Celibacy/Abstinence/Balance of Desires
I hope you don't mind me asking a few more questions. After hearing your guidance, I shall vow to pursue my sadhana and questions on my own for a few months before asking you further questions. I will stay quiet and contemplate further questions on my own, but knowing the answers to these will be invaluable for my further progress in brahmacharya so kindly show me the right path.
1) Although I realize the false nature of the body, mind, and ego, I nevertheless do also realize the importance of having a successful financial life since it is my duty to support my parents and my desire to perform karma yoga by opening up scholarship centers for poor youth across the world. I, of course, would also like to experience material comforts to some extent since that is the only way desire for the sensual world can be fully annihilated.
When pondering this question and the need for success in one's life, I automatically desire a female companion who will help me with my daily chores around the house, support me in my job endeavors, yet will also understand my desire to maintain brahmacharya. I have such a girl in mind. What is the proper age to pursue this, if it is correct? If not, how does one overcome the innate human longing for support and lack of loneliness? Lastly, it is even feasible to pursue this life of self-restraint if one is with a female?
Thinking of this girl pulls my heartstrings; it ensnares me in the kind of trap that every aspirant must desperately avoid; yet I am trapped by the FEAR that I will lose this individual. Yes, I understand this is a pathetic state of mind to be in given my quest to realize the self yet I also realize that I will need someone who is smart, intelligent, and supportive as a companion.
2) The next issue is that as a novice of the yogic path, I wish to connect with similar practitioners in order to motivate myself to overcome the false and fleeting sense pleasures which the Western world so blatantly promotes. However, I have not been able to find such a community. There seem to be no individuals in America my age who even desire to pursue this path. Shall I abandon such concerns without fear and confidently pursue sadhana on my own?
3) I follow yoga sadhana every day in the morning. During the phases following pranayama and other breath control exercises, I meditate quietly on God, who I take to be the supreme power and inexorable laws of the universe. Is this a proper perspective or must one meditate on a formless, amorphous entity without ascribing any characteristics to it? I am confused by why idol worship (through various types of idols such as mahavishnu, shiva, durga, etc. is a common facet of Hinduism given that the supreme intangible paramatman is one and the same, unable to be captured by such tangible depictions.
4) With regards to material success, success in brahmacharya, and success in finding a suitable companion as addressed in the first bullet (and if this is, in fact, a correct goal to even consider), would the correct path be to ask for the lord's embrace and not expect any results?
I ask for your blessings after hearing your advice for the following as I undertake this next portion of my journey to realize the self, in which I will simply stay quiet and contemplate my brahmacharya on my own. I will not ask questions during the period and will, with the grace of the Lord, reach out to you once more after this period.
1. Those wishing companionship should do so within the bounds of 'Holy Wedlock'. As soon as one starts earning, one is free to marry. Marriage does not prove an impediment to self-realization, when the urge for liberation is strong and genuine.
He who practices unbroken Brahmacharya till marriage, and continues to do so after the birth of a child, progresses in the path of realization without hindrance. Material comforts, wealth and all other things come to the Yogi who strives in the path of the truth with complete surrender. Brahmacharya and Yoga, which bestow the knowledge of the self itself also give wealth and material comforts at the destined time, if one so wishes. Through unbroken Brahmacharya to realize the self, that which one wishes (in the worldly plane as well) is also granted. One should be patient with unconditional devotion to God, always fixed to unwavering practice, whatever be the obstacles.
2. The path is to be tread alone.
3. One should meditate on that which is appealing, be it God in form or without form (as the formless Supreme, within which rests the formless self).
4. Simply persevere in Sadhana, asking nothing in return from HIM, full of love for HIM. All desires, including a suitable partner, will be granted at the right time.
ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)