Concentration on brahmacarya? Is it for you?

By editor - 9.10 2017

The whole world is absorbed in sense gratification of which the ultimate expression is gross sex life.

Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu has summed it up nicely:

“The idea that we can achieve happiness though the enjoyment of our senses, especially through that prototype of all pleasure, sex and sexual love, is an illusion which is perhaps the most deeply rooted and pervasive of all human convictions… With the disintegration of traditional religions and the official establishment of secular philosophies this illusion has gained the force of an obsession.”

This being the case.. our ISKCON movement is actually swimming against the current of this modern material world. “Declaring war on the illusory energy” Srila Prabhupada said.

Prabhupada: “When we accept any self-realization process, it is practically declaring war against the illusory energy, maya. So when there’s a question of maya or a question of fight or war there will be so many difficulty imposed by maya, that is certain. Therefore there is a chance of failure. But one has to become very steady.” (Lect Bg. 6.35-45 Feb. 20, 1969)

This steadiness is the bedrock of brahmacari life. The whole material world is meant for entangling us perpetually in the grips of maya , but devotional life in Krishna consciousness means not only accepting the training to get out of the cycle of repeated birth and death, but keeping the force of it up continually throughout one’s life.

Voluntarily submitting oneself to this training is the beginning of spiritual life. Brahmacarya has a vital role in human society, (and in ISKCON society) because it is the beginning of the varnashrama institution which constitutes real human society dedicated to finding a permanent solution to life’s problems.

(SB 2.6.20)
padas trayo bahis casann aprajanam ya asramah
antas tri-lokyas tv aparo grha-medho ’brhad-vratah

The spiritual world, which consists of three fourths of the Lord’s energy, is situated beyond this material world, and it is especially meant for those who will never be reborn. Others, who are attached to family life and who do not strictly follow celibacy vows, must live within the three material worlds.

“The climax of the system of varnasrama-dharma, or sanatana-dharma, is clearly expressed here in this particular verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The highest benefit that can be awarded to a human being is to train him to be detached from sex life, particularly because it is only due to sex indulgence that the conditioned life of material existence continues birth after birth. Human civilization in which there is no control of sex life is a fourth-class civilization because in such an atmosphere there is no liberation of the soul encaged in the material body. Birth, death, old age and disease are related to the material body, and they have nothing to do with the spirit soul. But as long as the bodily attachment for sensual enjoyment is encouraged, the individual spirit soul is forced to continue the repetition of birth and death on account of the material body, which is compared to garments subjected to the law of deterioration.
In order to award the highest benefit of human life, the varnasrama system trains the follower to adopt the vow of celibacy beginning from the order of brahmacari. The brahmacari life is for students who are educated to follow strictly the vow of celibacy. Youngsters who have had no taste of sex life can easily follow the vow of celibacy, and once fixed in the principle of such a life, one can very easily continue to the highest perfectional stage, attaining the kingdom of the three-fourths energy of the Lord. It is already explained that in the cosmos of three-fourths energy of the Lord there is neither death nor fear, and one is full of the blissful life of happiness and knowledge. A householder attached to family life can easily give up such a life of sex indulgence if he has been trained in the principles of the life of a brahmacari. A householder is recommended to quit home at the end of fifty years (pancasordhvam vanam vrajet) and live a life in the forest; then, being fully detached from family affection, he may accept the order of renunciation as a sannyasi fully engaged in the service of the Lord. Any form of religious principles in which the followers are trained to pursue the vow of celibacy is good for the human being because only those who are trained in that way can end the miserable life of material existence. The principles of nirvana, as recommended by Lord Buddha, are also meant for ending the miserable life of material existence. And this process, in the highest degree, is recommended here in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, with clear perception of ideal perfection, although basically there is no difference between the process of Buddhists, Sankarites and Vaisnavites. For promotion to the highest status of perfection, namely freedom from birth and death, anxiety and fearfulness, not one of these processes allows the follower to break the vow of celibacy.
The householders and persons who have deliberately broken the vow of celibacy cannot enter into the kingdom of deathlessness. The pious householders or the fallen yogis or the fallen transcendentalists can be promoted to the higher planets within the material world (one fourth of the energy of the Lord), but they will fail to enter into the kingdom of deathlessness. Abrhad-vratas are those who have broken the vow of celibacy. The vanaprasthas, or those retired from family life, and the sannyasis, or the renounced persons, cannot break the vow of celibacy if they want success in the process. The brahmacaris, vanaprasthas and sannyasis do not intend to take rebirth (apraja), nor are they meant for secretly indulging in sex life. Such a falldown by the spiritualist may be compensated by another chance for human life in good families of learned brahmanas or of rich merchants for another term of elevation, but the best thing is to attain the highest perfection of deathlessness as soon as the human form of life is attained; otherwise the whole policy of human life will prove to be a total failure. Lord Caitanya was very strict in advising His followers in this matter of celibacy. One of His personal attendants, Chota Haridasa, was severely punished by Lord Caitanya because of his failure to observe the vow of celibacy. For a transcendentalist, therefore, who at all wants to be promoted to the kingdom beyond material miseries, it is worse than suicide to deliberately indulge in sex life, especially in the renounced order of life. Sex life in the renounced order of life is the most perverted form of religious life, and such a misguided person can only be saved if, by chance, he meets a pure devotee.”

Although the whole world is fully absorbed in sense enjoyment and mundane household life, Srila Prabhupada encouraged many of his disciples (especially those inclined towards complete abstinence, as lifelong brahmacari’s) to avoid unnecessary entanglements in mundane domestic affairs of marriage.

This is possible only by sincerely and diligently adopting the training process of a Krishna conscious life with an unshakable conviction.

This firm determination in any ashrama, or situation of life (and especially in the brahmacari
asrama) that withstands the test of time coupled with purity of devotional service can hope to please Sri Guru and Krishna, and thus one attains the facility to go back to godhead. Otherwise, one will surely fail and be forced to remain here for another birth.

Brahmacarya…The definition. Two types of brahmacari’s.

Brahmacari training is an essential part of developing the goal of life to develop love of Krishna. It is not the means to attain the goal, it is a facility for training the conditioned soul, and a way of life to assist in attaining it.

