Transformation of Sexual Energy
This discussion on sexual energy is classic. We have all heard about the need for controlling our sexuality and about the power derived from transforming sexual energy into spiritual energy. In this frank discourse, Shree Maa and Swamiji not only give a new vocabulary with which to talk about the transformation of sexual energy, but moreover we describe the process of that transformation. We detail the Swastik asana and the banda kriya practices which turn shukra into ojas, and ojas into tejas, resulting in the highest meditative energy and out of body experiences.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s Talk on Transmuting Sexual Energy
This is the first time I’ve given this talk in mixed company, so please excuse me if I’am a little hesitant. We wanted to talk about sexual energy. There are two paths, the path of Viagra, and the path of Vairagya; they’re very closely associated, just equal and opposite. Of course, the path of Viagra is the path of stimulation and external expression, and the path of Vairagya is the path that goes inside. Vai means without, and raga means passion. And a vairagi is a kind of sanyasi in the Vaishnava lineage. He is one who is free from passion. Also raga means activity. So vairagya means reducing our attachment to activity. So we’re interested, presumably, in the path of vairagya, in the path of freeing ourselves from passion, and freeing ourselves from activity. And I wanted to talk about a vocabulary that gives us new words to invite new concepts, so that we can make the journey more efficiently.
Actually the concept of sexual energy has no Sanskrit name. There’s just energy. And there isn’t sexual energy or spiritual energy or this energy, or that energy. There is just shakti, energy. And wherever we pay attention to that shakti, that’s how it manifests in our lives, in our behavior, in our activities. So when we talk in English about sexual energy, we’re just saying our minds, our physiology is moving toward sexuality. The energy is the same.
I want to talk about the process of transmuting, transforming, that energy which we’re paying attention to in sexual areas, into a spiritual energy which is taking us higher and higher towards our intended goal. Because once we have this understanding, we become empowered to desist from seeking frivolous relationships. We don’t have to go outside, and find relationships that don’t work for us. We can spend more time bringing that energy in and up towards our intended goal.
That’s why I want to talk about this new vocabulary. The first step, of course, are the organs. In the male, it is called the lingam, and in the female it’s called the yoni. Now, the yoni has another name; it’s also called the chit kunda, the container of consciousness, because no one goes to the yoni without placing full consciousness. It’s not something that is done casually.
In our Kali Puja book, we have translated a paddhoti, a system of worship for the puja called garbhadhan. Beyond the yoni is the garbbha, the womb, and that’s where the seeds are incubated. What we call garbhadhan is placing the seeds into the incubator, into the womb. We have many mantras that use the term garbha. Hiranyagarbha, the golden womb, is the womb which incubates the seeds.
Actually, here is where the distinctions in the vocabulary between male and female stops. From here on, there is just one vocabulary to describe the process, because both male and female seeds are called shukra. Shukra means the seeds of life, and shukra means bright, and clear, and pure, which means the seeds of life are the purveyors of clarity and purity. In the Kali Sahasranama, there are several names into which the qualities of Shukra are integrated: like, shukra vrishtipradayini and shukra samudranivasini. In one sense, in the gross body, she is the purveyor of the seeds of life. In another sense, she dwells in the ocean of purity or clarity, which begets life. So in whatever way we want to take the understanding, that’s how we will apply it in our sadhana, and in our lives.
When I translated the Kali Sahashranam, I used the term, clarity to stand for the seeds of life. But the seeds of life are equally applicable. Now more subtle that the shukra is ojas. Ojas is the subtle body of shukra. Shukra is the gross body, that which comes out, that which unites, that which begets life, another being. Ojas is the subtle body. The objective of our practice will be to take all the shukra that wants to flow out, that wants to take the path to the world, and turn it inside, and turn it into ojas, and bring the ojas up. Almost like an ejaculation of the subtle form, it comes up.
