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Western world and the chances of brahmacharya

Post Author: Bhakta Matus    Date: 2008-01-04 08:51:24
Dear Swami Gaurangapada Maharaja, dear devotees
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances.

Thank You for opening this discussion category. i hope we can share naturally our experience and opinions in this regard for our and our guests' benefit.

i would like to ask You following question:

Many of us, especially here in Western countries, before starting our Gauranga-Krishna concious practice, engaged (in some cases excessively) in various sinful activities, including illicit sex. After getting to know about the imminent spiritual importance and medicinal advantages of leading a responsible life in regard to the rules and regulations of excessive sex, we try to make it up and train ourselves in the principles of brahmacharya, understanding how important is it in any case, no matter if one plans to marry in the future or not. Due to our present condititiong resulting from our past sinful engagement, this appears however to be a difficult if not impossible task sometimes. Even though struggling, because of a disgustment and frustration of past excessive engagement in a particular sinful activity, one desires and strives for giving it up all together. This may be in the case of sex life also and sometimes one wants even to give up the activity of sex completely and remain a life long brahmachary.

So my questions is: What are the real chances of success for such endeavours under these cimcurstences?

Thank You very much.

Yours sincerely,

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2008-01-04 10:02:53
Nityaananda! Gauraanga! Hare Krishna! Even in the most difficult circumstances, the chances of success depend on our ownselves. There is always hope and chances in all circumstances.

(1) One can become very determined not to waste our bodily vital forces understanding that sex enjoyment is very temporary and becomes unattractive immediately after one indulges in it. Determination and right association is the key in this regard. If sex would have been able to give them enjoyment for 24 hours, people would not even bothered to work or engage in any other activity. But as we all know, it is just a momentary euphoria which rises and then dies down. And during those moments, for those tiny drops of pleasure, we end up losing the most precious forces in our body. If one carefully notices, one will feel a decrease in memory power, remembrance, nervous system strength, enthusiasm, determination, concentration, focus, bodily resistance to diseases, fever, cold etc. after such an act. Any intelligent man or woman would be able to notice this loss whereas others would just say it is simply a bodily function and requirement similar to eating so it should not be reduced. A spiritually inquisitive person may ask that why do I have to lose so much to gain only some temporary happiness which does not even last for more than a few moments. You can ask anyone who indulges in excessive sex whether he or she is actually happy. And if they think deeply and reply honestly, the answer would be no. Thus, understanding the material and spiritual benefits of brahmacharya, a very determined sadhaka may decide to live a life of celibacy will full one-pointed focus on Naama Bhajana or marry a suitable spiritual-minded partner to assist each other in Naama Bhakti Yoga.

(2) The more the distraction of worldly allurements, the more determined one should become to attain the Lord. It is not only the West. India and other countries are catching up fast in regards to the rapid loss of interest of the people for anything spiritual especially the younger generation. People in India (the land of the ancient rishis) have also started thinking that brahmacharya or celibacy is absolutely insane and abnormal. I can see that on their faces. As I travel in India, I see people becoming westernised very fast both in their appearance and manners. They have hardly any time or interest in looking at a sadhu who is walking or sitting nearby what to speak of conversing and asking spiritual questions about the goal of life. This is happening in a country like India which has deep Vedic roots where in the not too distant past people would hanker for spiritual association and knowledge about soul, God, karma, reincarnation and the higher values in human life. Perhaps the abundance of fake sadhus has also contributed to this.

(3) In order to limit the weakening of our control over our own senses, with the blessings of his or her parents, a spiritual aspirant may either desire to remain unmarried and fully dedicate and focus on NITAAI Yoga or at the right age get married to a spiritual partner who also understands the value of abstaining from excessive sex indulgence and practicing the science of Naam Bhakti Yoga in order to attain the never-ending eternal happiness in the spiritual world. One should not get caught up in the cycle of struggling and failing in this endeavor but one should make a firm resolution. In fact one should emerge victorious by the mercy of Lord Nitaai. His lotus feet are more attractive than millions of cupids. It does not matter how many times we fall down in this endeavor. Our falls are quite insignificant compared to what we are going to attain, Goloka Vrindaavana. :) We should just get up and start walking even more faster on the path of NITAAI Yoga by chanting the Names even more constantly and meditatively.

(4) Sometimes it is found that family life with a suitable spiritual partner who shares the same desire to advance in spiritual life and abstain for excessive sex indulgence, is conducive for controling our senses which are like mad horses especially when we are unmarried. Of course, it is rare to find such partners in the modern times. But still this is the second suitable alternative, which is more practical to follow for 99.9% of people in Kali Yuga, in the case one cannot remain umarried due to the force and urges of the senses. Of course husband and wife should be careful of assisting each other in their spiritual quests and to avoid excess sexual indulgence. Some people say that marriage life is even a bigger risk due to the potentiality of excessive sex at every moment due to close proximity. But I would not totally agree. In the present times, it is so easy for us to enjoy excessive sex pleasure even in unmarried life which results in many reactions and impressions. So the potentialities are plenty even in unmarried life nowadays since it is so easy to do the wrong thing. The responsibility of married devotional family life acts as a buffer and one understands and sobers down gradually. So there are pros and cons for both. In the end, one should accept whichever one is most favorable to oneself for lifelong Naam Bhajana i.e. sincere chanting of the Holy Names. Thus the conclusion is that you will succeed if you are determined. Just as when we fast, we do feel hungry but we are determined not to eat. That is how we succeed in fasting for the Lord and in controling our senses.

