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Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
– A Sage’s Jumping Seed
Date: July 23, 2009
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of this tantra yoga archive, as
previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "What is tantra yoga?"
Q: In Tantra Lesson 4 on the holdback
method, it says, "Hundreds of years ago the great reviver of yoga in India,
Shankara, said, ‘Even the greatest yogi cannot gaze into the eyes of a
beautiful woman without having his seed jump.’" While I find the AYP lessons
to be beautiful and ecstatic stuff, this quote bothers me.
Does this mean that great yogis like Yukteswar and Paramahansa Yogananda
succumbed to the beauties and curves of the female body? I remember reading
a line from "Autobiography of a Yogi," where Yogananda quotes his guru,
Yukteswar, saying, "Do not allow yourself to be marred by the beauty of a
beautiful face. Don't let the frogs of desires kick you around," or
something like that. Based on your quote from Shankara back then, were
advanced yogis like these not immune to these things? I remember reading
through Yogananda's lessons about the
complete mastery over sex. and that this occurs
when the muladhara (root) chakra is fully awakened by kundalini.
If you can shed some light on this, I will be grateful.
A: The methods of yoga are what enable us to reach mastery over sexual
desire. It would be more accurate to call it transcending sexual desire. The
AYP approach to full-scope yoga covers the preservation and cultivation of
sexual energy (regardless of sexual lifestyle) along with the necessary
cultivation of inner silence and ecstatic conductivity and radiance. Prior
to and during all of that is our bhakti (spiritual desire). The combination
of all these means leads to a transcendence of the dominance of reproductive
Sex will always be there in the neurobiology, but our intention with that
energy and its manifestation is transformed in stillness through the
purification and opening of the spiritual neurobiology within us. This
includes the opening of the muladhara (root) and
all other aspects of our spiritual neurobiology. Then a "sexual" impulse
will rise up through us as an ecstatic spiritual impulse, and our conduct
will be affected according. This response becomes quite automatic, so it is
true that we go beyond the grasp or need to act on such impulses
in a sexual manner. Instead, when the seed jumps in a sage, it jumps
as a wave of ecstatic energy through the body (and beyond) as part of rising
ecstatic conductivity and radiance, and the conduct
coming out of that is divine.
So there is no need for fear or obsession about this natural biological
response. Like everything else in time and space, it becomes a wave on the
ocean of our infinite Being, and we cannot be swept away by it any
more than the ocean can be swept away by one of its waves.
When Shankara's statement is taken in this context, it makes perfect sense.
Remember, he was still a young man at the height of his great mission, with
his vitality in full swing, no doubt. From the standpoint of self-identified
awareness ("I am the body"), I can see that Shankara's statement could be
disturbing. However, here we are talking about going far beyond the limits
of self-identification with the body, and that is where Shankara was
speaking from also. It is much better to be honest about our urges and
transcend them by effective means, than to be worrying and fighting with
them on the surface level of the mind where they
can never be mastered.
With the effective expansion of sexual function to enliven the full
capability of ecstatic conductivity and radiance, it becomes the vehicle for
stillness cultivated in deep meditation to flow outward in an unending
outpouring of divine love, leading to unity and liberation from suffering in
this life, for ourselves and many others. This is the real import of a
sage’s jumping seed, assuming the journey of human spiritual transformation
has been undertaken with sincerity. With effective practices in hand,
including tantric methods for expanding the sexual
function upward through the awakening spiritual
neurobiology, then sex can do us no harm. In fact, this vast
storehouse of vitality becomes a boon in spiritual life.
Not all spiritual teachings may view sex with this same degree of optimism,
but the outcome of any effective teaching will be the same, as expressed
through the awakened inner capabilities of the human nervous system –
abiding inner silence, ecstatic bliss, and outpouring divine love!
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed
instructions on the methods of tantra in relation to the broad scope of yoga
practices and the enlightenment process, see the
AYP Tantra book.
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