Primal Divergence : A Contrast of Cultures (Part-3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2 in this four-part series. 


Misunderstandings of Western thought and modern psychology

Ancient India always based its achievements, spiritual or otherwise, on the strong foundation of Brahmacharya which served as a powerful spring-board for success in every endeavour, including as an indispensable part of our evolution. Sadly the West has often tended to apply what may be its own moral failures to other nations, races and cultures. For instance, if they lack control over sexual urges, then it must automatically imply that everyone else in the world is the same. But when the British came in contact with India, her Aryan education system and her deeply spiritual ethics, they were astounded as to how a race of people could be so pure, so self-controlled, so divine in their ways. They knew that without debasing and destroying the very foundations of what made us superior, they could never hope to rule over a prostrate nation.

The Brahmacharya of Indian sannyasis and Yogis refers to a staving off of sexual urges not through suppression but through a scientific process of sublimation of energy into higher, subtler forms until it is able to produce Ojas, an energy of self-existent bliss in the mind that not only allows one to function at almost super-human levels but eliminates craving of outside pleasures.

This Brahmacharya was mocked and undermined by the Westerners, who spread false allegations and rumours of sexual misconduct in the media. This even happened to Swami Vivekananda when he observed that the so-called Christians in America weren’t really so in the truest sense. The moral turpitude of troubled Catholic priests was applied to our Masters of askesis and self-discipline. Of course this sort of sabotage of Indian culture did not stop there but has continued to this day when almost every other day some Hindu guru is accused of sexual abuse and it is only Hindu gurus that are brought into question by the pseudo-secular, deliberately partial media of our age.

The other problem with Western thinking is modern psychology which is largely influenced by the psycho-sexual analysis of Sigmund Freud who only took a tiny portion of the darkest, very unhealthy part of what Sri Aurobindo termed the ‘lower vital subconscious layer’, blew it out of proportion and made it the alpha and omega of psychology.1 This has in fact perpetuated an already rotting, degenerative culture and spawned a lot more twisted sadists and psychopaths than it has cured.

Modern psychology is an inexact science which has furthered the moral maladies of the world by providing intellectual justifications and explaining them away as chemical imbalances, or the result of a bad childhood or failed parenting. Sadly this sort of psycho babble has now infiltrated India and the harmful, drug-dependent, prescription-pill psychiatry is being recommended by Indian psychologists and psychiatrists to ‘treat’ mental ‘disorders’. They have gone to the extent of explaining spiritual experiences as hallucination and psychosis. So children, youth or even adults that have spiritual experiences will be labelled insane, schizophrenic or delirious and put on a strong dosage of drugs (suppressants) which harms them in unimaginable ways and puts perhaps a permanent end to their spiritual impulsion and aspirations.

Modern psychology tries to generalise and explain away a whole field of consciousness from a very narrow basis. It is almost a golden rule in Indian spirituality and psychology that one must not attempt to scan the dark realms of the subconscious without first having attained to the light of the higher mind. Only then is it safe to venture into that dark and dangerous world.1

It’s interesting though, that Carl Jung himself had spoken about the sublimation of sexual energies. Though the scientists of his day dismissed the theory, they have recently begun to accept the fact that there are two purposes of the sex-fluid (retas), one meant for intercourse and the other as a basis of general energy. If intercourse is not indulged in, the former tends to also add to the store of the latter (conversion of retas into Ojas as the Yogis discovered).1

Jung believed sublimation to be mystical in nature which was fundamentally different from Freud’s view of the concept. Jung even criticised Freud for clouding the origins of sexual sublimation which had alchemical origins.15 It’s interesting that even the popular sitcom Seinfeld in an episode aptly titled The Abstinence alluded to this in a comedic way.

Read Part-4 in this series. 

[1] Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, Volume I, Vol 28, The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.
[15] Letters of C.G. Jung, Volume I, 1906-1950

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Read also: The Need for India’s Spiritual Light: Invoking Sri Aurobindo’s Vision by Shruti Bakshi
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