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Lust and Love: What it mean?

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When love becomes oafish and loutish it assumes the form of lust which can endanger society through antipathetic emotions such as acquisitiveness, covetousness, anger and arrogance, writes Ravi Valluri

Some friends had recently sent a video of two Dighambara ascetics on WhatsApp, the ascetics were undraped and unclothed as per their practices and traditions but were revered unflinchingly by the devout. What followed was an animated discussion as to whether these monkish individuals were indeed abstemious by temperament or could they too fall prey to carnal instincts?

Those who do transgress boundaries proscribed are invariably banished from the spartan order. They are celibate. Such austere practices are followed in the Catholic order too, among nuns and priests. Similarly, Swamis in the Art of Living must necessarily remain pure in thought, deed and action.


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As the universe unravelled itself in all its majesty and grandeur, procreation and sound were among the first features to manifest. From the womb of these tenuous configuration concepts such as lust and love gained currency.

OM is the primordial sound. The incantation of the syllable OM reverberates and resonates in our minds and bodies which are then subsumed with immense cheeriness. Upon listening to the sublime and divine conjuration the mind becomes radiant and sanguine.

The syllable can be segmented into three parts that flow together seamlessly – AAA, UUU and MMM. The sound AAA emerges from our abdominal region and refers to the creation, our origins (a reference to Lord Brahma as per Hinduism). UUU resounds from our chest region and is indicative of sustenance or preservation (indicative of Lord Vishnu as per Hindu texts) and MMM is the vibration from our head region signalling transmutation and transfiguration of the intellect (emblematic and evocative of Lord Shiva, the three-eyed Hindu god).

The syllable OM is invoked before any auspicious event, not only by Hindus, but also by Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. Likewise, Muslims chant Ameen, Christians importune the Holy Trinity by reciting Amen and Jews beseech and petition Shalom. Thus, humans (of all organised religions) who have faith and belief, propitiate the Divine power through the utterance of these venerated words.

These symbolic words and gestures are meant to spread love among humanity, provided man does not become intolerant and launch a crusade against those not subscribing to one’s religious order. When love becomes oafish and loutish it assumes the form of lust which can endanger society through antipathetic emotions such as acquisitiveness, covetousness, anger and arrogance.

The son of God, Jesus was to say that man commits a sin when he thinks in a lascivious and libidinous manner about any woman. Let us posit this with Charvaka philosophy or that of Leucippus and Epicurus of the ancient Greeks. These schools believed in materialism, and hedonism to an extent.  It is no rocket science to appreciate that both love and lust have coexisted on terra-firma since time immemorial.

Significantly, ancient civilisations did not frown upon sex or view it as prurient. In ancient India, the treatise Kamasutra by Vatsyayana graphically describes sex and the existing lifestyle. Similarly, on various temples there are images of copulating couples. But to a discerning mind these are mere resemblances and fronts. A truly devout seeker enters the sanctum sanctorum with love for the divine having overcome the gross and sensual pleasures.

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Scientifically speaking, the Big Bang was the precursor to the origin of the universe. Euphemistically speaking, had Adam and Eve not partaken of the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden, there would have been no procreation and consequently none to inhabit planet earth!

The Shiva Linga in several scriptures is attributive to the phallic symbol and fertility, as is the syllable AAA which represents creation. Similarly, Cornucopia by the Greeks was considered a classical symbol of fecundity. Therefore, there is an ineradicable and ineffaceable connect in what is conjured merely as symbolism.

Human beings (though a manifestation of divinity) are singularly sexual creatures, and to ensure continuance of the human species nature has ensured that sex is a pleasurable, healthy and a life-giving activity. Several traditions recognise an ingrained and inseparable connect between the spirit and sex. Love making is reckoned from the prism of ensuring bliss and transcendence.

In the ancient texts of some civilisations the bow was symbolic of stored energy associated with sexual tension and attributive of Lord Apollo. Ancient Greeks revered the fig tree as an aphrodisiac and symbolised sexual energy of Priapus and Dionysus. It is also interesting to assimilate the fact that Ardhanarishvara, the hermaphrodite figure of Shiva and Parvati conjoined, exemplifies reconciliation of opposites and the achievement of union.

Hinduism and Buddhism have had their dalliance with Tantra. Tantra is the Sanskrit word of web and weaving and is considered a gateway to ecstasy and an attempt towards the divine bliss by harnessing sexual energy.

The Gopis of Nandgaon were so immersed at the magical and preternatural rendition of flute by Lord Krishna that they remained entranced, oblivious to their bare bodied state in the pool of water. This signified unalloyed and exalted love for the Divine.

Lust and quintessential love have always coexisted. However, attention ought to be drawn to the various energy centres or chakras in the human body. It is believed that awareness and enlightenment dawns on a seeker when the Kundalini Shakti awakens and the sacred energy travels from the Mooladhara chakra to the Sahasrara chakra. An evolved soul in such a blissful state can distinguish between love and lust.

Ascendancy of lust can be modulated through practice of yoga, pranayama, meditation, service and intake of Sattvik food visa-vis Rajasik or Tamasic food. Attention may be drawn to the Swadishthana Chakra (dwelling place of the self). This chakra embodies both creativity and sensual energy. The former leads to enhanced love while the latter diverts the mind towards lust. Lust is the primordial unharnessed energy which when feral and savage results in grievous inertia and anger while love manifests in form of enthusiasm, sharpness of intelligence and intellect.