This work must begin with a discipline of the body because it is the servant of the ego. To the extent that we bring it to follow the Ideal, to that extent is the ego's path impeded and obstructed.
The tendency to neglect the body in the zeal to attain to the spiritual self is often seen among aspirants. Yet the two cannot rightly be separated and must be considered together if a successful result is to eventuate. Every man--and the aspirant is no exception to this rule--lives on both planes of being. The body's neglect cannot be justified by the assertion that there is no interest in it because all interest has been elevated above it. Whatever mental assertion or vocal pretext the aspirant delivers himself of, he still remains housed in the flesh and is still responsible for what he does--or fails to do--for the house itself. If he lets it deteriorate, clog with poisons and no longer carry on its organic functions properly, there will come a reaction upon mind and a rebound upon the feelings that must inevitably penetrate his view of things and force him to recognize that his feet are planted on earth, whatever his eyes may be gazing at.
The body is as much a divine projection as the planet on which it dwells. It is not demoniacal, nor even a symbol of man's sad downfall. Every tissue cell, bone cell, nerve cell, and muscle cell of which it is constructed is itself an expression of divine intelligence and purpose. It is a miniature copy of the universe.
Solicitude for the body to the extent of learning how to care properly for it, how to keep it in good health, how to keep up its strength, will only help and not obstruct solicitude for the soul. The person whose body is breaking down, whose organs are unable to work properly, whose vitality is poor, is likely to become more worried and preoccupied about his body than the person who is free from these troubles. How can he forget the flesh under such conditions? He will be miserably conscious of it far too often. Lofty advice which pays no heed to it and tells him nothing about how to deal with it may sound elevating to his ear but will not be alleviating to his problem. Any teaching which ignores the body, which leaves it an ever-present worry, must inevitably be a one-sided, incomplete one. Such indifference to the body's welfare cannot be the teaching of true wisdom and therefore cannot be defended.
A healthy asceticism which is in pursuit of sane self-mastery will always be harmonious with Nature; but an unhealthy, morbid, and twisted asceticism will always be conflicting with Nature.
It is as blasphemous to ignore, decry, or dismiss the physical side of human life as unimportant as it is to deny that the universe is a divine projection.
Bodily instincts concerning food have become so perverted by lifelong artificial habits, so deadened by old civilized so-called custom, that the bodily system no longer reacts to foods as it should. To regain the proper instincts and find out what really is a natural diet for man, a fast or series of fasts is necessary.
Fasting gives the body a chance to clarify its dietetic reactions and to regain its true instincts. It need not be extreme or long except in the worst and most hopeless chronic cases. It is easier, more comfortable, and just as effectual to take short fasts, each ranging from one to four days and spaced apart at intervals of a week to a month. A teaspoon of unsweetened lime juice in a tumbler of warm water may be drunk whenever thirsty to help dissolve the toxic deposits lining the internal organs.
The practice of meditation is undesirable when fasting as it may easily lead to a mediumistic condition or hallucinations. But, on the other hand, prayer can and should be increased when fasting. Usually, excellent results may follow.
Those first meals following a period of fasting are excellent for the purpose of learning what foods are really undesirable or harmful to one's own body. At such a time its instinct is much clearer and unperverted, while the ability to respond to its advice is much greater. Bad habits of feeding or living, such as gluttony or excessive smoking, can then be broken more easily. But it is necessary to concentrate all one's attention very carefully to note physical responses to each mouthful.
He who enters upon this renovating regime should first equip himself with enough knowledge about it, for he is likely to run into difficulties and complications, become disheartened, and even abandon it. He ought to know what course it usually takes and what he may expect. He should particularly learn about the alternations of feeling, the rise and fall of vitality, the appearance of different symptoms, and the correct ways in which to meet them. At certain times, healing crises will manifest themselves and these will constitute his hardest problem. The process of dissolving and eliminating the fermenting and decaying materials from the cellular tissues will become very potent at such times, and its outer indications may well frighten him into belief that the whole system is wrong, that he ought never to have tried to follow it. It is then that he will need the hand of reassurance from those who have travelled the whole course and have realized with joy the incredible benefits that wait at its end--the cure of their ailments and the rejuvenation of their organs. Therefore it is better that before he begins such a radical changeover from conventional regimes, and especially before a fast, he ought to learn more about the experiences of others who have followed this new course. This he can do by reading the literature on the subject. He will not be groping in the dark but will know where he is going and what he is doing.