“If you practice brahmacarya, then you become free, seventy-five percent freedom immediately.” (Rm. Conv. Dec. 12 1970, Indore)

The basic sanskrit dictionary definition: Brahma-carati iti brahmacari, (Amar-Kosa)

Brahma (spiritual) or (to the Supreme Lord) carati (activities) iti (thus, has become= brahmacari,

“One whose activities are strictly spiritually dedicated to the supreme Lord has thus become a brahmacari.” Or “To act on the spiritual platform.”

Brahamcarya means the development of a positive, active spiritual life with an avowed determination to avoid the unnecessary entanglements in material life, (that the intimate association of the opposite sex forces one to be involved in) through spiritual cultivation of Krishna conscious devotional principles in the association of Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas.

Without this development, brahmacarya, although purifying, remains an external designation only.

“The first stage is called the brahmacarya-asrama, or the order of life in childhood, when the man-to-be is trained in the ultimate goal of life.” (LOB 19)

(From Bg. 6-13-14 Purport)

“Krsna is the ultimate goal of life, and the visnu-murti situated in one’s heart is the object of yoga practice. To realize this visnu-murti within the heart, one has to observe complete abstinence from sex life; therefore one has to leave home and live alone in a secluded place, remaining seated as mentioned above. One cannot enjoy sex life daily at home or elsewhere and attend a so-called yoga class and thus become a yogi. One has to practice controlling the mind and avoiding all kinds of sense gratification, of which sex life is the chief.

In the rules of celibacy written by the great sage Yajnavalkya it is said: (quoted Bg. 6.13-14 Purport)

karmana manasa vaca sarvavasthasu sarvada
sarvatra maithuna-tyago brahmacaryam pracaksate

“The vow of brahmacarya is meant to help one completely abstain from sex indulgence in work, words and mind—at all times, under all circumstances, and in all places.”

No one can perform correct yoga practice through sex indulgence. Brahmacarya is taught, therefore, from childhood, when one has no knowledge of sex life. Children at the age of five are sent to the guru-kula, or the place of the spiritual master, and the master trains the young boys in the strict discipline of becoming brahmacaris.

Without such practice, no one can make advancement in any yoga, whether it be dhyana, jnana or bhakti. One who, however, follows the rules and regulations of married life, having a sexual relationship only with his wife (and that also under regulation), is also called a brahmacari. Such a restrained householder brahmacari may be accepted in the bhakti school, but the jnana and dhyana schools do not even admit householder brahmacaris. They require complete abstinence without compromise.

(From SB. 2.7.6 -purport)

“Great vows of austerity are undertaken by sages to achieve success in self-realization. Human life is meant for such tapasya, with the great vow of celibacy, or brahmacarya. In the rigid life of tapasya, there is no place for the association of women.

And because human life is meant for tapasya, for self-realization, factual human civilization, as conceived by the system of sanatana-dharma or the school of four castes and four orders of life, prescribes rigid dissociation from woman in three stages of life.

In the order of gradual cultural development, one’s life may be divided into four divisions: celibacy, household life, retirement, and renunciation.

During the first stage of life, up to twenty-five years of age, a man may be trained as a brahmacari under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master just to understand that woman is the real binding force in material existence. If one wants to get freedom from the material bondage of conditional life, he must get free from the attraction for the form of woman.

Woman, or the fair sex, is the enchanting principle for the living entities, and the male form, especially in the human being, is meant for self-realization. The whole world is moving under the spell of womanly attraction, and as soon as a man becomes united with a woman, he at once becomes a victim of material bondage under a tight knot. The desires for lording it over the material world, under the intoxication of a false sense of lordship, specifically begin just after the man’s unification with a woman.

The desires for acquiring a house, possessing land, having children and becoming prominent in society, the affection for community and the place of birth, and the hankering for wealth, which are all like phantasmagoria or illusory dreams, encumber a human being, and he is thus impeded in his progress toward self-realization, the real aim of life.

The brahmacari, or a boy from the age of five years, especially from the higher castes, namely from the scholarly parents (the brahmanas), the administrative parents (the ksatriyas), or the mercantile or productive parents (the vaisyas), is trained until twenty-five years of age under the care of a bona fide guru or teacher, and under strict observance of discipline he comes to understand the values of life along with taking specific training for a livelihood.

The brahmacari is then allowed to go home and enter householder life and get married to a suitable woman. But there are many brahmacaris who do not go home to become householders but continue the life of naisthika-brahmacaris, without any connection with women.

They accept the order of sannyasa, or the renounced order of life, knowing well that combination with women is an unnecessary burden that checks self-realization.

Since sex desire is very strong at a certain stage of life, the guru may allow the brahmacari to marry; this license is given to a brahmacari who is unable to continue the way of naisthika-brahmacarya, and such discriminations are possible for the bona fide guru.

A program of so-called family planning is needed. (training) The householder who associates with woman under scriptural restrictions, after a thorough training of brahmacarya, cannot be a householder like cats and dogs.

Such a householder, after fifty years of age, would retire from the association of woman as a vanaprastha to be trained to live alone without the association of woman. When the practice is complete, the same retired householder becomes a sannyasi, strictly separate from woman, even from his married wife.

Studying the whole scheme of disassociation from women, it appears that a woman is a stumbling block for self-realization, and the Lord appeared as Narayana to teach the principle of womanly disassociation with a vow in life.”

(SB 2.3.19 LA 6/15/72)
“Therefore the Vedic system of civilization is seventy-five percent life of celibacy. In the brahmacari system there is no connection with woman. Student life. Student life, if one remains brahmacari, he becomes determined. His brain becomes very receptive. Therefore, in the brahmacari system, complete celibacy, no connection with woman. So up to twenty-five years, if he does not discharge semen, he becomes very stout, strong, and his health is built up for whole life, and he becomes so intelligent that anything he will hear, he will remember immediately. Then after brahmacari system, if one cannot remain brahmacari, naisthika-brahmacari, then the spiritual master allows him to marry. That is grhastha-asrama. So when one is complete, fit for sex life, he begets children, male children, and after twenty-five years, the child becomes grown up, so he retires. In this way, brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. The whole aim is Visnu, how to go back to home, back to Godhead.”

In these 3 purports Srila Prabhupada discusses 2 types of brahmacaris who train under the spiritual masters company. Both are of relevance in our ISKCON life.

(1) The naisthika-brahmacari, life-long strictly celibate person completely dedicated to the Supreme, for whom in this life, marriage is simply out of the question.

(2) An unsure person (who often) later gets married after training in dedication to the Supreme, and has association with the opposite sex according to Vaisnava regulative principles.

