Monday, April 23, 2012

Sex and Bhakti Yoga (Part II)

In the conclusion to the previous article (Part I), I summarized my objectives there, which was to show that since any activity engaged in with expertise is yoga, or sādhanā, therefore there was no reason to think that sex could not be a part of that. I will continue on the same theme, and in so doing, will counter one or two of Abhaya Mudra's points.

First of all, let me remind everyone that we have, after great good fortune, attained the human form of life, which is the plavaṁ sukalpaṁ, the most suitable boat for crossing the ocean of saṁsāra. The guru will do the steering, and the Lord will blow the winds of grace. Why would you not take this opportunity to attain the experience of prema, the summum bonum of human life?

nṛ-deham ādyaṁ sulabhaṁ sudurlabhaṁ
plavaṁ sukalpaṁ guru-karṇa-dhāram|
mayānukūlena nabhasvateritaṁ
pumān bhavābdhiṁ na taret sa ātma-hā||
This human body is the original form [for it is God's own svarupa, and the human being was made in God's image]. It seems so easily obtained, yet is in fact extremely rare. It is like a boat especially designed for crossing the ocean of material existence. If one has a spiritual master to guide him like the boat’s helmsman and is given the favorable winds of my mercy, but still fails to cross over, then he is a suicide. [11.20.17]
Sexuality is a part of the human form of life, and it is the main activity of Radha and Krishna, our sambandha tattva. The revelation of Krishna and Radha as the Deity in human form, experiencing the delights of amorous love is a statement about what it means to be human.

So, if sexuality is an integral part of the human life, does it not stand to reason that it is a very important piece of the equipment we have been given for crossing the ocean of saṁsāra? Indeed, the attempt to renounce sexuality is the backward looking act of a child, like the four Kumaras who refused to become grownups.

Does it make sense that refusing to grow up would be the means to achieving the higher levels of spirituality? Is it not the adult human who is at the peak of his faculties, physical, mental and spiritual? And does that total human being not possess sexuality as one of those faculties? Why lament the loss of childhood? Actually, it is never lost -- look how Radha and Krishna remain completely innocent in the egoless world of Love.

Everything you need for spiritual life is found within your body, and since the whole psycho-physical system gets its raw energy from the genitals, you can bet that sexuality is not only useful, it is absolutely necessary to attain a higher spirituality. Radha and Krishna are the sign that sex is sacred and that it should be engaged in sacramentally and yogically.

How is it that some people think that to become spiritual they must amputate the most powerful force, that which is at the very core of our being? We may just as well ask the philosopher if he wants a lobotomy!

Well how, then?

"But how?" You ask. "Please reveal the secret, we are curious..."

The beginnings of the answer are found in the Gita and Bhagavata, as we may have guessed...

āmayo yaś ca bhūtānām jāyate yena suvrata
tad eva hy āmayaṁ dravyaṁ na punāti cikitsitam
"O good soul, does not a thing, applied therapeutically, cure a disease which was caused by that very same thing?" (1.5.33)

Everything is an emanation from the Supreme Spirit, and by His inconceivable power He can convert spirit into matter and matter into spirit. Therefore a material thing (so-called) is at once turned into a spiritual force by the great will of the Lord. The necessary condition for such a change is to employ so-called matter in the service of the spirit. That is the way to treat our material diseases and elevate ourselves to the spiritual plane where there is no misery, no lamentation and no fear. When everything is thus employed in the service of the Lord, we can experience that there is nothing except the Supreme Brahman. The Vedic mantra that “everything is Brahman” is thus realized by us. [A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami's translation and purport]
It would have been nice if Srila Prabhupada had specified, "And sex too." But unfortunately, he did not give us the details of how sex can be treated therapeutically. Each sense is offered into the sacrificial fire differently. We offer our food and take prasadam, we gaze on the Deity form, chant the Holy Names, listen to Hari Katha, each sense has its own way of being engaged in this transformative action.

Though all these senses are being engaged in svarüpa-siddha bhakti activities, in order for sexuality to be transformed in this way, we must look to the mind. In fact, all the above activities are diminished if the mind is not engaged with them. So the first step in the Sahaja sādhanā, which is called the pravartaka stage, is about the culture of the mind.

