Celibacy Quotes

Eight aspects of Brahmacharya

Elsewhere titled "Eight Aspects of Subtle Sex Life"

Sridhar Swami

By Sridhar Swami, the Bhagavatam commentator, followed by explanation by Hare Krishna guru Bhaktivedanta Swami. Link to source is below.

(1) Smaranam - One should not think of the opposite sex. One should think of Krishna and His service as given by the spiritual master. Memorize favorite passages or verses from the Sastras.

(2) Kirtanam - One should not talk of sex life. (Prajalpa) One should talk of Krishna and discuss ones realizations with one's friends, other brahmacari's. (Practice gravity).

(3) Kelih - Don't (play) or dally with the opposite sex, (even if it is your service to deal with them, try to minimize it) . 'Avyartha-kalatvam'- Rupa Goswami says in Nectar of Devotion. Pure devotees don't waste their time, they always are cautious to make sure they are always engaged positively in Krishna Consciousness.

(4) Preksanam - Don't look lustfully at the opposite sex. Focus your eyes (or remember) on your favorite deity form of the Lord.

(5) Guhyabhasanam - Don't talk intimately with the opposite sex in a secluded place. Make strong friendships with other brahmacaris (or offer your choice prayerful words to the deity instead).

(6) Sankalpo - Don't decide to engage in sexual intercourse. Make sure you get proper counseling with a senior devotee(s) you have implicit trust in, if you have fallen to this bad state of mind. (Thinking, feeling, willing).

(7) Adhyavasayas - Don't endeavor for sex life. Endeavor to improve or get better devotees association then you have now.

(8) Ca kriyanirvrttir - Don't engage in sex life. Doing it has more trouble in store for you (health, and otherwise) then you think. Control the senses, mind, activities by devotional service.

Nirvrttir eva ca - One executes real brahmacarya when all these activities come to a halt. (Sridhara 6.1.12).

Etan maithunyam astangam pravadanti manisinah vikarita brahmacaryam eda astanam laksanam iti

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Commentary by Bhaktivedanta Swami (Srila Prabhupada)

Each of the 8 points is now repeated, followed by remarks taken from Bhaktivedanta's commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam ("SB") and elsewhere.

Source: www.hknet.org.nz/seX-8aspects%20of-subtle-sex-life.html

(1) Smaranam - One should not think of the opposite sex. One should think of Krishna and His service as given by the spiritual master. Memorize favourate passages or verses from the Sastras.

(SB. 7.15.36 Purport) "In our Krsna consciousness movement it is advised, therefore, that the sannyasis and brahmacaris keep strictly aloof from the association of women so that there will be no chance of their falling down again as victims of lusty desires."

(2) Kirtanam - One should not talk of sex life. (Prajalpa) One should talk of Krishna and discuss ones realizations with one's friends, other brahmacari's. (Practice gravity, chant Japa nicely.)

"Japa means tapa, tapasya. And that is drdha-vrata. Tapasa brahmacaryena. Tapasya begins with brahmacarya. There is no tapasya, there is no brahmacarya, there is no drdha-vrata," (Rm. Conv. Jan 31, 1977)

"So this is the process. Tapasa brahmacaryena. Brahmacarya is very, very essential. And that is, when one becomes detestful to sex life, that is the beginning of spiritual life. That is the beginning of spiritual life." (Lect CC Adi 1.11, April 4,'75) (see determination)

(SB.1.5.26) tatranvaham krsna-kathah pragayatam anugrahenasrnavam manoharah tah sraddhaya me 'nupadam visrnvatah priyasravasy anga mamabhavad rucih

O Vyasadeva, in that association and by the mercy of those great Vedantists, I could hear 0them describe the attractive activities of Lord Krsna And thus listening attentively, my taste for hearing of the Personality of Godhead increased at every step.

Lord Sri Krsna, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, is attractive not only in His personal features, but also in His transcendental activities. It is so because the Absolute is absolute by His name, fame, form, pastimes, entourage, paraphernalia, etc. The Lord descends on this material world out of His causeless mercy and displays His various transcendental pastimes as a human being so that human beings attracted towards Him become able to go back to Godhead. Men are naturally apt to hear histories and narrations of various personalities performing mundane activities, without knowing that by such association one simply wastes valuable time and also becomes addicted to the three qualities of mundane nature. Instead of wasting time, one can get spiritual success by turning his attention to the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. By hearing the narration of the pastimes of the Lord, one contacts directly the Personality of Godhead, and, as explained before, by hearing about the Personality of Godhead, from within, all accumulated sins of the mundane creature are cleared. Thus being cleared of all sins, the hearer gradually becomes liberated from mundane association and becomes attracted to the features of the Lord. Narada Muni has just explained this by his personal experience. The whole idea is that simply by hearing about the Lord's pastimes one can become one of the associates of the Lord. Narada Muni has eternal life, unlimited knowledge and unfathomed bliss, and he can travel all over the material and spiritual worlds without restriction. One can attain to the highest perfection of life simply by attentive hearing of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord from the right sources, as Sri Narada heard them from the pure devotees (bhakti-vedantas) in his previous life. This process of hearing in the association of the devotees is especially recommended in this age of quarrel (Kali).

