MEHER BABA ON SEX
“Sexual intercourse is the highest type of sensual pleasure in the world. But how long does it last? Only a few minutes.
“If this, the highest of all worldly pleasures, is compared with the real happiness of eternal divine bliss, it is a mere shadow of a drop from the infinite ocean of eternal bliss. When once realised, this bliss is felt and enjoyed every second forever.
“From this comparison you can imagine the hollowness of the world and its pleasures.”
Meher Baba, 12 October 1922,
Bombay, LM2 p439. Also RD p104-105
“At the Thursday afternoon tea-party at Kaka Shahane’s, which was being continued every week, Baba brought up the subject of ‘vital forces’ or ‘vital fluid.’ He said that the loss of this – excepting in the relations of man and wife which are based upon mutual love and respect – was a serious matter. Indulgence for its own sake, whether natural or unnatural or in dreams, simply increased one’s sanskaric load.
“‘There are people,’ he said, ‘who say it is natural for the energies of the body to be spent. Spent, yes – but in service, not in lust. So the best remedy is to keep the mind engaged in love for God and in service for others.
‘Without the rains, people would not get food or drink, but they must come at the right time, at the right place, in the right quantity; otherwise they may destroy the crops and flood the countryside.'”
Francis Brabazon, SW p269
(January 1926, Ahmednagar?)
“Desires are harmful both ways, when fulfilled and when not fulfilled. For instance, a person has a desire for sex. Overcome with intense longing, he fornicates with someone of the opposite sex and fulfills his desire. What then? After the fornication, he feels dejected. Why is this, when his desire has been fulfilled? At first it seems so strange, but there is nothing strange about it. For that is the eventual result of expression of his desire, which brings on disappointment and dejection.
“Once a desire is fulfilled, there is another desire that arises ready to be satisfied. When that desire is satisfied, another is there, and so on. It is not easy to escape the clutches of one’s desires. Only Perfect Masters can destroy the desires of their devotees, disciples, and those on whom their grace descends.”
Meher Baba, 12 June 1929, Arangaon, LM4 p1165
“fornication: voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other.” (Random House Dictionary of the English Language)
“I must ask all aspirants to remember once and for all, that if they are desirous of rapid progress and quick enlightenment, they should live up to the following four laws:
1. If possible, observe celibacy. If already married, keep as little sexual intercourse with your partner as possible. Consider, if you are a man, all other women as your sisters; if you are a woman, all other men as your brothers.
2. Avoid all animal food, except milk and the products of milk. Don’t partake of even eggs.
3. Avoid all intoxicating drugs and drinks. Tea is not an intoxicant, provided it is weak. But be moderate in your habit of tea drinking.
4. Curb yourself, and never give way to anger. Whenever you fly into a passion, you contract red sanskaras, which are the worst of all.”
Meher Baba, Ms 2:2 p8 (February 1930)
“Wine is good for both health and the spiritual life. It is an intoxicant and tonic for both. If after drinking wine, thoughts are diverted to spiritual advancement, it is a great push toward the goal. Otherwise it can lead to hell. Wine is such that either it raises you to the highest pinnacle, or makes you fall into the deepest ditch.
“The main object of intoxicants in the ancient past was spiritual. Seekers then used not only wine, but also hemp, heroin, hashish and opium; so much so that even Qutubs would indulge in them (You have heard stories that Sai Baba used to smoke a chillum pipe, and Upasani Maharaj smoked beedis). But eventually during those times, ordinary people indulged in these intoxicants for the wrong reasons. They could not understand their proper use, and the effects of the intoxication diverted their thoughts to carnal desires – worst of all to lust, the greatest obstacle in the Way.
“In the spiritual Path, lust is the greatest obstacle. Even the thought of fornication should not enter the mind. That is why I tell you, ‘Keep your langoti tight,’ which means to have no lustful thoughts, do no lustful actions, and do not touch or even look at a woman.
“Lust is so forceful that even looking at a woman can start a man thinking about sex; and thinking leads to action. Compare the love between a child and his mother. The child plays in her arms and touches her without creating the least thought of lust. But the slightest touch between the father and mother may arouse lustful thoughts in them.”
Meher Baba, September 1929, Isfahan, Persia
to his men Mandali, LM4 p1227
langoti = loincloth
“The intensity of lust has broken the penance and austerities of even rishis and munis.”
Meher Baba, 19 October 1929
Isfahan, Persia, LM4 p1231
Baba asked each of the unmarried men Mandali to promise never to touch any woman lustfully. He asked the married men Mandali to promise not to touch any woman other than their wives lustfully. Then he explained,
“Lust is not bad. Because of this lust, you have been born as human beings. It is due to this very lust that you will turn from men into God. But even if lust is there in you, don’t put it into action. From the spiritual point of view, lust is the worst possible weakness. The real hero is he who successfully fights it.
“Fornicating with a woman who isn’t your wife is one of the worst possible sins. What had to happen has happened; but from now on, beware of carnality. Follow my orders and stay away from lust. What lasting pleasure can one derive from such stinking parts? It can destroy your spirit and character, as well as infect the body.
“I know each and every thing, but knowing everything, I keep on watching. Perhaps you might think, ‘Why doesn’t Baba save us from committing sins, despite knowing everything?’ Before you do any wrong action, I already know that you are going to do it. Then why do I not prevent you? It is my secret.
“The secret of my work is, though I know everything, I do not interfere. The fact is, you should have this lust, but you should do your utmost not to fall prey to it. You should put up a fierce fight, and though defeated a thousand times, you should again be ready to continue to fight the lust.
“Were I to wish it, I could destroy the lust in you in no time. But what would be the use of destroying it? Inevitably I will destroy it. In the meantime, continue on with the battle inside yourselves. This is the law. It is necessary. Then joy will come in defeating lust.
“Without a struggle, there is no pleasure in fighting. The real pleasure lies in success after so many defeats. Wars won without obstacles, without sacrifices and untiring effort afford no pleasure. This should be a life and death fight. Lust is there to be fought. It is a lifelong struggle. It will be a conflict in you till the end of your days. It should be there to fight you, and you should always be alert and ready for battle, to kill.
