Sweden 26 September 2002
Dear Mr. Chopra!
My name is Marja S and I am the owner of the web site Kundalini Network & Information in Sweden where I offer information about the dangers of artificial spiritual exercises.
I have read your answer in "Meditation and Kundalini" to people who are worried about the dangers of meditation on your message board, because I have received mails from people who themselves have read your answer and who are kundalini damaged by meditation.
I have received over three hundred mails from people around the world who have been kundalini damaged by erroneous meditation, especially transcendental meditation and chakra meditation, yoga, rebirthing, pranayama, holotropic breathing etc.
I have myself had bad experiences of rebirthing and you can read my story here.
I can't say that I am surprised by your answer, because I have been reading, fulltime, eastern philosophy about spiritual exercises and kundalini since my visit to India in 1993, and I know very well your and other eastern gurus' opinion in this matter.
But I have a wish that you and the other gurus and teachers would take some responsibility in what you are teaching people. Those who have been damaged by these dangerous artificial exercises have no one to turn to when they have been struck by the tremendous kundalini energy. When they have gone psychotic or physically ill, the gurus turn their back on them and say that it is this person's karma. For me it is a very uncharitable attitude. It is my definite opinion that it is the dangerous artificial exercises that causes the psychosis and the mental and bodily illnesses.
During my ten years of fulltime kundalini research I have found that there were two paths to enlightenment, according to the Tibetans.
One was a peaceful life in the monastery where one obeyed moral commands and monastery rules, i.e. behaving impeccably, doing good deeds, disregarding material interests and striving for peace of mind. In this way one could eventually reach salvation.
The other path was called the "direct way" and was a purely intellectual method, which freed the one who followed it from all kinds of laws. One could reach this freedom through artificial spiritual exercises, like breathing-exercises, yoga and meditation. But that path was considered to be highly dangerous. It was like, instead of following the path which slowly winds its way up towards the top of the mountain, trying to climb vertically up the cliffs and cross abysses with help only of a thin rope. Even the best suited for it could be hit by a sudden attack of dizziness and fall like a presumptuous alpinist and break his back. By this the Tibetans mean a terrible spiritual fall which leads to the worst kind of perversities and the greatest confusion. One landed in the end on a "demonic" level. Instead of reaching "the total liberation" they became mad. They had knocked on doors, which they should not have done.
Not even in the old occult Tibetan literature can one find the perfect doctrine about these exercises, they were given only verbally from master to disciple, and the interpretations varied not only from sect to sect, but also from master to master. In the "Tibetan Book of the Dead", which can be read as a "process of initiation", the aspirant is warned against "following the dim lights" in the kingdom of the dead, on the spiritual path. The dim lights come from the World of the Unhappy Spirits and one does not succeed in reaching Liberation if one gets stuck there. My complete article "POSSESSION - Superstition or Reality?" you can find here:
So, in my opinion artificial spiritual exercises such as yoga and meditation are dangerous.
I have also studied cosmology, books about a new world picture, written by a Danish man, Martinus, who got cosmic consciousness naturally in 1921, without any kind of artificial exercises. He warns against these kinds of artificial methods, because the risks of short circuits in the brain and the nervous system is too great. He is writing about trying to reach higher states of consciousness:
"...it is a state of 'high voltage', and if the right human qualifications are not present in the consciousness, it can cause the most dreadful forms of 'short-circuit' and 'fire' in the consciousness. The great birth (=initiation, my note; M.S.) is not something you can seek, as you would seek an office or the award of an order." (From the book: Cosmic glimpses, chap. 5). More about Martinus here.
Your own fellow countryman Gopi Krishna has described his hell and experiences of the "fire" in his book "Living with Kundalini" which, according to him, was caused by meditation and yoga exercises.
Wouldn't it be fairer to tell people that there are dangers and let them make their own decision if they want to take the risks in trying to reach higher levels of consciousness?
Can you really say with good conscience that meditation and yoga are free from risks?
I hope we can have an open dialogue on this matter and that you will have the courage to publish my whole letter to you on your message board, since people are writing to me when they can't get satisfying answers from you or other gurus. Many of them are suffering badly and their lives have been ruined by artificial spiritual exercises.
This letter to you will be openly published on my site Kundalini Network & Information under the "Personal Stories" button.