You must imbue your mind, inundate your mind with the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Radha and Krishna are about the śṛṅgāra-rasa. Since śṛṅgāra contains all the other rasas, one must become purified by an understanding of the other rasas. This is actually character formation. To be a lover, one's first task is to become a worthy human being. Only a yogi can be a lover in the true sense of the word. And only a bhakti-yogi with his mind and senses drenched in the nectar of Radha and Krishna's nitya-vihāra can extract – and bestow – the highest benefit from the love of a sādhanā partner.

brahmārpaṇaṁ brahma havir
brahmāgnau brahmaṇā hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam
brahma-karma-samādhinā

Brahman is the offering, Brahman the oblation.
Brahman offers into the fire of Brahman.
Brahman alone will surely be attained
by one thus absorbed in Brahman action, (4.24)
So sādhanā means to connect it all with Brahman. How? First of all by seeing that every element of the sacrifice is conducted in awareness of its Brahmanhood. Here of course by Brahman we are talking about the Divine Couple Radha and Krishna. So the various elements in the act of love making are somehow identified with Radha-Krishna and their lila.

Abhaya Mudra placed great importance on the impersonal character of sex, but even love itself, as a quality, is not a person. I may identify Love as a Deity, but in fact, Love is the entire complex of rasa, including the āśraya, viṣaya, uddīpanas, anubhāvas, vyabhicārīs and sāttvikas that combine to create prema-rasa. Krishna is Rasarāja, Radha is Mahābhāva. The Brahmajyoti when experienced without the personal aspect is dry impersonalism, the Brahmajyoti when experienced as rasa, is the total experience of Prema. The total absorption in that realm of experience comes when one attains prema-samādhi.

In fact, the lila of Radha and Krishna conveys the message that men and women should be happy in love. That in love they find a vision of Them. They are present in love and love-making. It is simply a question of being conscious of Them. And if one is unfortunate enough not to recognize that, then Rupa Goswami says, “Too bad.”

prāpañcikatayā buddhyā hari-sambandhi-vastunaḥ
mumukṣubhiḥ parityāgo vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate
False renunciation (phalgu-vairāgya) is defined as rejecting something related to the Lord, in the interest of seeking liberation, out of the false understanding that it is material. (BRS 1.2.256)

You were unable to recognize the possibilities of the love-making act in devotional life and so you rejected it, how it is related to the Lord by mirroring the very first act of creation: “He was alone, He was unhappy. He made himself two and became man and woman locked in embrace.”

You did not recognize how you could connect to the Divine Couple through the association of an intimate devotee partner, sādhaka or sādhikā, and so you ended up withering in the desert of false renunciation.

anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ
nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
Appropriate renunciation (yukta-vairāgya) is defined as the correct use of the sense objects by bringing them consistently into connection with Krishna with detachment. (BRS 1.2.255)
Moreover, since madhura-rasa is the special gift of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, it would be a shame to miss the opportunity given by all those great saints and sadhus who filled the world with songs and stories of the Divine Lovers by not availing oneself of this joyful sādhanā, which truly is a festival for the spirit.

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

Never at any time did the Lord bestow the treasure of devotional love, this most elevated, effulgent taste of sacred rapture. Nevertheless, out of His mercy, He has incarnated in this age of quarrel in a golden form to distribute that treasure freely to the world. May Lord Chaitanya, the son of Sachi, dwell in the cave of your heart like a lion forever. (Vidagdha-mādhava 1.7)
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to spread the yuga dharma, nāma-saṅkīrtana. And also to give Braja prema. Aren’t they one and the same thing? You may ask. In fact, the knowledge with which you chant the names dictates your experience of the name. If your names are madhura-rasa oriented, they will have one effect; if they are aiśvarya oriented, another. If one has the good fortune to be in a madhura-rasa line and is surrounded by devotees who relish that mood, then the chanting of the Holy Name will more directly lead to prema in the mood of the gopis. Otherwise, as can be seen, many become devotees of Rama or Nrisingha or Narayana or Shiva, and fail to enter into the sweet beauty of Radha Shyam.

One of the Name’s qualities is that it is sarva-bhakti-sādhana udgama, it opens the doors to all the devotional practices. So through the Name’s grace, one gets the opportunity to engage in other sādhanās that enhance one’s experience of the chanting.

