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Editor's Foreward
Living with Kundalini:
The Autobiography of Gopi Krishna

By Leslie Shephard, Editor

    – Leslie Shephard is the editor and primary author of The Encyclopedia of Occultism and Para-psychology (3 volumes); he also wrote Parasychology: The World of Paranormal Phenomena, and How to Protect Yourself Against Black Magic and Witchcraft.

This is one of the most important books ever published. This may seem like a sweeping claim when one considers the vast riches of literature-the revealed scriptures of various religions, the plays of Shakespeare, or the works of great novelists and religious geniuses. After all, this is the story of the life and philosophy of a very ordinary man, a minor Indian civil servant from Kashmir who failed in his college examinations. Yet this very ordinary man stumbled on the greatest secret of life, the key to that infinite ocean of consciousness from which all great geniuses and mystics draw inspiration. Throughout history, this secret has been known under many different names   –nirvana, Samadhi, satori, the Muslim concept of hal, mystic union, spiritual marriage, cosmic consciousness, and God-realization.

It is one of the best-kept secrets, for the different paths to this supreme revelation have been obscured by the poetic metaphors and allegories of different faiths and philosophies, and many attempts to explain the ecstatic interpenetration of finite and infinite existence have failed, so that the experience itself has become legendary. Over centuries of material progress and scientific development, even the validity of the experience has been questioned or dismissed as a psychoneurotic phenomenon, half-believed in by the faiths of different religions whose very inception stemmed from the God-realization of inspired saints and sages. But that was all long ago and far away.

So for thousands of years, millions upon millions of men and women have struggled through life, richer or poorer, in sickness or health, without access to this great secret. They have known the joys and sorrows of life and sexual union, the rearing of children, suffered good and bad fortune, only to find at the end of their lives that everything in the material world-fame, fortune, wealth, possessions, and relationships-are all ephemeral and pass away at death. Even the consolations of religions have often dwindled to well- meaning platitudes or mere ritual and dogma, unable to cross the gap between life and death.

In modern times, under the banner of the New Age, there has been a new manifest hunger for something more meaningful in life than ambition, money, power or possessions. Hundreds of cults and revisionist religions have sprung up, claiming to offer transcendental meaning. Some, such as the Fundamentalist revivals in the Christian and Muslim worlds, have proved dangerous to world politics and peace, stirring up simplistic fanaticisms and racist empire building. Some of the New Age gurus have proven to be charlatans, enjoying the ego-satisfaction and adulation of thousands of devotees, misfit messiahs parroting the inspired teachings of the past but without any transcendental experience of their own. Other gurus have been dangerous messengers of death and destruction for their pathetically deluded followers, as with the cults of the Reverend Jim Jones, Charles Manson, or various neo-Satanist groups.

Another tragic blind alley was the Psychedelic Revolution, which promised cosmic consciousness in a capsule, but seduced millions of men, women and children into becoming dropouts, manipulated by an international cartel of Mafia-style crime barons and their empire of pushers.

Much of the New Age has been marked by trivial and banal novelties, with old and new gimmicks like astrology, tarot cards, the I Ching, crystals, and soothsayers, all enveloped in a stupefying heavy fog of incense and soporific music.

But the New Age and its mass media gurus at least revived the ancient Indian concept of kundalini, a latent energy in the universe and in the human body, the dynamic behind sexual expression and also, through meditation, the way to higher consciousness, with side effects of psychic phenomena. Although most of the time, the gurus were simply rehashing ancient teachings of the past as their own, without personal experience, the concept of kundalini is a true one. Only if you want to know about it, it is useless to follow teachers without real experience, who are only concerned with building their own reputations and cults. You will need to listen to someone with total experience of kundalini in both its negative and positive aspects, who knows its place in the evolution of the human race. This teacher is Pandit Gopi Krishna.

It is one of the ironies of fate that this supreme secret should have been revealed once more in modern times to an ordinary man, a gentle, modest individual without a cult, concerned only with shar- ing his transcendental knowledge with the rest of the world.

