Hints for the Spiritual Practitioner Seeking to Eliminate the Sex Impulse

We have learned quite a bit about the sexual impulse. Young children are basically asexual, and it is only with the coming of puberty and the flooding of mood-creating chemicals in the system (hormones), that we become susceptible to responding to the sexual energy when it arises. Not everything is, however, driven by biochemistry. There is a very large component made up of peer pressure, cultural expectations, and societal manipulation of attention and awakening of desire through marketing and advertising that is based on sexual allusions. The entire process of sex in modern-day society has been removed from the pure biological forces through this influence of society and its pressures. Someone once said that the mind is the most important sex-organ! To the extent that an individual has been immersed in the sexual imagery, expectations and cultural demands, their minds and thus, the focus of their attention have been directed toward acceptance of and fulfillment of the sexual energy.

As a result, there are innumerable instances of sexual energy being freely expressed and released into the society at large, whether in social settings or in clubs or bars or nowadays, through availability on the internet. Everything has been sexualised to a high degree, and thus, it is difficult, if not virtually impossible, for anyone living in the modern world to avoid all sexual references, images or energies that are at play in the society.

It is not, then, a question of being able to shut oneself away and avoid all access to any sexual pressures from outside; indeed, there are instances where individuals who have been cloistered for many years fall prey to sexual forces when they come into contact with them, as they have not actually learned how to deal with them when they arise. The issue is more how to face the onslaught of these energies, but not be receptive to them, not to dwell on them, and not to accept them into one’s being.

Some have relied on dietary or chemical means to dampen the sexual energy, but these have a serious disadvantage of being dependent on chemistry rather than a change in consciousness, and thus, are at best temporary and somewhat unreliable measures, subject to failure when the measures are either removed or the impulse from outside is greatly increased.

Some say that the sexual impulse naturally declines with age. While this is somewhat true, particularly when specific health issues intervene, it is neither certain, complete, nor a solution to the lifetime and focus during prime active years that precede old age.

Through a process of refocusing and retuning the awareness, the practitioner can successfully shift the consciousness away from the energies of the lower chakras and channel into directions that express elsewhere in the being. We can see that when an individual is immersed in something that engages the full attention, the attraction and interest in sex is absent or declines greatly. When one channels this new focus into the psychic and spiritual transformations, there is a responsive power that actually can aid the endeavour, thus making the change far more effective than any attempt by pure mental or emotional control can accomplish.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “To think too much of sex even for suppressing it makes it worse. You have to open more to positive experience. To spend all the time struggling with the lower vital is a very slow method.”

“The idea that by fully indulging the sex-hunger it will be finished and disappear for ever is a deceptive pretence held out by the vital to the mind in order to get a sanction for its desire; it has no other raison d’etre or truth or justification. If an occasional indulgence keeps the sex-desire simmering, a full indulgence would only sink you in its mire. This hunger like other hungers does not cease by temporary satiation; it revives itself after a temporary abeyance and wants again indulgence. Neither sops nor gorgings are the right treatment for it. It can only go by a radical psychic rejection or a full spiritual opening with the increasing descent of a consciousness that does not want it and has the truer Ananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Sex, pp 299-308

Rejection of the Sex Impulse and Mastery of Its Force

Many religious traditions and cultures have placed sex in a ‘taboo’ category for discussion or consideration. Sex is considered by many to be something sinful, immoral and only to be conducted within the confines of a lawfully sanctioned marriage and under guidelines for procreation not ‘enjoyment’. This means that most have been acculturated to regard sex as something illicit and prurient, and this warps the response to the sexual energy when it arises, as the individual tries to keep it hidden, secretive and largely unexamined.

