Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sexuality and Spirituality: Dangers

Malati Devi wrote:
You consider yourself a Gaudiya Vaishnava incorporating a new practical take on the rasa. Be that as it may, I think your system (concoctions to many, maybe) will find difficulty in getting off from the ground for practical reasons.

- it’s appeal is limited – only those having sex life will find attraction to sexual sadhana. Other people will find sex (especially one that involves a program) to be cumbersome. And sexual sadhana definitely rules out children, legally and ethically.

- it will be viewed as immoral and rightly so. Not only would the extra-marital angle be viewed immoral, but also the question of paedophilia will come in. How far would the practical aspect of identification with the Radha-Krishna rasa go? How can the system , better yet the individual, self-control itself/herself to make sure the sexual sadhaka does not do it with a 12 year old, for example. Take note that Radha-Krishna are 12 & 13 in the rasa lila.

I guess, at the back of my mind while writing this , is that I hope you’ll go back to the fold. Be well.

These are only some of the objections that are given to the associating of sexual actions to spirituality. They are quite understandable and, indeed, expected. The urge to speak out on the sahajiya doctrine has been stronger for me than the reticence about the possible dangers. But I am not convinced that a blanket condemnation of all sexuality except for the act of procreation is necessarily a solution. We have seen that in the Catholic Church and in the Hare Krishna movement, to name just two, this repressive attitude has given less than perfect results.

I feel there are numerous positive elements arising from the particular attitude I am promoting. First of all, I am in favor of a valuing of the feminine, which is worth recalling on this International Day of the Woman. Though there is certainly an argument to be made that traditionally feminine values have not been exalted where there are female deities, we need not allow past mistakes to influence us. Our entire tradition points to an exaltation of feminine values: mercy, compassion, perseverence, charity, to name but a few. In short, prema. This is the very backbone of our doctrine.

Most sexual crimes are committed by men. The complexities and complexes surrounding sexuality are the source of much of the misery in the world. Am I offering a solution for this problem? Is anything a solution for all the problems of the world? All I can offer is the hope that some people will find a greater happiness in Krishna consciousness and a greater empathy for the suffering of others.

I think the main problem you refer to, and this was also discussed in the Gaudiya Repercussions thread with reference to the Sahajiya and Baul historical experience, is the sexual objectification of women (and, as you have it, children). I would like to say that anyone who takes this attitude has really missed my point entirely. Of course, I fully expect people to miss my point, which is a bit of a drag, but I suppose I will have to make it repeatedly so that they don't. When I say that the bhava is more important than physical sexuality, that is exactly what I mean. The sadhaka stage of devotional practice is about cultivating the bhava, i.e., the natural human love that exists between two sadhakas. The relationship between sadhakas should be one of mutual guruship. If it is not, then the culture of bhava will be reduced in effectiveness.

Shiva wrote recently that human relationships alone are inadequate; the element of mercy has to be there. This is why I say that for a sadhaka and a sadhika to find one another takes an act of divine mercy.

Religious life or mysticism is not about solipsism. Aropa is not about unilateral projection, at least not where sexual relationships are concerned. It is most profoundly about mutuality. I must stress this. Let me explain a little further:

The difference between the advaita-vada and the acintya-bhedabheda-vada and other Vaishnava doctrines is that for the former, unity has primacy, for the latter, distinction has primacy. In other terms, in the former, it is the One that is more important, in the latter, it is "the Other," with the Oneness playing various degrees of importance in the experience of the Other. In this world, the encounter with the Other, in spiritual terms, comes through all the five kinds of relationships. Evidently, it starts with the parents, but also is found in friends, in bosses and gurus, but most especially in the lovers that we encounter through our lives. In general, we might call all of them gurus, and these encounters are vital for our self-knowledge and our spiritual evolution. When the specific purpose of our relationships is clearly spiritual, then these relationships naturally take on a more vital character. However, the key for the devotee who is cultivating bhakti is that those relationships should be recognized as manifestations of God's presence.

This is, of course, not something that is fully under our control. This is the "mercy" element; whenever there is a conjunction of psychological preparedness with concrete contacts in the physical world that lead to spiritual evolution, this means a manifestation of Krishna's mercy. So, in seeking spiritual advancement, the appropriate relationship with the Other, i.e., the channels of Krishna's presence and mercy, is extremely important. There are insincere individuals everywhere who usurp the external forms of the religious life for ends that have nothing to do with spiritual life's principal purpose. That is unpreventable, but can be curbed by criticism and speaking the truth. For those who are sincere in trying to further the culture of love, the companionship of like-minded devotees is an absolute necessity--sva-jatiyasaye snigdhe sadhau sangah svato-vare.

