Question: Is the transformation of lust into love somewhat related to a transformation in the energy which will sometimes refer to as Kundalini? Does this process of transformation of lust into love occur in moments when one joins hands and gratitude and in moments of complete attention or peace? It is possible that one might be physically experiencing the rise of this energy in one’s head very prominently when one meditates? Does remaining attentive to the present moment lead to this transformation and freedom from lust and pleasure-seeking desire of the brain?
Acharya Prashant: There are a lot of assumptions contained in this question. We need to first unearth those assumptions. The first assumption is that lust and love are necessarily separate. The second assumption is, one of them is inferior to the other. The third is that there is something called the experience of the Truth. Let us look at them one after the other.
Lust is to Love, what the world is to the Truth. Lust is to love, what the Manifest is to the unmanifest – they are one. One is expressed, the other is not. Just as there is nothing called a transformation of the world into God, similarly there is nothing called a transformation of lust into love. All these concepts and assumptions are based on the negation of life and the world.
One wants to say that there is something inferior or ungodly about carnal love, about lust, and hence one must rise above it. One wants to then reject all that which is life and blood, all that which is objective, all that which is material, and one wants to then rise into an imaginary world of timelessness and spacelessness. A conceptual world where there are no objects that one can be lustful of, and there is only a pure love that is not objectified.
Love is to see the essence of lust. Attraction towards objects is lust. That is the direct and simple definition of lust. It is so simple that one cannot miss it. One is attracted towards objects and that is lust. That object might be anything. Even if you are attracted towards the butterfly, it is lust. Even if you are attracted towards a utensil, a pen, a building, a motorcar, it is lust.
Looking at a material, looking at anything material, and being pulled towards it is lust. You could say that lust is the relationship between object and object. And lust is not merely expressed as attraction, even to be repulsed is lust. Objects attract each other, objects repel each other, and objects are also sometimes indifferent to each other. All three aspects of the relationship between objects are lust. That is why we said lust is the relationship between object and object.
So, to the extent you, the person, are an object, you are bound to dwell in lust, you cannot escape lust. Your eyes are bound to like the butterfly. Yes, of course, you can train them, you can compel them, to not to like the butterfly or to be indifferent to the butterfly. But still, whenever a rainbow would decorate the sky, you will find yourself being compelled to look at it. Looking at the rainbow arching the sky is lust, and it’s beautiful.
What it love then?
Love is to be a right participant in the game of lust. Please listen to this very carefully because you might not have heard of this before today. The game of lust is the game of Prakriti. It continues. The child is born and when a shiny object is brought in front of it, his hand automatically gets stretched out, it is lust. Nobody trains the child to look with focus at a frog, but when the Frog is hopping around, look at the eyes of the child, they lit up. The child starts looking with focus, exclusively, selectively, at the Frog. This is lust -object meets the object.
And when the child is looking selectively at the Frog, the child is ignoring the bland walls around him. The child is ignoring, the slippers that he is wearing. The child is ignoring the trees around. The child is ignoring the earth under his feet. This indifference to some objects too is lust. Lust is the very game of Prakriti, the game in which all objects participate. This is lust.
One does not have to teach the child to reach out to the mother’s breast, the child knows. One does not have to teach the child to suck his own thumb, the child knows. Every object, according to its Prakritik configuration, does what it does. That is lust. When I Prakriti, I mean physical nature. Nature expressed physically is Prakriti.
The Truth, when it takes the physical expression, it is called Prakriti.
So, according to his own Prakriti, his own physical nature, every object plays its role in this great game of life. That is lust. You too have a role to play. When you look at a flower, when you look at a shiny object, when you look at a rainbow, when you look at money, when you look at a woman, all that which is objective within you is called into action. You don’t have to grant your permission for that. That will happen automatically.
Bad odor enters your nostrils and automatically out comes the handkerchief. You don’t have to allow that to happen. And even if you do not consciously do it, your system, your face, your nostrils, will try to find a way away from the bad odor. Bad odor is an object, your nostrils are an object, the electrical impulses arising from the walls of your nostrils too are an object, and those electrical impulses travel to another object that is the brain, and all of that is configured action, all of that is Prakritik and automatic action.
