From lust to the lord
Discourse date: Fri, 1 October 1968 00:00:00 GMT
Friends have asked many questions. One friend has asked why I selected sex as the subject of my discourses. Let me illustrate. There was a public meeting arranged in a big Bombay market and a pundit was speaking on Kabir and his philosophy. He recited the couplet: kabira khada bazarmen liye lukathi hath; jo ghar barai aapna chale hamare saath. "Kabir is standing in the middle of the market," he said. "He is waving his stick and shouting to people, calling all and sundry: 'Only those who have the courage to burn their houses should follow me.'"
I observed that people were pleased with the call, and I surmised that people who felt at ease listening to such a deep and drastic message from Kabir must really have the courage to burn their houses and set out in search of truth. With such people I thought I could speak frankly, from the bottom of my heart. But, in fact, not one of them was ready to abandon or burn his house. The point is, if Kabir had been there he wouldn't have been happy with the situation at all. All of us here relish hearing what Kabir said, but none of the people present when Kabir said it over three hundred years ago felt happy about it. I was laboring under the same illusion as Kabir, as Christ. Man is such a wonderful animal - he enjoys listening to talk about those who are dead, and threatens to kill those who are living.
I was supposed to say something about truth. But in order to talk about truth, it is necessary to undermine those untruths which man has accepted as truths. Many a principle we accept as truth is, in reality, untrue. Unless these untruths are exposed, the first step in the direction of truth cannot be taken.
I was told to speak on "Love." But I felt that as long as we were hampered by certain incorrect suppositions about sex and lust, we would never be able to understand or appreciate love. As long as such misleading beliefs are deep-rooted, whatever we say about love will be incomplete, will be wasted, will be untrue. So, to focus on that, I talked about lust and sex in that particular meeting. I said that the sex energy itself could be transformed into love.
If a man buys manure, dirty and foul-smelling in itself, and piles it up on the street in front of his house, it will make things difficult for anyone passing by. But if he spreads the manure on his garden then his seeds will grow. The seeds will become plants and the plants will give flowers and their fragrance will be an invitation to all. Passers-by will be enchanted. You have probably never thought about it, but the fragrance of a flower is nothing but the foul smell of manure - rising upwards from the seed through the plant, the stench of manure becomes the scent of the flower. A bad smell can be transformed into a sweet perfume.
In the same way, sex can become love. But how can one who hates sex ever become filled with love? How can one transform sex when one is its enemy? And so, I stressed the necessity of understanding lust, of knowing sex. The other day, I pointed out that sex had to be transformed.
I thought that those who had been able to ponder the question of burning their houses would be happy to hear some plain talk. But I was sadly mistaken.
When I ended my talk that day, I was surprised to see that all the officials who had been on the platform, the friends who had organized the meeting, had vanished into thin air. I did not see one of them when I walked down the aisle to leave. I thought they had probably rushed home in case their houses caught fire - but, more probably, they had raced home to put out their own fires.
Not even the main organizer was present to thank me. Whatsoever white caps there were, whatsoever khadi-clad people there were, were not on the dais; they had already fled long before the completion of the talk. Leaders are a very weak species indeed. And swift too. They run away before their followers do.
But some courageous people did approach me - some spirited men and women: some old, some young. They all said I had told them things no one had ever said before. They said their eyes had been opened, that they felt much lighter inside. There was the look of gratitude in their eyes, in their tears of joy. I was asked by them to complete the series of talks. Those honest people were ready to understand life; they asked if I would elaborate on the subject, and this was one of the reasons for my return to Bombay.
A big crowd had assembled, even as I came out of the Bhavan, and people congratulated me on what I had said. Then, even though the leaders had fled, I felt that the public was with me. And there and then I decided to expound fully on the topic. That is why I selected this subject.
Another reason was that those who had run away from the dais had begun to tell people everywhere that I had said such blasphemous things that religion was sure to be destroyed, that I had said things that would make people irreligious! And so, to reply to them I felt I must elaborate on my point of view. I felt they should realize that people are not going to become irreligious by hearing talks on sex, but that, on the contrary, people are irreligious because they haven't understood sex up to now.
Ignorance can make you irreligious; knowledge will never make you irreligious. And, I say, if knowledge can cause irreligiousness, I still prefer knowledge. But, of course, that is not the case.
Knowledge is religion, and ignorance is irreligion. And besides, a religion that thrives on lack of knowledge is not religion at all - it is irreligion - and the sooner we are free of it, the better. The light that lacks light is not light; it is darkness under the guise of light. No, light always invites light; knowledge always welcomes knowledge. And remember, religion is nothing but another name for the search for sublime knowledge, for that realization of the perfect light. Ignorance, darkness, is always harmful.
If mankind becomes more debased, if a total perversion occurs, if mankind goes completely neurotic because of its ignorance of sex, the blame will be not with those who reflect and meditate on the subject of sex, but at the door of the so-called preachers of morals and religion. They have tried to keep man encased in ignorance for thousands of years. But for these oppressive leaders, mankind would have been freed from sexuality long ago. Sex is normal, but the invention of sexuality can be traced to these gurus. This handicap can never be overcome so long as ignorance about sex exists.
I am not in favor of ignorance at any level of life. I am always ready to welcome the truth at any cost, at any danger. I felt that if one stray ray of truth could spread so much agitation among people then it was fitting to discuss the full spectrum, so as to clear up the question of whether knowledge of sex makes man religious or irreligious. This is the background; this is why I have selected this subject. Without this, it would not have occurred to me to choose this subject; without this, I would not have talked on this topic at all. And so, those who created this opportunity and led me, indirectly, to select this subject for these lectures deserve some thanks. Therefore, if you have a mind to thank me for choosing this topic, please do not do so; instead, congratulate those who are propagating misleading things about me. They have forced me to pick this subject.
Now, to come to the topic itself.
One friend has asked, "If the transformation of sex is into love, do you then mean that the love of a mother for her child is also because of sex?" Others have also asked similar questions.
It will be helpful to understand this. If you listened attentively, you will remember my telling you that there is a profound depth in the experience of sex, a depth to which a person does not normally reach. There are three levels of sex and I wish to speak about them now.
The first level of sex is the gross level. For example, a man goes to a prostitute. The experience he gets there cannot be any deeper than physical. A prostitute can sell her body but cannot sell her heart, and, of course, there is no way to sell the soul.
