Celibacy/Abstinence/Queries after 2 months of contemplation
QUESTION: Dear Dhananjay,
You will remember that two months ago, I promised to contemplate for a few months without asking questions and revert to you.
Over this period of time, I have experienced highs and lows, mentally and physically, although I have not broken physical brahmacharya and have also (nearly) maintained full mental brahmacharya.
I have a few queries following this period that I would like to ask you.
First, is it necessarily the case that a pure brahmachari will becoming fully courageous and not experience fear? The great Swami Vivekananda was a proponent of boldness and fearlessness and I assume brahmacharya was the key factor; for, when one learns the truth about the ultimate pervading reality and the transience of this material world and physical body, there is truly nothing to fear and fear simply becomes a byproduct of the ego. However, I still feel resentment and fear when I view death. To build up my mental strength and overcome fear, I have seen pictures of mummies and other bodies but my efforts at conquering fear are futile. I am haunted by these images. Why should I be concerned with such false images? One does not get disturbed upon viewing the corpse of another animal, such as an elephant. Does this signify some sort of impropriety or inadequacy in brahmacharya practice? How can I tame all fears?
Next, I have noticed that as I have practiced brahmacharya for longer and longer (it is now 6 months, but it feels like much longer; I await for the day when it becomes natural) I have started to care less and less about my education, prestige, achievement, etc. While I work hard in a field that I am naturally inclined to work at, my ego is not as hurt or wounded when I receive criticism or when I learn about those who are smarter or more successful than me. Is this a normal development? Will it further continue?
Third, despite only 6 months elapsing, I have been prone to more and more mental lapses of brahmacharya of late. I do not want my will power to dry up. Although I fully realize the false nature of the world, I ever more desire companionship and an intimate relationship (not necessarily physical) with a female. Do I have to supplement my daily pranayama/nadi shodana/dhyana practices or is there some other factor at work? How difficult it is to fully eradicate lust! When one thinks it is disposed of it pops up, just as the satisfied gardener returns to see weeds each morning!
Fourth, why is it true that worldly satisfaction (health, money, etc.) come to the true brahmachari? In this day and age, filled with feminist women who do not respect men, is it possible to find a suitable partner who will understand that I need companionship but not a physical relationship and also wishes to progress in this path?
Lastly, I know that engaging in activity for procreation is within brahmacharic bounds. I also believe that one must proceed through the Varnashrama system to truly become a Yogi; unless a Jiva has tremendous spiritual imprints from the previous birth, most Jivas will need to experience worldly pleasures-artha and kama-in order to fully renounce them. Else, cravings may occur during the stages of Vanaprastha and Sannyasin, which is highly detrimental. For an individual who does not wish to have children, is it acceptable to engage in physical romantic activity for a short while (such as 9 months to a year) such that future cravings do not arise? Only difference here is that children are not produced.
With the pursuit of brahmacharya, does one eventually gain 'clarity' in life? I am not referring to job satisfaction, relationship/family satisfaction, or anything else like that. Rather, I am referring to universal understanding and being comfortable with one's position and role in this world. As a brahmachari I attempt to play all my roles displaying external emotion and effort but staying in the bounds of the self on the inside, not letting external results affect me. However, I sometimes still find myself doubting why I pursue this path, why I am in this universe, how the human race will continue in this Yuga, and so on and so forth.
If I could ever have a glimpse of the supreme truth, the Atman, my worries would be put to rest. I will dedicate myself in this manner and proceed.
I realize this is a very long message, but I had much to share with you after several months of sadhana and contemplation.
ANSWER: 1. When one resides in the self as the self, irreversibly, it is permanent and natural Brahmacharya. Then there will no longer be any fear. Such residence comes upon realizing the self.
3. Hold on to the suggested Sadhana till the one who lusts is fully decimated.
4. The concept of time and age does not exist in reality. That which is due comes, at the right time, by HIS grace, be it a life partner or other things.
5. What is termed romance is also sexual activity. Sexual activity is valid within procreative objectives only, with one's lawful spouse, for the one who is in the quest of the self.
6. Everything will become clear, with time, in the case of one who holds on to regular and unbroken Sadhana, with surrender to the Lord. That which is to be known will then be known.
Continue the efforts patiently, without expectation and desire. One's right ends at effort. The results, HE gives, when the efforts becomes ripe.
ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: I will definitely continue the efforts.
A few minor points, which are somewhat troublesome:
I do not know why, but I sometimes get a severe, unexplainable craving to enjoy the male organ of reproduction. I am confused and bewildered when this craving arises and have struggled to vanquish it for months, to no avail. Is this the effort of past samskaras? The main object of lust that I have focused on vanishing is women, for it is toward them that my natural biological orientation goes, but I cannot explain this other development. I will do Hanuman japa to hopefully eradicate it in full. I am very disturbed by this.
In addition, I would like to know if it is permissible to do daily meditation and dhyana with open eyes. I am a naturally paranoid person and I have mental hallucinations. For example, when I close my eyes I think there is a corpse or deadly person next to me. I am always suspicious of closed doors and cannot sleep peacefully unless a family member is nearby. How can such a pathetic, fickle state of mind be resolved? Oh Dhananjay, such problems must be rectified immediately if I am to further progress on this thorny path, as Swami Sivananda puts it. For without absolute strength of will and thought to resist such small temptations, how can once resist an overwhelming wave of lust or passion?
With regular and unbroken Sadhana, all these issues which are the result of past Samskara-s will gradually dissolve. If Asana, Bandha, Nadi Shodhana and Pranayama are practiced rightly, the mind will naturally go blank, and becomes conducive for merger into the self. Sit blank for a minute, with the eyes open [without any other thought] and eventually close the eyes for meditation on completing Pranayama.
ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)