Mahatma Gandhi and the Kundalini Process
Mahatma Gandhi is generally considered
one of the greatest practitioners of
non-violent resistance through civil
disobedience. The title Mahatma
means "Great Soul."
by Gopi Krishna
Let us suppose that a public leader, of the same mental constitution as Gautama the Buddha, Christ, Socrates or Gandhi, all famous figures of history, universally respected for the excellence of their character and model way of life, were to be elected to the position of a President or a Prime Minister in one of the forward countries of the world. Does it stand to reason that he would behave in the same way as our present-day leaders do and be an active participant or a passive onlooker of the suicidal race for more and more destructive nuclear engines run day and night before our eyes?
The answer is an emphatic ‘no’. Such a personality would never be a party to or an idle spectator of the horrid game. On the contrary, he would raise heaven and earth to rid mankind of this hideous nightmare and even stake his life to achieve this aim. Has it ever struck you that if only one among the top leaders of the nuclear nations were to throw all his weight on the side of peace, with a ban on the use of nuclear armaments, and show his preparedness to make any sacrifice for it, he would gain the support of millions all over the earth and ignite a fire which only disarmament would quench.
But, apart from lip service, no leader of rank would risk his position, what to say of life, to take up this cause, the noblest and the most urgent of our day, for the simple reason that political consideration of power, prestige and domination would outweigh the self-preservative and humanitarian instincts, a clear symptom of incipient decay. It is obvious that the leading political minds of our time lack in proportion, when compared to the personalities that have made the greatest appeal to the human mind or, in other words, the personalities nearest to the standard of excellence, demanded by evolution, to which willy nilly the race has to conform.
What I am expounding is not entirely new. A glance at the basic tenets of the current faiths of mankind would amply corroborate what I say. Further confirmation will come from the experiments on Kundalini. In fact, no political system set up on the earth is true to any religion, principle or creed. It is a gangrenous mass that needs a surgeon’s knife to remove. If this does not happen, a mentally deformed humanity will result of which the signs are plain to see even now.
For a harmonious human personality, there should be a correspondence between the qualities of the head and the heart. This is the reason why, in every form of Yoga, cultivation of cardinal virtues and noble traits of character has been accorded the premier place. Love of fellow human beings, truth, compassion, humility and austerity are the first marks of a harmoniously evolved mind. How can we debate on evolution, when we do not know where it would lead? It cannot be a blind process that can over-haul a most intricate organ like the brain, while its neurons are occupied with a thousand tasks. It must be an Intelligence beyond our grasp. That is Kundalini, and that is what the Third Eye can reveal.
Continued evolution of the human mind cannot be taken lightly or treated as a process which can go on by itself without our racking our brains about it. The transition from the human to the transhuman consciousness would create for mankind such a host of intricate problems and entail such care and attention that, with all her resources of knowledge and skill, she would find it hard to carry the load of duties and responsibilities involved. It is for this reason, Kundalini is addressed as Mother for it is only through her grace that the brain can be saved from cracking under the pressures exerted on it, when there is a conflict between the demands of evolution and the unwholesome life led by self-deluded human beings.
It would be a mistake to suppose that the knowledge gained since the collapse of the ancient cultures would prevent a repetition of the same process of degeneration and decay, for the reason that the present world is yet completely in the dark about the problems arising out of the still operative evolution of the brain. The tempo of progress can serve as an index to show at what speed the brain is up soaring. The greater the speed the more urgent is the need to put our house in order to avoid a conflict. The world is asleep while a crisis is mounting in every human brain.
Had the discovery been made in time, the state of the world would not be what it is at present. There would be better planning, healthier living conditions, a united mankind, more advanced social and political orders, widespread awareness about the target of human life and the methods to achieve it. What we have now is an intellectual confusion and chaos, a Tower of Babel in which everyone is crying at the top of one’s voice to make oneself heard. The cries mingle together into an incoherent roar which save its loudness, has no saving wisdom to impart.
With the first experiments on Kundalini many of the current systems of thought, many of the concepts of science and the assumptions of psychology will come tumbling down to earth. The reason is that the universe we perceive is only a creation of consciousness. In one dimension, it is all there with its atoms and molecules, books and charts, suns and planets; in the other it melts away like a vanished dream. But the mystery is not over; the universe of consciousness, now unfolded, is a greater wonder and presents a more unfathomable mystery to solve. Mankind, when arrived at this stage, would not be at the journey’s end, but begin another lap of it entirely beyond our imagination to conceive. One of the most amazing features of our time, in the eyes of our progeny, towards the end of the 21st century, would be the blindness of the intellect which assumes that what it perceives with the senses is the totality and not only the tip of an iceberg of which the bulk is beyond our power to discern.