Those who cut themselves off from the companionship of devotees, including the kind of male-female companionship I am talking about, are destined for a kind of solipsism, a kind of cutting off from the real experience of the Other as manifested in the encounter with other human beings. This, for me, is the real meaning of statements like na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu, and is the ultimate objective behind statements like--


ahaṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu bhūtātmāvasthitaḥ sadā
tam avajñāya māṁ martyaḥ kurute’rcā-viḍambanam
yo māṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu santam ātmānam īśvaram
hitvārcāṁ bhajate mauḍhyād bhasmany eva juhoti saḥ
I am present within all beings, dwelling always there as the soul of their being. Those mortals who disparage me there are fooling themselves with their worship of the Deity. One who abandons me, who am present in all beings as the Self and the Lord, and worships me only as the Deity in the temple, is pouring oblations of butter on ashes, etc. (3.29.21-22)
To put it another way: for the kanishtha bhakta, the Deity is an extension of his conditioned self, subservient to his ego--that ego may be evolving through the modes of nature, i.e., be better (sattva) or worse (tamas), but is nevertheless clouds the perception of the Deity. In short, it is an objectification of the Deity. When the aspiring devotee comes into contact with the Other, i.e., when there is an epiphany of the Divine Meaning through another human being, namely the Guru, one's ego finally starts to become truly secondary to the divine encounter. The encounter with the sadhaka/sadhika is a part of this movement; indeed, it is the most powerful culture of oneness in difference that one could possibly find. However, if one approaches sexuality in an ego-dominated manner, then it is "oblations on ashes."

As to the parakiya-bhava problem, this one is a little more complex, because the above-describe epiphanies do not always respect mundane life-situations. This presents a great challenge to the devotee, who is normally attached to the principles of dharma. And even when the Bhagavatam states over and over again that one must be equally indifferent to dharma as to adharma when it comes to retaining the essence of spiritual life, it is still a great quandary, not only for the individual, but for the society of devotees as well, for it risks being vilified for indifference to responsibility and religious principles. The affected devotee's subjective perception of the principles involved in such a relationship will not be that of the general public, or even other devotees, and as Mahaprabhu says, even the slightest fault of a devotee is like a spot of ink on a pristine white cloth. The challenge in such a case, which is not an unlikely event, is first of all to overcome dharma for the sake of bhakti, and second to minimize the suffering of those who will be negatively affected as far as possible. The problems are similar to those presented in any case, such as sannyasa, where renunciation of material responsibilities are proposed.

However, it should be understood that parakiya does not refer only to established married relationships. For unmarried men and women, the approach of Western societies, where the Gandharva marriage is the norm, a variety of parakiya relationship is the first that one knows, i.e. the relationship of two unmarried youths. The svakiya relationship refers primarily to one in which a couple is married on the basis of something other than a romantic attachment, or perhaps we might say in this context: where vyavaharika conditions prevail rather than paramarthika ones. Thus, any married condition, provided that a paramarthika attitude prevails, allows for a culture of spirituality. And, of course, for those who are cultivating religion in this way within the framework of householder life, having children is no problem. As a matter of fact, as a result of the practice of self-control, they can be assured that when they have children, they will be welcome, rather than being the result of a confused opportunity to have a bit of sanctioned nooky within the recondite rituals of an Iskcon garbhadhana samskara.

In all cases there is a possibility of so many difficulties arising. Sincerity is never guaranteed, even when we think that we are being sincere... that's life, I guess. And, of course, if anything can go wrong, it will. On the whole, though, it is my considered opinion that more good than evil will comes from promoting this addition to the general understanding of the bhakti path.

And, of course, for those who are indifferent to sexuality (a minority no doubt) and are not interested in this approach, we have nothing to say. Or rather, we agree that celibacy is the recommended approach and beneficial for those on the pravartaka stage. And, on the whole, we do not deny anyone's ability to make spiritual advancement, no matter how they are situated materially. Bhakti is ahaituki and apratihata.

And finally, your best wishes are greatly appreciated.

Jagadananda Das.

39 comments:

shiva said...

