So this whole Vedic civilization is made just to train how you can be detached from this so-called family affection. This is Vedic training. First of all brahmacārī. Brahmacārī means to lead the life of austerity. A brahmacārī is supposed to live to serve the spiritual master at his home, and he has to work just like a menial. He may be a king's son or a very great brāhmaṇa's son, but as soon as he agrees to live with the spiritual master, he has to live just like a menial servant. Whatever the spiritual master will order, he has to do it. This is brahmacārī. And they will gladly do, because they are children. Brahmacārī life begins from five years. So you ask any child do anything, he will do. They are learned. They are given education, "Go from door to door, house to house, and bring some alms." So brahmacārī means the neighborhood, their sons. So when the brahmacārī goes for begging, "Mother, give me something, alms," so immediately, some rice, some dāhl, some atta, is given, or some vegetables, sometimes some money. So they bring everything to the spiritual master and it becomes the property of the spiritual master. Because he has begged, it is not his property. Sarvasvaṁ guru-veditam(?). Everything is guru's property. So much so that after cooking everything, the spiritual master will call, "My dear boys, come on. Take prasādam." But if he forgets to call somebody, he will not touch. He will not touch. This is brahmacārī. "Oh, spiritual master has not called me; so I will fast." (laughter) He begged the rice and vegetables and atta and dāhl. It is cooked. But when it is cooked, that is also spiritual master's property. If the spiritual master does not ask him to take, he cannot take. He cannot touch. This is brahmacārī life. So therefore the first training is given, to become austere, tolerate, how to tolerate, how to call other women as "mother." He is learning from the beginning, a small child. He is trained up to call any woman, even of his own age, not "sister,"—"mother." This is the training.
- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Lectures
- 3 Conversations and Morning Walks
SB Canto 3
A brahmacārī practices celibacy, controlling his sex life. One cannot enjoy unrestricted sex life and practice yoga; this is rascaldom. So-called yogīs advertise that one can go on enjoying as one likes and simultaneously become a yogī, but this is totally unauthorized. It is very clearly explained here that one must observe celibacy. Brahmacaryam means that one leads his life simply in relationship with Brahman, or in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Those who are too addicted to sex life cannot observe the regulations which will lead them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sex life should be restricted to persons who are married. A person whose sex life is restricted in marriage is also called a brahmacārī.
SB Canto 7
Brahmacarya essentially means the vow not to marry but to observe strict celibacy (bṛhad-vrata). A brahmacārī or sannyāsī 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 gṛhastha, from gṛhastha to vānaprastha, and from vānaprastha to sannyāsa and thus give up material enjoyment, which is the original cause of bondage to this material world. The word bṛhad-vrata refers to one who has decided not to marry, or in other words, not to indulge in sex life throughout his entire life.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
You are extending the comforts of life, but you do not know that this life is temporary. How long you shall live in this comfort? Your real thing is spirit soul which is eternal. That is also the instruction of Lord Jesus, that after gaining everything, if you lose your own soul, what is the gain? Bhogaiśvarya-prasaktānām (BG 2.44). Therefore this is another kind of disqualification for advancing in spiritual consciousness, if one becomes too much attached to these material comforts of life. Therefore according to Vedic civilization, a boy is trained to become brahmacārī. Brahmacārī. Brahmacārī means complete celibacy. No sex life, no amusement. Because just to train him not to be attracted by this material sense enjoyment. Then he'll be able to grasp what is spiritual life. Therefore restriction.
But the senses are so strong that at certain point it fails even by the attempt of a very learned scholar who knows everything. Therefore in social, social, I mean to say, engagement, according to Vedic injunction, especially for the brahmacārīs, especially for the brahma... Not only brahmacārīs. Brahmacārī means student life, and other three orders of life means vānaprastha, retired life, and sannyāsa life, these three orders of life are restricted from associating with women. Only householders, those who are married, they are simply allowed to associate with women. And others, just like the brahmacārī, the vānaprastha, the sannyāsa, they are strictly restricted from association of woman. And that stricture is said like this:
- mātrā svasrā duhitrā vā
- nāviviktāsano bhavet
- balavān indriya-grāmo
- vidvāṁsam api karṣati
- (SB 9.19.17)
The restriction is given so strictly, that "One should not sit in a solitary place even with his mother, with his sister, with his daughter." Why? Now balavān indriya-grāmo vidvāṁsam api karṣati. The senses are so strong that it may go wrong even though he's a learned man.
In Bhagavad-gītā, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam you will find the duty of brahmacārī, the duty of gṛhastha, the duty of vānaprastha, the duty of sannyāsa. Everything is there. So a brahmacārī is trained in such a 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 āśrama, but that he will eat upon the calling by the guru, "My dear such and such, please come and take your prasādam." It is said, if the guru forgets to call him one day, he will not take his food. This is called brahmacārī, means strictly following. And they used to call every woman from the beginning of life, "Mother." This is training. Mātṛvat para-dāreṣu. From the very beginning of life, all women they are treated as mother. That is the system, Vedic system. Everyone will call a woman as "Mother." Never mind whether she is younger or older. It doesn't matter. Woman has to be addressed as "Mother." That is Cāṇakya Paṇḍita's instruction.