These are some of my thoughts. I hope they are helpful somehow. As a spiritual teacher, I should not hesitate to speak the scriptural truth even if it may not be so palatable to 99.9% of the people in this world. :)

Daaso'smi, Swami Gaurangapada.

Post Author: Bhakta Matus    Date: 2008-01-04 14:55:02
Dear Swami Gaurangapada Maharaja,
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!

Thank You very much for Your explanatory answer.

i would like to ask further in regard to some of Your statements:

...with the blessings of his or her parents...

Could be please elaborate a bit more about its importance? the right age get married...

What is meant by 'right age'?

One should not get caught up in the cycle of struggling and failing in this endeavor but one should make a firm resolution.

Is this statement not in contradiction with the following one?

It does not matter how many times we fall down in this endeavor...We should just get up and start walking...

Please enlighten me more.

Thank You very much.

Yours, Matus

Post Author: Bhakta Igor    Date: 2008-01-04 19:30:50
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna
Very good topic and questions. I will speak openly about experience and problems. To speak frankly and openly is sometimes not pleasant, but it is only way to find solutions. As far as I know to remain in celibacy is the greatest problem of most devotees in all ashrams. Most of devotees do not want to talk openly about this problem, but I think that it is only way to find solution. I saw or had contact with many devotees that have or had this problems. I was in contact with several devotees that had this problem, some of them changed ashrams, married etc. What to say about neophyte or aspirating disciples. If problem is there what we can accomplish if we are not admitting it. I have many devotee friends here on west and I must say that almost everyone have similar problem with celibacy. Actually for many devotees this is taboo topic, and in most times they do not want to talk openly. There is also confusion about what exactly 4-th regulative principle means? Some of devotees say that sex is allowed only for procreation, others say that persons may have sex only within institution of marriage, and some say that all kind of such activities are forbidden. Different standards and opinions. Unfortunately I had witnessed in many occasions that many aspirating devotees left this process only because celibacy problem. Some of them had attraction toward philosophy, prasadam etc. but it was impossible for them to completely abandon sex life.And when they expressed their problem they did not found understanding but were condemd from persons who are not free from sex-disease themselves. To be open and sincere is hard nowadays. It is especially hard for any aspirating devotee from west because here we are living in sex-crazy society. That is true. Unfortunately, nowadays in India many youth are becoming westernized, but that is nothing compare to present situation in our countries where it is consider normal to think, have or indulge in different sex-related topics or activities. So this topic is real problem for many devotees. I am waiting for more answers and more comments. Please participate.
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2008-01-04 20:11:07
Nityaananda! Gauraanga! Hare Krishna! The blessings and permission of parents are always good if they are available either for celibate or married life in devotional service. Right age for marriage means that one will be able to relieve oneself of attachments and fully concentrate on Naama Bhajana at the age of around 50 when the children are grown up and able to take care of themselves. Those statements were not exactly contradictory. One should have firm resolution but inspite of that if one cannot control the senses then one should not be too disturbed about it but try to positively increase the intensity of one's Naama Bhajana. Shrila Prabhupada said that chanting Laksha Naam daily was one very powerful means to control the excessive lusty desires in our heart. Nityaananda Gauraanga Naama is another such powerful means in Kali Yuga.

Igor, the problem is one may not find a solution even by discussing about it as it is one thing which plagues all the living entities in this material universe right from Brahma down to the ant and it is always the same old story. If one does not have this problem, one would not be here in this material world. But one should certainly make a concerted effort to increase one's higher taste in Naama Bhajana and get relieved of the attraction to adopt these lower means to titillate the senses. By no means should any devotee be condemned or criticized due to not being able to control one's senses even after making a sincere attempt to do so. It is described as the sandhi kaala in Shri Hari Naam Chintamani. One should help, support and inspire each other to move forward and advance in spiritual life. As I said, falldowns are insignificant compared to what we desire to attain. So one should try one's best and inspite of that if one does slip, then one should get up and begin chanting with even greater intensity.

In regards to the fourth regulative principle, Shrila Prabhupada made it very simple for us. The very topmost ideal in grihastha life is to have sex only for the procreation of children which is few times during the whole life. This is obviously very very difficult in modern times. So Shrila Prabhupada gave us lower levels like once in a few years, or once in a year, or if not possible then once in six months, or even if that is also not possible once in three months or even if that is difficult then once a month. Shrila Prabhupada stopped his relaxation of this principle at maximum once a month but there are some who feel it can be further relaxed to once in a fortnight and some who feel that the final should be once every week. But the majority of the people in this world cannot live without having it at least once daily. So one can now decide for oneself what is the fourth regulative principle.

Daaso'smi, Swami Gaurangapada.

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