March 20, 2009

Kāma: Confession and Holy

There was one segment on a TV show where they were talking about sex education, awareness and conversation amongst teens/pre-teens and their parents. A mother was saying that she had decided to take a step forward by introducing her daughter in early teenage to the topic. She had said to her daughter, 'Dear, I think it's time we talked about how babies come and err... sex.' 'Sure Mum,' said her daughter, 'what do you want to know?'

The people on the show were amazed at the daughter's knowledge and went on further to discuss how different sources of information are accessible to children and how they don't need their parents anymore to blast the myths about birds and bees or free home delivering storks. But I was impressed by the girl's comfort level about sex with her mother. She answered her mother back as coolly as though she were asking her about some recipe.

I had been to a Yoga class where I learned not only the exercises but also the philosophy behind it. There is nothing Indian about Yoga to be frank, even though it's an Indian creation. It is a deep scientific attitude and rationality. One of the concepts I felt to be the most important was moderation. Yoga preaches moderation in everything: what you eat, what you spend, how much you enjoy, your desires and so on.

Desires: Sex is a desire. Out of the maybe thousands of times in their life, humans have sex only a couple of times for procreation which is considered the main objective of sex. It is human to have sex with the love of your life. But does it mean that casual sex or one-night stands are ethical? One can even have casual sex in moderation too, since as mentioned earlier it is just a desire and you are satisfying it. That brings forth the question what you prefer: love or sex. Do you prefer to go around indiscriminately fornicating like dogs or do you want to mutually satisfy your partner physically and emotionally? Isn't it more fulfilling and sacred if sex is extended as an expression of love instead of a mere, selfishly carnal itch?

Some religions frown upon it as a filthy action. The parents dissuade the children from touching their private parts. There is nothing dirty about them since they are also an important part of the body. This ignorant and careless attitude of parents further goes on to instill a sense of taboo and forbidden about the genitalia and, consequently, sex. Everyone has a curiosity of the unknown and forbidden. And as children grow and get the reality-check they develop a guilt for discovering what their parents were trying to hide from them and this guilt then culminates into discomfort between parents and children. They become tongue-tied when it comes to speaking to their children about it because they might expect a question like 'do you have it too?' It is this taboo that is tagged on such topics since childhood that any pleasure one feels through them becomes a sin. But a simple question: Aren't we all the products of sex? Then why shy away from talking about it? I daresay even the religious preacher (whose own parents bore him through a sexual union and) who publicly denounces it, must be feeling some tingle in his pants in the privacy of his home.

Yoga also expounds abstinence/ brahmacharya or celibacy. But then again, those who practise it till the expert levels learn to abstain themselves from even food and water. So that doesn't mean that Yoga considers sex unholy. The reason behind it is that a person must learn to free himself of all distractions to be the one with the universe. 'Yoga' actually means the 'unification' of the internal mind with external universe. But all such sacrifices are expected of a real yogi who devotes his entire life to meditation. For a normal human being, sex is holy. It is the confession of the true love for their partner. There exists a reason for everything, and the fact that we attain pleasure in this act itself is a proof that this is how it was meant to be. There is no human adulteration in the idea of sex, it is completely natural, and the religion which goes against nature is probably not a religion at all (or is being misinterpreted foolishly by a quack).

