Those who forbid any talk of sex are the same people who are keeping you trapped in quicksand regarding sex.
Their entire repressive approach to sex has brought opposite results. The over-sexuality that exists in you is the result of wrong teachings. Antagonism towards sex and condemnation of sex is not needed; what is needed is an understanding of sex and the potential hidden in it.
It is because the teachings of sexuality have increased—it has also become perverted.
Sex is the way provided by nature—closing that channel creates problems. If a person is to be freed from of sexuality, it is necessary to create a new door for the sexual energy, before the door of sex is closed. But the concepts about sex that have existed so far have not enabled you to open any new door. On the contrary, the opposite has happened.
A new door has not opened and the old door is already closed—a disaster has happened. Do not be afraid. Open the new door. The new door is that of meditation; the sexual energy would then stop being wasted and would have found a new path. Never be afraid to breathe new meanings into out dated concepts, or even totally discard them.
No one has seen the need for a treatise on the art of sex, for the science of sex, for the philosophy of sex, for a scripture of sex, because of wrong notions about sex—that it is dirty, filthy and foul, like manure. After a seed takes root in it, the same foul smell becomes the fragrance of the flower. After planting the seed of meditation, Sex energy can become love and love can lead to samadhi. If it is so, then from the filth, let it grow into a pankaj (lotus) and transform its foul smell into the fragrance of the flower of love, into the fruit of samadhi.
Because you have not understood the art and science of sex, because of wrong knowledge about sex, no philosophy or science has truly developed.
The day you fully develop a scripture, a science, a complete philosophy on sex, you will create an earthquake and you will be capable of a new awareness. You neither discuss the subject with each other, nor do you give it any thought, hence, there remains no possibility for any research, any discovery, any thinking or any reflection about sex. Something that is the most precious of all is taboo. Break free from the shackles of taboo and get knowledge about sex. When you come to know all about sex, sex becomes useless. You simply go beyond it, you simply transcend sex.
It is a slap in the face—in the face of ascetics, celibates, renunciates, pirs, pundits and priests that one of the first treatises on sex, The Kama Sutra, was penned by a sage—Vatsyayana. This treatise was composed, according to the precepts of the Holy Writ, for the benefit of the world, by Vatsyayana, while leading the life of a religious student! He said, “An intelligent and knowing person attending to Dharma and Artha and also to Kama, without becoming the slave of his passions, will obtain success in everything that he may do.”
You must see that the pirs, pundits and priests are behind all this exploitation of sex.
Sex has become more alluring, more attractive and more tempting because of its condemnation by the pirs, pundits and priests. You have become more obsessed, more indulgent because of the ceaseless pressure for the suppression of sex by the pirs, pundits and priests. The more they have forbidden sex, have asked you to not even think about sex, the more mystery they have created around it. And you feel you are helpless in doing anything about it. It is because of them that you have not understood the art and science of sex.
These people have made you wrongly believe that you are victims of circumstance, instead of imparting the realization, the truth—that you are beneficiaries of possibility; and that in turn you have the potential to create more possibilities. These peoples’ untruths have been burning you for centuries, and continue to spread like wildfire, only you can extinguish these fires with the fire extinguishers of truth and Self knowledge.
“As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes, similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge reduces all Karma to ashes, O Arjuna.” ~ Bhagavad-Gita (4.37)
Pornographers are not that much responsible for spreading perverted views about sex.
The responsibility for these kinds of perversions lies more with those pirs, pundits and priests who have put barriers in the way of your understanding of sex. It is because of these peoples’ repressive concepts that perversion and pornography proliferated in retaliation. The more you press a thing down, the more it is going to recoil. But if you look deeply, you will see the real advertising agents for obscenity, are the pirs, pundits and priests, and you call them saintly and ascetic. Nietzsche said that religions have tried to kill sex by poisoning it, and although sex did not die, it has become poisoned.
