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Celibacy/Abstinence/Firewalking in Hinduism


Hi Brother Dhananjay,

I would like to enquire on the rite of firewalking which occurs in my town yearly.

In my town every year, devotees firewalk on a 4metre burning coals for Goddess Mariamman. Many say its a form of thanksgiving, some is for asking boon and some say it is to prove purity.

The festival takes place in memory of goddess  draupadi who walked on fire to regain her purity.

1) I would like to seek a better understanding on what is the connecttion between firewalking and spirituality?

2) Some of the firewalkers I know personally lead a life of debauchery and wickedness and near to the festival, they fast and pray to walk on the fire. If firewalking is a test of purity, why do these impure ppl return unscathed by the fire?

3) Do I need to be ashamed of myself if I do not have the guts to firewalk, even though I lead a relatively purer life than some of these firewalkers? I have this nudging thought that says that i am not manly because I am not a firewalker.

4) Is it possible to reach a state in yoga where one can walk on fire without feeling any pain?

Your insight on the firewalking festival would be much appreciated and awaited.

Thank you.

1. The firewalker uses a ritualistic approach to strengthening the mind, developing/proving devotion in the direction oneís surrender to God. It is performed with the intention of giving the common man who is engrossed in Samsara and ignorant to these concepts, an opportunity to set aside some time for God.

2. When the mind is focused with complete belief on the ritual as being the destroyer of sin, it becomes oblivious to the senses of perception for a few moments. This makes the firewalker not take notice of the heat.

3. It is oneís efforts towards attaining to purity of the soul that matter. The Yogi accomplishes this most effectively & scientifically through the practice of the Yama-Niyama-s of Yoga. Different methods are available to different people who are in different stages of evolution. One has to choose that which appeals and one that becomes viable through destiny.

4. Yes

ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)


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Questions concerning the practice of 'Brahmacharya' to know the self, & the means required are dealt with here.


The term 'Yoga' is a derivative of the Samskruth verb 'Yuj' which refers to union. 'Yoga', also called 'Brahma vidy‚' is the eternal dissolution of the individual 'Aham' (Ego) into the Atman (self) for 'Mukti' (liberation). Mere indulgence in '¬sana' or physical postures is not Yoga. ¬sana is only one limb or 'Anga' of Yoga. The eight limbs viz. Yama, Niyama, ¬sana, Pr‚n‚y‚ma, Praty‚h‚ra, Dh‚rana, Dhy‚na and Sam‚dhi are the means to Yoga. Brahmacharya or spiritually based continence is one of the important components of 'Yama'. 'Brahmacharya':- "Brahmani charyathey ithi" - "To surrender one's Ego and go with the will of the Almighty."

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