Gurani: "Yoga and Sexuality" is an interesting topic, very interesting. Before we begin the lecture I want you to know that I really appreciate all of you coming here tonight. You must have a love for life in order to appreciate wisdom. I am happy that all of you are here and I hope all have some questions or some thoughts that may be on your mind.
Student: What is love, why do we fall in love?
Gurani: I don't know why you do this over and over again and still not understand it. It is through understanding that we are able to appreciate life. And life is always becoming. Everything is of the nature of becoming, continuously becoming. What is love and... what is the rest of the question? [The question is repeated.] I guess if you really fell, you wouldn't be able to get up. So do you think anyone really falls in love? Why do we fall in love? It appears that we do fall in love. But love is part of life and that fact is that we don't fall in love, we just love. And love is the continuation of life and because there is a purpose to our life and because we are in need of life to support our life through the interactions in circumstances, we appear to be falling in love. But we are all, constantly, in love. We never get out of love. We are always in it. But some know it and some don't. We are all born out of it, this precious gem, this electrifying, sustaining force that we call love. It sustains and contains us. We are all in love, all the time. Did you know that? It is the never-ending, ever lasting, eternal force within us. Now for a lack of a better word I use "force." It is always there and it never leaves. From time to time you may find ourselves sitting full of sadness with a desire to be, you find ourselves very, very lonely at times. And when that occurs, you begin to look here and we look there; and in looking here and looking there, you make a contact so that you can experience what is called love, with another. But that other is no other than your self. So you are constantly enjoying the bitter and the sweet, constantly seeking that which creates our life in the moment. Why do you fall in love? We never fall in love, we are always in love.
Student: Is it natural for aspirants to take a vow of celibacy? Is it possible to be sexually active and still achieve one's spiritual goals?
Gurani: That is an interesting subject. Everyone wants to know about celibacy. Now you have two questions there. Have you made a decision which one you would like me to answer?
Student: The second one.
Gurani: I thought so. [laughter] Well given the nature of your life in this present time, you desire activities of all kinds and sexual activity is something that is on your mind quite often. You are at the age of reproduction, the age of creativity, the age of bringing a new life into the world. So, you see, the activity is very strong and the desires that go with the activity are also very, very strong. This is all part of life, all natural to the movement of life. So yes, one can be very spiritual and still have a very active sexual life. And the first question is?
Student: Is it natural for spiritual aspirants to take a vow of celibacy? And the reason why I asked it is because I observe some people who are celibate and their sexual energy appears to come out sideways and become perverted. And you answered another question saying that that sexual energy needs to be converted to a higher form of consciousness. And if that happens, it is a satisfactory answer to the question. But we all have heard of so-called spiritual leaders molesting little children, and things like that. I just wonder if it is an appropriate course of action to take a vow of celibacy or if it is just a perversion.
Gurani: Well it depends on the individual. Many are called and few are chosen. Not everyone who says they will take a vow to practice celibacy can practice it. Taking on a vow is not like throwing a switch; a person has to evolve into taking a vow. So it starts at a very early stage of spiritual life. It starts at an early age. Then at a certain age when the time is right, one is able to take certain vows. It is like getting married. Do you know how difficult it is to get married? You don't know if you can or not. All kinds of initiations and all kinds of vows have to be taken with great considerations. Like that, the vow of celibacy takes great consideration and depends on the individual. An individual who is already very perverted in their mind will continue the perversion even after initiation, and will be very secret about it. So it really depends on the individual. Everyone who wants to lead a spiritual life ought to be very serious, and consider it very seriously, because one has to lead a spiritual life to rid oneself of the afflictions of life. Until the afflictions of life are attenuated it is very difficult for an individual to actually live a spiritual life. First one learns about a spiritual life and then one practices certain methods leading to a spiritual life. But once the afflictions of life are attenuated then one can really be free to live up to their vows, you see. Yes, there are all kinds of perversions all over the place. And it is very, very embarrassing to the human race. The human race is being brought down to the animalistic life, and so it is a big disgrace what is going on among people who can read and write and have discrimination and who can understand and who know about pain and suffering. This is very embarrassing that one does these things. Okay, next question.
Student: I hope this won't sound too juvenile. Sometimes I worry that Yoga may require giving up sex. Yet, I don't know that I want to go on living that way. I'm not a bad person and I care about other people and our animal friends. I don't want to give anyone harm or hardship. Is there something I am not seeing?
