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Who is a Bramachari? or what is Bramacharyam?

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  • Who is a Bramachari? or what is Bramacharyam?

    Who is a Bramachari? or what is Bramacharyam?

    Brahmacharya or Bramacharyam is a divine word. It is the sum and substance of Yoga. Brahmacharya is the Achara or conduct by which you attain or reach Brahman (God). It is life in the Absolute. It is movement towards God or the Atman (Self). Brahmacharya, which actually means the 'conduct of the Absolute'.

    Brahmacharya is absolute freedom from body pleasures, thoughts and desires

    Brahmacharyam has two main meanings. In the broad sense it means control of the senses or indriyas. More specifically it refers to celibacy or chastity.

    The more broad definition of brahmacharyam also includes conduct that leads to the realisation of the Self, or Brahman, study of the Vedas and scriptures, and contemplation on Brahman.

    Complete celibacy is the master-key to open the realms of Elysian Bliss. The avenue to the abode of Supreme Peace begins from Brahmacharya or purity. Brahmacharya or Bramacharyam is the vow of celibacy in thought, word and deed, by which one attains Self-realization or reaches Brahman.

    He who, restraining the organs of action, sits thinking of the sense objects in mind, he of deluded understanding is called a hypocrite.
    - Bhagavad Gita Ch.3, Verse 6

    Brahmacharya: The Four Asramas in Hindu Dharma

    There are four Asramas or stages in life, viz., Brahmacharya or the period of studentship, Grihastha or the stage of the householder, Vanaprastha or the stage of the forest-dweller or hermit, and Sannyasa or the life of renunciation or asceticism. Each stage has its own duties. These stages help the evolution of man.

    Bramopadesam and Bramacharyam

    In Hinduism, the ceremony is performed on boys of at least 8 years of age from the Brahmin varna, of at least 13 years from the Kshatriya varna, and of at least 17 years from the Vaishya varna. The youngster is taught during the ceremony the secret of life through Brahmopadesam (revealing the nature of Brahman, the Ultimate Reality) or the Gayatri mantra.( The event when the father initiates Gayathri Mantra to the son is called"Brahmopadesam".) Gayatri Mantra is the Supreme Mantra, which invokes Supreme God. The child then becomes qualified for life as a student or Brahmacharya, as prescribed in the Manusmriti.

    After the function the elders bless the boy. "May this boy be like Vedavyasa in knowledge, Panini in grammar, Adi Shankara in vedanta, Janaka in Philosophy, Prahalatha in devotion, Harischandra in adhering to the truth, Bhishma in Brahmacharya and lead a long life like Markendeya".

    According to an appendix of the Manusmrit, girls were allowed to study the Vedas in the previous Kalpa (time unit) (Creation). Orthodox Hindus, however, do not accept this reference, because no Hindu canonical text allows this ceremony for a girl in the present Kalpa. Some sects, esp.Arya Samaj perform this ceremony for girls also on the basis of this statement.…

    The conduct of a Brahmachari (celibate student)

    (From The Mahabharata)

    He should never eat before his preceptor has eaten; never drink before his preceptor has drunk; never sit down before his preceptor has sat down; and never go to bed before his preceptor has gone to bed. He should gently touch his preceptor’s feet with upturned palms, the right foot with the right and the left with the left

    Importance of Bramacharya

    Brahmacharya is the vow of celibacy in thought, word and deed, by which one attains Self-realization or reaches Brahman. It means control of not only the reproductive Indriya but also control of all senses in thought, word and deed.

    Brahmacharya is the basis for the attainment of Kaya Siddhi. Complete celibacy must be observed. This is of paramount importance. By the practice of Yoga the semen becomes transmuted into Ojas-Sakti. The Yogi will have a perfect body. There will be charm and grace in his movements. He can live as long as he likes (Iccha Mrityu). That is the reason why Lord Krishna says to Arjuna: "Tasmat yogee bhava Arjuna - Therefore, become a Yogi, O Arjuna."