KUNDALINI NETWORK & INFORMATION
Answer from Deepak Chopra:
I'm sure you are very sincere in your concern about kundalini experiences, but the meditation practices I encourage people to practice are not only safe, but also promote mind/body integration, balance and mental health. The number of people who have contacted your site with their kundalini experiences does not indicate any causal connection between any of the practices you mention and their experiences.
Kundalini is not something we should be afraid of. We wouldn't be physically alive or cognizant without it. It is what allows our eyes to see, our mind to think, our cells to metabolize. It is the natural force of evolution through which higher states of consciousness unfold. As such it is certainly something to be respected and not trifled of, and so, as I said before, I don't recommend those practices that specifically aim to forcefully awaken the kundalini without proper guidance. However, any meditation or spiritual practice that is based on the experience of peace and self-awareness from silence is not forcing the kundalini to rise. By removing the conditioning and limitations in the mind and the body, these meditations allow for an awakening when the person is naturally ready for it and so the experience will be more smooth and easy.
That's not to say that once you start meditating that the rest of your journey to enlightenment will be easy in every respect. We all have our unique past histories, and unraveling that conditioning will be a different experience for every person. It's typical to go through a few bumps in the road, that's part of human development. Even the physical process of growing up can sometimes be temporarily painful for children. That doesn't mean we should be afraid of the force that is causing that growth.
Kundalini is just life energy. Incidentally, Martinus's spontaneous awakening that you referred to fits all the classic characteristics of a kundalini experience-the heat, the tingling, and immobility. Every spiritual tradition around the world has understood and respected and used the kundalini energy, not just India: the Native Americans, Celts, Egyptians, Mayans, Kabbalists, Gnostics, Sufis, Taoist, Buddhists, they all have safely guided the kundalini energy for centuries or even thousands of years. The dangerous Tibetan practices you spoke of are too arcane to be considered a problem because no one even knows about them in the West. Your understanding of Tibetan knowledge is certainly unusual if not altogether unique. The Tibetan monks did extensive meditation in the monasteries, they weren't just practicing being nice people. My understanding is that Mahayana Buddhism of Tibet has a very similar knowledge of kundalini that is found in the Vedic tradition from which it was derived.
Dear Mr. Chopra!
Thank you for publishing my letter and your answer on your page.
I have some comments to your answers.
"The number of people who have contacted your site with their kundalini experiences does not indicate any causal connection between any of the practices you mention and their experiences."
Yes they do. I have just published a few of all the hundreds of stories I have got. They have many - if not all - of the symptoms described on our page Kundalini Network & Information, under the "Kundalini Symptoms"- button. Many of them have been suffering from these awful symptoms, or short circuits, for 20 - 30 years and there are also many who have committed suicide, because the "heat" was impossible to live with, or the inner "voices" too terrifying to listen to. They became mad. I can't call their dreadful experiences as "a few bumps in the road". All the kundalini symptoms listed on our page have their source in Indian books as Kundalini complications, and they are nothing we here in west have invented. No one has found a cure for these symptoms.
"Kundalini is not something we should be afraid of."
In my opinion Martinus gives the best and logical answers to the "mysterious kundalini".
You call kundalini "just a life-energy". But it is also called sex-energy in India.
Martinus writes that we are all electrical beings and all levels of consciousness are electrical. Life-energy, according to Martinus, is electrical energy. Everyone who has undergone a kundalini process can confirm this. Their experience is that they have had thousands of volts passing through their bodies. It is electrical short circuits in the brain and the nervous system that cause the uncontrollable "heat" and "burning sensations" in the body.
The injuries are, according to Martinus, inner damage of the senses and mind that can take many lives to repair. He strongly warns us against spiritual exercises and recommends only the safe way: to practice the art of being a good human being, who is a joy and blessing for his/her surroundings and the whole. This behaviour will lead us safely and calmly to moral maturity to get cosmic consciousness.
This way will of course take many lives and sounds not so interesting for people of today because many want to find shortcuts - even if they know the risks. The risk of seeing the light too early, before our brain and nervous system is sufficiently developed, is great. We are playing with high voltages, and we must be able to get used to the light first before we can bear it. The only way to reach Cosmic Consciousness is to completely conquer one's own lower dark nature.
I have read Martinus' Livets Bog, "The Book of Life", and there I found the answers to our development.
