Sex—the Cause of Unlimited Suffering

“Of all kinds of suffering and bondage arising from various attachments, none is greater than the suffering and bondage arising from attachment to women and intimate contact with those attached to women.” (SB 11.14.30)

Because the experience and urges of sex are so intense, and the syndrome of man/woman relationships surrounding it is so complex, it diverts the conditioned soul’s attention away from Krsna and deludes him more than any other trick of maya. Sometimes the foolish conditioned soul experiences great delight in enjoying sex; at other times he is frustrated and burns in the fire of lust. Or, when spurned by a lover, he suffers mental agony, sometimes so severe that he is driven to kill the loved one, or himself, or both.

The loss of a partner to whom one is intimately emotionally attached, by death or other means, leaves the remaining partner with a broken heart. And especially in our most abominably degraded modern society, thousands of people’s lives become shattered by having their bodies exploited, either forcefully or tactfully, by others. read more

Love versus Lust

I never promised you a rose garden. –Joe South. In the material world, especially among young girls, the hope prevails that marriage will be a pleasurable affair and that the pleasure will never end.  “Happily ever after” is a favorite phrase at the end of practically every romantic fairy tale.  The reality is, however, that although pleasures exist in married life, those pleasures are intermittent and short-lived.  Because this is the world of dualities, the pleasures of married life are offset by pain.  This is the arrangement of the all-merciful Lord.

Such pain manifests in different forms.  Besides the pains of old age, disease and death, most couples have children.  Thus, not only the woman but also the man experiences the pain of childbirth.  The woman directly experiences the discomforts of pregnancy, labor and delivery, while the man experiences the lifelong responsibility of having to figure out how to provide for, protect, and educate his child(ren).  Father and mother also both experience anxiety on behalf of their children when the children suffer, and suffer they must.  This world is a place of suffering: dukhalayam asasvatam.  Man and wife also experience the pain of being misunderstood by each other (married life is fraught with misunderstandings because man and woman think, feel and communicate differently), the pain of being falsely accused, the pain of embarrassment at having disappointed one’s spouse, or feeling the pain of our spouse when he or she is unhappy or frustrated, sick or hurt.  

There is usually a strong sexual attraction between husband and wife in the beginning of their marriage which tends to cover over the couple’s perception of the fact that life in the material world is miserable.  This intensity of attraction for each other can be misperceived as love, but it is actually a form of lust.  Aspiring Vaisnavas who enter into marriage generally experience this strong sexual attraction for their spouse, just as non-Vaisnavas do.  Even though Vaisnavas are philosophically aware that they are not their bodies, that marriage is ultimately meant for giving up sex, that sex is meant only for procreation and that Krsna, not our spouse, is the ultimate object of adoration, still, when aspiring devotees are newly married, they usually experience this intense feeling of attraction for one another. read more

Why Do I Wear Sari

Saree1

Recently in India I inquired from a Mohammedan gentleman why their women are ardently concealed behind a curtain of cloth, which often completely covers their faces? He replied, “If you have a valuable diamond, which to you is precious and dear, how will you keep it? Will you store it in an old cardboard box in the backyard rubbish heap? No, naturally, you will protect it by putting it safely and securely in a place where the untrustworthy can neither see it nor steal it. Our women are very important to us; they are the personality behind a happy household. We know that if they flaunt themselves in public, they will be mislead, and then the foundation of our society will be ruined.”

My mouth dropped open; I was speechless. The Muslims, like the Hare Krsnas, obviously have this question repeatedly asked to them by the “non-believers”, and this gentleman had a very poignant answer. He was not intimidated by the query, rather, he proudly made this presentation on behalf of the women in his community.

I have observed that ISKCON women more often are replacing the sari with other kinds of “more practical” attire. Many wear Punjabi suits, long skirts (or even short ones) dresses, moo-moo’s, jogging suits or shorts to putter around the house or go shopping. Often the only time a sari is worn is to come to the temple feast on Sundays. Even more often we see that the sari has been replaced by Western clothes in the name of “selling more books” or “collecting more laksmi.” read more

Why does Krsna immorally dance with the gopis, who are others’ daughters or wives?

In Srimad-Bhagavatam, the same question was asked by King Pariksit to Sukadeva Gosvami. Sukadeva Gosvami replied that even great persons who are free from false ego and selfish material motivations sometimes act in apparent contradiction to the laws of piety yet are not subject to sinful reactions; how, then, can the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme creator of all living beings and everything that exists, have any connection with the piety and impiety that affects His subordinate creations?

Sukadeva Gosvami further explained that even the Lord’s pure devotees are never entangled in material activities, for they find transcendental pleasure in the service of His lotus feet; how, then, can there be any question of bondage for the Lord Himself, who assumes His transcendental forms according to His own sweet will? He is the Paramatma in the hearts of the gopis and their husbands and indeed within all living beings. The Subala Upanisad says:

esa sarva-bhutantaratmapahata-papma read more