Tantra teacher Sarita talks on reclaiming the power, joy, wildness and dignity of the male genitals.
“Behold the Shiva Lingam, beautiful as molten gold, firm as the Himalayan Mountain, tender as a folded leaf, life-giving like the solar orb, behold the charm of his sparkling jewels!”
From ‘Linga Purana’, translated by Nik Douglas
Meaning and Symbolism of the Lingam
We need to make friends with the Lingam and all it represents. This is the only path that can finally bring healing to each man and woman and to this divided world.
In Sanskrit, the word Lingam has a couple of meanings, which are deeply symbolic: ‘Sign’ is one meaning, represented by the fact that an erect penis is the sign that god is ready to create new life. Another meaning is ‘Pillar of Light’, or ‘Wand of Light.’ A phallus becomes a ‘pillar of light’ when a man has become conscious of his godliness. The way he becomes conscious of his godliness is part of what Tantra is all about. Tantra offers methods to help both men and women attain supreme consciousness while in the act of love union. This is achieved by bringing the potent and animalistic energy of sex into alignment with spirit. When instinctual drive and energy merge with spiritual power and energy a metamorphosis happens and it is in this metamorphosis that man is reborn as god, a co-creator with the whole.
For millennia phallus worship was practised all over the world, and even today vestiges of this worship are still in evidence, particularly in India and Japan. In India, a wonderfully balanced quality is evident in Lingam (phallus) worship as the carved Lingam is always placed within a delicately carved Yoni, (the Sanskrit term for female genitals, meaning sacred place). This ensures that the worship of the lingam and male principle is balanced with female qualities (as happens throughout nature).
It is very unfortunate that, in the West in particular, phallic symbols such as the giant obelisks present in many cities have no Yoni surrounding them. Because of this, they give out a vibration of the masculine testosterone fuelled energy of competition and territorialness, without any balancing love or nurturing offered by the feminine principle of the Yoni.
At this time in our society, many men are not aware of the enormous potential for spiritual awakening contained in their Lingam. Instead, they have become addicted to pornography, which has been proven to lead to impotence. Mentalising sexual energy is very different than bringing it into alignment with spirit. When we bring a meditative awareness to our animal nature, we experience the divine hidden within the density of sexual desire. This does not lead to a loss of pleasure as some people might imagine. Rather, pleasure is enhanced thousand fold, becoming limitless. A man has the potential to experience universal consciousness through his lingam and all it represents.
Every orgasm, every pleasure is a divine experience. The entire universe springs forth from enjoyment. Pleasure is the origin of all that exists. But the perfect love is that whose object is limitless. It is that love which is pure love, the love of love itself, the love of the transcendental being of sensual pleasure.”
From Karpatri, ‘Lingopasana Rahasya’
Discovering a Balanced Masculinity
I have been working with men for many years and having grown up with five brothers, I feel an innate love and respect for the masculine. Many times, it is sad for me to realise that men do not understand themselves in the positive way that I see and experience them. Many forms of conditioning have corrupted the sheer beauty and grandeur of the masculine experience.
Men are being condemned very heavily since the advent of the women’s liberation movement. And yes, it is true that there has been a strong abuse of power in men’s actions for the past two thousand years or so. I like to look at the bigger picture.
Before the advent of patriarchy, a dominant matriarchy ruled the world. During those times, in many places in the world, women abused their power over men. Men were offered in human sacrifice on a yearly basis. To become devotees of the great mother, men castrated themselves and proudly wore the castration knife on their belt. The goddess was benevolent but also cruel. She ruled the mysteries of birth and therefore considered herself to be superior. Naturally, when men discovered that they could develop their mind and might to outwit the feminine, they chose to turn the tables and take revenge. Since then, the world has lived in a miserable situation of wars and more wars, rape and more rape. Man’s divorce from the feminine is escalating to a point of insanity. Man’s desire to dominate nature instead of protecting her is threatening to kill all life on the planet.
This is a simplistic picture of something in the human psyche gone wrong or warped. It is only in Tantra that we see harmony between the sexes wherein male and female attributes are both honoured equally.
A Tantra scripture, Lingopasana Rahasya says:
The symbol of the cosmic man Purusha, the archetype, the universal plan present in all things, is the male emblem, the phallus. The symbol of energy, which is the world’s substance; the generator of all that exists is the female organ, the Yoni.”
