Gopi Krishna (1908-1984, India)

Gopi Krishna was an office worker and spiritual seeker from Kashmir who was born in 1903, and wrote autobiographical accounts of his spiritual experiences. One famous one is Kundalini: Path to Higher Consciousness.

Two unlikely events led him to the practice of yoga. First, his father renounced the world to lead a religious life leaving his twenty-eight year old mother with the responsibility of raising him and his two sisters. His mother as a result pinned all her hopes for success on her only son.

Second, he disappointed his mother by failing a college house examination which prevented him from attending the university. He attributed this failure to his lack of mental discipline, as he had spent his time at college pursuing enjoyable subjects and ignoring those that would be required for the examination.

He felt great shame at this failure, and resolved from that point forward to live a life of simplicity and austerity. He would restrain his desires, reduce his needs, and gain mastery over himself. He rebelled against his father’s choice of leaving the world, and instead chose to live as a householder and raise a family. He also adopted a routine of meditation as part of his mental discipline and practiced concentration exercises for a number of years. In spite of his religious orientation, he did not have a spiritual teacher and was not initiated into any spiritual lineage, which would have been a common practice for a religious Hindu.

Over a period of years, he developed the ability to sit for a period of hours in concentration without any discomfort. Shortly after the initial experience, Gopi experienced a continuous “luminous glow” around his head and began having a variety of psychological and physiological problems. At times he thought he was going mad. He attempted to contact people reputed to know something about the Kundalini system of yoga, but could find no one who could help him through this difficult period. He adopted a very strict diet which helped him maintain his precarious mental balance, and for years refused to do any meditation (since he attributed all his troubles to the yogic concentration exercises he had been doing).

He was aware that a fundamental change had taken place in him after his experience of Kundalini. He believed that this experience began a process in which his entire nervous system would be slowly reorganized and transformed by the Kundalini energy that he awakened within himself. He conceived of this energy as an intelligent force over which he had little control once it was activated. Gopi Krishna’s account contains a wealth of clear descriptions of the variety of mental states he passed through in his encounters with the Kundalini energy. However, one area that stands out as particularly interesting was the change in his experience of dreams.

About a year after his first Kundalini experience, his dreams began to take on a “phosphorescent” quality and he experienced the transformation of his dream life:

Every night during sleep I was transported to a glittering fairyland, where garbed in luster I glided from place to place, light as a feather. Scene after scene of inexpressible glory unfolded before my vision. The incidents were of the usual character common to dreams. They lacked coherence and continuity, but although strange, fanciful and fantastic, they possessed a visionary character, surrounded by landscapes of vastness and magnificence seldom seen in real life. In my dreams, I usually experienced a feeling of security and contentment with the absence of anything the least disturbing or disharmonious…

Krishna, Pandit Gopi, Kundalini: Path to Higher Consciousness (New Delhi: Orient Paperbacks), 1992, p. 119

Gopi Krishna’s graphic accounts of his experiences stand out as among the clearest journals documenting a spiritual transformation of any this author has encountered. He is honest in describing the difficulties and dangers of the spiritual path, and the intense pressure it can exert on the physical body. He is not a guru in the classical sense of one who has disciples. He is more of a seeker who documented his experiences with the Kundalini energy in a number of books in hopes of being helpful to others who encounter this extraordinary spiritual phenomena.

Gopi Krishna attended conferences in the West on Kundalini Yoga and died in 1984.

Books by Gopi Krishna:

Krishna, Pandit Gopi, Kundalini: Path to Higher Consciousness (New Delhi: Orient Paperbacks, 1992)

Krishna, Gopi, The Awakening of Kundalini (E. P. Dutton, 1975)

Krishna, Gopi, Higher Consciousness (Julian Press, 1974)

Krishna, Gopi , The Secret of Yoga (Harper and Row, 1972)