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by Bhakti Vikas Swami
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ShRILA PRABHUPADA AND OTHERS ON BRAHMACARYA, MARRIAGE, THE DANGERS OF SEXUAL ATTRACTION, AND RELATED TOPICS ESPECIALLY RELEVANT FOR BRAHMACARIS.
Following is a series of quotes extracted from Shrila Prabhupada’s books, letters, recorded lectures and conversations, and from reliable anecdotes, which complement the subject matter of this book.
There are many important shlokas relating to control of the senses and the mind in the Bhagavad-gita, and several long sections in the Bhagavatam, which are very important for brahmacaris. To save space, these have not been printed in this book. References to them are given below.
6.4-7, 13-14, 16-19, 26, 34-36
Canto 3, Chapters 30 and 31, especially Chapter 31, verses 32-42
Canto 4, Chapters 25-29, “The Story of King Puranjana.”
Canto 5, Chapter 5, verses 1-13
Canto 5, Chapters 13 and 14
Canto 7, Chapter 12, verses 1-16
Canto 9, Chapter 19, verses 1-17
Canto 11, Chapter 26, verses 1-24
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Antya-lila, Chapter 2: “The Punishment of Junior Haridasa,” is also very instructive.
The whole material creation is moving under the principle of sex life. In modern civilization, sex life is the focal point for all activities. (SB 1.1.1)
One cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless one is perfectly cleared of all sins. The material sins are products of our desires to lord it over material nature. It is very difficult to get rid of such desires. Women and wealth are very difficult problems for the devotee making progress on the path back to Godhead. Many stalwarts in the devotional line fell victim to these allurements and thus retreated from the path of liberation. But when one is helped by the Lord Himself, the whole process becomes as easy as anything by the divine grace of the Lord.
To become restless in the contact of women and wealth is not an astonishment, because every living being is associated with such things from remote time, practically immemorial, and it takes time to recover from this foreign nature. But if one is engaged in hearing the glories of the Lord, gradually he realizes his real position. By the grace of God such a devotee gets sufficient strength to defend himself from the state of disturbances, and gradually all disturbing elements are eliminated from his mind. (SB 1.2.17)
In the system of varnashrama-dharma, which is the beginning of actual human life, small boys after five years of age are sent to become brahmacaris at the guru’s ashrama, where these things are systematically taught to boys, be they kings sons or sons of ordinary citizens. The training was compulsory, not only to create good citizens of the state, but also to prepare the boy’s future life for spiritual realization. The irresponsible life of sense enjoyment was unknown to children of the followers of the varnashrama system. Without being self-controlled, without being disciplined and without being fully obedient, no one can become successful in following the instructions of the spiritual master, and without doing so, no one is able to go back to Godhead. (SB 1.5.24)
The main purpose of varnashrama-dharma is to awaken knowledge and detachment. The brahmacari-ashrama is the training ground for the prospective candidates. In this ashrama it is instructed that this material world is not actually the home of the living being. The conditioned souls under material bondage are prisoners of matter, and therefore self-realization is the ultimate aim of life. The whole system of varnashrama-dharma is a means to detachment. One who fails to assimilate this spirit of detachment is allowed to enter into family life with the same spirit of detachment. Therefore, one who attains detachment may at once adopt the fourth order, namely, renounced, and thus live on charity only, not to accumulate wealth, but just to keep body and soul together for ultimate realization. Household life is for one who is attached, and the vanaprastha and sannyasa orders of life are for those who are detached from material life. The brahmacari-ashrama is especially meant for training both the attached and detached. (SB 1.9.26)
It is essential that one practice self-control by celibacy without the least desire for sex indulgence. For a man desiring to improve the condition of his existence, sex indulgence is considered suicidal, or even worse. Therefore, to live apart from family life means to become self-controlled in regard to all sense desires, especially sex desires. (SB 2.1.16)
The grossest type of anartha which binds the conditioned soul in material existence is sex desire, and this sex desire gradually develops in the union of the male and female. When the male and female are united, the sex desire is further aggravated by the accumulation of buildings, children, friends, relatives and wealth. When all these are acquired, the conditioned soul becomes overwhelmed by such entanglements, and the false sense of egoism, or the sense of “myself” and “mine” becomes prominent, and the sex desire expands to various political, social, altruistic, philanthropic and many other unwanted engagements, resembling the foam of the sea waves, which becomes very prominent at one time and at the next moment vanishes as quickly as a cloud in the sky. The conditioned soul is encircled by such products, as well as products of sex desire, which is summarized in three headings, namely profit, adoration and distinction. All conditioned souls are mad after these different forms of sex desire, and one shall see for himself how much he has been freed from such material hankerings based primarily on the sex desire. As a person feels his hunger satisfied after eating each morsel of foodstuff, he must similarly be able to see the degree to which he has been freed from sex desire. The sex desire is diminished along with its various forms by the process of bhakti-yoga because bhakti-yoga automatically, by the grace of the Lord, effectively results in knowledge and renunciation, even if the devotee is not materially very well educated. Knowledge means knowing things as they are, and if by deliberation it is found that there are things which are at all unnecessary, naturally the person who has acquired knowledge leaves aside such unwanted things. When the conditioned soul finds by culture of knowledge that material necessities are unwanted things, he becomes detached from such unwanted things. This stage of knowledge is called vairagya or detachment from unwanted things. We have previously discussed that the transcendentalist is required to be self-sufficient and should not beg from the rich blind persons to fulfill the bare necessities of life. Shukadeva Gosvami has suggested some alternatives for the bare necessities of life, namely the problem of eating, sleeping and shelter, but he has not suggested any alternative for sex satisfaction. One who has the sex desire still with him should not all try to accept the renounced order of life. For one who has not attained to this stage, there is no question of a renounced order of life. So by the gradual process of devotional service under the guidance of a proper spiritual master, and following the principles of the Bhagavatam, one must be able to at least to control the gross sex desire before one accepts the renounced order of life factually.
So purification means getting free gradually from sex desire. (SB 2.2.12)
From the Lord’s genitals originate water, semen, generatives, rains and the procreators. His genitals are the cause of a pleasure that counteracts the distress of begetting.
The genitals and the pleasure of begetting counteract the distresses of family encumbrances. One would cease to generate altogether if there were not by the grace of the Lord, a coating, a pleasure-giving substance, on the surface of the generative organs. This substance gives a pleasure so intense that it counteracts fully the distress of family encumbrances. A person is so captivated by this pleasure-giving substance that he is not satisfied by begetting a single child, but increases the number of children, with great risk in regard to maintaining them, simply for this pleasure-giving substance. This pleasure-giving substance is not false, however, because it originates from the transcendental body of the Lord. In other words, the pleasure-giving substance is a reality, but it has taken on an aspect of pervertedness on account of material contamination. In this material world, sex life is the cause of many distresses on account of material contact. Therefore, the sex life in the material world should not be encouraged beyond the necessity. (SB 2.6.8 Text & Purport)
The spiritual world, which consists of three fourths of the Lord’s energy, is situated beyond this material world, and it is especially meant for those who will never be reborn. Others, who are attached to family life and who do not strictly follow celibacy vows, must live within the three material worlds.
The climax of the system of varnashrama-dharma or sanatana-dharma is clearly expressed here in this particular verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The highest benefit that can be awarded to a human being is to train him to be detached from sex life, particularly because it is only due to sex indulgence that the conditioned life of material existence continues birth after birth. Human civilization in which there is no control of sex life is a fourth-class civilization because in such an atmosphere there is no liberation of the soul encaged in the material body. Birth, death, old age and disease are related to the material body, and they have nothing to do with the spirit soul. But as long as the bodily attachment for sensual enjoyment is encouraged, the individual spirit soul is forced to continue the repetition of birth and death on account of the material body, which is compared to garments, subjected to the law of deterioration.
In order to award the highest benefit of human life, the varnashrama system trains the follower to adopt the vow of celibacy beginning from the order of brahmacari. The brahmacari life is for students who are educated to follow strictly the vow of celibacy. Youngsters who have had no taste of sex life can easily follow the vow of celibacy, and once fixed in the principle of such a life, one can very easily continue to the highest perfectional stage, attaining the kingdom of the three-fourths energy of the Lord. It is already explained that in the cosmos of three-fourths energy of the Lord there is neither death nor fear, and one is full of the blissful life of happiness and knowledge. A householder attached to family life can easily give up such a life of sex indulgence if he has been trained in the principles of the life of a brahmacari. A householder is recommended to quit home at the end of fifty years (pancashordhvam vanam vrajet) and live a life in the forest; then, being fully detached from family affection, he may accept the order of renunciation as a sannyasi fully engaged in the service of the Lard. Any form of religious principles in which the followers are trained to pursue the vow of celibacy is good for the human being because only those who are trained in that way can end the miserable life of material existence. The principles of nirvana, as recommended by Lord Buddha, are also meant for ending the miserable life of material existence. And this process, in the highest degree, is recommended here in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, with clear perception of ideal perfection, although basically there is no difference between the process of Buddhists, Shankarites and Vaishnavites. For promotion to the highest status of perfection, namely freedom from birth and death, anxiety and fearfulness, not one of these processes allows the follower to break the vow of celibacy.
The householders and persons who have deliberately broken the vow of celibacy cannot enter into the kingdom of deathlessness. The pious householders or the fallen yogis or the fallen transcendentalists can be promoted to the higher planets within the material world (one fourth of the energy of the Lord), but they will fail to enter into the kingdom of deathlessness. Abrihad-vratas are those who have broken the vow of celibacy. The vanaprasthas, or those retired from family life, and the sannyasis, or renounced persons, cannot break the vow of celibacy if they want success in the process. The brahmacaris, vanaprasthas and sannyasis do not intend to take rebirth (apraja), nor are they meant for secretly indulging in sex life. Such a fall down by the spiritualist may be compensated by another chance for human life in good families of learned brahmanas or of rich merchants for another term of elevation, but the best thing is to attain the highest perfection of deathlessness as soon as the human form of life is attained; otherwise the whole policy of human life will prove to be a total failure. Lord Chaitanya was very strict in advising His followers in this matter of celibacy. For a transcendentalist, therefore, who at all wants to be promoted to the kingdom beyond material miseries, it is worse than suicide to deliberately indulge in sex life, especially in the renounced order of life. Sex life in the renounced order of life is the most perverted form of religious life, and such a misguided person can only be saved if, by chance, he meets a pure devotee. (SB 2.6.20 Text & Purport)
To exhibit His personal ways of austerity and penance, He appeared in twin forms as Narayana and Nara in the womb of Murti, the wife of Dharma and the daughter of Daksha. Celestial beauties, the companions of Cupid, went to try to break His vows, but they were unsuccessful, for they saw that many beauties like them were emanating from Him, the Personality of Godhead.
The Lord, being the source of everything that be, is the origin of all austerities and penances also. Great vows of austerity are undertaken by sages to achieve success in self-realization. Human life is meant for such tapasya, with the great vow of celibacy, or brahmacarya. In the rigid life of tapasya, there is no place for the association of women. And because human life is meant for tapasya for self-realization, factual human civilization, as conceived by the system of sanatana-dharma or the school of four castes and four orders of life, prescribes rigid dissociation from woman in three stages of life. In the order of gradual cultural development, one’s life may be divided into four divisions: celibacy, household life, retirement and renunciation. During the first stage of life, up to twenty-five years of age, a man may be trained as a brahmacari under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master just to understand that woman is the real binding force in material existence. If one wants to get freedom from the material bondage of conditional life, he must get free from the attraction for the form of a woman. Woman, or the fair sex, is the enchanting principle for the living entities, and the male form, especially in the human being, is meant for self-realization. The whole world is moving under the spell of womanly attraction, and as soon as a man becomes united with a woman, he at once becomes a victim of material bondage under a tight knot. The desires for lording it over the material world, under the intoxication of a false sense of lordship, specifically begin just after the man’s unification with a woman. The desires for acquiring a house, possessing land, having children and becoming prominent in society, the affection for community and the place of birth, and the hankering for wealth, which are all like phantasmagoria or illusory dreams, encumber a human being, and he is thus impeded in his progress toward self-realization, the real aim of life. The brahmacari, or a boy from the age of five years, especially from the higher castes, namely from the scholarly parents (the brahmanas), the administrative parents (the kshatriyas), or the mercantile or productive parents (the vaishyas), is trained until twenty-five years of age under the care of a bona fide guru or teacher, and under strict observance of discipline he comes to understand the values of life along with taking specific training for a livelihood. The brahmacari is then allowed to go home and enter householder life and get married to a suitable woman. But there are many brahmacaris who do not go home to become householders but continue the life of naishthika-brahmacaris, without any connection with women. They accept the order of sannyasa, or the renounced order of life, knowing well that combination with women is an unnecessary burden that checks self-realization. Since sex desire is very strong at a certain stage of life, the guru may allow the brahmacari to marry; this license is given to a brahmacari who is unable to continue the way of naishthika-brahmacarya, and such discriminations are possible for the bona fide guru. A program of so-called family planning is needed. The householder who associates with woman under scriptural restrictions after a thorough training of brahmacarya cannot be a householder like cats and dogs. Such a householder, after fifty years of age, would retire from the association of women as a vanaprastha to be trained to live alone without the association of woman. When the practice is complete, the same retired householder becomes a sannyasi, strictly separate from woman, even from his married wife. Studying the whole scheme of disassociation from women, it appears that a woman is a stumbling block for self-realization. (SB 2.7.6 Text & Purport)
Those who are serious about gaining release from material bondage should not be entangled in the false relationship of family bondage. (SB 3.12.5)
The human being is a social animal, and his unrestricted mixing with the fair sex leads to downfall. Such social freedom of man and woman, especially among the younger section, is certainly a great stumbling block on the path of spiritual progress. Material bondage is due only to sexual bondage, and therefore unrestricted association of man and woman is surely a great impediment. (SB 3.12.28)
During student life the brahmacaris were given full instructions about the importance of the human form of life. Thus the basic education was designed to encourage the student in becoming free from family encumbrances. Only students unable to accept such a vow in life were allowed to go home and marry a suitable wife. Otherwise, the student would remain a perfect brahmacari, observing complete abstinence from sex for his whole life. It all depended on the quality of the student’s training. (SB 3.12.42)
When a man or woman is afflicted by the lust of sex desire, it is to be understood as sinful contamination. (SB 3.14.16)
The three perfections of liberation are religiosity, economic development and sense gratification; for a conditioned soul, the wife is considered to be the source of liberation because she offers her service to the husband for his ultimate liberation. Conditional material existence is based on sense gratification, and if someone has the good fortune to get a good wife, he is helped by the wife in all respects. If one is disturbed in his conditional life, he becomes more and more entangled in material contamination. A faithful wife is supposed to co-operate with her husband in fulfilling all material desires so that he can then become comfortable and execute spiritual activities for the perfection of life. If, however, the husband is progressive in spiritual advancement, the wife undoubtedly shares in his activities, and thus both the wife and the husband profit in spiritual perfection. It is essential, therefore, that girls as well as boys be trained to discharge spiritual duties so that at the time of co-operation both will be benefited. The training of the boy is brahmacarya, and the training of the girl is chastity. A faithful wife and spiritually trained brahmacari are a good combination of advancement of the human mission. (SB 3.14.17)
Of the four orders of human society—the student or brahmacari order, the householder, or grihastha order, the retired or vanaprastha order, and the renounced, or sannyasa order—the householder is on the safe side. The bodily senses are considered plunderers of the fort of the body. The wife is supposed to be the commander of the fort, and therefore whenever there is an attack on the body by the senses, it is the wife who protects the body from being smashed. The sex demand is inevitable for everyone, but one who has a fixed wife is saved from the onslaught of the sense enemies. A man who possesses a good wife does not create a disturbance in society by corrupting virgin girls.
Without a fixed wife, a man becomes a debauchee of the first order and is a nuisance in society—unless he is a trained brahmacari, vanaprastha or sannyasi. Unless there is rigid and systematic training of the brahmacari by the expert spiritual master, and unless the student is obedient, it is sure that the so-called brahmacari will fall prey to the attack of sex. There are so many instances of fall down, even for great yogis like Vishvamitra. A grihastha is saved, however, because of his faithful wife. Sex life is the cause of material bondage, and therefore it is prohibited in three ashramas and is allowed only in the grihastha-ashrama. The grihastha is responsible for producing first-quality brahmacaris, vanaprasthas and sannyasis. (SB 3.14.20)
Sex life is the background of material existence. Here also it is repeated that demons are very fond of sex life. The more one is free from the desires for sex, the more he is promoted to the level of the demigods; the more one is inclined to enjoy sex, the more he is degraded to the level of demoniac life. (SB 3.20.23)
Brahmacarya (following the rules and regulations of celibacy) is required for perfection of self-realization and mystic power. (SB 3.21.4)
Here are some descriptions of a brahmacari-yogi. In the morning, the first duty of a brahmacari seeking spiritual elevation is huta-hutashana, to offer sacrificial oblations to the Supreme Lord. Those engaged in brahmacarya cannot sleep until seven or nine o’clock in the morning. They must rise early in the morning, at least one and a half hours before the sun rises, and offer oblations, or in this age, they must chant the holy name of the Lord, Hare Krishna. As referred to by Lord Chaitanya, kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha: there is no other alternative, no other alternative, no other alternative, in this age, to chanting the holy name of the Lord. The brahmacari must rise early in the morning and, after placing himself, should chant the holy name of the Lord. From the features of the sage, it appeared that he had undergone great austerities; that is the sign of one observing brahmacarya, the vow of celibacy. If one lives otherwise, it will be manifest in the lust visible in his face and body. The word vidyotamanam indicates that the brahmacari feature showed in his body. That is the certificate that one has undergone great austerity in yoga.
One who hears the transcendental sound vibration of the holy name of the Lord, Hare Krishna also improves in health. We have actually seen that many brahmacaris and grihasthas connected with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness have improved in health, and a luster has come to their faces. It is essential that a brahmacari engaged in spiritual advancement look very healthy and lustrous. (SB 3.21.47)
The principle of brahmacarya is celibacy. There are two kinds of brahmacaris. One is called naishthika-brahmacari, which means one who takes a vow of celibacy for his whole life, whereas the other, the upakurvana-brahmacari, is a brahmacari who takes the vow of celibacy up to a certain age; then, with the permission of his spiritual master, he enters married life. Brahmacarya is student life, the beginning of life in the spiritual orders, and the principle of brahmacarya is celibacy. Only a householder can indulge in sense gratification or sex life, not a brahmacari. (SB 3.22.14)
A brahmacari practices celibacy, controlling his sex life. One cannot enjoy unrestricted sex life and practice yoga; this is rascaldom. So-called yogis advertise that one can go on enjoying as one likes and simultaneously become a yogi, but this is totally unauthorized. It is very clearly explained here that one must observe celibacy. Brahmacarya means that one leads his life simply in relationship with Brahman, or in full Krishna consciousness. Those who are too addicted to sex life cannot observe the regulations which will lead them to Krishna consciousness. Sex life should be restricted to persons who are married. A person whose sex life is restricted in marriage is also called a brahmacari. (SB 3.28.4)
It is stated in this verse that the charming eyebrows of the Lord are so fascinating that they cause one to forget the charms of sense attraction. The conditioned souls are shackled to material existence because they are captivated by the charms of sense gratification, especially sex life. The sex-god is called Makara-dhvaja. The charming brows of the Supreme Personality of Godhead protect the sages and devotees from being charmed by material lust and sex attraction. Yamunacarya, a great acarya, said that ever since he had seen the charming pastimes of the Lord, the charms of sex life had become abominable for him, and the mere thought of sex enjoyment would cause him to spit and turn his face. Thus if anyone wants to be aloof from sex attraction, he must see the charming smile and fascinating eyebrows of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (SB 3.28.32)
Men and women whose lives were built upon indulgence in illicit sex life are put into many kinds of miserable conditions in the hells known as Tamisra, Andha-tamisra and Raurava.
Materialistic life is based on sex life. The existence of all the materialistic people, who are undergoing severe tribulation in the struggle for existence, is based on sex. Therefore in the Vedic civilization, sex life is allowed only in a restricted way; it is for the married couple and only for begetting children. But when sex life is indulged in for sense gratification illegally and illicitly, both the man and the woman await severe punishment in this world or after death. In this world also they are punished by virulent diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea, and in the next life, as we see in this passage of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, they are put into different kinds of hellish conditions to suffer. In Bhagavad-gita, First Chapter, illicit sex life is also very much condemned, and it is said that one who produces children by illicit sex life is sent to hell. It is confirmed here in the Bhagavatam that such offenders are put into hellish conditions of life in Tamisra, Andha-tamisra and Raurava. (SB 3.30.28 Text & Purport)
If, therefore, the living entity again associates with the path of unrighteousness, influenced by sensually minded people engaged in the pursuit of sexual enjoyment and the gratification of the palate, he again goes to hell as before. (SB 3.31.32 Text)
He becomes devoid of truthfulness, cleanliness, mercy, gravity, spiritual intelligence, shyness, austerity, fame, forgiveness, control of the mind, control of the senses, fortune and all such opportunities. (SB 3.31.33 Text)
One should not associate with a coarse fool who is bereft of the knowledge of self-realization and who is no more than a dancing dog in the hands of a woman. (SB 3.31.34 Text)
The infatuation and bondage which accrue to a man from attachment to any other object is not as complete as that resulting from attachment to a woman or to the fellowship of men who are fond of women. (SB 3.31.35 Text)
At the sight of his own daughter, Brahma was bewildered by her charms and shamelessly ran up to her in the form of a stag when she took the form of a hind. (SB 3.31.36 Text)
Amongst all kinds of living entities begotten by Brahma, namely men, demigods and animals, none but the sage Narayana is immune to the attraction of maya in the form of woman. (SB 3.31.37 Text)
Just try to understand the mighty strength of My maya in the shape of woman, who by the mere movement of her eyebrows can keep even the greatest conquerors of the world under her grip. (SB 3.31.38 Text)
One who aspires to reach the culmination of yoga and has realized his self by rendering service unto Me should never associate with an attractive woman, for such a woman is declared in the scripture to be the gateway to hell for the advancing devotee. (SB 3.31.39 Text)
The woman created by the Lord is the representation of maya, and one who associates with such maya by accepting services must certainly know that this is the way of death, just like a blind well covered with grass. (SB 3.31.40 Text)
A living entity who, as a result of attachment to a woman in his previous life, has been endowed with the form of a woman, foolishly looks upon maya in the form of a man, her husband, as the bestower of wealth, progeny, house and other material assets. (SB 3.31.41 Text)
A woman, therefore, should consider her husband, her house and her children to be the arrangement of the external energy of the Lord for her death, just as the sweet singing of the hunter is death for the deer. (SB 3.31.42 Text)
(The purports to all these verses (SB 3.31.32-42) are also highly instructive and are essential reading for brahmacaris. Due to space considerations they have not been included here).
A grihastha is a person who lives with family, wife, children and relatives but has no attachment for them. He prefers to live in family life rather than as a mendicant or sannyasi, but his chief aim is to achieve self-realization, or to come to the standard of Krishna consciousness. (SB 3.32.1)
It is best to remain alone as a brahmacari, sannyasi or vanaprastha and cultivate Krishna consciousness throughout one’s whole life. Those who are unable to remain alone are given license to live in household life with wife and children, not for sense gratification but for cultivation of Krishna consciousness. (SB 3.33.12)
It is a woman’s nature to want to decorate herself with ornaments and nice dresses and accompany her husband to social functions, meet friends and relatives, and enjoy life in that way. This propensity is not unusual, for woman is the basic principle of material enjoyment. Therefore in Sanskrit the word for woman is stri, which means “one who expands the field of material enjoyment.” (SB 4.3.9)
An important word in this verse is urdhva-retasah, which means brahmacaris who have never discharged semen. Celibacy is so important that even though one does not undergo any austerities, penances or ritualistic ceremonies prescribed in the Vedas, if one simply keeps himself a pure brahmacari, not discharging his semen, the result is that after death he goes to the Satyaloka. Generally, sex life is the cause of all miseries in the material world. In the Vedic civilization sex life is restricted in various ways. Out of the whole population of the social structure, only the grihasthas are allowed restricted sex life. All others refrain from sex. The people of this age especially do not know the value of not discharging semen. As such, they are variously entangled with material qualities and suffer an existence of struggle only. The word urdhva-retasah especially indicates the Mayavadi sannyasis, who undergo strict principles of austerity. (SB 4.11.5)
Sometimes even Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva are subject to being attracted by sex at any time. (SB 4.11.27)
Grihastha life is inauspicious because grihastha means consciousness for sense gratification, and as soon as there is sense gratification, one’s position is always full of dangers. (SB 4.22.13)
Desires for fruitive activities are strongly rooted, but the trees of desire can be uprooted completely by devotional service because devotional service employs superior desires. To try to stop desires is impossible. On has to desire the Supreme in order not to be engaged in inferior desires.