On this level, bodies meet - as in rape. In rape there is no meeting of hearts or souls; rape happens on the physical level only. There is no way to rape a soul; the experience of rape is purely physical.
The primary experience of sex is on the physiological level, but those who halt there never attain the fullest experience of sex. They can never know the depths about which I have been speaking.
These days, most people have stopped at the physical level.
In this connection, it is important to know that in countries where marriages take place without love, sex stagnates at the physical level. It can never progress beyond that. These marriages can be of two bodies but never of two souls. Love can only exist between two souls. Marriage can have a deeper meaning if it happens for love, but the marriages that take place because of the calculations of pundits and astrologers, or out of considerations of caste or creed or money, can never go deeper than the physical layer.
There is one advantage to this system, in the sense that the body is more stable than the mind, and so in a society in which the body is the basis of marriage, marriages will be more stable. They will last longer because the body is not unstable, because the body is an almost constant factor and change creeps very, very slowly, almost imperceptibly into it. The body is in a state of constancy, and those societies which thought it necessary to stabilize the institution of marriage, to remain with monogamy, to leave no possibility for change, had to do away with love; they had to weed out love. Because the heart is the seat of love and the heart is unstable, divorce is inevitable in those societies where marriages are based on love. There can never be stable marriages in those societies because love is fluid. The heart is mercurial; the body is constant, stable.
If there is a stone in your yard it will be in the same place in the evening as it was in the morning, but a flower blooms in the morning and by evening it droops, falls to the ground. The stone is an inanimate object: whatever it was in the morning it will also be in the evening. A marriage made on the physical level will bring stability, but it will be not unlike that of a stone. This kind of marriage is in the interests of society, but is detrimental to the individual.
In such marriages, the sex between husband and wife does not touch the deeper realms; it merely becomes a mechanical routine. The act is simply repeated often and becomes stale; nothing more happens, and the participants become increasingly dull. There is very little difference between going to a prostitute and being in a marriage without love. You buy a prostitute for a night, whereas you purchase a wife for your whole life; this is the only difference. When there is no love a purchase is being made - whether you are hiring a woman for a night or making arrangements for a lifetime.
Of course, because of the day-to-day association a kind of relationship comes into being - and we call it love. This is not love; love is something else altogether. These marriages are simply of the body, and so the relationship can never go any deeper than the physical. None of the manuals and scriptures that have been written about love, from Vatsyayana to Koka Pundit, go deeper than the physical level.
Another level is psychological - of the mind, of the heart. The marriages of couples who fall in love and then get married go a little further, a little deeper than marriages on the physical level. They reach the heart; they reach the psychological depth, but because of monotony they revert to the physical level every day. The institution of marriage that has developed in the West over the last two hundred years is on this level. And because of this, their societies are disjointed and debauched.
The reason for this is that you cannot rely on the mind. Today the mind desires one thing; tomorrow it will ask for something else. It wants one thing in the morning and something else in the evening.
What it feels now will be totally different from what it felt only moments ago.
You may have heard that Lord Byron, before he finally got married, had been intimate with at least sixty to seventy women. But even as he was coming out of the church after his wedding, arm-in-arm with his new bride, he saw a beautiful woman passing by. He was transfixed by her beauty, and for a moment he forgot his new wife, his recent wedding. But he must have been a very honest man, because, as he got into the carriage with his bride, he said to her, "Did you notice? A strange thing happened just now. Yesterday, before we were married, I was worried as to whether I would really be able to catch you or not - you were the only woman on my mind - but now, when I actually am married to you, I just saw a pretty woman on the side of the road as we came down the church steps, and I forgot you for a moment: my mind started racing after that woman; it crossed my mind, 'I wonder if I could have that woman?'"
The mind is very changeable, and so societies that wanted to stabilize family life did not allow marriages to reach the psychological plane, they endeavored to halt marriage at the physical level.
They said, "Marry, but not out of love. If you grow into love after marriage, fine; otherwise, be things as they may."
Stability is possible on the physical level but on the psychological plane it is very difficult. The sexual experience is deeper and more subtle on the mental plane, and therefore the experience in the West has been more profound than in the East. The West's psychologists, from Freud to Jung, have written about this second stage of sex, about the psychological level. But the sex about which I am speaking is of the third level, which up to now, has neither been understood in the East nor in the West. That third level of sex is the spiritual level.
Because the body is inert there is a kind of stability on the physical level. There is also a kind of stability on the spiritual level, because there is no change on that level either: everything is calm there; there, it is eternal. In between these two stages the psychological level exists. It is unsteady, like the memory.
The experience of the West is on this level, and so marriages break up and families disintegrate.
A marriage born out of a meeting of minds cannot produce a stable family situation, and now the trend in the West is towards divorce. Divorces now occur about every two years, but this could also become every two hours! One's mind can even change in an hour's time! Society in the West is disjointed. In comparison, Eastern society has been stable, but the East has not been able to fathom the subtle and sublime depths of sex either.
A man and a woman who can meet on the spiritual level, who can unite spiritually - even once - feel they have united for endless lives to come. There is a deep fluidity; timelessness and pure ecstasy are the wedding dowry.
The sex I am talking about is spiritual sex, the divine experience. I desire a spiritual orientation of sex.
And if you comprehend what I am saying, you will realize that the mother's love for her son is also a part of spiritual sex. You will say that this is a preposterous statement. You will ask what possible sexual relation there can be between a mother and her son? To understand this fully, we have to examine many other aspects of sex and its interaction in the relations among husband, wife and child.
As I told you, a man and a woman only meet for a time. Their souls also meet but only for a moment, whereas the child remains in the mother's womb for nine months. During this period its existence is one with that of the mother. The husband also meets the wife at this level - where there is only existence, where there is only beingness - but it is just for a moment and then they separate.
Husbands and wives meet for a moment and then jump apart, and so the intimacy that a mother has with her child is not possible with her husband; it cannot be.
The child in the womb breathes the mother's breath; his heart throbs through the mother's heart.
The child is one with the blood and the life of the mother: he has no individual existence yet; he is still part of the mother. No man can fulfill a woman as much as a son can; no husband can ever give his wife the deep feeling of intimacy a son can give her. As well, a woman's full growth is incomplete unless she becomes a mother. Unless she attains to motherhood, the full radiance of a woman's personality, the utmost flowering of her beauty is not possible. A woman can never be fully contented unless she has become a mother, unless she has known the deep, spiritual relationship that exists between mother and child.