Now, there are four divisions of human society according to Vedic literature: the brahmacārī, the gṛhastha, the vānaprastha and the sannyāsa. The brahmacārī means the student life, more or less, student life. And gṛhastha means those who are leading family life, after the student life. And vānaprastha means retired life. And the sannyāsa means renounced order. They have no connection with worldly activities. So these are four different stages of human social order. Now, the brahmacārī, they are meant for sacrifice, the students. The students are recommended to sacrifice, especially to sacrifice sense gratification.
The students are... Formerly, they were in the guru-gṛha, spiritual master's place, and they had to undergo severe types of regulation. So a brahmacārī is expected to go to every householder and beg. There was no system of schooling, there was no system for payment. The spiritual master, the teacher, he did not accept any payment in pound shilling pence. That was not accepted because mostly brāhmaṇas, they used to become the teachers. So they were not accepting any salary. The brāhmaṇas are forbidden to accept any service.
Madhudviṣa: "The path of religion is directly enunciated by the Lord. Therefore mental speculation or dry argument cannot help one progress in spiritual life. One has to approach a bona fide spiritual master to receive the knowledge. Such a teacher should be accepted in full surrender, and one should serve the spiritual master like a menial servant, without false prestige."
Prabhupāda: Yes. The brahmacārī means... These are indication. When a person... When a boy becomes brahmacārī, even if he is the son of very rich man, he should live with the spiritual master as a menial servant. These are the injunction. That, Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Apart from his Godheadship, He was a very rich man's son. Really He was a very great king's son, Vasudeva, but He was given under the protection of King Nanda, Nanda Mahārāja, His foster father. He was also very rich man, very... He was king... (break)
...brahmacārī. So how he can see? When... Even if he is grown up, he cannot see any other woman in other way. He thinks of "Every woman is mother." This is the training. Of course, that training is not possible at the present moment. The days have changed. But this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is so nice that even brahmacārī begins immediately, he is trained up. He is trained up very nicely.
When the spiritual master instructs to the disciple on different subject matters, sometimes the disciple becomes puzzled which of them has to be accepted and which has to be carried and which has to be rejected. In the beginning, such, I means to say, puzzling things appear. So it is appearing to Kṛṣṇa, er, to Arjuna that Kṛṣṇa has spoken to him on various subjects, about sannyāsa... Sannyāsa means renounced order.
Just like we are in sannyāsa. This is called renounced order of life, and in the Vedic system there are four divisions of social order: brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsa. Brahmacārī means from the beginning or from five years to twenty-five years one has to live in the house of the spiritual master for being trained up. That is called brahmacārī.
There are four stages of life according to Vedic culture. We have many times explained to you that brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsī. Brahmacārī means student life, to be trained up in spiritual understanding, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, fully trained up. He is called brahmacārī. Then, after full training, he accepts wife, he gets himself married and lives with family and children. That is called gṛhastha. Then, after fifty years, he leaves the children alone and gets out of home accompanied by his wife and travels in the holy places. That is called vānaprastha, retired life. And at last he gives up his wife to the care of his children, grown-up children, and he remains alone. And that is called sannyāsa, or renounced order of life. So these four orders of life there are.
Brahmacārī means student life, student life to acquire knowledge. And gṛhastha life is householder. After acquiring knowledge, one may get himself married with a suitable girl and live peacefully in the society—for spiritual cultivation. Everything for spiritual cultivation. And then vānaprastha, retired life; then sannyāsa, renounced order of life.
One process is scheduled: tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena ca damena ca (SB 6.1.13). Undergoing tapasya, austerity, brahmacaryeṇa... Brahmacaryeṇa means controlling sex indulgence or sex impulse. Brahmacarya means practically no sex life. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena, damena (SB 6.1.13), by controlling the senses, by controlling the mind. Tyāgena, by giving up in charity. So there are gradual process, but there is another process. Another process means this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Either you practice in this way... Just like if you want to go up, there are two vehicles or process. You go step by step, one step after another. Suppose you have to go one hundred steps. So you have to go step by step. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena damena (SB 6.1.13), practicing. The another process is... (someone making tapping sound) (aside:) Why you are making this sound? Stop it. Another process is the lift. You go by step by step or take the process of lift. Within a second, you come up. So the bhakti-yoga process is like that. Bhakti-yoga process means if you take to this process, then immediately, very quickly, within a second, you come to the top floor.
