Abstinence from sex for spiritual growth?

Today I would like to talk about Brahmacharya, which is understood in a narrower sense as the practice of celibacy or sexual abstinence, with the aim of conserving this vital energy and directing it to achieve higher states of consciousness. I admit, for a long time I looked at this concept very narrowly and because of that I didn't deal with it too much, because it seemed old-fashioned and I didn't really understand it.


In a broader sense, Brahmacharya is about keeping the mind always in thought of Brahma or the Supreme Consciousness. The word brahmacharya is composed of two words – Brahma and charya. Brahma means Supreme Consciousness. And “char” in Sanskrit means to continue. So brahmacharya means moving towards supreme consciousness or simply always keeping God in mind while doing every action. Brahmacharya is seeing everything and everyone as an expression of Brahma or God.


This is extremely difficult in a world where we are bombarded with various stimuli.


Do you ever find yourself scrolling through Facebook or Instagram late at night? Still having nightmares fueled by a violent action movie you watched recently? Or maybe you feel jittery from your second cup of coffee in the morning? When our senses become attached to the pleasures of the world, they bring us great joy, but they can also throw us off balance and waste our energy.


Maintaining mental calm while living in the world of the senses is a key task for yoga practitioners – it helps us restore harmony between body and mind.


Brahmacharya – moderation of the senses – is one of the key practices offered by yoga to control sensual desires. It is the fourth of the five Yamas, which help us cultivate self-awareness and transform habits that are not in line with our spiritual aspirations.


Literally, Brahmacharya translates as "walking in the consciousness of God". Practically, this means that brahmacharya turns the mind inward, balances the senses and leads to freedom from addiction and craving. When the mind is freed from the domination of the senses, the pleasures of the senses are replaced by inner joy.


Conserving vital energy through moderate sexual activity is part of the concept of Brahmacharya, but it is more than that. Brahmacharya refers to finding the middle path. Both overindulgence and suppression can drain your vital force; both can leave you insecure and anxious. The Middle Way allows you to enjoy being in control of your senses and not let uncontrolled senses spoil your enjoyment of life.


In the Katha Upanishad, the Lord of Death Yamaraja teaches his advanced disciple Nachiket how to find true enjoyment. He says: “Know yourself as a rider. Let the body be the carriage. Buddhi or intellect should be the driver and manas or lower mind should be the reins. The indriyas or senses are the horses, and the vishayas, the sense objects, are the path along which they run. One who is united with Self, senses and mind is called the Enjoyer. He who has an undisciplined mind suffers from the activity of his uncontrolled senses, just as a driver suffers from driving wild, untrained horses. One who has a good understanding of Brahmacharya and has a disciplined mind enjoys controlling the senses just as a driver enjoys driving a chariot with trained horses. By controlling the senses – by practicing Brahmacharya – we travel in God consciousness and not on the path of sense objects.”


In a world flooded with stimuli, making informed choices about what we read, watch, listen to, and the company we choose will help us conserve energy and keep our minds focused and dynamic. Brahmacharya does not mean complete renunciation, but moderation - being moderate in sensual activities so as not to drown in them.

What steps can we take in this direction?


Prvi korak v preprosti in elegantni strategiji obvladovanja hrepenenj je gojenje zavedanja o vaših čutnih željah in načinu, kako jih izražate. Ko so čutila budna in aktivna, jih opazujte – dovolite jim zmerno aktivnost in bodite pripravljeni postaviti meje. Namesto da bi omejevali čute, proces pričevanja daje umu priložnost, da ukrepa. A tega se morate spomniti, ko se bašete s saldoledom ali že 3 ure igrate igrice 🙂 Vendar je načelo presenetljivo učinkovito: uživajte zmerno. Ko vam um pove, da ne ravnate zmerno, ga upoštevajte – morda je čas, da spremenite svoje vedenje.


I hope today's entry has given you some useful insight.



Join the Conversation

  • Thief of Purusa das


    I agree with what 99% wrote. Purpose and meaning, everything is true. The only thing I understand a little differently is that for a brahmacari ashram practitioner, sex just doesn't exist. A person who practices the brahmacari life lives in complete abstinence. Such a person does not even think about sexuality, does not associate with the opposite sex unnecessarily, does not talk about sexuality, etc. Violation of these principles means automatic expulsion from the brahmacari ashram. People who have problems with this are advised to enter a grihasta ashram, that is, a family bond in which they can then control their sexual needs within the parameters prescribed for that ashram. In the brahmacari ashram, however, there is no talk of moderate sexuality.

    lp and all good, Tat Purusha das

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