A SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION
INTO THE BIOLOGICAL MECHANISM
BEHIND HUMAN EVOLUTION
It has been said that Gopi Krishna’s greatest fault was that he had only one message and that all of his writings - more than a dozen books, scores of articles, interviews and lectures, and voluminous unpublished writings and correspondence - dealt with that message in one way or another.
The reason why he never varied this one message was because he took his directions from the Source from which he drew his inspiration. What the world stands most urgently in need of, he said, is knowledge of the Law of Evolution. The drama that is being enacted all over the earth at this moment is staged to bring about drastic changes in the thinking and behavior of the race. Nature is screaming warning after warning. This is what Gopi Krishna said when he first proposed that science should do its utmost to discover the Law of Evolution. He made this appeal to scientists, scholars and world leaders in "The Biological Basis of Religion and Genius", a landmark book published by Harper & Row in 1972. The noted scientist, Prof. C. F. von Weizsacker, director of the Max Planck Institute of Life Sciences, wrote the introduction.
In that book, Gopi Krishna pointed out that the mounting tensions in the world, increase in crime and violence, the trend towards more and more destructive machines of war, revolutions, terrorism and massacres, were the red-light signals of Nature foreboding disaster. If the leading minds of the world fail to interpret these red lights in the right way, a catastrophe is inevitable.
A VERITABLE TOWER OF BABEL
But the political leaders of almost all countries are entirely occupied with their own problems, and the leading scholars are lost in the labyrinth of their own learning. The result is that in spite of all the progress made, the earth has become a veritable Tower of Babel where the essentials needed for human survival, peace and happiness are lost in the hunt for faster cars, planes, computers or other extravagant additions to the existing flood of technologies and luxuries.
This is the reason why there is a virtual avalanche of interest in the study of consciousness at this time. The number of conferences, Web Sites, books, and other publications on consciousness is growing month by month. There is even talk about a new "science of consciousness", but it is not clear what this term means.
"The recent surge of interest in consciousness studies has left many commentators scratching their heads and looking for an explanation," says the publisher of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. "Seeing as science has effectively ignored the problem for most of this century, then why the sudden change? This used to be the province of religion, but we now look to science to provide a more authentic description of what it is to be a conscious agent."
When once the experiments proposed here are confirmed, there will be no subject that will receive as much sustained attention from scholars and scientists as this. The evolution of consciousness will shortly be taken up by scholars in all its different aspects - spiritual, psychological, sociological and biological. But the most colossal task will be to explain the evolution of the mind in terms of the organic evolution of the brain.
MYSTICAL CONSCIOUSNESS DEFINED BIOLOGICALLY
This would mean, for example, that the transcendental state of consciousness, experienced in the form of ecstasy by prophets and mystics, does not signify a special favor from God but only a more extended dimension of the perceptual faculty towards which mankind is irresistibly evolving.
As far as we know, this is the first time that Mystical Consciousness, or the organic mechanism leading to it, namely Kundalini, have been defined in this way. Credit for this monumental discovery must be given to the illuminated sages of ancient India. We are only presenting their discoveries and knowledge in the language of science.
BEYOND ANYTHING CURRENTLY PROPOSED
We are not saying that the human mind is evolving towards an undefined summit, as Teilhard de Chardin and others have said. What we are suggesting is that human consciousness is evolving towards a predetermined target and that this target is the mystical or illuminated state attained by thousands of mystics and enlightened human beings in the past. The religious scriptures of the world are a harvest of the revelations received from a higher Intelligence in this state of exalted being.
Investigation into Kundalini, therefore, goes far beyond anything currently under way or proposed by scholars in other fields of consciousness research. By penetrating to the very roots of consciousness, the research will attempt to unravel the mysterious world of intuition, creativity and evolution, and by doing so seek to uncover the source from which all knowledge, science, art and philosophy has sprung, namely genius.
