Gopi Krishna, Pandit (1903-1984)
Gopi Krishna, Pandit (1903-1984)
A modern Hindu teacher who focused attention on the kundalini, the latent force in the human organism said to be responsible for sexual activity and (in a sublimated form) higher consciousness or mystical experience.
In Hindu mythology kundalini is personified as a goddess with creative and destructive aspects and serpentlike movement. Kundalini is often described as a serpent that sleeps at the base of the spine, darting upward when aroused, bringing sexual excitement or enlightenment or pain. This concept has been loosely correlated with the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the serpent and has analogues in other religions as well.
Gopi Krishna was born in Kashmir in 1903. After failing his college examinations he devoted himself to a personal discipline of yoga and meditation while working as a minor civil servant.
In 1937 he experienced the sudden arousal of kundalini energy. The experience was a shattering one, because the energy was aroused prematurely in a negative form. Although the pandit had strange visions and insights, the shock resulted in his suffering ill health for a number of years. He sustained the ordeal, however, and after years of practice he discovered that the energy had transformed him gradually and manifested a positive aspect, with states of higher consciousness, mystical insight, and some paranormal side effects.
Gopi Krishna's first book, The Shape of Events to Come (1968; reissued 1979), describes a New Age-like vision of human affairs characterized by materialism and decadence. He writes of an impending nuclear war, after which human beings will re-discover the importance of the moral and ethical principles that are the basis of most great religions and thereby prepare the way for a great evolutionary surge.
Several of the pandit's books are in verse format, "dictated by a Higher Intelligence" at great speed. At the apex of the pandit's condition of higher consciousness in 1950 he spontaneously dictated poems in German, French, and Italian, languages that he had never learned. His prose works concerned with the concept of kundalini transcended his own simple education and average intelligence. Like his poetry they were written during full consciousness, not in the trance condition of a psychic or channeler. Yet his writings were a product of his higher consciousness.
Although accounts of the arousal of kundalini through yoga practice—culminating in mystical consciousness—have appeared in Hindu Scriptures for centuries, firsthand accounts are so rare in modern times that some consider kundalini a mere fable. Gopi Krishna was one of several mid-twentieth-century gurus who succeeded in arousing kundalini and as a result wrote a number of books on the subject. He was known for his detailed description of the aroused kundalini state. His writings draw upon his outgoing personal experience of higher consciousness.
He claimed that kundalini is a biological force with an important role in human evolution and believed that the goal of higher consciousness may eventually lead humankind away from materialistic ambition and world conflicts toward new goals for religion and science.
Gopi Krishna's books attracted the serious attention of such eminent thinkers as Carl von Weizsäcker of the Max Planck Institute for the Life Sciences, Germany. The Indian government also expressed interest in the subject of kundalini. In 1974 Dr. Karan Singh, minister of health, announced an ambitious kundalini research project, to be sponsored by the All-India Institute of Medical Science, to research "kundalini concept and its relevance to the development of higher nervous functions." Unfortunately the project was discontinued with a change in the Indian government.
Meanwhile sympathizers with the work of Pandit Gopi Krishna founded the Central Institute for Kundalini Research at Srinagar, Kashmir, India, and the Kundalini Research Foundation was established in New York (later relocated to P.O. Box 2248, Darien, CT 06820) and in Switzerland at Gemsenstrasse 7, CH-8006 Zürich.
Gopi Krishna died in Srinagar, Kashmir, on July 31, 1984, at age 81. During the last week of his life, he met with Hindu leaders in order to convince them of the importance of strengthening and unifying the Hindu community so that adequate social services could be developed in case of difficult times in Kashmir.
During his lifetime he made great efforts to interest scientists in investigating and verifying the phenomenon of kundalini as a biological force in human affairs, with implications for the study of the paranormal as well as the intellectual and ethical evolution of humanity.
Gopi Krishna. The Awakening of Kundalini. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1975.
——. The Biological Basis of Religion and Genius. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
——. Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man. New Delhi, 1967. Reprint, Boulder, Colo.: Shambhala, 1970.
——. Living with Kundalini: The Autobiography of Gopi Krishna. Boston: Shambhala, 1993.
——. The Secret of Yoga. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
——. The Shape of Events to Come. New Delhi: Kundalini Research and Publication Trust, 1979.