Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sex Desire and Sahaja Sadhana

Yesterday we were reading in the Philosophy of Hatha Yoga class the section from the Yoga-sūtras dealing with asana, i.e. 2.46-48. There is a long discussion at 2.47. Anyway, the basics are: āsanas are to be steady and comfortable (46). They can be perfected by relaxing the effort and by meditation on the infinite (47). When one perfects the āsanas, one becomes indifferent to the dualities (48).

The discussion about "meditation on the infinite" (actually, Swamiji translates samāpatti by "coalescence" with the infinite, but that is a little harder to follow) was pretty interesting. I have to say that I got a glimpse of that in meditation today in relation to my sahaja-sādhanā and my siddha-svarupa. There was a moment when I was literally dancing in my Jaya Manjari form, my blue dress covered with silver sequins literally swirling in the sky and merging into the milky way.

Anyway, in his discussion there, Swamiji gives two interpretations of the phrasa ananta-samāpatti, one winds its way to the heart chakra, where the "infinite sky of the heart" (dahara ākāśa) is. And one is to bring this sky (ākāśa) into unison with the infinite external sky. The second interpretation on ananta led to the mūlādhāra-cakra, where the coiled kuṇḍalinī (= Ananta-śeṣa) is resting. The first meditation helps in asana by taking one outside the body, the second by making one conscious of the gravitational power (= Saṅkarṣaṇa) that gives stability to the universe and to the body.

In either case, the idea is probably that by relaxing the effort (prayatna-śaithilya), we make a preliminary move to becoming detached from the body while still in bodily awareness of the meditative posture, in the second we take that detachment further by going onto the various inward levels of meditation, which lead to the Infinite.

Now how does that apply to sahaja sādhanā?

There are several things that revealed themselves to me in the meditation this morning. The first comes from Bhagavad-Gita 2.70--

apūryamāṇam acala-pratiṣṭhaṁ
 samudram āpaḥ praviśanti yadvat
 tadvat kāmā yaṁ praviśanti sarve
 sa śāntim āpnoti na kāma-kāmī

Kāma is usually translated by desire, but let's get specific and call it sex desire. I was saying the other day that we tend to ignore the mūlādhāra-cakra, which is the seat of the libido or psychic energy. But that is the beginning point, really, of all meditation. It is not enough to ignore the streams of desire that come into the body and mind, but rather we must recognize that "we ARE that." It would be just as easy to say, paraphrasing the Gita, that we are kāma-maya, not just śraddhā-maya (See 17.2-3).

At any rate, what I am getting at is that in order to attain prema, you need to be able to not stifle the kāma (can you imagine what would happen if you tried to stop the rivers from flowing into the ocean?) but to let it flow. On the one hand, you have to let it flow with detachment, but on the other, you have to channel it, converting the rushing river into hydroelectric energy, to use an analogous analogy. Detachment or passivity is not enough; there must be a positive, active transformation.

If you try to fight the desire, it results in turmoil. If you give in to the desire, it creates another kind of turmoil. So, on one level, there is really no need of physical sex at all. The thing with most brahmacharis, however, is that they are fighting off the sex desire, trying to eliminate and obliterate it. Like the Nagas who beat their penises for an hour a day to render them entirely useless. Those who use sex for sensual purposes see the physical aspect of the act and perhaps a fraction of the psychic. But it is really the psychic aspect that has the most benefit spiritually, and that comes from engagement. Such engagement requires a partner, even if it does not require actual physical contact.

In this regard, it is a little like the benefit that comes of doing exercise mentally. It has actually been shown in clinical experiments to have beneficial effects for people in hospital, etc. Even while lying in bed, simply thinking of walking or running, the lungs and heart are strengthened. So similarly, by simply meditating on the act of lovemaking, with detachment from the physical transformations, one can experience the psychic benefits.

But of course, whether or not one actually engages in physical sex or not with one's partner, one must train the mind to go through the act in a way that incorporates its psychic aspects. That is why exercises like the one I wrote about the other day are important.