A GREAT NEED FOR GENIUSES
The world at this time stands in desperate need of geniuses, especially political geniuses who could bring in line the existing systems of politics with the needs of millions of fast-evolving human beings.
In jurisprudence, geniuses are needed to revise the outmoded, cumbersome systems dating from the Romans. In science, in healing, and in social science, geniuses are needed to remedy the present imbalances and plant society firmly on the path to the sublime state which is its destined evolutionary goal. Kundalini research would be based on the premise that there is a potentiality in the human brain, not merely a spiritual but an organic potentiality as well which, when actualized, can alter the state of the mirror through which average men and women perceive the image of the universe. With this alteration, the whole aspect of creation is changed and a new horizon opens.
It is only in this state of transformed consciousness that the real nature of the mind stands revealed, and the conclusion becomes clear that the cosmic image, presented by our senses, is not a reality in itself, but a reflection of the mind. And this reflection can vary with alterations in the state or dimension of the mind itself.
KUNDALINI, THE EVOLUTIONARY ENERGY IN MAN
For thousands of years, mystics have been unanimous in their avowals that the physical universe is the creation or projection of a Divine Immanence, but they never succeeded in imparting the vision to their compatriots or convincing the learned that such a transformation of the world image and the observing mind is possible. Or that it is only in this state of enhanced perception that the real nature of the Cosmos is exposed.
They did not succeed because all human beings, except these few specially gifted ones, view the universe through the same sensory channels and the same mirror of the mind without ever having a chance, except rarely in dreams, to transcend this state of confinement.
What we are saying about creativity, genius, and evolution, is not intellectual or theoretical but born of the experience gained by Gopi Krishna over a period of nearly fifty years. He observed himself as meticulously and dispassionately as an empiricist would observe an object under study in his own laboratory. He never allowed his feelings to influence his judgment in the least.
His experience was so extraordinary that it is hard to imagine another recorded narrative anywhere of similar happenings. Even so, he purposely refrained from narrating some of the more bizarre incidents, even in his autobiography, "Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man", because he felt they would be unacceptable to a rational mind.
THE TRADITIONAL VIEW OF KUNDALINI
From the time of the Vedas to the present day, there has existed a tradition in India that there is a force in the human body, residing at the base of the spine, known as Kundalini, which means "the coiled," that can be aroused to activity, with certain mental and physical disciplines, including meditation and a righteous way of life. When aroused, this force rises to a certain region in the brain, known as Brahmarendra or the cavity of Brahman, which, also, is simultaneously awakened to activity.
It is said, that when this happens, the human mind is transformed and attains to a state known as mystical ecstasy or samadhi. This mystical ecstasy has been a repeated feature of history and is confirmed by the self-written narratives of mystics and saints, both of the East and the West, in different cultures of the world.
The basic features of the phenomenon tally with each other, which shows the uniformity of the experience and its objective nature. This very same force is said to be the source of inspiration and genius in numerous treatises on the subject from the Vedas to our day.
Inasmuch as Gopi Krishna’s own experience coincided in almost all respects with the ancient Kundalini traditions, concerning its transformative effects on the human brain, he considered it his solemn duty to make it known to the world for investigation and confirmation.
THOUSANDS OF TEXTS ON KUNDALINI
The volume of literature on Kundalini (or the Serpent power) is enormous. In India alone there are thousands of books, including the Tantras, dealing with this holy subject in Sanskrit and other regional languages of the country. Kundalini has also been known for thousands of years among occultists, alchemists and esoteric brotherhoods in Europe.
The serpent symbol on the forehead of the pharaohs, the hermetic doctrines and the mystery cults of Greece and Rome are all related to the knowledge of the Serpent power. The caduceus or the rod of mercury, which serves now as an academic emblem, is a symbolic representation of this power as clear as the diagrammatic symbols used in India.
There is conclusive evidence to show that Kundalini has been known throughout the past, both in the old and new worlds as a jealously guarded secret of a few. The only period in history when the subject has been delegated to the dustbin of superstition and myth is the present rationalistic era of the last two hundred years.