Gurani: You don't have to give up anything, you can have all the sex you want. But there is a time and place for everything. You have to know the time and the place. And you have to know the reason. Any activity that you perform or indulge yourself is more than it seems, there is a lot that goes on, there is a reason it is happening. You have to find out that reason. Of course with a young healthy man like you, if the sexual drive is very strong, the best thing is to be a girhasta (a family man). Find yourself a companion who will be with you and then start a family. There is a time and place for everything. You don't have to stop. And the Yogic way of life doesn't stop one from anything.
Student: What is sexuality?
Gurani: That is a brilliant question! So you don't know what that is -good for you! Good for you! Sometimes it is better not to know. What would you do if you knew what it was? What is sexuality? Everything is sexual. Did you know that everything is sexual? Every activity is a sexual activity. Sexuality is also a matter of the mind. And because we have a mind and we like to think, we are constantly thinking of sex. Sex is everywhere, in everything. Sexuality pertains to all activities of life, yet when the male and the female stand in front of each other, they begin to shiver and shake and they don't know what to do. They don't know if they should sit down or stand up; or walk away. They cannot bear looking at each other because everything is sexual.
Everything is full of ecstasy. Everything is a movement in life. Now if you talk about sex, actual intercourse, that also is an activity that is part of life. It is a movement. There are only two movements. The coming and the going, the standing and the sitting, this is movement. This is the real sexual act; the movement between you and me, the movement of speaking, eating, playing ball. Every movement is a sexual movement. Yet some know it and some don't. It's really very simple. And it is blown all over the place in very confusing ways. But the most beautiful sexual act is between a male and a female. Why? Because it gives birth to life, just like the seed being put into the earth and the plant that arises. It is an exciting thing to see, when the seed enters, it takes root. It becomes a living being. And it is here in this world for a purpose, for a reason.
You see all of life is very sexual. The reason for all sexuality in life is the reality of our own existence. Because you are, because you exist, you need many movements so you may continue to be. Everyone that is in love, everyone that loves, everyone that wants to love, everyone that wants to fall in love has one reason in mind, even though they may not know it and that reason is the reality of one's own existence. Because you are, you are in need to be, to become, to continue. That is why you look for someone in your life. Not so much because you really care for that person, not so much because you want to be a very nice individual, because you want to show someone you are very kind and generous. Those are all ideas and falsehoods. The real reality behind every sexual act is the need to be. You want to be and therefore, you seek and you look, and you continue to look, so you can be. Sexuality is in everything, in all actions. You take one hand and touch it like this [puts hands together]. It is a creation, it is a movement, it is a becoming. See how the hands move. They play with each other. Touching upon touch. This is sexuality-what a beautiful thing. Touch a flower. Touch a bird. Touch a baby. Touch a woman. Touch a man. And each touch that you give allows you to be. To be all that is possible for you to be.
So what is sexuality? Many people are very confused about sex. Some say "Well maybe I'm a woman, maybe I'm a man, maybe I'm this or that. Maybe I need four men at a time. Maybe I need three women. Maybe I need all the women in the world. Maybe I have to have sex every night." But after all of that, after you have had so many men and after you have so many women, after you have sex every night, then what? What do you do after that? So you might not like being a female, and perhaps you want to be a man. Then what? So you might not like being a man, you want to be a woman. What's going to happen after that? You can go and get surgery and become a man or become a woman. Then what? You can change your body. You can have all the changes and you can go through all the activities, then what do you do with your mind? It keeps on thinking, it keeps on searching, it keeps on moving from this place to that place. What happens when you get involved in activities that are not in the right time, or for the right purpose, what do you do? Feel sorry? Take medication? What happens? Sexuality in this society and in societies all over the world has failed to drown the woes. To uncover the reason for this I can talk about anthropology and history and traditions and values, and all these things. You can find out about all this in books. You can go to the library and take out a book on human life according to anthropology or philosophy or the sciences. You can go to many doctors and therapists and they will tell you this and they'll tell you that and they'll give you medication. Will that help? No. It may give you an understanding, and again, it may confuse you. The best thing to do is to look at yourself everyday and consider your life. And you must consider your life as an individual in this world, who has circumstances. We cannot live without our circumstances. Our circumstances give us meaning and help us to survive. So who are you? To know this you must look at your circumstance. You must look at your situation in life. And you will find out who you are.
We are born out of our circumstance. And there is a reason for each person's life. Each one of us has a reason for being. There is a power within each one of us that allows for our sexuality to be. The power of attraction is very strong. The senses are very active. There is a very strong power within all of us and we know it as our sexual nature. I am a woman and you are a man. But within the woman and within the man, there is shakti power which creates this world over and over and over again.
