Pradeep Krishnan speaks to Dr Pradeep Ullal about Kundalini, Himalayan Kriya Yoga, and liberation, and the motivation behind his Kevala Foundation
The spiritual journey of Dr Pradeep Ullal—the founder of Kevala Foundation, Chikmagalur, Karnataka—is remarkable. He was born on November 20, 1969, to Shri Rammohan and Smt Nalini in Bengaluru. His family and social circle were not spiritually inclined, and he had a carefree early life: making friends, enjoying music, and aimlessly roaming around. However, a fortuitous introduction to the teachings of Ramana Maharishi and Osho “seeped into my veins, nerves, and nadis (energy channels) and urged me to take the plunge into the path of surrendering to enlightened awareness within,” he recalls.
After dropping out of college, Pradeep joined the Indian Air Force (IAF). While in service, fascinated by the pull of the Himalayas, several times, he wandered the snowy mountains, often spending days in contemplation in remote caves, receiving glimpses of spiritual life. Feeling utterly dissatisfied, he quit the job after seven years and returned home, got married, and did odd jobs to survive. In 1999, the young couple left for Dubai, where Pradeep got a job. Four years later, when everything looked promising, events unfolded one by one, compelling him to change the course of his life.
Gradually, he started sharing the wisdom of yoga with seekers and became a popular teacher. After the Washington University, USA, conferred on him a doctorate in 2006, the drawing room of Dr Pradeep’s house, Shiva-Shakti Kutir, served as a spiritual centre for the next seven years. One day, when he suddenly got the aadesh (direction) from celestial beings to relocate to India, he followed the command, paving the way for the establishment of Kevala Foundation. Since 2014, the foundation has been guiding aspirants by integrating different systems: Vedas, yoga, ayurveda, music, tantra, art, dance, and healing.
When I came to know of Maha Yogi (great spiritual adept) Dr Pradeep Ullal and his distinctive explorations in spirituality, I decided to meet him at Chikmagalur, where he lives with his wife, Vinaya, and 15-year-old daughter, Smrithi. Though dates were scheduled, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic upset our plans, compelling us to conduct the interview online.
On the appointed date and time, while I was eagerly waiting, a clean-shaven young man with a cheerful smile, clad in an ‘Om’-inscribed white T-shirt and blue jeans appeared on my laptop screen, greeting me with a namaste. After the initial exchange of pleasantries, I felt like I was talking to my younger brother.
Soon, Dr Pradeep took me on a virtual tour of the spiritual centre. Located in a remote place in the Western Ghats, surrounded by blue hills, the nine-acre campus is filled with trees and flowers in yellow, red, and blue. The virtual experience of the natural bounty, accompanied by the songs of chirping birds, at once prompted me to remark, “Once the pandemic is over, I would certainly like to visit this place.” With a broad smile, Dr Pradeep Ullal welcomed me to his place.
Our dialogue began with his revelation: “My journey goes on like a river in its perennial flow. I do not question anything. The quest for completion is driving me towards more integration of fragments in this multidimensional existence. Gratitude, love, and compassion remain the theme of my journey as they enable me to experience cosmic grace in abundance.”
Dr Pradeep said that just when humanity felt mighty and powerful, the pandemic issued death warrants, mocking at our illusive power games and obnoxious greed. “To see light at the end of the tunnel, we all have a responsibility to enhance our collective awareness. For this, each one has to plunge deep within to ignite the power within.”
Below are excerpts from the exclusive interview with Pradeep Krishnan.
Q. Please tell us about your early life?
I was born prematurely at Bangalore, with acute scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) and arrhythmic heart palpitations. My mother, though not healthy, had indomitable mental strength and loved everyone. My father was multitalented: He was a scriptwriter, sculptor, painter, singer, and director, all rolled into one. He used to spend time between his job in a multinational engineering company and the music school, Upasana, which he founded. Because of his encouragement, I became interested in Indian classical music, martial arts, athletics, and boxing. I still vividly remember the early mornings listening to my father’s melodious singing, accompanied by the pleasant tanpura, igniting a deep connection with celestial music.
Q. How was spirituality kindled in you?
I had an ordinary childhood, and though, initially, there was no spiritual quest, I often had the feeling of a mission in life, but without any clue about it. At 16, a chance reading of a book on Kundalini (a dormant, potent force lying coiled at the base of the spine) rekindled my inherent awareness of it in a flash. Later, during a college trip, when a tour-mate got relieved from the excruciating pain of a sprained leg by the mere touch of my palms, I serendipitously discovered that I had healing powers. Subsequently, I realised that the healing happened due to my Kundalini awakening. Meanwhile, I started spending long hours gazing at the starlit sky, immersing deeply in celestial domains, and receiving flashes of energy from cosmic beings. Often, I wondered whether it was possible to create a heaven-on-earth with the coming together of pure, free-spirited, gifted beings. Eventually, I realised that during my past lives, I had lived in the Himalayas performing tapasya (penance), and my present life emerged as ordained by the ascended beings.