No one says you have to close your mouth and ears when you make love with your sādhanā partner. As a matter of fact, in the ecstatic intimacy of the love game, the sādhakas cannot help but chant the name of Radha Shyam. The Holy Name becomes the environment in which they love, the ocean in which they bathe.

Sādhakas cannot help but remember the pastimes of Radha and Shyam. In the midst of their own union, they get a vision of the Divine Couple, the original and eternal supreme lovers present in them both, internally and externally. As a matter of fact, in their union they become non-different from the Divine Couple, or more precisely, with Radha, just as the manjaris are one with her.

The sādhikā as Guru-tattva

There are many varieties of sādhu-saṅga, but I am here to tell you that the activity of amatory sharing with the sādhaka or sādhikā is best among them all and is indeed indispensible for those doing the sādhanā of madhura-rasa.

Why? Because it associates the act of lovemaking with the Supreme. The chanting of Radhe Shyama’s sweet names becomes indelibly linked to the highest physical and psychological pleasure known to humanity. But moreover, the union of the lovers, which takes place on all levels of their being, through all the koshas, from the touching of the love-making organs through the subtle bodies as the chakras are activated, to the subtlest spiritual levels of Divine Union in love. It is the lovers' love that is offered to and touches God.

There is no greater misunderstanding than that which says the association of woman is the gateway to hell. A sādhikā is not a woman. She is Guru, she is a manifestation of Radha, the Divine Incarnation of Love. A man who does not have guru-buddhi in the sādhikā will never progress far in this sādhanā. If there is only guru-buddhi of the woman to the man, this is called samañjasā rati and is of a lower kind. It is mixed with aiśvarya-bhāva and does not lead to Braj. In madhura-rasa, there must be mutual guruship. This is why this culture is different from tantra and indeed from many traditional Sahajiya practitioners as they have evolved in Bengal.

In Gaudiya Vaishnavism, an important part of the relation of sādhaka to sādhikā is that the male must have full empathy with the female partner. This is the whole point of mañjari-bhāva. You say you want to become a mañjari, but you are terrified of women! This is one important reason that Sahaja-sādhanā is the most personal of devotional practices. It is intimacy in love; it is union with the Other, in whom the Divine Presence is felt most powerfully.

These are all elements of the expertise required for this practice.

Orgasm and its retention

The physical aspect of the practice, as so many know, is retention of the orgasm. There are many reasons for this, including the healthy development of the chakra-body, which is vital for spiritual progress. But in this sādhanā, the function is to increase the mutual giving of pleasure. This again is personal.

The flickering and fleeting pleasure of the orgasm, no matter how enhanced by drugs, physical fitness, ambience and other props, is indeed, as Abhaya Mudra described it, akin to the mystical experience of egolessness. But it is the perfect orgasm, the holy grail of the rājasika and tāmasika bhogis, that epitomizes the mundane approach to sexuality. The acharyas were right, orgasm is only for reproduction. Otherwise, sex is an exercise of the amative function of the genitals, and if engaged in as a way of serving the Other, then the orgasm will be seen a hindrance and a disturbance, a stumbling block to the enhancing of one’s partner's pleasure.

aṅga-stambhārambham uttuṅgayantaṁ
premānandaṁ dāruko nābhyanandat
kaṁsārāter vījane yena sākṣād
akṣodīyān antarāyo vyadhāyi ||62||
Daruka felt no satisfaction when the ecstasies of prema made him unable to move, for it became a huge interruption of his service of fanning the Lord. (BRS)
The meaning of service is to give pleasure to another. If orgasm interrupts that giving of pleasure, then this means that one's service was motivated. The training in withholding orgasm is about maintaining the pleasurable mutual experience of love. This is why amatory sharing is appropriately known in the English language as "making love." Love and pleasure are intimately connected. Premature ejaculation does not make much love.

This again is why this is personal and not impersonal. When there is no orgasm, there is no despair, no guilt, no post coite omnia animal triste est. With the control of the orgasm, the act of pleasure sharing goes on for as long as one wishes or as long as it can be sustained in the face of excruciating joy.