We humans are not alone in this world, in this sexual field of excitement. When the spring comes we could hear the birds and the insects-they are all going at it. They are just going at it. Look at all the living beings, from the little mosquito to the cobra, to the elephants, tigers, lions, all these living beings. They are all borne out of the sexual act. And the sexual act ought not to be considered just done by a male and a female in all species. It is happening all over, we just have to look. The next time you make bread, look at the relationship between yourself, all that flour and the bowl. Just look at that whole thing and you will see how the movement is just this way. [A motion of kneading bread is made] Out of that act something is born; you have a loaf of bread. Everything is a sexual act. When drinking a glass of water you may think you are just drinking water, but no, there is a connection being made. A movement is taking place. The water is drunk. But before you drink the water from the glass, you have to place it on your lips, there has to be a touch, a sensation, there has to be an ecstasy.
Everything is a sexual act. One may not know that because one does not know how to see. You must be able to see what is happening. Ecstasy is occurring all the time and if you can see it, you'd be amazed. It is such a hardship for young people who are engaged in sexual activity when they don't know what they are doing. They are just driven by the rhythm of time and the forcefulness that occurs in the moment. Because of this the individual become tired and weakened and there is no progress in life. To be energized, one has to be strong. When there is no understanding, no attention, one is blindly driven. But you see, sexuality is a natural occurrence. Very natural. And when it is natural, one does not have to work very hard to make it happen, it just happens on its own. There is no force. No force needed whatsoever. It is so natural. Therefore, each individual must take responsibility for his or her own life and begin to do some introspection. Ask yourself a few questions like, "Why am I doing this? Why am I always keeping my mind on sexual activities? Why am I always seeking this?" You must come to grips with yourself. "The pleasure is so wonderful," that is what most people would say. "It feels so good." But you know, it doesn't last long. And to sustain the pleasure takes a tremendous amount of restriction. It takes a lot of suffering. The pleasure only lasts perhaps one hour at the most. Then the pain comes. How do we sustain our sexuality without becoming a burden on someone else? And without allowing someone to become a burden to us? Some say, "Oh I love to hug and kiss you and I'd love to go to bed with you. But all the rest of you, all the melodrama, I don't want. I don't like you being angry. I don't like your stuffiness. I don't like the way you walk. I don't like the way you smell. You have bad breath, I don't like that either. So you'd better take a breath mint before you come near me." But the sexual act in itself is so wonderful even though the pleasure does not last. To sustain it takes tremendous amount of effort. The sexual act doesn't last long. But sexuality from the point of view of universal vision is the whole of life, it is the totality, it is complete unto itself. When you are conditioned by cultural notions you don't see the totality; you are simply driven to continue the rat race. You have to get out of that. You have to get out of the rat race and become truly sexual.
What you actually want in life is to be kind, loving, generous. You want to love everyone and always. You never have to seek that love. You don't have to look to anyone to fall in love; you already are in love. That is the reality of your life; that is your true nature. You don't have to look to one person and say, "Do you love me?" Most people work too hard to fall in love, to have someone love them. Thousands and thousands of dollars are spent on make-up, beauty parlors, all kinds of gadgets, all kinds of trinkets, all kinds of stuff-just to fall in love, just to be appealing. But we are all already in love. When you begin to realize that, when you begin to say it and feel it, a relaxation will occur and then you won't have to look for anyone, they will just come to you. Like bees drawn to the honeycomb. When this is not understood there is the notion that you have to fall in love. But you are already in love. You love everything. And actually you are already at peace with yourself. But your friends, your relatives and the people around you might say, "What is the matter with you, when are you going to get married? When are you going to find somebody?" And you try very hard to try to make it happen. You try very hard to find somebody. Don't try too hard. Just be there. Just be there very naturally. There is so much unnecessary stress. Don't think of falling in love, you are in love already. All of you are in love. Say it to yourself. "I am loved. I am loved. I am loved. I am in love." You are in love. I am in love. We are all in love with this great big world, we are all in love with life. When you are not riddled with fear and anxiety and when you don't have the pressure of having to fall in love, you can truly enjoy this life; you will be at peace with yourself.
