Promise(cuity) of Illusion
Most people will probably not want to read this article. This article is not for those who are materially inclined, but for those who should realize what is necessary if they want to make serious spiritual advancement.
The greatest happiness for the soul starts with complete freedom: freedom from misery, unhappiness, suffering, freedom from the dictates of desires, and, ultimately, freedom from being trapped in a material body. Keeping us ensnared in such a condition are the desires for sensual and mental pleasures. Indeed, the hardest freedom to attain is freedom from sex desire.
Yoga is meant for attaining this kind of complete freedom. However, this means freedom from material desires of all kinds. If you are still entrapped by the idea of needing your sensual, emotional, or mental desires fulfilled, then you are far from being free mentally, intellectually, and certainly spiritually. In other words, if you still have desires for the pursuit of sensual or mental pleasures and happiness, then you are still a servant of your mind and senses. You are still a slave to the dictates of your mental and sensual impulses. You are still bound by the golden chains of the temporary illusion of chasing after sense pleasure. They may be golden chains, but they are chains nonetheless. So how is freedom achieved? How are you ever going to attain complete spiritual freedom with such desires creeping up and trying to tell you what you should do?
It is one thing to have your mind on the loose, giving you all kinds of weird ideas and desires for happiness; it is another thing to be controlled by them and act them out. Sometimes the mind just goes crazy, but the intelligence knows better than to pursue such desires or ideas. This is called controlling the lower self by the higher self. Although it is not real freedom, it is nonetheless far from being a complete slave under the command of the mind and senses. Arguably the hardest desire to be free from is the desire for sex. Complete spiritual freedom includes freedom from sexual desire.
Let me say before we go any further, most people will probably not want to read this article. This article is not for those who are materially inclined, but for those who should realize what is necessary if they want to make serious spiritual advancement. Those who are looking for relief, there is a way out of illusion. Suffering exists only within the illusion. There is only happiness and bliss in the reality. The doorway to that realm has been given. It is only up to us to follow the path, and that path is merely a matter of adjusting our consciousness, freeing ourselves of the very attachments that keep us bound to this world. That attachment is epitomized by our attraction to sex. Once that is overcome, all else on our path to spiritual progress, which evolves around developing love of God, will flow much more easily. Anyone who is serious about rising above the temporary attractions of the flesh may consider keeping this article to review later to regain clarity whenever their vision becomes dark or cloudy. So for those who are serious, let us proceed.
Let’s face it, most people in this world are interested mainly in the joys of eating, sleeping, defending or keeping what is theirs, and, of course, mating. Sex life is quite high on most people’s list of objectives or goals. Even those who consider themselves spiritually oriented still find that sex should be included in one’s life. Why not? What’s wrong with it? Isn’t that what we are made for? How else are we going to have families and raise children? For anyone who wants worldly happiness, sex or sexual companionship can hardly be ignored. After all, this is one of the main objectives in life. But over the long-term, we should not neglect the spiritual purpose of our existence. The more one focuses on sex life, the more one remains on the bodily conception of life, which is quite to the contrary of being spiritual.
The more you are in the bodily conception, the more important comforts and bodily pleasures will be to you. On the other hand, the more spiritual you become, the more you can live without the dictates of the mind and senses, and the freer and more indifferent you will be to them. Therefore, the more interested you are in sex, the less spiritual you are.
Real happiness means freedom and real freedom is freedom from desire. Most people think that attaining one’s goals is the means to attain happiness. We can certainly see that characteristic in sports, for example, wherein the winner relishes the victory or conquest over others. It may seem like a great state of mind until the next challenge comes along, which may bring another victory or loss. For the loser, we have all seen the bitterness of defeat.
The duality of winning and losing is also there with sex. Some people may want to have sex simply because they are lusty and they want the release. Others think that it’s the way to find love – a deep communication with another being with the hope that it is a mutually satisfying experience. Sometimes it works out that way and many times it does not, as can be seen from high divorce rates and extra-marital affairs. If one engages in extra affairs while married, it usually means the other person in the marriage is left with disappointment, devastation, and divorce when the affair becomes apparent.
