Friday, August 30, 2013

Sexual tantra or celibacy in the spiritual life? - Swami Chitananda

Sexual tantra or celibacy in the spiritual life?

extract of an interview  with Swami Chitananda
"The role ofcelibacy in the spiritual life"

Question: Are there particular stages in the spiritual life when celibacy becomes especially important or even essential?

Swami Chitananda: Yes and no. From one point of view, celibacy forms the very foundation, and the foundation is not any later stage of a constructive process. It is the very first stage, the ABC stage. So we may say that essential right from the very beginning.

Question: If you wanted to call it a stage, then it means you’d call it the stage where you start taking the spiritual life seriously. 
Swami Chitananda: If your aspiration is to be authentic and genuine, and if the aspiration is to take the form of an all-out commitment towards the spiritual experience and an all-out effort to move in that direction, then you must keep moving only in that direction. You cannot run after two things. Because then it will be taking one step forward and one step backwards, and you will never really progress.

The spiritual life starts with your recognition that as long as you keep going headlong in the pursuit of sense satisfaction and pleasure, you are not going to move one step. So all will be academic and theoretical. Our aspiration, our wanting spiritual life will only be in theory—a fancy and a feeling. You have not started. So the beginning stage itself of the spiritual life is a turning away from sense experience and sense indulgence and starting to move in the opposite direction.

It is perhaps precisely for this reason that Maharshi Patanjali put brahmacharya right at the very commencement of his eight-stage Raja Yoga and not at any later stage. It is one of the five vows that constitute the first stage. If he had thought that it was only important or essential at a later stage, he would have brought it in at the third or fourth stage. But no, he did it at the very beginning.

Swami Sivananda used to say: “Brahmacharya is the basis of immortality.” And in many places in the Upanishads it says: “Wisdom experience cannot come to one who has not his senses under restraint and who has not controlled the vagaries of his wandering mind.” 

Question: Tantra or the practice of “Sacred Sexuality,” is becoming very popular in the West today. Do you think these teachings offer an authentic spiritual path? 
Swami Chitananda:
No, I do not think that these teachings offer an authentic spiritual path. Why?
Because of human frailty, human weakness. The human mind is so made that it always takes the path of least resistance. It always wants the easy way.
Tantra is an approach to God through all types of sense enjoyment. Everything is offered to God and so everything becomes sanctified; nothing is profane. One enjoys sense satisfaction and sees it also as part of God’s bliss.
There is a view, and it has something to it, that while in all human experiences duality persists—there is an “I am enjoying this object” feeling—that in the ultimate sexual experience between a truly loving male, intensely in love with the female and fully reciprocated by the female, there is no consciousness of one’s separate individuality. There is a total fusion of the separatist consciousness in each one, and there is only the awareness of bliss experience. There is no experiencer.
They say this is a possibility when it is done to its perfection. The two cease to be and there is only one, non-dual experience, Experience Absolute, Brahmic-consciousness.
So they say that the human body is an instrument that, if properly made use of, can bring about a rising above body consciousness.
For one in a million it may click.
Read all the inteview of Swami Chitananda: The role of celibacy in the spiritual life

Peace  love  harmony