The leading personalities of our day are far in advance in quick thinking, political acumen and temporal knowledge of the greatest thinkers of the past. But many of them are pygmies compared to the spiritual giants of those times, like Janaka, Buddha, Christ or Socrates. The former present a disproportionate appearance in their psychic buildup, giants of intellect on the one side, and dwarfs in spiritual wisdom on the other. This disproportion in the mental structure, invisible to the normal eye, makes them oddities on the astral plane, the result of a lopsided evolution of the brain.
It is because of this well marked disproportion in leading minds that the intellectually more advanced 20th century has been the era of the most barbarous cruelties, massacres and wars in history. It is for this reason that there has come into existence a most infernal weapon of self-destruction, devised by the most advanced brains of all time, completely dead to the idea that the use of such a weapon to destroy millions of innocent women and children only because they are born in a hostile land, is a mark of cowardice that has no parallel in the annals of the race.
A monstrous weapon of this destructive power has been fashioned and is tolerated because a well defined reflection of this disproportion is clearly noticeable in the collective racial mind - a most alarming symptom, heralding an upheaval of gigantic proportions in the racial body to correct the fault. It is incredible that, even at this stage of progress, the learned should still be unaware of the fact that the psychic waves that sweep over a large or small segment of humanity, driving it to a revolution or war, come as surely from the Cosmic Mind as individual thoughts and feelings do. The ceaselessly agitated surface of an ocean in a storm or the endlessly vibrating fields of energy, forming the material universe, bear a poor comparison to the tornado of activity raging in the Pranic world.
Count roughly the ghastly massacres that occurred in this century, of thousands to millions of innocent human beings, in Russia, China, Germany, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Persia, Lebanon, Ireland, Africa, South-America and other places and also count the sadistic leaders and their hundreds of thousand genocidal accomplices who perpetrated the crimes, resulting in the brutal murder of over 20 million human beings. Count also the number of the battles and wars, large and small, fought in the same period and the even greater number of soldiers killed or disabled for life. Project this picture into the 21st Century, with the additional terror of the all-destroying nuclear bomb, and you will have a pretty clear idea of the horrors to come. If this grisly march of events is not arrested, while there still is time, the race is doomed.
Why I am drawing attention to this critical situation of the world today in a conference of The Transpersonal Psychology Association is because the phenomenon relates most closely to the science of the mind. It is an alarming foreshadow of the events to come that, even at this stage, when a volcano is about to burst under their very feet, the people of the world look on nonchalantly at the hideous preparations made for a holocaust, as a herd of cattle looks on passively at the arrangements made for its slaughter. This is an ominous sign, the result, to a lesser degree, of the same disproportion that has occurred in the more evolved leading brains. Had the guiding lights of the race been as normal in their response to this suicidal threat, a hue and cry would have been raised from the very beginning, forcing the leaders to abandon the project. But they did not. It could be that many of them tacitly nodded their assent keeping, by their silence, the masses unaware of the hazards to which they are exposed.
It is only now, through the heroic efforts of a few saner minds, that the people are becoming more and more aware of the grave danger to their life. It is this growing awareness which is at the root of the anti-war and anti-nuclear movements now launched in many parts of the earth. The real cause for the crisis created, as also of the apathy shown by the bulk of the earth’s population towards it, is still unsuspected by the world. It rests on something that is still unknown to science.
So far as I know, there is not the slightest inkling either among the scholars or the laity, that, by a gross disregard of spiritual values during the last few centuries, the evolution of the human mind has taken an unhealthy direction with the result that a large section of the population is affected by a disproportion which, if not set right, can have the gravest consequences for humanity. The imbalance is more clearly marked in the more intelligent minds.
