Method of The Siddhas – Talks with Franklin Jones on the spiritual teahnique of the Saviors of mankind – Adi Da Samraj

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“Vital Shock” From The Method of the Siddhas – 1978

Author(s): Adi Da Samraj





Part I: The Method of the Siddhas




Vital Shock




(1) DEVOTEE: I wonder if you could expand on a discussion
you had with some of us the other day regarding the “vital.”
You were telling us how men become obsessed with anger,
fear, jealousy and the like as a result of a contraction in
the vital or life function.




(2) FRANKLIN: Yes. Ive talked about how the force of
consciousness operates in life through a structure or
pattern of conductivity, a clockwise circle of descending
and ascending force. The special point of view of “life” or
vitality is an epitome or center in the midst of the body,
in the general area of the navel, this lower body area. This
center, or this aspect of the larger circle of force, is in
the frontal and descending pattern of life. It is most
intimate to us. And it is in the area of life, of vitality,
that men experience most obviously, most directly, the
nature of suffering. It is at the level of vitality that men
cognize existence for the most part. The whole ascending
life, the subtle life, is more obscure than this vital life.
In fact, when men pursue spirituality, they are not
responding to something “spiritual.” What makes them seek is
not a spiritual motivation, not a subtle motivation. What
motivates them is suffering, and essentially suffering in
the vital, in the life.




(3) The usual man lives in what I have called “vital
shock.” This shock ultimately includes more than the vital.
It operates even on a very subtle level. But its most
obvious and motivating form is the sense of shock in the
vital being. Ordinarily, the vital, at its chief center in
the midst of the body, is contracted, and a man continually
feels it, even physically. He may feel a kind of cramp, this
tension in the midst of the body. And every man tries to
relieve it continually through various experiences,




(4) This vital center is like the shutter in a camera.
Like the shutter in a camera, it curls in on itself in order
to close, or else unfurls in order to open. It is like your
hand. If you clench your fist and hold it together as
tightly as you can, it begins to become painful. Just so,
this vital center is alive, sentient, and when it contracts,
like your hand, it creates a sensation. Not only does it
create a physical sensation, but also many other reflections
in life and consciousness. Therefore, when this contraction
occurs in the vital, we not only get a cramp in the stomach,
we have a whole life of suffering.




(5) Every aspect of vital existence is controlled by this
image, this state, this vital shock. The patterns to which
men become addicted are simply extensions of this
contraction. For instance, here in Satsang, you may go
through a period of obsessiveness, when its very difficult
for you, when you are continually obsessed with various
kinds of desires, feelings. At the beginning of that period,
something occurred. Something in life, somewhere, suppressed
or appeared to suppress the vital. And all of the patterns,
the rituals, the strategies that began to come on to you
were reactions to that suppression of the vital. The
sensation or cognition of that suppression or “blow” is the
form of vital shock that currently obsesses you. But even
before you began the present episode, the vital shock was
already your condition. There is a continuous vital




(6) In fact what people are suffering is not their
peculiar life-patterns or strategies in themselves, but this
original shock, in the form of a primary reaction, this
contraction of which I speak. Men seek through all kinds of
means to become free of their various symptoms, their
various strategies, including the cramped sensation in the
midst of the body. But if a man understands or re-cognizes
this contraction itself, this activity, this drama, at the
present, he doesnt have to deal with all the endless
extensions of it. True spiritual life, radical life, is to
deal with this fundamental, present activity, this
contraction, not with the search that is an expression of
it. It is not to deal with the symptoms, not with the
strategies that it manifests, but with this activity itself,
presently. This primary activity, this contraction, is the
root and the support and the form of all the ordinary
manifestations of suffering, all of the patterns of life
that men acknowledge to be their suffering. This
contraction, this “avoidance of relationship,” is,
fundamentally, a mans continuous, present activity.




(7) A person can be set into a whole period of
dramatizing his suffering by some simple event in his life,
a frustration of some kind, a threat, a loss, whatever-a
vital shock. But release is not a matter of looking into
your memory and discovering the various sources or incidents
of these shocks in the past. You know, the day your father
hit you, the day your dog died, and all the rest. Those are
only past instances of this same process. The process itself
is always instant, present, spontaneous. It is a reaction to
life itself. Life is its own shock. The awakening of
consciousness into the form of life is that shock. Birth is
that shock, not merely the original physical event that may
be remembered, but every moments cognition of being alive.
All the events within life are just extensions of that




(8) In The Knee of Listening I mentioned an experience I
had at one point, where I remembered, even relived my
prenatal state, my awakening into the body. There was a kind
of gloriousness about it, a fantastic form of energy,
shaped, as I described it then, “like a seahorse.” That was
the original awakening of the kundalini, if you will. But in
the same instant there was intense sorrow. The shock was
life itself, the shock of embodiment. The “seahorse” is
already contraction. The spinal form is already this curve.
The ordinary life is already this tendency, this compulsive
qualification of consciousness, this unconsciousness.
Everyone, “after birth,” develops a peculiar drama of this
shock. Peculiar experiences occur during every life, and
each individual develops a peculiar pattern of reaction to
that. So everyone is living the drama and strategy of
suffering in a peculiarly unique way, a peculiarly complex,
individual way. But in every case there is one fundamental
activity. One thing is the suffering. It is an activity,
this activity, this contraction, this avoidance of
relationship, this differentiation, this separation.
Wherever it occurs, that is suffering.




