Sex, love and prayer: three steps to the divine
PLEASE DESCRIBE TO US THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF SEX ENERGY. HOW CAN WE SUBLIMATE AND SPIRITUALIZE SEX? IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE SEX, TO MAKE LOVE, AS A MEDITATION, AS A JUMPING BOARD TOWARD HIGHER LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS?
There is no such thing as sex energy. Energy is one and the same. Sex is one outlet for it, one direction for it; it is one of the applications of the energy. Life energy is one, but it can manifest in many directions. Sex is one of them. When life energy becomes biological, it becomes sex energy.
Sex is just an application of the life energy. So there is no question of sublimation. If life energy flows in another direction, there is no sex. But it is not a sublimation; it is a transformation.
Sex is the natural, biological flow of life energy, and the lowest application of it. It is natural because life cannot exist without it, and the lowest because it is the foundation not the peak. When sex becomes the totality, the whole life is just a waste. It is like laying a foundation and going on laying the foundation, without ever building the house for which the foundation is meant.
Sex is just an opportunity for a higher transformation of life energy. As far as it goes it is alright, but when sex becomes the whole, when it becomes the sole outlet for life energy, then it becomes destructive. It can only be the means, not the end. And means are meaningful only when the ends are achieved. When a man abuses the means, the whole purpose is destroyed. If sex becomes the center of life, as it has become, then means are changed into ends. Sex creates the biological foundation for life to exist, to continue. It is a means; it should not become the end.
The moment sex becomes the end, the spiritual dimension is lost. But if sex becomes meditative, then it is directed toward the spiritual dimension. It becomes a stepping stone, a jumping board.
There is no need for sublimation, because energy as such is neither sexual nor spiritual. Energy is always neutral. In itself, it is nameless. The name comes from the door through which it flows. The name is not the name of the energy itself; it is the name of the form that the energy takes. When you say "sexual energy," it means energy that flows through a sexual outlet, through a biological outlet.
This same energy is spiritual energy when it flows into the divine.
Energy itself is neutral. When it is expressed biologically, it is sex. When it is expressed emotionally, it may become love, it may become hate, it may become anger. When it is expressed intellectually, it may become scientific, it may become literary. When it moves through the body, it becomes physical.
When it moves through the mind, it becomes mental. The differences are not differences of energy as such, but of the applied manifestations of it.
So it is not right to say "sublimation of sex energy." If the outlet of sex is not used, the energy becomes pure again. Energy is always pure. When it is manifested through the divine door it becomes spiritual, but the form is just a manifestation of the energy.
The word 'sublimation' has very bad associations. All theories of sublimation are theories of suppression. Whenever you say "sublimation of sex," you have become antagonistic to it. Your condemnation is there in the very word.
You ask what one can do about sex. Anything done directly to sex is a suppression. There are only indirect methods in which you do not concern yourself with sexual energy at all but, rather, seek to open the door to the divine. When the gate to the divine is open, all the energies that are within you begin to flow toward that door. Sex is absorbed. Whenever a higher bliss is possible, the lower forms of bliss become irrelevant. You are not to suppress them or fight against them. They just wither away. Sex is not sublimated; it is transcended.
Anything done negatively with sex will not transform the energy. On the contrary, it will create a conflict within you that will be destructive. When you fight with an energy, you are fighting with yourself. No one can win the fight. One moment you will feel that you have won, and the next moment you will feel that sex has won. This will go on continuously. Sometimes there will be no sex and you will feel that you have controlled it, and the next moment you will feel the pull of sex again and everything you seem to have gained will be lost. No one can win a fight against his own energy.
If your energies are needed somewhere else, somewhere more blissful, sex will disappear. It is not that the energy is sublimated; it is not that you have done something to it. Rather, a new way toward greater bliss has opened for you and automatically, spontaneously, the energy begins to flow toward the new door.
If you are holding stones and suddenly diamonds come your way, you will never even notice that you drop the stones. They will drop by themselves, as if you never had them. You won't even remember your renunciation of them, that you have thrown them away. You won't even realize it. It is not that something has been sublimated. A greater source of happiness has been opened, and the lesser sources have dropped away by themselves.
