Question: I've read in some places that the use of sexual energy means that you use up some spiritual energy at the same time. Is this true? In that case, what can be done if one wants to lead a spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: What you have read is absolutely true. The animal human life and divine God-life do not and cannot go together. But one cannot realise God overnight. It is impossible. You don't get your Master's degree in the twinkling of an eye, or in a day, or even in a year. It may require twenty years of study to achieve. God-realisation is also a study, the most difficult subject. It takes quite a few years. Fifteen, twenty, thirty years, even many lifetimes, many incarnations, are required to realise God.

But if you tell a beginner that he will have to give up all his lower vital life and everything of that sort all at once, he will say, "Impossible! How can I do that?" If he has to give up all his lower vital propensities the moment he enters into the spiritual life, he will never enter into the spiritual life at all. So instead, he has to make headway towards his Goal slowly and steadily. He should not try to give up everything all at once. It is just like smoking or drinking. If someone feels that drinking excessively is a serious obstacle to his spiritual life, let him try to minimise it slowly. If he is drinking five times a day, let him try to drink four times a day instead. Then, after a few months, let him try to make it three times a day. Then, after considerable time, he can make it twice. Gradually, slowly, if he tries to diminish his hankering after drinking, he will be successful. This way, it will not tell upon his health. Otherwise, it will only be a great struggle. The body will resist and it will break down.

So, in the spiritual life also, the lower vital nature which you may call sex, has to be gradually conquered. If one enters into the spiritual life and says, "Today I shall conquer all my lower propensities", he is just fooling himself. Tomorrow his mind will be in doubt. His physical mind will torture him. His impure and cruel vital will try to punish him in every way. He will feel miserable. He will be frustrated and inside his frustration will loom his own destruction.

So I advise my students to go slowly. But you have to know that one day you will have to conquer everything, all lower vital movements. But that day is not going to dawn just now for the beginner. We don't get our Master's degree while we are in kindergarten. We come up to the M.A. degree after we have already passed through all the previous grades. So, in the same way, we gradually acquire the knowledge we need for the Highest truth. Slowly and steadily. But, to attain to the ultimate truth, the ultimate Goal, the realisation of the highest order, the seeker needs total purification and total transformation of the lower vital.