By Michæl Jackson
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Extra resources for Between One and One Another
In India, spirituality and sexuality coexisted, and the more of one did not necessarily mean the less of the other. In the West, increased spirituality meant decreased sexuality. All of a sudden, a new light dawned on me, though it could not excuse the behavior of the swami. ” As Brijen’s story began to unfold, I was reminded of Leopold Fischer, who was born into an assimilated Jewish family in 1923, became enamored of India from an early age, and was inducted into the Dasnami Order as Agehananda Bharati.
Roy, Russell, and Wittgenstein, while Brijen adhered to an ethos of friendship, family, and communitas that he had ﬁrst glimpsed in an Indian ashram. Moreover, both Gupta and Bharati were fascinated by the tantric tradition, and Bharati’s succinct observation that “the theme of harnessing instead of suppressing the senses for the sake of the higher life is one of the most delicate and . . most important in the religious traditions of Asia” found echoes in Brijen’s discomfort with asceticism and his view that the sexual impulse was not inimical to liberation but one way of achieving it.
My visit to a Tantric ashram in the Vindhyachal range, near Mirzapur, where I was willy-nilly introduced to hallucinogens, opened an area of inquiry that I never seriously entertained, notwithstanding encouragement some years later by Agehananda Bharati. Whenever anyone talked to me of salvation, and almost every swami did, I was reminded of Calvin. ’ Yet with all these imperfections, Indian ashrams were a sight and an experience to behold. They rejected caste, they treated men and women almost equally, and all were supposedly engaged in bringing internal realization to every individual, one at a time if necessary.
Categories: Comparative Religion