mr.krishna, the biggest story of the century

an interview with Gene Kieffer, president of the Kundalini Research Foundation

Think of Kundalini, and you may automatically think of the name Gopi Krishna. In the twentieth century, only a handful of teachers have come to the West and popularized the teachings of Kundalini. For Gopi Krishna, Kundalini was the mechanism of evolution in humans. He passionately set out to prove what he had experienced early in his life. He began to research the biological factors of evolution in relation to the Kundalini experience.

In 1970 Gopi Krishna and Gene Kieffer founded the Kundalini Research Foundation. Its purpose was and is to conduct documentary research into the ancient texts dealing with Kundalini and lay the groundwork for a scientific research project to verify the physical and psychological existence of Kundalini.

Gopi Krishna is the author of many books on the subject of Kundalini, including The Awakening of Kundalini and Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man. Over the past thirty years, Gene Kieffer has interviewed and counseled more than a thousand individuals who believed they had awakened Kundalini. In virtually every instance, these people lacked even the basic knowledge of Kundalini. Mr. Kieffer has just completed a book entitled The Secret Teachings, and it is meant to complement those written by Gopi Krishna. Publication is scheduled for September 2000.

ASCENT Tell us a bit about Gopi Krishnas life. Gene Kieffer Gopi Krishna was born in Kashmir in 1903. The Vale of Kashmir is considered one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it is also quite primitive by our standards. Gopi Krishna had none of the advantages we have in the West. He had very little education. He failed the examination to get into college, and that was such a disappointment, to him and his mother, that he decided to discipline his mind. At the age of seventeen, he started a practice of getting up every morning at 3:00 a.m., going to the temple to bathe, and then coming home to concentrate his mind. He didnt even call it meditation, he just concentrated on an object, a lotus flower, for three hours. He did it every day. Even on his wedding day, he never missed his practice.

He became a minor government clerk, and many people approached him with their needs. He resolved to always put another persons consideration above his own, to think of things from their perspective. He said that this was as important as his early morning concentration, that he believed it had a greater effect on his spiritual advancement than any other form of mental orphysical discipline. He was very grounded. He was a very strong person both physically and mentally.

ASCENT How did he come to know Kundalini?

GK After seventeen years of his concentration practice, his Kundalini exploded. It sent him off into a completely different dimension. But after a few days he became very listless. He began to burn up. He got so hot that his daughter told me his cheeks glowed like charcoal and his lips flaked off like burnt wood. He was in agony. He suffered for so long that any deceit was burned out of him.

He didnt know what was happening to him, but somebody it was probably his brother-in-lawtold him that he had probably awakened Kundalini, but only opened the pingala, the solar nerve on the right side of the spine. At that point, he was in so much pain that he was praying to die. He then began to concentrate on the Ida the lunar nadis, or left nerve. When he succeeded in awakening the Ida, it was like the snap of a broken bone, and he experienced a cooling sensation and immediately felt better.

ASCENT How did Gopi Krishnas Kundalini experience change him?

GK Once it stabilized, he lived in bliss. One day he was crossing a bridge into the city and he said that words began to flow into his mind just like falling snowflakes. He had never written verse previously, but from that time on all of his inspired writings have taken the form of poetry or verse. He kept his job as a government clerk and became very active in social causes, especially for widows. In Kashmir, widows were treated worse than slaves.

They were practically made outcasts. For years, he would organize groups to help these women. Kundalini parts the veil and shows us the reality behind the physical universe. After he had the experience that he had, Gopi Krishna knew what he had to do to sur-vive in the world, because he was walking a razors edge at all times. His diet, especially, had to be carefully controlled.

ASCENT How did you meet Gopi Krishna?

GK He first came to me in a dream on New Years Eve, 1969. I was walking down the bank of a river, and there was a man on the other side motioning me to come over. I looked to my left, and there was a post with two steel cables intertwined, like two serpents. I used them to pull myself across the river, and then I stood in front of the man. A loud voice boomed out: This is Mr. Krishna. Mr. Krishna turned, and I followed him as he walked along the bank of the river, wading into the water up to his waist. Then he turned around and kissed me.

I didnt know anything about Krishna except for the Krishna of Hindu mythology. Swami Radha sent me his autobiography six months after the dream. She said, If you want to know what its like to be illuminated, Im going to send you a book by a man who is illuminated but who suffered a lot. It was the only copy in North America. I immediately wrote to Gopi Krishna and told him that I wanted to help him get his books published. We met later that year in Zurich. That was November 5, 1970, my birthday.

ASCENT What was it that attracted you to Kundalini and Gopi Krishna?

GK I had been a newspaper man, and I always wanted to write a big story. When I saw his book, I said to myself, this is the biggest story of the century! I didnt team up with Gopi Krishna for some sort of spiritual mission that was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. What I wanted was the biggest scoop in the world. I thought it would lead to change.

