An interview: Juan & Ivan Nunez del Prado
Juan & Ivan Nunez del Prado, you are two modern people, born in an especially
multicolored South American country. Two people of the modern era who teach
an ancient tradition, with its own dialect, its own composition, its own
worldview. How would you characterize yourselves?
dJ – Peru is a complex country, i s made by the meeting of the western tradition
which arrived here in the 16th century, and the Andean tradition which is the result
of the long civilization which developed in history. To have an idea about the
population of Peru, we can use a linguistic criterion in order to understand the
different levels of cultural influence. The first people is the people who have as their
maternal language the Spanish, you can call them the Creoles – they only know
about the western tradition. Below them are the mestizos, who have as their
maternal language the Spanish and as a secondary language usually the quechua –
they know some things about the Andean tradition, they know the western tradition
and some things about the Andean. Then we have what we call the Cholos who have
as a maternal the native language and then they learn as a secondary language the
Spanish. They basically have an Andean cosmovision but with certain important
factors of the western. Then we have the Indians, people who has as maternal
language the native languages, and only talk that languages. They are completely,
until now, under an Andean cosmovision. From this perspective, we are a pair of two
mestizos, people who have as maternal language the Spanish and we learn
something about the Andean tradition. We in a certain way research specifically
about the Andean tradition and in a certain way re-educate ourselves, integrating
our western heritage with the Andean heritage.
What is the “Andean tradition”? The Andes cross 7 different countries. Ηow can
we talk about something common to all?
dJ – The Andean tradition is the remaining of the ancient civilizations who developed
in the western side of south America. There are several things in common, like the
religion which is a mixture of the Christianity with the Incan-Andean religion, and a
very peculiar paradigm which is related with certain principles, like Ayni, Masintin,
Yanantin, Tawantin. Ayni is the reciprocity, Masintin is the reciprocity between two
factors who have something in common. Yanantin is the reciprocity between two
factors who are different, and Tawantin is the sign of the wholeness who integrates
at the same time principles of Ayni, Masintin and Yanantin and Tawantin.
From your long experience, as teachers of your tradition, what would you say
brings people to your classes? What are they seeking?
dJ – This is part of the fashion who rose in the 60s, it was strengthen then, but it was
there before: To look in foreign spiritual paths for answers for certain questions
which are not available for the people who abandoned their Christian tradition.
How differently does the language of the tradition of Peru and the Andes, speak
to a European, a German, an Italian, a Greek …?
dJ – First, by giving another way to reconnect with the sacrality of the world, which
was lost in the last two centuries, and then giving a new way for the skills to deal
with the difference. Usually our tradition is more about using as a base of every
social organization the homogeneity of factors – like we make a club of people who
are interested in car-races, we have another club of people who love painting, or
societies of lovers of the nature, etc. But every human group is generated by people
who have something in common. Of course, there is one institution in the West
which is based in people with certain basic factors which are different, is the
marriage. But the marriage affects only the couple as individuals, and we are not so
skillful dealing with the different factors. To say, we have problems dealing with
people of other religions, we have problems dealing with people with a different
political ideology, and probably the yanantin concept -which is very similar to the
Tao concept of China- is going to help us to put together different factors -even
opposite factors, and integrate them in a unity, or be able to at least handle it.
We see the world around us change. Political forms are being revised, the
economic crisis is creating new realities. How timely and useful can it be to
speak now about a tradition preserved through an Empire like the one of the
dJ – According to Carl Sagan every society of the history of the humanity looks like a
scientific experiment, and we can learn about these different kinds of experiments
who have been across the history. In the case of the Andean tradition specifically, the
Incas created the only society in the whole history of the humanity where there was
no poverty or hunger. If you take a look, even with our powerful productive systems,
we have poverty and hunger in the most wealthy western societies. Maybe if we take
a look in the strategies which were used in Incan empire, we can have some certain
tools to solve these human problems we are suffering all over the world.
Juan Nunez del Prado, how compatible with your academic work was your
decision to teach this tradition to the world?
dJ – Technically the whole thing started with an academic research in the 1968 with
Manuel Marzal who was a Jesuit priest and Anthopologist, and Juvenal Casaverde
another Anthropologist fellow of me, we more or less simultaneously discovered for
the academic world what is now known as the Andean Religion, which is the
integration of the ancient religion of the Incas with the religion which was taken by
the conquerors of the 16th century. The research of the Andean Indian Masters was
another academic research, and the most important aspect of what we teach today is
a result of that research. I was educated in a tradition in which an applied
Anthropology is something very important, and it is the use of the knowledge about
the culture to produce and generate social changes. From this perspective, what we
do teaching that, and blending the teachings with certain scientific factors, is a
project of applied Anthropology, and I don’t see any problem to link the teaching of
the Andean Tradition with my academic background.
