Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Suppression and Sublimation
In the practice of brahmacharya, what is wanted is elimination of lust, but not suppression. Suppression of the sex urge is not eradication. You can never be free of that which is suppressed. The suppressed sex desire will attack you again and again and will produce wet dreams, irritability and restlessness of mind.
Repression or suppression of the sexual desire will not help you much. If lust is suppressed, it will again manifest with redoubled force when a suitable opportunity arises, when the will becomes weak, when vairagya1 wanes, when there is slackening in meditation or yogic sadhana,2 when you become weak owing to an attack of disease.
Do not try to run away from women. Then Maya3 will chase you terribly. Try to see the Self in all forms and repeat the formula Om Ek Sat-Chit-Ananda Atma: “Om! I am the Self, the one Existence-Consciousness-Bliss” very often. Remember that atman4 is sexless. Mental repetition of this formula will give you strength.
Ignorant people adopt foolish methods to kill the indriyas.5 They fail eventually. Many foolish aspirants amputate the organ of reproduction. They think that lust can be eradicated by such a procedure. What a great foolish act! Lust is in the mind. If the mind is subdued, what can this external fleshy organ do? Some swallow tons of nux vomica to kill this organ. They fail in their attempts to be centred in brahmacharya. The state of their mind remains the same, though they become impotent by taking nux vomica.
What is wanted is a judicious control of the indriyas. The indriyas should not be allowed to run riot in sensual grooves. They should not be allowed to throw us ruthlessly into the deep pit of worldliness, like the turbulent horse carrying away the rider wherever it likes.
Brahmacharya means control, but not suppression, of the sex desire or sex force. The mind should be rendered pure by meditation, japa,6 kirtan7 and prayer. If the mind is filled with sublime divine thoughts by meditation, japa, prayer and study of holy scriptures, the sex desire will be devitalised or de-energised by the withdrawal of the mind. The mind also will be thinned out.
From sex energy to spiritual energy
The sexual energy must be transmuted into spiritual energy or ojas8 shakti by the practice of japa, prayer, meditation, study of religious books, pranayama9 and asanas. You must develop devotion and a burning desire for liberation. You must constantly meditate on the pure, immortal, sexless, bodiless, desireless atman. Then only the sexual desire will be annihilated.
If the sexual energy is transmuted into ojas or spiritual energy by pure thoughts, it is called sex sublimation in western psychology. Sublimation is not a matter of suppression or repression, but a positive, dynamic, conversion process. It is the process of controlling the sex energy, conserving it, then diverting it into higher channels, and finally, converting it into spiritual energy or ojas shakti. The material energy is changed into spiritual energy, just as heat is changed into light and electricity. Just as a chemical substance is sublimated or purified by raising the substance through heat into vapour which again is condensed into solid form, so also, the sexual energy is purified and changed into divine energy by spiritual sadhana.
Ojas is spiritual energy that is stored up in the brain. By entertaining sublime, soul-elevating thoughts of the Self or atman, by meditation, japa, worship and pranayama, the sexual energy can be transmuted into ojas shakti and stored up in the brain. This stored up energy can then be utilised for divine contemplation and spiritual pursuits.
Anger and muscular energy can also be transmuted into ojas. A man who has a great deal of ojas in his brain can turn out immense mental work. He is very intelligent. He has lustrous eyes and a magnetic aura in his face. He can influence people by speaking a few words. A short speech of his produces a tremendous impression on the minds of the hearers. His speech is thrilling. He has an awe-inspiring personality. Sri Shankara, an akhanda brahmachari,10 worked wonders through his power of ojas. He did digvijaya11 and held controversies and heated debates in different parts of India with learned scholars through his power of ojas. A yogi always directs his attention to the accumulation of this divine energy by unbroken chastity.
In yoga, it is called urdhvaretas. An urdhvareta yogi12 is one in whom the seminal energy has flown upwards into the brain as ojas shakti. There is now no possibility of the semen going downwards by sexual excitement.