Therefore the first education is, the students, to teach them brahmacarya. Brahmacārī means don't be attached. If you can, you avoid all this nonsense. That is brahmacārī. Try to avoid, better. If not, enter. Then after sometimes, vānaprastha: "Now I have enjoyed so much the..., to this attachment. Now leave the home." That is called vānaprastha. At that time, the wife goes as assistant, and the man travels all over the pilgrimages to become detached. Then after two months, three months, he again comes home, sees the children are doing nice, again go away. This is called beginning of detachment. When the detachment is complete, then the man asks his wife, "Now you go, live with your children. I am, I am taking sannyāsa." This is final detachment. So the whole thing is for detachment. Therefore, Kuntī is asking, "Kindly help me to detach from this family attraction." This is the instruction of Kuntīdevī.
Practice. Abhyāsa-yoga-yuktena cetasā (BG 8.8). Anything you practice, habit is the second nature. So in association of the devotee, if you try to practice this tapasya... Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa (SB 6.1.13), not to have sex life without any purpose, that is called brahmacārī. Brahmacārī does not mean celibacy. Brahmacārī means who does not use sex life for any other purpose than begetting nice children. He is brahmacārī.
The first beginning of human life is brahmacārī. Brahmacārī. Brahmacārī means to learn how to restrict himself from sense gratification. That is brahmacārī life—the student, student life. Nowadays, in every college, university, the students are allowed to mix, intermingle, both sex. What is called? Co-education?
Sudāmā: Co-ed. Yes.
Prabhupāda: But this is not the process of human civilization. Therefore, at the present moment, the population is so much degraded. There is no restriction. That is the difference between animal life and human life. Human life is meant for restriction. The more you restrict your material sense gratification, the more you are advanced. This is the standard. Not that "Because I have got the tendency to act like this, let me do it unrestrictedly." That is not human civilization; that is cats' and dogs' civilization. Human civilization means tapasya, austerity. Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyet sattvam (SB 5.5.1). Sattva. We have to purify our existence. That is the aim of human life. We have to purify our existence.
Gṛhastha means to live with wife. This is the meaning of gṛhastha. And a gṛhastha is supposed to support others who are not gṛhasthas just like brahmacārī. Brahmacārī means student life. So gṛhasthas support them. (break) ...sannyāsīs, other three classes. Because they are engaged in a different subject matter, they have no time to earn their livelihood, and therefore, those who are gṛhasthas, they take charge of him. This is the Vedic system. But they should live also on the bare necessities of life. They should not be luxurious. A brahmacārī cannot be luxurious. A sannyāsī cannot be luxurious. A vānaprastha cannot be luxurious. Luxury is allowed only to the householder because they are earning their own money. Others are dependent. So one cannot be luxurious at the expense of others. That is not allowed.
Devotee (2): Pertaining to the varṇāśrama-dharma system, a mother is... the wife of a husband is usually put in charge of the oldest son. If the oldest... If, say, the husband is not present, then the oldest son is supposed to be in charge and he is a brahmacārī, in what way is the mother cared for?
Prabhupāda: Well, brahmacārī means he has gone out of home. Brahmacārī does not remain at home. He goes to the spiritual master's home. So there is no question of giving wife's charge to a brahmacārī. He is not at home. Do you follow? Yes. The elderly children mean those who are married also, those who are in gṛhastha life, for him, not for the brahmacārī or sannyāsī. Just try to understand. A brahmacārī and sannyāsī does not remain at home. The brahmacārī goes to the spiritual master's home and the sannyāsī, he is a traveler from one country to another, preaching. So they are not at home. So if they are not at home, who is taking charge? To give charge means the elderly son who is a married man, who is living at home, the charge is given of the mother to him.
Ordinarily, the Vedic process is that first of all you try to remain without family, alone. Be independent, no cares, no anxieties. You can lie down here, or whatever you can eat, that's all. But be spiritually advanced. That is called brahmacārī life. Brahmacārī means... Brahma means Absolute Truth. And cārī means who is, whose business is only with Brahman, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, with spiritual advancement of life. That is called brahmacārī. And he has no interest with anything material. He's, at least, educated in that way, that "Actually, you have no interest with these material things. You are, you should be interested only for your spiritual advancement. This is the opportunity."
This is Ṛṣabhadeva's instruction to His sons. "My dear boys, this life, this human form of life, is not meant for wasting like hogs and dogs, but tapasya, just have little restraint. Don't become hogs and dogs." What is that restraint? Just like we are prescribing, no illicit sex. No illicit sex. Sex is not stopped. Sex is there. But no illicit sex. Illicit sex—unnecessary sex life. Sex life is meant for human beings. There is regulation. Sex life is meant for producing nice children, that's all, not for sense enjoyment. Therefore one is trained as brahmacārī from the very beginning.
The brahmacārī means no sex life. No sex life. Even the guru... Sometimes guru... Mostly in a school, the teachers, they were householders. It is restricted, "If the guru has a young wife, you should not go to carry out her order." It is restricted. This is brahmacārī life, voluntarily accepting hardship for making life successful. That is brahmacārī life. And then married life. Married life. When the... Brahmacārī is meant for the boys, not for the girls. Girls, they are to be married. A brahmacārī may remain unmarried for life, but according to Vedic civilization, a girl must be married.