Strictly speaking, a brahmacari is the first of four asramas. It is especially meant for training to became a first class human being. A human being is one who is dedicated to spiritual life so much so that this life will be their last one in the cycle of repeated birth and death.

(From Matchless Gift)

“Human life is obviously meant for more. It is meant for tapasya and knowledge.
There are descriptions in the Vedas of brahmacarya, celibacy, which characterize the beginning of a life dedicated to tapasya:

Smaranam kirtanam kelih preksanam guhyabhasanam/ sankalpo ’dhyavasayas ca kriya-nirvrttir eva ca (Sridhara 6.1.12). (Brahma-Vaivarta Purana, Ganapati Khanda 3.4.74) Siva speaking to Parvati, as quoted by Narayana to Narada Muni.)

To properly execute celibacy, one should not even think or even talk of sex life. Reading modern literature and newspapers which are filled with sexual material is also against the principles of brahmacarya. Similarly, indulging in sex in any way, looking at and whispering with girls, and determining or endeavoring to engage in sex life are all against the principles of brahmacarya. One executes real brahmacarya when all these activities come to a halt.

By austerity, celibacy, and control of the mind and senses one can advance in pure life.”

(Bg. 6. 13-14 Purport)

“In the bhakti school, a householder brahmacari is allowed controlled sex life because the cult of bhakti-yoga is so powerful that one automatically loses sexual attraction, being engaged in the superior service of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita (2.59) it is said:

visaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso ’py asya param drstva nivartate

Whereas others are forced to restrain themselves from sense gratification, a devotee of the Lord automatically refrains because of superior taste. Other than the devotee, no one has any information of that superior taste.”

Lets learn these eight aspects of brahmacarya, that a successful brahmacari must stay aware of, and who strictly avoids, in detail.

But in addition to avoiding, we shall simultaneously recommend the positive mentality which is the result of the formation of character one gets from the spiritual master.

Eight aspects of brahmacarya, ( by Sridhar Swami, the Bhagavatam commentator.
Also quoted in Daksha Smriti).

(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 favorate 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 NOD. Pure devotees don’t waste their time, they always are cautious to make sure they are always engaged positively in K.C.

(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 brahmacari’s, (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

Discussions of these 8 points in further detail with evidences.

(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.

(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 them 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 brahmacari’s, (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.

Some benefits of positive progressive brahmacari life.

“Ayustejo balam viryam prana sris ca yasastatha
punyam ca sat-priyatvam ca vardhate brahmacaryaya”

By the practice of brahmacarya, longevity, glory, strength, vigor, knowledge, wealth, undying fame, virtues and devotion to the truth increase.

Interestingly, the opposite is also true. (SB. 7.10.8)

indriyani manah prana atma dharmo dhrtir matih
hrih sris tejah smrtih satyam yasya nasyanti janmana

O my Lord, because of lusty desires from the very beginning of one’s birth, the functions of one’s senses, mind, life, body, religion, patience, intelligence, shyness, opulence, strength, memory and truthfulness are vanquished.

(From NOD) There is another quotation, from a devotee who laments as follows: “Alas, I am still trying to relish different pleasurable states from this body, which is simply some skin covering mucus, semen and blood. In this state of consciousness I am so condemned that I cannot relish the transcendental ecstasy of remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

(1) Retention of semen is important. Don’t spill it!

(SP :Morn walk 5/7/73) “To give another example, semen is produced from blood. Blood is transformed into semen.” And (SB 10.2.27) “The seven layers of bark covering the tree (of the body)are skin, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow and semen”

Semen retention is very valuable for both spiritual and material health. Semen retained in the body goes upwards to nourish the brain, rendering the body robust, and the memory and intellect incredibly sharp. Confidence, determination, optimism, willpower, fixed intelligence, noble character, photographic memory and shining good health are all fruits of conserved semen.

(SB. 3.12.4)
sanakam ca sanandam ca sanatanam athatmabhuh
sanat-kumaram ca munin niskriyan urdhva-retasah

In the beginning, Brahma created four great sages named Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanat-kumara. All of them were unwilling to adopt materialistic activities because they were highly elevated due to their semen’s flowing upwards.

(SB 3.24.20 Purport) “The four Kumaras and Narada are naisthika-brahmacaris. Naisthika-brahmacari refers to one who never wastes his semen at any time. They were not to attend the marriage ceremony of their other brothers, Marici and the other sages, and therefore they went back with their father, Hamsa.”

SB 4.11.5 Purport)
“An important word in this verse is urdhva-retasah, which means brahmacaris who have never discharged semen. Celibacy is so important that even though one does not undergo any austerities, penances or ritualistic ceremonies prescribed in the Vedas, if one simply keeps himself a pure brahmacari, not discharging his semen, the result is that after death he goes to the Satyaloka. Generally, sex life is the cause of all miseries in the material world. In the Vedic civilization sex life is restricted in various ways. Out of the whole population of the social structure, only the grhasthas are allowed restricted sex life. All others refrain from sex. The people of this age especially do not know the value of not discharging semen. As such, they are variously entangled with material qualities and suffer an existence of struggle only. The word urdhva-retasah especially indicates the Mayavadi sannyasis, who undergo strict principles of austerity. But in the Bhagavad-gita (8.16) the Lord says that even if one goes up to Brahmaloka, he again comes back (abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ’rjuna). Therefore, actual mukti, or liberation, can be attained only by devotional service, because by devotional service one can go above Brahmaloka, or to the spiritual world, wherefrom he never comes back. Mayavadi sannyasis are very proud of becoming liberated, but actual liberation is not possible unless one is in touch with the Supreme Lord in devotional service. It is said, harim vina na srtim taranti: without Krsna’s mercy, no one can have liberation.”

(SB. 11.6.47)
vata-vasana ya rsayah sramana urdhra-manthinah
brahmakhyam dhama te yanti santah sannyasino ’malah

Naked sages who seriously endeavor in spiritual practice, who have raised their semen upward, who are peaceful and sinless members of the renounced order, attain the spiritual abode called Brahman.

Srila Prabhupada’s purport on this in CC Adi 2.18 Where this verse is quoted says:
“They never discharge their semen, either knowingly or unknowingly. By such celibacy they are able to raise the semen to the brain. Thus they become most intelligent and develop very sharp memories. Their minds are never disturbed or diverted from contemplation on the Absolute Truth, nor are they ever contaminated by desire for material enjoyment. By practicing austerities under strict discipline, such mendicants attain a neutral state transcendental to the modes of nature and merge into the impersonal Brahman.”