There is no artificial attempt to stop desire. Desire becomes a source of spiritual enjoyment under the protection of the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord. It is stated herein by the Kumaras that the lotus feet of Lord Krishna are the ultimate reservoir of all pleasure. One should therefore take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord instead of trying unsuccessfully to stop desires for material enjoyment. As long as one is unable to stop the desire for material enjoyment, there is no possibility of becoming liberated from the entanglement of material existence. It may be argued that the waves of a river are incessantly flowing and that they cannot be stopped, but the waves of the river flow toward the sea. When the tide comes over the river, it overwhelms the flowing of the river, and the river itself becomes overflooded, and the waves from the sea become more prominent than the waves from the river. Similarly, a devotee with intelligence plans so many things for the service of the Lord in Krishna consciousness that stagnant material desires become overflooded by the desire to serve the Lord. As confirmed by Yamunacarya, since he has been engaged in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord, there is always a current of newer and newer desires flowing to serve the Lord, so much that the stagnant desire of sex life becomes very insignificant. Yamunacarya even says that he spits on such desires. Bhagavad-gita (2.59) also confirms: param drishtva nivartate. The conclusion is that by developing a loving desire for the service of the lotus feet of the Lord, we subdue all material desires for sense gratification. (SB 4.22.39)
One who is advanced in devotional service is never attracted by sex life, and as soon as one becomes detached from sex life and proportionately attached to the service of the Lord, he actually experiences living in the Vaikuntha planets. (SB 4.23.29)
It is sometimes understood that a person becomes lusty just by hearing the tinkling of bangles on the hands of women or the tinkling of ankle bells, or just by seeing a woman’s sari. Thus it is concluded that woman is the complete representation of maya. Although Vishvamitra Muni was engaged in practicing mystic yoga with closed eyes, his transcendental meditation was broken when he heard the tinkling of bangles on the hands of Menaka. In this way Vishvamitra Muni became a victim of Menaka and fathered a child who is universally celebrated as Shakuntala. The conclusion is that no one can save himself from the attraction of woman, even though he be an exalted demigod or an inhabitant of the higher planets. Only a devotee of the Lord, who is attracted by Krishna, can escape the lures of woman. Once one is attracted by Krishna, the illusory energy of the world cannot attract him. (SB 4.24.12)
When one sees the opposite sex, naturally the sex impulse increases. It is said that if a man in a solitary place does not become agitated upon seeing a woman, he is to be considered a brahmacari But this practice is almost impossible. The sex impulse is so strong that even by seeing, touching or talking, coming into contact with, or even thinking of the opposite sex—even in so many subtle ways—one becomes sexually impelled. Consequently, a brahmacari or sannyasi is prohibited to associate with women, especially in a secret place. The shastras enjoin that one should not even talk to a woman in a secret place. (SB 4.25.17)
Every living entity is a hero in two ways. When he is victim of the illusory energy, he works as a great hero in the material world, as a great leader, politician, businessman, industrialist, etc. and his heroic activities contribute to the material advancement of civilization. One can also become a hero by being master of the senses, a gosvami. Material activities are false heroic activities, whereas restraining the senses from material engagement is great heroism. However great a hero one may be in the material world, he can be immediately conquered by the lumps of flesh and blood known as the breasts of women. In the history of material activities there are many examples like the Roman hero Antony, who became captivated by the beauty of Cleopatra. Similarly, a great hero in India named Baji Rao became a victim of a woman during the time of Maharashtrian politics, and he was defeated. From history we understand that formerly politicians used to employ beautiful girls who were trained as visha-kanya. These girls had poison injected into their bodies from the beginning of their lives so that in due course of time they would become so immune to the poison and so poisonous themselves that simply by kissing a person they could kill him. These poisonous girls were engaged to see an enemy and kill him with a kiss. Thus there are many instances in human history of heroes who have been curbed simply by women. Being part and parcel of Krishna, the living entity is certainly a great hero, but due to his own weakness he becomes attracted to the material features. (SB 4.25.25)
Everyone has lusty desires within, and as soon as one is agitated by the movement of a beautiful woman’s eyebrows, the Cupid within immediately throws his arrow at the heart. Thus one is quickly conquered by the eyebrows of a beautiful woman. When one is agitated by lusty desires, his senses are attracted by all kinds of vishaya (enjoyable things like sound, touch, form, smell and taste). These attractive sense objects oblige one to come under the control of a woman. In this way the conditional life of a living entity begins. Conditional life means being under the control of a woman or a man. Thus living entities live in bondage to one another, and thus they continue this conditional material life illusioned by maya. (SB 4.25.30)
My dear girl, your face is so beautiful with your nice eyebrows and eyes and with your bluish hair scattered about. In addition, very sweet sounds are coming from your mouth. Nonetheless, you are so covered with shyness that you do not see me face to face. I therefore request you, my dear girl, to smile and kindly raise your head to see me.
Such a speech is typical of a living entity attracted by the opposite sex. This is called bewilderment occasioned by becoming conditioned by material nature. When thus attracted by the beauty of the material energy, one becomes very eager to enjoy. This is elaborately described in this instance of Puranjana’s becoming attracted by the beautiful woman. In conditional life the living entity is attracted by a face, eyebrows or eyes, a voice or anything. In short, everything becomes attractive. When a man or a woman is attracted by the opposite sex, it does not matter whether the opposite sex is beautiful or not. The lover sees everything beautiful in the face of the beloved and thus becomes attracted. This attraction causes the living entity to fall down in this material world. (SB 4.25.31 Text & Purport)
According to Vedic instructions, there are two paths for human activities. One is called pravritti-marga, and the other is called nivritti-marga. The basic principle for either of these paths is religious life. In animal life there is only pravritti-marga. Pravritti-marga means sense enjoyment, and nivritti-marga means spiritual advancement. In the life of animals and demons, there is no conception of nivritti-marga, nor is there any actual conception of pravritti-marga. Pravritti-marga maintains that even though one has the propensity for sense gratification, he can gratify his senses according to the directions of the Vedic injunctions. For example, everyone has the propensity for sex life, but in demoniac civilization sex is enjoyed without restriction. According to Vedic culture, sex is enjoyed under Vedic instructions. Thus the Vedas give direction to civilized human beings to enable them to satisfy their propensities for sense gratification.
In the nivritti-marga, however, on the path of transcendental realization, sex is completely forbidden. The social orders are divided into four parts—brahmacarya, grihastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa—and only in the householder life can the pravritti-marga be encouraged or accepted according to Vedic instructions. In the orders of brahmacarya, vanaprastha and sannyasa, there are no facilities for sex. (SB 4.25.39)
So-called love within this material world is nothing but sexual satisfaction. (SB 4.25.42)
A living entity is never satisfied with a woman unless he is trained in the system of brahmacarya. Generally a man’s tendency is to enjoy many women, and even at the very end of life the sex impulse is so strong that even though one is very old he still wants to enjoy the company of young girls. Thus because of the strong sex impulse the living entity becomes more and more involved in this material world. (SB 4.25.44)
In this way, King Puranjana was captivated by his nice wife and was thus cheated. Indeed, he became cheated in his whole existence in the material world. Even against that poor foolish king’s desire, he remained under the control of his wife, just like a pet animal that dances according to the order of its master.
The word vipralabdhah is very significant in this verse. Vi means “specifically,” and pralabdha means “obtained.” Just to satisfy his desires, the king got the queen, and thus he became cheated by material existence. Although he was not willing to do so, he remained a pet animal under the control of material intelligence. Just as a pet monkey dances according to the desires of its master, the king danced according to the desires of the queen. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (SB 5.5.2) it is said, mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimukteh: if one associates with a saintly person, a devotee, one’s path of liberation becomes clear. But if one associates with a woman or with a person who is too much addicted to a woman, his path of bondage becomes completely clear.
On the whole, for spiritual advancement, one must give up the company of women. This is what is meant by the order of sannyasa, the renounced order. Before taking sannyasa, or completely renouncing the material world, one has to practice avoiding illicit sex. Sex life, licit or illicit, is practically the same, but through illicit sex one becomes more and more captivated. By regulating one’s sex life there is a chance that one may eventually be able to renounce sex or renounce the association of women. If this can be done, advancement in spiritual life comes very easily.
How one becomes captivated by the association of one’s dear wife is explained in this chapter by Narada Muni. Attraction for one’s wife means attraction for the material qualities.
As long as we are attached to society, family and love of the material world, there is no question of knowledge. Nor is there a question of devotional service. (SB 4.25.62 Text & Purport)
Simple food like rice, dal, capatis, vegetables, milk and sugar constitute a balanced diet, but sometimes it is found that an initiated person, in the name of prasada, eats very luxurious foodstuff. Due to his past sinful life he becomes attracted by Cupid and eats good food voraciously. It is clearly visible that when a neophyte in Krishna consciousness eats too much, he falls down. Instead of being elevated to pure Krishna consciousness, he becomes attracted by Cupid. The so-called brahmacari becomes agitated by women, and the vanaprastha may again become captivated into having sex with his wife. (SB 4.26.13)
An effeminate husband, simply being attracted by the external beauty of his wife, tries to become her most obedient servant. Shripada Shankaracarya has therefore advised that we not become attracted by a lump of flesh and blood. The story is told that at one time a man, very much attracted to a beautiful woman, wooed the woman in such a way that she devised a plan to show him the ingredients of her beauty. The woman made a date to see him, and before seeing him she took a purgative, and that whole day and night she simply passed stool, and she preserved that stool in a pot. The next night, when the man came to see her, she appeared very ugly and emaciated. When the man inquired from her about the woman with whom he had an engagement, she replied “I am that very woman.” The man refused to believe her, not knowing that she had lost all her beauty due to the violent purgative that caused her to pass stool day and night. When the man began to argue with her, the woman said that she was not looking beautiful because she was separated from the ingredients of her beauty. When the man asked how she could be so separated, the woman said “Come on, and I will show you.” She then showed him the pot filled with liquid stool and vomit. Thus the man became aware that a beautiful woman is simply a lump of matter composed of blood, stool, urine and similar other disgusting ingredients. This is the actual fact, but in a state of illusion, man becomes attracted by illusory beauty and becomes a victim of maya. (SB 4.26.23)
Karmis work very hard simply to enjoy sex. Modern human society has improved the materialistic way of life simply by inducing unrestricted sex life in many different ways. This is most prominently visible in the Western world. (SB 4.26.26)
A systematic family life as enjoined in the Vedas is better than an irresponsible sinful life. If a husband and wife combine together in Krishna consciousness and live together peacefully, that is very nice. However, if a husband becomes too much attracted by his wife and forgets his duty in life, the implications of materialistic life will again resume. Shrila Rupa Gosvami has therefore recommended anasaktasya vishayan (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.255). Without being attached by sex, the husband and wife may live together for the advancement of spiritual life. The husband should engage in devotional service, and the wife should be faithful and religious according to the Vedic injunctions. Such a combination is very good. However, if the husband becomes too much attracted to the wife due to sex, the position becomes very dangerous. Women in general are very much sexually inclined. Indeed it is said that a woman’s sex desire is nine times stronger than a man’s. It is therefore a man’s duty to keep a woman under his control by satisfying her, giving her ornaments, nice food and clothes, and engaging her in religious activities. Of course, a woman should have a few children and in this way not be disturbing to the man. Unfortunately, if the man becomes attracted to the woman simply for sex enjoyment, then family life becomes abominable.
The great politician Canakya Pandita has said: bharya rupavati shatruh—a beautiful wife is an enemy. Of course every woman in the eyes of her husband is very beautiful. Others may see her as not very beautiful, but the husband, being very much attracted to her, sees her always as very beautiful. If the husband sees the wife as very beautiful, it is to be assumed that he is too much attracted to her. This attraction is the attraction of sex. The whole world is captivated by the two modes of material nature rajo-guna and tamo-guna, passion and ignorance. Generally women are very much passionate and are less intelligent; therefore somehow or other a man should not be under the control of their passion and ignorance. By performing bhakti-yoga, or devotional service, a man can be raised to the platform of goodness. If a husband situated in a mode of goodness can control his wife, who is in passion and ignorance, the woman is benefited. Forgetting her natural inclination for passion and ignorance, the woman becomes obedient and faithful to her husband, who is situated in goodness. Such a life becomes very welcome. The intelligence of the man and woman may then work very nicely together, and they can make a progressive march toward spiritual realization. Otherwise, the husband, coming under the control of the wife, sacrifices his quality of goodness and becomes subservient to the qualities of passion and ignorance. In this way the whole situation becomes polluted. The conclusion is that a household life is better than a sinful life devoid of responsibility, but if in the household life the husband becomes subordinate to the wife, involvement in materialistic life again becomes prominent. In this way a man’s material bondage becomes enhanced. Because of this, according to the Vedic system, after a certain age a man is recommended to abandon his family life for the stages of vanaprastha and sannyasa. (SB 4.27.1)
Thinking of a woman always within one’s heart is tantamount to lying down with a woman on a valuable bedstead. (SB 4.27.4)
In this verse Shrila Govinda dasa actually says that there is no bliss in the enjoyment of youthful life. In youth a person becomes very lusty to enjoy all kinds of sense objects. The sense objects are form, taste, smell, touch and sound. The modern scientific method, or advancement of scientific civilization, encourages the enjoyment of these five senses. The younger generation is very pleased to see a beautiful form, to hear radio messages of material news and sense gratificatory songs, to smell nice scents, nice flowers, and to touch the soft body or breasts of a young woman and gradually touch the sex organs. All of this is also very pleasing to the animals; therefore in human society there are restrictions in the enjoyment of the five sense objects. If one does not follow, he becomes exactly like an animal.
Thus in this verse it is specifically stated, kama-kashmala-cetasah: the consciousness of King Puranjana was polluted by lusty desires and sinful activities. In the previous verse it is stated that Puranjana, although advanced in consciousness, lay down on a very soft bed with his wife. This indicates that he indulged too much in sex. The words navam vayah are also significant in this verse. They indicate the period of youth from age sixteen to thirty. These thirteen or fifteen years of life are years in which one can very strongly enjoy the senses. When one comes to this age he thinks that life will go on and that he will simply continue enjoying his senses, but, “Time and tide wait for no man.” The span of youth expires very quickly. One who wastes his life simply by committing sinful activities in youth immediately becomes disappointed and disillusioned when the brief period of youth is over. The material enjoyments of youth are especially pleasing to a person who has no spiritual training. If one is trained only according to the bodily conception of life, he simply leads a disappointed life because bodily sense enjoyment finishes within forty years or so. After forty years, one simply leads a disillusioned life because he has no spiritual knowledge. For such a person, the expiration of youth occurs in half a moment. Thus King Puranjana’s pleasure, which he took in lying down with his wife, expired very quickly. (SB 4.27.5)
Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura states:
karma-kanda, jnana-kanda, kevala
amrita baliya yeba khaya
nana yoni sada phire, kadarya bhakshana kare,
tara janma adhah-pate yaya
“Fruitive activities and mental speculation are simply cups of poison. Whoever drinks of them, thinking them to be nectar, must struggle very hard life after life, in different types of bodies. Such a person eats all kinds of nonsense and becomes condemned by his activities of so-called sense enjoyment.”
Thus the field of action and reactions, by which one’s descendants are increased, begins with sex life. Puranjana increased his whole family by begetting sons who in their turn begot grandsons. Thus the living entity, being inclined toward sexual gratification, becomes involved in many hundreds and thousands of actions and reactions. In this way he remains within the material world simply for the purpose of sense gratification and transmigrates from one body to another. His process of reproducing so many sons and grandsons results in so-called societies, nations, communities and so on. All these communities, societies, dynasties and nations simply expand from sex life. As stated by Prahlada Maharaja: yan maithunadi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham (SB 7.9.45). A grihamedhi is one who wants to remain within this material existence. This means that he wants to remain within this body or society and enjoy friendship, love and community. His only enjoyment is in increasing the number of sex enjoyers. He enjoys sex and produces children, who in their turn marry and produce grandchildren. The grandchildren also marry and in their turn produce great-grandchildren. In this way the entire earth becomes overpopulated, and then suddenly there are reactions provoked by material nature in the form of war, famine, pestilence and earthquakes, etc. Thus the entire population is again extinguished simply to be re-created. This process is explained in Bhagavad-gita (8.19) as repeated creation and annihilation: bhutva bhutva praliyate. Due to a lack of Krishna consciousness, all this creation and annihilation is going on under the name of human civilization. This cycle continues due to man’s lack of knowledge of the soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. ( SB 4.27.9)
The great sage Narada Muni was a naishthika-brahmacari—that is, he never had sex life. He was consequently an ever-green youth. Old age, jara, could not attack him.
It requires great strength to resist a woman’s attraction. It is difficult for old men, and what to speak of the young. Those who live as brahmacaris must follow in the footsteps of the great sage Narada Muni, who never accepted the proposals of Jara. Those who are too much sexually addicted become victims of jara, and very soon their lifespan is shortened. Without utilizing the human form of life for Krishna consciousness the victims of jara die very soon in this world. (SB 4.27.21)
When a man is young, he does not care for old age, but enjoys sex to the best of his satisfaction, not knowing that at the end of life his sexual indulgence will bring on various diseases, which so much disturb the body that one will pray for immediate death. The more one enjoys sex during youth, the more he suffers in old age. (SB 4.28.1)
At the fag end of life, when the invalidity of old age attacks a man, his body becomes useless for all purposes. Therefore Vedic training dictates that when a man is in his boyhood he should be trained in the process of brahmacarya: that is, he should be completely engaged in the service of the Lord and should not in any way associate with women. (SB 4.28.3)
Due to his contaminated association with women, a living entity like King Puranjana eternally suffers all the pangs of material existence and remains in the dark region of material life, bereft of all remembrance for many, many years.
This is a description of material existence. Material existence is experienced when one becomes attached to a woman and forgets his real identity as the eternal servant of Krishna (nashta-smritih). In this way, in one body after another, the living entity perpetually suffers the threefold miseries of material existence. To save human civilization from the darkness of ignorance, this movement was started. The main purpose of the Krishna consciousness movement is to enlighten the forgetful living entity and remind him of his original Krishna consciousness. In this way the living entity can be saved from the catastrophe of ignorance as well as bodily transmigration. As Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung:
anadi karama-phale, padi’
taribare na dekhi upaya
ei vishaya-halahale, diva-nishi hiya jvale,
mana kabhu sukha nahi paya
“Because of my past fruitive activities, I have now fallen into an ocean of nescience. I cannot find any means to get out of this great ocean, which is indeed like an ocean of poison. We are trying to be happy through sense enjoyment, but actually that so-called enjoyment is like food that is too hot and causes burning in the heart. I feel a burning sensation constantly, day and night, and thus my mind cannot find satisfaction.”
Material existence is always full of anxiety. People are always trying to find many ways to mitigate anxiety, but because they are not guided by a real leader, they try to forget material anxiety through drink and sex indulgence. Foolish people do not know that by attempting to escape anxiety by drink and sex, they simply increase their duration of material life. It is not possible to escape material anxiety in this way.
The word pramada-sanga-dushitah indicates that apart from all other contamination, if one simply remains attached to a woman, that single contamination will be sufficient to prolong one’s miserable material existence. Consequently, in Vedic civilization one is trained from the beginning to give up attachment for women. The first stage of life is brahmacari, the second stage grihastha, the third stage vanaprastha, and the fourth stage sannyasa. All these stages are devised to enable one to detach himself from the association of women. (SB 4.28.27)
We can definitely see that to advance in Krishna consciousness one must control his bodily weight. If one becomes too fat, it is to be assumed that he is not advancing spiritually. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura severely criticized his fat disciples. The idea is that one who intends to advance in Krishna consciousness must not eat very much. Devotees used to go to forests, high hills or mountains on pilgrimages, but such severe austerities are not possible in these days. One should instead eat only prasada and no more than required. According to the Vaishnava calendar, there are many fasts, such as Ekadashi and the appearance and disappearance days of God and His devotees. All of these are meant to decrease the fat within the body so that one will not sleep more than desired and will not become inactive and lazy. Overindulgence in food will cause a man to sleep more than required. This human form of life is meant for austerity and austerity means controlling sex, food intake, etc. In this way time can be saved for spiritual activity, and one can purify himself both externally and internally. Thus both body and mind can be cleansed. (SB 4.28.36)
By too much attachment for women one becomes a woman in the next life, but a person who associates with the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative becomes free from all material attachments and is thus liberated. (SB 4.29.1)
The desires for sexual satisfaction are meant for the arvak, the lowest among men. (SB 4.29.14)
My dear king, please search out that deer who is engaged in eating grass in a very nice flower garden along with his wife. That deer is very much attached to his business, and he is enjoying the sweet singing of the bumblebees in his garden. Just try to understand his position. He is unaware that before him is a tiger, which is accustomed to living at the cost of another’s flesh. Behind the deer is a hunter, who is threatening to pierce him with sharp arrows. Thus the deer’s death is imminent.
Here is an allegory in which the king is advised to find a deer that is always in a dangerous position. Although threatened from all sides, the deer simply eats grass in a nice flower garden, unaware of the danger all around him. All living entities, especially human beings, think themselves very happy in the midst of families. As if living in a flower garden and hearing the sweet humming of bumblebees, everyone is centered around his wife, who is the beauty of family life. The bumblebees’ humming may be compared to the talk of children. The human being, just like the deer, enjoys his family without knowing that before him is the factor of time, which is represented by the tiger. The fruitive activities of a living entity simply create another dangerous position and oblige him to accept different types of bodies. For a deer to run after a mirage of water in the desert is not unusual. The deer is also very fond of sex. The conclusion is that one who lives like a deer will be killed in due course of time. Vedic literatures therefore advise that we should understand our constitutional position and take to devotional service before death comes. According to the Bhagavatam (SB 11.9.29)
labdhva sudurlabham idam
manushyam arthadam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anumrityu yavan
nihshreyasaya vishayah khalu sarvatah syat
After many births we have attained this human form; therefore before death comes, we should engage ourselves in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the fulfillment of human life. (SB 4.29.53 Text & Purport)
My dear king, woman, who is very attractive in the beginning but in the end very disturbing, is exactly like the flower, which is attractive in the beginning and detestable at the end. With woman, the living entity is entangled with lusty desires, and he enjoys sex, just as one enjoys the aroma of a flower. He thus enjoys a life of sense gratification—from his tongue to his genitals—and in this way the living entity considers himself very happy in family life. United with his wife, he always remains absorbed in such thoughts. He feels great pleasure in hearing the talks of his wife and children, which are like the sweet humming of bumblebees that collect honey from flower to flower. He forgets that before him is time, which is taking away his life-span with the passing of day and night. He does not see the gradual diminishing of his life, nor does he care about the superintendent of death, who is trying to kill him from behind. Just try to understand this. You are in a precarious position and are threatened from all sides.
Materialistic life means forgetting one’s constitutional position as the eternal servant of Krishna, and this forgetfulness is especially enhanced in the grihastha-ashrama. In the grihastha-ashrama a young man accepts a young wife who is very beautiful in the beginning, but in due course of time, after giving birth to many children and becoming older and older, she demands many things from the husband to maintain the entire family. At such a time the wife becomes detestable to the very man who accepted her in her younger days. One becomes attached to the grihastha-ashrama for two reasons only—the wife cooks palatable dishes for the satisfaction of her husband’s tongue, and she gives him sexual pleasure at night. A person attached to the grihastha-ashrama is always thinking of these two things—palatable food and sex enjoyment. The talks of the wife, which are enjoyed as a family recreation, and the talks of the children both attract the living entity. He thus forgets that he has to die some day and has to prepare for the next life if he wants to be put into a congenial body.
The deer in the flower garden is an allegory used by the great sage Narada to point out to the king that the king himself is similarly entrapped by such surroundings. Actually everyone is surrounded by such a family life, which misleads one. The living entity thus forgets that he has to return home, back to Godhead. He simply becomes entangled in family life. Prahlada Maharaja has therefore hinted: hitvatma-patam griham andha-kupam vanam gato yad dharim ashrayeta. Family life is considered a blind well (andha-kupam) into which a person falls and dies without help. Prahlada Maharaja recommends that while one’s senses are there and one is strong enough, he should abandon the grihastha-ashrama and take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, going to the forest of Vrindavana. According to Vedic civilization, one has to give up family life at a certain age (the age of fifty), take vanaprastha and eventually remain alone as a sannyasi. That is the prescribed method of Vedic civilization known as varnashrama-dharma. When one takes sannyasa after enjoying family life, he pleases the Supreme Lord Vishnu.
One has to understand one’s position in family or worldly life. That is called intelligence. One should not remain always trapped in family life to satisfy his tongue and genitals in association with a wife. In such a way, one simply spoils his life. According to Vedic civilization, it is imperative to give up the family at a certain stage, by force if necessary. Unfortunately, so-called followers of Vedic life do not give up their family even at the end of life, unless they are forced by death. There should be a thorough overhauling of the social system, and society should revert to the Vedic principles, that is, the four varnas and the four ashramas. (SB 4.29.54 Text & Purport)
My dear king, just try to understand the allegorical position of the deer. Be fully conscious of yourself, and give up the pleasure of hearing about promotion to heavenly planets by fruitive activity. Give up household life, which is full of sex, as well as stories about such things, and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the mercy of the liberated souls. In this way, please give up your attraction for material existence.
Being in the grihastha-ashrama means being under the control of one’s wife. One has to give up all this and put himself in the ashrama of the paramahamsa, that is, put himself under the control of the spiritual master.