Just like according to Vedic system there are brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsa—four divisions of the society. Brahmacārī, vānaprastha. Brahmacārī means student life, vānaprastha means retired life, and sannyāsa means renounced life. For them the minimum necessities of life is prescribed. And they should be automatically minimum because they are ordered to beg from door to door and live. The brahmacārī is meant for begging. Now, no beggar can live very luxuriantly. That is not possible. It is not possible. So if a beggar goes somebody's house, "Mother, give me some alms," so it is not that one is awarding some hundred thousands of rupees or dollars. So naturally, they have minimized their... Only little luxury or, I mean to say, high standard of life is allowed to the gṛhasthas, according to Vedic system, and the three other sections of the society, they should minimize. Why minimize? Because the idea is not to waste time unnecessarily. Unnecessarily.
Why we are in this material world? On account of this change of mind. Our position is jīvera svarūpa haya nitya kṛṣṇa dāsa (Cc. Madhya 20.108-109). We are eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, but sometimes the servant thinks, "Why shall I remain a servant? Let me become master." That is natural. A master is always in comfortable situation. Sometimes the servant becomes envious: "Oh, why this man should always remain in comfortable position and we shall serve? Why not we become also in comfortable position? Let me eat as he eats," or "Let me sleep now." These are so-called comforts. So they want to imitate. When the living being imitates the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he falls down. Kṛṣṇa bhuliyā jīva bhoga vāñchā kare, pasate māyā tāre jāpaṭiyā dhare. As soon as he forgets his position—he wants to imitate—that is the beginning of māyā, falldown. You should be very careful.
Therefore the brahmacārī... We have to teach the brahmacārī... Brahmācāri gurukule vasan dānto guror hitam. This is brahmacārī, not for his personal benefit, but guror hitam. Then he is brahmacārī. Not that a brahmacārī has to become a very learned scholar in grammar and turīya... These are secondary things. First thing, he has to learn how to control the senses, dānta, how to control the mind. Śamo damaḥ. 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 brahmacārī. Brahmacārī, brahme cārati iti brahmacārī. And brāhmaṇa means brahma jānāti iti brāhmaṇaḥ. So these are the beginning, brahmacārī. Brahmacari means who is always in Brahman activities. That is brahmacārī. Or brāhmaṇa means one who knows the Supreme, Supreme Brahman, Parambrahman. So if you understand Kṛṣṇa, then immediately you are liberated. Paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān (BG 10.12). So if we understand Kṛṣṇa, then we are both brahmacārī or brāhmaṇa, brahma-jñāna, brahma-bhūtaḥ.
Brahmacaryeṇa means celibacy. The more you restrain your sex life, the more you become strong for spiritual life. Brahmacaryeṇa. Brahma..., brahmacarya means to restrain, control sex life. Therefore somebody asked me, "Swamiji, why you are stressing so much on married life?" I have given this answer to many gentleman in the television, that because we have got a demand for sex life. But if we are restricted with married life, then there is no, I mean to say, illicit sex life. At least we refrain from that.
So it is stated here. These are the rules. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa (SB 6.1.13). Brahmacarya means celibacy, and śamena, control the mind. Damena, control the senses. If you can control your mind, then you can control your senses. In the mind is the center of sense activities. If you can control the mind, then easily you can control the senses. And the easiest process of controlling the mind is to fix up your mind in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
So the tapasya life begins from celibacy, brahmacaryeṇa. Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends. Brahmacarya is described in the śāstras that smaraṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ keliḥ prekṣaṇaṁ guhyam āsanam(?). Sex life, smaraṇam, thinking of sex life, that is against brahmacarya. Complete celibacy means one should not think of even sex life. Smaraṇam. Or talk of sex life. Our modern literature, newspaper and everything, simply full with talks of sex life. But this is against brahmacarya life. Smaraṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ keli. And actually indulging in sex life. Prekṣaṇam: looking, overlooking a nice boy or nice girl, that is also against brahmacarya. Guhyam āsanam: whispering between girls and boys, that is also against brahmacārī. Guhyam āsanaṁ saṅkalpam. Then determination of sex life. Vyavasāya: endeavoring how to effect sex life. So when we can stop all these activities, that is real brahmacarya. It is very difficult at the present age. Etan maithunyam aṣṭāṅgaṁ pravadanti manīṣinaḥ vikārita brahmacaryam eda astanam lakṣaṇam iti(?). So brahmacarya means that you cannot think of sex life, you cannot talk of sex life, you cannot whisper about sex life, or you cannot endeavor for sex life. These eight types of activities in sex indulgence are against brahmacārī life. But here it is prescribed that if you want to make solution of the problems of life, then you adopt, you have to adopt a life of tapasya, austerity, which begins from brahmacārī.
