1. Have a spiritual attitude towards opposite gender. Consider every person of opposite gender as mother, sister or daughter (father, brother or son for female aspirants) depending on the age or consider every person as Self or Consciousness. If you are already married and have children, consider the spouse as just a friend, sleep separately and practice complete brahmacharya despite being a family-person – that is a must if you want to have a decent chance for the ultimate spiritual success of Self-Realization or the good-enough spiritual success of kundalini reaching 5th centre (Vishuddhi Chakra).
2. Wake up during brahmamuhurtha. Waking up at 3 am or latest by 4 am (3 am – 7 am is most suited for reaching more joyous state during thoughtless awareness practice, as the entire atmosphere is free from thought vibrations and hence peaceful/sattwic, thus naturally deeper and more joyous state of thoughtless awareness – which is 100% peace/sattwa – is realized during this period.”) and doing thoughtless awareness practice for as many hours as possible. Since lust is a rajasic (passionate) quality, with more increase in sattwa, brahmacharya automatically becomes more easy and natural. Sushumna awakens automatically during this period and kundalini automatically ascends up the spine. Anyone aiming at full celibacy must develop the solid routine of waking up between 3 am – 4 am and utilizing time till 7 am in yoga, meditation (thoughtless awareness) and other creative activities like self-study, etc. This alone will solve more than 90% of difficulties one faces in the practise of full celibacy. No wonder, all our true sannyasins wake up during 3 am to 4 am. Most people find celibacy so hard because they sleep even in this golden period of 3 am to 7 am when the whole nature is supporting the awakening of sushumna, raising up of kundalani and hence, a natural, fast-paced evolution of our awareness. So, this rule is exceptionally important for all sadhaks. Swami Sivananda’s first instruction in “20 Important Spiritual Instructions” is: “Get up at 4 a.m. daily. This is Brahmamuhurta which is extremely favourable for Sadhana. Do all your morning spiritual Sadhana during this period from 4 a.m. to 6:30 or 7 a.m. Such Sadhana gives quick and maximum progress.” I wrote “wake up daily during 3 am to 4 am” because some effect of brahmamuhurtha is present even before 4 am and even after 6 am (Brahmamuhurtha has different definitions on internet, but one can consider 4 am to 6 am as the reasonably accurate brahmamuhurtha period). For detailed tips on how to develop early morning routine, please read this. Please note that if one is habituated to late night sleep schedule, one should use gradual method of shifting sleep schedule by 5 or 10 min per week upward till it reaches the desired timing enabling one to wake up at 4 am or earlier. Only gradual method should be tried as body does not accept any rapid change in sleep pattern and one is back to square one despite the most sincere efforts – so, try only gradual method, only then your sincere efforts will succeed.
3. Practice brahmacharya (celibacy) at mental level also by using these means. Whenever lustful thoughts manifest, do some thoughtless awareness technique or 5-10 round maha bandha or 3-5 min sarvangasana. This will transform the excess energy of lust into intellectual energy by pulling up the nerve currents up the spine towards brain centres, thus giving us more mental powers of thinking, concentration and memory. If doing so does not remove lust completely, do one or some of the following:
- 10-15 min maha bandha (or uddiyana bandha) continuously. During maha bandha, one can vigorously chant some mantra also and focus the mind on the sound of mantra by trying to listen the sound – then, the effect will be more. (Set up some alarm or timer of 10-15 min so that you can focus 100% on technique.) This will transform the excess energy of lust into intellectual energy by pulling up the nerve currents up the spine towards brain centres, thus giving us more mental powers of thinking, concentration and memory. This is definitely the most effective technique for dealing instantly with strong bouts of lust as it directly pulls up the nerver currents up the spine thereby calming excitation in lower centers and automatically makes the mind blank and hence free from lustful thoughts due to the natural effect of external breath-retention. So, this is our recommended technique for dealing with lustful thoughts. Please do Maha Bandha for 5-10 min everyday also – that will help you in driving out lustful thoughts during the phase of strong assault of lust on you, without feeling lazy in using this technique and will also help in sublimation of sexual energy into intellectual and spiritually energy on daily basis.
- 10-15 min continuous & rigorous chanting of some mantra preferably aloud and if that is not practically possible, then do it mentally. Try to listen to the sound of the mantra throughout the process – that will concentrate the mind on the sound of mantra. (Set up some alarm or timer of 10-15 min so that you can focus 100% on technique.) This will transform the excess energy of lust into intellectual energy by pulling up the nerve currents up the spine towards brain centres, thus giving us more mental powers of thinking, concentration and memory.
- rigorous physical exercises like running fast, jogging, dand-baithak, muscle building exercises, etc. till you feel quite tired. (Excess energy of lust will get spent usefully in physical work then.)
