Brahmacharya – About Celibacy

This indicates a complete absence of sex desire. It is held with very high esteem in the yoga texts. For example. it is described in the Mats)’a pttrana as the highest austerity. Sex urge is one of the very strong urges. It causes great uneasiness whenever it remains unfulfilled.It is perhaps a need which is next in importance only to the vital needs of air, water and food. Desire for sex enjoyment equally overtakes the laymen as well as the learned. Celibacy involves absence not of the sex act alone, but rather a total absence of any thoughts about sex also. It may be said to indicate a complete cessation of what may be called the ‘sex complex’. This sex complex has been described in the Katharudropanishad by saying that the sex act has eight aspects, all of which must be avoided by an aspirant of yoga.

This means that abandoning merely the physical act of sex does not serve any useful purpose, because having an urge to watch the members of the opposite sex, or to talk to them whenever an opportunity arises, or to go on thinking about them by engaging the mind in thoughts concerning them, is also often observed to create disturbance and tension in one’s mind. But it is a fact of experience that it is almost impossible for an average human individual to keep away sex-enjoyment for all times. In religious literature we find many stories of great rishis (who wanted to obtain the title of Indra), who were deceived and distracted from the rigorous discipline necessary for reaching their goal, when Indra sent one or more beautiful damsels to allure them. It is said in the Manusmriti that women can allure the ignorant as well as the highly educated, and throw them away from the path of mukti. It is, therefore, that the individual who can keep the sex urge well under control, has been praised highly in traditional texts.

It may be argued that an average individual need not abandon sex altogether. It is not a sane attitude to condemn sex as something bad or harmful. Sex has a very important place in the life of an individual, and it should not be denied its proper place. But the overwhelming effect of sex on the minds of modern youth,caused by the world of cinema and advertisement, is definitely posing a serious problem today. Proper training concerning the working of sex, and proper social atmosphere in which the sex urge can be modified by some other useful and strong urge, are the two things which will help a great deal in solving the tremendous problems of sex in the life of modern youth.

A jivanmukta completely overcomes all passions and desires, and with them, the sex urge, too. He is ever free as described by Jnanadeo, (Anubhavamrita) of any tension or disturbance produced by sex.But all other students of yoga. have to struggle with themselves to greater or smaller extent, according to the extent of vairagya in their minds, with a view to overcome the disturbance created by the sex urge. Brahmacharya is no doubt a very arduous but paying aspect of vairagya. As declared by patanjali (Yoga Sutra) it increases tremendously the mental strength (veerya) of an individual which is very useful in silencing the mind.