(9) All ordinary suffering is only a cramp. It is this
contraction. Wherever there is this contraction, there is
obstruction to the flow of force. There is also the tendency
in consciousness for there to be the sense of separate
existence. If you cramp the hand together in a fist, there
is a sensation in the hand, as the hand, that is different
from the space around it. When the vital itself is
contracted in this way, the center of the “hand” is the ego,
the “me,” the separate self sense. The mind of this “me,”
like its form, is separate, separative, compulsively
differentiating. So the whole drama of seeking that is a
reaction to this contraction or reaction to life, always
begins with this “me.” “Me” is the core of this experience.
It is the center of the “fist.” Every person seeks by every
means to be relieved of his suffering, but the suffering
cannot be relieved, this contraction cannot be uncoiled
without the “me,” which is its center, dissolving. The whole
affair, at the level of life, of vitality, involves the
dissolution, not only of the physical manifestation of this
contraction, not only of the life drama, but of all its
qualities, all of its peculiar psychology, all of its
mentality, all of its assumptions. Spiritual life involves
the undermining of the whole point of view of vital




(10) When the contraction unwinds, conductivity replaces
obstruction. Then there is conductivity of the force that
descends as life. As long as this compulsive contraction or
shock exists, there is no conductivity. There is only
obstruction or limitation and constriction of the flow of
force. This may be experienced as intense stimulation of
energy, of force, in the vital, felt as all of the various
forms of desire. The fundamental forms of this intense cramp
of energy, felt as the fire of desires in the vital, are the
dramas of money, food and sex. And if the cramp of
obstruction is too severe, there is loss of vitality, desire
and function in these same areas of life. No vitality, no




(11) One who exploits the apparent condition of desire no
longer conducts the force of life. There is only the use of
it, the revulsion of force, the emptying of force. He does
this because the contraction is painful. He discovers that
if the force itself is diminished, the pain goes away. If
the hand falls asleep, there is no pain. If you empty the
vital of its force, the cramp is not felt, even though the
contraction remains. So the self-indulgent person empties
the vital constantly, and he feels relief, he feels open, he
feels satisfied. But as soon as his strength returns, he
feels the pain again, unless he has exhausted and contracted
the vital to the point of impotence. Such a one tries by
every means to satisfy himself, to be free of his pain. But
all of his means are from the point of view of this
contraction, this avoidance. He will continue his efforts
until the entire process of his search fails, and he feels
its failure. At that point, Satsang becomes possible, the
life of understanding becomes possible.




(12) One who is dramatizing or living this state of vital
shock is not truly alive, not enjoying life. He is always
self-enclosed, always suffering, always unconscious, always
obsessed, always seeking. Among men, there is always the
same complaint “Everybody is asleep, everybody is
unconscious, everybody is self-obsessed, everybody wants to
be satisfied.” Everyone who comes to the Guru wants to be
satisfied. When will I become enlightened? When will I have
this experience? What is happening to me ? I am suffering.
Everyone wants to begin spiritual life as a search. They
want to carry on spiritual life as an extension of the same
thing theyve always been doing. They want to be satisfied,
they want to be emptied, they want to be free of this cramp.
They want to be free of it. Me . But “me” is the center, the
core of this contraction.




(13) If you go to the usual and traditional spiritual
sources, you are given forms of satisfaction, ways to
satisfy your inclination to be free of this cramp. You are
told to believe in Jesus, do such and such meditative
exercises, concentrate this way or that way, think only of
Krishna, religious practices, spiritual methods, not to
mention the whole range of “therapies” that have been
created to satisfy this search at various levels. All of
these things are responses to the demand in the vital. But
those who come to our Ashram in the impulse of that point of
view are not satisfied. They are frustrated here. The search
is not the point of view of Truth. This contraction and its
healing are not the point of view of Satsang. Satsang,
radical spiritual life, is the undermining of this
contraction, at every level, the undermining of the point of
view of this contraction, the undermining of suffering, of
seeking, and its separative existence. So it is only those
who have become sensitive to the failure of their search who
are able to tolerate the quality of Satsang.




(14) Satsang is a paradox. For one thing, this
contraction in life is the avoidance of relationship, the
avoidance of that essential condition that is the primary
law or form of the cosmos: relationship. Nothing arises on
its own, or only as its “self.” People come to the Guru who
are separate, and separating themselves from all conditions.
But Satsang is relationship . Therefore, Satsang is an
offense to Narcissus, an offense to this contraction, not a
satisfaction of it. Only a man who has become sensitive to
his own failure can tolerate that offense.