The whole world is in maya, being controlled by women. Not only is one controlled by the woman who is one’s wife, but one is also controlled by so many sex literatures. That is the cause of one’s being entangled in the material world. One cannot give up this abominable association through one’s own effort, but if one takes shelter of a bona fide spiritual master who is a paramahamsa, he will gradually be elevated to the platform of spiritual life. (SB 4.29.55 Text & Purport)
The basic flaw in modern civilization is that boys and girls are given freedom during school and college to enjoy sex life. (SB 4.31.1)
How a beautiful woman’s movements and gestures, her hair and the structure of her breasts, hips and other bodily features attract the minds not only of men but of demigods also is very finely described in this statement. The words divija and manuja specifically emphasize that the attraction of feminine gestures is powerful everywhere within this material world, both on this planet and in the higher planetary systems. It is said that the standard of living in the higher planetary systems is thousands and thousands of times higher than the standard of living on this planet. Therefore the beautiful bodily features of the women there are also thousands and thousands of times more attractive than the features of the women on earth. The creator has constructed women in such a way that their beautiful voices and movements and the beautiful features of their hips, their breasts, and the other parts of their bodies attract the members of the opposite sex, both on earth and on other planets, and awaken their lusty desires. When one is controlled by Cupid or the beauty of women, he becomes stunned like matter such as stone. Captivated by the material movements of women, he wants to remain in this material world. Thus one’s promotion to the spiritual world is checked simply by seeing the beautiful bodily structure and movements of women. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has therefore warned all devotees to beware of the attraction of beautiful women and materialistic civilization. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu even refused to see Prataparudra Maharaja because he was a very opulent person in the material world. Lord Chaitanya said in this connection, nishkincanasya bhagavad-bhajanonmukhasya: those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Lord because they are very serious about going back home, back to Godhead, should be very careful to avoid seeing the beautiful gestures of women and should also avoid seeing persons who are very rich.
param param jigamishor bhava-sagarasya
sandarshanam vishayinam atha yoshitam ca
ha hanta hanta visha-bhakshanato ’py asadhu
“Alas, for a person who is seriously desiring to cross the material ocean and engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord without material motives, seeing a materialist engaged in sense gratification or seeing a woman who is similarly interested is more abominable than drinking poison willingly.” (Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 11.8) One who is serious about going back home, back to Godhead, should not contemplate the attractive features of women and the opulence of rich men. Such contemplation will check one’s advancement in spiritual life. Once a devotee is fixed in Krishna consciousness, however, these attractions will not agitate his mind. (SB 5.2.6)
nunam pramattah kurute vikarma
yad indriya-pritaya aprinoti
na sadhu manye yata atmano ’yam
asann api kleshada asa dehah
When a person considers sense gratification the aim of life, he certainly becomes mad after materialistic living and engages in all kinds of sinful activity. He does not know that due to his past misdeeds he has already received a body which, although temporary, is the cause of his misery. Actually the living entity should not have taken on a material body, but he has been awarded the material body for sense gratification. Therefore I think it not befitting an intelligent man to involve himself again in the activities of sense gratification by which he perpetually gets material bodies one after another. (SB 5.5.4 Text)
pumsah striya mithuni-bhavam etam
tayor mitho hridaya-granthim ahuh
janasya moho ’yam aham mameti
The attraction between male and female is the basic principle of material existence. On the basis of this misconception, which ties together the hearts of the male and female, one becomes attracted to his body, home, property, children, relatives and wealth. In this way one increases life’s illusions and thinks in terms of “I and mine.” (SB 5.5.8)
A grihastha, vanaprastha, sannyasi and brahmacari should be very careful when associating with women. One is forbidden to sit down in a solitary place even with one’s mother, sister or daughter. In our Krishna consciousness movement it has been very difficult to disassociate ourselves from women in our society, especially in Western countries. We are therefore sometimes criticized, but nonetheless we are trying to give everyone a chance to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and thus advance spiritually. If we stick to the principle of chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra offenselessly, then, by the grace of Shri Haridasa Thakura, we may be saved from the allurement of women. However, if we are not very strict in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, we may at any time fall victim to women. (SB 5.6.3)
In this material world, family life is an institution of sex. Yan maithunadi-grihamedhi-sukham (SB 7.9.45). Through sex, the father and mother beget children, and the children get married and go down the same path of sexual life. After the death of the father and mother, the children get married and beget their own children. Thus generation after generation these things go on in the same way without anyone’s attaining liberation from the embarrassment of material life. No one accepts the spiritual processes of knowledge and renunciation, which end in bhakti-yoga. Actually human life is meant for jnana and vairagya, knowledge and renunciation. Through these one can attain the platform of devotional service. Unfortunately people in this age avoid the association of liberated people (sadhu-sanga) and continue in their stereotyped way of family life. Thus they are embarrassed by the exchange of money and sex. (SB 5.13.14)
Being cheated by them, the living entity in the forest of the material world tries to give up the association of these so-called yogis, svamis and incarnations and come to the association of real devotees, but due to misfortune he cannot follow the instructions of the spiritual master or advanced devotees; therefore he gives up their company and again returns to the association of monkeys who are simply interested in sense gratification and women. He derives satisfaction by association with sense gratifiers and enjoying sex and intoxication. Looking into the faces of other sense gratifiers, he becomes forgetful and thus approaches death.
Sometimes a foolish person becomes disgusted with bad association and comes to the association of devotees and brahmanas and takes initiation from a spiritual master. As advised by the spiritual master, he tries to follow the regulative principles, but due to misfortune he cannot follow the instructions of the spiritual master. He therefore gives up the company of devotees and goes to associate with sinful people who are simply interested in sex and intoxication. Those who are so-called spiritualists are compared to monkeys. Outwardly, monkeys sometimes resemble sadhus because they live naked in the forest and pick fruits, but their only desire is to keep many female monkeys and enjoy sex life. Sometimes so-called spiritualists seeking a spiritual life come to associate with Krishna conscious devotees, but they cannot execute the regulative principles or follow the path of spiritual life. Consequently they leave the association of devotees and go to associate with sense gratifiers, who are compared to monkeys. Again they revive their sex and intoxication and looking at one another’s faces, they are thus satisfied. In this way they pass their lives up to the point of death. (SB 5.13.17 Text and Purport)
When the living entity becomes exactly like a monkey jumping from one branch to another, he remains in the tree of household life without any profit but sex. Thus he is kicked by his wife just like the he-ass. Unable to gain release, he remains helplessly in that position. Sometimes he falls victim to an incurable disease, which is like falling into a mountain cave. He becomes afraid of death, which is like the elephant in the back of that cave, and he remains stranded, grasping at the twigs and branches of a creeper.
The precarious condition of a householder’s life is described herein. A householder’s life is full of misery, and the only attraction is sex with the wife who kicks him during sexual intercourse, just as the she-ass does her mate. Due to continuous sex life, he falls victim to many incurable diseases. At that time, being afraid of death, which is like an elephant, he remains hanging from the twigs and branches of the tree, just like a monkey. (SB 5.13.18 Text and Purport)
My dear king, family members in this material world go under the names of wife and children, but actually they behave like tigers and jackals. A herdsman tries to protect his sheep to the best of his ability, but the tigers and foxes take them away by force. Similarly, although a miserly man wants to guard his money very carefully, his family members take away all his assets forcibly, even though he is very vigilant.
One Hindi poet has sung: din ka dakini rat ka baghini palak palak rahu cuse. During the daytime, the wife is compared to a witch, and at night she is compared to a tigress. Her only business is sucking the blood of her husband both day and night. During the day there are household expenditures, and the money earned by the husband at the cost of his blood is taken away. At night, due to sex pleasure, the husband discharges blood in the form of semen. In this way, he is bled by his wife both day and night, yet he is so crazy that he very carefully maintains her. Similarly the children are also like tigers, jackals and foxes. As tigers, jackals and foxes take away lambs despite the herdsman’s vigilant protection, children take away the father’s money, although the father supervises the money himself. Thus family members may be called wives and children, but actually they are plunderers. (SB 5.14.3 Text and Purport)
Every year the plowman plows over his grain field, completely uprooting all weeds. Nonetheless, the seeds lie there and, not being completely burned, again come up with the plants sown in the field. Even after being plowed under, the weeds come up densely. Similarly, the grihastha-ashrama (family life) is a field of fruitive activity. Unless the desire to enjoy family life is completely burned out, it grows up again and again. Even though camphor may be removed from a pot, the pot nonetheless retains the aroma of camphor. As long as the seeds of desire are not destroyed, fruitive activities are not destroyed.
Unless one’s desires are completely transferred to the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the desire for family life continues, even after one has taken sannyasa. Sometimes in our society, ISKCON, a person out of sentiment may take sannyasa, but because his desires are not burned completely, he again takes to family life, even at the risk of losing his prestige and disgracing his good name. These strong desires can be burned out completely when one fully engages in the service of the Lord in devotional service. (SB 5.14.4 Text and Purport)
Sometimes, as if blinded by the dust of a whirlwind, the conditioned soul sees the beauty of the opposite sex, which is called pramada. Being thus bewildered, he is raised upon the lap of a woman, and at that time his good senses are overcome by the force of passion. He thus becomes almost blind with lusty desire and disobeys the rules and regulations governing sex life. He does not know that his disobedience is witnessed by different demigods, and he enjoys illicit sex in the dead of night, not seeing the future punishment awaiting him.
In Bhagavad-gita (7.11) it is said: dharmaviruddho bhuteshu kamo ’smi bharatarshabha. Sex is allowed only for the begetting of children, not for enjoyment. One can indulge in sex to beget a good child for the benefit of the family, society and world. Otherwise, sex is against the rules and regulations of religious life. A materialistic person does not believe that everything is managed in nature, and he does not know that if one does something wrong, he is witnessed by different demigods. A person enjoys illicit sex, and due to his blind, lusty desire, he thinks that no one can see him, but this illicit sex is thoroughly observed by the agents of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the person is punished in so many ways. Presently in Kali-yuga there are many pregnancies due to illicit sex, and sometimes abortions ensue. These sinful activities are witnessed by the agents of Supreme Personality of Godhead, and a man and woman who create such a situation are punished in the future by the stringent laws of material nature (daivi hy esha gunamayi mama maya duratyaya). Illicit sex is never excused, and those who indulge in it are punished life after life. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (16.20)
asurim yonim apanna
mudha janmani janmani
mam aprapyaiva kaunteya
tato yanty adhamam gatim
“Attaining repeated birth among the species of demoniac life, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence.”
The Supreme Personality of Godhead does not allow anyone to act against the stringent laws of material nature: therefore illicit sex is punished life after life. Illicit sex creates pregnancies, and these unwanted pregnancies lead to abortion. Those involved become implicated in these sins, so much so that they are punished in the same way the next life. Thus in the next life they also enter the womb of a mother and are killed in the same way. All these things can be avoided by remaining on the transcendental platform of Krishna consciousness. In this way one does not commit sinful activity. Illicit sex is the most prominent sin due to lusty desire. When one associates with the mode of passion, he is implicated in suffering life after life. (SB 5.14.9 Text and Purport)
The conditioned soul is sometimes attracted to the little happiness derived from sense gratification. Thus he has illicit sex or steals another’s property. At such a time he may be arrested by the government or chastised by the woman’s husband or protector. Thus simply for a little material satisfaction, he falls into a hellish condition and is put into jail for rape, kidnapping, theft and so forth.
Material life is such that due to indulgence in illicit sex, gambling, intoxication and meat-eating, the conditioned soul is always in a dangerous condition. Meat-eating and intoxication excite the senses more and more, and the conditioned soul falls victim to women. In order to keep women, money is required, and to acquire money, one begs, borrows or steals. Indeed, he commits abominable acts that cause him to suffer both in this life and in the next. Consequently illicit sex must be stopped by those who are spiritually inclined or who are on the path of spiritual realization. Many devotees fall down due to illicit sex. They may steal money and even fall down from the highly honored renounced order. Then for a livelihood they accept menial services and become beggars. It is therefore said in the shastras, yan maithunadi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham: materialism is based on sex, whether licit or illicit. Sex is full of dangers even for those who are addicted to household life. Whether one has a license for sex or not, there is great trouble. Bahu-duhkha-bhak: after one indulges in sex, many volumes of miseries ensue. One suffers more and more in material life. A miserly person cannot properly utilize the wealth he has, and similarly a materialistic person misuses the human form. Instead of using it for spiritual emancipation, he uses the body for sense gratification. Therefore he is called a miser. (SB 5.14.22 Text and Purport)
Sometimes the conditioned soul is attracted by illusion personified (his wife or girlfriend) and becomes eager to be embraced by a woman. Thus he loses his intelligence as well as knowledge of life’s goal. At that time, no longer attempting spiritual cultivation, he becomes overly attached to his wife or girlfriend and tries to provide her with a suitable apartment. Again, he becomes very busy under the shelter of that home and is captivated by the talks, glances and activities of his wife and children. In this way he loses his Krishna consciousness and throws himself in the dense darkness of material existence.
When the conditioned soul is embraced by his beloved wife, he forgets everything about Krishna consciousness. The more he becomes attached to his wife, the more he becomes implicated in family life. One Bengali poet, Bankim Chandra, says that to the eyes of the lover the beloved is always very beautiful, even though ugly. This attraction is called deva-maya. The attraction between man and woman is the cause of bondage for both. Actually both belong to the para prakriti, the superior energy of the Lord, but both are actually prakriti (female). However, because both want to enjoy one another, they are sometimes described as purusha (male). Actually neither is purusha, but both can be superficially described as purusha. As soon as man and woman are united, they become attached to home, hearth, land, friendship and money. In this way they are both entrapped in material existence. The word bhuja-lata-upagudha, meaning “being embraced by beautiful arms which are compared to creepers,” describes the way the conditioned soul is bound within this material world. The products of sex life—sons and daughters—certainly follow. This is the way of material existence. (SB 5.14.28 Text and Purport)
The pseudo svamis, yogis and incarnations who do not believe in the Supreme Personality of Godhead are known as pashandis. They themselves are fallen and cheated because they do not know the real path of spiritual advancement, and whoever goes to them is certainly cheated in his turn. When one is thus cheated, he sometimes takes shelter of the real followers of Vedic principles (brahmanas or those in Krishna consciousness) who teach everyone how to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to the Vedic rituals. However, being unable to stick to these principles, these rascals again fall down and take shelter among shudras who are very expert in making arrangements for sex indulgence. Sex is very prominent among animals like monkeys, and such people who are enlivened by sex may be called descendants of monkeys.
By fulfilling the process of evolution from the aquatics to the animal platform, a living entity eventually reaches the human form. The three modes of material nature are always working in the evolutionary process. Those who come to the human form through the quality of sattva-guna were cows in their last animal incarnation. Those who come to the human form through the quality of rajo-guna were lions in their last animal incarnation. And those who come to the human form through the quality of tamo-guna were monkeys in their last animal incarnation. In this age, those who come through the monkey species are considered by modern anthropologists like Darwin to be descendants of monkeys. We receive information herein that those who are simply interested in sex are actually no better than monkeys. Monkeys are very expert in sexual enjoyment, and sometimes sex glands are taken from monkeys and placed in the human body so that a human being can enjoy sex in old age. In this way modern civilization has advanced. Many monkeys in India were caught and sent to Europe so that sex glands could serve as replacements for those of old people. Those who actually descend from the monkeys are interested in expanding their aristocratic families through sex. In the Vedas there are also certain ceremonies especially meant for sexual improvement and promotion to higher planetary systems, where the demigods are enjoying sex. The demigods are also very much inclined toward sex because that is the basic principle of material enjoyment.
First of all, the conditioned soul is cheated by so-called swamis, yogis and incarnations when he approaches them to be relieved of material miseries. When the conditioned soul is not satisfied with them, he comes to devotees and pure brahmanas who try to elevate him for final liberation from material bondage. However, the unscrupulous conditioned soul cannot rigidly follow the principles prohibiting illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating. Thus he falls down and takes shelter of people who are like monkeys. In the Krishna consciousness movement these monkey disciples, being unable to follow the strict regulative principles, sometimes fall down and try to form societies based on sex. This is proof that such people are descendants of monkeys, as confirmed by Darwin. In this verse, it is therefore clearly stated: yatha vanara-jateh. (SB 5.14.30)
Entanglement in family life is the root cause of material attachment, indefatigable desires, moroseness, anger, despair, fear and the desire for false prestige, all of which result in the repetition of birth and death. (SB 5.18.14 Text)
Any women who seeks a material husband for her protection, or any man who desires to become the husband of a woman, is under illusion. (SB 5.18.19)
A man or woman who indulges in sexual intercourse with an unworthy member of the opposite sex is punished after death by the assistants of Yamaraja in the hell known as Taptasurmi. There such men and women are beaten with whips. The man is forced to embrace a red-hot iron form of a woman and the woman is forced to embrace a similar form of a man. Such is the punishment for illicit sex.
Generally a man should not have sexual relations with any woman other than his wife. According to Vedic principles, the wife of another man is considered one’s mother, and sexual relations are strictly forbidden with one’s mother, sister and daughter. If one indulges in illicit sexual relations with another man’s wife, that activity is considered identical with having sex with one’s mother. This act is most sinful. The same principle holds for a woman also; if she enjoys sex with a man other than her husband, the act is tantamount to having sexual relations with her father or son. Illicit sex life is always forbidden, and any man or woman who indulges in it is punished in the manner described in this verse. (SB 5.26.20 Text and Purport)
A person who indulges in sex indiscriminately—even with animals—is taken after death to the hell known as Vajrakantaka-shalmali. In this hell there is a silk-cotton tree full of thorns as strong as thunderbolts. The agents of Yamaraja hang the sinful man on that tree and pull him down forcibly so that the thorns very severely tear his body.
The sexual urge is so strong that sometimes a man indulges in sexual relations with a cow, or a woman indulges in sexual relations with a dog. Such men and women are put into the hell known as Vajrakantaka-shalmali. The Krishna consciousness movement forbids illicit sex. From the description of these verses, we can understand what an extremely sinful act illicit sex is. Sometimes people disbelieve these descriptions of hell but whether one believes or not, everything must be carried out by the laws of nature, which no one can avoid. (SB 5.26.2 Text and Purport)
Only a rare person who has adopted complete, unalloyed devotional service to Krishna can uproot the weeds of sinful actions with no possibility that they will revive. He can do this simply by discharging devotional service, just as the sun can immediately dissipate fog by its rays. (SB 6.1.15 Text)
The fault of illicit connection with women is that it makes one lose all brahminical qualities. In India there is still a class of servants, called shudras, whose maidservant wives are called shudranis. Sometimes people who are very lusty establish relationships with such maidservants and sweeping women, since in the higher statuses of society they cannot indulge in the habit of woman hunting, which is strictly prohibited by social convention. Ajamila, a qualified brahmana youth, lost all his brahminical qualities because of his association with a prostitute. (SB 6.1.21)
This fallen brahmana, Ajamila, gave trouble to others by arresting them, by cheating them in gambling or by directly plundering them. This was the way he earned his livelihood and maintained his wife and children.
This verse indicates how degraded one becomes simply by indulging in illicit sex with a prostitute. Illicit sex is not possible with a chaste or aristocratic woman, but only with unchaste shudras. The more society allows prostitution and illicit sex, the more impetus it gives to cheaters, thieves, plunderers, drunkards and gamblers. Therefore we first advise all the disciples in our Krishna consciousness movement to avoid illicit sex, which is the beginning of all abominable life and which is followed by meat-eating, gambling and intoxication, one after another. Of course, restraint is very difficult, but it is quite possible if one fully surrenders to Krishna, since all these abominable habits gradually become distasteful for a Krishna conscious person. If illicit sex is allowed to increase in society, however, the entire society will be condemned, for it will be full of rogues, thieves, cheaters and so forth. (SB 6.1.22 Text and Purport)
My dear king, if a sinful person engages in the service of a bona fide devotee of the Lord and thus learns how to dedicate his life unto the lotus feet of Krishna, he can be completely purified. One cannot be purified merely by undergoing austerity, penance, brahmacarya and the other methods of atonement I have previously described. (SB 6.1.16 Text)
Long ago, when he saw the scene of the drunken shudra and the prostitute, Ajamila, who was a perfect brahmacari, was affected. Nowadays such sin is visible in so many places, and we must consider the position of a brahmacari student who sees such behavior. For such a brahmacari to remain steady is very difficult unless he is extremely strong in following the regulative principles. Nevertheless, if one takes to Krishna consciousness very seriously, he can withstand the provocation created by sin. In our Krishna consciousness movement we prohibit illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. In Kali-yuga, a drunk, half-naked woman embracing a drunk man is a very common sight, especially in Western countries, and restraining oneself after seeing such things is very difficult. Nevertheless, if by the grace of Krishna one adheres to the regulative principles and chants the Hare Krishna mantra, Krishna will certainly protect him. Indeed, Krishna says that His devotee is never vanquished (kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranashyati). Therefore all the disciples practicing Krishna consciousness should obediently follow the regulative principles and remain fixed in chanting the holy name of the Lord. There need be no fear. Otherwise one’s position is very dangerous, especially in this Kali-yuga. (SB 6.1.61)
Unless one is very strong in knowledge, patience and proper bodily, mental and intellectual behavior, controlling one’s lusty desires is extremely difficult. Thus after seeing a man embracing a young woman and practically doing everything required for sex life, even a fully qualified brahmana, as described above, could not control his lusty desires and restrain himself from pursuing them. Because of the force of materialistic life, to maintain self-control is extremely difficult unless one is specifically under the protection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service. (SB 6.1.62)
As stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, yan maithunadi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham; people are attached to household life for sex only. They are always harassed in many ways by their material engagements, and their only happiness is that after working very hard all day, at night they sleep and indulge in sex. Nidraya hriyate naktam vyavayena ca va vayah: at night, materialistic householders sleep or indulge in sex life. Diva carthehaya rajan kutumba-bharanena va: during the day they are busy trying to find out where money is, and if they get money they spend it to maintain their families. (SB 6.3.25)
It should be noted that although such a facility for sexual intercourse is achieved by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this facility is not offered to advanced devotees, who are free from material desires (anyabhilashita-shunyam). In this connection it may be noted that if the American boys and girls engaged in the Krishna consciousness movement want to advance in Krishna consciousness to achieve the supreme benefit of loving service to the Lord, they should refrain from indulging in this facility for sex life. Therefore we advise that one should at least refrain from illicit sex. Even if there are opportunities for sex life, one should voluntarily accept the limitation of having sex only for progeny, not for any other purpose. Kardama Muni was also given the facility for sex life, but he had only a slight desire for it. Therefore after begetting children in the womb of Devahuti, Kardama Muni became completely renounced. The purport is that if one wants to return home, back to Godhead, one should voluntarily refrain from sex life. Sex should be accepted only as much as needed, not unlimitedly.
Therefore although sex life is the topmost enjoyment in the material world and although one may have an opportunity for sexual enjoyment by the grace of God, this entails a risk of committing offenses. (SB 6.4.52)
To be a householder is very risky unless one is trained and the wife is a follower of her husband. (SB 6.18.40)
A woman’s face is as attractive and beautiful as a blossoming lotus flower during autumn. Her words are very sweet, and they give pleasure to the ear, but if we study a woman’s heart, we can understand it to be extremely sharp, like the blade of a razor. In these circumstances, who could understand the dealings of a woman?
Woman is now depicted very well from the materialistic point of view by Kashyapa Muni. Women are generally known as the fair sex, and especially in youth, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, women are very attractive to men. Therefore a woman’s face is compared to a blooming lotus flower in autumn. Just as a lotus is extremely attractive in autumn, a woman at the threshold of youthful beauty is extremely attractive. In Sanskrit a woman’s voice is called nari-svara because woman generally sing and their singing is very attractive. At the present moment, cinema artists, especially female singers, are especially welcome. Some of them earn fabulous amounts of money simply by singing. Therefore, as taught by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a woman’s singing is dangerous because it can make a sannyasi fall a victim to the woman. Sannyasa means giving up the company of women, but if a sannyasi hears the voice of a woman and sees her beautiful face, he certainly becomes attracted and is sure to fall down. There have been many examples. Even the great sage Vishvamitra fell a victim to Menaka. Therefore a person desiring to advance in spiritual consciousness must be especially careful not to see a woman’s face or hear a woman’s voice. To see a woman’s face and appreciate its beauty or to hear a woman’s voice and appreciate her singing as very nice is a subtle fall down for a brahmacari or sannyasi. Thus the description of woman’s features by Kashyapa Muni is very instructive.
When a woman’s bodily features are attractive, when her face is beautiful and when her voice is sweet, she is naturally a trap for a man. The shastras advise that when such a woman comes to serve a man, she should be considered to be like a dark well covered by grass. In the fields there are many such wells, and a man who does not know about them drops through the grass and falls down. Thus there are many such instructions. Since the attraction of the material world is based on attraction for women, Kashyapa Muni thought, “Under the circumstances, who can understand the heart of a woman?” Canakya Pandita has also advised, vishvaso naiva kartavyah strishu raja-kuleshu ca: “There are two persons one should not trust—a politician and a woman.” These, of course, are authoritative shastric injunctions, and we should therefore be very careful in our dealings with women.
Sometimes our Krishna consciousness movement is criticized for mingling men and women, but Krishna consciousness is meant for anyone. Whether one is a man or woman does not matter. Lord Krishna personally says, striyo vaishyas tatha shudras te ’pi yanti param gatim: whether one is a woman, shudra or vaishya, not to speak of being a brahmana or kshatriya, everyone is fit to return home, back to Godhead, if he strictly follows the instructions of the spiritual master and Krishna. We therefore request all members of the Krishna consciousness movement—both men and women—not to be attracted by bodily features but only to be attracted by Krishna. Then everything will be all right. Otherwise there will be danger. (SB 6.18.41 Text and Purport)
To satisfy their own interests, women deal with men as if the men were most dear to them, but no one is actually dear to them. Women are supposed to be very saintly, but for their own interest they can kill even their husbands, sons or brothers, or cause them to be killed by others.