If we can strip away all of this cultural baggage from the sexual energy, we can observe it more scientifically as to its origin, its mode of action, its force, and the means to either redirect it or transform it. For the spiritual seeker in the integral yoga, seeking to bring about the next stage of evolutionary development and transform thereby the entire life on the planet, the sexual energy must be addressed and itself turned into a power of action, not sexual gratification, but a basic power of the physical consciousness put to work in the world as part of the transformation process.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “As to the sexual impulse. Regard it not as something sinful and horrible and attractive at the same time, but as a mistake and wrong movement of the lower nature. Reject it entirely, not by struggling with it, but by drawing back from it, detaching yourself and refusing your consent; look at it as something not your own, but imposed on you by a force of Nature outside you. Refuse all consent to the imposition. If anything in your vital consents, insist on that part of you withdrawing its consent. Call in the Divine Force to help you in your withdrawal and refusal. If you can do this quietly and resolutely and patiently, in the end your inner will will prevail against the habit of the outer Nature.”

“… for this also you must have no moral horror or puritanic or ascetic repulsion. This also is a power of life and while you have to throw away the present form of this power (that is the physical act), the force itself has to be mastered and transformed. It is often strongest in people with a strong vital nature and this strong vital nature can be made a great instrument for the physical realisation of the Divine Life. If the sexual impulse comes, do not be sorry or troubled but look at it calmly, quiet it down, reject all wrong suggestions connected with it and wait for the Higher Consciousness to transform it into the true force and Ananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Sex, pp 299-308

The Transformation of the Sex Centre and Its Energy

For the practitioner of the integral Yoga, energy is utilized to redirect and shift the standpoint away from the ego-personality into the divine standpoint, and then to effectuate actions to carry out the divine manifestation in the world. Energy dedicated to the enhancement or satisfactions of the ego-personality is therefore ‘wasted’ for this purpose, although it may be, for those not actively engaged in the yoga, a positive effort and activity that they carry out. It is in this context that Sri Aurobindo speaks to sadhaks of the integral yoga when he counsels that the energy that flows through the sex-centre needs to be transformed in order to provide the basic energy needed for these tasks.

While the sadhak can provide the aspiration, and the rejection of movements which spill this energy in vital enjoyment or physical acts, it is only when the higher Force becomes fully active that a complete transformation can be expected. Until that time, the seeker remains within the framework of the ego and its reliance on the usual methods and actions of the physical, vital and mental beings of man.

Sri Aurobindo also clarifies that the supramental transformation is not an enhancement of the ego-personality, a la Nietzsche, but an entirely new action that is not concerned with the small needs, desire, wants, satisfactions, likings and dislikings, enjoyments of the individual personality. ,

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The transformation of the sex-centre and its energy is needed for the physical siddhi; for this is the support in the body of all the mental, vital and physical forces of the nature. It has to be changed into a mass and a movement of intimate Light, creative Power, pure divine Ananda. It is only the bringing down of the supramental Light, Power and Bliss into the centre that can change it. As to the working afterwards, it is the supramental Truth and the creative vision and will of the Divine Mother that will determine it. But it will be a working of the conscious Truth, not of the Darkness and Ignorance to which sexual desire and enjoyment belong; it will be a power of preservation and free desireless radiation of the life-forces and not of their throwing out and waste. Avoid the imagination that the supramental life will be only a heightened satisfaction of the desires of the vital and the body; nothing can be a greater obstacle to the Truth in its descent than this hope of glorification of the animal in the human nature. Mind wants the supramental state to be a confirmation of its own cherished ideas and preconceptions; the vital wants it to be a glorification of its own desires; the physical wants it to be a rich prolongation of its own comforts and pleasures and habits. If it were to be that. it would be only an exaggerated and highly magnified consummation of the animal and the human nature, not a transition from the human into the Divine.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Sex, pp 299-308

The Need to Master the Sex Impulse for the Sadhak of the Integral Yoga

Religious and spiritual paths throughout the world have recognised the need to gain control over the sex impulse. Similarly societies have recognised that in many cases the sex impulse can create disruption in the orderly processes of the society. Traditionally, certain mores or rules of conduct have arisen around the expression of sexual energy. In some cases, sex is considered ‘sinful’ and is a cause for guilt and shame to arise. In other cases, society uses subtle manipulation to increase the focus on the sexual energy and thereby distract people from other and higher pursuits. Some groups try to control the sexual expression through separation of genders, through dress codes or even through chemical intervention, such as the use of saltpetre in boarding schools, which tends to lessen the action of the libido. Yet all of these approaches, one way or the other, not only tend to focus and fixate the attention on the sexual energy, but in many instances lead to deleterious effects on the psychology of the members of that society, or to outbreaks of sexual aggression as needs are not met.