Jagat you wrote:

"Those who cut themselves off from the companionship of devotees, including the kind of male-female companionship I am talking about, are destined for a kind of solipsism, a kind of cutting off from the real experience of the Other as manifested in the encounter with other human beings."

I think you are being too cut and dry here. Sri Chaitanya and many of his closest followers were following the renunciative lifestyle in regards to male-female companionship. And the vedic religious tradition has always regarded the path of the lonely sage meditating in the forest as being recommended for attaining god realization, maybe not seen as possible for everyone, but seen as being a highly advanced path nonetheless. The yogi in the forest or in his bhajan kutir in a holy place is expected to be acting under the direction of the vedic teachings on attaining god realization. Solipsism may be the result if that person is not qualified for one reason or another e.g. doesn't have access to correct teachings or isn't advanced enough in realization to attain deeper levels of god realization on his own. Simply by not being in relationships with others will not destine the yogi to a "kind of solipsism". The nature of the yogic path is such that the yogi is dependent on divine revelation and that is indeed what is promised to the yogi who renounces society and relationships to undergo solitary sadhana and tapasya. Of course in the Gita Arjuna complains about the difficulty of such a path, but it is indeed taught as being a bonafide and attainable path of realization. To experience "the Other" one is not dependent on any external device such as associating with other people (with or without the erotic angle). Continuing with this line of thought you wrote:

"When the aspiring devotee comes into contact with the Other, i.e., when there is an epiphany of the Divine Meaning through another human being, namely the Guru, one's ego finally starts to become truly secondary to the divine encounter."

I don't really agree, that is if I understand what you are meaning to say here. While I agree that the ego becomes secondary to the "divine encounter" to some degree in certain circumstances, I don't think that occurs so much when encountering "the Other" and "Divine Meaning" in another human
such as when the neophyte or madhyama adhikari believes he has encountered that in a Guru. I think that what you are describing is something which occurs when the yogi is very far advanced and has had his spiritual vision opened up which causes him to see "the Other" and "Divine Meaning" everywhere. Coming not just from a Guru or sastra or mantra, but from every aspect of his environment, internally as well as externally. A bhakti yogi may get a glimpse of "the Other" from the Guru or sastra or mantra or other yogis, but the ego will not become secondary to the "Divine Meaning" until the bhakti yogi sees "the Other" within himself and learns to cease self identification with the internal world. Then the external world becomes the extended reality of the internal world i.e. "the Other" is directly seen everywhere in control of everything at all times, whether it be through the Guru, the sastra, the mantra, the other yogis, or the guy selling drinks on the street or the cat scratching at your leg or the trees rustling or the cars honking. It all becomes a canvas through which "the Other" is expressing itself to the enlightened yogi.

Anonymous said...

I would like to perform sexy-sadhana also.
But what about precautions? I want the sexy-sadhana, but I do not want children of course. Can I use condoms or must I tantricly keep the semen in my body by controlling my breath?

I have a gay friend and he is also interested in sexy-sadhana. What can I advise him ? If his boyfriend imagines himself to be a girl, can they then also perform sexy-sadhana ? They are both devotees, but are not really happy in the GALVA-sangha.

Jagat said...

Dear Anon,

I think I am too much of a prude to advise anyone who refers to this practice as "sexy-sadhana." I am sorry.

Jagat

Jagat said...

Dear Shiva,

By recommending one practice, I am not condemning all others. The trouble with saying one thing is that you can't always say everything. Perhaps, appreciating nuance can only come after long interaction.

Nevertheless, I am going to stick by my statement. Though I appreciate that everyone is on the path to the Divine and that everyone is engaged in practices that are in conformity with their nature, and that therefore no one is to be condemned for sincerely following their own particular path, it _is_ possible to make judgements and talk about hierarchies.

According to Rupa Goswami (BRS 3.5.2) discussion of madhura rasa is not appropriate (anupayogi) for those who are engaged in reclusive, celibate lifestyles (nivRtta). If we agree that madhura rasa is the highest, then certainly there is a problem here.

As to my discussion of the "Other", my feeling is that this is also a culture, but that the element of Mercy that you were talking about is very definitely involved. The way I see it, if you look at the table I posted in Ahangrahopasana, Part IV, you will see how I see the relationship of kanistha, madhyama and uttama to the "Other."

Nevertheless, I am in total agreement with you that there is no hard and fast rule here. One does not need to be in constant contact with other people or with human society in order to be deeply involved with the "Other," as we are euphemistically refering to God.