This is so automatic, so spontaneous, that no positive action against sex is needed. Whenever you are doing anything against any energy it is negative. The real, positive action is not even connected with sex but is concerned with meditation. You will not even know that sex has gone. It has simply been absorbed by the new.
Sublimation is an ugly word. It carries a tone of antagonism, of conflict, in it. Sex should be taken for what it is. It is just the biological foundation for life to exist. Do not give it any spiritual or antispiritual meaning. Simply understand the fact of it.
When you take it as a biological fact, then you are not concerned with it at all. You become concerned with it only when some spiritual meaning is given to it. So do not give any meaning to it; do not create any philosophy around it. Just see the facts. Do not do anything for it or against it. Let it be as it is; accept it as normal. Don't take an abnormal attitude toward it.
Just as you have eyes and hands, so too you have sex. You are not against your eyes or your hands, so do not be against sex. Then the question of what to do about sex becomes irrelevant. To create a dichotomy for or against sex is meaningless. It is a given fact. You have come into existence through sex, and you have a built-in program to give birth through sex again. You are part of a great continuity. Your body is going to die, so it has a built-in program to create another body to replace it.
Death is certain. That is why sex is so obsessive. You will not be here forever, so you will have to be replaced by a newer body, a replica. Sex is so important, because the whole nature insists on it; otherwise man could not continue to be. If it were voluntary, there would be no one left on earth.
Sex is so obsessive, so compelling, the sex drive is so intense, because the whole of nature is for it.
Without it, life cannot exist.
The reason why sex is so important to religious seekers is because it is so nonvoluntary, so compelling, so natural. It has become a criterion to know whether the life energy in a particular person has reached the divine. We cannot know directly that someone has encountered the divine - we cannot know directly that someone has diamonds - but we can know directly whether someone has thrown the stones, because we are acquainted with stones. We can know directly that someone has transcended sex because we are acquainted with sex.
Sex is so compulsive, so nonvoluntary, it is so great a force, that it cannot be transcended until someone has achieved the divine. So bramacharya became a criterion to know whether a person has reached the divine. Then sex, as it exists in normal beings, will not exist for him.
This does not mean that by dropping sex one will achieve the divine. The reverse is a fallacy. The person who has found diamonds throws the stones he was carrying, but the reverse of this is not true. You can throw away the stones, but that doesn't mean you have achieved something beyond it.
Then you will be in between. You will have a suppressed mind, not a transcended one. Sex will go on bubbling inside you and will create an inner hell. This is not going beyond sex. When sex becomes suppressed it becomes ugly, diseased, neurotic. It becomes perverted.
The so-called religious attitude toward sex has created a perverted sexuality, a culture that is completely neurotic sexually. I am not in favor of it. Sex is a biological fact; there is nothing wrong in it. So do not fight it or it will become perverted, and a perverted sex is not a step forward. It is falling below normality; it is a step toward insanity. When the suppression becomes so intense that you cannot prolong it, then it explodes - and in that explosion, you will be lost.
You are all human qualities, you are all possibilities. The normal fact of sex is healthy, but when it becomes abnormally suppressed it becomes unhealthy. You can move toward the divine from the normal very easily, but to move to the divine from a neurotic mind becomes arduous and, in a way, impossible. First you will have to become healthy, normal. Then, in the end, there is a possibility that sex may be transcended.
Then what is to be done? Know sex! Move into it consciously! This is the secret to open up a new door. If you go into sex unconsciously, then you are just an instrument in the hands of biological evolution, but if you can be conscious in the sex act, the very consciousness becomes a deep meditation.
The sex act is so involuntary and so compulsive that it is difficult to be conscious in it, but it is not impossible. And if you can be conscious in the sex act, then there is no other act in life in which you cannot be conscious, because no act is as deep as sex.
If you can become aware in the sex act, then even in death you will be aware. The depth of the sex act and the depth of death are the same, parallel. You come to the same point. So if you can be aware in the sex act you have achieved a great thing. It is invaluable.