Now in order to make this more efficient, there are a few techniques called “bandhas.” A bandha is the contraction of the muscles. In order to practice this, you will want to be sitting in the swastik asana, with your left heel in the muladhara to the extent of your capacity. And if you were to feel yourself in a state of sexual excitement, and paying attention to the sexual energy, then you could sit in the asana, and practice the bandha. The mulabandha is the contraction of the muscles in the anus, and you just close the anus, and tighten the bottom, and bring the energy up, almost as it shoots up. And as the energy comes up in its subtle form, in the form of ojas. it comes through the swadishtana, and into the manipura chakra, where you practice the madyamikabandha, by contracting the abdominal muscles. So you practice first the mulabandha, and bring that energy up into the manipura, and then you practice the madyamikabandh, and contract the abdominal muscles, and keep pulling it up until it comes to the heart. In the heart comes the uttarbandha, where you contract the muscles of the heart just like you are so much in love, just like you’re feeling so much power, empowered by the shakti that’s coming up. Now it’s no longer sexual energy, it’s shakti. And this shakti’s coming into the heart chakra. It’s filling the heart with. the essence of what we’re seeking in that expression of energy. We’re turning that sexual passion into love, and we will change the ojas into tejas, and tejas means light. If you contract the muscles of the chest, and pull in your heart, and feel the light rising higher and higher, you move into the uttarabandh. Here you bring that tejas shakti to the agnya chakra, and through the sahasrara, and bring it out, and let it go as high as you possibly can, almost like you had an ejaculation of the subtle form of energy that came all the way out through the top of your skull, and reached all the way to the planets.
And that’s called making love. So the mulabandha contracts the anal muscles and also those of the thighs, and then you bring up the energy into madhyamikabandha, where it becomes so much empowered, so much more fulfilled, and through practicing madhyamikabandha, you bring it to the anahata chakra. Here it fills your heart with so much love, and you’re exuding this energy. You can hardly contain it; your chest pulls in tight because you’re feeling so much emotion. Now you’ve become vairagi, because all the raga, all the passion, has been directed towards your love of God. And from the uttarbandha, we’re bringing it higher and higher, and by letting it sit in the agyna chakra, the ojas becomes tejas. The mind becomes filled with light, and now you feel that light, you see that light coming higher and higher. And that’s where we can meditate.
Then sexual energy is no longer an obstacle in our path; it’s just energy. And it’s a tool by which we move, direct, and can focus our attention to where we want to go. It doesn’t bring us outside into relationships that we don’t really need. It brings us inside into the furtherance of our true objectives.
Swamiji asks, “Are there any questions?”
Shree Maa says:
Patnim manoramam dehi, manovrittanusarinim
tarinim durga samsara, sagarasya kulodbhavam.
This is shiva/shakti.
Swamiji explains, “This is the union between Shiva and Shakti; Shiva in the sahasrara, and shakti resides in the muladhara. She’s coming up in the form of shukra, transforming into ojas, becoming tejas, and then uniting. And this is the true union, the verse that Mother is reciting from the Argala Stotram. Give me a wife in harmony with my mind; that wife is Shakti because who’s singing the song? Shiva! Consciousness is asking for energy to come and illuminate him. That’s just what it is!
From Shree Maa’s comment, Swamiji further explains, “That wife, that energy, is uniting with the soul, and taking the soul higher and higher, and higher. Now she’s no longer the energy that keeps us bound to worldly interaction. She’s the energy that inspires us to come to the highest realization. We have just transformed that energy. So the concept of sexual energy is really a misnomer. It’s not understood. There is no sexual energy. there’s just energy! And if we don’t regulate or direct that energy, it will direct us. But once we grab hold of ourselves, and clarify our goals, and clarify our objectives, and really make the sankalpa, the firm determination and definition of that objective: “What are my values, what is important to me?” then, a verse in the Bhagavad Gita says that all the thoughts flow through the mind of the muni, but the muni never reacts. He is free from reaction. Knock on the door, and there’s nobody home. That is the degree of vaiyagra, dispassion, freedom from misdirected passion, that we strive to attain. We want to be passionate, but about the right things.
