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Sex Energy : Yoga Methods of Sublimation

Yoga Methods of Sublimation

The psychoanalyst interprets that the sexual impulse and energy become directed to more useful and non-sexual purposes, in adult life, through a process, termed sublimation. Should the sexual impulses and energies, however, remain unsublimated or unexpunged, they become invariably manifested through various psychosexual perversions and inversions. The unsublimated libido is further supposed to cause some form of derangement of the nervous system and the psychic structure a neurosis in one of its several variations generally.

Thousands of years in advance, Yoga recognized the full significance, of all such issues, namely, the need and usefulness of the process of sublimation, and has recommended the replacement, deflection or purification of the energy not only of the sexual impulse but also of the non-sexual mental modifications. This is best achieved by efforts at concentration and elevated moral and spiritual life, filled with humanism, inmostness, devotion and purity etc., so necessary to deflect the mind from sexual impulses.

The hope of attaining supernormal powers or astasiddhi and the acquisition of physical, mental and spiritual perfection held before the would-be yogin inspires him with the necessary fervour and willingness to sacrifice base gratifications, sexual and otherwise, for the sake of higher achievements. The moral code of observances and restraints yama and niyama is a great check against the biologic instincts and emotional inhibitions and thus the weaker side of nature. By scrupulous cleanliness, disinclination to one's own body and cessation of contact is encouraged which, in turn, conduces to dispassion (vairagya) towards all sexual acts. And finally, the love and search for ultimate knowledge called brahmajnana or vitistajnana serves his purpose for a "guiding line"(Adler). These with other substitutes of a varied nature occupy the entire being of an individual leaving neither time nor space for expressions of sexual impulse during the study of Yoga.

The physical sex energy of the youth finds an outlet in the yoga physical culture and control with the galvanizing urge for higher and still higher achievements unto longevity through the various purificatory means. Again, scrupulous personal hygiene (dehasuddhi) diminishes the danger and chances of passion-consciousness invariably roused by morbidity, both in its frequency and intensity.

It is thus clear that more interest is, undoubtedly, aroused by these methods of yoga sublimation than is ordinarily possible through love of art or literature and certain socially useful purposes. What is more, Yoga changes the very personality and perspective on life, and the sexual instinct is, in fact, reduced to an exceptional nullity. Again, the positive and negative contemplations (pratipaksa and vipaksa bhavna) purify the mind of unclean thoughts and inspire one for the attainment of highest good through equanimity, dispassion, and indifference to the pairs of the opposites (dvandva).Lastly, the ideal of brahmacarya or chastity adds considerably to the yoga efforts at sublimation.


In the Vedic and earlier Upanisad periods, continence in the sense of abstinence from sexual intercourse whether by action, word or thought. With all living beings and at all times was regarded as the highest and the only virtue leading to Yoga. This was modified and supplemented with an equally important practice of concentration luring the later period. This association of the idea of continence regarded as an essential requisite for Yoga, however, gave rise to a variety of misconceptions. It has, thus, been wrongly supposed that a married life is not particularly suitable for the practice of Yoga; that such an engagement obstructs the path of higher pursuits; and that even if pursued during married life, it does not lead to the ultimate achievement. This fallacy was further exploited to indirectly suggest that a woman is debarred from undertaking the course of Yoga.

In striking contrast to the above, the interpretation of scientific Yoga of a continent life is rather exceptionally broad and clastic, and, for all practical purposes, consists mainly of a dispassionate attitude towards matters sexual and of purity in sex. It does not bar a married man or, for that matter, even a woman from undertaking the study of Yoga. On the contrary, Vijnana Bhiksu asserts that "It is mainly for the householder (grhastha) that the eightfold path of Yoga is disclosed. In the Yogabija we are further informed that Yoga can be practised both by men as well as women of any caste or religious belief. Practical Yoga, while considering brahmacarya a necessary requisite one of the yamas still holds that, through hygienic and rational adjustments in the married life it is quite possible to attain all the benefits of Yoga. Svatmaram, the great practical yoga authority, with a view to upholding the true value of Yoga even under adverse conditions and to broadcasting its universal application, advocates that "anyone can achieve complete success as the yogin, even while living a wayward life, if only he or she follows the practice of vajroli� � broadly speaking, sex hygiene including practice for the cleanliness and preservation of the generative organs and virility respectively.

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