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Celibacy/Abstinence/On Sadhana & its effects


QUESTION: Hi Dhananjay,

I am at a juncture of 7 months of unbroken brahmacharya currently and have a few pressing questions that I would like to raise.

First, I am noticing adverse mental and physical effects. I am feeling mentally tired (e.g. my outlook on everything this material world has to offer is growing dimmer and I begin to contemplate the very purpose of existing on this dreary worldly plane) and physically, I have not seen great strides in my cognitive ability or strength. While I do not expect these, the absence of such worries me that I am not engaging in the proper form of practice. Are these common occurrences after this period of practice (6 months to a year) and will they accordingly go away in due course with proper sadhana? I feel this will be of benefit to know for others aspiring sadhus as well.

Next, I have studied the difference between stula, linga, and karana sharira. Linga sharira is the mind, composed of the conscious and sub-conscious. Does the mind also consist of the ego? For me, the mind and ego are distinct-The ego is that entity which perceives to control this body, mind, etc. while the mind is simply the agent which conducts logical deductions, thinks through decisions, etc. I hope this is accurate. In addition, what is the jiva composed of, with regards to these three shariras? How much control does a jiva have over them?

Finally, I often despair that my ahamkara has not been silenced further to practice. Yesterday, one of my former acquaintances, who manipulated me and is a cunning fellow, launched a very successful small business and I foolishly felt pangs of jealousy. Rationalizing the impermanent nature of the leela vibhootam (play world in which we are) does not seem to alleviate the concern. Must one think, or simply do sadhana? Contemplation is useful but there seems to be a limit to its capability.

Finally, I would like to know if the following summary is accurate for an aspiring yogi: the right path is to engage in meaningful and moral conduct while performing duties of roles and doing that which one is inclined to do, without worrying about fruits, while being cognizant that desired material fruits will manifest in due course.

As an added question-Is it morally correct for the yogi to use his charisma from ojas transmutation toward attracting other people and charming them to succeed in business or consulting or other professions?

I do not know where this practice is taking me. After 6 months, I remain...confused. I try my best. I maintain brahmacharya. However, the pleasures of the material world still tempt me. I often wonder, "why should I pursue such a path when seeing no results when the sensual pleasures are right nearby" (of course, I will not indulge, but just giving you a quick glimpse of what the mind seems to think).


ANSWER: 1. Oscillations (both physical & mental) of various kinds are to be expected, for these concern the Ego and the body, which go through various experiences, on account of 'Prarabdha'. The Yogi should focus on Sadhana, transmute to the the best extent possible and remain silent, not getting taken over by these.

2. The mind is nothing but the representation of the Ego. Based on the past Vasana-s (tendencies) and Samskara-s (impressions) which make the Ego, the mind fluctuates accordingly, via inputs from external stimuli. The 'Karana Sharira' (causal sheath) is the final repository and source of these past seeds, and acts as a barrier between the mind and the Atman (self). As this sheath gradually dissolves over many years, decades and births of Sadhana, the mind comes that much closer to the Atman and eventually merges into it irreversibly. This is termed Self-Realization.

3. The 3 Sharira-s surround the Atman, whose consciousness, when apparently individualized through these leads to the concept of a 'Jiva' (separate entity). The Jiva has as much control as it is real (and therefore has no control in terms of the truth, the Jiva being an illusion).

4. One should do his Dharma righteously, with surrender to God, not asking anything for himself. The actions of such a man automatically align to righteousness and his actions are those of God (for he does not commence anything for personal gain). That which has to come will then come on its own accord.

5. Be patient and do the requisite Sadhana, without expectations. How long it takes is not one's concern. One's duty ends at effort.

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

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

QUESTION: Thank you, a few follow-ups:

1)If it is the case that the mind is the ego, how are enlightened yogis like Ramana Bhagawan and Swami Sivananda documented to have engaged in question-answer sessions with disciples and generally conduct themselves in life? The mind is needed for logical conduct, decision making, and so on for practical applications, is it not? Is it because they created an ego (mind) to interact in the worldly plane?