“He who has love for and faith in me will try doubly hard to obey me. If you touch any woman, tell me immediately; this is one remedy. Another is to think that in your last birth you were a woman and had connections with a man; now you are a man and you want connections with a woman. You have had enough satisfaction in previous births. What is to be had by more lust?
“Foremost you should try to get rid of lust, as all other vices are on account of it. For instance, if a parrot’s throat is cut, it dies. But if its wings are clipped, it does not die; after some time the feathers of the wings grow back. Lust can be compared to the parrot’s head. Therefore when lust is still present and we conquer other evils, such as anger, the evils again revive – everything rises out of the head. But if lust is killed once and for all, every other evil is also destroyed. You have to cut off its head.
“Yet in truth, lust is necessary for evolution. It starts developing in the vegetable forms. With the increase in lust, there is advancement in evolution, since lust means energy. And with the increase in energy, consciousness expands.
“But these are points on this path which you will never understand. There are thousands of points thinner than hair. Remember, it is no easy thing to eradicate sanskaras gathered during birth after birth, and lust is the hardest of all sanskaras. But be heroes and fight lust; you will defeat it. The real pleasure is to fight it and not succumb to it. Knowing this, I let it remain, but I will destroy it in you when the right time comes. Until then, go on fighting, and never give up.
Meher Baba, 19 October 1929, Isfahan, Persia
to his men Mandali, LM4 p1232-1233
“Sexual intercourse is the highest type of sensual pleasure in the world. But how long does it last? Only a few minutes.
“If this, the highest of all worldly pleasures, is compared with the real happiness of eternal divine bliss, it is a mere shadow of a drop from the infinite ocean of eternal bliss. When once realised, this bliss is felt and enjoyed every second forever.
“From this comparison you can imagine the hollowness of the world and its pleasures.”
Meher Baba, 12 October 1922,
Bombay, LM2 p439. Also RD p104-105
“The Master is always ready to pass on the treasure to you, but your vessel is not empty. It is filled with filth. I want to give you love, but your mind is full of lust. Unless you get rid of it, I cannot give you the experience of love. Therefore conquer lust – drive it away.”
Meher Baba, 20 October 1929, Isfahan, Persia
to his men Mandali, LM4 p1235
The following is an article that appeared in the Meher Gazette in the early 1930s. No author was named. It was, apparently, rewritten later and used as part of the discourse ‘The Sanctification of Married Life’ (Di 7th ed. p104-109).
(Shri Meher Baba’s Views)
“Birth control, in itself, is good, provided the means utilised to practise it are mental, and not physical or unnatural.” Shri Meher Baba
The birth control movement has been a subject of much controversy and wide discussion in the present day world. the propounders of the movement advocate the use of chemical or physical means for checking or preventing the birth of ‘unwanted children.’ Much ‘religious’ sentiment is also ushered into the discussion of this subject, both by the advocates and the opponents of this movement.
Each leader or person in the public eye whose opinion has been sought, has considered the question from his or her own angle of vision or sphere of activity, e.g. social, medical or religious; and as a Spiritual Master and the author of a spiritual movement, Shri Meher Baba’s views are solicited on this point. His opinion, based as it is on spiritual considerations, is above everything. He does not consider the question from the point of view of any special or limited interest, but from the point of view of the ultimate and complete well-being of the individual and the society, for, as he has repeatedly said, ‘Spirituality includes everything.’
The present day birth control movement can be analysed into two parts: 1) its aim, and 2) its means. It aims at regulating the birth of children for a) eugenic, b) economic, or c) personal reasons.
Uncontrolled breeding leads to the birth of diseased and weak issue, intensifies the acute ‘struggle for existence’ and all the political and economical problems (e.g. crimes, wars and poverty), which are the inevitable outcome of ruthless competition, and often creates for parents a responsibility which they cannot adequately discharge. All these considerations are humane and rational, and therefore demand and justify serious attempts to regulate breeding.
The purely physical means, however, which the enthusiastic supporters of the birth control movement advocate, are found to lead to the following undesirable results:
1. While the wealthier and the middle classes, who can afford to support many issue in their families, have already taken to this mania of using contraceptives, the really poor and the destitute, who cannot at all afford to breed children, either do not know enough about contraceptives, or deliberately neglect to use them. And the result is that the uneducated masses are multiplying as ever, and the educated and the rich classes are becoming thinner; and in the actual result of the use of contraceptives, the very purpose of securing children only when and where they would be properly looked after, is defeated by the means.
2. Further, the contraceptives, which are advocated on humanitarian grounds, are generally used by the majority of the people for serving their own selfish ends, and for avoiding the responsibility of bearing and bringing up children.
3. Since the physical consequences of the sex act can be so successfully avoided through the use of chemical and physical means, those who have not yet begun to be awake to the higher values have no incentive to be moderate in the gratification of passion; and they therefore become victims to excessive indulgence in the satisfaction of sex desire, which has disastrous physical, moral and spiritual consequences. Since the advocates of the birth control movement are content to emphasise the need of the use of physical means only, and entirely neglect the spiritual side of the question, the younger generation is likely to become blind to the need for mental control, and might bring about its on ruin by becoming a slave to the animal passion.
What then is the alternative? The easy physical means of avoiding issue are far from being contributory to the awakening of man to his real dignity and freedom as a spiritual being. Thoughtless and uncontrolled indulgence must inevitably lead to reaction and spiritual bondage. Only through the wise exercise of mental control is it possible for man to rise from passion to peace, from bondage to freedom, from animality to purity.
For spiritual aspirants in particular, and also for all human beings (because they are all potentially spiritual aspirants), it is extremely inadvisable to rely upon purely physical means for the regular breeding. They must rely upon mental control, which will automatically result in the regulation of births. They can thus equally well achieve the humanitarian purposes of the birth control movement, without incurring upon themselves the spiritual disasters which must overtake them if they merely rely on the purely physical means advocated by the supporters of the movement.
