A Collection of Articles on Kundalini
Going All the Way With Tantric Celibacy
Excerpt from Eros, Consciousness and Kundalini:
Deepening Sensuality Through Tantric Celibacy and Spiritual Intimacy (pgs. 16-18) by Stuart Sovatsky
Tantric yoga, as a system of rituals, exercises, and philosophical teachings, was developed over the past 2,500 years in a practical search for profound feeling and awareness. Just as a modern scientist might spend years on a single research problem, tantric yogis might dwell on a certain feeling for hours a day, plumbing its every nuance and what it told them about existence. They became experts in the arts of feeling and concentration. As their explorations took on devotional qualities, known as bhakti, their erotic practices became acts of worship. They became worshipers of the entire range of emotionality, and when mature, they enjoyed a consciousness that reached from the despairing depths of the horrific to the heights of divine ecstasy. Thus all of life's potential could pass consciously through them with unfathomable acceptance.
Through prolonged appreciation of genital or other sensual feelings and fleeting emotions, they discovered a natural progression from sexual feelings to profound ecstasies. This continuum of feeling and the bodily process that supported it was named urdhva-reta, literally, the upward flow that refines the juice-current of life. As they entered the subtleties of these feelings, they came to know a further essence within each bodily essence.
Ultimately, urdhva-reta revealed that bindu, the substrate of the gamete itself (analogous in modern terms to reproductive DNA), could actually be experienced as a bliss that could be refined to a pitch so exquisite, it leaped into the spiritual range. Ojas, or radiant life energy, was the name given to this profound essence within the essence of future human life. Ojas was so brilliant that it illuminated consciousness itself and, through worshipful appreciation and a life of high integrity, was deepened yet further into a quintessential distillate known as virya, the spiritual force of virtuous or heroic and even saintly character. From desire to virya: such is the erotic continuum these yogis discovered.
First, any sense of genital desirousness, bodily tension, or emotional yearning was followed with rapt awareness as it moved throughout the body. At a certain point, the energies would become so intense that the yogi's body would begin to move as well, stretching into the now familiar yoga asanas (postures). Even emotional expressions like sorrowful or joyful crying, reasonless or delighted laughing, a victorious or wild roaring, or devotional singing and various uncanny alterations in breathing would occur.
Gradually such sensations, longings, and urges were refined into a singular passionate feeling that moved more or less up the spine. The yogi grew still. In amazement he saw the passion blossom into glowing, blissful radiance at seven spinal locations called chakras or "wheel-flowers." After many years of devoted nurturing of the distinctive tonalities of each chakra, this passion dissolved into a primordial brilliance of indescribable beauty and fulfillment. As an inward "orgasm of consciousness," it exceeded the yogi's every expectation. His sense of body and self was that of a cathedral housing a spark of divinity.
While all agreed that sexual activity could generate a temporarily invigorating ecstasy, most of these yogis felt that meditative sublimation, with or without a partner, went further. Some who had partners, however, broke with sublimation and moved with each other into orgasm; others tried a sublimative form of coitus without orgasm; and still others rested spellbound in touchless eye contact or merely holding hands with their partner. Many meditated in solitude, spreading their love more and more equally to all things and all people.
There was much divergence of opinion among the yogis on how best to guide the energy through the chakras. Numerous meditative techniques, physical exercises, and rituals were devised. Some concluded that nothing could be accomplished through individual efforts alone, that divine grace guided all. Such pronouncements also expressed their profound gratitude and amazement over the magnitude of the tantric bliss and the beauties of the divine creation.
The paths that included orgasmic and coitus reservatus sex, being more similar to conventional sexuality, have already made their way into many popular books on "tantric sex." Those books can be considered partial bridges to sublimative erotic life. In this book I will hold to nonsexual sublimative ways in pursuit of the hidden mystery of eros, fulfillments that are found through entering the evermore desireless depths of body and soul.
The differences in paths notwithstanding, all the yogis agree that the desires of the human body and ego-personality are but pointers to our true identity, the utterly vulnerable Self, forever conscious and desireless. The wandering holy person, or sadhu, was the outward appearance of this eternally vulnerable Self, while a profound sense of innocent freedom was its inner hallmark.
To this day, the vast and varied cultures of India find honor in supporting those who enter upon this path of the eternally vulnerable life. Thus, Mahatma Gandhi could have a profound political impact while possessing virtually nothing. In fact, anyone could live as this Self-male or female, married or single, wealthy or impoverished. In rare cases, we are told, this ecstatic sense of Self even transmuted the sting of death into a permanent sense of immortality and blissful infinity. Thus, legend has it that certain yogis followed the path of brahmacharya for thousands of lifetimes.
As the yogi matured, the desire or need for sex apart from procreation was rendered vestigial, not through moral proscriptions but through gradually deepening sensual and supersensual fulfillments. Too much sex, more than once per lunar cycle, proved sublimatively nonecological and diminished the yoga, or union with life's nourishing harmonies. The yogi would lose his or her fulfillment, and desires would arise forthwith.
Thus, the brahmacharin eventually renounces even the desire to be celibate
and instead follows the inner rhythms of this sublimative process in two phases: a half hour
to several hours each day of yogic meditation and exercises, known as sadhana,
literally, the gathering of spiritual power; then, during the rest of the day ferreting out
this evermore primordial fulfillment, often hidden in the feeling states we call frustration,
emptiness, or even desire. As one American practitioner told me with a smile,
"Brahmacharya is a very special form of hedonism, just with pleasures and practices of a