The one great problem of modem society is the sexual behaviour of the people. This is going from bad to Worse over the past several decades. The minds of people are filled with sexual thoughts. The whole world is under a tremendous sexual intoxication. It is all fashion, restaurants, hotels, dinners, dances, cinema and rock and roll. Their life ends in eating, drinking and sleeping, that is all.
Those who have had some contact with Western society know what aberrations are going on in this field. We know of divorces without limit, a thing which society looked upon with great outrage in the Victorian era. People then were scandalized if a man left his wife and went of with another woman or if a woman left her husband for another man. It was a shame! Now, it is the order of the day. Not only the adults but especially the children suffer living amid such instability.
Know for certain that following the current trend of behaviour results in a definite drain upon the vitality. It retards normal mental and physical progress. This is why so many of today's youth who follow modem ways suffer from anemia, bad memory, and debility. They cannot master the difficult subjects of science, medicine and engineering that provide well paying jobs.
If you wish to succeed in life, you must conserve your energy. Because, if energy is sufficiently conserved, you can put it to any use that you want, you can attain anything that you wish to attain. But if you are bankrupt in energy, all attainment becomes difficult. It becomes a long drawn-out struggle.
Energy is frittered away in a dozen different directions: too much talking, too much worry, too much wanting; fits of temper-anger, fighting, quarrelling, arguing; overeating; negative thoughts of hatred, envy and jealousy; all health-killing habits like smoking, drugs, and drinking-all these things drain away your energy. And the greatest drain is from all these activities associated with sexual pursuits. The senses and mind should be controlled so that your energy is not wasted.
The sex energy is the most concentrated of human biological energies. It is the quintessence of energies. It is the quintessence of all that we eat and assimilate, in the same way that honey is the very quintessence of flowers. Hundreds of bees bringing nectar from thousands of flowers, by some miracle of biochemistry, produce honey. In the same way, the sex energy is the most rarified and perfectly pure form of human physical energy.
If that sex energy is wisely conserved, it becomes available for higher intellectual pursuits, research, invention, meditation. For example, if you want to become a brilliant scholar with a wonderful memory, conserved sex energy comes to your aid. If you want to become a brilliant surgeon or a great master musician, the conserved sex energy comes to your aid. Therefore, the wise conservation of this vital energy is given a very important priority so that your other efforts will be successful.
What is it that you want out of life? What great desire dominates your life? Do you wish to become the greatest musical genius in this world? Or do you want to become the fastest Olympic runner or greatest weightlifter in the world? For those with such an overwhelming ambition, all other problems recede into the background. But if you do not have such an all-consuming ambition, then everything becomes a problem, and sex also becomes a problem. If you think, "Let me satisfy this desire first, then I will have a little peace and can attend to my other goals", you are greatly deluded. Satisfaction of desire will only have one result. It will intensify that desire. Desire is not subdued by satisfying it, but by directing it into a higher channel.
Therefore, the right way of solving this problem is to rise above it, so that it becomes something not so important to you. If you want to attain victory over the clamour of the senses, you must arouse within yourself a great fire of higher aspiration. Then, what happens? In order to attain that upon which your heart is set, you give yourself so totally to it, that you have no time for other things. You are too busy pursuing your goal. Great scientists, for example, do not have this problem, because they are all the time completely absorbed in their scientific research. They do not pay much attention to food or clothing or bathing or anything. Why? Because they are so interested in something else.
After all, what is the hallmark of culture? It is the ability to control oneself. What is the difference between an uncivilized person and a civilized person? A civilized person has gained mastery over his lower nature. When asked "What do you think of Western Civilization?", Mahatma Gandhi is reported to have replied, "I think it would be a good idea!"
The thing is this, at all moments two ways always present themselves before you: one way appears pleasant and very attractive; the other way elevates you, ennobles you, and leads you to your highest welfare. A normal human being is pulled toward that which appears pleasant and attractive, and becomes a victim to his own sensual cravings. That is the way of degeneration and bondage. But one who has self-control moves toward that which is really for his betterment. It may be difficult. But discrimination tells you that that which is difficult will ultimately lead toward your own highest welfare.
For these reasons, in the context of Indian culture, total restraint of the sex energy was thus advised for the three stages of life: the student stage, the retired stage of the elderly person, and the monastic stage of the last part of your life. And even in the householder stage, moderation and a restrained use of the sexual energy for the purpose of procreation was recommended.
The sexual energy was seen as something divine, something sacred. And its function in the scheme of things of the Creator is reproduction of the human species. Moderation and fidelity to one's married partner were prescribed. The married person was not to cast any impure look at another. For the married man, there was only one woman in the whole universe, his lawfully wedded wife. He was to cast no lustful, passionate eye upon any other woman. All other women were to be like mothers to him. And for the chaste wife, there was only one man in the whole universe-her husband whom she regarded with reverence.
Such ideals are not old-fashioned, are not out-moded. On the contrary, they are more relevant and more important today than ever before in human history because humanity, through neglect of the ethical dimension has come to the brink of social disintegration. The disease of misconduct is so great that this ethical practice is the one specific and the prime need of humankind today.
Therefore, whatever you engage in doing should be that which ought to be done, should be that which is right, which is pure, which is moral and ethical. You should not do anything which contradicts the law of ethics and morality. Why? Because, in morality only lies your highest good, your highest welfare. If your thoughts, words and actions are moral and righteous, there will be happiness. Otherwise, you will reap the harvest of bitter experiences because of a law that pervades this universe, the law of Karma. This law states: "As you sow, so shall you reap." If you ignore this law and your actions are not proper, what happens? You create your own miseries.
Therefore, having in mind the highest welfare of the individual, the greatest happiness for the individual, our ancients put Ethics as the foremost value. And they said, "This is the way." And it is to be noted that this advice, the great value of right conduct, was proclaimed as the goal of all human individuals born in this world. It was not directed at any particular section of mankind, not for the people populated on this Indian subcontinent only, not just for Hindus. It was for the entire mankind. The Supreme Law is that happiness follows in the wake of right conduct. This applies to everyone.