So use sex as an act of meditation. Do not fight it, do not go against it. You cannot fight with nature; you are part and parcel of it. You must have a friendly, sympathetic attitude toward sex. It is the deepest dialogue between you and nature.
In fact, the sex act is not really a dialogue between a man and a woman. It is a dialogue of man with nature, through woman, and of woman with nature, through man. It is a dialogue with nature. For a moment you are in the cosmic flow; you are in the celestial harmony; you are one with the whole. In this way man is fulfilled through woman, and woman through man.
Man is not whole and woman is not whole. They are two fragments of one whole. So whenever they become one in the sexual act, they can be in harmony with the innermost nature of things, with the Tao. This harmony can be a biological birth for a new being. If you are unaware, that is the only possibility. But if you are aware, the act can become a birth for you, a spiritual birth. You will be twice-born through it.
The moment you participate in it consciously, you become a witness to it. And once you can become a witness in the sex act you will transcend sex, because in witnessing you become free.
Now the compulsion will not be there. You will not be an unconscious participant. Once you have become a witness in the act, you have transcended it. Now you know that you are not the body alone. The witnessing force in you has known something beyond it.
This "beyond" can be known only when you are deeply within. It is not a surface encounter. When you are bargaining in the market, your consciousness cannot go very deep because the act itself is superficial. As far as man is concerned, the sex act is ordinarily the only act through which one can become a witness to the inner depths.
The more you go into meditation through sex, the less effect sex will have. Meditation will grow from it, and out of the growing meditation a new door will open and sex will wither away. It will not be a sublimation. It will be just like dry leaves falling from a tree. The tree never even knows the leaves are falling. In the same way, you will never even know that the mechanical urge for sex is going.
Create meditation out of sex; make sex an object of meditation. Treat it as a temple and you will transcend it and be transformed. Then sex will not be there, but there will not be any suppression, any sublimation. Sex will just become irrelevant, meaningless. You have grown beyond it. It makes no sense to you now.
It is just like a child growing up. Now toys are meaningless. He has not sublimated anything; he has not suppressed anything. He has just grown up; he has become mature. Toys are meaningless now. They are childish and now the child is no longer a child.
In the same way, the more you meditate, the less sex will have an appeal to you. And by and by, spontaneously, without a conscious effort to sublimate sex, energy will have a new source to flow to.
The same energy that has flowed through sex will now flow through meditation. And when it flows through meditation, the divine door is being opened.
Another thing. You have used the words 'sex' and 'love'. Ordinarily we use both words as if they have an inner association. They have not. Love comes only when sex has gone. Before that, love is just a lure, a foreplay, and nothing else. It is just preparing the ground for the sex act. It is nothing but an introduction to sex, a preface. So the more sex there is between two persons, the less love there will be because then the preface is not needed.
If two persons are in love, and if there is no sex between them, there will be much romantic love.
But the moment sex comes in, love goes out. Sex is so abrupt. In itself, it is so violent. It needs an introduction; it needs foreplay. Love, as we know it, is just clothing for the naked fact of sex. If you look deeply into what you call love you will find sex standing there, preparing to jump. It is always around the corner. Love is talking. Sex is preparing.
This so-called love is associated with sex, but only as a preface. If sex comes, then the love will drop.
That's why marriage kills romantic love, and kills it absolutely. The two persons become acquainted with each other and the foreplay, the love, becomes unnecessary.
Real love is not a preface. It is a fragrance. It is not before sex, but after. It is not a prologue but an epilogue. If you have passed through sex and feel compassion for the other, then love develops.
And if you meditate, you will feel compassionate. If you meditate in the sex act, then your sexual partner will not be just an instrument for your physical pleasure. You will feel gratitude to him or her because you have both come to a deep meditation.
When you meditate in sex, a new friendliness will arise between the two of you because, through each other, you have come into communion with nature; through each other, you have had a glimpse into the unknown depths of reality. You will feel grateful and compassionate to each other:
compassion for the suffering; compassion for the search; compassion for a fellow being, a fellow traveler.