When you are at peace with yourself, you can give freely and be. You won't have to pretend to be someone anymore. We are male and female in this world, consciousness and manifestation. This is our life. All at once, there is manifestation and all at once there is consciousness. You are already at peace with yourself. But you don't believe it because you don't know it yet. And therefore the Yogis and the great Seers have brought forth into this world of human existence the great Yoga Sutras, the great Samkhya philosophy, the great Vedas, the Rig Veda, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Bhagavad Gita and so many, many books. Great sages have existed all over the world throughout time. We have the Bible, the Koran, the Adi Granth and so many other great texts. There were so many who knew about the ecstasy of life. Learn from them, look up and no longer be afraid. You don't need to be afraid. Who is there to be afraid of? Why do we have this fear? It is all conditioning, all coming from the past, from the traditions and cultures that were in the past. And so you are the embodiment of this past. Let the past lie in the past, go forward instead. Look to this day, for this day holds all your tomorrows. Always look to this day and the possibilities you have. Everyone and everything is already in love. Don't hurt anyone. Don't lie. Don't cheat. Don't manipulate. It is not necessary. Just stand right where you are and feel good in yourself. When you feel good in yourself, you are going to stand up and you are going to look good. It doesn't matter whether anyone notices you or not, it just doesn't matter. Everyone is watching you. Everyone. The birds, your four-legged friends, everyone is watching you because you are present, because you are here. You are present in your circumstance, so you will be seen. You will be noticed. Don't force yourself on anyone or anything. Don't bother to yell and scream and tell everyone how good you are or how charitable you are. Don't call attention to what you are doing or what you have done. Just do. Feel your sexuality, your potent sexuality and all things will come naturally to you.
When you force issues, you've got a fight on your hands. All you must do is to surrender to life. And in order to surrender to life one must know the meaning of life. The meaning of life is to maintain life. We are maintainers of this world. We must maintain this life; this life that is you and I. Together, we are to maintain this existence. We are to maintain this world of creation, take care of it, support it. Therefore, we have the male and the female in all aspects of life. There is the male and there is the female. We have our duty to perform in this life. We are not just here to have pleasure. We are here to have true joy. We are here to experience the responsibility that we have. We have no choice but to support life, to protect it, to respect it, to honor, to pay reverence; and we begin with the male and the female. We are to respect each other. One is always bowing to the other. When you are speaking I will listen; and when I am speaking, you will listen and together we may try to understand how to continue this life. Life is continuity. It is a continuation. This life is a continuation from generation to generation. Your father and mother had sexual activities therefore you were born. You are the proof. And then you in turn will do likewise. Respect, honor, and reverence for life is the way of continuity. We must honor the male and the female, the two. There is always only two. Like two eyes, two nostrils, two hands, two legs-and they are here in this world to perform and to uphold the sanctity of life.
Every man and every woman ought to look at today's society, take stock of how it is and then choose wisely. You can get married. You can have kids. You can do everything. But take responsibility for it. The sexual activity is not only for pleasure. If you are just seeking the pleasure, then after a while you are going to wake up with a real headache, because pleasure eventually turns into pain. It is a natural course of life, it naturally happens. Why does this happen? Just like winter goes into spring; spring goes into summer; summer into fall; and fall into winter again, the cycles of life are continuously moving. It is called the rta, the flow, the movement of life. Everything moves. Everything is in the nature of becoming, everything moves on.
Now when one turns away from the ultimate reality, the ultimate reality meaning the mahapurusha, the geat I am-when one turns away, then one destroys one's life and the lives of all those around one. It just happens like that. So it does us well to remember the sunrise in the morning, the sunset. And it does us well also to look up at the sky, when the sun has reached its peak. It does us well to do that. We must realize that we are already in love. We don't want to admit that. We go out of our way trying to fall in love. But there is no need to be forceful, everything happens on its own. But because you try too hard, your exterior becomes hardened like metal.
When you realize that you are already in love peace comes to you. This idea that you will love this one and not that one is totally embarrassing to the great I am, totally embarrassing to the great mahapurusha, the great god, the silent witness that is within us. There is that part in you that is silent, watching, is the seer, is observing everything; and when you are not happy, it is an embarrassment. It is a let down. And when that which is within you is embarrassed, it shows in your circumstances. It shows through much disappointment, much confusion, much fear. So get in touch with that which is within you. Physical relationships are a wonderful thing and they have a place, they have a purpose, they have a reason. Everything you do has a reason. Your job, your friends, your relationships, anything-cleaning the floor, there is a reason for that. There is a reason for eating, sleeping. There is a reason for sadhana, doing your Yoga practice. There is a reason for everything. And because there is a reason for everything, one has to understand. When we understand what is happening in our life we can better our life, we can take responsibility for our life. But above all, in all areas of your life, know that because you are, you need your life to be sustained through all the activities in your life. Because you are, everything is. Behind every action, there is a need, because you are the reality behind everything.
The Silent Language
by Gurani Anjali
Yoga is a Way of Seeing
by Gurani Anjali
Yoga and Meditation (Dhyana)
by Georg Feurestein
Meditation: The Making of Images
by Antonio T. de Nicolas