In all this game of things happening in a configured way, in an automatic way, in a lustful way, where are you? You have a great role to play here. Where are you? You know what is your role? If you know your role, then you know love. When everything in you, around you, is participating, you too participate. But participate rightly. Just as everything else is participating rightly, you too participate rightly.
Let’s go into it.
What is everything doing in this great game? In this great game, everything is following its nature, its configuration. The nostril is configured to not to allow bad stuff to enter the lungs, that is the configuration of the nostril. The nostril is doing what it must do, what its appointed role is. So, to know what your role is, you must also know what is your nature. The nature of the nostril is to serve as a gateway to the lungs, as a conduit. The nostril plays its role to perfection.
Have you seen how the fingers rise and close the gates of the nostrils? Have you seen how there are hair inside the nostril track so that if some dust or other impurity enters, it is caught in the hair? Do you see how there is a lining of phlegm in the nostrils inside? It is so that any dust particles that enter are caught. Everything and everybody is doing what it is naturally meant to do.
What are you naturally meant to do? What is your role? How do you participate in this great drama? To answer that you need to ask what is your nature because your role is determined by your nature. In fact, your role has to be identical to your nature. What is your nature? Ask. When do you feel really really comfortable? If you can answer that question honestly, you will know your nature. Because your nature is that state or non-state of your being in which you are fully totally absolutely comfortable. When are you absolutely comfortable? Please answer that.
Let me ask you, are you not very comfortable when you are sleeping? Are you not? Anybody here who is uncomfortable even in his or her sleep?
You might be suffering from the worst and the most painful disease in the world, but what happens to the discomfort associated with that disease when you go off to sleep? You might be imprisoned, but what happens to all the trauma associated with prison when you go off to sleep? You might have faced the great loss in business, what happens to great loss when you have fallen asleep? You are the most comfortable when you are asleep. To be asleep means to be untouched, unaffected. To be asleep means to be in a state of not-knowing, in a state that is untouched by information and knowledge. To be asleep means to be not obliged to move. To be asleep means to be in a state of no responsibility. That is when you are the most comfortable. That is your nature.
In fact, that is the very definition of nature. Nature is the state in which you do not feel like budging away from that state. If you are in a particular state and you keep feeling that you must attain another state, then that first state is not at all your nature. Your nature is that state in which all imaginations and desires of other states are lost. Your nature is that state, having attained which, you do not want to attain anything else. That state is represented by sleep. It is not exactly sleep, but sleep is a good representation, that is why I am using sleep as a symbol.
So, when the great game of Prakriti, when the great game of lust is being played around you, your role is to keep sleeping. Now that is a little difficult because the eyes too are objects. Because ordinary sleep is bound to be broken after a few hours. So, obviously, you cannot keep sleeping in the ordinary way. It is impossible. In the ordinary way if you have to continuously sleep, that would mean physical death.
So, your role has to be more subtly understood. Your role then is to keep sleeping even when your physical apparatus is awake. Your role is to keep sleeping even when the eyes are open. Your role is to not to stray away from the most comfortable and relaxed state of mind. That is called Jagrat Sushupti. That is also called Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Now, Samadhi, the state of rest, is Nirvikalpa. Nirvikalpa means it does not depend on any object, it does not depend on anything around it, it does not depend on space, it does not depend on conditions, and it does not depend on sleep being interrupted. “The eyes may open, the eyes may close. The world might exist, the world might not exist. It might be heat, it might the winters. It might be day, it might be night. My rest is unabated. My rest is unpunctuated.” That is your role, and it is a great role.
You must keep sleeping, that is your role in the great drama of lust. When lust is dancing all around you, you keep sleeping. And if you can keep sleeping, that is love. That is why, I said that listen to this very carefully, you might not have heard of this before. Love is that great sleep which is unaffected by all lust. That great sleep, mind you, does not seek to transform lust. That great sleep, mind you, does not want to do anything to lust. That great sleep just lets lust be.
Obviously what else can sleep do? Things are dancing around you and you are asleep. Obviously, you are just letting them dance. You are participating by non-participating. This sleep is also called witnessing. This non-participation is also called witnessing. But mind you, this witnessing, this non-participation, is absolutely the right participation. This is the only way you can participate, you must participate. And participate you must.