Shri Meher Baba, therefore, throws light upon the much ignored spiritual side of the question, and advocates mental control, which is not only useful for regulating the number of children, but is also indispensible for restoring to man his divine dignity and spiritual good, viz. peace, happiness and freedom.
The use of physical means for preventing the birth of children without mental control is spiritually disastrous for an aspirant. But is it permissible for an aspirant to use, in increasing degree, mental control along with the physical means, if he considers that he cannot undertake the responsibility of children, and if he does not in any way slacken his attempts at mental control and sublimation, and if he sincerely uses the physical means provisionally, and intends to give them up as soon as possible?
Birth control must be, essentially, self-control (mental control) and nothing else. There should be no second aid to it. And physical means, under no circumstances, considerations or conditions, would be advisable.
If one is not prepared to undertake the responsibility of children, there is only one course left for him. He must remain a bachelor – a true bachelor in the real sense of the word. For mental control, although extremely difficult in practise, is not impossible.
But in trying to utilise any means other than mental, even with the motive of developing the mental through the physical, one does not attain self-control, much as he desires it. On the contrary, being addicted to the physical means, he tries to justify himself all the more in the utilising of the physical means, and becomes a victim to the habit, rather than effecting a development in self-control.
To explain it still more clearly, what happens in the use of physical means, is that while one thinks that he is using them as a preliminary step before the mental control is fully developed, he actually gets addicted to them, and becomes a slave of the habit of using them. And though he may remain under the delusion that he is trying to develop mental control through the physical means, he is, in reality, all the while, losing gradually.
In short, mental power is undermined by reliance on the physical means. Therefore the chances of one’s developing self-control through physical means are absolutely remote. On the contrary, there is always the risk of being a prey to the animal passion, and hence physical means are under no conditions advisable, even from the best of motives. Preventing birth of children through physical means is most disastrous from the spiritual point of view, and is positively detrimental to the development of self-control.
As a Spiritual Master, Shri Meher Baba would advise strict celibacy, but it is extremely difficult, though not impossible. Hence, very few practise it. And so, for others who cannot observe strict celibacy, the next best course, he would advise, is to marry, rather than remain a bachelor and fly like a bee from flower to flower. If in marriage one learns to control animal passion, well and good. If he cannot control it, he must let nature take its own course (rather than use any unnatural means) and bear the consequences of shouldering the responsibility for upbringing of the children, and even suffer for that. This responsibility must be accepted individually, and should also be shared collectively with others. But while he follows the natural course, he should also try, side by side, to develop Love, so that, in course of time, Love would prevail, and lust would go for good. Thus mental control can be achieved without depending on physical means.
If the physical means of birth control are ruled out as spiritually undesirable, the only alternative to regulate births of children is to rely on mental control. Complete mental control is achieved by very few persons; and failure in mental control seems to affect women more seriously than men. For any such failures, women may have to undertake the troubles and responsibility of bearing and rearing children, whereas man remains free from any such troubles or responsibility. Exclusive reliance upon mental control, therefore, seems to be unfair from the woman’s point of view; and the use of physical means avoids this injustice.
The injustice is not real, but only apparent. It is true that the woman has to undertake the trouble and the responsibility of bearing and rearing children, but she also has the compensating joy of feeding and fondling them. The joy of motherhood is much greater than the joy of fatherhood. Further, the man also has to face and share his responsibility towards the children.
In average cases, the general responsibility (economical, educational, etc.) of the father is much greater than that of the mother. Cases where the mother alone can adequately discharge parental responsibility are extremely rare. Therefore, even in the event of failure in mental control, there need not be any injustice in the distribution of parental responsibility, which should be mutually shared by man as well as woman.
In some cases, man is likely to be inconsiderate, since his eventual moral responsibility towards the children is capable of being shirked. Woman is not likely to be thus inconsiderate, since she cannot avoid the physical consequences and the corresponding responsibility. Why then should woman cooperate with man in this unequal enterprise?
Inconsiderateness is not necessary in this situation; and it can be avoided if the father as well as the mother are both fully conscious of their mutual responsibility. Since they are joined together by spiritual links, they should cooperatively endeavour to attain mental control; and in the event of any failure in mental control, they should cheerfully and willingly discharge the joint responsibility of parenthood. But reliance on physical means is disastrous to both from the spiritual point of view.
(end of article)
(No author named)
Q. They say that woman is a drag on man in his attainment of divine grace. All the saints you see…
Baba: No, woman can play an important part in the development of divine grace. She is man’s equal. So long as she is true to herself, all will be well. But when once she surrenders to her surroundings, you understand, the function of marriage fails. It is then you have divorces.
Q. Then the vow of celibacy which the saints undertook…
Baba: It is unimportant. Some men marry, others may remain single, but a man is not spiritually more backward because he has married. A woman by her love can inspire him to know the truth. But she must develop love and not lust. This is the key to happiness.
April 1932, London, to a reporter for the
London Daily Sketch, BG p128-129
Another version: LM5 p1565
“Even the love which expresses through physical desire is good to the extent that it frees one from the thralldom of personal likes and dislikes, and makes one want to serve the beloved above all other things.
“Every human relationship is based on love in one form or another, and endures or dissolves as that love is eternal or temporal in character. Marriage, for example, is happy or unhappy, exalting or degrading, lasting or fleeting, according to the love which inspires and sustains it.
“Marriages based on sex-attraction alone cannot endure. They lead inevitably to divorce or worse. Marriages, on the other hand, which are based on a mutual desire to serve and inspire, grow continually in richness and beauty, and are a benediction to all who know of them.”
Meher Baba, 1 June 1932
Beverly Hills, California, Me p100
Q. When a young aspirant meets young women he is susceptible to thoughts of lust. On the other hand, if he avoids them entirely, he is likely to withhold a great deal of love. Is there any way out of this difficulty?
Baba: Free mixing of the sexes, as in the West, is on the whole good. But if the aspirant feels within his mind the slightest flutter of impure thoughts, he should stand aside. But he must love, and in order to avoid the arising of impure thoughts, he should keep in mind the thought that in the other person he is loving the Master.