What is the cause of this discontent? We have to understand that sex is the greatest of all frauds. Nature promises us a wonderful event, the height of joy, yet through such an act she also robs us of our powers, both physical and mental, and when we believe we have reached the limits of fulfillment, we fall lower than ever before. We lose a tremendous amount of energy through this process of trying for sexual fulfillment. An old Latin proverb mentions that both humans and animals feel depressed after physical union. After all, what is left of sex pleasure in the morning? Great fatigue. This will repeat itself so many times. It is merely a continuous struggle for unattainable unison. The power of attraction brought two beings together in search of each other and this force is later appeased through the act of sex, which may provide a release, like scratching an itch; all that remains is emptiness and loneliness. Sex can satisfy only the body and even that is most temporary, and never pleases the soul. Those who do think the soul is involved remain in the depths of illusion.
People who live only for sex, live in continued unrest and dissatisfaction. They are never fully happy, and the gratification they feel from sex never lasts for long. The problem is that, as it is explained, unrestricted sex is objectively wrongful. “One’s duration of life, blessings, opulence, etc., are all decreased by such sexual acts” (Bhagavatam 3.12.33 purport). In this way, unrestricted sex is dangerous because it is difficult to give up, and keeps one on the bodily platform practically more than any other attachment. Most other material attractions can usually be given up or outgrown, but the fascination for sex can hinder and remain with a person for many lifetimes. Thus, one cannot become free from the continuous rounds of birth and death, which is an elementary goal for anyone who is truly spiritually motivated.
Furthermore, the desire for sex identifies oneself as a man or a woman that needs a partner to feel fulfilled. The self has no desire for sex, and is without sex. Therefore, the desire and act of sex is all an illusion because it has no relevance to reality, which is in connection with the soul. The self is a complete whole, not half of something seeking its complimentary half. The whole idea of seeking one’s better half or soul mate is but another materialistic conception to justify an illusion.
Union in spirit is possible, but union of the body is not. Two individual bodies cannot occupy the same space. Due to the longing for unity and for expressing care and love, people try to unite their bodies, and “touch each other’s heart” as the saying goes, and therefore slide down into sexuality. Nature exploits this longing for union, the yearning for the long lost paradisiacal state of belonging, in order to beget new generations of people. Therefore, this yearning manifests in the material act of sex in order to maintain the process of procreation of the species, human or otherwise. The great disappointment is that sexuality cannot create real union, and thus, the soul remains unsatisfied. Therefore, we see people, regardless of how much sex or how many lovers they may have, who remain feeling empty, incomplete, unfulfilled.
The higher, spiritual love is on a completely different plane than the lower “love” of the animal plane, which is a manifestation of animal instincts, and is the urge nature uses to propagate the species. Such love is a desire for gratification, possession, and always seeks the body of another. It forces a person to come close to the loved one, and embrace, kiss, hug, or possess, which is simply lust that forces one to be more focused on the material platform of life. Thus, as one caters to this desire, one becomes increasingly bound to the worldly existence.
Whoever is subject to this kind of love is still living in a mental state of separation, and is trying to find a complimentary physical partner in order to find satisfaction. This love always seeks to take, to have, to possess. Spiritual love does not come from the condition of division – or to have, to hold, or own – but from divine unity. Such spiritual love is always giving, never taking, and needs no physical manifestation or expression, but always radiates from the consciousness of divine all-unity. People who are conscious on this plane do not want to possess anyone; they feel themselves an integral part of the Infinite All, the Supreme Being. That is our real goal. They do not burn with desire, but only shine with the love reflected from the Supreme. Spiritual love leads to real wholeness and unity, real bliss and happiness, and satisfaction with one’s self.
As Srila Prabhupada said, “Although in Vaikuntha women are thousands of times more beautiful and men are thousands of times stronger, there is still no sex desire present. They are so much absorbed in Krishna consciousness that sex life is very insignificant.”