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How Deepest Tantra Saves the World
Part Two

by Dr. Stuart Sovatsky November, 2015

Tantra Goddess

Editor’s Note:

In this and the next issue of Sutra Journal, Dr. Stuart Sovatsky continues a discussion on the nature and the impact of the Scientia Sexualis, the sex-desire-centric ‘liberated sexuality’ based in Freudian theories and supported by modern birth control methods, which has also appropriated Indic Ars Eroticas of Kundalini-Tantra and Hatha Yoga in Scientia modes of ‘neo-tantra’ and ‘neo-yoga’.

The nature and power of Ars Erotica itself is rooted in a lifelong ‘perineum-to-pineal’ spinal puberty of ‘profound pleasures’, tied to a sacred inner development, as seen in the ‘liberations’ noted in the Dharma traditions of Indian Kundalini-Tantra and in charismatic ‘being moved’ spiritual traditions.

These two terms were coined by Michel Foucault in his Vol.1, The History of Sexuality as will be further discussed on Dr Sovatsky’s article.

A Brief Point On: ‘All Now’ Ultimacy” and the “Lifelong Ars Erotica Maturation of Seed-forces as Family Lineages, as Inner-Marriage Saints

Numerous spiritual teachers are calling Now-consciousness the ‘ultimate enlightenment’ based in ‘the giving up of all seeking’ and finding Wholeness right here, right Now. Yet, this fully-attentive, being ‘present’, unchanging or ‘always in the Now’ awareness seems to fit the ars erotica definition of pratyahara or dharana or, possibly, some glimmers of dhyana - de-sticking one’s ‘bare attention’ from inner and outer objects, worries or thoughts for longer and longer periods of time; and santosha, acceptance of pain and pleasure equally - but not the long-esteemed, nir-bija samadhi that involves complete energetic maturation or, literally, ‘full exhaustion’ (nir-) of bija, ‘the seed-forces-of-incarnation’.

For, Awakening to Presence is just the beginning of ars erotica maturations that deepen the physical and energetic complexity of one’s awakening within the hormones and neurotransmitters (the elixirs) of the body.

Thus, Adi Shankara (788-820 A.D.), the modern Indian founder of Advaita modified his teachings by adding the bhakti of devotional longing to his life - known as Dvaita-Advaita, dual-toward-nondual path - indicating that there is More (God, Siddhi-Power of Love), beyond one’s current santosha equanimity. And, not to be ignored, he was an ars erotica, inner-marriage saint.

For, the Indian standard for ‘enlightenment’ has always included a resolution of gender duality expressed as a transcendence of scientia sexualis desires. But, the modern neo-advaita teachers are, typically, within the scientia spell and skip over the profound limitations within scientia sexualis realm of sex-desire. They teach transcendence of all other ‘seeking and desiring’ - except sex-desire. Celibacy, for a while, might be recommended as a means to getting some freedom, but not as an ars erotica inner marriage. Indeed, the vast ars erotica, on its own terms, remains thoroughly hidden from (or by) these ‘neo’ teachings.

My brief review of esteemed Eastern yogic, tantric, Jain, Buddhist, advaitic, bhakti, et al, spiritual figures over the past 5000 years, yielded a ratio of 515:0 ars erotica lifestyles to scientia sexualis lifestyles. Based upon, arguably, millions of unnamed participants in thousands of various Kumbha melas (Great Gatherings of saints) over the millenniums, I estimate a ratio of over one-million to zero.

That this numerically overwhelming historical fact is typically considered inconsequential, psychoanalytically pathological, or not at all, by contemporary nondual teachers, all levels of yoga teachers and neo-tantra teachers in the contemporary scientia sexualis Transpersonal yogic and tantric discourses is an indication of the profound power of the spell of the scientia sexualis.

Also, for the first time in the history of spirituality, fertility and its consequence of family and the esteemed centrality of lifelong marriage have become a tangential concern in the contemporary enlightenment discourse. For example, Nisargadatta’s ‘No Self’ teaching is lauded while his lifelong marriage has, so far, received no inquiry - even among Nondual Marriage and Family Therapists - as to how he accomplished such loving loyalty. He even renounced all traveling to be at home with his wife and children, something no current spiritual teacher has, so far, done. Priorities may seem like mere relativities of ‘familial roles’, but existentially as real life choices, they are absolute.

