The start of Semen Retention or Brahmacharya can bring about a range of physical and emotional responses in some individuals, such as an increase in sexual desire, anger, irritability, depression, mood swings, and wet dreams, as well as changes in hunger and thirst. These withdrawal symptoms are a natural reaction by the body and mind to a significant change in routine, whether internal or external.
An example of this kind of reaction can be seen in the brief fever that occurs after receiving a vaccine. The purpose of the vaccine is to build immunity against a specific disease. When a person is given, for example, an anti-typhoid injection, the body reacts to the foreign matter in the bloodstream by producing antibodies, which can cause a fever for a day or two. This fever is the body’s way of fighting the foreign matter and developing immunity.
Similarly, starting an exercise or sport can result in muscular pain. If a person begins sprinting, for instance, they may experience intense pain in their leg muscles the next day. Although exercise and sprinting are beneficial activities that strengthen the muscles, the sudden and intense stress on the leg muscles causes them to react with pain. However, continuing to sprint regularly will acclimate the muscles to the new routine, and the pain will eventually subside.
It is important to note that these withdrawal symptoms are normal and not a cause for concern. The practice of Brahmacharya is no different. However, in this case, the reactions occur at multiple levels: the physical, mental, karmic levels and these reactions are most often based on years of past activities and tendencies, sometimes even dating back to many past lives in the human and animal forms. So, it really isn’t surprising to find people taking more time to come to terms with the drastic change in thinking and attitude that Brahmacharya requires. Some people find an increase in sexual urge, anger, irritability, depression, and mood swings at the start of Brahmacharya while others have more frequent wet dreams, increased hunger, lack of hunger or thirst, etc. to name a few.
These are only indications that the body, mind, and psyche is trying to adjust to the new lifestyle and settle into harmony. The magnitude of these reactions varies from person to person and depends on the mental, physical, and karmic levels of evolution in the person. A person who was less sexed, less aggressive, and more spiritual even before the start of Brahmacharya might show lesser reactions than a person who is the opposite. The honest and gradual increase in the period of Brahmacharya from a few days to a fortnight, then to a month followed by a few months and finally to years of the practice helps the body settle into its new lifestyle with no backlash.
The most important thing to note here is to carry out Brahmacharya in thought, word, and deed and never to merely physically abstain with the mind rife with sexual thoughts. The energy conserved needs a proper channel to manifest, and this channel is to be presented as regular physical exercise, mental/intellectual work, and most importantly, spiritual activity as God-meditation. Also necessary is staying clear of people, circumstances, sights, sounds and talks that are contrary to the tenets of Brahmacharya and that may agitate and unsettle the mental calmness and harmony the aspirant is working towards.
This automatically makes a person more cheerful and at peace with himself and his surroundings, making it easier to settle into the newfound mode of lifestyle and helps cope more efficiently with withdrawal symptoms.
The right attitude to one’s occupation and work is to view it as a part of one’s Dharma or Duty and engage in it cheerfully, light heartedly, honestly and with a positive perspective without bothering about the fruits. Immaterial of whether we want it or don’t, destiny and our past karma offer us a particular path to be tread for overall evolution. It is through this path alone that the person evolves and grows, and this path ultimately serves as the medium for one’s progress in the journey called life.
The Right Attitude Towards Work:
“I will give my best at the work: God has provided me with sustaining myself and silently watch as a witness without bothering about the fruits of my actions, all the time being immersed and engrossed in God’s thought and contemplation. I will not be attached to the fruits that my work may or may not bring, but will wholeheartedly engage in work with sincerity. Let God handle the fruits of my work. I will accept what comes to me as forwarded by him, for he is the most impartial and loving well-wisher that has existed and will ever exist.”
Such a mindset allows one to approach their daily routine with a sense of ease and freedom from negative emotions, such as anger, excitement, boredom, or depression. These emotions are only triggered when we place our happiness and well-being on the results of our actions.
If we shift our focus to God’s contemplation and God’s thought as the source of our happiness, the outcomes of our daily activities and work will have little impact on our mental state and well-being. This is the message conveyed by scriptures like the Bhagavad-Gita, which teaches that the root of our sorrow is our dependence on things other than God.
Through consistent meditation and increasing our dependence on God’s thought, we can gradually eliminate our pain and sorrow. I hope this insight will aid you in overcoming any challenges you may face.