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Gopi Krishna KUNDALINI (the Evolutionary Energy in Man)

Gopi Krishna KUNDALINI (the Evolutionary Energy in Man)

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Published by: Pentakosiomedimni on Jul 29, 2012
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the evolutionary energy in man
 by Gopi Krishna
with an introduction
 by Frederic Spiegelberg
and a psychological commentary
 by James Hillman
London 1970
Stuart & Watkins
AUTOBIOGRAPHIES mainly concerned with the description of outer life events are today perhaps only written by statesmen, that is in a field where the external historical conditions aremore important for the reader than the man and his character itself. Only since Goethe's'Dichtung und Wahrheit' can we talk about real autobiographies, since only the author himself can report adequately, if at all, about the inner process of his maturing and about the ways of his feeling. Therefore, autobiographies have commanded the literary field in the West duringthe past century, when men have been apt and able to introvert in a systematic way and thus toexplore the vast field of their inner life. Such efforts have recently found their highest pitch inthe psychologist C. G. Jung's fascinating account of the ups-and-downs of his inner development even to the very depths of his unconscious.In India we find beginnings of such autobiographical statements as early as the Upanishadsand again in our own time, partly influenced by Western trends. Autobiographies by Yogishave been extremely rare, partly because the Yogi is well aware of the importance of keepingand living with a secret and partly because he properly shares the secret only with God and notwith the people in his surroundings who are less aware of the subtle workings of inner tendencies.Only in a few instances have great men of wisdom in India revealed themselves to us in self-descriptions, like Yogananda, Ramdas and Sivananda. In most cases it has been Westernerswho, because of their search for stimulation from a foreign way of self-introspection, havediscovered and published the achievements of the Indian masters of Yoga, so did Paul Bruntonreveal Ramana Maharishi to the West and also to India, and so Romain Rolland becamefascinated with Ramakrishna, Friedrich Heiler with Sadhu Sundar Singh, Annie Besant withKrishnamurti, Jean Herbert with Ramdas. Now James Hillman and F. J. Hopman havediscovered Gopi Krishna, whose sensational autobiography they help to publish and tointerpret in the psychological way.It remains for me, as an historian of world religions, to introduce this book by putting it intothe framework of Indian religious history. For Gopi Krishna is of unusual interest, first as anexample of a most thorough-going mixture of East and West, and secondly as a self-taught prophet of an original kind. Gopi Krishna's approach appears as a great surprise because in his book, except for the last chapter, there is no mention of spirituality, religion and metaphysics.Gopi Krishna's endeavours appear as a historical laboratory in which he, the author, developsgenuinely in himself what others have developed before him. But he re-mains independent of his fore-runners, who frequently have wound up in sterile intellectual formulae. By contrast,this self-taught, Guru-less author remains genuine in all his discoveries.Being exposed to Gopi Krishna's experiences is like meeting a space traveller who seeminglyfor no purpose has landed on a strange and unknown star without the standard equipment of the professional astronaut, and who simply reports about the bewildering landscape aroundhim, colourfully, truthfully, without really knowing exactly what he has found. We have here,in this wholly unintellectual personality, a classical example of a simple man, uneducated inYoga, who yet through intense labour and persistent enthusiasm, succeeds in achieving, if notSamadhi, yet some very high state in Yoga perfection, based entirely on his inner feelingdevelopment and not at all on ideas and traditions. Gopi Krishna is an extremely honestreporter, to the point of humbleness. Since he does not claim great powers and achievements,one is even more willing to accept his detailed descriptions of inner changes as exact reports.Thus, one of the consequences of his autonomous training is the aliveness of his account.To understand the amazing unusualness of Gopi Krishna's account one might try to imagine inturn the feelings of an Indian Yogi reading the records of a Westerner, who, as a layman,reports about his strange encounters with God and Christ without the background of theological knowledge and discipline and yet trying to find his own way through the labyrinth
of his emotions without the guidance of any psychology but with an old-fashioned body of religious concepts—a bewildering picture indeed.Lacking the guiding hand of a master, it is Gopi Krishna's fate to be thrown from one despair into another, hectic ups-and-downs, the daily bread of this sensational experience. Like Faust, Na Ro Pa and many others, he finds a solution several times in his life only at the point of death. Even commonplace events take on an enormous character and lead him into depressionsand dangers almost to the point of ruination. His own analysis of that situation is that theawakened Kundalini went up into the Pingala instead of into the Sushumna where it rightfully belongs. Where does all this lead him? To constant light-awareness, shimmering halo-consciousness but interrupted repeatedly by years of relapse and illness.The comforting aspect of these often quite negative experiences is however that Gopi Krishnais never driven to pride, but remains aware of his own helplessness in front of the stunningevents of his inner life. In best Indian tradition he does not ever feel himself to be the maker or creator of his own thoughts and feelings; he does not assume any false leadership in the courseof his development but confesses to be nothing but a victim of positive and negative forces.He is buffeted by them and feels like a 'dumb and helpless witness to the show' (p. 151).All this proves that Gopi Krishna's is a typical explorer's mentality. Everywhere we meet acertain detachment, boldness, curiosity, independence and acceptance of everything thathappens inwardly. He is equally interested in positive and negative events. Never do we findany anticipation of fixed results, but like one of the early alchemists he remains ready toaccept the unexpected, even to explode, if this should be the result. He will go on anyway,come what may.One of the chief results of the publication of Gopi Krishna's experiments may well be athorough overhauling of Sanskrit-English lexicography. In view of his detailed testimony it becomes clearly impossible to treat the whole realm of Kundalini-experi-ences as something belonging to the Western concept of either biology or psychology. The Indian concept of theSukshma Sarira, which is after all the main subject of Gopi Krishna's reports, cannot possibly be translated into a Western vocabulary which, thus far, divides itself into the two fields of either 
By now it is probably well-known that the formerly usual translationsof Brahman with God and Atman with Spirit or Soul bar any possible understanding of Indian philosophy. It is as yet less known that the translations of Sukshma Sarira with subtle body,electric or astral body, are equally misleading. So are all other translations of this term into thevocabulary of Western anatomy, when reference is made to the spine and to the organs andglands of the physical body. The vocabulary of the Kundalini-Yoga-system refers neither tothose facts which in the West are considered to be psychological nor to anything within therealm of the physical body as it is observed from the outside. The realm of inner bodyfeelings, which are so elaborately described in Yoga texts, has never been adequatelysystematized by Western observers and has therefore never led to the creation of a vocabularyin Western languages which would make it possible to translate Indian texts pertaining to thisfield of experience. Only in the totally unscientific language of laymen do we occasionallyhave unsystematic attempts to describe this realm, particularly in cases of illness.Gopi Krishna himself is terribly handicapped by this lack in our English language and hiselaborate descriptions should at last lead to a re-study of the Yoga vocabulary. It is particularlyregrettable that modern Indian scholars in their often all too pointed eagerness to assimilatetheir own tradition to Western standards have as yet neglected to point out the incompatibilityof these two voca-bularies and do, involuntarily, thus contribute to a genuine mis-understanding of Yoga.The author's own final conclusions, which he adds as a kind of afterthought in the last chapter,and which introduce the idea of evolution beyond man's present state and abilities, arestrangely parallel to Sri Aurobindo's philosophy. This is understandable since they are both

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