A person who succeeds in continuous celibacy is known as a Brahmachari. This is achieved through constant perseverance in celibacy, which eventually tips the balance in favor of breaking even the negative karma. This means that celibacy becomes longer and longer, and ultimately a lifelong state, as the celibate reaches higher levels of purity through honest efforts, consistency, perseverance, and reverence for this mode of life. The negative, delusive karma begins to disappear as the purity increases. However, if the negative karma leading to impurity is particularly heavy, it may take more than one lifetime to achieve celibacy. This is the ultimate reason for the success or failure in celibacy.
The reason behind this is straightforward. Each time we engage in sinful or virtuous activity, whether it be in thought, word, or deed, we create karma. This repository of all positive and negative karma is stored in our causal body, or the “Karana sharira.” Every action we take leaves a mark known as a “Samskaara,” which in turn creates tendencies, or “Vaasanas.”
For example, consider a person who has engaged in frequent sexual activity for recreation, and who has a strong attachment to the concept of sex from many past lives. This creates a strong “Samskaara” for the desire for sex in their “Karana sharira.” This Samskaara then leads to the development of a tendency, or “Vaasana,” that attracts the person to any object related to sexuality. If the person is unaware of the dangers and takes no action to curb this tendency, they will fall deeper into sin as the tendency becomes stronger and stronger. Over time, the accumulation of such tendencies creates a very strong “Samskaara,” so strong that it appears to be a part of their nature.
This is the case for many people who claim that sex is their birthright for pleasure and a human need. In reality, the concept of sexual pleasure is illusory. It is not the true nature of the soul, which is pure and clear. The sexual need shows the ignorance ingrained in the person and is merely a trick of the mind. Celibacy serves as the cure for this. Through continuous and honest celibacy, a person can gain freedom from this “Devil” called sexuality.
Achieving Brahmacharya: The key to achieving continuous celibacy is to cultivate intense faith and devotion to God, and to engage in self-contemplation and prayer for guidance and support. As Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-Gita, a wise and enlightened person can live in the world while being detached from it. By embracing a state of dispassion and performing actions efficiently without attachment to the outcomes, the ego is kept in check.
To successfully practice Brahmacharya, it is important to cultivate a reserved and polite demeanor, especially in interactions with women. Avoid engaging in sexually charged conversations or humor, and strive to maintain a courteous and respectful attitude. This may be initially met with raised eyebrows, but in the long-term, it will be recognized and respected.
Achieving the goal of Brahmacharya involves developing a deep faith and devotion to God, as well as practicing celibacy. Constant self-reflection and prayer to God can help to cultivate a state of detachment from worldly desires. As Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita, a wise saint lives in the world yet remains detached from it, performing actions efficiently without attachment to their outcomes. To live this way, you must strive to give your best in all you do, remain indifferent to flattery, and avoid sexually charged conversation or humor. Cultivate an attitude of being reserved, brief, and polite in your interactions with others, especially women. This kind of behavior may be met with initial skepticism, but over time it will earn you the respect of those around you.
Here are some steps to help you achieve Brahmacharya:
- Engage in daily physical activities such as yoga, exercise, or any other form of physical activity. This can help to transform sexual energy into physical strength and health.
- Keep the mind occupied with constructive and intellectual activities. This will reduce the time for the mind to wander into sensual thoughts.
- Engage in spiritual Sadhana through prayer, meditation, and pranayama. Pray sincerely to God for help in overcoming the influence of the senses and becoming a true Brahmachari.
- Avoid stimulant foods, such as those containing onion and garlic, as well as alcohol, tobacco, and other addictions.
- Get up early in the morning and engage in yoga and meditation, keeping your thoughts pure throughout the day. If you experience lustful thoughts, redirect your mind to productive activities to prevent them from taking hold. Avoid the company of people who are not supportive of your journey towards Brahmacharya.
- If you struggle with masturbation or sexual desires, set a challenge for yourself to abstain from these actions for 15 days, then gradually increase the period of abstinence over time. With consistent and honest effort, and with the help of God, you will eventually reach a stage where the act of ejaculation holds no pleasure or even pain. This will help you develop a distaste for the act of losing semen, and you will find it easier to maintain your celibacy.
With dedication, effort, and faith in God, you can make significant progress towards the goal of Brahmacharya. Remember to increase your period of abstinence with each passing day, and with time and practice, you will see significant growth and progress in your journey.