So what to speak if great care is taken to control it in Krsna’s service, like Prthu Maharaja did.

(SB. 4.23.7)
titiksur yata-vag danta urdhva-reta jitanilah
ariradhayisuh krsnam acarat tapa uttamam

Maharaja Prthu underwent all these severe austerities in order to control his words and his senses, to refrain from discharging his semen and to control the life air within his body. All this he did for the satisfaction of Krsna. He had no other purpose.

Maharaja Prthu was married, so sense control and retention of semen is also helpful (and necessary) for all males, both brahmacaris and householder men.

Also in the vedas: maranam bindu patanat, jivanam bindu rakshanat
“If the (semen) drop falls brings death, conserving the (semen) drop gives life”.

In the first verse quoted, “Ayustejo” means “strength in the duration of life.” This Tejah is also refered in Ayurveda as “ohjas” which is the lustre or brightness of the face. Which comes when one conserves the semen in the body.

Conversely, when you lose semen, (by falling) the face loses brightness. He becomes dull. It is distinctly perceivable in the face of a man. Any man.

(Morn walk 3/15/76)
Devotee: Yes. And they’re very strong on celibacy because he said that the…. If a person loses semen or if they masturbate or if they unnecessarily use their sexual energy, they’ll go insane. Their brains will become very weak, and physically they’ll become very weak.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is a fact.
Prabhupada: So I think this philosophy, no illicit sex, will be very much…
Devotee: Yes. They’ll very much appreciate that.
Prabhupada: And if you explain scientifically as you are explaining, that “This will spoil the brain, you cannot take nice things, so you must observe these rules…”

The living spirit soul takes shelter with the drop of semen,(SB 3.31.1) so losing also means dropping living entities. There is some adverse reaction accepted (at the least, the degradation of consciousness) when this happens to a man.

(SB 3.31.1 Purport) “Here one word, retah-kanasrayah, is very significant because it indicates that it is not the semen of the man that creates life within the womb of a woman; rather, the living entity, the soul, takes shelter in a particle of semen and is then pushed into the womb of a woman.”

The sages of old were conscious of this, so when the semen dropped from them they saved it and many other sages were born.

(SB 6.18.6) also see(SB 9.13.6)
retah sisicatuh kumbhe urvasyah sannidhau drutam

Upon seeing Urvasi, the celestial society girl, both Mitra and Varuna discharged semen, which they preserved in an earthen pot. The two sons Agastya and Vasistha later appeared from that pot, and they are therefore the common sons of Mitra and Varuna.

(Nowadays of course, we have no such potency like the sages,) but it illustrates how important it is to conserve it in the body.

Regarding abortion Srila Prabhupada says: (7/3/76 D.C)

Devotee (1): Srila Prabhupada, what happens to the soul when you have an abortion, though? Where does it go?
Prabhupada: Goes to another body. Dehantara. Tatha dehantara-praptih. If you do not allow him to this body, he goes to another body. Just like if you drive me from this apartment, I must go somewhere. I must find out another apartment. It is not that I am finished. You force me to go out of this apartment. So I go to a friend’s house or anywhere, I must go.
Devotee (1): Would that also be due to that soul’s karma, that he has gone from being aborted on to another body?
Prabhupada: Not necessarily, but you create a karma. You are responsible for that.
Hari-sauri: So it’s not necessarily that he’s receiving some sinful reaction from past work that he’s not allowed to enter.
Prabhupada: That may be, but you are responsible for that. Because you are driving me from this apartment by force. Actually, in a higher sense, that is accepted, that he was to be driven away. But because you are driving, you are responsible for that.
Hari-sauri: So like in our case, the spirit soul takes shelter in the semen.
Prabhupada: Yes, according to his desire he’s given shelter to such and such place, and he comes out with body.

The case of falling semen could (in extreme cases) be considered to be very similar to an abortion of the living entity, although perhaps with less severity of reaction, due to not being placed in the womb of a woman. But nevertheless, it adds to the importance of the consciousness of conservation of this vital energy. Apartment-dwelling means contained in your body, or apartment means- delivered to a females body. Whether or not this actually applies to this case, The individual devotee is free to use his own judgment.

(SP discussions with Hayagriva Das)
Hayagriva: His argument, well, he says, “Marriage is natural to man, and an irregular connection outside of marriage is contrary to the good of man; therefore fornication must be sinful.”
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hayagriva: But he goes on to argue, “The inordinate emission of semen is repugnant to the good of nature, which is the conservation of the species. Hence, after the sin of murder, whereby human nature already in actual existence is destroyed, this sort of sin seems to hold a second place whereby the generation of human nature is precluded.” Well how, people today would ask, how could the argument of the generation or the, the conservation of the species still hold, since there’s so many human beings, since there are almost four billion human beings on this earth, how could this argument still hold that, uh…?
Prabhupada: That, what is that argument?
Hayagriva: That sex is only to beget children, for propagation of the species, and any other use is…
Prabhupada: Sinful.
Hayagriva: …sinful.
Prabhupada: Yes. That we recommend in our, this Krsna consciousness: no illicit sex. Illicit sex means not producing…, not for producing children but for enjoyment. That is sinful. And…in SB 7.12 Srila Prabhupada says, “wasting semen is also illicit sex”

(SB 4.8.1)
maitreya uvaca
sanakadya naradas ca rbhur hamso ’runir yatih
naite grhan brahma-suta hy avasann urdhva-retasah

The great sage Maitreya said: The four great Kumara sages headed by Sanaka, as well as Narada, Rbhu, Hamsa, Aruni and Yati, all sons of Brahma did not live at home, but became urdhva-reta, or naisthika-brahmacaris, unadulterated celibates.

The system of brahmacarya has been current since the birth of Brahma. A section of the population, especially male, did not marry at all. Instead of allowing their semen to be driven downwards, they used to lift the semen up to the brain. They are called urdhva-retasah, those who lift up. Semen is so important that if, by the yogic process, one can lift the semen up to the brain, he can perform wonderful work—one’s memory is enabled to act very swiftly, and the duration of life is increased. Yogis can thus perform all kinds of austerity with steadiness and be elevated to the highest perfectional stage, even to the spiritual world. Vivid examples of brahmacaris who accepted this principle of life are the four sages Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat-kumara, as well as Narada and others.
Another significant phrase here is naite grhan hy avasan, “they did not live at home.” Grha means “home” as well as “wife.” In fact, “home” means wife; “home” does not mean a room or a house.