To summarize this brahmacarya life in this age, we have given a simple formula, that "No illicit sex." Sex is there. Sex is not bad. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, dharmāviruddhaḥ kāmo 'smi: "Sex life which is not against the religious principles of life, that is I am." Kṛṣṇa says. So dharmāviruddha, according to Vedic civilization, one should have sex indulgence only once in a month. That is the prescription. And when the wife is pregnant there is no sex life. That is dharmāviruddha. That is not against the religious principles. Even in your life, married life, if you indulge sex life more than once in a month, or in pregnancy, that is against religious principles.
So tapasya generally means that first thing is that we should reduce our eating, sleeping, mating and defense. This is called tapasya, voluntarily accept. Suppose I am accustomed to eat very voraciously, and if I have to execute tapasya, that means I will have to reduce my eating to the point of no eating. But that is not possible. But that will create some trouble. But I will accept this trouble, this is called tapasya. I am habituated to sleep so many hours; I will have to reduce it. Yuktāhāra vihāraś ca. We don't say, "Don't sleep," but we say, "Reduce sleep as much as possible. Reduce your eating as much as possible." So this is called tapasya. And brahmacaryeṇa. Brahmacaryeṇa means completely cessation of sex life. So that is not possible to completely give up eating or completely sex life, but make it regulated. That is tapasya: eating, sleeping, mating, and defense as much as it is required. The aim should be to make it nil. That is called tapasya. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa (SB 6.1.13). Brahmācārya means, strictly. Brahmācārya means that one should not look upon woman, "Oh, here is a very beautiful girl." That is also sex, subtle sex. And to talk, "Fsh, fsh, fsh, fsh," that is also subtle sex. So these things are to be avoided. There are eight kinds of subtle sex life. This is called brahmācārya. So according to Vedic śāstra, if one lives with one woman, one man, they are also brahmacārī. Not many. This is... If one cannot give up sex life, let him be satisfied with one man and one woman. That is also tapasya, that is also brahmacārī. But not that jumping from here, there, there, there, there, no, like monkey, no. (laughter) This is training. This is training.
The first thing is tapasya, austerity, not extravagance. That is not human life. Tapasya. Tapasā means, generally, voluntarily accepting some inconvenience. And then brahmacarya. Brahmacarya means no sex life. According to Vedic civilization, the students, they are called brahmacārī. In student life there is no sex life. Then his brain will be finished. That is happening nowadays. From the student life they indulge in sex life. Therefore not very big men are coming now—because their brain substance is finished. So a brahmacārī is supposed to raise the semina to the brain, ūrdhvam anti,(?) not discharge, but keep it on the brain. Then their memory becomes very sharp. Once heard from anyone, he will exactly produce, without any forget. Where is that science now? There is no such thing.
So the system is any brahmacārī or any sannyāsī goes to a householder, "Mother, give me some alms. I am brahmacārī," (s)he will at once give. At once give. So this is the system. So... So brahmacārī, brahmacārī's business is that he will collect, he'll earn everything, but it is for his spiritual master. Everything given. "Sir, I have given you." He doesn't possess anything. This is brahmacārī. Even there is injunction that even if the spiritual master forgets to call the brahmacārī—"My dear boy, come and take prasādam,"—oḥ, he'll not touch by his own accord. Because Guru Mahārāja has forgotten to call him, oh, he'll fast on that day. There are so many restrictions. Of course, in the Vedic scripture... So brahmacārī means that he has no personal profit. And do you mean to say that the spiritual master will take from the brahmacārī everything and he'll, I mean to say, grab the whole thing for his personal sense enjoyment? No. He, whatever he receives, he offers to Kṛṣṇa.
The first thing is tapasya, voluntarily rejecting this so-called comfortable situation of material world. That is called tapasya. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa (SB 6.1.13). And to execute that tapasya, the first thing is brahmacarya. Brahmacarya means to avoid sex indulgence. That is called brahmacarya.
- tapasā brahmacaryeṇa
- śamena damena vā
- tyāgena śauca śaucabhyāṁ
- śamena damena vā
- (SB 6.1.13)
These are the... Therefore you'll find, all transcendentalists, they are practicing tapasya very, very severely. That is required. The human life is meant for tapasya. That is human life. Human life is not meant for living like cats and dogs. That is not human life.
Pradyumna: "Nārada Muni continued to speak: A student should completely practice how to control the senses, be submissive. Firmly in friendly attitude upon the spiritual master, with great vow, the brahmacārī should live at gurukula only for the benefit of the guru."
- brahmacārī guru-kule
- vasan dānto guror hitam
- ācaran dāsavan nīco
- gurau suḍṛdha-sauhṛdaḥ
- (SB 7.12.1)
So as it is stated that human life is meant for tapasya, austerity... Tapasa. Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyet sattva (SB 5.5.1), that this human form of life is meant for tapasya, not to live like cats and dogs. That is not human life. And tapasya, austerity, begins from brahmācārya. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena damena vā (SB 6.1.13). This is tapasya. Brahmācārya means restraining sex life, celibacy. That is brahmācārya. So when one is serious about advancement of spiritual consciousness, he must live under the control of the guru to learn how to become brahmacārī. This is main purpose.
