Romantic Love and Sexual Repression

premā dvayo rasikayor ayi dīpa eva
hṛd-veśma bhāsayati niścala eva bhāti |
dvārād ayaṁ vadanatas tu bahiṣkṛtaś cet
nirvāti śīghram athavā laghutāṁ upaiti
The Prema of the Rasika pair is a wondrous lamp
that floods the room of the heart with light
and burns bright with a steady flame.
Should the door of the mouth be opened
and the lamp brought out into the wind,
it quickly is extinguished, or its effulgence reduced.
Prema-sampuṭikā 68

Secrecy is the essence of romantic love. Secrecy means being able to control your sexual desire. The problem is that no one today is trained in this. I was reading in Gopinath Kaviraj's explanation of "Tantric" society, by which he was giving a Tantrik explanation to the Vedic or Varnashram social system, he says that the first stage of life, brahmacharya, is all about controlliing the bindu. The essence of education is to control the bindu.

It was being able to control the bindu that made you eligible for householder life. It was controlling the bindu that made it possible to have a happy householder life.

maraṇaṁ bindu-pātena jīvanaṁ bindu-dhāraṇāt |
tasmād atiprayatnena kuruta bindu-dhāraṇam ||

I would also think that the vanaprastha stage was meant for the couple to engage in sadhana together until as such time as fate separated them through sannyas or death. But really in fact for a proper vanaprastha couple, is that there is no need for external sannyas, internal sannyas will be natural and spontaneous. Sannyas is really for those who are separated, or for those who are ineligible for Yugal Bhajan.

The problem is in the way we deal with sexuality in the West nowadays, and India and other Asian cultures are following down the road to uncontrolled sexuality. To begin with, everything has been sexualized, thanks to Freud. C.S. Lewis was dismissive in The Four Loves of the idea that male friendships must of necessity be homoerotic in nature. He admitted there was a possibility of male/female friendships, but said they were rare because they nearly always become sexualized. In the most rare cases, the common interests of friendship sustained their erotic love. But nowadays things have become rather unpredictable and it seems that everything has been sexualized, by which I mean that the possibility for erotic activity is present, whether acted upon or not.

I don't doubt there are sexual elements in all relationships of whatever kind, but restrictions are placed on them, what Freud related to the incest taboo, but looking at these things from a purely material point of view, he thought it was part of the neurotic complex that screws people for life. Well, certainly he had no cure, or at least his cure is worse than the disease.

The point of treating women as your mother or your sister is that you don't have sex with them. You love them as those who need protection and so on, and you enjoy friendships with them that are uncommon. In short, it is the appropriate way for men and women to concentrate the sexual energy in one person of the opposite sex.

Of course, I don't doubt for an instant that human beings are beasts and have uncontrolled lusts that approve of bestiality and other abominations of the sex drive. And that such things have gone on since time immemorial even in so-called Vedic society and they go on to this day, perhaps to an extent of sexual obsession that previous cultures could scarcely imagine. We will see how the human species evolves if we continue along this path, which might be unstoppable. What the long term and knock on effects of this disease of the mind are rather hard to fathom.

But never fear, there are people who have been working on this problem of sexuality seriously and have thought carefully about the spiritual function of the sexual drive and the spiritual potential inherent in brahmacharya. Freud was wrong about repression, in the sense that he thought it was impossible past a certain point. When the steam is boiling in the cooker, it is time to let it whistle. He thought the free pursuit of sexual activity would release one from the negative effects of repression.

People have the mistaken idea that married life is only for getting release from too much repression. Better to marry than to burn, as Paul said. But in the Vedic sense I mentioned above in relation to Gopinath Kaviraj, to control the sexual desire or drive is the essence of education.

And marriage means to cultivate spiritual unity with a woman in the spirit of the raising the bindu together, as a unified force. That is what it means to not be attached to pleasure or to pain.

So this is the path that has been rejected by almost everyone in modern society. The concept of pure, sacred love between the sexes, which is the real truth about romance, or the romantic tradition, the chivalrous tradition, has been lost in everything but the most superficial dimensions of magic thinking.