Q. Tell us about your experiences of wandering across the Himalayas?
During my IAF days and later, I had strolled the Himalayas several times. It is my cherished home and the place from which great masters still transmit positive vibrations to all those who are ripe and ready. I have received phenomenal downloads of positive energy transmissions from ageless yogis and mahatmas (enlightened souls). Once, a mahayogi, after a deep gaze into my eyes, advised me to start teaching yoga, as it was my mission in this life. At that time, as I had no knowledge of yoga, I was baffled. He assured me that if I surrender fully to the Universe, direct knowledge would happen on its own.
On another day, while in meditation in a cave, the much-acclaimed Gorakshanath Babaji imparted the science of Himalayan Kriya Yoga to me. I took a couple of years to perfect this technique and to make it an effective method of practice. I also had the privilege of meeting a 250-year-old Baba (holy person) who told me, “There is nothing more for you to achieve. Just keep your eyes wide open and serve selflessly. You now return to urban life and start imparting the wisdom of the Himalayan yogis.” This stirred something deep within me.
Q. What was the turning point in your life?
While in Dubai, when I was 30, karmically destined events started happening one by one. One day, I woke up with severe pain in my lower spine due to scoliosis and had to crawl my way out of bed. Before long, my mother succumbed to ovarian cancer, and within a few days, I lost my job. Without knowing how to proceed further in life, I became confused, restless, and sleepless.
One night, while I was gazing at the vast starlit sky, a deep-seated trust and knowing triggered within. At once I took a vow to serve the path of awareness and not to engage in a job for a living. I sought the blessings of the ascended masters to support and guide me through the journey of ascension.
The Universe was giving me strong signals to switch my roles. I took the decision to dedicate my life to the yoga of inner exploration. During those days, leading a modest life, my wife and I sustained only on the donations from students, protected and guided at every step. I realised that if one treads the path of spirituality with intent, trust, surrender, and selfless service, everything clicks into gracious alignment.
Thus, in Dubai, began my journey of sharing the wisdom of the Himalayan Masters to friends and relations. Initially, I was reluctant as I had no idea about what to teach and how to teach. I had neither learnt yoga systematically nor had read any of the scriptures. However, I shared the wisdom that flowed through me to all those who approached me.
Q. Tell us about your guru?
As I do not belong to a particular parampara (lineage), I did not have a physical guru. Param Shiva, the energy that brought me to planet Earth, has always been directing, guiding, and protecting me. I consider several souls who have inspired me as my gurus: Sri Krishna, Bhagwan Nityananda, Ramana Maharshi, Ma Anandamayi, Swami Rama, Shirdi Sai Nath, Shiva Bala Yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya, Gorakshanath Babaji, etc. I have also experienced the energies of Sadguru Dattatreya and Sri Satya Sai Baba permeating my body. After 12 years of my first darshan (visitation) of Satya Sai Baba, one day, His energy unlocked every chakra (energy centre), knot, and lock along my Sushumna Nadi (central energy channel), instantly igniting the Kundalini. Later, after several years of sadhana (spiritual practice), Maharshi Vishwamitra too had passed on cosmic golden light to my body.
Q. How did you get the title of Maha Yogi?
A true yogi is a state of being that is beyond all title, lineage, tradition, style, and appearance. While in Devprayag, an enlightened master, looking deep into my eyes, uttered ‘Mahaan Avastha,’ thus declaring me a Maha Yogi, confirming the awakening of Maha Prana Kundalini. This stage replaces all the distortions of the ego-self with the power of pure love and selfless serving. It cannot be identified by any pretentious appearance or status that people are familiar with.
Q. What are the aims and activities of Kevala Foundation?
In Sanskrit, ‘kevala’ means ‘unique.’ As this place and space are filled with cosmic healing energies sanctified by the masters, anyone entering the campus would, at once, go into a meditative state. Here, sincere seekers are led through an intensive purification process, enhancing their ability to receive grace in abundance from the galaxy of mystical masters.