And along with this, please bear in mind that as soon as a woman becomes a mother her interest in sex automatically wanes. She has had a deep drink of motherhood; for nine months she has co-existed with a throbbing new life, and now she has little attraction to sex. At times the husband is bewildered by her apathy, because his becoming a father does not change his attitude to sex in any way; he has no deep relationship with the process of childbirth. With the new life that has been born, the father has no sense of spiritual oneness. Becoming a mother brings about a basic change in a woman, but fatherhood is simply a social institution. A child can grow up without a father, but it has a deep-rooted relationship with the mother.
A new kind of spiritual well-being fills a woman after the birth of a child. If you look at a woman who has become a mother and at one who hasn't, you will feel the difference in their personalities, in the sense of the ease they project. In a mother you will find a glow, a calmness - the kind of calmness you see in a river that has reached the plains - but in one who hasn't yet become a mother you will sense a sort of bubbling fluidity like that of a stream still flowing through the mountains - rumbling, roaring, overflowing its banks, rushing towards the plains. A woman becomes quiet, calm and serene inside after she becomes a mother.
In this connection I also wish to state that women who are afflicted with a passion for sex, as is common in the West today, are women who do not want to become mothers. After motherhood, a woman's attraction for sex suddenly diminishes, and a Western woman who refuses to become a mother is doing so because she knows that as soon as she becomes a mother she will lose her interest in sex. She supports her indulgence in sex by not becoming a mother.
The governments of many Western countries are concerned about this. If this continues, what will happen to their populations? The East worries about the increase in numbers, but some countries in the West fear the decrease in numbers. Nothing could be done if women decide not to become mothers because they know they will lose interest in sex. A family planning program might be implemented by law, but no law can force a woman to become a mother. This problem of the Western countries is more intricate than our problem of population explosion. We can halt the increase by force, or legally. But the Western countries cannot increase their numbers by legislation. In the next two hundred years this problem will grow to gigantic proportions in the West, and the population in Eastern countries, increasing by leaps and bounds, could lead to these countries dominating the whole world. Simultaneously, with the passage of time, Western manpower will decrease. They will have to make women agree to become mothers again.
Some of their psychologists have begun to come out in favor of child marriages. A woman entering maturity is not going to be interested in becoming a mother - she will be more interested in sexual pleasure - so their psychologists are advising people to marry young. Then, in those cases, the women won't get any other ideas before they become mothers. This was also one of the reasons behind child marriages in the East; they knew a girl wouldn't want to marry and become a mother when she became an adolescent, when she became conscious of sex, when she had developed a taste for it. This mentality, this immense attraction for sex, exists in women until they know what they will attain by becoming mothers. But this they can realize only after attaining motherhood. There is no way to have an inkling of it before actually becoming a mother.
Why is a woman so gratified after she has become a mother? It is because she has had a divine, unbroken experience of spiritual sex with her child. And it is only because of this that there is such an intense intimacy between mother and child. A woman will lay down her life for her child, but cannot imagine taking the life of her own child. A wife can kill her husband - it happens often - and even if she does not actually do it, she can create circumstances at home that amount to the same thing. But with respect to her child, she can never even think of such a thing. It is because the relationship with her child is so very deep, so very intimate.
But in the same breath, I want to say that when a woman develops a deep relationship with her husband, the husband also becomes a child to her. Then he is not her husband any more.
There are many men and women sitting here at this gathering. I wish to ask the men present here if they don't behave exactly as little children do with their mothers when they are in a mood of total love towards their wives. Do you know why a man's hand is unconsciously drawn towards the breast of a woman? It is the hand of a small child reaching for the breast of his mother. As soon as a man is overcome with love for a woman, his hand automatically reaches towards her breast. Why? What relation do the breasts have with love? Or with sex? Sex has no real relation to breasts at all, but a child has a deep association with the breasts of the mother. From infancy, he has been steeped in the awareness that his link is to the breast, the life-line. When a man overflows with deep love, he becomes a son!
And where does the woman's hand go? Her hand reaches for the man's head; her fingers start caressing his hair: this is the memory of her child; she is caressing the hair of her son. That is why, if love blooms fully on the spiritual level, the husband becomes the son; that is why the husband must become a son. Then one knows that one has reached the third layer of sex, the spiritual level.
But we are completely ignorant of this relationship.
The relationship between husband and wife is the beginning of a journey and not the end. And remember, because it is a journey, the husband and the wife are always in a state of tension. A journey is always tiresome; peace is only to be found at the destination. A husband and wife are never calm because they are always on the move, always on the road - and most people perish on the way, never reaching the goal. Because of this, there is always a state of conflict between husband and wife; there is a round-the-clock tussle. And this is what we call "love."
Unfortunately, neither the husband nor the wife understands the real cause of the tension, of the strife. They each think they have made the wrong match. The husband thinks everything would have been better had he married another woman, and the wife thinks everything would probably have been fine if she had married another man. I want to tell you that this is the experience of all the couples in the world. If you were given the chance to change your spouse, the situation would not change one bit. It would be the same as changing shoulders while carrying a coffin to the cemetery: you would feel relief for a little while, but then you would notice that the weight had once again become the same. The experience in the West, where divorce is rampant, is that the new wife, in a very short time, proves to be just like the former - and in a fortnight, the new husband also proves to be the same. The reason is not to be found on the surface, but deeper down. The reason has nothing to do with the individual, with the man or the woman; the reason is that marriage is a journey, a process. Marriage is neither the target nor the goal. The goal will only be reached when the woman becomes a mother and the man becomes a son.
One friend has asked something in relation to this question. He says he does not accept me as an authority on sex. He says I can be asked about God, but not about sex. He says that he and some of his friends have come here to hear about God and therefore I should only speak about God. Perhaps they are not aware that it is useless to inquire about God from someone they do not even consider an authority on sex. Would you ask about the golden peak from someone who knows nothing about the first base-camp? If what I have to say about sex is not acceptable to you, then you should not ask me about God either. If I am not deemed fit to talk about the first step, then how am I competent to talk about the last?