(15) Living in the condition of relationship creates
tremendous resistance by reaction in people. And the life of
Satsang, the sadhana or spiritual practice of this Satsang,
is to live relationship over time. It is the same thing that
yogis and religious practitioners traditionally try to do by
putting themselves into a cave and various other ascetic
circumstances. The most “ascetic” circumstance is
relationship. The condition of relationship stimulates all
of the reaction, all of the “sinfulness,” all of the
impurity that is in a person. All of it is awakened in the
condition and relationship that is Satsang. Satsang is an
offense to this contraction, and it stimulates its




(16) Satsang is a relationship, a connection, a form of
conductivity. The force of Truth, the force of that
descending and ascending life, is communicated through that
connection. At the same time all of the subconscious of
buried reactions, the whole search, is being stimulated by
the condition of relationship in Satsang, the force of
Satsang is also added to stimulate and quicken the whole
process of its manifestation. This provokes the crisis that
is spiritual life. When this activity has loosened the vital
significantly, when functional ease is restored to vital
life, then the subtle life, the true subtle life may begin
to manifest itself. But, in the beginning, it is at the
level of vitality that this work begins, not at the level of
visions and other phenomena. Such phenomena are not what is
significant at any rate, although a person may tend to have
some experiences. Essentially, at the beginning, there is
this apparent work in the vital, dealing with this vital
shock. The person who is just entering the life of Satsang
is like a patient coming to a hospital in shock. The force
and condition of Satsang must unloose the condition of vital
shock. Because people arrive in “shock,” their earliest
experiences of Satsang are the activities of this force, the
purifying and healing intensities of shakti. Later, when the
unconscious, compulsive point of view and the strategies
created by the peculiar state of vital shock have been
critically loosed in the individual by the force aspect of
Satsang and practical living of the conditions of Satsang,
the conscious aspect of spiritual life, which is
“understanding,” begins to awaken.




(17) Sitting, functioning, living in the presence of the
man of understanding and the community that surrounds him
are the means to release vital shock. But the means are
entirely an activity of the Guru himself, for the disciple
cannot do what that presence, force and condition does. The
disciple only lives in that presence and force under the
conditions communicated to him in Satsang. Such is the true
grace of spiritual life, for it undermines the vital shock
with spiritual force, with very Reality or Truth.




(18) DEVOTEE: It seems that a person who is only seeking
is never dealing fundamentally with this contraction, but is
merely reacting to the shock of life.




(19) FRANKLIN: Yes. To its manifestations, its symptoms.
The secret of suffering is not in the past. It is not in the
universe, “out there.” Your suffering is entirely your own.
It is your own activity. And it is a radically present
activity, not caused by something else. So the real activity
of spiritual life is not generated from the point of view of
this search, this reaction, this suffering. It is not a
matter of discovering these devils or, whatever they are,
these key memories, these mortal and cosmic events. It is a
matter of re-cognizing, knowing again, your own activity,
your present activity.




(20) There is a present activity, an absolutely present
activity, an only activity, that everyone is performing all
of the time. There are conditions and reactions to
conditions that build up patterns, but the root of all of
this is what is significant. The support of all that, the
paradigm of that. You can go on and recall the incidents,
the conditions that conditioned you, endlessly, but you will
have done nothing except the practice of your own obsession.
Why are you conditionable? Why are you suffering these
conditions? It is your own action. When this contraction
does not occur, no conditioning occurs, no thought binds.
There is only bliss.




(21) The approach of Truth is a radical one, not a
revolutionary one. It is not a matter of the search from any
point of view within the condition of suffering, but it is a
matter of the absolute re-cognition of this present
activity. You are operating as it.




(22) DEVOTEE: Can you clarify what you mean by




(23) FRANKLIN: Radical insight is an irreducible insight.
Nothing can go behind it, beyond it. The radical point of
view is not one of seeking, step by step, through
experiences, but by penetrating, prior to any movement at
all, the present condition. We could take the point of view
of the suffering, the symptom, the whole life-game that we
are playing individually, and make that the point of view of
spiritual life. That is essentially what people have
traditionally and always done. They begin from the point of
view of their suffering. Instead of resorting to the Truth,
they search for it. They go on this vast circle. But every
point on this circle is the same point of view with which
they began. Each point is simply a different condition or
experience from that point of view. Every individual begins
to know that, however far on this infinitely wide circle he
may go before he discovers it. When he begins to suspect or
see , re-cognize the nature of this adventure that he is
living, he is “at the center.” He is already at the center
the moment he knows what this whole adventure is. So
revolution is the nature of the search, but Truth is always
radical, always already at the core, the center.




(24) DEVOTEE: What is the nature of Paradise?




(25) FRANKLIN: Paradise! What is Paradise? What is




(26) DEVOTEE: Paradise is where there is bliss.




(27) FRANKLIN: Where there is bliss! Bliss is paradise.
All of this is already bliss. Bliss is the nature of this.
“Paradise” is an hallucination about what it must be like
where lots of blissful people are! But bliss is the nature
of consciousness. Bliss is the nature of this event. There
are lots of someplace elses, but they will be no more
blissful for you than this if you are not already blissful.
The lokas or spiritual realms of the Siddhas, the great
spiritual beings, are just as dismal as the earth for a
stupid man. But the Siddhas are very smart. They find ways
to keep the stupids out! If some commonly distracted being
gets anywhere near they say: “Psst. Have you been down to
uh-earth?” And they really hard-sell it, so everybody comes
down here! But this bliss, this unqualified enjoyment,
happiness, is the nature of Truth. The nature of
consciousness, your very nature, and the nature of all of
this, the nature of the cells of the body, the nature of
light itself is this unqualified openness, no condition.




(28) DEVOTEE: Does that mean there is no separation
between any of us?




(29) FRANKLIN: Do you see any? Do you feel there is? In
Truth there is no separation at all. But from the point of
view of the seeker, one who suffers, there is only
separation, at every level. When he wakes, when he
re-cognizes his own adventure, his own state, in every form
that it takes, he cant find separations anymore, he cant
discover them, and he goes mad. But that madness is




(30) DEVOTEE: Higher than that one cant go?