- indulge in your dearest hobbies like music, swimming, dancing, painting, writing blogs/articles, etc. (Excess energy of lust will get spent usefully in enjoying your hobbies then)
- indulge in mental work on most interesting topics (Excess energy of lust will get spent usefully in enjoying the process of learning and development then)
- talk aloud for 10-15 min or so till you become completely exhausted – this talk can be in the form of reading a good book/magazine aloud or practising oratory skill by giving long lectures on some topics so till you are fully exhausted. (Excess energy of lust will get spent usefully in practice of reading or oratory then. )
- as a last resort, have a cold bath or give up 1-2 meals. Cold bath will cool the nerves and giving up 1-2 meals will reduce the energy level of the body, which is excess right now, making it normal again.
- My guess is above things can be used to channel excess energy of anger also into constructive channels – like I feel great anger on something, I can give lecture for next 10-15 min or so on that issue aloud till I get exhausted or do physical exercises or indulge in hobbies or mental work on interesting areas. Both, lust and anger are excess energy in us which if not given a constructive channel, drag us to the sewer of crudeness and beastliness. But, when they are given a constructive channel, they will get utilized effectively in positive work.
4. Use internet filter – take no risk in the first 12 years of brahmacharya (celibacy) practice. Make internet “brahmacharya-friendly” by installing suitable internet filters on your computer. Please watch this site http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com or search for “internet filter reviews” in your favorite search engine or in CNet and do a thorough review. Buying the commercial filter is better as the company will keep on updating it continuously and hence, all its flaws will get removed. Even if one has to pay $50 per year, it is just $4 (close to Rs. 200) per month. When one can pay Rs. 200-300 per month for electricity, what is the problem for paying Rs. 200 for keeping oneself free from the possibility of watching adult materials while using internet – take no risk in the first 12 years as even advanced yogis have a nasty downfall in the first 12 years of brahmacharya/celibacy practice if they expose themselves to wrong environment, what to say of less advanced spiritual aspirants then? When using any filter, use search engine for “best setting for <filter>” and “getting the most out of <filter>”. For example, if you buy “Safe Eyes“, do search in your search engines (google,bing,yahoo,etc.) for “best setting for Safe Eyes” and “getting the most out of Safe Eyes” type search to find out the most powerful settings to create a brahmacharya-friendly internet environment. But, before you decide to buy a filter, do trial with a couple of them (trial is often free for 15 or 30 days) and then, buy whichever appears to be the most effective filter. “Safe Eyes” is considered the most powerful internet filter in terms of blocking harmful sites according to many independent surveys (http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?s=3509166) and is almost impossible to bypass because they keep on working on their product and block even websites where any instruction on bypassing/disabling it is present. Also in Internet Explorer browser, you can block any website on-the-fly without needing administrative password. The cost is $50 per year (annual renewal of the software license is required), but the quality of the software is incomparable. Give it a try. (The senses are very strong in teens, 20s, 30s and 40s, but their capacity and craving for enjoyment subsides in 50s and later – that’s why vanaprastha ashram begins after 50. So, someone aiming at brahmacharya for some time or whole life should be extra-cautious during teens, 20s, 30s and 40s because even those who know the path of spirituality well can be dragged down badly by turbulent senses if they lose their caution due to over-confidence or pride.) Some more important notes below:
- You should create a very difficult password (so that you cannot bypass the filter) and make any of your friend or email@example.com (ref: to http://www.guardyoureyes.org/?p=24) or firstname.lastname@example.org as the administrator for the filter.
- Additional Note: In case you visit a cyber-cafe, it may not have installed any such filter to earn more money by getting more customers to visit internet for adult content. The best thing for you to do then is to pick a publicly visible place in the cyber-cafe for your internet surfing.
5. Avoid all visual stimulation for lustful sanskara to manifest. Avoid looking at exciting images in books, magazines, internet and videos. Eye should be kept lustfree, only then success in brahmacharya practice is possible for anyone. All precautions should be taken in first 12 years of brahmacharya practice. After that, so many precautions will not be needed as mind will become strongly embedded with brahmacharya sanskara.
6. Regularly read greatly inspiring brahmacharya quotes to strengthen the brahmacharya sanskara (impression of subconscious mind) and resolve whole life. This will inspire you a lot and intensify your motivation. A low motivation is not enough for brahmacharya practice. Only a fully motivated person succeeds in maintaining unbroken celibacy (“akhand brahmacharya”). One may choose any pattern of reading depending on one’s success level of brahmacharya practice in the past. But, I think spending some time at least once every week is good for every spiritual aspirant till his/her Kundalini reaches Vishuddhi. My personal recommendation for everyone is to spend 10-15 min on brahmacharya quotes in the morning for at least first 12 years of unbroken brahmacharya sadhana because first 12 years are really challenging for even people having a strong determination – of course, do practise “Nadi Shodhana Basic” also while doing this brahmacharya reading (or for that matter, any type of spiritual reading) to “kill 2 birds with the same arrow” like any intelligent person should definitely do. A calm mind in morning will get easily impressed with these strong thoughts of brahmacharya which, in turn, will substantially speed up our spiritual progress.
