In a single word, the Brahmachari who perseveres long enough to tip the balance in their favor as regards to breaking even their negative karma succeeds in continuous celibacy. The purity that comes with honest efforts, consistency, perseverance, and reverence to this mode of life enables the celibate to reach higher and higher states of purity, making celibacy longer and longer until it becomes lifelong. Negative karma leading to impurity may take more than one life to eliminate, making it the final reason for the achievement or non-achievement of celibacy.
The reason behind this is straightforward. Every time we engage in virtuous or sinful activity, whether in thought, word, or deed, we etch karma into our account. This storehouse of positive and negative karma is stored in our causal body or the “Karana sharira.” Each action we perform produces a “Samskaara” or mark, which in turn produces “Vaasanas” or tendencies.
For instance, suppose a man has frequently engaged in sexual activity for recreation, strongly attached to the concept of sex over many past lives. In that case, a strong “Samskaara” for the desire to have sex gets etched into his “Karana sharira.” This strongly etched Samskaara then develops into a “Vaasana” or tendency that pulls and attracts him to any object related to sexuality. If he is unmindful of its dangers and takes no efforts to curtail this tendency, he slips deeper and deeper into sin as the tendency gets stronger and stronger. With the accumulation of such tendencies over many lives, the “Samskaara” becomes so strong that it almost appears to be a part of his nature.
This is the case for most people who claim that sex is their birthright to pleasure and a human need. In reality, sexual pleasure is entirely unreal, not the real nature of the soul, which is pure and clear. Sexual need shows ignorance etched in the person, a trick of the mind. This is where celibacy comes as a cure. Through continuous and honest celibacy, a person can gain freedom from the “Devil” called sexuality.
Achieving Celibacy: Techniques and Attitudes
The key to achieving celibacy is developing intense faith and devotion to God, combined with consistent self-contemplation and prayer for divine guidance towards a state of dispassion towards the world. As Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-Gita, the saint of steady wisdom is “in the world, yet out of it.” A celibate yogi engages in efficient action without attachment to the results, thereby preventing ego from interfering with their achievements.
To summarize, giving your best effort to your work without being affected by the results is crucial. Avoid engaging in sexually-laced talk or humor, and develop an attitude of reserve and brevity, coupled with politeness towards women. A courteous and polite man may initially surprise others, but over time, they will earn respect.
To achieve Brahmacharya, the state of celibacy, one must learn to detach from the sexual sensations. Here are some useful methods to help you achieve this:
- Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, such as yoga or exercise. This will convert sexual energy into health and strength, which will, in turn, sublimate the portion of semen meant for physical nourishment.
- Keep your mind busy with constructive and intellectual activities to prevent your mind from wandering onto objects of the senses.
- Practice spiritual Sadhana, which includes prayer, meditation, and pranayama. Honest and sincere prayers to God will help you overcome the onslaught of the senses and become a true Brahmachari.
- Avoid consuming stimulant foods such as onion and garlic. Stay away from alcohol, tobacco, and other addictive substances.
- Rise early and perform yoga and meditation. Keep your thoughts pure throughout the day. If you experience any lustful thoughts, redirect your mind to productive activities to prevent them from growing. Avoid the company of those who do not support this way of life. Remember that Brahmacharya must be practiced in thought, word, and deed to bear fruitful results.
- If you find yourself falling prey to masturbation or sex, take a challenge to abstain for 15 days. Once you succeed, increase this limit to 20 days, then one month, and so on. After practicing absolute Brahmacharya for over three months, you will experience little pleasure or pain during ejaculation. This will help you develop a distaste for losing your semen.
With honest efforts, practice, and devotion to God, success can be achieved. Increase the period of abstinence with every passing day, and within a year, you can make significant progress.