|Aversion, Death, Rebirth, Vanity
DEATH, REBIRTH & VANITY
At the point of death and the breakup of the body, (see details
what happens to the mind?
According to Vedanta gross body and subtle body part in the moment of death.
While the gross body disintegrates, the mind being part of the subtle body will
“hang around” in subtle realms until the vasanas, will prompt another
incarnation – provided that the time is ripe, i.e. the time for reincarnation
needs to abide by the law and order of the universe (ishvara).
What if these supposedly enlightened people happen to still have sex after
attaining the "knowledge", and still can’t break the sex habit/addiction even in
their older age?
For example, this
Zen master Roshi
had an un-sattvic mind at 105, so it appears from
this NY Times article that Zazen didn’t seem to have worked very well in his
Swami Tapovanam in his book "Ishvara Darshana" said
that "he who pursues sensuous enjoyment cannot realize god.” He said it is
impossible to exhaust desire through enjoyment, the only way to overcome it is
through right thinking.
absolutely agree. Desire is inexhaustible. It will only cease with the
understanding of who you are: abundance itself, nothing missing whatsoever.
NDM: Swami Tapovanam said "the relationship to a
woman in marriage and the performance of a householders’s duties are for men of
attachment, not of detachment. Food is for the hungry, he who is no longer
hungry requires no food. Only those who long for worldly welfare need the
performance of worldly duties. The man who has no desires does not require it.
What the vedas say about sexual pleasure is this. This ought to restrain mans
sexual freedom. Birds and animals have this sexual freedom but in man it leads
to sorrow and suffering. It is true sastras enjoy the presence of a partner,
during the performance of worldly and other worldly duties, But why should
those who have truly realized the true nature of worldly pleasures that cause
ultimate pain and have cast away the seen as well as the unseen fruits of their
work, by cultivating the spirit of total detachment , hanker after the woman’s
body composed of flesh and blood, feces and urine. Is the man who plunges into
his hot pursuit of happiness, wise or unwise, discreet or indiscreet"?
do not know that particular book of Swami Tapovanam but I have read “Wanderings
in the Himalayas” which throws a clear light on his personality. Swami Tapovanam
was born 1889 and died 1916. He was an ascetic to the core; to him the body was
something he disregarded 100 % at all times. For example he went to Tibet
wearing nothing but his thin robe, being ill and weak, staying the nights in the
freezing cold windy plains without shelter or blanket. He lived up to the yogic
But this is
not my ideal. I do not share the traditional admiration for an austere life
style. The life style of an enlightened one should be modest and if need be,
he/she should be able, to face even the harshest conditions with equanimity. But
I do not see any need to actively seek out harsh conditions. I do not even see
the need to deny oneself natural bodily needs, such as food, water, shelter and
even sexual expression.
suppressed sexuality there is very little chance to be transcended; on the
contrary, the desire for it will be preserved, even enhanced. If sexuality is
suppressed the identification with it will never cease. That’s why grihasta life
was to precede vanaprasta and sannyasa since the beginning of time in India. But
in kali yuga it has not been working out. In the past grihasta life has been the
model of society in East and West alike but, in order to protect the family,
sexuality has been suppressed everywhere anyway. As a consequence, the powerful
biological need for sexuality went underground, where it became even more
powerful and perverse (child abuse, rape etc).
NDM: When Swami Tapovan Maharaj, was asked about
attaining liberation (moksha) through sensual pleasure, and tantra, He said it
was like night and day. Two opposite poles. He also said that sanyasin, celibacy
for life was the only for “true liberation”. Anything other than this is not
He repeated what he was taught – but was he
qualified to say what he said? Obviously he did not walk the path of tantra. In
the societies of the past sexuality was suppressed to such a degree that it was
simply inconceivable to be sexually active without identification (and so far
this has not changed). The tradition of tantra seems to be the only one which
holds up the possibility of disidentified sexual activities.
Swami Tapovanam talks about sexuality reveals that, like most other people on
this earth, he knew only of identified sex. Of course those “most other people”
will identify with what he said. But this does not mean that it is true. There
is another possibility.