Q. The aspirant must, undoubtedly, eliminate lust and release love. But lust as well as love are facts of inner life, that is, modes of consciousness, and cannot be taken as being identical with any specific acts of the physical body. Will the aspirant be wrong if he tries to express and develop love, instead of lust, through sex union?
Baba: If the aspirant thinks that through the sex-act he is expressing love, he is, sadly, mistaken. It is lust which prompts him to it. It is not possible to express pure love through the sex-act, because of the clash of impressions involved therein.
Q. What is your teaching concerning marriage?
Baba: For an aspirant, celibacy is better than marriage. But if he cannot control himself, he should marry. To pursue a spiritual life, it is much better to marry than to go from flower to flower.
Q. How can the aspirant use marriage for spiritual progress?
Baba: In the beginning, the aspirant will, in relation to the partner, feel lust as well as love. But he can, with conscious and deliberate cooperation with the partner, gradually lessen the element of lust and increase the element of love, until love becomes utterly pure and free from lust. But in order to achieve this purpose, he must strictly limit himself to his partner in matters of sex.
1930s, A p50-51
“The topic of celibacy came up again during Baba’s private interview with Dick and Audrey Ince. Meredith Starr had told the Inces that sex was only for procreation of children, and they were not to have any sexual intercourse whatsoever. They followed this advice for some time, but the marriage was breaking up because of it. When they told Baba, he refuted Meredith’s claim, and told them that when married, one should lead a normal married life.”
Bhau Kalchuri, LM5 p1566 (April 1932, London)
A woman told Baba that, because of her desire to see God, she wanted to stop having sex with her husband. Her husband did not agree. Baba told her,
“It is better to treat your husband with love and affection, even if you dislike and do not wish to indulge in intercourse because of your spiritual aspiration and desire to love God.
“It is good to have no sexual desires, but when it comes to a question of duty, you must sacrifice a little of your interest to please your husband.
“Keep your mind focused toward God, and give your body to your husband. Remember Saint Mira’s sacrifice and how she suffered. Be like her.”
Meher Baba, 28 October 1934
Meherabad, LM6 p1919
“The original human form was never formed to beget children. This tendency among people to cohabit is nothing but animal instinct inherited from all the previous lives of evolution from the stone to the animal to the human form.”
Meher Baba, 18 October 1935
Tiger Valley, LM6 p1977
“One evening Norina awakened to find Baba outside her window. ‘Tell me your dream,’ he asked. Norina hesitated, embarassed because it had been a vivid sexual dream. At last, she did. Baba indicated to her not to worry about it, and remarked, ‘Even on the sixth plane, one still has lust.'”
January 1937? Nasik, LM6 p2080
“Self has no sex. But when self treats itself as the body, the illusion of sex appears, and therefore, duality. The self in each of us is sexless, but the self in a person thinks itself as a woman, and in another thinks itself as a man. This is delusion… It all comes from thinking of ourselves as the body.”
Meher Baba, 9 February 1937
Nakik, LM6 p2093
In August, 1937, at Cannes, France, Meher Baba told some of his Western followers about
“the work I wish to do for the world involving the minimizing of lust, and especially to destroy that lust of homosexuals which is now prevailing to an alarming extent all over the world.”
A number of people had come to see Meher Baba, and were standing in line. One young man in the line was weeping. When he came before Baba, Baba looked into his eyes and asked,
“Did you carry out all my orders?’
The man did not answer. Baba spelled out on the board,
“An order is much more important than any amount of spiritual longing, or gifts of thousands of rupees.
“There are seven colors of sanskaras. Red is the worst and the deepest. It is the most lasting impression, and takes the longest to be wiped out. These red sanskaras are caused by the sex act, hence they are a great check on the progress and advancement. The sex act is considered a grave sin on the Path, and prohibited to spiritual aspirants.
“Thoughts of sexual desire may come, and even a rush of impulses, but one should not commit any action with another person. Even masturbation is better, though it is harmful to the physique. Sexual intercourse has the worst consequences. It attracts to oneself the worst sanskaras of ages past of one’s partner, hence it is most difficult to wipe out. It incurs immense ineradicable damage to one’s spiritual progress.”
Meher Baba, 21 December 1937
Bombay, LM7 p2249
“The world is accustomed to think in terms of opposites. Thus, we often try to fit life into a scheme of alternatives, such as joy or pain, attachment or repulsion, good or bad, solitude or company, indulgence or repression. And in the same way the mind has a tendency to think of marriage and celibacy as alternatives from which there is no escape.
“It seems as if man must accept one alternative or the other. And yet he cannot wholeheartedly accept either alternative, because when he is celibate, he is dissatisfied with his lot, and longingly thinks of the advantages of marriage. And when he is married, he is equally dissatisfied with his lot, and longingly thinks of the advantages of celibacy. Thus, in oscillating from one idea to the other, mind finds no rest.
“In order to be freed from the clutches of the opposites, the mind must first try to understand how they are both equally the creation of imagination working under the deluding influence of craving. In celibacy as well as in marriage, craving is present. Celibacy as opposed to marriage means the mechanical restraint or the repression of sex, whereas marriage means the release or the indulgence of sex. But both presuppose the crowding of the mind by the sanskaras of lust, or the craving for sensation. Craving is therefore the common root of both the opposites of celibacy and marriage.
“The mind which is restless with desire creates an illusory idea of happiness in the gratification of desire, and then, knowing that the soul remains dissatisfied even after gratification, it creates an illusory idea of happiness in the mechanical restraint of desire. In search of freedom and happiness, the mind gets caught up within these opposites, which it finds equally disappointing. And since it does not try to go beyond the opposites, its movement is always from one opposite to the other, and consequently from one disappointment to another disappointment.
“Craving thus falsifies the operation of the imagination, and presents the mind with the option between two opposites which prove to be equally deceptive in their promise of happiness. However, in spite of alternate and repeated experience of disappointment in both the opposites, the mind usually does not renounce craving. Because while experiencing disappointment in mechanical restraint, it is easily susceptible to the false promise of gratification. And while experiencing disappointment in indulgence, it is easily susceptible to the false promise of mechanical restraint.