One who lives with a wife lives at home, otherwise a sannyasi or brahmacari, even though he may live in a room or in a house, does not live at home. That they did not live at home means that they did not accept a wife, and so there was no question of their discharging semen. Semen is meant to be discharged when one has a home, a wife and the intention to beget children, otherwise there is no injunction for discharging semen.”

In any case, the falling of semen constitutes a type of fall down on the part of a brahmacari and must be avoided as far as possible by self control. This means an individual must maintain personally a positive devotional mood at all times.

(Bg. 6.24)
sa niscayena yoktavyo yogo ’nirvinna-cetasa
sankalpa-prabhavan kamams tyaktva sarvan asesatah
manasaivendriya-gramam viniyamya samantatah

One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with determination and faith and not be deviated from the path. One should abandon, without exception, all material desires born of mental speculation and thus control all the senses on all sides by the mind.

You may ask: ‘What do I do if it falls anyway? Hang my head in shame?”

No. Continue on with your devotional service. (SB 11.17.25)

reto navakirej jatu brahma-vrata-dharah svayam
avakirne ’vagahyapsu yatasus tri-padam japet

One observing the vow of celibate brahmacari life should never pass semen. If the semen by chance spills out by itself, the brahmacari should immediately take bath in water, control his breath by pranayama and chant the Gayatri mantra.

What if it is ‘night fall’ (dropping at night during rest) by accident, or due to the effect of ‘bad’ or lusty dreams?

These points are covered nicely in the “Brahmacarya in K.C” book by H.H. Bhakti Vikash Swami.
(1) Don’t raise the internal heat in the body (both internally -by weeding out passionate thoughts.) One has to regulate his nightly diet and his habits also.

This is a reference to the ‘heat in the body’ or passionate mood. To counteract this, keep the mind in a spiritual frame of mind in the evening by reading sastras, or chanting bhajans (I recommend ‘Gopinath’ by Bhaktivinode Thakura, many devotees have appreciated when they chant this during troubled nights to rectify the wayward mind.)

This is especially a must for the book distributors who often sell books to materialistic men and women all day. Sometimes un-devotional thoughts of these people we distribute to creep into the mind, and then we bring it home to the temple asrama, and at night they come out of the mind to haunt us.

What to speak of the outsiders, I’ve had cases where brahmacari’s who have excessive association with ISKCON women on a daily basis in the course of their service complain of this problem.

Women are women. They are not always at fault. The sense objects are not at fault. How we perceive the sense object IS the real fault. What must be understood by us at all times is that only Krsna is the enjoyer. Seeing the sense objects as separate from Krishna is the real disease. Increasing your K.C. is the only real medicine.

Vishaya sangraha -the tendency of the conditioned soul to struggle with the sense enjoying mood- will always remain with us unless and until it is rooted out at the anartha nivritti stage of devotional service.

At night, read the books, play devotional cassettes, (Edinburgh temple plays SP bhajan cassettes over the temple speaker softly all night long.)
And PRAY TO KRISHNA AND GURUfor help especially before retiring for the evening.

(2) Regulate the eating habits. Eat light prasadam at night if you must eat at all, or better yet avoid eating at night completely. This along with clearing the bladder and bowels before sleeping will help.

What if someone is purposely allowing it to spill out? What then?

If you mean masturbation, then this is a serious difficulty with some humans in any institution in Kali Yuga. It has occurred and still does occur sometimes. ISKCON is no exception to this. Although it must be rooted out. No one should tolerate its continuance, individually or otherwise.

To rectify this one requires very confidential counseling in the company of ones authority, guru or sadhu to overcome this faulty mentality. This is very important. Guilt sometimes forces one to hide this problem from the devotees who love you and care about your devotional advancement.

Admitting to this is publicly takes courage, is often very embarassing and if incorrectly done, result in the destruction of the problematic devotees reputation. So compassionate care on the part of any authority-high or low in the temple- must be taken to preserve the devotees spiritual life while under treatment for any devotional disease.

Anyone in the devotional community suffering from this malady must seek (or be told to seek) out a confidential local devotee authority, who they can completely trust to maintain the secrecy of this from others.

The spiritual master is the topmost well-wisher of the disciple. No anarthas must be kept secret from him if the disciple really wants to weed this out for good.

In addition, Satsvarupa Das Goswami’s book, “Obstacles on the path of devotional service” is good to refer to for advice. Compassion is need of the hour in this case. Take heart though, “Impossible is a word in a fools dictionary”. With sincere endeavor this degrading habit can be completely broken.

For this in some instances, Srila Prabhupada recommended marriage, but even legally in married life semen must be conserved.

The results can often be obvious to other people, because the face is the index of the mind. Even in ISKCON. Perhaps you must have seen this during Mangal arati sometimes, while looking at the faces of the married men. This is not encouraging a fault-finding mood but you can sometimes perceive it intuitively. You can tell, (without the need to ask them) who’s following the strict principles with his wife, and who’s not.

There is really no enjoyment, just the illusion of it. But the maintenance of that life can be expensive. Brahmacari’s who observe thoughtfully the lives of householders should count their blessing daily. How lucky they are!

