Srila Giri Maharaja – “Sex, and other confusions”

Email to: Steve Deace
Date: 11/25/17
Subject: You seem confused.

Dear Steve Deace,

Please accept my warm greetings and regards.

During one of your recent podcasts you were speaking on some point of Christian theology and said something like this: “I am not a theologian so my opinion may not represent the faith.” This seems an odd statement when only a week or so before you were celebrating Luther and the reformation for their liberation of the masses (people) from the authoritarian hierarchy of the church.

In other words, first you say everyone (by the reformation) has access to the word of God, then you admit that you cannot be depended upon to know His word because you have not been recognized as a theologian by the hierarchy of your faith. I may not have your points exactly right, but I think I understand the gist of them. You recognize the need for spiritual authority and simply replace the authority of the Catholic church with another authority you deem superior to it.

This leads us, once again, to conclude there is a need for a spiritual guru. By guru I don’t mean the kind of guru you dismissed previously as one who offers peace or enlightenment, as you characterized these things when addressing one of my previous emails to you. By guru I mean the representative of God, a savior, as you understand Jesus the Christ to be. I think the point is summed up nicely by one of my gurus thusly:

To err is human. To err is inevitable for all, being not perfect. Still, no one wants to remain imperfect. There is an element within all that is animate that tends towards perfection. If it were not so, we would feel no want at all. Our tendency towards perfection is certainly very weak and limited; otherwise we could attain the goal at once. Our limited capacity and tendency for perfection makes room for the guide or guru.

The imperfect is not so if it is not in need of help, and that also from beyond itself. The perfect is not perfect if He cannot assert Himself or help others, and that too, of His own accord. So the guidance to perfection or Absolute Truth is necessarily a function of the absolute Himself, and the divine agent through whom this function manifests is Sri Guru or the divine guide.

—Swami B.R. Sridhara, Sri Guru and His Grace

With no great pleasure I feel compelled to point to an error you made when you recently disputed St. Augustine’s teachings regarding sex life within marriage. I am no expert on his teachings; I merely refer to your characterization of them as being contrary to Biblical teachings which, as you pointed out, tell you to “Be fruitful and multiply.”, as if this was justification for indulging in the pleasures of sex, so long as one is married.

The purpose of sex life is reproduction, not sensual pleasure. It seems as obvious a point as yours, that life begins at conception. To enhance their sensual pleasure in the form of unrestricted sex life, the killers of babies within the wombs of their mothers justify their action with false claims about the time human life begins. Thus, they can have unlimited sex and simply kill the unwanted result of their actions.

You should not follow their lead with your own false logic that sensual pleasure, in the form of unrestricted sexual indulgence, is justified within marriage on the basis that you are told to “Be fruitful and multiply.”

Please, be honest, and be consistent.

For reproduction one need not, while married, “get it on”, as I think you said, indicating some almost constant frenzied state of sexual excitement. Reproduction will occur just fine when a husband attempts to impregnate his wife at the time she is fertile. At all other times “getting it on” will only scratch the itch that never stops itching, so to speak.

The argument that the flesh, or body, demands you “get it on” and you must follow these demands is the same argument used to justify all sorts of compulsions, aberrant and criminal behaviors which you do not so easily excuse. Why do you excuse your compulsion for sexual gratification but not the compulsion of the thief or other criminal? You may say “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But this was an admonition to not give in to temptation, not an excuse for doing so. Those who succumb to such temptations should be recognized as being those for whom “The spirit is weak, and the flesh is willing.”, not the opposite.

Lord Kapila, an ancient incarnation of Krishna, gives this instruction with respect to married life, and all other human life (highlighting added):

ahiṁsā satyam asteyaṁ
yāvad-artha-parigraha
brahmacaryaṁ tapaḥ śaucaṁ
svādhyāyaḥ puruṣārcanam

One should practice nonviolence and truthfulness, should avoid thieving and be satisfied with possessing as much as he needs for his maintenance. He should abstain from sex life, perform austerity, be clean, study the Vedas and worship the supreme form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

—A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srimad Bhagavatam: 3.28.4

In the purport to the above verse the term brahmachari (celibate) is further explained (brackets indicate my personal comments):

A brahmacārī practices celibacy, controlling his sex life. One cannot enjoy unrestricted sex life and practice yoga [spiritual union with God]; this is rascaldom. So-called yogīs [and Christians] advertise that one can go on enjoying as one likes and simultaneously become a yogī [Christian], but this is totally unauthorized. It is very clearly explained here that one must observe celibacy.

Brahmacaryam means that one leads his life simply in relationship with Brahman, or in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Those who are too addicted to sex life cannot observe the regulations which will lead them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness [or even Christ consciousness]. Sex life should be restricted to persons who are married. A person whose sex life is restricted in marriage is also called a brahmacārī.

Unrestricted sex life is sinful, be it within or without marriage. Sex life is permitted within marriage when it is undertaken in accordance with religious principals (intended to produce auspicious children). Krishna refers to this in Bhagavad-gita (highlighting added):

balaṁ balavatāṁ cāhaṁ
kāma-rāga-vivarjitam
dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu
kāmo ’smi bharatarṣabha

Synonyms:

balam — strength; bala-vatām — of the strong; ca — and; aham — I am; kāma — passion; rāga — and attachment; vivarjitam — devoid of; dharma-aviruddhaḥ — not against religious principles; bhūteṣu — in all beings; kāmaḥ — sex life; asmi — I am; bharata-ṛṣabha — O lord of the Bhāratas.

Translation:

I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bhāratas [Arjuna].

Purport:

The strong man’s strength should be applied to protect the weak, not for personal aggression. Similarly, sex life, according to religious principles (dharma), should be for the propagation of children, not otherwise. The responsibility of parents is then to make their offspring Kṛṣṇa conscious.

—A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Chap. 7, verse 11

Note: For the most part our scriptures are translated from the ancient Sanskrit language, thus my frequent use of italicized Roman transliterations.

You are, as it has been said, entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts. Life begins at conception is a fact. “Be fruitful and multiply.” can only occur when conception is possible, this is also a fact.

I thank you for your indulgence.

Sincerely,

Swami B.K. Giri

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