How easy is it for an Anthropologist and Archaeologist to live by the principles of
a worldview, that could be a field of a study for him in our times?
dJ – Anthropology is one of the most open academical fields in the western
civilization, usually is about studying societies different than the West, and in certain
cases use that knowledge to lessons for the general development of societies. In this
way, after research in the tradition I found in this tradition several values and
approaches which there are not in our western society and could be valuable not
only to guide a personal life but probably useful in order to solve several problems
in the western society. In that way it is not difficult to accept principles who are
much more efficient in guiding your personal life, and from that to start teaching
those principles to others was just one step forward.
Ivan, you started your journey in the tradition when you were seven years old. As
a Mechanic, you have received a science education. Did you ever feel that you
had to unite two different worlds?
I – They are definitely two different worlds, but they can be perfectly united. The
spirituality can bring all the things that science cannot, so they can be a perfect
complement. If you will be able to put them together, there is going to be something
that enriches your life, and for good.
Indigenous Q’ero Indians, as we read, were the ones who called themselves
descendants of the Incas. What does still reminds the old glory, the history, in
today’s Peru? How does old and modern coexist?
dJ – First, it is very important by itself that there is a remaining of the Inca identity.
For decades we thought that the Inca identity was lost across the colonial period or
the republic. In 1955 as a result of an expedition guided by my father, we discovered
that the Inca identity was present. This was just a first case, because the Q’eros are
of course the one who claim to be the direct descendants of the Incas, but they are
not the only. After the finding of my father another colleague found the mythology
and prophecies who claim that identity in several other communities of the Peruvian
Andean Indians. Later on, several scholars found the same kind of mythology in
communities of Ecuador and Bolivia and it makes a common background in which
certain populations of the Andes are conscious about the heritage which was
received by the South American countries from the Inca Empire. How the modern
and the ancient co-exist is a phenomenon which is happening not only in Peru, was
also the characteristic of a certain sociocultural state in Italy before the 14th century
and the synthesis of the ancient with the new triggered the Italian Renaissance who
spread all over the western civilization. Something like that is probably happening in
the south American countries.
You have students all over the world. Tell us about that.
dJ – Well, we started sharing the knowledge we have by a request of certain people
who came to Peru looking for that knowledge, and it took us to another step when
some people invited us to share that in different countries of United States first and
then in Europe. What happened is that the Andean contemporary tradition has
certain factors, something we call the spiritual art or the Andean Contemporary
Spiritual Art. This is a set of procedures who allow you to start a process of selfdevelopment
which is very fast, very efficient, and very helping for the
contemporary challenges. In that way, the procedures who were supportive for the
Peruvian Indians under the pressure of the western culture, are today useful for the
Westerners to support the pressures of the rising of the global society.
If you wished to teach one thing to your students, only one, what would that be?
dJ – Probably, if I need to make this decision, I would obviously start with the notion
of Ayni. Ayni for us is a principle, because through ayni we can explain certain
factors of the Andean cosmology. Ayni is a commandment, because every time our
metaphysical god arrives to planet Earth tells us “Ayni Nakuichis”, which means “use
the ayni”, “perform the ayni”, “live according to the ayni”. Ayni is reciprocity, but a
kind of generous reciprocity, in which you need to learn how to give with
detachment, and how to receive with humility. Sometimes we give, but we don’t
really give, because we are attached with the things we did to others expecting that
they will reciprocate to us in the same way. In another occasion we are not able to
receive because we are too proud about ourselves, and if you are totally proud and
full about yourself you are not able to receive. Because you need to recognize you
don’t have something, or that you need something, to be able to receive. But when
you realize the power of this factor you can learn how ayni, giving and receiving,
knowing how to give and how to receive, is the key which can improve and generate
an enormous framework of social relationship available for yourself. In this way ayni
could make you rich in social connections or social relationships. And the skills this
training on ayni can provide, can make you a more efficient person, a more satisfied
There was something that started in Peru and rocked the planet a few years ago.