(31) FRANKLIN: Higher than that? It wouldnt occur to you!
It is the seeker who is always going someplace. The one who
is already in trouble is always going someplace else,
because he is suffering, because this contraction has
occurred. All of the chakras, all of the so-called “centers”
in the subtle body, the ascending conductivity, the subtle
life, are in the same form as this vital chakra, this vital
center, this life. And they are contracted, closed, not
conducting this force of the descending and ascending light.
When the vital begins to open a little, when Satsang is
lived, when this conductivity begins to occur again,
movement also tends to begin in the subtle life as well.
Then these chakras begin to open, and various phenomena
arise. Spontaneous physical movements, all kinds of things
that we have talked about, that you have read about, may
occur. But, as you see, they are not in themselves the
Truth. Whenever there is an opening of some sort, or a
relaxation in any level or center of conscious life, there
tend to be experiences that are associated with that level.
These experiences can be movements, rushes of energy, a
blissfulness, various sensations, various kinds of psychic
phenomena, visions, lights, sounds, but all of these are
simply things that were stuck around inside this “fist.” As
the contraction opens up, they sort of klink off. But the
seeker, the one who endures that process from the point of
view of his suffering, thinks that all of these things are
it . His hand opens up, and he sees the rings on his hand,
the lines on his hand. Everything becomes very fascinating
to him, and he thinks of that as spiritual life. He thinks
that these visions are Truth.




(32) Seekers, for instance, think that the kundalini or
internal force actually ascends. If the kundalini ever for
one moment came down and didnt make its connection with the
Sahasrar, the upper region of the brain and its subtle
counterparts, you would be dead, from that moment. That
circuit always exists, just as the descending circuit
exists. It is just contracted in peculiar ways. As it begins
to awaken, to come alive again, to be free again, various
experiences occur at the different levels, and people think
that the energy itself is rising. But it is just that the
characteristic centers are opening, in a kind of progress
that looks sort of “upward.” And certainly there are
sensations that are like rising force. But in fact this
circuit is always there, always continuous, except it is
obstructed by this tendency to contract, to be separate, to
avoid relationship at the level of life.




(33) Thought itself, simple thought, mind-forms are forms
of suffering in the seeker. The simplest mind-form, any
mind-form, even a blissful thought of Donald Duck, is a
condition of suffering, of contraction. If you examine it
while distracted, while happy with that image, that thought,
if you examine yourself in that moment with any kind of
sensitivity, you will realize that you are suffering,
distracted only, but suffering. When all of this
contraction, all of this life of avoidance, subsides, when
all of this identification with thinking subsides, there is
only the absolute conductivity of the form of reality. And
it lives only as its own nature.




(34) The momentary or temporary experience of such a
relaxation of the vital and subtle contraction is samadhi,
yogic or psycho-physical trance, meditative enjoyment. There
are many kinds of samadhi, most of them, the traditional
kinds of samadhi, are the samadhis of the life-force, vital
and subtle. Therefore, they are temporary, they are
symptomatic, they are experiences that occur when theres a
peculiar activity in relation to this living circuitry. When
certain forms of concentration are coupled with certain
movements within, we have these samadhis of the life-force.
But the highest and only true samadhi is Truth itself, the
very Self or Reality. There are the temporary samadhis of
the life-force, and there is the eternal samadhi of Truth,
sahaja samadhi, not distinguishable from any of the states
of consciousness, ordinary or extraordinary. One who enjoys
that, permanently, is always full, and he does not have to
go into the trance states for his realization of Truth.
Perhaps he may do so for enjoyment, but not for his
realization. He may go into trance states or yogic samadhis
for fun, but not in order to realize the Truth. True samadhi
is to live the present condition consciously, without
bondage to vital shock, without contraction, without the
avoidance of relationship, without identification with its
subtle forms, which are all forms of thought, modifications
of consciousness. When all of these modifications come to an
end, not necessarily in fact or terminally, but as a
compulsive activity, then there is already “paradise,” only
bliss, only the Self, only real consciousness, only Light,
only Truth, only Reality. In such a one, all the forms of
wisdom are communicated spontaneously.




(35) This gets us back to the beginning of our
discussion, the notion of “vital shock.” Every individual
creates his own life drama. Everything that has happened to
you in the past, the things you feel uncomfortable about,
that you feel upset about, when you think about them now,
are things that you strategically commanded from beginning
to end. Even the most arbitrary experiences are peculiarly
appropriate for the individuals who enjoy or suffer them.
And the manner of an individuals relationship to events is
not only appropriate but also fundamentally intentional. All
of these dramas essentially take place in relationships of
various kinds, because the avoidance of relationship, the
contraction in relation to the life-force, is that activity
to which men are bound compulsively. Where there is
relationship at the level of life, there is the tendency to
separate from it, and if the ordinary man cannot righteously
separate from it, he creates reasons to separate from it.
Every individual continually creates the failure of
relationship. And men become compulsively bound to their
special methods for complicating and destroying
relationship. These strategies are the life patterns that
men are suffering. And their searches are ways of trying to
get free of the limitations they are compulsively




(36) If you are going through a period like that now,
while involved in Satsang the symptoms, feelings, the moods,
the thoughts, the whole period of days or weeks, or
whatever, of negativity and unhappiness, obsession, do not
have to be “bought.” They do not have to be lived. All of
that is a secondary affair. The disease has already
occurred. These are just the symptoms of the healing. If you
will look back at the beginning of any of these periods,
there is usually some frustrating event to which all of this
is the strategic reaction. Not that you should always be
looking for these events in your past. All I mean to have
you discover by pointing this out to you, is what you do in
relationship to the frustration of life, to the suppression
of life, to the shock that is life. What are you doing about
that? What does your life drama consist of? It is always
this contraction, this avoidance of relationship .




