Sex

How Staying Away From Sex and Masturbation Helped Me Become a Millionaire

Sarvesh Shashi, a 28-year-old entrepreneur with a wellness empire worth $15 million, attributes his success to five principles. One of them is ‘semen retention’.
SJ
Mumbai, India
July 21, 2020, 11:40am
How Staying Away From Sex and Masturbation Helped Me Become a Millionaire
Photo courtesy of Sarvesh Shashi

Sarvesh Shashi is a 28-year-old Mumbai-based entrepreneur with a yoga and wellness empire worth about $15 million. He has established more than 35 yoga studios across India under the name of Sarva, and designed 25 yoga styles including basketball and paddle boat yoga.

Even before turning 30, this yoga mogul, often referred to as the “CEO among monks”, has done a lot: from flying in a private jet with Jennifer Lopez to chilling at a private screening of Rampage with Dwayne Johnson and Naomi Campbell for company. There’s just one thing he hasn’t ever done: had sex.

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Sarvesh Sashi posing with Jennifer Lopez, who has invested in his company Sarva. Photo courtesy of Sarvesh Shashi

And while being a virgin is not really the story, it becomes so when one attributes their glory in this capitalistic world to the swearing off of what many of us consider integral to healthy living.

Shashi, who is devoutly dedicated to his yoga discipline, lives by a set of prohibitions advised by his yoga guru: no drinking, smoking, lying, stealing, having sex or masturbating.

According to his guru, cutting out these distractions were essential for Shashi to attain enlightenment and success. No matter how horny hot yoga enthusiasts potentially made him.

Semen retention is a core principles of Taoism, an ancient Chinese philosophical practice that preached how controlling or delaying ejaculations could help a person increase their spiritual energy and improve their sex drive. From 500 BC to present day, the practice of holding in semen has evolved from a yogic tradition to subreddits with 44,000 members swearing off sex, porn and masturbation.

Other, slightly more indulgent and tricky methods of staying clean of the cum include injaculation, which is a special technique to achieve an orgasm without actually ejaculating.

The celibacy and semen retention vow that Shashi has lived by for the last 13 years doesn’t quite cross swords with the No Fap movement, which is largely a support group for recovering porn and masturbation addicts. For Shashi, the premise of his promise to swear off all things sex was to seek enlightenment.

Now we get the whole clean living philosophy, but how is professional success connected to celibacy and semen retention? Isn’t jerking off supposed to be a therapeutic form of stress release that fills your body with happiness-laden endorphins? How could being a veteran virgin help make someone a millionaire in their 20s?

So, we decided to ask Shashi how he came to this conclusion.

VICE: Hey, Sarvesh. So, why did you decide to swear off what many might say are among the best things about life?
Sarvesh Shashi: I guess I was looking to find some kind of enlightenment and fulfilment. Growing up, I was very arrogant, and would always get into fights with people who hurt my ego. I wanted to be a cricketer and got into yoga because my father believed it would help me play the sport. But I could see how learning from my guru taught me to be calm and took away so much of my anger and ego. This helped establish a sense of trust and belief in my guru. So when he asked me to live under five presets, including celibacy and semen retention, I followed his advice because I had already experienced his presence making a meaningful change in my life.

I don’t see any harm in having sex or masturbating, and nobody should ever force themselves to swear off it without having a clear motive. You don’t become a vegan because a celebrity or your friend is doing it. You do it because you’re against animal cruelty or want to feel clean from within. It’s the same principle that applies here.

So, how did staying away from sex and self-pleasure accelerate your career?
Semen emits an energy whose course can be changed from downwards to upwards by not masturbating and not having sex. Semen is powerful; it is responsible for all creation of life because it’s what leads to babies being born. So when you channel that creative energy into your brain through a mix of meditation, celibacy and semen retention, it has the potential to take away all distractions and help you focus on your goals. My guru taught me that when you concentrate that energy on achieving desires beyond sexual gratification, it gives you the strength to achieve everything you set out to.

Ejaculating drains your energy for a few moments of pleasure, but through my abstinence, I have been able to divert that energy to my mind.

But unless you’re asexual, isn’t feeling sexual desire natural? Isn’t its conscious withholding distracting?
I’m not asexual. It’s not that I don’t have urges. I just know how to control those urges. It’s all about being aware of your feelings, and channeling them into productive activities instead. Making a mistake isn’t wrong, not acknowledging that you have made the mistake is. By being aware and mindful of what you’re feeling, it helps you see the world in an absolutely objective and unbiased way.

But how does one control their urges?
It’s probably not something that a person can do overnight. You have to discipline yourself and make a lifestyle change. I built up my discipline by doing sadhanas, which is a practice of cutting yourself off from all material and physical connections by doing yoga. I started by doing these for 11 days, and eventually was able to do it for 40 days.

The other aspect is to change your perspective on sexual desires and thoughts. Instead of objectifying a woman you find attractive and thinking only about getting physical with her, one should think about how you can make a meaningful connection that can improve your life. Not giving in to sexual desires disciplines your mind by not letting any short-term urges distract you.

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Shashi doing yoga with Indian actor and model Malaika Arora, who is also an investor in his start-up. Photo courtesy of Sarvesh Shashi

Are there any side-effects to keeping it all in?
Yes, there are going to be side-effects to bottling up your urges. Initially, you may feel suppressed and irritable when you deny yourself. But as you discipline yourself, you realise that you feel less drained, more energetic and more mindful. It’s like after you take a vow of silence and realise how unnecessary talking about things that don’t have any takeaway is.

So you’ve never had an orgasm?
Essentially an orgasm is a time of semen release that makes you reach a stage of samadhi or thoughtlessness. It is momentary happiness that you can only get from external stimulation. But through my disciplined yoga and meditation practice, I can reach the same level of samadhi. It’s driven by self-care and self-love instead of a temporary trigger of happiness. So it’s not that I’ve never had an orgasm, I just have a different way of embracing that release.

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Photo courtesy of Sarvesh Shashi

What about wet dreams or nightfall?
Of course there have been moments where I’ve involuntarily ejaculated at night or had a wet dream, but that’s fine. Fortunately, I haven’t had a wet dream in at least six to seven years. I think one of the reasons for this could be because our dreams are influenced by the thoughts in our subconscious. Because I rarely think about sex or physical intimacy, it doesn’t spill over into my dreams.

Is watching porn allowed?
My vow isn’t about being allowed or not allowed to do something. I have watched porn, and generally watch movies or read books which may have erotic scenes. But the whole purpose of my celibacy and semen retention is to be more aware and mindful of my thoughts and gain something more from life. People don’t watch porn to figure out how smart the porn star is or how to have an emotional and spiritual connection with them. I don’t shy away from watching or feeling things, it’s just that I’m seeking something beyond sexual satisfaction.

How has your celibacy affected your dating life?
It hasn’t had much of an effect on my dating life because I haven’t had a dating life in 13 years! But I’m happy nonetheless because I’m surrounded by fantastic friends and people who are in my life for the right reasons.

Do you think you’ll ever have sex?

I can neither say I’m looking forward to having sex, nor say that I never plan on having sex and starting a family. My guru had asked me to stay celibate for seven years. I’ve done it for 13, and I don’t see anything lacking in my life.

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