Integrated Male and Female, The Tree of Life
I like to think of male and female together as a vast tree of life. The tree grows from a single seed and then at six weeks in the womb, there is a differentiation and the embryo either remains feminine (XX chromosomes) or becomes masculine (XY chromosomes). If the embryo remains feminine, the parts of the brain devoted to intuition, love and artistic tendencies grow bigger, while the areas devoted to power, competition, territorialness, and logic grow bigger in the male brain. To imagine how this links up, imagine a rose bush. The magnificent rose, so soft and vulnerable has a thorny stem, offering protection. In the same way, the feminine who is asked by nature to nurture the child for a long time, needs her masculine partner to protect her and take care that she can be secure while tending to the task of childbirth and rearing of children.
The problem arises when the masculine separates himself from the feminine and instead of being in service of feminine qualities of love and nurturing, he becomes like the thorns without the rose, going on a tangent of expressing his territorialness and competition in a frenzy of destructiveness, serving only destructiveness itself.
As men and women come to realize that we are simply two aspects of the same tree of life, and search for ways to blend our energies through meditation and love, we will find that the song of life is sweet indeed, with pleasure and celebration being our natural condition.
One of the puzzles that men face is how to manage being with a woman, holding her in her contradictory, emotional nature. This puzzle is easily solved when men open to their potential as a pillar of light and consciousness. When women are bitchy, they are in fact only testing the man to find out if he is able to hold them in all that they are. If the man passes the test, she will surrender herself completely into his arms, that her Shakti may be held at last by a worthy Shiva.
Healing the Wounded Masculine
Part of the warped scenario has been fuelled by ideologies, which harm the masculine very profoundly. To teach a man that sex is bad, i.e. sin, is to kill his spirit by cutting him off from his joy. A man is naturally deeply centred in and around his sexual organs. He needs to be worshipped there, rather than condemned. Just imagine the fact that in one ejaculation, a man releases enough sperm to populate half the planet! This is a tremendous power and energy! If he is told from an early age that this energy is bad, you are literally telling him that he is bad, that his very essence as a man should not exist. Naturally, as he shuts down from himself and his reason for being, he will be quite pissed off inside. He can then easily be manipulated into becoming a soldier and going to kill others and himself. Life is not worth living if you have been cut off from all joy and pleasure.
Reclaiming the power, joy, wildness and dignity of the male genitals is one of the most important healing works we have to do during these changing times.
People speak a lot about female genital mutilation, which is of course a horrendous practice. However, I find it bizarre that under our very noses, millions of boys are being forced to have genital mutilation and no one says anything about it! If you don’t believe that the act of circumcising is a travesty and a crime, watch the film Birth As We Know It and see the truth for yourself! The foreskin is delicate tissue, anatomically similar to the hood of the clitoris, which holds many nerve endings devoted to pleasure. To have this mutilated gives a message that pleasure is being sacrificed to pain, very early in life, making it almost undoubtedly a lifelong wound carried deep in the subconscious body memory. (Those that like conspiracy theories can have a field day with this!)
Another aspect of the male genitals that needs healing is that of civilisation vs animality. The first chakra, i.e. genital area, is naturally instinctual and animalistic. The instinctual search is for procreation and security. If a boy is told over and over that he has to drop being animalistic, and be civilised, he will be a sad shadow of who he could become. The animal nature needs to be celebrated, not repressed! People carry a deep ancestral fear of the animal, due to the fact that we had to fight to survive in a seemingly hostile world where one may be devoured at any moment by some wild animal. This has been translated into a fear of our own inner animal. People tend to think that if we allow the animal some space within, we will turn into raving beasts who have uncontrollable appetites for sex.
In fact, in the animal kingdom, sexual expression is very tame. Animals operate according to fixed natural laws that govern their bodies and sexual needs. Humans on the other hand can be taken over by lust as often as they desire.
Lingam Whispering and the Art of Sex
We need to learn sexuality as an art form, playing with our desire and mastering it as one would tame a horse in the wild. Beating a horse is not the right way to tame it. The true masters of horse training are those who understand the language of horses, the horse whisperers. A whole new science is waiting to be born, that of ‘Lingam whispering’.
When a man reclaims his animal nature, he breathes a big sigh of relief and immediately discovers undreamed of sources of power and energy. When a man is honoured as a God in his genitals, his joy springs forth, like a bubbling stream. Within no time, his heart opens and he discovers the ecstasy of offering his strength in service to the feminine qualities of love and nurturing. In this way, he finds wholeness and reintegration with the tree of life.