The secret of sex sublimation
According to yogic science, semen exists in a subtle form throughout the whole body. It is found in a subtle state in all the cells of the body. It is withdrawn and elaborated into a gross form in the sexual organ under the influence of the sexual will and sexual excitement. An urdhvareta yogi not only converts the semen into ojas, but checks through his yogic power, through purity in thought, word and deed, the very formation of semen by the secretary cells of the testes or seeds. This is a great secret. Allopaths believe that even in an urdhvareta yogi, the formation of semen goes on incessantly and that the fluid is reabsorbed into the blood. This is a mistake. They do not understand the inner yogic secrets and mysteries. They are in the dark. Their drishti or vision is concerned with the gross things of the universe. The yogi penetrates into the subtle hidden nature of things through yogic chakshu or the inner vision of wisdom. The yogi gets control over the astral nature of semen and thereby prevents the formation of the very fluid itself.
The body of a man who is truly an urdhvaretas has the scent of a lotus. A man who is not a brahmachari, in whom gross semen is formed, may, on the other hand, smell like a buck goat. The semen dries up in those who practice pranayama seriously. The semen-energy ascends up to the brain. It is stored up as ojas shakti or spiritual energy and comes back as amrita13 or nectar.
The process of sex sublimation is extremely difficult. It demands constant and protracted sadhana and perfect discipline. That yogi who has achieved perfect sublimation has perfect control over lust. Complete sublimation is achieved through ceaseless meditation on atman and Self-realization. That yogi or jnani14 who has attained the highest nirvikalpa samadhi,15 in whom the seeds of samskaras16 are fried in toto, can claim to be a perfect urdhvaretas or one who has complete sex sublimation. There is no fear of his downfall. He is perfectly safe. He will be absolutely free from impurity. This stage is a very high stage. A microscopic minority only have attained this sublime exalted state. Shankara, Dattatreya, Jnana Deva of Alandi and others reached this stage.
There is another segment called “dhiryaretas,” or those persons, who, previously a prey to lustful thoughts and deviated from brahmacharya, later take to the practice of strict celibacy. Such a person, if he practices strict celibacy for twelve years, can acquire superhuman powers. Medha nadi or buddhi nadi is formed in him. By means of this, he can have retentive memory of anything as long as he lives, and he will be in a position to learn all kinds of subjects.
By observance of unbroken brahmacharya in thought, word and deed for a period of full twelve years, one is bestowed even with the vision of God, if one aspires for it. He can solve the most abstruse and complicated problems easily. But, this kind of observance should commence before the thirty-second or the thirty-fourth year.
That yogi who has disciplined himself through ceaseless protracted sadhana, continuous meditation, pranayama and atmic vichara,17 the practice of Sama,18 Dama,19 Yama20 and Niyama,21 is also safe, although he has not attained the stage of perfect sex sublimation. Women will hold no attraction for him. He has thinned out his mind. The mind is starved to death. It cannot raise its hood. It cannot hiss.
Total sublimation is difficult, yet not impossible
The process of sex sublimation is very difficult, and yet, it is most necessary for the aspirant in the spiritual path. It is the most important qualification for the Sadhaka,22 be he in the path of Karma Yoga,23 Upasana,24 Raja Yoga25 or Vedanta.26 It is a fundamental prerequisite for an aspirant. If one has this qualification or merit, all other merits will come and cling to him. All good qualities will come by themselves. You must achieve this at any cost. You will surely attempt this in future births. But why not now?
The total annihilation of the sexual desire is the ultimate spiritual ideal. Complete sublimation alone will make you free. But, perfect sublimation can hardly be achieved within a day or two. It demands continuous struggle with patience and perseverance for some time. Even the householders should keep the above ideal before them and try to realize it gradually. If the state of perfect sublimation is attained, there will be purity in thought, word and deed. No sexual thought will enter the mind at any time.
It is through constant vichara and Brahma-bhavana27 that the mind has to be weaned from lustful thoughts and tendencies. You must remove not only the sexual craving and the sexual impulses, but also the sex attraction. Think of the miseries that you get from a married life with its various entanglements and bondage. Make the mind understand by repeated autosuggestion and hammering that sexual pleasure is false, worthless, illusory and full of pain. Place before the mind the advantages, bliss, power and knowledge of a spiritual life. Make it understand that the exalted, eternal life is in the immortal atman. When it hears constantly these suggestions, it will slowly leave off its old habits. The attraction for sex will slowly die. Then only real sex sublimation will take place. Then only you will become an urdhvareta yogi.
