Articles and Publications

On Mystical Experience, Drugs,
And the Evolutionary Process

An Interview with Gopi Krishna
Excerpted from The Awakening of Kundalini

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In the West we've been taught that revelation was infallible. You've used the word God and Creator a number of times. What is your view of God? How do you describe the Creator?

Well, the intelligence behind the universe.

You take for granted there is an intelligence behind the universe?

Most surely. There would be no intelligence in us if there were no intelligence behind the universe.

But there are scientists of international reputation-for instance, the Nobel Prize biologist, Jacques Monod, in France who claim that such an idea is nonsense, that the universe is founded on chaos, or chance.

They are correct to some extent, because they are condemning themselves. You see, an animal views the universe as a place of sun, of rain, of darkness, of light, of what it sees, but it never attempts an explanation for it. He just sees it, observes it, and reacts to it by certain instincts already implanted in him by nature. Just one step ahead is man, who sees the universe, studies it, measures the dimensions, probes the depths, calculates the heights, gives the reasons, sees regularity, punctuality, and law in it. And where do all these things come from except from his own consciousness? He is only reading his own consciousness.

An animal does not argue, does not invest the universe with law. It is man who does it. We see then two different phases of consciousness. In one the universe is just a mechanically moving something, but in the other it is a lawful and ordered creation. From where has law and order come when it is not in the animal mind? It has come from consciousness. It has come because man has advanced one step higher in the scale of consciousness. If he were to advance another step, then what he sees is the whole universe as a manifestation of consciousness and intelligence, the same consciousness and intelligence which, in a restricted way in him, invested the universe with law and order.

Everything that you see, every calculation that you make comes from you, comes from your inmost depths. Now a material scientist may argue that, well, we have gained this by experience. Why has not the ox and the cow or the fish gained it? Then he will again argue that, well, man's consciousness took a leap. But when we ask him, how did it take a leap, he is dumb. He knows nothing. Even Darwin had to admit that we could give no definite explanation for it except that it is a part of natural selection. So you see, the whole structure of materialistic philosophy has been built on suppositions and premises, not on realities. The first reality that we come across is consciousness. The world comes later. We know first ourselves and then the world.

So, the wiser course is first to understand the knower. What modern thinkers have done is to ignore or bypass the knower and start investigation of the known. forgetting that it is the knower who is doing it.

You were talking about the Creator. Is your definition of the Creator simply the sum total of the consciousness in the universe? What about the material universe?

We know nothing about the material universe except what we perceive through our senses, and modern research has shown that what we perceive by the senses is not the actual pattern of the universe. The universe is composed of an energy about which we know nothing. It is not perceptible to our senses in any way, neither to our hearing, sight, taste, smell, nor touch. So what is material energy or material force, in fact? In fact, what is matter? How can we know that matter is not ultimately a form of consciousness, or that one energy, exhibiting itself both as matter and consciousness, is not the actual substratum of the universe?

I remember what Professor Lobanov-Rostosky wrote in a letter after reading your autobiography. He said it was "the first living clinical report and detailed description of the impact of Kundalini on the physical body and thereby on the spiritual development of man, the two being clearly interlocked as a single, consecutive phenomenon." Another author described the Kundalini energy as "living, conscious electricity." Has this new consciousness given you some extraordinary insights as to how the energy behaves in the body?

Let me explain a bit. We see almost a miracle happening in the womb. We see just an invisible speck of protoplasm developing and multiplying with rapidity and dividing into countless parts, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth, the teeth, the bones, the cartilage, the skin, the flesh, the hair, and hundreds of other parts and tissues of the body. How does this happen with a precision and with a speed which the human intellect is unable to grasp? It means that some sort of intelligence beyond our comprehension--of which we are not able to find any trace except by observing its activity--is present and operating in the universe. This is the Cosmic Prana.

Now you will ask how I correlate my experience with what happens to a developing embryo in the womb? Because I saw in myself the same operation going on after the awakening of Kundalini. All the tissues and cells, the nerves and all the fibers in my body were in a state of intense activity after the awakening. I was just like a child in whom an inner reconstruction is going on. I could watch it.

How could you watch it?

Internally, by concentrating my thought on my interior, and externally, by certain physiological symptoms.

How could you concentrate your thought on your interior?

When Kundalini is awakened and this more-potent energy goes to the brain, our consciousness at once undergoes a transformation. It then gets the capacity of not only looking upon itself but even upon the body. Some healers, we find, have amazing knowledge of the body and the organs, though they have not studied in a college. Some healers could diagnose diseases even better than physicians without having any medical training.