The pirs, pundits and priests—on one side, and perverts and pornographers—on the other side, are at war with each other because all of them are really at war with themselves. One group goes ballistic with dubious preaching; the other group goes ballistic with dubious teaching—both of them hurling missiles of wrong knowledge at you, shattering your peace of mind.
Keep doing what you have always been doing—listening to one or both of them— and you will keep getting what you have always got—shattered, confused and no peace of mind. You are listening to the same things again and again and expecting different results.
Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing again and again, expecting different results!
You feel you are going insane and you are helpless in doing anything about it—you are not helpless. Turn to yoga.
Yoga shows you the right way—do not oppose, do not propose, just become aware, just accept and transcend. If you are always going to be guided by other people’s thoughts (the self-appointed preachers and teachers), what is the point in having your own? Stop listening to the preachers—Stop listening to the teachers—instead each one of you reach—reach in to your inner self—and rejoice.
Sex is often regarded negatively, as subversive of spiritual life. One is appalled by the violence in thought, word and deed that some sannyasins and renunciates perpetrate upon themselves (and other people) in vainly trying to overcome their sexuality. They are fighting a losing battle. Sex is the strongest force in Nature.
The Vedas have acknowledged it as maithun srishti. It would be really stupid to try to defeat it by the mortification of the body, self-torture and through renunciation. Basic bodily functions have to be understood and accepted as part of what is, and not rejected, suppressed or sublimated.
Renunciation also goes against the basic tenets of yoga—ahimsa— non- violence; both, towards and yourself —the very first of sage Patanjalis –yamas—or universal acceptances. Renunciation is nothing but violence towards yourself!
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin
Ascetics and renunciates, who are always preaching against sex, are captivated by it.
They are curious about it. They are disturbed by it. They have this holier-than-thou complex about it. They sermonize and speak volumes about something which they know nothing about and about that which is natural and universal. Ascetics and renunciates are unhappy. Patanjali tells you in PYS 2.8, Unhappiness leads to hatred (dukha anushayi dvesha). Ascetics and renunciates hate sex, without having taken a bite of the apple. A monkey cannot relish the taste of ginger (Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swaad!)!
How can one who has not partaken of a thing know its taste? These ascetics and renunciates are like barren women telling you about the joys of motherhood—absolutely ridiculous! How can one who hates—hates anything, including sex—ever become filled with happiness and love? You only have to transform this potent energy. How can you transform sex when you are treating it as an enemy to be conquered, to be vanquished? You cannot be its enemy and hope to transform it. You have be its friend to transform it.
The only barrier to transformation of sexual energy is repression.
If you repress it, then you cannot transform it. Do not repress or condemn sexual energy, create a friendship with it. Do not think of it as a sin; it is not—you are born of it. If you call sex sin, then your whole life becomes sin, then the whole existence becomes sin—and this is not a yogic approach to the world. The whole universe is permeated with sex. If sex is a sin, then the greatest sinner in this Universe is the Divine, as the Divine is the origin of all universal energies including sexual energy.
Those who subscribe to repression—the ascetics, renunciates, celibates—make a firm resolution (sankalpa) to refrain from sex. When you make a firm resolution, on anything, it means that thing is really troubling you. Why else would a firm resolution be needed? When you take a vow of celibacy, it only means your sexuality is troubling you—pushing you from inside.
If you have already befriended your sex, acquired the knowledge of sex and dropped sex, no resolution is needed. If you make a resolution to watch less TV, eat less, wake up earlier, drink less, give up drugs or stop smoking, it simply means that there is a strong desire for these things which is really eating you up from inside. You are fighting against what is your very weakness—and you become obsessed with it.
Such efforts are going to result in inner conflicts. Your inner conflict is then a natural outcome. You get fixated on the very thing from whose excess you are trying to save yourselves, because your whole being—your consciousness—becomes focused only towards it. You then become incapable of knowing anything outside of your inner conflict. Because of your inner conflict, you start hating it. You then get consumed by your hate, and sink into sorrow. You cannot find peace by avoiding anything you feel is a problem and hating life.
You have been led to wrongly believe that sex is a problem.