Thus, too, it was only in 2009, after nearly forty years of teaching that family life is a kind of ‘melodrama’ to test one’s actual spiritual growth that Ram Dass, the coiner in 1970 of the current Be Here Now super-meme, awoke to an error in his teachings on soul love and familial relationships. Via his suddenly discovered paternity and grand-paternity, he “developed a deeper understanding of the love parents feel for their children and began to see [for the first time in his adult life?] that personal and soul love are not mutually exclusive but can coexist in nourishing ways”1. click to view article: ram-dass-has-a-son

Family life is not merely a ‘melodrama’. It is Life Itself. It has always engendered in all spiritual traditions a ‘meditation on Life Itself’ of lovers or spouses beholding and delighting one another and solving life issues together as helpmates; parents beholding the birth and nurtured, daily maturation of their children (all of whom are ‘intended conceptions’, based in the ars erotica matured bodies of their parents) and of the latter looking with love and respect upon their aging parents; and, decades later, the meditation upon the marriages of one’s children; and the glow of newborn grandchildren and even great-grandchildren and the caring for elder parents, unto their often incontinent, gaunt and overwhelming deaths by their now-adult and ever-aging children (that legend holds awakened the young Buddha) tracing forward and back in time, ad infinitum.

In this ars erotica universe, lifelong, creative marriage becomes the natural order of the universe, for the vast majority. Indian, Tibetan and Navajo divorce rates of 1.1%, 3.8% and 4.8% respectively, speak of an ars erotica bonding that rarely breaks, in contrast to US and all major scientia sexualis cultures worldwide, 50% rates for first marriages and70% for second marriages and non-married breakups with rates so high, we normalize them, in scientia sexualis fashion, as a lifestyle of ‘serial monogamy’. Even allowing for a tripling of these low divorce rates to accommodate troubled, intact marriages in ars erotica cultures, the rates are a fraction of the scientia sexualis cultural rates.

While the scientia sexualis heterosexual body is a techno-controlled-nonfertility body, the Catholic Church’s scientia sexualis body is ‘natural-rhythm’ mentally-controlled-nonfertility body. Both depend upon a strategic separation of fertility from the ‘Augustinian burning’ powers of ‘sex-desire’.

The ars erotica body, however, is totally permeated by maturations of the fluids and energies of fertility - its ‘elixirs of immortality’ in two forms (and within the spectrum that connects them):

Grihastha Dharma of eternal lineages of Life via male-female external conceptions (wherein mature pariyanga, described below, replaces the scientia sexualis need for either sexology’s techno-control or Catholicism’s mental-rhythm contraceptives and most abortions, and also outgrows the stepping stones of ‘nonejaculatory’ scientia neo-tantras

Sannyasa Dharma, internal union of male-female creativity that infuses profound ars erotica bliss (ananda), creativity and passion (bhakti bhava) within one’s own body.

Likewise, no matter how wild or meditative and ‘goal-less’, Westernized ‘neo’ tantra barely ever goes beyond sex-desire and scientia sexualis understandings of ‘the body’ into the so-different ars erotica body of Kundalini maturation. In perfect linguistic consistency, the Sanskrit tantric term specific most closely to non-ritualized ‘sex’, pariyanga, based in the pineal/oral tumescence and orgasm of khecari mudra, is largely unknown to the neo-tantra popularizers.

Kechari Mudra

Khecari mudra tumescence of tongue

Toward pineal orgasm of amrita ‘nectar’ secretion

As stated in one of the definitive Indic texts on Kundalini:

“Old age gets reversed (260)

She…dissolves the five [bodily] elements (291)

…[then] the yogi is known as Khecar [tumescent tongued]

Attaining this state is a miracle (296)

Shakti [feminine power] and Shiva [masculine power] become one and in their union, everything…gets dissolved [into the primordial glowing matrix] (306)

Further, there is nothing more to experience beyond [this]

Hence, let me stop speaking of it

For it is useless to talk (318)”

Numbered couplets related to pineal-oral soul identity puberty of khecari mudra in Dnyaneshwari (Jnaneshvari), Chapter 6 (1210/2002)

And, as South Indian Tantra Saint, Thirumoolar also noted regarding the centrality of khecari (mudra) in erotic pariyanga tantra:

834. “Only Those Who Have Practiced [Attained] Khecari Can Resort to Pariyanga [erotic tantra].”

