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Celibacy/Abstinence/Behavior of the Enlightened Sage


QUESTION: One follow-up question from my previous correspondence:

It is said and known that Yogis pursue the path of Yoga and self-realization for it leads to eternal bliss, as opposed to the fleeting, transient bliss of the sense world.

But here is my doubt-In the case of a Yogi, who is feeling the bliss? When all is said and done, if there is one who still feels the bliss, is the Ego (ahamkara) not still present?

Likewise, Swami Sivananda was known to be a gourmand and tremendously enjoyed pickles! (As evidenced in this video of the great jiva, whom I sincerely respect:

Who is enjoying the pickles?

Likewise, Swami Vivekananda was a perennial chain smoker and meat consumer. I do not judge individual jivas, but in the case of those who are self-realized, how is it possible to be addicted to something like pickles or cigarettes when the one who is capable of enjoying is gone?

Or is it the case that when a yogi lives in the material plane he will experience the addictions of a common man?


Swami Sivananda and other realized sages often had foot-cleansing ceremonies (Pada Puja) done by their disciples. Would an enlightened individual not have reprimanded such rituals and celebrations given the false and fleeting nature of the body?


ANSWER: 1. The aim of Yoga is to realize the self and reside there permanently, as pure being (Atman). This alone is the complete reality. Bliss is not the objective of Yoga. Bliss is a byproduct of the Atmic state. 'Atma Sakshatkara' (Enlightenment) is truth, pure existence and eternal bliss, free from suffering forever.

The one who experiences bliss is the Ego. That occurs to the Yogi, for example in the state of 'Savikalpa Samadhi'. Here the Ego is still alive and there is still the seer, seeing and the seen. Hence that state is not permanent (for these three parameters eventually vary, are transient and therefore impermanent, unlike the 'Brahmi-sthiti' [state of the self, which is unchanging, eternal and the only truth])

As long as the one who desires bliss remains, it is not Enlightenment, for, after Enlightenment, there is none to desire bliss as well. The seeker of bliss, bliss and enjoying the bliss all merge into the Atman after Enlightenment. What then remains? What is the use if there is none to seek or enjoy bliss is a question which one may ask. In reply, it is to be stated that it was the Ego-identified consciousness, which, being unaware of its real state (as the Atman), assumed itself to be the individual Ego and therefore constantly sought bliss (the state of the Ego being suffering). Further to complete dissolution of the individual Ego, consciousness identifies itself with itself (as the Atman, which itself is truth-being-bliss) and therefore does not seek bliss.

2. There are two kinds of 'Vasana-s' (tendencies carried forward from previous existences). One is 'Bandha Vasana' and the other is 'Bhoga Vasana'. Bandha Vasana-s are those innate tendencies which act as impediments to realization of the self (ex. the desire for recreational sex, tendency for jealousy, greed etc.) A Yogi cannot attain self-realization as long as Bandha Vasana-s exist. They are to be completely burnt through Sadhana.

Bhoga Vasana-s are innate tendencies which do not act a impediments to realization of the self. A Yogi before Enlightenment may have preference for salty food, while in another Yogi, the preference may be for sweet food. Further to realization, both the Yogi-s become completely detached from all kinds of sense enjoyment (the sense of taste also being one). However, the 'Prarabdha karma' (of which the Bhoga Vasana is a part), which remains even after Enlightenment, till the body exists is still working out. Hence that experience which is a part of such Bhoga Vasana will still be externally seen through the body of the Yogi, as though real, (though the Yogi remains completely detached and unconcerned with the experience, be it pleasant or unpleasant).

An example for Bhoga Vasana of material luxury and wealth is King Janaka. Janaka Maharaja attained complete Enlightenment and was a Jivanmukta. Yet, his past karma was such that a life of immense riches and luxury was a part of the Prarabdha. Prarabdha, be it pleasant or unpleasant cannot be sidestepped. Hence the body was subjected to a life of luxury externally, while in reality, he did not differentiate the least between a piece of gold and a lump of earth. Internally, he was completely detached, though externally displaying the demeanor of a king.

3. The actions and tendencies of a man prior to taking up the path of Enlightenment are not of any value, however noted the people may later become.

4. The realized soul does not have any addictions, for there is none to be addicted. Those who are addicted or have some desire are not realized. However, those Bhoga Vasana-s which might make one appear as having some preference, do not interfere with residence in the self, in case of the realized sage. A common man looking at such a sage might feel the reverse; but the truth remains that the Enlightened soul looks at pleasant and unpleasant experiences with equal indifference, though, externally, it may appear otherwise.

It is to be known that such an external display is only the result of past Prarabdha which dictates the presence of such an experience by the body and the created Ego (manifest to the world) and not one carried out seriously through the senses, as in case of the unenlightened Jiva.

5. Who is Enlightened and who is not is a question to be answered through direct experience, after one experiences Enlightenment himself and not before. The Enlightened being neither accepts nor rejects, for there is none to do so on a serious note. He merely carries out his job as an actor, in the drama of the Lord, doing that which is required, as a mere extension of the will of the Almighty. He is completely dissociated and unattached to happenings and non-happenings, be they pleasant or unpleasant.

ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your replies. I am clear now.

The one part you did not address was Pada Puja and why self-realized saints experience it. Is it that this a role they should play? Do their students derive happiness from washing the guru's feet? What is the rationale? Would an enlightened, having the least regard for the body, not condemn such displays of worship?

1. An Enlightened being does not want anything, be it material or some other thing, for there is no one to want it. Those who expect something or desire something at the personal level from another are not Enlightened.

2. This having being said, Enlightened beings create a 'Nirmana Chitta' (constructed Ego), so as to complete the Prarabdha as regards the world, which may involve giving instruction to disciples or say some actions for the welfare of the society.

Why is an Ego constructed after destruction of the personal Ego through self-realization? A temporary mind is to be created, if the Sage has to interact with others at the physical or mental plane, for, in his true Atmic state, there is no mind, no world and only silence. The body of the sage who is in that Atmic state (Samadhi) becomes dead to the world, silent, immobile and uncommunicative.

So, to aid the objective of the remaining Prarabdha, realized beings create one or more temporary Ego's, which then act as mediums of communication. When the remaining Prarabdha works out through such a constructed mind and body, it appears as though there is still someone with a mind and individuality, while there is really none.

3. As stated, the realized being does not want anything, including worship from disciples. So such sages do not encourage people offering worship to their physical form. However, if it is in the Prarabdha that the body should undergo the experience of worship from a few disciples, the same cannot be sidestepped. The sage remains a mute witness to the experience, without the least reaction from within.

If there is the least want or desire from within, for receipt of such worship from a disciple, then the person is not Enlightened.

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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