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Essays listed in chronological order starting with most recent. For archives, please see previous volumes below.
  • Writer's pictureRudy Bauer

Chakrapani Ullal: Friend and Mentor

In 1977 I traveled to Ganeshpuri, India to spend a month in the ashram of

Swami Muktananda. At that time there were about 400 people in this exotic

tropical setting. The ashram was beautiful and filled with energy and the

presence of light. My stay was especially wonderful as the small numbers

of people allowed me to be in the company of Baba Muktananda in an easy

and simple manner. One of the memories that I still clearly experience, is

the first time I saw Chakrapani Ullal. I remember seeing Chakrapani and

Baba Muktananda walking around the grounds of the ashram. This scene

was often repeated daily. I remember, in the immediacy of the moment,

seeing the closeness and the companionship of Chakrapani and Baba.

Chakrapani and Baba Muktananda were the closest and dearest of friends.

Chakrapani’s Friendship with Swami Muktananda

Many years later when I would visit Swami Muktananda’s ashram in South

Fallsburg, New York. I would occasionally spend time speaking with

Chakrapani in his small office in the ashram. Consistently it would happen

that the phone would ring and it would be Baba calling to chat with

Chakrapani. Chakrapani would speak with Baba throughout day. Baba

spoke with Chakrapani about everything and anything. Chakrapani often

spoke with Baba about astrological configurations of the day and the

astrological implications for the unfolding future. Baba would also ask

Chakrapani’s advice about people and the dramas of the ashram.

Chakrapani’s friendship with Baba was ongoing and continuous until

Baba’s death in 1982.There was never a break in the continuity of this

companionship and friendship. There always existed the inner heart

connection between Chakrapani and Swami Muktananda. This inner heart

connection remained beyond Baba’s death. This relationship was unto

itself. To experience their friendship and companionship was deeply

inspiring. The moment Baba died in 1982 Chakrapani left the Ashram in

Ganeshpuri and never returned.

Even before meeting Baba, Chakrapani was consistent visitor to

Ganeshpuri. He was a devotee of his beloved Bhagavan Nityananda , the

great Siddha master of the heart essence tradition. Bhagavan Nityananda

was also Swami Muktananda’s Guru. One day, Swami Nityananda told

Chakrapani to go visit and study with Baba Muktananda who also lived

near Ganeshpuri. Upon meeting, Baba and Chakrapani become the closest

of friends.

Chakrapani loved Nityananda. He loved Nityananda as his Guru. He

embraced the path that Nityananda articulated, as well as Baba’s

teachings. Nityananda’s presence was always experientially near for

Chakrapani and one time he told me how he always felt the guru’s

enduring support and light in every circumstance and in every situation.

Chakrapani was a most private person and was especially private about his

personal experience of spirituality. He had great devotion to a Divine

Goddess within the Vedic tradition. He often kept her name as a precious

secret. He was free of institutionalized religion whatever the tradition. His

spirituality embraced all phenomena as the manifestation of divinity. His

understanding of spirituality and spiritual phenomena was deeply

philosophical and existential. He had a mastery of understanding both of

the Vedic tradition as well as the esoteric tantric Kashmir Shavism


Mastery of Astrology

Chakrapani’s father was an astrologer and Chakrapani’s first astrological

teacher. Chakrapani was a brilliant student and he was gifted from the very

beginning of his life with the precious gift of Jyotish Mati. This gift of Jyotish

Mati is the direct experience of the trans-lucidity of awareness. His gift of

Jyotish Mati illuminated his perception and his understanding of the nature

of the astrological configurations within a person, and within their being and

their mind and their body and their circumstances. Jyotish Mati is the gift of

knowing directly as light. Chakrapani at times described some his

experiences being a student of his father and his becoming an astrologer

at very a young age. His vast knowledge of the cosmological realms

unfolded for him naturally throughout his life time. His lifelong practice of

astrological consultation for so many people was for him a deeply spiritual

and vitalizing service.

The Gift of Jyotish Mati

His understanding of astrology unfolded naturally in the light of his personal

gift of perception that is known as Jyotish Mati . His gift of luminous

perception was supported by his devoted love for the Vedas. He was also a

student of law and became a lawyer. He very much liked his experience as

lawyer and yet astrology pursued him always and everywhere. In the

unfolding of his relationship with Swami Muktananada, Chakrapani became

in time, the astrologer for people throughout the world. In both India and in

America his mastery was recognized. He was approached by people of

both western and eastern culture.