Nevertheless, I stand by my reference to the Guru and the necessity for that kind of external input to prevent solipsistic slippage.

Hope that this clarifies. Thanks once again for your input.

Jagat

Jagat said...

I really should have made it clear that I consider yogic discipline, practiced individually and not purely in a congregational fashion, to be part of the pravartaka stage and therefore a necessary prerequisite to coming to the sadhaka platform. Without some degree of elevation to the mode of goodness, I don't see much point in going into this kind of practice.

This is the main reason that there are problems, I would suppose.

shiva said...

About your last post: I would agree compeltely that for the sahajiya it would be impossible to advance to their desired goal without interaction with others, otherwise there would be no point to sahajiya doctrine of whatever type. For the other traditions though it is not an absolute necessity.

jijaji said...

Quite a show here indeed..!

Thank you for your sharing Jagat,

jijaji

Anonymous said...

Why ?

If you say A, then follows B ?
I see many people asking you many difficult questions about what seems to be a very simple thing.

You invest a lot of energy in answering these theoretical questions. But I want the practice. The real thing. I want to perform it.
So first I feel stimulated by your analysis, but then, when I want to put it into practice, you back off.

So you are not a prude if asked to put it into abstruse language. But I want to perform. I want some action. And are you now telling me that your sadhana isn't sexy ?

I am confused.

Jagat said...

Dear Anon,

What can I say? I am a very orthodox sahajiya and a bit of a prude, despite all this theory. So that is going to make me a little wary of people who seem to take this all as a bit of a lark.

In my orthodox way, I have tried to give an outline of the process, beginning with the pravartaka stage. If you have your pravartaka stripes, then you can move on.

There are plenty of people out there teaching Tantric sexuality, or sexual gymnastics and orgasmic retention, etc. You can find out about it under Taoism also. In actual fact, though, the mechanical aspects of this are not the first and foremost thing. This is about the cultivation of bhava and bhakti. If you are capable of retaining semen for the rest of your life but you don't get bhakti for Radha and Krishna, then what was the point? On the other hand, if you cultivate bhava, then seminal retention will not present the kinds of problems that those in the modes of passion and ignorance feel, and the force of the mantras and lila smarana will keep your sexual force alive for longer than it takes to chant 64 rounds!

But without having attained the samskaras earned through the pravartaka stage (diksha, etc.), it will be a sexy-sadhana without the attainment of the goals set by Rupa Goswami. This is all I am trying to say.

Excuse me if I sound less than rasika. I do it for the sake of rigor and respectability.

Your servant,

Jagadananda Das.

Malati dasi said...

There you go Jagat !. You are not alone. You have many fans out there. :-)

Lalan das said...

Dear anonymous practitioner,

I completely understand your questions. There are some practical stumblingblocks that are being overlooked...
Like what about children...? retention isn't always succesfull.
What if your a homo ?
What if you have performance problems ?
etcetera, etcetera.

I used to practice at a yoga-institute where on every Friday a select group of practitioners ,myself included, would come together and have tantric orgies. Everybody was strictly vegetarian and drugs are naturally prohibited.
It was really nice.
But when one of the participants' wives unexpectedly came in the temple-room (who was unaware of her husbands hobby) the whole atmosphere changed. Huge fight broke out. More then one involved ! Some still naked. I ran out there and never returned.

Many practical problems indeed.

Now I just play the citar......
But silently I long for a new sangha.

Jagat said...

I suppose I have to comment here. I do not see orgies as a part of bhakti sadhana.

jijaji said...

Lalan das,

It's spelled Sitar...

:-)

jijaji said...

It's funny how practically anything hinting at a sacredness associated with sexuality is looked upon as an excuse for orgies or loose sex, of course this is generally from those who see sex as a sin and evil act...

It's nasty business to get over as soon as possible if your on the procreation plan :-).

Now if your on the;
"Chop wood, Carrry Water' plan...
It's all good, in fact it becomes a joy !! And a pathway to the Divine!

Cheers!

Lalan Das said...

Sitar ?? Are you serious ?

Well I'm fed up with that instrument anyways. I am practicing for years and I still sound like a mosquito.

It's gonna be karatalas from now on.

Lalan Das said...

By the way, I am not really on the Chop wood, Carry water-plan. I think this filthy zennish slogan leads to great immorality and sexy-ness.