If sex becomes meditative, only then is there a fragrance that lingers behind: a feeling that is not a foreplay of sex but a maturity, a growth, a meditative realization. So if the sex act becomes meditative, you will feel love. Love is a combination of gratefulness, friendliness and compassion. If these three are there, then you are in love.
If this love develops, it will transcend sex. Love develops through sex, but goes beyond it. Just like a flower it comes through the roots, but goes beyond. And it will not come back; there is no reversal.
So if love develops, no sex will be there. In fact, that is one of the ways of knowing that love has developed. Sex is like the shell of an egg, a shell through which love has to emerge. The moment it emerges, the shell will no longer be there. It will be broken, discarded.
Sex can reach love only when meditation is there, otherwise not. If meditation is not there, the same sex will be repeated and you will become bored. Sex will become increasingly dull, and you will not feel grateful to the other. Rather, you will feel cheated; you will feel inimical to him. He dominates you. He dominates through sex, because it has become a need for you. You have become a slave because you cannot live without sex. You can never feel friendly towards someone to whom you have become a slave.
Both will feel the same: that the other is the master. The domination will be denied and fought, but sex will still be repeated. It will become a daily routine. You fight with your sex partner, and then make things right again. Then again you fight; then again you make up. Love is just an adjustment at the most. You cannot feel friendly; there is no compassion. Instead there will be cruelty and violence; you will feel cheated. You have become a slave, sex will not be able to develop into love. It will remain just sex.
Go through sex! Do not be afraid of it, because fear leads nowhere. If one has to be afraid of anything, it is only of fear itself. Do not fear sex and do not fight it because that too is a sort of fear.
"Fight or flight" - fight or escape - these are two paths of fear. So do not escape sex; do not fight it.
Accept it; take it for granted. Go deep in it, know it totally, understand it, meditate in it - and you will transcend it. The minute you meditate in the sex act, a new door is opened. You come upon a new dimension, a very unknown, unheard-of one, and greater bliss flows through.
You will encounter something so blissful that sex will become irrelevant and it will subside by itself.
Now your energy will no longer flow in that direction. Energy always flows towards bliss. Because bliss appears in sex, energy flows toward it, but if you seek more bliss - a bliss that transcends sex, that goes beyond sex, a bliss that is more fulfilling, deeper, greater - then, by itself, energy will stop flowing towards sex.
When sex becomes a meditation it flowers into love, and this flowering is a movement towards the divine. That is why love is divine. Sex is physical; love is spiritual. And if the flower of love is there, prayer will come; it will follow. Now you are not far from the divine. You are near home.
Now, begin to meditate on love. This is the second step. When the moment of communion is there, when the moment of love is there, begin to meditate. Go deep in it; be aware of it. Now bodies are not meeting. In sex, bodies were meeting; in love, souls are meeting. It is still a meeting, a meeting between two persons.
Now, see love as you have seen sex. See the communion, the inner meeting, the inner intercourse.
Then you will transcend even love, and you will come to prayer. This prayer is the door. It is still a meeting, but not a meeting between two persons. It is a communion between you and the whole.
Now the other, as a person, is dropped. It is the impersonal other - the whole existence - and you.
But prayer is still a meeting, so ultimately it also has to be transcended. In prayer, the devotee and the divine are different; the bhakta and the Bhagwan are different. It is still a meeting. That is why Meera, or Theresa, could use sexual terms for their prayer experiences.
One must meditate in prayerful moments. Again, be a witness to it. See the communion between you and the whole. This requires the subtlest awareness possible. If you can be aware of the meeting between you and the whole, then you transcend yourself and the whole, both. Then you are the whole. And in this whole, there is no duality; there is only oneness.
This oneness is sought through sex, through love, through prayer. This oneness is what is longed for. Even in sex, the longing is for the oneness. Bliss comes because, for a single moment, you have become one. Sex deepens into love, love deepens into prayer, and prayer deepens into a total transcendence, a total oneness.
This deepening is always through meditation. The method is always the same. Levels differ, dimensions differ, steps differ, but the method is the same. Dig into sex and you will find love.
