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Sex & Ayurveda

 

What is the relationship of sex and spirituality? A strange combination it seems but one that evokes huge responses. Is there something called Sacred sex! Or is celibacy the only path for the true seeker.

It is ultimately a personal choice that people must make, not forgetting that the spiritual practice of celibacy was and is considered to be a profound even crucial aspect of spiritual life by the Christians, Buddhist and Hindus alike.Sculptures from Khajuraho

For it is foolish to underestimate the overwhelming power that the sexual instinct possesses to create complex delusions and illusions! Understand and be aware of this power fully before accepting or rejecting it

Historically, sex and spirituality have been uneasy bedfellows -- while some ancient religions did include sexuality in their rites, others sought to control sexuality, either by suppressing it or by severely limiting its expression. Most of the dominant religions in the world today are sex-negative, preaching the suppression of the sexual urge or the channeling of that urge into socially-acceptable forms (marriage as reproductive arrangements).

Which ancient traditions chose to include sexuality as a spiritual act?

  • The Sumerians performed the Sacred Marriage, a union between a priestess of their goddess, Inanna, with a priest-king, as a means of obtaining the favor of this goddess for their cities. In Greece, this type of ritual sex was referred to as the Hieros Gamos; and evidence indicates that it was also practiced by the Egyptians in the cult of Isis up until the Roman era. Hints from various ancient sources indicate that a Hieros Gamos may have been part of the Eleusinian mysteries.
     

  • Sacred prostitution, a means by which men could visit temples and have sex with temple prostitutes in order to commune with a particular goddess, was practiced in numerous ancient Middle Eastern cultures, and in India up until the 1950s. 
     

  • In India, the Tantric tradition, overseen by the god Shiva and his consort Kali/Parvati, continue for hundreds (possibly thousands) of years before being incorporated into Buddhism. Practitioners of Tantra seek enlightenment and union with the Divine through sexual rites and other forms of meditation and ritual. 
     

  • After Tantra was brought to China by traveling monks, it was combined with Taoist philosophy and Chinese medical theory, and was used by those who sought to increase health and (in some cases) achieve physical immortality (through sexual techniques thought to prolong the vitality of the practitioner).
     

  • Some sects of early Christianity incorporated sexual rites into their religious practices; all of these sects were persecuted into extinction by the Roman Catholic Church once it was able to successfully consolidate its political standing as the sole religious institution of Europe.

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