Men are not born rough and destructive. Men are warped by the society in such a way that they no longer find how to live their natural joy. To reclaim this joy, Tantra and work with the sacred masculine is very important. Men need good role models, seeing himself mirrored in his own gender. He needs a rite of passage, where his entry into manhood is honoured with love and respect. If he is denied that, he will seek a rite of passage through drugs, fast cars, pornography and alcohol.
He also needs initiation into the art of being a Master Lover, so that all the days of his life he can enjoy maximum benefits of sexual love.
For the Lingam to find a balanced expression of sexual energy, it has to be celebrated as important and beautiful. Instead of cutting himself into bits, with mind and body being separated from each other, he needs to discover that he has a brain in his head, in his stomach and in his genitals. There is no such thing as mind and body. There is only bodymind as one whole interconnected unit. The man’s primary centres of power and energy reside in his genitals, his solar plexus and his throat. When he is able to live these energy centres in their fullness he will be a true man, in divine remembrance of his purpose in life.
Many men would love to discover Tantric secrets such as how to last longer in sex, how to please a woman, and how to have full body orgasm without ejaculation. These are all easy to learn and apply when the man meditates, moves his body as in sport or martial arts, learns to let go into laughter and tears and learns to express himself through poetry, singing, dance or some other art form. The healed and balanced expression of masculinity is a synthesis of power and vulnerability, spirituality and sexuality.
The Art of Self-Pleasuring
Learning the art of self-pleasuring is a tremendous help for men to understand the movement and pathways of their own energy. Sexual energy can move down and out as in procreation, or in and up as in spiritual rebirth. The energy moving in and up is what leads to full body orgasm without ejaculation. To learn this art, it is necessary to begin with loving and honouring your genitals, and once aroused, to then move this energy through the whole body, snaking the spine and breathing deeply.
Touching the crown of the head and the perineum at the same time is also very helpful. If the man finds himself moving from warm to hot to red hot, he needs to let go of genital stimulation and move the energy upwards through the body before his sexual energy becomes volcanic.
He needs to let go of an intensely focused goal, and instead, open the possibility that he can become orgasmic in every cell. Relaxing beneath the orgasm reflex, and snaking the spine will create an invitation for the sexually aroused energy to begin its ascent towards the crown chakra.
He can also allow his aroused energy to melt into the valley, experiencing the deeply resting quality of yin. Sex is not about performance, it is actually about riding the waves of yin and yang for hours. In sex, we learn the art of surfing the waves, leading to ultimate fulfilment for the man and the woman.
The universe is the issue of the relationship between a masculine and a feminine principle. Everything, as a result, carries the signature of the Lingam and the Yoni. It is the deity, who in the form of the individual phallus, penetrates each womb and procreates all beings.”
From ‘Karpatri’, translated by Alain Daniélou
Anatomy of the Lingam
Anatomically, the Lingam is an elegantly designed mechanism, which is both practical and pleasurable. The prostate supplies one part of what we know of as semen in the form of prostatic fluid, giving a milky appearance to the semen. The seminal vesicle supplies seminal fluid. And the third ingredient is the sperm, carrying the potential for new life. Sperm come to maturity in the testes, in 20 feet of coiled tubes called Ductus Epididymis. The testicles are amazing in their capacity to shrink close to the body if it is cold, or hang down lower and away from the body if it is too hot, thus maintaining an optimum temperature for the sperm. When a man is in erection and ready for ejaculation, the three ingredients blend. As he ejaculates, pleasurable spasms allow this precious nectar of life to be expelled out of the tip of his Lingam, propelling the sperm, surrounded by protective and nurturing elements, on their long pilgrimage to find a female egg to blend with. An enormous amount of vital energy is used in order for this task to be accomplished. This is why it is advised in Tantric texts for men to enjoy making love often but to conserve their ejaculation, offering it only on special occasions.
Testosterone, the principal male hormone, decreases progressively during a man’s life. If he ejaculates more than his body has allotted him to do, he will find himself without a bank balance of vital energy the older he gets. It is very important for men to learn Tantric arts of sexuality, discovering the sublime mastery that happens when he is able to conserve and circulate his energy. If he does this, he will be able to make love in an ecstatic Tantric circle of fulfilment, all the days of his life. The short term high of many successive and quick ejaculations is like cocaine, a destructive habit leading to impotence and depression.
Some men simply cannot imagine how it could be pleasurable to let go of frequent ejaculation in favour of frequent sex with ejaculation happening only sometimes. It is only by moving into the world of Tantra and understanding and experiencing the inner connectedness of sex, love and spirit that conservation of semen practice begins to make sense. And once a man has had the experience of whole body orgasm without ejaculation, he feels so vitally alive, so empowered and ecstatic that he would love to continue this practice and discover new levels of sexual mastery.