He founded no movement, demanded no money, refused to be- come the center of adoring crowds, and merely lived humbly in relative poverty, writing his inspired books about Kundalini and its place in human evolution.

The title "Pandit" is a traditional honorific bestowed on one who is recognized as an authority on a subject. Pandit Gopi Krishna is outstanding as an authority on Kundalini. There are few modern authorities on the subject who speak, as he does, from such detailed personal experience.

The beauty of the present work is that it describes in detail the stages of the awakening of the awesome power of kundalini in one individual, the years of struggle to balance and harmonize this force, the psychic gifts which it brought, and the validation of the subject in ancient treatises from India, China and other countries, and the mystery traditions of both East and West.

This autobiography opens with a prologue describing firsthand the incredible experience of the fabulous awakening of kundalini. The Pandit goes on to describe frankly the progress of this dynamic energy against the background of his daily life, the trials and agonies of taming the force, and harmonizing it, the paranormal side effects of prophecy and inspired verse, the obligation to live a socially productive life and share insights with the rest of humanity.

Much of this book is also a kind of protracted meditation on life and the problems of our time. Inevitably there is some repetition of thought or even occasional incoherence. His mind, or soul, if you will, swamped by the total experience of higher consciousness often struggles to express his insights through the limited apparatus of his own simple education and background. 1f some of his perceptions appear obvious or overstated, it is only because they are nonetheless too important to overlook. At a time when atom bombs and global pollution threaten the future of the human race and the planet itself, it is proper to be reminded of those basic evolutionary laws that have carried human beings from a primitive apelike existence to a high- tech sophisticated modern society, and may yet, if properly observed, carry us to an unimaginable splendid future, where individual ambition is transformed into communal sharing, where knowledge becomes wisdom, and a more profound and transcendental happiness replaces sensory satiation.

It has been an inspiring task for me to edit the Pandit's writings into one autobiographical work. This book now contains all the basic material formerly published in the earlier work Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man, in a setting of later autobiographical chapters written by the Pandit at different times of his busy life.

Editing this material has involved a few deletions and some minor bridging phrases or sentences. Aside from routine editing of spelling and punctuation, the only other changes to the original material involve revision of hastily written passages and the use of outmoded terms like mankind, where human beings or humankind are now preferred usage.

In my own work as editor of the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology (3d ed., 2 vols. Detroit, 1991), I have studied the stories of hundreds of mystics, psychics and other remarkable individuals. I can honestly affirm that I consider Pandit Gopi Krishna one of the most important, since he belongs to the present time, and his experiences provide guidance for the human race as a whole. Moreover, I knew him personally and discussed with him many issues of meaning and purpose in life. He remained an honest, gentle, courteous, and modest man, anxious to avoid a cult following and desiring only to share his perceptions through his books.

Above all, he pleaded constantly for scientific validation of the kundalini phenomenon, claiming a biological basis for the changes in perception as evidence of an evolutionary development in human beings. It is unfortunate that while parapsychologists have spent much time and money testing and researching relatively trivial claimed phenomena of psychic gifts, no one was sufficiently interested to conduct research on the Pandit. Although much has been written on kundalini and transpersonal consciousness by cult leaders and by self-appointed authorities-all, in my opinion, equally lacking decisive experience of the subject-the opportunity of investigating a living subject has now been missed with the passing of Pandit Gopi Krishna.

Is this great secret to be lost to us again for more centuries? I think not. With books like the present one, as well as other important writings of the Pandit, we now know the way. He has charted in detail its disciplines, dangers, extraordinary physiology, and rewards in higher consciousness and ecstatically blissful experience. This book throws a flood of light on many enigmas of human existence, the true basis of great religions, and the possibilities of reconciliation between religion and science.

All that is needed now is study and practice.

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Living with Kundalini: The Autobiography of Gopi Krishna

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