Those who really aspire towards a higher kind of life will have no alternative than to bring about a higher quality of the body in which they have to dwell and whose nerves and brain condition their very thinking. Such aspirants will have to stop being careless about the material that is fed to the body.
The intolerance of some aggressive and fanatical opponents of meat-eating, smoking, and alcohol-drinking is itself a vicious attitude which harms them in a different way as much as those bad habits harm their addicts.
It is not enough to eat sparingly: he must also eat consistently, if he would keep well. He should not eat rightly for several months or years and then suddenly plunge into wrong eating for a while. For then he may lose in a few days or weeks the good health he has gained, so powerful may the reaction be. To stay faithful to his regular regime in diet is one of the basic rules he must follow. Yet friends and relatives may insist on such a departure from what experience has taught him is best for his own body and mind, and he will need much strength of will to resist them. It will require from him an obstinate adherence to his initial resolve that nothing and no one may be allowed to make him break it.
The banishment of flesh from a correct diet has a thoroughly scientific basis. This kind of food has far too much poisonous uric acid in it, far too much toxic purine to make it a healthy constituent of such a diet. Moreover, it deteriorates the intestinal flora. This will not affect healthy manual-worker types who have enough resistance to throw it off, but it will affect sedentary weaker types.
Thomas Jefferson's "Letters": "I fancy it must be the quantity of animal food eaten. . . . which renders their characters insusceptible of civilization. I suspect it is in their kitchens and not in their churches that their reformation must be worked, and that missionaries of that description from hence would avail more than those who should endeavour to tame them by precepts of religion or philosophy."
If men believe that they must eat meat because it is necessary to life, let them at least first remove the blood from it, as the first Bishop of the earliest Christian church, St. James, ruled to be a Christian duty, and as Moses, wise and powerful leader of those who escaped from Egyptian slavery, ruled to be a Hebrew duty. In this way they will reduce their chance of physical sickness and improve their chances of moral progress. Those who must have further authority for this bloodless diet from a Biblical text may consult their Genesis, I:29. Not for nothing is it that so many rites of black magic call for the use of blood, a sacrificial offering fit only for the dark principle of the universe but not for the maintenance of the human body. Still worse is it for the purpose of such maintenance when the blood is permeated with psychic horror, fear, and anguish generated during first the waiting period at the slaughterhouse and, more intensely, at the actual bloodstained spot itself.
Just before an animal meets its death in a slaughterhouse, it finds itself surrounded by the frightening cries and fear-raising scenes of past, present, and impending murder. Its own dread then mentally permeates the body with harmful influences while the subsequent shock of its own slaying causes an involuntary passage of some urine into the body itself. This uric acid is spread by the blood and then physically permeates the body with poisonous material.
The eating of flesh foods and, to a lesser degree, of animal products tends to keep the human consciousness limited to an outlook which is influenced by the animal propensities. If it is to become truly human, it must free itself from dependence on such foods and such products whose cellular substance is naturally impregnated with such propensities.
The killing instinct in man is kept indirectly alive by the meat-eating appetite of man.
They beseech the Lord with whining prayers for compassionate help or gracious mercy, yet never for a moment ever think of themselves granting mercy to the innocent creatures which are bred and slaughtered for their benefit.
So long as the slaughter of animals is really unnecessary for human food, so long does it remain a moral crime, an ancient shame upon whole nations, against which prophets and saints, seers and teachers have inveighed and warned. For under the Law of Recompense, the guilty--however unconscious--have had to suffer penalty. If they find their own prayers for mercy to the Higher Power remain unanswered, let them remember how they themselves showed no mercy.
We do not deny but on the contrary fully accept the ingenuity and effectiveness of hatha yoga methods. They are cleverly designed to achieve their particular aims and are capable of doing so. But what we do deny is first, their suitability for modern Western man and second, their safety for modern Western man. And we make these denials both on the ground of theory and on the ground of practice. These methods are extremely ancient; they are indeed remnants of Atlantean systems. The mentality and physique of the races for whom they were originally prescribed are not the same as the mentality and physique of the white Euramerican races. Evolution has been actively at work during the thousands of years between the appearance of the ancients and the appearance of the moderns. Important changes have developed in the nerve-structure and brain-formations of the human species. According to the old texts which have come down to us from a dateless antiquity, the trance state constitutes the pinnacle of hatha yoga attainment. But it is an entirely unconscious kind of trance. This we have learnt from the lips of hatha yogis who had perfected themselves in the system. It is indeed nothing more mentally than an extremely deep sleep brought on deliberately and at will, although physically it bestows extraordinary properties for the time being on the body itself. Even where the trance is so prolonged that the yogi may be buried alive under earth without food or drink for several days or weeks, he is throughout that period quite inactive mentally and quite unaware of his own self. His heartbeat and respiration are then extremely low, in fact imperceptible to human senses although perceptible to delicate electric instruments like the cardiogram.