Charkapani had complete confidence in his gift of Jyotish Mati. He had an

immediate understanding of the astrological configurations within and

through a person. Many yogis, gurus and spiritual masters from different

traditions and lineages would visit him for consultation. Many masters

asked him to come with them and support their mission. He saw Buddhists,

Hindus, Sufis, Christians, Orthodox Greeks, Roman Catholics, Jews, and

shamans to name a few. He also was in correspondence with astrologers

throughout the world. I remember him describing to me his correspondence

with B.V. Raman and B.V. Raman’s daughter.

Coming to LA

Chakrapani loved Bombay and his life in Bombay both as an attorney and

as an astrologer. Relentlessly more and more people came to see him to

gain an understanding of their unfolding karma. Over time Swami

Muktananda would also consistently ask Chakrapani to come to the United

States with him. In time, Chakrapani eventually said yes. At that moment,

time and space opened up for Chakrapani, he now experienced the

opportunity to bring the art and science of Vedic Astrology to the United

States of America. Many people studied with him, and Chakrapani became

for many, a living source of the ancient wisdom of the Vedic Astrology.

Visiting Chakrapani home in LA

To walk into Chakrapani’s home was to step into a place of depth and

breathe. His home always had a field of soft energy and light. Within his

home he meet people personally, and also spoke by phone to people from

all over the world. His life experience was an amazing unfolding of all sorts

of people coming for assistance. Poor students, sick people , brilliant

people, international people, movie stars , philosophers, astrologers,

religious leaders, gurus, hedge fund owners, wealthy business men,

politicians. He saw everyone, every shape and every kind of human being.

Although a completely private person he lived within a sea of humanness.

Some times when we would speak with each other either in LA or

Washington, DC we would talk about astrology, psychology and

psychotherapy. As a psychologist I knew numerous psychologists who

were Chakrapani’s clients. Many psychologists would also consult with

Chakrapani about their clients. I would also have his support with some of

the people I was seeing in psychotherapy. Chakrapani’s immediate in

depth understanding of a person, and his depth of penetration into the

psyche of person was stunning and revealing. He would see into the

unseen and unspoken aspects of the person’s existence. Through the chart

he would experience the person and the being of person. The chart was a

symbolic doorway into his own subtle direct experiential perception of the

person. In these conversations his gift of Jyotish Mati would be present.

This is the gift of jnana or gnosis.

His Multidimensional view of Humanness

Chakrapani was a multidimensional person. His understanding and

experience of the world was multidimensional. His immediate view within

his multidimensional view of this world was the appearance and

manifestation of our ordinary life world view. He then would move beyond

and through his ordinary life world view, into his perception of the

archetypal cosmological luminous energy fields expressed through the

language of the cosmological planets and stars. His gift of subtle luminous

perception would go beyond his experience of the archetypal dimension

into his subtle knowing of the pure potential of the divine manifestation of

everything and anything. He would at times, simultaneously experience all

three spheres of experience. His life was grounded in his translucent

experience of the world as awareness, and in his experience of world as

cosmological fields of energies articulated in the cosmological language of

astrology and within his own experience the non-duality of pure potentiality.

He would at times share his experiences and understanding that his

experience was completely natural and within everyone.

Chakrapani was not simply an excellent technical intellectual astrologer, but

a philosopher of experiential knowingness, and philosopher of the given-

ness of the grace of revelation. For him the guru was this innate process of

self-revelation in every person. Chakrapani was not captivated by

patriarchal-ness, or the theocratic union of royalty and spirituality. For

Chakrapani the patriarchal-ness and theocratic institutionalization of

spirituality, more often than not conceals and hides the actuality of the light.

I had the good fortune of learning so much from him and his perception of

human experience. Through our friendship and within our ordinary

conversations in time I could in time directly glimpse his multidimensional

view and experience of this world. He deeply understood that all the

forms of human being were the manifestation of divinity as divinity. His

illuminated wisdom infused his astrological understanding and his

experience of the many people who came to see him. He lived within the

realm of the immanence of the light both in himself and within the

phenomena of circumstance.

His Astrological Consultations

His consultations had a remarkable effect on people. He not only

transmitted information, but also he transmitted experience. What he was

describing in the consultation, a person would experience very directly and

immediately, at a pre-reflective and affective level of experience. His

consultations were deeply experiential and at times brought a person

beyond their conceptual mind.

