Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man

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Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man is the autobiography of Pandit Gopi Krishna. It was originally published in 1967. Later it was renamed Living with Kundalini and is one of the many books that Gopi Krishna wrote about his experience with Kundalini and the subsequent effects of and transformation in mind and body.


Gopi Krishna begins the book in his living room Christmas time of 1937. As was his habit in the morning, Krishna "sat steadily, unmoving and erect, my thoughts uninterruptedly centered on the shining lotus".[citation needed] Krishna had been an unsupervised practitioner of meditation for many years, however on this day he experienced what is called a Kundalini Rising or Kundalini Awakening. In many Indian and eastern yogic traditions, Kundalini awakening is the process through which enlightenment is attained. Krishna describes the feeling of his awakening as, "a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light entering my brain through the spinal cord" (12). Though Krishna originally doubted the validity of his experience, a repeat experience later that day convinced him of the reality of this development. Though Krishna's development is often held with the highest of praise, he instead felt only depression and anxiety. And it was the beginning of a nearly 25 year struggle to regain his mental, physical and psychic facilities.

Before telling of his struggle with the aftermath of his Kundalini awakening, Krishna gives us a description of Prana and the Nadi (yoga) indicating that Kundalini results in an increase of prana, or the Subtle Energy which controls and regulates all bodily functions. The danger of turning up the voltage soon became apparent to Krishna a few days after his awakening. He portrays his sensations with painful images like "a jet of molten copper...dashed against my crown" (50). He was sick and tired and felt awful. About two months after awakening Kundalini, Krishna believed he was about to die. He had been in agonizing pain for hours, and had barely eaten or slept since his first experience. In his last throws of pain he had a thought; perhaps Kundalini had risen up the pingala instead of the central nadi sushumna. Focusing all his attention he forced Kundalini through the sushumna, saving his life. Krishna felt the burning pain cease, and burning flame in his skull was replaced by blissful radiance.

Once Kundalini had been correctly risen in Krishna, he now experienced many "strange sounds and strange lights; but the current was now warm and pleasing instead of hot and burning" (84). Over time, he was able to restore his strength and mental clarity. His journey however was long and strenuous. For years Krishna struggled to find the balance between his now extremely delicate and fragile body and the demands of his life. He had to balance diet, exercise, and his mental strain in order to remain healthy; Often the slightest deviation was reprimanded by extreme discomfort and pain. In the end, Krishna succeeds in finding his balance of body, mind, and spirit. His experience with the "superconscious", which is similar to Carl Jung's collective unconscious began more than a decade after his awakening led Krishna to share his story and his experience with Kundalini to the world. Opening the doors of ancient practices to the minds of present people all over the world.

New self[edit]

In all forms of religious and spiritual development and practice, the goal is always the formation of a new self. In the book Krishna describes just that process in detail. He was simply going through his life working in a government building, he was content, but he had decided years ago to adhere to a strict path of sobriety and the practice of meditation. It was this will that led Krishna down the path to awakening Kundalini. After his accidental awakening, and severe physical anguish, Krishna learns that his body is going through major changes in efficienty and connections within the body to other organs and glands. After years of careful eating and resting habits, the changes that he begins to describe are less about physical changes and are now about the changes that he is going through in his mind. After the awakening Krishna lost all desire in the supernatural, he was simply repulsed by meditation. Then, when the time came in his development to reform the mind Krishna had to test and begin to understand how his mental and psychic abilities were being augmented. This too when strained too hard or rubbed incorrectly caused Krishna physical and mental suffering, yet over time he too was able to find a new mental normalcy. Then came time for the last step, the path up towards enlightenment.