In what way does this condition differ from the animal hibernation? In northern climates certain types of reptiles, rodents, bears, lizards, marmots, and bats retire to secluded places, mountain caves or sheltered holes under the ground, when the cold weather arrives and when food becomes scarce, and pass the whole winter in a state of deep-sleeping suspended animation. In tropical climates certain kinds of snakes and crocodiles do exactly the same when the hottest months arrive. It is particularly interesting to note that birds like the tinamou fall into a rigid cataleptic trance under the shock of terror and then become as immune to pain as the hatha yogis do in the same state. In both cases there is only a hypnotic and not a spiritual condition. Its value for mental enlightenment, let alone moral improvement, is nil.
Twentieth-century man has better things to do with his time and energy than to spend several years and arduous efforts merely to imitate these animals and birds. Such a trance benefits the animals who cannot get food and it is therefore sensible procedure for them to enter it. But how does man demonstrate his spiritual superiority over them if he follows the bat to its cave in the hills, lets the same torpor creep over him as creeps over it, and permits every conscious faculty to pass into a coma? In terms of consciousness, of spiritual advance, the hatha yoga hibernation has nothing to offer man in any way comparable with what the higher systems of yoga have to offer--unless of course he disdains the fruits of mental evolution and takes pleasure in atavistic reversion to the state of these wide-winged yogis, the bats, and those four-footed mystics, the rodents! We should therefore remember that there are different types of trance state and should seek only the higher ones, if we wish to make a real rather than illusory progress.
We witness today that all over Europe and America there have sprung up schools of hatha yoga. This is to be welcomed for several reasons. Most of the teachers are Westerners who have studied, usually for short periods, under an Indian guru who has come to the West and, in a few cases, under one in India itself. It is worth repeating, in this context, that the principal medical officer of the hospital at Rishikesh (which, situated at the foot of the Himalayas, is the greatest centre for practising yogis in India) informed me that more than three hundred cases had passed through his hands of yogis--or rather, would-be yogis--who had damaged their health or become insane through practising a particular breathing exercise connected usually with hatha yoga but also with elementary raja yoga. I refer to the exercise known as "Holding the Breath." Those who practise this exercise imprudently risk damaging their lungs or bursting blood vessels or irreparably injuring the brain--quite apart from the possibility of going out of their mind at least temporarily. The question therefore arises, why was this exercise incorporated in the yoga system? And why has it attracted so many to it? The answer to the second question is that most of those who have attempted it have done so because they have read or heard that it is a quick way to spiritual achievement or, more frequently, that it leads to the acquisition of occult powers. The answer to the first question is that properly performed by the proper person under competent supervision, the danger is eliminated. Since these conditions are not often present, the perils exist. There is no doubt that in the course of the next ten or twenty years we shall be hearing of several cases of self-injury in the West to these students of the yoga schools which have arisen here, unless they are fortunate enough to have a thoroughly responsible and well-informed teacher.
Even apart from the breathing exercises there are dangers in the postures of hatha yoga. The American vice-consul in Calcutta, for example, told me that for a year and a half he had suffered from a crick in the neck which caused his head to be half turned to the left. This was caused by his attempting to practise one of the hatha yoga contortions, but he was doing it under the tuition of an Indian guru! And when the crick happened, his guru was quite unable to rectify the injury, nor were the doctors he was able to contact at the time.
But to return to the breathing exercise: the holding of the breath is beneficial if one has experienced a visitation of grace and an uplift of consciousness. This retention enables one to prolong the glimpse which results from the visitation or which may come from meditation. Conversely, the holding of the breath leads almost directly to the holding down of the thought movement, which of course is also one of the goals of yoga. But since Nature forces the man to recover his breath after some time, the thoughts begin to move again. No doubt, if the exercise is repeated many times, the control of the thoughts becomes easier. Now, the yoga texts which have come down from ancient times give precise figures for the period of retention. With the in-held breath, it should be four times the period taken to breathe in. With the emptied lungs, it should be only twice that period.