The millions of known cases of mental disorder, in spite of the crimes committed by some of them, are not a menace to the race. The danger comes from the crowds of smart, highly efficient people whose instincts are not balanced and who lack the moral counterpoise to off-set the enlarged ego, boundless ambition and immoderate greed of the highly intelligent mind. Keeping in view the picture of this mental disproportion, count now the number of abnormal people, occupying the highest seats of power, among the nations of the earth. Remember that there will be in a few years no less than twenty nuclear states and that even one abnormal at the head of any one of them, can ignite a fire that would set the world ablaze.
The only possible way to save the world from this grave danger is to gain knowledge of the evolutionary mechanism and the conditions needed for its healthy operation to create the harmonious personalities that can bring peace to the world. The only method to gain this knowledge, apart from what is contained in the religious and occult literature of the world, is to undertake extensive studies of the phenomenon in various parts of the earth.
There are many fields of study and research in the various departments of science, but none of such urgency and importance as the research on Kundalini. Nature has left no other door open for the study of mind or other intelligent forces of nature, except this one, for the reason that further evolution of the brain is needed before entry to the super-sensory planes of creation can be gained. It is only the accomplished products of Kundalini who will be able to guide the race beyond the intellectual level now reached by her.
I now come to another aspect of Kundalini which, I believe, would bring the phenomenon more sharply into focus, especially among the learned. For this purpose it is necessary to draw attention to a few historical instances to show how Kundalini acts as a divine instrument in shaping human destiny and how the extraordinary personalities, fashioned by her, become instruments in causing mass upheavals to change the fate of empires and the multitudes under their sway.
One of the most remarkable personalities of our time has been M.K. Gandhi, who brought independence to India. There was an episode in the life of this extraordinary man of which no satisfactory explanation has been provided so far. The authors of the book Freedom at Midnight, on which the Gandhi film is based, describe this episode as a drama whose unique dimensions eventually scandalized some of his oldest associates, alarmed millions of Indians and baffled the historians who tried to comprehend all the intricate facts of Gandhi’s complex character.
The drama centered round a 19 year old girl, Gandhi’s grand-niece, Manu. The girl, orphaned at an early age, had been brought up by Gandhi and his wife as their own grand-daughter. On the death of his wife, Gandhi promised to be a mother to the girl and actually cared for her as mothers do. One day, when 19, Manu shyly confessed to him that she had never felt sexual arousal, normal in a girl of her age. Gandhi himself had taken a pledge to be a Brahmachari, that is, to abstain from sex and had taken this decision to his wife in 1906. After the vow was taken Gandhi did all in his power to obliterate the faintest signs of erotic desire in himself. For years, he experimented with different diets to choose one that had the least effect on his libido.
As the result of his rigid control, he came to believe that he had killed the last vestige of sex in himself. But his confidence was shattered 30 years later, when he noticed himself in a state of erection one night. He was greatly depressed at the thought that he had not been able to achieve the goal for which he had battled so long. The perfect Brahmachari, in the view of Gandhi, was a man who could lay by the side of a Venus, in all her naked beauty, without being physiologically or mentally disturbed. He firmly believed that the sublimation of his sexual energies would give him the moral and spiritual power to accomplish his mission in life.
After listening to the confessions of Manu, Gandhi decided to put himself and her to the test. With this idea in his mind, he announced his decision to Manu that they would share the same pallet and sleep together, like a mother and daughter, without the least idea of an erotic nature. Manu agreed and the plan was put into effect. But soon rumors began to float and scandals to spread. As his confidence in his mastery over himself grew, Gandhi extended the range of physical contact with women. He nursed them when they were ill, and allowed them to nurse him. He had his daily massage on his bare body, done by young girls, and in that state gave interviews or consulted with the leaders of his party.
As the word of what was happening spread beyond the limits of the Ashram, the news caused an intense shock to the party-leaders, face to face with a critical situation at the time. Gandhi confronted the rumors in an evening prayer meeting. His words calmed his immediate associates, but the calumny continued to spread. Emissaries came from Delhi to protest against this strange behavior, but Gandhi flatly refused to deviate from his course. Finally it was Manu herself, perhaps on a hint from one of the emissaries, who persuaded him to abandon the practice with the assurance that in all other matters she would continue to act as before.