Sex, in and by itself, is not sinful. It is a process of Nature and has its true role in life as we see it on earth at this time. It is essential for procreation, as we always hear when the question of abstinence is raised. It is a powerful energy at the base of the physical being, and as with any energy, it can be used, or misused, or abused.

For spiritual seekers, the historical injunction against sexual expression arises from several causes. First, there has been a recognition that this powerful energy can be redirected and used for higher purposes if it is not simply squandered constantly in the act or focus on sex itself. Second, there is a concern about the atmosphere in the group or society if sexual energies are aroused and active and influencing the interactions among the members of the group. Third, there is a natural instinct of dominance related to control of sexual activity in a group which secretly acts behind the scenes and can thereby disrupt and distort the coherence of the group.

Sri Aurobindo’s position is very clear on this subject. For those who have dedicated themselves to the practice of the integral Yoga and its focus on shifting the standpoint from the ego-individuality to the divine standpoint, there is a need to tune the energetic receptivity to forces that are beyond those of the ordinary human life as we know it at this time. It is a matter of focus and tuning that requires the sadhak to shift attention away from the first chakra energy to that of the divine energies that are above the mental level, through bringing forward the action of the psychic being which orients itself automatically toward the divine, and through refocusing the attention and receptivity to energies above the mind. Sexual energy becomes in this sense a serious distraction and at the same time allows the kind of distortions to the atmosphere in a collective environment such as an Ashram that are not helpful to the entire community.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “To master the sex-impulse, — to become so much master of the sex-centre that the sexual energy would be drawn upwards, not thrown outwards and wasted — it is so indeed that the force in the seed can be turned into a primal physical energy supporting all the others, retas into ojas. But no error can be more perilous than to accept the immixture of the sexual desire and some kind of subtle satisfaction of it and look on this as a part of the sadhana. It would be the most effective way to head straight towards spiritual downfall and throw into the atmosphere forces that would block the supramental descent, bringing instead the descent of adverse vital powers to disseminate disturbance and disaster. This deviation must be absolutely thrown away, should it try to occur and expunged from the consciousness, if the Truth is to be brought down and the work is to be done.”

“It is an error too to imagine that, although the physical sexual action is to be abandoned, yet some inward reproduction of it is part of the transformation of the sex-centre. The action of the animal sex-energy in Nature is a device for a particular purpose in the economy of the material creation in the Ignorance. But the vital excitement that accompanies it makes the most favourable opportunity and vibration in the atmosphere for the inrush of those very vital forces and beings whose whole business is to prevent the descent of the supramental Light. The pleasure attached to it is a degradation and not a true form of the divine Ananda. The true divine Ananda in the physical has a different quality and movement and substance; self-existent in its essence, its manifestation is dependent only on an inner union with the Divine. You have spoken of Divine Love; but Divine Love, when it touches the physical, does not awaken the gross lower vital propensities; indulgence of them would only repel it and make it withdraw again to the heights from which it is already difficult enough to draw it down into the coarseness of the material creation which it alone can transform. Seek the Divine Love through the only gate through which it will consent to enter, the gate of the psychic being, and cast away the lower vital error.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Sex, pp 299-308

The Role of Sex in the Integral Yoga

When Sri Aurobindo states “all life is yoga”, he is speaking generally about the long, slow ‘yoga of nature’ which is taking place in the universe, leading to ever-greater stages of consciousness manifesting and transforming, successively, the previously manifested planes of awareness. This enormous process implies that all life is, indeed, part of that process and thus ‘all life is yoga’. On a more personal level, for those who are fixated at the level of the individual ego-personality, ‘all life is yoga’ in the sense that they can learn and grow from all experiences, and the maturation process of spiritual development will take place, possibly over a number of lifetimes.