There are two kinds of force in the mind, namely, hostile or antagonistic force and friendly or favourable force. Passion is a hostile force that drags you down. Pure reason is a favourable force that elevates you and transmutes you into Divinity. Develop, therefore, my child, pure reason to get unalloyed bliss and supreme Brahmic knowledge. Passion will die by itself.
Sex sublimation is within your reach if you wish to attain it. The path is quite clear, straight and easy if you understand it and if you apply yourself with patience, perseverance, determination and strong will, if you practice discipline of the indriyas, right conduct, right thinking, right acting, regular meditation, assertion, auto-suggestion and enquiry of “Who am I?.” atman is sexless. Atman is nirvikara.28 Feel this. Can there be any trace of lust or impurity in the etemal, pure atman?
Glory to those Yogis who have attained urdhvaretas or full sex sublimation and who are resting in their own swarupa!29 May we all practice perfect celibacy through the practice of sama, dama, viveka,30 vichara, vairagya, pranayama, japa and dhyana31 and reach the goal of life! May the Indweller of our hearts grant us spiritual strength to control the indriyas and the mind! May we all become full urdhvareta Yogis like Shankara and Jnana Dev of yore! May their blessings be upon us all!
You cannot have perfect celibacy unless you follow the auxiliaries. You have to take particular care about your diet and the company that you keep. Anything that brings impure thoughts in the mind is bad company. Oh aspirants! Fly away from the company of worldly-minded persons. Get away from the bustle of cities and tumultuousness of the world. Those who talk of worldly affairs will quickly pollute you. You mind may waver and begin to wander. You will have a downfall.
Do not read amorous novels or fiction. Do not visit the cinema and the theatre. And do not make friendship with undesirable boys. What you need is a complete change of your vision, your attitude towards the other sex. Behold the Divine Mother in every woman and consider every woman as your own mother.
Control of the palate
First, dietary control. There is an intimate connection between self-control and control of the palate or tongue. He who has controlled the tongue has already controlled all the other organs.
Delicious rajasic1 food excites the organ of generation. Give up meat, fish, liquor, and smoking. Meat can make a scientist, but never a philosopher, a sage or a sattwic2 person. Meat excites the passions. Practice vegetarianism. In this way, you will be able to realize your own swarupa3 quickly. All that is wanted of you is sincere and earnest effort. May Sri Krishna give you courage and strength to tread the path of spirituality and attain the goal of life!
Do not overload your stomach at night. The night meals should be very light. Half a litre of milk or some fruits will constitute a good regimen or menu at night.
Both for brahmacharya and tongue-control, take a few tulasi4 leaves early in the morning. In the evening take neem leaves. Start with one leaf, increase it to ten, one per day. Take ten for a couple of months; then you can increase it to twenty. This is very good.
Avoid bad company
Obscene pictures, vulgar words, and novels which deal with love stories excite passion and produce ignoble, mean, undesirable sentiments in the heart. Whereas the sight of a good picture of Lord Krishna or Lord Rama or Lord Jesus and hearing of the sublime songs of Surdas, Tulasidas and Thyagaraja induce noble sentiments and sincere devotion in the heart, produce a divine thrill and tears of joy and prem, and elevate the mind to bhava samadhi5 instantaneously. Do you see clearly the difference now?
What is the state of your mind when you attend a ball or nautch party or when you read “The Mysteries of the Court of London”? What is your state of mind when you attend the satsanga party of Swami Jayendrapuriji Maharaj of Benares or when you are at Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganga in a secluded place or when you study the soul-elevating classical Upanishads? Compare and contrast your mental states. Remember, friend, that there is nothing so utterly ruinous to the soul as evil company. Aspirants should shun ruthlessly all sorts of evil company. They should not listen to the stories concerning women, the luxurious ways of rich persons, pungent food, vehicles, politics, silken clothing, flowers, scents and so on, because the mind gets easily excited. It will begin to imitate the ways of luxurious persons. Desires will crop up. Attachment will also come in.
