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Celibacy/Abstinence/Balance between Sadhana and work


Respected Sir,
     I have been trying to practice the life as described by you with pashimothanasana and dhanurasana , with bandha , pranayama and meditation. I am an engineering student.

1)   During the times of exams and when they are close by , what is to be given preference regular sadhana in early morning  or studying for exams with only little of meditation. Also every morning and at night I read some spiritual texts like bhagavad gita and gospel of  Sri Ramakrishna.  Dharma though is done for the rest of the day with little rest of 5 -10 minutes in between  study  hours. If I continue sadhana   or I only study with little time for meditation, my work would still not be complete. How does one decide the limit of work in such cases when work is indefinite. Even after efforts from my side the results have not been very good.  What should be my attitude towards this question if pressure comes from parents to not use too much time for activites other than studies.

2)   In morning time a lot of time (1 hr 20 min) goes in getting ready  by taking bath  and  other chores, after waking at 4 am. How can this time be reduced and what should be the state of mind in these activities. Also I encounter sometimes insects and mosquitoes in bathroom where they may die if I take my bath or wash my hands , what should my attitude be.

1. Are Sadhana and work different? This doubt has risen because you consider your 'Dharma' (worldly duty) and 'Sadhana' (efforts to realize the self) as separate. This is the wrong assumption to be got rid of. Your Dharma and Sadhana are one and the same. When you perform your Dharma honestly, as a service to God, there is automatic and perfect Brahmacharya which will eventually take you to the self. Similarly, when you perform honest Sadhana, also as a service to God, by letting go of your Ego, you smile in calm and peace and Brahmacharya again becomes automatic.

What is Sadhana? It is not merely performing some Yogic practices, waking up at 4.00 or following the tenets of Brahmacharya. Sadhana also includes doing justice to the role given to you as an actor by the director called God, without expectation & with complete surrender. Does an actor performing the role of say a warrior in the drama think about his home and family during his act? He forgets everything else for the period of the play and really behaves as a warrior, performing what is expected of him, in line with the script. As soon as the play is over, he comes 'out' of his character and becomes himself, unconnected with the character of the warrior.

You are now the actor, playing the role of a student, in the drama called life, with God as the director. You will think of nothing but the subject of study on hand, absorb its essence completely, become one with it (as the actor did while playing warrior) and perform perfectly in the exams. Just as the man who played the warrior was the same before and after the drama (but only behaved as a warrior in the play), you (the Atman) remain the same, whether the role displayed, is that of a student, a friend, an employee, a husband, a father or somebody else.

If this truth is realized, there is never any problem or confusion, whatever be one's role in the drama called life. Even when the roles change, there will not be any problem, just as a drama actor never gets affected in reality, whether the role he plays is that of a king or a beggar. One is always in Sadhana, holding on to the self, in the thought of the Lord, whatever be the nature of external work.

When it is time to study for the exams, immerse yourself in the related study completely, forgetting everything else, playing your role of a 'student' like a hero. Know your study to be a service to God and think of HIM whenever time permits. That itself is Sadhana, for it is the director (God) who has given you the role of 'student', and your duty is to please the director as a perfect student. Nothing more is required. Once the exams are over, you are 'out' of the character and revert to the regular Sadhana (Yogic practices) to realize the self. The same thing continues when you graduate and take up a job. You immerse yourself in work completely, playing the role of an 'employee' during work hours and come 'out' of the role whenever time permits or when the work day ends, back into the thought of the Lord.

2. To the extent possible, one should not intentionally hurt or injure any other living being. However, as long as this body exists, some being or the other gets knowingly or unknowingly hurt or injured. As long as the physical body is being fed with food, water and air, a few million beings are getting hurt, injured or losing their bodies in the process. This is completely unpreventable. The only way one can  completely prevent this is by realizing one's self and not taking rebirth in the physical world. Till then, one should strive the best to avoid conflict with another being, to the extent within one's capacity and develop a sense of love, friendliness & respect for all other fellow beings. Such an attitude of looking at all beings as not different from one's own self takes care of everything.

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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