And we don't want that, do we ? ;-)


PS. Although I sense some light mocking in my direction, I greatly appreciate the discussion on this forum. Even though I don't understand any of it.

jijaji said...

....."By the way, I am not really on the Chop wood, Carry water-plan. I think this filthy zennish slogan leads to great immorality and sexy-ness...."

Are you into the procreation plan?
I have to be frank and tell you that I have seen many who have tried that plan fall into horrid immorality and debauched wanton activity!

Anonymous said...

Bauls, orthodox sahajiyas (like the owner of this blog), sexyvadis and the curious... we are all sahajiyas here. That's how people call us. Shouldn't we stand firm and unite instead of outsmarting eachother ?

And let Lalan have his orgies. If it's done with vegetarian people he LOVES, what's the problem ?

Lalan Das said...

Jijaji,

I don't get it. What do you mean ?

I love sexy-ness. Procreation is not my main concern though. But indeed we can also not deny the clear relationship these two, sexy-ness and procreation, have.

How does the respected owner of this blog relate these two ? He seems to avoid this topic, yet is an expert in abstruse language. Just procreation he calls orthodox, outdated and something from the past. There is a deeper meaning. I tend to agree with the fact that there is a deeper meaning.

I am a deep-diver and indeed the result is this........ 5 lovely children (maybe even more) and many bills to pay.

My search isn't over, but I hoped to get practical answers here. But everybody is backing off as soon as I go in detailed descriptions of some sexual acts of te past. Then suddenly it is all too much.

My sexual energy is leaving me since I am at age. And to be honest in my youger years this energy made me restless. I wasn't able to control it the Iskcon-way, yet the alternative ways didn't bring a solution either. It was fun, but I was left with the consequences (children, one time chlamydia, two times gonnorhoea and many tears).

Only old age and my Sitar brought me some relief.

So do I really love sexy-ness ? I am doubting myself nearing the end of my life.

jijaji said...

Lalan Das,

I'm just saying that the procreation plan produces the opposite results in most cases...it makes people obsessively sexy..

Me like you getting older...
just want a simple spiritual path now..still confused about which direction.

Also...

Jagat,
I wanted to ask about diksha..
If we want diksha and don't want IGM or Bhajananandi...where to go ?

What would you recommend?

I am happy for this Blog, although I like the format of forums better for discussions..

Jagat, why don't you start a forum..?

:-)

namaskar

Lalan Das said...

I have the feeling the eligibility Jagat is talking about in order to be able to perform the sadhana that we are discussing one actually first needs to be sexually detached and controlled (Iskcon-style) and very fixed in the conclusions of the Goswamis as explained by the orthodoxy.
My point is then..what's the point then ?

I was way too sexual to control myself as a non-hypocrtical brahmachari or a celibate grihasta. There is many like me, I guess. The result was I took shelter of a 'baulish' personality that said it was more or less okay. I doubt him too after years of being really convinced.

I was looking for a middle way,but only got extremes. Or... I was looking for a way to get rid of my sexual addiction or... I was looking for... whatever

There are many different types.
My stamina of the past was one of testosterone. If I abstained from sex, the result was restlesness or even agression. Indulging in it, well, actually resulted in the same.

But the sanctification of it isn't easy either as Jagat describes, because for that you actually need to be on the stage of a selfcontroled brahmachari first.

My conclusion (for the time being). Jagat is just as orthodox as Swami Prabhupad and that's okay. Who am I to judge ?

I have an extremely sexy past and was only able to give it up due to old age and impotence. So will I ever get eligible for any of these paths ?

Jagat said...

Thank you, Lalanji. And I am very sympathetic with your situation and am thinking about it. As I said once or twice, I am having a little difficulty seeing what the approach to this path would be for someone whose spiritual evolution has taken a different route than my own. I would assume that there would be more people like yourself than there are like me. And yet I suppose that the conditioning that came to me through my many years in orthodoxy has sensitized me to the possibilities of sullying something that I see in a very romantic light.

But you are absolutely right: One major point of this sadhana is that it engages the love-making organs, and develops control over them through that engagement, so why would it be necessary to have to go through a preliminary brahmachari stage?

I remember when I first became interested in this path, I went to see a rather renowned intellectual Sahajiya in Nabadwip. I was in my 30's at the time. He said something like, "If only you had come to me 15 years ago, what I could have done with you!" So obviously he thought that I had pretty much wasted my time doing all the things I had done until then!

Lalan Das said...

