The fundamental energy of sex is man himself, mind himself. There is the source, the core, then there is the ‘I’ tendency, and then there are the various forms that the ‘I’ tendency takes. Whatever be the form that the ‘I’ tendency takes, the form is utilized for the fundamental purpose of the ‘I’ tendency.
The ‘I’, the ego, has just one purpose, to satiate itself, to come to a completion. The ‘I’ is like a burning mass. It’s a thirsty unit. It wants to somehow quench itself. That is one thing.
Second thing is, the ‘I’ knows only one way of satiating itself, that is, through association with objects. The ego tendency, the ‘I’, believes that the route to fulfillment passes through the world, through objects. So, it keeps on getting associated with one object after the other in order to get fulfilled. The objects keep varying, the tendency does not vary. The objects keep varying, the intention of the ego does not vary. The intention is the same. The intention is to gain total fulfillment through the object. The intention is to use the objects as a means to come to the ultimate, to come to closure.
That, which you see appearing as sex after a particular age until a particular age, is nothing but the fundamental drive of the ego expressing itself. In a human being, the ego is very closely associated with the body. When the child is small, the chief concern of the body is just nourishment and security. So, the body seeks the mother, and when the body is seeking of mother, the ‘I’ tendency attached to the body which is actually the real seeker, is just trying to gain total fulfillment through the mother. The hope is not answered. The hope that mother will prove to be the one who brings total contentment proves futile.
Intimacy with the mothers brings deep joy to the kid, but only for a while. The kid also discovers that the intimacy is not unconditional. The kid discovers that the mother may sometimes ignore him that another baby may come and affection may get a little divided. The kid also discovers that the relation really does not have perfect understanding. There is still distance. There is still confusion, conflict.
Even if of a small magnitude, yet it is still there.
The child moves ahead. The ego now must find another means to the ultimate. The child now places his hopes upon looking at the world, gaining a relationship with the world, using the world as a playground. But, new discoveries, new relationships, fun, frolic, all kinds of sports and games, they also only partially and intermittently relieves his misery. He finds that it is great fun to be adventurous, to know what this world is all about. He finds that the great fun to make new friends and keep playing with them. Mischief, naughtiness – all have their own attraction. But none of them comes even close to the total, absolute, perfect, unconditional bliss that the ego is looking for.
This attempt, the second attempt too fails. The mother fails, the world fails, the friends also proved to be failing. Fun and frolic prove no good either. Now, the age of puberty arrives. Another door opens for the kid. His search for the total, his search for peace, his search to go into the most relaxing lap, his search for security, now is able to find another expression.
All this while, what has remained unchanged is the ego’s search, longing for peace, for settlement. The ego is like a continuous uninterrupted thirst, pining for disappearance. That is a permanent background. In the foreground is the theater, the podium of all human activity.
In the foreground, actions keep happening, characters keep changing. There are differences. Sometimes there is light on stage, sometimes there is shade, sometimes characters are weeping, sometimes they are laughing, somebody is making an entry, somebody has just found an exit. People are getting related, people are getting separated. All this is happening in the foreground of life.
Somebody is aging, somebody is getting born, somebody is dying. People are moving from one place to the other. People are getting attached to one kind of thought after the other. Beliefs are being assumed, ideologies are being disowned. Time is changing, world is progressing. All kinds of differences are there. That is the great drama being played out.
But, in the background, there is a constant plaintiff wailing of the ego. As if the drama is to be characterized by a continuous melancholy background of sorrow. Doesn’t matter whether the characters are laughing or weeping, the ego is forever in a wailing mode. The song of the ego is always a sad song. Always. That is why none of what we ever experience is total because every experience is characterized in the background by the incompleteness of the ego.
So, now the drama has proceeded to puberty, teenage. And the ego is now wishing that the recent developments in the body, in the mind, are going to offer it something new. The other, the other’s sexuality, the others sexual organs, and the relation of the other sexuality with one’s own, now become the harbingers of a new hope that is actually very stale, very ancient.
