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Chapter Eleven: Suppression and Sublimation

Swami Sivananda youngIn the practice of brahmacharya, what is wanted is elimination of lust, but not suppression. Suppression of the sex urge is not eradication. You can never be free of that which is suppressed. The suppressed sex desire will attack you again and again and will produce wet dreams, irritability and restlessness of mind.

Repression or suppression of the sexual desire will not help you much. If lust is suppressed, it will again manifest with redoubled force when a suitable opportunity arises, when the will becomes weak, when vairagya wanes, when there is slackening in meditation or yogic sadhana, when you become weak owing to an attack of disease.

Do not try to run away from women. Then Maya will chase you terribly. Try to see the Self in all forms. Remember that the Atman is sexless.

Ignorant people adopt foolish methods to kill the indriyas. They fail eventually. Many foolish aspirants amputate the organ of reproduction. They think that lust can be eradicated by such a procedure. What a great foolish act! Lust is in the mind. If the mind is subdued, what can this external fleshy organ do? Some swallow tons of nux vomica to kill this organ. They fail in their attempts to be centered in brahmacharya. The state of their mind remains the same, though they become impotent by taking nux vomica.

What is wanted is a judicious control of the indriyas. The indriyas should not be allowed to run riot in sensual grooves. They should not be allowed to throw us ruthlessly into the deep pit of worldliness, like the turbulent horse carrying away the rider wherever it likes.

Brahmacharya means control, but not suppression, of the sex desire or sex force. The mind should be rendered pure by meditation, japa and prayer. If the mind is filled with sublime divine thoughts by meditation, japa, prayer and study of holy scriptures, the sex desire will be devitalized or de-energized by the withdrawal of the mind. The mind also will be made subtle.

From sex energy to spiritual energy

The sexual energy must be transmuted into spiritual energy or ojas shakti by the practice of japa, prayer, meditation and study of religious books. You must develop devotion and a burning desire for liberation. You must constantly meditate on the pure, immortal, sexless, bodiless, desireless Atman. Then only will the sexual desire be annihilated.

If the sexual energy is transmuted into ojas or spiritual energy by pure thoughts, it is called sex sublimation in western psychology. Sublimation is not a matter of suppression or repression, but a positive, dynamic, conversion process. It is the process of controlling the sex energy, conserving it, then diverting it into higher channels, and finally, converting it into spiritual energy or ojas shakti. The material energy is changed into spiritual energy, just as heat is changed into light and electricity. Just as a chemical substance is sublimated or purified by raising the substance through heat into vapor which again is condensed into solid form, so also, the sexual energy is purified and changed into divine energy by spiritual sadhana.

Ojas is spiritual energy that is stored up in the brain. By entertaining sublime, soul-elevating thoughts of the Self or Atman, by meditation, japa and worship, the sexual energy can be transmuted into ojas shakti and stored up in the brain. This stored up energy can then be utilized for divine contemplation and spiritual pursuits.

Anger and muscular energy can also be transmuted into ojas. A man who has a great deal of ojas in his brain can turn out immense mental work. He is very intelligent. He has lustrous eyes and a magnetic aura in his face. He can influence people by speaking a few words. A short speech of his produces a tremendous impression on the minds of the hearers. His speech is thrilling. He has an awe-inspiring personality. Sri Shankara, an akhanda brahmachari, worked wonders through his power of ojas. He travelled throughout India and held controversies and heated debates in different places with learned scholars through his power of ojas. A yogi always directs his attention to the accumulation of this divine energy by unbroken chastity.

In yoga, it is called urdhvaretas. An urdhvareta yogi is one in whom the seminal energy has flown upwards into the brain as ojas shakti. There is then no possibility of the semen going downwards by sexual excitement.

The secret of sex sublimation

According to yogic science, semen exists in a subtle form throughout the whole body. It is found in a subtle state in all the cells of the body. It is withdrawn and elaborated into a gross form in the sexual organ under the influence of the sexual will and sexual excitement. An urdhvareta yogi not only converts the semen into ojas, but checks through his yogic power, through purity in thought, word and deed, the very formation of semen by the secretary cells of the testes or seeds. This is a great secret. Allopaths believe that even in an urdhvareta yogi, the formation of semen goes on incessantly and that the fluid is reabsorbed into the blood. This is a mistake. They do not understand the inner yogic secrets and mysteries. They are in the dark. Their drishti or vision is concerned with the gross things of the universe. The yogi penetrates into the subtle hidden nature of things through yogic chakshu or the inner vision of wisdom. The yogi gets control over the astral nature of semen and thereby prevents the formation of the very fluid itself.

