Question: I read some place that when one uses sexual energy he is using up some spiritual energy at the same time. Is this true? If so, what can be done if one wants to lead a spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: What you have read is absolutely true. Animal human life and divine God-life do not and cannot go together. To attain the highest Truth, the seeker needs total purification and transformation of his lower vital. But one cannot realise God overnight. It is impossible! You do not get your master's degree in a day, or even in a year. It may require twenty years of study to achieve. God-realisation is a far more difficult subject. It may require twenty or thirty years, a lifetime, even many more incarnations for you to realise God, depending on your present aspiration and your previous spiritual life.

But if you tell a beginner that he will have to give up his lower vital life, sex life, all at once, he will say, "Impossible! How can I do that?" If he has to do this, he will never enter into the spiritual life. Slowly and steadily he has to make headway towards his Goal.

Transforming one's sex life is like giving up a bad habit, but it is usually more difficult and it takes a longer time. Suppose somebody drinks a lot. If he drinks six or seven times a day, let him first come to realise the fact that this is something harmful for his God-realisation. Then let him try to drink less. If he drinks six times a day, let him change to five times. After a few days, let him drink four times a day. Then, after a while longer, let him drink three times a day. Gradually, let him diminish his desire for alcohol. In our ordinary human life we have many weaknesses. If we try to conquer them all at once, the body will resist and break down. We shall be torn into pieces. We have to have a real inner will, the soul's will, to conquer our desires slowly and steadily. Otherwise, the body will revolt.

If one enters into the spiritual life and says, "Today I want to conquer all my lower propensities," he is just fooling himself. Tomorrow his physical mind will torture him with doubts. 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 his own destruction will loom large. The lower vital life must be transformed completely before God-realisation can take place, but I advise my students to go slowly.