7. Eat only sattwic food. This is very important for transforming the mind into sattwic state where celibacy becomes fully natural to us. Food has a direct and intimate connection with the mind and plays a vital part in the make-up of the mind. Food has been classified into 3 categories: good (sattwic), passionate (rajasic) and ignorant (tamasic), based on whether it induces good (sattwic), passionate (rajasic) or ignorant (tamasic) states of mind.
- Good diet (also known as sattwic diet in yoga): milk, cream, cheese, butter, curd, ghee, fruits, figs, vegetables, cereals like wheat, rice, barley, etc., peas, sugar-candy, gram, pulse, ginger, myrobalan, lemon, honey.
- Passionate diet (also known as rajasic diet in yoga): fish, eggs, meat, salt, chillies, chutney, asafetida, pickles, tamarind, mustard, sour things, hot, pungent things, tea, coffee, cocoa, ovaltine, white sugar, carrots, turnips, spices.
- Ignorant diet (also known as tamasic diet): garlic, tobacco, rotten things, stale things, unclean things, twice cooked things, all intoxicants, all liquors, all drugs.
Good diet (sattwic diet) calms the mind. Passionate diet (rajasic diet) excites the mind. Ignorant diet (tamasic diet) makes the mind dull and lethargic. Mark the difference in nature between a tiger which lives on flesh and a cow which lives on grass. Food exercises important influence on the mind. One should try one’s best to eat good diet (sattwic diet) only. Also, even good diet (sattwic diet) becomes passionate diet (rajasic diet) if it is eaten too quickly, without chewing it properly. And even good and passionate diets (sattwic and rajasic diets) become ignorant diets (tamasic diet) if they are taken in excess quantity.
8. Balance male and female energies in order to awaken sushumna channel and have a natural, blissful state of brahmacharya. A question arises in the mind of everyone why celibacy is such a big challenge (at least in the first 12 years). The truth is that sexual energy is really overpowering. It needs an outlet. Most people find out an external outlet, but that does more harm than good by dissipating the physical and mental strength, apart from lowering one’s consciousness level. The problem is if one does not give an external outlet to sexual energy, it needs an internal outlet.
Our inner system has 3 main channels: Ida, Pingala and Sushmna.The qualities of these 3 channels are described below:
|Qualities represented by Ida||Qualities represented by Pingala||Qualities represented by Sushumna|
|vishwa (universal creation)||tejas (fire)||pragya (intuition)|
At a given time, one of these channels is dominant.
- When ida channel is dominant, our right brain (which has faculties of creative imagination, emotion, intuition, big picture thinking) is more active and the breath flows predominantly in our left nostril.
- When pingala channel is dominant, our left brain (which has faculties of logic, analysis, details oriented thinking) is more active and the breath flows predominantly in our right nostril.
- When sushumna channel is active, both our left and right brains act simultaneously and the breath flows evenly in both left and right nostrils. This is the time of the highest creativity. Most creative ideas dawn in the mind as flashes of intuition when sushumna channel is active. This is the time when mind feels natural state of peace and rest while being fully aware. This is the moment when it is so easy to practise concentration and thoughtless awareness meditation. This is the state in which kundalini energy automatically starts ascending up the spine – this movement leads to a very deep and abiding experience of joy.
The extra energy that a celibate has needs an internal outlet through sushumna channel. So, unless sushumna channel is made open properly by balancing male and female energies, the celibacy is well-nigh impossible to practise. Complete opening of sushumna channel takes at least 12 years of spiritual efforts. The key techniques for opening up sushumna are: practising nadi shodhana pranayama,thoughtless awareness meditation (or other types of meditation), waking up during brahmamuhurtha to practise yoga and other creative activities and practising maha bandha. But, all techniques described in this post are important to save us from downfall by cleaning the mind of all lustful sanskara till our sushumna channel is completely active. Oh! What a joy one feels when prana moves upward in sushumna! Then, one realizes what a foolishness it is to fritter our vital energies in enervating and fleeting pleasures when one has the choice to get a deep, continuous joy by opening sushumna channel and making vital energies rise up the sushumna channel. All the attraction for opposite gender exists because male and female energies are not balanced within and the sushumna channel is closed. Once sushumna is fully open after practising full brahmacharya and yoga for 12 years, one forgets all about lust and always experience a natural, blissful state of brahmacharya.
