H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Monday, 31 January 2011

Family Matters (Part Four) - By Matsya Avatara Dasa (Marco Ferrini)

Spiritual Lovers

Question: Wife and husband should be seen more like spiritual friends or more like "spiritual lovers"? What is the difference between the two?
If the spiritual is authentic both definitions are synonymous. But only if it's authentically spiritual, because today it is a fashion to say spiritual: "Oh, today I got to know a very spiritual person!", but often people don't know anything about the dimension of the spirit. I remember, years ago, I had so much discussion on this with one person. I had to rebuke and correct him so many times. Slowly, slowly, he stopped. He had friends―some poets―that he considered spiritual but who were actually conditioned by everything: by tobacco, by alcohol, by scurrilous language; they were very conditioned. What a distorted idea of spiritual! I have explained and re-explained to him the definition of spiritual―five, seven, ten times―and it seems that lately he has grasped it. But the idea of spiritual is generally very vague, therefore it’s better to further clarify.
Let's analyze the category that indirectly emerges from your question: if the two, instead of being spiritual lovers, are carnal lovers. Then they are known as grihamedhi, which is different from grihastha. The distinction is that for the grihastha the fundamental goal is spiritual realization, while for the grihamedhi the aim is to get a beautiful wife or a handsome husband and enjoy each other. (Of course we know that it's only an attempt and than there is the other side of the coin.) These are the two categories. We have to make this essential distinction: does the person want to get married to increase his or her own potentialities of enjoyment, or does the person―in this case a sincere spiritualist―choose another sincere spiritualist in the form of the other gender to have a companion for the journey of spiritual realization?
Therefore we have two categories: those who pair for enjoying life better and those who unite for reciprocal help in self-realization. We exclusively deal with the second category; the first category is dealt with by sexologists, psychologists and other researchers. We are concerned only with those who try to have a family as a suitable, propaedeutical instrument for spiritual realization. The single man and the single woman may think, "By myself I can't make it." They may think that they are not yet ready to live as brahmacari or brahmacarini. Therefore, they look for a person with whom to walk a section of the path together, understanding from the beginning that the aim is to help each other to obtain liberation, to obtain love of God.
In this category―the grihastha―there could be some short-circuits at times, because the body is there, the senses are there, and the karma is there. Therefore by being close sometimes they find themselves too close and at times there might be exchanges of affection surpassing the level allowed in the shastra. I would say that this is not a tragedy. Some people have made a tragedy of it but then they themselves created tragedies many times greater than this. Probably I won't be acclaimed for saying what I am saying but, in all conscience, I am taking full responsibility and I have solid arguments to support my theses.

Going Beyond the Conditioning of Modern Culture

The information of the media―which the mass misinterpret as progress and emancipation―doesn't stimulate at all a 'positive' process of liberation and emancipation of the human being, but an indiscriminate consumption, which only profits the great financial and industrial groups. The disposition of modern man is to be lenient, to be accommodating with the weak side of his character, to let one's own bio-psychic impulses and the external influences dominate his personality. Even if superficially he appears original, spontaneous and self-assured, in reality he is an off-centered and fragile individual, because of being hetero-directed.
Control doesn't mean repression or suppression. Repression involves an irrational fear (taboo) that impedes the elaboration of psychic energies, which are mostly unconscious. Rather, reasonable control consists in governing the energetic manifestation, with the objective of utilizing those same energies for a constructive goal. Among the innumerable examples I could make I limit myself to the case under exam: the transformation of the sexual push into a satisfactory rapport of love, process that for years I have defined from Eros to Love.
In other words, through using a well-trained willpower, it's possible to control the bio-psychic energy through reason (Logos). This control is the opposite of repressing or suppressing one's impulses, as it can produce the transformation of the egoistic-destructive pushes in ecologic energy, beneficial to the individual, the collectivity and the environment. This process is defined transformation and sublimation.
The same principle applies to inhibition. The modern psychological literature―especially the one of Freudian school―has incorrectly attributed a negative connotation to the vital psychic function of inhibition. Evidence of the erroneousness of such idea is provided by scientific research in physiology, which has amply demonstrated that inhibition is a normal neurological function to better govern the organism. On the psychic plane also, to inhibit doesn't necessarily mean to suppress, but to apply a temporary brake to a reaction of the conditioned consciousness, in order to reflect on one’s behavior. To reflect means to activate the intellect, the buddhi, and to deliberate with emotional detachment on the present event without being overwhelmed by one’s urges. Inhibition is pathologic when used stubbornly, non-critically, but it is therapeutic when propaedeutic to sublimation: "One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge" (Bg. II-58).
A person who lives the traditional values (sacrifice, work, saving, honesty, family, religion, etc.) doesn’t maximize commercial profit. To obtain maximum profit financial companies need to transform man in avid consumer, because to realize profit they need people to buy their products. Maximum profit for capital invested is given by a person who works to the maximum of his psychophysical capacity and consumes to the maximum of his financial capacity. The worker who is content leading his social or family relationships based on religious values and behavior is a bad consumer. He yields little, because to realize oneself in that way costs little or nothing and consequently doesn't push the individual to work to the maximum of his capacities. Similarly, the chaste girl who doesn't go out at night to have fun, the faithful wife who stays at home, the monk and the priest produce very little commercial profit. There arises therefore the need to create the consumerist, who seeks pleasure and entertainment, who seeks an individualistic, materialistic actualization and who frees himself from all the factors that could have inhibited such evolution, spending in goods and services whose sale produces profit. Modern culture achieved this by demolishing those ethical and social values―or motivational vectors―that checked the establishment of consumerism. Modern culture promoted liberation from duties, sexual liberation, blameworthiness of prohibitions, devaluation of the family and of family roles, emptying of religion, relativization of ethics and of authority. It created innumerable new personal fancied wants―essentially responding to the need of the industry to sell and gain: divorce, fashion, designer clothes and accessories, hankering for status symbols of every type, from classy cars to vacations in particular places.

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