(Thirumandiram, 1993, Volume 1, Tantra 3)

Khecari is a prerequisite maturational basis for ars erotica tantra of pariyanga, just as genital puberty is the maturational basis for adult sexuality, of any sort. This is because the perineum to pineal maturation is itself an ego-identity transforming puberty that has yet to be mapped by modern (or even Transpersonal) developmental Physiology and Psychology. Yet, it is the embodied, full maturation that Kundalini awakening aims toward.

This puberty of the perineum-spine-pineal ‘mountainous ascent’ (as inwardly married, St. John of the Cross called his mystical path, the ‘tunnel of light’ of near-death experiences, the spinal sushumna channel of yoga, the partial opening of which in the suicidally-depressed, Eckhart Tolle underlies his ‘Eternal Now’ sudden awakening) is the natural and embodied basis of ars erotica that renders scientia sexualis an ‘austere monarchy’ of ‘sex-desire’.

I further theorize that this natural, adult puberty is the physiological basis of all ‘post-egoic soul identities’ and ‘post-linguistic/charismatic’ (charism, spiritual power-gifts, akin to tantric siddhis) spiritual utterance: the ecstatic voice-quaverings of Islamic qwaali, Judaic nigune, Yogic anahata-nad, African sangoma crying-out, Holy Ghost glossolalia and even of sexual “Ah, ah, ah” ecstatic moaning. Of course, these topics are worthy of thousands of pages of ‘unpacking’ from my dense and succinct overview. And, such an encyclopedic and detailed treatment would make the scientia sexualis look dramatically more ‘austere’ and more of a handicapping of a fully-matured erotic life.

We must include the Church’s scientia rule-based moralistically constrained ‘sexuality’ and ‘fallen procreativity here, too. Thus, when Thomas Aquinas, the author of the Church’s own foundational scientia sexualis text, the Summa Theologica, had an ars erotica inner marriage experience late in life (as did the papacy-jolting, St. Francis, early in life), he said all his previous [“Science of the Divine” moralism] was like “straw”.

On the other hand is the ars erotica, on its own terms: A brief quote from Kripalvanand’s commentary on a central, ars erotica yogic text, the 15th century Hathayogapradipika, gives us a glimpse into the radically different ‘eroticism’ of the Kundalini body2.

“Anatomically, there are three uvulas in the body. Each stands at the entrance of a three-path convergence, where two gross physical side paths and one (dorsal, back) subtle energy central path meet to form a lower path. 'The first uvula is, in a female body, the external os, the part of the cervix of the uterus projecting into the vagina. The two longer sides of the uterus lead up to the uterine tubes and the ovaries. In a male body, the first uvula is a small eminence projecting into the urethral orifice, just above the prostatic utricle, where the two ductus deferens branch upward on their way to the testes. The second uvula is the part of the soft palate that hangs down at the back of the mouth at the back entrance to the nasal cavity, with its two internal nasal openings, which is of the same tissue type as the anterior (front) lobe of the pituitary gland. This uvula can be elevated, by swallowing or by the throat lock, to block the nasal cavity. The third uvula is situated between the two hemispheres (tonsils) of the cerebellum near the choroid plexus of the fourth ventricle. From it, two main nerve pathways from the dorsal part of the central canal of the spinal cord pass to the higher centers of the brain, including the posterior (rear) lobe of the pituitary, the hypothalamus, the pineal gland, the choroid plexus of the third ventricle, and the cerebrum.

Reaching Up

If, by abandonment of attachment, and openness to divinity, the sexual seed and the life energy are prevented at that point from falling down into the lower path , the seed is absorbed into the blood and the energy goes up the central path [past the first, second and third uvuli]. The greater the degree of detachment and surrender to God, the higher up the seed and the energy are held, the more the seed evolves and the more subtle the energy grows, and the more stable both become. In the end, both the physical body and the life energy are absorbed into divinity, and the yogi is in his natural [fully matured of all potentials] state.” (Kripalvanand, Revealing the Secret , 2002, H. C. Berner, 1/34 Imlay Street, Merimbula, N.S.W. 2548, Australia, p. 163)

Instead of this vast and highly-detailed space of ars erotica tantra, in the popularized neo- terminology, ‘tantric’ stands merely as an adjective qualifying merely an ‘Eastern-sounding’ or ‘spiritual’ or ‘shadow-inclusive’ or ‘non-ejaculatory’ or meditative kind of sex.