The psychology behind this question is that kama and Rama, lust and the Lord, have, up to now, been considered each other's enemies. Up to now, it has been taken for granted that those in search of religion can have nothing to do with sex, and that those who delve into sex can have nothing in common with spirituality. Both are illusions. The journey to kama is also the journey to Rama. The journey to lust is also the journey to light. The tremendous attraction for sex is also the search for the sublime.
Because man is completely wrapped up in sex, he never feels his journey is complete. Unless Rama is attained, unless sublimation is achieved, his search will never cease. And the quest of those who reproach kama and set out to reach Rama is not an authentic search for God; it is nothing but escapism in the name of Rama. They hide themselves behind Rama to escape from kama. This is because they are mortally afraid of sex, because their lives are in a constant state of agitation about sex. They seek refuge in repeating aloud the name of Rama, "Rama, Rama, Rama", so that they can forget about kama, about sex.
Whenever you observe a man chanting the name of Rama, look at him closely: behind the repetition of Rama will be the echo of kama; an awareness of sex is present there. If a woman comes into sight they will start saying their rosary - "Rama, Rama, Rama," - twirling their beads at great speed and chanting the name of Rama at the top of their lungs. The kama inside pushes at them from within, and these escapists try to ignore it, to drown it, to suppress it by chanting the name of Rama.
If such a simple trick could change one's life, the world would have changed for the better long ago.
Religion is not that easy to attain.
It is imperative to know kama if you want to reach Rama, if you want to search for the Sublime. Why?
Take the example of a man who wants to go to Calcutta from Bombay. First, he obtains information about Calcutta - where it is, what direction it is in - but if he does not even know where Bombay is, where it lies in relation to Calcutta, then how can he ever succeed in his mission? To reach Calcutta from Bombay, it is an absolute necessity to know where Bombay is first. If I am not aware where Bombay is, all my information about how to get to Calcutta from Bombay is worthless. After all, I have to start out from Bombay; my journey is to commence at Bombay. The starting point always comes first. The destination always comes afterward.
Where are you standing now?
You say you long to make the journey to Rama?
You say you desire to reach God?
But where are you standing now?
Now you are stranded in lust; now you are stranded in sex - and it is from this point, from where you are now, that you must take the first step forward. It is imperative you realize where you are now. By accepting this simple fact, by understanding this stark reality, you can also see the possibility for the future. To know what you can attain, it is important to know what you are.
To reach the final step, it is necessary to take the first - because the first step is going to pave the way for the second and, ultimately, for the last step of the journey. If your first step is taken in the wrong direction, you can never reach your intended destination; you may end up in the wilderness instead. And so, if you wish to reach the ultimate, it is more important for you to understand kama than to understand Rama. You cannot reach God without first understanding sex.
I am also informed by letter that Freud's opinions on sex may be worthy and acceptable, but asked how mine can be considered true and sincere.
How can you decide whether I am honest and sincere or not? In this connection, whatsoever I say, it won't be decisive because I myself am the subject under consideration. If I say I am honest it is meaningless. It is also meaningless if I say I am not honest, because the very subject under debate is whether the person making these statements is an honest man or not. So whatever I say in this context will be meaningless; it will be futile. I say, experiment with sex and find out for yourselves whether I am honest or not. You will come to know the truth of my statements when you attain to the experience for yourselves. There is no other way.
For example, if I were to talk to you about a certain swimming technique, you might doubt whether my method were feasible or not. My reply to that would be to ask you to come along to a place where you could wade into the river. If my advice were useful in helping you to swim across the river, then you would know that what I had said was neither worthless nor insincere.
As far as Freud is concerned, I wish to explain to this particular friend that it is quite probable Freud was not aware of what I am telling you here. Freud was one of the few seers who guided mankind in the direction of sexual liberation, but he had no idea whatsoever that spiritual sex existed. The knowledge Freud systematized was that of sick sex; his research was with the pathological. Freud was a kind of doctor and his discoveries were used like treatments, doled out to sick people. Freud hadn't studied normal, healthy sex. He was a research scholar dealing in sickness, in perversion, and his mind was primarily set on treatment, on cure.
Therefore, if you are bent on confirming the truthfulness of what I say, you will have to turn to the philosophy of Tantra. Tantra made early attempts to spiritualize sex, and, although we banned thinking about Tantra thousands of years ago, the monuments of Khajuraho and the temples of Puri and Konarak are living testimonials. Have you ever been to Khajuraho? Have you seen the images there? If so, then you must have experienced two wonderful phenomena. First, even after seeing the images of the naked couples in intercourse, you will not feel any sense of vulgarity; you won't see anything ugly or bad in the images of naked, copulating men and women. And the second thing is that you will experience a sense of peace. A feeling of sacredness will envelop you. Your reaction will surprise you. The visionaries who created these statues were people who had seen and known spiritual sex intimately.
If you see a man in the grip of sex, if you look at his face and into his eyes, he will appear ugly, frightening, bestial; you will see a disturbing and ferocious lust there. When a woman sees a man approaching her, and he is full of lust, even if he is dear to her she will see an enemy in him and not a friend. He will not even look human to her; he will be like a messenger from hell. But on the faces of those statues you will find the glorious shadow of Buddha, the sublime reflection of Mahavir.
The composure and serenity on the faces of the statues is that of samadhi. A serene sacredness emanates from them. Nothing less than a wave of eternal peace will encompass you if you meditate on those statues. You will be awed.
If you fear that sexuality will overwhelm you after seeing the naked statues, I beseech you, go straight to Khajuraho without further delay. Khajuraho is a unique monument on this earth, yet moralists like the late Shree Purshottamdas Tandon and his colleagues were of the opinion that the walls of Khajuraho should be covered with a coat of terracotta because they believed the images made people sexual. I was astonished when I heard this! The builders of Khajuraho had an aim, and it was that if people would sit in front of the statues and meditate on them, they would be freed from lust. For thousands of years these images have been objects of meditation. It sets a wonderful example for us, that over-sexed people were asked to go to the temples of Khajuraho, to meditate on statues, to lose themselves in them.
Although we have often observed this same truth in ordinary human experience, we have not really been able to see it. For instance, if you are passing by and see two people quarreling on the road, you feel like stopping and watching the fight. Why? Have you ever thought about what you get out of seeing others fight? Leaving a pile of work aside, you will stop for half an hour to watch people fighting. You also go to boxing matches. Why? You probably are not aware that they have a therapeutic effect. By watching two men fight, the deep-seated instinct to fight that exists inside you is satisfied. It dissipates; it is thrown out, and you become much calmer. If one sits and meditates with a peaceful mind upon images of intercourse, that inner maniac, man's mad sexuality, can evaporate.