A woman’s nature has been particularly well studied by Kashyapa Muni. Women are self-interested by nature, and therefore they should be protected by all means so that their natural inclination to be too self-interested will not be manifested. Women need to be protected by men. A woman should be cared for by her father in her childhood, by her husband in her youth and by her grown sons in her old age. This is the injunction of Manu, who says that a woman should not be given independence at any stage. Women must be cared for so that they will not be free to manifest their natural tendency for gross selfishness. There have been many cases, even in the present day, in which women have killed their husbands to take advantage of their insurance policies. This is not a criticism of women but a practical study of their nature. Such natural instincts of a woman or man are manifested only in the bodily conception of life. When either a man or a woman is advanced in spiritual consciousness, the bodily conception of life practically vanishes. We should see all women as spiritual units (aham brahmasmi), whose only duty is to satisfy Krishna. Then the influences of the different modes of material nature, which result from one’s possessing a material body, will not act. (SB 6.18.42 Text and Purport)
If a bona fide listener hears of Krishna’s pastimes with the gopis, which seem to be lusty affairs, the lusty desires in his heart, which constitute the heart disease of the conditioned soul, will be vanquished, and he will become a most exalted devotee of the Lord. (SB 7.1.30)
Before entering household life, one should be trained as a brahmacari, living under the care of the guru, whose place is known as the gurukula. Brahmacari guru-kule vasan danto guror hitam (SB 7.12.1). From the beginning, a brahmacari is trained to sacrifice everything for the benefit of the guru. A brahmacari is advised to go begging alms door to door, addressing all women as mother, and whatever he collects goes to the benefit of the guru. In this way, he learns how to control his senses and sacrifice everything for the guru. When he is fully trained, if he likes he is allowed to marry. Thus he is not an ordinary grihastha who has learned only how to satisfy his senses. A trained grihastha can gradually give up household life and go to the forest to become increasingly enlightened in spiritual life and at last take sannyasa. Prahlada Maharaja explained to his father that to be freed from all material anxieties one should go to the forest. Hitvatma-patam griham andha-kupam. One should give up his household, which is a place for going further down into the darkest regions of material existence. The first advice, therefore, is that one must give up household life (griham andha-kupam). However, if one prefers to remain in the dark well of household life because of uncontrolled senses, he becomes increasingly entangled by ropes of affection for his wife, children, servants, house, money and so on. Such a person cannot obtain liberation from material bondage. Therefore children should be taught from the very beginning of life to be first class brahmacaris. Then it will be possible for them to give up household life in the future. (SB 7.6.9)
How can a person who is most affectionate to his family, the core of his heart being always filled with their pictures, give up their association? Specifically, a wife is always kind and sympathetic and always pleases her husband in a solitary place. Who could give up the association of such a dear and affectionate wife? Small children talk in broken language, very pleasing to hear, and their affectionate father always thinks of their sweet words. How could he give up their association? One’s elderly parents and one’s sons and daughters are also very dear. A daughter is especially dear to her father, and while living at her husband’s house she is always in his mind. Who could give up that association? Aside from this, in household affairs there are many decorated items of household furniture, and there are also animals and servants. Who could give up such comforts? The attached householder is like a silkworm, which weaves a cocoon in which it becomes imprisoned, unable to get out.
Simply for the satisfaction of two important senses—the genitals and the tongue—one is bound by material conditions. How can one escape?
In household affairs the first attraction is the beautiful and pleasing wife, who increases household attraction more and more. One enjoys his wife with two prominent sense organs, namely the tongue and the genitals. The wife speaks very sweetly. This is certainly an attraction. Then she prepares very palatable foods to satisfy the tongue, and when the tongue is satisfied one gains strength in the other sense organs, especially the genitals. Thus the wife gives pleasure in sexual intercourse. Household life means sex life (yan maithunadi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham). This is encouraged by the tongue. Then there are children. A baby gives pleasure by speaking sweet words in broken language, and when the sons and daughters are grown up one becomes involved in their education and marriage. Then there are one’s own father and mother to take care of, and one also becomes concerned with the social atmosphere and with pleasing his brothers and sisters. A man becomes increasingly entangled in household affairs, so much so that leaving them becomes almost impossible. Thus the household becomes griham andha-kupam, a dark well into which the man has fallen. For such a man to get out is extremely difficult unless he is helped by a strong person, the spiritual master, who helps the fallen person with the strong rope of spiritual instructions. A fallen person should take advantage of this rope, and then the spiritual master, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, will take him out of the dark well. (SB 7.6.13 Text and Purport)
Oh my Lord, because of lusty desires from the very beginning of one’s birth, the functions of one’s senses, mind, life, body, religion, patience, intelligence, shyness, opulence, strength, memory and truthfulness are vanquished.
As stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, kamam hrid-rogam. Materialistic life means that one is afflicted by a formidable disease called lusty desire. Liberation means freedom from lusty desires, because it is only due to such desires that one must accept repeated birth and death. As long as one’s lusty desires are unfulfilled, one must take birth after birth to fulfill them. Because of material desires, therefore, one performs various types of activities and receives various types of bodies with which to try to fulfill desires that are never satisfied. The only remedy is to take to devotional service, which begins when one is free from all material desires; anyabhilashita-shunyam. Anya-abhilashita means “material desire,” and shunyam means “free from.” The spiritual soul has spiritual activities and spiritual desires, as described by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: mama janmani janmanishvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi. Unalloyed devotion to the service of the Lord is the only spiritual desire. To fulfill this spiritual desire, however, one must be free from all material desires. (SB 7.10.8)
vasan danto guror hitam
acaran dasavan nico
Narada Muni said: A student should practice completely controlling his senses. He should be submissive and should have an attitude of firm friendship for the spiritual master. With a great vow, the brahmacari should live at the gurukula, only for the benefit of the guru. (SB 7.12.1 Text)
[There are five main points in this verse. (1) vasan: the brahmacari should reside in the ashrama of the guru; (2) dantah: he should learn sense control; (3) guroh hitam: he must act only for the benefit of his guru; (4) acaran dasa-vat nicah: he should behave as a menial servant; (5) gurau su-dridha sauhridah: he should have an attitude of firm friendship for the spiritual master.]
A brahmacari should be quite well behaved and gentle and should not eat or collect more than necessary. He must always be active and expert, fully believing in the instructions of the spiritual master and the shastra. Fully controlling his senses, he should associate only as much as necessary with women or those controlled by women.
A brahmacari should be very careful not to mix with women or with men addicted to women. Although when he goes out to beg alms it is necessary to talk with women and with men very much attracted to women, this association should be very short, and he should talk with them only about begging alms, and not more. A brahmacari should be very careful in associating with men who are attached to women. (SB 7.12.6 Text and Purport)
A brahmacari, or one who has not accepted the grihastha-ashrama (family life), must rigidly avoid talking with women or about women, for the senses are so powerful that they may agitate even the mind of a sannyasi, a member of the renounced order of life.
Brahmacarya essentially means the vow not to marry but to observe strict celibacy (brihad-vrata). A brahmacari or sannyasi should avoid talking with women or reading literature concerning talks between man and woman. The injunction restricting association with women is the basic principle of spiritual life. Associating or talking with women is never advised in any of the Vedic literatures. The entire Vedic system teaches one to avoid sex life so that one may gradually progress from brahmacarya to grihastha, from grihastha to vanaprastha, and from vanaprastha to sannyasa and thus give up material enjoyment, which is the original cause of bondage to this material world. The word brihad-vrata refers to one who has decided not to marry, or in other words, not to indulge in sex life throughout this entire life. (SB 7.12.7 Text and Purport)
Woman is compared to fire, and man is compared to a butter pot. Therefore a man should avoid associating even with his own daughter in a secluded place. Similarly, he should also avoid association with other women. One should associate with women only for important business and not otherwise.
If a butter pot and fire are kept together, the butter within the pot will certainly melt. Woman is compared to fire, and man in compared to a butter pot. However advanced one may be in restraining the senses, it is almost impossible for a man to keep himself controlled in the presence of a woman, even if she is his own daughter, mother or sister. Indeed, his mind is agitated even if one is in the renounced order of life. Therefore, Vedic civilization carefully restricts mingling between men and women. If one cannot understand the basic principle of restraining association between man and woman, he is to be considered an animal. That is the purport of this verse. (SB 7.12.9 Text and Purport)
As long as a living entity is not completely self-realized—as long as he is not independent of the misconception of identifying with his body, which is nothing but a reflection of the original body and senses—he cannot be relieved of the duality between man and woman. Thus there is every chance that he will fall down because his intelligence is bewildered.
Here is another important warning that a man must save himself from attraction to woman. No one should think himself perfect and forget the shastric instruction that one should be very careful about associating even with his daughter, mother or sister, not to speak of other women. (SB 7.12.10 Text and Purport)
In this human form of life, man and woman unite for the sensual pleasure of sex, but by actual experience we have observed that none of them are happy.
As stated by Prahlada Maharaja, yan maithunadi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham. Man and woman both seek sexual enjoyment, and when they are united by the ritualistic ceremony of marriage, they are happy for some time, but finally there is dissension, and thus there are so many cases of separation and divorce. Although every man and woman is actually eager to enjoy life through sexual unity, the result is disunity and distress. Marriage is recommended to give men and women a concession for restricted sex life, which is also recommended in Bhagavad-gita by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Dharmaviruddho bhuteshu kamo ’smi: sex life not against the principles of religion is Krishna. Every living entity is always eager to enjoy sex life because materialistic life consists of eating, sleeping, sex and fear. (SB 7.13.26 Text and Purport)
Sex is not at all necessary, although one who absolutely requires it is allowed to enter grihastha life, or household life, which is also regulated by the shastras and guru… we should not create a so-called comfortable situation, but must prepare to undergo austerity. This is how a human being should actually live to fulfill life’s ultimate goal. (SB 7.14.1 Text and Purport)
Every husband is too much attached to his wife. (SB 7.14.12)
My dear king, a self-satisfied person can be happy even with only drinking water. However, one who is driven by the senses, especially by the tongue and genitals, must accept the position of a household dog to satisfy his senses.
Because of greed for the sake of the senses, the spiritual strength, education, austerity and reputation of a devotee or brahmana who is not self-satisfied dwindle, and his knowledge gradually vanishes.” (SB 7.15.18-19 Text and Purport)
In this world of duality, family life is the cause that spoils one’s spiritual life or meditation. Specifically understanding this fact, one should accept the order of sannyasa without hesitation. (From smriti literature, quoted in 7.15.30 Purport)
There is no harm if one thinks that he is unfit for sannyasa; if he is very much agitated sexually, he should go to the ashrama where sex is allowed, namely the grihastha-ashrama. That one has been found to be very weak in one place does not mean that he should stop fighting the crocodile of maya. One should take shelter of the lotus feet of Krishna, and at the same time one can be a grihastha if he is satisfied with sexual indulgence. There is no need to give up the fight. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu therefore recommended, sthane sthitah shruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. One may stay in whichever ashrama is suitable for him; it is not essential that one take sannyasa. If one is sexually agitated, he can enter the grihastha-ashrama. But one must continue fighting. For one who is not in a transcendental position, to take sannyasa artificially is not a very great credit. If sannyasa is not suitable, one may enter the grihastha-ashrama and fight maya with great strength. But one should not give up the fighting and go away. (SB 8.2.30)
Those who maintain a demoniac mentality are bewildered by the beauty of a woman, but those who are advanced in Krishna consciousness or even those on the platform of goodness are not bewildered. (SB 8.12.15)
The attractive features of a woman are appreciated by those who are affected by lusty desires. (SB 8.12.16)
When a man and woman exchange feelings of lust, both of them are victimized, and thus they are bound to this material world in various ways. (SB 8.12.22)
Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks that Mohini-murti dragged Lord Shiva to so many places, especially to where the great sages lived, to instruct the sages that their Lord Shiva had become mad for a beautiful woman. Thus although they were all great sages and saintly persons, they should not think themselves free, but should remain extremely cautious about beautiful women. No one should think himself liberated in the presence of a beautiful woman. (SB 8.12.34)
If one is trained to protect his semen by observing celibacy, naturally he is not attracted by the beauty of woman. If one can remain a brahmacari, he saves himself so much trouble in material existence. Material existence means enjoying the pleasure of sexual enjoyment (yan maithunadi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham). If one is educated about sex life and is trained to protect his semen, he is saved from the danger of material existence. (SB 8.12.35)
There are two kinds of brahmacaris. One may return home, marry and become a householder, whereas the other, known as brihad-vrata, takes a vow to remain a brahmacari perpetually. The brihad-vrata brahmacari does not return from the place of the spiritual master; he stays there, and later he directly takes sannyasa. (SB 9.4.1)
A person desiring liberation from material bondage must give up the association of persons interested in sex life and should not employ his senses externally (in seeing, hearing, talking, walking and so on). One should always stay in a secluded place, completely fixing his mind at the lotus feet of the unlimited Personality of Godhead, and if one wants any association at all, he should associate with persons similarly engaged.
Saubhari Muni, giving conclusions derived from his practical experience, instructs us that persons interested in crossing to the other side of the material ocean must give up the association of persons interested in sex life and accumulating money.
One who desires complete freedom from material bondage can engage himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. He must not associate with vishayi—materialistic persons or those interested in sex life. Every materialist is interested in sex. Thus in plain language it is advised that an exalted saintly person avoid the association of those who are materially inclined. Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura also recommends that one engage in the service of the acaryas, and if one wants to live in association, he must live in the association of devotees (tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa). The Krishna consciousness movement is creating many centers just to create devotees so that by associating with the members of such a center people will automatically become uninterested in material affairs. Although this is an ambitious proposal, this association is proving effective by the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. By gradually associating with the members of the Krishna consciousness movement, simply by taking prasada and taking part in chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, ordinary persons are being considerably elevated. Saubhari Muni regrets that he had bad association even in the deepest part of the water. Because of the bad association of the sexually engaged fish, he fell down. A secluded place is also not secure unless there is good association. (SB 9.6.51 Text and Purport)
Unless one is extremely advanced in spiritual consciousness, household life is nothing but a dark well in which one commits suicide. (SB 9.19.12)
The attraction between male and female always exists everywhere, making everyone always fearful. Such feelings are present even among the controllers like Brahma and Lord Shiva and is the cause of fear for them, what to speak of others who are attached to household life in this material world.
As long as men feel attracted to women in this material world and women feel attracted to men, the bondage of repeated birth and death will continue. (SB 9.11.17 Text and Purport)
Canakya Pandita has advised, vishvaso naiva kartavyah strishu raja-kuleshu ca: “Never place your faith in a woman or a politician.” Unless elevated to spiritual consciousness, everyone is conditioned and fallen, what to speak of women, who are less intelligent than men. Women have been compared to shudras and vaishyas (striyo vaishyas tatha shudrah). On the spiritual platform, however, when one is elevated to the platform of Krishna consciousness, whether one is a man, woman, shudra or whatever, everyone is equal. Otherwise, Urvashi, who was a woman herself and who knew the nature of women, said that a woman’s heart is like that of a sly fox. If a man cannot control his senses, he becomes a victim of such sly foxes. But if one can control the senses, there is no chance of his being victimized by sly, foxlike women. (SB 9.14.36)
During youth the material desire to enjoy the material senses is certainly present, and unless one fully satisfies these lusty desires in youth, there is a chance of one’s being disturbed in rendering service to the Lord. We have actually seen that many sannyasis who accept sannyasa prematurely, not having satisfied their material desires, fall down because they are disturbed. Therefore the general process is to go through grihastha life and vanaprastha life and finally come to sannyasa and devotee oneself completely to the service of the Lord. (SB 9.18.40)
Attraction for woman is the impetus for economic development, housing and many other things meant for living comfortably in this material world. The union between male and female provides the impetus for gaining a nice apartment, a good income, children and friends. Thus one becomes entangled in this material world. (SB 9.19.4)
Although one becomes a grihastha, or householder, to enjoy sex life to his heart’s content, one is never satisfied. Like an unfortunate person who acts madly, haunted by ghosts, a materialist haunted by the ghost of lust forgets his real business so that he can enjoy so-called happiness in the bodily concept of life. (SB 9.19.5-6)
A person who is lusty cannot satisfy his mind even if he has enough of everything in this world, including rice, barley and other food grains, gold, animals and women. Nothing can satisfy him.
To have a satisfied mind, one must give up his heart disease of lusty desires. This can only be done when one is Krishna conscious. If one becomes Krishna conscious, then he can give up this heart disease; otherwise this disease of lusty desires will continue, and one cannot have peace in his mind. (SB 9.19.13 Text and Purport)
matra svasra duhitra va
vidvamsam api karshati
One should not allow oneself to sit on the same seat even with one’s own mother, sister or daughter, for the senses are so strong that even though one is very advanced in knowledge, he may be attracted by sex.
Learning the etiquette of how to deal with women does not free one from sexual attraction. As specifically mentioned herewith, such attraction is possible even with one’s mother, sister or daughter. Generally, of course, one is not sexually attracted to his mother, sister or daughter, but if one allows himself to sit very close to such a woman, one may be attracted. This is a psychological fact. It may be said that one is liable to be attracted if one is not very advanced in civilized life; however, as specifically mentioned here, vidvamsam api karshati: even if one is highly advanced, materially or spiritually, he may be attracted by lusty desires. The object of attraction may even be one’s mother, sister or daughter. Therefore, one should be extremely careful in dealings with women. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was most strict in such dealings, especially after He accepted the sannyasa order. Indeed, no woman could come near Him to offer Him respect. Again, one is warned herewith that one should be extremely careful in dealings with women. (SB 9.19.17 Text and Purport)
One who has not understood that he is not the material body but an eternal spiritual soul, part and parcel of Krishna, will invariably be unable to control the urges of the material senses. Therefore, if such a materially inclined person neglects the Vedic injunctions that administer regulated sense gratification, he will surely fall down into unregulated sense gratification in papa, or sinful life. For example, those who are affected by sexual desire are ordered to accept the vivaha-yajna, or religious marriage ceremony. We often see that because of false pride a so-called brahmacari, or celibate student of Vedic knowledge, rejects the marriage ceremony as maya, or material illusion. But if such a celibate student is unable to control his senses he will undoubtedly degrade himself by actually engaging in illicit sex. (SB 11.3.45)
One who has failed to control his senses immediately feels attraction upon seeing a woman’s form, which is created by the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord. Indeed, when the woman speaks with enticing words, smiles coquettishly and moves her body sensuously, his mind is immediately captured, and thus he falls blindly into the darkness of material existence, just as the moth maddened by the fire rushes blindly into its flames. A foolish person with no intelligent discrimination is immediately aroused at the sight of a lusty woman beautifully decorated with golden ornaments, fine clothing and other cosmetic features. Being eager for sense gratification, such a fool loses all intelligence and is destroyed just like the moth who rushes into the blazing fire. (SB 11.8.8-9 Text)
A saintly person should never touch a young girl. In fact, he should not even let his foot touch a wooden doll in the shape of a woman. By bodily contact with a woman he will surely be captured by illusion, just as the elephant is captured by the she-elephant due to his desire to touch her body. A man possessing intelligent discrimination should not under any circumstances try to exploit the beautiful form of a woman for his sense gratification. Just as an elephant trying to enjoy a she-elephant is killed by other bull elephants also enjoying her company, one trying to enjoy a lady’s company can at any moment be killed by her other lovers who are stronger than he. (SB 11.8.13-14 Text)
Somehow or other one should avoid being cheated by allurement to the sensuous form of woman. One should not allow one’s mind to be lost in lusty dreams of sex pleasure. There are various types of sense gratification to be enjoyed between men and women, including speaking, contemplating, touching, sexual intercourse, etc., and all of these constitute the network of illusion by which one is helplessly bound like an animal. Somehow or other one should remain aloof from sense gratification in the form of sex pleasure; otherwise, there is no possibility of understanding the spiritual world. (SB 11.8.13)
One who is too affectionate to his own body will inevitably be seized by sex desire. (SB 11.21.29)
The cult of bhakti-yoga is so powerful that one automatically loses sexual attraction, being engaged in the superior service of the Lord. (Bg. 6.13-14)
A brahmacäré hears only words concerning Krishna consciousness; hearing is the basic principle for understanding, and therefore a pure brahmacäré engages fully in harer nämänukértanam—chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord. He restrains himself from the vibrations of other sounds, and his hearing is engaged in the transcendental sound of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. (Bg. 4.26)
That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion.
A young man and a young woman meet, and the senses drive the young man to see her, to touch her and to have sexual intercourse. In the beginning this may be very pleasing to the senses, but at the end, or after some time, it becomes just like poison. They are separated or there is divorce, there is lamentation, there is sorrow, etc. Such happiness is always in the mode of passion. Happiness derived from a combination of the senses and the sense objects is always a cause of distress and should be avoided by all means. (Bg. 18.38 Text and Purport)
Lust and love have different characteristics, just as iron and gold have different natures.
One should try to discriminate between sexual love and pure love, for they belong to different categories, with a gulf of difference between them. They are as different from one another as iron is from gold. (Cc. Adi 4.164 Text and Purport)
The desire to gratify one’s own senses is käma (lust), but the desire to please the senses of Lord Krishna is prema (love).
The author of Çré Chaitanya-caritämrita asserts with authority that sexual love is a matter of personal sense enjoyment. All the regulative principles in the Vedas pertaining to desires for popularity, fatherhood, wealth and so on are different phases of sense gratification. Acts of sense gratification may be performed under the cover of public welfare, nationalism, religion, altruism, ethical codes, Biblical codes, health directives, fruitive action, bashfulness, tolerance, personal comfort, liberation from material bondage, progress, family affection or fear of social ostracism or legal punishment, but all these categories are different subdivisions of one substance—sense gratification. All such good acts are performed basically for one’s own sense gratification, for no one can sacrifice his personal interest while discharging these much-advertised moral and religious principles. But above all this is a transcendental stage in which one feels himself to be only an eternal servitor of Krishna, the absolute Personality of Godhead. All acts performed in this sense of servitude are called pure love of God because they are performed for the absolute sense gratification of Çré Krishna. However, any act performed for the purpose of enjoying its fruits or results is an act of sense gratification. Such actions are visible sometimes in gross and sometimes in subtle forms. (Cc. Adi 4.165 Text and Purport)
Sometimes jealous persons criticize the Krishna consciousness movement because it engages equally both boys and girls in distributing love of Godhead. Not knowing that boys and girls in countries like Europe mix very freely, these fools and rascals criticize the boys and girls in Krishna consciousness for intermingling. But these rascals should consider that one cannot suddenly change a community’s social customs. However, since both the boys and girls are being trained to become preachers, those girls are not ordinary girls, but are as good as their brothers who are preaching Krishna consciousness. (Cc. Adi. 7.31-32)
Since the European and American boys and girls in our Krishna consciousness movement preach together, less intelligent men criticize that they are mingling without restriction. In Europe and America boys and girls mingle unrestrictedly and have equal rights; therefore it is not possible to completely separate the men from the women. However, we are thoroughly instructing both men and women how to preach, and actually they are preaching wonderfully. Of course, we very strictly prohibit illicit sex. Boys and girls who are not married are not allowed to sleep together or live together, and there are separate arrangements for boys and girls in every temple. Grihasthas live outside the temple, for in the temple we do not allow even husband and wife to live together. The results of this are wonderful. Both men and women are preaching the gospel of Lord Chaitanya Mahäprabhu and Lord Krishna with redoubled strength. (Cc. Adi. 7.38)
A devotee’s most formidable enemy is association with women in an enjoying spirit. (Cc. Madhya 22, Introduction)
Marriage is a concession for people who are unable to control their senses. Generally a person cannot make much advancement in spiritual consciousness if he is married. He becomes attached to his family and is prone to sense gratification. Thus his spiritual advancement is very slow or almost nil. (Cc. Antya 13.112)
It is a fact that we are constantly being kicked by mäyä, just as the male-ass is kicked in the face by the she-ass when he comes for sex. Similarly, cats and dogs are always fighting and whining when they have sex. These are the tricks of nature. Even an elephant in the jungle is caught by the use of a trained she-elephant who leads him into a pit. Mäyä has many activities, and in the material world her strongest shackle is the female. Of course in actuality we are neither male nor female—for these designations refer only to the outer dress, the body. We are actually Krishna’s servants. In conditioned life, however, we are shackled by the iron chains which take the form of beautiful women. Thus every male is bound by sex life, and therefore when one attempts to gain liberation from the material clutches, he must first learn to control the sex urge. (Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Introduction)
The demands of the body can be divided into three categories—the demands of the tongue, the belly and the genitals. One may observe that these three senses are physically situated in a straight line, as far as the body is concerned, and that the bodily demands begin with the tongue. If one can restrain the demands of the tongue by limiting its activities to the eating of prasäda, the urges of the belly and the genitals can automatically be controlled. (NOI, Text 1)
As far as the urges of the genitals are concerned, there are two—proper and improper, or legal and illicit sex. When a man is properly mature, he can marry according to the rules and regulations of the shästras and use his genitals for begetting nice children. That is legal and religious. Otherwise, he may adopt many artificial means to satisfy the demands of the genitals, and he may not use any restraint. When one indulges in illicit sex life, as defined by the shästras, either by thinking, planning, talking about or actually having sexual intercourse, or by satisfying the genitals by artificial means, he is caught in the clutches of mäyä. These instructions apply not only to householders but also to tyägés, or those who are in the renounced order of life. In his book Prema-vivarta, Chapter Seven, Çré Jagadänanda Pandita says:
vairägé bhäi grämya-kathä nä shunibe
grämya-värtä nä kahibe yabe milibe äne
svapane o nä kara bhäi stré-sambhäshana
grihe stré chädiyä bhäi äsiyächa vana
yadi cäha pranaya räkhite gaurängera sane
chota haridäsera kathä thäke yena mane
bhäla nä khäibe ära bhäla nä paribe
hridayete rädhä-krishna sarvadä sevibe
“My dear brother, you are in the renounced order of life and should not listen or talk about ordinary worldly things, nor should you talk about worldly things when you meet with others. Do not think of women even in dreams. You have accepted the renounced order of life with a vow that forbids you to associate with women. If you wish to associate with Chaitanya Mahäprabhu, you must always remember the incident of Chota Haridäsa and how he was rejected by the Lord. Do not eat luxurious dishes or dress in fine garments, but always remain humble and serve Their Lordships Çré Çré Rädhä-Krishna in your heart of hearts.” (NOI, Text 1, Purport)
If there is some disease in the body which is neglected, it becomes incurable. Similarly, when one is not careful about restraining the senses and lets them loose, it is very difficult to control them at all. (Krishna, Ch. 4)
The perfection of human life is based on knowledge and renunciation, but it is very difficult to attempt to reach the stage of knowledge and renunciation while in family life. (Krishna, Ch. 87)
There are four types of brahmacärés. The first is called sävitra, which refers to a brahmacäré who after initiation and the sacred thread ceremony must observe at least three days of celibacy. The next is called präjäpatya, which refers to a brahmacäré who strictly observes celibacy for at least one year after initiation. The next is called brähma-brahmacäré, which refers to a brahmacäré who observes celibacy from the time of initiation up to the time of the completion of his study of Vedic literature. The next stage is called naishthika, which refers to a brahmacäré who is celibate throughout his whole life. Out of these, the first three are upakurväna, which means that the brahmacäré can marry later, after the brahmacäré period is over. The naishthika-brahmacäré, however, is completely reluctant to have any sex life; therefore the Kumäras and Närada are known as naishthika-brahmacärés. Such brahmacärés are called véra-vrata because their vow of celibacy is as heroic as the vows of the kshatriyas. The brahmacäré system of life is especially advantageous in that it increases the power of memory and determination. It is specifically mentioned in this connection that because Närada was a naishthika-brahmacäré he could remember whatever he heard from his spiritual master and would never forget it. One who can remember everything perpetually is called shruta-dhara. A shruta-dhara brahmacäré can repeat verbatim all that he has heard, without notes and without reference to books. The great sage Närada has this qualification, and therefore, having taken instructions from Näräyana Rishi, he is engaged in propagating the philosophy of devotional service all over the world. (Krishna, Ch. 87)
In the rainy season, when the rivers swell and rush to the ocean, and as the wind blows the waves about, the ocean appears to be agitated. Similarly, if a person engaged in the mystic yoga process is not very advanced in spiritual life, he can be affected by the modes of nature and thus will be agitated by the sex impulse.