One is infused with a new energy. One feels that all that which was lost till now will be probably recovered. One feels as if the mystery has been solved. One says, “Oh, I could not get it till now because the time was not right. Now, the time is right. My body is signaling, the other’s body is signaling that the time is right. The doors of heaven are just about to open.” This is the promise of sex – “The door is about to open. I am to enter a totally new territory.”
The promise looks very sincere. In fact, all the signs of fulfillment are there, one finds no reason to doubt. The game continues till the age of 45-50, where comes a point when the body that had risen up as a promise starts going down. That, which appeared as the method to bring fulfillment start going flaccid.
But, that does not mean that the search of the ego for fulfillment has ended. The form will now change. Now, the ego will find some other objects to place its hope upon. The other object could be money, prestige, family, or spirituality and enlightenment as concepts. Please see that nothing really ever changes for the ego in this entire drama.
For the infant, there is the mother. For the toddler, there are the playthings. For the child, there is fun, learning, discovery and adventure. For the young adult, there is sex. For the one who is now moving into the latter half of the life, now there is accumulation, search for security, prestige, spirituality, divine knowledge, and the lie.
Only the forms of the search are changing. And if you cannot see beyond the forms, you will feel as if some real movement is taking place. No real movement is taking place. We had said that behind all the songs, the noise and the chaos of the foreground, there is just the monotonous plaintive wailing of the ego in the background. As if someone knows nothing but to cry. As if someone is just born to cry. As if someone keeps crying even in the moments of deepest happiness. Such is the ego.
The ego knows nothing except its own tragic situation, “I’m sad, I’m lonely, I need fulfillment. I’m diseased, I’m looking for company. I’m desolate, I’m abandoned, I’m stranded, I need guidance. I need love. I need the one who would give me security.” This is the constant pain of the ego. Those who can see, always see that the drama is an utterly tragic drama. Tragic even when there are festivities and celebrations, even when something really nice appears to be taking place.
You asked about the energy that expresses itself as sex. That energy is the same energy that brings man to life. That energy is the same energy that caused you to born. That energy is the fundamental energy of one’s very existence. We are not born, ego itself is born.
Everything that one does is but an expression of that energy. That energy is an energy that feeds on itself. That energy is an energy that turns upon itself. As long as the ego is discontented, that energy keeps on destroying everything that the ego gets associated with.
Have you not seen that whenever you place too much hope upon anything, you end up destroying it? Because what you are expecting from the object of your hope, can never really be fulfilled by that object. Even if it is just a glass of water, even if it’s an ordinary bedsheet, even if it’s a pair of bathroom slippers, even if it’s just a little pen, even if it’s just a trifling conversation, mind you that the ego expects nothing less than 100% contentment from it. The ego does nothing except seek that.
So, even if it touches a dry and dead leaf, somewhere it is expecting to find the Truth in it. That is the burden the ego places upon every object it comes in contact with. And that is also the reason why lovers destroy each other. Because, when you love a man or a woman, you expect him, or her to be the channel that takes you to God. You expect him to be the guide to God. In some sense you expect your lover to be if nobody less than God. That is too much of a burden to place upon a limited human being. Your lover will never be able to satisfy your expectations because what you are expecting is impossible.
And that is why there is so much of heartburn and acrimony in love. That is why what we call as ordinary love is always a failure. Always, without exception. Some may realize it, some may not. Because what you had really sought in the others will never, never materialize. You seek exactly that in your lover as that which you seek in a large temple, or a large house, or a large fortune, a large followership, large sum of money, a large anything. All the time the ego in the background is using for the really large.
No man can be really large. No woman either, no building either, no sum of money, no followership. No knowledge, no scholarship, no achievement, nothing can be really large. In comparison to the really large, in comparison to immeasurable, everything in a small, finite, petty. We burden the petty with the responsibility to act as the infinite. What can the poor petty do? It is just petty.
