Ramana Maharshi on Sexuality

Q: Do you approve of sexual continence?

Ramana Maharshi: A true brahmachari [celibate] is one who dwells in Brahman. Then there is no question of desires anymore.

Q: At Sri Aurobindo’s ashram there is a rigid rule that married couples are permitted to live there on condition that they have no sexual intercourse.

Ramana Maharshi: What is the use of that? If it exists in the mind, what use is it to force people to abstain?

Q: Is marriage a bar to spiritual progress?

Ramana Maharshi: The householder’s life is not a bar, but the householder must do his utmost to practise self-control. If a man has a strong desire for the higher life then the sex tendency will subside. When the mind is destroyed, the other desires are destroyed also.

Q: I have committed sexual sin.

Ramana Maharshi: Even if you have, it does not matter so long as you do not think afterwards that you have done so. The Self is not aware of any sin and renunciation of sex is internal, not merely of the body alone.

Q: I am carried away by the sight of the breasts of a young woman neighbor and I am often tempted to commit adultery with her. What should I do?

Ramana Maharshi: You are always pure. It is your senses and body which tempt you and which you confuse with your real Self. So first know who is tempted and who is there to tempt. But even if you do commit adultery, do not think about it afterwards, because you are yourself always pure. You are not the sinner.

Q: How do we root out our sex idea?

Ramana Maharshi: By rooting out the false idea of the body being the Self. There is no sex in the Self. Be the Self and then you will have no sex troubles.

(Source: David Godman (1985). Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, London: Arkana, Chapter 12: Life in the World)

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