Some meditators can give you vivid descriptions of what is happening in their interior. Some can describe what is happening in your brain, or, in other words, the thoughts that you are thinking. Some can tell you what is happening at a distance. Now how does this occur? It is the same thing, the same Kundalini awakening the consciousness, either for a long or a short period, and investing it with certain properties and powers which are not present in the normal mind. Unless you suppose a transformation of this nature, you cannot explain all these phenomena.

You mentioned that when this transformation occurs, it can be only spasmodic, as in the case of a medium.
It can be both spasmodic and also a permanent feature of human life. It happens in this way. Some people are so constituted that this potent prana-energy goes to their brain, rarely when the body is in a suitable condition. At such times the normal personality is eclipsed and they may fall in a swoon or their breathing may become very much diminished. Their heart action may stop. They may become cold and insensible to external impressions. In that condition, then, they experience an expansion of personality. They experience contact with a higher source of intelligence and power which they, in ignorance, designated as God, thinking that this was the last stage to which a man could reach.

In some cases instead of giving an impression of consciousness, the energy only expresses itself in some psychic gift, the power to read the mind, the power to read the future, the power to project itself to a distant place and describe what is happening there; I mean to say, in different kinds of psychic talent. Or it may, as in the case of a prodigy, create amazing powers in even immature children, as for instance, the gift of painting, of music, of playing chess, and of lightning calculation.

In some cases it appears as genius and extraordinary intellect. We are surprised how a man of such frail constitution has such a power of expression, such a command of language, such a store of information. It is this prana which has created this state in him. This energy can work in so many ways when it is aroused. We find man's evolution accelerated from the time he became agricultural, that is from the time he learned the art of agriculture which gave him greater leisure. Prior to this he was a hunter, a nomad, moving from place to place. He had hardly any leisure or time for mental development. When he got some leisure he began to study. He began to observe the heavens. He began to look into himself and into the objects around him. He began to pinpoint the mind, to concentrate. By this method slowly, slowly, he reached the present exalted stature.

Attention or concentration of mind is the instrument by which nature accelerates the process of evolution. All religious systems and occult doctrines prescribe meditation in one form or the other for gaining to higher states of consciousness or to God. Actually this is a natural psychosomatic exercise which has been prescribed for the advancement of man. We find this demonstrated in a remarkable degree in the case of geniuses and men and women of talent. We find that from an early age they are always prone to concentrated and abstract states of mind. Absorption is one of the main characteristics of genius.

A man of talent or extraordinary mental efficiency wholeheartedly works on his problems or on his art. You can see then he is oblivious to the world. His whole being is concentrated on what he is doing at that time. The same thing happens in a mystic. There is only a greater intensification of attention so that he becomes totally oblivious to the outer world. So one consistent law regulates the evolution of mankind from a primitive state or a state of lower intelligence to a higher one, and that is application of the mind.

You say attention is the key, and that the mystic pinpoints his mind. On what is he fixing his attention?

On what is a painter pointing his attention? On the portrait before him or on the landscape which he is trying to paint. On what is a philosopher or a mathematician pinpointing his attention? On the problems that he is trying to solve. All this attention is outward. It is devoted to some object or to some problem outside oneself. In mystical experience this intensity of attention is devoted to the study of our own self or of our own consciousness. You see, a strange phenomenon occurs after the awakening of Kundalini. The consciousness becomes a most intriguing, a most fascinating, and a most mysterious entity, and one is never tired of studying oneself or of concentrating on oneself.

The reason why mystics always hanker after the experience is because after the awakening of the evolutionarymechanism, consciousness attains such a state of bliss, fascination, wonder, and joy, that one is always happy to observe it for as long as possible.

But what are you observing? Is it a visionary experience?

Do you know what happens to the minds of opium-smokers? Or those who use marijuana, hashish, heroin, and other drugs, including nitrous oxide?

They have hallucinations.

And visions, which are sometimes very entrancing. But they also experience a loss of intellect and judgment. In the case of mystical experience, all normal faculties of mind are enhanced, not blunted. So there is a radical difference between drug experiences and the inner bliss to which I am referring. In this case it is not a vision or a hallucination. It is the same consciousness which is working in you. When you concentrate on yourself, what do you notice, for example? Do you see visions? Do you see horrible creatures, or quaint formations, as Aldous Huxley has described?

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