- Krishna, Gopi
- (1903–1984)master of Kundalini YogaGopi Krishna was an influential teacher whose impact depended on conveying his own trans-formative KUNDALINI YOGA experiences. He was known for his clear exposition of the awakening of kundalini. However, he never had his own spir-itual teacher, was not initiated into any spiritual lineage, and did not himself train disciples.Gopi Krishna was born in Kashmir in 1903 as an only son. In his childhood, his father renounced the world to lead a religious life and left his wife to care for three children. Since he was the only son, he bore responsibility for his family’s welfare. He did not attend university because he did not pass a major examination. In reaction to his father’s decision to leave the world, he vowed to live as a householder. And in shame over his failure at examination, he took on a practice of MEDITATION in order to refine his concentration.While employed by the Indian government, he practiced meditation for 17 years and devel-oped the ability to sit for hours in concentration without discomfort. In 1937, while meditating and imagining a lotus at the crown of the head, he felt a roar like a waterfall and felt a stream of liquid light entering the brain through the spinal cord. This was his first experience of the serpent power of kundalini, a power said to reside as a latent force at the base of the spine that can be awakened so that it travels through and opens the seven CHAKRAS (energy centers along the spine). His report of this episode, for which he was totally unprepared, described a vast circle of conscious-ness in which the body was but a point, bathed in light and in a state of happiness impossible to describe.Shortly after the initial experience, he experi-enced a continuous “luminous glow” around his head. He began to have a variety of psychological and physiological problems and even thought he was becoming mad. Although he read accounts of this phenomenon, he found no one who could help him through this difficult period. The mental and emotional destabilization lasted for several years. Aware that a fundamental change had taken place in him, he believed that his entire nervous system would be slowly reorganized and trans-formed. He viewed this energy, once activated, as an intelligent force over which one has little control.His autobiography records this experience and its aftermath in one of the most detailed accounts of the unleashing of a psychospiritual power and spiritual transformation. He describes the dif-ficulties and dangers of the spiritual path and the pressure that it can exert on the physical body. However unbalanced his experience, he main-tained in all of his subsequent writings that the awakening of kundalini is the means of spiritual evolution for humanity.Gopi Krishna was not a GURU in the classical sense of one who has disciples. He did not found a movement or a sect but remained a seeker who later became a teacher. He documented his expe-riences in a number of books that attempted to teach the reality of the kundalini experience and to help others who encounter this extraordinary phenomenon. He died on July 31, 1984.Further reading: Gopi Krishna, The Awakening of Kundalini (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1975); ———, Higher Consciousness: The Evolutionary Thrust of Kundalini (New York: Julian Press, 1974); ———, Kundalini: Evo-lutionary Energy in Man (London: Robinson & Watkins, 1971); ———, The Secret of Yoga (New York: Harper & Row, 1972).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.