To see the divine in the woman, to see the divine in the man. That is love.

And the way to do that is to first be a worshiper of God as Love. To worship at the Altar of Divine Romance. To become a servant of the Divine Couple, the God and Goddess of Eternal Unity, of Shakti Shaktimator abhedatvam.

*Paritosh Das, Bharatiya Samskritite Acharya Gopinath Kabirajer Abadhan, 1998, pp. 14-15.


Anonymous said…

It is most interesting that you have quoted the great luminary Mahāmahopādhyāya Dr. Gopināth Kavirāj; especially in light of his text 'Aspects of Indian Thought' (see page 115 onwards):

Although the theories of the ‘revolutionary thinker’ Sigmund Freud are an acquired taste best left to revolutionary minds…

Readers may also wish to see pages 15-16 of “Yoga in Practice”

So who is actually controlling when you write this: "to control the sexual desire or drive is the essence of education" ? A person can be in control of their sex drive and make a fully conscientious, willing decision to act out what might be considered to be an abominable sexual act. A person is in control when they decide for themselves with whom they have sex, and not when they allow an outside party to impose ideas of what is the right way to have sex.

If you consider something right, fine, follow it - but why try to control other people's sex lives? This urge to control other people's sex lives is borne of repressed sex drive. The one's who negate and repress sex are the ones who have the most repressed urge and desire (to their own shame) to obtain the forbidden object of attraction.

And besides, let's say control is lost, so what? Is Radha Krishna always in control of their passions? Have they done some things and later regretted them? Of course. No, we're not Radha Krishna, but we are like them. If Radha and Krishna have passionate sex, then how does that become a prohibition on sex?

The only difference between us and animals is the body, and the body is the non-essential portion of who are, so why cast a stigma on animals on the basis of some non-essential part? It's called speciesism, which and akin to nationalism and rasicm. Radha and Krishna don't have to answer heteronormative cries or outrage, so why should anyone else? For all we know, Krishna could be having sexual relations with the cowheard boys.

Also, couldn't help but catch: "The concept of pure, sacred love between the sexes." So is the only pure love between a man and a woman, or a boy and girl? And are we talking about sex or gender? What is the sastric basis for pure love existing only between opposite sexes? I thought bhakti has no material limitations. This kind of thinking can be found in just about any church, synagogue, or masque. It's quite conventional. Is that what Gaudia Vaishnavism has to offer? I don't think so. For start, it's clear that Lord Chaitanya was a textbook queer.
catarina braga said…
I would say that it is less naive than it seems. The celibate vertical column is at the opposite end of its concept. In fact History records the aberrations committed by people who want to manipulate sexual energy, not to reach sacred love, which is pure light. They want only power, power, and power.What? To enslave, manipulate followers and belch their "austerity" in our face. Recently I heard a swami in the Vyasasana threatening people with curses, daring to compare themselves with the worthy munis of the past. , A Mother Teresa diverting funds to the Vatican, in the name of God and the 'austere' conduct. I believe that your blog is one of the few places where the truth can and must be told. I have the honor to know you in Krishna Balarama And the Jiva Institute, the last Kartika.
I ask your blessings to return to the dhama.
Thank you.
Jagadananda Das said…
Thank you Catarina. Jai Sri Radhe.
Jagadananda Das said…
Dear Alex, Nice to see you here and to watch your mind stirring in the pot.

There are a couple of issues here. I was going to deal with homosexuality in a soon-to-come post, if I can manage it. Let me just say, as I have before, that homosexuality is not my department. I have told gay devotees that they have to figure it out themselves, because I do not know their minds properly. There are blind spots involved, and so I would rather they explained themselves to me rather than me explaining them to myself. If they can benefit from any general directions I provide, let them feel free. I accept my social-self-imposed taboos for my own behavior to which I adhere and feel no compunction to change.

So I hope that puts to rest your problem with imposing my behavioral code on others.

The point is that what I am presenting is a bhakti yogic path based on the theological principles, myth and symbolic language of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. A path by definition requires discipline.