(37) Relationship is always already the case. If you are
sitting in the house, weeping, screaming, feeling upset and
negative about somebody you live with, then this is it, this
is your suffering. This activity is your suffering. Remember
that person. Remember the relationship. Live the
relationship. Let the force of life move again, and there is
no suffering at all. Youve obviated that whole “tour,”
including the making up and everything else. None of it has
to take place. All of those things are merely the
“subtleties” of your suffering. But suffering itself is
always the avoidance of relationship. Wherever you
re-cognize your activity, that activity was the avoidance of
relationship . Where there is relationship lived, this
contraction does not take place, and the force of life is
conducted as life. And that conductivity is felt as
pleasure, as free consciousness, without distraction by
thought. It is loving, open, light, forceful. So the key to
spiritual life is not the life-force itself, not any
activity, not kundalini, not any of these secondary
manifestations that occur in Satsang. Such things are not
the key to spiritual life, but only some of its possible
phenomena. The key to spiritual life is this re-cognition of
your own activity.




(38) In Satsang, the simple relationship to the man of
understanding tends to stimulate all of this. There is also
the communicated force of Truth or real consciousness. All
of this tends to intensify and to build a person up at the
beginning. He is also given conditions at the level of life,
simple conditions, practical ones, functional things for
which it is appropriate for him to be responsible.
Gradually, the stronger he gets, the simpler he gets, the
more experienced he becomes in Satsang, the more he begins
to listen with free attention, so that he begins to hear, to
observe himself, to move toward this insight, this
re-cognition of which I speak. And that is the real event of
Satsang. Without this re-cognition, he can have all the
spiritual phenomena he likes, but they will be only more
experience, more suffering. However, if he lives from the
point of view of Satsang, these other phenomena can arise
and be of interest, and they will provide conditions in
which understanding must take place.




(39) This understanding, when it occurs, will not be your
enlightenment, because when it occurs there is no one left.
I dont mean that you will be dead, that you will be
unconscious, that you will be in oblivion, but the entire
principle which is the center of this contracted life will
have disappeared. When you open your hand, what happens to
your fist? When you release the contraction, the “me” is
gone, the search is gone, the whole principle of suffering
is undermined. In Satsang we are moving toward the time when
this radical insight will become significant, real activity.
Until then people are looking for release from their
symptoms. They want to seek, they want relief. They are not
prepared for Truth.




(40) Every moment there is this curvature being created.
Why do you think there are thoughts all of the time? Why one
thought after the next? Why doesnt it come to an end? The
light is curving compulsively. Why is there suffering all of
the time? This activity is compulsive. It is not life. Thats
not the “way it is.” There is compulsive activity, automatic
activity, unnecessary activity. There is compulsive
curvature, shaping, contraction of the radical force of




(41) DEVOTEE: Why does it happen?




(42) FRANKLIN: Once you already have this shape, this
human body, why is there such a strong tendency to walk
around and talk and be a man? It has already occurred! That
is the shape of it. Its not that it is wrong. It is not that
you should make a judgment about it. It is very easy, from a
superficial standpoint, to get out of sympathy with your own
craziness, and then start to resist it again. But all of
that is more of the same. When there is this absolute
turnabout, this perfect re-cognition of your own activity,
then it no longer exists. But the judgment about it, the
feeling that you are sort of screwed up, is another form of
the whole process. It is more of that vital shock. The whole
affair of Satsang is a movement of conscious intensity,
looking forward to the moment when you begin to see it, to
know it.




(43) When present activity is truly known, the dilemma no
longer exists. That doesnt mean that from that moment no
more thinking goes on, no more life goes on. This activity
that is our suffering is not life itself, nor has it created
life. It is only the obstruction to life, an illusory
pattern within life. But it is utter, fundamental,
inclusive. You cant pick your nose without doing this. You
cant see without being involved in this activity, this
avoidance of relationship. You cant think, feel, move,
breathe, you do not live one moment without performing this
activity and experiencing its manifestations. So, from the
point of view of the dilemma, everything is a form of this
activity. The cosmos seems to be made out of suffering to
someone who is wedded to dilemma. That is why people become
atheistic, insane, chronically depressed. The whole universe
seems to justify despair to them, because everything has
become a form of it, an extension of their own activity.
Their own activity has become the means and form of their
perception. Therefore, re-cognition takes place also at
every level, absolutely, at every single level, down to the
cells, and as high as it can go. On every level where this
contraction occurs, this re-cognition also can take place.
When it has occurred, when this activity, this contraction,
this avoidance of relationship is thoroughly undone,
undermined, and only the Truth is lived, then something
about the nature of the phenomenon of universal and cosmic
life begins to become clear. From the point of view of
Truth, life is allowable and good. Perhaps one might choose
other forms of life, but in itself the present form becomes




(44) In its simplest form, its most intimate form, its
most obvious form, the activity Im talking about is the
avoidance of relationship. And it is to be seen in a very
simple, practical witnessing of life, of you alive in
relationship. There is really no subtlety whatsoever to this
seeing. It is the crudest kind of self-knowledge. But it is
also the most unavailable from the ordinary point of view,
because what is to be known is the ordinary point of




(45) DEVOTEE: Is it possible, as some have said, for a
man to die and then be re-born as an animal?