A person fixed in spiritual knowledge will not be attracted by the allurement of material nature in the form of beautiful women and the sex pleasure enjoyed in their association. One however, who is still immature in the cultivation of spiritual knowledge may be attracted at any moment by the illusion of temporary happiness, just as the ocean is agitated by the rushing rivers and blowing wind which occur during the rainy season. It is therefore very important to fix oneself at the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master who is a representative of God so that one will not be carried away by sex agitation. (LOB 17 Text and Purport)
The dark well of householder life kills the soul. (LOB, Text 17, Purport)
A student’s education should begin with brahmacarya, which means freedom from sexual attachment. If he can, he should try to avoid all this nonsense. If not, he can marry. (Teachings of Queen Kunté)
First of all, one must be trained in the brahmacäré system and learn how to deny the senses. A brahmacäré should be trained in tapasya, not in enjoyment. Formerly, brahmacärés would have to go from door to door to beg alms for the äshrama, and they were trained from the very beginning to address every woman as mother. (Teachings of Lord Kapila, p. 131)
Refraining from sex enables one to be very determined and powerful. It is not necessary to do anything else. This is a secret people are not aware of. If you want to do something with determination, you have to refrain from sex. Regardless of the process—be it hatha-yoga, bhakti-yoga, jnäna-yoga, or whatever—sex indulgence is not allowed. Sex is allowed only for householders who want to beget good children and raise them in Krishna consciousness. By taking advantage and indulging in sex life, we are simply wasting our time. (The Path of Perfection)
As stated before, this determination can be attired only by one who does not indulge in sex. Celibacy makes one’s determination strong; therefore, from the very beginning Krishna states that the yogi does not engage in sex. If one indulges in sex, one’s determination will be flickering. Therefore sex life should be controlled according to the rules and regulations governing the grihastha-äshrama, or sex should be given up altogether. Actually, it should be given up altogether, but if this is not possible, it should be controlled. Then determination will come because, after all, determination is a bodily affair. Determination means continuing to practice Krishna consciousness with patience and perseverance. If one does not immediately attain the desired results, one should not think, “Oh, what is this Krishna consciousness? I will give it up.” No, we must have determination and faith in Krishna’s words. (The Path of Perfection)
“How can a person take pleasure in the enjoyment of sex life in this body, which is a bag of skin and bones, filled with blood and covered by skin and flesh, and which produces mucus and evil smells?” This perception is possible only for one who is awakened to Krishna consciousness and who has become fully cognizant of the abominable nature of the material body. (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 48)
In Vedic civilization, boys were trained from the very beginning of life as first-class brahmacärés. They went to the gurukula, the school of the spiritual master, and learned self-control, cleanliness, truthfulness, and many other saintly qualities. The best of them were later fit to rule the country. (The Science of Self-Realization p. 187)
To properly execute celibacy, one should not even think or even talk of sex life. Reading modern literature and newspapers which are filled with sexual material is also against the principles of brahmacarya. Similarly, indulging in sex in any way, looking at and whispering with girls, and determining or endeavoring to engage in sex life are all against the principles of brahmacarya. One executes real brahmacarya when all these activities come to a halt. (Krishna Consciousness, The Matchless Gift Ch. 4)
In the darkness of this material world, the only happiness is in sleep and sex. (DS)
Çréla Prabhupäda: Sex is animalistic. It is not love but lust. Sex means the mutual satisfaction of senses, and that is lust. All this lust is taking place under the name of love, and out of illusion, people mistake this lust for love. Real love says, “People are suffering from a lack of Krishna consciousness. Let us do something for them so that they can understand the value of life.” (DS)
Ordinary men take sex to be the highest pleasure. The entire material world is existing because of sex, but how long does this sex pleasure last? A few minutes only. A man who is wise does not want pleasure that lasts only a few minutes but pleasure that continues perpetually. Nitya means “eternal,” and änanda means “bliss.” The Vedas state that those who are intelligent are not interested in transient pleasure but in eternal pleasure. They know their constitutional position; they know they are not the body. The pleasures of the body are transient and are sought by rascals. (DS)
Repression is always there. If we are diseased, and the doctor advises us not to take solid food, we have to repress our appetite. In the system of brahmacarya, the brahmacäré represses his desire for sex. This is called tapasya, voluntary repression. Of course, this is very difficult without some better engagement. Therefore, as I said, we have to replace an inferior engagement with a superior one. When you are captivated by seeing the beautiful form of Krishna, you naturally no longer desire to see the beautiful form of a young woman. (DS, p, 494)
Çréla Prabhupäda: We must understand why this sex problem is there. If we tolerate a little itching sensation, we will be spared much pain. Yan maithunädi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham kanduyanena karayor iva duhkha-duhkham. “Sex life is compared to the rubbing of two hands to relieve an itch. Grihamedhés, householders without spiritual knowledge, think that this itching is the greatest platform of happiness, although it is actually a source of distress.” (SB 7.9.45) When ordinary men are overly attached to materialistic life, their only happiness is sexual intercourse. The shästras say that happiness derived from sexual intercourse is very, very insignificant. Indeed, it is not even happiness. At best, it may be considered a tenth-class happiness. Because people have no idea of the happiness of Krishna consciousness, they think that sex is the highest happiness. But if we analyze it, what kind of happiness is it? When we have an itch, we scratch it and feel some pleasure, but after the pleasure passes, the effects are abominable. The itch becomes worse. The shästras tell us that if we just try to tolerate the itching sensation, we will be spared a great deal of pain. This is possible if we practice this Krishna consciousness.
Çyämasundara däsa: Freud believed that neuroses, disorders, anxieties, and frustrations have their origin in repression.
Çréla Prabhupäda: And I am telling you that all these are due to sex. But we are not advocating repression. We give facility in the form of a wife. The sex impulse is to be directed to the wife.
Çyämasundara däsa: But Freud insisted that the sex impulse is present at the very beginning of life.
Çréla Prabhupäda: We also admit that. We say that as soon as the living being is embodied, he experiences hunger and sex. Why is that? Ahära-nidra-bhaya-maithuna. We find these impulses even in animals. These drives are already there. What is the use in philosophizing about them?
Çyämasundara däsa: Through psychoanalysis, pent-up emotions can be released; and the original shock mitigated by remembering and confessing.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But what guarantee is there that we will not receive another shock? The living entity is receiving shock after shock. You try to cure him of one, and another comes. It is a fact that material life is painful. As soon as you receive this material body, you must suffer the threefold miseries. Everyone is seeking happiness, but unless materialistic life is stopped, unless we put an end to birth, old age, disease, and death, there is no question of happiness. Materialistic life is a disease, and Vedic civilization attempts to cure this disease. Our program is total cure. No more shock. (DS)
Çréla Prabhupäda: Human life is meant for tapasya, for putting an end to sex. This is the process of brahmacarya. The only happiness in this material world is considered to be sexual. Yan maithunädi . (SB 7.9.45). The word ädi means the basic principle, which, in the material world, is sex. What is materialistic happiness? It is enjoying this life with one’s friends and family. But what kind of pleasure is this? It is compared to a drop of water in the desert. Actually, we are seeking unlimited pleasure. Ananda-mayo ’bhyäsät. How can this drop of water in the desert, which is materialistic pleasure, ever satisfy us? No one is satisfied, although people are having sex in so many different ways. And now young girls are almost going naked, and the female population is increasing everywhere. As soon as there is an increase in the female population, the women say, “Where are the men?” Then there must be disaster because every woman is trying to attract a man, and men will take advantage of this situation. When milk is available in the market, what is the use in keeping a cow?” The more men become attached to women, the more the female population will increase. When you have more sex, your power to beget a male child is diminished. When the male is less potent, a girl is born, and when a man is more potent, a boy is born. If a man’s discharge is larger, there will be a male child. If the women’s discharge is larger, there will be a female child. When women are easily available, men become weak, and they beget female children because they lose their power from overindulgence. Sometimes they even become impotent. If you don’t restrict your sex life, there will be so many disasters. Yämunäcärya says:
yad-avadhi mama cetah
nava-nava-rasa-dhämany udyatam rantum äsét
tad-avadhi bata näré-sangame smaryamäne
bhavati mukha-vikärah sushthu nishthévanam ca
“Since I have been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Krishna, realizing ever-new pleasure in Him, whenever I think of sex pleasure, I spit at the thought, and my lips curl with distaste.”
Çyämasundara däsa: Freud would consider this a form of repression.
Çréla Prabhupäda: His idea of repression is different from ours. Our repression means rising early in the morning, attending mangala-ärati, chanting the Hare Krishna mahä-mantra, and engaging in devotional service. In this way, we repress material propensities.
Çyämasundara däsa: In other words, it’s repression with awareness and knowledge.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Actual knowledge will come later. In the beginning, there is obedience to the spiritual master. In this way, we will not become habituated to undesirable activity. (DS)
To speak ill of sexual pleasure was certainly not a strategic move for one who wanted to create followers among the Lower East Side hippies. But Prabhupäda never considered changing his message. In fact, when Umäpati had mentioned that Americans didn’t like to hear that sex was only for conceiving children, Prabhupäda had replied, “I cannot change the philosophy to please the Americans.”
”What about sex?” asked the ISKCON attorney, Steve Goldsmith, one evening, speaking out from the rear of the crowded temple. “Sex should only be with one’s wife,” Prabhupäda said, “and that is also restricted. Sex is for the propagation of Krishna conscious children. My spiritual master used to say that to beget Krishna conscious children he was prepared to have sex a hundred times. Of course, that is most difficult in this age. Therefore, he remained a brahmacäré,”
”But sex is a very strong force,” Mr. Goldsmith challenged. “What a man feels for a woman is undeniable.”
”Therefore in every culture there is the institution of marriage,” Prabhupäda replied. “You can get yourself married and live peacefully with one woman, but the wife should not be used as a machine for sense gratification. Sex should be restricted to once a month and only for the propagation of children.”
Hayagréva, who was seated just to Swaméjé’s left, beside the large, dangling cymbal, spoke out suddenly. “Only once a month?” And with a touch of facetious humor he added loudly, “Better to forget the whole thing!”
”Yes! That’s it! Very good boy.” Swaméjé laughed, and others joined him. “It’s best not to think of it. Best just to chant Hare Krishna.” And he held up his hands as if he were chanting on a strand of beads. “That way we will be saved from such botheration. Sex is like the itching sensation, that’s all. And as we scratch, it gets worse, so we must tolerate the itching and ask Krishna to help us. It is not easy. Sex is the highest pleasure in the material world, and it is also the greatest bondage.” But Steve Goldsmith was shaking his head. Prabhupäda looked at him, smiling: “There is still a problem?”
”It’s just that, well, it’s been proved dangerous to repress the sex drive. There’s a theory that, we have wars because –”
“People are eating meat,” Prabhupäda interrupted. “As long as people eat meat, there will be war. And if a man eats meat, he will be sure to have illicit sex also.”
Steve Goldsmith was an influential friend and supporter of ISKCON. But Prabhupäda would not change the philosophy of Krishna consciousness “to please the Americans.” (SPL Ch. 21)
Çréla Prabhupäda objected to being called conservative. He was indignant: “Conservative? How is that?”
“In respect to sex and drugs,” Mukunda suggested.
“Of course, we are conservative in that sense,” Prabhupäda said. “That simply means we are following shästra. We cannot depart from Bhagavad-gétä. But conservative we are not. Chaitanya Mahäprabhu was so strict that He would not even look on a woman, but we are accepting everyone into this movement, regardless of sex, caste, position, or whatever. Everyone is invited to come chant Hare Krishna. This is Chaitanya Mahäprabhu’s munificence, His liberality. (SPL Ch. 22)
Upendra was still bothered by sexual desires. He thought that maybe he should get married. But he was confused about what a Krishna conscious marriage was supposed to be. How could you be married, he puzzled, if you don’t love the girl you want to marry? And how could you love her without having sex with her? He wanted to ask Swaméjé about this, but he kept it to himself, waiting for an opportunity and for the courage. Then one day he entered Prabhupäda’s room as Prabhupäda paced back and forth from one end of the room, with its three large bay windows overlooking Frederick Street, to the other end, where his rocking chair sat. Now, Upendra decided, he could ask his question. “Swaméjé,” he began, “may I ask a question?” “Yes,” Çréla Prabhupäda replied, stopping his pacing. “If a boy is separate from a girl, then how can he learn to love her?” Prabhupäda began to walk back and forth again, chanting on his beads. After a moment he turned and said softly, “Love? Love is for Krishna.” And he walked toward the window and looked down at the street below. “You want a girl? Pick one.” He pointed toward some women passing on the street. “There is no love in this material world,” he said. “Love is for Krishna.” (SPL Ch. 24)
Çréla Prabhupäda: Women and men can live separately. That is also essential. Butter and fire must be kept apart. Otherwise the butter will melt. You cannot stop it. (SPL Ch. 46)
“This is not the business of the guru,” said Prabhupäda, “how to increase sex life and family life. They are not happy, these Western men and women. They become married, but they are not happy. Therefore I recommend brahmacarya and sannyäsa life.” (SPL Ch. 49)
Control of the senses means that I can be in the midst of beautiful women, but I will feel no desire for sex. I have got sufficient strength, but I have no desire for this. That is real control of the senses. (Prabhupäda-lélä)
Yoga Student: What about sex desire? I want the spiritual, but I have such a strong desire for sex.
Prabhupäda: Hatha-yoga is also for controlling sex desire. If you have such desire, you are making no progress.
Yoga Student: How does a devotee of Krishna control sexual desire?
Prabhupäda: Automatically. Krishna is beautiful. We are accustomed to this habit for a very long time. Become sincere, and Krishna will protect you.
Yoga Student: Sometimes I have a sex urge. . .
Prabhupäda: What? You? Everybody! In birds, beasts, demigods, the binding force is sex. The material life means sex desire. If you have a strong sex desire, pray to Krishna. Know that this is the attack of mäyä. Pray, and mäyä will go away. You cannot fight with mäyä by your own energy. Mäyä is presenting herself more beautiful than Krishna. But Krishna is more beautiful. (Prabhupäda-lélä)
Marriage means 75% chance you will not go back to Godhead. (Çréla Prabhupäda, quoted in Servant of the Servant)
Then Prabhupäda proceeded to give a very powerful lecture about remaining brahmacäré, telling the men, “Why bother to get married? When you get married, your wife will immediately say, ‘Where is the house? Where are the children? Where is the clothing? Where is the food?’ In this way there will be so many problems.” He said it was better to stay simple and remain brahmacäré and preach Lord Chaitanya’s mission. (Servant of the Servant)
Prabhupäda lectured on the advantages of remaining a brahmacäré throughout one’s life. If one could do this, it would make going back to Godhead very simple. A brahmacäré need not worry where to sleep or how much to eat. He can sleep underneath a tree or even in the snow. His only concern is how to serve Krishna more and more. He does so much service that at night, when it is time for him to take rest, he falls asleep immediately, because he is free of any anxieties.
Grihastha life, however, is fraught with problems. As soon as one is married there are so many responsibilities which unnecessarily increase life’s problems. The wife will make demands: Where is our house? When will we have children? Where are my clothes? Food? In this way there will be so much disturbance, to no advantage. Instead one should be intelligent and avoid this botheration altogether. Simply spend your time distributing books, then there will be no time left for mäyä lure you.
The brahmacärés enjoyed hearing Çréla Prabhupäda glorify a life of celibacy dedicated to preaching. They were already experiencing a carefree existence by avoiding the entanglement of the opposite sex. To have their spiritual master confirm their position strengthened their resolve to remain fixed in their vow. But it was not always easy. When Çréla Prabhupäda called for questions, one devotee asked, “Çréla Prabhupäda, we have to approach so many women while distributing books in the parking lots. Yet we have just come from material life and are still feeling attraction. So what is the best way to preach without becoming affected?”
Prabhupäda immediately replied, “Sex life is an itch. It has to be tolerated. If you become tolerant, then the itching sensation will go away. Just learn to tolerate it and concentrate more on your service.” (Servant of the Servant)
A brahmacari should not see any kind of naked picture. That is violation of brahmacari law. (28/02/67) (Shrila Prabhupada specifies in this letter that this includes pictures of Krishna and the gopis.)
