As the practice of Karma Yoga is not possible without Brahmacharya, I have given here a short description of the methods by which one can be established in physical and mental celibacy.
One of the students of Dhanvantari approached his teacher after finishing his full course of Ayurveda and asked him: “O Bhagavan, kindly let me know the secret of health now.” Dhanvantari replied: “This Veerya (seminal energy) is verily Atman. The secret of health lies in preservation of this vital force. He who wastes this energy cannot have physical, mental, moral and spiritual development.”
If the Veerya is lost, Prana gets unsteady. Prana is agitated. The man becomes nervous. Then the mind also cannot work properly. The man becomes fickle-minded. There is mental weakness.
According to Ayurveda semen is the last Dhatu that is formed out of Majja or marrow. From food chyle (Rasa) is manufactured. Out of chyle comes blood (Rakta); out of blood comes flesh; out of flesh comes fat: out of fat comes marrow; out of marrow comes semen. These are the seven Dhatus. There are three divisions in each Dhatu. Semen nourishes the physical body, heart and intellect. That man who uses his physical body only but keeps the intellect and heart undeveloped cannot expect to attain perfect Brahmacharya. He can have Brahmacharya of the body only but not of the mind and heart. The semen that belongs to the heart and mind will certainly flow out. If an aspirant does regular prayer, Japa and meditation only, if he does not develop the heart and if he does not practise physical exercise, he will have mental Brahmacharya only. That portion of the semen which goes to nourish the heart and body will flow out. But an advanced Yogi who does higher, deep meditation will have full Brahmacharya even if he does not take physical exercise.
The ignorant man is an instrument in the hands of his Samskaras and Karmas. He slowly gains strength by understanding his real essential nature, by doing spiritual Sadhana and by removing desires and egoism.
This world is nothing but sex and ego. Ego is the chief thing. It is the basis. Sex hangs on the ego. If the ego is destroyed by Vichara or enquiry of “Who am I,” the sex-idea takes to its heels by itself. Man, master of his destiny, has lost his divine glory and has become a slave, a tool, in the hands of sex and ego on account of ignorance. Sex and ego are the products of Avidya or nescience. The dawn of knowledge of the Self annihilates these two enemies of the Atman, the two dacoits who are plundering the helpless, ignorant, little, false Jiva, the illusory “I”.
If the sexual energy is transmuted into Ojas or spiritual energy by pure thoughts, it is called sex-sublimation in Western psychology. Just as metals and chemicals are purified by heating, so also the sexual energy is purified and changed into divine energy by spiritual Sadhana, by entertaining sublime, soul-elevating thoughts of the Self or Atman. In Yoga he is called an Oordhvareta in whom the seminal energy has flown upwards into the brain as Ojas Shakti. There is no possibility of the semen going downward through sexual excitement.
This process is extremely difficult. It demands constant and protracted Sadhana and perfect discipline. That Yogi who has achieved perfect sublimation has perfect control over lust. There is no fear of his downfall. He is perfectly safe. He can embrace young women, and yet he will be absolutely free from any impurity. This stage is a very high stage. A very small minority only have attained this sublime exalted state. Sri Sankara, Sri Dattatreya and Jnana Dev of Alandi had reached this stage.
That Yogi who has disciplined himself through ceaseless and protracted Sadhana, continuous meditation, Pranayama and Atmic Vichara, the practice of Sama, Dama, Yama and Niyama, is also safe, although he has not attained the state of perfect sex-sublimation. He will have no attraction for women. He has thinned out the mind. The mind is starved to death. It cannot raise its hood. It cannot hiss.
That Yogi or Jnani who has attained the highest Nirvikalpa Samadhi, in whom the seeds of Samskaras are fried in toto can claim to be a perfect Oordhvareta or one who has complete sex-sublimation.
The process of sex-sublimation is very difficult and yet it is most necessary for the aspirant in the path of spirituality. It is the most important qualification for the aspirant, either in the path of Karma Yoga, Upasana, Raja Yoga or Vedanta. You must achieve this at any cost. You will surely attempt this in some future birth. But why not now?
Brahmacharya is a fundamental pre-requisite for an aspirant. If one has this qualification or merit, all other merits will cling to him. All divine qualities will come by themselves.
The practice of celibacy is not attended with any danger or any diseases or any undesirable results such as the various sorts of ‘complex’ which are wrongly attributed by Western psychologists. They have a wrong, ill-founded imagination that the ungratified sex-energy assumes the various forms of ‘complex’ in disguise, such as touch-phobia, etc. The complex is due to some other causes. It is a morbid state of mind due to excessive jealousy, hatred, anger, worry and depression brought about by various causes.
On the contrary, even a little self-restraint or a little practice of continence is an ideal ‘pick-me-up’. It gives inner strength and peace of mind. It invigorates the mind and the nerves. It helps to conserve physical and mental energy. It augments memory, will-force and brain-power. It bestows tremendous strength, vigour and vitality. It renovates the system or constitution, rebuilds the cells and tissues, helps digestion and gives power to face the difficulties in the daily battle of life. A perfect celibate can shake the world, can stop the ocean waves like Lord Jesus, can blow up mountains, can command Nature and the five elements like Jnana Dev. There is nothing in the three worlds that cannot be achieved by him. All Siddhis and Riddhis roll at his feet.
It is quite possible for a man to practise celibacy while remaining in the world, albeit there are various sorts of temptations and distractions. Many have achieved this in times of yore. There are many even at the present time also. A well disciplined life, study of religious literature, Satsanga, Japa, Dhyana, pure and moderate diet, Pranayama, daily introspection and enquiry, self-analysis and self-correction, practice of Yama, Niyama, physical and mental Tapas and Sadachara in accordance with the teachings of the seventeenth chapter of the Gita—all will pave a long way in the attainment of this end. People have an irregular, unrighteous, immoderate, irreligious, undisciplined life. Just as the elephant throws sand on its head, so also they themselves bring difficulties and troubles on their own heads on account of their foolishness.
Varnashrama Dharmas are practically extinct now. Every one is a Vaishya only with greed for the accumulation of wealth by hook or by crook, by begging, borrowing or stealing. Almost all Brahmins are Vaishyas only. There is no real Brahmin or Kshatriya in these days. All want money anyhow. They do not attempt to practise the Dharmas of their order of life. This is the fundamental cause for the downfall of man. If the householder discharges the duties of his stage of life strictly, if he is an ideal Grihastha there is no necessity for taking Sannyasa. The swelling up in the number of Sannyasins at the present moment is due to the failure of the householders in the discharge of their duties. The life of an ideal householder is as much difficult and rigid as that of an ideal Sannyasin. Pravritti Marga or the path of Karma Yoga is as much difficult and rigid as that of Nivritti Marga or the path of renunciation.
Sex-sublimation is within your reach if you wish to attain it. The path is quite clear, straight and smooth, if you understand it, and if you apply yourself with patience, perseverance, determination and strong will, if you practise discipline of the Indriyas, right conduct, right thinking, right acting, regular meditation, auto-suggestion and enquiry of ‘Who am I’? The Atman is Nirvikara. Feel this. Can there be any trace of lust or impurity in the eternal and pure Atman?
Thou art Nitya, Suddha, Buddha, Mukta Atman (eternal, pure, perfect, all-wise, free Self). O sweet beloved Paramananda! Feel this. Assert this birthright. Claim this hereditary property. You can even fight with that ‘Old Man of the Upanishads’. Claim this birthright amidst typewriting, arranging chapter of a book and other multifarious work. This is better than the life in a cave. This is dynamic, integral Yoga of Siva. This was the Yoga of Sri Sankara and Lord Buddha also.