If you are a Jiddu Krishnamurti enthusiast, you already know that he was one of the most insightful, inspiring teachers of his day. Hailed as the new World Teacher by Theosophists, in 1929 he publicly renounced this honour at the age of 34. Instead he urged his listeners in no uncertain terms to move beyond all dogma, religious authority and religious rites.

Above all, Krishnamurti incessantly encouraged his students to clear their minds of past conditioning so as to be able to receive flashes of genuine spiritual insight. He often pointed to humanity’s dismal track record, and the lack of effectual human-inspired solutions. By this means he hoped to motivate his students to set aside past knowledge and logic so they might open to authentic inner guidance.


Krishnamurti apparently fell in love as a young man. However, “the experience was tempered by the realisation that his work and expected life-mission precluded what would otherwise be considered normal relationships (and children?) and by the mid-1920s the two of them had drifted apart.” That object of his affections married someone else and devoted her life to urging people to live simple, healthy, vegetarian lives. It seems he also had a long affair with a married woman.

Krishnamurti is reported to have undergone recurring, sometimes uncomfortable, symptoms, which some biographers have suggested were due to rising kundalini.

So, how could Krishnamurti have had anything to say that might inspire lovers to experiment with Synergy? Certainly Synergy calls for setting aside conditioning. Synergy lovers engage in intimacy without pursuing physical gratification (orgasm). Synergy is neither celibacy nor conventional sex with its goals of recreation and/or procreation. Indeed, Synergy generally appears pointless or off-putting to adherents of either of these typical approaches to managing sexual desire.

Relevant teachings

Krishnamurti preferred discussions to pronouncements, never telling his students what to do – let alone how to make love. Yet some of Krishnamurti’s most oft-repeated, and sometimes baffling, observations are surprisingly consistent with Synergy. (Quotations below can be located using this source. All are from Krishnamurti unless otherwise indicated.)

For example, Krishnamurti often observed that pursuit of sustainable pleasure in the form of a spouse, a child, or passion fails. He painted dismal pictures of the exploitation and lovelessness inherent in conventional sexual relationships:

This craze for fulfilment is encouraged by psychologists, psychotherapists and others. But it seems to me that fulfilment is a totally wrong word in human relationship. … Which means what? That you are fulfilling your pleasure, your desire, your central egotistic urge, which is really the demand for fulfilment. Does it not imply exploitation of another? It seems to me that when we use the word ‘fulfil’, there is the implication that I am using another.

As long as you dominate your wife or she dominates you, as long as you possess and are possessed, you cannot know love.

He specified that:

Fear, pleasure go together, they are two sides of the same coin.

This grim conclusion is entirely consistent with recent suggestions that the neurochemical ripples following orgasm may give rise to subconscious feelings of lack, restlessness and anxiety. These in turn exacerbate dissatisfaction between partners.

Krishnamurti taught that neither indulgence of sexual desire nor repression led to a desirable, loving outcome.

Your taking a vow against passion is the beginning of misery, just as the indulgence of it is.

You cling to the one thing [sex] that gives complete self-forgetfulness, which you call happiness. But when you cling to it, it too becomes a nightmare, because then you want to be free from it, you do not want to be a slave to it. So you invent, again from the mind, the idea of chastity, of celibacy, and you try to be celibate, to be chaste, through suppression, denial, meditation, through all kinds of religious practises

And, lest his listeners think he was thus recommending either sex “just for procreation” or a moderate amount of conventional sex, he declared that people typically have children for selfish reasons and that families are rife with tension and conflict.

We use children as pawns in the game of our conceit, and we pile up misery; we use them as another means of escape from ourselves.

If you really loved your children – for God’s sake, listen – if you really loved your children – do you want them to live as you live with conflict, with misery, fighting, fighting, fighting?

Krishnamurti also emphasised that love and chastity go together. Perhaps he learned this first-hand.

When there is love, there is chastity.

To love is to be chaste. The man who tries to be chaste in thought, is unchaste, because he has no love.

