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(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 31 August 2017, Durban, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.26)
Once Brahmananda Prabhu was speaking to Srila Prabhupada about his university days. Brahmananda had written in an essay that everyone in this world inherently has a spiritual inclination, an innate drive to connect with the Supreme Lord, and his Professor totally disagreed and said that the innate drive is towards sex life. Brahmananda was telling the story to Srila Prabhupada to expose how foolish the Professor was but Prabhupada said that the Professor was right! This point is made in the Srimad Bhagavatam; the Bhagavatam says that the entire material world is a backdrop for sexual activity. This is why we became embodied; this is ultimately why we are in the material world – because of lusty desires.
In human society, sexual activities are regulated within marriage which imposes certain restrictions. Prabhupada spoke about the hogs who have no discrimination – sexual activities happen even with family members – animal life, no control! But in human life, there is meant to be control therefore culturally and traditionally, marriage occurred and limited one’s sexuality.
However, these principles have been transgressed always; it is not just in modern times, now, that these things have been abandoned. There was always illicit sex. In this regard, Srimad Bhagavatam is not shy and describes all types of illicit sex – it is something we would not expect from the Srimad Bhagavatam but oral sex is described and also the reactions of oral sex are described!
Illicit sex binds us in suffering. Nowadays, illicit sex has become part of society and labelled as normal and acceptable. In the Vedic culture, illicit sex existed but it was condemned and those who engaged in illicit sex knew that they were engaging in a condemned activity. Nowadays, it is considered perfectly fine and natural. It is unnatural to stress these things. So this Hare Krsna movement is in direct opposition to Freudian philosophy where it is emphasised that when sexuality is oppressed, it causes problems in a person. Sigmund Freud presented the model of a pressure cooker that when there are many desires and it is not released, then there will be an explosion.
In Krsna Consciousness, we have other ways of diminishing the pressure in the pressure cooker. There is no doubt that Freud is right that there is such a thing as pressure building up in the consciousness and when desires are not fulfilled there is frustration and this becomes a problem. Freud’s only solution is to let out the steam.
Our solution is to chant Hare Krsna and engage in devotional service to diminish material desires, aprarabdha-phalam papam kutam bijam phalonmukham, kramenaiva praliyeta vishnu-bhakti-ratatmanam (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.23). In the Visnu Purana, there is a description of aprarabdha karma, karma that is within our heart which gives rise to desires but there are no actions coming from it – it is unmanifest. It is said that devotional service diminishes this karma, devotional service takes away the stock of desires, it minimises the desires in the heart and also the fruits of this karma.
Let us just say that in our previous life we engaged in illicit sex then in this life, there is a stock of desires and sinful reactions in the heart which causes more desires to arise and we may engage in such activities and then, more bad karma is incurred and the desires become even stronger in the heart. It is a vicious cycle connecting the two – sinful activity and sinful desire! However, this vicious cycle is broken by devotional service. Devotional service diminishes the stock of aprarabdha karma in the heart, therefore desires decrease thus the pressure in the pressure cooker diminishes and thus it can be possible to say, “No!” and give sexuality the place where it belongs, within a marital relationship!