Of all the Indian yogis who came to the West in the past century, Gopi Krishna distinguished himself for understanding the Western mind. Krishna’s mission was not to gather spiritual devotees, but to convince the scientific community that understanding kundalini is the key to understanding the human brain, and ultimately the nature of thought and the universe itself.
Kundalini is the Sanskrit term for a latent energy force coiled at the base of the spine. When activated by yogic practices, kundalini rises up the spine to the brain, bringing mystical ecstasy and phenomenal mental and psychic powers.
(In Eastern mythology, kundalini is symbolized as a sleeping serpent or dragon, and some scholars maintain that it appears in the West as the serpent on the caduceus and in the Bible–“more subtle than any beast of the field.”)
Krishna’s experience with kundalini is detailed in his noted autobiography Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man and summarized in Gene Kieffer’s introduction to this volume. Born in Kashmir in 1903, Krishna taught himself yoga as a teenager. The rise of kundalini, after seventeen years of daily meditation, was as unexpected as it was dramatic.
“Suddenly, with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light enter my brain through the spinal cord. …I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider, surrounded by waves of light.”
From that day until his death in 1984, Krishna studied the phenomenon of kundalini. This compact anthology manages to convey the astounding breadth and depth of his investigations.
One of the first essays is excerpted from The Biological Basis of Religion and Genius, among Krishna’s best-known books. In it he predicted that scientists will one day detect and measure a biochemical essence which flows up the spine when kundalini rises. This essence is called prana (life energy) in Sanskrit, a word with no English equivalent because it is at once physical and psychological.
“Until the nature and properties of prana are determined,” wrote Krishna, “scientists will continue to be baffled by the phenomena of mind and consciousness in the same way as the ancients were mystified by the aurora borealis, lightning, thunder, etc. [before] the discovery of electricity.”
In other essays, Krishna tells how Mohandas Gandhi used the power of kundalini and how Sigmund Freud misinterpreted kundalini’s energy as the libido.
Our civilization is in crisis, Krishna concludes, because the majority of our leading minds have developed their intellect without a corresponding development of their spiritual qualities. We need more thinkers like Emerson, Einstein, Tolstoy, Gandhi, Bergson, and Jung who recognized the importance of the spirit, he wrote.
This book will appeal to those who believe in knowledge beyond thought, but like to think anyway.
Gopi Krishna’s Last Interview – Youtube