Krishna consciousness means to increase the number of persons in Krishna consciousness. Therefore it is the duty of a brahmacari to go door to door as a beggar and enlighten people in Krishna consciousness. Whenever you go to some person he will hear something from the devotee about Krishna consciousness and that will be very much beneficial for both the devotee and the person who hears the devotee. In India the brahmacaris are meant for begging from door to door for the spiritual master. But in your country this activity is not allowed, therefore some devices like selling the publications, recruiting members, inviting them to our meetings and likewise activities must be taken by the brahmacaris and that will be nice. (13/04/67)
You have written to say that your wife and you have a problem on which you require my help. The whole world, beginning with the highest planet to the lowest in the material world, is facing this problem. Combination of husband and wife is a necessary satisfaction of the sex urge. The foolish people see every day this problematic situation, still they are not intelligent enough to avoid it. Training of brahmacari life is especially meant for this purpose, and a student is advised not to indulge in sex life, just to avoid these problems. It is very difficult to satisfy a woman by a person who has no good income, neither very good health. The woman as a class wants sufficient means to eat and decorate and at the same time full satisfaction of sex. Any husband who cannot satisfy his wife by these three items, namely sufficient food, sufficient dress and ornament and sufficient satisfaction of sex, must meet all these problems. And as soon as one becomes engaged in solving these problems it is very difficult to make any progress in Krishna Consciousness. If one is serious to make any success in the matter of Krishna Consciousness, one should avoid the association of woman as far as possible. Married life is a sort of license to the incapable man who cannot avoid sex life. (13/11/67)
I thank you very much for your appreciation of my disciples in New York and you will be glad to know all my disciples in different centers are being so trained. The four principles of restriction, namely no illicit sex relations; no animal food; no intoxication and no gambling, are acting on their character. Character building is the groundwork for reaching Krishna Consciousness, and the Vedic injunction is that one can advance in spiritual life by following the rules of austerity and celibacy. (18/01/68)
Krishna consciousness movement is actually declaration of war against maya. The conditioned souls who wanted to enjoy this material world are captivated by the sex desires. If one wants to get out of material existence, he must control sex desires. The whole scheme of Vedic civilization is based on this principle of controlling sex desires. There are four orders of life: brahmacari, grihastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. The majority of the orders, namely brahmacari, vanaprastha and sannyasa, are forbidden sex life. Only the householders are allowed sex life. That is also restricted. That means sex life is condemned throughout because that is the cause of material bondage. Feeling of sex life in young boys and girls is quite natural, but one has to check such sex life by reason, argument and knowledge. The married boys and girls are there—in our society, sex life is not forbidden. If Jagatananda is feeling sex urge so urgently even at the age of 16 or 17, he must be prepared to take the responsibility of married life. I cannot allow in our society any nonsense like illicit sex life at any circumstance. Jagatananda must subdue his sex desire by chanting Hare Krishna, and praying to Krishna to help him. If not he must be prepared to marry and take the responsibility fully. Actually the association of young boys and girls is very much disruptive for brahmacari life, but in your country it is impossible to stop free mixing of young boys and girls. So voluntarily they have to check these sex desires until they are married. If they are strong enough in Krishna Consciousness any amount of sex urge will not disturb them. Even if it disturbs, it will come and go. Krishna is Madana Mohana, or the Enchanter of Cupid. And Cupid is the god of sex desire. So if anyone wants to enchant Cupid, instead of being enchanted by Cupid, he must take shelter of the Enchanter of Cupid, Shri Krishna. (21/01/68)
I understand that you sometimes feel sex urges and frustration. In the material world sex urge is the binding force for material existence. A determined person tolerates such sex urges as one tolerates the itching sensation of eczema. If not one can satisfy the sex urge by legitimate marriage. Immoral sex life and spiritual advancement are incompatible propositions. Your full engagement in Krishna consciousness and constant chanting will save you from all inconveniences. (22/01/68)
If you want sex life, you are at liberty to get yourself married, But don’t have illicit sex with some Maya’s representative. That won’t help you in your spiritual advancement. We don’t forbid sex life, but we cannot allow illicit sex. For a young man it is very difficult to check sex desire, therefore best thing is for him to get himself married, and live like a responsible gentleman. Irresponsible man cannot make progress materially or spiritually. You are intelligent young man, you can understand things as we say, and you follow and you will be benefited. Mistakes we may commit because it is not out of human activity, but at the same time, you must use your good consciousness how to achieve the goal of your life, Krishna. Please stick to this chanting process, sincerely, without offense, and everything will be all right with you. (12/02/68)
If we can make sex life nil we are 50% liberated. (15/02/68)
It does not matter whether one is a brahmacari or householder; the real test is how he is executing Krishna consciousness. (04/07/68)
Regarding your enemy, Mr. Lust, we should always remember that Krishna is stronger than any demon, and Mr. Lust, or his father or grandfather. Nobody can do anything provided we take shelter of Krishna tightly. But the proposal that marriage will solve the problem of lust is not practical. Neither wife should be accepted as a machine for satisfying our lust. The marriage tie should be taken as sacred. One who marries for subduing lust is mistaken. Because lust cannot be satisfied simply by engaging in sense gratification. It is compared with extinguishing fire with a large amount of petrol. For the time being, the fire may appear to be extinguished by pouring a large quantity of petrol, but the petrol itself is so dangerous that at any time, it can be in flame. So to subdue lust is a difficult process. Then you have to take to Deity worship. So apart from the marriage proposal, you may immediately take to Deity worship. I am sure this process, helped by your regular chanting, will kill Mr. Lust, rest assured. (07/10/68)
Unless our brahmacaris are very adamant (to remain) as brahmacari, 1 shall recommend everyone to marry. But if one can live as brahmacari, that is better. (16/10/68)
The Deity worship must be continued by everyone. Another way of success is that when one is very much sexually disturbed he should think of Lord Krishna’s pastimes with the gopis and he will forget his sex urge. To think of Krishna’s pastimes with the gopis, bur not to try to imitate. (08/11/68)
You write to say that you are having trouble with sex agitation. Why you do not marry then? Either you become grihastha or what choice is there? Either you train yourself and pray to Krishna, begging that you remain brahmacari or else get yourself married. (02/12/68)
I always recommend that one should remain brahmacari if possible. (24/01/69)
I am pleased by your wish to remain as a brahmacari, and if you stick to your decision you will be able to go Back to Godhead, back to home, in this very life without waiting for another birth. Please try in every way to stick to this principle, and simply engage yourself in Krishna’s service. That will protect you from any attack of maya. Maya can take Krishna’s place in our heart as soon as there is a slackness on our part. Otherwise, if Krishna is seated always, maya has no opportunity to occupy the seat. Try to follow this method and you will surely be successful. (01/02/69)
As far as your occasional agitation from maya, the answer is very simple that one must either strictly control his senses, or else he must get himself married. If one is strong enough in Krishna Consciousness, then there is no reason to become grihastha, but if one is still disturbed by sex desire, then marriage is the only other possibility. But if one is still brahmacari, then he must be sure to follow all the rules and regulations very strictly. There is no place in spiritual life for cheating in this matter. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has never criticized a householder for having sex life for the purpose of bearing children. But when it came to Junior Haridasa, who was posing as a sannyasi but was still engaging in lustful thoughts, Lord Chaitanya would not tolerate, and Junior Haridasa was banished from the association of the Lord. So this is very important that we remain very firm in our vow of brahmacari, or if this is very difficult, then householder life is the next satisfactory solution (08/02/69)
It is very nice that you are wishing to remain as a brahmacari. Actually it doesn’t matter if one is a householder or brahmacari. Sincerity of purpose is the only qualification of Krishna consciousness. Shri Narottam Das Thakur says that he hankers after the company of any person, never mind whether he is in the renounced order of life or in householder life, just as long as he is merged into the ocean of Krishna Consciousness. That is the one qualification. (13/02/69)
To become agitated is not very unusual thing, but to control it, that is the real thing. Sex life is not sense gratification; unlawful sex life is sense gratification. (23/03/69)
As far as your decision to remain a brahmacari, it is very good, and if you follow the rules and regulations and chant regularly and pray to Lord Balaram and Chaitanya, surely he will give you the necessary strength and if you can continue as brahmacari then you avoid so much botherations of worldly life. (21/05/69)
A brahmacari has nothing to do except serve his spiritual master. That is the injunction of the Bhagavat. A brahmacari is supposed to work as a menial servant of the spiritual master, and whatever collection he gets, it becomes the spiritual master’s property, not the brahmacari’s. That is real brahmacari life. If a brahmacari earns money for his sense gratification, that is not brahmacari life. Better one should become a householder and live peacefully. (29/06/69)
Regarding the question about marriage, the thing is that as I am a sannyasi, I am not concerned with family life, but because I want to see all my disciples happy in Krishna Consciousness, therefore those who are feeling some sexual disturbance are requested by me to get themselves married. Another principle is that those who are brahmacaris, they should sacrifice all of their income and collection for the Krishna consciousness movement, whereas those who are married should work, earning money as much as possible, and at least 50% should be spent for the Krishna consciousness movement. So we have no objection for allowing you to get married, but it is up to you to consider if you will work hard and earn money both for Krishna and your family. You cannot get married and at the same time not earn money. Of course, by preaching Sankirtana Movement, if you are satisfied with a small income, that is also nice. (05/07/69)
We shall always pray to Krishna that we are weak and Maya is very strong. So seek for His protection in every step so Maya may not inflict upon us her trident injuries. Perhaps you have seen the picture of Durga carrying the trident in her hand, which is a symbol of the threefold miseries of material existence. Maya’s most attractive feature is women and money. We Krishna Conscious men have to deal with women and money in the course of preaching work, and the only prophylactic measure to save us is not to accept them for our sense gratification. Then we shall remain strong enough. Materialistic people take everything for sense gratification and Krishna Conscious people take everything for Krishna’s satisfaction. There is no fault in the thing as it is—namely women and money—but it becomes faulty by improper use. The improper use is to accept them for sense gratification. As it is stated in Bhagavad-gita, we can remain very strong from this by taking a firm shelter under the Lotus Feet of Krishna, by chanting His Holy Name incessantly, and praying always for being engaged in His service. In this way He will protect us from our weakness. (18/10/69)
Krishna consciousness is not limited within any circle. Brahmacari, grihastha, or sannyasi, everyone is eligible for cultivating Krishna consciousness. These are the stages for gradual development of control of the strong senses in the material environment. But any order of life suitable for a particular person in which he can most favorably execute his Krishna consciousness is the best position to take up. Generally, if one can remain a brahmacari, it is very convenient, and from brahmacari one can take sannyasa. But in this age of Kali, Bhaktivinoda Thakur recommends that it is better to cultivate Krishna Consciousness as a householder. (02/11/69)
Krishna is very merciful to His sincere devotees, but also we have to remember that maya is very strong. Therefore we always have to be engaged in serving Krishna. At every moment we should be doing this or that service for Krishna’s transcendental pleasure. If we do not remember this, then maya is right there to grab us. It all depends on our leaning towards Krishna or towards maya. If you lean towards Krishna, you will be in Krishna consciousness; and if you lean towards maya, then you will be captivated by material nature. Krishna and maya are just like light and shadow which are directly next to one another. If you move a little this way, you are in light and there is no question of shadow. But if you move a little the other way, you are in darkness. So if we remember to always be engaged in Krishna’s service, then there will be no maya and everything will be all right. Please always remember this great secret of advancement in Krishna consciousness. (20/11/69)
(It) is my open opinion that if anyone can remain a brahmacari all the time, without being disturbed by sex urge or who can tolerate such urges, there is not any need for him to marry and take some extra responsibilities. But one who is disturbed in mind, he must get himself married. Therefore, it has to be decided by oneself if he should marry or not marry. It is a fact however, that if one is thoroughly engaged in Krishna’s service, this sex urge does not have much disturbance. But you have got to work outside with karmis and different types of people. Under the circumstances, if you have a good wife to help you, that will be very nice. Another difficulty is that in the modern civilization everyone is independent spirited. The girls are no longer very much humble and submissive to their husbands. So you must be prepared to tolerate such whims of your future wife. According to our Vedic civilization, disagreements between husband and wife are not taken very seriously. But the modern age allows divorce even, either by the husband or the wife. These things are not good. But after marrying, certainly there will be some disagreements or misunderstandings between husband and wife. So consider all these points, and you can decide yourself. But if you marry, I have no objection. (26/11/69)
Because he is a family man, he should have some special consideration. A brahmacari can tolerate any inconvenience, but women and children cannot. (15/12/69)
My open advice is that if anyone can remain a brahmacari, it is very nice, but there is no need of artificial brahmacaris. In Bhagavad-gita it is stated that one who exhibits himself outwardly as self restrained, but inwardly he thinks of sense gratification, he is condemned as mithyacara, which means false pretender. We do not want any false pretenders in numbers, but we want a sincere soul. There is no harm in accepting a wife and living without any disturbance of the mind and thus sincerely advancing in Krishna Consciousness. (02/02/70)
So far as controlling kama, or lust, the best thing is don’t eat any highly spiced foodstuffs and always think of Krishna. Chant regularly and get yourself married as soon as possible, and live a peaceful householder’s life in Krishna consciousness. (27/05/71)
Rejection of illicit sex life is our first motto. (14/10/71)
Brahmacari life or celibacy is better, because if the semina is saved it fertilizes the brain for sharpening the memory, and if there is good memory, our Krishna Consciousness becomes perfect: hearing, chanting, remembering—that is the process. (20/01/72)
Our thoughts are always changing—that is the nature of the mind—so you cannot expect that even the great saintly persons are free from thoughts coming and going. But after thinking there is feeling and willing—willing being the stage of putting the thoughts into action. So if we are able to employ our intelligence, then we kill the thoughts before they become manifest in activity, but because we are so much inclined to enjoy something intelligently, we have to therefore daily sharpen our intelligence faculty by reading and discussing, and preaching to others. In this way we are able very easily to defeat all challengers to our philosophy, and everything becomes very clear as it is revealed from different angles of vision. (28/02/72)
This brahmacari system is there, but if one is not so strong, then he is allowed to marry, but he must expect that the after effects will always be troublesome. Everywhere I see people, man and wife with family, and all of them suffer, but still they go on producing more. Sex means trouble. Therefore one should become dhira and not be attracted by this sex life. Henceforward, anyone proposing to marry must produce some outside income and live outside the temple; they must know this in advance and be prepared to carry such burden. Let them be married, but at their own risk. I cannot sanction anymore. My Guru Maharaj never allowed, but when I came to your country it was a special circumstance so I gave concession. But I am not so much inclined anymore, so I shall not sanction. But they may marry on their own risk of knowing that such arrangements are always troublesome. (28/02/72)
Regarding your question about thinking about sex: is that also one form of illicit sex or against our four principles? Yes, even thinking sex is the same as illicit sex, but one who is not advanced cannot avoid it. But that does not disturb our regular procedure. We should strongly follow all the regulations and principles and chant and these thoughts will come and go away. Thinking will come; even saintly persons like Lord Siva are not free of thoughts that come, so what to speak of you. So we must say that such thinking is no offense because you are accustomed to this habit. But beyond thinking are feeling and willing. So even thoughts of sex connection may come—that is difficult even for saintly persons to avoid—still, in the further stages of feeling and willing we can easily conquer over this sex urge. Willing should be avoided and acting stopped, or else there is the offense of breaking this basic prohibition of illicit sex life. “Because thinking comes I shall give it practical shape”: that is nonsense, but because it is an old habit we are unable to check it unless we can understand the nature of feeling, willing and then action, and how by proper use of intelligence we can prevent thoughts which must come from maturing into actions. That is the practical application of Krishna Conscious regulative principles. Even Lord Chaitanya Himself said that sometimes when 1 see a wooden form of a woman, my mind becomes agitated. But that does not mean that we should give it practical shape; that is intelligence. One must be convinced that sex; life without exception means trouble; therefore he is able to stop it at the thinking stage by not allowing it to be felt, much less willed and acted. I am so much disgusted by this troublesome business of marriage, because nearly every day I receive some complaint from husband and wife, and practically this is not my business as sannyasi to be a marriage counselor. So henceforward I am not sanctioning any more marriages, and those who want to marry must know in advance and be prepared to make outside income to support wife and home separately from the temple. And in the temple husband and wife shall live separately. That must be, or what is the meaning of spiritual society like ours? I made a concession, but how can I encourage something which has proven to be so much trouble? (28/02/72)
Your question is how much or how little brahmacaris should associate with the unmarried brahmacarinis in the temple. As a brahmacari you should not mix at all with brahmacarinis. Actually they should not at all see the face, but that is not possible in your country. But as far as possible remain separate and talk almost nil. A brahmacari is advised not to go near a young woman anywhere. A brahmacari should always address every woman as mother. In your country it is a little difficult, but the principle is to avoid. To talk secretly or privately is strictly prohibited. If you want to discuss philosophy and other matters you can discuss publicly in a meeting, but not privately. A brahmacari and unmarried woman in the same room together alone is strictly forbidden. (30/09/72)
Outside of loving God there is no possibility of loving. Rather, there is lusty desire only. Within this atmosphere of matter, the entire range of human activities—and not only every activity of human beings but of all living entities—is based upon, given impetus and thus polluted by sex desire, the attraction between male and female. For that sex life, the whole universe is spinning around—and suffering! That is the harsh truth. So-called love here means that “you gratify my senses, I’ll gratify your senses,” and as soon as that gratification stops, immediately there is divorce, separation, quarrel, and hatred. So many things are going on under this false conception of love. Actual love means love of God, Krishna. (Letter to Lynne Ludwig, 27/11/73, published in The Science of Self-Realization)
You leaders see that the Krishna Conscious standards in regard to initiation, cleanliness, dress and activities of the devotees, the restriction of association between men and women, all be strictly followed. Devotional service cannot be done whimsically. (01/01/74)
Human life is meant for tapasya, and tapasya must begin with brahmacari life at gurukula. The boy is supposed to sleep on the floor. During the day he should collect alms for the spiritual master. He does not try very hard to make a comfortable material arrangement. The result of our gurukula training is that, although everyone in this age is born a shudra, we are producing first-class brahmanas who can actually do good for their fellow man. (11/04/74)
Krishna is always strong. If you are fully engaged in Krishna’s service, attraction of woman will be a myth only. It is only Krishna’s grace. Of course we are old men now, but even old men are attracted still by women. So even old man or young man, if one’s mind is fixed up in Krishna’s lotus feet, there will be no such mundane attraction. (01/09/74)
If you can remain a brahmacari that is the best way of life. (07/09/74)
The more you become Krishna conscious the more you will forget sex life. Sex life is the original root cause of material bondage. When one takes to Krishna consciousness gradually sex becomes at last abominable; then he is fit to enter back home back to Godhead. (07/09/74)
If there is agitation in the mind then there is no fault. Actually this is only natural in the material world, unless the mind is fully purified in Krishna consciousness. But by engaging in devotional service gradually the mind will become purified and the agitation will vanish. So if there is simply agitation in the mind there is no fault. But if there is indulgence in sex, then there is big fault. If one engages in illicit sex life he has broken the promise to the spiritual master and that is a great offense. (28/12/74)
A brahmacari’s business is to study and then to go to make some collection on behalf of the guru. Woman is good and man is good, but if you combine them, both become bad, unless there is regulation. In India private talks with women are immediately condemned. (14/07/75)
In Delhi there is a certain kind of laddu which has such a taste, that anyone who has tasted it once, he laments, oh how I would like to taste again. And anyone who has never tasted, and one who has tasted, both are lamenting. Wife is like that. Sex life is nasty, but out of illusion we think it is nice. (01/09/75)
There are two things: Krishna and sex life. So if you want to have Krishna, one must be above illicit sex life. That requires some strength. So you have to impress upon them that following these rules and regulations, especially by chanting Hare Krishna, one will become strong. Unfortunately, we have no taste for this chanting. This is our misfortune. (18/11/75)
Marriage is not recommended. Are you prepared to get a job, live outside the temple in an apartment, provide the wife with bangles, saris and sex? Better you concentrate on this chanting and hearing process, teach others and give them prasada. (06/12/75)
Regarding your getting married, I have no objection. However as a brahmacari you are not obligated to marry; what is the advantage to your getting married? That should be considered. If one can remain brahmacari that is best. Finish this life and go back to Godhead; that is the basic idea of Krishna consciousness movement. So you decide. (31/12/75)
The brahmacari lives at the place of and works for the benefit of the spiritual master by begging for his maintenance, by cleaning, by learning the principles of Krishna consciousness, and by engaging in the process of bhagavata-dharma. Thus, due to strong training in the beginning, his life has a firm, sane foundation with which he can overcome the forces of maya. (20/01/76)
The only way that we can overcome maya is to sincerely and seriously take shelter of Krishna. So chant very sincerely and follow the four required principles strictly, and very soon you will be able to find shelter from the miseries of material attachment. (08/07/76)
By controlling sex desire one becomes the most perfect sober person. (07/09/76)
If you feel maya attractive, then live an honest life as a householder and contribute to our movement… My request is that you don’t become an ordinary foolish man. Keep Krishna consciousness in any condition of life. That is success. (29/10/76)
If one is fully engaged in preaching, his mind will be subdued. That is the only way. (20/12/76)
Sex indulgence is not good; it is grossly material and we have to surpass it. But when one has staunch faith in Krishna, he’ll be able to transcend the urge. Now you will be able to chastise your sex dictations. You are determined, so Krishna will help you. (19/01/77)
Atyähära means to eat more than what you need or to accumulate more than what you need. Ahära means eating, and ähära means accumulation. So, of course, any householder, he requires some deposit in the bank for emergency. That is, of course, allowed for householders. But just for us, we are sannyäsé; we are renounced order of. . . We haven’t got to accumulate any money. You see? That is the system of Indian philosophy. But those who are householder, family men, they may have some deposit for emergency. Otherwise, those who are renounced order, those who are brahmacäré, for them to keep money separately for his maintenance or for accumulating bank balance is not allowed. (28/03/66)
If my mind is concentrated on the beauty of Krishna I can see these beautiful girls as Krishna’s gopés. (01/09/66)
Simply by desiring to go back to home, back to Godhead one is supposed to follow the vow of brahmacäré. Brahmacäré, to live the life of celibacy, this is called brahmacäré. So it has got so nice effect that if anyone from the birth to the death simply observe this life of celibacy he is sure to go back to home. Simply by observing one rule: yad icchanto brahmacaryam caranti. It is so nice, brahmacärya. (01/09/66)
And brahmacäri-vrate sthitah. Brahmacäri-vrata means celibacy, no sex life at all. Completely prohibited. Brahmacäré. Brahmacäri-vrate. Vrata means with a vow that “I’ll have no sex life,” with a vow. Such person can execute yoga system.
One who has his relationship with wife under rules and regulation and does not know any other woman, he is also brahmacäré. That is also called brahmacäré-vrata. And one who lives complete celibacy life, that he is also brahmacäré. So that brahmacäré-vrata is essential for yogi. (07/09/66)
When a man or woman comes to sixteen years, that is the beginning of youthful life. So 16 to 20 years, this is very nice. In full energy. And that is the time for growth, intelligence. Unfortunately, we spoil this period. So we become less intelligent, life becomes shorter. If we spoil this period, then our life will be shortened. And if we keep this period complete celibacy, brahmacäré, then you can live up to hundred years. (19/07/71)
Those who are too much lusty, lover of the vagina, they may worship Indra. If you want vagina instead of Krishna, all right, do it. You have it. So unfortunately, if our student falls a victim of vagina instead of Krishna, that is very regrettable. Then better he worship Indra instead of Krishna. (22/05/72)
There may be thousands of beautiful women before a devotee, but that does not disturb his mind. He sees they are all energies of Krishna. “They are gopés of Krishna. They are enjoyable by Krishna. I have to serve them. They’re gopés. Because I am servant of the servant.” Gopé-bhartuh pada-kamalayoh däsa-däsa-däsänudäsah. So a devotee should try to engage all beautiful women in the service of Krishna. That is his duty—not to enjoy them. That is sense gratification. This is the position of a devotee. He’s not pierced by the arrows of Cupid, but he sees everything in relationship with Krishna. (11/11/72)
So this materialistic life means sex life. Very, very abominable, tuccham. If anyone has understood this, then he’s liberated. But if, when one is still attracted, then it is to be understood that there is still delay in liberation. And one who has understood and has left it, even in this body he’s liberated. He’s called jévan-muktah sa ucyate. éhä yasya harer däsye karmanä manasä girä nikhiläsv apy avasthäsu jévan-muktah sa ucyate. So how we can become free from this desire? Ihä yasya harer däsye, If you simply desire to serve Krishna, then you can get out. Otherwise, not. That is not possible. If you desire anything else except the service of the Lord, then mäyä will give you inducement, “Why not enjoy this?” “ (26/08/73)
A brahmacäré, from the very beginning of his life, he is trained to act only for guru. That is brahmacäré. It is enjoined that a brahmacäré live at the shelter, at the care of guru just like a menial servant. Krishna also, although He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, when He was living as brahmacäré at His guru’s house, Sändépani Muni, he was collecting wood, fuel, from the jungle. He was going daily. It is not that because He was Personality of Godhead, therefore He should not go.
A brahmacäré is trained up from the very beginning how to become a sannyäsé at the end of life. How he is trained up? He is trained up to collect for guru alms. He is trained up in that way that although he has collected everything, but he does not claim anything. He does not keep anything with him. Even though he has to eat in the äshrama, but that he will eat upon the calling by the guru, ''My dear such and such, please come and take your prasädam.’’ It is said, if the guru forgets to call him one day, he will not take his food. This is called brahmacäré, means strictly following. And they used to call every woman from the beginning of life, ''Mother.’’ This is training. mätrivat para-däreshu. From the very beginning of life, all women they are treated as mother. (05/04/74)
This is brahmacäré life, voluntarily accepting hardship for making life successful. (12/06/74)
Sometimes we enjoy subtle pleasure, thinking of sex life. That is called näré-sangame. Näré means woman, and sanga means union. So those who are practiced, so when there is actually no union, they think of union. So Yämunäcärya said that “Not actually union with woman, but if I think of union,” tad-avadhi bata näré-sangame smaryamäne, smaryamäne, “Simply by thinking,” bhavati mukha-vikärah, “Oh, immediately I become disgusted: ‘Ah, what is this nasty thing?’ ” Sushthu nishthé. . . (spits) This is perfect. (chuckles) This is perfection. Yes. So long we’ll think of, that is called subtle sex, thinking. They read the sex literature. That is subtle sex. Gross sex and subtle sex. So one has to become completely free from these lusty desires, not to become implicated which will never be satisfied, unsatiated, dushpuram. (06/02/75)
The material world means there is a heart disease, which is called käma. Hrid-roga-käma. If I see one engaged in lusty or sex affairs naturally my sex desire also becomes awakened, even though I am trying to control it. In the neophyte stage, still if I see in front of me some lusty affairs naturally I will be inclined.
(Ajämila) was a brahmacäré practicing sama, dama, but he could not control. All of a sudden he became very much attracted. This is the social condition. If in society we have no restriction then naturally those young boys and girls will be inclined. And as soon as one is sexually inclined he forgets all other culture and gradually becomes downfallen, as we will see from the life of Ajämila, although he was trained up. Similarly, this is a warning to our students that they are learning how to become Krishna conscious. It is a very difficult job to become Krishna conscious; it is not an easy thing. But by the grace of Chaitanya Mahäprabhu we are trying to teach and it is becoming effective, otherwise how you all Europeans and Americans can give up these four sinful activities? So try to preserve. It can be preserved only by remaining in devotional service, the shuddha-sattva, vasudeva, platform. These rules and regulations, restrictions, means to keep one on the vasudeva platform. Rising early in the morning, offering mangala-ärati, then gradually one after another, attending class, guru-pujä; and so on. Up till you go to bed you should always be engaged. Then you will be above these three gunas. And if we keep on the vasudeva platform these things will not entice us; otherwise we shall be enticed and fall down.
Sometimes we go to hear or see räsa-lélä, but unless we are advanced in spiritual consciousness, this hearing or seeing of räsa-lélä brings us down. If one is actually seeing räsa-lélä, heard from a realized person, one who is actually advanced in spiritual consciousness, the result will be that our natural lusty desires will disappear. But instead of disappearing our lusty desires, if we increase our lusty desires, that means we are spoiling our life. Therefore it is forbidden for neophyte students to indulge in these affairs of räsa-lélä. You should be very careful. People are very much accustomed to see räsa-lélä in Vrindävana. Maybe they are advanced, but the test is that he has given up his lusty desires. If he has given them up, after seeing räsa-lélä he should not have returned home. My Guru Mahäräja used to say, “Do not go to Vrindävana with a return ticket.” It is very confidential.
Brahmacäré, there are so many restrictions. There are eight kinds of subtle sex. But in the Kali-yuga it is very difficult to follow the rules and regulations. One is not trained up. Even up to ripe old age one becomes attracted by beautiful women, especially in the Western countries.
When you are no longer attracted by this sex desire then you should understand that, “I am now making progress in Krishna consciousness.” This is the test. We should be very careful, but simply becoming careful is not enough; we must advance in Krishna consciousness. That is very easily done by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. If you keep yourself always engaged in Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare. . . simply by chanting if you follow the rules and regulations, then you will not be victimized. You will progress without any fear. (28/08/75)
(Ajämila saw in front of him a young man and woman embracing and kissing. In such a situation) it is very difficult to restrain. Unless one is very advanced it is not possible. Unless one is very strong in Krishna consciousness it is very difficult to restrain the mind and senses. Cupid is always disturbing. This whole material world means Madana, Cupid. People work very hard in cities like hogs and dogs. They say we are hungry, we must work very hard. But that is not the fact.
The real fact is that we want to enjoy sex. As far as hunger is concerned, you can control, but sex desire is very difficult to control. Yan maithunädi. Sexual intercourse is the beginning of material life. You know how strong sexual desires are in the Western countries. Even an old man, going to die, he has also. Although he cannot enjoy sex, still he’s trying his best by medicine, by intoxication, by stimulants. That is the only happiness of this material world.
Human civilization means to create a population of dhéra. Not to be disturbed by the sex impulse. Not that so many so-called sädhus now preaching openly yoga by sex.
This mental agitation will go on as long as we are not attracted by Madana-mohana. So long as we are not attracted by Madana-mohana we must be attracted by Madana. Unless you can control your mind not to be disturbed by Madana, there is no question of liberation or devotional service.
Just like a thief is going to steal. He also tries to control it. “I’m going to steal, the after effect will be that I’ll be arrested and I’ll have to go to jail. And it is forbidden by shästra and state laws also. I’m going to steal but there is risk.” The consciousness beats him but he cannot control. This is the position. He knows everything but still he steals. The same thing happened here. Ajämila was a learned brähmana. He knew that “I am being agitated by the sex desire, it is not good.” He had sufficient education in Vedic knowledge. He tried to control the mind as far as the intelligence concerned, but he could not control. Why? The mind was too much agitated by lusty desires. This is the point. Lusty desires are very strong.
Therefore shästra says “Don’t be alone even with your mother, daughter or sister.” Even a vidvän (like Ajämila) can be disturbed. Don’t talk in a solitary place with a woman even if she happens to be your mother, daughter or sister. The mind is so susceptible, but the mind can be controlled only by Krishna consciousness. Ambarésha Mahäräja showed us the example. Simply engage your mind in thinking of Krishna and talk of Krishna, then this agitation will not disturb you. (29/08/75)
Material life means sex. Yan maithunädi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham. In the material world, not only in the human society but also in the birds, beasts, animals and insects—everywhere—the sex impulse is very strong. And if you indulge in sex life then you’ll be implicated more and more in this material body. This is the law of nature. Therefore the whole Vedic civilization is meant for curtailing sex life. First of all brahmacäré. No sex life. First training is brahmacäré—how to train him to remain without sex, that is brahmacäré. Tapasä brahmacaryena. Tapasya means to remain brahmacäré. This is tapasya. Very, very difficult, therefore it is called tapasya. Because the whole world is attracted by sex life, pumsah striyä mithuné-bhävam. The whole world, not only in this planet but in every planet, even in the demigods’ planet. So this Krishna consciousness movement means not bodily conscious. The material world means bodily conscious, how to keep the body comfortable. But that is not possible. Body means misery. You cannot keep it with comfort. That is mäyä. It will never be comfortable but they are all trying to make it comfortable. This is called mäyä. Kleshada asa deha. So long you have a material body, you’ll have to suffer.
