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Celibacy/Abstinence/Challenges in practice


Venerable sir,

For the past six years I have been practicing total abstinence (one year continuously) for religious reasons.  I am on guard against lustful thought and am vegetarian, but I am not a yogi or Hindu.  Strange chronic problems may be occurring, but I can't be sure whether my problems are related to my practice or separate.  My work and other demands prevent me from implementing all the advice an aspirant to brahmacharya ideally would follow.  As yours is one of the only discussions I've seen about my challenges, I'd like to know more about what you described in

and what Sri Swami Sivananda has written in

1. Why do you say "the Brahmachari must be very, very careful in avoiding more than necessary contact with members of the opposite sex in particular and people in general?"  What tends to happen (particularly with members of the same sex)?

2. Why do you say brahmacharya usually causes people not to have bulk or fat?  I've always been thin, but my BMI is now about 18 and winter is very hard for me.

3. By "downfall in the form of his semen deserting him," do you mean an involuntary emission during the day?

4. Assuming I maintain enough self-control not to touch myself or engage in sexual acts and I remain aware of my thoughts, what is the danger of drinking coffee while practicing complete abstinence?

5. When semen flows upwards, is it noticeable to people?  To me?  How?  Is there tightness in the pelvis or a changed mental state?

6. Sri Swami Sivananda says, "The semen dries up in those who practice Pranayama seriously."  Would this threaten my ability to conceive later, once I am married?

7. Is regular bladder or pelvic discomfort associated with brahmcharya?  Why?  Can it be avoided?

1. More than necessary contact with the opposite gender poses a bright chance for instigating the past Vasana-s & Samskara-s, which are still very alive within.

Through excessive talk, interaction and the company of members of the same gender, the tendency to boast, argue and indulge in frivolous discussions increases. This again becomes a detriment.

2. Brahmacharya restores the body to have as much healthy fat as required by that individual constitution and not more.

3. Both voluntary & involuntary.

4. Coffee, tea and other stimulants are preferably avoided in the early years of practice. Later, after much advancement, food does not pose much of a problem.

5. Semen does not flow upwards. It is transmuted into Ojas (subtle vital life energy), which inundates the entire system and manifests as Pranic power, which opens the higher Chakra-s

6. That occurs only in very advanced stages, after the Jiva is done with fathering responsibilities, if so destined. If one is destined to beget a child, it occurs. The Lord ensures that which has to happen, in the way required.

7. Brahmacharya relieves all forms of discomfort. Discomfort of the bladder, by itself, is not connected to the practice.

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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