In 2012 many people believed that the end of the world was about to come. Did
dJ – In the Andean tradition this is part of something like a protocol. According to
this process predicted we had a “pachacuti”, which is a cosmical transmutation who
lasted for three years and these years run from 1990 to 1993. Then we had a period
of “preparing” the new conditions for the development of the new age, which are
seven years, and run from 1993 to 2000. Then we had a period of “spreading the
knowledge” which is between 2000 and 2012. As you can see, it is not so simple, it is
something a little bit more complex. Technically, this thing on 2012 emerged in
different societies and traditions simultaneously. It is part of the prediction of the
Mayan people, in which their calendar ended in 2012. It is part of the Hopi tradition,
in which the White Buffalo was born on 1975 and after 17 years they think there is
going to be the rise of the 5th humanity. It is part of the book of Terence Mc Kenna
which is related with the readings of the I Ching, which correlates with certain
important factors, in the global history. According to Mc Kenna the last reading of
the I Ching ends in 2012 too. The people were waiting for the end of the world but
what really happened is a change in the general rules of the world. We were
expecting a “pachacuti” (a cosmical transmutation), and there is a book who is
speaking exactly about the same thing. It is a book of Samuel Huntington and the
title is “The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconfiguration of the World Order”. A
“reconfiguration” is absolutely equivalent to our word “pachacuti”. Huntington was
talking about what happened after the fall of the USSR and how the world is going to
be reconfigured using other criteria, beyond the ideological criteria. And these
criteria would be civilization and religion. If you take a look on 1990, when our
sequence started, several things happened. The Wall of Berlin fell, the USSR fell, in
my country also several things happened, but in the world one of the most important
things is that after the USSR fell, the United States became the leader of the monopolar
society, which came to an end after the towers in 2011. As you can see, really
something happened in the world configuration, but the thing is that the people
were expecting another kind of catastrophic events and did not take a look on these
sociopolitical events, who really happened in this period. I personally think we are
living in another way, with other rules, where the cultural and religious factors are
going to be the main factors of the new rules in the world. This is already happening
and is very well described in the book of Huntington.
It seems that what moves with your teaching touches the western side of the
world more than it does the east. Is this actually so ?
dJ – Until today we are teaching in several states of the U.S. and almost all the
nations of Europe, and only in one occasion we went to the East, to Bali. I think this
is because we are, from the 16th century, part of what is called “the Western side of
the world”, and of course there is more affinity of what we teach with this world. But
in another way, as I referred before, the westerners are looking to find certain
factors in other traditions; factors that are not any more there in the western
tradition. But this is not the same in the eastern tradition, where in certain way most
solidly stay on their own principles and they are more trying to expand their own
principles to the rest of the world, than looking for other principles. I think the most
clear example of that is the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
In June 2019, the International Meeting of Paqos took place in Greece. What
is «paqos»? And why in Greece?
dJ – “Paqo” is the traditional name of an Andean spiritual teacher. It is something
much more complex than the people think, because the Andean tradition consider at
least four available grades in the development of a paqo. As you can see you can find
paqos of the first level, the second level, the third level and the top level which is the
fourth. Greece is always interesting for anyone who is connected with the western
tradition, because as you can see, Greece is the origin of a big part of the background
which is today in the Western civilization. One important factor of these aspects of
the Greek civilization, is a sequence of types of human personalities who rose in
Greece. The first was the type of “hero”, like Ulysses or Achilles, the second was the
“poet” like Homer, the third was the “philosopher” as Socrates or Plato, and the
fourth is the “scientist” as Aristotle. As you can see these types of human
personalities spread all over the world, not only in the classic times but in the
western times too. They are present to any other developed western civilization.
And the top of this scale is the scientist. As you can see the Scientist is the top kind of
human personality, who really drives the development of the western civilization
after the recovery of the science with the Copernican revolution. And now we were
interested in organizing the paqos meeting in Greece, because -if you take a look, we
are in the extreme of the expansion of the western civilization: the western border,
while Greece is the eastern border of the western cultural influence. Which means
connecting the two extremes, you can contribute to generate certain new identity,
not only in us, but in the Westerners too.
Scientific articles in the past few years seem to focus on nature, in a way they did
not before: “The Earth Has Consciousness”, “Does Water Have Memory?”, etc.
What do the teachers of a tradition that has a close connection to the
environment think about it?
dJ – In the western tradition, these tendencies started with the famous book of James
Lovelock “Gaia”, in which it was the first time in the western tradition Earth was
considered a living organism. Now there are several approaches to that, but in the
Andean tradition this was the base of our approach to nature. We talk about the
Kawsay Pacha, and that means the Living Cosmos. According to this perspective,
everything is just a form of living energy, and everything is in a certain way alive.
