Friday, 21 April 2017

Real Brahmacharya

On the basis of traditional knowledge I used to mean that Brahmacharya is a term used to indicate a significant aspect of religious disciplines of the Hindu tradition, according to which a man remains unmarried throughout his life to devote himself to God’s service. Sometimes this made me question, “Why should one be deprived of marriage to serve God?” “Don’t the Gods enjoy the company of their partner Goddesses?” “Then why the same Gods order poor human beings to observe Brahmacharya?”
Thanks to Alistair Shearer, a translator of Patanjali’s ‘Yoga Sutras’, who cleared my doubts. He argues that from the earliest times Brahmacharya has been wrongly attached to sexuality. In fact the true meaning of Brahmacharya is “moving in the Immensity” or “living in Reality.” He urges that Brahmacharya should not be confined merely to sexuality, instead it should be taken in its widest sense as true “chastity.”
Alistair’s interpretation of Brahmacharya has provided me a framework to understand this concept more deeply. In fact Brahmacharya is to live a life truthfully. There is no problem with a faithful marriage but if a married person involves in adultery, then his Brahmacharya is seriously jeopardized. A Brahmachari must be pure in his thoughts, words and actions. It is relevant to relate a story of two monks here.
Once there were two monks who needed to cross a river. They were about to step into the water when they heard a female voice behind them, “Excuse me, will you please help me to cross the river? Because I’m scared to cross it alone.” Monk A turned back, smiled compassionately at the woman and replied, “No problem. Come on lady, hold my hand.”
Monk A took the woman safely to the other side of the river, left her there and continued his journey, following by monk B. They walked silently for a while. Then monk B curiously asked, “Hey friend, aren’t we taught not to touch a woman? Knowing this, how you dared to hold that woman’s hand?” Monk A looked at his friend blankly and replied, “She needed help so I helped her to cross the river. As soon as I took her to the other side, my duty was over, and I forgot her. But why are you talking about her now?” This answer made monk B feel ashamed. Even if he did not touch the woman he was carrying her in his mind all the time. On the contrary, his friend was simply fulfilling his duty without thinking about her.
Similarly, every Brahmachari should be as truthful inside-out as monk A who can clearly differentiate between responsibilities and lust. There is no harm in a marriage itself since it is a beautiful and strong institution in our culture. In addition, whether to get married or not is entirely a personal choice because the God has given all of us a free will. A problem only arises when the married person forgets the value and purity of marriage and involves in extra-marital affairs or such things. Most importantly, when someone sets a higher goal to achieve, then the lower goals seem less significant for him. It should be noted that all human beings have the potential to be in Brahmacharya and serve the God with true actions, words, thoughts and emotions.

(Published in an English Daily The Rising Nepal on Friday, April 14, 2017 
[The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.]

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I would appreciate any and all suggestions on making improvements (as long as they are viable).