Ah! First, people vary in their capacities, and exercises must be adjusted accordingly. For instance, the mountain-dwelling Gurkas of Nepal have broad shoulders and wide lungs and can take in much more air than the half-stooped office worker of a western city. Secondly, the yoga textbooks which were written in the days before printing were intended to be expounded by a competent guru. Hence, they were highly condensed and the present-day reader must pick his way through them very circumspectly if he is working alone.
Now, to return to this holding of the breath. It was not intended to be played with. The eager enthusiast of today plunges into the work quite drastically. He tries to perform the full exercise as he reads it in the translated text. He tries to perform it immediately, and this is where the terrible risk comes in. No beginner should attempt the full exercise of any of the hatha yoga breathings or postures. They should be spread out over a period of three months where the increase is measured in seconds each day so that the full exercise is only reached after daily work--very, very slowly increasing the development. The full exercise is only reached after ninety or one hundred days. This is a necessary precaution.
It will help to empty the mind of its tumult and the nerves of their agitation if he will breathe out as fully as possible, inhaling only when the first feeling of discomfort starts. He should then rest and breathe normally for several seconds. Next, he should breathe in as deeply as possible. The air is to be kept in the lungs until it is uncomfortable to do so. This alternation completes one cycle of breathing. It may be repeated a number of times, if necessary, but never for a longer period than ten minutes.
The other breathing exercise which is dangerous--not physically so much as mentally--is that which prescribes breathing through alternate nostrils so that one nostril is closed by a finger and only the other is used until the changeover is made to the other nostril. This exercise is the one that threatens sanity. I would enforce as a rule that everyone who sets up to teach hatha yoga to others should be compelled to go through a course of at least one year in the anatomy of the body and then in the physiology of the body. The work must have a scientific basis because it encroaches on the medical domain.
Revitalizing Breath Exercise: (1) Stand at an open window, spine erect, body straight, hands tightly holding hips. (2) Expel all stale air through the mouth. (3) Take three short, sharp sniffs of air and expel the total quantity in one long-drawn exhalation. Pause and breathe normally. Repeat three times. (4) Breathe in deeply through the nose, starting as low in the abdomen as possible, rising upward in the lungs until the upper part is filled. (5) The mind should concentrate on the solar plexus behind the navel. Imagine a stream of golden-white energy being drawn from there and radiated throughout the body. (6) Pucker up the lips and let all the air out as vigorously as possible. Tighten the diaphragm muscle while doing so, and move it upwards. Pause and breathe normally. Repeat three times.
The would-be-illumined person must conform to the double action of nature in him: to the outgoing and incoming breaths. So his illumination, when it happens, must be there and here: in the mind and in the body. The two together form the equilibrium of the double life we are called upon to live: that is, being in the world and yet not being of it. In the prolongation of the expiring breath we not only get rid of negative thought but also of the worldliness, the materialism, of keeping to the physical interests alone. With the incoming breath we draw positive, inspiring remembrance of the divine hidden in the Void. Hence we are there in the mind and here in the body. We recognize the truth of eternity, the act in time. We see the reality of the Void, yet know that the entire Universe comes forth from it.
The experience of human love between the two sexes is the nearest thing, perhaps, apart from artistic creativity, to the experience of divine love between the heart and soul. Therefore it should be regarded with an elevated and respectful mind, not with a degraded and coarse one. The cheap exploitation and cynical animalization of sex in the contemporary world of entertainment, as well as the deliberate stimulation of it in the contemporary worlds of commercial art, light literature, and the press, are evil things with evil results. To centre the attention of young impressionable people on the physical side of love as if it were the whole of love, to influence them to ignore the needs of the mind and cry of the heart when coupling for marriage or for passion, is to spread personal unhappiness and promote social wreckage.
The religious sham, which offers mere prudery as if it were real purity, is closely followed by the social sham, which rejects both.
Appetites of the body which are derived from merely physical habits tend to get mixed with emotions, which are of a different and higher kind. This is particularly true of one physical appetite--sex. If a man is to know and master himself, he will need to be clear as to the difference between a sexual affection, which is emotional, and sexual desire, which is physical. This knowledge is important to all Questers.