And if it is alive, it has memory and has something like a personality, and according
to the tradition, it is possible to have a direct connection with the Earth, with the
Water etc. The Cosmos for us is Pachamama, the Earth for us is Mama Allpa, the
Water is Mama Unu, the Sun is father Inti, the Wind is father Wayra. All of them are
considered persons, and in that measure if you develop your mystical capacities, you
can develop direct connections and even conversations with the factors of nature. In
this way it seems that the western science is moving in the direction which was the
approach of the tradition of the Andes.
On the other hand, there are also recent trends, such as the movement that acquires
followers in the West, who claim that “the Earth is flat”. Is the world moving in two
dJ – Usually, when an important movement forward starts, it generates a contrary
movement which is usually archaist and of course, the Archaists could believe in
anything, even things as “the Earth is flat”. There are some people I know, who
regret from having a physical cosmovision, to a cosmovision where they insist that
the Earth is the centre of the Universe. And of course, the human beings are capable
to discover the most amazing truths, but also to regret to the most unthinkable and
We hear and read that the Inca empire society was structured based on equality
or equal distribution. Is it possible to relive that?
dJ – I mentioned before that if you emphasize on the value of the commandment and
principle of Ayni, this can assimilate the point of view which will take you to the
point of the development of structures which are related with redistribution, and
this at the end could produce the eradication of poverty and hunger. It is just a thing
of change of point of view. If you really pay attention to reciprocity, of course it is
about giving and receiving, and you can at the end persuade people who have
enormous amounts of goods to start to share that with other people, just because
this is a good investment from the perspective of reciprocity. If you share something
with somebody, this is the most important investment you can do. Then you don’t
need to be even a good person to start to redistribute; you just need to be a little bit
clever to start to invest in that direction. And I think this is proven, because in the
measure you are able to share, it creates what is known as social solidarity, which is
the very social factor that can change the world.
We have seen that you have studied the Depth Psychology of Carl Jung. Would
you like to talk to us about that?
dJ – I am a committed amateur of the Depth Psychology. I studied that not for
academical reasons, but because in certain moment of my experiences with my
master I was not able to describe that experiences in a proper rational way. Then my
wife introduced me the Jungian Psychology, and there I found the adequate language
to express certain kinds of phenomenon I was experiencing in the performance of
the Andean tradition. After reading Jung I discovered certain factors who were very
important; I can think the Andean civilization in terms of archetypal civilization,
because the set of performances of the Andes, are related with the series that Jung
called “the archetypes of the Collective Unconscious”. Especially one, which is
according to Jung one of the most important: the archetype of the Self. According to
the Andean Tradition we consider the existence of what we call the Inca Seed which
has all the characteristics of the Self of Jung. It is a factor in which we content all the
potential of the human development and is in every human being. Probably the
Jungian Psychology is going to be in the future our scientific support to describe and
prove that the Andean Tradition, from another side, which is not the scientific
procedure, discovers certain factors which blend very well with certain rules of
Teaching so many different people, what does it offer you? What are the messages
you receive from people coming from so many different cultures?
dJ – What I learn as an Anthropologist, is that culture is one of the most important
social factors, because in certain way it is the software which supports the whole
society. But culture is relative, because it is a specific strategy to survive. As Jung
says, culture is like the dynamo that allows the water to express its power, which
means culture is the tool to channel the power which is hidden in the Collective
Unconscious, and expresses that in a creative way. But as I say, cultures are just
different strategies. Before these strategies, there is the human nature, and after you
deal with the cultures with adequate respect, you can discover that in the back of
any culture, there is just one human being, with the same necessities, with the same
expectations etc. Our experiences provide us with the conviction that all humans are,
in the base of our inner self, exactly the same.
How far from the current achievements of knowledge were the Incas?
dJ – As I say, the Incas did not develop something equivalent or something like what
we can call science, because their knowledge is not based on the intellectual debate
or the logic of the argument etc., like the rational development of the western
civilization and science. We can take the approach which was developed by Jung and
his work related with the Secret of The Golden Flower where he made a statement:
the Westerners have some kind of science, and the easterners have another kind of
science. The science of the westerners is based on the principle of Causality, and the
science of the easterners is based on the principle of Synchronicity. I can say that the
Andeans have something like the science of the people of the East, because the most
important knowledge of the Andean is related with Synchronicity. This is on one
hand, because on the other hand related with the cosmological knowledge, the Inca
tradition was stopped on the 16th century, because the vision of the cosmical reality
is the cosmology is related with the pre-Copernican overview, where the Earth is
considered to be the centre of the Universe. Of course there is a gap between the
Andean physical cosmovision and the contemporary physical cosmovision of the
western civilization, where we have the Copernican revolution, then we have the
revolution with the discovery that we are just a part of the galaxy, and that the
galaxy is one of the million galaxies of the Cosmos, and the discovery of the origin
and the size of the Cosmos which was made recently in the western cosmovision.
