That which is the eternal, unmanifest cause, comprising both being and non-being is called Brahma. Having dwelt in that golden egg for a year, that lord through the meditation of his own self, divided that egg twofold. Dividing his body into two, he became a male by one half, and by the other half a female.
The Lawbook of Manu
This is a familiar motif in the creation tales of the ancient traditions of Asia: The Lord divided Himself into halves--one half became male, the other half, female. Or you might say, the Lord divided Herself into halves; it makes no difference whatsoever.
We encounter the same idea in Greek philosophy. Socrates speaks of the golden age when there was no division of sexes. As the golden age passed away, a split occurred--one became two, and each lost touch with its own other self. Since then, the male has been seeking the female and the female the male--both are seeking their counterparts since after the golden age. But because we are blinded by appearances, and our eyes cannot perceive that spiritual light by which we can recognize our counterparts, we stumble around experimenting, discarding, accepting, rejecting, trying out--all the while failing to find that one with whom we were united in the golden age.
In every individual, there is a male and there is a female. Because we have not balanced these two in ourselves, one becomes the primary and the other secondary in ourselves. Then we spend our lives seeking the other half in the external world.
Yoga can be regarded as the science of union with that lost counterpart, as the science of uniting female and male. As we progress spiritually, there comes a time when this apparent separation ceases and the two are seen as one. The yogis who wrote the Yoga Sutras also wrote the tantric texts. Tantra is the science of celibacy, the science of the internal union of the male and the female. A perfected being is one in whom the male and the female have become perfectly balanced. When otherness ceases to be, there is union within.
Not only have we divided ourselves into male and female, we have also divided ourselves into body and spirit. Within each of us, the kundalini force is lying coiled up, its power hidden because we have divided ourselves into an external self of the body and an internal self of the spirit. Having divided ourselves up in this way, we tend to identify with the body and dis-identify with the spirit. We start searching for the spiritual self, but the one who is doing the searching is that very spiritual self.
In the same way, we go around seeking fulfillment through the so-called opposite sex. But when we discover the virtues and the beauties that we contain within ourselves, then we become self-sufficient and self-dependent. What the male looks for in the female is within himself, just as what female looks for in the male is within herself. We are like the musk deer in the high Himalayan mountains, who are now on the verge of extinction. Legend has it that in a certain season, this musk deer wanders frantically from valley to hilltop and hilltop to valley searching desperately for the source of the intoxicating smell of musk that is coming from a gland near his own navel. He has been hunted to the brink of extinction for that very smell. Others know that the musk is in him, yet he does not know it.
There is no opposite sex; what we are looking for out there is already within us. Carl Jung somewhat understood this. In his office he kept a picture of a statue in which the sculptor had brought out the totality, the perfection of both sexes. Jung would ask visitors, "Is this the picture of a male or a female?" Females would always say it's the picture of a male, and males would always say, "It's the picture of a female." Each recognized the other, but did not recognize herself or himself.
Just as we have split the male from the female part of ourselves and the female from the male, we are split between the external world and our spiritual selves. For this reason, a split occurs in our subtle energy. It becomes divided threefold: the central stream (called sushumna, the left stream (called ida), and the right stream (called pingala) interweaving like the snakes in the well-known medical symbol of the Caduceus.
The leftward force is called the female, the rightward force is called the male. We are seldom perfectly balanced in our lives. We either lean to the left or we lean to the right, in one way or another. We try our best to balance the two, but we lead an unbalanced life, a life in which we have attractions, aversions; aversions, attractions. We shift between one side and the other, but never take to the middle stream. This is why we fail to fully enjoy what is present before us, why we do not enjoy what has been given to us.
The art of enjoyment in life has only two parts: restraint and concentration. It is not possible to enjoy anything in life without these two. If you want to enjoy a painting, you have to restrain yourself from looking in all the other five thousand directions and concentrate on the painting. If you want to enjoy music, you have to refrain from every other thought and become totally absorbed in listening. Restraint and concentration are companions: Restrain from other things and concentrate on what you want to enjoy.
In their search for sexual satisfaction, people have not mastered either the art of restraint nor the art of concentration. If you restrain yourself from sexual indulgence for a period of time and enjoy other things about your companion, then the pleasure of sexual indulgence will be fully concentrated. This pleasure will be heightened if the sex act is undertaken primarily with the thought of giving pleasure to the other person. A person on the meditative path is considered fully celibate if his or her sexuality is a form of giving, rather than a means of personal satisfaction. If you practice restraint and concentration and undertake sex with the thought of giving pleasure to your partner, you will be surprised at the way your marriage and your satisfaction will bloom.
If you are on the meditative path, you will also want to learn to observe that energy that manifests itself outwardly as sexual energy and understand that it has an inward flow. In yoga, we are always trying to balance the left nostril and the right nostril. At most times, either your left nostril is flowing strongly or your right nostril. But there are a few, rare times when both nostrils flow with equal force. One of them is the moment of sexual climax. Just for a brief period, the left nostril and the right nostril in each individual participant of the sexual act flows equally. And the yogis say that it is not your union with the other partner that is bringing you this ecstasy, but the fact that for that moment, all the male and the female forces, the left force and the right force within you, have become so fully concentrated that both nostrils begin to flow equally and an ecstasy occurs.
The Sanskrit word for married couple is singular; it has no dual and plural as do other words in Sanskrit. This is because the outer partner is a projection of your opposite nature. The male in you, lady, is projected out there, and you embrace that male, your own other self, and vice versa. But if you keep looking only outwards, you will never find the essence of perfect satisfaction within you.
The yogis say that celibacy means a permanent union of the male and the female within you. So when the yogi whose kundalini is awake sits in long meditation, both nostrils begin to flow with equal force and he may sit that way for hours, even for days. He has entered the path of sushumna, he in whom the two sides have become absolutely balanced, experiences an ecstasy a million times greater than the ecstasy experienced in sexual climax for an unbroken period of hours and days. So he opens his eyes to the world and asks, "What is it that you people enjoy in sex? For a few seconds pleasure, there is so much trouble in the world."
Those of you who are on the meditative path and who are married will reap great rewards when you approach sex with restraint and concentration. Concentrate on one person, concentrate on one person's pleasure. Restrain yourself for awhile, and at those times, let your awareness flow inward and enjoy the art of celibacy.
Swami Veda Bharati was trained from childhood in meditation and yoga philosophy and has taught yoga to thousands of people from an early age. He is an expert in raja yoga which is the source of all branches of yoga. A faculty member of the Himalayan Institute, he has written many books and articles on yoga and meditation. In addition to his writing and meditation, Swami Veda Bharati has lectured and taught meditation throughout the world.
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