And because the focus of intimacy and shared love between two devotees is remembrance of the Divine Couple, one sees them in absolutely clear focus. And so Prabodhananda says,

nava-lalita-vayaskau nūtna-lāvaṇya-puñjau
nava-rasa-cala-cittau nūtana-prema-vṛttau |
nava-nidhuvana-līlā-kautukenātilolau
smara nibhṛta-nikuñje rādhikā-kṛṣṇa-candrau ||
Oh my mind! Just meditate on Radha and Krishna within the hidden nikunjas. See them in the freshness of youth, the fullness of sparkling loveliness personified, their minds flickering with the desire to taste the fresh delights of Eros, every one of their acts ordained by the blossoming of their new love. They tremble with eagerness to engage in unsullied lovemaking pastimes. (Nikuñja-rahasya-stava 1)
parama-rasa-rahasyānanda-niḥsyandi-vṛndā-
vana-vipina-nikuñje divya-divyair vilāsaiḥ |
niravadhi rasamānau rādhikā-kṛṣṇa-candrau
bhaja sakalam upekṣya tāvakāḥ śāstra-yuktīḥ ||31||
Radha-Keli Chand’s most secret and divine Vrindavan nikunja keli oozes an ocean of delight. Hey bhaktas! You who relish the divine moods and flavors! Just discard other thoughts, family attachment and the Vedic strictures to perform exclusive bhajan of the Divine Couple as they relish these lovemaking pastimes! (Nikuñja-rahasya-stava 31)

Final words

Now it is necessary to remind everyone once again that we are talking about love sādhanā here. This is not a licence for lechery, though no doubt some will think it is. If one has read carefully the above, they will see that this is a sādhanā of love, of prema. It is not a sādhanā of sex. Sex simply is one of the tools, albeit a very important one, that is used. Abhaya Mudra is right: sexuality apart from Krishna is problematic. So learn how to use it.

It works best, if not uniquely, in an exclusive and committed relationship. Krishna may be the all-attractive male, but he is entirely committed to Radha and no other.

The simple prescription can be summarized as follows:
  • Become a good person and fixed in the sattva-guna. Become a lovable person, one who is capable of giving and receiving love.
  • Become Krishna conscious. Follow the process of being initiated in a disciplic line that aims at becoming fixed up in the identity of a sakhi or manjari and service to the Divine Couple in the nitya-vihāra.
  • Absorb your mind in the madhura-rasa through chanting, hearing and remembering those lilas.
  • Fall in love with a qualified devotee. Treat each other as guru and as manifestations of the Divine. Make prema-sādhanā the raison-d'etre of your relationship.
  • Learn how to restrain the orgasm. To do this, practising some aspects of yoga is helpful. Use this sādhanā to enhance your love.
  • See Radha and Krishna in the Love itself.
One final word about the personal and impersonal nature of sex, etc., as argued by Abhaya Mudra. One should not make distinctions between Krishna and the Brahmajyoti. They are not two different things. In the perception of God, perhaps the Paramatma will predominate in someone's consciousness, the Brahman in that of another. But the fact is that they are one, non-dual Truth.

Sexuality not only exists in Krishna, but in its amative function, is the very essence of the spiritual world. In fact, those who try to deny the actual sex act to Radha and Krishna are dissimulating on a terrible level of self-deception and completely misunderstanding the whole point of our sampradaya.

This article repeats many things that are said over and over again on this blog, so for the time being, I ask readers to kindly make use of the keywords or other search functions, or read the pages linked at the top of this screen. I clearly need to consolidate all the ideas contained here into a book and that is now my top priority.

Jai Shri Radhe!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I for one am interested in what you have to say. You open a window to a type of religious experience that is hidden unless one speaks the language or is initiated into a different lineage. I may not have the adhikari to understand but the little hints that I do grasp are helpful.

Vic DiCara / Vraja Kishor said...

I like you a lot, Jagat, and have for a long time. I appreciate that you have a particular realization and vision on this topic. I can tell that my personal reaction to the post was a bit distasteful. You should know that I am in no way virginal or prudent. I am closer to a wildman than a brahmacari, and I definitely do not see sex as any sort of evil or immorality. But I think you have tread out onto EXTREMELY thin ice here.