So this Krishna consciousness movement is not on the bodily platform. It is on the spiritual platform. To come to the spiritual platform it is necessary that you reduce or make nil sex life. So if one remains brahmacäré throughout the whole life it becomes very easy for him to go back to home, back to Godhead. This is a secret. Therefore the whole Vedic civilization is based on, first of all, brahmacäré—no sex life. Grihastha, that is also very regulated. Only for begetting a child can one have sex life. Father, mother, men and women. Dharmäviruddha kämo ’smi. In the Bhagavad-gétä Krishna says sex life which is prescribed by the religious system is Me. Otherwise it is illicit sex. So for illicit sex there is punishment.
So tapasya means tapasä brahmacaryena shamena ca damena ca. We have to control. The more one controls he becomes advanced in spiritual culture. The yoga system means yoga indriya-samyama. Yoga means how to control the senses. Therefore Krishna says mayy äsakta-manäh pärtha. So sex indulgence is against spiritual advancement of life. Therefore we have seen that for the brahmacäré it is very easy to enter into the spiritual kingdom. So that you can do here also. If you increase your attraction for Krishna then naturally you’ll lose the attraction for sex. That is Krishna consciousness. Therefore Krishna’s name is Madana Mohana. Madana means sex life. You can enchant him, Madana. So these are things which the devotee will learn by studying the literature. But even without studying if you sincerely chant the Hare Krishna mantra under regulation, everything, all good qualifications will come. (27/10/75)
There is a very instructive story, and it is a historical fact. The Muslim emperor Akhbar once inquired from his minister, “How long does one remain in lusty desires?” The minister replied, “Up to the last point of death.” Akhbar did not believe it, and he said, “No, no, how can you say that?” “All right,” said the minister, “I shall reply in time.” So one day, all of a sudden, the minister approached the emperor and said, “You be immediately ready to come with me with your young daughter.” Akhbar knew that his minister was very intelligent, and there must be some purpose. He went with him, and the minister took him to a person who was going to die. The minister then asked Akhbar, “Kindly study the man who is about to die, on his face.” So Akhbar noticed that as he and his young daughter were entering, the dying man was looking to the face of the young girl. In this way, Akhbar understood, “Yes, what he said is true. Up to the last point of death the desire is there to see the face of a young girl.” “This is called dushpurena—it is never fulfilled. This attraction of man and woman and family life continues.” (10/12/75)
Brahmacarya means restraining sex life. Celibacy. When one is serious about advancement of spiritual consciousness, he must live under the control of the guru, to learn how to become a brahmacäré. A devotee doesn’t need to practice brahmacarya separately—he is not attracted to sex (because he has a higher taste).
In our society, compulsorily, we have to mix with women—not only women—very beautiful young girls. But if one is not agitated, even in this association of beautiful women and girls, then he is to be considered a paramahamsa, very advanced. So we cannot avoid in Krishna consciousness movement. That was the problem from the beginning. In India there is restriction between man and women freely intermingling, but in your country there is no such restriction. Therefore I got my disciples married. They criticized me that I have become a marriage maker. Anyway I wanted at least to regulate. That is required. Dharmäviruddho bhuteshu kämo ’smi.
Krishna also says. A married man can also be a brahmacäré. If a married man sticks to one wife and if before sex he takes permission from his spiritual master then he is a brahmacäré. Not whimsically. When the spiritual master orders him that now you can beget a child, then he’s brahmacäré.
Çréla Véraräghaväcärya has described in his commentary that there are two kinds of brahmacäré. One kind is naishthika-brahmacäré; he doesn’t marry. And another kind, although he marries, he’s fully under the control of the spiritual master even for sex. He is also a brahmacäré.
Why so much restriction on sex life? People do not understand throughout the whole world. They are captivated by sex life, especially in the Western countries. Material existence means desire for sex life, both man and woman. We are already bewildered, attached to the material world, but when we are united, man and woman together, our attachment for this material world increases.
This human form of life is meant for tapasya, to learn how to become detached from this material world. And the beginning is this brahmacäré life. Brahmacäré gurukule vasan däntah. Dänta means self-controlled. That is real teaching. According to Vedic civilization, there is no sex life except for begetting a nice child, and that also with garbhädhäna-samskära. In other words, whimsical sex life is completely stopped in Vedic civilization. There everything is under regulation. Therefore brahmacäré means how to control the senses, to keep under his own control, not that, “I am now sexually inclined. I must immediately have sex.” We should always remember that this human life is meant for controlling the senses. Athäto brahma jijnäsä. It is simply meant for inquiring about spiritual life. That is perfect civilization.
Therefore brahmacäré means living under the direction of the guru. Guror hitam means how he can simply be thinking of benefiting the spiritual master. Unless that position comes nobody can serve guru. It is not an artificial thing. The brahmacäré, disciple must have genuine love for guru, then he can be under his control. Otherwise why should one be under the control of another person? Therefore it is said, äcaran däsavat. Däsa means menial servant. A disciple is expected to live in gurukula. Gurukula means at the shelter of guru, nécavat, as a menial servant. This can be possible when one is very thickly related with the guru. Otherwise an ordinary relationship will not do. (12/04/76)
A machine works systematically. Everyone has seen that the machine of the watch is working very systematically, correctly. Similarly, every student, every disciple, must work very correctly like a machine. There is no question, why you did not attend the school or the class. You cannot say that you did this and this, no. As a machine works, so everyone should attend the class, rise early in the morning, attend mangala-ärati. No discrepancy. That is wanted.
Then, in the beginning the student should come and offer obeisances to the lotus feet of the guru. This is the beginning. Adau gurväshrayam. Yasya prasädad bhagavata prasädah. This is the principle. If you offer your respectful obeisances to the guru he becomes pleased. Anyone, even if one is an offender, if he comes and offers obeisances to the superior, guru, then even if there was an offense, he forgets. That should be done regularly. Just like a machine. As soon as one sees guru, immediately he must offer obeisances. Beginning and end. When he comes to see guru, he must offer obeisances, and when he leaves that place, he must offer obeisances. In between coming and going he should learn from the guru Vedic understanding. This is the principle of living in gurukula.
Our students are very obedient. If they see the guru a hundred times, he practices this process of offering obeisances while meeting and while going away. These things are to be practiced, then dänta, brahmäcäri gurukule vasan dänto. Then he’ll be self-controlled. Obedience is the first way of discipline. If there is no obedience there cannot be any discipline, and if there is no discipline you cannot manage anything. That is not possible. Therefore, this is very essential that the students should be very disciplined. Disciple means one who follows discipline. The Sanskrit word shishya, comes from the verb shäs, shäsana, ruling. So shishya means one who voluntarily accepts the ruling of the spiritual master. (14/04/76)
The recommendation is there. Tapasä brahmacaryena. Celibacy. No sex life. That is the beginning of tapasya. Meditation means tapasya. Tapasä brahmacaryena shamena. Çama, to control the senses. To keep so the senses may not be agitated. Damena. Even if it is agitated, by my knowledge I have to cut down. Just like if I become agitated by seeing a beautiful woman, a beautiful boy—that is natural. Young boy, young girl, they’re naturally attracted. There is nothing suprising. But tapasya means “I have taken a vow—no illicit sex.” That is knowledge. “Even if I am attracted I shall not do.” This is tapasya. “Because I am attracted, now we shall enjoy”—that is not tapasya. Tapasya means even if one is attracted he should not act. That is tapasya. There may be some difficulty to control but that should be practiced. It can be practiced. It is not very difficult but one has to practice with determination. Now I have taken a vow before the Deity. Because at the time of initiation it is promised before the Deity, before the fire, before the spiritual master, and before the Vaishnavas that I will not have illicit sex. That is promised. How can I break it?
I have taken a vow before the Deity, before the fire, before my spiritual master, before the Vaishnavas: “No illicit sex, no meat eating, no drinking or intoxication, no gambling.” I have promised it. If I am a gentleman, how can I break my promise? This is called jnäna. With knowledge one has to practice. That is called tapasya. Otherwise to become attracted is not unnatural.
Chaitanya Mahäprabhu, He was a sannyäsé, He used to say that even if I see a doll made of wood like a beautiful woman My mind becomes agitated. So what to speak of us. This is the example. Chaitanya Mahäprabhu is giving an example. To be agitated in the mind, that is not unnatural, but if you practice you will not be agitated any more—if you practice by your knowledge. That is called dhéra. Dhéras tatra na muhyati. We have to become dhéra. Dhéra and adhéra, there are two classes of men. One is sober. Even if there is cause of agitation, still he remains firm. He is called dhéra. And adhéra means, as soon as there is a cause of agitation, he becomes a victim. That is called adhéra. So we have to become dhéra. We have been adhéra in so many different forms of life because I am coming to this human form of life after evolution of 8,400,000 forms of body. Why not practice a little tapasya in this life? If by practicing tapasya, restraint, I can get relief from this repetition of birth and death, why should I not do it? This is knowledge. And if I again become victimized, the law of nature is there. If you want you can enjoy. Nature will give you. All right, you want so much sex. Alright, come on. Become a hog, yes. Nature is ready; it is not very difficult.
Therefore shästra says, no, no, this life is not meant for becoming a hog or a dog. Näyam deho deha-bhäjäm nri-loke kashtän kämän arhate vid-bhujäm ye. The whole world is working so hard. They are going to the office to earn a livelihood, but what is the pleasure? The pleasure is sex, that’s all. Their ultimate goal is sex, that’s all. Yan maithunädi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham. So one should consider, the sex indulgence is given to the hogs and dogs, and for the same enjoyment I’ll have to work so hard. This is knowledge. I have got this human form of life for understanding Krishna, for understanding God, my position, what I am.
Our main problem is sex life, because sex life is the basic principle of material life. Either you are a human being or you are a demigod or you are a bird or you are a beast or you are a fly or you are a fish or you are a tree, plants, everything. The basic principle of material life is sex. Pumsah striyä mithuné-bhävam etat tayor mitho hridaya-granthim ähuh.
Everything is there. You have got books; study and follow the practice. Be a little sober, then you’ll be able. It’s not that you’ll not be able. You’ll be able. And Krishna will help. As soon as we are very eager then Krishna will help. Therefore the Deity worship is there. Along with the Deity worship we should always pray “Krishna, kindly save me from the pitfalls of mäyä.” He’ll do it.
But if you want to cheat Krishna and cheat the guru then you’ll be cheated. That’s all. The guru is neither cheated, nor Krishna will be cheated. You will be cheated. That’s all. If you want to be cheated then do whatever you like, and prolong this term of repetition of birth and death. And if you want to stop then here: tapasä brahmacaryena shamena ca damena ca tyägena. Tyägena. This is also one of tapasya. Don’t keep with you anything. Then you’ll make plans. Let me have illicit sex. Let me have intoxication. As soon as you have got money. Best thing is as soon as you get money immediately spend it for Krishna. Tyägena. Charity. Tyägena. means charity. Not that you starve. You keep yourself fit to execute Krishna consciousness, but don’t keep much money. Immediately give in charity to Krishna. (14/05/76)
A brahmacäré is trained to refrain from sex life. That is brahmacäré. Celibacy. But if he’s still not able then he’s allowed to accept grihastha life. There is no cheating, hypocrisy, that I proclaim myself as brahmacäré or sannyäsé and I secretly do all nonsense. This is hypocrisy. The hypocrisy life will not make one advanced in spiritual life. There is the example given by Çré Chaitanya Mahäprabhu.
(Then Çréla Prabhupäda related how Lord Chaitanya rejected Chota Haridäsa, a renunciate who looked lustfully at a young woman, but when He saw that Çivänanda Sena’s wife was pregnant He gave a name to the unborn child.)
One man, simply he saw with lusty desires a young woman, he was rejected. And one man had his wife pregnant—He approved it, “That’s alright.”
So sex life is not forbidden in this movement, but hypocrisy is forbidden. If you become a hypocrite then there is no way. That is Chaitanya Mahäprabhu’s teaching. Chota Haridäsa presented himself as a brahmacäré and he was looking at a young woman. Then He understood: he was a hypocrite, reject him. And Çivänanda Sena, he was a grihastha. Grihastha must have children—what is wrong with that? He said yes, My remnants of foodstuffs should be given.
So our request is, don’t be a hypocrite. There are four äshramas: brahmacäré, grihastha, vänaprastha, and sannyäsa. Whichever äshrama is suitable for you, you accept—but sincerely—don’t be a hypocrite. If you think that you want sex, all right, you marry and remain like a gentleman. Don’t be a hypocrite. This is Chaitanya Mahäprabhu’s movement. He didn’t like hypocrisy. Nobody likes hypocrisy.
But for a person who is seriously engaged in Krishna consciousness, sex life and material opulence are not very good. Therefore Chaitanya Mahäprabhu voluntarily accepted sannyäsa. He was very nicely situated in His family life. When He was a family man He married twice. One wife died, He married again. But when He took sannyäsa He was very, very strict. No woman could come very near to Him. This is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teaching. So we have to follow strictly the rules and regulations, if we are serious. (23/05/76)
So we have to give up. So there is therefore regulative principle. At least, no illicit sex. Get yourself married, live like a gentleman, take responsibility, then gradually you’ll be able to give up this sex desire. Unless we give up this sex desire, completely unagitated, there is no possibility of stopping this repetition of material birth—birth, death, old age and disease. That is not possible. (01/07/76)
To see a woman is not dangerous, but to think of enjoying, that is dangerous. You cannot avoid that. You are on the street here. But to see with the spirit of enjoyment, that is dangerous. So we should be very careful. That requires very strong training in Krishna consciousness. Unless one is strongly in Krishna consciousness, that habit of enjoying spirit cannot be given up. (10/09/76)
Not that a brahmacäré has to become a very learned scholar in grammar. . . These are secondary things. First thing, he has to learn how to control the senses, dänta, how to control the mind. Çamo damah. This is the beginning of brahminical life. If you cannot control your mind, if you cannot control your senses, there is no question of becoming brahmacäré. (25/11/76)
Why should one hate women so much? You should be trained up so that in spite of women, you’ll not be agitated. That training is required. That training is there. We are training in that way. I am always surrounded by young girls. In European countries, if you restrict in that way, that will be fanaticism. Why Europe? Nowadays here (India) also. It is simply utopian. That is the training of Cänakya Pandita. Mätrivat para-däreshu. There may be thousands of women, but you see them as mother. If you become agitated even by seeing mother, then what can be done? Then you are a go-khara (animal). This (strict injunction for separation of men and women) cannot be carried. Do you mean to say that by avoiding sex life one becomes siddha (perfect)? Then impotents are all siddhas. Siddha means that in spite of agitation, he’s not agitated. This is siddha. (27/03/74).
Unless we are very sincere, we cannot cope with mäyä. That is not possible. If you remain a servant of mäyä, you cannot conquer over mäyä. You must be a very sincere servant of Krishna. Then you can conquer. Mäm eva ye prapadyante mäyäm etäm taranti te. Otherwise you are subjected to the tricks of mäyä. (13/07/74)
From five years to twenty-five years, the brahmacäré has nothing to learn except about God. He is simply interested in Brahman. That is called brahmacäré. He has no material interest. That is the foundation of spiritual life. (01/03/75)
Everyone wants to fulfill lusty desires. So unless one is in the mode of goodness or is transcendental, everyone will like. That is the material world, rajas-tamah. Rajas-tamo-bhäväh käma-lobhädayash ca ye. It is all discussed in the shästra. Just like, I am a hungry man. There is foodstuff. I want to eat it. So if I take by force, that is illegal, and if I pay for it, then it is legal. But I am a hungry man, I want it. This is going on. Everyone is lusty. Therefore they say “legalized prostitution.” They want it. So marriage is sometimes legalized that’s all. The passion and desire is the same, either married or not married. So the Vedic law says, “Better married. Then you will be controlled.” He will not be so lusty as without married life. So the grihastha life is a concession—the same lusty desire under rules and regulations. Without married life he will commit rapes in so many ways, so better let them be satisfied with one (partner), both the man and woman, and make progress in spiritual life. That is the concession. Everyone in this material world has come with these lusty desires and greediness. Even demigods like Lord Çiva and Lord Brahmä. Lord Brahmä became lusty after his own daughter. And Lord Çiva became so mad after Mohiné-murti. So what to speak of us insignificant creatures. So lusty desire is there. That is the material world. Unless one is fully Krishna conscious, this lusty desire cannot be checked. It is not possible.
The first tapasya is brahmacarya, how to restrain this sex desire. Where is their tapasya? “It is very difficult to do this tapasya.” Therefore Chaitanya Mahäprabhu has given harer näma. If you chant the Hare Krishna mantra regularly, you’ll be cured. Otherwise, regular tapasya is almost impossible nowadays. (11/05/75)
Don’t go alone to preach. There should be at least two devotees together, or if possible, more. (12/05/75)
Brahmacäré guru-kule vasan dänto guror hitam/ äcaran däsavan néco gurau sudridha-sauhridah. The brahmacäré should live at gurukula, controlling his senses and acting for the benefit of his guru, not for his personal benefit. He should act just like a servant. The master orders and the servant carries out the order. Although he may come from a very aristocratic or brähmana family, still he should be humble, ready to do whatever the spiritual master or teacher asks. The student should not challenge.
Why should he be submissive? He is not getting any money. These things are accepted out of love for the spiritual master. You are not working. I am not paying you, but why are you working? Out of love for me. This is the basic principle. One should be convinced, “My spiritual master is my best friend; therefore I must render service to him.” The service which you are rendering is not possible to be done even if 1 pay somebody one thousand dollars per month. It is not possible. Because it is done out of love. This is the basic principle. Yasya deve parä bhaktir yathä deve tathä gurau. When one is fixed up in devotion to Krishna and His representative guru, everything becomes revealed automatically. Tasyaite kathitä hy arthäh prakäshante. These are all revealed experiences. Brahmacärés especially are under the protection of the guru. There is no question in the beginning of how much one has learned ABC. The first thing is that one should live in the gurukula and practice sense control. The basic principle should be that one is living for the benefit of the guru, not for one’s own benefit. Whatever he orders, one must execute. (Çréla Prabhupäda speaking to gurukula teachers in Dallas, July 1975)
That is one of the defects in our society, that women are there, and one falls victim of these women. And it is not possible to keep the society strictly for men. That is also not possible. But actually no women should live in the temple.
Devotee: Çréla Prabhupäda, the Christians have one place for the women and another place for the men. But we find the women can’t organize themselves very well. So it is difficult to do something like that also.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Therefore, if we do not give up these lusty desires, either we keep separately or together they fall down. In Kali-yuga the sex impulse is so strong, but it is utilized in so many ways. The yogis, swamis, schools, college, philosophy—at the end, sex, that’s all. That example, dog’s tail. (Referring to the example of the dog’s tail, which, despite all endeavors, cannot be straightened.) (14/07/75)
Tapasya means brahmacarya. Brahmacarya means complete cessation from sex life. This is brahmacarya. Tapasya means austerities. That is the greatest austerity, to cease sex. Tapasä brahmacaryena. Our Vedic civilization, the boys are trained to be brahmacäré from the very beginning of life. Our existence should be purified. How? Tapo, by tapasya. But we are enjoying life, why should we undergo tapasya? You are not enjoying, you are suffering. Even if you think you are enjoying, there are so many sufferings. That the foolish do not know.
(The main forms of suffering in the material world are birth, death, old age and disease.) Apart from this, there are so many other sufferings. But he thinks he will be happy. And that happiness is centered around sex, that’s all. Yan maithunädi-grihamedhi-sukham hi tuccham. Their only happiness is sex. Therefore in the Western countries they’re simply trying for sex enjoyment, that’s all. The whole civilization is based on how to enjoy sex very nicely. This is their basic principle of civilization.
Devotee: On the best selling charts of the books there’s always some book about how to enjoy sex.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes. You see. There are books here also, käma-shästra. So sex enjoyment also we cannot enjoy unlimitedly; then we’ll become impotent. This homosex is another side of impotency. That is natural. If you enjoy too much then you become impotent.
Devotee: They’re trying to make that more and more accepted in America, homosex.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes, the churches accept. It is already law. The whole world is on the verge of ruination. Kali-yuga. (06/09/75)
Without sex life one cannot be materially enthusiastic. And if you stop sex life, then you become spiritually advanced. This is the secret. If you stop sex life, then you become spiritually advanced, and if you indulge in sex life, then you will be materially enthusiastic. And for jnänés, yogis, bhaktas, sex life prohibited. (18/10/75)
Devotee: Çréla Prabhupäda, should we call all the women “mother”?
Prabhupäda: Yes. And treat them like mother. Not only call, but treat them like mother.
Harikesha: Actually we have not even any idea how to treat a mother.
Prabhupäda: Learn it. At least mother should not be proposed for sex. (25/10/75)
Devotee: (One brahmacäré) does not want to chant with women in the temple room. He says, “I do not want to chant in a room with women. I would rather be away from the women.”
Prabhupäda: That means he has got distinction between men and women. He is not yet a pandita. Panditah sama-darshinah. He is a fool. (02/11/75)
Devotee: If a person loses semen or if they masturbate or if they unnecessarily use their sexual energy, they’ll go insane. Their brains will become very weak, and physically they’ll become very weak.
Prabhupäda: Yes. That is a fact. (15/03/76)
After remaining brahmacäré, if he is inclined, he may marry. Otherwise, immediately sannyäsa. Grihastha is not necessary. But if one feels that he cannot remain celibate, he is allowed to marry. That is also restricted. Of course, material life is based on sex. As long as there is sex desire, one is not liberated. Our process is to become free from sex life. The main point is freedom from sex desire. This is the best thing. Despite provocation, when one is steady, he is called dhéra. Dhéras tatra na muhyati. So if our boys become dhéra, just like our Guru Mahäräja, that is a very good thing. (Çréla Prabhupäda speaking to gurukula teachers in Vrindävana, April 1976)
Rupänuga: A brahmacäré used to complain to you about how sick he was all the time, and you said, “Are you not a brahmacäré? Are you not following the brahmacäré principles?” Did you imply that if he were doing it sincerely he would not be so sick all the time?
Prabhupäda: Yes, that’s a fact. (09/07/76)
Sex impulse ruins the whole character. (31/07/76)
Our life is simple. We don’t want luxury. Life should be very simple. To increase unnecessary things unnecessarily, that is material life. We don’t require much. We just want to subsist. We hate the idea of luxury, unnecessary. (31/07/76)
If you want to avoid trouble, then don’t marry, remain brahmacäré. If you cannot, then, all right, have a legal wife, get children and raise them very nicely, make them Vaishnavas, take the responsibility. So we are organizing this society, we welcome. Some way or other we shall arrange for shelter. But to take care of the children, to educate them, that will depend on their parents. (03/08/76)
If one wants to keep oneself pure, he can keep pure in any circumstances. (22/08/76)
Sex life in this material world is so strong, even in the heavenly planets. Big, big rishis. Sex life with animals also there is… Sex life is so strong… Man cohabiting with animal. It makes one blind. Sex affairs, just see, in the highest circle. Brihaspati, the spiritual master of the devatäs, he became so much mad for his brother’s wife who was pregnant, and forcibly they had sex. Just see. These are examples. Brahmä became attracted with his daughter. Lord Çiva became attracted with the beauty of Mohiné-murti, even in the presence of his wife. So this sex life can be controlled only by becoming Krishna conscious. Otherwise there is no… The Bhägavata has discussed all this because in this material world there is no escape unless we become Krishna conscious, from the sex impulse. It is not possible. Yad-avadhi mama cetah krishna… When one is fully Krishna conscious, then he’ll reject all this nonsense: “What is this?” Bhavati mukha-vikärah sushthu. He’ll spite (spit): “Eh! Get out. Is that enjoyment?” It is possible for a Krishna conscious… No other can do it. And that is the bondage. He’ll have to work hard for maintaining sex issues. And so long you are bound up by the karmas, you have to accept another body and then continue. Who knows this, how we are bound up and conditioned? If you talk in the modern society they will laugh: “What nonsense this man is… ‘By sex life one becomes conditioned.’” They cannot understand. (07/0177)
What we have renounced? We are using the motorcar, we are using this machine, we are eating, we are sleeping in nice room—what is the renouncement? The only renouncement is no connection with woman. That is the real platform of renouncement. If one can renounce woman’s connection, then he’s a liberated man. That is very, very difficult. (31/01/77)
Not only a trained-up child, even a grown-up person, if he takes Krishna consciousness seriously, he also forgets sex life. (From a discussion on Sigmund Freud)
So long one has the sex inclination, he will have to accept a material body. (From a discussion on Sigmund Freud)
(Compiled from various sources by Bhänu Swami)
(1) Types of brahmacäré:
(a) Gäyatré: One who learns the gäyatré mantra, abstains from salt and spices for three days, and then takes up family life.
(b) Brahman: one who learns the gäyatré mantra and then stays in the gurukula for the full period of 12-20 years, studying, begging, practicing rituals, and then, upon graduation, takes up married life.
(c) Prajäpati: one who learns the gäyatré mantra and stays three years maximum in the gurukula, then marries.
(d) Naishthika: one who learns the gäyatré mantra, then lives and studies in the gurukula and dwells in the teacher’s äshrama (i.e., upholds his brahmacäré vows) until death. He remains chaste, pure, unmarried, wearing reddish cloth, having shikhä, upavéta and danda, eating unsalted and unspiced food, and lives on alms given to his teacher.
(2) Activities of the brahmacäré:
He should engage in cultivating good character, controlling the senses, controlling speech, treating others properly, study, performing sacrifices and begging.
