This chapter is the English translation of Gujarati Book
Title - Sadhak and Sathi
Author - Shri Atmanandji (Dr. Soneji)
CHAPTER - 4
The word "Brahmacharya" consists of two words:
a. Brahma means Soul and
b. Charya means Conduct.
The code of conduct that leads to self-realization of Soul (or
Atma) would, therefore, be the general meaning of Brahma-charya
It should, however, be understood that the concept of celibacy
is very wide, subtle and complicated. Only a highly enlightened
soul well-established in celibacy is really competent to give an
all-embracing conceptual analysis of celibacy. We are, however,
trying to attempt hereunder a brief description and analysis of
the subject of celibacy as it applies at the present-day.
This is based on the doctrines of the ancient, illustrious
Acharyas or saints who joined to our own limited experience.
May this delight those who aim at the attainment of the sublime
and supersensuous bliss and may it percolate in the depth of
their souls, and lead them to exert themselves in all ways, in
the practice of this pure, pious and supreme vow (Uttama Vrata)
The proponents of Aryan culture have broadly classified the
life activities of human being into four categories -
Dharma, Artha, Karma, Moksha:
(1) Dharma: Practice of religion
(2) Artha: Activity for earning livelihood etc.
(3) Karma: Activity for fame, family etc.
(4) Moksha: Activity for the attainment of
It is recommended that an average person should go through the
four stages (Ashramas) of life known as Brahmacharya, Grihastha,
Vanaprastha and Sanyasa Ashramas. They are prescribed as
1. Brahmacharya-ashrama: Student Life
2. Gruhasth-ashrama: Family Life
3. Vanaprasth-ashrsama: Family and Social services period
4. Sanyast-ashrama: Monkhood Life (Renunciation)
Looking from the viewpoint of an average person, this kind of
arrangement has been found fairly practical and quite useful to
society. However, there is one small group of exceptional
personalities in society, that adopts a different course.
Life-long celibacy right from childhood, gradually developing as
a full-time aspirant - (Sadhaka). This may be due to the
psychic effects (sanskars) of previous lives, influence of the
Guru (the teacher), good company, and a firm desire for
liberation of the soul from the bondage of the body (Moksha).
Once the right conviction becomes well established, life-long
celibacy can lead a person more easily to the attainment of
various extraordinary capacities which are ultimately conducive
to self-realization. This has been exemplified by the lives of
so many saints, great souls and Acharyas.
SADHANA OF CELIBACY:
1. As expected of ordinary householders.
2. As expected of seekers of true knowledge and persons desiring
3. Complete Celibacy
1. AS EXPECTED OF ORDINARY HOUSEHOLDERS
The Sadhakas of celibacy in this first stage have to resort
to Sadhana while keeping intact their business and
occupation, family structure, and social relations. They try
to practice celibacy by way of good manners or as advised by
a religious preacher. They have only relationship with their
spouse and none with others. Here, the spiritual vision is
of least importance because they are not acquainted
thoroughly with the original vital form of celibacy.
Since, lofty morality is expected of people of high status in
society, and taking into consideration the physical and
social disadvantages of immoral behavior, these Sadhakas
normally remain monogamous and therefore faithful just to
their spouse only.
2. AS EXPECTED OF SEEKERS OF THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE AND PERSONS
Here, celibacy starts with conviction. In persons of this
cadre, real love of the vow of celibacy has arisen. It
arises because they have a clear conviction as to how
celibacy of all types, physical, mental, social, and
spiritual, is the source of an all sided sublimation. This
is analyzed scientifically and adjudged as conducive to
happiness and usefulness.
Observance of celibacy is particularly helpful in self-
study, devotion, religion, self-identity and various types of
meditation (Dhyana). Sadhana of its worldly and spiritual
forms commences here due to this experience.
Feelings of acute tension do not cease till a person is fully
satisfied with his own spouse alone. Then the concentration
on self-study is possible. Such a Sadhaka arranges his
life-routine in the proper order as renunciated in the
scriptures. He then renounces according to his ability.
The causes mentioned below that are hindering to his vow of
celibacy and takes recourse to others by which he can become
stable in his vow of study.
The following method will help in the observance of celibacy:
a. Repeated acquaintances with Mahatmas, saints and monks.
b. Following the guideline of a noble routine of life. This
means not letting the mind idle even for a moment and being
constantly associated with one or the other type of good
c. Methodical and regular study of good scriptures.
d. Development of the virtue of humility, by devotion, worship
and praise and full consciousness of one's own faults.
e. Formation of good habits and observance of useful rules
whereby one achieves the absence of addiction. This means a
habit of leading a regular life so that it becomes easy to
master the five senses and the mind. The mind becomes easily
stable in Sadhana by the above practices.
f. Discarding all external influences that intoxicate the mind.