(Morn walk 5/15/73)
Prabhupada: A neophyte or anyone who is not in Krsna consciousness, he does not enjoy. He simply suffers. There is no question of enjoyment. Anyone who is not in Krsna consciousness, he does not enjoy. He simply suffers. But he takes the suffering as enjoyment. That is maya. That is maya. Just like in your country, they are working day and night. Just like from the morning, gugugugugugugugugu (makes noise of machine that is on nearby) They are suffering, but the people are coming, enjoying golf. That is suffering only. From the morning, going here, is it not suffering? (laughter) But he’s thinking, “I am enjoying.” This is maya.
Umapati: Just like the doctor’s…
Prabhupada: Yes. This is maya. He is suffering, but he’s thinking I am enjoying. So any conditioned soul, he doesn’t enjoy anything. He simply suffers. But he thinks that he is enjoying. Therefore the camel, camel example is given. Camel example. Camel, he is eating his own blood, eating thorns, and the thorns cutting the tongue, and from the tongue, blood is oozing out. So when the blood is mixed up with the thorny twigs, it becomes little tasteful, and he is thinking “Oh, it is very nice.” Similarly, all these grhasthas, enjoying sex life, he is discharging his own blood, he’s becoming weaker and weaker, he is thinking, “I am enjoying.” He is thinking, “I am enjoying.” And if he uses more, then he becomes diseased, tuberculosis. He is dying by that process, but he’s thinking, “I am enjoying.” Therefore it is example for the camel. He is enjoying his own blood by discharging. One drop of semen is made out of so many drops of blood. Do you know?
Svarupa Damodara: Forty drops.
Prabhupada: Just see. And how many, how much drops of semen he is discharging… That means he’s spoiling his blood. But he is thinking, “I am enjoying.” Would you like to, by giving your blood to enjoy? Would you like?
Umapati: No, I don’t think I’d like.
Prabhupada: But you are doing that, every night. And that is called maya.
Umapati: I’m a brahmacari, Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: No, you are…(laughter) I am giving an example. This is going on. He is going to die. He has adopted a process by which he will die, and he thinks that he is enjoying. This is called maya. Maya means things which is not, maya. Ma means not, ya means this. “What you are thinking, it is not that.” That is called maya. So they are in maya means, they are thinking, these rascals, they are thinking, improving, becoming happy, advancing this maya word will finish everything, ma, ya: “Not this.” Bhagavata says that “You are thinking you are becoming victorious, but you are being defeated.” Parabhavas tavad abodha-jatah. These rascal, abodha-jatah, born fools and rascal, they are becoming defeated in every step. Parabhavas tavad abodha-jato yavan na jijnasata atma-tattvam. So long he does not inquire about his self, “What I am,” he is simply being defeated. That’s all. This is the verdict.

(SB 2.3.19 LA 6/15/72)
“Now, another enjoyment. Sex life, discharge. Na mehanti. Again it is described. These are very terse criticism. You see. A fact. Sex enjoyment means you discharge your semina. Your thing, not others. And it is said by medical science, some pounds of blood makes one drop of semina. That means, suppose you allow, if you allow somebody to take your blood, pounds of blood, would you like to do that? Unless it is… Nowadays, blood bank, there is going on. But anyone, if he wants to take your blood, you will protest. But our enjoyment is by giving our own blood. Tul… There is a Hindi poet, din ka dakini, rat ka baghini, palak palak rahe cuse duniya sab bhora hoye, ghara ghara baghini puje (?). It is actual for the materialistic person, that there is an animal, din ka dakini, at, during daytime she is witch, and at night she is tigress.
So din ka dakini, rat ka baghini, palak palak rahe cuse. The witches, they also, by their black art, they suck the blood of children. Do you know that? There are witches. You know? I am asking Svarupa Damodara. The kamekha (?) witches, from the black art. The Putana was like that. They suck the blood of children by some mantra. So din ka dakini, rat ka baghini. It is pointing out to one’s wife. During daytime she is dakini, witches, and at night she is tigress. So Tulasi dasa says that. . . Tulasi dasa’s life is very interesting. Therefore he had very bad experience of his wife. Everyone. So baghini. Nobody keeps a tigress to suck one’s blood, but Tulasi dasa says, duniya sab bhora hoye. The whole world, being mad, they keep one tigress. Palak palak rahe cuse. In every moment, sucking blood. This criticism is for the materialistic person. Those who are spiritually advancing, this criticism does not apply. For materialistic person, this agent of sucking blood is their happiness, is their happiness.
That is the real fact. Therefore the Vedic system of civilization is seventy-five percent life of celibacy. In the brahmacari system there is no connection with woman. Student life. Student life, if one remains brahmacari, he becomes determined. His brain becomes very receptive. Therefore, in the brahmacari system, complete celibacy, no connection with woman. So up to twenty-five years, if he does not discharge semen, he becomes very stout, strong, and his health is built up for whole life, and he becomes so intelligent that anything he will hear, he will remember immediately. Then after brahmacari system, if one cannot remain brahmacari, naisthika-brahmacari, then the spiritual master allows him to marry. That is grhastha-asrama. So when one is complete, fit for sex life, he begets children, male children, and after twenty-five years, the child becomes grown up, so he retires. In this way, brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. The whole aim is Visnu, how to go back to home, back to Godhead.

(SB. 8.12.36)
skanne retasi so ’pasyad atmanam deva-mayaya
jadikrtam nrpa-srestha sannyavartata kasmalat

=O Maharaja Pariksit, best of kings, when Lord Siva had fully discharged semen, he could see how he himself had been victimized by the illusion created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus he restrained himself from any further maya.

Once one is agitated by lusty desires upon seeing a woman, those desires increase more and more, but when semen is discharged in the act of sex, the lusty desires diminish. The same principle acted upon Lord Siva. He was allured by the beautiful woman Mohini-murti, but when his semen had been fully discharged, he came to his senses and realized how he had been victimized as soon as he saw the woman in the forest. If one is trained to protect his semen by observing celibacy, naturally he is not attracted by the beauty of a woman. If one can remain a brahmacari, he saves himself so much trouble in material existence. Material existence means enjoying the pleasure of sexual intercourse (yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham). If one is educated about sex life and is trained to protect his semen, he is saved from the danger of material existence.

Last words on this point…

Once in a SB class in Melbourne(As narrated by Bhurijana Prabhu), Srila Prabhupada said, “If one can just retain his semen up to age twenty-five, the brain becomes so fertile for spiritual realization.” Then after looking around and seeing all the depressed faces, he continued, “But if you just chant Hare Krishna, everything will be all-right anyway.”

It’s Kali Yuga; We are all fallen. Many devotees have lost semen so many times in their pre-devotional lives that, even though they want to, they have trouble stopping their bodies involuntarily discharging it now. Still there is no cause for lamentation.

We should continue to fight it, trying to control it by better habits, eating simply, medicine and whatever methods we can easily adopt. If we still lose semen, it’s disgusting, but it’s not a disqualification for devotional service.

The real qualification of a brahmacari is that he wants to surrender his life to Guru and Krishna and thus be free of sex life forever. Such determination helps one transcend any unfavorable material condition- Krishna helps those who are sincere. Remember, you are not the only brahmacari with this problem. Chant and continue on with the devotional process with conviction.

Qualities one should strive to understand and obtain in brahmacari life.

An ideal brahmacari:

(1) Chants 16 rounds of japa.
(2) Follows the four regulative principles.
(3) Attends the classes and programs to maintain his purification.
(4) “Learns something, then teaches others.” Today’s student is tomarrow’s leaders..