“It is only when the mind is awakened by the grace of a Master that it begins internal and spontaneous renunciation of craving, which in the course of time leads to abiding peace and happiness. Internal and spontaneous renunciation of craving is as different from mechanical restraint as it is from indulgence. Mind turns to mechanical restraint because of disappointment. But it turns to internal and spontaneous renunciation because of disillusionment or awakening, which comes when it experiences in the Master the quality of life which is free from craving, and which, therefore, is not bound by the deceptive opposites.
“When the mind, through awakening, once begins to tread the path of internal and spontaneous renunciation of craving, it ceases to think in terms of the opposites of mechanical restraint and indulgence, celibacy and marriage. It is no longer moved by the false promises of the opposites, but is drawn by the longing for the Truth which increasingly comes within its ken as it disburdens itself of craving. Then the aspirant does not worry about celibacy or marriage. Hankering for neither, he cheerfully accepts the conditions which life has brought to him; and whether in celibacy or marriage, he begins internal and spontaneous renunciation of craving, until he is freed from the opposites and lives a life in which the value of both are mysteriously combined.
“The life of Perfection may be described as the life of celibacy in marriage, or marriage in celibacy, according to the differences in the starting point of the aspirant and the external conditions of his life. The path of Perfection is open to the aspirant whether in celibacy or in marriage; and whether he begins from celibacy or from marriage will depend upon the sanskaras and the karmic ties of the aspirant. But the path as well as the goal are the same as far as the inner life is concerned. The paradoxical expression ‘celibacy in marriage’ or ‘marriage in celibacy’ is appropriate for the final stage of Perfection or the attainment of the goal, and not for the state when the aspirant is on the Path.
“This state (celibacy in marriage, or marriage in celibacy) must be sharply distinguished from any haphazard and cheap compromise between celibacy and marriage. It is utterly different from such a compromise, which inevitably must land the aspirant in the most pitiful and dangerous chaos of promiscuity, where the values of celibacy as well as marriage come to be destroyed; for the path of inner and spontaneous renunciation is, in such compromise, necessarily beset with insuperable difficulties.
“Promiscuity (which is an attempt to find a compromise between celibacy and marriage) is a case of dissipating and rapid alternation between the opposites. But celibacy in marriage, or marriage in celibacy, is a state of freedom from the opposites; and this state combines the values of celibacy as well as marriage.
“The value of celibacy lies, not in the mechanical restraint, but in the sense of independence which it gives. But as long as the mind is not altogether free from craving, there is no true freedom. In the same way, the value of marriage lies not in indulgence, but in the sense of unity with the other which it gives. But true union, or the dissolution of duality, is possible only through divine love, which can never dawn as long as there is in the mind the slightest shadow of lust or craving.
“Only by treading the path of inner and spontaneous renunciation of craving is it possible to attain true freedom and union with life, where the duality of the I and you is swallowed up in the all-embracing divine love, and where there is neither the mechanical restraint of celibacy, nor the indulgence of marriage, but complete detachment and perfect love.
“This state of Perfection, in which the Master continuously dwells, may be aptly described as celibacy in marriage or marriage in celibacy. For while he is freed from ignorance, he is united with God, and while he knows himself to be the single one, he also knows himself to be the one with all. And while he may be said to be a celibate in relation to Maya, he may be said to have been married to Truth.
Meher Baba, 1930s? NW p74-78
Note: There is some overlap between this discourse (above) and the one printed in Discourses under the title ‘The Problem of Sex,’ part of which is reprinted immediately below. The one above seems to be the earlier of the two.
“The question of indulgence or repression arises only when there is craving. The need for both vanishes along with the complete disappearance of craving. When the mind is free from craving, the mind can no more be moved by the false promises of indulgence or mechanical repression. However, it should be borne in mind that the life of freedom is nearer to the life of restraint than to the life of indulgence, though in quality is is essentially different from both. Hence, for the aspirant, a life of strict celibacy is preferable to the married life, if restraint comes to him easily, without any undue sense of self-repression. But such restraint is, for most persons, difficult, and sometimes impossible, and for them the married life is decidedly more helpful than a life of celibacy. For ordinary persons, married life is undoubtably advisable unless they have a special aptitude for celibacy…
“Most persons enter into married life as a matter of course. But marriage will turn into a help or a hindrance according to the manner in which it is handled. There is no doubt that some of the immense spiritual possibilities are accessible through a married life, but all this depends upon having the right attitude. From the spiritual point of view, married life will be a success only if it is thoroughly determined by the vision of Truth. It cannot offer much if it is based upon nothing more than the limited motives of mere sex, or if it is inspired by considerations which usually obtain in the partnership of business. It has to be taken as a real spiritual enterprise which is intended to discover what life can be at its best. When the two partners together launch upon the spiritual adventure of exploring the higher possibilities of the spirit, they cannot at the outset limit their experiment by any nice calculations concerning the nature and amount of individual gain…
“For the celibate as well as for the married person, the path of inner life is the same. When the aspirant is drawn by the Truth, he longs for nothing else. And as the Truth increasingly comes within his ken, he gradually disburdens himself of craving. Whether in celibacy or in marriage, he is no longer swayed by the deceptive promises of indulgence or mechanical repression, and he practises internal and spontaneous renunciation of craving until he is freed from the deceptive opposites.