The cinema produces an evil tendency in man. He cannot remain even for a day without attending a show. His eyes want to see some half-nude pictures and some kinds of colours; and his ears want a little music. Young girls and boys become passionate when they see the actors in the films kissing and hugging. Those who want to develop themselves in the spiritual line should entirely shun the cinema. They should not attend even the so-called religious films. They are not really religious films. It is a kind of trick to attract people and collect money. What is the spiritual calibre of the actors there? Spiritual people only can bring out impressive stories with good morals that can elevate the minds of the spectators.
Put an end to going to exciting films if you have got that habit. Do not witness vulgar sensuous scenes wherever it may be. Do not indulge in seeing naked pictures. All these tend to increase passion and deplete veerya. You should strictly avoid these.
Novel-reading is another evil habit. Those who are in the habit of reading novels that deal with passion and love cannot remain even for a single second without novel-reading. They always want their nerves to be tickled with some sensational feelings. Novel-reading fills the mind with base, lustful thoughts and excites passion. It is a great enemy of peace.
Many people have started circulating libraries for distribution of novels on a small subscription basis. They have not at all realized how much harm they are doing to the country. It is better they chalk out another vocation to eke out their livelihood. They spoil the minds of young men by the distribution of these worthless novels, which help to excite their passion. The whole atmosphere is polluted. Severe punishment is awaiting them in the Yama Loka.
Do not read novels. They taint the mind. Novels are the chains of Western civilization to capture the victim unaware in its glittering fetters. Do not read those journals which excite you lower instincts.
Immoral songs produce a very bad, deep impression in the mind. Aspirants should run away from places where vicious songs are sung.
Strive your best to divert your mind and eyes from external objects that prompt sexual desires. Give up the sort of reading, conversation, imagination and associations that are likely to stimulate the sexual desire. Do not converse with those who are eager to convey irritating news and disturb your mental poise. Live with spiritual advanced men and stop reading all books except those that are directly spiritual.
When thoughts of lust arise in the mind, do not wrestle with them. The best method is to ignore them. If you are not successful in doing so, be in the company of someone who is superior to you spiritually, who is more advanced than you spiritually. If you go into seclusion, the mind will chase you and down you in sensual thoughts. You will lose your balance. Be careful. The sensual thoughts will pass away with a little vigilance.
Watch the thoughts
An evil thought enters the mind and there comes an erection of the indriya.6 Is this not a marvel? Because this occurs very often, it does not appear to you as a miracle or a marvel. You have ignored this vital point on account of your ignorance.
Mind is a great electricity battery. It is a big dynamo indeed. It is a powerhouse. The nerves are insulated wires to transmit the electric currents, nerve impulses, to various organs, tissues and the extremities, hands, legs and feet.
There is a vibration of thought in the mind owing to the vibration of psychic prana.7 This force of thought is transmitted with a tremendous lightning speed along the nerves to the organs. The physical body is fleshy mould prepared by the mind in accordance with the samskaras8 and vasanas9 for its own experience and enjoyment. The mind sways the organs of an undisciplined passionate man who has boisterous revolting indriyas. It becomes an obedient faithful servant of a trained, developed yogi.
An ever-vigilant brahmachari should always watch his thoughts very carefully. He should never allow even a single bad thought to enter the gate of the mental factory. If his mind is ever fixed on his dhyeya10 or lakshya11 or object of meditation, there is no room for the entry of an evil thought. Even if an evil thought has entered the trapdoor of the mind, he should not allow the mind to assume a mental state with this idea. If he falls a victim, the thought-current will be transmitted to the physical body. Burning of the indriyas and the physical nervous system will follow. This is a serious condition.
The bad thought should be nipped in the bud by supplanting counter divine thoughts. It should not be allowed to penetrate the physical body. If your will is strong, the evil thought can be driven at once. Pranayama,12 vigorous prayer, vichara,13 atmic14 contemplation, saguna15 meditation and satsanga16 can nip the evil thoughts in the bud at the threshold of the mental factory. The combat will be keen in the beginning. When you become purer and purer, when your will-power develops, when you develop more sattwa17 or purity and when you have a habitual meditative mood, you will be established in physical and mental brahmacharya. Understand the power of thought and utilise it profitably. Understand the ways of the mind. Learn how to use the pure will. Become a vigilant, dexterous watchman of your thoughts. Curb them before they raise their heads out of the mind through skill and wisdom.
