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Celibacy in Brahmacharya way.

BY Spiritual Initiative

Chastity in thought, word and deed always and in all conditions is what is called Brahmacharya- Swami Vivekananda

The quote mentioned at the start of this article by Swami Vivekananda defines and describes the core essence of Brahmacharya. People opt for a life of celibacy to fulfil their spiritual, religious, health and emotional needs. In many traditions and communities, where religion plays a salient role in familial decisions, celibacy is not frowned upon but rather demanded or expected. Experts in this field have advocated the practice of celibacy due to its manifold advantages including a focussed mind, controlled senses and protection from fatal ailments, unwanted pregnancies or lust, thereby, attaining self-realization. However in an over-sexualized society such as ours; it does not come as an easy option. Not all is hunky dory while working against man’s most powerful instinct - sexual needs.

For those who believe that celibacy is just abstinence from sex, they need to think again. Although it is partially true (according to the definition of celibacy in the English dictionary), there is more to celibacy than mere avoidance of the conjugal act.Many times, celibacy is forced on us by family, or career or religious requirements; sometimes we opt for it on our own. It is important to note that in any circumstance, forced involuntary celibacy would lead to detrimental consequences. Therefore, a voluntary decision is the first and most important rule.The advantages of a healthy sexual life are prominently highlighted in medical science, and the harmful repercussions if not adequately dealt with this instinct are also conspicuously stated. Aggressive behaviour, rape and molestation, chronic ailments, distraction in the mind and masturbation are some effects that are found to be associated with it. For this very reason, celibacy  can sometimes become deleterious for those who do not have a thorough understanding on the subject.

Brahmacharya, however, from Vedic wisdom gives us the complete knowledge on how to practice celibacy without letting it harm a practitioner. Most importantly, it provides solutions on how to reap benefits out of the practice to attain absolute control on oneself and life. Brahmacharya means “Acharya” or conduct to know the “brahman” or cosmos, resulting from complete control on the senses. In its strict form,  celibacy in the brahmacharya way requires purity in  thought, deed and action.


Things to know about brahmacharya-

  • Brahmacharis celibate both in action and thought. An action is seeded from thought; therefore control is required at the level of thought, if one does not want to drown in passion.

  • What we eat, see and hear create an individual’s environment. Therefore, to control one’s thoughts, one should work on their environment. It is suggested that one lives on a sattvic or sentient diet, and enjoys serene visuals and audios, avoiding tamsic food and passionate/seductive visuals/audios, while practicing celibacy.

  • Celibacy is harmful when sexual urges are not dealt with in a healthy way. Enjoying porn and masterbating, without partcipating in sexual act is what many celibates indulge in taking it as a way of release. However, in brahmacharya even these acts are meant to be a violation of practice. The reason is that it leads to an obsession in the mind and one cannot free themselves from such urges. Instead it is recommended to work on how to convert these urges into productive energy. Keeping mindfully occupied in positive and creative ways, such as developing hobbies, are said to be the key to practice celibacy in a healthy way.

  • The esoteric reason for promoting celibacy or brahmacharya in all religions or spiritual traditions is that the sexual fluid is the elixir in human beings. Its been found that the energy which can give birth to a new life, if conserved and utilized well can bestow youth, bliss, health, glow, thought and psychic power to practitioners.

  • For healthy practice of celibacy, many yogic asanas and exercises are practiced that help in getting control and conservation of sexual energy for the total well-being of practitioners.

  • An example of the fact that brahmacharya is not about mere abstinence from sex is  “married brahmacharis”, who enjoy married lives and even sex. Yes, sex is allowed to celibates when practiced with all rules and divine intentions.

Practicing celibacy is a powerful custom to gain control on thought power and evolve as a human being. The art lies in learning how to practice it in a constructive way.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Published December 17, 2013

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