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Celibacy/Abstinence/Desire for Liberation, Women's Makeup


Dear Sir,

I am practicing the following attitude towards brahmacharaya:

1.) Whenever I see a woman who appears beautiful in my mind, I remind myself of the corpse of a woman, and tell myself immediately that she doesn't exist, as a woman does not exist in the future, past and present, but only appears in the present. Her beauty is unreal. It does not exist. It is impermanent.

I also remind myself with the corpse of the woman, to remind myself of what she will be in the future, and that the temporary, minute beauty I see is a reflection of the permanent beauty of brahman or atman.

Moreover, if women look at me, I tell myself that my body also does not exist, and that the beauty of my skin and my physique does not exist. It is ephemeral. The beauty of youth will disappear is only a reflection of the atman within.

However, if a woman wears makeup, dresses herself with elaborate perfumes and other articles that make her body and face appear more "beautiful," (and I can notice this), what should be my attitude? Where does that perceived beauty come from in that case? Is it a reflection of Brahman?

2.) I have read that in order to have complete self surrender, one must give up the desire for liberation itself, and completely act as an instrument of the lord, and perform all sadhana as a service to him, not expecting anything in return, including spiritual progress. However, you have mentioned that the desire for liberation, if intensified, will result in self surrender. However, Ramana Maharishi, says the desire for liberation must also be given up. Please explain this sir. Should I expect spiritual progress from the Lord? Should I expect eventual liberation? Not in this lifetime, but liberation eventually?

Thank You

1. External makeup, clothes or other cosmetic enhancements are only devices used to reinforce the effect of 'Maya' (cosmic illusion). The resulting, apparent beauty, is an illusion similar to that performed by a magician and not real. Minus these, the skin appears very ordinary. Minus the skin, the human body is the equivalent of a slaughtered carcass hung at the butcher's, with foul smelling blood, fat, flesh, bones, bodily secretions, urine & excreta.

If proper Vichara (inquiry) be done, it becomes clear that the very objective of external makeup and beautification is to hide this foulness within. To hide the foul smell emanating from the body, deodorants and perfumes are resorted to. The very nature of the body is foul smelling, as observed in the morning. This is its true state. Much effort is applied to clean it, freshen it and beautify it through the day. But again, by the end of the day, the foulness surfaces again, for reality cannot be hidden with external coatings. The process is constantly repeated to maintain the illusion. There is nothing attractive there in terms of reality. The Yogi who realizes this completely does not get the mind to savor the body of the opposite sex.

2. Yes, the desire for liberation will also have to be eventually given up, for who desires liberation? It is the Ego. The Atman (pure self) is always realized and always liberated and hence has no desire, including that for liberation. It is complete and content to infinity.

However, as long as consciousness identifies with the Body/Ego and the Ego has not been annulled with the requisite Sadhana (as in the case of the beginner aspirant who is yet to realize the self), the desire for liberation can be used to propel and motivate oneself. It can be used as a tool to kill the Ego.

This is like using a fire to extinguish itself. When fire is not fed with more wood, it burns the existing wood and eventually douses itself completely, upon conversion of all wood into ash. It may be said that the fire has consumed wood, which was acting as the fuel has killed itself in the process. The Ego is the fire, past Samskara-s are the wood and the resulting ash represents the extinguished Ego, following which the empty space free from fire represents realization.

When proper Sadhana to realize the self is carried out with surrender to the Supreme, one will eventually reach the stage where even the desire for liberation goes away by itself, just as the fire disappeared on its own upon combustion of wood. It is a natural and automatic process in case of the genuine Yogi.

Do your duty (through Sadhana to realize the self) and be quiet, expecting nothing in return, accepting that which comes on its own. Everything else will be taken care of.

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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