Go deep into love and you will come to prayer. Dig into prayer and you will explode into oneness.
This oneness is the total, this oneness is the bliss, this oneness is the ecstasy.
So it is essential not to take a fighting attitude. In every fact, the divine is present. It may be garbed, it may be clothed, but you must strip it, unclothe it. You will find still more subtle garbs. Again, undress it. Unless you encounter the oneness in its total nakedness, you will not find satisfaction, you will not feel fulfilled.
The moment you come to the ungarbed one, the unclothed one, you become one with it, because when you know the naked, it is no one but you. In fact, everyone is searching for himself through others. One has to find one's own home by knocking on others' doors.
The moment reality is disrobed you are one with it, because the difference is only of garbs. Clothes are the barrier, so you cannot disrobe reality unless you disrobe yourself. That is why meditation is a double weapon: it disrobes reality and it disrobes you as well. The reality becomes naked, and you become naked. And in a moment of total nakedness, total emptiness, you become the one.
I am not against sex. That doesn't mean I am for sex. It means that I am for going deep in it and uncovering the beyond. The beyond is always there, but ordinary sex is hit-and-run sex, so no one goes deep. If you can go deep, you will feel grateful to the divine that, through sex, a door is opened.
But if sex is just hit-and-run, you will never know that you were close to something greater.
We are so cunning that we have created a false love that does not come after sex but before it. It is a cultivated, artificial thing. That's why we feel that love is lost when sex is fulfilled. Love was just the preface, and now the preface is no longer needed. But real love is always beyond sex; it is hiding behind sex. Go deep in it, meditate in it religiously, and you will flower into a loving state of mind.
I am not against sex and I am not for love. You still have to transcend it. Meditate on it; transcend it. By meditation I mean you have to pass through it fully alert, aware. You must not pass through it blindly, unconsciously. Great bliss is there, but you can pass by blindly and miss it. This blindness has to be transformed; you must become open-eyed. With open eyes, sex can take you on the path of oneness.
The drop can become the ocean. That is the longing within every drop's heart. In every act, in every desire, you will find the same longing. Uncover it, follow it. It is a great adventure! As we live our lives today, we are unconscious. But this much can be done. It is arduous, but it is not impossible. It has been possible for a Jesus, for a Buddha, for a Mahavira, and it is possible for everyone else.
When you go into sex with this intensity, with this alertness, with this sensitivity, you will transcend it. There will not be any sublimation at all. When you transcend, there will be no sex, not even sublimated sex. There will be love, prayer, and oneness.
These are the three stages of love: physical love, psychic love and spiritual love. And when these three are transcended, there is the divine. When Jesus said, "God is love," this was the closest definition possible, because the last thing we know on the path toward God is love. Beyond that is the unknown, and the unknown cannot be defined. We can only indicate the divine through our last realization: love. Beyond that point of love, there is no experience because there is no experiencer.
The drop has become the ocean!
Go step by step, but with a friendly attitude, with no tension, no struggle. Just go with alertness.
Alertness is the only light in the dark night of life. With this light, go into it. Seek and search every corner. Everywhere is the divine, so do not be against anything.
But do not remain with anything either. Go beyond, because still greater bliss awaits you. The journey must continue. If you are near sex, use sex. If you are near love, use love. Do not think in terms of suppression or sublimation; do not think in terms of fighting. The divine may be hiding behind anything, so do not fight. Do not escape from anything. In fact, it is behind everything, so wherever you are, take the closest door and you will progress. Do not become stagnant anywhere and you will reach, because life is everywhere.
Jesus said, "Under every stone is the Lord," but you see only the stones. You will have to pass through this stony state of mind. When you see sex as an enemy, it becomes a stone. Then it becomes nontransparent; you cannot see beyond it. Use it, meditate on it, and the stone will become just like glass. You will see behind it, and you will forget the glass. What is behind the glass will be remembered.
Anything that becomes transparent will disappear. So do not make sex a stone; make it transparent.
And it becomes transparent through meditation.