It is the mind that really does all actions. A desire arises in your mind and then you think. Then you proceed to act. The determination of the mind is put into action. First there is sankalpa18 or thought and then comes action. Therefore, do not allow the sexual thoughts, to enter the mind.
That which is thought of is spoken by the tongue. That which the tongue speaks of, the organs of action do. That is the reason why it is said in the Vedas: “Let my mind think of auspicious things.” Entertain sublime divine thoughts. The old evil sexual thought will gradually vanish, just as the old nail in a plank goes away by inserting over it a new nail.
Seek satsanga or good company
The glory of satsanga or association with the wise saints, yogins, sannyasins19 and mahatmas20 is indescribable. The glory and power of satsanga is described in various ways in the Bhagavata, the Ramayana and other scriptures. Even a moment’s company with wise people is quite sufficient to overhaul the old vicious samskaras of worldly-minded people. The magnetic aura, the spiritual vibrations and the powerful thought-currents of developed adepts produce a tremendous influence on the minds of worldlings. The personal contact of mahatmas is a blessing in reality for worldly persons. Service of saints purifies the minds of passionate men rapidly. Satsanga elevates the mind to magnanimous heights. Just as a single matchstick bums huge bundles of cotton in a few seconds, so also, the company of saints burns all ignorance, all thoughts and samskaras of passion and evil actions within a short time. This is the reason why Shankara21 and others have spoken so highly of satsanga in all their books.
If you cannot get good satsanga in your own place, you can visit places of pilgrimage like Rishikesh, Benares, Nasik, Prayag, Haridwar. Study of books written by realized persons will also be tantamount to satsanga. The only potent specific for inducing burning vairagya22 and desire for liberation is satsanga.
Cultivate viveka and vairagya
One should try to get viveka or discrimination between the real Self and the unreal impure body. The aspirant should point out to the mind the defects of a sexual life, namely, loss of energy, enervation of the senses, disease, birth and death, attachment and various sorts of miseries. He should remind himself again and again about the parts of the body of woman—flesh, blood, bone, excreta, urine, pus and phlegm. These ideas should be hammered into the mind repeatedly. The aspirant should always think of the ever-pure immortal atman and the glory of the spiritual life, namely, the attainment of immortality, eternal bliss and supreme peace. Gradually the mind will be weaned from looking at a woman, however beautiful she might be. The mind will shudder to look at a woman with an evil thought. Ladies also should undergo the above practices to get themselves established in purity.
A viveki24 does not note any difference between a male and a female. The same tattvas25—passion, anger, greed and moha26—that are present in a man are found in the female also. It is only a lustful man who is filled with burning passion that finds imaginary differences. The differences are all mental creations or kalpita bheda.27
Nothing can tempt you in this world if you develop vairagya, if you subdue your indriyas, and if you shun the unreal, impermanent sensual enjoyments and pleasures of this fleeting world as dung, as poison. You will have no attraction for women and other earthly objects. Lust will be unable to take hold of you. You will have eternal peace and infinite bliss.
Constantly remember: “Through the grace of God, I am becoming purer and purer, every day. Pleasures come but not to stay. Mortal flesh is only clay. Everything will pass away is the only way.” Develop viveka and vairagya.
Aspirants should study Bhartrihari’s Vairagya Satakam and other works on vairagya. This will induce vairagya in the mind. Remembrance of death and the pains of samsara28 also will help you to a considerable extent. It will not be out of place here to draw the reader’s attention to some Buddhist monks who always keep a human skull with them. This is to cause vairagya in them and to remind them of the impermanent and perishable nature of human life.
A philosopher once kept in his hands the skull of a lady and began to philosophize thus: “O skull! Some time back you tempted me with your shiny skin and rosy cheeks. Now, where are thy charms? Where are those honeyed lips and lotus-like eyes now?” Thus he developed intense vairagya. If you analyze the different parts of the human body and keep a picture of flesh and bones before your mind’s eye, you will have no attachment at all for your body or the body of a female. Why not try this method?
