Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sex and Spiritualism

Sex and spiritualism: they figure in my Blogger and Orkut profiles as two of my passions. For many, the combination might seem like the mixture of oil and water. What to do, mindsets can be made of concrete. A famous editor of a certain newspaper does not approve of articles related to yoga and meditation because he believes they are synonymous with Hinduism and are unscientific and therefore should not find place in his 'secular' paper.

If an editor, who is supposed to be the embodiment of intellect and knowledge, indulges in such discrimination, you can imagine the horror of a lesser mortal when he finds you glorifying sex on one hand and talking about spiritualism on the other. But what the hell, I shall include scotch as well. Believe me, the cocktail of the three S's can make your stay on this planet really worthwhile -- provided you mix the right quantities.

My recipe for happiness would be: connect to your soul early in the morning; do your karma yoga throughout the day; down a couple of scotches in the evening, and then sex at night. The order could be interchanged, as long as you don't do something at the cost of the other.

But then, it is always easier said than done, and that is why we are what we are, and thank God for that. Imagine a world full of perfectionists who followed a time-table: 6 am -- meditation, 8 am -- breakfast, 10 am -- in office, 7 pm -- drinks, 8 pm -- dinner, 10 pm -- fornication.

So back to the cocktail of sex, scotch and spiritualism; and the people who look down up or laugh at it. Sex and alcohol are often seen as natural partners (therefore the cliched phrase, Wine and Women); but alcohol and God, or sex and God? -- that's blasphemy! But read what South India -- The Rough Guide has to say about the Ayappa cult in Kerala:

"One day, when the two male gods, Shiva and Vishnu, were together in the pine forest, Shiva asked to see Vishnu's famed female form Mohini, the divine enchantress. Vishnu refused, having a fair idea of what this could lead to. However, Shiva was undeterred, and used all his powers of persuasion to induce Vishnu to transform. As a result of the inevitable passionate embrace, Vishnu became pregnant, and the baby Ayappa emerged from his thigh.

"Pilgrims, however, are required to remain celibate...
" And it goes on to talk about the famous pilgrimage undertaken by thousands every year in South India.

Per se, it is a good idea to resist physical desires for 41 days: it cleanses your mind and body. But why connect this abstinence to a God who himself was born out of a momentary physical desire?

But then, somebody -- certainly not God himself -- must have made the rules at some point, and people are merely following it. Just like elderly people in villages still follow the unwritten rule that even the shadow of a low caste must be avoided at all cost. Only the dark corners of the mind are at work, and such people, all their lives, are consigned to darkness.

A God-loving man is usually happy, but a God-fearing man is necessarily unhappy. A God-loving man gives a fuck: he has his own devices to tide over the vicissitudes of life. A God-fearing man, on the other hand, is chained either by insecurity or greed. If I were God, and if a devotee came to me pleading, "Please ensure that my film is successful. If you do so, I shall tonsure my head," I would ask the devotee to turn around and plant a solid kick on his ass.

But then, I am not God. Though I know what God is like. God is sitting right inside you: all you need to do is connect. If you are a thief, and after the day's theft you sit in an isolated place to ponder whether you are doing the right thing, and then you hear a voice from within that says, "You loser, can't you work to earn a living instead of stealing?", you have found God. You don't need to go to Tirupathi and pray, "God, if you rid me of my habit of stealing, I shall donate Rs 501."

Very often, alcohol brings you closer to God like nothing else. Because when you are a couple of drinks high, you are yourself. And that is when God is likely to make an appearance. God hates it when you fake it. So be yourself, and chances are God will rescue you.

But most people behave like coy brides when it comes to God. My mother, for instance. She has a set of 'puja clothes', which she washes everyday and makes sure no one touches them when they are left out to dry. Every morning, attired in those 'fresh' clothes, she will sit for puja, but not before she has personally washed all the utensils on which God has to be served. God's food usually consists of tiny sugar-balls, and when I ask her: "God is the one who is feeding us, so why do you need to feed him?", the staple answer is: "How can I leave God unfed?" If I argue, she warns me, "Don't fly too high, God can always ground you."

