Question: “Acharya Ji, my whole life, I treated sex as fun due to my early age experience. I would treat it as fun-just to relax my body. But now, at my mature age, I feel that it’s a responsibility to have a son or a daughter for humanity, to strengthen our world. I feel I must procreate for the welfare of humanity. And I realize that at the time of such creation, both the partners must be aware of what they are creating- it must be for the betterment of society and not only for fun. Only then will one be responsible, otherwise both I and the society will suffer.”
Acharya Prashant: You are saying that in your teenage, in your early youth you had sex for fun and now you want to have sex in order to fulfill a social responsibility.
It is far better to have sex for fun than to have sex to fulfill some social obligation. Sex is something very intimate, it cannot be driven by the dictates of others, it cannot be driven by social norms, it cannot be a method to fulfill a responsibility towards others. Having fun and then moving on is a far more innocent and spiritual thing. Because in having fun, you are not aiming for the future, in having fun, you are not expecting a reward after the action. In having fun you will not try to hold the other captive, you will not say that you must now stay with me and fulfill your responsibilities and sign this contract with me that obliges you for such time into the future.
Sex that is had for a purpose is anyway bad, even if it’s your own personal purpose. And sex that is had for a social purpose, even if that purpose is a high sounding, and a lofty purpose like the welfare of mankind is worse.
These so-called noble aphorisms and slogans are not going to save you. If one cannot be centered, be with himself even in something as intimate as sex. I am calling it intimate because of all the human actions, sex has the potential to engage one most fully. Man is any way distracted, but the possibility of distraction is lowered in the sexual activity, it consumes one fully, it possesses, it dominates for the promise that it holds. When you are with your partner, there must be only the two of you, only then total engagement and immersion is possible. Instead, if the entire society is present, then the act has been corrupted, the mind has been corrupted, the relationship has been corrupted.
Do you like having sex when hundred people are watching you from the outside? If you do not like sex when hundred people are watching you from the outside, how do you bear to have sex when a thousand people are watching you from the inside? If you are still thinking of the society, are you really with your partner?
People often talk of fidelity, loyalty, people often talk about what it means to cheat on your partner. Do you know what is the real meaning of cheating? The real meaning of cheating is this. Your engagement with your partner is driven not by love for your partner but by some other consideration. That alone is the right definition of disloyalty or infidelity or cheating.
If you go to a partner just to exploit him or her, extract something from her, or to fulfill some responsibility, then it is cheating. Cheating is not about seeing another man or women, cheating is about having love that has been corrupted, diluted. And the love is corrupted and diluted when the mind of the lover is a social mind.
Even if offsprings are to be born, they must come just as fruits come to a tree. In their own time, in their own way, when the tree is mature, then the fruits come. The tree doesn’t plan. The tree doesn’t have fruits in order to please other human beings or other trees or anybody. Kids must come to you just as clouds come to the sky. When it is their season, then they come uninvited, unplanned. Kids must come to you just as butterfly comes to a flower. When the flower is young, beautiful, ready, full of aroma, then the butterflies come on their own.
The flower does not make arrangements for the butterfly. Similarly if to the two of you kids must come, it must be out of love. And even if you have to make mental considerations, even if you have to involve some planning, the planning must involve only the two of you. No third person, no third consideration, no law of religion, no force of the society must be allowed to intervene in this something that is so very individual.
The entire life must be worshipped and because for the normal human beings sex happens to the such a passionate part of life, sex must especially be worshipped. Worship is never social. Even if you are there in a temple along with hundred others, yet your relationship with God is purely intimate, individual and pure. No third party can, no third party must interfere.
You are talking about the welfare of humankind. What welfare would happen when you bring one more child to the world. The population of this planet is already eight billion. Kindly explain to me, how you are going to benefit the planet one more to the population. The place you are living in, this country (India) is already terribly populated and you are saying you want to procreate for the benefit of mankind. How exactly? What are you thinking?
And if your own nest, your own house appears a little vacant, then bring in an orphan. An orphan will cheer up your household.
It is not for social responsibility or for social welfare or for the progress of humanity that you probably want to have a child. Ask yourself is it not because of social pressure instead that you are feeling the need to confirm. Surely somebody is pressurizing you. It is the prerogative of the Buddhas and the Saints to think of human welfare. And they have gone to human welfare only after they have done themselves a lot of good. Only after their own eyes have opened up do they start opening the eyes of the entire world. Have your own eyes opened up? Then how are you talking of the welfare of the mankind?
Have you been able to come to your own welfare? Don’t you see it is such a bizarre situation? You do not know your own welfare but you are intending the welfare of the world and that too how? By having sex and getting a kid.
What exactly is the thinking? What is the logic? What is the inner argument? Are we living in an age where populations have been wiped out by war or plague? Are we living in a country where the birth rates are so low that the government has to incentivize births? Are we living as tribes in a jungle that are in a danger of extinction due to their underpopulation? Are human beings the threatened species on this planet? Then how exactly are you thinking of social welfare through reproduction?
Don’t you see that it is just absurd? Instead, the matter of fact might be that you are feeling pressurized by social norms or by somebody, in particular, maybe somebody of the household. Maybe neighbors, relatives, maybe one of the old ladies in the house who are constantly bugging you to become a father or a mother. Or, maybe the movies that keep on telling you that unless you are a father, there is something missing in your life.
If you really intend anybody’s welfare and welfare is wonderful, I love it and respect it when you talk about the welfare of others.
Start with your own welfare. See what life is like, understand what sex is? Understand what is procreation? Know what it means to bring a baby into this world. Know what human being is and what his relationship with the society must be? Know what is birth? Know what is bad for a human being? Only then you will know that in which lies human welfare.
But, of one thing I can assure you, social welfare in this time and age does not lie in producing babies, not at all. If you really love kids, I repeat, be a parent to an orphan. Don’t add to this overburdened planet. It is already reeling under our collective weight. This earth does not have resources to feed even the existing population at the current consumption levels. From where will it get the resources to feed more people? And that too at advanced consumption levels. Know love, be loving towards yourself, be loving towards your wife, your love will bear fruits of love and that will be sufficient.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Sex for fun, sex for social obligation
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