“The path of Perfection is open to the aspirant whether in celibacy or in marriage. And whether he begins from celibacy or from marriage will depend upon the sanskaras and the karmic ties of the aspirant. He cheerfully accepts the conditions which his past life has determined for him, and utilises them towards his spiritual advancement in the light of the ideal which he has come to perceive…
“If a person is not prepared to undertake the responsibilities of children, there is only one course which is left for him. He must remain a celibate, and practise strict mental control. For though such mental control is extremely difficult to attain, it is not impossible. From the purely spiritual point of view, strict celibacy is best. But since it is so difficult, few can practise it. And for those who cannot practise it, the next best course is to marry, rather than fall a prey to promiscuity. “Within married life one can learn to control animal passion. But it is bound to be a gradual process, and in cases of failure in practising control, parents must allow nature to take its own course, rather than interfere with it through artificial means. They must cheerfully welcome the consequences, and be prepared to shoulder the responsibility for the upbringing of children…
“In the beginning of married life, the partners are drawn to each other by lust as well as love. But they can, with conscious and deliberate cooperation, gradually lessen the element of lust and increase the element of love. Through this process of sublimation, lust ultimately gives place to deep love. By the mutual sharing of joys and sorrows, the partners march on from one spiritual triumph to another spiritual triumph, from deep love to ever deeper love, till the possessive and jealous love of the initial period is entirely replaced by a self-giving and expansive love. In fact, through the intelligent handling of marriage, a person may traverse so much of the spiritual Path that it needs only a touch by a Master to raise him into the sanctuary of eternal life.”
Meher Baba, c.1940, Di v2 p3-13
“If one is lustful, he has a tendency to fasten his lust upon several persons of the opposite sex. The ideal of brahmacharya (celibacy, sexlessness) does not allow even the touch of the person of the opposite sex.
“Now if the Master, who is entirely free from lust, wants to help a strongly lustful person, he knows that the aspirant is incapable of brahmacharya. Therefore, he allows him to legally marry, but he asks him to limit his lust only to one woman.
“Then gradually, as lust diminishes, he may be asked to give up all acts of lust, even with his wedded wife, although he can maintain and continue the married life.
“In this manner, lust is gradually eliminated, and the goal of brahmacharya is finally obtained.”
Meher Baba, 9 April 1942, Dehra Dun, LM8 p2788
“The physical body is nothing but the Gross form of impressions. The Mental impression in the mind of the male parent first takes a Subtle form, which then is released in the Gross form of mating. The mass of sanskaras or impressions thus released ultimately reaches the mind of the female parent, and it is from the mind of the female parent that the process of physical incarnation starts. The soul which is awaiting reincarnation in the Gross body can descend only if, during the process of sanskaric or impressional exchange between the male and female, their minds have come as near to stopping as possible.
“The physical body is produced by the working of many impressions, and it is the result of their very embodiment. It is therefore no wonder that it has a tendency to bind the soul which inhabits it. Love for the physical body is only a form of deep ignorance. The swine delight in the refuse – so do the ignorant ones take delight in the body…
“Impressions are contagious. Eating meat is prohibited in many spiritual disciplines because therein the person catches the impressions of the animal, thus rendering himself more susceptible to lust and anger. Sometimes innumerable strong impressions are transmitted through the mere touch of the physical body of another person. A Gross body, even a corpse, can quickly impart numberless impressions to the person who touches it. Sex contact outside wedlock is the worst form of exposure to heavy and binding impressions of lust. In wedlock the impressions exchanged are much lighter and less binding.”
from notes dictated by Meher Baba, before 1948, ST p23-27
“To have one eye glued on the enchanting pleasures of the flesh, and with the other expect to see a spark of eternal bliss, is not only impossible, but the height of hypocrisy.
“I cannot expect you to understand all at once what I want you to know. It is for me to awaken you from time to time throughout the ages, sowing the seed in your limited minds, which must in due course and with proper heed and care on your part, germinate, flourish, and bear the fruit of that true knowledge which is inherently yours to gain.
“If, on the other hand, led by your ignorance, you persist in going your own way, none can stop you in your choice of progress. For that too is progress, which, however slow and painful, eventually, and after innumerable incarnations, is bound to make you realise that which I want you to know now.
“To save yourself from further entanglement in the maze of delusion and self-created suffering, which owes its magnitude to the extent of your ignorance of the true goal, awake now. Pay heed and strive for freedom by experiencing ignorance in its true perspective. Be honest with yourself and God. One may fool the world and one’s neighbors, but one can never escape from the knowledge of the omniscient – such is the divine law.”
Meher Baba, 7 September 1954
Dehra Dun, Aw 2:1 p5
“In the Beyond state of God, sex does not exist. There only one indivisible existence prevails. It is in the realm of illusionary phenomena called the universe that sex asserts itself.”
Meher Baba, 3 March 1954, Kakinada,
Andhra, AD p134-135
“… Male and female human forms are rightly described as opposite sexes. Progressive realisation of the adequate forms, the continuation of the species, and the onward march of the incarnated lifestream are dependent upon the opposition and interplay of the sexes, particularly at the higher phases of biological evolution. This is especially true of psychological and spiritual evolution as long as it is held up in the domain of illusion. The opposition of the sexes and the alternative attempts to overcome or reconcile this opposition are admittedly a source of inspiration, sublimation and exasperation, which haunt the interplay of sex opposites at the psychic level until they are withstood or understood fully and adequately.
“One special feature of the sex opposites is that while remaining in counterbalancing opposition to each other, they are more patently and firmly tethered to each other than many other opposites. A man who is conscious of himself as a male is at the same time conscious of woman as a female; and the tension of the felt duality is on him a constant burden, which he often invisibly passes on to a member of the opposite sex. The same is true of a woman who is particularly conscious of herself as a female. The opposites create and sustain a burdensome illusion which is transferred to each other. And if this illusion is shared by both, it goes on increasing in geometrical proportion instead of being mitigated in any way.
“On the other hand, the disburdening of the illusory and oppositional duality of sex is also a self-communicative understanding. Then love is gradually freed from the tinge of differentiative sex-consciousness, and understanding is lifted out of the obsessiveness of one of the most oppressive forms of duality.”
Meher Baba, 1956? Be p62-64
“… The oppressiveness of the sex-tinged relationship is more subtle than all the rest. It pierces into the very being of the separatist soul, exploding it from within like a time bomb. But it always flies off at a tangent to the other soul, and is stamped with a patent failure in soul alchemy.