I pity her, and I pity the millions of others, who undertake so much of hardship to please a so-called God. Imagine standing in the queue for hours and hours, just for the sake of a darshan, or a glimpse, of the deity. And in those few moments you get the glimpse, you don't even relish the sight of the deity because your heart is busy pouring out dozens of selfish requests. And even before you finish with your list of requests, the priest rudely asks you to move on to enable the next guy in the queue to have his darshan.

India, in spite of its population, has no dearth of vacant places. Such as the beach or the riverside. Even a small temple where people hardly go. So please go there, sit comfortably, shut your eyes and talk to yourself. You will find God. Doesn't matter if you have had a few drinks -- in fact, that would make you more honest. Doesn't matter if you have just had sex -- that would rid you of the burden of lust.

Sitting alone, completely at peace with yourself -- that, according to me, is true spritualism.


Anu Russell said...

Could relate to a few things you said...nice piece.

Visithra said...

well written as always

finally someone else who dislikes the madrush of thirupathi

how the hell do u have a conversation with god when you're trying to avoid getting rubbed on by so called devotees madly rushing to reach the altar

Swahilya Shambhavi said...

God! Nice post. I saw on a t-shirt: Nobody is Perfect. I am nobody. And so they say God is Nobody and hence he is perfect. But the perfection is a combination of the many things in life that we call bad, wrong, ills of society.
The thief who goes to steal breaks a coconut before Ganesha praying for the success of his mission. And many a time, he is successful! We see that in the newspapers.
God is an experience, not words. It contains all the words and the silence too!

The Doodler said...

God neither needs pleasing nor feeding. I agree with you on that. But humans have this desire to offer things to God that they themselves find pleasurable -- good food, clothes etc...I wouldn't say that to be spiritual, one should abstain or that the two don't go together. But, isn't it also another verse of the Gita, that goads man to leave everything -- all sensual pleasures, earthly ties, even karma -- and surrender to Krishna?

If a person aspires to ultimate realization, then I have a feeling one has got to give up everything.Rough deal but hey, I didn't make the rules..! :)

Anonymous said...

lot of eyes on u!!:)

If only i was an editor ... i wld ve removed the first three paras from this art coz they are unnecessary and have been written just to attract the attention of the readers, according to me!!

I hate to have to agree with u most of the time..But.. u are right again when u speak of spiritualism :)

Paresh Palicha said...

Aha! Vintage BG, the cocktail of the 3 S's. Can anybody be erudite than you on those? No will be the simple answer (you could have just spared the poor secular editor). I'm banned from the 1st S's by fate, but, I think I make up with the 3rd.

mithali said...

the combination of sex and spirituality is not exacly blasphmous bcos many theories suggest that "sex workship"in some form or the other is human's oldest religion.
A major strand of tantra yoga ia in which workship takes the form of a sexual ritual as a prelude to an experience of the devine.
BUt being married to a staunch brahmin hindu family i have to admit that sometimes it can be soo frustating when during pujas the rituals take an upper hand then to actually connect to the god.though we belong to an enlightned generation who know that these practices are all rediculous but dont defy them as not to hurt the sentiments of our elders.

mithali said...

And yeah talking of tirupati I strongly believe that if every devotee in tirupati were to be allowed to stand in front of the God for as long as he wanted the crowd would have been reduced to half!

Anonymous said...

I just read Mark Tully's book - India's unending journey. Beautiful book on spiritulaism and it has a chapter on sex - khajuraho: the sensual and the sacred, the way Christainty sees it and how Hinduism has incorporated it inot daily life.

