Celibacy – what is it exactly?

What is celibacy? Why is it important? Is it possible to be happily married and celibate?

Filip Misic, 19 November 2017

Hare Krishna everyone, please accept my humble obeisances.

I was wondering, why are there so many married people in ISKCON temples? Is celibacy good if one feels like it is not a huge difficulty for him? Please enlighten me.

your humble servant, Filip

Rakesh, 20 November 2017

Hare Krsna Filip Prabhu

Please accept my humble obeisances

That is a wonderful question. As far as I know, Srila Prabhupada said something like that if one can stay a celibate, one should stay like that. Can’t say if it is good or not because your question has a conditional answer.

Celibate life is blissful and those who can stay like that are very fortunate because of the wonderful opportunity of service and association that they get.

Coming to the first question, it is not easy to stay Brahmachari. I heard from one senior brahmachari that it is not easy even to decide to join Brahmachari ashram, what to stay of staying a celibate lifelong. Also, even if one joins brahmachari ashram, Maya Devi is always trying to lure him somehow or the other. As I heard from one another devotee, the envy of the jeeva against Krsna is Why Krsna is the enjoyer and the desire is that s/he wants to be Krsna. So that envy and desire is there in living entities’ hearts unless they are pure. Since living entities’ have been in this material world since millions of lifetimes, the conditionings are strong.

Many brahmacharis change their ashram for many different reasons. It is difficult to say what exactly may be the reason.

Hope I have been able to answer in someway.

your insignificant servant
Rakesh roshan

Filip Misic, 20 November 2017

Hare Krishna Rakesh Roshan prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances

Thank you for your answer, especially for enlightening me about how I should not let my guard down. As a university student I can say that I feel Maya breathing down my neck every day. Therefore I would like to humbly ask you to please pray for me so that I get more strength.

your humble servant, Filip

Nikhil Mishra, 20 November 2017

Hare Krsna

I heard in one of audios of Srila Prabhupada lecture that if one can live a celibate life easily then he should live else he should marry.
He says that Marriage is not prohibited in our movement but hypocrisy is!

Rest, personally, with experience i have understood, that to overcome maya , ones efforts are just not sufficient, grace of Krsna is also required.

My philosophy has been eat well, stay healthy, do prayers, avoid extremes and keep exploring truths behind words said by Guru and shastras. Thankfully i am getting helped. God seems to listening to my prayers.

wishing you best

not so advanced in krsna Consciousness –
Nikhil

Filip Misic, 20 November 2017

Hare Krishna Nikhil

Thank you for your great advice.

Even less advanced in Krishna conciousness,

Filip

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 27 November 2017

Thank you for a great conversation everyone!

Hare Krishna!

Would like to bring to your attention that marital status and celibate status are not mutually exclusive.

Srila Gurudeva is married for over 30 years, but celibate for over 47 years.

I am married, but celibate also. The Krishna consciousness movement is full of such people who are married but also celibate. Of course, not all married couples within ISKCON are celibate, but if at least one of the couple is formally initiated as a disciple of a spiritual master, then celibacy is required.

The essence of the matter is this, from the Thought For the Day 26 Nov 2017:

Question: Sex Outside of Procreation?
My husband and I have been married for many years. Because of health problems, I can’t have any children. Is it illicit if we have sex?

Your student

Answer: It is Illicit

In this case, you must practice celibacy. Don’t sleep together. Sleep in separate rooms, if possible, or at least in separate beds. Non-procreational sex is illicit. It is a waste of valuable energy that should be engaged in Krishna service, where you will get unlimited benefit instead of temporary titillation of the gross material senses.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

In Vedic society, marriage is for a gentle society… most men can’t go through life alone, they need the kind of support and encouragement that only members of the female gender can provide. And most women need protection, at the very least to stave off unwanted attention from animal-like men. When a man and woman work together, they can do much more together than the man or woman individually.

In Vedic society, there are 4 Ashramas, or “positions of shelter” – Brahmacharya or unmarried life, Grihastha, or householder life, Vanaprastha, which could be single or married, but focused on spiritual advancement, and Sannyas, or the renounced order of life. In all the orders of life, one is expected to remain Brahmachari, or celibate, except that the householders have a license to engage in sex for procreation and also some more facility for somewhat luxurious life – because the Grihasthas technically work hard to support the other 3 orders – none of the other orders work for a living, the Grihastha is meant to support them all.

The married householder who lives for the sake of sense gratification is not known as a Grihastha, such persons are known as Grihamedhi, or a person who meditates on sense gratification.

Regardless of external status, one is meant to be internally always in Krishna consciousness, where celibacy is a natural by-product.