It means dissociation with watching movies, going to parties,
club-visits, sensual entertainment, and so on.
g. Not reading sensual literature like passion inspiring
stories, songs, dramas etc, or even keeping such books in
h. In the area of discipline regarding food, discarding spicy
foods as well as onions and garlic. Total banishment of
meat, alcohol and drug substance. Rich foods like Ghee, milk
and cream should also be taken within limits so that general
health is maintained.
Chapatis, pulses, rice, vegetables, fruits, and curds as also
water and liquids should be taken in good quantity so that
vitality and health are maintained. Body and Mind will then
retain their happiness and the person will engross himself in
self-study, acquaintance with the noble people, and meditation
in all its intensity.
The Sadhaka should cultivate the habit of eating very plain
food and occasionally less food. With this, the Sadhana will
gain a sense of purpose, the body will be healthy, idleness
will end, and steadiness and attainment of concentration
(Ashana) will develop.
The study of religious scriptures (Tattva) is simultaneously
necessary in the Sadhana of this stage. Thus, observance of
celibacy is not just physical Sadhana but it is one of
constant awakening of the soul. The Sadhaka comes to this
realization through learning.
Hence a man experiences satisfaction only with his wife. But
even then, even in a brief contact with his own wife, a man
feels regret. He performs some penance and feels distaste for
the shortcomings of his soul. He confirms his respect regarding
celibacy again and again through listening to religious
discourse, acquaintance with noble people, pilgrimage to holy
places (Tirtha-Yatra) and study of philosophy.
The Sadhaka also gives an impetus to his self by remembering, in
veneration, great souls like Hanuman, Bhishma, Lord Neminath
(Arishtanemi), Lord Parashwanath, Sudershan Sheth etc. In
recent times, Mahatma Gandhi and Ramkrishna Paramhansa retained
married status and still practiced celibacy, thus presenting
before us inspiring examples of the Sadhana of celibacy. In
this stage, there is to be observance of celibacy for twelve to
twenty eight days per month or even more. This leads to great
success in steadiness of Sadhana.
3. COMPLETE CELIBACY
From the viewpoint of Ultimate Reality, this is the ultimate
stage of a superman. Its attainment is possible only to
genuinely detached persons endowed with self- realization. The
vow of celibacy here, means its complete observance of this
great vow. The persons who have reached the highest stage, are
genuinely merged in Atma (own Soul) as a reward of their supreme
Sadhana of knowledge and self-control (Jnana-samyama).
Still, however, for those who have attained to steadiness
in celibacy by Sadhana, complete celibacy in speech,
body, and mind, becomes possible.
Mostly, such persons prefer to live in a monastery at the feet
of a preceptor or in an Ashrama or a service organization
for the safe and pure observance and maintenance of their
vow. This is because here they have the benefit of
constant acquaintance with noble sages and religious discourses
delivered by them. Mostly, they are full-time
If, in the case of some persons, may have a small responsibility
as householder, they might pay a casual visit to their houses,
but once that worldly responsibility is fulfilled, they get
fully engrossed in the constant pursuit of purity. It is then
that their complete celibacy shines out in its true color and
It need hardly be stressed that when such a Sadhaka has to
go to his worldly home, he stays in a separate lonely room,
observes his daily routine and takes no interest in worldly
problems except where and when he must. He retires to his
abode of yoga as soon as his work is over.
GLORY OF CELIBACY
1. The celibate, who on viewing a young beauty in full bloom,
does not get excited in the slightest degree and considers
her to no more than a wooden doll, is like god himself.
If a person controls his passion, he can conquer the whole
world. This is like vanquishing the king during a war, as a
result of which the whole kingdom along with the army and its
power is conquered too.
Strength is always required to accomplish any task. The same
is also true for self-knowledge. Let the wise therefore,
take on the strength of celibacy to accomplish the same.
2. One who desires to attain to the Supreme Reality, observes
3. The practice of celibacy is indeed a major and unmatched
contributory factor in:
a. Controlling all the five senses and the mind
b. Avoidance of all lethargy
c. Attainment of the highest degree of self-contemplation
d. Sadhana of all types conducive to the liberation (Mokhsha)
of the Soul
4. Celibacy is said to be the most difficult of all vows and
therefore it is considered as the principal vow (Vrata). No
penance is sufficient for a monk or a Muni who violates this
fundamental vow in the smallest degree. Breach of this vow
is the downfall of a Sadhaka. Sadhakas, therefore, have to
nourish this vow of celibacy all with due care and alertness.