Anonymous said...

scotch, sex and spiritualism. the best combo to live life fully. simply addictive.

the difference between you and your mom is that you (accepting that you are intelligent and thinking) practise spiritualism alone, and she is one of those mothers part of a great faith that comes from being religious (ritual). that spiritualism serves a lot of people, including you and me.

think of you, without your mother's love, which comes from her faith (in her family) and in the absolute. never mind small things.

wheres our modern spiritualism taking us? To peace? i feel that too is not permanent for you can't sit alone contemplating all the time.

like scotch and sex, spiritualism has its own tastes and smells. it can't be the same. remember, this is a land of trillion gods.

Gayathri Varma said...

Beautifully written and so profoundly true!!

By the way, at the entrance of this particularly famous Ayappa temple in Kerala, is also enshrined the word 'TATVAMASI", which when translated means "You Are That". It can be further interpreted as "You And I Are One"

The Upanishads explain Tatvamasi beautifully and simply saying, one who has truly realized God, understands that the best place to find Him is within onself.

The irony is that most of the devotees who flock to this temple fail to see or delve into the meaning of this word written there...if they understood, probably they would go to some quiet place like you mentioned and look deep into their souls for God rather than search for him everywhere else.....

Anonymous said...

“Hinduism is not a religion, it is a way of life”……………….Dr. Radhakrishnan

Religion, according to Hinduism, is not separate from our day to day life. It cannot be separated from us, like the air we breathe, food we eat and for that matter, any action that we do mentally, orally and physically. It is only to liberate men from evil and elevate a good person to a better person.

“Every man is potentially divine. Religion is to manifest the divinity in him.”……Swami Vivekananda

Combination of sex and God is not blasphemy. Sex for necessity, i. e. for procreation, is approved.
“…..I am the sexual desire for procreation………..” [Gita – ch. 10 st. 28]

What is referred to spirituality as the one through drinks, drugs & sex is only hallucination. The happiness as achieved through these is only temporary. Happiness of eating a sweet lasts only as long as the sweetness lasts in the tongue. Then you cannot recall how it was, albeit you may say, “It was a good experience.”

There was a time, when the so called Vaishnavites and Saivaites used to quarrel as to which cult was superior (now they accept each other with reservations and have agreed to disagree!), leave alone the quarrel between people belonging to different religions. It was the right time for an Avatara, an embodiment of both Siva and Vishnu. Lord Dharma Sastha was “born”. [Sastha means one who trains / teaches / guides. Now you can understand the real meaning of Dharma Sastha, popularly known as Ayyappa.]

But why these stories about Mohini?

First of all, let us accept certain basic facts.

People are of different IQ and EQ.

Even though the teacher teaches the same subject, each student takes his own time to learn it; some take more time, some grasp it quickly, some others never understand anything!

Our great Rishis knew it very well, so they have advocated different paths for different grades of people. Take the case of music. Can all the people sing? Some are born genius. Some take years and years of practice under a Guru to learn it.

I asked a four year old child, who went to school for the first time, what he was taught in the school. He said, “the teacher taught me 1 + 1 = 2.” To tease him, I told him, 1 + 1 is not 2, but 3! He got confused and angry, retorting, “No, you don’t know. My teacher must be correct!”

At his level, he believes his teacher. As years go by, his belief turns into knowledge, as he reaches II, III, IV standards and I can no more tease him, as I did earlier. As he goes to college, he elevates himself from knowledge to conviction, when he will be able to teach others what he has gained. At this level, he has no doubt about his knowledge. There is one more level, that of realization.

All the “Puranic” stories were narrated to make people first believe that if they commit evil they will be punished and rewarded, if they behave well. Syllabus is changed, when they reach higher levels.
That is when, we come to realize that there is something above Siva, Vishnu, Durga, Muruga, Ayyappa and so on and once we attain It, there is nothing else to attain. Is it so easy?

