Actively Ya | Walk With Char | Essential Truth/God Brahma
There are two major drives in the human experience that can consume our thoughts beyond all others, both of which are primary to the propagation of life. These are food and sex, both of which are easily wont to become a human overindulgence. Food is addressed in other parts of Yoga and Sanatana Dharma and will fall in another post. However, the consensus and teaching is similar.
Brahmacharya is about self-restraint, but it is often expressed in chastity and many times, for the renunciate ( one who becomes monk like), as celibacy. If the drives of food and sex are so strong, why is self-restraint of brahmacharya nearly always focused on sex. Well, one way to think about it is that though a hunger in the belly might lead one to steal from the company refrigerator, sexual drives have ruined families, fortunes, and in some cases empires.
With so much in the news about Yoga leaders and teachers, often male, being accused and convicted of exploitation, harassment and rape and the odd number of, often female, high school teachers sleeping with their students, it is not hard to see that the sex drive leads to bad behavior. People in positions of authority and especially teachers, this is horrid and damaging behavior. With the large and horrendous sex trafficking rings in the united states alone, we can see how this drive can become criminal and lead to destructive behavior.
Even for the non-criminal and seemingly well adjusted students of Yoga, the number of unwanted pregnancies for both Yoga teachers and students that arises in the community, shows us how difficult it is to contain our desires. Not to mention the spread of infectious disease, some of which can lead to madness and even death.
All physical aspects aside, we know that when sexual desire overcomes us, people are easily taken over by the desire, and often make irrational decisions that do not always work out best in expressing one’s Dharma. There are also the bonds in the psyche that are created and then broken as one constantly switches partners which develop unwanted samskaras and chitta in the mind ( longing patterns and frenetic thoughts). So it is not just a matter of procreation, or being careful with disease.
Yoga is about containing your desires and directing them accordingly, to overcome the demands of the Ego. in other-words, we are called to control our desires, versus them controlling us. So, it is no surprise when in the main tenants of behavior, that the writings would include Brahmacharya as sexual restraint.
Householders ( people who do not commit to renunciation of becoming monk like) are not asked to be celibate, but to have control over our sexual desire. We are called to enjoy it and express it correctly and in its best context, otherwise it can lead to complications which limit our ability to maintain a satvik state of mind or any equanimity if we don’t.
If we meditate honestly, and look beyond the want of letting that desire do as it pleases, we will see that it is a desire we are protecting for our own selfish ego, and that restraint is has a better outcome in our physical lives as well as our spiritual lives, regardless of your path.
ॐ शान्ति ॐ
P.S. >>>In our sexually liberated society, I understand this being a teaching that we often want to ignore, or try to change to fit our own wants to do as we wish. It just seems far too arrogant to think we are smarter than thousands of years of thinking and evolution of this system to make such sweeping changes (especially when it is a borrowed culture), and many people will hunt out teachers that will wiggle these words to fit how the ego wants to express itself. As with any teaching, it is not Dogma… If you don’t believe the teaching, I say, do as you wish, and meditate and be honest with yourself in your meditation, search your samskaras and see if it is not just the desire and ego driving that behavior. My goal is to give you the best spiritual life you can experience and open consciousness to your fullest capacity in this lifetime. Test it, and see if it does not lead to a better life experience.