We are on our way to being "beings of light" and the animal sexuality is going to degenerate to take a new shape. We will not always remain males and females. Transformation is in progress, and we are undergoing a pole-change to be sexual beings with both poles-the male and female- in balance i.e., a third sex. But we can't force it with any kinds of artificial spiritual methods because it is an organic spiritual process.
In eastern kundalini practices one is trying to unite Shakti and Shiva, but very few people of today understand what the purpose of it is and what it means. One is trying to force the primary pole - "the white cobra", white electric light tubes in the spine - to reach its secondary pole with violence in the brain by practising yoga, meditation and breathing exercises.
Martinus explains it in his books:
We will not always remain males and females, as I wrote. Transformation is in progress.
The masculine pole in the male, and the feminine pole in the female, has its "release-centre" in the sexual organs, while the opposite pole has its "release-centre" in the brain-organs. These are still strongly separated in the earthly human being. Through long development, a connection line grows between these two centres. This cannot be rushed by any "exercises", because it is an organic, spiritual process, which progresses through our humane sympathies and actions towards our neighbour. With "spiritual eyes", these can be seen as shimmering offshoots, thin "fluorescent tubes", from both centres, and when they reach each other in the heart-region, through the spinal cord, an immediate contact is established. This means "that the most beautiful of the female's feminine- and the male's masculine mental natures, and physical outlines has been united to a divine constitution, as one being." (Livets Bog II, paragraph 361)
Man has then become one with her highest self, God, and gets Cosmic Consciousness permanently. She is a "being of Love", who loves everything and everyone, without exceptions. This shall not be confused with what we call "falling in love", but is a higher form of love.
"Everything is now incorporated in the sympathetic talents, everything is flames from the very highest fire. And not until now, the earthly human being has become the true human being. " (Livets Bog V, paragraph 1935)
She can move in and out of the spiritual world, as she likes and desires, and needs no longer to be born of women. This development shall take place peacefully, and unnoticed over many lives.
To get into contact with the highest form of spiritual energy of the Universe, "the energy of Love" one must vibrate on this high frequency oneself. It is not until then that "Love" or God recognises himself! There are no shortcuts.
"Every spiritual tradition around the world has understood and respected and used the kundalini energy, not just India: the Native Americans, Celts, Egyptians, Mayans, Kabbalists, Gnostics, Sufis, Taoist, Buddhists, they all have safely guided the kundalini energy for centuries or even thousands of years."
Yes, many have tried to find shortcuts, but where are the results? If man has been striving and doing artificial exercises for thousands of years all over the world, why hasn't the world advanced and developed to be a better place to live in? Where are all the enlightened people? The supreme purpose and goal of all spiritual disciplines, including meditation, is enlightenment on which level man is "loving one's neighbour as oneself"; a "man in God's image".
The simple answer is that not many have succeeded in gaining enlightenment, and not many will either. Moral maturity can not be reached through meditation or yoga, but demands daily training in everyday life.
It is not difficult to see that there are many more wrecks left on the path of spiritual yoga and meditation, than there are enlightened people.
I don't agree with all of Gopi Krishnas' writings, but I will end my letter with a good quotation from his book "The Awakening of Kundalini":
"Let us examine this difficult "union" (of the individual soul with the universal spirit or consciousness, or God, my note M.S.) more closely. Out of the millions who have been practicing meditative techniques of Yoga, how many have attained to enlarged consciousness in the West? How many have gained that state of beatitude and spontaneous flow of higher wisdom which from immemorial times has been associated with the success of this holy enterprise? How many have published their spiritual experiences to afford a glimpse of the transcendental to other seekers in order to inspire them and to provide guidance on the path?
In India, the number of enlightened during the last one hundred years can be counted on the fingers of one hand."
The only safe way to cosmic consciousness is the unselfish way, or as it also is recommended in Bhagavad Gita, Nishkama Karma, selfless action as service to God.
One can't jump from childhood to adulthood on the physical plane, and one can't become a "being of love and light" if one has selfishness, darkness, left in one's thoughts.
Waiting for an answer...................
Note 2014-12-10: In the meantime we wait ;-) you can see the video of Deepak Chopra made by his son Gotham. They are talking English so no problems even if the film has a Swedish text. The video is shown in Swedish television and is available until 29 of March 2015. Enjoy and make up your own opinion of: My Father Deepak Chopra