Sunday, April 30, 2006

Celibacy and Brahmacharya

Copy-pasting Omkar's post on this topic:

Celibacy is considered by many to be important in Hinduism, and not having sex is considered to be something that adds to the spirituality of the person.

This could not be farther from the truth.

I am starting a new thread for this topic because the Vegetarianism thread was being hijacked by this topic, and I felt that this issue merits a separate discussion.

So, this couldn't be farther from the truth, I said. There are others that sit on the the other extreme, quoting khajuraho as an example. They should understand that khajuraho is an aberration, and that it's a tourist spot, and not a place for pilgrimage. Khajuraho is simply a temple built by a king who had a fondness for erotica and it shows that sex is not taboo in Hinduism. But please do not harbour the misconception that Hinduism encourages promiscuity.

Celibacy is used as a translation for Brahmacharya fast and loose. This is also incorrect. Why? The word Brahmacharya speaks for itself. It means, action with consciousness of Brahman.

BG 4:24 couldn't make it any clearer. Please refer.

Therefore, while eating, riding a car, having sex, and so also in all actions, when one is conscious that it is the Brahman that is doing these things, that is Brahmacharya. The fundamental concept of Brahmacharya is to get rid of the idea of oneself as the creator and realise that it is Brahman that is the subject, object and result of all actions.

Having this thought process constantly is Brahmacharya. If celibacy was so essential for enlightenment in Hinduism, why would most of the sages that composed the Vedas and Upanishads married men? This is my fundamental argument against the necessity of celibacy.

But then, one cannot say, I will quench the sexual urge and think of the Brahman. This is incorrect. This is what Japanese Buddhists call False Satori, the realisation that one is enlightened.

Just as a crazy person does not know he is crazy, an enlightened person does not know he is enlightened.

This does not mean enlightened people are crazy It is just to say that the experience of enlightenment is not experienced at all(!) and any such experience that one may have (such as the christian rapture) are momentary and will pass. Such highs can be achieved using drugs also.

So what is moksha? Moksha is the realisation that all that is happening around us is just a dream and we are the dreamer. But we can never have this realisation, because otherwise the dream will be broken. This is the philosophical construct that Siddhartha Gautama grappled with before declaring everything to be void. Of course, that is just escapism. Further inquiry is asked for.

So is Celibacy important or not? Yes and no. It is important because initially, suppressing all desires allows one to train the mind to focus. When one is studying for an exam, one suppresses the desire to watch a cricket match on TV, or to go out and play cricket oneself. This suppression helps, provided it is seen through. One trains the mind not to think of cricket. Of course, the desire is strong and the mind keeps wavering off, thinking of what the score may be. But one trains it nevertheless. After a while, this becomes a habit, and one doesn't think of the score at all. One trains the mind to be content to just read the headlines the next days paper to see what the result of the match was.

Once the mind has been trained thus, there is nothing wrong in watching a game of cricket on the television when the circumstances allow for it, and one enjoys watching the game. But the mind is trained to shut the desire to watch the game should something more imperative come up.

The same goes for sex. The urge for sex is such that no matter how much one quenches it, it will still exist. Maybe not for sex with the same person, maybe some other person, but it will exist. So going about quenching this thirst is a bad option. Why? Simply because it is a waste of time, just because it is extremely enjoyable to sit in a bath tub, drinking wine and reading an interesting book, does not mean that it's a good idea to do it all the time.

That is the idea of Brahmacharya. Once one is a Brahmin, there is nothing left to achieve at all, since all actions have oneself as the subject, object and the result. Therefore, the act of sex and the act of watching football on tv become one and the same, an enjoyable act to pass the time that the physical body has on earth.

However, the physical body does have responsibilities, referred to as dharma in the BG, which need to be fulfilled. Therefore, getting food, providing for dependents and ensuring the general well being of itself and those dependent on it have to be performed nevertheless.

The very act of eating food is a punya karma because it fulfills our dharma towards the physical body. The act of sex becomes a punya karma because it fulfills our dharma towards our partner. But it is dharma only when it is seen as such, not when it becomes a pretext for promiscuity. The feeling of performing dharma should be what engages the sex drive, and not the other way around, where dharma is used as an excuse by one's libido to satisfy itself.

