Celibacy/Abstinence/Dealing with others


Dear Dhananjay,

The focus of the glorious practice of brahmacharya is to irreversibly realize that one is the atman and that one alone is real. A few queries as I embark upon my 9th month of unbroken celibacy with the grace of the almighty and the soul who realized him, Swami Sivananda.

1) Attachment to the body or feeding the sense pleasures is said to be something to be avoided. I understand this and accordingly try to limit my palate a few times per week (by eating plain curd rice with little or no side dishes). However, sometimes one feels compelled to treat the body because the body is like a vehicle-impermanent, yes, but nevertheless requiring maintenance to be useful for a long life, which is also why we do yoga asanas and such. Is it wrong to satisfy cravings for certain sugary foods or tasty foods once in a while? Is it wrong to receive a massage after a long football match which leaves one's body enervated? Is it wrong to take a strong dose of headaches tablets when one has a cold? I do not know the right perspective to take with the following.

2) I have in the past mentioned to you of one fellow, a cunning genius with malintent, who has bad-mouthed me to my community. I became aware that this nonsense has only continued to spread of late and it is plaguing all my relations. What is my duty here? Must I explain to others about him? I fear that will only backfire as he is much more cunning and intelligent and will leverage these statements into advantage. At the same time, quietude has seemed to do nothing. In the real world, doing one's duty and remaining quiet seem to be two different things. Kindly advise.

3) A second fellow I know of is "oily"-He recognizes that I understand people well and has consequently, out of jealousy and insecurity, attempted to make me look foolish on various occasions. Once again, I wonder whether it would be advisable for an aspiring sadhu to calmly teach him or tell others about him, or remain quiet and hope all this passes by?

4) I often feel that every event in my life has shown me that my destiny is to eventually be a full urdhvareta yogi. I have realized that the women body is nothing more than a mass of decaying flesh due to my childhood interests in studying anatomy. Various cunning geniuses have attempted to seclude me (As mentioned above) or make disparaging statements about me. My niece, who had so long lectured me on brahmacharya, ran away a few weeks ago to live a householder life in an illicit relationship with another man.

5) Kindly explain why ONE soul should go through so much torture? Sometimes I want to cry. I have no true friends because people sense that I merely play roles and do not get attached. Cunning folks have attempted to seclude me. All I have left are a tenuous promise to Swami Sivananda and faith that following this path will lead to bliss. But will it? The doubts linger. I look at others partying. I look at those in intimate relationships. Etc.

How can one strengthen one's faith to be as strong a rock, impervious to doubts? I constantly doubt and doubt. All I have are your answers on this forum and Swami Sivananda and Krishnananda's teachings. I don't trust many other yogis because many are charlatans.

Awaiting your response with much gratitude.


1. There is no restriction as regards eating the food one likes, as long as it is done in moderation and not extremes.

Massage by itself is not advisable to the beginner as there is an intermingling of Prana-s in the process. If taken, it should be limited, under hygienic conditions and only from a member of the same gender. It should never be taken from the opposite gender.

When it becomes unbearable to bear a cold or the like, one will take recourse to some form of medication automatically. It is a natural process.

2. Simply hold on to your Sadhana, do your duty and be quiet. All things will get tided over.

3. To be quiet, calm and do ones Dharma cheerfully is what is required. Jealousy concerns the one who indulges in it and who will reap the resultant karma. Why should you worry about it? Be quiet and be in peace.

4. One should do his Sadhana with surrender to the Lord and be quiet, accepting that which comes in destiny. What others do should not be one's concern.

5. To make one realize that the Atman (self) is the only truth & the only friend, this Leela is being enacted. All that which is perceived by the senses and conceived by the mind is unreal and will hence fade away one day.

It is natural for the Yogi to be put in harsh conditions, in the course of destiny, so as to make him realize the truth. Suffering is the way to realization. To the one who perseveres, light eventually shines at the end of the dark tunnel, leading to residence in the bliss of the self. One need not worry, doubt or fear. Those who surrender to HIM completely, are always taken care of.

Do the suggested Sadhana with even more zest and commitment and never deviate. The time will come when there will be no doubts, fears or worries, further to merger in the Atman (self). That strength is without a second and complete.

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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