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 disciGoodavage,
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pline 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 rediscover
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-twentiethcentury
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.
Sources
Gopi Krishna. The Awakening of Kundalini. New York E. P.
Dutton, 1975.
———. Biblical Prophecy for the 20th Century. Toronto Kundalini
Research Institute of Canada, 1979.
———. 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.