(3) Kelih - Don't (play) or dally with the opposite sex (even if it is your service to deal with them, try to minimize it). 'Avyartha-kalatvam'- Rupa Goswami says in NOD. Pure devotees don't waste their time, they always are cautious to make sure they are always engaged positively in K.C.

(From Lecture April 30 1972 Tokyo)

"If one is absent-minded, he cannot work nicely because mind is absent or not in order. Therefore our method of controlling the senses is to engage the senses in the service of the Lord. The first engagement should be that mind should be always absorbed in thoughts of Krsna. Always engaged. These boys, they are always engaged. Just like in offering arcana to the Deities from early morning up to ten o'clock at night, and then they go to rest. Again rise early in the morning. So somebody is engaged n cleansing the temple, somebody is engaged in dressing the Deity, somebody is engaged in cooking for the Deity, somebody is engaged going in Tokyo city for distributing literature, somebody is performing kirtana here, somebody is reading our various books. In this way we have got twenty-five hours engagement instead of twenty-four hours. So mind cannot go outside Krsna. That is called Krsna conscious. We don't allow the mind go out of Krsna's service. And this is sannyasa."

(4) Preksanam - Don't look lustfully at the opposite sex. Focus your eyes (or remember) on your favorite deity form of the Lord. (See SB. 6.18.41-42)

(SB. 6.18.41-42) sarat-padmotsavam vaktram vacas ca sravanamrtam

hrdayam ksura-dharabham strinam ko veda cestitam

A woman's face is as attractive and beautiful as a blossoming lotus flower during autumn. Her words are very sweet, and they give pleasure to the ear, but if we study a woman's heart, we can understand it to be extremely sharp, like the blade of a razor. In these circumstances, who could understand the dealings of a woman?

Woman is now depicted very well from the materialistic point of view by Kasyapa Muni. Women are generally known as the fair sex, and especially in youth, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, women are very attractive to men. Therefore a woman's face is compared to a blooming lotus flower in autumn. Just as a lotus is extremely beautiful in autumn, a woman at the threshold of youthful beauty is extremely attractive. In Sanskrit a woman's voice is called nari-svara because women generally sing and their singing is very attractive. At the present moment, cinema artists, especially female singers, are especially welcome. Some of them earn fabulous amounts of money simply by singing. Therefore, as taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, a woman's singing is dangerous because it can make a sannyasi fall a victim to the woman. Sannyasa means giving up the company of women, but if a sannyasi hears the voice of a woman and sees her beautiful face, he certainly becomes attracted and is sure to fall down. There have been many examples. Even the great sage Visvamitra fell a victim to Menaka. Therefore a person desiring to advance in spiritual consciousness must be especially careful not to see a woman's face or hear a woman's voice. To see a woman's face and appreciate its beauty or to hear a woman's voice and appreciate her singing as very nice is a subtle falldown for a brahmacari or sannyasi. Thus the description of a woman's features by Kasyapa Muni is very instructive.

When a woman's bodily features are attractive, when her face is beautiful and when her voice is sweet, she is naturally a trap for a man. The sastras advise that when such a woman comes to serve a man, she should be considered to be like a dark well covered by grass. In the fields there are many such wells, and a man who does not know about them drops through the grass and falls down. Thus there are many such instructions. Since the attraction of the material world is based on attraction for women, Kasyapa Muni thought, "Under the circumstances, who can understand the heart of a woman?" Canakya Pandita has also advised, visvaso naiva kartavyah strisu raja-kulesu ca: "There are two persons one should not trust-a politician and a woman." These, of course, are authoritative sastric injunctions, and we should therefore be very careful in our dealings with women.

Sometimes our Krsna consciousness movement is criticized for mingling men and women, but Krsna consciousness is meant for anyone. Whether one is a man or woman does not matter. Lord Krsna personally says, striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te 'pi yanti param gatim: whether one is a woman, sudra or vaisya, not to speak of being a brahmana or ksatriya, everyone is fit to return home, back to Godhead, if he strictly follows the instructions of the spiritual master and sastra. We therefore request all the members of the Krsna consciousness movement-both men and women-not to be attracted by bodily features but only to be attracted by Krsna. Then everything will be all right. Otherwise there will be danger.