How to bounce back from brahmacharya failure and take steps to ensure unbroken brahmacharya practice from now on?
This is one of the issues on which a good guidance is needed. Serious brahmacharya break is break of physical celibacy or break of visual celibacy. In order to bounce back from such serious brahmacharya failure in a way such that unbroken brahmacharya practice is ensured from now on, please understand and practise the following instructions:
- Visual and physical environmental control from now onward. Even physical break in brahmacharya practice happens due to some visual and physical environmental triggers. So, how can one practise brahmacharya from now on without bringing changes in one’s visual and physical environment when it is so clear in the teachings of all sages that everyone, except those who are already born almost Self-Realized, is prone to break in brahmacharya practice during the first 12 years of brahmacharya practice? One has to apply lots of mind for visual and physical enviromental control and learn from the successful example of others. Here is the list of suggestions (please read section “Balance male and female energies in order to awaken sushumna channel and have a natural, blissful state of brahmacharya.” above to understand why continuously doing nadi shodhana pranayama in case of brahmacharya failure for a long time that day is so strongly recommended below: it will also help as continuously doing nadi shodhana pranayama for a long time is a bit uncomfortable for one’s hands and is definitely a very intelligent and fully contructive self-punishment. Of course, you will have to switch the hand for closing nostrils whenever one hand gets tired of doing so – also, feel free to do some reading of spiritual literature or other good study materials some time or even all of the time while practising this technique. You need to do only nadi shodhana basic stage without involving any internal or external retention as breath retention cannot and should not be done for too long time like 30 min or more and also because with basic stage, you are fully free to do some self-study also in case you want to do.):
- If the break in brahmacharya was triggered due to intentionally seeing a particular member of opposite gender, then have a vow – if I do this mistake, I will give up next meal and/or continuously do minimum 30 min nadi shodhana pranayama – and follow this vow today for today’s brahmacharya break. Additional note: If the break is not merely visual, but also physical, in that case rather than 30 min, continuously do minimum 60 min nadi shodhana pranayama. If that member of opposite gender is none but your spouse, please try to avoid meeting him/her alone and in private place – meet him/her in the open place for any talk and not in the bedroom and try to meet when at least someone else (your kids, parents or any other person) can watch both of you. This is exactly the method which Mahatma Gandhi used whole life when he realized that he was getting repeated brahmacharya failures due to private meetings with his spouse. And there is every reason for all householder yogis to use this rule in at least first 12 years of brahmacharya practice.
- If the break in brahmacharya was triggered due to intentionally seeing romantic/adult pictures or movies or reading romantic/adult materials, then have a vow – if I do this mistake, I will give up next meal and/or invest the same amount of time spent in seeing romatic/adult pictures/movies or reading romantic/adult materials in continuously doing nadi shodhana pranayama – and follow this vow today for today’s brahmacharya break. So, if you spent 1 hr in seeing romantic/adult pictures/movies or reading romantic/adult materials, spend 1 hr continuously in doing nadi shodhana pranayama. Additional note: If the break is not merely visual, but also physical, in that case rather than same amount, invest twice the amount of time, which you spent in lustful activities, in continuously doing nadi shodhana pranayama. Also, use a good internet filter if you have been a victim of romantic/adult material on internet – see more in “Use internet filter – take no risk in the first 12 years of brahmacharya (celibacy) practice.” section above.
- Maintain a brahmacharya diary. Write down your lessons from positive or negative experiences in brahmacharya practice in this diary in this format: “Story: blah, blah, blah. Lesson: Blah, blah, blah.” This will help you a lot as you will know under what particular circumstances, you succeed or fail in brahmacharya practice and also, what techniques have worked the best in the past for you to deal with strong attacks of lust. Whenever you find the mind assaulted with strong bouts of lust, read your brahmacharya diary – you will get clues on how you were able to successful deal with such strong bouts of lust in the past and just use those techniques now to succeed in dealing with lust successfully. Also, never forget to read this brahmacharya diary once every month (like every 1st day of each month) as strong assault from lust has its monthly biological cycle and you need to keep all your brahmacharya lessons from past fresh in your mind to deal with this monthly cycle of strong lust successfully. Do so at least in the first 12 years of your unbroken brahmacharya practice. In case of serious problems with lust in the past, do read your brahmacharya diary at least once every week like on every Sunday morning.
- Completely read this article and the links given here very very attentively and follow all instructions given here in letter and spirit on daily basis without a single break. Then, you are guaranteed to have a sanguine success as these instructions have been gathered after an extremely thorough research of the science of yoga and human psychology. I have done so much efforts not only for myself, but for everyone – and in due time, you will realize that these efforts have produced an invaluable set of techniques for all sincere aspirants aiming at the practice of unbroken/akhand brahmacharya.