GOPI KRISHNA’S OWN EXPERIENCE
A few months before his death in 1984, Gopi Krishna was asked to write an article on creativity for "Impact of Science on Society", a journal published by the United Nations. Although he was unable to submit the article before he died, he had completed about 6,000 words. The following is an excerpt from that article:
"After my first experience [with Kundalini], I oscillated between life and death, sanity and insanity, for nearly twelve years and experienced the indescribable ecstasies of the mystics on the one hand and the agonies of the mentally afflicted on the other. For part of this period my mental state became so acute that, when retiring to my bed at night, I was never sure whether or not I would rise alive or sane in the morning.
"But almost by a miracle my reason and judgment remained unimpaired, which allowed me always to evaluate my mental condition day and night. I clearly saw my whole organism battling with a new situation in my interior, as if a new and powerful psychic energy was operating in my brain and the nerves in place of the former, much weaker, current whose passage I could not feel at all.
"But the powerful energy now circulating in my system filled my head with a silvery luster and darted through my nerves and organs in flashes of light. At the same time, I started to hear an inner cadence, varying in tone and pitch, from time to time, which has lasted to this day. This play of sound is known as unstruck melody in all the books on Kundalini or yoga in India and is an unmistakable sign of the awakening of this power.
BATHED IN A HEAVENLY LUSTER
"Inner light is an invariable feature of mystical experience and has been variously described by the mystics of all ages and climes. In the mystical trance the subject finds his visionary experiences bathed in a heavenly luster and, sometimes, hears voices or sounds coming out of empty space around. After nearly twelve years of uncertainty and suspense I found myself well established in a new state of perception, resulting from a continued biological transformation that had occurred during this long period.
"In my ignorance, I could not make the head or the tail, however, because the whole province of this extraordinary potential in the human body is shrouded in mystery. There is no knowledge or record of it except in obscure language or veiled hints in the occult or mystical literature of mankind.
AN IRRESISTIBLE URGE TO WRITE
"I now came to realize that every panorama of nature had a beauty for me that I had never noticed before. Every landscape or scene which I observed and every object which I saw was bathed in a milky luster which enchanted me and I could hardly take off my eyes from it so fascinating was the spectacle at times.
"My ears were always listening to a melody which enraptured me except at times when I had some health problem when the sounds became somewhat discordant and harsh, as if to warn me that something was amiss in my interior.
"This helped me times without number to assess the condition of my health and to take precautions in time. This was not all. About the end of this period I felt an irresistible urge to write in verse. This urge finally culminated in a small booklet of poetry, written in nine languages, out of which four were unknown to me.
"I had never written a line of poetry in my life, and in normal conditions was incapable of writing even a few lines in rhyme and meter even if I tried for days. But now I found that finished lines of poetry, whole paragraphs, or even entire poems came to me in a flash as if emerging from the surrounding emptiness and, sometimes, I found it difficult to put them on paper so rapid was the flow.
A VERITABLE PARADISE IN MY INTERIOR
"The rapture experienced in the mystical state is said to be beyond anything experienced in normal awareness. The mystics of both the East and the West are unanimous in their avowals about this aspect of mystical ecstasy. From the day I found myself established in this state of transport I never went back to the chaotic experiences of the past.
"The new awareness which invested every object and every scene I witnessed with a beauty and a glory I had never perceived before, instead of ceasing after a time became a more and more stable and a lasting feature of my consciousness.
"Today I live in a veritable paradise in my interior. The colors I see, as for instance the blue of the sky, are so lovely and bathed in a silvery radiance and the music I hear is so melodious, at times, that if I did not restrain myself I might swoon with the sheer rapture of it.
"I know that what I say might appear incredible but there is ample material in the Upanishads, and in the writings of great mystics, like Abhinaba Gupta and Shankaracharya and others in India, also in some of the Sufis, Christian mystics and Taoists, which shows that such a condition of perennial beatitude is possible.
