If bhakti offers higher taste why do devotees still struggle with sex desire?

by Chaitanya CharanAugust 9, 2013

Transcription By: Shalini Ahaluwalia Mataji

Edited By: Murlidhar Prabhu (Murli Thundi)

Question: If bhakti gives us higher taste which makes lower pleasures insignificant then why do sometimes even senior devotees struggle with sex desire?

Answer:  There can be many reasons for this. First of all, sex desire is a very deep-rooted desire and it takes time to get purified of that desire. It’s not just a desire of this lifetime but has been going on for many, many lifetimes. The scriptures also say that it takes a long time to get purified.

But along with that at a practical level you may find that actually people indulge in sex for multiple reasons. One is for the pleasure of releasing the physical urge. But along with that sex also becomes a pseudo-medicine for loneliness, boredom or frustration. When a person is unable to manage his emotions then also he engages in sexual release for the sake of emotional relief and not so much for the sake of physical pleasure.  Then this habit of seeking relief through sex, in something false, has to be changed which requires taking responsibility of one’s emotional life and becoming emotionally mature. This is something every individual has to do on one’s own.

For instance, when a person gets addicted to say drugs there is the withdrawal pain which is there and which lasts for a few days after the person decides he will not take drugs. But even after one has navigated through the withdrawal phase, there are emotional triggers after that. Say, there are heavy conflicts with somebody, or one is irritated, frustrated and wants some relief, then immediately one will remember the drugs.

Hence management of frustration by finding some alternative means of gaining relief is extremely important. Unless the addict, in the above example, is able to do that, even when there is no strong physical urge for drugs, the addict will fall back again to that old habit of taking drugs and there will be a relapse. A similar thing also happens with many devotees, especially the current devotees who are not brought up in a devotional background but were brought up in a culture where materialism is glamourized. That’s why for many people, sexual indulgence, which may or may not be through artificial means, is not just for physical pleasure but it’s also a means of relief, a pseudo-medicine.

In devotional life, if a person lives within the devotional culture, then a person is protected from most of the gross sexual stimulus. However emotional problems can come for everyone, even if they are devotees. They may sometimes feel lonely or frustrated, isolated, or for whatever reasons feel bored. Now when this happens, when one is feeling emotionally dry, one should not seek relief in lower pleasures, due to bad past conditionings. The lower pleasures are not a medicine, instead they are a pseudo-medicine and it makes things worse.  Instead when the emotions make us frustrated at that time, we should rise upwards to the higher shelter of Krishna, for which we have to re-educate our emotions. When there is boredom, loneliness, frustration or any other negative emotion, even though the mind may think of some lower pleasures as a relief, we have to learn to seek the higher pleasure.

This seeking of the higher pleasure requires re-education of our emotions. We need to find out where is it that I can get the shelter of Krishna, what is it that gives me relief? And then start doing the activity more and more. Then through the habitual engagement in that activity, I re-educate myself so that whenever there is frustration, boredom or loneliness I immediately take shelter of Krishna through that activity.

Hence it is not so much the absence of the higher taste in bhakti, because bhakti does give the higher taste, as the need for cultivation of a different set of skills, which will enable one to choose a higher shelter than go by default to a downward pleasure. That’s why we are not here to judge others, why this person did this, or why that person did that, because that is between that person and Krishna. But  we can observe for ourselves whether, when I am in my negative emotions do I try out some pseudo-medicine or do I seek shelter of Krishna? When we do that, when we train ourselves and educate our emotions to rise upwards and take shelter of Krishna, then these struggles with sexual desire will decrease significantly and eventually they will get eliminated.

Thank you,

Hare Krishna

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan
  • Ravikant
    August 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you very much for explaining about emotional reeducation.

  • Anonymous
    October 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Day time is not a problem for the most part – it is easy to do so many activities and engage. However, when Sexual urge strikes when we lie down in the Bed – what activities can we take shelter? Most of the days, due to being tired we immediately go to Bed but some nights the Draconian mind does not let go. We are too tired to get up and do something. The only activity left is to Chant while lying down which sometimes works and sometimes does not.

    Do you have any pointers in this regards?

    Thank u.

  • Keshav
    October 21, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Hare Krishna ,
    To the point and very lucid . Thankyou .

  • satyam
    October 26, 2013 at 2:04 am

    Hare Krsna Prji,

    Thank you so much prji for your enlivening answer. I have personally experienced exactly the same what you have mentioned in your post regarding the gross sexual urge. This happened when I was frustrated in my attempt in one of the exams and I was feeling utterly lonely and despondent. At that moment I was just not able to gather myself to perform any devotional activity and counteract those feelings. There was an adrenalin rush as to just vent out those lowly moments. Somehow by prayers of devotees and the mercy of Srila Prabhupad and Acharyas Krsna gave me strength such that I immediately got up and started chanting, walking back and forth and I chanted continuously. Hence I was saved.

    As rightly mentioned by you in the post it is more of our endeavor to access the strength of devotional activities during the time of despair rather than griping about the incompetence of devotional activities to prevent us from such a downfall.

    Your aspiring servant

  • Laxmikanth
    November 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Hare krishna Prabhu

    this point is very clear that even if we dont have higher taste its choice of higher shelter or lower shelter.

    Thank you very much

  • kiran kumar epari
    December 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Really a very wonderful and spiritual answer which will help many people to curb this unwanted and evil desire. Personally i feel sexual urge can be controlled by remembering the teachings and verses directly explained by lord krishna to Arjuna, where the lord has directly told so many bad effects of lust or kama, and how it is the no.1 enemy of the mankind. We should be clear about the actual purpose of sex life, which is only to beget children and to make them krishna or god consciousness, and we should stay away from just sensuous enjoyment of sex life, which will surely act as an obstacle for spiritual advancement. remember krishna with devotion and chanting hare krishna mahamantra and reading bhagavad gita and srimad bhagavatam with great devotion and self-realisation will go a long way to control and come out of sexual urges. Hare Krishna.

  • naresh boorla
    December 22, 2013 at 8:49 am

    grateful to u prji
    for giving right vision to us

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