Say No to AIDS
By Chaitanya Charana Dasa
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. Today we would like to present some facts about what’s wrong with illicit Sex which causes the HIV / AIDS.
AIDS – the disease for which there is no aid, the epidemic that is the worst nightmare of the sensual enjoyer,
AIDS is not caused by HIV, as most people think. The physical disease AIDS – acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome – originates from a subtler malaise AIDS – Acquired Intelligence Deficiency Syndrome. Lets see how.
The Bhagavad-gita explains that we are not our physical bodies; we are spiritual beings, integral parts of the Supreme Pleasure Principle, Krishna, who is the only enjoyer and the only source of enjoyment. Our innate longing for everlasting happiness is eternally and completely fulfilled by harmonizing with Krishna through divine love. Our present material existence is a diseased state, wherein our love for Krishna is transmogrified into lust.
Due to lack of spiritual education, most people today assume that enjoyment means bodily enjoyment. But the maximum pleasure that the body can offer is limited to a few fleeting moments – even for those who are in the prime of youth and the best of health and even for those who have the most attractive partners. Unfortunately, due to the unrelenting sensual propaganda bombarding them, they fail to recognize the obvious and inescapable limitation of carnal pleasure. Goaded on by erotic hype, they cast away all ethical, social and religious regulations. This acquired intelligence deficiency – the inability to understand that the pursuit of sensual pleasures is permanently frustrated – makes them helpless victims of AIDS.
Vedic wisdom offers a systematic program of prescriptions and proscriptions to transmute lust back into love. The most important prescription is chanting the names of God like the Hare Krishna maha mantra, which unlocks the treasure of peace and bliss hidden within. And the most important proscription is restraint in sensual indulgence, which aggravates our physical misidentification and so obscures our natural spiritual joyfulness. Thus spiritual regulations are meant not to deprive us of happiness, but to provide us happiness by facilitating the recovery of our spiritual health.
So to deal with AIDS, we need spiritual education, not sex education. Only when we empower people with spiritual education will they become free from the intelligence deficiency that makes them mistake disease to be pleasure. Real freedom will come, not by becoming free for sex, but by becoming free from sex.
What’s wrong with sex?
Answer: Sex is natural for the body, but not for the soul. Spiritual traditions, by helping us regulate that which is natural for the body: limited sexual pleasure, enable us to relish that which is natural for the soul: unlimited spiritual happiness.
Spiritual seers consider the pleasure of sex to be like the pleasure of playing with a toy. Most children need toys to play with, so parents provide them toys – but under regulation so as leave sufficient time for studies, which alone can lead to the higher happiness of a bright career.
Just as most children can’t live without toys, most people can’t live without sex. Therefore, spiritual traditions provide the institution of marriage for gratifying the sexual urge – but under regulation, so as to leave sufficient mental energy for spiritual advancement, which alone can lead to the higher happiness of lasting inner fulfillment.
Sex can be called natural, in the sense that it is nature’s way of bringing life into the world. But nowadays most people check the natural reproductive purpose of sex through unnatural contraceptives. Contraceptives are unnatural, for they don’t grow naturally on trees. The natural challenges in caring for children – the natural result of sex – are nature’s natural way of checking us from unnaturally overindulging in sex and consequently neglecting our spiritual nature. But when people artificially do away with this natural check in the name of “natural” sexual freedom, they end up physically debilitated, emotionally estranged and spiritually underdeveloped. This sad state is unnatural, like that of an adult still preoccupied with childhood toys.
Just as children can outgrow their childhood fascination for toys by biological and psychological growth, we too can outgrow our fascination for sex by spiritual growth. However, this spiritual growth doesn’t happen involuntarily like biological growth; it begins when we voluntarily and intelligently see through sex and see beyond sex. The body’s limited capacity for sex puts an inescapable seal on sexual enjoyment for everyone – from celebrated Bollywood stars to anonymous roadside Romeos. However, the incessant media glamorization of sex creates a gigantic bubble of sexual anticipation in our minds. When this bubble collides with the hard rock of actual sexual experience, it bursts – unceremoniously. Seeing through sex means recognizing that this bubble-bursting anti-climax can never be avoided, no matter what sexual fantasies we try out. Seeing beyond sex means gaining authentic divine experience through mantra meditation; these experiences raise our sights to the joy far greater than sex that awaits us if we choose to grow spiritually by practicing regular meditation.
To summarize, sexual regulation is not an exercise in self-denial, but is the indispensable launching pad for catapulting ourselves to self-fulfillment.
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