The body of a man who is truly an urdhvaretas has the scent of a lotus. A man who is not a brahmachari, in whom gross semen is formed, may, on the other hand, smell like a buck goat. The semen-energy ascends up to the brain. It is stored up as ojas shakti or spiritual energy and comes back as amrita or nectar.

The process of sex sublimation is extremely difficult. It demands constant and protracted sadhana and perfect discipline. That yogi who has achieved perfect sublimation has perfect control over lust. Complete sublimation is achieved through ceaseless meditation on the Atman and Self-realization. That yogi or jnani who has attained the highest nirvikalpa samadhi, in whom the seeds of samskaras are fried in toto, can claim to be a perfect urdhvaretas or one who has complete sex sublimation. There is no fear of his downfall. He is perfectly safe. He will be absolutely free from impurity. This stage is a very high stage. A microscopic minority only have attained this sublime exalted state. Shankara, Dattatreya, Jnana Deva of Alandi and others reached this stage.

That yogi who has disciplined himself through ceaseless protracted sadhana, continuous meditation, atmic vichara, the practice of sama, dama, yama and niyama, is also safe, although he has not attained the stage of perfect sex sublimation. Women will hold no attraction for him. He has purified and refined his mind. The mind is starved to death. It cannot raise its hood. It cannot hiss.

Total sublimation is difficult, yet not impossible

The process of sex sublimation is very difficult, and yet, it is most necessary for the aspirant in the spiritual path. It is the most important qualification for the sadhaka, be he in the path of Karma Yoga, Upasana, Raja Yoga or Vedanta. It is a fundamental prerequisite for an aspirant. If one has this qualification or merit, all other merits will come and cling to him. All good qualities will come by themselves. You must achieve this at any cost. You will surely attempt this in future births. But why not now?

The total annihilation of the sexual desire is the ultimate spiritual ideal. Complete sublimation alone will make you free. But, perfect sublimation can hardly be achieved within a day or two. It demands continuous struggle with patience and perseverance for some time. If the state of perfect sublimation is attained, there will be purity in thought, word and deed. No sexual thought will enter the mind at any time.

It is through constant vichara and Brahmabhavana that the mind has to be weaned from lustful thoughts and tendencies. You must remove not only the sexual craving and the sexual impulses, but also the sex attraction. Think of the miseries that people get from a married life with its various entanglements and bondage. Make the mind understand by repeated autosuggestion and hammering that sexual pleasure is false, worthless, illusory and full of pain. Place before the mind the advantages, bliss, power and knowledge of a spiritual life. Make it understand that the exalted, eternal life is in the immortal Atman. When it hears constantly these suggestions, it will slowly leave off its old habits. The attraction for sex will slowly die. Then only real sex sublimation will take place. Then only you will become an urdhvareta yogi.

There are two kinds of force in the mind, namely, hostile or antagonistic force and friendly or favorable force. Passion is a hostile force that drags you down. Pure reason is a favorable force that elevates you and transmutes you into Divinity. Develop, therefore, my child, pure reason to get unalloyed bliss and supreme Brahmic knowledge. Passion will die by itself.

Sex sublimation is within your reach if you wish to attain it. The path is quite clear, straight and easy if you understand it and if you apply yourself with patience, perseverance, determination and strong will, if you practice discipline of the indriyas, right conduct, right thinking, right acting, regular meditation, assertion, auto-suggestion and enquiry of “Who am I?” The Atman is sexless. The Atman is nirvikara. Feel this. Can there be any trace of lust or impurity in the eternal, pure Atman?

Glory to those yogis who have attained urdhvaretas, full sex sublimation, and who are resting in their own swarupa! May we all practice perfect celibacy through the practice of sama, dama, viveka, vichara, vairagya, japa and dhyana and reach the goal of life! May the Indweller of our hearts grant us spiritual strength to control the indriyas and the mind! May we all become full urdhvareta yogis like Shankara and Jnana Dev of yore! May their blessings be upon us all!

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Introduction: Practice of Brahmacharya

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