Remembrance of the skeleton and the dead body of a woman will induce vairagya in your mind. The body has come out of the filthy discharge. It is full of impurities. In the end, it is reduced to ashes. If you remember this, vairagya will dawn in your mind. Attraction for women will gradually vanish. If you place before your mind the sickly figure of a woman or the picture of a very old woman, you will develop vairagya. Remember the pains of samsara, the unreality of objects, and the bondage that comes from attachment to wife and children. Try any method that suits you best.
Sit down and think, calmly and honestly, what beauty there is in a woman whose body is composed of flesh, bones, nerves, fat, marrow and blood. Where is the beauty in the same woman when she becomes old? Look at the condition of the eyes and the body of a woman after an attack of fever for seven days! What is the state of her beauty? Where is the beauty if she does not take bath for a week? The stink is abominable. Look at the senile woman aged eighty five who is sitting at the corner, with rotten eyes, shrunken cheeks and skin! Analyze the parts of a woman, realize their true nature.
Woman is the greatest cause of delusion. Women are the flames of vice. They are burning fire, which destroys man like a dry straw. They burn from a long distance; so they are more dangerous than fire. The lovely damsel is like a poisonous drug that destroys life by causing lustful intoxication and clouding the power of discrimination. This mysterious world began with woman and has woman for its sustenance. How, without renunciation of woman, is it possible to attain the eternal bliss of Brahman? The bodies of those handsome damsels who are so much fondled by foolish men are taken to the cemetery after their pranas depart. Beasts and worms feed upon their flesh. Jackals and kites tear off their skin. Without renunciation of woman, it is impossible to have self-realization.
A note of clarification
Ladies should not be offended when they read these lines. I have only reproduced the teachings of Shankaracharya and Dattatreya. I only want to impress upon both the sexes the force and the glory of brahmacharya and the evil effect of lust. I have great regard and admiration for women.
Brahmacharya should be practiced by both men and women. Women also can keep a mental picture of the component parts of the body of a male in order to create in themselves disgust for the physical body of a male and to develop vairagya.
Mere condemning of lust is not sufficient to wean the mind from sexual craving. Remember this point well. Lust is potent. Lust is virulent. Lust is formidable. Lust is uncontrollable by persons of weak will. One should be aware also of the ways of Maya,29 which entangle him in her net or snare. A woman should be aware of the charms of a man which entice her and make her a prey to man and man should be aware of the charms of a woman which entice him and make him a prey to woman. A woman is a temptress for man and a man is a tempter for woman. Man also has much charm in him to entrap a woman. Man appears more beautiful in the eyes of a woman than a woman in the eyes of a man. Man also tries to entrap a woman by his dress, ties and bows, by his smile, outward show of affection, glances, gestures, flowery words, various ways of dressing his hair and other tricks.
Lust is a potent force, very difficult to be got rid of. That is the reason why the Sastras and saints censure and condemn women in order to create dispassion and discrimination in men and wean them from lustful tendencies and aggressive attacks. Sri Shankara, Sri Dattatreya, Sri Rama, Sri Tulasidas have all criticised women not out of hatred, prejudice or dislike, but out of compassion for elevating people from the quagmire of samsara. Their criticism of women implies and includes criticism of man also. Their criticism aims at weaning the minds of worldly persons from sexual sin and creating disgust for sexual pleasure, and dispassion for worldly objects. This is misunderstood by people.
The same scriptures and saints who censure women in one place praise them in another. They say, “Women should be honoured. They are Ardhanginis.30 They are manifestations of Shakti31 or the energy of the Lord. Only those who honour women can attain prosperity.” Therefore, O women! Try to know the heart of the scriptures and the saints and become wise.
The minds of young people are saturated with impure samskaras and vasanas owing to vicious company and the false modern civilization. Even the company or talk of a woman is quite sufficient to drag the mind into vicious thoughts. So, I have to place before the minds of the vast majority such a mental picture that the very company of women will do havoc. When I say that a woman is only a leather bag, I do not hate women in any way. It is only to produce disgust and induce vairagya. Really, a woman should be adored as Mother Shakti. She is the creatrix, generatrix and nourisher of the universe. She must be revered. In India, religion is preserved and maintained only through the devotional element in women. Devotion is a fundamental characteristic of Hindu ladies. Hate lust, but not women.