Kundalini changes everything, not only within the individual in whom She awakens, but within society as well. If as many as ten men or women become enlightened in the twenty-first century, the world would be changed completely. That is what makes it the biggest news story of the century. If you awaken Kundalini fully, and if the transformative process proceeds in a healthy way to its ultimate conclusion, you will become a spiritual genius and a world teacher. You will be compelled to action.

ASCENT Gopi Krishna wrote many books on the philosophy of Kundalini, but he never wrote about his own experience of Kundalini or his awakened state. Why was this?

GK This is the one thing that everyone wanted him to write about. But he would say, I cant. It is so extraordinary that I would lose all credibility. It is very doubtful that any yogi who believes himself to be superconscious would be able to write anything that could stand up to scrutiny. Gopi Krishna could have written about his experience and his books would have become best-sellers, but he knew that this would make him lose his credibility in the eyes of science.

The last letter I received from him was dated July 19, 1984. In it he stated that he had decided to write a book about his inner life in the super-conscious state. He said it would be a sensational book. I got the letter ten days after he sent it and had it just long enough to whet my appetite. I practically jumped up and down with anticipation. Then, a day or two later, the phone rang, and I was told he had died. When a person is in that state of consciousness, there are no accidents. To me, it meant that the all-powerful Lord said, No, youre not going to write that book.

ASCENT Gopi Krishnas teachings stressed the evolutionary power of Kundalini, and it became an important part of his work. How is Kundalini an evolutionary force?

GK In zoology, anthropology and biology, they know that it takes thousands of years for a species to take the leap, an evolutionary leap. The idea that a human being could make that same leap in one lifetime is so preposterous that no professional would give it any credence. Yet it really is possible, through the practice of yoga, to achieve in one lifetime what would normally take a thousand lifetimes. The yogis and the evolutionary biologists are miles apart in what they know about human evolution.

Gopi Krishna wanted to zero in on the skeptical biologists, because he believed that nature has a specific biological mechanism that is responsible for human evolution. It resides at the base of the spine. Kundalini energy, which is prana and intelligence, works on a very subtle level, transforming the body, the brain, the nervous system and consciousness, to bring about genius and illumination. When you change your nervous system and purify it, you can tap into a more pure form of prana and higher consciousness.

It is already there, but the body chemistry and the nervous system cannot perceive it unless Kundalini is awakened, and the transformative process proceeds in a healthy way. By the time a person is illuminated, the brain structure is radically changed at the subtle levels. So it now can receive beauty, language, compassion, honesty, and most importantly, revelation. The persons genes are also transformed, which means ones progeny inherits the changes wrought by Kundalini. This is really what human evolution is all about.

ASCENT Are there misunderstandings about Kundalini today?

GK A large percentage of the people who think they have active Kundalini would have been diagnosed as mentally unstable years ago. Now some psychologists are spreading the word that these people really have awakened Kundalini. This makes those individuals feel good about themselves, because they go from a feeling of inadequacy to one of pride for having awakened the evolutionary mechanism. I have interviewed hundreds of such individuals who talk like that. I dont want to prick their balloon, because they are often unstable, and they need all the help they can get. I dont lie to them, either. Of course, there are exceptions, people who really are experiencing a healthy awakening.

Some of these people do have active Kundalini, but too often it is nothing to be happy about, because they have no foundation for it, either mentally or physically. Therefore, it becomes a mechanism gone wrong. Its like somebody saying, I have a wonderful appetite and relish everything, but theyre 600 pounds. Yes, they have a great appetite but it has gone bad. Its the same with many of these Kundalini cases. Most of them cant hold a job.

They cant function in the world. Im sure there are some who are mentally stable with Kundalini, and they can function fairly well, but many of those who come to me are often so desperate that its almost too late to help them. What was at first just toxic prana in their systems has been active long enough that the brain has become rewired with distorted circuits. Once that happens, theyre not going to change, even with the best of psychological counseling. If an awakening is caught early, then the person can be helped by teaching him or her how to control thoughts, to eat right and to practise the right disciplines. Without that knowledge, they just flake out. The brain is a very delicate instrument.

ASCENT How can we use Kundalini to understand our lives? Do we have to awaken it for it to be helpful to us?

GK Kundalini is a force for liberation. It is not even necessary to experience an awakening yourself; just knowing about it is sufficient to transform your thinking. But the knowledge must be correct, not just hearsay and superstitious beliefs. If every high school student were to read the right books on Kundalini, the results would astonish their teachers, parents and the community.

The students would change the way they think about themselves, and the world, in time, would dramatically change. Knowledge of Kundalini bestows the supreme power, not in the sense of being able to control others but as a means to gain access to the minds greatest treasures.

Copyright ©2007 ascent magazine, first Canadian yoga magazine, yoga for an inspired life