Brahmacharya and its benefits

brahmacaryapratiṣṭhāyāṁ vīryalābhaḥ ॥38॥

ब्रह्मचर्यप्रतिष्ठायां वीर्यलाभः ॥३८॥

Moving in the Brahman, in infinity, gives great strength and capacity.

                                                                                 - Patañjali Yoga Sutra 2.38


What is brahmacharya and who is a brahmachari?

The literal meaning of brahmacharya is celibacy. ‘Brahma’ means infinity, ‘charya’ means moving in. So brahmacharya is moving in infinity, knowing your vast nature, thinking that you are not just the body; your presence is a glow of light. You move in the world as though you are space, infinite. This is when celibacy naturally happens. Celibacy brings you infinite strength. The Brahmacharya Yoga way of life is more than just celibacy. 

When you are sitting in meditation, you realize you are not just the body. You feel light as a feather. The more joyful you are, the more you are in tandem with the infinite consciousness, the less you feel the tension or the physical weight of the body.

That is Brahmacharya Yoga, not getting caught up in the senses but taking refuge in the Self that is your very nature. It is coming back to your true nature.

A person who is small-minded is always succumbing to the cravings of the senses. He tries to find satisfaction through stimulation of the senses. All this feverish activity goes to his head. And when your head is hot, your vision and perception get blurred.

Sex is a part of life, but an obsession with sex is something that hinders spiritual progress. Such a person’s energy is low; he creates a thick and dull vibration around him that nobody likes. This weakens the mind and there is no vigor or commitment in life.

The ancient rishis divided life into four parts. In the first 20 years of life, the focus was on acquiring knowledge. The one who spent the first 20 years of life in the pursuit of knowledge is a brahmachari. The essence of brahmacharya is that you should not run after pleasure. One who runs after pleasure cannot acquire knowledge.

Benefits of brahmacharya

Brahmacharya pratishtayam veryalabaha”. Great strength comes when you are in brahmacharya. Creativity dawns. A true brahmachari will not indulge in sensual pleasures like sex or taste or smell. He sees himself as more than the body, as the consciousness, Brahman. Once brahmacharya is firmly established in you, you become vast and powerful.

Watch The Four Stages of Life by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


<<Truth is what we are! 

What is Aparigraha?>>


(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)

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