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 Blooming Stars

The Spirituality of Sexuality

            This is an area in which most spiritual guides and writers do not feel comfortable. Religious founders often elevated chastity, one of the three religious vows (poverty, chastity, and obedience) that members of religious orders take to the level of angelic purity of body and mind. With regard to the negative view of sexuality the current Indian (eastern) scene is not any better. The ideal man or woman of God is one who is a celibate, a brahmachari. The word brahmachari meaning one who moves in Brahma (Lord) has been wrongly given a restricted meaning to mean only celibates.

            St. Paul who greatly influenced church’s thinking on sexuality wanted everyone to be a celibate like him. Origen (185 – 254 A. D.) is reported to have castrated himself to model his life on the Gospels and to make himself a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19, 12). St. Augustine (354 – 430 A. D.), a Church father, had a distorted view of sexuality. After his conversion from his wayward life, he greatly contributed to sexuality as a negative force that needed to be shunned. Medieval spiritual writers generally had a negative view of sexuality, and wrote at length about the temptations of the flesh. They even prescribed drastic penances/measures/practices to mortify the normal bodily appetites/excitement.

            I described above how sexuality, such a marvelous and beautiful attribute, that God has designed for us has been historically distorted. Sexuality needs to be liberated from these distortions and misconceptions of medieval times that are still prevalent. We need to develop a positive, healthy view of sexuality. We need to develop a spirituality of sexuality. God made male and female in his image. Everything he made was very good. Sexuality is deeply spiritual when it is used in ways God intended. It needs to be used in a committed relationship of love and marriage. Thoughts related to sexuality are neither pure nor impure. It is the intention of the person or act of the will that makes these thoughts pure or impure. Sexuality was given disproportionate share in the area of morality.

            Many devout persons developed extreme scrupulousness - a version of obsessive-compulsive neurosis (a minor mental disorder) in this area. Sexual desire and accompanying excitement are energies placed by God in humans. These energies need to be channeled for appropriate sexual interaction or sublimated by a few for consciously committed celibate life so they can become healthy and holy. There is nothing more beautiful than a man and a woman complementing each other in a loving, equal, non-exploitative, mutual, and trusting relationship. It is their privilege and duty, to express intimacy in unconditional love and commitment. The best expression of God’s relationship to his people is described in spousal terms. The relationship of Krishna and Radha, his consort, sends also a message of positive sexuality and spirituality.

 

     
 
 
 
 
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