5. Celibacy is said to be the supreme austerity (Tapa).
6. The man who observes faultless, true and complete celibacy
deserves all praise and veneration, not only from common
people of the world, but also from all great souls.
7. Observance of celibacy even in a dream is not possible for
persons with limited capacity and loose character, who are
timid, helpless, and slaves to their senses. Only persons of
great spirit are able to observe this vow in its true sense.
8. Even highly enlightened souls envisage no possibility of
expiration for a breach of this vow. They are unanimous that
it must be observed under all circumstances.
9. Strength and health are the benefits of celibacy. Further,
it confers long life and brightness of mind. The body is
energized, the intellect and memory get sharpened, speech
becomes lucid and powerful. By observance of celibacy,
steadiness of concentration is achieved and the experience of
a state of noble thinking gets extended. When a person is in
meditation, he feels no fatigue and he can become a master of
Samadhi that yields supreme bliss through the attainment of
multifaceted self-control. We thus realize that celibacy is
the best companion of a Sadhaka.
LIVING EXAMPLES OF CELIBACY
One of the main disciples of Swami Vivekananda was Swami
Vibhutananda. The pupil was as capable as the teacher.
Once, a young woman entered his apartment with lustful
intention, but when she saw the very gentle figure and
divine luster of the Swami, she was stunned. Seeing her
stunned, the Swami said, "Well mother, you will not go
without something!" He offered Prasada (food) to her and she
had no option but to accept it. The instinct of lust in the
woman was dissipated on hearing the word "Mother".
She accepted the Prasada of God, bowed before the Swami
with tears rolling down her eyes, begged forgiveness and
Such was the impressive grandeur of observance of life-long
The king Chhatrasal (Maharaja) was a great warrior of
the seventeenth century, well known for his nobility and
philanthropic works. He ruled in parts of northern India and
gave a bitter fight to Moslim Emperor Aurangzeb.
He was the ruler of the kingdom of Panna around the year 1670
A.D. He was heroic like a lion and far brighter was his luster
of celibacy. Besides being a man of royal blood, he was in the
full bloom of youth. On seeing his grand personality, one
daughter of a feudatory lord became enamored of him. She was
maddened by love for him. Lust is blind and when one is
overcome by it, one loses all sense of understanding and reason.
She approached the king and, with folded hands, she said, "Well,
your honor! I am very much afflicted!"
"Noble lady! What is the cause of your affliction?"
inquired the king carefully and cautiously. "I can reveal
that only if you promise to remedy it," replied the lady
slyly. The king, with his simple heart, replied: "I shall
certainly help you, if possible." The young woman, with
uncontrolled expression and gestures said, "Sir, I am
childless. I desire a son like you".
For a moment, the king was stunned, but he immediately
controlled himself, "Oh, you only desire a son like me.
Well mother! Chhatrasal is your son."
The king touched her feet and accepted her as queen-mother.
Such was his youthful righteousness, his patience and
In the history of Bundelkhand, the time of this king's rule
is considered to be a golden period. Under his ruling
his subjects had full security and prosperity.
Pandit Shri Sumeru-chandra Diwakar is a great scholar of
modern Jain Society. He is over eighty years old and lives at
Shivni, near Nagpur in Madhya Pradesh.
Once during the Paryushana festival, he was lecturing to a group
of youths. He preached Dharma and then added, "Friends, do
exercise and cultivate self-control. This will lead to perfect
health and you will never require the vitamin tablets from
The young men started asking among themselves. "We should
like to know how far Panditji exercises self-control
On hearing this Pandit Indralal Shastri said, "Friends,
Panditji is a celibate from childhood." The youths were
Dayanand Saraswati (Maharshi) was a great religious leader and
authority on the Vedas of Hindu religion. He founded
"Arya-Samaj", a socio-religion institute in the last century in
Dayanand Saraswati was visiting Ashwinikumar Dutt in
Ashwinikumar, "Sir! Does Kama (lust) ever bother you?"
Dayanand Saraswati, "Kama! I always engage myself in
Kama (work). Therefore Kama (lust) never crosses my mind."
Ashwinikumar, "Isn't your body like other humans?"
Dayanand Saraswati, "A person who has destroyed sinful
attitudes through practice of yoga and devotion to God and
spends rest of the time helping others has satisfaction of
happiness of soul. Such person does not even think of lust
or such vices."
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