I guess the orthodoxy has a strong point too pointing out that uncontrolled sexuality has all the characteristics of a snake just run over by a bicycle. And controlled sexuality can be like a snake in a judo-grip. When you let go, the shit starts all over again.

I too met some really nice Sahajiyas. But there are a whole lot I do not trust either. Because they were like me. They just wanted sex. There sanctification of it wasn't much. It was a scam. You could feel it.

They were eager to have me as their disciple. Why ? I looked good in my younger years, a well-trained, long armed, surfer pseudo-bhakta with eyes that were clearly searching something.

I was physically strong and mentally more or less. So I shook off a few of these pushy individuals. But one risk that also cannot be overlooked here is....... abuse. A mentally stronger Sahajiya guru can manipulate a naive young sadhaka straight into a psychosis. I have seen it happening. For this particular guru it was almost a matter of prestige... Will I succeed this time ?

To be honest.. personally I am still searching. But I rather have my own children at the feet of a monastic follower of the Gaudiya Math or a Gaudiya Babaji, then surrendering them to some of these Sahajiya communities. Over my dead body, I can say.

The point is that the philosophy behind it all, like you yourself experience, is not easily explained. I wander if they themselves even get it. It feels all very personal though, because they adopt you into their family and you are not left on your own as in most other Gaudiya communities. You must though speak the local language to have a clue what is going on. I obviously didn't.

I admit I do see why Swami Prabhupad and consorts were very very suspicious about the intentions of most of these communities. Now that I have children for myself, that is.
Even though he too wasn't able to protect all the children within his own community from abuse.

The older I get the more I appreciate the simplicity of classical values. And within a marriage based on love and respect I think maybe sexy sadhana is possible.
But for me, I am too old for this. My experiences were different.

Lalan Das said...

One positive note.

I found their music, vocal and instrumental, absolutely stunning !!!!

jijaji said...

....."I remember when I first became interested in this path, I went to see a rather renowned intellectual Sahajiya in Nabadwip. I was in my 30's at the time. He said something like, "If only you had come to me 15 years ago, what I could have done with you!" So obviously he thought that I had pretty much wasted my time doing all the things I had done until then!"..........

So what about old farts like us...? Again I ask the diksha question, what are the choices for us older, grey..not so sexy people to get diksha?

Do we go wandering around Navadvipa town looking in secret alleys in search of a proper diksha Guru..?

What's the story morning glory...?

namaskar

Jagat said...

Thank you Jijaji and Lalanji for your comments. There is much food for thought, but certainly Lalan's last post makes it easy for me to clarify my thinking and to stick with my original idea.

I don't believe it is too late to engage in bhakti-sadhana. I don't believe that sexual practice is an absolute indispensible necessity for bhakti. If it were, the words ahaituki apratihata would be meaningless. Indeed, maturity can be a great help. After all, as we get closer to death, priorities become a little clearer and doubts about truth issues become less important than values or aesthetics.

As far as initiation is concerned, there is a double problem for the would-be Sahajiya sadhaka--both diksha and siksha are needed. These are rarely offered in the same place. Of the two, though, I would say diksha is more urgent, but complex questions of eligibility and so on are not as important as they may have been when you were younger.

Trust that many of the sadhakas who have passed a certain age and are still walking the walk and talking the talk are likely qualified to link you up to the sampradaya and to offer siddha pranali. I would only insist that snigdha (affection), svajatiyashaya (having the same spiritual goal) and svato-vara (more advanced than oneself) are not negociable.

I would imagine that someone like you would prefer an Indian guru, but that is not always the best thing. Indians don't always understand Western mentality and this often leads to unnecessary bad feeling.

I wouldn't make too much of a big deal out of it. Go to Radha Kund or Vrindavan, or Nabadwip, or Puri, and meet some of the prominent acharyas and see who you feel most in tune with.

Jagat said...

Just to footnote the comment about age, if one is fortunate enough to have a loving and devoted partner, it is never too late.

Anonymous said...

Lalanji das,

First you are being sexy, which is good, and then you are sympathizing with the orthodxy, while being terribly serious !?
I do not understand you.
Are you rejecting sexy-sadhana or are you in favor of it?

Jijaji,

I appreciate your question. I was also looking for a guru like a cruising homo wandering around and looking in secret alleys.
I ended up in a local brothel.."Hello, what time the initiations start ?"
I do not recommend that place by the way,... very badly decorated.