(46) FRANKLIN: This whole question of reincarnation and
the knowledge of processes like that can be approached from
a couple of points of view. For most people it is a matter
of experimental living and experiencing. By the use of
various internal and psychic means they recollect past
lives, see images of other peoples lives, see their
destinies, whatever. This is the usual way, particularly
among Westerners, that men have approached such phenomena,
to discover if they are true or real. But there is another
way, which is the way of the Siddhas, the “completed” ones.
That is the way of Self-realization, the realization of
Truth. When there is this radical re-cognition of which I
speak, when there is perfect understanding, such a one lives
only as Truth. Then he also knows what birth is, what mind
is, what life is. He sees it is all the result of tendencies
subtly manifest in the light of consciousness, which take
form in and as the manifest world. He knows this with
absolute certainty. He sees this clearly. Truth, therefore,
is the basis of his knowledge of all phenomena, including
reincarnation. But he may enjoy this realization without the
least suggestion or recollection of reincarnation in his own
case, without remembering, even vaguely in a dream, a single
moment of any past life. This is because Self-realization or
perfect knowledge is not compatible with “birth.” One who
lives as the Self has no sense whatsoever of being born as
this body, no sense whatsoever of containment, of existing
now, limited now to his own mind, his own life. If he has
this kind of relationship to the apparent phenomena of his
present existence, how could he possibly get involved with
knowing anything at all about the past of his dying
personality? What could possibly interest him about it? How
could he possibly discover anything about it? Every time he
zeros in on his own mind, he sees billions of worlds and
other beings. How is he going to pick himself out? Where is
he? How does he find a destiny for himself in the midst of
the universes, when he cannot even discover his own life as
a substantial and separate event? So this fullness of Truth
has also made it impossible for him to get serious and
experimental knowledge about his own past or future as an
individual. But his root-awareness of the structure itself,
which comes out of the Heart, shows him clearly the nature
of all patterns, without otherwise giving him experience on
the plane of recollection, on the plane of mind, on the
secondary planes of life.




(47) Examining the nature and fundamental structure of
life itself, it is clear that something like regression, or,
whatever, rebirth, apparent rebirth in animal form after
once having lived in human form, is clearly possible , just
as it can occur in dreams. In dreams you can take on various
forms in various worlds. The same condition applies to birth
in these waking realms of life. But if you begin to become
sensitive to your present condition, you may become
terrified even of moving into this human condition




(48) An affinity for plants and animals is another thing
altogether. The vital, descending life in man is made up of
mechanisms that are found elsewhere in nature. It is made of
the same forces, the same kind of functional life. In one of
our talks I made an analogy between our human mechanism and
a man walking a dog. We are like a mind walking a dog. The
vital mechanism is an animal and vegetable mind, a mind like
that which governs the organisms and compounds of nature
below man in the scheme of processes. Therefore, in the
vital level of consciousness, we have a strong affinity and
identification with animals, plants, natural phenomena,
nature. Because we partake of that same functional life,
that same level of energy, we recognize it in the
environment, and enjoy association with it. Someone once
asked Ramana Maharshi about the practice of retiring to the
forest. As it is described in certain of the old texts, such
as the Bhagavad Gita , you should set up a seat in the
wilderness, in a forest area, under nice circumstances, with
streams nearby, etc. This person asked the Maharshis
permission to do this. But Ramana pointed out that when
people go out and do this sort of thing, to get away from
humanity and all of the complications of ordinary life, they
begin to become fascinated with animals instead, and animal
life, vital life. They sympathize with it, enjoy it, and
gradually become like it. As a consequence, they wind up in
a worse condition than before. The relationship that we tend
to take up with living beings, animals, plants, nature, is a
direct indication of our relationship to the vital, and that
is all. If you become very sympathetic with the vital
movements in yourself, the forms of vital desire, you will
also tend to be very “sympathetic” with animals. If you tend
to exploit your own vital life, you will tend also to fail
to manage animals, plant life, and the like. If you resist
utterly, and are vitally contracting to the point of
interference with your own vital life, even to life itself,
you will tend to have the same effect on other life-forms.
No one, for instance, can tolerate being disliked by their
friends animals! If you go to visit a friend, it is very
upsetting if the dog doesnt like you, if the cat doesnt like
you. It is very upsetting if you cant grow plants, if
flowers die quickly when placed near your bed! But all of
this, our relationships to plants, animals, to life forms
are a precise dramatization of our relationship to the vital
in our own case.




