Techniques of Sex Sublimation
Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Suppression and Sublimation
In 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 and repeat the formula Om Ek Sat-Chit-Ananda Atma: “Om! I am the Self, the one Existence-Consciousness-Bliss” very often. Remember that atman is sexless. Mental repetition of this formula will give you strength.
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 centred 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, kirtan 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 devitalised or de-energised by the withdrawal of the mind. The mind also will be thinned out.
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, study of religious books, pranayama and asanas. You must develop devotion and a burning desire for liberation. You must constantly meditate on the pure, immortal, sexless, bodiless, desireless atman. Then only the sexual desire will 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 vapour 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, worship and pranayama, the sexual energy can be transmuted into ojas shakti and stored up in the brain. This stored up energy can then be utilised 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 did digvijaya and held controversies and heated debates in different parts of India 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 now 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 dries up in those who practice pranayama seriously. 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 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.
There is another segment called “dhiryaretas,” or those persons, who, previously a prey to lustful thoughts and deviated from brahmacharya, later take to the practice of strict celibacy. Such a person, if he practices strict celibacy for twelve years, can acquire superhuman powers. Medha nadi or buddhi nadi is formed in him. By means of this, he can have retentive memory of anything as long as he lives, and he will be in a position to learn all kinds of subjects.
By observance of unbroken brahmacharya in thought, word and deed for a period of full twelve years, one is bestowed even with the vision of God, if one aspires for it. He can solve the most abstruse and complicated problems easily. But, this kind of observance should commence before the thirty-second or the thirty-fourth year.
That yogi who has disciplined himself through ceaseless protracted sadhana, continuous meditation, pranayama and 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 thinned out 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. Even the householders should keep the above ideal before them and try to realize it gradually. 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 Brahma-bhavana 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 you 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 favourable force. Passion is a hostile force that drags you down. Pure reason is a favourable 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?.” atman is sexless. Atman is nirvikara. Feel this. Can there be any trace of lust or impurity in the etemal, pure atman?
Glory to those Yogis who have attained urdhvaretas or 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, pranayama, 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!
More Articles on Brahmacharya
• The Paramount Importance of Brahmacharya by Swami Chidananda
• The Role of Celibacy in Spiritual Life by Swami Chidananda
• Marriage—What Does It Mean? by Swami Krishnananda
• Techniques of Sex Sublimation by Swami Sivananda
• The Dangers of Promiscuous Mixing by Swami Sivananda
• Wet Dreams and Spermatorrhoea by Swami Sivananda
• To Marry or Not to Marry by Swami Sivananda
• Brahmacharya and the Educational Cirriculum by Swami Sivananda
• Brahmacharya for Householders by Swami Sivananda
• Stop That Lustful Look by Swami Sivananda
• Birth Control by Swami Sivananda
• Brahmacharya – An Outlook on Consciousness by Swami Sivananda
• The Role of Diet in Sex Control by Swami Sivananda
• Some Powerful Aids to the Practice of Celibacy by Swami Sivananda
Commentary on Sivananda's "Eighth Spiritual Instruction" by Swami Chidananda
• The Value of Semen by Swami Sivananda
• Women and Brahmacharya by Swami Sivananda
• Intensity of Cravings in Different Persons by Swami Sivananda
• Importance of Celibacy in Spiritual Life by Swami Sivananda
1) Vairagya: Non-attachment, detachment, dispassion, absence of desire, or indifference. Indifference towards and disgust for all worldly things and enjoyments. [Go back]
2) Sadhana: Spiritual practice. [Go back]
3) Maya: The illusive power of Brahman; the veiling and the projecting power of the universe, the power of Cosmic Illusion. [Go back]
4) Atma(n): The individual spirit or self. [Go back]
5) Indriya: Organ. The five organs of perception (jnanendriyas) are the ear, skin, eye, tongue, and nose. The five organs of action (karmendriyas) are the voice, hand, foot, organ of excretion, and the organ of generation. [Go back]
6) Japa: Repetition of a mantra. [Go back]
7) Kirtan: Singing the names and praises of God; devotional chanting. [Go back]
8) Ojas: Vitality; vigor; luster; splendor; energy; spiritual energy. The highest form of energy in the human body. In the spiritual aspirant who constantly practices continence and purity, other forms of energy are transmuted into ojas and stored in the brain, manifesting as spiritual and intellectual power. [Go back]
9) Pranayama: Control of the subtle life forces, often by means of special modes of breathing. [Go back]
10) A perpetual, or unbroken, brahmachari. [Go back]
11) A triumphal tour throughout India, re-establishing Sanatana Dharma and Advaita Vedanta, by the time he was thirty-three years of age. [Go back]
12) Urdhvareta yogi: The Yogi in whom the seminal energy flows upwards. [Go back]
13) Amrita: That which makes one immortal. The nectar of immortality that emerged from the ocean of milk when the gods churned it. [Go back]
14) Jnani: A follower of the path of knowledge (jnana); one who has realized–who knows–the Truth (Brahman). [Go back]
15) Nirvikalpa Samadhi: Samadhi in which there is no objective experience or experience of “qualities” whatsoever, and in which the triad of knower, knowledge and known does not exist; purely subjective experience of the formless and qualitiless and unconditioned Absolute. [Go back]
16) [Go back]
Samskara: Impression in the mind produced by previous action or experience; prenatal tendency.
17) Atma vichara: Enquiry into the Self. [Go back]
18) Sama: Calmness; tranquility; control of the internal sense organs; same; equal. [Go back]
19) Dama: Self-control; control of the senses; restraint. [Go back]
20) Yama (1): Restraint; the five Don’ts of Yoga: 1) ahimsa–non-violence, non-injury, harmlessness; 2) satya–truthfulness, honesty; 3) asteya–non-stealing, honesty, non-misappropriativeness; 4) brahmacharya–continence; 5) aparigraha–non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-selfishness, non-acquisitiveness. [Go back]
21) Niyama: Observance; the five Do’s of Yoga: 1) shaucha–purity, cleanliness; 2) santosha–contentment, peacefulness; 3) tapas–austerity, practical (i.e., result-producing) spiritual discipline; 4) swadhyaya–self-study, spiritual study; 5) Ishwarapranidhana–offering of one’s life to God. [Go back]
22) Sadhaka: One who practices spiritual discipline–sadhana–particularly meditation. [Go back]
23) Karma Yoga: The Yoga of selfless action; performance of one’s own duty; indifference to the body and the world; service of humanity. [Go back]
24) Upasana: “Sitting near” or “drawing near;” worship; adoration; contemplation of God or deity; devout meditation. [Go back]
25) Raja Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga): The “eight-limbed” Yoga of Patanjali consisting of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi (see separate entries for each “limb”). [Go back]
26) Vedanta: Literally, “the end of the Vedas;” the Upanishads; the school of Hindu thought, based primarily on the Upanishads, upholding the doctrine of either pure non-dualism or conditional non-dualism. The original text of this school is Vedanta-darshana or the Brahma Sutras compiled by the sage Vyasa. [Go back]
27) Brahmabhavanam: Meditation on Brahman; feeling of identity with Brahman, as well as of everything as Brahman. [Go back]
28) Nirvikara: Without transformation, modifications, or change; changeless. [Go back]
29) Swarupa: “Form of the Self.” Natural–true–form; actual or essential nature; essence. A revelatory appearance that makes clear the true nature of some thing. [Go back]
30) Viveka: Discrimination between the Real and the unreal, between the Self and the non-Self, between the permanent and the impermanent; right intuitive discrimination; ever-present discrimination between the transient and the permanent. [Go back]
31) Dhyana: Meditation; contemplation. [Go back]