From SB. 7.12.1-16, the following qualities in the execution of brahmacari life are obtained.

(5) Practices control of the senses.
(6) Is submissive to superiors (and devotees in general).
(7) Has an attitude of firm friendship with his guru (and other vaisnavas).
(8) Is faithful to Sastra and guru. (Studies with penetration).
(9) Lives with his guru in the asrama, selflessly for the benefit of his guru.
(10) There fully absorbs his mind 2-3 times a day remembering: guru, fire, sun and Lord Vishnu.
(11) Offers respects to guru before and after studying the Vedas regularly, (comprehendable extent)
(12) Well-behaved (with everyone- “love and education.” )
(13) Dresses appropriately according to necessity, but not extravagantly. (“first dress, then address.”)
(14) Collects alms (according to the agreed schedule) morning and evening.
(15) Dedicates everything collected to the service of the guru.
(16) Takes prasadam after receiving the permission of guru.
(17) Yet has no hesitation, and is mentally prepared to fast if required.
(18) Eats (or collects) only what is absolutely necessary, not more then that.
(19) Expert. Always busy in devotional service.
(20) Cautious in dealings with opposite sex and with those attached to the opposite sex.
(21) Sticks to important business when forced to associate with the opposite sex, otherwise not.
(22) Fearfully knows that slackness (in above) rule may agitate even sanyasis (what to speak of him).
(23) If guru’s wife is young, does not let her touch him(sense control, stop aparadha from familiarity).
(24) Realizes above rules apply to all-householders and sannyasis as well.
(25) Tries to minimize absorption in things which increase his bodily conception of life.
(26) Tries to see Krishna’s presence everywhere (in all his activities).

Other qualities from other sources.

(27) Life is short. Do not waste it uselessly. Canakya Pandita: (SB 6.5.19)

ayusah ksana eko ’pi na labhyah svarna-kotibhih
na cen nirarthakam nitih ka ca hanis tato ’dhika

Even a moment of one’s lifetime could not be returned in exchange for millions of dollars. Therefore one should consider how much loss one suffers if he wastes even a moment of his life for nothing.

Living like an animal, not understanding the goal of life, one foolishly thinks that there is no eternity and that his life span of fifty, sixty, or, at the most, one hundred years, is everything. This is the greatest foolishness. Time is eternal, and in the material world one passes through different phases of his eternal life. Time is compared herein to a sharp razor. A razor is meant to shave the hair from one’s face, but if not carefully handled, the razor will cause disaster. One is advised not to create a disaster by misusing his lifetime. One should be extremely careful to utilize the span of his life for spiritual realization, or Krsna consciousness.”

(28) Vimarshanam- always thoughtful.

But it is not enough to simply strive to retain his semen without good sadhana. Then it becomes a farce. If one relishes his freedom and would like to stay free and unencumbered, He must study the vedas and become always very thoughtful.

(SP Let Danavir 2/11/71)
“Now be very firm in your determination to carry out your devotional duties the first of which is to chant sixteen rounds of the Hare Krsna Mahamantra daily, without committing the ten kinds of offenses to the Holy name and strictly regulating your life to the four principles of no meats, fish or eggs eating; no gambling; no illicit sex-life and no taking of intoxicants. Try to study our philosophy and penetration and understand the sublime nature of this philosophy and its practical necessity for the whole mankind. You are an intelligent and thoughtful boy, so kindly utilize all your good talents faithfully in the service of Krsna and you will be fully happy and swiftly advancing.”

(Sp let. Gopijanavallabha 9/19/74)
“You must see that they strictly follow the regulative principles, the four prohibitions as well as the devotional practices of arising early, taking morning bath, putting on tilaka, attending mangal arati, chanting japa 16 rounds, and attending Srimad Bhagavatam class. This is the duty of all my initiated disciples, whether they are big or they are small. Actually in our movement there is no such thing as big or small. Everyone is a devotee. So everyone is expected to follow the devotional practices. Here in Vrndavana I am enjoying my disciples how they are speaking. So two times daily everyone must attend the classes. During the morning and evening times there should be no business, simply kirtana, chant, dance, and be purified. Do not be paramahamsa that now I haven’t got to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. Don’t be a better paramahamsa than your Guru Maharaja. I go and sit and I enjoy the lectures and how they are performing kirtana. So as I am doing, you must also do. Everyone can become a first class speaker. Simply cram the purports of my books. The references are there, the philosophy is there. Everything is there. So if you do it, everyone will be pleased with your speaking.”

(Lect. SB. 6.1.11 NY,7/ 25/71)
“So this temple, we are inviting everyone to live here, to live with us, and practice tapasya. Then your life will be advanced. Then you’ll understand:

(1) What is your constitutional position, -Infinitesimal, eternal servitor of Krishna.
(2) What is God or Krsna.- Vrajendra Kishora-The supreme Lord, reservoir of all pleasure.
(3) What is your relationship with Him.-To serve Him in one of 5 relationships as revealed by Guru and Gauranga.
(4) What is the aim of life,- Develop and render pure unalloyed devotional service in the mood of the Vrajavasi’s following the process shown by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
(5) How to execute it,-By strictly following the previous acharyas.
(6) How to make life successful-Humbly remaining under the shelter, attentively hear from, strictly follow and serve the pure unmotivated devotees in disciplic succession..

These things are taught here.”

This is called tapasya. And in the Vedas it is said that those who are executing the regulative life of tapasya, they are brahmanas. Etad viditva yah prayati sa eva brahmanah.”

Brahmana means one who is absorbed in studying the vedic literature under the instructions of a bona-fide spiritual master in disciplic succession from Krishna.

Tapasya means discipline. Voluntarily accepting a life of difficulties for the sake of purification in spiritual life. But unless one is inspired by one’s loving dealings in the association of devotees. For one who is a neophyte devotee, (devoid of experience, knowledge an realization) It becomes hard to maintain one’s enthusiasm for very long periods of time.

“If a child is trained properly in Krishna Consciousness, he will never go away. That means he must have two things, love and education.” (Sp let. To Bhanutanya Dasi, 11/18/72)

The training in brahmacari life one receives must be done in an atmosphere of love and education. Then one becomes inspired to actually dedicate his life. Everyone young or old requires this. Obtaining this builds the faith, and conviction that fuels ones faith in the vedic devotional process, in your immediate authorities, as well as in the Krishna consciousness movement as a whole.

