Murat [Murray] Yagan (December 16, 1915 – December 19, 2013).
Born to a prominent family whose ancestors immigrated from Abkhazia to Turkey, he later attended the prestigious Galatasaray School and while still in his youth was taken into spiritual training by his tribal Elders.
As a passionate young man Murat studied medicine, was a cavalry officer, survived several near-fatal experiences, competed in world class equestrian events, wrote poetry and had a life-altering experience with Jesus with whom he fell in love. He married in 1944 and he and his beautiful, strong Abkhazian bride triumphed over many challenges together once having the crops on their ranch burned to the ground by political insurgents. Murat next worked for British Petroleum as a successful manager traveling to villages throughout the Black Sea Coast area of Turkey. Meanwhile, he studied for many years with Hasan Tahsin Baba, his beloved teacher in the Bektashi dergah in Istanbul, and his contact with his Elders grew in strength to become the center of his existence.
Murat, his wife and children immigrated to Canada on November 25, 1963, moving to Vancouver, B.C. and then to Mission, B.C. where he took a position on a farm. From 1964 -1966 he became an orchardist in Vernon, B.C. before relocating the family to Prince Rupert, B.C. where he worked on fishing vessels and took his first job as a carpenter. In 1967 Murat returned to Vancouver where until 1977 he was employed in real estate, became a contractor and then a restaurant owner. In subsequent years he lived on Gabriola Island, B.C. running a small café, returned with his wife to Prince Rupert, then took on further construction projects in Vancouver before finally moving back to Vernon. At the age of 89 Murat shattered his neck in a fall from a roof but miraculously recovered. Up until 1 year before his passing he still engaged in what had become his fervent love of carpentry.
Soon after arriving in Canada Murat simultaneously began a lifetime of dedicated teaching and acted as an advisor to other spiritual teachers and authors. It was his mission from his beloved Elders to give what he could of the Spiritual Tradition of his people called Ahmsta Kebzeh to North American seekers. Although he always resisted being called a teacher, his legacy nevertheless includes 13 published books that have been translated into Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese, Greek, his native Abkhaz as well as over a thousand transcripts and hundreds of recordings.
Murat founded the Kebzeh Foundation, the Essentialist Church of Christ and the Kebzeh Foundation U.S. Inc. He has devoted students in the U.S., South America, Israel, and Abkhazia, an established close-knit Kebzeh community in Vernon, B.C. and many elsewhere in Canada and the world study his teachings. He taught the magnificence of God, the limitless potential of our hidden treasure as human and showed us how to claim this inheritance.
In 2002 in a ceremony in Abkhazia he was decorated with the medal of Honour and Glory of the First Class “for especially remarkable achievements in the field of culture which obtained international recognition.” At his passing, tributes have poured in from the President, the Foreign Minister, and the People’s Artist of the Republic of Abkhazia, from other dignitaries and from friends and students worldwide.
Murat Yagan passed away on December 19, 2013 at the age of 98 years at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. His passing took place gently with his daughter and other loved ones present. He is survived by: Maisie his devoted wife of 69 years and their children Lima (Ken) Wright, Dal, Erse and John. A daughter, Ridat predeceased her parents in 1948.
Murat left an indelible legacy to all who his adventurous, colourful and (as he himself called it) “thunderous life” touched. He was a husband and father but also a greatly beloved teacher, mentor, Elder and friend to many around the globe.
+ Abkhazian Wiseman from Vernon, by Viacheslav Chirikba
+ From Sufism to Universal Vision: Murat Yagan and the Teaching of Kebzeh, by Chen Bram and Meir Hatina
+ Murat Yagan dies in Canada