Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 158

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

The True Yoga

14. prasantatma vigatabhir
brahmacarivrate sthitah
manah samyamya maccitto
yukta asita matparah

(14) Serene and fearless, firm in the vow of celibacy, subdued in mind, let him sit, harmonized, his mind turned to Me and intent on Me alone.
brahmacarivrate stintah: firm in the vow of celibacy. The aspirant for yoga must exercise control over sex impulses. Hindu tradition has insisted on brahmacarya from the beginning. In the Prasna Up., Pippalada asks the seekers to observe brahmacarya for a year more at the end of which he undertakes to initiate them into the highest wisdom. In Chandogya Up., Brahma taught Infra the knowledge of Reality after making him undergo brahmacaryarh for 101 years. brahmacaryarh is defined as abstinence from sex intercourse in thought, word and deed in all conditions and places and times.[1] The gods are said to have conquered death by brahmacaryarh and penances[2] In Jiãnasamnkauni Tantra, Siva says that true tapas is brahmacarya and he who practises it uninterruptedly is divine, not human[3] It is not ascetic celibacy that is meant by brahmacaryarh, but control. Hindu tradition firm that a householder who controls his sex life is a brahmacãri quite as truly as one who abstains from sex altogether.' To be a celibate is not to deaden the senses and deny the heart.


References and Context

  1. Yajnavalkya writes karmazc nianasã vodka sarvdvasthdsu sarvadel sarvadel asthunatyag brahmacaryarh pracaksate.
  2. brahmacaryena tapasa deva mrtyum updghnata Atharoa Veda.
  3. na taus tapa sty ahuh brahmacaryam tapottamam urdhvareta bhaved yastu sa devo na tu manusah The difficulty of chastity is illustrated in the lives of many saints. St. Augustine used to pray : "Give me chastity and continence, only not yet." Confessions, Bk. VIII, Ch. VII. Rodin has the whole thing in a piece of sculpture called the Eternal Idol where a woman on her knees, but leaning backward, with body thrust forward and arms hanging loose receives between her breasts the bearded face of a man who kneels before her in servile longing for her embrace. There is hardly one man in a thousand who will not put aside his ideals, his highest vision, everything which for him represents God in order to get the woman he loves. In the opinion of many contemporaries chastity is a condition which is as selfish as it is dull. To them the Hindu emphasis on it may seem somewhat odd and exaggerated.