Sexuality and yoga

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Mother's Agenda 1968
January 12, 1968

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PDF (9 pages)
        Mother's Agenda 1967
January 28, 1967

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PDF (3 pages)

(Sri Aurobindo:) “In the lower vital all is a working of general forces which try to seize upon the individual and use him for their satisfaction; they are not his forces at all.”[1]

(Mother:) “Only a greater, higher and truer power of love can subdue the uncontrollable impulses of love. Only love can rule over love by enlightening, transforming and exalting it. For here too, more than anywhere else, control does not consist of suppression and abolition but of transmutation — a sublime alchemy. This is because, of all the forces at work in the universe, love is the most powerful, the most irresistible. Without love the world would fall back into the chaos of inconscience.”[2]

“Indeed, as soon as terrestrial development made it possible, Nature took up this sublime force of love and put it at the service of her creative work by linking and mixing it with her movement of procreation. This association has even become so close, so intimate, that very few human beings are illumined enough in their consciousness to be able to dissociate these movements from each other and experience them separately. In this way, love has suffered every degradation; it has been debased to the level of the beast.”[3]

“Every sexual act is a step towards death. That is why from the most ancient times, in the most sacred and secret schools, this act was prohibited to every aspirant towards immortality. The sexual act is always followed by a longer or shorter period of unconsciousness that opens the door to all kinds of influences and causes a fall in consciousness.”[4]

“Continence is therefore the rule for all those who aspire for progress. But especially for those who want to prepare themselves for the supramental manifestation, this continence must be replaced by a total abstinence, achieved not by coercion and suppression but by a kind of inner alchemy, as a result of which the energies that are normally used in the act of procreation are transmuted into energies for progress and integral transformation. It is obvious that for the result to be total and truly beneficial, all sexual impulses and desires must be eliminated from the mental and vital consciousness as well as from the physical will. All radical and durable transformation proceeds from within outwards, so that the external transformation is the normal, almost inevitable result of this process.
          A decisive choice has to be made between lending the body to Nature’s ends in obedience to her demand to perpetuate the race as it is, and preparing this same body to become a step towards the creation of the new race.”[5]

(Nirodbaran:) “I have a few more questions on yesterday's topic. First, it seems that so long as love can be kept more or less psychic and mental it tends to remain high, noble and constant. But if it is brought down to the physical it tends to be vitiated and gets lost. So the physical relation seems to be predominantly responsible for the breaking of the union.

(Sri Aurobindo:) The vital can also be responsible for it without any physical element. You can't say the physical is predominantly so. Blake and others actually say that spiritual love should be sanctified by vital and physical action. They are part of divine love.

In woman, people say, a moment comes when she surrenders everything to the beloved. The physical being is a part of that surrender.

That is the attitude of submission of the female to the male. Real surrender is a different thing, more psychic in character.

In a psychic relation, when sex action takes place, is it only for procreation?

The psychic element may be extended into the physical.

But is there not a danger of the psychic element being lost?

That depends on the strength of the psychic. The psychic relation is itself very rare, but it can get overclouded.

If a person has been disappointed in love in the world and that element is not satisfied, and after turning to the Divine he finds somebody whom he loves and adores, can it be called a need or necessity of the being?

Not need or necessity. All depends on the particular case. If there is the psychic element in it, it can help. The Vaishnavas brought even sexual relations into their Yoga in order to sublimate them. The result in their case was a failure.

But in spite of the psychic element, there is a risk. The ‘thing’ may be lost.

I don't know what this ‘thing’ is as I don't know the case.

Satyendra: Nirod is speaking very guardedly!”[6]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “In itself the sexual act is not bad as the moralists believe. It is a movement of nature which has its purpose and is neither good nor bad. But, from the yogic point of view, the sexual force is the greatest force in the world and if properly used helps to recreate and regenerate the being. But, if it is indulged in in the ordinary way, it is a great obstacle for two reasons. First, the sexual act involves a great loss of vital force, it is a movement towards death, though this is compensated by creation of new life. That it is a movement towards death is proved by the exhaustion felt after it; many people feel even a disgust.
         The second reason is: the excitement accompanying the ordinary sexual act destroys the psychic possibilities of the man. He gets separated and dissociated from the higher centres of consciousness and goes downwards. People say that they take the attitude of Shakti taking Bhoga through them, but that is only a way of saying. People indulge in lower movements, yield to hostile forces and at the same time pass as yogis. Even the Vedantic attitude is often made an excuse for yielding to the hostile forces. “All this is Maya, illusion, there is no virtue, no sin, no good, no evil,” they say and give themselves up to lower vital forces.

But are the lower movements of nature themselves not hostile?

No, but they offer an opening to the hostile forces and the hostile forces use these lower movements for their own.”[7]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “Only those who have risen above the human level, those who have a certain kind of spiritual force as well as vital force, can possibly make a proper use of the sexual act for a spiritual purpose. If Sadhakas at a lower stage take to these things they are certain to fall.

If the sexual act is so full of danger, why should it all be used as a help? Why not confine oneself to a safer course?

That is a dangerous question to answer. I shall answer that question when you have risen above the human level.

When one has reached that level beyond the human consciousness, how is the loss due to the sexual act averted? What happens to the excitement and dissociation from the higher centres of consciousness?

The Higher Power can take up the things in its own way and prevent the harmful effects. Then the method and the act become absolutely different from the human.”[8]

(Medhananda:) “There is no end to the possibilities of manifestation – even physically. As long as only one part of our body knows ananda, it will not be enough. Imagine all the cells of your body could vibrate with existence, consciousness and bliss; and when bodies like that meet, what a marvellous ballet that will be!”[9]

  1. Letters on Yoga - IV, p.165, “The Lower Vital Being”
  2. On Education, p.65, “The Four Austerities and the Four Liberations”
  3. Ibid., p.66
  4. Ibid., p.53
  5. Ibid.
  6. Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p.248, 20 November 1939
  7. Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p.339, 9 September 1926
  8. Ibid.
  9. On the threshold of a new age with Medhananda, p.35

See also