Sivananda: Sex and the World
Passion reigns supreme in all parts of the world. The minds of people are filled with sexual thoughts. The world is all sexy. The whole world is under a tremendous sexual intoxication. All are deluded and move in the world with perverted intellects. No thought of God. No talk of God. It is all fashion, restaurants, hotels, dinners, dances, races and cinema. Their life ends in eating, drinking and procreating. That is all.
Passion has introduced new fashions not only in London, Paris and Lahore, but even in Madras amongst the Brahmin girls of orthodox families who apply Cherry Blossom Powder and Hazeline Snow to their faces, instead of the sacred turmeric powder, and dress their hair like the French girls. This sort of vile imitation has crept into the mind of our boys and girls in India. The sacred percepts and teachings of our ancient sages and Rishis have been totally ignored. What a lamentable state! They will accept anything as true only if a Johnson or a Russel brings something by way of the theory of evolution, motion, atom, relativity or transcendentalism. Shameful indeed! Their brains are all clogged with foreign particles. They do not have the brain to absorb anything good in others. There is a miserable degeneration in the present young men and women in India. This is the age when they cannot walk even a short distance without a Rickshaw, a car, a tram, a bicycle or a carriage. What an awful artificial life! Bobbing of the hair amongst the ladies in India has become a severe epidemic and has invaded the whole of India. This is all due to the mischief of passion and greed.
Young men of the present day indiscriminately imitate the West and this results in their own ruin. Men are swayed by lust. They lose their sense of righteousness, and of time and place. They never discriminate between right and wrong. They lose all sense of shame.
Read the history of the crimes—robbery, rapes, kidnapping, assaults, murders—that come up for trial before the Sessions Courts. Lust is at the root of all this. It may be lust for money or lust for carnal pleasure. Lust ruins life, lustre, strength, vitality, memory, wealth, fame, holiness, peace, wisdom and devotion.
Man, with his boasted intellect, has to learn lessons from birds and animals. Even animals have more self-control than men. It is only the so-called man who has degraded himself much by indulgence. At the heat of sexual excitement, he repeats the same ignoble act again and again. He has not a bit of self-control. He is an absolute slave to passion. He is a puppet in the hands of passion. Like rabbits he procreates and brings forth countless children to swell up the numbers of beggars in the world. Lions, elephants, bulls and other powerful animals have better self-control than men. Lions cohabit only once in a year. After conception, the female animals will never allow the male animals to approach them till the young ones are weaned and they themselves become healthy and strong. Man only violates the laws of nature and consequently suffers from innumerable diseases. He has degenerated to a level far lower than that of animals in this respect.
As a king is no king without a treasury, subjects and an army, as a flower is no flower without fragrance, as a river is no river without water, so also, a man is no man without Brahmacharya. [Editor's Note: Like all Sanskrit terms, Brahmacharya encodes many levels of meaning. In a general sense, it implies the control of sexual desire.]
Ahara, Nidra, Bhaya, and Maithuna—food, sleep, fear, and copulation—are common to both animals and men. That which differentiates a man from an animal is Dharma [law or truth], Viveka [discrimination between real and unreal] and Vichara [self-inquiry] Sakti. Jnana [gnosis, knowledge] and Vichara [self-inquiry] can be secured only by the preservation of Veerya [seminal power]. If a man has not got these qualifications, he should really be reckoned as a veritable animal only.
If lust, which is the source of all enjoyments in this world, ceases, then all worldly bondage, which has its substratum in the mind, will cease. Even the most virulent poison is no poison when compared to lust. The former defiles one body only, whereas the latter adulterates many bodies in successive births. You are a slave of passions and desires, emotions and attractions. When are you going to rise up from this miserable state? Those persons, who, in spite of the knowledge of the non-existence of happiness, both in the past and in the present, in the baneful objects of the world, do yet entangle themselves in them with their thoughts clinging to them, deserve the appellation of an ass, if not a worse one. If you do not possess Viveka [discrimination between real and unreal], if you do not try your best for salvation, if you spend your lifetime in eating, drinking and sleeping, you are a horizontal being only, having to learn some lessons from those animals, which possess far more self-restraint.