This human form of life is meant for tapasya, to learn how to become detached from this material world. And the beginning is this brahmacārī life. Brahmacārī gurukule vasan dāntaḥ. Dānta means self-controlled. That is real teaching. Either a gṛhastha lives... If a gṛhastha lives, even he has got wife, he does not... One side, according to Vedic civilization, there is no sex life except for begetting a nice child, and that also with garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. In other words, whimsically sex life is completely stopped in Vedic civilization. There everything under regulation. Therefore brahmacārī means how to control the senses, to keep under his own control, not that "I am now sexually inclined. I must have immediately sex." No. Dānta. That is taught. Just like in our society, even gṛhastha, he is also under restriction, and what to speak of brahmacārī. But we should always remember that this human life is meant for controlling the senses. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. It is simply meant for inquiring about our spiritual life. That is perfect civilization.
Therefore brahmacārī means living under direction of guru, guror hitam. And guror hitam... How he can be simply thinking of benefiting the spiritual master? Unless that position comes, nobody can serve guru. It is not an artificial thing. The brahmacārī, the disciple, must have genuine love for guru. Then he can be under his control. Otherwise why one should be under the control of another person? Therefore it is said, ācaran dāsavat. Dāsa. Dāsa means servant. Not only servant, but menial servant. Menial servant means just like the sweeper, the cobbler, like that. They are called menial servants.
So jitendriya. A brahmacārī means jitendriya. Śamena damena vā. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa (SB 6.1.13). Tapasā. Brahmacārī life means tapasya.
- tapasā brahmacaryeṇa
- śamena damena vā
- tyāgena satya-śaucābhyāṁ
- yamena niyamena vā
- (SB 6.1.13)
This is life. Not that extravagant life is life. That is the present position of India, that we have lost our own culture. Brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsī—this is compulsory. Every child should be trained up as brahmacārī. Then, when he is completely trained up, if he still likes to get into married life or householder life, which is a concession for sex life... It is not required. According to Vedic civilization it is not required. You'll find, therefore, many naiṣṭika-brahmacārīs. Naiṣṭika means never any connection with woman. That is called naiṣṭika-brahmacārī. And upakurvaṇa-brahmacārīs. Upakurvaṇa-brahmacārī means he is married, but not for enjoying. He is married and to beget nice children under the order of his spiritual master. He is also brahmacārī. If a gṛhastha abides by the order of a guru, he is also brahmacārī. So here it is said jitendriya. Suśīlaḥ mita-bhug dakṣaḥ śraddadhāno jitendriyaḥ. Senses should not be used extravagantly.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
So if you want to learn that science, how to become immortal, then you have to undergo austerities. That austerities begins with brahmācārya. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa (SB 6.1.13). Brahmacarya means controlling sex life. That is required. If you can control sex impulse... Because that is the medium of bondage. Here in this material world everyone is working hard to enjoy sex life. That is the main aim. Main aim is... And that you will find, in your country especially, very, very prominent. In Paris very, very old men, they are going to the club at night simply for the same purpose. So this has to be controlled. Controlled means mind and the senses. And the prominent sense is sex. That is called control. So if you want to become immortal, then you must practice this.
Prabhupāda: Yad icchantam. The śloka is yad icchantaṁ brahma... You don't find it. Let me. Let me have the book. (pause) Yes, here. Eleventh.
- yad akṣaraṁ veda-vido vadanti
- viśanti yad yatayo vīta-rāgāḥ
- yad icchanto brahmacaryaṁ caranti
- tat te padaṁ saṅgraheṇa pravakṣye
Here is the transla... "I shall briefly describe to that state which the knowers of the Vedas call the imperishable, which the ascetics, freed from passion, enter, and desiring which, they lead a life of self-control." Not... Brahmacarya is celibacy. Translation is not here. Celibacy means completely ceasing from sex life. Yad icchanto brahmacarya. Brahmacarya means celibacy. No sex life. Therefore the brahmacarya āśrama is recommended. The first basic principle of religious life, according to Vedic principle, the students are expected to go to the spiritual master's place and learn how to live without any sex life. For twenty-five years or at least for twenty years, the student is trained up in that way. Then he's allowed to enter into the gṛhastha life to marry. So there is a process. Religion means there must be process. It is not simply mental speculation. Yad icchantaṁ brahmacaryaṁ caranti. Yad icchantaṁ brahmacaryaṁ caranti tat te padaṁ saṅgraheṇa pravakśye. These things are described in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Now, according to Vedic conception of social life, there are four divisions of social order and four divisions of spiritual order. The four divisions of social order is the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra; and spiritual order is the sannyāsī, vānaprastha, gṛhastha and brahmacārī. To become a brahmacārī means to make advance in spiritual life.
