Monday, January 10, 2011

Brahmacharya -Mahatma Gandhi.

  1. Those who want to perform national service, or to have a gleam of the real religious life, must lead a celibate life, whether married or unmarried.
  2. Life without Brahmacharya appears to me to be insipid and animal-like. The brute by nature knows to self-restraint. Man is man because he is capable of, and only in so far as he exercises, self-restraint. What chiefly distinguishes man from the beast is that man from his age of discretion begins to practice a life of continual self-restraint. God has enabled man to distinguish between his sister, his, mother, his daughter and his wife. What formerly appeared to me to be extravagant praise of Brahmacharya in our religious books seems now, with increasing clearness every day, to be absolutely proper and founded on experience. I hold that a life of perfect continence in thought, speech and action is necessary for reaching spiritual perfection. And a nation that does not possess such men is poorer for the want. Brahmacharya is impossible without complete control of all senses. My own experiment shows that occasional fasting is very helpful in subduing animal passions.
  3. Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his autobiography that when he was about 34 years old, he heard the Inner Voice saying that the observance of total celibacy was indispensable for further spiritual progress. Gandhiji was already doing selfless service, observing, mouna on Sundays, daily praying, reading Bhagavad Gita and sticking to yama andniyama: satyam, ahimsa, brahmacharya etc. All that was already there. But now he was convinced: “further progress is not possible unless I have TOTAL brahmacharya.”
    Gandhiji consulted his wife Kasturba, who agreed with his proposal. He was 34 or 35 years old and from that age until 79, for more than 40 years, he observed strictbrahmacharyaThis observance is the reason that his achievement is so great.
  4. Gandhi said fathering and supporting children robbed him of precious energy during a time when he wanted to devote himself more completely to public service. However, over a period of many celibate years-admittedly struggling with the practice and even breaking his vow on several occasions-Gandhi discovered that the benefits of brahmacharya far exceeded birth control. His home life became more “peaceful, sweet, and happy,” he developed a new measure of self-restraint, and he found increasing reserves of time and energy to devote to humanitarian and spiritual pursuits. “I realized that a vow, far from closing the door to real freedom, opened it,” he wrote in his autobiography. “What formerly appeared to me to be extravagant praise of brahmacharya in our religious books seems now, with increasing clearness every day, to be absolutely proper and founded on experience.”
  5. By Swami Sivananda (founder of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh): Look at Mahatma Gandhi! He had acquired this power by constant and careful practice of Ahimsa, Satyam and Brahmacharya—non-violence, truth and celibacy. He influenced the world through this power alone. Through Brahmacharya and Brahmacharya alone can you get physical, mental and spiritual advancement in life.
  6. From that day when I began brahmacharya, our freedom began. My wife became a free woman, free from my authority as her lord and master, and I became free from the slavery to my own appetite, which she had to satisfy. No other woman had any attraction for me in the same sense that my wife had. I was too loyal to her as husband and too loyal to the vow I had taken before my mother to be slave to any other woman. But the manner in which my brahmacharya came to me irresistibly drew me to woman as the mother of man. She became too sacred for sexual love. And so every woman at once became sister or daughter to me.

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