At the same time, Sri Aurobindo has described what he terms the ‘integral yoga’, which is a specific yogic discipline that seeks to shift the seeker from the ego-standpoint to the divine standpoint. This is an intensive process of shifting the tuning of the consciousness away from the focus and motivations of the ego-nature and toward the unification with the Divine and the divine intention in the manifestation.

Within this context, the question of sex and sexual indulgence takes on an entirely different connotation and importance. Sexual focus stems from energies that are attuned to the first, root chakra, the Muladhara. When the individual is receptive to the energies that vibrate at that level, he becomes aware of and can manifest sexual energies. For most people, this is just a natural part of life, and due to the intensity of the experience, it becomes a fixation and essential part of the fulfillment of their life experience. It is a powerful force because Nature uses it as a means of both procreation and to bring people together in a powerful way, physically and emotionally. As an individual develops an increasing focus on spiritual growth, sexual energies and activities will naturally arise and be part of the process. Some paths of yoga even attempt to gain control over this energy and use it as part of their yogic discipline. In other cases, an attempt is made to channel the energy of the root chakra upwards to the higher chakras and the energy is thus transformed, through this channeling process, from sexual energy into various forms of higher vibrational expressions.

For the seeker practicing the integral yoga, however, eventually the shift of standpoint can and must occur that will make sex neither appealing nor relevant, as it holds the consciousness down at the level of the lower chakras, when the aim is to move the consciousness beyond the control of the energies active at those levels. This is not a matter of indulgence certainly, but also not suppression, nor even sublimation, but of simply transitioning from a state of vibratory receptivity at one level to a state of receptivity at another level.

Sri Aurobindo was asked repeatedly about the role of sex in the practice of integral Yoga by sadhaks who had dedicated themselves to the task. Due to confusion, and the role of the vital desire-soul to achieve its fulfillment through sex, he had to be quite direct and firm in his declarations for the practitioner of the integral yoga:

Sri Aurobindo observes:: “The whole principle of this yoga is to give oneself entirely to the Divine alone and to nobody and nothing else, and to bring down into ourselves by union with the Divine Mother-Power all the transcendent light, force, wideness, peace, purity, truth-consciousness and Ananda of the supramental Divine. In this yoga, therefore, there can be no place for vital relations or interchanges with others; any such relation or interchange immediately ties down the soul to the lower consciousness and its lower nature, prevents the true and full union with the Divine and hampers both the ascent to the supramental Truth-consciousness and the descent of the supramental Ishwari Shakti. Still worse would it be if this interchange took the form of a sexual relation or a sexual enjoyment, even if kept free from any outward act; therefore these things are absolutely forbidden in the sadhana. It goes without saying that any physical act of the kind is not allowed; but also any subtler form is ruled out. It is only after becoming one with the supramental Divine that we can find our true spiritual relations with others in the Divine; in that higher unity this kind of gross lower vital movement can have no place.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Sex, pp 299-308

The Sublimation and Transformation of the Sexual Energy

Western psychology has been fixated on the idea of sexual energy being at the root of all creativity. Beginning with Freud they have discussed the sublimation of sexual energy into creative pathways of art, and intellectual effort. The sexual energy stems from the root chakra and provides a powerful and basic force however it gets applied. Sublimation, if we examine the concept carefully, represents the shutting down or constricting of the expression of this energy in its original native form at the base of the being as direct sexual expression. Instead, the energy gets forced upwards into one of the higher chakras and wherever it manifests, it exhibits characteristic actions associated with that higher chakra. If it is able to be successively channeled all the way to the highest chakra, it can manifest spiritual force, converting physical sexual energy into spiritual energy. The process by which this is done is well-known in the ancient traditions of India and it is for this reason that the practice of control of the sexual energy, Brahmacharya, has been recommended for spiritual seekers.