"Not only this, but soon after my attempts at writing in verse, I felt an irresistible urge to learn other languages. Unfortunately, utter lack of resources and the unsettled state of my physical health made it impossible for me to satisfy this desire and to engage the services of teachers for this purpose. I did not have even the means to educate my children properly or to provide myself with some of the articles of diet I needed.
"This aggravated my health problems and it was not until I was sixty-four years of age that I could command the means to meet my needs and to settle down to a peaceful and creative life. My first book was published in 1967 and since then fifteen more volumes have been printed and about a dozen more unfinished tomes await publication in the immediate future.
WRITING FOR IMPACT OF SCIENCE ON SOCIETY
"I at first hesitated to write for the "Impact of Science on Society", under the impression that what I had to say did not fall in the province of modern science, but, reflecting on the fact that the phenomena investigated by parapsychology are now accepted as possible by a large section of scientists, and also that the chance-born nature of life and mind advocated by Darwin and his successors which influenced scientific thinking for nearly a century is now under fire, I feel that the time is opportune to present my experience as a factor to be considered in a scientific discussion of creativity and innovation.
"I do not claim that my poetry or my prose possess that excellence which is the hallmark of genius but for one who had never been a poet or a writer all his life the sudden acquisition of the gifts, at an advanced age, as it happened in my case, is not an ordinary occurrence and I view it in the same way as Newton viewed the fall of an apple as an indication of the universal law of gravity.
"I have presented these few facts about my experience not for any personal reasons, but on account of the tremendous scientific potential which they possess. Briefly summarized the conclusions that emerge from this experience are as follows:
"1. That the gift of creativity was exhibited when the turmoil caused in the system on the arousal of Kundalini had subsided nearly twelve years after the first experience, during which the bodily changes experienced were meticulously observed.
"2. That the poetry and even prose is inspired, which is borne out by the rapidity with which it is written and the swiftness with which the ideas crowd in the mind, a phenomenon experienced by a number of gifted writers and poets even during recent times.
"3. The paranormal nature of some of the writings, especially in verse, about the future a clear case of precognition and prophecy. To be more precise I call it prognostication and not prediction though, all the same, it falls into the category of the paranormal. The experience related meets all three categories of creativity, namely the normal, paranormal and the prophetic.
FUELED BY A MORE POTENT PSYCHIC ENERGY
"By suggesting the activity of a specific area of the brain and its fueling by a more potent psychic energy, as the true source of creativity, psychic gifts and mystical experience, the riddle of the extraordinary achievements of child prodigies is also solved.
"What I have stated covers the entire field of creativity and paranormal phenomena. The abnormality of genius and, to some extent, of the mystics and mediums, also is explained by my traumatic experiences for nearly twelve years after the experience.
"Abnormal conditions arise when the body as a whole or any organ or organs are not able to adapt themselves to the flow of the new psychic energy or when the lifestyle followed or the mode of behavior is not in harmony with the inner processes of the creative mind. “
"It is not that genius is closely allied to or a form of madness or the result of degeneration but that it is attended by abnormal states of the mind or body, because there is a complete lack of knowledge of the psychosomatic mechanism responsible for it and of the pattern of life to be followed by those in whom this Promethean fire is burning bright.
NOW KUNDALINI HAS BECOME WELL KNOWN
"When my autobiography, "Kundalini, The Evolutionary Energy in Man", was published in 1967, I expected trenchant criticism from the skeptics and a barrage of questions from the learned but, although the work has been translated and published in many languages of the world, it has not excited even a fragment of the incredulity I had expected.
"On the contrary, other books on the subject have been published, a few by scientists and, what is more surprising, even Kundalini clinics have been opened to treat patients with ill effects from the arousal of this power brought about by the practice of yoga or other forms of spiritual discipline. The phenomenon has more or less been accepted, perhaps on account of the prevalence of occult traditions concerning this power in many parts of the earth.