Here is a practical solution to the problem of agitation in the presence of so many women in Kali Yuga. Avoid unnecessary association, but be practical. Remember! The sense objects are not at fault. It's how one understands the purpose of the various sense objects that creates ones difficulties.

All creatures and all things must be offered for Krishna's enjoyment. If one understands this always, then one can be pacified despite provocation. But disturbance or not, we must carry on our preaching duties. Get association, and counseling. Endeavor for rectifying your strength. Then after regaining strength-go out to preach again. This time more cautious then before you had the initial weakness.

(SP let. Ekayani 12/3/72)

"Who has introduced these things, that women cannot have chanting japa in the temple, they cannot perform the arati and so many things? If they become agitated, then let the brahmacaris go to the forest, I have never introduced these things. The brahmacaris cannot remain in the presence of women in the temple, then they may go to the forest, not remaining in New York City, because in New York there are so many women, so how they can avoid seeing? Best thing is to go to the forest for not seeing any women, if they become so easily agitated, but then no one will either see them and how our preaching work will go on?".. It is not possible."

Hoping this will meet you in good health.

Your ever well-wisher, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami cc: Bali Mardan Goswami

(5) Guhyabhasanam - Don't talk intimately with the opposite sex in a secluded place. Make strong friendships with other brahmacaris (or offer your choice prayerful words to the deity instead).

(SB. 11.17.33) strinam niriksana-sparsa-samlapa-ksvelanadikam

pranino mithuni-bhutan agrhastho 'gratas tyajet

Those who are not married-sannyasis, vanaprasthas and brahmacaris-should never associate with women by glancing, touching, conversing, joking or sporting. Neither should they ever associate with any living entity engaged in sexual activities.

Praninah indicates all living entities, whether birds, bees or human beings. Among most species of life, sexual intercourse is preceded by diverse mating rituals. In human society, all types of entertainment (books, music, films) and all places of amusement (restaurants, shopping centers, resorts) are designed to stimulate the sexual urge and create an aura of "romance." One who is not married-a sannyasi, brahmacari or vanaprastha-should rigidly avoid anything related to sex and of course should never see any living entity, whether bird, insect or human, engaging in the various phases of sexual intercourse. When a man jokes with a woman, an intimate, sexually-charged atmosphere is immediately created, and this should also be avoided for those aspiring to practice celibacy. Even a householder who becomes attached to such activities will also fall down into the darkness of ignorance.

(6) Sankalpo - The determination to engage in sexual intercourse. Don't contemplate to engage in sexual intercourse. Be determined to make sure you get proper counseling with a senior devotee(s) you have implicit trust in, if you have fallen to this bad state of mind. (Thinking, feeling, willing.)

(SB. 7.15.22)

asankalpaj jayet kamam krodham kama-vivarjanat

arthanartheksaya lobham bhayam tattvavamarsanat

By making plans with determination, one should give up lusty desires for sense gratification. Similarly, by giving up envy one should conquer anger, by discussing the disadvantages of accumulating wealth one should give up greed, and by discussing the truth one should give up fear.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has suggested how one can conquer lusty desires for sense gratification. One cannot give up thinking of women, for thinking in this way is natural; even while walking on the street, one will see so many women. However, if one is determined not to live with a woman, even while seeing a woman he will not become lusty. If one is determined not to have sex, he can automatically conquer lusty desires. The example given in this regard is that even if one is hungry, if on a particular day he is determined to observe fasting, he can naturally conquer the disturbances of hunger and thirst. If one is determined not to be envious of anyone, he can naturally conquer anger. Similarly, one can give up the desire to accumulate wealth simply by considering how difficult it is to protect the money in one's possession. If one keeps a large amount of cash with him, he is always anxious about keeping it properly. Thus if one discusses the disadvantages of accumulating wealth, he can naturally give up business without difficulty.

If one doesn't get help to stop this contemplation at an early stage, then eventually it goes from thinking, to feeling. At this point, devoid of mind and sense control, the living entity loses all reasoning, and is unable to hear the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of sastras.

Such a person usually ends up (at best, through counseling) getting married, or (at worse) becomes a debauchee-falling into illicit life. Sometimes he tries to satisfy this craving through artificial means. (See SB 2.6.20 Purport)

(SB 6.1.62) stambhayann atmanatmanam yavat sattvam yatha-srutam

na sasaka samadhatum mano madana-vepitam

As far as possible he patiently tried to remember the instructions of the sastras not even to see a woman. With the help of this knowledge and his intellect, he tried to control his lusty desires, but because of the force of Cupid within his heart, he failed to control his mind".

