My blog has been attracting lots of attention from netizens who are looking for materials on brahmacharya practice. By reading readers’ comments, I feel my efforts are getting utilized by many people. Hence, I am even more dedicated to keep on sharing important information in future as well.
Challenges, solutions and various quotes on brahmacharya practice have already been mentioned in great details in my article “Greatly inspiring brahmacharya (celibacy) quotes”. Here, I want to draw the attention of the readers towards one of the most crucial aspects of celibacy practice, namely bad days in celibacy practice. By bad days in celibacy practice, what I mean is, on such days your mind will be agitated by lust for hours (and just seconds and minutes) and none of the conventional techniques of celibacy practice will help you satisfactorily in dealing with lust. In general, such bad days are bound to occur quite regularly during teens, 20s and 30s (the most crucial period of celibacy practice when the benefits are the highest).
Celibacy is the effort to regulate the most powerful force of nature – only by using a set of very intelligent strategies combining early morning rising, yoga and meditation, focused daily routine in all respects, steady application of “chooha or rat technique” (it means to behave timidly like a rat and thus, focus primarily, as far as practically possible, on escaping from wrong environment rather than trying to manage yourself in wrong environment – use lion technique in all other domains except celibacy practice, else disasters may happen ) and will-power. Still, bad days keep on coming every month for almost all celibacy practitioners when no yoga technique (Mahabandha included), meditation, cold bath, auto-suggestions, will-power etc. work satisfactorily. Such bad days generally come once or twice a week for those who wake up after sunrise rather than before sunrise (brahmamuhurta) and do not practice yoga and meditation – such forceful assault of this powerful instinct once or twice a week is enough to break the will of almost anyone. Very few people in this category succeed in maintaining celibacy for long periods of time.
But, there is another group of people who wake up during brahmamuhurta (1-3 hours before sunrise – between 3 am and 5 am) and do yoga and meditation on daily basis for 40-50 minutes or more. For such people, the frequency of bad days go down from once or twice every week to once or twice every month. So, the probability of success is much more for this group. Still, even once or twice a month of bad days is enough to make celibacy practitioners demoralized and despondent about their spiritual progress and may lead to even downfall. So, a foolproof method is required to deal with such bad days – and such foolproof method is already there in various writings of our sages. My article is just to bring spotlight on that method. This foolproof method is described clearly in below quotes of Dadasri (an enlightened sage from Gujarat):
“If ever there is an occasion for a severe testing of your resolve of brahmacharya, if there is strong sexual attraction and inclination, then one should fast two to three times. When the force of unfolding karma is very strong, fasting can stop them. Fasting does not destroy these sexual passions completely.”
He is basically saying, give up next 2 or 3 meals (giving up next 3 meals mean 24 hours fasting). Well, if you have developed the firm habit of waking up during brahmamuhurta and doing yoga and meditation on daily basis for 40-50 minutes or more, giving up next 1 meal will suffice for you on a majority of bad days. Sometimes, you may need to go for “give up next 2 meals” and very, very rarely, you will need to go to the extent of “give up next 3 meals”. The technique is a bit harsh, but it is foolproof. Unfortunately, I do not know of any easy technique – cold bath and other well-known techniques of yoga, auto-suggestion, etc. do not work well on bad days and if you rely on those techniques, you may end up breaking your celibacy practice in sheer desperation that always arises on such bad days. So, go for the foolproof technique of “giving up next 1 or more meals”. It is a bit harsh, but then every sage has said, “Celibacy is the highest austerity, but it also yields the highest level of benefits at physical, mental and spiritual levels.” However much strategic intelligence one may apply to successfully practice celibacy on most days, on bads days one will need austere technique of “giving up next 1 or more meals”, otherwise disasters may happen!
But, try 20-30 min “Nadi Shodhana Basic (NSB)” at a stretch (you should study during NSB practice to use time more efficiently) once or more in a day before accepting it as a bad day – you should read brahmacharya quotes during some or entire duration of NSB practice unless you have some time-constraint in which case you can continue doing your original work. This technique will remove boundary line cases of bad days and thus ensure that bad days frequency is small enough such that it does not look much embarrassing and demoralizing . This recommendation removes boundary line cases of bad days by opening up Shushumna channel (central channel in astral body) and making prana ascends up it from lower sexual centres and thus calming lust through changing the pranic flow upward. 20 min is the minimum at-a-stretch NSB that will be needed in general, but feel free to go for more like 30 min or so as well. Also, you should do 20-30 min NSB even when you accept a particular do as a bad day and fast for next meal as this additional practice of 20-30 min NSB will still prove to be useful and that too quickly enough in reducing the intensity of lust in mind helping you focus on the work at hand. Fasting for next meal will do the final job along with supplementary role of 20-30 min NSB.
But, I have few good advices for you to make your fasting period easier:
- Drink lots of water during this fasting period – water dilutes the hydrochloric acid present in gastric juices (which has a role in making you feel hungry) and will make you feel less hungry.
- You may practice internal breath retention to charge up yourself – with the extra pranic energy gained through internal breath retention, you will feel less need for energy from food and hence, your physical system will produce less feeling of hunger in the body. (Warning: Internal breath retention should not be used if one has some problems of blood pressure or heart disease.)
