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Celibacy/Abstinence/Emotions, Control, and Brahmacharya


QUESTION: Dear Dhananjay,

You have answered so many important questions here and as an aspirant, I humbly thank you for all the wisdom in your posts.

One day, I hope to attain the self-realization that you have and is evident in your answers to all the responses here.

A few questions here. They deal with doubts and conflicts that plague me and only you can advise me on the proper course of action to be followed. I will be eternally grateful, for your words mean more to me than anything imaginable.

My background: I am a young physical brahmachari (22) and I strive to uphold my brahmacharya. I have been in the practice for upwards of only 3 months thus far, but I notice the positive changes in my more positive moods, confidence, and ability to attract others. I don't want to focus on these as the goal is to stay afloat of these, but I am mentioning them for the sake of explaining my background. While I wish to sublimate my sex energy, I do not wish to become self-realized at the present-I am very ambitious and would love to become a wealthy and successful businessman. I intend to use the money to both live a worry-free yet non-indulgent life and start an eye clinic to help children with retinal diseases and problems such as my little brother.

1) I wish to become popular in a particular culinary field, but I foolishly, having no guidance when younger, spread devastating rumors about a few influential (And successful) kids in the industry who were my age, about 5-6 years ago. Thinking about my past blunder and ruined friendships and opportunities haunt me to this day, although the ghosts have mitigated. Should I focus on improving my passion for cooking without chewing the past? I don't know what to do. I am also afraid that, although I have now taken to a quiet, contemplative, and non-reactive life in which I don't talk much about others, my past will ruin my future and rumors will be spread about me.

2) Although I am training myself in brahmacharya, I still care heavily about what others think of me. There is a devastating new disease on the planet in the form of social networking, and even when I post something on sites like Orkut, I am always concerned with how many people will like my posts, respond to them, etc. How does one truly develop the ability to not care? Isn't this something that should come from brahmacharya?

3) Although a physical brahmachari, I sometimes do view pornography to test my resolve and see if I can maintain equanimity of mind even when such images are present. It is quite hard though. How can I improve in this regard? I wish to channel my energies to eventually have enough money to open the eye clinic for poor children and pay off my father's crippling debts.

4) I have heard that brahamcharya improves memory. Is this really true? Does it improve IQ, and if so, by how much? Memory is highly correlated with IQ, and when we hear stories of Swami Vivekananda having amazing memory retention, it seems that his IQ must have increased as an Akhanda brahmachari, yes? Is this achievable? I wish to harness my ojas for this purpose instead of frivolously wasting them on napkins and flesh.

However, I am tremendously jealous and demotivated when I see natural geniuses-Those who naturally have high IQs and superbrain memories and don't need to follow the life of brahmacharya to obtain such benefits. It nearly deflates me. How should I deal with this and jealousy in general?

Your responses are what I am most eagerly awaiting. I cannot thank you enough for the calmness and stability you have taught me through past answers on this site.

ANSWER: 1. Strive in your primary Dharma (duty) which is to realize the self and work honestly in the career shown by destiny, with humility towards all. All that has to come will come. There is no cause for worry as long as one follows these two guidelines

2. Such a desire to receive compliments or a self-conscious concern about what others think of oneself is the play of the Ego. The Lord will eventually create life situations where the "I-ness' - Ego will be beaten into nothing. This will gradually negate it, making it humble and respectful to all. Snub the Ego and persevere with honest practice.

3. Viewing porn is the easiest way to debilitation in the physical, mental and finally karmic fronts. He who watches porn pushes himself into creating very foul karma, which will become the cause for various other kinds of sorrows, in all walks of life. The wise man stays clear of such activity by persevering in Sadhana to know the self. Go through each and every past answer on the methods required and adopt them meticulously.

4. To the extent one practices residing in the self, that many benefits follow. This is to be known through direct experience. The true Brahmachari eventually overcomes all debilities and shines with the light of Brahman - As an epitome of superior mental faculties.

It is not one's business to look at the world or judge it. Different Jiva-s achieve different things, based on their past & present karma. One should let go of comparison or judgement and first realize himself. That which has to come will come at the appropriate time, to the extent of one's destiny. It is not for us to think about the results. One's actions end at honest effort. This is the only duty and the correct way of conduct. He who treads such a path is not touched by happiness or sorrow. He stays in the realm of the self, in pure bliss, at the feet of the Lord.

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

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your response Dhananjay.

I am still not fully clear on the points you had mentioned. Could you please elaborate a bit more on my first, third, and fourth question?

The issue is that I cannot forget past blunders, such as ill-spited gossip that backfired. They have robbed me of me confidence and drive. I would do anything to go back and change it. But my wise elder friend, also a yogi who is seeking to realize the self, tells me that whatever happened was destined to happen and that I could have not avoided it because of my karma.

Is this true? Then how do we take responsibility for our own actions? It is very confusing and contradictory, is it not?

Also, is it OK for me to have wealth aspirations or power aspirations? For these, I feel that the ego is needed to drive you with self-confidence and power. If it is not needed, how can one succeed in the competitive business world, attract people, and achieve his goals (after all, the Vedas do stress the Purushartha of wealth)?

Lastly, are there people who have realized the self but are also practical and live in this world and achieve business success to fulfill their needs (open an eye clinic in my case, for others it may to support their parents, etc)?

I ask all this because while the advice you have given me is excellent, I do stress that I am a very young guy and I do wish to proceed in a path of brahmachari, but not necessarily renounce the world. Swami Sivananda specifically advised against this, as we do have duties to many people and we must experience various stages in life before proceeding to full renunciation, is it not?

1. Apply efforts in the career of your choice without attachment, and watch silently, unaffected by success or failure. With time, the course of destiny will gradually become known. There is no use worrying about the future, as one's right ends at honest effort. The outcome of an action is dependent on factors beyond one's control. Accept the will of Lord and be content with that which will be given.

2. A Jiva commits a mistake with the erroneous belief that such action will be beneficial. Depending on the strength of the seeds of such belief which are the result of Agnyana (ignorance), the invisible teacher called God gives it lessons of experience in the classroom called life. Suffering for its misdeeds, the Jiva realizes its mistake, not to repeat the same again. Thus it is made to rectify itself and take up the path of Dharma. Therefore, there is no need to worry about the past, once the lesson has been learnt.

Realizing this truth, the wise man neither ruminates over the past which is gone, nor worries about the future which is yet to come but focuses on the present with right conduct and efforts to realize the self. If this much is done, all things gradually fall into place.

3. Let go of the 'I' (Ego) which is assuming doership as regards its actions, which is concerning itself with responsibility, which is worrying about the outcome and which is strongly attached to the future. Do what is felt right at the given moment, to the extent of your ability, within the bounds of Dharma and be at peace. Things will happen in the way the higher power wants them to happen. It is not one's business to worry about the outcome. One's purview ends at right efforts.

4. It is a wrong notion that efforts for self-realization will soon culminate into that objective without fruition of desires. If one applies efforts to realize himself, with love & devotion to the Lord, that much wealth, power or other desires, within the realm of Dharma, which are destined in 'Prarabdha' will come at the appropriate time without doubt.

5. Efforts in the direction of self-realization will bring the highest possible practicality and success. The best possible outcome as regards all aspects of life will gradually blossom.

Even if you want to renounce the world, it will not happen until the higher power wills so. So let go of all these worries and do your Dharma as suggested. All that has to come will come without doubt, at the right time.

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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