The lowest kind of sexual drive is concerned solely with finding, by any means and through any person, momentary release and physical satisfaction. It is biological, what man shares with the animals for continuing the race; yet it is often rendered obscene in him by its combination with cunning or fancy. In a superior kind of drive, it is mingled with emotional, aesthetic, and romantic feelings and begins to free itself from confinement to the crude animal attraction alone. This is the specifically human stage of sex life, where not any kind of woman, but only certain kinds, allure: love of two human beings for each other, emotional response between them, now complements the lust of two animals for each other. In the sexual union of two human beings who have reached this second level, each is called upon to receive the other into himself or herself, that is, to fall in love once again and quite afresh. The experience may be and usually is quite a fleeting one. But it will always arouse much ecstatic feeling and tender conduct. It is egoistic, and therefore subject to the vacillations and selfishnesses, the illusions and exploitations which the personal ego shows in its social relations generally. With evolutionary growth, the third stage marks a further change in the kind of satisfaction the sexual drive desires. Intellectual, moral, and cultural affinity is the attraction at this level. The highest aims of the egos must harmonize.
His passage from the common animality to a spiritualized humanity will necessarily involve a raising of force from the generative organ to the thinking organ. What was heretofore exteriorized must now be interiorized; what was wasted must be conserved, and what was physically spent must be spiritually transformed.
At the time when a child is conceived, two factors contribute powerfully towards its physical nature and physical history. They are the state of the father's thinking and the mother's breathing.
Philosophy recognizes that there are different stages on the path of dealing with sex, different needs which must be allowed for. But since those stages and needs are graded ones, it does not compromise on the rules for the last grade. Here, for those who are willing to do everything necessary and make every sacrifice required, it is not enough to discipline the sexual cravings, however severely. They must be brought to an end by a process of complete sublimation. Whereas it allows the young in years or the spiritually unready to abide by simple rules and lighter disciplines, it recommends to older persons or to the spiritually ready of any age to be the master of their animality in every sense. This applies whether they are married householders or not. It does not enforce a rule but simply makes a recommendation. Everyone has a perfect right to choose the stage which lies within his strength. But he must accept the results of his choice, which are governed by law.
The man who struggles with the passion of sex within his nature and conquers it, not merely physically but also mentally, finds that his very nature becomes bi-sexual. For he finds within himself the woman whom he had formerly sought outside himself. She who was to complement his mind and companion his body, and whom he could only find in an imperfect form or not find at all, is then discovered within his own spirit, in that which is deeper than body and mind. The mysterious duality which thus develops corresponds to the last stage but one of his mystical progress, for in the last stage there is absolute unity, absolute identity between his own ego and his Overself; but in the penultimate stage there is a loving communion between the two, and hence, a duality. Such a man is in need of no fleshly woman, and if he does marry it will be for reasons other than the merely conventional ones. In achieving this wonderful liberation from the drawbacks which accompany the delights of sex and from the shortcomings which modify its promises, he achieves something else; he enters into love in its purest, noblest, most divine, and most exalted state. Thus his nature is not starved of love as shallow observers may think or as the sensual-minded may believe, but only he, rather than the others, knows what it means. Seemingly he stands alone, but actually he does not. He is conscious of a loving presence ever in him and around him, but it is love which has shed all turmoils and troubles, all excitements and illusions, all shortcomings and imperfections.
It is hard to overcome sexual desire, and neither ashamed repression nor unashamed expression will suffice to do so. Hunger and surfeit are both unsatisfactory states. The middle way is better, but it is not a solution in the true meaning of this term.
Why did so many primeval cultures in Asia, Africa, and America worship the serpent? A full answer would contain some of the most important principles of metaphysics and one of the least known practices of mysticism--raising the force symbolized under the name of the "serpent fire." The advanced occultists of Tibet compare the aspirant making this attempt to a snake which is made to go up a hollow bamboo. Once aroused, it must either ascend and reach liberty at the top or it must fall straight down to the bottom. So he who seeks to play with this fiery but dangerous power will either reach Nirvana or lose himself in the dark depths of hell. If a man seeks to arouse kundalini before he has rid himself of hate, he will only become the victim of his own hatreds when he does raise it from its sleeping state. He would do better to begin by self-purification in every way if he is to end in safety and with success. The uprising of the penis closely resembles the uprearing of the cobra. Both become erect and stiff by their own innate force. When the serpent fire passes from the root of the penis up the spinal cord, the latter also becomes upright and stiff. Yet sex is not the serpent power but the chief one of its several expressions. The advanced yogis of India symbolize by the pent-up hissing of the serpent the aggressive energy of this sex power. They picture the threefold character of the process in their texts as a triangle with a serpent coiled up inside it. The intense fire of love for the higher self must be kindled in the "mystic" heart, kindled until it also shows a physical parallel in the body, until the latter's temperature rises markedly and the skin perspires profusely. Deep breathing is an important element in this exercise. It provides in part the dynamism to make its dominating ideas effective. The other part is provided by a deliberate sublimation of sex energy, through its imaginative raising from the organs in the lower part of the body to a purified state in the head.