Free expression of the sexual energy at the root chakra can lead to a very rough and difficult result, as it can take over and preoccupy the being, radiate a force that is disturbing to others and when unfulfilled, can lead to violence, rape and deterioration of the entire atmosphere around the being who is radiating such a force in its native form. In societies where we see a large imbalance, due to cultural habits or traditions, between males and females, the combination of the sexual energy in high expression with a lack of societally sanctioned outlets leads to wars, and violence against women in many cases. Sex does not differentiate between male and female in the ultimate sense, so there may also be a rise in homosexual expression and in homophobia that can result when there is a mismatch between the sexual energy and the ability to find a suitable and agreeable outlet for it in ordinary society.

Sri Aurobindo’s focus is on the spiritual practitioner and here another set of standards must apply. As the goal is the transition from the human ego-based focus to the divine standpoint, the free expression of the sexual energy is not generally helpful and needs to be channeled into the higher chakras and eventually to the highest, converting physical base energy into spiritual force.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The sex-energy utilised by Nature for the purpose of reproduction is in its real nature a fundamental energy of Life. It can be used not for the heightening but for a certain intensification of the vital-emotional life; it can be controlled and diverted from the sex-purpose and used for aesthetic and artistic or other creation and productiveness or preserved for heightening of the intellectual or other energies. Entirely controlled it can be turned into a force of spiritual energy also. This was well known in ancient India and was described as the conversion of retas into ojas by Brahmacharya. Sex-energy misused turns to disorder and disintegration of the life-energy and its powers.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Sex, pp 299-308

The Nature of the Sexual Impulse

The sexual impulse and energy is one of the basic primary drives in Nature and is widespread in the animal kingdom, although there are instances of asexual reproduction. The drive is so powerful that it can drive beings to extreme lengths, even killing off rivals, or fighting to maintain dominance to control the access to breeding and the sexual activity that goes along with it. Sex is a powerful motivation that permeates virtually all aspects of human relationships, has been the subject of both scientific study, and is central to much of human creativity and imagination, including art, literature, poetry, drama and sculpture. Sex is so far involved in the society that it governs almost every access including habits, customs , dress, and relationship rituals. There are mating rituals and dating rituals that try to govern or at least direct the method of sexual expression, and yet, humanity has found that it is not so easy to govern this impulse.

For the spiritual practitioner, then, the issue of sex becomes one of importance, if only because he is tasked with finding a way to redirect the focus and direction of energies away from the action of the lower forces of Nature toward a higher evolutionary force in the development of the spiritual nature, which by its very nature, is an asexual level of consciousness.

Spiritual traditions have taken a diverse approach to the sexual energy. Some ask the aspirant to renounce sex entirely by what seems to be an act of will, or at least suppress its expression. Others take the approach that the sexual energy can in fact be utilized and turned into a mode of realisation, as in the tantric tradition. Still others acknowledge the role of sex, find ways to channel it so that it is minimized as a distraction, such as encouraging marriage and controlled sexual liaisons within the framework of the spiritual development. There are also those who believe that the sexual energy can and should be sublimated to create new powers of action at higher energetic levels of the being, the conversion of the base energy of the lowest chakras into the expressions of the higher chakras in action. There are many variations on these themes and the experience generally has been that one way or the other, the sexual impulse has won out, and found a way to focus the attention and in some cases, finds unapproved or illicit forms of expression even in the traditions that are most extreme in trying to deny sex by act of will-power.