It is generally told that, Brahma is the God for creation, Vishnu for protection and Siva for destruction. It is actually, Creation of good thoughts, words and actions, Protecting them from evil thoughts, words and actions and Destruction of all types of evils. Ayyappa came into being symbolizing both the Vaishnavite and Saivite priniciples. He even achieved religious integration.

To make people at low level of intelligence get interested and believe in these principles, poetic imagination was liberally used to symbolize Vishnu as the female form and Siva as the male form. Why not otherwise? Siva is already personified as Ardhanareeswara (Siva & Sakthi) and Vishnu had already incarnated as Mohini during the Amrutha episode.

Reg. rituals and religious practices, they are essential part of any religion. If you go for a deep study of these practices, you will understand there is some inner meaning in these. For eg., during the Pooja, one has to wear neat clothes, use washed utensils and whatever one eats, one has to first offer to God. When one does it, with utmost sincerity, one feels that some mental peace is achieved. It is repeatedly emphasized in our sciptures that the first ritual one has to observe is “Sowcham” (Cleanliness).

Once, Narada asked Sri Krishna, “Of all the rituals, connected with time, family or country (society) (Kaalachaara, Kulaachaara or Desaachaara) which is the best?”

Sri Krishna replied, “Whatever be the ritual, it is meant for the general development of mind, intellect and the soul. Realize that all others are chaotic.”
Hence, if the ritual, one observes, brings about a positive change to the him/her, accept it. Or, turn a blind eye to it. It is futile to argue with them.

As far as the “bribe” to God is concerned, it never finds approval in our scriptures. It is again and again proclaimed in all our scriptures and at so many places in Gita, that whatever is offered to God, it should be done with sincerity and honesty and without expectation of anything in return. If one does one’s duty with dedication, discipline and determination, whether it is one’s own work or service to the needy and society, then there is no need for one to go to any temple or do any Pooja.

So let us now assess ourselves. Are we in the LKG level, where we only believe and happy to remain there itself, or do we want to promote ourselves to graduation level gradually?

“When you say, you believe in God, there is an element of disbelief in it. It is a question of whether you want God or not”……………………………………………………………... Swami Vivekananda

That summarizes your confusion. Do not be bothered about all petty things. If you find happiness and peace in meditation, do it. But remember one thing, simple meditation without any action will be futile.

A coolie, carrying a head load or a wood cutter, cutting woods uses only his physique to do the work. He does not apply his mind or intelligence. A driver, driving a car has to apply his mind to do his work. But there is no emotion involved in the above. A mother, caring her child has to intellectually and emotionally involve herself in doing her work.
Hence, any work, whether it is our day to day work or religious rituals or meditation, is done in three levels, viz. physical, mental (emotional) and intellectual (i. e. KARMA, BHAKTHI & JNANA YOGAS). Of these, utmost importance is given to physical work , i. e. Karma Yoga.

Of the many stories, two stories can be quoted, for the emphasis given to Karma Yoga.

(1) Once Narada, proud of being a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, asked Him, “Who according to You is Your greatest devotee?” Vishnu said, a farmer, working on the fields. Narada was surprised and wanted to know the reason. He went and observed him. The farmer daily, after getting up in the morning, chanted once “Narayana!” and went to the fields to do his work. At night, before going to sleep, he once again , chanted “Narayana!” Vishnu explained that the farmer was doing his duty, that was given to him by God with sincerity and devotion. Narada said he was also doing his duty of spreading Bhakthi among people, as ordained by God.

To make him realize the importance of Karma Yoga, Vishnu gave him a bowl of oil and asked him to carry it around the world without dropping a single drop of oil. Narada perfectly performed this and then Vishnu asked him, how many times, he chanted His name or even remembered him. Narada said, “Why should I, I was only carrying out your instructions with concentration?” Vishnu replied that the former, even while carrying out his duty could remember Him twice!