"Regarding your proposed marriage, if you think it is nice then you have all my blessings upon you both. If you do not think you can remain brahmacari, then it is better to remain in Krsna Consciousness as householder and not pretend to brahmacarya artificially. From your description the girl seems very qualified and sincere, so you continue to train her in our Krsna Conscious way of life and she will work together with you as your helpmeet in Krsna's service." (to Jananivas Sept. 29,'70)

Incidentally, Jananivasa Prabhu never got married. Instead since 1971 he has dedicated his life to the worship of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava in Mayapur, thus setting a wonderful example of dedication in Deity worship for all brahmacari's to follow.

(7) Adhyavasayas - To endeavor for sex life. Don't endeavor for sex life.

Endeavor to improve or get better devotees association then you have now.

Even if austerity and brahmacarya are painful because we want to be unrestricted, as soon as we are regulated, what appeared to be painful is in practice not painful.

There are two classes of men-those who are sober (dhira) and those who are extravagant (adhira). When one, in spite of provocation or in spite of the presence of a source of mental agitation, can remain steady in his position, he is called dhira. An example of a dhira is given by Kalidasa Pandita, a great Sanskrit poet who wrote a book called Kumara-sambhava, wherein he has given an example concerning Lord Siva. It appears that when the demigods were fighting the demons and were being defeated, they decided that they could be saved by a commander-in-chief born from the semina of Lord Siva. Lord Siva, however, was in meditation, and to acquire the needed semina was very difficult. They therefore sent Parvati, a young girl, who appeared before Lord Siva and worshiped his genitals. Although this young girl sat before Lord Siva and touched his genitals, Lord Siva was steady in meditation. Kalidasa says, "Here is an example of a dhira, for despite a young girl's touching his genitals, he was undisturbed."

Similarly, someone sent a young prostitute to disturb Haridasa Thakura, and upon hearing her appeals for intercourse, Haridasa Thakura said, "Yes, your proposal is very nice. please sit down and let me finish my chanting, and then we shall enjoy." Morning came and the prostitute became impatient, but Haridasa Thakura replied, "I'm very sorry. I could not finish my chanting. Come tonight again." The prostitute came for three nights, and on the third night she fell down at his feet, confessed her intentions, and pleaded with him, "I was induced to perform this act by a man who is your enemy. Kindly excuse me." Haridasa Thakura then replied, "I know all about that, but I allowed you to come here for three days so that you could be converted and become a devotee. Now take these chanting beads, and go on chanting. I am leaving this place." Here is another example of a dhira who has control of his body (deha), words (vac), and intelligence (buddhi). One's body, words and intelligence should be controlled by one who is dhira and who actually knows the principles of religion.

(8) Ca kriyanirvrttir - Don't engage in sex life. Doing it has more trouble in store for you (health, and otherwise) then you think. Control the senses, mind, activities by devotional service.

(Lect SB 6.1.21-22) "Of course, one who thinks that family life is too big a responsibility can forgo it and thus avoid a lot of trouble. Family responsibility is very great; therefore if a man feels he cannot accept the responsibility, he should remain a brahmacari, a celibate student. A person who practices the science of brahmacarya under the care of a spiritual master automatically becomes seventy-five percent free from material entanglement."

(From Lecture April 30 1972 Tokyo)

"At the present moment, in the materialistic concept of life, everyone is servant of the senses. Everyone acts by the dictation of the senses; therefore they can be called, in other words, as godasa, servant of the senses. Instead of becoming servant of the senses, one has to become the master of the senses. That is called gosvami, master of the senses. So how to become master of the senses? Senses are very strong. How one can become master? The simple method is when one engages the senses in the service of the Supreme Lord, it is automatically controlled."

Etan maithunyam astangam pravadanti manisinah

vikarita brahmacaryam eda astanam laksanam iti

These eight kinds of enjoyments are eight kinds of breaks in the current of Akhanda brahmacari life. We must avoid these eight interruptions with great care, hard work and diligent self-introspection (always analyzing at all times to observe your true motivations). Only he who is truly free from these eight breaks can be technically called a brahmacari.

Srila Prabhupada has also acknowledged that in Kali Yuga it may be difficult to strictly follow all the details in avoiding these eight breaks in brahmacari life, but Krsna conscious life following the regulative principles will help the devotee to prevail over the occaisional attack by maya.

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