Srila Prabhupada quotes this verse in many places, but here it is from the purport to SB 9.19.16:

quote

Therefore, by the practice of bhakti-yoga, one should give up his lusty desires. As explained by Śrī Yāmunācārya:
yadavadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-pādāravinde
 nava-nava-rasa-dhāmany udyataṁ rantum āsīt
tadavadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāne
 bhavati mukha-vikāraḥ suṣṭhu-niṣṭhīvanaṁ ca

When one is Kṛṣṇa conscious, he gets more and more happiness by discharging duties for Kṛṣṇa. Such a person spits on sense gratification, especially that of sexual enjoyment. An experienced, advanced devotee is no longer interested in sex life. The strong desire for sex can be subdued only by advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

unquote

And he repeats that verse here too, in the purport to BG 2.60

quote

Without engaging the mind in Kṛṣṇa, one cannot cease such material engagements. A practical example is given by Śrī Yāmunācārya, a great saint and devotee, who says:

yad-avadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-pādāravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhāmany udyataṁ rantum āsīt
tad-avadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāne
bhavati mukha-vikāraḥ suṣṭhu niṣṭhīvanaṁ ca

“Since my mind has been engaged in the service of the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and I have been enjoying an ever new transcendental humor, whenever I think of sex life with a woman, my face at once turns from it, and I spit at the thought.”

Kṛṣṇa consciousness is such a transcendentally nice thing that automatically material enjoyment becomes distasteful. It is as if a hungry man had satisfied his hunger by a sufficient quantity of nutritious eatables.
unquote

Please note that sometimes that quote is misunderstood as a misogynist view that Yamunacharya is spitting at women and Srila Prabhupada is endorsing such a thought, no, Srila Yamunacharya is spitting at the thought of sex indulgence because of his deep Krishna consciousness which provides him with the highest pleasure, and Srila Prabhupada is encouraging us to be fully Krishna conscious.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Filip Misic, 27 November 2017

Hare Krishna Mahabhagavat das,

Thank you for your answer. Although I am sure all these answers do not only help me, but others as well.

your humble servant, Filip


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Regulate to be Free

Want to be free? Do whatever you want? Can a regulated life lead to freedom? Can we regulate to be free?

Sounds like an Oxymoron right? Regulated Freedom? Is this some kind of slavery?

After all, dictionary.com says this about the word “regulate”

regulate [ reg-yuh-leyt ]

verb (used with object), reg·u·lat·ed, reg·u·lat·ing.
to control or direct by a rule, principle, method, etc.: to regulate household expenses.
to adjust to some standard or requirement, as amount, degree, etc.: to regulate the temperature.
to adjust so as to ensure accuracy of operation: to regulate a watch.
to put in good order: to regulate the digestion.

And freedom is listed as follows:

freedom [ free-duh m ]
noun
the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.
exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
the power to determine action without restraint.
personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.
exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed by from): freedom from fear.

But we also see that a free society is a regulated society. If society is not regulated with laws, enforcement, etc., then no one is truly free, everyone has to live in fear as we see wherever there is anarchy.

When I began my journey in spiritual life, I was completely against all kinds of regulation. I stayed away from anything that looked like discipline or commitment.

My idea of freedom was to do anything I wished to do.

But then, I realized that I am not my mind, and doing what “I” wished to do, was, more often than not, doing what my mind wanted me to do. In other words, that a person doing what they wished to do, unless they were perfectly spiritual, were really, slaves of the mind!

उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् ।
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मन: ॥ ५ ॥ uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ
nātmānam avasādayet
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ

One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/5/

That was interesting.

mana eva manuṣyāṇāṁ
kāraṇaṁ bandha-mokṣayoḥ
bandhāya viṣayāsaṅgo
muktyai nirviṣayaṁ manaḥ

“For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.”

(Amṛta-bindu Upaniṣad 2) (quoted from BG 6.5)

When I looked around me, those that were the most free were those who had the fewest consequences to deal with. That’s right, thoughts and actions all carry consequences. While all karmic actions bind us to the resultant reactions, that is a topic for another day.

Right now, I wanted to mention the 4 things anyone could do to lead a more carefree and worry-free life.

Follow these regulative principles voluntarily, or at least do your best…

  • No Intoxication – no alcohol, mind-altering drugs, caffeine, coffee, or tea
  • No Meat Eating – including fish and eggs, avoid onions, garlic, and mushrooms also
  • No Illicit Sex – do not engage in any kind of sex except for procreation – this includes monosex, homosex, heterosex, or any kind of sexual titillation
  • No Gambling – do not engage in any kind of slot machines, car games, slot machines, or even lucky draws if you want to be safe. If you do want to gamble, give your life to the spiritual pursuit!

Anyone who follows these principles becomes strong, energetic, and attractive. And we will examine the effects of not following these regulative principles in other articles.

It took me a while to get there, to be honest with you. But it really works. Try it out, read more about it here.

If you have any difficulties, of f you need any help or encouragement, let me know!

This is supported by the greatest spiritualists (and many materialists too!) who have ever lived, and here is what the Gita says about regulation…

रागद्वेषविमुक्तैस्तु विषयनिन्द्रियैश्चरन् ।
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति ॥ ६४ ॥ rāga-dveṣa-vimuktais tu
viṣayān indriyaiś caran
ātma-vaśyair vidheyātmā
prasādam adhigacchati

But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/64/

Of course, regulation is not possible without also developing a higher taste…

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः ।
रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते ॥ ५९ ॥
viṣayā vinivartante
nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ’py asya
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate
Though the embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/59/

It’s worth it!

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