The foundation aims at the spiritual upliftment of the individual through several techniques: Himalayan Kriya Yoga, Nada Yoga, transmitting healing gamma waves, and purification methods ```, which are based on the Vedas. All the programmes are aimed to awaken one’s body, mind, and intellect to achieve expansion in consciousness, which ultimately leads to inner transformation. Rather than groups, our focus is on helping individuals achieve their highest potential, or paripurnata (completeness). For this, one should definitely be willing to take responsibility for one’s growth. As there are no rigid rules, the aspirants can explore various techniques that are most conducive to their accelerating the spiritual process. As we encourage aspirants to get inspired by the vibrance of Nature, often, they are advised to undertake trekking to remote places in the nearby forests. Our motto is ‘Always be ready to adapt and adopt, as guided by the master flow.’
Our music library, with its emphasis on Nada Yoga, has a large collection of the rarest global music. The free practice videos on the science of Himalayan Kriya Yoga and Kundalini Vidya have reached over 1.8 million people across the globe, and our teachers are active in all the continents. Every year, we host the Kailasaa Music Festival, bringing world-class legendary musicians.
To give aspirants a unique experience of the Himalayas, my spiritual home, every year, we organise a journey called ‘Wings to Freedom’ to the holy mountains, giving the traveller the opportunity to explore the peaks in a yogic way and not as a tourist. The highlight of this exploration is the Kriya Yoga practice sessions in high altitudes in extreme cold and the remotest locations.
Our aim is to empower individuals to become responsible, compassionate, and awakened citizens.
Q. What is your core teaching?
The Cosmos is the greatest teacher. Unless one attunes every cell of their body to the cosmic grace, one cannot attain the state of pure bliss and celebration. This state, called ‘enlightenment,’ occurs on its own in pure silence. For this alignment to happen, one must cultivate unconditional love, gratitude, and compassion for their guru as an acquaintance, student, devotee, disciple, and aspirant. In this evolving journey of the being, one has to offer oneself in complete surrender.
The human being, a masterpiece of divine design, has to live in tune with the cosmic design. For this, one has to rise above the negative pulls and pressures, trusting the Divine. To celebrate unconditional love and the purest compassion, one needs to heighten the expressions of love, creativity, and compassion towards one and all.
Q. What is the way to end human suffering?
‘Suffering’ is the result of ignorance. If one is aware, one can understand that life is neither a blessing nor a curse. Humans are willfully journeying the Earth to express the cosmic design through their life. The mystical design or Prakriti niyama (Nature’s law), follows the principles of karma, leading one from a state of ignorance to awakening. Often, terminal diseases can burn one’s karmic baggage and liberate one from the grip of limitations. Suffering can be viewed either as an awakening process that helps one to rise above one’s limitations or as a preparatory journey towards the final awakening. Unless one kindles the call from within to break free, one would continue to stumble in self-pity. Living in conscious awareness is the simplest and most profound way to reduce the impact of suffering. Those who are aware of the cosmic drama of life, rise above the rigidity of fear, shame, guilt, taboos, conventions, rituals, and rules, and access the inexhaustible cosmic energy to get rid of suffering.
Q. Please explain Himalayan Kriya Yoga?
After several years of inner exploration, I could access the techniques of Himalayan Kriya Yoga. On the way, as byproducts, I could discover ways to dissolve pain and to get rid of diseases. It is a profound science of alignment that allows the seeker to have a blissful mind-body-spirit synchronisation. The process helps one to access particular brain portals to receive cosmic transmissions and to sustain the ecstatic ‘divine bliss’ within, eventually leading one towards a disease- and pain-free body. To achieve this, one is taken deeper into the realms of prana (life force), Spanda (primordial vibration), nada (sound), swara (musical notes) and shruti (microtones) through a set of practices. This helps one to access the cosmic grace permeating through the Rishi Mandala mantra. However, one must have the purest intent, gratitude, trust, acceptance, and calibration. The emphasis is on enjoying the yogic flow through our senses while in deep meditation. Every student can vouch for the sense of joy, bliss, and celebration they feel following a session. Being a compassionate being is a crucial link to devotion and humility.
Q. How are music and spirituality connected?
Music is the bridge that connects the soul with higher dimensions of existence. Sangeeta sadhana (the practice of music) not only enhances the brain functions but also facilitates coherence between the left and right brain hemispheres. Studies have proved that music helps the brain to function faster and solve complex problems quickly and effectively. Regular practice of music helps one to create, store, and retrieve memory quickly and efficiently. Through experiments, I have found out that, through music, the alignment of one’s breath, chakras, nadis, portals, and neuron pathways helps one in their spiritual progress. My recently released book, Music: The Divine Ecstasy, offers practical guidance to fine-tune one’s body, breath, nadis, and neuron network through music.
Q. Your message to the readers?
For liberation, divine grace is a must. However, to deserve it, one must keep one’s doorways open with an attitude to love and serve. I welcome all of you to Kevala Foundation to explore and grasp the essence of our unique spiritual teachings.
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