In the beginning, till you acquire vairagya and viveka, you must treat the company of woman as poison. When you obtain viveka and vairagya, then lust cannot take hold of you. You will see and realize, Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma–All is Brahman only. You will have atma-drishti.32 The sex idea will then vanish.
A vow is a great help
A vow of celibacy will give you sure protection against temptation. It is a strong weapon to attack lust. If you do not take a vow of celibacy, the mind will tempt you at any moment. You will have no strength to resist the temptation and you will become a sure victim. He who is weak and effeminate is afraid of taking the vow. He brings in various excuses and says, “Why should I be bound by a vow? My will is strong and powerful. I can resist any sort of temptation. I am doing upasana.33 I am practising will culture.” He repents in the long run. He has no control over the senses. That man only, in whom the subtle desire for the object to be renounced lurks in the corners of the mind, brings in such sort of excuses. You must have right understanding, discrimination and dispassion. Then only your renunciation will be lasting and permanent. If your renunciation is not the outcome of discrimination and dispassion, the mind will be simply waiting for an opportunity to get back the object that has been renounced.
If you are weak, take a vow of celibacy for a month and then extend it to three months. You will gain some strength now. You will be able to prolong the period to six months. Gradually you will be able to extend the vow to one or two or three years. Sleep separately and do vigorous japa,34 kirtan35 and meditation daily. You will hate lust now. You will experience freedom and indescribable joy. Your partner-in-life also should do japa, meditation and kirtan daily.
O Mohan, you have done an unpardonable crime in breaking the vow of celibacy. How can there be religion or spirituality where there is passion? You are an old man. Why should you repeat shamelessly that old ignoble act, bringing this excuse: “Old vasanas are powerful; circumstances are strong.” Nobody will hear your answer. You will have to curb your passion whenever it raises its hood. May Lord Shiva give you strength to control this dire enemy and to continue the spiritual sadhana.
Will culture and auto-suggestion
If you can render your will pure, strong and irresistible by eliminating desires, by eradicating raga-dwesha,36 by reducing your wants and by practising Titiksha,37 passion will die. Will is a powerful enemy of passion.
Lust takes its origin from impure resolution. Indulgence strengthens it. When you resolutely turn away from it, it vanishes and dies.
Sit alone in your meditation room. Close your eyes. Slowly repeat again and again the following formulae. Let the mind dwell on the significance of the formulae also. Saturate the mind and intellect with these ideas. Your whole system—flesh, blood, bones, nerves and cells—should powerfully vibrate with the following ideas:
I am all-purity, Suddhoham.
Sexless atman I am.
There is neither lust nor sexual vasana in atman.
Lust is mental vikara;38 I am a sakshi39 of this vikara.
I am Asanga.40
My will is pure, strong and irresistible
I am fully established in physical and mental brahmacharya
I am feeling the purity now
Om Om Om
Om Om Om
Om Om Om
Om Om Om
Om Om Om
Om Om Om
Om Om Om
Om Om Om
You can have a sitting at night also. Sit for ten minutes in the beginning. Gradually increase the period to half an hour. Keep up the bhav41 during work also.
Write down on a piece of paper, in bold letters, the word “Om Purity” six times. Keep the paper in your pocket. Read it several times during the course of the day. Fix it also in a prominent place in your house. Have the word image “Om Purity” clearly before the mind. Remember several times daily the brahmachari-saints and their powerful actions. Think over the multifarious advantages of a pure life of brahmacharya and the disadvantages and evils of an impure life. Never leave the practice. Be regular and systematic. Gradually you will become purer and purer and ultimately you will become an urdhvareta yogi.42 Be patient.
Daily feel: “Through the grace of God, I am becoming better and better, every day, in every way.” This is auto-suggestion. This is another effective method.
