“Thereafter the elder brother of Lakshmana consoled Sugriva, who had been driven away for the sake of his wife through his brother Vali, he of excellent splendor.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.34)
tam tataḥ sāntvayāmāsa sugrīvam lakṣmaṇa āgrajaḥ |
strī hetoḥ vālinā bhrātrā nirastam uru tejasā ||
In the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna remarks how He is sex life that does not go against religious principles. The relevant Sanskrit terms are kama and dharma-aviruddha. The Absolute Truth is the source of everything. This obviously includes sex life as well. Everything that we see in this world exists in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore even in religious life sex is not completely forbidden. Life cannot continue without it, after all. It has tremendous potency, and the source of that potency is the Supreme Lord. If done following dharma, which is religiosity or religious principles, then in one sense sex life is non-different from God.
balaṁ balavatāṁ cāhaṁ
kāmo 'smi bharatarṣabha
“I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O Lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna].” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.11)
The trouble starts when the kama is dharma-viruddha, or against religious principles. The living entity is pure spirit soul at the core. That soul is impossible to see with the naked eye. It is described to be the size of the tip of the hair divided into ten thousand parts. One of those parts is equal to the size of the soul. Spirit is finer than the subtle material elements of mind, intelligence and ego. The gross elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether are somewhat perceptible. The subtle elements we assume to exist based on external indicators.
indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ
“The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.42)
The spotless spirit soul assumes material elements as a covering due to kama. There are several Sanskrit translations to this word. Kama can mean desire, lust, or sex. As an example, the mystic perfection of being able to take whatever form is desired is known as kama-rupa-siddhi. The translations as lust and sex are actually identical, since the root cause is a desire to enjoy separately from the Supreme Lord. When dharma is added, then any form of kama becomes in line with the interests of the Supreme Lord.
Another way to describe kama in dharma is bhakti-yoga, which is love and devotion to the Supreme Lord. Yes, even a yogi can engage in sex life. The less intelligent may not be able to understand this, but in a world of duality no condition is absolutely required or prohibited for the yogi aspiring to please the Supreme Lord. Kama in dharma is sex life that is with one’s spouse and for the purpose of procreation. Those who practice bhakti-yoga are real saints. They are a symbol of sacrifice. They are fearless warriors in the fight to rescue the less fortunate from the delusion that is maya, the illusory energy of God that pervades the material world. How else can those souls appear on this earth other than through kama in dharma?
Kama with no connection to dharma is the principal cause of rebirth. They say that woman is the energy of man. Man does so much for the sake of a woman. Going to the gym and having a fit and attractive body are for the purpose of winning over the favor of females. Earning lots of money, protecting assets, and enjoying different tastes in the material world have sex life as the foundation.
The path of kama is so dangerous that it can even destroy family relationships. In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana we hear of an incident that tore apart two brothers. They were living in the forest of Kishkindha. The inhabitants were Vanaras, whose literal definition means forest dwellers. These creatures were monkey-like, but they were civilized enough to have a kingdom and some basic laws.
Sugriva was the king. One day his brother Vali got into a fight that led into a cave. Vali told Sugriva to close up the lone entrance to the cave if there was an indication that Vali had gotten killed. This only makes sense, as you don’t want the enemy to come out of the cave and kill more people. If Vali emerged victorious, obviously the hole should be left open.
Sugriva mistakenly closed up the hole, thinking that Vali was dead. It was an innocent mistake. Vali was so strong that he was able to come out of the cave even with the entrance closed. When seeing that Sugriva had taken Vali’s wife for himself. Vali suspected that this was Sugriva’s plan all along. In retaliation, Vali usurped the kingdom from Sugriva by force and took his wife as well.
Sugriva then fled to Mount Rishyamukha, where he was safe from the attacks of Vali. Shri Hanuman was Sugriva’s chief-minister. Here he says that Shri Rama, the elder brother of Lakshmana, consoled Sugriva when the two talked.
The power of sex life is so strong that it can drive two otherwise sober minded brothers apart. This meeting from recorded history has symbolic meaning as well. When a person takes shelter of the Supreme Lord, all their past troubles vanish. Though Sugriva lost the things important to him through jealousy and desires in sex life, everything would be fixed through Rama’s arrows. They are like the sharp knife to cut through excessive attachment. They end the cycle of birth and death for the surrendered souls.
To alleviate pain of losing wife,
Rama’s arrow like sharpest knife.
Since on His protection devotees to rely,
His arrows swiftly for them to fly.
Kama without dharma the cause lone,
For repetition of birth and death known.
Sex even in genuine religious life for facilitating,
Appearance of Lord’s messengers arranging.