Chakrapani had a penetrating capacity to de- construct a person’s fixated

view of their world and their fixated view of their own self. To experience

this deconstruction of a fixated view of the world and habituated fixated

view of self, was not always an easy moment for many people. This

deconstruction of the person’s habituated fixated view would then open the

person to the door of perception to experience the open spaciousness of

the natural awareness. This deconstruction of a view would open the inner

sense of potentiality. In that moment the capacity for change and

transformation became powerfully available.

Chakrapani would perceive the person and make direct statements that

penetrated to the person’s mind and beyond their mind into awareness

itself. In his penetrating gaze and direct interpretive experience, a person’s

experiential understanding would go beyond their mental experience. It

would seem as if he was giving information but within his language was the

transmission of a field of awareness that illuminates the person’s

experience of themselves, their mind and their world circumstance. His

consultations created memory of not just what he said but a felt sense of

potentiality within mind and circumstance.

My personal friendship with Chakrapani was deeply informing for me and

simultaneously lots of fun, the best of fun. Through him over time and

through time I learned to experience cosmological dimension of my own

experience. My personal friendship with Chakrapani opened for me the

natural experience of the multidimensionality of life.

Chakrapani Teaching in Washington

For many years Chakrapani would come and see clients in Washington

D.C. He would also teach these wonderful one day seminars. He would

stay with us in our home in downtown DC. In his seminars he would teach

on many varied, and different topics .Whatever the topic of the seminar he

would teach from the depth and breathe of his astrological and

philosophical view point. He would teach from his wisdom. His talks were

an adventures in understanding. Most of participants were not astrologers.

They were psychologists, psychoanalysts, social workers, nurses,

philosophers, spiritual practitioners, scientists, physicians, all from many

traditions and paths of life. Most were meditators of some form or another.

The format of the seminars was purposely uncontained and not focused on

astrology alone. The seminars and the topics were doorways and openings

to the depth and breathe of Chakrapani’s understanding and knowledge.

His seminars were ultimately about self- liberation,

The topic of the seminars were varied. He gave seminar on cosmological

dimension of the goddess. He gave a seminar on the nature of the guru. He

presented a seminar about the person and life of Swami Muktananda in

light of astrological sources. He also gave a seminar about being in the

presence of the Siddha master Bhagavan Nityananda. In this seminar, he

described how to understand the person of Bhagavan Nityananda who was

a person who lived in timeless awareness and time simultaneously. Other

seminars included one on the human energy field and the planetary

configurations as archetypal energies. He spoke about Carl Jung’s

personality. He taught about various meditation states, and the relationship

of meditation states within the Vedas and within Buddhism. He spoke in

depth about the nature of Jyotish Mati. He spoke about self- liberation in

the context of the nature of the elements. He spoke about the nature of

kundalini in light of Vedic Astrology and in light of tantric Kashmir Shaivism.

He spoke about the nature of change within the context meditation and the

states of non-dual awareness. On an occasion we spent the entire day on

the astrological sources in the lives of various saints and philosophers such

as Ammachi, Yogananda, RamaKrishna, and Rajnesh.

We would all have such great time and Chakrapani would feel free to

speak about everything and anything in this open and uncontained

context. Some of other topics were Oneness and Non-duality within the

experience of Jyotish Mati. Jyotish Mati is the wonder filled life of natural

oneness and difference. He spoke about the essence of Hindu tantric

traditions and the energetic nature of luminous consciousness. He spoke

about the nature of the guru as light in Vedic Astrology, the guru as

luminosity. He spoke on the practice of tantra and tantric unfolding within

human beings as the freedom of luminous energy becoming embodied. He

spoke a lot about the changing of spiritual and religious traditions in light of

the shift between the planetary Jupiter configuration that dominated

spirituality for the past 2500 years and the Saturn configuration that is

becoming more and more present in this age.

In the seminars he would integrate his understanding personal psychology

and the intertwining connection with the archetypal planetary energies.

Chakrapani and I shared this mutual interest in the interface of western

psychology and eastern philosophy. He had particular interest in the

capacity to change and limitations in change. He focus was on the

existential strengths of a person such as courage, sincerity and authenticity

and access to innate potentiality.

He would described spiritual cultures and spiritual institutions as being

patriarchal and the asymmetrical framing which required people to become

passive like sheep. In the patriarchal theocentric framing of spiritual

awareness, rather than being the freedom of self- liberation, people would

become subservient and act like sheep. This compulsion was within all

religions, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Islamic. He would note how the

truly great masters would not be captured by institutionalization.