As far as I
am concerned, enlightenment and sex do not exclude one another. Yet I am
speaking of unidentified sex because identification with anything does exclude
Swami Tapovanam, Birds and
animals have this sexual freedom but in man it leads to sorrow and suffering.
It does so because of identification, not because of sexual activities.
Man usually is identified with his sexual desires. In order to become
enlightened he will have to leave his identifications behind, to certain a
degree – nobody knows to what degree. After enlightenment sexuality is
possible, yet only without identification, which means hunger, hankering, hot
pursuit, requiring (see Swami Tapovanam’s words) won’t be part of the package.
actions are being done in various ways by the gunas (qualities) of nature (body,
mind, senses), deluded by the I-notion one thinks “I am the doer.”
become wholly deluded by the gunas of nature become attached to the activities
of the gunas.
Geeta 3, 27 and 29
“Enlightened sex” is very different from what we usually consider sexual. Normal
sex is egocentric whereas with enlightenment sexuality can either end, or become
a playful expression of life/love in the sense of the Geeta verses above,
There is no
need for love to express itself sexually, but it can. As a matter of fact the
union of love and sex is bound to prevent sexual abuse, rape etc. So if a
teacher like Zen master Roshi sexually abuses his/her students he is evidently
not fully accomplished. His sexuality has remained egocentric, which means there
is still identification with a separate self within him.
there is nothing wrong with sexuality; it is nature innocently expressing
itself. On the other hand there is everything wrong with egocentricity, which
has its roots in the identification with a separate self. If there is no longer
any identification, sex can continue or not. In any case, love will continue to
NDM: Is rebirth into a heaven, hell, human, animal,
spirit, hungry ghost realm a reality?
is as real as our everyday reality. In Vedanta this kind of reality is called
mithya, which is relatively real, whereas satya is ultimately real. Satya is the
one and only true reality, called Atman/Brahman. Mithya is what seems to be
reality: jiva, jagat and ishvara (the individual, the universe and the
underlying law and order that makes our seeming reality possible).
whether physical or subtle, belong to the category jagat, universe, and are
therefore mithya. Mind you, they are not more mithya than anything else that you
encounter in your life.
satya perspective there is no jiva, no jagat, no ishvara, there is only pure
being (satyam), pure consciousness (jnanam), limitlessness (anantam).
NDM: Does an enlightened person fear aging, sickness
this is impossible. Fear of death cannot arise in someone who has died to death.
NDM: Would an
enlightened person wear seductive clothing, makeup, have plastic surgery,
(implants, Botox, liposuction), or even
appear younger, more attractive for their self esteem, or to attract followers,
Basically no – if behind these behaviors were the above mentioned “fear
of aging, sickness and death”. But it is not possible to judge the motive for a
certain behavior from the outside. No-one knows what is behind a certain
conduct, except the person who performs it.
Also, it is
a matter of culture. In India, enlightened beings are very often Swamis or
Swaminis. Of course they do not wear make up or dye their hair. In the West most
enlightened beings are more or less involved in society, they may have girl/boy
friends, they may have to speak up for their children in school, represent in a
job and the like. It is very possible that they may enjoy a piece of garment
they look good in, or a new haircut, i.e. they are less likely to behave like
nuns or monks. I do not see any problem with this.
degree of these behaviours being acceptable or not corresponds to the cultural
environment. In many European countries it is still normal for an aging woman to
turn grey and to leave it like that, whereas it seems that in the US this has
become extraordinary except if you are homeless or antisocial. So why should
someone who is enlightened needlessly want to be put into those categories?
Also, in Europe or even in India there is a big difference between someone
“just” putting on make up and someone undergoing plastic surgery; but is it the
same in the US? I simply don’t know. I have always found Israeli women’s
clothing excessively seductive. But is it considered the same in Israel itself?
I don’t know. Culture is relative.
culture is the distinction between what is to be expected from a woman and what
is to be expected from a man. Most of the above mentioned issues apply only to
women. What about a male guru with an impressive lion’s mane? Should he rather
shave his head because he has got enlightened? And where is the dividing line
between someone just talented in making him/herself beautiful and someone who
does so for fear of being rejected?