Twelve years after Krishna's awakening, we begin to hear about the bliss and the wonderful luminosity that he had not felt since the first awakening of Kundalini. But now, Krishna explains the complexity of his sensations and feelings in metaphor. This method of allegory and symbolism appears to be the only way to grasp such states of consciousness.[1] In Krishna's daily life he begins to feel, "like a sentient dewdrop floating intact in an ocean of pure being without mingling with the surrounding water" (199). Shortly after these feelings present themselves, Krishna has the inclination to begin writing poetry. Though he had no experience and his verses were poor he persisted, about a month later he was walking on the street when suddenly he became lost in his own mind, completely detached from his physical surrounding. It was then that two perfectly formed lines of poetry came out of the ether in his native tongue Kashmiri. His excitement became more apparent and amazed when over the next few weeks he received poems in English, Persian, Punjabi, German, French, Italian and Arabic. What was so incredible was that he had never heard nor read anything in German, French, or many of the later languages. Where did these poems come from?

Along with the sudden development of receiving messages from the superconscious, Krishna also began to be extremely altruistic. This process is seen very often with those that reach enlightenment. The story of man leaving all behind to climb the symbolic mountain, reaching the mountain and attaining enlightenment is always followed by the enlightened traveling back down the mountain to help those on the ground. Within mysticism altruism is never too far away, especially in the advanced or later stages of the journey. Swami Akhilananda argues that it is the realization that the divine is in all living things, in animals, plants, and man that creates the desire for altruism. The result of this desire for increased well-being of fellow man often compels the enlightened individual to pursue some form of altruistic work.[2] This is the story of Moses, and the symbols are repeated throughout history. And Krishna repeats this story not just by helping those people around him, but by creating these books and writings that have guided many others towards the path of kundalini.


With the help of Krishna and others, the Western World has been introduced to the idea of subtle energy and the effects of meditation on the mind and body.[3] As Krishna wished to show in all of his books, Kundalini awakening and the subsequent changes in the physical and mental bodies is not a psychosomatic or unnatural event. Instead Kundalini awakening is a very scientific and biological event in the body. Today research done in the mind and consciousness seem to be coming closer to this understanding. They can see that there are marked physical differences in those men and women who have consistently practiced meditation.[4] Today there are many classes and groups helping with awakening Kundalini and the traditional methods as well. One of the most famous classes is Hoshin Roshi Ryu previously led by Glenn Morris who created the Improved K.A.P (Kundalini Awakening Process) which has been used by hundreds of individuals without any of the pain and imbalance that Krishna survived.

Physio-Kundalini syndrome[edit]

In the 1980s a bioengineer named Itzhak Bentov created a model of a physiological process that could be used to help the medical world understand the physiological effects of kundalini.[5] Bentov, as well as many other scientists at the time believe that meditation or other more physical experiences such as near death experiences could also force the body into awaken Kundalini. The body, "attempts a last-ditch life-saving effort by empowering and directing the bodies prana to flow directly into the brain; this overwhelming rush of potent energy produces the visions and other phenomenon typical of NDEs.[6] In fact this knowledge was also known to the ancients of India, one group actually practiced tongue-swallowing as a catalyst to forcing Kundalini up into the brain.[7] Research of this type into the biological effects and processes of Kundalini, and in meditation help to blend the Eastern and Western practices of health and wellness together creating a larger and more complete picture.

Publication data[edit]

  • Krishna, Gopi. Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man. Boston: Shambhala, 1970. Print.


  1. ^ Albanese, Catherine L. "The Subtle Energies of Spirit: Explorations in Metaphysical and New Age Spirituality." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 67.2 (1999): 305–25. Print.
  2. ^ Akhilananda, Swami. "Mysticism and Altruism." Journal of Bibal and Religion 16.2 (1948): 89–93. Print.
  3. ^ Rosch, Paul J. "Bioelectromagnetic and Subtle Energy Medicine." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1172 (2009): 297–311. Print.
  4. ^ Lefevere, Patricia. "Fanning the fire of qi: monk builds bridges between East and West, science and spirituality.(RELIGIOUS LIFE)(Bernard Seif )." National Catholic Reporter 43.17 (2003). Print.
  5. ^ Greyson, Bruce. "Near-Death Experiences and the Physio-Kundalini Syndrome." Journal of Religion and Health 32.4 (1993): 277–90. Print.
  6. ^ Kieffer, G. "The Near-Death Experience and Kundalini." J. Near-Death Studies. Print.
  7. ^ Greyson op. cit.