So human life is not meant for hog civilization. So modern civilization is hog civilization, although it is polished with shirt and coat. So, we shall try to understand. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is for understanding Kṛṣṇa. For understanding Kṛṣṇa, it requires little labor, austerity, penance. Tapasya brahmacāryeṇa śamena damena ca. Tapasya. One has to undergo tapasya; brahmacārya, celibacy. Tapasya. Brahmacārya means stopping sex life or controlling sex life. Brahmacārya. Therefore Vedic civilization is, from the very beginning, to train the boys to become brahmacārī, celibacy. Not that modern days, the schools, boys and girls, ten years, twelve years, they're enjoying. The brain is spoiled. They cannot understand higher things. The brain tissues are lost. So without becoming brahmacārī, nobody can understand spiritual life. Tapasya brahmacāryeṇa śamena damena ca. Śama means controlling the senses, controlling the mind; damena, controlling the senses; tyāgena; śaucena, cleanliness; tyāga, tyāga means charity. These are the processes for understanding oneself, self-realization.
Translation: "Acts of sacrifice, charity and penances are not to be given up but should be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls." (Translation not on tape)
Prabhupāda: ...yajño dānaṁ tapaś caiva pāvanāni manīṣiṇām. There are four stages of spiritual life. The brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. For brahmacārī, yajña. Yajña means to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān, viṣṇur ārādhyate (CC Madhya 8.58). The whole scheme...
(aside:) I thinking I am feeling very hot. I have to take off... In another place it is said, yajñārthāt karmaṇaḥ anyatra karma-bandhanaḥ (BG 3.9). (Prabhupāda's clothing is being taken off; it sounds like his sweater.) That's all right. That's all right. Keep it now.
So brahmacārī, in the beginning of life... Brahmacārī means beginning of life, student life. They must be trained up how to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the first training. The brahmacārī is trained up to rise early in the morning and offers fire sacrifice, then studies of Vedas, then saṅkīrtana. There are so many routine work for brahmacārī. So this must be executed.
So although we have four divisions of the social orders, namely the brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsa... Brahmacārī means student, strictly observing life of celibacy, following the rules and regulations enunciated by the spiritual master under strict discipline. That is called brahmacārī. And next is that if a brahmacārī wants to get himself married, that is allowed. So when a brahmacārī is married, he is called gṛhastha, or householder. But because a brahmacārī is trained from the very beginning of his life renunciation of material enjoyment, he cannot be absorbed like ordinary man in family life.
So this Krsna consciousness movement is for training brahmacaris. Brahmacari means who are being practiced to the brahminical culture. So, there must be a portion of the population well versed in brahminical culture. Ekas candras tamo hanti na ca tara sahasrasah. Just like in a garden if there is one nice flower plant, rose, with good scent, the whole garden becomes flavored, you see? Scented. Similarly, we do not expect that the whole population of the human society will be taking to this brahminical culture; but even one percent of the whole population accepts this brahminical culture, Krsna consciousness, then the whole world will be peaceful. Not even one percent, less than one percent. It is so nice.
Brahmacārī means student, unmarried student, without any sex life. That is brahmacārī.
Prabhupāda: So brahmacārī means from the very beginning sowing the seed of goodness, and if one becomes a devotee, then automatically other things are lost.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1968 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Of course, another thing is that we teach our boys to become brahmacārī. Brahmacārī. Brahmacārī means how to lead the life of celibacy.
Prabhupāda: Just Howard explain brahmacārī life.
Journalist: Yes, I understand.
Hayagrīva: Well, it's control of the senses, and he teaches us how to control the senses. Generally, marriage doesn't take place until a boy is about 22, 23, 25.
Journalist: You mean in his culture.
Prabhupāda: Yes. We select girl, say, about 16, 17 years old, and boys not more than 24 years old. I get them married. You see? And because their attention is diverted to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they have very little interest simply for sex life. You see? They have got better engagement. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 9.59). You see? We give substitute. We simply don't say that "You don't do it," but we give something better. You see? Then automatically the "don't" automatically comes. You see?
Journalist: At the right time.
Prabhupāda: Immediately. We give something better engagement.
Journalist: What is this?
Prabhupāda: Just like our boys and girls, they are all engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness business, in temple work, in painting, in typing, in recording, so many things. And they are happy. They are not going to cinema, they are not going to club, they are not drinking, they are not smoking. So practically I am training them how to control. And there is possibility because these boys and girls, they are all Americans. They are not imported from India. Why they have taken to this? The system is so nice that they have liked it. So if you spread this system, everything will be solved.
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
Jagadīśa: He says young people today have no sense of discipline. They don't know what it means to be...