“Though sex-consciousness clasps its opposite with an outgoing fervor, it augments duality instead of sublating it, and the soul continues to be arrested within the spell of the felt ‘other.’ The invincible other is a constant companion of sex-driven consciousness, and is felt as the ‘other.’
“In deepest fulfillment, the sex-tinged opposition suddenly brings to the surface an equally deep frustration which is latent in itself. Even in its most refined and directed form, it does not succeed in sublating duality. In fact, despite appearances to the contrary, it is perhaps the most trenchant of the separatories which obtain in the confused psyche. At all psychic levels, sex consciousness creates the sex opposites and their game of hide and seek, gain and loss, conquest and surrender, love and hate, frustration and fulfillment. At its best, it may pierce the assertive separatism of the soul, but it is never able to relieve it. Its rare moments of evanescent vanishment of separatism are always followed by its accentuation in a more formidable form.
“What sublates all forms of duality is untethered love. Untethered love neither allows you to fall back into a subjective vacuity, nor does it throw you at the mercy of the felt ‘other.’ It relieves you from the harassing interplay of the felt duality of ‘I’ and ‘you.’
“Among the psychic separatories which create and sustain the multicolored duality of ‘I’ and ‘you,’ none is more formidable than that of the sex drive. The sex opposites, which are its creations, find themselves helplessly caught up in the game of illusion, being unable to separate from each other or really unite with each other.
“The multicolored interplay of souls and the variegated opposition of ‘I’ and ‘you’ persist until, through the grace of some enlightened one, the soul gets initiated into the untethered love which is free from every tinge of duality. Prior to this relieving fulfillment, every soul has to suffer the juxtaposition of ‘I’ and ‘you’ for countless lives. By the logic of the situation, every soul is driven to gather experiences of both sexes, sometimes incarnating in the male form and sometimes in the female form.
“Sometimes tethered at one end of the trans-subjective opposition, and sometimes at the other end, the soul dramatises within its own psyche the interplay of soul opposites by whom it is confronted until it gets established in the relief of non-differentiating and untethered love. Such love alone can understand the ‘I’ as well as ‘you’ as being its own illusory creations, rising from itself and disappearing within itself to find the ineffable fulfillment of the eternal beyond.”
Meher Baba, 1956? Be p69-72
“Lust means a craze. Some have the lust for power, some lust of the senses, etc.
“The whole creation came out of lust. The first whim was lustful. God had intercourse with himself through the Om point, and the creation was the result of this act.”
Meher Baba, 1960, Poona, Aw 22:1 p40
From a talk by Eruch Jessawala:
“All that you have read in Meher Baba’s books about sex is so clear and firm, indeed. We have to strive to rise above sex and begin to love – love in the real sense. People have come here from the West, and many, many times put questions to us about sex and love. And each time I have responded by stating that Baba wants us to rise above sex, to transcend our sex impulses and begin really to love. Yet so often, the question comes back, ‘What are you talking about? How can there be love without sex?’
“I can only reply, well, this is what I have gathered from all that Meher Baba has said on the subject. We human beings are so often entrenched in our animality, however, so enmeshed in our carnal passions, that it has become quite natural to encounter and struggle with this problem of sex.
“It is not that there is anything inherently wrong in our having sex impulses. It is simply that, as sentient human beings, it behooves us to strive to live as ones who are blessed with the capacity to recognise what love really is.
“Baba has explained to us that not only is the sex play of physical lovemaking the polar opposite of love in the truest sense, but that even the most exalted form of human love – the love which an adoring mother feels for her child – is not really love at all, but only a high degree of affection. Why? Because, Baba said, where there is any trace of satisfaction or expectation, there is not love, but only one level or another of affection.
“With love, according to Baba, there can never be satisfaction, only the dissatisfaction of feeling that one has not loved enough – only the longing to love more and more, with no concern whatever for the reciprocation of love. Even with a mother’s love, there is satisfaction and expectation – satisfaction derived from both showing affection, and, in turn, receiving it in response – and expectation that the ‘love’ which is showered upon the child will be reciprocated. So it is that Baba has pointed out to us, and made us aware, that what we commonly take to be love is not really love, in its true sense, at all.
“Baba once told me something sublime in relation to this subject of love. He explained that it is completely natural for a human being to fall in love. Why? Because as a human being, you have been given a human form to enable you to love, to be loved, and to share love.
“It is for love itself, he said, that the whole creation sprang into existence. It was because I, Baba declared, being love, needed to be loved. Being the only one, the only being, the very is-ness of all existence, I had no other way to share love.
“Love, being love, needs to be shared. It must be shared! It needs to flow. It needs, in short, to love and be loved. This trait of give and take is innate in love. It is the very nature of love.
“Because God is love, Baba explained, there is nothing for love to do but to placate itself by playing a game, a game of solitaire, so to speak. Everyone knows about the card game of solitaire. When you are alone and you want to play cards, you can play a particular sort of card game in which you establish an imaginary partnership to play the game.
“Describing how creation came into being, Baba said, I started playing the game called solitaire. Being existence infinite, eternally and unendingly myself, I imagined a partner with which I could share my love. Because that imagining emanated from existence infinite eternal, it projected itself into being, into creation. Because I am existence, that imagination existed.
“This then is the explanation which Baba gave for creation: to share his love. He also went on to explain how, after passing through each of the evolutionary stages, the soul then finally comes to inherit this human form. And he often emphasised how sublime this form is. It is through this form alone that each soul one day recognises its true identity with the Truth; that it is, in fact omnipotent… in fact, omniscient.. in fact, all-bliss. In short, it is solely through this incredible human form that the soul realises its own infinitude, and ultimately recognises and claims its birthright of its true identity as God himself.
“How does Baba characterise your experience at the moment when you realise your true self? Very simply, he says that the experience makes you realise what you already are. What is the point, then, of wasting this opportunity of a human lifetime on crazy notions of spirituality and spiritual advancement, which boil down to nothing more than seeking ways to realise what you already are? It is ridiculous, Baba says, absurd! You are that infinite one, and it is your birthright to realise who you already are.
