More on Gopi Krishna
MBFM comments on Gopi Krishna, previous post:
29.01.10 at 8:11 pm
Will state this:
I was never really sure what the point was for trying to attain Kundalini. Mr Krishna’s descriptions of the state resembled a description of a combination bad illness/psychiatric disorder.
The other interesting omission is that while he described some of the visualization techniques he utlized that seemed linked to the upset, he never stated who taught him those exercises or what he hoped to accomplish.
But he does make it clear that this disorder did seem yoga related, and was nearly the death of him and it forced him to take early retirement.
What does make this remarkable is he felt roused to concern himself with a serious social justice issue–ruinously expensive weddings and dowries, and that he and his wife later dedicated themselves to combating this ancient and still very destructive tradition. It is rare for a spiritual practitioner to step back and question a key component of his or her tradition–a tradition vaunted as ancient by the likes of Guenon.
Krishna made it clear that his own father was disabled by some form of yoga related mental disorder that this brought terrible suffering upon the family.
And Mr Krishna admitted that as a boy he neglected his homework, and his mother, who was illiterate, never suspected that her son, on whom the family hopes depended, was wasting time reading non school related books.
Mr Krishna failed his college exam tests and had to opt for a humbler level of employement than his parents had hoped for him. He was deeply ashamed he had let them down and resolved to make amends for it.
Part of what I appreciated about his book was not only the many detailed descriptions of spiritual eccentricity and local custom, much of which is now disappearing, but the way Gopi Krishna writes–speaking for myself, I felt as though I was sitting on the front porch with an older relative, someone willing to share memories and confess mistakes.
Above all, this old man had a sense of plain fairness and justice. He did not like it when he witnessed responsible adults grovelling to authority figures,, whether the authority figure was a guru or a nasty boss at the office.
And he spoke with horror and dismay of people doing all sorts of odd and digusting things and being hailed as holy. One such holy fool was a fellow who carried a hot load of coals on his bare shoulder and went about with permanently scorched flesh, and folks took this indifference to pain as evidence of exalted spiritual attainment.
Gopi Krishna thought it was just a pointlessly horrid phenomenon and suggested that undue fascination with such stunts was itself an indication that the fascinated one was already off balance.
Krisnna was not sure his own children were able to deal with kundalini and chose not to teach it to them–he had himself been through too much.
He was tempted to turn himself into a guru by the number of people who showed up at his doorstep and at that time, he and his family were poor. But he chose to avoid the guru role altogether.
As a record of life in pre and post partition India, this book is worth reading. Krishna mentioned that he needed medical care and extra food during his kundalini illness and noted that food shortages and high food prices during the post partition period made things quite difficult.
Though Living With Kundalini is usually classed as a book on spirituality, Gopi Krishna tells his story in such a way that one remains aware at all times that all this took place within a particular place, culture and political/social context.
And GK gives full credit to his remarkable mother and his equally brave and loyal wife, for he gives full disclosure of how both of them them kept their families functioning when the menfolk became disabled by yoga related illnesses.