Most modern people do not agree with the principle of following. They have been taught by faux rebels like George Carlin who partake of the "question-everything" type of hubris that ultimately leads nowhere. I cannot see happiness in life lying down the path of a George Carlin. But even for him, there is no way out without following a path. A path requires following.

You don't have trouble obeying the commands of the GPS, but when it comes to the path of spiritual life of ultimate purpose, of knowing the true self, and the Self beyond the self, at that moment it is all supposed to come from within and reading stuff on the internet. Trusting your own intelligence means to find someone who can show you a path that you can follow to a destination that you want to get to.

Once you have decided where it is where you want to go, then you find out how to get there, and you follow that path, without deviation, getting where you want to go.

That requires faith and persistence and a number of other qualities that most people are lacking. Indeed, a part of mass control in the world today comes through people like George Carlin, playing their role of creating hopelessness in the worth of human life itself.

To follow the path requires a fair amount of depth in understanding what you want to be in terms of your own psychology. One cannot be a gender shape-shifter all one's life. Identity is something that one requires for sanity. Ahankara is not without a purpose. But let its purpose be that of real spiritual achievement.

Our psychologies are complex due to the very nature of the world we live in. Human beings have the hubris to think that increased complexity is the sign of forward evolution rather than the signs of imminent collapse into tamas. Sattva means simplification. It means one-pointedness. It means simplifying your own many-branched whirling dervish tree mind. It is the only way to balance rajas and tamas in your psyche.

And at the very center of that chore is ahankara. Faith and ahankara are closely connected, because faith captures the essence of your ideal self, that to which you strive. It clarifies your picture of who you are meant to be. The clearest picture is the one where the Self beyond the self is perceived.

Ahankara is bad when it is false, but when it is true -- i.e., when "You are your faith" (yo yac-chraddhaḥ sa eva saḥ) -- it mirrors the transcendent, Love.

Jai Radhe.

Jagadananda Das said…
Let me change that last sentence.

Ahankara is bad when it is false, but when it is true -- i.e., when "You are your faith" (yo yac-chraddhaḥ sa eva saḥ) mirrors the transcendent, Love -- then that is called siddhi or being situated in your own svarupa.
Jagadananda Das said…
Bloody hell. Rather lengthy answer to MN, mostly about Freud, was lost by a power connection at the time of posting. Sorry about that. It will have to await another time.
Anonymous said…

Jagadananda Das is right! One would not be wasting time writing here if he was not... As usual, we are all metaphorically chasing each others tails here, whirling around faster and faster like literary Dervishes (barring the occasional power cut - smile).

Instead of fighting over differences, we should be finding common ground to stand unshakeably firm upon (each upon our own "faith"), speaking of that commonality of faith "which works" in practice (which we all passionately read and write about here).

Yes, we have all chosen a path, and each must follow that one path until he/she becomes the living embodiment of the path (as the pathless path).

To learn from other paths is a good thing, truly, not a betrayal as some would have us believe.

There is an old Latin saying:

Si Deus pro nobis quis contra nos?

If God is with us, who would be against us?

to which the answer is of course:


I myself...

My own person has learned much here from your words Jagadananda Das, your life's path shines through your words as a beacon of truth for others to see and learn from.

One hopes you will forgive my tenacious endurance in pursuit of the word "Bhagavān", perhaps you are right about secrets, and so we shall just leave it at that; my person will speak no more of it here.
Anonymous said…

Dearest brother Alexander Shenkar,

One wishes that you listen to:

Turn up the music loud, if in truth you are of the same mind, one will understand this uplifting music, and in that truth know why one writes here.
Anonymous said…

This is not complicated, homosexuality, or any unbridled sexuality which results in the external loss of śákti is to be avoided, its a simple as that.

All religions promote celibacy (although, most are now are forced to pursue such practice behind closed doors) as "the way" to liberation.

Among many such barking sheepdogs, the unknowing Hylic is mercilessly herded by political correctness driven by such theorists as the late Sigmund Freud.
Anonymous said…

Wisely chosen words from verse 68 of the Prema-sampuṭikā.

