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How can I maintain undistracted brahmacarya on the spiritual path?

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How can I maintain undistracted brahmacarya on the spiritual path?

Discourse Podcast

 

Shri Sriraag asked: Namaste Swamiji, I have been following some sadhana for few years now with a resultant experience of ananda. My mind has been vacillating with the desire to follow brahmacharya throughout my life (I am 23 years old now). While I have to admit that I have failed in keeping up this ideal in the past year, I wish to regain my purity somehow and keep my mind on the Divine throughout my life.

Kindly give your guidance regarding effective means of maintain brahmacharya and not getting distracted on the path to God. Deepest gratitude for answering our questions. Pranaam. Sriraag

Swami replied: Sage Narada asked God Brahma “Who is the unshaken celibate (Brahmachaarii) in this world?”. God Brahma replied that Shri Krishna is such a celibate. How is this possible, when Krishna had married one thousand six hundred princesses?

A Brahmachaarii is commonly understood to be a celibate. Celibacy only means the avoidance of sex. But the actual meaning of Brahmacharya is far beyond celibacy. The correct meaning of the word Brahmacharya can be derived in two ways. The first way is Brahmanah Vedasya charyaa Jnaanam iti. We split the word Brahmacharya into brahma and charya. Here, the word Brahma is taken to mean the Veda. Brahma or Brahman can be used to indicate anything that is the ‘greatest’ in its category. The Veda being the greatest among scriptures has been said to be Brahma in the Gita (Brahmaakshaara samudbhavam). Charyaa means movement. But in Sanskrit, verbs indicating movement also mean knowledge (Gatyarthaanaam dhaatuunaam jnaanaarthakatvaat). So here, Charyaa means possessing the true spiritual knowledge. Now putting the meanings of brahma and charyaa together, the meaning of Brahmacharya is acquiring and subsequently possessing spiritual knowledge.

The second way of deriving the meaning of the word Brahmacharya is Brahmanah paramaatmanah charyaa Kriyaatmakasevaa Jnaana prachaararuupena iti. Here Brahma means God. Charyaa means practical service by propagating true spiritual knowledge. So, Brahmacharya means serving God by propagating true spiritual knowledge. Krishna was a Brahmachaarii based on both the above definitions of the word Brahmacharya. He possessed true spiritual knowledge and He also propagated it through the Gita. Since the Gita is the best spiritual knowledge, Krishna is called the real unshaken celibate (Brahmachaarii).

It is a misunderstanding to think that avoiding sex is Brahmacharya. Eating food, drinking water, sex and sleep are the biological needs of the material body, which have no connection with real Brahmacharya. As long as the biological needs are met without disturbing basic rules of justice (pravrutti), Brahmacharya is unrelated to these biological needs. If one is engaged in God’s work, such a devotee is the real celibate. Thus, we should understand the true meaning of the terms used in spiritual knowledge and proceed practically on the correct path in our spiritual journey.

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