This riddle in the life of Gandhi has not been satisfactorily answered so far. In the case of a scrupulously conscientious man, like him, who staked his life for his principles, not once but several times and did not yield, even in the face of death, it would be unfair to suppose that he had libidinous aims which he deliberately concealed under the pretext of acting as a mother to Manu. It is, indeed, a puzzle why Gandhi himself should have been so insistent on her sharing his bed in order to steel himself or her in the discipline of Brahmacharya, as he must have been conscious that such a behavior on his part could be misunderstood and create scandals, seriously inimical to his reputation and mission. We cannot imagine that a shrewd public leader, like Gandhi, could be so naive as not to be aware of the consequences that could ensue from his strange behavior.
This paradoxical episode in the life of Gandhi is easily explainable in the light of Kundalini. As the result of a favorable heredity, his own ideas and, perhaps, even practices, Kundalini must have started to stir in him even before he ceased his relations with his wife, that is, the energy must have started to flow into his brain. In other words, he must have felt that he was becoming an urdhva-retas, which in Sanskrit means, one with an upward flow of reproductive energy.
In the first phases of the awakening, the demand on the energy is so much that sexual appetite is lost and the male organ shrinks. This is clearly brought out by Arthur Avalon in his The Serpent Power. Gandhi, too, must have experienced it. This is patently clear from his own remarks that "the sexual organs of a real Brahmachari begin to look different. They remain as mere symbols of his sex, and his sexual secretions are sublimated into a vital force pervading his whole being."
The first phase of the awakening can last for months and years, depending on the constitution, heredity, life-style and the behavior of the subject. The awakening of the power signifies a new activity in the brain, leading to an expansion of consciousness which ultimately terminates in the Mystical Vision. The opening of the brain-centre does not occur at once as that would be calamitous and can end in instant insanity or death. But, in benign cases, it occurs by slight degrees, each small expansion followed by a period of adjustment, time after time, until the maximum possible for the subject is achieved. After each adjustment, when the demand on the secretions diminishes, the partially or completely lost virility is restored.
The attempt of the mechanism of evolution is to adapt the body to the expanding new activity of the brain, so that the flame of extended consciousness is maintained undimmed, with the combined activity of the organs and tissues, as is the case with normal consciousness. For this vital purpose, every single drop of the reproductive fluids is sucked up and used as the driving force for the changes wrought. For this reason, although from the outward appearance, the male member appears to shrink, there is, on the whole, a heightened activity of the reproductive organs to supply, for inner consumption, as much of the secretions as possible. In this process there occur periods when the demand on the generative secretions is so great that the subject needs constant stimulation to increase the supply of the reproductive juices. This stimulation is provided by an erotically pleasing object. The Tantras and other works on Kundalini clearly acknowledge the need of an attractive female partner in the practices undertaken to awaken Shakti. The real reason for this lies in the demand of the brain to condition itself for the manifestation of a more extended state of consciousness. If this demand is denied, due to some fault in the reproductive system, or if the precious essence is wasted in pleasure, the results that follow can be disastrous.
Gandhi, as the leader of the independence movement of a subcontinent, carrying a population of over 400 million, with a hundred problems constantly on his head, needed an enormous consumption of psychic energy to keep himself in a state of balance and calm. The expansion in his consciousness, which had already started, added vastly to the problem. Only a man of iron resolve could maintain his composure in the crises that surrounded him on every side. The drain on his procreative organs, to sustain his brain in such a situation, must have been terrific. It is, therefore no wonder that this great son of India needed a stimulant to keep up an uninterrupted supply of the food which his brain needed.
Most probably Gandhi himself had no inkling of the transformative process at work in him. This needed a life’s experience of a power-fully active Kundalini. The adjustments must have taken a much longer time in his case, on account of the severe ordeals he had to undergo, the extremely austere way of life he led, the load of tasks he had to do and the fasts he kept. He was cast into a severe fit of depression 30 years later, when he noticed that he was still prone to sexual arousal, as he was unaware of the cyclic operation of Kundalini.
Gandhi could never know of the real reasons for his attitude towards Manu. He submitted to the organic need of his brain without knowing why he was so insistent in acting as a mother to his niece. Compared to the colossal task he had on his shoulders, this little episode of his affection for Manu, or his preference for daily massage has no significance. Nature accomplishes her great tasks in her own way and leaves short-sighted mortals wondering how it could happen. But for this subconsciously motivated behavior, which he himself could not consciously understand, it might not have been possible for this great soul to carry out the herculean task which had been entrusted to him.