Prabhupāda: How they can be? They are not trained up. They are not trained up from the very beginning. For being trained up, there is another four divisions, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. These are the training divisions. So for the first-class, second-class, third-class, all the students, they are trained up as brahmacārī, student life. Brahmacārī means celibacy, live under the direction of the teacher and accept all kinds of hardship under the teacher's or spiritual master direction. Children, they can easily take it. If a child, a small child, I ask him, "My dear child, you take my shoes and keep it there," he will immediately agree. He has no sense, "Oh, he is asking me to take his shoes." He will immediately agree.
Prabhupāda: Brahmācarya. Brahmācarya means completely cessation from sex life. This is brahmācarya. Tapasya begins, austerity. This is the greatest austerity, to cease sex. Tapasa brahmācarya. Our Vedic civilization, the boys are trained how to become brahmacārī from the very beginning of life.
Prabhupāda: Śrīnati.(?) From his face it appears that he's woman hunter. Did he talk with you?
Devotee (1): Yes.
Prabhupāda: So in every center they must rise early in the morning. They must follow the regulative principles. They must attend class. Otherwise let them go out. We don't want. And if anyone wants to marry, first of all he must show that he has some earning capacity. Not that "Because there are so many girls, and I marry one to satisfy my senses..." I thought that boy was nice, and I heard all these stories. That is also another defect, that we have got young boys and young girls open for lovemaking. And brahmacārī means strictly prohibited to see the face of woman. But we cannot stop it. That is also another defect. Fire is good and butter is good, but when they come together everything become bad. Is it not? Fire is good, just like heat. And butter is good, healthy. But when they come together the butter melts and the fire extinguished. This is māyā's arrangement. Puṁsa striyā mithunī-bhāvam etam. This whole world is going on by the sex attraction, and when they come together both of them become spoiled. Therefore it has to be dealt with very, very carefully, so many rules, regulation.
1977 Conversations and Morning Walks
Indian man: Actually if a man is literate but if there is no saṁskāra, I can't say he is better than... If saṁskāra is there and no education, then still I call he is better man. The man without saṁskāra is nothing.
Prabhupāda: It is..., that brahmacārī means saṁskāra, to become satyaṁ śamo damas titikṣā ārjavaṁ jñāna... Jñāna... You can have knowledge simply by hearing, not by reading books.
Prabhupāda: Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa (SB 6.1.13). Tapasya begins from brahmacarya. And brahmacarya means "no," so many. No "yes." Only "no's." "Not this, not this, not this." It is very difficult. Therefore the Americans are surprised: "How our sons have accepted so many 'no's' unless there is brainwash? And this man knows some mind control, and he's controlling their mind, independence. Bas. Deprogram. Capture them." This is the... "How our sons can accept so many 'no's'? " And important items—no meat-eating, no illicit sex, no intoxication. Everything, life, is no. (laughs) Rāyarāma said, "It is simply 'no's.' " He left. What is their daily necessity, all "no." The same thing is happening now, that "How they have accepted the 'no's'? It is brainwash, mind control."
Mr. Myer: We need in this country very much, in every city, in every town. For twenty years I was searching for something like this, and I think something exactly what I have dreamt of. And I think there are some very few problems that might come up, because most of the people are sannyāsīs. They are doing lot of preaching work. They aren't necessarily bothered with lot of administrative work. And if their administrative work is done by some other people, then they can concentrate more on preaching, which is very necessary.
Prabhupāda: Yes, sannyāsī, brahmacārī, means preaching. They are not meant for material management. They have dedicated their life for spiritual-although this material service is also spiritual—but they are doing on such a strength. You cannot expect a very expertly management and... But they act. Simply ask them to do the needful.
Prabhupāda: Young woman at dead of night, beautiful woman, came to Haridāsa Ṭhākura to offer her body, and he denied. Who will appreciate this? (laughs)
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: We appreciate.
Prabhupāda: No, you appreciate, but in the modern world who will appreciate?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They say something is wrong with Haridāsa Ṭhākura.
Upendra: Unhealthy. And these Arabs, they were here visiting the temple. They saw a brahmacārī, and they explained brahmacārī means celibate. "Oh, he is sick." "Unhealthy," they said.
Prabhupāda: General idea is "How a young man can live without a young woman?" Not now. This is the material idea. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, "Oh, you are after woman? Oh. You are more than committing suicide."
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Diametrically opposed.
Prabhupāda: Hā hanta hanta viṣa-bhakṣaṇato 'pi. "You are after woman? It is more dangerous than drinking poison." Who will accept? And Western country—"Oh, without young woman, what is life?" Madhudviṣa became victimized by woman. So he became so ashamed that he left, that "My career is finished now." He's conscious.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He is...?
Prabhupāda: Conscious that "I have been victimized by woman, a sannyāsī. So my career in this institution finished." He knows that. "Nobody will take me seriously." Therefore he left his daṇḍa, went away. Good son, another, but he cannot. Therefore several times I called him; he did not come, that "My career is finished." This consciousness, where you'll find? And here, even a man is fallen, he's also conscious, "How much I am fallen." (break)