Often witnessing is taken as withdrawal. No, not at all. Witnessing is beautiful participation. Witnessing is samyak, right participation. This game invites everyone. When even objects are invited, how can you be left out? You too are invited. In fact, you are the chief guest in the party, in the function. You are the most celebrated presence in this occasion. How can you remain absent? But you remain present by remaining asleep. That is the way to be present to lust. When lust is there all around you, you remain asleep. This sleep is love. This sleep, you know what it means, it means you love something so much that you will not leave it even for the sake of all objects.
The mind is getting attracted to something, and when the mind is getting attracted to something, that mind tells you “Please come along, we will have a good time”, and you know what you tell the mind, you say, “Dear mind, you go to the object that you are getting attracted to, let me remain with the one I love”, and whom do I love? I love peace, I love sleep. God is another name for total sleep. I love my sleep so much that I won’t desert him. I am totally loyal, I am totally committed. I have met my lover, I have met my husband. I will not leave him. You go wherever you want to, I will not stop you. Just as I am committed to my love, you remain committed to your attraction because that is your Prakritik configuration.”
“You are designed to run around, I am designed to stay centered. You are designed to remain in consciousness, I am designed to remain in deep awareness. I will do what I must. When you are around, it is called lust. When I just sleep, it is love. Sleeping is love.”
Sleep means sleeping with the one who is worthy of sleeping with. Sleeping with the one who won’t desert you in your sleep. Sleeping with the one whose company can give you total relaxation. A lover who is so reliable that you can relax in his arms. You remain there, you do not want to leave your peace. Peace is the name of the lover. God is another name for peace. You remain there, that is called love. You participate in the great game by being with your own lover.
The eyes go to their own attraction. Okay, why insult the eyes. Let me just say, the eye goes to the one they love. The eyes love the rainbow, the eyes love the butterfly, two eyes love the handsome man or the dainty woman. Let the eyes go where they want to go. Don’t stop them. If you stop the eyes from wandering, that means that you don’t have trust in your own love. If you are afraid of the loitering of the mind, it only proves that you are insecure about your own love.
You must be very very self-assured. You must know that even if the mind runs away a thousand miles from the center, yet you will remain at the center, and then let us see how far the mind can go away without you. Let us see. And if it does go away, let it go away. If it does not go away, let it come back.
Coincidentally, the mind is nothing but the entire environment around you. If you decide to stay firm at the center, how far away can the mind go? But if you start chasing the mind in order to bring it back, then the mind has gone away, and you too have gone away in your effort to bring the mind back. It’s like a little kid running away from home and being chased by the mother, and the kid is running fast and the kid has gone away two kilometers, and chasing it, ostensibly with the purpose to bring it back to home, the mother has also come away two kilometers from the center, from the home. So don’t change the mind. Don’t try to bring it back to home. You remain at home wherever the mind goes. That is love.
The movement of mind is lust. Your commitment to the center in the middle of all lust is love. No transformation is needed. Both are parallel, both are simultaneous. When you are tethered to the center, then the movement of the mind gains a wonderful quality. Lust remains very much as lust. Objects do get still attracted to each other. But something touches the quality of that attraction.
Man would still touch the woman, but the quality of that touch would change. If you do not have eyes, that can see, all that you would see is that a man is touching a woman. But when the ego is centered, then the fingers get something of that center. Now, when these fingers will even lustfully touch a man or a woman, there would be lust and there would be something beyond lust also.
To know what is beyond lust, you too will have to be a lover of the beyond. To uneducated eyes, to conditioned eyes, it will appear that flesh is up touching flesh. And you cannot be blamed because materially only flesh would appear to touch flesh. That is all that your eyes will be able to see. Body is meeting body, skin is rubbing against skin, and flesh is touching flesh.
