The Sexual Revolution: Coming Full Circle?
from Back To Godhead Magazine #14-05, 1979
by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami
Here we are in the middle of the sexual revolution, and yet, amazingly, more and more people are touting chastity. Says former game-show star Jaye P. Morgan, “Your perceptions deepen, and you reach a higher level of awareness. And the good effects are cumulative. I feel much better now….” “Now that I’m celibate, I feel fresher,” says a Chicago businessman. “My energy level is higher, and my mind isn’t so clogged up.”
What could be the real reason for this surprising trend? Are we losing our taste for sex? Not exactly. As psychoanalyst Mildred Newman points out, “For years there has been a trend in the direction of chastity. People have begun to feel terrible about indiscriminate sex with so many partners.”
Adds psychiatrist Dr. H. Colton, “Many of my clients have been badly hurt by the pain of multiple separations from many different partners. That, to me, is the most negative aspect of the sexual revolution…. People go from one relationship to the next, and in the process they experience great pain.”
Writer Janet Dailey says, “I don’t think there’s a woman born who doesn’t wish that the first man she met would be the one she married.” Dailey and her cowriters at Harlequin Enterprises, along with author Barbara Cartland, are heightening the popular mood with what Human Behavior magazine has called “the paperback virgin,” the heroine of the book racks who says, in effect, “Save yourself, because some day your prince will come.”
For people who would prefer that “some day” be sooner rather than later, India’s traditional Krishna conscious culture offers a happy solution: the couple’s parents seek expert spiritual guidance and arrange for an early marriage, based on complete psychospiritual compatibility. The record shows that this kind of spiritually- based marriage really works. For one thing, the woman doesn’t have to wait ten or twenty years (or her whole life) for her prince to come, and she can give her heart and not worry about some day having to take it back.
This kind of relationship turns out happy and successful because it’s based not just on “biological need” but on enlightenment. In fact, in Bhagavad- gita Lord Krishna affirms, “Sex that accords with religious principles, married sex for producing spiritually enlightened children—that sex I am.” The couple have sex with intelligence and discretion, not in a doglike way but in a godly way. And they produce enlightened children who easily become self-realized, liberated from the material world’s cycle of death and rebirth. Naturally the children help their parents do the same.
Not only do the couple satisfy their desire for the temporary pleasures of family life, but also they follow the Bhagavad-gita’s path to eternal, spiritual pleasures. Day by day they experience that the inner self can find full happiness only in the eternal loving relationship we all have with Krishna, the Supreme Self (Krishna’s very name means “the all-beautiful, all-attractive one”). So both husband and wife save themselves for Him.
After the children are grown, the couple leave home and, travel together to holy places of pilgrimage. Eventually they make their amicable parting of the ways—she to live with her eldest children or at a holy place, he to travel as a monastic teacher, both of them to attain self-realization and realization of God. (Then, too, people who are spiritually precocious can bypass the married phase altogether, stay celibate, and start concentrating on self-realization earlier in life.)
Of course, our modern quasi-culture hardly makes chastity easy. “This new chastity is more challenging,” notes Dr. Joyce Brothers, “because the pressure from the culture is very strong not to be chaste.” The mass mind manipulators want to keep us ever conscious of our genitals, always ready to hark when a new book or bath soap promises to win us newer and more desirable sex partners. So even if we want to avoid “the pain of multiple separations,” it’s going to be extremely difficult…
… unless we can find a genuinely higher pleasure. “The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment,” Krishna says, “but the taste for sense objects will remain. Yet he can stay fixed and peaceful in consciousness by experiencing a higher taste.” (Bg. 2.59] As Srila Prabhupada explains, “Seekers of the Absolute Truth are never allured by unnecessary engagement in sense gratification, because the serious students seeking the Absolute Truth are always happily overwhelmed with the work of researching the Truth…. When one is actually Krishna conscious, he automatically loses his taste for pale things.” The natural pleasure of our loving relationship with Krishna is so great that it alone gives complete satisfaction and happiness, and we can easily go beyond short- lived, insignificant material pleasures—for lasting, unlimited spiritual pleasures.
Once we become spiritually fulfilled, we’ll be finished with sexual problems. In the latter part of our lives, if not much earlier, we’ll abstain to concentrate on self-realization and the unlimited pleasure within. Yet during married life, sex for the express purpose of producing children is also chaste. In other words, once we’re Krishna conscious, chastity will follow as a natural by-product. We won’t be interested, per se, either in sex or no sex, but in doing all that we do in devotion to the Supreme.