Lecture by Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa
on January 14, 2015
Srimad Bhagavatam – 3.12.42
sāvitraṁ prājāpatyaṁ ca
brāhmaṁ cātha bṛhat tathā
śiloñcha iti vai gṛhe
Then the thread ceremony for the twice-born was inaugurated, as were the rules to be followed for at least one year after acceptance of the Vedas, rules for observing complete abstinence from sex life, vocations in terms of Vedic injunctions, various professional duties in household life, and the method of maintaining a livelihood without anyone's cooperation by picking up rejected grains.
There are different aspects of life in this material world that has been created by Lord Brahma, one by one he has created – education, charity, penance and truth are the four legs of religion. Now Brahma says that the thread ceremony was for the twice born, then the Vedic rules were connected to the same and the rules for brahmacharya and various types of occupations was next created. And Prabhupada elaborates on the particular principle in this verse which is rules for observing complete abstinence in sex life. He gives the example of his spiritual master Om Vishnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Gosvami Maharaja. He was a great soul and a naisthika brahmachari. According to the Vedic institution the mechanism by which the human being makes advancement spiritually is called the varnashrama institution created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.
In that institution, the human beings fit into one of those either as a brahmachari, grihastha, vanaprastha or sannyasi or vocation of brahmana, vaishya, kshatriya or shudra. In other words every individual who is a member of the Vedic culture has to have rules and regulations connected to his particular ashrama and vocation. Brahmachari stage is where one is learning how to control his senses, what is the ultimate purpose of life and then at the age of 25, he can either become a grihastha or a naisthika brahmachari. It is not that one enters into a grihastha ashrama because of desire for sex gratification, that is not the Vedic system. Prabhupada explains that one who has followed the brahmacharya training properly then he will be a grihastha, unlike the normal householders who are not different from cats and dogs.
A spiritually educated person who enters the grihastha ashrama already knows what the purpose of grihastha ashrama is. After grihastha ashrama there is vanaprastha, one has to get detached from this material world and get prepared for his next life in his sannyasa, he becomes detached from his place of birth, family, people, everything. The next life is eternal life that is the purpose of sannyasa. Living entities are coming together, husband, wife, children, just like the bubbles that come together on the surface of river water, and then some water force separates them. Finally everyone has to go back alone. So to get oneself trained in this detachment from sense gratification is the actual purpose of the varnashrama institution.
Prabhupada is appreciative of this naisthika brahmacharya, it is all pervading throughout his literature that how brahmacharya is important for spiritual advancement because that gives us the fine energy that is required for developing our spiritual centre of the brain, where detachment develops, where attachment to Krishna can develop. It is energy in the body; one cannot fritter away this energy for some silly sensation. One can resist this by training, you cannot make on the spot decision – I will be a brahmachari. It will not work, you have to train your mind, and your lifestyle in such a way, only then one can be a successful brahmachari. One should not think that brahmacharya means controlling the senses. No. Controlling one’s association is brahmacharya; it is not that I don’t get attracted to opposite sex. Brahmacharya means resisting the tendency to break the rules of that particular ashrama.
The rule of brahmacharya is to resist getting into association, not after going into association, to resist the attraction. Once you associate, attraction is there. I am not able to resist the attraction, so I should become a grihastha. Nobody can resist the attraction, DNA is coded in your system, man, woman it is all coded. This is how the Lord has created; I should resist association before there is a need to resist attraction. And such a person can be a successful naisthika brahmachari.
And if somebody wants to be a naisthika brahmachari after understanding the principles of brahmacharya he has to make a decision. He cannot be vague, there has to be the power of a vow. If that vow is not there then he will waver. If you associate you will get attracted. One has to respect how the Lord has created the man, woman, it is the Lord’s laws, don’t try to go against it.
One need not think that I will get married because I am fearful I will fall into maya. There is a very fine decision which is – I will follow the rules of this ashrama. It is not that we will make an assessment whether I am still attracted to opposite sex. One should not unnecessarily challenge maya; one should take protection of the rules and regulations of a particular ashrama. The same thing is applicable in grihastha ashrama also. The fundamental rules and regulations of brahmacharya is can you live without association of women? And then decision has to be taken based on that. One should not think that I should take a call whether to become a brahmachari or a grihastha. No, take a call whether I should become a naisthika brahmachari or not. You follow the rules, can I live without association? And whether one is a grihastha also, there also spiritual progress will not be there if one associates, it has to be highly regulated. Association with the opposite sex will pull down one into gross bodily concept. Whereas in spiritual life we are supposed to develop the idea that we are not this body, you are a pure kshetrajna, that is supposed to be the ultimate goal of spiritual life.
Only students unable to accept such a vow in life are allowed to go home and marry a suitable girl. It all depended on the quality of the student’s training. Complete abstinence from sex life for his whole life. In this material body the life energy or semen is not an issue at all, you have to understand the principle, it has to be utilized, if it is not utilized then it has to find an outlet in a gross form. Utilized means one has to be completely engaged in mind, body, intellect in a challenging manner in devotional service, that is our goal. So it matches very well if one is fully absorbed in devotional service of the Lord then along with that the principle of no association, then controlling the semen energy is not an issue at all. Because we were not trained as a brahmachari in a gurukula from the age of five, we were in the outside world, and we have imbibed so many other conditioning in our minds. Therefore it becomes little difficult, but the power of the holy name is such that in five ten years if you chant Hare Krishna you will come back to the same state, as if from five years you were trained in brahmacharya. So powerful is the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha mantra.
(The above transcripts have been edited for better readability. However they have not been verified and confirmed by the original speaker.)