Perhaps you have a specific audience in mind to whom this would be a beneficial article. But for myself as the audience, it is has a bitter viras. It seems you have lost sight, at least in the article, of what is vishaya and what is ashraya. Another sadhaka does not become the vishaya. Sri Krsna is the vishaya and our aim is to make love with HIM.

Again, I do not think sex is bad at all, especially not with a good partner such as a loving husband or wife. But I really feel you have done something wrong here and the milk has become curdled and burnt instead of becoming kheer. In my own experience the wonderous pleasure of sexuality and the amazingly powerful attraction between genders has indeed opened my eyes to what how pleasurable madhurya-rasa must be for Krishna and the Gopis. But I would never feel comfortable thinking that such pleasure is meant for me - a fragmental soul. And certainly not that sanyassis and extreme renunciates such as the shad-goswami gana, the illustrious Prabhodananda Sarasvati, and the impeccible Sriman Mahaprabhu would EVER be able to restrain their distain over considering a mundane intercourse between two jivas to be a mirror of the intercourse between Radha and Krishna to the extent that the former is a sadhana for the later.

I hope you will rethink the conclusions you have presented here. I wish you the best wholeheartedly and of course always continue to look up to your intelligence and scholarship.

Your servant,
Vraja Kishor das

Jagat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jagat said...

Of course the devotee does become a vishaya of love. What about the guru, for instance? Your guru is both ashraya and vishaya. Your devotee friends are ashrayas and vishayas of sakhya. If you have children as a devotee, you are feeling love in vatsalya rasa.

So basically, in all those relationships, you should see the presence of Krishna. And by honoring the divine archetype of love in those relations you get closer to Krishna.

So for madhura-rasa sadhana, the same thing is true.

It is actually a very curious thing. I will tell you, Vraja, because I remember you from many years ago and I think you are a nice young man with potential.

What I am saying is right out of the Bhagavatam. 3.29.21-25 Kapila's instruction. "One who disregards my presence in all creatures as the Soul and Lord, but engages in other kinds of worship is simply engaged in making oblations into ashes."

Now you may think that this means some kind of vague "respect" for all creatures or whatever. But no! For the upasaka on the madhura path, it means that the one person that you have an intimate relationship with becomes the Deity whom you worship in madhura-bhava.

That is the way you do it. It is because the love object for a devotee cannot be anything but an ashraya of bhakti. A devotee is not different from God. Mystery. Achintya-bhedabheda.

How do you do it? Basically, through taking on the female nature. Strange but true, for without taking the female nature, you will always be entrapped in the male tendency to be the vishaya, and you will never really know love.

OK Radhe Radhe. Good luck with this and thank you for reading.

108 Holistic Healing said...

excellent work, especially the answer to Vraj-Kishor Prabhu.

Vic DiCara / Vraja Kishor said...

I thoroughly disagree.

The first instruction can never be ignored...

anyabhilashita sunyam
jnana karmady anavrtam
anukulenya KRSNAnu-
silanam bhaktir uttama.

Sri Rupa spells it out that bhakti is for KRSNA.

Guru who assumes to be the vishaya is a vishayi. Sishya who treats the guru as the vishaya is a vishayi. That's my view. My view is that my Guru is Ashraya tattva.

Certainly Krsna is in all things - but this doesn't mean that sex is sadhana for madhurya-seva. It just means that sex is not without connection to Krsna.

Sex is fine. I am into it. I am not opposed to it. It is part of dharma for the grhastha, and I am more than comfortable with that. I even will go so far as to say that it reflects madhurya rasa and therefore is not without spiritual merits. But I think it's quite wrong to say that sex has any part of sadhana.

Certainly it is not sadhuvartmanuvartmana to suggest this, since the sadhu I am mainly concerned with SRI RUPA (and I assume you too?) listed a whole bunch of 64 angas of sadhana and didn't mention holding back an orgasm to please your wife among them.

Jagat said...

I am sorry, but you do seem to be misunderstanding. Of course we are talking about Krishna bhakti here. But the sakshad hari verse indicates that the guru is also an object of devotion and that does not interfere with Krishna bhakti, but enhances it.

All the best.

Jagat said...

The goals are first to remember Radha and Krishna and then to love them. Better you should use your natural tendency to make love to your wife in a way that it enhances your devotion to Radha and Krishna, is it not?