“We are not meant to waste this precious, fleeting moment of life in pursuit of intellectual or even spiritual gymnastics. What this moment is meant for is that which even the Angels envy: love. The human heart is imbued with the unique capacity for loving – it yearns to love. It wants to share love, and it wants to be loved. So now, while we can, we must do everything possible to derive the charm of love, for it is only as human beings that we can actually begin to love.
“What is the source of that love which you can begin to experience as human beings? Baba would ask. It is none other than myself. I have given that love – shared it with you – so that you can return it to me, and in the process, derive the charm of loving. In the course of its return, however, Baba pointed out that love gets dissipated in loving shadows, rather than loving the source of love itself.
“Baba explained that, in the process of the return of love to love itself, a man will inevitably fall in love with a woman, and vice versa. It is natural, and there is nothing wrong in that. There comes a time in this process of love seeking love, in the process of God’s divine game of loving and being loved, that a man sees a woman, or a woman sees a man, and something flares up deep within them. According to Baba, this experience occurs only once in a great while, and it is indescribable. All of the heart goes out to that person, and the experience is an agonisingly happy one.
“The result is that the person who has such an experience wants to do anything and everything for that person to whom his heart has gone out. You want to go all out for that person, thinking and caring endlessly for nothing but that person. You go truly mad with love, in short. This is a beautiful moment, the rarest moment for which this human form has been created. We have inherited this form for this particular moment.
“When such a moment dawns, Baba says, we should try our utmost not to lose it. We must try to nurture it, and do everything possible to preserve it. For when we allow the feeling of that sublime moment to grow, it bursts into a flame, and then a fire. That fire is the beginning of real love, a burning experience of being consumed.
“If at this point, Baba says, instead of allowing that feeling to be consummated, you get yourself consumed in it, then you are no more. You become lost in it and are yourself consumed. Unfortunately, however, what tends to happen – through our human frailties – is that we waste the opportunity. And again we get another such opportunity, and then again we waste it. And on and on it goes. How do we waste the opportunity? We waste it by consummating the feeling through sex play culminating in intercourse. We waste this divine opportunity by consummating that love, rather than being consumed in it.
“In giving us this explanation, Baba then demonstrated what happens as a result of consummating this divine impulse to love. You are now enmeshed in a dilemma. You put your hands over your head and you sit there, not knowing what to do. The world now impresses itself upon you in full force as you become surrounded by children and all the concerns of family life. And this experience, in contrast to that divine urge to love which preceded the consummation, creates within you an enormous conflict and struggle.
“If, on the other hand, instead of allowing yourself to consummate that feeling of love, you allow yourself to be consumed by it, the result is most beautiful and sublime. Then there is no such thing as individuality left. Every thing and every being seem to be one. In this experience consists the meaning of rising above sex. In such a state you begin to love so intensely, Baba said, that you eventually begin to love him – the divine beloved from whom you have received that feeling of love.
“The time comes, he says, in your process of loving me, when I myself become your lover. I, the beloved, become your lover. And you, who began as my lover, become transformed into my beloved. In this transformation lies the union that is the end of it all. That union is called Realisation, and when that occurs, nothing else remains. In that ultimate experience, Baba says, I and you become one.
“Sex, then, has to play its role in order to give us that experience which can ultimately help us to lose ourselves, and find our real self. Time and again we play with sex, but sex is there so that we can rise above it, and find our way to the ultimate goal: to be consumed in divine love. Only by beloved Baba’s grace – or that of the Perfect Master – is it possible to reach the goal of being completely consumed in love divine.
“Along the way, it inevitably happens that we engage in various interplays, which we call little love affairs, in our unconscious attempts to find true love in the divine love affair. With respect to such interludes, Baba was always very clear and firm: if anyone wants to consummate that feeling of love for another person, then one must do everything within one’s power to remain with that partner for a lifetime, to remain constant and true to that partner. We must not flitter around from one flower to another, like birds and bees. As human beings we are expected to be steadfast.
“In so many words, this is what Baba has said. Man tries again and again to learn through his experiences, and again and again he falters and fails. Countless times I have heard and seen people come to beloved Baba with all their woes, with all their failures. And every time, without fail, he forgives and comforts them, saying, don’t worry – it’s all right. Learn from it. Don’t fall again.”
Eruch Jessawala, Meherazad, from a tape-recording
‘The Way and The Goal’ 2:8 (May 1984) p1-4
In the 1960s Alain Youell visited Meher Baba in India. Alain was a young man from England, and a friend of Don Stevens. Baba told Alain, during their daily walks in the garden, to ask him anything he wanted to know. One of things Alain asked him about was homosexuality.
Baba told him that homosexuality was generally the result of the soul having taken a series of incarnations in one sex, and then switching to the other sex.
A soul may have incarnated a number of times in female form, and then takes a male form. In that male form, the mind still feels sexually attracted to men, as it has for many lifetimes, even though one is oneself now in a male form.
A soul who had incarnated many times in male forms, when it first takes a female form, might, in that new form, still feel sexually attracted to women rather than men.
Baba said that, for homosexuals, the one thing to avoid is promiscuity. He said it was best to try and find one partner and stay with that person, rather than have sex with many people. This is what Baba generally told heterosexuals as well. He only recommended celibacy for advanced aspirants, and then, only in certain cases.
“The soul is eternally and absolutely sexless. However, during the process of reincarnation, with the counterbalancing of opposite impressions (eunuch, man, woman), the embodied soul’s human consciousness accumulates, and therefore contains, sanskaras of both opposite sexes. Both male and female sex sanskaras exist in the human mind and human form.
“However, the state of human consciousness is that the homosexual is in male form, but is working out or spending his female sanskaras, whereas he is meant to be spending his male sanskaras, since the soul has reincarnated as a man. A lesbian is working out or spending her male sanskaras, whereas she is meant to be spending her female sanskaras, since the soul has reincarnated as a woman.”
Bhau Kalchuri, 1994, repeating from memory something
Meher Baba explained to him in 1967 or 1968, LM6 p2213 fn