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Why is religion obsessed with sex? || Acharya Prashant Workshop (2023)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Questioner (Q): Sir, why is religion so obsessed with sex? In the sense that the normal kind of religious people, who are socially respectable, all that they have in their mind regarding religion contains a lot of sexual connotations. So, for example, they will keep saying that abstain from the other gender and practice celibacy. Instead of talking about core scriptures, I find them talking of women. Don't do this to women, don't look at women, don't talk to women, don't have relationship with women.

Now, I am not saying that men should have a lot of sexual relationships. No, that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that instead of focusing on scriptures and knowledge and the removal of one's own inner ignorance, why are the social and moral and religious people talking so much of sex and women?

AP: See, what has happened is`, social morality in some way has become conflated with religiosity. If you ask a normal man, he will be unable to tell the difference between social morality and religiosity. And what you call as social morality has so much to do with sex, everything to do with sex; it is as if sexuality becomes the touchstone of morality. Not consciousness, not knowledge, not realization, but sexuality. So, it becomes a very probable kind of thing for a religious person to start thinking of sexuality as very important, and then it starts hovering in your mind.

What does true spirituality have to say about sex? The answer might surprise you. It has not much to say about sex. It is popular culture and morality etc. that wax eloquent on sex. Sex, sex, sex. He's a good man. Why? Because he doesn't have sex. What kind of definition is this of a good man? Somebody is a bad man. Why? Oh, you know, there are some… What kind of definition is this?

Arjuna is talking in a body centric way. He says the war is not to be fought for the sake of keeping the women chaste; and women, so first of all the women come in from nowhere. So, just as women circle in your mind, you have someone else who faces the same situation. Think of Arjuna —in the middle of the war, only men are assembled there, and animals and weapons. Arjuna is suddenly thinking of the women. And what will happen to the women?

Obviously, it's not that he is thinking of the women, he is thinking of himself with respect to the women. “If I am not there, what will my woman do?” Do you see the orientation? The orientation is sexual. And that's what happens to most religious people. Their orientation becomes sexual. A normal man does not think of sex so much, but a so-called religious mind just keeps thinking of sex all the time. And not his fault, because he has been told that religiosity and sex are very interwind. So, he's thinking of sex, sex, sex. And when he's thinking of sex, he has to suppress sex a lot.

Take lesson from this. Sex has to become something small, something not very important, not a great monster that you are fighting all the time. Just as you do not remember what you took for breakfast yesterday, sex is something you should not even remember. If it is instead present in the mind all the time, what to do?

Q: So, sometimes it happens that, especially while reading scriptures. Normal times, I am thinking about sex and women and then I think that okay, let me start studying scriptures; in this way the thoughts about women and sex will go away. But while studying scripture, I continuously keep a look whether the thoughts about women and sex have gone away or not.

AP: This will not succeed. This is a very traditional route you are taking, it's doom to fail. See, when we began today in the afternoon, we said Prakṛiti ensnares you, traps you, only because you do not understand it, you don't know it. What you do not understand, you fall for. In some way the un-understood will torment you. It will remain a bit of a knot unresolved.

Because you are body identified, therefore you remain distant from women, right? As a man, you have to be separated from woman, that's an identity you have accorded yourself—I am a man. That puts you at a distance from women. And that which you are distanced from, you will never understand. To know something, you have to go close to it.

But what does sex mean, or a sexual orientation mean? It means you will be most of the times away from the object of your desire. And even if you go close to it, you will go close only with the purpose of exploitation and consumption. You will never go close with a view to understand. So, common morality means that men will never understand women, and women will never understand men. Because common morality keeps men away from women and women away from men, right?

In common morality, if you find men and women mingling too much, you say, “Oh, lose character, cheap fellow. All the time he's hanging around with women.” Are you getting this? The problem, do you understand? If you are so separated from women, how will you ever understand women? And we said that in Prakṛti which you do not understand, you will never be liberated from. Once I had said that you are attracted to so many women, because you have never understood even one woman. If you can understand even one woman, you will be liberated from all women.

The un-understood remains unresolved. The further you keep yourself from something, the more that thing remains an attractive enigma to you. Have you not heard men saying this way? “Nobody can understand the mind of a woman.” How can you ever understand her? You never really went close to her. Whenever you went close, your only purpose was sex. Otherwise, you never tried to enter her mind, because you never tried to enter your own mind either. You understand neither yourself, nor the woman. So, you feel a very animalistic compulsion towards her and nothing more.

Just as you want to know of everything in the universe, you must also know woman. And women must also know men. And that cannot happen if your mediocre kind of morality keeps you at a distance from the other gender. If you cannot sit across the table and talk to the other as a person, as a being of consciousness, how will you ever understand the other person? But our sex laden society amplifies the sexual component in the personality so much, that when someone from the other gender comes to you, all you see is a huge genital. You do not realize that sex is only a small part of the entire personality.

Why can't you talk politics? Why can't you talk sociology? Why can't you talk economics or science or spirituality or sports or whatever? We live in a distorted culture. It does not allow us to remain at ease with the other gender. Sahaja , sahaja that's a word that you do not have when it comes to women, neither do women have it when it comes to men. Don't you experience a certain unease?

Recently there was this news item, a very tragic one, but look at this. One fellow was to write his board exams and he was sent to an examination center where there were five hundred girls, and he got a heart attack and actually died. That kind of unease. Think of it. He was thinking of women all the time. And so, when he found so many of them around himself, he just couldn't take it. It's tragic, obviously, but look at the lesson. Just fainted.

Q: There is a coincidence. I mean, you won't believe regarding this only. So, one of my friends actually sent that news to me and said that, look this is your younger self. I mean, I don't know how even my college friends come to know about this problem. I mean, that day I started thinking that have I even progressed an inch in spirituality? That was a serious day for me when I received that message.

AP: My teacher, he told me, "Sādho sahaj samādhi bhalī" (O sadhu! The simple union is the best). No pretense, no convoluted methods, no mumbo jumbo, just being the essential self is sufficient.*Sahaja*—not excited, not distracted, not attracted, not repulsed. A person has come in front of me, I acknowledge the person is from another gender, that's all I acknowledge. And I can talk now, that's fine. Half the population is women, how can you avoid them or remain in confusion about them?

At some point in your time, you will enter a relationship. What will become the quality of your life if you do not understand woman? The relationship will eat you up, and unfortunately the other person also. Have easy relationships with both the genders. Do not make sex such a big thing. If sex comes as an output of an easy relationship, it is okay. If it does not come your entire life, that too is okay. It is not a big thing. You know what the big is? The ease is the big thing, the sahajatā is the big thing. If it just happens, happens. If it doesn't happen, don't force it.

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