The petty fails and then we blame the petty for failing us. The petty has not failed you, you have failed the petty. The petty is still shocked, the petty had never asked for the role you assign to it. You said, “You be my God’, how can the petty be your God? But you are placing the burden of your own ignorance on some other object. You say that your job must satisfy you. You say that fun, frolic, travel, adventure, must satisfy you.
You say that new experiences must satisfy you. These are all little things, puny. They do not want to accept the demands that you are placing upon them. They would be always far more contended just playing their own little role. You should have known better. You should have known where exactly to find that which you’re crazy for. But to find that in the right place is to firstly accept that you had been so far trying in the wrong places. You do not want to accept that. There is too much of investment that you have already had in the wrong places.
Now, to accept that they are wrong is to accept the futility of all your investment, is to accept that one has lived the failed life so far. We want to claim that we have succeeded, although the facts of our life belie our claim. But, who can prevent anyone from claiming?
The entire human life is a journey, a journey to nowhere, a journey in vain. Man moves a lot, reaches nowhere. It has been aptly said that life is like a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing. Life is like a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying just nothing. One is moving from here to there, from pillar to post, only to return again to his former position. And not even realizing that, again and again, he finds himself in the same position – desperate for something, Pining for something.
Sometimes in the form of sex, sometimes in the form of religion, sometimes in the form of personality, sometimes in the form of accomplishments. You are always looking for the same thing, always. It is just that the bodily apparatus, the physical apparatus, becomes right for sexual activity at a particular age, so that too is taken as another means.
It is as if you have been desperately waiting for your lover to arrive, and the plumber knocks on the door. And you have been waiting with such intensity and for so long that you start making love with the plumber.
That is what happens when you do not know where to find that which you are hungry for. And that is our situation. Whosoever knocks on the door, now the fellow who is knocking has come for his own legitimate purpose. The plumber has come to fix the leak, the leak in the tab, in the bathroom, not your own personal bodily leak, let the plumber do what he has come to do.
The body become sexually active. The hormones start rising because Prakriti has its own agenda. Because Prakriti wants that physical life must continue. That continuation, that continuous role of time is what Prakriti is. The furtherance of the material is Prakriti. So, that is what sexual activity is about. Fulfilling the goals of physical nature, Prakriti.
Now, Prakriti knocks. And the ego ever so keenly waiting, again assumes in it desperate hope that the lover has arrived. The result is a lot of frenzy, and then a lot of disappointment.
Have you seen how lovers turn their back to each other and go off to sleep after the sexual act? The other has been used. The purpose has been achieved, at least temporarily. The maximum that the other could give you at that moment has been obtained. Now, what is left? The maximum that the plumber could offer you has been extracted from him. And the maximum is still not enough.
Those who understand what their entire system, what the body-mind are looking for, go directly to the root. Others remain obsessed with objects and forms. Others keep thinking that if one object has failed them, maybe the next one would not. The other is beautiful. Sexual activity is beautiful. But not when you are searching God through sex, because sex is not going to take you to God.
Love is beautiful, courtship is beautiful, relationships are beautiful, togetherness is beautiful, but all of that becomes very very ugly when you place the burden of your own inner discontentment upon the other. The other is just a limited human being. He will not be able to give you the immense, and nothing less than immense is going to satisfy you.
When you enter sex, know fully well that this is not what you are really looking for. That is the first thing. Know fully well that this is just like food and water. Food and water can fill up your stomach, but not your heart. Same with sex. That is the first thing. Do not unnecessarily hype sex up. Do not turn it into a big show. There is no need to have so much buzz around it.
Do you see how mankind is obsessed with sex? Do you see how our language, our culture or society, our art or literature is also sex-centric? It is also sex centric because sex is such a big thing for us. Sex is such a big thing because we think that it is going to take us to the big. It doesn’t take us there. So, treat it with a little sanity. They mean a little compost. Do not go overboard. Sex is just sex. That is the first thing.