A man went to a psychiatrist with a problem: he was very annoyed with his boss. If his boss said anything to him he immediately became angry and felt like taking off his shoe and hitting his boss with it.
But, how can you hit your boss? Is there a man who does not feel like hitting his boss at some point?
Such an employee is rare.
In any case, the man went on suppressing the desire to hit his boss, but he began to develop a complex about it, and, afraid he might actually hit his boss someday, he started leaving his shoes at home. But he could not forget about the shoes. Whenever he saw his boss, his hands automatically went towards his feet. But fortunately the shoes had been left at home, and he felt a bit easier because he knew that one day, in a frenzy, he just might take off a shoe and throw it at his boss.
But he didn't free himself of the shoes just by leaving them at home; they continued to loom large on his conscience. If he were fiddling with a pen, he drew shoes on the paper; in idle moments, he sketched the shape of a shoe. The shoes filled his thoughts, and he was mortally afraid he would attack his boss sometime.
At home, he told his family it was better if he did not go to the office at all. Now, his mental condition was such that he did not need his own shoes: he might grab anyone's shoes to hit his boss; his hands had even started moving towards the feet of his colleagues. At this point, his family decided it was high time he was taken to a psychiatrist. And so he went.
The psychiatrist said his sickness was nothing much to worry about, that it was curable. He advised him to hang a picture of his boss at home and to hit it with a shoe five times every morning. The photo was to be hit religiously, before he went to the office, and furthermore, he was not to miss a single day. The ritual was to be observed daily, just like morning prayers, and then, after returning from the office each day, the process was to be repeated.
The man's first reaction was, "What nonsense!" Although he was astonished at the idea, he felt quite happy about it. The photo was hung and, accordingly, he began the prescribed ritual.
On the very first day, when he went to the office after hitting the photo five times, he noticed a strange sensation: he did not feel as angry at his boss as he had. And, within a fortnight, he had become very polite to his employer. His boss also noticed the change in him, but of course he was unaware of what had been going on. He also told his employee that he had become very polite, very obedient and very nice indeed of late and wanted to know what had happened. The employee replied, "Please don't ask me about it or everything will be topsy-turvy again. I just can't tell you."
What is the truth behind this story? Can anything really be achieved just by hitting a photo? Yes - by hitting the photo, the man's obsession to hit his boss with a shoe simply dissolved, faded away.
Temples like those of Khajuraho, Konarak and Puri should be in every nook and corner of this country. There is nothing important to be found in other temples; there is nothing scientific, no planning, no meaning in them. They are not needed at all. But the existence of the Khajuraho temples and others like them is full of meaning. Anyone whose mind is overly anxious about sex should go there and meditate. When he returns, he will be light of heart; he will be at peace.
The Tantrikas tried to transform sex into spirituality, but the preachers of morality in our country did not allow the message to reach the masses. These are the same people who wanted to put a stop to my talks.
On my return to Jabalpur, three days after my talk at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium here in Bombay, I received a letter from a friend telling me that if I continued these talks I would be shot. I wanted to reply to him, but the trigger-happy gentleman seems to be a coward: he neither signed his letter nor gave his address; he was probably afraid I would report the matter to the police.
Nevertheless, if he is present here, he should accept my reply now. Even if he is here, I am sure he is either hiding behind a wall or a tree. If he is anywhere around I wish to tell him that I am not going to report the threat, but that he should give me his name and address so that I can at least send him a reply. But, if he doesn't even dare that much, I will give him my reply here. He ought to listen carefully.
He is probably not aware of this, but in the first place he shouldn't be in a hurry to shoot me, because with the striking of the bullet, what I am saying will become eternal truth. Had Jesus not been crucified, the world would have forgotten him long ago. In a way, the persecution was beneficial to Jesus. The author George Gouzette says that Jesus planned his own crucifixion. Jesus himself wanted to be crucified because, then, every word he had preached would become the living truth for ages to come and would be beneficial to millions of people.
This is quite possible. Judas, who sold Jesus for thirty coins, was one of his most beloved disciples.
It is just not believable that one who had spent so many years with Jesus would sell him out for such a paltry sum unless Jesus himself suggested that he do it, unless Jesus himself suggested he change sides and arrange the persecution so that his words could become a fountain of eternal nectar, liberating billions.
There could have been three hundred million Jains in the world and not just three million, as is the case, if Mahavir had been crucified. But Mahavir passed away peacefully; he probably never thought about dying on a cross. No one tried to do it to him, nor did he himself try to arrange it. It was neither Buddha nor Mohammed nor Rama nor Krishna nor Mahavir, but Jesus who was nailed to the cross - and today half the world is Christian. And the whole world may one day convert to Christianity.
This is the brighter side to being crucified. Therefore, I say to my friend not to be in too much of a hurry to shoot me, otherwise he will repent his action for the rest of his days.
The second thing is that he should not worry too much about it, because I have no intention of dying in bed. When the proper time comes, I will do my best to see that someone or other shoots me. He shouldn't be hasty; I myself will arrange it. Life is useful but when one is assassinated, death also becomes useful. A bullet-ridden death can often accomplish what life could not.
People have always repeated this same mistake - those who gave poison to Socrates, those who murdered Mansoor, those who crucified Jesus. These were all childish acts, all self-abortive. And very recently as well, the man who fired the bullets into Gandhi was unaware that none of Gandhi's followers could have been as successful in prolonging Gandhi's memory to the extent that he did by his act of assassination. Gandhi folded his hands in a gesture of bowing when he had been shot and was dying. That bowing, that folding of hands, was very significant. It was expressive in the sense that Gandhi's last and best disciple had finally come: the man who would make Gandhi immortal.
God had sent the needed man.
No one dies by being assassinated; it only helps make a man immortal. Life's plot is complicated; life's story is filled with suspense: things are not so simple as they seem. The man who dies in bed dies forever, whereas the man who dies from an assassin's bullets never dies.
As the poison was being prepared for Socrates, some of his friends asked how his body should be treated afterwards. "Should it be cremated or buried or what?" they asked. Socrates laughed and said, "Silly men! You don't know it, but you will never be able to bury me. I shall live even when all of you are no more. The trick is, I have chosen to die only to live forever!"