In light of verse 68 and also yourBlog posting of verse 54 (sacred love conquering the spine of Mount Meru):

My person wishes to study the rest of the Prema-sampuṭikā, does an electronic version of this text exists online?



Enquire from quaero, from Proto_Indo-European kwoys-, *kweys-


Proto-Indo-European *ḱweys-, *ḱwey- ‎(“to hiss, whistle, whisper”‎).

Cognate with *hwis- ‎(“to hiss”‎), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱweys-, *ḱwey- ‎(“to hiss, whistle, whisper”‎). Cognate with Latin quiritō ‎(“scream, screech, shriek, squall”‎).

Anonymous said…
It is provident; in relation to page 123 of (the 'Stages in Yoga') Kavirāj’s 'Aspects of Indian Thought' my person also recently watched a YouTube video of a Coptic Anchorite ascetic named Fr. Lazarus El-Antony explaining in his own words (and religious context) the manifestation of page 123.

“The Yogin at this stage has already passed beyond the initial state of illumination but has not yet obtained full control over the senses and the elements. The visits of celestial beings – whether angels. Gods, fairies or of any other class – of which we read so much in the lives of mystics, are common occurrence during this time.”


Watch from 29 minutes 33 seconds to 31 minutes 38 seconds

As a tantric, my person also passed through this intermediate state many years ago.



Anchorite, see:

Anonymous said…

My person loves the living experience expressed by this Anchorite Monk, especially when he says:

"If he goes to the third stage, where he gets some glory; this is what we can pray for"



Glory, from Proto-Indo-European *glōs

Cognates with Old Norse glóa ‎(“to glow”‎), from Proto-Germanic *glōaną.
Anonymous said…

The true romanticist's of the Gnostic tradition (in the love of truth) would simply raise the fore-finger in gesture to the heavens.

This being an exoteric gesture symbolising a very real esoteric tantric (Tantra - to raise a protuberance) practice.

Let us just call this practice "placing the finger of intellect through the ring of truth" (symbolised by the yoni and lingum in the Indian tradition).

Well, that's e-nuff of my rambling.
"Most modern people do not agree with the principle of following" and "You don't have trouble obeying the commands of the GPS" - so which is it? You seem to be saying two different things. Modern people don't follow, but when they do follow they follow GPS.

I think the issue is not whether a modern person chooses to follow, but whom they choose to follow. People of faith see it as their duty to impose their beliefs on others, and judge others in terms of their own beliefs. But why not allow people to come to their own conclusion and follow whomever they see fit just as you've had the liberty to do so for yourself?

Obviously people see the GPS a fit leader because it gets them places. But too many people have tried to follow faith and got absolutely nowhere or even regressed. So if people choose GPS over faith, it's only do to experience of GPS making good on the promise of bringing them to destination, whereas ideas in the garb of faith have disappointed and disheartened millions, not to mention cause wars.

Also, absolutely everyone has equal access and sense of ownership of any heritage including Gaudia Vaishnavism. I don't accept the discourse where one person is framed as being in the inner circle, and another as being outside And so the person who is in the inner circle receives a certain esteem of authority and credibility, while the ones outside of the circle of mutual admiration are discounted as not even fit to participate. Let us recall Haridas Thakur as one such person who despite all the chanting was seen by the Gaudia community as unfit to enter the temple or be initiated.
Jagadananda Das said…
And many people have been disheartened, while others claim to have found the greatest joy, beyond the pleasures of material sense gratification or intellectual stimulation, or even liberation. I am sure you have heard these things, but you prefer to doubt those testimonials.

GPS is a bit easier, in the final analysis, than spiritual life.
Anonymous said…

One cannot serve two masters...

Why are you here Alexander Shenkar?
"Others claim to have found the greatest joy" sounds lacking in confidence. Anyone can claim anything, but let's see the results. We can undoubtably say a person was able to use GPS to arrive at a destination. But we can't say without a doubt that a person is realized or that they went back to godhead after death. So really, faith doesn't even begin to challenge GPS and not comparable.