Sri Aurobindo’s approach first starts with an understanding that the sexual impulse, as with other vital energies, is one that arises from universal Nature and is not something that belongs to or is generated solely within an individual. Thus, it is a matter of observing the impulse, changing the “channel”, and refocusing the attention away. This is not simply a matter of sublimation as others have tried, but a wholesale change of consciousness that moves beyond sex. Note that this is related to the practitioners who aspire to the realisations of the integral yoga, and has not been intended as a general prescription for humanity in its normal interactions, and thus the objections raised by those who claim that sex is a natural impulse and is needed for perpetuation of the species, are not central to this review. At the same time, a more complete understanding of the sexual impulse and how it works and how to manage it could be extremely useful within the framework of society as a whole. And it is not to be denied that with the advent of a next evolutionary principle, that sex as an instrument of procreation and propagation of the species may itself give way with changes to the physical body that would arise over time. Thus, this impulse may find its own eventual reduction and demise in the course of time.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “All movements are in the mass movements of Nature’s cosmic forces, they are movements of universal Nature. The individual receives something of them, a wave or pressure of some cosmic force, and is driven by it; he thinks it is his own, generated in himself separately, but it is not so, it is part of a general movement which works just in the same way in others. Sex, for instance, is a movement of general Nature seeking for its play and it uses this or that one — a man vitally or physically ‘in love’ as it is called with a woman is simply repeating and satisfying the world-movement of sex; if it had not been that woman, it would have been another; he is simply an instrument in Nature’s machinery, it is not an independent movement. So it is with anger and other Nature-motives.”

“In most men the sexual is the strongest of all the impulses of Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Sex, pp 299-308

Sex, the Evolution of Consciousness and the Spiritual Seeker, Part 2

The cosmic principle of male / female is active throughout the creation. In human beings it manifests in the physical-vital body, among other things, as the sexual force. The sexual force is embedded in the physical body and vital life instincts. It is a part of life and is a basic drive to perpetuate human existence. Some societies have treated it as natural and have few taboos relating to it. Other cultures, religions, societies and spiritual paths have tried to control it through a variety of means, including making it a matter of sin and attendant guilt and weakness, threatening dire consequences for indulging in sex, and erecting taboos that make sex something illicit. This brings the natural drive into conflict with the mental and moral sense and winds up eventually increasing the focus and attention on sex. Part of this is rebellion against an authority that demonizes something that people experience as natural, but part of this is the natural reaction to a force that has been suppressed without truly resolving its power. Suppression leads to a more powerful counter-reaction, as a spring when compressed releases more power when it finally frees itself from the suppression.

The history of religious orders is littered with cases of those who tried to use guilt, suppression or even corporal self-inflicted punishment and who then wound up engaging in secret liaisons or overt cases of rape or child-assault.

Generally in our society, as sex has been made more and more a defining factor, we find the mind is inundated with sexual imagery and expectations, the vital force is encouraged to participate more and more in sexual activities and people judge themselves and others by their sexual attractiveness, sexual orientation, and accessibility. In such instances, those who are unable to fulfill the expectations of society tend to then become frustrated, fixated, or even criminally active to find outlets for this force. A number of psychologists have identified the mind as the most erotic organ. The focus and direction of the mind is a key factor therefore in gaining control over the sexual impulses. Simply suppressing the physical sexual act does not resolve the issues if the mind remains fixated. Suppression in fact tends to increase the attention on sex, not reduce it.

Some religious orders and boarding schools have used substances, such as saltpeter, known to decrease the vital sexual impulse. This also does not solve the problem for the seeker, but simply provides a short-term method of control for a closed social setting. Some pharmaceutical or recreational drugs also tend to reduce the sexual energy, but again, this does not solve the issue, but simply overpowers it temporarily. Others have noted the relationship of diet to sexual activity, and thus, propose what is called a “sattwic” diet to held modulate the pressure. Some counsel controlling the “diet” of images and thoughts that feed the mind’s sexual fantasies or fixations, and there is obviously some merit in making conscious choices about what information and imagery one “consumes”. Overcoming the heavy indoctrination of the society and peer pressures remains one of the greatest issues to be addressed by someone who seeks to move beyond slavery to the sexual pressures.

