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Kundalini the Evolutionary Energy in Man

Kundalini the Evolutionary Energy in Man

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Published by Daniel Day

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Published by: Daniel Day on Jun 30, 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 bystatesmen, that is in a field where the external historical conditions are more 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 theauthor 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 during the past century, when men have beenapt and able to introvert in a systematic way and thus to explore the vast field of their inner life. Such efforts haverecently found their highest pitch in the 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 Upanishads and again in our own time, partly influenced by Western trends. Autobiographies by Yogis have been extremely rare, partly because the Yogi iswell aware of the importance of keeping and living with a secret and partly because he properly shares the secret onlywith God and not with 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, likeYogananda, Ramdas and Sivananda. In most cases it has been Westerners who, because of their search for stimulationfrom a foreign way of self-introspection, have discovered and published the achievements of the Indian masters of Yoga, so did Paul Brunton reveal Ramana Maharishi to the West and also to India, and so Romain Rolland becamefascinated with Ramakrishna, Friedrich Heiler with Sadhu Sundar Singh, Annie Besant with Krishnamurti, Jean Herbertwith Ramdas. Now James Hillman and F. J. Hopman have discovered Gopi Krishna, whose sensational autobiographythey help to publish and to interpret in the psychological way.It remains for me, as an historian of world religions, to introduce this book by putting it into the framework of Indianreligious history. For Gopi Krishna is of unusual interest, first as an example of a most thorough-going mixture of Eastand 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. GopiKrishna's endeavours appear as a historical laboratory in which he, the author, develops genuinely in himself whatothers have developed before him. But he re-mains independent of his fore-runners, who frequently have wound up insterile 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 seemingly for no purpose has landedon a strange and unknown star without the standard equipment of the professional astronaut, and who simply reportsabout the bewildering landscape around him, 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 in Yoga, whoyet through intense labour and persistent enthusiasm, succeeds in achieving, if not Samadhi, yet some very high state inYoga perfection, based entirely on his inner feeling development and not at all on ideas and traditions. Gopi Krishna isan extremely honest reporter, to the point of humbleness. Since he does not claim great powers and achievements, one iseven 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 in turn the feelings of anIndian Yogi reading the records of a Westerner, who, as a layman, reports about his strange encounters with God andChrist without the background of theological knowledge and discipline and yet trying to find his own way through thelabyrinth of his emotions without the guidance of any psychology but with an old-fashioned body of religiousconcepts—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, hecticups-and-downs, the daily bread of this sensational experience. Like Faust, Na Ro Pa and many others, he finds asolution several times in his life only at the point of death. Even commonplace events take on an enormous character and lead him into depressions and 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 allthis 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 Krishna is never driven to pride, but remains aware of his own helplessness in front of the stunning events of his inner life. In best Indian tradition hedoes not ever feel himself to be the maker or creator of his own thoughts and feelings; he does not assume any falseleadership in the course of his development but confesses to be nothing but a victim of positive and negative forces. Heis 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 a certain detachment, boldness,curiosity, independence and acceptance of everything that happens inwardly. He is equally interested in positive andnegative events. Never do we find any anticipation of fixed results, but like one of the early alchemists he remains ready
to accept 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 a thorough overhauling of Sanskrit-English lexicography. In view of his detailed testimony it becomes clearly impossible to treat the whole realmof Kundalini-experi-ences as something belonging to the Western concept of either biology or psychology. The Indianconcept of the Sukshma Sarira, which is after all the main subject of Gopi Krishna's reports, cannot possibly betranslated into a Western vocabulary which, thus far, divides itself into the two fields of either 
By nowit is probably well-known that the formerly usual translations of 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 withsubtle body, electric or astral body, are equally misleading. So are all other translations of this term into the vocabularyof Western anatomy, when reference is made to the spine and to the organs and glands of the physical body. Thevocabulary of the Kundalini-Yoga-system refers neither to those facts which in the West are considered to be psychological nor to anything within the realm of the physical body as it is observed from the outside. The realm of inner body feelings, which are so elaborately described in Yoga texts, has never been adequately systematized byWestern observers and has therefore never led to the creation of a vocabulary in Western languages which would makeit possible to translate Indian texts pertaining to this field of experience. Only in the totally unscientific language of laymen do we occasionally have 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 his elaborate descriptions shouldat last lead to a re-study of the Yoga vocabulary. It is particularly regrettable that modern Indian scholars in their oftenall too pointed eagerness to assimilate their own tradition to Western standards have as yet neglected to point out theincompatibility of 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 theidea of evolution beyond man's present state and abilities, are strangely parallel to Sri Aurobindo's philosophy. This isunderstandable since they are both derived from the world of Tantra, which fascinates modern man so much,undoubtedly because of its secretiveness and of its being so hard to approach. Gopi Krishna gives us here an easy, quitenovel and fascinating approach to one of the least-known and most frequently misunderstood aspects of India's great philosophical tradition.DR FREDERIC SPIEGELBERG
 Professor emeritus of Comparative Religion and Indology, Stanford University, California
Chapter One
ONE morning during the Christmas of 1937 I sat cross-legged in a small room in a little house on the outskirts of thetown of Jammu, the winter capital of the Jammu and Kashmir State in northern India. I was meditating with my facetowards the window on the east through which the first grey streaks of the slowly brightening dawn fell into the room.Long practice had accustomed me to sit in the same posture for hours at a time without the least discomfort, and I sat breathing slowly and rhythmically, my attention drawn towards the crown of my head, contemplating an imaginary lotusin full bloom, radiating light.I sat steadily, unmoving and erect, my thoughts uninterruptedly centered on the shining lotus, intent on keeping myattention from wandering and bringing it back again and again whenever it moved in any other direction. The intensityof concentration interrupted my breathing; gradually it slowed down to such an extent that at times it was barely perceptible. My whole being was so engrossed in the contemplation of the lotus that for several minutes at a time I losttouch with my body and surroundings. During such intervals I used to feel as if I were poised in mid-air, without anyfeeling of a body around me. The only object of which I was aware was a lotus of brilliant colour, emitting rays of light.This experience has happened to many people who practise meditation in any form regularly for a sufficient length of time, but what followed on that fateful morning in my case, changing the whole course of my life and outlook, hashappened to few.During one such spell of intense concentration I suddenly felt a strange sensation below the base of the spine, at the place touching the seat, while I sat cross-legged on a folded blanket spread on the floor. The sensation was soextraordinary and so pleasing that my attention was forcibly drawn towards it. The moment my attention was thus

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