"Whatever the reason, the phenomenon of Kundalini has become well known. And because of its implications as a major factor in creativity and mental disorder, it stands in urgent need of a thorough scientific investigation which has not been conducted so far.
THE MATERIAL COMES EFFORTLESSLY
"I have been led to the conclusion that Kundalini is the source of inspiration by comparing the creative process in myself with that reported or narrated by other writers, poets, painters, musicians and the rest. I often write in full consciousness, weighing every word which flashes across my mind before putting it down on paper.
"But the material comes effortlessly, sentence after sentence, passage after passage or line after line of poetry, usually rhymed. It seems as if completed sentences, couplets, or quatrains already formed are floating before my mind to be recorded.
"Sometimes I am filled with awe at the way in which the creative process works. Whole pages or even chapters flash before my inner eye so rapidly that I am not able to write them down however hard I may try to do so. The gaps left are filled later.
"As I have already stated, my whole inner being is now like a brilliantly lighted chamber of immeasurable dimensions. The moment I try to measure its limits, it expands further and further until I feel myself floating in a measureless void. In deeper moods it is from this unbounded emptiness that the words and the ideas seem to arise and vanish again after imprinting themselves upon my memory.
POINCARE AND COLERIDGE AS CASES IN POINT
"The mathematician Henri Poincare mentions that one evening, after having drunk black coffee, he lay awake unable to sleep and became a spectator of an ordinarily hidden aspect of his own spontaneous creative activity. Ideas rose in crowds: I felt them collide until pairs interlocked, so to speak, making a stable combination. By the next morning I had established the existence of a class of Fuchsian functions, those which come from the hypergeometric series. I had only to write out the results, which took but a few hours. It is clear Poincare was not really asleep but a spectator of the process occurring in his interior, which went on beyond his control.
"Coleridge describes a somewhat similar experience in writing Kubla Khan. He continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, during which time he has the most vivid confidence that he could not have composed less than from two to three hundred lines, if that can indeed be called composition, in which all the images rose up before him as things with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awaking, he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines."
GENIUS AND MADNESS NOTICED
FROM ANCIENT TIMES
- By Gopi Krishna -
Genius is inspiration. It is very true that nothing so much resembles a person attacked by madness as a man of genius when meditating and molding his conceptions. When the moment of inspiration is over the man of genius becomes an ordinary man, if he does not descend lower.
This resemblance of an inspired personality to madness has been noticed from ancient times. In the words of Aristotle, famous poets, artists, and statesmen, frequently suffer from melancholia or madness, as did Ajax. In recent times such a disposition occurred in Socrates, Empedocles, Plato and many others, but especially in our poets.
GOETHE, NIETZSCHE AND SCHOPENHAUER
The French philosopher Diderot has said, I have often thought that these reserved and melancholy men owe their extraordinary, almost godlike, acuteness of insight to a temporary disturbance of their whole mechanism. One may notice how it brings them now to sublime, now to insane thoughts. ‘They themselves fancy that some godlike being uses up within them, seeks them out and uses them. How near is genius to madness. Yet one is locked up and bound with chains whilst to the other we raise monuments.’
In recent times, men of genius, like Goethe, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer, themselves avow how near genius is to madness. Looking the other way round, we find that many schizophrenics show a marked resemblance to geniuses but of a twisted and distorted kind. It has been remarked that whoever has had the opportunity of observing with a sympathetic and understanding eye, a considerable number of acute cases of schizophrenia in the early stages of the affliction, cannot but be astonished at times, at the inconceivable power, richness and cosmic breadth of the experiences that suddenly break upon these individuals, even when they have the most commonplace minds.
Such experiences, so quickly to be extinguished, may occasionally lift even the most banal natures right out of themselves. In certain circumstances, abnormal ecstatic conditions of this kind, which are milder and do not lead to complete mental collapse, show a great similarity to the inspired experiences of genius, especially in the religious field.