Questioner: In our times, the matter of sexual orientation has been subject to a lot of debate and controversies. Recently, I saw a YouTube video in which the host is asking children in the age group of fifteen to seventeen years about their sexuality, and they are saying that they are yet to discover if they are lesbian or gay or straight or something else. What do you feel about this trend? What is the future implication of this particular trend?
Acharya Prashant: First of all, the bigger issue is animalistic sexuality itself. Given the way we are, given the point of evolution we are standing at, how important really is sexuality? On one hand, we are testing the limits of the universe, we are searching for extraterrestrial life, we are sending probes to distant planets—these are the kind of things we are doing. On the other hand, we are rushing after males and females as animals do. Even animals have some moderation.
So, being a man, whether you rush after a woman or you run after a man, the thing is: you are still running after a body. And is the body your primary identity? The body is indeed the primary identity of animals. Or is discretion and thought and consciousness or understanding—are they your primary identity? If a man is physically alive but just not able to think, do you even call him alive? And let’s say, physically he is doing everything that an animal does: he can eat, he can breathe, he can walk, he can make sounds without having any language, and he may even exhibit sexual excitation. But would you even call that person really alive if that person has no discretion and no thought? We call a person dead when he is brain-dead, right? You may have everything else in the body functioning for you, but if the brain, which is related to the mind, is not there, then you are no more.
So, the body is not your primary identity; your primary identity is consciousness. You are dead if your consciousness falls below a certain level and stays there. And your lungs could be kept going through a ventilator, but you would still not be called alive.
So, consciousness is who we are. And if we are conscious, then you know very well what to do with the body. The body, then, follows consciousness; the body, then, is a servant of consciousness as it should be. Instead, if you allow bodily tendencies to rule with very little consciousness, then one would do all kinds of things in life. A woman may run after a man, a woman may sleep with a woman, and you would want to think that the distinction between these two cases is the most important thing in life. I take this as trivia.
If you are with an undeserving man, how is that any better than being with an undeserving woman? In both the cases, your life is being spoiled; in both the cases, you are subjecting yourself to very adverse company that would spoil your mind. And mostly this happens because of our animalistic tendencies. One person may just find that the old, primitive, evolutionary tendencies within are exhibiting themselves in some way; that way might be that you may want to have sex with the opposite gender. That is the way Prakriti has raised you: because when you have sex with the opposite gender, then you can procreate. But what is so holy about being attracted to the opposite gender? Please, tell me.
In no way am I insinuating that it is holier to be attracted to the same gender, that is not the point. The point is, why do you want to take this issue so seriously? Because when you are taking this issue very seriously, then the real issue is getting masked. The real issue is bodily enslavement itself. Why are we so enslaved to the body?
You see, the previous question was on economics. All this economic activity that is destroying us from within, that is destroying the environment, that is destroying the entire planet itself, is because of body-identification. We want to consume, consume, and consume. And consciousness doesn’t consume, the body consumes: “I want more furniture, I want more clothes, I want a bigger car, I want a bigger house.” Consciousness is hardly concerned about how many square meters you squat on, but the body looks at all that: “I am in a bigger bedroom because I have a bigger body” and such things.
So, when you make the straight-versus-gay/lesbian issue very important, then indirectly you are making the body very important. Because be it the straight case or the gay case, both cases have the body at their center. Don’t keep the body at the center of your thought. Seek to elevate your thought, and then you will not need any instructions or directives; then you will know what to do with the body. Then there would be no need to form a policy, legal or moral, regarding whom to approach, whom to sit with, and who to sleep with. As an adult, it is your sovereign right to decide on that, just that that right needs to be backed and exercised by a very aware mind.
If you know nothing of life, if you cannot think properly, if you have no discretion, then any decision that you make in life will be flawed, including the decisions in the sexual domain.