Jagat,

Could you be more precise about how to recognize a true Sahajiya guru ? How does he walk, how does he talk ? Just going to a holy place and hoping to get lucky and trying to feel in tune is easy. I will fall in the hands of the most charismatic.....

What is sahajiya-initiation ? Is it like in Iskcon ? Or do they expect you to do certain things ?

And, more personnal, why have you chosen to be reïnitiated into a sahajiya lineage ? Is it the ultimate path or can we expect another shift in the future ?

I have been studying you and the prerequisites for performing sexy-sadhana seem to be...
-man/woman relationship (homos excluded)
-one on one (orgies excluded)
-love, respect and loyalty (marriage??)
-controlling the urges

Actually the orthodoxy does not deny sexy-sadhana under these circumstances either.

Leaves me with one question....
Do the Sahajiyas use protection..? (birth-control)

Jagat said...

A lot of questions, and I am starting to have trouble keeping up.

As to birth control, I would say use your brains and do the needful.

As to homosexuality, I agree with the bishop.

As to how a sahajiya guru looks, etc., I don't know. I sympathize with those who are looking. Listen for something that rings true. Hearing is more important than seeing.

I cannot say too much about the initiation, either. In my experience, there are no orgiastic rituals, nakedness, or anything like that. If that is what you are asking.

As for the difference between sahajiyaism and orthodoxy, if you read what I am saying, you will see that I don't really fit either description. I don't see any Sahajiyas talking about manjari bhava. I don't see any orthodox talking about aropa.

As for marriage, etc., I think that it is normally a good idea. As I am trying to make clear, this is a "romantic" concept, in the sense that prema, or love, is dominant over kama. In the sadhana stage, for sure, you are engaged in a practice. If you want something else, don't ask me for it. Marathon sexual stamina with unlimited partners is the porno star's siddhi. It may be considered a yoga of some kind, I suppose, but not bhakti-yoga.

As to whether this is the "ultimate" path for me. There has only ever been one path for me. That is why I can say to Prabhupada, "I am still with the program." Whatever anyone thinks--the ultimate goal of life is prema.

Lalan das said...

Dear anonymous practitioner,

I am very much in favor of sexy-ness. Still. But my approach changed. I am not blinded by horny-ness anymore. My emphasis is on music now. Sexy-ness is for me more a kind of energy that can be expressed many ways.
The ways of my past were fun, but I wouldn't recommend them to my children, that's all. Because of the dangers involved.
Jagat says... use your brain. I say... there are two subjects where people usually don't use their brains. Religion and sexuality. The combination of these two must be dealt with with utmost care.
Now anybody underestimating the power (positive and negative) of the sexual energy is clearly out of his mind. Mixing it with religion can be desastrous. One must be able to answer all practical answers concerning the matter before launching a philosophy or method like this. If you cannot, then keep it to yourself.

Fact is that sex, love, the material world, the spiritual world, lust, shadow and reality are all somehow related.

I respect the orthodoxy for trying to keep things separated, although the orthodoxy is undeniably also faced with a few practical issues.

Sex and religion make many brains crack !

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but the birthcontrol-question is really essential. Also from the philosophical point of view it is.

It may all sound tacky (which I like), but I am serious here.

If I accept sexy-sadhana in full as part of devotional yoga (after having attained the proper level of understanding and all that) must I not also accept the unmanipulated sexual energy in full....... meaning the result........ the life-changing experience of having a kiddo running around? Isn't that part of its sacredness also ? Or is this chopped off for convenience sake.

I may sound like an idiot, but I am asking a serious question here.

You are avoiding this topic over and over ?

Why ?

Jagat said...

Well, if you have a deep philosophical question, take the time to express it along with the relevant issues.

I was also being serious. Having children should be a conscious, voluntary choice, with full awareness and acceptance of the responsiblities involved. It should never be an accident.

On the other hand, it is a demanding lifestyle choice that makes full commitment to bhajan difficult. However, if you have your act together as a devotee couple, it does not seem to me that it would necessarily be pratikula to have children.

So, if you are capable of self-control, then that is best. If you are not capable of self-control, for safety's sake you may want to take a precaution. But of course, you should be aiming at self-control.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough..

Thank you

jijaji said...

Jagat you say:

"I wouldn't make too much of a big deal out of it. Go to Radha Kund or Vrindavan, or Nabadwip, or Puri, and meet some of the prominent acharyas and see who you feel most in tune with."