There is no
definite answer to these questions.
NDM: Would an enlightened person take sleeping
pills, drink alcohol, take recreational drugs (smoke marijuana, LSD), or
medication for mood control, anxiety, depression (Prozac, or Viagra)?
Again this may be a matter of culture. Yogis have been smoking marijuana for
ages in India. What if one of them has become enlightened? Would he necessarily
stop smoking? You may argue that such he would not have any chance to become
enlightened in the first place – but who knows? I would say, anything that is
done in moderation cannot rule-out enlightenment. But then again we know of
enlightened chain smokers like Sw. Chinmayananda or Nisargadatta Maharaj. Where
was their moderation? Or was their enlightenment a fake?
medication for mood
control, anxiety, depression (Prozac, or Viagra),
I don’t really know what
to say. If someone’s body does not produce enough serotonin he/she will turn out
to be depressive. You add serotonin to the system by taking a pill every day and
the depression may be over and done with. Will the serotonin rush into the body
after enlightenment, making medication superfluous? I simply don’t know.
suppose that you cannot be an addict and be enlightened at the same time. But
then again, I seem to be one of those very rare people with an absolutely
non-addictive personality. So how weighty is my word in this respect? Most of my
students have the one or the other problem with addiction and one of those few
who has none has a tendency to compulsive behavior which is just the other side
of the addiction coin (addiction = no control, compulsion = over controlled)l.
They (my students) do work on those tendencies, vasanas, but to what degree do
vasanas have to be eradicated in order to become enlightened? Nobody knows.
NDM: Would an enlightened person have an aversion to
harsh or desolate living conditions, isolation, desert, jungle, forest,
(excessively cold or hot weather climates), fear of wild animals, snakes,
scorpions, bears, tigers, crocodiles, sharks and spiders?
Sitara: I suppose that
this again is a matter of culture as well as of personality. Some people feel
completely at home out in the jungle but then feel uncomfortable in the middle
of New York City. Or the other way round. Others again don’t mind either way,
enlightened or not. Also I think that the brain of the human animal nature has
got certain built in alarm systems, which will be felt by enlightened as well as
non-enlightened beings. So aversion to this or that, or fear based on those
alarm systems is natural. It simply depends on the degree to which someone is
able to handle that aversion or fear intelligently.
alarm starts because you encounter a big but harmless spider, see whether you
can move away, and if you can’t, just meet the situation as it is.
alarm starts because you see a dangerous animal, run away or do whatever is
needed to be done to save your life. It is appropriate to save your life if you
alarm starts because the airplane you are sitting in is diving head on to the
ground, the enlightened should be able to stay calm. The alarm of the body-mind
may go crazy but not he/she. There is absolutely nothing that can be done, life
is over, so why not relax. Nothing is lost anyway.
applies to harsh or desolate living conditions: if you can, choose what you
prefer, but if you cannot choose, meet whatever needs to be met with equanimity.
enlightened being should be able to behave along these lines. If he/she makes a
big fuss because there is a cockroach in their hotel room or someone has cooked
non-vegetarian food in the kitchen that feeds them, I would recommend checking
again whether your belief in their enlightenment might not be built on sand.
But, again, take into account the culture the person is coming from. Most
Indians will have no problem with a cockroach but could be very concerned with
the non-veg food in their kitchen, whereas for a Westerner it may well be the
other way round.
NDM: Can an enlightened person lose their temper,
use foul language, or harsh speech, sarcasm, ridicule, make off color jokes?
a degree this may be possible in the beginning of enlightenment when some of the
old personality structures are still active. But after some time all of this
NDM: Would an enlightened person make a legal
disclaimer for their teachings, as to not be held responsible? (Please see
This again is probably cultural. It seems that in America people tend to sue
each other over all and everything. So maybe in this culture there is a need to
make these disclaimers even for spiritual teachers. I have not seen anything
like this anywhere else in the world up to now.
such a disclaimer is based on fear. But in a country where this fear is
justified you need to protect yourself, just as you protect yourself from wild
animals or hailstorms.
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