Very well, for a moment let us accept it is a problem. You cannot free yourself from a problem by shutting your eyes to it, like toddlers do. It is easier to cover a thing and pretend that it does not exist, than to transform it. This kind of thinking is forgivable in the case of infants and toddlers, but in adults it is unforgivable. Nothing disappears by closing your eyes. Because you feel you cannot conquer it, you shut your eyes to it, hoping that it will no longer be there when you open them again. Truth is truth, whether you shut our eyes to it or not. The truth will still be there when you open your eyes.
Instead of the truth, you have allowed yourself to be enveloped by an ocean of untruths accepted as truths. ‘The earth is the center of the universe’ was an untruth that was accepted as truth for centuries, till Galileo, in 1610, rightly held that the sun is the centre of our system. The Christian Church held his view ‘as false and contrary to the Scripture.’ The Christian Church agreed with the Bible, which stated, “that the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.” (Psalms 104:5)
On defending his views, Galileo was tried by the Inquisition, found ‘vehemently suspect of heresy’, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Another untruth accepted as truth, even today taught in schools worldwide is that the sun rises from the east. It does not rise in the east. It is the movement of the earth that makes it appear as if the sun is rising in the east. Nobody cares to remove the veils of ignorance from truths. Those who are courageous enough to do so are hounded!
Do not become buyers of the rot peddled to you by the liars and the deniers.
Stop listening to these pirs, pundits and priests who are responsible for the proliferation of untruths about sex. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Rise and be heard—become lions to these wolves! Let your roar reach the ears of these untruth spreaders and rock them!
Like all knowledge, in spite of stiff opposition from fundamentalists, the knowledge of sex has evolved and will continue to evolve. Earlier, and even today to a certain extent, you were frightened of sex because of the power of the untruths unleashed on you, the fear of disease, the scare of unwanted pregnancies and the rights of inheritance of offspring born out of wedlock.
The growth of medical sciences and evolution of modern laws have taken care of these issues to a large extent. But what is really needed is a tsunami in the way sex is viewed. This can only happen when you stop yourself from drowning in the ocean of untruths leashed upon a naive you by these thekedaars (self-appointed custodians), and come to understand sex.
The truth is that only by understanding sex in all its aspects will you be able to transcend sex. You have forced yourselves to control that energy in wrong ways—by suppression, repression and renunciation. That energy is simmering in you like steam in a boiler. It is always pushing hard from inside. It is ready to explode. It is ready to blast: If you are not careful, if you do not channelize it, if you do not sublimate it, you may be ‘tsunami-ed’ by it at any moment.
The more you renounce, without understanding, just by your will power, the more you will be in conflict with yourself. Understanding is needed; will power is not needed. Once you know this energy, it will no longer be an enemy; it will become your lifelong friend. The sublimation of this vital energy can uplift you to a realm of joyous, truthful consciousness, to satchitanand. “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~ Nietzsche
Celibates and renunciates try to justify celibacy and renunciation by invoking the fourth yama in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras—brahmacharya.
Brahmacharya has no connection with celibacy and renunciation, as is generally understood. Brahmacharya literally means ‘living in Brahman’—that is, being one with Brahmn. It means living like a God. The Indian Gods were far from celibates or renunciates. To put it very mildly, Brahma was not a celibate. Shiva, the first yogi, was certainly not a celibate and neither were Vishnu, Rama, Krishna. Neither Moses, Buddha, (possibly Christ, as some people believe he fathered a child), Mohammed nor Nanak were celibates, yet they reached the pinnacle of Self realization.
The great sage Vashistha had a hundred children, yet he was considered a brahmachari. Love is what was common to all of them. Celibacy is neither a necessary nor an essential condition for enlightenment or Self realization. Any person—married or unmarried, celibate or non-celibate—can realize the Self. In yoga, the whole emphasis is on restraint—not on total celibacy or total renunciation. Patanjali, better than anybody else, understood the nature of the human mind and psyche, and nowhere in his Sutras does he expound total celibacy and renunciation.