Swamiji continues, “When we can control our senses, then we can achieve to the wisdom of Brahma, the wisdom of the Supreme Divinity, by understanding this process. From the external, from the stimulation of the lingam and the yoni, and from the production of shukra, we take the shukra and extract the ojas. We let the ojas flow up until it becomes tejas, and let the tejas continue up. We go from the tejamayi kosha to the anandamayi kosha. There’s an illumination. Then the higher definition of shukra as bright, clear, illuminating, becomes ever more subtle, and we get to have the union in that way.
Swamiji asks, “Do you have any questions about it?”
One person asks, “When you move the energy with the bandhas, do you use your breath?”
Swamiji responds, “Yes, you do. When you contract the muscles, you breathe into it, and then you pull up that energy, just as though it were ejaculating up, and you pull it higher, and higher, and don’t let it stop below. Let it go higher, and higher, and higher. Encourage it to rise, and pull on it until you get it up to the madhyamikabandha, and then when you have the madhyamikabandha, you’re practicing the pranayama, but you’re constricting the solar plexus, so you don’t have a full purak, or a full rechak, because you’ve got a bandha. There’s a restriction; you’re not practicing a full kumbaka.
Instead you are forcing the energy up higher and higher. Bring it to the heart, and feel it in the heart. You know what it feels like when your heart is so full, that your chest cavity can’t contain it. You’ve all had that experience. Your chest is just not big enough to contain your heart; it’s bursting. And breathe into that, and that’s where the ojas becomes tejas. And now you’re not pulling on the subtle force of life, you’re pulling on light, radiant light! And you bring up that light with the rising breath, uddhana, just higher and higher and higher until this body is not sufficient to contain it. It just comes right out the top, as though if you were to look down from the highest heavens on that body meditating there, it would seem that that body is just one part of you, because you’ve pulled the consciousness out of it in the form of light.
Shree Maa comments, “That way you can get levitation.”
Swamiji comments, “That’s the true meaning of levitation; it’s removing your consciousness from the body, and looking down, raising the consciousness up. Not necessarily raising the body.
Swamiji, “Are there other questions?”
One person asks, “Should this just be used when you feel that stimulation; should one use these practices only then?”
Swamiji, “I would recommend using this technique primarily if you feel any sexual stimulation, because you don’t want to put yourself into a position of stimulation. But if you were to feel stimulation, then there are two choices, you can let it out, or you can bring it up. Now, if you let it out, you want to let it out with all purity, and all thankfulness, and all gratefulness, and all surrender, as the greatest expression of the seeds of life uniting in the purest,
clearest, most dharmik way possible. But even better is to bring it up, and turn the shukra into ojas, and the ojas into tejas, and the tejas into chit shakti, the energy of consciousness. It becomes filled with the energy of consciousness. So this would be a technique if you feel yourself prone to sexual stimulation, and I guarantee you that within some time of practice, you’ll forget all about the sexuality of it, and just look at the transformation of energy. It won’t be a sexual stimulation anymore. It will be part of a technique of meditation.
Swamiji, “Are there any other questions?”
One individual asks, “When we are meditating, and we can feel that tejas in our heart, can this come spontaneously during meditation?
Swamiji responds, “Yes, it can, absolutely, and you want it to. It doesn’t have to be the result of sexual stimulation. It could be just filling your heart, and not practicing the mulabandha or the madyamikabandha, but going right to the uttarbandha. If you are free from sexual stimulation, then you can just go directly to the uttarbandha. Fill your chest full of that love, that energy, that bhava, and then make your heart so big that your chest can’t contain it anymore, and then take that tejas shakti and bring it up. It doesn’t have to start from sexuality.
But if you have sexual stimulation, then there are only two choices, let it out, or bring it up. And this is a system by which we can bring it up. So that’s why we wanted to share that.
Om Sam Saraswatyai Namah!