The second thing is, having known that sex will not give you what you truly desire, you come to see the futility of desire. You come to see that if even sex is going to fail, it is quite unlikely that anything else is going to succeed. That gives you freedom from compulsive incompleteness. You see that the incompleteness persists only upon the hope of completeness. When the hopes are dashed, when it becomes clear that your hopes are never going to be fulfilled, strangely the incompleteness also vanishes. This must be understood.
The ego keeps wailing in the background only because it thinks that there is something to be had. Like a little kid, it feels that by wailing it will get what it wants. Have you seen babies, they become conditioned to cry because cry fetches them what they want. So, they cry in hope. Their crying is some kind of a strategy infact. The ego too is like that little baby. It keeps crying because it has hope.
It feels that by constant assertion of its problems, of its loneliness, of its hunger and desperation, it will be able to extract something from the world. When it becomes clear to the ego that its tactics are not going to work, then it stops wailing. This cessation of wailing is Peace, is Samadhi.
One way of soothing, calming the wailing child is to give him what he wants. But if you give him what he wants, he will realize that what he has just obtained is not what he really wanted, and so his wailing is going to resume sooner than later. The other way is to let the child know that wailing doesn’t work, that wailing is foolhardy. That wailing infact is just a burden upon the child’s own mind. Then the child realizes, “Why am I wasting my time with all these tantrums. What is the point in creating so much tamasha? I am anyway not getting that which I am trying to get through wailing.” Then there comes a silence, that silence itself is contentment, it is no different. In sex too, when you realize that sex is not going to give you what you want it to, that will not quite result in renunciation of sex, that rather results in purification of sex.
Absence of unnecessary hype sanctifies sex. Now, you do not go to the other to obtain something because you already know that the other cannot give you what you want him to give you. Now, you go to the other in a pre-existing contentment. You already are okay. You are not trying to have sex to be okay, to become okay. You are already okay.
And, in this okayness, now you are meeting the other, meeting with the other. Now, even if the other says, “I am not in the mood,” that doesn’t wreak havoc upon you. Otherwise, you know what happens, right? You are all in the mood, jumping, giggling, ready to shoot, and the other says, “I am having a headache,” and you know what a terrible letdown that is. That is such terrible letdown because your mind had built such a grand story around the expected happening. It was just imagination, a lot of imagination. And the imaginary castle was brought down by the mood of your partner.
So, you feel devastated, you may even get violent. But, when you approach your partner with equanimity, then yes and no are both alright. Because anyway the expectation was not great. Now, you are not a creature of desire. Now, you are not approaching the other so that he may provide you with therapy. Sex is no more a medicine or a treatment for you. Sex is rather just some good fun sport. The fit player takes to the field. He is already fit.
If you visit a stadium, you will find two kind of people there. There are the fat ones, the obese ones, the unfit ones, who come to the stadium early in the morning to jog, to lose some weight, in order to become fit. And then there are the players who already are fit. They come to the stadium to express their fitness – they run around, they play with each other, they match wits, they match skills.
And then it is worth watching. People gather just to watch them when two fit players are engaging with each other. Who comes to watch when a 150 kilo specimen is struggling and hobbling and somehow trying to cover 26 meters? Our sex is like the obese man jogging in order to gain fitness. We enter sex in order to gain fitness. Not physical fitness, mental fitness. Mental completion.
We say, “If sex happens, maybe I will be relieved.” No, don’t enter sex in order to be relieved. Have sex because you are already in relief. If you instead are in distress, what kind of sex are you going to have? If you feel you are in distress and you’re still having sex, what would be the quality of your sex? It would be like a man penetrating from the front when there is fire in his backside. Can we imagine such a man? He is riding his woman and his backside is already a fire. What would be his experience?
First of all he cannot engage properly with the woman. Secondly, even if the woman is a superwoman and cooperates, what is this man going to receive? On one side he feels some satisfaction, on the other side his back, his butt, is burning, blazing. And that is the experience of so many people. Even when they are having sex their mind is burning. One seeker told me that his problem is that when he is having sex with his wife, even then he is thinking of the targets that he has to meet. Professionals targets that is. Sales targets, productivity targets.
