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Healthy Sexuality According to the Vedas (Hint: It's Not Abstinence!)

by Acharya Shunya

It is often considered that sexuality and sexual desire is an antithesis to the path of yoga, and to spirituality in general. But we couldn't be further from the truth. Yoga is the union of our everyday selves with that of something higher — the Atman, Self, collection of interconnected beings. We cannot discard parts of our selves when we are in pursuit of union. Nowhere does it say that to attain that which we have not attained, we have to let go of who we already are.

This is a crucial difference between other religions or spiritual dogmas and that of Sanātana Dharma, the root of the Hindu tradition. Sexuality is part of our biological nature. So when we look at the larger context of the Vedic spiritual journey, we find that the teachers of the Vedas who enjoy spiritual riches — the yogis and yoginis, men and women have great wisdom — all enjoyed healthy sexuality, relationships, marriage, even romance within an ethical dharmic context.

The ethical dharmic context here is key. Healthy sexuality as according to the ancient scriptures is, again, not about suppression, but rather ensuring that the expression of sexuality is in line with our dharma and our purpose. Non-consensual sex, for example, can never be in line with one's dharma, as it removes the agency of the other person. That is separation, not the union of yoga. This context to sexuality is more important than pure abstinence.

When we consider sexuality, we must consider the biological self — in this case, the vehicle for joy and light. When we suppress our sexuality, we risk becoming prey to a host of psychosomatic conditions that take over the mind. When the mind is compromised in this way, we are unable to meet the Self — to find the union for which we practice Yoga.

It may surprise you to hear an Acharya say so, but sexuality is very much healthy context to spirituality in the Vedic tradition!


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