You seem favorable to sex, but without making the connection to Radha and Krishna, it seems rather empty, doesn't it. See some of the other articles on this blog, for instance this recent one.

http://jagadanandadas.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-do-you-combine-sahaja-and-manjari.html

Radhe Shyam. Good luck.

Hector Diego said...

Vraja Kishor, you write, "SRI RUPA (and I assume you too?) listed a whole bunch of 64 angas of sadhana and didn't mention holding back an orgasm to please your wife among them."

So you don't believe in pleasing your wife? That's harsh. When you love someone, you want to please them. No?

sungazer said...

Pamho JagatJi. I dont agree with a lot of sahajiya points that you have raised, but I appreciate you making them. Regarding the no orgasm, I completely agree. But I am curious, where did you learn about this aspect of white tantra? Which Indian school of thought? Me personally, Samael Aun Woer's writings have been incredibly motivating to know why orgasm is fatal....because orgasm crystallizes the ego, the adversary/satan, which is, us. The false ego. And to give up the orgasm, is to decapitate the ego. The philosophy is like this: only animals and lower species reproduce using the orgasm. They have no conscious control over their natures. The human, in a human body, for the first time, in making Love with his partner, can, with divine assistance and prayerful mood, he can release only 1 sperm for 1 egg of the wife. This is how fecundation is intended for men. Both reject and give up the orgasm. Forever. And you see, if you are in lust, you cant fool nature. It will get you via nocturnal emission. You see, getting an erection, engaging in coitus, but never spilling the cup, can only happen in Love and Prayer. It is not that you have to be a false celibate and always being far far away from women. What kind of impotent celibacy is that? Real bramhacharya, according to his philosophy, is this act of making Love between husband and wife. This is then what results in the immaculate conception. And the wife remains a virgin, and so does the man. In the garden of eden, adam and eve ate of the fruit, meaning they had the orgasm. And only after having the orgasm, they grew ashamed and covered themselves with fig leaves. Before that they were naked before God, but were unashamed, because they were not sinning! The primal sin is the orgasm, that is what caused the fall. So we fell thru sex, and we can go back to the garden, only thru sex. Well, thru chastity in bhakti. And when you have sex for procreating, even then orgasm is not to be indulged in! Thats the point. If there is lust, then 1 orgasm or a 1000, its all pointless. The giving up of this spasm, is possible, thru the grace of Sri Guru and Sri Hari.

Игорь Мироненко said...

Whatever is written definitely has a sense. Jagadananda prabhu is highly educated person and great vaishnava, there is no doubt. I accept an idea that such kind of practice which is described by him can be beneficial and that is much-much better then masturbating in the toilet or secretly having a whore, what unfortunately could be a common thing for some of the followers of strict sexual restriction. But... There is a great-great "But: despite of citing Bhagavtam and acharyas who unanimously say that association with women is a strict way to the hell. Prabhodananda Sarasvati's Vrindavana-mahimamrita was cited by Jagadananda without paying an attention to such a verses as:

2.70
uttīrya viṣṇu-māyām
api vanitāyām avisvasan prājñaḥ
tad-bhaya-cakitaḥ satataṁ
nivasati-vṛndāvane 'ti-nirvinnaḥ

"Crossing beyond Lord Viṣṇu's illusory potency māyā, distrusting women and frightened of their company, an intelligent man will chose to live very humbly in the land of Vṛndāvana."

Beyond of such a cities of acharyas there is some simple logic which is seen in the example of banyan tree representing the material world and that logic is irrefutable. This tree turned up side down is a reflection of an original banyan tree of the spiritual world. Whatever is on the top in the spiritual world becomes on the bottom of the material world. Madhurya-rasa crown jewel of the spiritual reality becomes condemned and sinful illicit sex in reality of material world. That is true. Such a relationships become abominable in material world and causing a lot of sufferings, tensions, family conflicts, and even crimes such as a murder of child in womb or even so-called lover.
Nevertheless shanta-rasa which is lowest of spiritual mood described in Bhagavat-gita by Krishna as:
5.18
vidyā-vinaya-sampanne
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ

"The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste]."