(49) In many people who are unconscious, the vital is
smarter than they are. The vital takes over, absorbing their
lives from birth to death, and they never exceed it. You
must have at least seen photographs of people who are wedded
to the earth, who live in isolated farm lands. How
unconscious these people seem, from the point of view of one
who has been brought up in cities, or whatever, in
sophisticated social regions. How unconscious these people
seem, asleep in the vital without their minds: “They dont
speak very much, they are quiet, slow, they seem stupid.
They seem like cattle, but they are often strangely
violent.” City people, however, tend to be contracted in
relation to the vital. Western men are essentially very
resistive to the whole vital life. Americans are obsessed
with sex. Not really obsessed with the having of sex. They
are obsessed with the failure of sex, and the wanting of it.
There is very little actual or successful having of it,
because the whole sexual process is so obstructed. The whole
participation in the life-force has been undermined by
Western societys bondage to its idiot symbolic religious
path. The Jesus-Yahweh number. Not that all of that was
necessarily or actually contained in the work of Jesus and
the Hebrew men of knowledge, but it is contained certainly
in the religious movements that have come down to us. There
is a strong suppression in relation to the vital. So
everybody is trained in his “vital shock” from the
beginning, to resist his entire vital life, his life line.
Money, food and sex are problematic for everybody, in the
sense of a chronic resistance, a chronic doubt about whether
or not you are supposed to have anything to do with such




(50) Many people come to the Ashram whose marriages have
broken up. There was a case the other day where a marriage
had broken up because the guy tended to get into the
“celibacy” number. In many other cases, people have come who
may not have broken up a marriage over this, but they have
just never really been able to sustain a sexual relationship
over any length of time, and part of the rationale is that
they want to become celibate. They want to become swamis and
nuns! For the most part, this “swami” idealism that many
Westerners are getting into is an attempted solution to
their resistance to vitality, their chronic social reaction
to the vital condition, to life. The popular swing toward
swamiism, toward artificially induced spiritual celibacy, is
a form of emasculation. It is a way of being impotent. But
there can be no spirituality without the life-force. If you
cut off the life-force, you have gone back to zero. The
spiritual process makes immediate use of the life-force and
its conductivity. Really, the problem of spiritual life, for
anyone, West or East, is not whether to be celibate or not.
Your choices about sexuality are always a manifestation of
your dilemma, not your wisdom. The core of it all is the
re-cognition of this contraction in the vital.




(51) DEVOTEE: Why is it that so many of the Eastern
teachings we read seem to insist on celibacy as necessary
for spiritual life?




(52) FRANKLIN: Examine the cultural life from which the
Eastern wisdom comes, especially among the Hindus. It is
essentially among the Hindus that celibacy is insisted upon,
not really so much, or at least as universally, in other
cultures. This is because the traditional Hindu notion of
spiritual realization is one in which the vital and subtle
life has been abandoned, and the conscious existence has
returned to a high or highest state, never to be reborn.
Therefore, the processes by which they seek realization
necessarily involve the reduction of the whole pattern of
life, even the subtle life, to the point of abandonment.
Such is the precondition for realization in their terms.




(53) Now when this pattern of conductivity of which I
speak is restored, such a person may, because of his subtle
tendencies, be celibate. In fact, when this current is felt
very intensely at the level of the life-vehicles, very often
the sexual impulse just disappears for various periods of
time. In some people it disappears permanently. And there is
an internal process that replaces their sexuality entirely.
But the arbitrary demand of celibacy, in the sense of
idealistic avoidance of marriage, or avoidance of
appropriate realization of sex in the form of marriage, as
an absolute practice for all, is of relatively recent origin
even among the Hindus. The ancient Rishis were almost always
married men.




(54) The Guru is not some impotent old rascal. The Guru
should be able to populate the earth. The Guru is strong. He
is alive. He enjoys mastery over the sex-impulse. He may, as
a spontaneous practice, be entirely celibate, even in
marriage. But he is not in any case empty or obstructed in
relation to the life-force.




(55) In Western culture it is not terribly appropriate or
necessary to be celibate in the exclusive sense of the
avoidance of sexual realization in the form of marriage.
However, it is absolutely necessary from the spiritual point
of view for the whole dilemma in the vital to break down.
And it is not just in terms of sexuality that this dilemma
is manifest. It is money, or life exchange, food and sex. It
is the whole vital life. Many people have what appears to
them a functional sex-life, one that is enjoyable and seems
to work fine for them. But their relationship to the force
of life may itself be very mediocre. They may have
functional problems in other areas, in other forms of life
or psyche, in the environment, in relation to diet.




(56) In the East, particularly among the Hindus, there is
a tendency to de-vitalize, to separate from the vital. In
the West there is a tendency to exploit the vital. There is
that tendency, but on top of the tendency to exploit the
vital there is a vast system of taboos against the vital.
So, in relation to the vital, the West has a peculiar
problem, and the East has another peculiar problem. In the
East there is orientation to what is beyond the vital, and
in the West the orientation is to the vital. In the East
they say you are here for the wrong reasons, because you are
suffering from illusion, you have left the Truth, you have
left God. In the West we say we are here because God sent
us. And in each case there are peculiarly different dramas
at the level of ordinary life and vitality. But from the
point of view of the real process of conscious life, the
vital is a primary seat of spiritual activity.