So, my friend, if he is here, should not act thoughtlessly, otherwise he will quickly find himself to be the loser. I won't be harmed; I am not one of those whom bullets can destroy. I am one of those who will survive bullets. He shouldn't be in a rush to shoot me. He shouldn't be upset either, for I will do my best not to die in bed. That kind of death is unbecoming. That kind of death is a worthless death. And the third point for him to remember is not to be afraid to sign letters, not to be afraid to give his address. If I am convinced there is someone brave enough and ready enough to shoot me, I will keep the appointment without informing anyone, so that, later on, he will not be involved.
But there is nothing so very strange about this man. He wrote with the conviction he was protecting religion. He wrote because he thought I wanted to destroy religion, and he wants to restore religion.
His intentions were not malicious. His feelings were very sincere and, to him, very religious.
Such so-called religious people are toying with the emotions of the world. Their intentions may be very good but their intelligences are very poor. For ages, such self-righteous people and their kind have smothered the full flowering of truth, and because knowledge has been stifled in a similar way, ignorance is widespread. We are groping in the dark; we are lost in the dark night of ignorance. And in the midst of our darkness, these moral preachers have built tall pulpits from which they deliver sermons to us.
But it is equally true, as well, that when the ray of truth starts dawning in our lives these so-called holy men will be out of work. When we are able to generate living relationships with God; when we come to know samadhi; when our mundane, ordinary lives begin to be transformed into divine lives, there won't be any work left for these moralists and preachers. The preacher only has the advantage until people begin to grope about in the dark.
A doctor is needed when people become sick, but doctors will be redundant if people stop falling ill.
Like the preaching profession, the medical profession thrives on inner conflict, because a doctor's livelihood depends on people catching diseases. A doctor treats patients outwardly, but inwardly he hopes they get sick. And when there is an epidemic, he thanks God for the business.
I have heard a story:
One night a group of friends were having a big party. Drinking and eating, they enjoyed themselves until the early hours of the morning. When they began to take their leave, the owner of the hotel told his wife to thank God for sending them such a goodly number of customers. If such a rush continued they would become rich, he told his wife. The host, as he was paying the bill, asked the proprietor to pray for the prosperity of his business as well, so that they might come again.
The owner inquired, "By the way, what is your business, sir?"
"I am an undertaker," he said. "My business prospers most when people die."
Similarly, a doctor's profession may be to cure people, but the more people fall ill the more money he makes. Inwardly, he hopes his patient doesn't recover too quickly. And so it takes time for patients to be cured, especially rich ones. Poor patients get well faster because the doctor doesn't make much if the poor are ill for a long time. The profit is from rich customers, and so he goes slowly when curing the rich. Anyway, the rich are always unwell; they are the answer to a doctor's prayers.
The preacher is in the same class. The more people are immoral, the more anti-social elements there are, the more anarchy spreads, the higher his pulpit grows - because then there is more need for him to exhort people to observe non-violence, to be truthful, to behave honestly, to observe this regulation, to stick to that rule, and so forth. If people were righteous, restrained, disciplined, peaceful, honest and holy, the profession of preacher would cease to exist.
And why are there so many preachers and so-called religious leaders in India - more than anywhere else in the whole world? Why, in each and every village and in each and every house, is there a pundit, a guru, a swami or a priest? Why is there such a vast host of religious leaders in this country?
One should not assume we are a deeply religious people because we have so many saints and gurus. It is a fact that we are, today, one of the most irreligious and immoral countries in the world.
That is why so many preachers find golden opportunities in our country. Preaching has become our national image. A friend of mine sent me an article from an American magazine. He wanted my opinion about a short-coming he had noticed in it. It was a humorous article, stating that the national character of any country can be ascertained by getting a man from that country drunk. If a Dutchman gets drunk, the article said, he will pounce on food and refuse to leave the dining table; no sooner does he take a drink than he is busy eating for two or three hours. If a Frenchman drinks, he becomes restless; he wants to sing and dance. If an Englishman gets very drunk, he will go sit in a corner and keep to himself. An Englishman is normally quiet and when he gets drunk he becomes all the more subdued. Such are the typical reactions of the various nationalities, according to the article.
But, by mistake or out of ignorance, there was no mention of the Indian. My friend asked what I had to say about the Indian character; he asked me what would happen if an Indian drank excessively.
I wrote him that the answer was already world famous: when an Indian gets drunk he immediately starts preaching. This is our national character.
This unending queue of preachers, ascetics, monks and gurus is a sign of a widespread disease; it is an indication of a great immorality. And the strangest thing is that, in his heart of hearts, none of these leaders wants immorality to become extinct, wants this disease to be eradicated - because if and when it is cured, the preacher will no longer be put up with. Their inner craving is that the disease continues, that the illness increases.
The easiest way to allow this disease to continue unchecked is to restrain the growth of an all- encompassing knowledge about life, and to frighten men from wanting to understand the deeper and more significant aspects of life. And it is ignorance of these that automatically causes the spread of immorality, debauchery and corruption. If people can try to recognize and know these deep, illuminating facets of life, then irreligiousness and its subsequent ills will begin to dissipate, one by one.
I want to draw your attention to the fact that sex is the aspect of life that is the most responsible for immorality. It has always been the most basic and influential cause of perversion, debauchery and dullness in man. And so religious leaders never want to talk about it.
Another friend of mine has sent a message saying that no saint or guru ever talks about sex. He writes that the high esteem he had for me has lessened because of my talks on sex. I wish to tell him there is no reason to be disappointed in me. First of all, if you once had respect for me, it was your mistake. Why was it necessary to honor me? What was your motive? When did I ask you for respect? If you were paying me respect, it was your error; if you are not so inclined any more, it is your privilege. I am no mahatma, nor am I inclined to be one.
Had I the slightest desire to become a mahatma or a guru, I would never have selected this subject in the first place. A man can never become a mahatma if he isn't very clever in selecting the topics for his discourse. I have never been a mahatma, I am not a mahatma, and I certainly do not want to become a mahatma - that desire itself is a projection of a subtle, refined ego. I am a man, and that is good enough for me. Is it not enough, just being a man? Can a man not be happy without riding the shoulders of other men, without imposing himself on others, without acquiring power in one form or another? Can a man not be happy simply by remaining a man? In whatever position I find myself I am happy and contented.