Now the psychic benefits are related to the raising of the kuṇḍalinī, which of course sounds very esoteric and dramatic. All the talk of hissing serpents and so on. But nevertheless, it is still the best model. The meru-daṇḍa, the spinal column, which stretches from the mūlādhāra to the sahasrāra, when awakened, is like a pillar of psychic light in the body. The male and female energies combine in the sex act (when performed with mindfulness and inwardness) and create a powerful synergy.

On the one hand, the kuṇḍalinī is awakened by the awakening of sexual energy, on the other, the presence of the other person makes one very conscious that there are, at first, two separate channels -- one in the man, one in the woman. But the very act of physical union unites the two. First in the woman, when the penis enters her body and physically extends from one body into the psycho-physical pillar of the other. In other words, the penis becomes like an extension into the woman's meru-daṇḍa, and fills that subtle channel with light. Then the man draws that light back into himself and the two become one. Almost instantaneously the bodies and the crowns of the head of both become filled with light. And one experiences a taste of bliss.

What is most amazing about this is that one does not even have to be in the physical presence of the other for this to take effect.

Now, just to ask, what is the relationship of this to Radha and Krishna and the usual way we have of understanding them? This is a big subject, related to symbol and reality and will have to wait for another time. The short answer is: archetype is real. And that is the cultivation of the infinite.


helitra said...

"What is most amazing about this is that one does not even have to be in the physical presence of the other for this to take effect."

Can u please clarify more . How one cannot be present for this? :O

p.s. i like ur articles .very informative like the whole blog.

Jagat said...

Thank you, Helitra, for your appreciation of the blog and also for your question. It is a good one and I will try to keep it simple.

The essential answer is that the locus of meditation is the mind, which mediates between the external world (the body) and the pure self.

I have tried to emphasize in earlier blogs the importance of the sadhaka-sadhika relationship. The fact is that everyone, male or female, is emanating a sexual vibe on both gross and subtle levels. This vibe, like a broadband connection, is both emanating and receiving information.

In fact, telepathy is a possibility between sensitive human beings everywhere. Certainly the basest emotions – anger, fear, desire -- are all sensed by us on many levels, through both gross and subtle senses, but the strongest of these is sexual desire, because it is closest to the essential desires of the human being, and is transformable to a higher plane of consciousness and experience, i.e. prema.

Therefore, we say that prema is the essence of the human being and that the rest of the primitive fountains – hunger, shelter, self-protection and reproduction – are external. Sex desire in this case should neither be confused with lust or reproduction; even though the latter may be considered higher than the former (lust in its most tamasic form), neither makes the most of sexuality's potential as a means of communication and cultivation of love.

When we talk about sahaja sadhana we are talking about a spiritual practice makes use of this potential; it recognizes however that though this culture can only genuinely take place between two embodied persons, it involves far more than just the body.

The beginning of prema comes with this telepathic contact. Recognition of this is one reason why the Sahajiyas traditionally held off from actually physical sexual contact for a good preparatory period before taking up the physical practices. In this period, one staggers the degrees of intimacy, adds the necessary culture of new meditational techniques, and develops physical detachment.

Because we have so associated sexuality with orgasm in Western culture, most so-called tantric practices in the West only emphasize its efficacy in enhancing the pleasure of orgasm rather than in overcoming it. In actual fact, meditation as a sadhaka couple without direct sexual contact trains the mind and the physical body to become detached from the orgasm.

When the orgasmic tendency is reversed and sexual desire sublimated, it brings about a stronger meditative focus. That focus is naturally directed toward the partner, who becomes like a living divinity. As the two partners’ feelings are intensified and refined, their telepathic connection also becomes intensified and sharpened like a laser.

At this stage, since the experience of the partners is taking place on a subtler and subtler levels, actual physical contact makes less and less difference.

Or, at least, let’s say that the intensity of physical union is directly experienced in relation to the intensity of the experience the sadhaka/sadhika have when not in actual physical contact.

This is why the Vaishnava texts place so much emphasis on what they call “union in separation.” It is a culture without which union alone can be empty.

Our whole problem with sexuality in general is that we experience it externally. In order to experience the full potential of our sexuality – i.e., prema – we must be wary of this externalization.

Radhe Radhe. I hope this was helpful.