The experiments on Kundalini will keep the world breathless with wonder for centuries to come. Every great historical event, every great revolution and every war, that has occurred in recent times, has been the result of a ferment in the brains of the leading personalities involved, resulting from the activity of Kundalini. When Kundalini starts to act, every facet of the personality in which she acts is known to her. The rigid, unbending Gandhi who would not deviate from his principles had to be tackled in his own way. In order to keep the overtaxed brain supplied with the fuel which it needed for its sanity, stimulation was indispensable. How could it be provided consciously, in the existing frame of his mind, against the principles he had cherished all his life. For this reason, the subconscious came into play, as it does in the life of many of us, to impel to actions unconsciously, which, otherwise, we would refuse to do.
There are certain peculiarities in the life of Gandhi which unerringly point to the conclusions I have drawn. He was married at the age of 13, and entered the delightful rose-bed of married life with exuberant joy. It seems he had a strongly marked erotic side. This is clearly brought out by a curious incident. One day, while massaging the legs of his dying father, whom he dearly loved, Gandhi was seized by a sudden burst of sexual desire that made him tip-toe to his room and wake up his pregnant wife. A few minutes later, while the two were still swimming in pleasure, a servant came to inform him that his father had died. The incident left a deep scar on the mind of Gandhi, which could have provided one of the reasons for his vow of continence at the age of 37.
The pledge was not confined to the subdual of erotic desire alone. To Gandhi, at this age, it meant control of all the senses, restraint in emotion, diet and speech, the suppression of anger, violence and hate, a simple, austere life and the attainment of a desireless state close to the ideal, depicted in the Bhagavad-Gita, of a self-controlled sage. The most significant feature of the transformation is the age at which it occurred. As already indicated in my books, the usual time for a spontaneous arousal of the Serpent-Power is around about the age of 35 years, with a margin of a few years this way or that. The desires and impulses that arise are the same which stirred in Gandhi. These include an accentuation of religious fervor, or a strong urge to turn from the world and devote oneself to a spiritual or noble cause. Mark the somewhat identical stirrings in the crowds which devote themselves intensely to Yoga or some other spiritual discipline.
There are other traits exhibited by Gandhi during this period which leave no doubt that the Shakti had begun to operate in him. Space does not permit me to dwell on them at present. At the time when the incidents mentioned occurred, Gandhi, now 77 years, was facing stresses that demanded a more abundant supply of the psychic fuel to save his aging brain from giving way under the strain. When Kundalini occupies the last centre in the head, a constant stream of sublimated reproductive energy irrigates the brain, reducing greatly the pressure on the generative organs or removing it altogether. Instead of causing tensions that need release, it now opens a fountain of creative joy in the head which puts what was formerly thought to be the peak of delight, into shade.
It is our own distorted vision, born of weakness, which makes us think that sex-energy is too profane an object to be used for the holy communion with God. The breasts of a mother serve as a delightful object of erotic pleasure for the husband or lover, but, at the same time, they provide life-saving nourishment to her child. No one ever contends that the milk he imbibed from his mother’s breasts in infancy was impure. In formulating her plan, nature does not care for the petty idiosyncrasies of the human mind. The same divine power which brings a human child into being drives it at a certain period of life to the act of procreation and, when the time is ripe, fills it with the urge for self-awareness, as it had once filled it with erotic desire, to lead it ultimately to the Vision Divine.
I have presented the case of Mahatma Gandhi, as it is typical of an active Kundalini. The aim has been, in the first place, to show the tremendous influence that the power exerts on the life of individuals and, through them, on the life of multitudes. Secondly, to throw a glimmer of light on one of the infinitely varied activities of this divine power to help those in whom it is astir or might stir up in future, to regulate their lives. Thirdly, the aim is to clear this great soul of the shadow that was cast on him towards the end by the episode described. The love between men and women, on the earthly plane, for procreation or enjoyment is human. But the same love, on the super-earthly plane, to help the soul win back its glory and freedom is divine.
The subject will be discussed more fully elsewhere, with illustrations drawn from the lives of other distinguished men and women in whom there is clear evidence to show that the power was active from an early period of life. These would include Freud and Jung also, who contributed so richly to the science of mind, but had no inkling of the mysterious force operating in them to which they owed their fluency of expression, vast knowledge and deep insights. Had they known it, much of what they have written would have remained unsaid. Such is the bewildering play of Kundalini. She is the inscrutable Maya-Shakti, the author of this magic show of life, a dream and a reality both.