Brahmacharya, the most misinterpreted word

Scan 1Then in Yama, we have what is called Brahmacharya, which is the most misinterpreted word that has ever been given out into this world. Many people feel that Brahmacharya means celibacy, complete continence, non-indulgence in sex.

Brahmacharya does not mean this. Brahma means Divinity, achar means the way, the path. So to be a Brahmachari, practising Brahmacharya, means to walk in the path of Divinity.

That is the true meaning of Brahmacharya. Now to practise Brahmacharya, one necessarily must exercise some form of control. Now that control can be about eating, can be about sleeping, can be about drinking, or the sexual act.

I’ve told a story once, I don’t know if it was here in England, where a couple came to see me. They were so, so emotionally disturbed. They had met some Swami that said, ‘For you to reach God, you must practise celibacy. No sex’.

They took this Swami’s word, he was an intelligent man I think, and so that is what they did, they practised celibacy.

And, not being ready for celibacy, not having the abilities to sublimate those energies.

Remember celibacy is not for householders, it’s not for married people. It is for ascetics where they go through severe asceticism, severe austerities, whereby they could sublimate the sex energy, which is one of the strongest urges in a human being, whereby they could sublimate that energy into what is called Orjas, light. Yes, that is for ascetics, not for the householder.

Scan 2  Now to get back to our story. This couple practised celibacy. Without being able to sublimate their sexual urges and energies, they started having problems, emotional problems. The husband and wife were forever irritable with each other.

They were creating unnecessary inhibitions within themselves, unnecessary repressions. And the result was this, that they started becoming unhappier and unhappier.

Where there was such compatibility, they started becoming incompatible. And of course the Psychiatrists made a lot of money out of it. I see there’s one sitting over there! So they heard of me and they came to our centre in South Africa.

And I spoke to them and asked them what the problem was. So I said, ’You go to bed tonight in a double bed’. After a while they came to see me again and they were their old, same old selves again, so, so happy.
So Brahmacharya must not be interpreted only in the terms of complete abstinence but it must be interpreted in the terms of walking along the path of Brahma, walking along the path of Divinity.

And when anyone walks along on the path of Divinity, he has to exercise all forms of control within himself.

So you see how non-violence, non-stealing and truthfulness also merge into that.

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