- Focus on easy and interesting tasks during this period as far as possible.
- If your fasting period involves giving up dinner, then you will have some difficulty in falling asleep due to body and brain’s reactions to hunger. The best technique to ensure that you get sleep in time in this case is to schedule a 30-45 minute walk – the physical and mental tiredness due to walk will induce sleep at the desired time. If that is not possible due to some reason, use 30-45 minute before sleep in mantra chanting, meditation and relaxing pranayama like bhramari, nadi shodhan without internal breath retention, etc. This will help ensure that your sleep rhythm does not get disturbed that day.
- You may give your mind awards like your favourite sweets or snacks at the completion of the fasting period. I give myself around Rs. 100 for having all my favourite sweets and snacks and my mind feels very positive and cheerful (read greedy) after giving up next 1 meal on such bad days. You should also do the same because the carrot should also be hanged before mind when it accepts some stick (“carrot and stick policy), otherwise too much harshness makes mind revolt against the discipline.
- If there is too much gap between your meals like 9-10 hrs, you can go for the modified version like, “fast for next 6 or 8 hours” also – just experiment to see how many hours of fasting are enough for you.
- You may also maintain some table called “Brahmacharya practice – bad day table” to keep a tab on the date of bad days, the gap between two consecutive bad days and lessons for future, in case some external trigger led to a particular bad day.
- One of my worst failures of 20s has been to understand this technique of “giving up next 1-2 meals” very late in 2012 only. The main reason behind this is that this technique has not been prominently described in the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi and even Swami Sivananda. Swami Sivananda wrote somewhere, “Resort to fasting whenever passion troubles us.” But, that would mean fasting 2-3 times every week because a mild level of troubles due to passion happens with that frequency to most of us. He did not mention that this technique is to be used for only extreme case of troubles. I found this technique properly mentioned in the writings of only Dadasri (a Gujarati sage) in 2007 itself, but since I am more hooked by Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi and Swami Sivananda, I did not give any weightage to it that time – alas! what a blunder I committed! But, I recognized its importance fully in 2012 and thereafter I have incorporated as one of the most crucial points in 12-point formula.
- This has given me a foolproof and mind-blowing result. Even the most extreme level of passions on bad days get fully calmed down by this most simple technique of giving up next meal – you have to try it before you can believe me. Thanks Heavens for this foolproof technique to save brahmacharya aspirants on bad days.
Please note that this fasting is total fasting – you may only drink water during your fasting period. Fruit juices, fruits, milk and every type of meal has to be avoided during your fasting period, otherwise you will not derive the desired benefit. No self-fooling here – it is the real fasting!
Why is this technique a foolproof technique? I think, the main reason is as follows. When we fast, we have less bio-energy or prana in the body from food than normal and various organs of the body feel the need for energy. So, our system withdraws energy (prana) from excess sexual energy that troubles us on bad days so that this can be used to supply the need of various organs. Thus, this energy withdrawal from sexual centre happens and fully calms down our internal turbulence from sexual energy climax/build-up. And we are saved from downfall. Apart from this main reason, other reasons can be as follows.
When one fasts, the pranas are free from the process of digestion, they get calmer and reduce the lustful agitations in body and mind. Also, one’s mind experiences some type of shock due to fasting – this shock makes it more reflective and introspective, thereby naturally weakening its dissipative (rajasic) tendencies. So, fasting reduces the agitations of lust at the levels of body, prana (vital energy) and mind, all three. It becomes thus a great antidote and saves the aspirant from the possibilities of downfall on such bad days.
So, please successfully deal with bad days in celibacy practice (expected to be once or twice every month) by using “give up next 1 or more meals” rule.
Bad days may be triggered totally internally as well as externally. If the trigger is completely internal, nothing can be or needs to be done. But, if the trigger is external, you should carefully note down (better in writing in some type of brahmacharya diary/document) possible external situations which led to bad days and figure our means and ways to avoid such external situations in future. Such external situations may be reading a so-called romantic story/novel or adult material, watching a so-called romantic movie/serial or adult movie/serial, interacting with or observing intentionally a member of opposite gender who looks attractive to you or listening to or indulging in lustful conversations with friends – basically these external situations are all about employing your eyes, ears and mouth in some lust-triggering activities.
Also, food does play a very big role in celibacy practice – certain types of food are considered tamasic (alcohol, tobacco and other intoxicants) or rajasic (meat, oily food, tea/coffee, chocolate, etc.) – taking them makes celibacy too difficult. So, avoid these types of food as they also trigger bad days frequently. You definitely will have to eliminate these external situations/inputs or at least keep them in control as far as possible because too much frequency of bad days will defeat your vow of celibacy sooner or later as one cannot keep fasting every day. That’s the reason it is said that only a person who controls all his/her 5 senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing and talking can maintain the vow of celibacy. Stay motivated as the eventual rewards of heightened intellectual and spiritual energies will more than make up for your struggle in maintaining self-discipline for celibacy.
Comments are welcome.