Do you mean the Orthodox Gaudiyas, Sahajiyas or both? If I go to take diksha from one of the Orthodox wouldn't it be hypocritical of me to accept and then later go off in my own neo-sahajiya understanding?

Advaita warned me about not following and taking diksha some time back on GR...

Your insights are most appreciative, thank you again for the blog, it has been inspiring for me.

namaskar,

jijaji

Anonymous said...

"According to Rupa Goswami (BRS 3.5.2) discussion of madhura rasa is not appropriate (anupayogi) for those who are engaged in reclusive, celibate lifestyles (nivRtta). If we agree that madhura rasa is the highest, then certainly there is a problem here."

Jagat,

Can you PLEASE write a post on this sloka, it's commentaries and the explanations of it you may have heard over the years by different vaishanvas, as well as your personal understanding of it.

I always remembered this and sought to seek it's meaning in context to the Vaishnava societies we all find ourselves in these days, where celibacy is considered favorable for the cultivation of raganuga bhakti.

Write something please!

Jagat said...

Jiva and Vishwanath say that this means those who cannot tell the difference between this rasa and material sexuality (prAkrita-sringara rasa). Mukunda says that it means the tApasas, i.e. ascetics. I take the latter as it more accurately corresponds in meaning.

Sri said...

If it's only the latter then I wonder why marriage has not been made compulsory in all Gaudiya Vaishnava sects?

Tarun said...

"As for marriage, etc., I think that it is normally a good idea. As I am trying to make clear, this is a "romantic" concept, in the sense that prema, or love, is dominant over kama. In the sadhana stage, for sure, you are engaged in a practice. If you want something else, don't ask me for it. Marathon sexual stamina with unlimited partners is the porno star's siddhi. It may be considered a yoga of some kind, I suppose, but not bhakti-yoga."

This is the point for me anyway. How to get from kam to prem? Right now my relationship to sex is total testosterone male aggressive style, so much the classic 'unconscious of the other' style of kama. That is, in my fantasies. That they are marginal and unimportant, I cannot agree with. It is such a powerful force that it penetrates (ha ha) into my consciousness regularly, with of course my consensual encouragement, even without a loyal and devoted partner.

There is an appropriate place for sex and its thoughts, but that doesn't have to be the stool room. lol.. I've lived for decades with a schizophrenic attitude, a Jeckle and Hyde sort of approach to the subject. Dr. Jeckle seems such a mild mannered man, but he is cutting himself off from much of his natural energy, being Victorian and all. The Hyde has to come out, and it does in oh so many extreme and unbalanced ways. And now Hyde is such a criminal, a pariah, a social menace, but it is the Jeckles of the world who have created him. This so reflects the attitudes inside the devotee communities to this day. Once in a while someone doesn't live up to the standard, and does it in a public way, and a scandal ensues with the vultures eating it up.

Coupled with spiritualizing sexuality, is something even more important to me in the man-woman relationship, and that is learning to communicate on all different levels, about whatever comes up. Being in a relationship certainly presses all your buttons, and getting good counselling to get through the morass of ego issues that arise and get right into your face, ie. become conscious, could be so extremely good for ones true spiritual development. By that i mean character development. Learning good communication techniques, ways that work to create empathy, to truly acknowledge the other, is so much in the spirit of personalism. And a child shall lead them. And a woman shall teach them.

Maybe we're too old in this life for so many things. You can onlly get to what you can in any old life. We are limited not just by desire, but by circumstances that are apparently out of our control. I was in Navadvipa and also Radha Kunda, and didn't meet anyone who seemed to present any other path. That's what killed me about India, the almost complete absence of sadhus, at least ones that would be willing and able to interact. Well there is a God in control I think, and there is no shortage of lives. Heading in the direction of more love, more beauty is all we can do and that ain't too bad. You never know what is coming down the pipe anyway, and i am grateful for all the gurus i've encountered so far..

Jagat said...

Just read through this entire thread, Tarunji, as a result of your comment. Certainly an interesting one.

It seems that the guru problem comes up a lot. India does not seem to be providing all the answers any more, and yet the Indian body seems to place high on the list of qualifications.

I don't think we are ever too old, since the desire for love never stops. Somehow or another, it must be understood that bhakti is essential about feelings, and that feelings of love for another person, of any kind, can be connected to our devotional life.

I have emphasized the sexual because I believe that erotic love is the foundation from which other loves arise.

Jai Radhe!