Since I am challenging the religions so much let me clarify myself better. When you are born as a person of a particular religion, you can probably say you are destined to that religion. But as a birth of an individual, you are born to accomplish something in your life and to make it as much meaningful as you can till you die. This is what you want to do with your personal life, it is your choice. Then why does religion - something which you didn't voluntarily subscribe to - be the one influencing your personal choices. Love and ambition are parts of your life continually going through two phases: sadness and happiness. When you are 'in love' with a person you want to make that person happy. Obviously the feeling is mutual. You earn money for a better living to make the person you love happy, that is permitted by all religions, you cook tasty food to make the person you love happy, that is permitted by all religions, you protect them and undergo severe physical exertion to keep them safe and happy, that too, is permitted by all religions. All these things are done because one 'craves' to be with the other out of love, this feeling is emotional. Can there not be a physical 'craving' to be with the other out of love? Why do religions hypocritically forbid that? The mortals who preach religion are responsible for the degradation in the human psyche. Because religions themselves are a convenient way out for humans to live their lives. Ironically, there are many religions who proclaim there is only one God, but none of them (if studied deeply) will challenge existence of other religions. So if it is natural for several religions to co-exist, is it natural that there are several Gods? And if it is to this God that you pray for forgiveness or thank him for the good things aren't you yourself giving a religion to the God, when you confess to follow a religion written down by 'that God'? Then what about people of other religions? They exist too. Ever tried to think how they came into being? If you truly loved 'your God' you will love the people from other religions too, because 'your God' does want you to love everyone. Then why didn't 'your God' take them under his wings? If he hasn't done so, has he left them to wander alone? Or are they safe with 'their own Gods'? Either of the two. But according to 'your religion' God is only one and that God is kind.

I have deviated from the topic but I am not going astray. The reason for so many questions is to make one realise that religion is a man's creation, it is artificial, something for the adults to turn to in the times of distress, just like the children grab their teddy bears or protective blankets. If one rationally answers the above questions, one would realise that we are guided by only one force, which has no religion. Then why must one subject oneself to the precepts and preachings of a religion at the cost of refusing something that is essential to them?

Religions do teach you strong and pious principles which, if a person adhered to will lead an easy yet ethical life. True. But that eventually is what spiritual rationality is. Just take a sensible approach to everything, including sex and your God, and you will rise above the necessities like religion and discover the 'higher truths'. But one eternal truth remains that love is an indispensible part of this world and it will remain sacrosanct for as long as people will continue to love their lives and the people in it. And confession of love in any form, including sex is also equally pure, because just like God it is untouched by any religion. And something above religion will always be as holy as God.

P.S. I deliberately restrained myself from using the phrase 'India is the land of Kamasutra'. The physical act of love is universal and in practice since the pre-historic times; just because we have a manual about it doesn't mean we have the patent to it. There are several other good things too one can attribute India to!


ArUn raFi said...

here comes my fav topic.
talking about is nothing but concocted parables that set the rules for human action.the main aim of any religion or any group fr tht matter is to keep its followers under check and that is the exact reason why happiness is always tied with guilt.the more u become happy with a source.the more u are encouraged to it drinking,sex,spending.anything at all.power is what all religion crave for. and the main conditions for power is nothing but dependence and unsubstitutability.that is why it restricts all our actions.the more it destroys the human tendency to be independent and egotism the more it is successful in its evil teaches you that sacrificing is the aim of all actions but never teaches the virtue of being selfish or being egoistic.
i think i have wavered from the topic a lil bit.but its fine.

go through this.u might find it resonating with ur theme.

Saadi said...

I'm glad that people are now changing their view regarding sexual education.

And it's best that a child learns from his parents rather than his/her peers or even worse, strangers. A parent's way of telling is far more informative also giving the sense of right and wrong. A peer who himself/herself is in discovering state may not only tell wrong but also lean more towards Guilty Pleasures. And strangers, that's just plain bad!

And as far as I can remember, making love to the one you love isn't discouraged. Themes like fetishism, sodomy, masochist behavior is discouraged.

Anyhow, you made me a fan! Great going!

Anonymous said...

true... the concept of sex in the minds of children has gone through a complete overhaul.... it's been almost a decade since i got outta my school and i can tell u tht at about that time too our knowledge levels on the subject was quite vast...and none of it came from the parents.

i don't think there's anything taboo to it....but i guess parents still have trouble gettin down to it face to face.

Neha Dhavale said...

loved your way of comparing poeple adhering to a religion with the children grabbing their teddy bears. :)
great blog!