Today, more than two thousand seven hundred years later, you are trying to read meanings into brahmacharya, where there are none. Commentators and others are trying to put words in Patanjali’s mouth that he never postulated.
The possibility of the allurement of sex in your life lessens as love increases within you.
Love is the force and meditation is the key—together they open the door to godliness. Love plus meditation is equal to godliness. The outcome of this attainment is celibacy. Patanjali reinforces this in PYS 2.11: ‘The fluctuations of consciousness created by gross and subtle afflictions are to be silenced through meditation.’ (dhayanaheyah tadvrttayah), leading to experience of bliss (ananda ).
In sexual intercourse, two individuals unite and become one. In samadhi, an individual unites with the Whole and becomes one with it. A union between two individuals can only be momentary, but a union of an individual with the Whole is continuous and blissful. Bliss maybe experienced both through indulgence of the senses (vishayanand) and entering the Divine (brahmanand). One can be in the experience of sex (vishayanand) only for a limited period; but one can remain in the experience of meditation continuously. Yoga tells you to go from the theory of the sutra to the experience of the supra consciousness.
Yoga is not pro forced celibacy and it is not anti-sex. On the contrary, Patanjali has kept his best for the last. He has reserved his knockout punch vis-a-vis the ascetics, self denialists, renunciates and celibates, very significantly in the last chapter of his Yoga Sutras, Kaivalya Pada, and even more pertinently, it is his last and closing sutra PYS 4.34 ‘Kaivalya, liberation, comes when the yogi has fulfilled the Purusharthas and has transcended the gunas. Aims and gunas return to their source, and consciousness is established in its own purity’ (Purusartha sunyanam gunanam pratiprasavah kaivalyam svarupapratishtha va citisaktih iti). Rise from the mere self to the real Self.
The Purusharthas (the fourfold aims of life) are: Dharma (duty towards self, family, society and the world), Artha (pursuit of vocation and profession, and acquisition of wealth), Kama (sex and gratification of other sensual desires), and Moksha (emancipation or liberation from worldly pleasures).
You first aim for them, achieve the first three, accept the first three and then drop the first three, and then go beyond them and reach the final aim—Moksha. Yoga does not tell you to bypass sex. Yoga tells you to go beyond the world of Kama, the world of sex, and enter the world of Rama, the world of the Divine. Say Bye to Kama—a momentary high—and Hi to Rama—and stay high.
From awareness to acceptance, from acceptance to meditation, from meditation to observation, from observation to knowledge, from knowledge to freedom—this is the path. The sex inside each of you should become a ladder and a bridge to breach the lower levels of consciousness to achieve supra consciousness. This is the path of spirituality, the path of yoga.
Yoga is not a way to undermine life; it is a medium for delving deeply into the mysteries of existence.
Yoga is not anti-creation. Yoga is not anti-life. Yoga is not turning your back on life, it is facing life squarely. Yoga is not escaping from life. Yoga is the art of embracing life fully. Yoga is the art of total realization of life. Yoga is the art of honoring life. Yoga is the art of joyful living. Yoga is the art of celebration of life. Yoga is the art of celebration of creation.
Don’t cerebrate. Just celebrate
Get real. Honor life. Accept sex. Know sex. Go beyond sex. Transcend sex. Forgo orgasms. Go for yoga-asms.
Yoga Maestro Prasad Rangnekar put it very aptly, “Live like the Divine, not the dust. Live the life, not the lust.”
Read more: Sex & Yoga (from Kama to Rama).
Ramanjit Garewal is a Master of yoga and has been teaching classical, traditional and the art of Hatha yoga for more than 20 years. He presently teaches at The Yoga House, a destination for the health conscious in Mumbai, India. His teachers have been: Life, Nature and the Universal Self present in all of us. Thirst, hunger, longing, to know the Self, to realize the Divine, by attaining kaivalya (liberation) have pulled him to yoga.
Prepared by Soumyajeet Chattaraj/Edited by Tanya L. Markul