Addiction vs Mastery
The sexual organs are directly linked to the glandular system of the brain. Delgado, a behavioural scientist did an experiment on rats to find out how the sexual response in the brain functions. The rat had electrodes attached to the sex centre in the brain. By pushing a button, he could bring on the sensation of orgasm in the brain. The poor rat became addicted to the button and refusing both food and sleep, went on pushing the button till he died. It is an unfortunate fact that more and more men are taking a similar route through their addiction to pornography.
Sexuality involves all that we are, and if we isolate it in the mind and brain, we are sacrificing ourselves on the altar of greed. The society tends to encourage this behaviour, because it brings in a lot of financial rewards for those invested in such business. As long as the society is based on greed rather than love and nurturing, we will find ourselves hurtling towards the self-destructive tendency demonstrated by Delgado’s rat.
Tantra offers men and women both the opportunity to come back home to all that we are as sexual, loving, celebrative and spiritual beings. In fact, there is no other alternative for humanity today. We either choose a downward spiralling death oriented future or ecstatic wholeness based on life affirmation and inner mastery.
In Alain Alain Daniélou’s book The Phallus, he writes: “One century after the birth of Jesus, Plutarch reported the mysterious voice, heard by a sailor, announced the death of the great God ‘Pan’. This news froze the Greco-Roman world with horror. The Phallic God, the father of all the Gods risked dragging the civilized world with him in his fall, leaving men without protection. A new era opened up, full of dangers and conflicts, which little by little would lead to the extinction of the
The Hero’s Journey
If there is one thing I would like to affirm to men it is this: you are meant to be Masters of yourself, and protector custodians of the resources of this planet. When you learn to master your own internal eco system, balancing sexuality with spirituality, then you will naturally wish to balance the eco system of the planet and of society. It is a bit like living in a thriller at this time on the planet. Will men wake up in time to save the day? Will each man find his way to go on his own personal hero’s journey, discovering his true power and mastery? Will the God Pan once more be enthroned within each man, awakening his joyous potency and zest for life?
I am doing my best to initiate and inform men of their potential. And it is a big job. If anyone is called to help in this shifting of consciousness, I will be most happy to be of service in training as many people as possible. We need to bring about a global awareness of the immense gifts lying dormant within male sexuality and the male psyche.
Men, you are born to be co-creators with the divine. Nothing else will satisfy you because it is your innate nature to be an expression of godliness. The first step in claiming your power and your destiny is to reclaim your right to joy and to explore conscious sexuality. Once you get the knack, it is easy and natural to do so.
Steps for empowering the Masculine
- Reclaim your balls and Lingam from repressive attitudes that have hijacked your sovereignty and joy.
- Learn Tantra practices which will help you to become a Master of sexual energy, learning to surf the waves of yang and yin.
- Go through sexual initiation with wise Tantric women, or in the workshop Master Lover.
- Move into initiation through ‘Integrated Masculine’ men’s groups.
- Practise self-pleasuring, which helps you to experience full body orgasmic states (see the book Divine Sexuality).
- Activate your body in constructive ways, such as hiking, swimming, martial arts, dance, sports or Yoga.
- Learn massage, as this skill will bring you untold pleasure and joy, for life.
- Turn all your amazing creative energy and power towards being the protector and nurturer of the feminine qualities of love and beauty. This role of protector also includes protecting the eco system of the planet.
- Meditate, learning to become a witnessing consciousness, a pillar of light. This energy and awareness begins with your sex centre and spreads to include your whole body.
- A man is both powerful, as is the phallus in its erect state, and vulnerable, as is the phallus in its soft, resting state. Laugh often, enjoying the cosmic joke. A sense of humour is the bridge between power and vulnerability.
Article by Sarita, previously published in her blog – www.tantra-essence.com
Related discourse by Osho
Shiva Went On Making Love
Sarita met Osho in Mumbai in 1973 and shortly afterwards received sannyas. She spent the next 26 years in his communes where she worked cleaning Osho’s house, as a medium in energy darshan, in the PR department and as a holistic healer. Osho gave her the title ‘Mahasatvaa’ meaning ‘keeper of esoteric wisdom’. Since 1997 she has been teaching Tantra, holistic healing and meditation across the world. She lives in England and France. www.tantra-essence.com