Indeed, all the scientia anatomical terminology and its hormonal-emotional-erotic functioning must be opened toward ars erotica transformation via the nearly-untranslatable Sanskrit terminology of rasayana, the yogic maturation of the hormones, neurotransmitters and sexual fluids (rasas, the Foucauldian “elixirs of life”) of the body and their corresponding emotions (also known as rasas) and states of consciousness.

As a ‘rasa-alchemy’ (rasa-yana), these secretions - estrogen, testosterone, serotonin, noradrenalin, melatonin, dopamine, oxytocin, saliva, ptyalin, lactate, FSH, tears, sweat, lysomes, semen, vaginal secretions - ‘transmute” or, more accurately, mature from their ordinary status into self-generated (evermore powerful) functional aphrodisiacs, growth hormones and innate entheogens.

Within the yoga traditions, rasayana is orchestrated by ‘Mother’Kundalini (Grand-Maturing Nurturer). As a coiled energy, she further resembles DNA, and all that that might imply, as Gopi Krishna, Jeremy Narby and others maintained.

As internally-absorbed (‘uroboric’) bodily secretions, these entheogenic rasas uplift one’s own state of consciousness.

Thus, Shiva-consciousness is not some ‘final Reality or Absolute’, but is interdependent upon Shakti’s nurturing, over-time, bodily juices and ever-maturing energies from the Dark Womb (Yoni) that is described by Shakta, Laya-Yoga and numerous other yoga traditions as giving birth to the ‘light’ of consciousness, itself.

When erotic partners lovingly imbibe one another’s externally-secreted rasas while in devotional bhavas (moods), they serve as both aphrodisiacs and entheogenic ‘spiritual foods’ to further nourish a lifelong puberty far beyond that of the fertility puberty of adolescence, known as shamanica medhra, ‘maturation beyond the genital awakening’.

Kisses become, literally, ‘sweeter than wine’, via salivary ptyalin that opens up the sweetness of all food, further enriched with salivary immunoglobin A (the glandular chemistry corresponding to feelings of love and compassion), makes each other both delicious and ars erotically intoxicating.


Lovers entwined become hermetically uroboric, creating higher states via a Marcusian spiritualization of the instincts that matures anna-maya, prana-maya, mano-maya and vijnana-maya koshas (body-sheaths of flesh, of bio-energies, of the ego-emotional mind and of the objectively-wise mind, respectively).

One could say, the spinal cord and efferent/afferent nerves, from heated perineum to heavenly cerebrum, have become a throbbing, erogenous organ of energy-streaming, tumescent flesh, soaking in an elixired ocean of bliss, light and appreciation that permeates into the mouth, throat, and every cell of the body, making them all dance to an inner ‘jangling, tambourine’, as Bob Dylan lyricized about the psychedelic entheogenic state.

Khajuraho Temple Carvings

Yet, so far, ‘neo-tantra’ (so-called ‘tantric sex’) of the West has not included entheogenic rasayana that, like puberty, involves decades of yogic maturation, based in the nurturing, lifelong developmental power of Mother Kundalini to fully emerge, far beyond the scientia sexualis termini of (1) egoic genital primacy; (2) reproductive adult fertility; (3) the resulting norms of a personal ‘adult’ gender-identity. In rare instances, as with the 10th-13th century, Khajuraho Temple culture, a sacred communal ars erotica can blossom.3

Indeed, this lifelong puberty of the soul identity beyond the psychoanalytic ‘genital-primacy ego’ has its spiritual-bodily manifestations worldwide, throughout all history, and is not some esoteric oddity.

Pre-eminent world historian, William H. McNeill gives evidence in his, Keeping Together in Time (Harvard, 1997) of ‘group rhythmic practices’ (group log-tapping) among our prehominid ancestors as fostering and evolving bodies that could enjoy group solidarity (the first transpersonal moods of Oneness) millions of years ago.

Intra-tribal anger was dissipated via drumming as the hormones of ‘alpha’ or other types of prehominid aggression transmuted or matured (or ‘evolved’) into rasas of nascent collective devotional feelings. Bestowing great, Darwinian ‘survival value’, these tribes grew, while others that did not engage in shared ‘rhythmic practices’ fragmented as aggression led to tribal breakdowns and divisions and lowered rates of individual and genotypic group survival. Ah, the power of Om, Om, Om…

Likewise, since then, we have: fifty-thousand years of Bushman entranced shaking-dancing, the Grecian Dionysian dance-revel, the Shaking of Shakers, the spinal rocking of Islamic zikr and davvening Jews and Orthodox hesychasts, the spontaneous undulations of esoteric belly-dance and the inflamed trance-dance of the Vodou shaman and the natural upward ars erotica tumescence of the spine, uju kaya, of all Buddhist meditative sitting paths and of moral “backbone” uprightness of all exoteric Judeo-Christian-Hindu-Islamic ethical religious paths. Even the teen-puberty provocations of ‘Elvis the Pelvis’ must also be included, movements that have engendered a massive, adolescent ‘rock and roll’ sexo-rhythmic youth culture, worldwide.