Some have tried the idea of satisfying the impulse in order to satiate and thereby reduce the sexual force active in the being. For the most part, however, there is no true mastery here and it has been found that satiation as a strategy does not in fact succeed, but rather increases the habitual focus and attention on the very force one is trying to master. While there may be those who can practice such techniques and succeed in achieving mastery, for many it is simply a justification provided to the mind by the vital being to continue in its predisposed interest in sexual experience.

Starting from the understanding of the mind’s role, one can see that what Western psychologists call “sublimation” is actually a reasonable starting approach. Wherever one fixes one’s attention and focus, the energy follows. When someone is engrossed in an interesting study or activity, the thoughts and energies go there, and not to the fulfillment of sex! The occult science of the Chakras and the rise of the coiled energy at the base of the spine (known in the science as “kundalini”), up through the higher chakras, is a redirection of the energy. The concentration, the focus is not on sex, but on mastering and directing the energy into higher levels of consciousness within each of the energy centers. Practitioners have used prayer, devotional activities opening the heart center, concentration, meditation, breathing techniques (pranayama) and mantra, among other things to gain control and redirect the energy that otherwise expresses itself in sexual force if left to its original physical basis.

With the advent of a new level of consciousness expressing itself actively, there is also the descent of the force which can redirect energies in the mind, life and body and thus, automatically aid in the mastery of the sexual impulse, needing only the support and cooperation of the seeker to accept this force and allow it to develop new focus and priorities within the being.

In the end, as with every energy at work in the material world, there must be a review, repositioning and rebalancing that finds a proper role for that energy, and in the case of sex, there will eventually be a dramatic scaling back of the focus and fixation as society learns how to move past the artificial suppression techniques of the past, the taboos, and the overwhelming attention and begins to change the natural focus of the being and the direction of the energies into new areas of development. In the full development of the supramental being at some point in the future, it is likely that the entire area of sexual reproduction may wind up being dramatically altered, but that is a discussion for a time not in our immediate future. Until then, spiritual seekers may wind up following the advice given about unwanted thoughts in the practice of Raja Yoga; namely, do not hold or pay attention to them, but let them drift in and drift out while holding the mind separate and gently redirecting the focus toward the higher purpose.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “But all recognition of the sex principle, as apart from the gross physical indulgence of the sex impulse, could not be excluded from a divine life upon earth; it is there in life, plays a large part and has to be dealt with, it cannot simply be ignored, merely suppressed or held down or put away out of sight. In the first place, it is in one of its aspects a cosmic and even a divine principle: it takes the spiritual form of the Ishwara and the Shakti and without it there could be no world-creation or manifestation of the world-principle of Purusha and Prakriti which are both necessary for the creation, necessary too in their association and interchange for the play of its psychological working and in their manifestation as soul and Nature fundamental to the whole process of the Lila. In the divine life itself an incarnation or at least in some form a presence of the two powers or their initiating influence through their embodiments or representatives would be indispensable for making the new creation possible. In its human action on the mental and vital level sex is not altogether an undivine principle; it has its nobler aspects and idealities and it has to be seen in what way and to what extent these can be admitted into the new and larger life. All gross animal indulgence of sex desire and impulse would have to be eliminated; it could only continue among those who are not ready for the higher life or not yet ready for a complete spiritual living. In all who aspired to it but could not yet take it up in its fullness sex will have to be refined, submit to the spiritual or psychic impulse and a control by the higher mind and the higher vital and shed all its lighter, frivolous or degraded forms and feel the touch of the purity of the ideal. Love would remain, all forms of the pure truth of love in higher and higher steps till it realised its highest nature, widened into universal love, merged into the love of the Divine. The love of man and woman would also undergo that elevation and consummation; for all that can feel a touch of the ideal and the spiritual must follow the way of ascent till it reaches the divine Reality. The body and its activities must be accepted as part of the divine life and pass under this law; but, as in the other evolutionary transitions, what cannot accept the law of the divine life cannot be accepted and must fall away from the ascending nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Divine Body, pp. 49-50