This mood is rarely attained, praised by sages and considered to by as some kind of perfection for those who are firmly banded by strong ropes of material life. One and bigest of those ropes is namely the sex.
Sex life definitely makes ones mind attached to material world and does not give a chance brake it's bounds up. That's why all acharyas recommended to avoid sexual life or at list control it by getting married.
We should also take into account that there is no illicit sex between cowherd boys and cowherd girls in realm of Gokula. Imitating such a thing along with your "sadhika" is not a sadhana but some kind of it's deviation. Sadhana means to change your ego, to get a spiritual ego instead of material. If we are speaking about bhavolas-rati it means considering own self as a manjari and acting respectively. It means complete devotion to Radharani and keeping straight celibacy. Manjaris are even not fond of taking any erotic intercourse with Krishna, what to speak about their husbands or "sadhana-partners". That is nonsense for such a sadhakas who eager to enter Radha-Krishna lila as Radharani's intimate servent, no less than for other tipes os sadhakas.
But I completely agree withh Jagadananda that some of sahajiya ideas are acceptable and could be beneficial for unsteady devotees whose attachment for sexual life is too strong. Better to chant holy names while "lovemaking" than have a whore or masturbate in the toilet. Such a practice definitely has to lead one closer to perfection of spiritual life.
One only question arises in this regard. What is better, to reject some philosophy because it is against one's attachments or to change that philosophy in such a way to make it pleasant to one's attachments?
Sorry for my English.
All respect to all vaishnavas.

Anonymous said...

I truly appreciated your very scholarly presentation of this view point and especially the diferentiation from "Tantra"

I just have question for all here, please forgive me if i don't understand the bhakti languages regarding the various types of love and devotion but I think I get the gist. as the debate seems to be basically if one can devote their pleasure to krisna, the same as in eating/enjoying prasad, or if when it comes to sex that's not possible, then there is the added complication to whether using sex as a form of worship is personal or impersonal..

it is very interesting how both sides of the debate use both logic and scriptural references to validate their view and though I have read many of the books quoted and think i recognize most of the quotes I dont have any at hand to look at- other wise i might quote a few myself - not to back up one side or the other but just to question their meaning in context.

For me to have a better understanding of this debate some practical clarification might help. -

1. in regards to holding back the orgasm am I correct in understanding that you are referring only to the male holding it?

2. is it equally beneficial for the woman not to have an orgasm as the man?

3. And as those pro sexual practice state the man holding back is to give more pleasure to the woman by sacrificing or postponing his own, can this some how work both ways? its all very confusing. and if there is everyone not having pleasure then why bother. also regarding the female orgasm [s] as she can have three types would [if applicable ] she were holding back would it also be only the ejaculation.

perhaps it is my own misunderstanding of the word - i thought orgasm was different to ejaculation - I have found that an internal orgasm without ejaculation,, loss of sperm, is far more pleasurable and can be had multiple times. so if avoiding pleasure is part of the goal - i would fail miserably. it is also my understanding that, especialy in love making [ as opposed to just sex ] the receiving of pleasure is part of the giving. If my female partner didnt have an orgasm or in fact many i would feel I hadn't been very "expert" at all and I know my wife would feel unfulfilled if I had not received the full pleasure she was offering [as I said not referring to ejaculation].

I can see the point the lady is making in reference to the ISKON view that to think of oneself as god is impersonal. I can also understand from the other perspective that if god is truly in every thing then as long as one is in that state of realization it is truly a form of connection to the devine and it would seem to me that wether or not it was impersonal depended on the stage of realization that person was in while connecting in what ever way,, I mean even if you were worshiping a diety but in your heart saw god there because the wood is also god etc. then wouldn't you also be an impersonalist even while doing a personal puja.

the pro sex puja folk feel Krisna is an example to be emulated [ is this correct?] and yet krisna had 16,000 wives and all had children by him. so even if he didn't have actual sex with the other gopies [ i dont know if this is the actual historical position or not but someone here said so ] - [ and what was that about Tulsi Devi as mentioned ] he was not monogamous so where would that fit in.

finally - i am wondering apart from the woman who instigated this debate by criticizing sex puja, are there any other women out there that have an opinion on these subjects? while it's interesting to hear the male perspective it feels a bit imbalanced especially for the side of pro-sex Puja advocates.

thank you for your patience and concideration.