(a) Cultivating character and sense control:
He should give up lying, lust, anger, greed, infatuation, pride, envy, violence, fear and lamentation.
He should give up all forms of sex life.
He should not lose semen by any means.
He should not look at, touch, or talk to women.
He should not sleep in the daytime.
He should not sleep on a bed.
He should not apply oil to his body.
He should not take a hot water bath.
He should give up cosmetics and perfumes, flower decorations, shoes and umbrellas.
He should give up hearing and singing popular songs.
He should give up excessive bathing, eating, sleeping, wakefulness and criticizing.
He should rise in the brahma-muhurta and then brush his teeth, bathe, chant the gayatri mantra, and worship the Lord.
“At both junctions of day and night, namely in the early morning and in the evening, he should be fully absorbed in thoughts of the spiritual master, fire, the sun god and Lord Vishnu and by chanting the gayatri mantra he should worship them.”204
He should speak what is pleasing and truthful, expressing his true feelings, without hatred in his words.
He should not criticize, speak unpleasant or untrue words, even if his mind is in distress.
(c) Respect for the Acarya:
He will obey the orders of the acarya as long as they are in accordance with dharma.
He should study the Vedas under the teacher.
He should perform what is pleasing to the acarya.
He should offer his respects to the acarya in the morning and evening saying:
aham. . . bho abhivadaye
Sir, I, . . ., offer greetings to you.
The teacher will answer:
saumya, ayushman bhava
May you live long, O gentle one.
The student should then touch his ears, cross his hands and touch the teacher’s feet.
He should address the acarya and elders by formal name.
If the teacher rises the student should rise; if the teacher is standing, the student should remain standing; if the teacher walks, the student should follow; if the teacher sits down or lies down, the student should take permission and sit on a lower seat.
He should not act without the permission of the teacher, except in matters of study and worship, which he should perform without being told.
He should not study with legs outstretched, in a tree, on a boat, in a vehicle, on a bed, at a crematorium, during the sandhya, during a thunderstorm, earthquake, eclipse, catastrophe, or meteor shower, after eating forbidden food, after vomiting, at the time of death of a student, teacher, or teacher’s son or wife, or in the presence of a corpse.
He should eat with the permission of his teacher.
He should eat twice a day, having taken bath, having chanted the gayatri mantra, after washing feet, hands and mouth, wearing lower and upper cloth, from an unbroken plate, which does not touch his lap or the asana.
He should not take food remnants (except that of his guru) or food touched by a woman in her period, or by a person who has had a birth or death in his family.
He may take raw food from a shudra who is living by legitimate means.
He should avoid excessively hot, sour, astringent, bitter, salty or purgative foods.
He should not take meat, intoxication or any forbidden food.
The brahmacari should perform a fire sacrifice in the morning and evening every day.
When the student’s studies are complete and if he plans to return home and take up household life, he should undergo the samskara called samavartana and take up wearing two sets of sacred threads.
From the very beginning of Krishna consciousness one gains the positive taste for spiritual existence, and so the addictions of the senses become relatively easy to give up. The four greatest impediments to spiritual life—illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling—can be abandoned with surprising ease. When one has the real thing, a real life of unceasing bliss and knowledge, there is no difficulty in putting aside the counterfeits.
Unconditional love for Krishna is manifest in unconditional engagement in the service of Krishna, in service that has no desire for reward and no interruption. This is the characteristic that distinguishes love from its perverted material transformation, lust, in which personal gain is the motive. Even the sexual union of a man and a woman can be used in the service of Krishna. It is extremely good fortune for a child to be born from parents engaged in self-realization, for from his earliest moments he lives in an atmosphere uncontaminated by lust and greed, and he takes in the principles of spiritual life with his mother’s milk. Such children can be conceived only when the parents unite specifically for that purpose and insure the good qualities of their offspring through their own purification of consciousness. The first duty of parents is to be able to deliver their children from death, and family life dedicated to that purpose is conducive to self-realization, and as such need not be artificially renounced.
But sex for any other purpose—sex to exploit the body for enjoyment, to fuel the delusions of the ego—is the cause of death. Sex more than anything else fixes our false identification of ourselves with the body, rivets us into the flesh, and addicts us to material aggrandizement. Sexual desire can never be satisfied, for it grows by what it feeds on. This permanently frustrated desire causes a deep and abiding rage, which deepens our illusion. The twin delusions of desire and hate drive us on through interminable bodily incarcerations, hurtling us over and over into forms that fill us with fear, suffer the ceaseless onslaught of injury and disease, disintegrate while we still occupy them, and are destroyed. In reality none of this happens to us, but we have erroneously identified ourselves with the body and have thereby taken these torments upon us. Death is an illusion we have imposed upon ourselves by our desire to enjoy this world. Sex is the essence of that desire. Sex, therefore, is death.
It is only right that we struggle against the sentence of death. It is only proper that we seek a life of uninterrupted and unending pleasure uncompromised by shame or fear. It is only natural that we want to be whole and at one with ourselves, uncompromised by duality. The most deadly delusion is that sex is a way to these goals, for in fact it is the greatest single impediment. It is the cause of our disease, which we embrace as the cure.
The restrictions upon sexual activity enjoined by religions were originally meant to assist in overcoming this greatest block to human happiness. Unfortunately, now only the restrictions and negations survive, while the real reason for them has been forgotten.
But the viable path of self-realization is once again open. It may seem to you that, whatever good intentions you may have, the sexual drive is too powerful for you to overcome. It is true that it is too strong for artificial suppression. But I know from experience that if you simply begin by taking up the positive practices of bhakti-yoga, especially the reciting of the name of Krishna in the form of the Hare Krishna mantra, You will find that what seemed so formidable a barrier becomes easy to cross and that your authentic life, beyond the world of birth and death, is at hand. (From Endless Love by Ravindra Svarupa dasa)
Our propensity to love tends naturally to expand without limit, yet in this world it meets with repeated impediments. The baffling of our urge to love becomes one of the most tragic features of life. The crux of the problem is that although we want to love, we are never more vulnerable than when we do. As soon as we love someone, we open ourselves to rejection, betrayal, separation, loss, and all the attending anguish and pain. Experience of these things has filled the world with bitter and disappointed people, cynics and misanthropes.
But even before we have suffered the pains of thwarted love, we aren’t able to love fully and unconditionally. There is an essential incompatibility between what we are and what we can love in this world, and in our hearts we know it. Our desire to love without limit and without end is a clear indication that we are ourselves eternal, spiritual beings. At the same time, whatever we can love in this world is temporary and material. Consequently, we cannot love without fear, and, consciously or unconsciously, from the outset we cannot help but withhold the full investment of our love.
A frequent theme in literature concerns a hero or heroine who loves recklessly and without restraint, inevitably undergoes the most intense sort of suffering, and finally meets with a tragic or pitiful death. We may take these stories as cautionary tales. Yet we really don’t need them to remind us of the constant frustration of our being. There is no adequate object for our love in this world.
Therefore, out of boundless compassion for us, Krishna reveals His kingdom of transcendental, unrestricted love, in which He is eternally manifest as the ultimate object of affection—the most perfect hero, master, friend, child, and lover. His beauty is unrivaled, and His personality, expressed in infinitely varied exchanges of love, is ceaselessly fascinating. When we turn to Krishna, our loving propensity breaks loose at last from the tight confines of matter and opens up into an ever-expanding flow that never meets any resistance. That is why Krishna is perpetually inviting us to come to Him and His eternal abode and enjoy with Him forever the delights of an endless love. (From Endless Love by Ravindra Svarupa dasa)
An extract from the Shri Vaishnava text, Varta-mala (“A Garland of Instructive Words”).
If a Vaishnava engages in improper relationships with women (or women with men), he has to accept the following types of anarthas or results.
1) By this, his/her body is affected badly and so it is an anartha or unwanted thing.
2) Seeing him, others may also follow suit. So it is an anartha not only for the Vaishnava who falls, but also for those who follow his bad example, and to the woman who is spoiled by him. (The above two results can be seen in this birth itself.)
3) By indulging so one disrespects the shastric injunction that “one should not engage in an illicit relationship with a woman, for by doing so surely the path to hell is opened.”
4) He will also incur the wrath of the Lord, because the Lord has told, “Those who violate shastric laws are my enemies.”
5) By such illicit actions he will incur the wrath of the Vaishnavas.
6) By the same said reasons he will incur the wrath of his spiritual master also.
7) It will increase opportunities to associate with sinful persons. (As stated in Tiru Malai: “When I associate with persons who are interested in sense enjoyment, I also fall into the illusory traps of the dangerous eyes of women.”)
8) Such engagement is contradictory to his eternal nature as that of being enjoyed by the Lord, because the thought that “sense enjoyment is nice” is an obstacle to realize his eternal nature as a servant.
9) Because one has to make so much endeavor to enjoy sex pleasure it is a great stumbling block to the thought that “the Lord is my only means and he is my maintainer.”
10) Because one may no longer be able to think that “service to my Lord is sweet,” it is an anartha.
11) As stated elsewhere in Shri Vaishnava literature, if one engages in sex enjoyment then he will not go to the supreme destination. If one worships demigods, he may in some lifetime become a Vaishnava. But one who engages his mind in sex enjoyment always attains hellish planets, because once he is captivated by such thoughts, his involvement in it will keep on growing. A Vaishnava who engages in illicit sex is caught like the prey of a crocodile, who, once catching the legs, will never let it go but will completely swallow it up to the head . Similarly, sense enjoyment completely devours the nature of a devotee.
Once a prostitute came to the guru of the author of Varta-mala. She asked him, “If at noon a Vaishnava comes to me and says that he is hungry then I will certainly give him food to relieve his hunger. Similarly, if a Vaishnava comes to me in the night and says that bodily hunger or want of union with me is troubling him, then what is wrong in relieving him of his bodily hunger by offering him my body ?”
The acarya replied, “A lady gets a child after many years of penance. If that child asks his mother, ‘Please give me a rope to hang myself, or a knife to cut my throat,’ then will she give him what he wants? Similarly, if a Vaishnava comes to you maddened by lust, you should not agree. By agreeing to his proposal you destroy his eternal nature and the thoughts that are conducive to realize his nature.”
The instructive story of Rishyashringa is found in the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Rishyashringa was the son of a sage who was determined that his son be brought up as a spotless brahmacari. Accordingly, from his very birth the child was brought up in a forest atmosphere far away from women or even talk of women. He was trained in meditation, scriptural study and brahminical rituals. Thus, on reaching youth, he had no idea of even the existence of the opposite sex.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring state, a severe drought ensued. The worried king called his court astrologers, who by their mystic insight were able to ascertain the only method by which good fortune could return to the land: the boy-sage Rishyashringa, a resident of the nearby jungle, must come to reside in the kingdom. The court astrologers also told how the boy could be brought: he must be enticed by beautiful women.
A few days later, when Rishyashringa was alone at his father’s ashrama, he was shocked out of meditation by the sound of laughter and giggling. Opening his eyes, he was amazed to behold a group of young boys playing with a gay frolic and abandon he had never known before. How charming these boys were! Rishyashringa’s mind became captivated by the beautiful features of their faces and bodies, their attractive smiles and glances, the tinkle of their voices, and their exulting mood of enjoyment. “Who are you?” he asked.
“We are muni-putras (i.e., sons of forest sages),” they replied—for indeed, these young girls from the city were dressed as brahmacaris. “Come play with us,” they invited. How could Rishyashringa refuse? In the course of play, his body touched the bodies of the girls, and again his senses were attracted. Next, the muni-putras shared their deliciously prepared food with Rishyashringa. The boy, who had been brought up on forest roots and fruits, was now completely captivated. But all too soon his new-found friends went away.
When Rishyashringa’s father returned, he immediately noticed his son’s disturbance of mind. Intuitively understanding that that which he had feared all his life had now come to pass, he demanded that his son relate all that had happened in his absence. On hearing the description of the muni-putras, he strictly forbade Rishyashringa to talk with or even look at those boys again, and under no circumstances to go anywhere with them.
But the damage was done. Rishyashringa could no longer concentrate on his meditation, for his mind was yearning after his friends. When his father went away again the next day, the muni-putras had little difficulty in enticing the boy-sage to come with them. A boat waiting on the nearby river took them swiftly to the city. Before his father could arrive to protest, the king married Rishyashringa to his daughter.
Some of the morals of this story are: 1) Association with women awakens and aggravates sexual desire; 2) even though one may be a brahmacari, he should never consider himself beyond the fascinating power of a woman’s charms; 3) mere avoidance of women is not enough to overcome sexual desire; the negative process must be supplemented by the only positive process sufficient to conquer maya, namely Krishna consciousness; 4) sexual desire is very deep-rooted and strong.
(The following is from the story of Tulasé-devé in the Brahma-vaivarta Purana. Her strong assertions expose the exploitive mentality of men and women who desire to enjoy each other.)
“Who are you? And why are you talking to me? If a noble man sees a virtuous woman alone, he doesn’t talk to her. So go away. The shastras say that only a degraded man desires a woman. At first a woman is sweet to a man but later proves fatal. Through her mouth rains honey, but her heart is like a jar of poison. She uses sweet words, but her heart is sharp like a razor. To achieve her own selfish ends, she is submissive to her husband; otherwise she is unsubmissive. While her face looks cheerful, her heart is dirty. A wise man never trusts a base woman. She has no friend or enemy, for all she wants are new lovers. When a woman sees a well dressed man, she inwardly desires him, but outwardly she appears chaste and modest. Being naturally passionate, she attracts a man’s mind. A woman likes a good lover more than sweet foods or refreshing drinks, and even more than her own son. But if that lover becomes impotent or aged, she regards him as an enemy. Quarrels and anger ensue, then she devours him as a snake eats a rat. She is rashness personified and a mine of vices.
“A woman is hypocritical, obstinate and unfaithful. Even Lord Brahma and other gods are deluded by her. She is a hindrance on the path of austerity, an obstacle to liberation, an impediment to developing faith in Lord Hari, a refuge of all delusion and a living chain that binds man to this world.
“She is like bucket of stool and is as false as dreams. She appears to be very beautiful, but she is a bucket of blood, urine and stool. When God created her, he arranged that she should become the spirit of delusion to the deluded and poison to those who desire liberation. Thus, on no account should a woman be desired, and by all means she should be avoided.
“A man who is conquered by a woman is very impure and condemned by people in general. The forefathers and the demigods regard men who are conquered by women as low and contemptible. Even their fathers and mothers mentally despise them. The Vedas say that when a child is born or a relative dies, the brahmanas are purified in ten days, the kshatriyas in twelve days, the vaishyas in fifteen days and the shudras and other low classes in twenty-one days. But a man conquered by a woman always remains impure. Only when the body is burned to ashes does he becomes purified. Neither the ancestors, nor the demigods accept from him cakes, flowers or any other offerings.
“Men whose hearts are totally conquered by women acquire no fruits from their knowledge, austerities, japa, fire sacrifices, worship, learning or fame.”
Brahmacarya literally means “to act in Brahman.” One whose life’s actions are always executed in the consciousness of “I am not the body” is called a brahmacäré. The word brahmacarya is commonly translated as “sexual abstinence,” but celibacy is only a partial explanation of this word. Sexual continence in itself is not the goal; the goal is to control the senses in order to achieve deeper levels of inner awareness. Pätaïjala yoga takes brahmacarya in a wider sense to mean selectively performing only those activities that are helpful in achieving the highest goal of life.
Brahmacarya is possible only when the mind is free from all sensuous desires, especially the sexual urge, which is the most powerful and which can be most destructive if not directed and channeled properly. Illicit sexual activity dissipates vital energy that is to be utilized for the attainment of higher consciousness. For achieving this goal, the yoga system advises one to organize all his sensory forces and to utilize them in a proper and beneficial way. It teaches control of sensual cravings in order to attain that inner peace and happiness that is greater than all transient bodily pleasures.
Uncontrolled senses weaken the mind, and a weakened mind has no capacity to concentrate in one direction or on one object. A person with a mind weakened by lust fails to think properly, to speak properly, or to act properly. For higher attainment, one therefore has to withdraw his energies from the petty charms and temptations of sensory objects and convert the flow of the life force toward higher consciousness.
According to Pätaïjala philosophy, indifference to worldly enjoyments, i.e., continence, is practiced in four different ways, viz. 1) direct endeavor, 2) exclusion or indirect method, 3) existence in the senses, and 4) complete control.
1) In the first method, endeavor is made directly to check the senses so that they are not engaged in the enjoyment of their respective sense-objects.
2) In the second method, by checking the senses from their respective objects, the passions that have been controlled are carefully observed so that they do not again get out of control, i.e., the controlled sense desires are kept eliminated from those sense desires which have not yet been brought under control.
3) When the controlled passions cannot any more prevail upon the senses to be engaged in the enjoyments of the respective and reciprocative objects, but continue to create only a curiosity in the heart about those sense enjoyments it is called the third method of keeping the sense enjoyments confined to the senses only.
4) Vashikarana, or complete control of the senses from enjoyment of worldly objects is when there is not even any more curiosity about sense enjoyments. This is the state of complete brahmacarya, in which, even when earthly or heavenly objects of sense enjoyments are presented before one, one is no more tempted by them and feels complete aversion to them. When Shrila Rupa Gosvami mentions virakti, i.e., indifference to worldly objects, he means the same complete control of sense enjoyments as stated by Patanjali.
“On being firmly established in sexual continence vigor (virya) is attained.” (From The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
Virya (vigor) does not mean merely physical energy which no doubt results from the conservation of sexual energy. Virya is connected with the whole constitution and refers to that vitality which makes all its parts vibrant, so that weakness, laxity and inadequacy disappear and are replaced by extraordinary resilience, strength, and energy. There is an influx of energy from the higher planes imparting vigor and strength to every vehicle (subtle and physical body) it touches.
Semen is found in a subtle state in all the cells of the body. Just as sugar is all-pervading in sugar-cane, and butter in milk, so also, semen pervades the whole body. Just as milk becomes thin after the butter is removed, so also, semen is thinned by its wastage. The more the wastage of semen, the more the body becomes weak. The yoga-shastras state:
maranam bindu patena
jivanam bindu rakshanat
Falling of semen brings death; preservation of semen gives life. Semen is the real vitality and hidden treasure in man. It imparts spiritual luster (brahma-tejas) to the face, and strength to the intellect.
The influence of semen in the body can be understood from comparison with a tree, that draws the essence or rasa from the earth. This essence is circulated throughout the twigs, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. The shining colors and life in the leaves, flowers and fruits are due to this rasa. Similarly, the virya (semen) that is manufactured from blood by the cells of the testes gives color and vitality to the human body and its different organs.
According to Ayurveda, semen is the last dhatu (substance) that is formed out of food. Out of food is manufactured chyle. Out of chyle comes blood. Out of blood comes flesh. Out of flesh comes fat. Out of fat comes bone. Out of bone comes marrow. Out of marrow comes semen. These are the seven dhatus that support this life and body. Semen is the last essence. It is the essence of essences.
Semen is the quintessence of food or blood. According to modern medical science, one drop of semen is manufactured out of forty drops of blood. According to Ayurveda, it is developed frm eighty drops of blood. Just as bees collect honey drop by drop in the honeycomb, so also, the cells of the testes collect semen drop by drop from the blood. Then this fluid is taken by the two ducts to the vesiculae seminalis. When a man is sexually excited, the semen is discharged by the ejaculatory ducts into the urethra where it is mixed with the prostatic juice.
Semen nourishes the physical body, the heart and the intellect. Only that man who uses the physical body, the heart and the intellect can have perfect brahmacarya. A wrestler who uses his physical body only, but keeps the intellect and the heart undeveloped, cannot have full brahmacarya. He can have brahmacarya of the body only, but not of the mind and the heart. The semen that belongs to the heart and the mind will certainly flow out. If an aspirant does only japa and meditation, but does not develop the heart or practice physical exercise, will have only mental brahmacarya. The portion of the semen which goes to nourish the heart and the body will flow out. But an advanced yogi who dives deep into meditation will have full brahmacarya even if he does not physically exercise.
Mind, prana (essential energy) and virya are three links of one chain. By controlling the mind, the prana and semen can be controlled. By controlling prana, the mind and semen can be controlled. And if the virya is controlled, and if it is made to flow upwards into the brain by pure thoughts, the mind and the prana are automatically controlled.
The mind is set in motion or rendered active by two things: the vibration of prana and by subtle desires. Mind and prana are intimate companions, like a man and his shadow. If the mind and the prana are not restrained, all the organs of sensation and action keep actively engaged in their respective functions. When a man is excited by passion, the prana is set in motion. Then the whole body obeys the dictate of the mind, just as a soldier obeys the command of his commander. The vital air or prana moves the internal sap or semen. The semen is put into motion. It falls downwards, just as the clouds burst into rain water, just as the fruits, flowers and leaves of the trees drop down by the force of the blowing winds.
(The above is adapted from the writings of Swami Shivananda. Although not a Vaishnava, Swami Shivananda was a serious spiritual practioner of the modern age.)
(A devotee from South India describes what he does when some non-brahmacarya thought tries to creep into his consciousness.)
Whenever some unnecessary thoughts come, I meditate that I am standing in queue for having darshana of the Lord. There are so many devotees, pilgrims from all over India who are all lined up in great expectation of having the beautiful darshana of the Lord’s lotus feet. Everyone around is very anxious, ‘Our queue is moving slowly but steadily. Soon we will be near the Lord and can have the darshana of His lotus feet’.
All these devotees are so pure, they have so much attraction for the Lord. I am so fallen that even though I stand in their midst, but still I don’t have this eagerness. Anyway, the Lord is so merciful that somehow or other He is going to let me have the darshana of His Holy Feet. I am so fortunate. Oh… How beautiful the radiant face of the Lord must be. Oh… How sweet that smile is. Oh… How beautiful those lotus eyes are. Oh… how wonderful the Lord’s associates are. Oh my dear Lord, why is this queue (line) not moving fast? I want to have your darshana, which is most pleasing to the mind and the senses.
Thinking like this, in my mind, I open my eyes and I see those most softest of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and after worshipping them, slowly I take darshana of His most beautiful form and the charming smile. Then I honor caranamrita and thus I overcome all my disturbances and am properly situated.
Once a devotee asked Shrila Prabhupada, “We have the perfect philosophy, Krishna consciousness, and we have the perfect spiritual master, Your Divine Grace. Everything about Krishna consciousness is perfect, yet we always seem to have so many problems. Why?”
Shrila Prabhupada replied, “Because the brahmacaris and sannyasis associate too much with women.”205
There is a story of two holy men who were walking on a road. They came to a chest deep river, which had no bridge. As they were about to wade through, a woman came up and asked them to help her over. One of the monks let her climb on his shoulder, forded the river, then put her down. The two sadhus continued on their way in silence. After an hour or two, the monk who had not carried the woman blurted out “Brother, how is it that you allowed yourself to be touched by a woman?” Surprised, his companion turned to him and replied, “I only carried her across the river, but you have carried her all the way here in your mind.”
drishtva ma ga moha-vesham
manasi vicintaya varam varam
Having seen the supposed beauty of a woman’s heavy breasts and her thin waist, do not become agitated and illusioned, for these attractive features are simply transformations of fat, flesh and various other disgusting ingredients. You should consider this in your mind again and again.206
kashayan na ca bhojanadi-niyamman no
va vane vasato
vyakhyanad athava muni-vrata-bharac cittodbhavah kshiyate
kintu sphita-kalinda-shaila-tanaya-tireshu vikridato
govindasya padaravinda-bhajanarambhasya leshad api
Not by wearing saffron cloth, not by restricting food and other sense activities, not by living in the forest, not by discussing philosophy, and not by observing a vow of silence, but only by even the slightest beginning of devotional service to the lotus feet of Lord Govinda, who enjoys pastimes on the Yamuna’s wide banks, is Kamadeva stopped.207
When God created woman, He arranged that she should become the spirit of delusion to the deluded and poison to those who desire liberation. Thus, on no account should a woman be desired, and by all means should she be avoided.208
The brahmacari should completely renounce the following eight things—his lust, anger, greed, desire for sweets, sense of decorating the body, excessive curiosity (interest in mundane things), excessive sleep, and excessive endeavor for bodily maintenance. (Niti-shastra 11.10)
One single object (a woman) appears in three different ways: to the man who practices austerity it appears as a corpse, to the sensual it appears as a woman, and to the dogs as a lump of flesh. (Niti-shastra 14.15)
Women completely destroy spiritual life. (Shrila Prabhodananda Sarasvati)
Quod omne animal post coitum triste est.
Every animal is sad after sex. (Aristoteles)
Love, in the form in which it exists in society, is nothing but the exchange of two fantasies and the superficial contact of two bodies.
Nicolas Sebstien Chamfort (1741-1794)
The generative energy, which, when we are loose, dissipates and makes us unclean, when we are continent invigorates and inspires us. Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–62), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden, “Higher Laws” (1854).
If you want your heart to be always absorbed in drinking the ambrosial mellows of the lotus feet of Lord Hari, then give up household life, which is full of quarrels and strife, and just worship Lord Gaura, the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.
Material riches, youth, long duration of life, and royal happiness—none of these are eternal. At any moment they may be destroyed. Give up all useless topics of mundane conversation and just worship Lord Gaura, the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.
O friend, ultimately the pleasure to be had in the company of beautiful young women turns to fearfulness and distracts one from the real goal of life. Just worship Lord Gaura, the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers, with your mind intoxicated by the nectarean mellows of the holy name. (From Shri Godruma-candra Bhajanopadesha by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)