!" Sometimes I think to myself how much energy we spend wandering about, trying to give a meaning to our existence. I am trying to imagine how the world would look like if our energy was canalized in the direction of our true predestination, that is – towards our spiritual growth. If only instead of taking care of the material man we had created preconditions for the birth of the divine one, for Vaklush teaches that "man still exists but does not live".  

And even if only with my imagination I follow the direction that the Way of Wisdom shows, I ask myself how a science of gods would look like, what their art would be, or how would they govern countries populated with people who know they are gods in evolution… Whatever lies ahead, I already know a secret – we are not forsaken, we are not forgotten, we are not doomed!  

Man is a waited god but is yet to make the next step towards the Almighty, this time in himself, for Vaklush often says: "The battle for man has ended; the battle for bringing God out of man has begun!"