True meaning of Brahmacharya
"Brahmacharya pratishtayam viaryalabhaha'' (II Sutra 38)
Brahmacharya = celibacy; Pratishtayam = established; Viarya = vigour; Iabhaha = gained.
"On being established in celibacy vigour is gained."
What is Brahmacharya and who is a Brahmachari? - Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The ancient rishis divided life into four parts. The first twenty years of your life, you focus on acquiring knowledge. This is called Brahmacharya. The essence of brahmacharya is that you should not run after pleasure. One who runs after pleasure cannot acquire knowledge.
The literal meaning of Brahmacharya is celibacy. Celibacy brings you strength, lots of strength. The Brahmacharya Yoga way of life is more than just celibacy. ‘Brahma’ means infinity, ‘charya’ means 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. This is when celibacy naturally happens.
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 lesser do 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 nature.
A person who is small minded is always succumbing to the cravings on the bodily level. He tries to find satisfaction through stimulation of the senses and takes up bad habits. The heat gets into his head. And when your head is hot, your vision and perception are 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; they create a thick and dull vibration around them that nobody likes. This weakens the mind and there is no vigor or commitment in life.
“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, smell. He sees himself as more than the body, as the consciousness, Brahaman. Once Brahmacharya is firmly established in you, you become vast and powerful.
(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)