(SB 12.8.14)
ittham brhad-vrata-dharas tapah-svadhyaya-samyamaih
dadhyav adhoksajam yogi dhvasta-klesantaratmana

In this way the devotional mystic Markandeya maintained rigid celibacy through penance, study of the Vedas and self-discipline. With his mind thus free of all disturbances, he turned it inward and meditated on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who lies beyond the material senses.

(lect. SB 3.26.27 Bom. 1/4/75)

A brahmana must be very, very learned scholar by reading Vedic literature, and pathana, and teach others of the Vedic literature. Therefore it was the custom of the brahmanas—they would not accept anyone’s service. They will sit down anywhere and open a school for teaching Vedic literature. Pathana pathana. He will personally become learned, and he will teach others. And the students, they will go from door to…, brahmacari, door to door for begging, “Mother, give me some alms,” and they will give because their students are there in the gurukula or catuspathi. So whatever they will bring, that will be cooked and offered to Krsna, and the prasadam will be distributed amongst themselves. This was the process, not twenty rupees’ fee and give some bribe to enter into the school, and that is also all rascal education, no. First-class education, without any fee, from the realized soul—that was educational system, varnasrama-dharma.
So we have to find out such guru, Vaisnava.

(SB 11.17. summary)
“Members of the higher orders are qualified to accept second birth. After receiving the sacred thread initiation, they should go to live in the guru-kula, the home of the spiritual master. With a pacified mind, the student (brahmacari) should absorb himself in study of the Vedas. He should keep matted hair and is forbidden to wash his teeth, prepare a nice seat for himself, talk when bathing or evacuating, cut his hair and nails or at any time pass semen. He must regularly perform worship at the three junctures of the day and must render devotional service to his spiritual master in a spirit free from envy. The brahmacari must offer to the guru whatever food and other things he obtains by begging. He accepts for his maintenance whatever remnants of the Lord he is granted. He should render menial service to the spiritual master by massaging his feet and worshiping him and should avoid all sense gratification and strictly maintain the vow of celibacy. With his mind, body and words, he should worship the Supreme Lord in the form of the Supersoul in the way prescribed for him. For brahmacaris, seeing or touching women, and conversations or sports in the company of women, are absolutely disallowed. Cleanliness and ritual purification by water should be observed by members of all the spiritual orders of society. Everyone is also advised to always remember that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supreme Soul dwelling within the hearts of all.
After studying all the different aspects of the Vedas, a brahmana who has material desires may take permission from his spiritual master and enter family life. Otherwise, if he has no material desire, he may become a vanaprastha or sannyasi. The proper order of succession should be followed in changing from one spiritual order to the next. One who wishes to enter the household order should accept a wife who is of the same social class, who is not objectionable, and who is somewhat younger in age than he.”

Adjustment of any of the above injunctions due to modern circumstances must be done according to the instructions of the authorities. These are ones own spiritual master and the sadhus who give one instructions in life.

(SB. 7. Summary)
The brahmacari should live under the care of the true spiritual master, giving him sincere respect and obeisances, acting as his menial servant, and always carrying out his order. The brahmacari should engage himself in spiritual activities and study the Vedic literature under the direction of the spiritual master. According to the brahmacarya system, he should dress with a belt, deerskin, and matted hair and should bear a danda, waterpot and sacred thread. He should collect alms daily in the morning, and in the evening whatever alms he has collected he should offer to the spiritual master. A brahmacari should accept prasada upon the order of the spiritual master, and if the spiritual master sometimes forgets to order the disciple to eat, the disciple should not take prasada on his own initiative; rather, he should fast. The brahmacari should be trained to be satisfied with eating what is absolutely necessary, he should be very expert in executing responsibilities, he should be faithful, and he should control his senses and try to avoid the association of women as far as possible. A brahmacari should very strictly abstain from living with women and should not meet with grhasthas and those too addicted to women. Nor should a brahmacari speak in a lonely place with a woman.
After completing one’s education as a brahmacari in this way, one should give daksina, an offering of gratitude, to one’s guru, and then one may leave for home and accept the next asrama—the grhastha-asrama—or else one may continue in the brahmacarya-asrama without adulteration. The duties for the grhastha-asrama and brahmacarya-asrama, as well as the duties for sannyasis, are prescribed in the sastras.

Vows must be strictly followed. Otherwise punishment is certain.
(let. Dayananda 3/24/74)

All initiated devotees must chant at least 16 rounds daily, without fail. Now that they are initiated there is no question of not doing their rounds. You may hold a fire yajna and Jagadisa Prabhu may chant on their beads. In court when a person swears to tell the truth he can be punished by perjury if he does not take it seriously and tells a lie, so those who will promise before the deity to follow the rules and regulations of initiated disciples will be punished if they fail to do so. I am certain, however, that under your able guidance all the boys and girls are enthusiastic in their duties for Krsna.

Just what is that punishment,You ask.?

(SB.12.2.1, SF 3/18/68)
Lingam evasrama-khyatav anyonyapatti-karanam. Lingam. Lingam means symptom. According to Vedic literature, there are different dress. A girl unmarried, her dress is different. A girl married, her dress is different. A girl widow, her dress is different. A girl prostitute, her dress is different. A men sannyasi, his dress is different. A brahmacari, his dress is different. So by the dress one can understand that who is who. That is the system. So that dress is offered by the spiritual master after qualified. Just like if a girl is married, then his (her) dress is offered during the marriage ceremony. One of the symptoms of married girl is some red powder between the two divisions of the hair. So one can understand that “This girl is not…” So similarly, there are different dresses according to qualification, according to the situation. But in the Kali-yuga, that, anyone can take any dress without any regulation, without any formality. Simply by dress. Suppose… Just like sannyasi. Because a sannyasi has to dress himself in these saffron-color garments, so sannyasi has the privilege, if he goes to a householder’s house, he is very respectfully received, and if he wants something, the householder gives him. That is the system. Now, if somebody sees that “It is a very cheap process of earning money, so let me dress in this saffron color and beg from door to door. What is the use of laboring so hard…?” So that will go on. Misuse of dress. Misuse of dress. Lingam eva asrama-khyatau. Asrama, a grhastha. Asrama means… There are four asramas: brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasi. They have got different dresses. But they have got different duties also. But in the Kali-yuga, simply by dress one should be known that either he is a sannyasi or a brahmacari or grhastha.