I long for greatness in humanity; I want to see a greater man. Isn't it greatness to become a man, to attain to the full measure of manhood? Every man can become great; every man is capable of becoming great in the true sense of the word. The days of the mahatmas and the gurus are gone; they are not needed any more. A great mankind is essential; the need of the hour is for a great humanity. There have been many great men, but what have we gained from them? The need is not for great men, but for a great mankind, for a greater humanity.
At least one person is disillusioned; at least one man has come to know that I am not a great man.
This is a great relief, this man's disillusionment. He wrote me to tempt me with mahatmadom; he says I could become a great guru if I stopped discussing such topics. Up to now, the mahatmas and the gurus have been fooled by such approaches, and as a result, those great but weak people did not discuss subjects that might have proved disastrous to their own guruships, to their mahatmadoms.
In their concern to save their own thrones, they never cared how many people they were harmfully influencing.
I am not concerned with being on some high pedestal. I do not dream about it; I have no designs on one. On the other hand, I am concerned that someone may want to make me a mahatma some day.
These days, there is no shortage of gurus and mahatmas, and to be considered as one it is very important to adopt the correct pose. It has always been so. But the crux of the matter is not the availability of mahatmas, but how an authentic man can evolve. What can we do to achieve that goal? How can we apply ourselves to that task?
I trust and believe that what we have discussed will guide you on the proper road toward breaking those barriers that stand in the way of the evolution of an authentic man. A path is visible; the gradual transformation of your lust is possible. Your sex can become your samadhi.
Now, as you are today, you are your lust; you are not your souls. You can also become souls, but only by the gradual transformation of your sexuality. Only then can your journey to God begin.
Many other similar questions have been sent to me, so allow me to review a few important points.
I have said you must strive for a continuous awareness of the glimpse of samadhi in coitus. One should try to grasp that point, that glimpse of samadhi which flashes like lightning in the midst of intercourse, which shimmers for a second like a will-o'-the-wisp and then vanishes. Your effort must be to know it, to become acquainted with it, to hold to it. If you can make the contact fully, even once, in that moment you will know that you are not a body, that you are bodiless. For that fraction of time you are not a body; in that moment you are transformed into something else: the body is left behind and you become the soul, your real self. If you have a glimpse of that glory even once, you can pursue it, through dhyana, through meditation, to establish a deep and lasting relationship with it. Then the path to samadhi is yours. And when it becomes part of your understanding, part of your knowledge and of your life, there will be no more room for lust.
Another friend is afraid of what might happen to our progeny, to our whole race, if we drop sex like this. "If everyone attains celibacy through samadhi," he asks, "what about the future generation?"
One can definitely state that the kind of children now being produced won't exist. The present manner of procreation is fine for producing cats, dogs and other animals, but it is not good enough for man. What kind of attitude to procreation is this? What kind of thoughtless production of children is this? This sort of mass, accidental procreation is aimless; it is useless. And how vast our crowd has become! Our population has exploded to such incredible proportions that if it is not checked in time, scientists say there will not even be room to move your toes in a hundred years! In a hundred years you will always feel you are in the middle of some kind of congregation. Wherever you look you will feel a meeting is going on. To call a meeting will be unnecessary.
This particular friend's question is very relevant. He may well ask how children will be produced if celibacy becomes commonplace.
I want to give him one more eye-opener, and you should also take note: Children can be born out of celibacy, but the entire purpose and meaning of producing children will have a new dimension.
Lust is not the right vehicle for procreation - celibacy is the only medium discriminating enough. As it is now, the birth of a child is accidental: you move into sex with some other motive; children just happen. Children are uninvited guests, and you can only have as much love for these children as you have for unexpected visitors.
And how are uninvited guests treated? You prepare beds for their comfort and you serve them food; you greet them politely and you pamper them - but everything is done out of etiquette; there is no feeling of love inside. Your constant thought is, "When are these bores going to leave?"
You treat unwanted children the same way, for the simple reason that you never really wanted them in the first place. You were after something else; they were simply by-products. Today's children are not products, they are by-products. They are not produced, they come along with sex like the husks that appear with the corn.
And so the whole world has been trying to protect sex from these accidents. Birth-control developed out of this attitude; unnatural aids were invented so we could enjoy sex and, at the same time, be safe from children. For ages efforts have been made to rescue mankind from this so-called evil.
Even ancient Ayurvedic scriptures mention remedies. Today's selfish scientist is also concerned about the same thing that worried Ayurvedic scholars three thousand years ago.
Why? Why does man concentrate on this research? Children kick up storms; children pop up in between things; children bring the burden of responsibility, and there is also danger of a woman's apathy towards sex after childbirth.
Men don't want children either. A man may want children if he hasn't any, but it is not because he loves children, it is because he loves his wealth. When a man wants a child, do not be misled into believing that his soul is anxious for a son, for a new and innocent human being. He has amassed his wealth by hard labor. Who knows whose hands it might fall into after his death! He needs an heir, one born out of his own blood, to save his wealth, to enjoy his estate. No one wants a child for the child's sake. We try to save ourselves from them, but they simply come of their own accord. We just want to enjoy sex and a child drops in! These offspring are the by-products of sexuality. They are sick, they are weak, they are frail, they are ridden with anxiety.
Children can also be conceived by celibates, but they will not be the accidental by-products of sex.
When this happens, sex will be the means to bring forth children but it will not be an end unto itself.
You board a plane to go to Delhi. The plane is the means to reach Delhi. When you get there you are not going to say you won't get off the plane.
When you reach the state of superconsciousness through sex, when you have attained to brahmacharya, to the state of communion with the divine, your child will be a true product, he will be truly a creation! But up to now, man's ingenious mind has concentrated on building defense mechanisms to help him avoid children and yet allow the fullest enjoyment of sex. Efforts should be made in the opposite direction. But we still want to remain in our seats even after we have reached Palam airport in Delhi. Do you get my point? If brahmacharya became widespread, our inventiveness could be applied in the direction of spirituality. At present, the push is in the opposite direction: loathe the idea of children and enjoy sex for the sake of sex alone.
I also wish to ask this man why he is so worried about saving the world from brahmacharyas. He is so very apprehensive at present that people becoming brahmacharya might stop the birth of children and end the world. My friend, as things are now, the possibility of people becoming brahmacharya is nil. And it will remain so, as long as this callous, conscious and peculiar disrespect for sex exists.