    Glory of Brahmacharya

    The Brahmachari shines with Brahmic Aura in his face. Brahmacharya is the bright light that shines in the house of human body. It is the fully-blossomed flower of life around which the bees of strength, patience, knowledge and purity and Dhriti wander about humming hither and thither. In other words he who observes Brahmacharya will be endowed with the above qualities.

    Scriptures declare emphatically: "Ayustejo balam veeryam vidya shrih kirtireva cha; punyam cha satpriyatvam cha vardhate brahmacharyaya - By the practice of Brahmacharya, longevity, glory, strength, vigour, knowledge, wealth, undying fame, virtues and devotion to Truth increase."

    Benefits of Bramacharya

    Practice of Brahmacharya gives good health, inner strength, peace of mind and long life. It invigorates the mind and nerves. It helps to conserve physical and mental energy. It augments memory, will force and brain power. It bestows tremendous strength, vigour and vitality. Strength and fortitude are obtained... He who is established in Brahmacharya will have lustrous eyes, a sweet voice and a beautiful complexion.

    (Swami Sivananda)

    Can woman be a Bramacharini?

    Brahmacharya is meant both for men and women. Bhishma, Hanuman, Lakshmana, Jesus, Mirabai, Sulabha and Gargi were all celibates.

    When women observe the vow of celibacy they become Bramacharini.

    Women who are chaste can be called as Brahmacharinis. Through the force of Brahmacharya only, many women of yore have done miraculous deeds and shown to the world the power of chastity.

    Nalayani, by the power of chastity has stopped the rising of the sun to save her husband's life.

    Anasuya has turned the Trimurtis - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesvara as babies when they wanted Nirvana Bhiksha. It is through the power of chastity only, she was able to turn the Great Deities as babies.

    Savitri has brought back the life of Satyavan, her husband, from the noose of Yama by her chastity.

    Such is the glory of womanhood. Such is the power of chastity or Brahmacharya. Women who lead a householder's life with chastity can also become an Anasuya, Nalayani or Savitri.

    They also can remain as naishthic brahmacharinis (life-long celibates) like Mirabai and devote themselves to the service and devotion of God. Or they can do brahma-vichar like

    Gargi and Sulabha.

    Sulabha was a very learned lady. She was born in a royal family. She was a brahmacharini. She was instructed in the religion of emancipation. She observed the practice of asceticism. She was firm in the practices that belonged to the mode of life she led. She was steady in her vows. She never uttered a word without reflecting on its propriety. She was a yogini. She led the life of a sannyasini. She appeared before Janaka in his court and had a great discussion with him on brahma-vidya or the Science of the Self.

    Gargi was also a brahmacharini. She also was a highly cultured lady. She also had a lengthy discussion with Yajnavalkya on brahma-vidya. The dialogue between them comes in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    Can a married person become Bramachari?

    Brahmacharya can be practiced by married people also. Chastity and fidelity are the foundation on which a strong and happy marital relationship stands and should be understood by husband and wife. In Srimad Bhagavatham a holy book of Hinduism it is clearly mentioned that practice of brahmacharya is also one of the important duties in married life and it is waived only for the purpose of procreation, austerity, purity, contentment and friendliness towards all.…

    Gandhi took a vow of lifelong celibacy in 1906, after 23 years of what he described as "marital bliss". (

    Gandhi becoming celibate at the age of 36, while still married. This decision was deeply influenced by the philosophy of Brahmacharya--spiritual and practical purity--largely associated with celibacy and asceticism. Gandhi saw brahmacharya as a means of becoming close with God and as a primary foundation for self realization. In his autobiography he tells of his battle against lustful urges and fits of jealousy with his childhood bride, Kasturba. He felt it his personal obligation to remain celibate so that he could learn to love, rather than lust. For Gandhi, brahmacharya meant "control of the senses in thought, word and deed."