There is no objective way to measure spiritual growth. All spiritual claims are subjective experiences. Each person is their own barometer for what is progress and enlightenment. The relationship between Radha Krishna and jiva isn't mediated by guru nor a religious organization. Otherwise it would not be a personal relationship, but some bureaucratic arrangement. Radha Krishna don't care for parampara, institutions, nor organizations under the banner of religion. Really, these hierarchies and classes of people are a reflection of the mundane world, and fail to capture spiritual essence which is based on personal relationships and not on rank nor some prestige.

Also, religion *is* the easier path. What's easier? Having all supposed answers handed to you and told to follow commands, or to question everything and act not by command but by one's own decision making?

"Once you have decided where it is where you want to go, then you find out how to get there, and you follow that path, without deviation, getting where you want to go." That's exactly what I do with GPS. I can show you countless people who have used GPS to arrive at set destination. Show me one person who has followed some program and became self-realized. Please do. If we're going to compare GPS to faith, then let's see the results.

I'm also a little surprised by this: "I accept my social-self-imposed taboos for my own behavior to which I adhere and feel no compunction to change." What is "social-self-imposed taboos" if not "material contamination?" And isn't it considered a social taboo for a person to sleep with another person's wife? Isn't polyamory a taboo? Why is it that Gaudiaya's are quick to jump on the evils of sense gratification, and yet the person they worship gratifies without compunction?

I accept pleasure as being intrinsically good in itself, and pleasure for pleasure's sake as the means and the end (just like chanting Hare Krishna).

What's more, there really is no difference between spiritual and material. It's often said that material is temporary while spiritual is eternal. Material is short lived. Spiritual is forever. But this is a mistake. There *is* time in the spiritual world. Without time there would not be a beginning, middle and end to lilas. There are times when Krishna is dancing, there are times when Krishna is laughing, and there are times when Krishna is crying - but he doesn't dance, laugh and cry simultaneously for all eternity. That would be a rasa basa. So pleasures of the spiritual world come and go just like in the material world. And since spiritual and material worlds have times, the pleasures found in both realms are "temporary."


Also, there is an overwhelming mood within the gaudiya community to dismiss any inquiries into seeing the results of faith. Attempts to do this are ridiculed as the inquirer not being "qualified" or "advanced" enough to understand. This is nothing but complacence, and intellectual dishonesty. The refute to such arguments is simple: do the same thing to people of faith as they do to people of no faith. Tell them they're under illusion, conditioned, and not qualified to see through faith the glory of GPS. Two can play that game.

I don't want to sound rude, and I'm not directing this at anyone, but I itch to say, "either put up or shut up." Let's see faith put up once and for all. I don't want to hear anyone's tell tales. Show, don't tell.
BTW - the way I come across might seem as "challenging." But by "challenging" what is usually meant is a person who doesn't seek truth but seeks to be right and prove other's wrong. When I ask to "show don't tell," I mean it. I'm challenging in the sense that a expert person appreciates a challenge in their area of expertise because it keeps them sharp and because there is a sense of triumph in persevering and overcoming the challenge. So I encourage anyone to overcome, and show me the money.
Prem Prakash said…
Alexander Shenkar wrote, "For start, it's clear that Lord Chaitanya was a textbook queer."
I'd like to hear more about this.
Prem Prakash said…
Jagadananda das,
In one of these comments, you mention George Carlin three times in a harsh, critical manner. I have to disagree with you. I never came away listening to him, nor after seeing him perform live twice, feeling hopeless. Just the opposite, he tickled my funny bone and helped me see the human folly in what we all do. To perceive folly, seems to me, is to begin to intuit lila.
I can appreciate that one needs be a critical thinker about one's own critical thinking, and I guess meta-thinking can become an endless loop of helplessness. Carlin, Pryor, Seinfeld, to name a few, had the ability to cut through this loop and, at least for me, precipitate the resolution of a number of difficulties in a hearty, belly laugh. Perhaps just a case of "different strokes," my friend.
Anonymous said…

Dear Alexander Shenkar,

Take a trip to the Bhasmeshwar Ghat near Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu and look for Tyagi Nath Aghori; speak to him, perhaps he may even decide to truly help you (if you are genuine).

Kind regards,


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