So, one part is engaged in the sexual act and the other part is burning. What is the quality of the experience? You really think you are going to get God, bliss Samadhi through this? Another one shared, that even when he’s with his partner, he still needs the support of pornography. Now do you see how horrible that is? Even in the moment when you are with a man or a woman, you still need the support of imagination. The fact is not enough. You are so terribly diseased. But then, the seeker protested, he said, “But what’s wrong with it, my wife too enjoys it.”
I said, “You think that you and your wife have something in common, you think both of you are enjoying the porn? No, in the porn you are enjoying the woman, she’s enjoying the man. Both of you are divided. Now, what would be the quality of your union?”
That is what the ego keeps doing throughout the life of man. It maintains its burning nature, and on top of that burning nature it wants to apply some soothing ointment. So, it is always divided. Two things are always happening, and two such things that can never really reconcile. The ego says, “On one hand it is very necessary for me to continue burning because if I do not burn I’m no more alive. My very definition is that this burning mass is called ego.”
So, on one hand, I will continue to burn, and on the other hand, I will claim that I am fed up of burning so I need relief. The ego tries to achieve both of these and parallelly and concurrently. So, the man is trying to retain all his restlessness by thinking of his productivity targets. And on the other hand, he is trying to use the woman to come to rest by having sex. How will that help? Will the tactic ever succeed?
The ego wails for Silence. Now, that is quite interesting. Because the Silence is already there and is obfuscated only by the wailing. It is like a man who is solitary in his house. There is nobody in the house to make any kind of noise, nor is there anybody outside the house to make any kind of noise, and the man is shouting inside the house, “Why is there so much noise in the house?” The man is saying, “I love silence, I love silence, why is there so much noise in the house?”
And there is nobody to make any noise, neither inside nor outside. And the man is still desperate, fuming, he’s furious to get an answer. He says, “Who is it? Who is making noise? I love silence and I am feeling bad, I’m about to break down. Who is creating so much noise? That is the ego.
The ego does not realize that its own wailing is the only noise that there is. Otherwise, Silence is any way there.
Stop using sex as a means and then sex is wonderful. Take sex slightly and then sex is wonderful. Live in your own completion and then sex is wonderful. But if you use sex, then you are only going to exploit your partner. If sex is an important means of satisfaction or salvation for you, then my sympathies are with your partner, and obviously with you.
When you are in contentment, then you look differently upon the other. The other is not now a pound of flesh to be had. The others body now is not something to be ripped open, consumed, eaten, munched, bloodied, destroyed, dirtied. Now, the other is beautiful. Now, the other is respectable. Now, you can really honor the others.
Do you see how most couples dishonor each other in sex? In fact, if we are ever greatly disrespectful to a human being, it is in the process of sex. Two people having sex with each other are a very good example of two exploiters engaging mutually to exploit each other. Even if there is some pretense of love, it is just that, a pretense. You want to appear civilized, so you say a few nice things before you start opening up the other’s body. It is just to be on the right side of morality. So, there is a little bit of talk, a little bit of foreplay, a few “I love yous” exchanged. A few polite but meaningless inquiries.
Some time has to be spent. You cannot reveal that you are aiming only for the jackpot and everything else is just trivial. At best an introduction and at worst a distraction. That does not happen when you look at the other in contentment. Now, the other is beautiful. Now, sex is not desperate but divine. Now, you can really relate to the other.
Now, when you touch the other, it is not rape. Now you can look into the other’s eyes and not just at the others organs. Do you know how utterly orgasmic it is to look into somebody’s eyes? But one forgets all that when the other’s genitals are laid open bare. Do you know how beautiful it is to watch the face of your lover? But, all that is lost when you only have the breasts and the butts to watch. I’ve nothing against breasts and butts, but I have a lot for the face. Why ignore the face? Why ignore the eyes?
Sex will not give you God. Be with God and then live. Sex is a part of living. When you are with God, then living will be divine and sex too will be divine.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What is the energy behind sex?
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