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Swami Kripalvanandaji

Swami Kripalvanada (1913 – 1981)

My time with Swami Kripalvanandaji

I lived at the Kripalu Yoga Retreat in Summit Station, PA for four months during the summer of 1977. I had planned for almost a year to be there during this summer. When I got there I discovered that Bapuji, as he was called by devotees, had arrived a few days before and had decided to break his 12 years of silence and emerge from seclusion. He would be teaching us every day! Bapuji’s book in two volumes: Premyatra: Pilgramage of Love contains the edited versions of these 1977 lectures. I learned from Bapuji’s speeches, but I received even more from his darshan — the immense unconditional love and energy he bestowed upon students in the room with him. See a full biography of Swami Kripalvananda.

Two of Bapuji’s prominent disciples were two brothers I studied with. Yogi Amrit Desai was the founder of the Kripalu Retreat and Kripalu Ashram where I visited for darshan for the next several years until Bapuji’s death in 1981. I also studied with his brother, Yogi Shanti Desai, who had ashrams in Glassboro, N.J. and in Ocean City, NJ. where I participated in Shanti’s weekly satsang. I was privileged to attend Bapuji’s darshans in all of these locations until he returned to India in 1981.

What did I learn from Bapuji?

I learned to receive the energy of Love and Shaktipat. I learned by his example what is “professional love” and true well-wishing for others by a guru (teacher or leader.) I had my first stirrings of personal experiences of Kundalini in automatic breathing, mudras, and postures.  I learned so many things about spiritual practice and experiences from his book Science of Meditation and from the darshan, teaching, and books of his disciples, the brothers Amrit and Shanti Desai.

While I was at Kripalu that summer I decided to take Kripalu’s then newly developed Yoga Teacher’s Training course and after returning home, I taught several courses locally to share what I had learned.

In my subsequent Kundalini awakening process that began in 1984 and continued turbulently in a whirl of cellular and lifestyle change for at least 5 years and in a more subdued way after that, I was sustained by all I had received from Bapuji and his disciples.

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