2)Is the Linga Sharira actually the mind? If not, what exactly is it? I understand that past vasanas and samskaras come from the karana sharira but does that mean that the linga sharira is a product of the karana sharira?

3) One question regarding practice itself: You have mentioned those who are initiated into brahmacharya are done so by divine decree. Why do people not ascribe breaks in brahmacharya to the will of the almighty? Is it not the case that whatever the almighty wills will happen, thus even breaks and abrahmacharya are condoned by him? How do I counter such refutations? The same goes for evil actions-If an aspirant is to commit harm to another jiva, is it not possible to rationalize such as the will of the almighty?
I wish to answer such a point and refute it decisively.

4) I spoke with a vedic pundit who told me that there are actually three worlds: leela vibhuti (the playful earth plane), an intermediate tier, and nitya vibhuti (The plane of the almighty). He claimed that when an aspirant is enlightened in this birth, he/she can only ascend to the intermediate tier but not nitya vibhuti. Is it not possible to do so? Also, can souls in nitya vibhuti come to leela vibhuti for benefiting mankind (e.g. the 10 avatars of vishnu?)

5) On this earthly plane, I am intensely lonely. I, although an aspirant, desire companionship. My spiritual guru of long deserted me cruelly as I found out that he was none other than a lustful man who abuses women. That broke my heart and made me question the viability of practice. My parents started getting involved in serious marital conflicts. Loss of mental and physical energy has depleted my parents. I feel as if I have no one but my young sister to look after. I pray to bhagawan ramana and swami sivananda but I do not know if they answer my calls. How should I support my sister and overcome this longing for earnest companionship?

1. Yes, Enlightened beings create a temporary Ego (Nirmana Chitta) and thereby a mind, so as to complete their pending responsibilities and work out the remaining Prarabdha. However, there is no personal identification with the same, these beings merely acting acting as extensions of the higher power.

2. Yes. The 'Linga Sharira' springs from the 'Karana Sharira', as a manifestation of the seeds present therein. However, the mind itself does not make the Linga Sharira. It is made of the Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (consciousness) & Ahamkara (Ego). The Linga Sharira in effect functions as the energy body.

3. When Sunlight passes through a red glass, the emergent light appears red. Who is responsible for the red light? The red glass or the Sun? While it is no doubt the Sun whose light is passing through the glass, resulting in red light, it must be realized that it is the redness of the glass which is responsible for the same and not the Sun, for his shining is not producing red light elsewhere. The same holds good as regards success or failure in Brahmacharya, at the individual level.

Breaks occur on account of factors not supporting Brahmacharya (residence in the self) within the Karana Sharira of the Jiva. The higher power is not asking one to commit a break. It is one's own inadequacy which is making one fail. These breaks are pointers for the aspirant to strive further in Sadhana, so as to overcome the seeds of the non-self. Hence, while everything occurs by the will of the Lord alone, the correction required is within and not outside.

4. To whom do these worlds concern? They concern the Ego which one is not. Therefore, deliberations and elaborations on such planes is only wasteful fancy. When one is yet to know who he is, of what use is it to talk about planes which concern that which one is not? Such theoretical, verbal indulgences/debates as regards other planes (which are illusory and unreal, just like the mind) are resorted to by the unenlightened and not by the knowers of truth, or those who are in the quest of the truth. First know who you are; you may later try and know about the other worlds (if they still exist)

5. Your self is the only companion which is of substance, being the truth. All external relationships are illusions, which will one day change and fade away. Therefore, persist with proper Sadhana to realize your self. You will eventually cross this ocean of Maya and set food in the land beyond sorrow. It is only by the Guru's grace that the urge for the truth within you is is motion. Realized saints (who are HIS manifestations) work in silence. Not hearing or seeing them does not amount to their absence. That which is to be done is being done, as a part of his plan.

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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