I hope I have clarified the position of Hinduism, at least my understanding of it, towards sex and celibacy.

Question on this topic in a related thread:
Suryaa, your and my name have the same meaning...now that we know each other for long you are still a muystery for me...One of the most important thing mentioned in the link is about brahmacharya...Even asaram bapu says in his almost every satsanga that to channel youth power Brahmacharya is of utmost importance. ofcourse no one is opposing marriage but most hindu youth does not understand what is brahmacharya....do u wana start a new thread....


My Reply:
Doesn’t matter, understanding Hinduism is important, not me

Jokes apart, I never give too much importance to things like non-vegetarian food or celibacy coz I believe in parallel working and not in 1,2,3 kind of working.

As Krishna says in the Gita "Even a little of this Yoga will bring great good"

So I don’t prefer to tell this is imp or that is imp. Let the individual take up what is easy for him to start with. We can only work in the line of least resistance. So making a beginning somewhere in some aspect *he* likes is more important than starting where *I* think is imp.

In spiritual life all the things are interconnected and hence working in one area will have its effect on other aspects also. For example, if there is a person who is like a typical western youth having all sorts of habits, but is sincere at heart. Now I think it is better that one tries to direct this as sincerity in say service activities. Let him have all his habits, but let him start somewhere. And other things follow naturally.

That is the best thing I like about Hindu Saints. They never try to impose things or talk from their level. They get down to the level of the seeker and try to raise him from there. Take for example the Relationship of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Girish Chandra Ghosh. Girish had all types of bad habits one can imagine when he came into contact with Sri Ramakrishna. But did Sri Ramakrishna ever condemn or ask Girish to leave his habits? He only used to suggest to come to Dakshineswar once in a while or to do this or that form of worship 10-15 mins a day. And Girish changed naturally as a result out of it. Possible if Sri Ramakrishna scared Girish with a big list of do’s and don’t, Girish would have never come again there.

Each grows according to his own Karma, so no point in being too much bothered about whether one is convinced about non-Vegetarian food or about brahmacharya ashrama. Take up a aspect one likes and start from there.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ravi said...

Asaram Bapu is a fraud.
He has made millions of followers because he is a freaking good communicator and has lot of slaves
working for him for free whm he has brainwhased.
H.H Aasaramji bapu.there are millions of followers of H.H Asaramji Bapu
the world over becuase some Indians will pray even if i lay a stone in the middle of the road.
Due to media getting ready to expose culprits like him we saw number of stories of people in india who were bigger than him lie Amarnath Shrine board.
I just can't wait to see what else brings for asaram.
He has made multi million dollars of empire by ruining peope life , just ask in vilage of any nearby ashram.

He has number of cases against him in Delhi High court.
He has manipulated number of people from wealthy families to eave their homes and live in his Ahmedbad ashram.
People who leave there family are made to pray to him as a god.
His son Narayan swami is a womaniser, who also now calls himself as god.
He spent 9 crores of rupees in his daughters marriage.
His links with a Jeweller are well publicized with income tax raids on jeweler in Delhi.
He has brainwashed lot of people and has grabbed their properties.
He is same like DIDI who got murdered Trivedi and he also speaks like Swadhyay parivar.
His inner circle says he said same thing like did you can kill anyone for the asaram bapu trust.
He will be next in the news soon, Becuase he has ruined numerous lifes, and has number of eople wrking for him as slaves and treating as god becuase they are hypntized by him.

4:29 PM  
Blogger sriram said...

Dear ravi,

I oppose such type of allegation towards an indian saint HH Asaramji Bapu.
Becoz I personally know many youths who have improved themselves from their ruined past life to successful life in both social and economical by simply following the teachings of Bapuji.

Since in this age of kali , where allegation and false-case against good man & saints are not abnormal , we should n't support this as we know how their teachings are beneficial for our society.

10:40 PM  
Blogger enjoy said...

poor comments have some strong points

1:55 AM  

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