(2) There was a young Brahmin boy, who wanted to go to the forest and meditate, without taking care of his old parents and his other duties. He went to the forest, sat below a tree and started meditating. After a long time, he came out of the Thapas and felt something fall on his head. He saw a bird, sitting on the branch above and looked at it angrily. To his surprise, the bird was immediately burnt off. He happily thought he had achieved great spiritual powers and feeling hungry, went to a nearby village. Standing before a house, he asked for alms. A lady came out and requested him to wait for a while, as she was then attending to her husband’s needs. Feeling infuriated, he started looking at her. She said, “Do you think I am like the bird that was burnt off by your looks?” Taken aback, he asked her how she came to know about it. She replied that he could get the answer from a butcher, staying in the next street. Reluctantly he went there. The butcher welcomed him saying, “Oh, you’re the Brahmin directed to me by that lady! Please wait, I shall finish my duties and answer your queries.”

The butcher, after completing his chores, said, “We are doing our duties perfectly. That lady is attending to hers without grumbling and with great devotion and she has naturally acquired those powers. I may be a butcher by profession, but I don’t kill animals more than what is required to meet my minimum needs. I take care of my aged parents and my family and serve others in whatever way within my capacity. But you wanted to bypass your Karma and hence, you have not achieved anything. So, go back and do your Karma properly.”

If any one does not like the ambience of a temple, he is at liberty to avoid going there. Instead, he can choose any place, where he gets peace of mind, so long as it does not disturb others. But, the best place is the one, where you are, wherever you are.
“One who can feel silence in the midst of sound, loneliness in the midst of crowd and light in the midst of darkness can achieve calmness in the midst of calamities”...……..…Swami Ranganathananda

Vijay C

Anonymous said...

Very enlightning. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

In one or two paragraphs…you talk about….my views are here

Since you say God has given all to feed ourselves, he is feeding us then why do we feed GOD!

Yes we feed god because all to feed is given by GOD (small sugar balls), it becomes our duty to ask HIM first to taste. If some guests come to your place and when you offer some thing to him to eat, it is the courtesy of the guest which demands that he must ask his host first to start.
There is nothing to pity on her… you are an Indian, follow Indian culture… whether it is your guest or GOD!

Yes we pray to god for selfish requests…because GOD is all feeding to us like a mother. Where a child will go except to his mother for his demands…

Like the same, we request GOD to help…

I agree with you to sit calm and quietly to realize GOD..
But, do not sit idle, think positive, help the mankind, perform your duties with sincerity towards your parents, children and family enjoying all sauces of life like wine and sex, love and lust without harming others, without curbing others…believe in karma ….karma for the betterment of mankind….i.e. the real spirituality….in my opinion.

God always help for to be progressive…

Anonymous said...

To me, God is like shit. God never did nothing for me and for me he simply doesn't exist. He never helped me or intervened in any way. He gave me the worst fucking life anyone can imagine. A most wretched life. No amount of prayer has done jack shit for me. I know I have done it almost all of my life and I been completely disillusioned. And heck, it is almost over now. There is no god or no other imaginary being out there. It is a complete hoax. I just want to completely forget this impotent faggot and move on with whatever is left of my life.

jay said...

hello my friend,

can you please remove my abusive comment regarding GOD that I made earlier today at 7:59 pm under the name of 'Anonymous' blogger just above this comment here ? I was under a lots of stress and distraught but I feel it's not helpful to me or anyone in any positive manner. So please kindly remove the above comment, if you can.


Anubhuti said...

We are fundamentally a hypocritic society, so whatever gives you pleasure must be bad, whatever gives you pain ,must be good.So you abstain from or pretend to abstain from from sex,alcohol and even food to please God.
People who pledge loads of money, do all puja path,are mostly the ones who are most currupt, they bribe the God to get rid of the guilt.
Then there are people who really don't care about the rituals, fasting,giving up xyz for a month etc but they serve the mankind, they are kind, helping, caring. Is this not what God would like us to do ??
By the way have you read the new versions of mahabharata, it's there that you realise that sex is as important to Gods as to us.