Gopi Krishna (1903 – 1984) was an Indian yogi, mystic, writer, teacher, and social reformer who was committed to the evolution of human consciousness and to the establishment and continuance of world peace. Krishna worked in state government, and he lived as a householder, marrying and raising a family. Early in his career, Krishna also became the leader of a social organization devoted to helping the disadvantaged in his community, particularly with respect to the well-being and rights of women.
Krishna’s spiritual experiences began early in life. When he was eight, he was spontaneously overtaken with the question, “What am I?”. He then fainted and fell to the ground. Days later, Krishna had an extraordinarily vivid dream in which he was surrounded by ethereal beings and found himself transformed in an atmosphere of luminous serenity. He concluded that this image was the answer to his question. At 34 years of age, Krishna experienced a sudden and forceful Kundalini awakening (an awakening of spiritual energy, emanating from the base of the spine). In his autobiography, Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man (now available under the title Living with Kundalini), Krishna described this experience, which occurred during a morning meditation:
“Suddenly, with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light entering my brain through the spinal cord.
Entirely unprepared for such a development, I was completely taken by surprise; but regaining my self-control, keeping my mind on the point of concentration. The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder, I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light. It is impossible to describe the experience accurately. I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider surrounded by waves of light. It grew wider and wider, spreading outward while the body, normally the immediate object of its perception, appeared to have receded into the distance until I became entirely unconscious of it. I was now all consciousness without any outline, without any idea of corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware at every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction. I was no longer myself, or to be more accurate, no longer as I knew myself to be, a small point of awareness confined to a body, but instead was a vast circle of consciousness in which the body was but a point, bathed in light and in a state of exultation and happiness impossible to describe.”
Twelve years after his first experience – and after years of working to achieve spiritual strength – Gopi Krishna had another mystical experience. This experience, which is recounted below, began as he was walking home a friend and colleague, hoping to rid himself “of a slight depression” that he felt at the time.
“We walked leisurely, discussing our work, when suddenly while crossing the Tawi bridge I felt a mood of deep absorption settling upon me until I almost lost touch with my surroundings. I no longer heard the voice of my companion; she seemed to have receded into the distance, though walking by my side. Near me, in a blaze of brilliant light, I suddenly felt what seemed to be a mighty conscious presence, sprung from nowhere, encompassing me and overshadowing all the objects around, from which two lines of a beautiful verse in Kashmiri poured out to float before my vision, like luminous writing in the air, disappearing as suddenly as they had come.
When I came to myself, I found the girl looking at me in blank amazement, bewildered by my abrupt silence and the expression of utter detachment on my face. Without revealing to hear all that had happened, I repeated the verse, saying that it had all of a sudden taken form in my mind in spite of myself, and that it accounted for the break in our conversation.
She listened in surprise, struck by the beauty of the rhyme, weighing every word, and then said that it was indeed nothing short of miraculous for one who had never been favored by the muse before to compose so exquisite a verse on the very first attempt with such lightening rapidity. I heard her in silence, carried away by the profundity of the experience I had just gone through. Until that hour, all I had experienced of the superconscious was purely subjective, neither demonstrable to nor verifiable by others. But now, for the first time I had before me a tangible proof of the change that had occurred in me, unintelligible to and independently of my surface consciousness.
After escorting my companion to her destination I returned to my residence in time for dinner…
In the middle of the meal, while still in [a] condition of entrancement, I stopped abruptly, contemplating with awe and amazement, which made the hair on my skin stand on end, a marvelous phenomenon in progress in the depths of my being. Without any effort on my part, and while seated comfortably on a chair, I had gradually passed off, without becoming aware of it, into a condition of exaltation and self-expansion similar to that which I had experienced on the very first occasion, in December 1937, with the modification that in place of the roaring noise in my ears there was now a cadence like the humming of a swarm of bees, enchanting and melodious, and the encircling glow was replaced by a penetrating silvery radiance, already a feature of my being within and without.
The marvelous aspect of the condition lay in the sudden realization that, although linked to the body and surroundings, I had expanded in an indescribable manner into a titanic personality, conscious from within of an immediate and direct contact with an intensely conscious universe, a wonderful inexpressible immanence all around me. My body, the chair I was sitting on, the table in front of me, the room enclosed by walls, the lawn outside and the space beyond, including earth and sky, appeared to be most amazingly mere phantoms in this real, interpenetrating, and all-pervasive ocean of existence which, to explain the most incredible part of it as best I can, seemed to be simultaneously unbounded, stretching out immeasurably in all directions, and yet no bigger than an infinitely small point.
From this marvelous point, the entire existence, of which my body and its surroundings were but a part, poured out like radiation, as if a reflection as vast as my conception of the cosmos were thrown out upon infinity by a projector no bigger than a pinpoint, the entire intensely active and gigantic world picture dependent on the beams issuing from it. The shoreless ocean of consciousness which I was now immersed appeared infinitely large and infinitely small at the same time – large when considered in relation to the world picture floating in it and small when considered in itself, measureless, without form or size – nothing and yet everything.
It was an amazing and staggering experience for which I can cite no parallel and no simile, an experience beyond all and everything belonging to this world conceivable by the mind or perceptible to the senses. I was intensely aware internally of a marvelous being so concentratedly and massively conscious as to outluster and outstature infinitely the cosmic image present before me, not only in point of extent and brightness, but in point of reality and substance as well. The phenomenal world, ceaselessly in motion, characterized by creation, incessant change, and dissolution, receded into the background and assumed the appearance of an extremely thin, rapidly melting layer of foam upon a substantial rolling ocean of life, a veil of exceedingly fine vapor before an infinitely large conscious sun, constituting a complete reversal of the relationship between the world and the limited human consciousness. It showed the previous all-dominating cosmos reduced to a state of transitory appearance, and the formerly care-ridden point of awareness, circumscribed by the body, grown to the spacious dimensions of a mighty universe and the exalted stature of a majestic immanence before which the material cosmos shrank to the subordinate position of an evanescent and illusive appendage.”
Quoted from Gopi Krishna’s Living with Kundalini in Moments of Enlightenment: Stories from Ancient And Modern Masters by Robert Ullman & Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman.
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