Yes, we must start somewhere. It’s all good. But, the first full-step onto ars erotica terra firma will startle and stun before it might allure us even further into its, as-yet, hidden interiors—interiors hidden in the exciting glow of scientia sexualis ’ (feigned) omnipotence.

foot notes

  1. I wince to reconsider the work of a beautiful man who has inspired millions. Yet, I wonder, if Ram Dass (from his spiritually awake state) and Mom had actually raised this son on a daily, real-life basis, he would have - for two generations, by this time, been teaching how ‘soul love’ and personal and parental love are ‘not mutually exclusive’ of one another, instead of the converse. Having children often profoundly expands one’s concerned attention to ‘the future’ in ways childless people do not (need to) feel. Such would surely have greatly affected the field of Transpersonal Marriage and Family Therapy (see my "Clinical forms of love inspired by Meher Baba's mast work and the awe of infinite conscious-ness," Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2004, 36(2):138-42.) Instead, he, (along with childless Ken Wilber and others whose work focused on ‘[solo] spiritual heroes’) unwittingly garbled into Western lives the specialized family-less, ‘no ties’ life of the tiny minority –‘the sadhu trip’ - as his one-time sadhu-yoga mentor, Baba Hari Dass, warned all Western seekers not to mix up (B. H. Dass, Silence Speaks, Santa Cruz: Sri Rama Publishing, 1997). In this revised history, ‘spiritual emergence’ might include exactly such spiritually challenging moments as those following a positive (or negative) pregnancy test as the one that profoundly revised Ram Dass’s understanding of ‘soul love’. Indeed, the emotional upheaval of possible divorces involving young children might also be viewed as ‘spiritual emergencies’, not just the LSD-like mystical ones of TP’s concern thus far. Such has been the concern of all spiritual traditions wherein the fertility of Life Itself has remained paramount, for millenniums. Perhaps grihastha-trained TP MFTs could have significantly decreased our alarming 50% divorce rate and the broken-home, bonding/separation/abandonment anxieties of two generations of children that have been a main psychopathology in psychotherapy practices.

  2. “The Summa Theologiae, his last and, unfortunately, uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology. He stopped work on it after celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, “I cannot go on.... All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” He died March 7, 1274.

    click here to view source

  3. Still-sitting meditative paths suppress efferent stimulation and the maturational information therein of Mother Kundalini that dwells in the ‘darkness’ beneath, and as the matrix of, consciousness. These paths may open sushumna and bestow many profound meditative states, yet the many potentials of the body, including tantric pariyanga, the mysteries of sahaja spontaneous asanas and the siddhis of healing, genius, musicality, longevity and other ‘charisms’ (gifts of the spirit) etc., remain dormant.

Dr. Stuart Sovatsky

by Dr. Stuart Sovatsky

November, 2015

About Dr. Stuart Sovatsky

Dr. Stuart Sovatsky (AB, Ethics/Psychology, Princeton University; PhD, CIIS) co-directed Ram Dass's "prison ashram", and in 1977 he was selected for Princeton University's Outstanding Alumni Careers Panel for his groundbreaking work of bringing meditation to the homeless in the US. Stuart is Co-president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology since 1999 - the premiere professional organization for spiritually-oriented psychologists in the US, is a board trustee for the California Institute of Integral Studies for 20 years and a recipient of its Most Outstanding Alumni Award 1978-2008.

In 2006-08, he was initiating co-convener of the forty country World Congress on Psychology and Spirituality in Delhi, India. Author of critically acclaimed books like Eros Consciousness and Kundalini, Words From the Soul, and numerous articles on love, ideal marriages and families, spirituality of infancy and Buddhist dissolution of suicidal thoughts.

A serious scholar-practitioner of tantra yoga with numerous academic publications and university presentations throughout the US, India and Europe, he now leads couples retreats and trains therapists in the US and in Russia, is a faculty member at Moscow Psychoanalytic Institute and is the director of two psychotherapy clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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