Sex in Marriage
BY: GOURA PREMANANDA DAS
Apr 26, 2012 AUSTRALIA (SUN) Firstly, I would like to thank Hamsavatara das very much for his broadminded approach and his openness in addressing one of the biggest taboos within the Hare Krishna movement in his article, "The Reality of Sex Desire". For too long we have heard the fanatics preaching "Sex is only for procreation". This of course is wonderful if we are all pure devotees. But we are not all pure devotees. 90% of devotees are struggling just to remain on the kanishta adhikari level. AND unfortunately, the biggest proponents of this principle, the sannyasis, have a very poor record of following this themselves.
There are two platforms of Krishna consciousness. One platform, the topmost, is the absolute truth, as written in the Srimad Bhagavatam or spoken by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada in his Bhagavatam lectures. The other platform is the material world wherein there must be some practical application of the philosophy. This is where the confusion arises and this is where we often find many apparent contradictions. Srila Prabhupada can say something in his lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, but may then say something quite different according to time, place and circumstance, relating to the activities in the material world, and the activities of his grhasta devotees.
Here are two examples of what I'm talking about. Once in Mayapur, Bhavananda went to Prabhupada with a complaint "Srila Prabhupada, the grhastas are having sex more than once a month", Prabhupada ignored him, minutes went by, again Bhavananda spoke, but this time Prabhupada cut him off with his sharp reply " Why do you think I told them to get married ?" (you can get the words verbatim from Bhavananda)
Second example is again in Mayapur, on the roof. One devotee was asking Prabhupada about the difficulty he was facing in following this strict principle. Srila Prabhupada responded "Sex between husband and wife is never sinful, but it will not help their spiritual life". You can verify this with Jayapataka Swami who related this to me.
From my own experience of many years within ISKCON, there are very few grhasta devotees who strictly follow this principle. Yes, there are some, and all glories to them. But they are in a minority. I also know some grhastas who have a relaxed attitude towards sex in marriage and their children still turn out to be very enthusiastic, and very happy devotees. So perhaps we should judge by the result.
On the other hand we have seen devotees married for 15 or 20 years, trying to be the ideal devotees. But, in the end they divorce, each seeking out LOVE and fulfillment somewhere else. This is because they never experienced love or fulfillment within their wonderful devotee marriage. And the sad thing is some devotees leave Krishna consciousness altogether thinking that all Hare Krishna men or women are just dysfunctional human beings.
Regarding the article by Abhaya Mudra dasi, "Sex and Spirituality", it appears to me also as being mostly based on complete speculation. There is no reference from scripture to support her theories. It is like something we might read in the books of Deepak Chopra. Perhaps it is based on the writings or lectures of her Guru, Suhotra, ex-swami, ex-guru. In the 1980's I personally used to really enjoy listening to the lectures of Suhotra. He was very expert in ripping to pieces any notion of happiness in the material world. He was apparently expert in ripping to pieces the New Age philosophies as well. You will find a lecture by him here on YouTube, wherein he is giving some analysis of Tantra.
This appears to be where Abhaya Mudra gets her inspiration and knowledge from. But Suhotra himself, I've been told, was quite attached to reading all sorts of mundane literatures and as a result he fell down from the high standard required for one in the sannyasa ashram and thus he renounced his guruship. If one listens to his rock 'n 'roll songs and heavy music, one would have to wonder, "Is this really about Krsna consciousness, or is it more about bashing the karmis"? It sounds more like HATE to me, with little or nothing to do with Krishna consciousness. I do have one of his recordings on tape, so I know what I'm talking about here. Isn't it said that 'aversion' and 'attraction' are just two sides of the same coin? Some devotees take this aversion or hatred to the extreme. We have seen over the years, many so-called senior devotees/gurus falling down as a result of this. The aversion and hatred towards women in ISKCON has been witnessed and experienced by so many devotees for decades now.
Being freed from attachment and aversion are described in many verses of the Bhagavad-gita as being the quality of a sadhu, the REAL sadhu. Srila Prabhupada also makes reference to this in various purports. I can give just a few quotes here, such as Bhagavad-gita 5.19 purport. Srila Prabhupada:
"The Lord is flawless because He is without attraction or hatred. Similarly, when a living entity is without attraction or hatred, he also becomes flawless and eligible to enter the spiritual sky".
There is also the verse and purport to Bhagavad-gita 2.27. And again in the purport to Bhagavad-gita 10.4-5 Srila Prabhupada explains the word samata as "equanimity", "which refers to freedom from attachment and aversion. The material world should be accepted without attachment or aversion."
We all know the ultimate goal, but getting there is not so simple or straight-forward. We do have emotional needs as well as physical needs. Does anyone deny that? It's about time ISKCON devotees accepted the reality of living in the material world and developed a more mature attitude towards these things. Otherwise, how will we ever create a varnashrama society if we hold on to such narrow minded views?
Srila Prabhupada wanted his devotees to be happy and peaceful, and he stated this on many occasions as being the reason he was encouraging devotees to get married. He also stated that "unless one is peaceful, there is no question of spiritual progress".
So let us all embrace the wonderful words of H.D.G. Srila Prabhupada, who had so much compassion, love and mercy for the fallen conditioned souls. THANK YOU.
Goura Premananda das