But don’t condemn it. What else can the flesh touch, and what else can be flesh be touched by? Flesh will touch flesh. Godliness lies in the quality of the touch. Kindly do not imagine that the godly man or the godly woman stops touching, or start abdicating flesh. No. The touch is still there. The flesh is still there. Flesh plays its designated role, but God enters the union. Now it is a union between man, woman, and God. It’s tripartite now. Mind you that man and woman are still there, so lust is still there. Lust is still there. But there is something beyond lust as well.
That is incidentally also the way to live in the world. Let the mind do what it is designed to do, you remain in your Samadhi. Let the business of the world go on, you remain centered. You remain firm. Let flesh do its own thing, you do your own thing. When you are doing your own thing, then God comes to touch your lust. Lust is then not destroyed but sanctified. It is not as if lust then disappears. Rather, lust then comes accompanied by another one. That other one is called purity.
So, you could even say that when you are loving, then your lust is pure lust. That is what is meant by the presence of God in the lustful relationship.
Now, you will know that even as the game of attraction, repulsion, bodily configuration, etc is being played, this game is meaningless and purposeless because it cannot give anything to you. You are already in your highest state. You are already asleep. You are already so very blissful, that no orgasm can add to your bliss.
Now, orgasm is no more something that you will covet. Now, you will not be mad to just sexually engage with another person. You’d still engage, but that engagement would be free of the avaricious madness that you see all around. You would not now want to exploit the other’s body. You would now not look at the other’s body as a means of your personal fulfillment. Now, it would be pure lust, in the sense that it would now just be body meeting body. It would not now be about using the other’s body as a means of something beyond.
You know what we look at the other’s body as? Because we don’t have contentment and fulfillment in our daily lives, so we want to use the other’s body to get that fulfillment which we otherwise cannot have, do not have. When you are anyway contented and fulfilled, when you are anyway at the top of your game, then others body is just body. Then you do not say that the other’s body is a gateway to heaven. Then you do not say that if you can get the other’s body then you will have the highest bliss that is possible. You now already have the highest bliss.
So, why will you seek the highest bliss in a man’s or a woman’s body? Now the body is just a little body. Now your lust is just pure lust. Now, your lust is not a symbol of some greed beyond itself. Are you getting it?
Love is to love God. There is no other love. When you love God, then God is freely and easily available. Now you have no other desire left. Which means, that now you can leave the petty desires to play their own little petty game. And that game is now so petty, so petty, that it cannot threaten anyone. You can allow that game to continue, you can now allow the game of lust to freely continue. Now lust is no more a danger.
That will also help you see why religious people all over the world and all through the centuries have been condemning lust. They have been condemning lust because they have found lust threatening. When you are really in Samadhi, then lust is no more a threat. Then you will not condemn lust. The really wise man, the really Samadhist man, the really natural man, will not condemn lust. He will do his own thing. He will let the body do its own thing. And when you are doing your own thing rightly, then the body also knows that it must do its own thing rightly. In fact, the body always knows, the mind always knows, the intellect always knows, it is you who interferes.
When you do not want to interfere with the body, mind, intellect your own business is that deep sleep called Samadhi. Mind your own business. Let the body take care of its own business. The body too arises from the same source as you do. Just as you are intelligent, the body too has been blessed with intelligence. The mind is nothing but the intelligence of the body.
Let the body do as it pleases. Let the body please do as it pleases. Kindly do not become a policeman upon the body. Kindly do not let your notions of morality and spirituality become an unnecessary load upon Prakriti. Prakriti is heavenly. Prakriti is godly. But, Prakriti is heavenly and godly only when, first of all, you love God and you do not interfere with Prakriti.
Lust needs no transformation. You need transformation. And your transformation is just about you moving into your essential nature. Go there.
You talked about Kundalini and other stuff, they are names. Mind starts this business of naming, and defining, and running around, and hopping and jumping, only when it does not have the real thing.
When you are really breathing, do you want to give the breath a name? How many names will you give to each of the million breaths you take in a day? When you are really splashing around in the water, how many names do you want to give to each of the droplets? When you are looking at birds playing around, do you really want to give each of them a name? A pack of wolves, do you give them a name? A flock of birds, do you give them a name? Why name? Just being with them is sufficient. Let the mind do what it does. If the mind wants to give a few things names, it is alright. You remain in the nameless. You remain in the formless.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
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