He also often pointed out that his listeners didn’t know how to love, or even what love was. And that this gives rise to the obsessive pursuit of stimulation.

It is only when we understand the pursuit of sensation, which is one of the major activities of the mind, that pleasure, excitement and violence cease to be a dominant feature in our lives. It is because we do not love, that sex, the pursuit of sensation, has become a consuming problem.

Not infrequently, Krishnamurti commented that humanity had made no progress on any of these fronts in its entire history. This is consistent with the concept that it is humankind’s very biology, our genetic programming and demanding mammalian appetites, that give rise to our perennial misery. How can we hope to appease appetites that evolved never to be satisfied for long?

Might one way be to prioritise selfless, loving feelings during union instead of pursuing sensation or celibacy?

Was Krishnamurti preparing humanity for Synergy?

Krishnamurti died in 1986, so no one can answer this query with certainty. Yet, however unlikely this possibility may seem, two well-known cultural figures whom he influenced wrote about Synergy-style lovemaking. These were Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley. (More on them in a moment.)

Meanwhile, it may be worth pointing out that some key elements of Synergy line up rather neatly with ideas that recur in Krishnamurti’s teachings.

As stated above, he taught that chastity and genuine love go together. Synergy is a “chaste” form of intimacy, a sort of “chastity with benefits” in fact. Partners do not pursue physical gratification (sexual arousal), but rather deeper, more loving union.

You will know chastity only when there is love, and love is not of the mind nor a thing of the mind.

Sex without the goal of orgasm is only sustainable if unselfish love is present; otherwise the biological push to pursue physical gratification resurfaces. Between unselfish lovers the experience promotes love because their intimacy doesn’t give rise to the subconscious uneasiness and growing dissatisfaction of conventional sex. Deep feelings of wholeness, which accompany relaxed non-goal driven union, reduce fear and improve clarity (the ability to receive spiritual insight). Synergy lovers tend to project onto each other loving feelings, not uneasiness and restlessness.

This allows them to quiet their conditioning, increasing their openness to new insight. Synergy lovers, by sidestepping post-orgasmic perception-shifts, often notice that their priorities spontaneously change. They’re less concerned with the pursuit of resources, domination, novelty, appetite gratification, defensiveness, etc. Such lovers begin asking larger questions, and may find themselves spontaneously drifting toward contributions to humankind’s welfare.

Their creative energy flows in the form of non-physical progeny. For example, Dr A.B. Stockham, author of Karezza (a Synergy lovemaking practise) wrote:

There are deeper purposes to our reproductive faculties than are generally understood. In the physical union of male and female there may be a soul communion giving not only supreme happiness, but in turn [leading] to soul growth and development. Creative energy may be directed into building bodily tissue and permeating every cell with health and vigour, while also fuelling the birth of non-physical offspring such as great inventions, humanitarian pursuits, and works of art.

For Krishnamurti, too, creation carries us beyond our sexual conditioning:

When thinking ceases, then there is creation, and it is that creation which makes us happy. To be in that state of creation is bliss, because it is self-forgetfulness in which there is no reaction as from the self. This is not an abstract answer to the daily problem of sex – it is the only answer.

At the same time, Synergy’s affectionate contact makes sexual repression unnecessary. Synergy lovers can ease their sexual frustration together instead of attempting to extinguish it by exhausting it or suppressing it.

The problem of sex, which is now so important, so vast in our lives, loses its meaning when there is the tenderness, the warmth, the kindliness, the mercy of love.

Watts and Huxley

Alan Watts, who called himself a “philosophical entertainer”, referred to Krishnamurti as “an extraordinary mystic”.  In Watts’s chapter on “Consummation” in his book Nature Man and Woman he said,

to serve as a means of initiation to the “one body” of the universe, [the sexual experience] requires what we have called a contemplative approach. This is not love “without desire” in the sense of love without delight, but love which is not contrived or wilfully provoked as an escape from the habitual empty feeling of an isolated ego.

…Nothing is done to excite the sexual energy; it is simply allowed to follow its own course without being “grasped” or exploited by the imagination and the will. In the meantime the mind and senses are not given up to fantasy, but remain simply open to “what is,” without–as we should say in current slang–trying to make something of it.