Change the drishti or angle of vision
You should entertain the mother-bhav or Ishwari-bhav or atma-bhav towards females.43 Women also should entertain pitha-bhav or Ishwar-bhav or atma-bhav towards males.44
Sister-bhav will not suffice. You may fail. Keeping of sister-bhav in man and brother-bhav in women will not help much in the eradication of sex attraction and impure thoughts. The sister-bhav has deceived and deluded many. Pure love will degenerate at any moment into passion when one is careless and non-vigilant. Cobra-bhav only will help the sadhakas to a very great extent. After cobra-bhav comes mother-bhav in man and father-bhav in women. Then lastly comes atma-bhav in both. Real struggling aspirants only can realize this well, but not dry philosophers.
The cultivation of the bhav is very difficult. You may fail to develop the bhav that all women are your mothers and sisters one hundred and one times. It does not matter. Stick to your practice tenaciously. You are bound to succeed eventually. You will have to destroy the old mind and build a new mind. Nevertheless you will have to do it if you want to attain immortality and eternal bliss. You will surely succeed if you are fiery in your resolve and if you have an iron determination. The bhav will gradually manifest by constant practice. Soon you will be established in that bhav. Now you are safe.
A man or a woman should practice self-analysis and self-examination. They should have a proper understanding of the ways in which lust operates and plays, and the things and emotions which excite passion and the manner in which one falls a victim to the other. Then only control of lust is possible.
The mind will again try to do some mischief inwardly. It is very diplomatic. It is very difficult to find out its ways and secret underground operations. It demands a subtle intellect, and careful repeated introspection and vigilant watch. Whenever the mental image of a woman crops up in your mind with evil thoughts, repeat mentally, “Om Durga Devyai Namah”45 and do mental prostrations. Gradually, old evil thoughts will die. Whenever you see any woman, entertain this bhav and repeat mentally this mantra. Your drishti or look will become chaste. All women are manifestations of the World Mother. Destroy the idea that a woman is an object of enjoyment and substitute the idea that she is an object of worship and a manifestation of Mother Durga46 or Kali.47
Change the bhav, change the mental attitude. You will have heaven on earth. You will be established in brahmacharya. This is an important method for becoming a true brahmachari. See atman in all women. Reject all names and forms and take only the underlying essence, Asti-Bhati-Priya or Sat-Chit-Ananda.48 All names and forms are unreal. They are unreal like shadows, water in the rnirage and blueness in the sky.
For a scientist, a woman is a mass of electrons only. For a Vaiseshika philosopher of Rishi Kanada’s school of thought, she is a conglomeration of atoms—paramanu, dvyanu, tryanu.49 For a tiger, she is an object of prey. For a passionate husband, she is an object of enjoyment. For a crying child, she is an affectionate mother who gives milk, sweets and other indulgences. For a jealous sister-in-law or mother-in-law, she is an enemy. For a viveki or a vairagi, she is a combination of flesh, bone, urine, faecal matter, pus, perspiration, blood and phlegm. For a full-blown jnani,50 she is Sat-Chit-Ananda atman.
Passion will arise when you think of the body of a female. When you are in the company of ladies, think of the one immortal pure Self of atman that is hidden in the bodies of the ladies. Constantly make the endeavour. The sex idea will gradually vanish, and with it, the attraction and lust also. This is the most potent method to eradicate passion and the sex idea, Mentally repeat the formula, “Ek Sat-Chit-Ananda atman.”51 This will lead to the annihilation of passion and to the Vedantic realization of unity or oneness also.
There is neither sex nor sexual vasana in Brahman. Brahman is Nitya-Shuddha, eternally pure: By constant thinking on that sexless atman, you will be established in brahmacharya. This is the most powerful and effective method. This is the best kind of sadhana for those who know the right technique of vichara. But, only advanced students in the path of Jnana Yoga52 can rely on the method of Brahmavichara alone for the destruction of passion. For the vast majority of persons, a combined method is very congenial and healthy. When the enemies are very powerful, a combined method of lathis, pistols, shot-guns, machine-guns, submarines, torpedoes, bombs and poisonous gases is used for the destruction of the enemies. So also, in the destruction of this powerful enemy, passion, a combined method is absolutely necessary.