One of our dreams would be to be capable to communicate to the Andean population
these several revolutions which happened after Copernicus to the westerners.
In June 2019 you were in Greece, among your students from all over the world. You are a
big family. Do you wish to comment?
dJ – You are right, we are a big family and our intention from the beginning was to
organize our -if you want to call it movement – as a big family. This is the paradigm
which was used by the Inca Empire, in which the rules of the family where extended
to the local group, to the regional group, to the national group and the imperial
group. In a certain way the model of the Inca Empire was the model of a huge family,
and in sociology this is considered as a communal model of society, in opposition to
the societal model of society, which is the western. If you want to take a look to this
typology you can see in Ferdinand Tönnies, a German Sociologist, who speaks about
Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, as two different ways of organizing the society. The
Inca Empire was organized as a Gemeinschaft, that is like a Community, and the
communal organization is taking the family as a model, in which you enlarge the
social structure, warm the social structure, from the family to a local, to a regional, to
a national and to an imperial social organization.
After the beginning of Christianity, the world does not seem to speak much about
“prophecy” any longer. You, however, bring the message of a potential prophecy.
Would you like to speak to us about it? Is the world ready to accept the message of a
dJ – As you mentioned in another question, there were these waves of the
prophecies of the 2012, but before that we have the prophecies of the end of the
world of 2000, and from time to time we recover our connection with the
prophecies. It happened in the year 1000, where the transition to the second
millennium was seeing by the westerners as the end of the world. As you can see, it
is not that we are apart from prophecies. If you take a look, we are following
traditionally the prophecies which are in the book of Apocalypses, which is the last
book of the Bible. And what happened between the late 60s and 2012 is that a lot of
people are talking about different kind of prophecies, which means that a
prophetical way of thinking is very strong in the background of the western society.
What is a prophecy? We have two approaches to the past and to the future. The
history is the intellectual approach to the past and to the future; in the past you are
going to view the real objective history about what happened in the reality. And in
the future you can make certain predictions based in history. The prophecy is
something based on another think; is based on feelings. In history you project to the
past accurate things, and you project to the future accurate things too. In the
prophecy you project to your past accurate or good feelings and you project to the
future accurate or good feelings too. It is another way to relate with the past or the
future through feelings. And in that way, what the prophecy could give you, is a
beautiful image about your past, and could provide a good intuitive image about
what is going to be your future. In that way, as I said before, we have a mythology
who speaks very nicely about the organization of our past and we have a prophecy
who predicts the possibility of the new golden age to the level of the world. It seems
our prophecy is connected with the Synchronicity with certain facts who really
happened in the world. And if you merge these radical processes of global change as
suggested by Samuel Huntington, the prophecies and the mythologies are going to
play a very nice role in the future.
Do you feel that the modern educational system has gaps? Especially when it comes
to creating complete or happy people?
dJ – What is a big gap in the contemporary educational system is the lack of any
spiritual orientation. In the past we had the religion. Then the extreme liberalism
was about taking off all religious information in every system of education. I think
this is a terrible mistake, because as you know politics is our system of relationship
with the social environment, economics is our system of relationships with our
natural environment which surrounds us, and religion is the system we have to
relate with our inner environment. The mistake is to suppress the teaching of the
religion. What we need to adopt is a pluralistic deal with the religion. As was in
Holland for a long time, until 1998. Everyone could establish a system of education
in which they could teach their own system of religion to their children. In Holland
the system worked very well until 1998 and was suppressed for this extreme wave
of individualism and rationalism.
Talk to us about the way the Andean Tradition approaches the art of Healing or
treating the disease.
dJ – For the Andean Tradition, everything is made by Kawsay which is the living
energy or life. As a result of that what we see or think about diseases, is a lack of the
connection with the general current of life. And all the healing procedures or
treatments of the diseases in the Andes, are related with reconnecting the individual
with the general flow of life. In the state of our Tradition today we have the skills of
just random physical healing, but psychologically or sociologically we can offer a lot
of efficient healing processes. But for the physical disease we consider that in the
next step of evolution we are going to develop the capacity to heal with the touch of
the hands, under our will and always. But by now, we give energy healing knowing
that sometimes it works, but most of the times it does not. This point of view is not
strange to what is going on with the science today, because in the scientific medicine
they start to consider the spontaneous rendition as something which can happen,
they call it the miraculous healing or miracles; there are today some researches
about the healing capacity of certain human beings as a scientific approach to this
kind of phenomenon.