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Celibacy/Abstinence/What is the extent of tolerance?


Dear Dhananjay,

I must ask you about a few queries which I truly believe are difficult to answer and bring me to an undesirable state of mind.

1) The realized sage constructs a temporary ego to interact on the worldly plane, you have mentioned. As a result, when this ego is activated, will he have pain, pleasure, preference, and desires? The presence of an ego creates a mind, which is bound to interact with the body and sense stimuli. Please be practical in answering this-i.e. I cannot believe that when a yogi operates on the physical plane he treats pain and pleasure of the body as the same. Imagine excruciating physical pain-No human with a mind would prefer this to a neutral state!

2) Swami Vivekananda often complained of severe pains and lack of sound sleep and had numerous illnesses. My point in query 1 stands.

3) What is the extent of a realized sage's patience? I feel THERE MUST be bounds. Swami Sivananda was said to be unruffled at slights made at him by others and treat dietetic simplicity with the most ease. This I CAN believe. However, if a realized sage witnesses a crazed lunatic fatally harming his loved ones or committing egregious acts of violence toward the sage himself, will he TRULY not harbor ill-will toward the wretched party? I struggle to believe this. Pain on the worldly plane is pain indeed, is it not?

4) Is the ego the entity which pops up like a thief when one insults it? Is it confidence and high self-esteem?

5) For now, I certainly have not gotten rid of the ego. In my daily interactions with individuals, how must a spiritual aspirant act? I believe that fostering high self-confidence and a strong core resistant to criticism is necessary. How must one take negative feedback from outside if it comes from an undesirable party (i.e. one who is morally depraved or lacking)?

1. To what extent does an actor playing the role of a suffering man suffer? Such is the involvement. One not in the state of realization cannot function in that manner with complete detachment, as regards the body & the mind.

2. Who experiences pain? It is the body & the mind identified consciousness. Even if there is an external indication or response to pain, through the body & senses, there is no internal involvement as regards the one who is residing within, as regards the realized soul.

3. When the one who experienced good will or ill-will no longer exists, who is there to experience the same? That which is willed by the higher power occurs through that body & mind even then, as at all other times. Situations touch it not.

4. Confidence or its lack of, self-esteem, pain-pleasure, happiness-sorrow and all other states of mind (which have no substance in terms of reality), are those which concern the Ego alone. The Atman (self) is not associated with any of these dualities, always being in its state of Ananda (Brahmic bliss of the cosmic being).

5. One should play his role as an actor, external appearing completely involved in the script as an actor does, yet in complete detachment internally, holding on to the Atmic state. When such forbearance is practiced in tandem with unbroken Sadhana, the Ego fragments and dissolves in the course of time, following which THAT alone remains.

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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