As I mentioned earlier, Chakrapani would describe how our time period is a

period of great change in religion from patriarchal, hierarchal, and the

theocentric union of spirituality and royalty to a democratic and experience

of equality consciousness and individuation. He would described how the

realm of spirituality had been dominated for the past 2500 years by Jupiter.

This Jupiter configuration symbolizes the union of royalty and spirituality,

asymmetrical hierarchal and authoritarian domination. The spiritual power

of Jupiter was the power of transcendence. And now this realm of

spirituality was no longer being inhabited and dominated by Jupiter but by

Saturn. Saturn is democratic, Saturn is the power of equality

consciousness, and Saturn is the power of immanence. Jupiter was the

power of religious rituals and religious priesthoods, religious omnipotence

and the great emphasis on dissociative transcendence. Now liberation, is

liberation through circumstance and the embodied immanence of the light

in every person was now becoming the path of self -liberation.

Selfliberation as self-liberation is beyond the containment of


Friendship with Chakrapani

My wife Sharon and my son Peter and I enjoyed companionship with

Chakrapani. Several times, Peter lived with Chakrapani in his home, and

became a student of Chakrapani. Chakrapani taught him the foundations of

Vedic Astrology in the classical format of the student living with the teacher.

At times my wife, Sharon and I would accompany Chakrapani on visiting

different places, teachers and healers. Sometimes we would visit different

healers to learn about them and from them. Chakrapani would always say

after we met with these different characters “Take the best and leave the


In Washington at times we would teach together. We would often have

Chakrapani’s good friend Dr. Mahapatra who was a physician and Brahmin

come to our center and do pujas to the Divine Mother in her many forms.

Some of Chakrapani’s friends and family would at times visit, and we

always had great time and great fun. Whenever he was visiting in

Washington on the Sunday afternoon we would often visit the Bombay

Club, Washington’s wonderful and famous Indian restaurant.

His Kindness

Chakrapani was so kind and so generous. I would like to tell a personal

story of Chakrapani’s kindness to me. One morning I began having the

experience of dying. This sense of dying was pervasive and continuous.

Fortunately, I usually do not typically have such an experience. On that

day, I was preoccupied with my dying and leaving everyone I know and

love. Sharon and I were also presenting a seminar on that day to make

things even more intense and dramatic. In the morning after I gave my

presentation at the seminar and I still had within me the experience of the

feeling of my death becoming more and more pervasive. In the afternoon

just before we were to continue with our seminar, all of a sudden out of the

blue the phone rings and Sharon answered the phone, it was Chakrapani.

She came back to me and said Chakrapani just called from California and

said to tell you that you are not going to die. Do not worry. He said then

something to the effect it is not you that is dying. Then later that evening

after the seminar we get a phone call that Sharon’s brother had just died

that morning in Mexico in a boating accident.

Later in Chakrapani’s life Sharon, Peter and I would visit Chakrapani in Los

Angeles and we would experience Chakrapani’s love of his family. Being

with Chakrapani and Dianne and Dianne’s son Amiya was wonderful and

their family companionships was so strong and so full. There is a Shavite

expression that describes this experience. “The bliss of the world is the

bliss of Samadhi and the bliss of Samadhi is the bliss of the world.” For me

it is interesting as I write this brief essay on my experience of friendship

with Chakrapani, I began my story with Chakrapani’s friendship with Baba

Muktananda and my story ends with Chakrapani’s deep friendship,

companionship and love of Dianne and Amiya. “The Bliss of the world is

the bliss of Samadhi!” Of course as we know Bliss overcomes suffering.

A final note. Sharon and I were so fortunate to be with Chakrapani the last

week of his life. For the most part he was semi consciousness and in time

fell into unconsciousness. And yet there was this live vital awareness within

him. I would at times hold his hands and experience the luminous flow of

vital life force come into me. The energy was completely him in his vitality

of innermost awareness. His field of light and energy was complete even

though his body was terribly ill and disintegrating. The paradox was both

amazing and most beautiful. His aliveness of awareness was within his

dying body. Even as I would hold his hand this immense kindness would

come into me. This energy was not impersonal, but his personal energy,

his personal field of light as person. And of course the room was filled with

the soft energy and light.

What I have described very briefly here in this essay is my ongoing and

unfolding experience of Chakrapani Ullal who was both my friend and my


Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D. Diplomate in Clinical Psychology.

Washington Center for Consciousness Studies and Washington Center for

Phenomenological and Existential Psychotherapy Studies

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