The sexual degradation that has overtaken mankind today is due directly to the fact that people have assumed that there is a natural “sexual instinct” in human beings. It is not so. The natural instinct is the procreative one. If men and women restrict sexual indulgence to mere procreation, then that itself is observance of Brahmacharya. As this is found to be impossible in the vast majority of cases, total abstinence is enjoined on those who seek the higher values of life. As far as the Sadhaka of burning Mumukshutva [intense longing for liberation] is concerned, celibacy is a sine qua non [Latin: a required condition], as he cannot afford to waste his vital energy at all.
The gratification of every worldly desire is sinful; the flesh should be the abject slave of the spirit intent upon divine things. Man was created for a life of spiritual communion with God, but he yielded to the seduction of evil demons who availed themselves of the sensuous side of his nature to draw him away from the contemplation of the divine and lead him to the earthly life. Moral goodness, therefore, consists in renouncing all sensuous pleasures, in separating from the world through discrimination and dispassion, in living solely after the spirit, in imitating the perfection and purity of God. Sensuality is inconsistent with wisdom and holiness. The great business of life is to avoid impurity.
Spiritual Sadhana is the answer to sex attraction
Real culture is the establishment of perfect physical and mental Brahmacharya. Real culture is the realization of the identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul through direct experience. For a passionate worldly-minded man, the terms Self-realization, God, Self, Vairagya [dispassion], renunciation, death and burial ground are very revolting and terrifying, because he is attached to objects. The terms singing, dancing, talks about women and so on are very pleasing.
The attraction for objects will gradually vanish if one begins to think seriously of the unreal nature of the world. People are burnt by the fire of lust. All measures that are calculated to eradicate this dire disease should be initiated and put through. All people should be made fully conversant with the different methods that will help them to root out the dire enemy lust. If they fail in one method, they can take recourse to another. Lust is a brutal instinct in unregenerated men. One should be ashamed to repeat again and again the sensual acts when one is fully aware that the goal of life is Self-realization through the attainment of purity and the practice of constant meditation. An objector may say that these topics should not be dealt with openly, but should rather be talked about secretly. This is wrong. What is the use of hiding things? Hiding a thing is a sin.
In these days of modern culture and new civilization, in this era of scientific advancement, these lines may not be relished by some people. They may remark that some of the terms are jarring, revolting, offending and indecent and will not suit the people of refined tastes. They are entirely mistaken. These lines will produce a very deep impression in the minds of thirsting aspirants who are longing for liberation. Their minds will be entirely changed. There is no real spiritual culture amongst the people of modern society. Etiquette is mere show. Everywhere you can see much show, hypocrisy, pretended politeness, meaningless formalities and conventions. Nothing emanates from the core of the heart. People lack sincerity and integrity. The utterances of the Mahavakyas of the sages and the valuable teachings of the scriptures will not produce any impression in the minds of passionate, worldly-minded persons. They will be like seeds thrown in rocky soil. They will be like pearls thrown before swine.
If one clearly understands the serious damage that comes through an impure life and determines to attain the goal of life by leading a pure life, he must keep his mind busily engaged in divine thoughts, concentration, meditation, study and service of humanity.
Lack of spiritual Sadhana [exercises] is the main cause for all sexual attractions. Mere theoretical abstention from sensuality will not bring you good results. You must mercilessly cut off all formalities in social life and lead a pious life freed from the business of bodily existence. Leniency to internal lower tendencies will land you in the region of suffering. Excuse will be of no use in this respect. You must be sincere in your quest for the sublime life of spirituality. Half-heartedness will leave you in your old state of misery.
Wake up, friends, from this mire of illusory Samsara now. Passion has wrought great havoc in you as you are drowned in Avidya [ignorance]. How many millions of fathers, mothers, wives and sons you have had in previous births! This body is full of impurities. What a shame it is to embrace this filthy body! It is mere foolishness only. Give up Moha [attachment; infatuated love] for this body. Also, give up identification with this body by meditating upon the glory of the Suddha Atman [the Innermost]. Give up worship of the body. Worshippers of the body are Asuras and Rakshasas [demons].