This sounds a lot like Synergy lovemaking.

Aldous Huxley was a close friend of Krishnamurti whose teachings he greatly admired. They exchanged views for years.

The appendix of one of Huxley’s books gives a history of traditions that employed sex without orgasm. Here are a couple of highlights:

[Quoting the author of Male Continence] “Beginning in 1844, I experimented on the idea” (the idea that the amative function of the sexual organs could be separated from the propagative) “and found that the self-control it required is not difficult. Also that my enjoyment was increased. Also that my wife’s experience was very satisfactory, which it had never been before. And that we had escaped the horrors and the fear of involuntary propagation.” [His wife had suffered multiple miscarriages.]


During the first centuries of Christianity … it was common for ecclesiastics and pious laymen to have “spiritual wives,” who were called Agapetae, Syneisaktoi or Virgines Subintroductae. Of the precise relationships between these spiritual wives and husbands we know very little; but it seems that, in some cases at least, a kind of Karezza, or bodily union without orgasm, was practised as a religious exercise, leading to valuable spiritual experiences.

In Huxley’s utopian novel Island, children are taught about lovemaking with continence at around age 15.

Strategic hints?

Was Krishnamurti laying groundwork for experimentation akin to asidhārāvrata, that is, the “sword’s edge” practise?  Asidhārāvrata calls for engaging with a partner without fully consummating the sexual act in order to cultivate sexual energy and redirect it to achieve higher states of consciousness. Some ancient asidhārāvrata texts explicitly encompassed controlled intercourse.

Synergy is a version of this approach. It is a third option, a middle way between discipline and freedom of spirit. It permits lively enthusiasm and spontaneity within voluntarily chosen limits. It allows for the fulfilment of creative potential while encouraging self-discipline and focus. Best of all, it clears perception and makes genuine insight more likely. It can be thought of as the bottom rung of a ladder toward a sustainable flow of authentic insight.

Suppose Krishnamurti knew that most of us could not learn to love unselfishly without mastering loving chastity (that is, chastity within union). Without it we remain at the mercy of our conditioning and mammalian-appetite software (or we rigidly seek to repress it). Suppose, too, he knew that, as a collective, we could only attempt it if we chose it of our own free will, and not because we thought we were “supposed to”. He wisely knew that prohibiting anything simply increases resistance to it, so there was no purpose to spelling out the details while the result would be more resistance than progress.

Moreover, he must certainly have been aware that just decades earlier the Society for the Suppression of Vice had caused Stockham to be convicted for sending improper matter through the mails. Stockham argued that the widespread belief that women should be legally forced to participate in ejaculatory sex – lest they go to any length to avoid the labours of childbirth – was nonsense. Her book Karezza: Ethics of Marriage, in addition to describing the advantages of Synergy-style lovemaking, advocated sexual continence during pregnancy and to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The latter brought her into conflict with the authorities as it was illegal to promote birth control, even by means of voluntary continent intercourse.

In any case, Krishnamurti did what he could to urge his listeners to set aside conditioning and create space for flashes of insight. Did this imply that they would need to be open to radically unfamiliar understanding?

He didn’t tell his pupils what to do or how to manage their unions. Yet Krishnamurti certainly painted the two familiar options as grimly as he could: exploiting each other sexually on one hand and unloving chastity on the other. Repeatedly he said we needed to learn how to love. He also emphasised how important creativity was, while specifying that he wasn’t alluding to producing children to gratify our egos.

So, in response to these manoeuvres, and perhaps in response to personal dialogs with Krishnamurti himself, did listeners like Watts and Huxley grasp elements of the Synergy option (by whatever label)? Is that why they addressed it in their writings? It’s not impossible.

So where are we left?

As Krishnamurti advised, clear your mind and do your own inner listening. Seek to set aside all your past conditioning and stay open to genuine insight. And don’t hesitate to experiment with Synergy for yourself. At the very least it may improve your reception.