No, my friend, there is no danger to the world from that quarter. But the possibility of extinction is increasing day by day because of these continuous, accidental births. If you go on producing children in this fashion the world will certainly come to an end. And you won't need atom bombs or hydrogen bombs. This ever-multiplying population, this obscene by-product of a swarm of worms will destroy itself.
The new man, born out of brahmacharya, will be of a different stature. He will have a longevity we cannot imagine. His health will be excellent; he will be free of illnesses. His form and figure will be like that of some majestic statue. An ethereal fragrance will emanate from him. Kindness, love, truth, beauty and religion will be his character. He will be born with religion in him. He will be a kind of divinity incarnate.
We have been produced irreligiously. We are inflicted with irreligiousness from birth and we die in irreligion. And in between, from morning to night, from birth to death, throughout the entire span of our lives, we talk and talk and talk about religion. In the superior man there won't be any idle chatter or empty discussion about religion, because religion will be his way of life. We talk about things that are not part of our lives, and don't talk about the things that are. We don't talk about sex because it is the way we live, but we keep talking about God because the way we live has nothing to do with God whatsoever. In fact, we keep ourselves satisfied by talking about the very things we can neither attain nor obtain.
Haven't you ever noticed that women talk more than men? Women are always busy talking about something or other - with their neighbors, with anyone who will listen. No offense is meant, but it is said that it is very difficult to imagine two women sitting together for a time without talking to one another.
I have heard that a big contest was arranged in China to select the greatest liar in the country. The winner was to receive a great prize, and so all the best liars gathered at the site chosen for the contest.
When it came to his turn, one man said, "I went to a park and I saw two women sitting on a bench keeping to themselves, keeping quiet."
There was a great uproar. Everyone cheered. People shouted, "There cannot be a bigger fib than this! This is the greatest lie ever!"
Everyone voted for this man.
Why do women talk as much as they do? Men have their work, but women don't have that much to do. Where there is not much work, not much activity, there is always idle chatter. This feminine trait is the national character of India. There is no progress in this country; there is only talk and discussion.
The new man, the man born out of brahmacharya, won't be talkative - he will live life. He won't just talk and talk about religion, he will live in religion. People will forget about religion as a topic for idle discussion, because religion will be their very nature. To think about that man, to imagine him, is wonderful; it is awe-inspiring.
Such men have been born, but their births have been rare. Occasionally, very occasionally, such a beautiful man is born that even the costliest clothes cannot beautify him, and he rises up unclad, naked, and the radiance of his beauty spreads far and wide. People throng around such a man - to see him, to marvel at a living deity. One such man had such a glow, had such vitality about him that although his name was Vardhamana people called him Mahavir - the great victor. The glory of brahmacharya in him was such that people prostrated themselves before him, before this Godman.
Occasionally a Buddha is born, occasionally a Christ is born, occasionally a Lao Tzu is born. We can barely count more than a few names like these in the whole history of mankind.
The day children are born out of celibacy, out of a divine communion - you probably don't like the sound of the phrase "children by celibacy" but I am talking about a new concept, about a nobler possibility - the day children bloom out of celibacy, humanity will be so beautiful, so strong, so considerate, so energetic and so intelligent that the knowledge of the self, of the Overself, of the Universal Consciousness, won't be very far away for anyone. Although this is difficult to imagine, let me illustrate with an example.
If I tell a man suffering from insomnia that he will able to go to sleep the moment he lays his head on his pillow, he will most likely not believe me. He will tell me he always rolls over in bed, or sits up, or gets up to say his beads, or counts sheep, but that he cannot sleep. He will say I am a liar. He will ask how it is possible to go to sleep instantly, just by lying down. He will complain that, despite all kinds of experiments, he cannot sleep soundly, sometimes not sleep at all for a whole night.
Thirty to forty per cent of the residents of New York City take sleeping-pills. And psychiatrists fear that in a hundred years nobody will be able to get to sleep naturally, that everyone will have to take tranquilizers when they go to bed. If this is the current state of mental health in New York, then the same thing will happen in India in another two hundred years. Indian leaders never lag far behind in copying foreigners. So we cannot be too far behind the New Yorkers. When we plagiarize everything else of theirs, how can we ignore this?
So, in five hundred years' time, it is quite possible that every man in the world will take a sleeping-pill before retiring. And immediately after he is born, an infant will want a tranquilizer instead of milk, because he won't even have been at peace in his mother's womb! Then it will be very difficult to convince people that, five hundred years before, people simply used to close their eyes and go to sleep without barbiturates. They will say it is not possible; they will ask how it could have been done.
Similarly, it will be very difficult to convince people who have been born out of celibacy that people had once been dishonest, that there had once been thieves and murderers, that men had once committed suicide, that they had poisoned and stabbed each other, that they had waged war. They will also not believe that people had once been born out of a vulgar sexuality that went not one iota deeper than physical contact.
A spiritual sex can evolve. A new life can begin for mankind.
During the last four days, I have spoken to you about the possibility of reaching a new level of spiritual existence. You have listened to my talks patiently and with much love, although to listen to such discourses peacefully must have been very difficult for you; you must have felt embarrassed at times.
One friend came to me and voiced his fear that a few men, feeling that such a subject should not be talked about, might stand up and raise a cry to stop the lectures. He felt some people might strongly and loudly protest the discussion of such a topic in public. I told him it would be a better world if there were such brave people around. Where will you find a man who is so courageous that he will stand up at a public gathering and ask the speaker to stop his discourse? If such courageous people existed in this country, then the glib and nonsensical talks delivered from the high platforms of this country by a long line of foolish men would have stopped a long time ago. But they haven't stopped yet and they will never stop. All along, I have been waiting for some brave man to get up and ask me to stop my talk. Then I could have discussed the subject with him in detail. It would have been a source of great pleasure to me.
And so, to such discourses, on such a topic - despite the fact that many friends were afraid someone might get up to protest, that someone might create pandemonium here - you have quietly listened.
You are all very kind. I am grateful for your patient and peaceful attention.
In conclusion, from my heart of hearts, I desire that the lust inside each of us may become a ladder with which to reach to the temple of love, that the sex inside each of us may become a vehicle to reach to superconsciousness.
And finally, I bow to the Supreme enthroned in all of us.