The strange phenomena of a mysterious agitation in the heart and an internal trembling in the solar plexus, of sex force raised through the spine to the head in intense aspiration toward the higher self accompanied by deep breathing, of a temporary consciousness of liberation from the lower nature, are usually the forerunners of a very important step forward in the disciple's inner life. A twofold trembling may seize him. Physically, his diaphragm may throb violently, the movement spreading like a ripple upward to the throat. Emotionally, his whole being may be convulsed with intense sobbing. It is this same bodily agitation, this nervous repercussion of a higher emotional upheaval, which developed in the meetings of the early members of the Society of Friends and got them the name of Quakers. The agitation of his feeling will come to an end with the calm perception of his Soul. The kundalini's activity being primarily mental and emotional, the diaphragmatic tremors and quivers are merely its physical reactions. The necessity for keeping the back erect exists only in this exercise, not in the devotional or intellectual yogas, for such a straight posture permits the spinal column to remain free for the upward passage of the "serpent fire." The latter moves in spiral fashion, just like the swaying of a cobra, generating heat in the body at the same time. If the trembling continues long enough and violently enough, a sensation of heat is engendered throughout the body and this in turn engenders profuse perspiration. But all these symptoms are preliminary and the real mystical phenomena involving withdrawal from the body-thought begin only when they have subsided. This exercise first isolates the force residing in breath and sex, then sublimates and reorients it. The results, after the initial excitement has subsided, are (a) a liberating change in his consciousness of the body, (b) a strengthening development of the higher will's control over the animal appetites, and (c) a concentration of attention and feeling as perfect as a snake's concentration on its prey. It is a threefold process yielding a threefold result. In those moments when the force is brought into the head, he feels himself to be liberated from the rule of animality; then he is at the topmost peak of the higher will. Power and joy envelop him. The attainment of this state of deep contemplation and its establishment by unremitting daily repetition bring him finally to an exalted satisfied sense of being full and complete and therefore passion-free and peace-rooted.
The attempt to gain all or nothing and to gain it at once might succeed on the stock exchange but is hardly likely to succeed here. He cannot leap abruptly to this great height across the intervening stages but must travel laboriously step by step upwards to it. Nevertheless there exists a way of taking the kingdom by violence, a way which can be finished in six months. It is the arousal of the serpent fire. But unless the nature has been well purified, it may prove a highly dangerous way. Few are yet ready for it, and no teacher dare incur the responsibility of plunging into such a risky gamble with his pupil's health, sanity, morality, and spiritual future unless there is sufficient sexual stability and hardness of will in him. There is a slower way, the yoga of self-identification with the Guru. Practised once or twice daily, and combined with Mantramjapa practised continuously, it leads to the same goal in a period twelve times as long and is perfectly safe. He should understand that the goal both ways lead to is not the philosophic one. Yet to attain the latter it is indispensable to pass through the mystic's goal. From all this we may gather not only how long is the road, but also how grand is the achievement with which philosophy is concerned.
At opposing ends of the spine, the human and the animal oppose each other.
The vital forces are dissipated unreasonably and stimulated excessively by turns, until the hapless victim mistakes for normal use what is really abnormal and unintended by Nature. The penalty has to be paid at some time and, spiritually, consists in his being blinded to the finer truths--metaphysical and mystical.
The power to control sex lies partly in the mind, where the media for this control are the imagination and the will united on the intuitive level, and partly in the body, where the media are dietetic restrictions, fasting, internal and external cleansings, and physical exercises.
An important part of the technique of redirecting perverted, vicious, or excessive sexual energies is active bodily exercise regularly done. Lack of it will not be sufficiently substituted for by dieting, fasting, or bathing.
"As a result of these experiments, I saw that the celibate's food should be limited, simple, spiceless and, if possible, uncooked. The ideal is fresh fruit and nuts. The immunity from passion that I enjoyed when I lived on this food was unknown to me after I changed this diet." --Gandhi
The masculine element in a woman and the feminine element in a man need to be as well developed and as actively expressed as the physical sex poles already are developed and expressed. And not only do these inner poles need this, but they need it to be done to the point of balancing the outer poles.
In the properly developed person, the strength of a man will be united with the tenderness of a woman.
If some people have found their way to God through the acceptance of sex, many more people have found their way through the rejection of it.