(57) Suffering is felt, seen, experienced from day to day
essentially in vital terms by human beings. The best “cave”
is an ordinary life, a relational life, a functional life.
That is where you find your discipline, that is where you
become strong, that is where you become a master.
Relationships are the best form of spiritual practice.
Marriages, intimate relationships, functional conditions,
these are the best “Bodhi Tree.” These are the true
“ascetic” practices. Marriage is the primary ascetic
practice, as everyone who is married knows! Anyone can be
“religious,” anyone can be “spiritual,” but anyone who lives
with the Guru knows how difficult and demanding spiritual
life really is. It is easy to play imaginary games about
religious and spiritual things, but to live spiritual life
as the condition of relationship is a very difficult task.
To think about sexual experiences, to think about men,
women, pornography, whatever, to have sexual desires and
images is one thing, but to live sexuality as a relationship
is very difficult. So with spirituality as a relationship,
it is also very difficult. But just as there is no real
sexuality without relationship, there is no real
spirituality without relationship. There is no fulfillment
of spiritual life without the Guru, and without truly living
conditions for sadhana.




(58) In all traditional religious cultures you find the
professionally ascetic people. They are not necessarily
living spiritual life any more than anyone else. In most
cases such “asceticism” is a form of self-indulgence. It is
an expression of the failure of life. It is an expression of
the contraction from life. A vital and subtle shock is the
origin of all ordinary spiritual and religious means. But
under the real conditions of spiritual life intelligence
begins to arise in relation to sexuality. The individual
becomes very sensitive to that process and its true




(59) Simple exploitation of sexuality is another way of
trying to exhaust this contracted vital. Most people use
sexuality as a way of letting off steam, as a form of
release. They are attached to the goal of orgasm. They
manage to achieve temporary physical stasis by revulsion of
force. But one who lives genuine spiritual life is always
conducting the force of life, as vitality and as subtlety.
He lives these functions that appear in the circuit of force
appropriately, in relationship. He gets smart! When he
employs sexual energy out of relationship, or purely for the
sake of orgasm, when he simply exploits it, he only empties
himself, and he discovers that he suffers. So the truly
spiritual man has simply become intelligent. His way of life
is not a result of preferences to be lifeless, sexless or
anything else. He becomes intelligent. He becomes capable of
relationship. He becomes capable of the real use of the
vital functions. So he knows when not to use them, and how
not to indulge or exploit them. He allows this force of life
to conduct itself fully. He need not, because of the
contraction in the vital, simply release this force in vital
ways. He is not compelled to enjoy it only in his belly,
only in his sex organs. He can enjoy it in the top of his
head. He can enjoy it in his face. He can enjoy it in his
spine. He has got all kinds of places he can enjoy it. The
subtler he becomes, the more his enjoyments increase. He
discovers the source of energy, so that he doesnt weaken
himself, so that he doesnt become involved in a pattern that
only empties him, that weakens and kills him.


There is a process, a spontaneous, internal, yogic
process that can be felt in the sex organs, in which the
force that normally becomes sex-stimulation is felt going in
the opposite direction, backward and upward. Instead of
seeking release in the sex function, that energy can be felt
pulling, drawing towards the spine, upwards. When that
particular process is very active, intensely active, there
is natural celibacy. Then even in the sexual communion of
marriage, the event of orgasm is not sought, but the
relational force of love and community pleasure is

The kundalini process is closely associated with what is
otherwise felt as sex energy, although it doesnt simply come
from the sex organs, and is not itself literally or
exclusively sex energy. It is the ascending movement of the
circle of total force in which we live. It is a continuation
of the conductivity of the descending force. Its lowest
terminal in the body is in the sex organs, behind the sex
organs. And that terminal is the turning point, from descent
to ascent, but not the origin of force itself. The muladhar
is this turning point. The intense kundalini manifestations
are generally associated with this reversal of the sex
current. A person who is going through a period of strong
kriyas, or some such episode of intense internal activity
will often quite naturally be celibate during that time. Or
he will discover that if he exploits himself sexually,
through orgasm, while going through this process, certain
unpleasant things occur, physiologically and psychically.
And so he learns by experience of processes of this kind how
to deal with his sexuality. Therefore, the use or non-use of
sexuality is a matter of intelligence, not a matter of
preference, not a matter of “the way it is supposed to be if
you are getting spiritual.”

Perfect “celibacy” is death. Then the cycle of life-force
turns from descent to ascent, draws up completely into the
sahasrar, and never comes down again. That is precisely what
the yogi whose point of view is willful celibacy is trying
to do. He is trying to die consciously, and literally. Now
the yogic process of “spiritual death” will take place, in
any case, whether you have literal separation from life as
your peculiar goal or not. True celibacy is yogic or
spiritual “death.” Yogic death is part of the nature of real
meditation, but it doesnt in itself imply the literal end of
life or the diminution of life-involvement. Continued living
of an ordinary, functional life on every level is perfectly
compatible with the realized state, because life itself is
an expression of what is Real. It is a manifestation of the
conscious Light. It has tended to take on this peculiar form
because of certain tendencies, which are modifications of
that Light, but in itself it is not false. Only its
complications are false. The life of Truth is absolutely
compatible with life itself, with vitality and with
sexuality as the regenerative union of marriage.

The bellies of the yogic Siddhas are often full, soft and
round. They are not devitalized beings, even if they happen
to be celibate. That swelling of the abdomen is a yogic
manifestation. When this force is conducted, the abdomen
becomes full of force. Swami Nityananda of Ganeshpuri was
such a yogi. He spent his days sitting and lying around,
letting this current circle about. He rarely allowed it to
turn outwards. That is why he hardly ever spoke.

I have told you that speech is a form of sacrifice. It is
a sacrifice of the life-force. It is not entertainment.
People genera