Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami > Obstacles on the Path of Devotional Service > Illicit Sex > Introduction

2. Illicit Sex


One time a student of hatha-yoga approached Srila Prabhupada and said, "Although I'm prac­ticing yoga, I have a problem controlling sex desire." Prabhupada replied, "You have a problem? Every living being has that problem." Sex desire in one form or another will continue to appear even within an aspiring devotee until one becomes com­pletely liberated. Sometimes pious Indian friends find it shocking when devotees mention sex in their lectures, even when it is a par amp am discussion. They consider sex to be a forbidden subject, which should not be dis­cussed even for edification. But there is a large amount of information about sex life in Srila Prabhupada's books, and so it should not be avoided. We should not read about sex or discuss it with vicarious enjoyment. But we should hear what the spiritual masters have to say about this powerful force and how to deal with it.Srimad-Bhdgavatam describes why nature created the sex drive and how it should be used.


The genitals and the pleasure of begetting counteract the distresses of family encumbrances. One would cease to generate altogether if there were not, by the grace of the Lord, a coating, a pleasure-giving substance, on the surface of the generative organs. This substance gives a pleasure so intense that it counteracts fully the distress of family encumbrance. A person is so captivated by this pleasure-giving substance that he is not satisfied by begetting a single child, but in­creases the number of children, with great risk in regard to maintaining them, simply for this pleasure-giving substance. This pleasure-giving substance is not false, however, because it originates from the transcendental body of the Lord. . . But it has taken on an aspect of per-vertedness on account of material contamination. —Bhag. 2.6.8 purport


The positive use of sex in devotional service is stated concisely by Lord Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita, kamo 'smi—"I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles" (Bg. 7.11). In the purport Prabhupada writes, "Sex life according to religious principles (dharma) should be for the propagation of children, not otherwise. The responsibility of par­ents is then to make their offspring Krsna con­scious." Those who do not know the science of transmigration cannot understand the danger of sex attraction. The fact is that it is the greatest binding mrce for keeping one in the cycle of birth and death.


Sex is very prominent, among animals like mon­key., and such people who are enlivened by sex may be called descendants of monkeys. . . They are captivated simply by seeing the faces of one another, which remind them of sense grati­fication. . . Thus they forget completely that one day their small life span will be finished and they will be degraded in the evolutionary cycle. —Bhag. 5.14.31


Even within marriage, illicit sex drives one to create unwanted pregnancies. This leads to abortion and contraceptives, all of which have karmic reactions. Srila Prabhupada's standard, the vow of "no illicit sex" which his followers take at initiation, is considered to be extremely strict according to worldly standards. Some even say that he is "denying the basic necessities of life." But the Krsna consciousness standard is followed by scriptures and by the founders of bona fide religion all over the world.


. . . Basically there is no difference between the process of Buddhists, Sahkaraites, and Vaisnav-aites. For promotion to the highest status of perfection, namely freedom from birth and death, anxiety and tearfulness, not one of these processes allows the follower to break the vow of celibacy. The householders and persons who have deliber­ately broken the vow of celibacy cannot enter into the kingdom of deathlessness. The brahmacaris, vanaprasthas  and sannyasis do not intend to take rebirth (apraja), nor are they meant for secretly indulging in sex life.

—Bhag. 2.6.20 purport